Authorization, Policy, Implementation, and Oversight

  • Paul M. Cole


The US government’s program to account for service members who went missing during America’s historic conflicts is a product of politics, authorization, policy, and an implementation plan that is subject to Congressional oversight.

This chapter establishes how the US Congress authorized an idiosyncratic accounting program that focused on the recovery and identification of human remains. No other nation, including those that lost hundreds of thousands of casualties including tens of thousands who went missing, has conducted an effort remotely similar to the US program.

Dr. Cole demonstrates that “fullest possible accounting,” which has never been authorized as policy by Congress, is an unachievable standard.

Dr. Cole relies on fresh primary sources to document how the accounting program grew to extraordinary proportions due primarily to “mission creep” as well as to the fact that Congress failed to provide oversight meaningful oversight of the scientific segment of the program.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul M. Cole
    • 1
  1. 1.NashvilleUSA

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