Give Defense’s POW/MIA Sleuths Furlough Flexibility, Lawmakers Say

Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass. Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass. Christopher Evans/AP

A bipartisan group of legislators is pushing to give additional furlough flexibility to Defense Department civilians charged with recovering U.S. prisoners of war and service members who went missing in action or were killed and not brought home.  

The 2013 POW/MIA Accounting and Recovery Support Act, introduced on Friday, would allow civilians on deployed missions for the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command—also known as JPAC—the flexibility to take their furlough days after they return home. 

In a statement released Friday, the bill’s lead sponsors, Reps. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., and Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., said its imperative that JPAC’s efforts to “locate and recover the remains of unaccounted-for American service members are not delayed due to sequestration.”

Lynch continued: “I’ve witnessed JPAC’s world-class research and forensic operations first-hand, and I believe that we must make every effort to safeguard the Command against any disruption in its landmark search for our missing and fallen American troops.”

Defense had originally scheduled 22 unpaid furlough days for its civilian employees because of across-the-board budget cuts from sequestration. The stopgap bill to fund the government through the end of fiscal 2013 reduced that number to 14 days, and some reports have indicated that the number may be cut even further.

According to JPAC’s website, the command is working to help find and identify 83,000 Americans missing from past conflicts. The bill’s sponsors noted that civilians working at JPAC do not operate on a traditional work schedule. Many are deployed on missions lasting between 35 to 45 days in foreign countries to help search for deceased service members, making mandatory furloughs a significant burden during ongoing operations.

“It’s an important promise we made to all our veterans and service members, and this bill will protect JPAC’s civilian employees while they are on deployment,” Thompson said. 

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.