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:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


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