Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Program Name

National Security Studies

Capstone Instructor

Dr. Donna L. Kenley


Section 541 of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2010 significantly altered the Department of Defense missing persons accounting community’s vision, strategy, and tactics. For the first time, this mandate set requirements for 200 identifications annually beginning in 2015, as well as a recommended goal of 350 personnel accounted for per year by 2020. This research incorporated the chaos theory and functionalist approach theoretical frameworks, applying a qualitative case study approach, while performing content data analysis to explore issues with the missing persons accounting community. The findings revealed the lack of cooperation between the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office and Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command led to years of dysfunction and the failure to plan for the congressionally directed increase in annual identifications. The findings from this examination demonstrate the 2010 NDAA requirement to account for at least 200 missing persons annually will greatly influence the accounting community’s initial accounting results and future accomplishments. In conclusion, those agencies tasked to account for missing DOD service members are unlikely to fulfill the congressional obligation in 2015 and beyond.



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