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Shaheen, Crapo Push for Additional Efforts to Bring Home Missing Service Members

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, introduced the Bring Our Heroes Home Act with U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID). The bipartisan legislation would provide for an expedited and consolidated process for declassifying and collecting records of prisoners of war (POWs) and missing in action (MIA) personnel.

“For generations, Americans have given the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation and in the name of freedom. My heart breaks for the family members of the tens of thousands of service members who have not yet been brought home to be mourned and honored by their loved ones, and a forever grateful nation,” said Shaheen. “I appreciate Senator Crapo’s leadership on this effort, and hope that together we can move this bill through Congress so the United States can complete its mission to bring every American hero home.” 

“Our country cannot waver on efforts to bring home America’s missing servicemembers,” said Crapo.  “We owe it to the families and survivors of the brave women and men in uniform to bring home their loved ones who sacrificed so much for our country.  Over 82,000 Americans still remain missing, and their families deserve some sense of resolution to the lingering questions that still fill their lives.  Piecing together the circumstances, whereabouts and lives of those lost cannot be easy, but bringing them home is critical to honoring their service.  The Bring Our Heroes Home Act will prioritize and facilitate the declassification of records related to missing servicemembers, and aid in bringing them all home.” 

The Bring Our Heroes Home Act, would consolidate all records related to missing personnel within a newly instituted Missing Armed Forces Personnel Records Collection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and require all government agencies to transmit any records to their possession pertaining to missing service members to NARA.  The measure would also establish an independent government office, the Missing Armed Forces Personnel Records Review Board, to identify missing personnel records, facilitate the transmission and disclosure of these records, and review any decisions by federal agencies to postpone declassification.  

Senator Shaheen has made returning the remains of service members missing in action a top priority. Since she began serving in Congress in 2009, Shaheen has worked diligently on behalf of Granite State families to return the remains of their loved ones lost in war. In 2016, Shaheen successfully added an amendment to North Korea Sanctions legislation, which was signed into law, to protect efforts to recover the remains of American service members in North Korea. In funding legislation signed into law last year, Senator Shaheen supported efforts to increase funding of an additional $30 million for the Defense Personnel Accounting Agency (DPAA), which is the agency responsible for identifying remains of POWs and MIAs from conflicts around the world.  

Bill text can be found here and more background on the legislation can be read here.