United States-Russia Joint Commission on POWs and MIAs and the
Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office Joint Commission Support Division
Archival Documents Databases
History of the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POWs and MIAs
The U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs was established
in March 1992 by the direction of the Presidents of the United
States and of the Russian Federation. The Commission serves as
a forum through which both nations seek to determine the fate of
their missing servicemen.
The United States side of the Commission is chaired by Major General
Roland Lajoie (USA, retired). Commission members include two United
States Senators and two United States Congressman; National Archives
of the United States; United States Department of State; representatives
of the United States Department of Defense; and Deputy Assistant
Secretary of Defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs.
The Russian side is chaired by General-Major Vladimir Zolotarev.
It consists of officials from the ministries of Defense, Internal
Affairs, and Foreign Affairs; the Russian archives; Federal Security
Service; and the Russian Federation's Presidential Commission on
POWs, Internees, and Missing in Action.
The Commission's objectives have been: to determine whether American
servicemen are being held against their will on the territory of
the former Soviet Union, and, if so, to secure their immediate
release and repatriation; to locate and return to the United States
the remains of any deceased American servicemen interred in the
former Soviet Union; and ascertain the facts regarding American
servicemen who were not repatriated and whose fate remains unresolved.
The Commission is organized into four working groups, each representing
a key area of investigation. These groups encompass World War II;
the Korean War; the Vietnam War; and the Cold War. This latter
group has focused on American aircraft lost during the Cold-War
period as well as Soviet military personnel unaccounted for from
Korea, Afghanistan, and other areas of conflict.
The Commission meets in regular plenary sessions several times
each year. To date, 16 such sessions have been held: 14 in Moscow
and two in Washington, D.C. The plenary schedule has been augmented
by a series of working group sessions held to define agenda topics
and advance likely areas of inquiry.
The Department of Defense's POW/Missing Personnel Office (DMPO)
provides analytical and investigative support to the Joint Commission.
A staff of some eighteen personnel are assigned to the Washington
headquarters and to a field office at the U.S. Embassy, Moscow,
to assure close coordination with Russian counterparts and timely
follow-up on a number of unresolved issues.
The documents found in the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission Database
(the so-called "Task Force Russia" documents) consist of the minutes
of plenary sessions, reports from the working group sessions, and
the translation of Russian-language documents retrieved from various
archives in the Russian Federation pertaining to American personnel
missing from World War II to the present.