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104th Congress                                                   Report
                       HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 

 2d Session                                                     104-806
_______________________________________________________________________



 
   RESTORATION OF CERTAIN MISSING PERSONS AUTHORITIES APPLICABLE TO 
                         DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

                               __________

                              R E P O R T

                                 OF THE

                     COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                                   ON

                               H.R. 4000

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

                                     


                                     

               September 17, 1996.--Ordered to be printed
                  HOUSE COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY
                      One Hundred Fourth Congress

 FLOYD D. SPENCE, South Carolina, 
             Chairman
RONALD V. DELLUMS, California        BOB STUMP, Arizona
G.V. (SONNY) MONTGOMERY, Mississippi DUNCAN HUNTER, California
PATRICIA SCHROEDER, Colorado         JOHN R. KASICH, Ohio
IKE SKELTON, Missouri                HERBERT H. BATEMAN, Virginia
NORMAN SISISKY, Virginia             JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
JOHN M. SPRATT, Jr., South Carolina  CURT WELDON, Pennsylvania
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas              ROBERT K. DORNAN, California
OWEN PICKETT, Virginia               JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
LANE EVANS, Illinois                 JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
JOHN TANNER, Tennessee               RANDY ``DUKE'' CUNNINGHAM, 
GLEN BROWDER, Alabama                California
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi             STEVE BUYER, Indiana
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii             PETER G. TORKILDSEN, Massachusetts
CHET EDWARDS, Texas                  TILLIE K. FOWLER, Florida
FRANK TEJEDA, Texas                  JOHN M. McHUGH, New York
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts      JAMES TALENT, Missouri
ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD, Guam            TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
JANE HARMAN, California              ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
PAUL McHALE, Pennsylvania            HOWARD ``BUCK'' McKEON, California
PETE GEREN, Texas                    RON LEWIS, Kentucky
PETE PETERSON, Florida               J.C. WATTS, Jr., Oklahoma
WILLIAM J. JEFFERSON, Louisiana      MAC THORNBERRY, Texas
ROSA L. DeLAURO, Connecticut         JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
MIKE WARD, Kentucky                  SAXBY CHAMBLISS, Georgia
PATRICK J. KENNEDY, Rhode Island     VAN HILLEARY, Tennessee
                                     JOE SCARBOROUGH, Florida
                                     WALTER B. JONES, Jr., North 
                                     Carolina
                                     JAMES B. LONGLEY, Jr., Maine
                                     TODD TIAHRT, Kansas
                                     RICHARD `DOC' HASTINGS, Washington
  Andrew K. Ellis, Staff Director


                            C O N T E N T S

                              ----------                              
                                                                   Page

Purpose and Background...........................................     4
Legislative History..............................................     4
Summary of Committee Recommendations.............................     5
Committee Position...............................................     6
Fiscal Data......................................................     6
  Congressional Budget Office Estimate...........................     6
  Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate......................     6
  Committee Cost Estimate........................................     7
  Inflation Impact Statement.....................................     7
Oversight Findings...............................................     7
Statement of Federal Mandates....................................     7
Rollcall Vote....................................................     7
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     9
                                                                       


104th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 2d Session                                                     104-806
_______________________________________________________________________


.   RESTORATION OF CERTAIN MISSING PERSONS AUTHORITIES APPLICABLE TO 
                         DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

_______________________________________________________________________


 September 17, 1996.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Mr. Spence, from the Committee on National Security, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 4000]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on National Security, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 4000) to amend title 10, United States Code, to 
restore the provisions of chapter 76 of that title (relating to 
missing persons) as in effect before the amendments made by the 
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997, having 
considered the same, report favorably thereon with an amendment 
and recommend that the bill as amended do pass.
  The amendment is as follows:
  Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu 
thereof the following:

SECTION 1. RESTORATION OF MISSING PERSONS AUTHORITIES APPLICABLE TO 
                    DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AS IN EFFECT BEFORE ENACTMENT 
                    OF NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL 
                    YEAR 1997.

  (a) Applicability to Department of Defense Civilian Employees and 
Contractor Employees.--(1) Section 1501 of title 10, United States 
Code, is amended--
          (A) by striking out subsection (c) and inserting in lieu 
        thereof the following:
  ``(c) Covered Persons.--Section 1502 of this title applies in the 
case of the following persons:
          ``(1) Any member of the armed forces on active duty who 
        becomes involuntarily absent as a result of a hostile action, 
        or under circumstances suggesting that the involuntary absence 
        is a result of a hostile action, and whose status is 
        undetermined or who is unaccounted for.
          ``(2) Any civilian employee of the Department of Defense, and 
        any employee of a contractor of the Department of Defense, who 
        serves with or accompanies the armed forces in the field under 
        orders who becomes involuntarily absent as a result of a 
        hostile action, or under circumstances suggesting that the 
        involuntary absence is a result of a hostile action, and whose 
        status is undetermined or who is unaccounted for.''; and
          (B) by adding at the end the following new subsection:
  ``(f) Secretary Concerned.--In this chapter, the term `Secretary 
concerned' includes, in the case of a civilian employee of the 
Department of Defense or contractor of the Department of Defense, the 
Secretary of the military department or head of the element of the 
Department of Defense employing the employee or contracting with the 
contractor, as the case may be.''.
  (2) Section 1503(c) of such title is amended--
          (A) in paragraph (1), by striking out ``one military 
        officer'' and inserting in lieu thereof ``one individual 
        described in paragraph (2)'';
          (B) by redesignating paragraphs (2) and (3) as paragraphs (3) 
        and (4), respectively; and
          (C) by inserting after paragraph (1) the following new 
        paragraph (2):
  ``(2) An individual referred to in paragraph (1) is the following:
          ``(A) A military officer, in the case of an inquiry with 
        respect to a member of the armed forces.
          ``(B) A civilian, in the case of an inquiry with respect to a 
        civilian employee of the Department of Defense or of a 
        contractor of the Department of Defense.''.
  (3) Section 1504(d) of such title is amended--
          (A) in paragraph (1), by striking out ``who are'' and all 
        that follows in that paragraph and inserting in lieu thereof 
        ``as follows:
          ``(A) In the case of a board that will inquire into the 
        whereabouts and status of one or more members of the armed 
        forces (and no civilians described in subparagraph (B)), the 
        board shall be composed of officers having the grade of major 
        or lieutenant commander or above.
          ``(B) In the case of a board that will inquire into the 
        whereabouts and status of one or more civilian employees of the 
        Department of Defense or contractors of the Department of 
        Defense (and no members of the armed forces), the board shall 
        be composed of--
                  ``(i) not less than three employees of the Department 
                of Defense whose rate of annual pay is equal to or 
                greater than the rate of annual pay payable for grade 
                GS-13 of the General Schedule under section 5332 of 
                title 5; and
                  ``(ii) such members of the armed forces as the 
                Secretary considers advisable.
          ``(C) In the case of a board that will inquire into the 
        whereabouts and status of both one or more members of the armed 
        forces and one or more civilians described in subparagraph 
        (B)--
                  ``(i) the board shall include at least one officer 
                described in subparagraph (A) and at least one employee 
                of the Department of Defense described in subparagraph 
                (B)(i); and
                  ``(ii) the ratio of such officers to such employees 
                on the board shall be roughly proportional to the ratio 
                of the number of members of the armed forces who are 
                subjects of the board's inquiry to the number of 
                civilians who are subjects of the board's inquiry.''; 
                and
          (B) in paragraph (4), by striking out ``section 1503(c)(3)'' 
        and inserting in lieu thereof ``section 1503(c)(4)''.
  (4) Paragraph (1) of section 1513 of such title is amended to read as 
follows:
          ``(1) The term `missing person' means--
                  ``(A) a member of the armed forces on active duty who 
                is in a missing status; or
                  ``(B) a civilian employee of the Department of 
                Defense or an employee of a contractor of the 
                Department of Defense who serves with or accompanies 
                the armed forces in the field under orders and who is 
                in a missing status.''.
  (b) Report on Preliminary Assessment of Status.--(1) Section 1502 of 
such title is amended--
          (A) in subsection (a)(2)--
                  (i) by striking out ``10 days'' and inserting in lieu 
                thereof ``48 hours''; and
                  (ii) by striking out ``Secretary concerned'' and 
                inserting in lieu thereof ``theater component commander 
                with jurisdiction over the missing person'';
          (B) in subsection (a), as amended by subparagraph (A)--
                  (i) by redesignating paragraphs (1) and (2) as 
                subparagraphs (A) and (B), respectively;
                  (ii) by inserting ``(1)'' after ``Commander.--''; and
                  (iii) by adding at the end the following new 
                paragraph:
  ``(2) However, if the commander determines that operational 
conditions resulting from hostile action or combat constitute an 
emergency that prevents timely reporting under paragraph (1)(B), the 
initial report should be made as soon as possible, but in no case later 
than ten days after the date on which the commander receives such 
information under paragraph (1).'';
          (C) by redesignating subsection (b) as subsection (c);
          (D) by inserting after subsection (a), as amended by 
        subparagraphs (A) and (B), the following new subsection (b):
  ``(b) Transmission Through Theater Component Commander.--Upon 
reviewing a report under subsection (a) recommending that a person be 
placed in a missing status, the theater component commander shall 
ensure that all necessary actions are being taken, and all appropriate 
assets are being used, to resolve the status of the missing person. Not 
later than 14 days after receiving the report, the theater component 
commander shall forward the report to the Secretary of Defense or the 
Secretary concerned in accordance with procedures prescribed under 
section 1501(b) of this title. The theater component commander shall 
include with such report a certification that all necessary actions are 
being taken, and all appropriate assets are being used, to resolve the 
status of the missing person.''; and
          (E) in subsection (c), as redesignated by subparagraph (C), 
        by adding at the end the following new sentence: ``The theater 
        component commander through whom the report with respect to the 
        missing person is transmitted under subsection (b) shall ensure 
        that all pertinent information relating to the whereabouts and 
        status of the missing person that results from the preliminary 
        assessment or from actions taken to locate the person is 
        properly safeguarded to avoid loss, damage, or modification.''.
  (2) Section 1503(a) of such title is amended by striking out 
``section 1502(a)'' and inserting in lieu thereof ``section 1502(b)''.
  (3) Section 1504 of such title is amended by striking out ``section 
1502(a)(2)'' in subsections (a), (b), and (e)(1) and inserting in lieu 
thereof ``section 1502(a)''.
  (4) Section 1513 of such title is amended by adding at the end the 
following new paragraph:
          ``(8) The term `theater component commander' means, with 
        respect to any of the combatant commands, an officer of any of 
        the armed forces who (A) is commander of all forces of that 
        armed force assigned to that combatant command, and (B) is 
        directly subordinate to the commander of the combatant 
        command.''.
  (c) Frequency of Subsequent Reviews.--Subsection (b) of section 1505 
of such title is amended to read as follows:
  ``(b) Frequency of Subsequent Reviews.--(1) In the case of a missing 
person who was last known to be alive or who was last suspected of 
being alive, the Secretary shall appoint a board to conduct an inquiry 
with respect to a person under this subsection--
          ``(A) on or about three years after the date of the initial 
        report of the disappearance of the person under section 1502(a) 
        of this title; and
          ``(B) not later than every three years thereafter.
  ``(2) In addition to appointment of boards under paragraph (1), the 
Secretary shall appoint a board to conduct an inquiry with respect to a 
missing person under this subsection upon receipt of information that 
could result in a change of status of the missing person. When the 
Secretary appoints a board under this paragraph, the time for 
subsequent appointments of a board under paragraph (1)(B) shall be 
determined from the date of the receipt of such information.
  ``(3) The Secretary is not required to appoint a board under 
paragraph (1) with respect to the disappearance of any person--
          ``(A) more than 30 years after the initial report of the 
        disappearance of the missing person required by section 1502(a) 
        of this title; or
          ``(B) if, before the end of such 30-year period, the missing 
        person is accounted for.''.
  (d) Penalties for Wrongful Withholding of Information.--Section 1506 
of such title is amended--
          (1) by redesignating subsection (e) as subsection (f); and
          (2) by inserting after subsection (d) the following new 
        subsection (e):
  ``(e) Wrongful Withholding.--Except as provided in subsections (a) 
through (d), any person who knowingly and willfully withholds from the 
personnel file of a missing person any information relating to the 
disappearance or whereabouts and status of a missing person shall be 
fined as provided in title 18 or imprisoned not more than one year, or 
both.''.
  (e) Information To Accompany Recommendation of Status of Death.--
Section 1507(b) of such title is amended adding at the end the 
following new paragraphs:
          ``(3) A description of the location of the body, if 
        recovered.
          ``(4) If the body has been recovered and is not identifiable 
        through visual means, a certification by a practitioner of an 
        appropriate forensic science that the body recovered is that of 
        the missing person.''.
  (f) Scope of Preenactment Review.--(1) Section 1509 of such title is 
amended--
          (A) by redesignating subsection (c) as subsection (d); and
          (B) by inserting after subsection (b) the following new 
        subsection (c):
  ``(c) Special Rule for Persons Classified as `KIA/BNR'.--In the case 
of a person described in subsection (b) who was classified as `killed 
in action/body not recovered', the case of that person may be reviewed 
under this section only if the new information referred to in 
subsection (a) is compelling.''.
  (2)(A) The heading of such section is amended by inserting ``, 
special interest'' after ``Preenactment''.
  (B) The item relating to such section in the table of sections at the 
beginning of chapter 76 of such title is amended by inserting ``, 
special interest'' after ``Preenactment''.
  (g) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section shall take 
effect immediately after the enactment of the National Defense 
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997.

                         Purpose and Background

    H.R. 4000 would restore provisions of Chapter 76 of title 
10, United States Code (relating to American prisoners of war 
and missing in action), that were in effect before amendment by 
the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997 
(section 578 in House Report 104-724).
    Chapter 76 of title 10, United States Code, was created by 
the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996 
(section 569 of Public Law 104-106). The principal purpose of 
the legislation was ``to ensure that any member of the Armed 
Forces (and any Department of Defense civilian employee or 
contractor employee who serves with or accompanies the Armed 
Forces in the field under orders) who becomes missing or 
unaccounted for is ultimately accounted for by the United 
States, and, as a general rule, is not declared dead solely 
because of the passage of time.''
    The President's legislative proposal fiscal year 1997 
sought the repeal or modification of nine major provisions of 
Chapter 76. The Senate adopted those repeals and modifications 
in its version of the National Defense Authorization Act for 
Fiscal Year 1997 (section 537 of S. 1745; see also Senate 
Report 104-267). The conference report on H.R. 3230, the 
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997, 
incorporated the majority of changes made by the Senate. H.R. 
4000 would reinstate the provisions repealed or modified by the 
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997.

                          Legislative History

    H.R. 4000 was introduced on August 2, 1996, by 
Representative Robert K. Dornan and 264 cosponsors. The bill 
was referred to the Committee on National Security.
    On September 10, 1996, the Subcommittee on Military 
Personnel held a hearing on H.R. 4000 and heard testimony in 
support of the bill from Representatives Benjamin A. Gilman, 
Sam Johnson and Ron Packard, as well as from Michael D. Benge, 
former government civilian employee and Vietnam-era prisoner of 
war, Larry Stark, former U.S. Navy civilian contractor employee 
and Vietnam-era prisoner of war, Carol Hrdlicka, wife of Col. 
David Hrdlicka, USAF, Vietnam-era prisoner of war, Donna Downes 
Knox, legal counsel and member of the board of directors, 
Korean/Cold War Family Association of the Missing, and J. 
Thomas Burch, Jr., president, National Vietnam Veterans 
Coalition.
    On September 12, 1996, the Committee on National Security 
met to consider H.R. 4000. The committee agreed to an amendment 
in the nature of a substitute that would make minor technical 
changes to the introduced bill. H.R. 4000, as amended, was 
ordered reported favorably to the House by a vote of 45 to 0.

                  Summary of Committee Recommendations

    H.R. 4000, as amended by the House National Security 
Committee, would:
    Reapply Chapter 76 of title 10, United States Code, to 
Department of Defense civilians and contractors accompanying 
armed forces in the field. The conference agreement on H.R. 
3230, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 
1997, would limit the scope of the law solely to military 
personnel;
    Reestablish a 48-hour time period within which a field 
commander's initial report of a missing person's status must be 
made. However, in the event of an emergency situation due to 
hostile action or combat, a commander could delay that initial 
report up to 10 days. The conference report on H.R. 3230 would 
establish a 10-day time frame for all such reports, regardless 
of operational circumstances;
    Restore the requirement for the theater component commander 
to review a field commander's initial assessment of a missing 
person's status and to assess the adequacy of actions being 
taken to resolve the missing person's status. The conference 
report on H.R. 3230 would eliminate the involvement of the 
theater component commander;
    Restore the requirement that the status of persons who were 
last known alive be reviewed every three years for 30 years 
following the initial report that such persons were missing. 
The conference report on H.R. 3230 would direct the appropriate 
service secretary to conduct a review only when new information 
that may change the missing person's status is received;
    Restore the authority to assess criminal penalties for the 
knowing and willful withholding of information from a missing 
person's file. The conference report on H.R. 3230 would 
eliminate this authority;
    Restore the requirement that a Department of Defense status 
review board (when making determinations of death) provide a 
description of the location of body, if recovered, and (if the 
body is unidentifiable), a certification by ``a practitioner of 
an appropriate forensic science that the body recovered is that 
of the missing person.'' The conference report on H.R. 3230 
would eliminate both these requirements; and
    Restore the authority to request a status review of Korean 
conflict cases involving a person who was killed in action, but 
whose body was not recovered, when new, ``compelling'' 
information is received. The conference report on H.R. 3230 
would eliminate this provision.

                           Committee Position

    On September 12, 1996, the Committee on National Security, 
a quorum being present, approved H.R. 4000, as amended, by a 
vote of 45 to 0.

                              Fiscal Data

    Pursuant to clause 7 of rule XIII of the Rules of the House 
of Representatives, the committee attempted to ascertain annual 
outlays resulting from the bill during fiscal year 1997 and the 
four following fiscal years. The results of such efforts are 
reflected in the cost estimate prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, which is included in this 
report pursuant to clause 2(l)(3)(C) of House rule XI.

                  congressional budget office estimate

    In compliance with clause 2(l)(3)(C) of rule XI of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, the cost estimate 
prepared by the Congressional Budget Office and submitted 
pursuant to section 403(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974 is as follows:

               congressional budget office cost estimate

                                                September 16, 1996.
Hon. Floyd Spence,
Chairman, Committee on National Security,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
reviewed H.R. 4000, as ordered reported by the House Committee 
on National Security on September 12, 1996. CBO estimates that 
enactment of the bill would not significantly affect the budget 
of the federal government.
    The bill would repeal provisions of H.R. 3230, the National 
Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997, which has been 
cleared for the President's signature but has not yet been 
signed into law. Section 578 of H.R. 3230 would prohibit fines 
on persons who withhold information from the files of missing 
personnel of the Department of Defense (DoD) and would change 
DoD administrative procedures when military and civilian 
personnel are missing. H.R. 4000 would impose the fines and 
would overturn many other changes contained in section 578.
    Imposing criminal fines would cause governmental receipts 
to increase, but CBO estimates that any such increase would be 
less than $500,000 annually. These receipts would be deposited 
in the Crime Victims Trust Fund and would be spent in the 
following year; thus direct spending from the fund would match 
the increase in receipts from the fines with a one year lag. 
CBO estimates that the other provisions in H.R. 4000 would have 
no significant budgetary impact.
    H.R. 4000 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 
(Public Law 104-4) and would have no effect on the budgets of 
state, local, or tribal governments.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Kent 
Christensen.
            Sincerely,
                                         June E. O'Neill, Director.

                        committee cost estimate

    Pursuant to clause 7(a) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the committee generally concurs with 
the estimate as contained in the report of the Congressional 
Budget Office.

                       inflation impact statement

    Pursuant to clause 2(l)(4) of rule XI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the committee concludes that the bill 
would have no significant inflationary impact.

                           Oversight Findings

    With respect to clause 2(l)(3)(A) of rule XI of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, this legislation results from 
hearings and other oversight activities conducted by the 
committee pursuant to clause 2(b)(1) of rule X.
    With respect to clause 2(l)(3)(B) of rule XI of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives and section 308(a)(1) of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, this legislation does not 
include any new spending or credit authority, nor does it 
provide for any increase or decrease in tax revenues or 
expenditures. The fiscal features of this legislation are 
addressed in the estimate prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 403 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
    With respect to clause 2(l)(3)(D) of rule XI of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the committee has not received 
a report from the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight 
pertaining to the subject matter of H.R. 4000.

                     Statement of Federal Mandates

    Pursuant to section 423 of Public Law 104-4, this 
legislation contains no federal mandates with respect to state, 
local, and tribal governments, nor with respect to the private 
sector. Similarly, the bill would provide no unfunded federal 
intergovernmental mandates.

                             Rollcall Vote

    In accordance with clause 2(l)(2)(B) of rule XI of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, a rollcall vote was 
taken with respect to the committee's consideration of H.R. 
4000. The record of this vote is attached to this report.
    The committee ordered H.R. 4000 reported to the House with 
a favorable recommendation by a vote of 45 to 0, a quorum being 
present.


         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3 of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by the 
bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law proposed 
to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new matter is 
printed in italic, existing law in which no change is proposed 
is shown in roman):

    Note: Existing law as shown herein incorporates the 
amendments to chapter 76 of title 10, United States Code, made 
by section 578 of H.R. 3230 of the 104th Congress, the National 
Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997. The conference 
report for that measure was agreed to by the House of 
Representatives on August 1, 1996, and by the Senate on 
September 10, 1996, but that measure had not been enacted as of 
the filing of this report.

               CHAPTER 76 OF TITLE 10, UNITED STATES CODE

                      CHAPTER 76--MISSING PERSONS

Sec.
1501.  System for accounting for missing persons.
     * * * * * * *
1509.  Preenactment, special interest cases.
     * * * * * * *

Sec. 1501. System for accounting for missing persons

      (a) * * *
          * * * * * * *
  [(c) Covered Persons.--Section 1502 of this title applies in 
the case of any member of the armed forces on active duty who 
becomes involuntarily absent as a result of a hostile action, 
or under circumstances suggesting that the involuntary absence 
is a result of a hostile action, and whose status is 
undetermined or who is unaccounted for.]
  (c) Covered Persons.--Section 1502 of this title applies in 
the case of the following persons:
          (1) Any member of the armed forces on active duty who 
        becomes involuntarily absent as a result of a hostile 
        action, or under circumstances suggesting that the 
        involuntary absence is a result of a hostile action, 
        and whose status is undetermined or who is unaccounted 
        for.
          (2) Any civilian employee of the Department of 
        Defense, and any employee of a contractor of the 
        Department of Defense, who serves with or accompanies 
        the armed forces in the field under orders who becomes 
        involuntarily absent as a result of a hostile action, 
        or under circumstances suggesting that the involuntary 
        absence is a result of a hostile action, and whose 
        status is undetermined or who is unaccounted for.
          * * * * * * *
  (f) Secretary Concerned.--In this chapter, the term 
``Secretary concerned'' includes, in the case of a civilian 
employee of the Department of Defense or contractor of the 
Department of Defense, the Secretary of the military department 
or head of the element of the Department of Defense employing 
the employee or contracting with the contractor, as the case 
may be.

Sec. 1502. Missing persons: initial report

  (a) Preliminary Assessment and Recommendation by Commander.--
(1) After receiving information that the whereabouts and status 
of a person described in section 1501(c) of this title is 
uncertain and that the absence of the person may be 
involuntary, the commander of the unit, facility, or area to or 
in which the person is assigned shall make a preliminary 
assessment of the circumstances. If, as a result of that 
assessment, the commander concludes that the person is missing, 
the commander shall--
          [(1)] (A) recommend that the person be placed in a 
        missing status; and
          [(2)] (B) not later than [10 days] 48 hours after 
        receiving such information, transmit a report 
        containing that recommendation to the [Secretary 
        concerned] theater component commander with 
        jurisdiction over the missing person in accordance with 
        procedures prescribed under section 1501(b) of this 
        title.
  (2) However, if the commander determines that operational 
conditions resulting from hostile action or combat constitute 
an emergency that prevents timely reporting under paragraph 
(1)(B), the initial report should be made as soon as possible, 
but in no case later than ten days after the date on which the 
commander receives such information under paragraph (1).
  (b) Transmission Through Theater Component Commander.--Upon 
reviewing a report under subsection (a) recommending that a 
person be placed in a missing status, the theater component 
commander shall ensure that all necessary actions are being 
taken, and all appropriate assets are being used, to resolve 
the status of the missing person. Not later than 14 days after 
receiving the report, the theater component commander shall 
forward the report to the Secretary of Defense or the Secretary 
concerned in accordance with procedures prescribed under 
section 1501(b) of this title. The theater component commander 
shall include with such report a certification that all 
necessary actions are being taken, and all appropriate assets 
are being used, to resolve the status of the missing person.
  [(b)] (c) Safeguarding and Forwarding of Records.--A 
commander making a preliminary assessment under subsection (a) 
with respect to a missing person shall (in accordance with 
procedures prescribed under section 1501 of this title) 
safeguard and forward for official use any information relating 
to the whereabouts and status of the missing person that 
results from the preliminary assessment or from actions taken 
to locate the person. The theater component commander through 
whom the report with respect to the missing person is 
transmitted under subsection (b) shall ensure that all 
pertinent information relating to the whereabouts and status of 
the missing person that results from the preliminary assessment 
or from actions taken to locate the person is properly 
safeguarded to avoid loss, damage, or modification.

Sec. 1503. Actions of Secretary concerned; initial board inquiry

  (a) Determination by Secretary.--Upon receiving a 
recommendation under section 1502[(a)] (b) of this title that a 
person be placed in a missing status, the Secretary receiving 
the recommendation shall review the recommendation and, not 
later than 10 days after receiving such recommendation, shall 
appoint a board under this section to conduct an inquiry into 
the whereabouts and status of the person.
          * * * * * * *
  (c) Composition.--(1) A board appointed under this section to 
inquire into the whereabouts and status of a person shall 
consist of at least [one military officer] one individual 
described in paragraph (2) who has experience with and 
understanding of military operations or activities similar to 
the operation or activity in which the person disappeared.
  (2) An individual referred to in paragraph (1) is the 
following:
          (A) A military officer, in the case of an inquiry 
        with respect to a member of the armed forces.
          (B) A civilian, in the case of an inquiry with 
        respect to a civilian employee of the Department of 
        Defense or of a contractor of the Department of 
        Defense.
  [(2)] (3) An individual may be appointed as a member of a 
board under this section only if the individual has a security 
clearance that affords the individual access to all information 
relating to the whereabouts and status of the missing persons 
covered by the inquiry.
  [(3)] (4) A Secretary appointing a board under this 
subsection shall, for purposes of providing legal counsel to 
the board, assign to the board a judge advocate, or appoint to 
the board an attorney, who has expertise in the law relating to 
missing persons, the determination of death of such persons, 
and the rights of family members and dependents of such 
persons.

Sec. 1504. Subsequent board of inquiry

  (a) Additional Board.--If information that may result in a 
change of status of a person covered by a determination under 
section 1503(i) of this title becomes available within one year 
after the date of the transmission of a report with respect to 
the person under section 1502(a)[(2)] of this title, the 
Secretary concerned shall appoint a board under this section to 
conduct an inquiry into the information.
  (b) Date of Appointment.--The Secretary concerned shall 
appoint a board under this section to conduct an inquiry into 
the whereabouts and status of a missing person on or about one 
year after the date of the transmission of a report concerning 
the person under section 1502(a)[(2)] of this title.
          * * * * * * *
  (d) Composition.--(1) A board appointed under this section 
shall be composed of at least three members [who are officers 
having the grade of major or lieutenant commander or above.] as 
follows:
          (A) In the case of a board that will inquire into the 
        whereabouts and status of one or more members of the 
        armed forces (and no civilians described in 
        subparagraph (B)), the board shall be composed of 
        officers having the grade of major or lieutenant 
        commander or above.
          (B) In the case of a board that will inquire into the 
        whereabouts and status of one or more civilian 
        employees of the Department of Defense or contractors 
        of the Department of Defense (and no members of the 
        armed forces), the board shall be composed of--
                  (i) not less than three employees of the 
                Department of Defense whose rate of annual pay 
                is equal to or greater than the rate of annual 
                pay payable for grade GS-13 of the General 
                Schedule under section 5332 of title 5; and
                  (ii) such members of the armed forces as the 
                Secretary considers advisable.
          (C) In the case of a board that will inquire into the 
        whereabouts and status of both one or more members of 
        the armed forces and one or more civilians described in 
        subparagraph (B)--
                  (i) the board shall include at least one 
                officer described in subparagraph (A) and at 
                least one employee of the Department of Defense 
                described in subparagraph (B)(i); and
                  (ii) the ratio of such officers to such 
                employees on the board shall be roughly 
                proportional to the ratio of the number of 
                members of the armed forces who are subjects of 
                the board's inquiry to the number of civilians 
                who are subjects of the board's inquiry.
  (2) The Secretary concerned shall designate one member of a 
board appointed under this section as president of the board. 
The president of the board shall have a security clearance that 
affords the president access to all information relating to the 
whereabouts and status of each person covered by the inquiry.
  (3) One member of each board appointed under this subsection 
shall be an individual who--
          (A) has an occupational specialty similar to that of 
        one or more of the persons covered by the inquiry; and
          (B) has an understanding of and expertise in the type 
        of official activities that one or more such persons 
        were engaged in at the time such person or persons 
        disappeared.
  (4) The Secretary who appoints a board under this subsection 
shall, for purposes of providing legal counsel to the board, 
assign to the board a judge advocate, or appoint to the board 
an attorney, with the same qualifications as specified in 
section 1503(c)[(3)](4) of this title.
  (e) Duties of Board.--A board appointed under this section to 
conduct an inquiry into the whereabouts and status of a person 
shall--
          (1) review the reports with respect to the person 
        transmitted under section 1502(a)[(2)] of this title 
        and submitted under section 1503(h) of this title;
          * * * * * * *

Sec. 1505. Further review

  (a) * * *
  [(b) Frequency of Subsequent Reviews.--The Secretary 
concerned shall conduct inquiries into the whereabouts and 
status of a person under subsection (a) upon receipt of 
information that may result in a change of status of the 
person. The Secretary concerned shall appoint a board to 
conduct such inquiries.]
  (b) Frequency of Subsequent Reviews.--(1) In the case of a 
missing person who was last known to be alive or who was last 
suspected of being alive, the Secretary shall appoint a board 
to conduct an inquiry with respect to a person under this 
subsection--
          (A) on or about three years after the date of the 
        initial report of the disappearance of the person under 
        section 1502(a) of this title; and
          (B) not later than every three years thereafter.
  (2) In addition to appointment of boards under paragraph (1), 
the Secretary shall appoint a board to conduct an inquiry with 
respect to a missing person under this subsection upon receipt 
of information that could result in a change of status of the 
missing person. When the Secretary appoints a board under this 
paragraph, the time for subsequent appointments of a board 
under paragraph (1)(B) shall be determined from the date of the 
receipt of such information.
  (3) The Secretary is not required to appoint a board under 
paragraph (1) with respect to the disappearance of any person--
          (A) more than 30 years after the initial report of 
        the disappearance of the missing person required by 
        section 1502(a) of this title; or
          (B) if, before the end of such 30-year period, the 
        missing person is accounted for.
          * * * * * * *

Sec. 1506. Personnel files

  (a) * * *
          * * * * * * *
  (e) Wrongful Withholding.--Except as provided in subsections 
(a) through (d), any person who knowingly and willfully 
withholds from the personnel file of a missing person any 
information relating to the disappearance or whereabouts and 
status of a missing person shall be fined as provided in title 
18 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.
  [(e)] (f) Availability of Information.--The Secretary 
concerned shall, upon request, make available the contents of 
the personnel file of a missing person to the primary next of 
kin, the other members of the immediate family, or any other 
previously designated person of the person.

Sec. 1507. Recommendation of status of death

  (a) * * *
  (b) Submittal of Information on Death.--If a board appointed 
under section 1503, 1504, or 1505 of this title makes a 
recommendation that a missing person be declared dead, the 
board shall include in the report of the board with respect to 
the person under that section the following:
          (1) A detailed description of the location where the 
        death occurred.
          (2) A statement of the date on which the death 
        occurred.
          (3) A description of the location of the body, if 
        recovered.
          (4) If the body has been recovered and is not 
        identifiable through visual means, a certification by a 
        practitioner of an appropriate forensic science that 
        the body recovered is that of the missing person.
          * * * * * * *

Sec. 1509. Preenactment, special interest cases

  (a) * * *
          * * * * * * *
  (c) Special Rule for Persons Classified as ``KIA/BNR''.--In 
the case of a person described in subsection (b) who was 
classified as ``killed in action/body not recovered'', the case 
of that person may be reviewed under this section only if the 
new information referred to in subsection (a) is compelling.
  [(c)] (d) Definitions.--In this section:
          (1) The term ``Korean conflict'' means the period 
        beginning on June 27, 1950, and ending on January 31, 
        1955.
          (2) The term ``Cold War'' means the period beginning 
        on September 2, 1945, and ending on August 21, 1991.
          (3) The term ``Indochina war era'' means the period 
        beginning on July 8, 1959, and ending on May 15, 1975.
          * * * * * * *

Sec. 1513. Definitions

  In this chapter:
          [(1) The term ``missing person'' means a member of 
        the armed forces on active duty who is in a missing 
        status.]
          (1) The term ``missing person'' means--
                  (A) a member of the armed forces on active 
                duty who is in a missing status; or
                  (B) a civilian employee of the Department of 
                Defense or an employee of a contractor of the 
                Department of Defense who serves with or 
                accompanies the armed forces in the field under 
                orders and who is in a missing status.
          * * * * * * *
          (8) The term ``theater component commander'' means, 
        with respect to any of the combatant commands, an 
        officer of any of the armed forces who (A) is commander 
        of all forces of that armed force assigned to that 
        combatant command, and (B) is directly subordinate to 
        the commander of the combatant command.