The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) has established a three-way partnership with the Univeristy of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and the National Forensic Sciences University of India (NSFU) with the virtual signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) May 27, in order to develop academic exchanges and cooperation in teaching and research.
“We are privileged and enthusiastic to enter into this formal partnership with India's National Forensic Science University,” said Kelly McKeague, DPAA Director. “Their renowned expertise and capabilities will advance our efforts to find and recover the remains of Americans missing from World War II in India.”
NFSU is the world’s first and only university dedicated to forensic and allied sciences. The university was recently named an Institution of National Importance by the Indian government. NFSU was established with the prime vision of imparting training in the field of forensics to fulfill the acute shortage of forensic experts in India.
“NFSU has always taken a lead to promote forensics in criminal investigations,” said Dr. J.M Vyas, NFSU Vice Chancellor. “However, this partnership with DPAA and UNL will enable the scientific exchange in the areas of forensic anthropology and odontology and develop best practices for human identification.”
This MoU will build internal capacity upon the humanitarian recovery concept by allowing DPAA teams to teach the specialties of their field and create unique research opportunities, student exchange and cooperatives such as forensic anthropology, forensic archeology and forensic odontology.
“The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is very pleased to have entered into an MOU with the NFSU to support teaching, student exchange and training, as well as research,” said Dr. William Belcher, UNL Associate Professor of Anthropology, School of Global Integrative Studies.
NSFU has recently received national accreditation solely dedicated to forensic science at the graduate level and is developing partnerships as it successfully concluded three MoU’s with University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, and the Intelligence Research Institute (IRI), San Diego.
With MoU’s like this three-way partnership, DPAA hopes to make advancements in India.
“We are honored to partner with DPAA in their mission and leverage joint efforts to provide with fullest possible accounting to families of missing personnel,” said Dr. Gargi Jani, Project Manager–NFSU.
“Having been to South Asia for my own research and recovery operations, I understand the importance of local partners, particularly as prestigious as the NFSU,” said Belcher.
While DPAA has made great progress with the country of India, McKeague highlighted the importance of counterpart nation support. DPAA has teams currently in Cambodia and the Philippines, and a large team that left Honolulu Feb. 20 for a 60-day mission in Vietnam. The teams are following health and safety guidelines, and in doing so, these countries are willing to allow DPAA back in to continue their mission, for which DPAA is grateful.
DPAA is working to account for the more than 81,800 Department of Defense personnel who remain missing from the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the Cold War, and World War II.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil, find us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or https://www.linkedin.com/company/defense-pow-mia-accounting-agency.