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FACTSHEET | July 20, 2020

U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs

Joint Commission Support Division

Through its Joint Commission Support Division (JCSD), Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) provides administrative and analytic support to the U.S. Side of the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs (USRJC) and conducts research in Russia on missing U.S. service personnel. JCSD also assists the Government of Russia with efforts to account for its missing.


The USRJC was established in 1992 by Presidents George H.W. Bush and Boris Yeltsin as a forum through which both nations seek to determine the fates of their missing service personnel. 

Since 1992, U.S. analysts have had access to many important Russian governmental archives for research on past conflicts including the Central Archives of the Ministry of Defense in Podolsk, Russia—the largest military archive in Europe. After a period of decreased cooperation starting in 2006, U.S. President Obama and Russian President Medvedev revitalized the work of the USRJC in July 2009 with an exchange of Diplomatic Notes reaffirming their respective countries' commitment to strengthening bilateral cooperation on POW/MIA issues. Retired Air Force General Robert H. “Doc” Foglesong has served as Chairman of the U.S. Side since April 2006. The most recent Russian Presidential Decree on the USRJC, issued in July 2014, appointed General-Colonel (retired) Valeriy.A. Vostrotin as the Chairman of the Commission’s Russian Side and fills other vacant Russian commissioner seats.  

Efforts Relating to World War II (WWII)

  • JCSD analysts conduct research of Soviet military and captured German documents in Russian archives searching for information on specific American WWII losses that occurred in areas controlled or eventually captured by Soviet forces.

Efforts Relating to the Korean War

  • Russian archives detail combat activities of Soviet air and anti-aircraft artillery units deployed to defend military targets in the northwest area of North Korea.
  • Thus far, Russian archival data has provided information which clarified the circumstances of loss for 336 cases involving missing U.S. servicemen from the Korean War.
  • Researchers interviewed more than 1,000 Soviet veterans of the Korean War since the USRJC began its work in the former USSR.  

Efforts Relating to the Cold War

  • JCSD analysts investigate the air losses of U.S. servicemen missing during the Cold War between 1950 and 1965 that occurred along the periphery of the former Soviet Union.
  • Since 1992, U.S. analysts assigned to JCSD have worked with Soviet-era veterans, Russian government officials, and archival researchers to gather data on the 126 U.S. service members who are still unaccounted for as a result of fourteen separate Cold War incidents.
  • JCSD analysts continue to assist the Russians in accounting for Soviet soldiers missing from the 1979- 1989 war in Afghanistan and other Cold War-era incidents.

Efforts related to the Vietnam War

  • Since 1992, researchers interviewed more than 750 Soviet veterans of the Vietnam War.
  • JCSD cultivates contacts with Russian veterans’ groups to identify possible interview subjects.
  • JCSD continues to pursue declassification of Russia’s Vietnam War information that may help clarify the fate of missing U.S. service personnel from that conflict.

Documents of the USRJC

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