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How to Request Information

MIA Family Member Requests

If you are a member of the family of a missing American, you may obtain U.S. government files on your loved ones' case by contacting your service casualty office (SCO). Family members do NOT have to make a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

It is DPMO policy to respond to the family members both directly and through their Service Casualty Offices and to provide them with the greatest degree of access to information that they are entitled to under the law.

Public Information and FOIA Requests

As required by law, releasable information contained in DPMO's holdings has been placed in the public domain in the Library of Congress (LoC) for access by the public. –- under the terms of 50 USC Sec 435 Note (commonly referred to as the McCain Bill). As new information becomes available, it is added to the existing collection.

The requester can obtain information online at the Federal Research Division of the LoC web site: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/powquery.html

Clicking on any item in the search results will display a page showing the reel and page numbers on which the material is found in the LoC collection. For the requester's convenience, the specified reels containing this material can be sent directly to the requester's local library, by the LoC, through the "Inter-library Loan Program," for viewing by the requester.

This collection is being converted to image format. We are moving toward simplifying access to records by having the entire collection directly accessible on the LoC web site

For further information, those who are not family members of missing servicemen may request information under the FOIA.

All FOIA requests for DPMO documents should be routed through the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Freedom of Information. To assist you in filling out a FOIA request, download the DoD Freedom of Information Act Handbook

FOIA requests may be submitted at http://www.dod.gov/pubs/foi/dfoipo/ or they can be mailed to:

DoD Office of Freedom of Information
1155 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1155

The FOIA does authorize reasonable charges when extensive research is required to collect records or documents. However, as a matter of DPMO policy, family members of MIAs may obtain information related to their case free of charge.

For more information on declassification, FOIA laws and EOs, click on the applicable links below:

  • 5 United States Code Section 552 is the law that directs FOIA's implementation.
  • EO 13526 (Classified National Security Information) is the current directive for the entire Executive Branch for classifying and declassifying documents.
  • EO 13392 (Improving Agency Disclosure of Information) – The directive instructing agencies to ensure citizen-centered and results-oriented FOIA operations.
  • FOIA Exemptions are types of information that the FOIA law prohibits from disclosure.
  • The Declassification Review Process involves the application of numerous laws and directives and the coordination with all the governmental agencies involved in the POW/MIA issue. ( Decision Logic )
  • EO 12812 is President Bush's order extending to all Executive Branch agencies and departments the requirement to disclose to the public all information on the Vietnam-era POW/MIA issue in accordance with existing laws and orders on classification and personal privacy.
  • Presidential Decision Directive/NSC-8 is former President Clinton's order requiring the disclosure of contemporary Southeast Asia POW/MIA material by November 11, 1993.
  • 50 United States Code Section 435 Note (referred to as the McCain Bill), requires the public disclosure of information contained in Department of Defense files relating to unaccounted for personnel from the Korean Conflict, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War.
  • The National Archives is the official repository for Korean War and Cold War POW/MIA materials.
  • The DefenseLINK FOIA Website contains additional information on the FOIA process.