DOD Applying New Technology to Find MIA Remains

The Pentagon’s Joint Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command is preparing to utilize a new method of searching for aircraft crash sites in remote areas of the world, said Paul Cole of the command’s Central Identification Lab in Honolulu. Beginning in September, command investigators will use a multi-band synthetic aperture radar to map crash sites in Papua New Guinea in the hopes of finding the remains of US military personnel still missing in action since World War II, Cole told the House Armed Services Committee’s military personnel panel on Aug. 1. This type of radar is “a relatively new technology” that the US military has employed in Afghanistan and Iraq to detect command wires for improvised explosive devices, he said. Now, it will peer through Papua New Guinea’s dense foliage to look for concentrations of metal on the surface that could be aircraft wreckage, said Cole. JPAC plans to engage contractors to search Papua New Guinea “zone-by-zone,” he said. The command intends to apply a similar approach in Burma, he said. (Cole’s written testimony) (For more coverage of Cole’s testimony, read Not All Dysfunctional.)