Summary: S.256 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.256. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in Senate (01/20/1995)

Missing Service Personnel Act of 1995 - Requires the military commander of the unit, facility, or area to which the following persons are assigned to conduct an investigation as to their whereabouts after receiving factual information that their status is uncertain: (1) military personnel who disappear during a period of war, national emergency, or hostilities; and (2) any civilian Federal employee (including an employee of a Federal contractor) who serves with or accompanies an armed force in the field during such a period. Requires such persons to be placed in a missing status and requires notification of such status to either the officer having general court-martial authority over the person (for military personnel) or the Secretary of the military department employing such person (for civilian and contractor employees). Requires such officials to be kept informed (specifies deadlines) as to all information and inquiries concerning efforts to locate such missing personnel.

Requires such officials to appoint a board to conduct an inquiry into the whereabouts and status of such persons. Provides for: (1) board composition, activities, and access to information; (2) inquiry proceedings (requiring the appointment of counsel, with specified duties, to represent the missing person); (3) a board recommendation as to the official status of a person following such an inquiry; (4) board reports to the officials involved as to board conclusions (prohibiting public availability of such reports for a one-year period); (5) report review by the official; (6) a report from such official to interested persons; and (7) an additional investigation and inquiry by an additional board upon receipt of new information within one year after the date of the first official notice of a person's disappearance. Allows interested persons (family members, dependents, next of kin) to participate at the proceedings of the board during such additional inquiry. Provides for the availability of appropriate information to board personnel conducting investigations and inquiries. Provides similar procedures for the second board with respect to meetings (open to the public, with exceptions), recommendations, reports, review by the Secretary of the military department concerned, and reports to interested persons. Requires a board to be reconvened when information becomes available that would directly lead to a determination of a person's status. Requires the Secretary concerned to appoint a board to conduct an inquiry as to the status of a missing person: (1) on or about three years after the first official notice of the disappearance of such person; and (2) not later than every three years thereafter until a total of 12 years after the first official notice.

Provides for: (1) the release to a board by the Secretary concerned of all personnel file information concerning missing persons; (2) the treatment of classified information; (3) penalties for the wrongful withholding of information; (4) limited circumstances under which a board may recommend that a missing person be declared officially dead; (5) the submission by the board of appropriate information if such recommendation occurs; and (6) judicial review for interested persons of a board decision to declare a person officially dead.

Provides for the appointment of a board to review the status of a person previously declared dead, with board procedures similar to those described above. Requires a person previously declared dead or in a missing status who is subsequently found alive to be paid for the full time of their absence.

Directs the Secretary concerned, upon the enlistment or commission of a person in an armed force, to require such person to specify in writing his or her dependents, immediate family, primary next of kin, and any other individual that the person shall designate for purposes of this Act. Allows for revision of such designation at any time.