A Former Prisoner of War (FPOW) is defined as any Veteran who, during active military service, was forcibly detained or interned in the line of duty by an enemy government or a hostile force during a period of war or conflict.

Today, more than half a million Americans have been captured and interned as FPOWs since the American Revolution, in addition to the nearly 93,000 Americans who were listed as lost and never recovered.

FPOWs undergo severe emotional, physical and mental duress during their detainment, and many were subjected to physical and psychological hardships or abuse, malnutrition and unsanitary conditions while kept as prisoners.

At VA, we are committed to doing right by our FPOWs and ensuring that they have the care and services they need to recover from the trauma that they experienced. A central part of this effort is the Advisory Committee on Former Prisoners of War, which advises the VA secretary on the administration of benefits for Veterans who are FPOW, including compensation, health care and rehabilitation.

Moreover, the Committee reviews the Departmental programs and activities designed to meet the needs of FPOWs and develops recommendations for the secretary.

VA is seeking nominees for the Committee from diverse backgrounds and expertise who can provide unique viewpoints and state-of-the-art ideas on how to:

  • Advise the Secretary of VA on how VA can assist and represent FPOWs, including recommendations regarding expanding services and benefits to FPOWs and related policy; administrative, legislative, and/or regulatory actions.
  • Advise the Secretary of VA on incorporating lessons learned from current and previous successful family research and outreach efforts that measure the impact of provided care and benefits services on FPOWs.
  • Advise the Secretary of VA on collaborating with family support programs within VA and engaging with other VA and non-VA advisory committees focused on specific demographics of FPOWs.
  • Advise Secretary of VA on working with interagency, intergovernmental, private/non-profit, community and Veteran Service Organizations to identify and address gaps in services for FPOWs.
  • Provide such reports as the Committee deems necessary, but not less than one report per year, to the secretary, through the Designated Federal Officer/Veterans Benefits Administration to describe the Committee’s activities, deliberations and findings, which may include but are not limited to: 1) identification of current challenges and recommendations for remediation related to access to care and benefits services of FPOWs; and 2) identification of current best practices in care and benefits delivery to FPOWs, and the impact of such best practices.

Given its role in addressing one of the nation’s top priorities, the Committee has an outsized role not just in VA programs and operations, but in our nation’s overall effort to understand and address all matters related to Veterans identified as FPOWs across the country.

Nominations for membership on the Committee must be received no later than Thursday, June 2, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. EST.

For more details, please visit the Notice of Solicitation or www.va.gov/advisory. Any further questions, please contact the VA Advisory Committee Management Office at vaadvisorycmte@va.gov. In the subject line of the email, please add “Solicitation for Former POW.”

By Jelessa M.H. Burney, MPA, is a program specialist for the Advisory Committee Management Office

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Published on Apr. 26, 2022

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