Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Congressman wants one official to coordinate POW's release

Feb. 18, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
A framegrab from a video released by the Taliban in 2010 shows a man believed to be Spc. Bowe Bergdahl, the only known American serviceman being held in captivity in Afghanistan. In a letter Tuesday, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., a member of the House Armed Services Committee, asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to appoint a single official to better coordinate government efforts to rescue Bergdahl.
A framegrab from a video released by the Taliban in 2010 shows a man believed to be Spc. Bowe Bergdahl, the only known American serviceman being held in captivity in Afghanistan. In a letter Tuesday, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., a member of the House Armed Services Committee, asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to appoint a single official to better coordinate government efforts to rescue Bergdahl. (IntelCenter / AP)
  • Filed Under

For almost five years, a host of military and State Department officials have worked to free prisoner of war Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. But one Republican lawmaker is concerned that all the effort is not sufficiently focused to bring him home.

In a letter Tuesday, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., a member of the House Armed Services Committee, asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to appoint a single official to better coordinate government efforts to rescue Bergdahl, the longest-held American military prisoner since the Vietnam War.

“I believe it would be extraordinarily beneficial to establish centralized control of the Bergdahl operation that is fully capable of linking broader government activity,” wrote Hunter, a former Marine who served a combat tour in Afghanistan. “It is absolutely critical that efforts to free Bergdahl are not overcome by bureaucracy.”

On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that the White House is attempting to resume talks with Taliban fighters to try to free Bergdahl. That includes the possible release of five prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in exchange for the American soldier.

Defense officials have not commented on specifics, but last Friday, the Pentagon’s top spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, said “he’s been gone too long ... we’re working very hard to see if we can’t get him returned.”

The effort has included officials from the Pentagon, State Department and other agencies, according to the Post. In his letter, Hunter said that while U.S. Central Command has the official lead on the effort, “I am concerned by the lack of cohesiveness and interagency coordination overall.”

He also praised efforts to free Bergdahl to date, but noted: “It is important that we, as a nation, direct all necessary operational resources and personnel to the ongoing effort to bring him home.”

Bergdahl, an Idaho native, was taken prisoner in Afghanistan in June 30, 2009. A “proof of life” video showing the 27-year-old soldier was released by his captors in January.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Navy Times

This Week's Navy Times

Boosted bonuses
New rules raise payout ceiling to $100K

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
   Last Post: garhkal
        Apr 15, 2014 4:55 PM
   Last Post: Shaken1976
        Apr 15, 2014 5:13 PM
   Last Post: MACHINE666
        Apr 6, 2014 4:23 PM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook