Joint Personnel Recovery Agency

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Joint Personnel Recovery Agency
Active 1999-present
Country United States
Type Joint Staff Agency
Headquarters Fort Belvoir, Virginia
Nickname JPRA

The Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA) is charged with the coordinating and advancing capabilities for military, civil, and diplomatic efforts to obtain the release or recovery of captured, missing, or isolated United States (US) personnel from uncertain or hostile environments and denied areas. The agency, created in 1999 by the merging of the Joint Services SERE Agency and the Joint Combat Search and Rescue Agency, is a Chairman's Controlled Activity aligned under the Director, Joint Staff J-7 and is currently headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.[1]

Mission Statement: Provide operational support, training, education, oversight, guidance, analysis, and technology integration to enable commanders, forces, and individuals to prevent, prepare for, and respond to isolating events across all phases of operations. These things we do that others may live to return with honor.

Strategic Goals

  • OPERATIONAL SUPPORT – Task-organized support and specialized products meet personnel recovery challenges
  • TRAINING AND EDUCATION – Commanders, forces, and individuals possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities to prepare for, prevent, and respond to isolating events.
  • GUIDANCE AND OVERSIGHT – Personnel recovery capabilities are standardized within DoD, and integrated and interoperable within the USG and multinational partners.
  • ANALYSIS – Timely and focused assessments identify current and future challenges to support the evaluation, development, and validation of personnel recovery capabilities and processes.
  • TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION – Relevant PR technologies are compatible and interoperable with existing and developing command and control architectures.

The goals of the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency include: Returning isolated US personnel to friendly control, denying enemies of the US a potential source of intelligence, preventing the exploitation of captured US personnel in propaganda programs, and maintaining the morale of US fighting forces and the "national will." According to the US Department of Defense (DoD), the agency's "core" capabilities consist of providing personnel recovery guidance, developing, conducting, and supporting personnel recovery education and training, providing support to operations, exercises, and deploying forces, and ensuring that personnel recovery remains viable through the adaptation of lessons learned, research and development, and other validated inputs.[2]

Assistance to CIA[edit]

In April, 2009 it was revealed that the JPRA had provided assistance to Central Intelligence Agency officials in the use of harsh interrogation tactics. The assistance was approved by DoD Undersecretary Douglas J. Feith. The tactics included cramped confinement, waterboarding, manhandling, slaps to the face, and stress positions which were later used with captured alleged Al Qaeda fighters.[3]

In a July 2002 memo sent to the Pentagon's chief lawyer by the military's Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, or JPRA, the military agency that provided advice on harsh interrogation techniques for use against terrorism suspects, not only referred to the application of extreme duress as "torture" but warned that it would produce "unreliable information". [4] [5]


  1. ^ United States Forces Joint Command. "About the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency" (Official mission statement). United States Department of Defense. Retrieved April 23, 2009. 
  2. ^ Rhem, Kathleen (May 10, 2006). "Personnel Recovery Agency Works to Bring All Americans Home Alive" (Press release). United States Department of Defense. Retrieved April 23, 2009. 
  3. ^ Barnes, Julian E. (April 22, 2009). "Senate Report: Military Training Basis of CIA Interrogation Tactics Cited in Legal Memos" (Newspaper article). Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 23, 2009. 
  4. ^ JPRA (July 25, 2002). "Operational Concerns Over Application of Various Means of Induced Duress" (PDF). hosted by the Washington Post. Retrieved April 24, 2009. 
  5. ^ Finn, Peter (April 24, 2009). "Document: Military Agency Referred to 'Torture,' Questioned Its Effectiveness" (Newspaper article). Washington Post. Retrieved April 24, 2009.