The U.S. and Vietnam have cooperated since 1985 in seeking the fullest possible accounting of the 1,973 Americans listed as missing in action (MIA) at the end of the war — the first major step towards normalization of U.S.-Vietnam relations. In 2021, after years of information-sharing, the U.S. Department of Defense and Vietnam’s Ministry of National Defense launched a joint program to expand Vietnamese efforts to account for the estimated 300,000 Vietnamese personnel who remain missing.

English

Vietnamese

 

Accounting for missing personnel is an essential component of postwar reconciliation and building a secure peace. With support from Congress, USIP launched the Vietnam War Legacies and Reconciliation Initiative in August 2021. The initiative supports reconciliation between the U.S. and Vietnamese governments and peoples, as well as among Vietnamese inside and outside the country, and aims to document and promote the ongoing cooperation to address legacies of war as the basis for a comprehensive partnership build on trust and shared interests. 

On December 2, USIP held a discussion that looked at U.S.-Vietnam cooperation in the search for, and identification of, wartime Vietnamese remains along with personal stories of Vietnamese families who lost relatives in the war.

Take part in the conversation on Twitter with #USAVietnam.

Speakers

Ambassador George Moose, welcoming remarks
Chair, Board of Directors, U.S. Institute of Peace

Kelly K. McKeague
Director, Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) 

Sr. Col. Đoàn Quang Hòa
Deputy Chief of Office, National Steering Committee 515

Hải Nguyễn
Director, Global Vietnam Wars Studies Initiative, Harvard University

Tim Rieser
Foreign Policy Aide to U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy

Thảo Griffiths
Independent Consultant on War Legacies, Hanoi

Hoàng Thanh Nga
Deputy Chief of Mission, Socialist Republic of Vietnam to the United States

Andrew Wells-Dang, moderator
Senior Expert, Vietnam, U.S. Institute of Peace

Related Publications

Addressing the Harmful Legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam

Addressing the Harmful Legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam

Thursday, January 27, 2022

By: Ashish Kumar Sen

Nearly half a century since the end of the Vietnam War, there remains an urgent need for the United States and Vietnam to address the harmful legacy of Agent Orange, a defoliant sprayed by the U.S. military over parts of southern Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia — an area about the size of Massachusetts — that continues to this day to impact the health of local populations.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Reconciliation

Are There Lessons from Vietnam for U.S. Reconciliation with the Taliban?

Are There Lessons from Vietnam for U.S. Reconciliation with the Taliban?

Monday, September 27, 2021

By: Andrew Wells-Dang, Ph.D.

The Taliban’s rapid victory in Afghanistan evoked many comparisons to the collapse of the South Vietnamese regime and U.S. evacuation from Saigon in 1975. Ironically, during the same week in late August that the last U.S. forces were withdrawing from Kabul, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris carried out a remarkably successful visit to Hanoi. U.S.-Vietnam relations have arguably never been better — a stark contrast to the scent of failure in Afghanistan.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Peace ProcessesReconciliation

Healing the Wounds of War with the Vietnam Wartime Accounting Initiative

Healing the Wounds of War with the Vietnam Wartime Accounting Initiative

Thursday, August 5, 2021

By: USIP Staff

Nearly 50 years after the end of the Vietnam War, new collaboration between the United States and Vietnam this month is strengthening the former enemies’ friendship and consolidating what has become a model reconciliation process, Vietnamese officials say. Vietnam’s deputy defense minister and its ambassador to the United States welcomed U.S. steps in recent days to help Vietnam locate its hundreds of thousands of citizens still missing from the war. With U.S. officials, they spoke in a USIP forum on that progress — and on urgent steps still to be taken to heal the wounds of that war.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Reconciliation

View All Publications