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A Federal Merger

The Department of Defense (DoD) was charged with establishing a new, unified agency to find and identify missing military personnel from past conflicts. We created the strategy to help them do it.


In March 2014, the Secretary of Defense directed DoD to establish a unified agency with a mission to find, identify, and develop historical accounts for missing military personnel from past conflicts. DoD needed to consolidate three existing agencies already undertaking various tasks related to the mission into one agency.

The organizations did not work well together, operating with low levels of trust, lack of shared processes, limited collaboration, and geographical distance. The results were redundancies in effort, strained relationships with the families of the missing, and wasted resources, time, and money.


We supported the agency merger, organizational redesign, and stand up — starting with a plan to understand key leaders as individuals, allowing us to recognize and name perceived gaps and biases, and how those added up to competing priorities.

We gathered customer, stakeholder, and employee feedback and created an integration roadmap with consultants focused on change management deployment, function and process design, strategic planning and communications, and human capital planning. As our team did this, they focused on minimizing the impact to the 1,200 affected staff, developing a livable strategy our stakeholders could believe in.


We helped the new agency achieve full operational capability in just two years. Our partnership resulted in a number of positive outcomes, including:

  • Saving the agency nearly $500,000 in reallocated personnel hours by improving and standardizing processes.
  • Significant efficiencies and an increase in identification of missing personnel
  • Engaging over 150 families of the missing to get feedback and stories. We used them to inform our work and improve relationships between the agency and the families
  • Establishing the Data Governance Council to facilitate the implementation of new IT infrastructure. By developing an authoritative dataset, such as the Single List of the Missing, the agency better facilitates its researchers in linking and investigating missing personnel.

Those of us here at the Resource Management Office have grown to consider many of your staff members to be part of our family and I cannot say enough good things about the dedication, professionalism, patience, and expertise your staff has consistently displayed over the course of our endeavor.