Personnel Recovery

​Personnel Recovery (PR)​​ is the sum of military, diplomatic, and civil efforts to prepare for and execute the recovery and reintegration of isolated personnel. Guidance dates back to President Dwight Eisenhower’s Executive Order 10631 on 17 August 1955, which established the Code of Conduct for how U.S. military forces should behave in battle and if captured by the enemy. Today’s national policy identifies personnel recovery as an abiding national commitment and a moral imperative.

Personnel Recovery preserves our commitment to respond to isolating events in order to “leave no one behind” and save lives across the range of military operations. An isolating event is an incident wherein persons become separated or isolated from friendly support and are forced to survive, evade, resist, or escape. This mission brings the imperatives of defense into harmony with the values of democracy.

Personnel Recovery is a fundamental responsibility of the Department of Defense and one of our highest priorities. It serves as a protector of our national will to commit forces and honor coalitions. The Department of Defense will keep faith with the troops and with the families who have entrusted them to our care in service to our nation. Personnel recovery is truly and uniquely an indelible part of the American way.


JPRA leads Department of Defense (DoD) Personnel Recovery by providing strategic direction, oversight, operational support, analysis, capability development, training, and education to improve PR interoperability, enabling DoD, interagency, and multinational partners, to prevent, prepare for, and respond to isolating events.


An agile, adaptive, and integrated team focused on optimizing and unifying efforts across the global PR enterprise.


The Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA) serves the nation and its warfighters by working to prevent isolating events, preparing the warfighters in the event they are isolated, and responding when isolating events occur.

The JPRA has its roots in World War II and the Korean War. In 1942 a military intelligence service was formed to aid US forces to evade and escape from the enemy. In 1952 the Department of Defense (DoD) designated the US Air Force as executive agent (EA) for escape and evasion activities. Training was mostly for pilots and aircrew as they were considered the most likely to be isolated. After the Korean War DoD implemented a Code of Conduct for the Services; it was revised after the Vietnam conflict.

In the early 1990s, DoD began to focus more on the importance of personnel recovery (PR) and in 1991 the Joint Services Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) Agency (JSSA) was designated the DoD EA for DoD Prisoner-of-War/Missing-in-Action matters. In 1994 the Joint Staff appointed the JSSA as the focal point for PR. The Department appointed the US Air Force as the Executive Agent for Joint Combat Search and Rescue (JCSAR). In 1999 JPRA was created as an agency under the Commander in Chief, US Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) and was named the Office of Primary Responsibility (OPR) for DoD-wide PR matters. After the disestablishment of USJFCOM, JPRA was designated a Chairman’s Controlled Activity in August 2011.

JPRA currently provides for commanders, forces, and individuals on joint PR activities through development and conduct of education and training courses, and specialized individual training.

The agency assesses, advises, and evaluates PR curriculum and establishes Joint PR standards in collaboration with the DoD Components for formal Joint PR training, including Code of Conduct and SERE. JPRA also provides DoD Components with analytical support, technology research and integration, maintenance of databases and archives, and development of lessons learned. JPRA encourages partnerships by assisting with non-DoD agencies, multinational partners, and others, with PR-related education and training programs.

JPRA continues the tradition and moral imperative, to leave no one behind.

Seal Description

The blue background, symbolizing sky and space, exemplify the limitless boundaries of DoD recovery operations worldwide.

The eagle and wreath are adapted from the seal of the Department of Defense and symbolize the commitment of Department of Defense forces to protect isolated personnel and the swiftness of response.

The stars denote the six articles of the Code of Conduct, which stand as guiding lights to help the US warriors navigate the dangerous territories of Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) toward ultimate recovery.

The broken chain depicts the mental and physical oppression that the Code of Conduct, personnel recovery training and DoD recovery forces serve to defeat.

The laurel (left side of the wreath) represents honors received in combat and the olive branch (right side of the wreath) represents defending peace.

The red and white border connotes the personal sacrifices of past warriors who have suffered physical and mental anguish in their loss of freedom, and even life, in defense of the country’s ideals and the valor with which all services carry out their Personnel Recovery mission.

Their experiences encompass and define all Personnel Recovery activities to better enable all warriors, so 

"That Others May Live and Return With Honor."
From The Institute of Heraldry