While the controversy and outrage continues nationally over the U.S. trading -- and releasing -- five allegedly dangerous terrorists for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was a captive of the al-Qaida affiliated Haqqani Network and the Afghan Taliban, many news organizations, rank-and-file members of the U.S. military and the American people were still questioning the reasons for the military's sequestering the suspected deserter on Thursday.
Members of the U.S. military or Defense Department civilian personnel returning to the United States after being held as prisoners of war or kidnap victims -- especially those who are kept in isolation or solitary confinement -- must undergo a required three-step reintegration program supervised by defense officials assigned to the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA), according to the American Forces Press Services' Claudette Roulo on Thursday.
According to the JPRA, the reintegration program was created to aid rescued or released prisoners as they undergo their sometimes difficult transition back to normal life, representatives from JPRA said during a press briefing on Thursday.
Ms. Roulo stressed that the officials involved in the briefing requested anonymity. They stated for the record that Infantryman Sgt, Bowe Bergdahl was freed after being held prisoner for almost five years in Afghanistan. They also stated that he's undergoing treatment in Germany at the Landstuhl Army Medical Center
Ms. Roulo reported that certain factors may make the process of reintegration complicated and lengthy, according to a SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) psychologist with JPRA.
Prisoners held by small or disorganized group, such as terrorists or drug cartels, often suffer from much harsher conditions than those held by foreign governments, said Roulo.
"Someone who's been held in isolation has days’, months’ and years’ worth of 'bad days at work' and had to develop coping strategies that would allow them to survive in a very harsh, hostile environment," the anonymous psychologist was quoted as saying.
A Pentagon spokesman claimed Sgt. Bergdahl is currently in the second phase of his reintegration which is followed by the last phase which entails transferring Bergdahl from the Army hospital in Germany to a military medical facility in the United States. Roulo reports that a major goal during the final phase is reunifying the former POW with his family.