Notes on AFH-1, 1 Nov 21, Chapter 18, Standards of Conduct


12 Feb 2022. The 2021 Air Force Handbook is not available yet. The E-5 and E-6 Study Guides were released and posted to the official Air Force website (https://www.studyguides.af.mil/) on 1 Feb 2022. This website was updated using the content from the E-6 Study Guide under the assumption that because both study guides were excerpts taken from the Air Force Handbook, they would be the same. However, there are differences between the two study guides as noted below. Questions related to these differences have been removed or edited, if necessary, to avoid conflict and ensure accuracy.

The phrase, "Air Force" was replaced globally by "USAF" in the E-5 Study Guide. The phrase, "Regular Air Force", was replaced by "RegAF".

Changes since last (2019)edition:

This chapter was taken from the last (2019) edition's Chapter 19, Standards of Conduct.

The term previously used, "Law of Armed Conflict", was changed to "Law of War" throughout Section 18B, Law of War.

The requirement to test new weapons under Section 18B, paragraph 18.5., Law of War Training, was removed.

The paragraph about Reprisals was deleted from Section 18B, paragraph 18.9., Enforcing Law of War Rules.





Differences Between 2021 E-5 and E-6 Study Guides


2021 E5 Study Guide

18.1. USAF Way of Life
USAF employees are required to comply with prescribed standards of conduct in all official matters, as well as when off-duty. This means military and civilian Airmen (RegAF, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard) are all expected to maintain high standards of honesty, responsibility, and accountability, as well as adhere to the USAF core values of Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do. As Airmen, we are proud of our high standards, adhere to them, and hold our fellow Airmen accountable.
Air Force Standards. The USAF's mission is critical to national security, global stability, and international relations. Each member has specific responsibilities for accomplishing his or her part in the mission. AFI 1-1, states the importance of the USAF's mission and inherent responsibility to the nation requires its members to adhere to higher standards than those expected in civilian life. While current Department of Defense and USAF policies provide specific guidance on standards, leaders must ensure employees are kept informed of the USAF standards and take timely and appropriate actions to ensure employee standards meet the spirit and intent of USAF policy on proper conduct.

2021 E6 Study Guide

18.1. Air Force Way of Life
Air Force employees are required to comply with prescribed standards of conduct in all official matters, as well as when off-duty. This means military and civilian Airmen (Regular Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard) are all expected to maintain high standards of honesty, responsibility, and accountability, as well as adhere to the Air Force core values of Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do. As Airmen, we are proud of our high standards, adhere to them, and hold our fellow Airmen accountable.
Air Force Standards. The Air Force's mission is critical to national security, global stability, and international relations. Each member has specific responsibilities for accomplishing his or her part in the mission. AFI 1-1, Air Force Standards, states the importance of the Air Force's mission and inherent responsibility to the Nation requires its members to adhere to higher standards than those expected in civilian life. While current Department of Defense and Air Force policies provide specific guidance on standards, leaders must ensure employees are kept informed of the Air Force standards and take timely and appropriate actions to ensure employee standards meet the spirit and intent of Air Force policy on proper conduct.

2021 E5 Study Guide

18.2. USAF Publications Process
The USAF shall prepare all publications in accordance with DAFI33-360_DAFGM2021-01. This includes, but is not limited to, policy directives, instructions, manuals, mission directives and operating instructions. Additional guidance regarding the drafting of mission directives and operating instructions found in this guidance memorandum does not apply to mission directives, which are governed by Headquarters Operating Instruction (HOI) 90-1, Headquarters Air Force Mission Directives and Department Of Defense Issuances Program, 10 January 2018 or AFI 38-101.
DAF Policy Directive (DAFPD). DAFPDs are orders of the Secretary of the Air Force and contain directive policy statements that guide Department of the Air Force implementation of Department of Defense issuances or other authorities outside but binding on the Department of Air Force that require Department of Air Force action. They also initiate, govern, delegate authorities/responsibilities, and/or regulate actions within specified areas of responsibility by Department of Air Force activities. DAFPDs are written clearly and concisely and in a manner that an average Air and Space Professional can understand  
DAFIs, AFIs, and Space Force Instructions (SPFIs). DAFIs, AFIs, and SPFIs are orders of the Secretary of the Air Force and are certified and approved at the HAF level. DAFIs, AFIs, and SPFIs generally instruct readers on "what to do," i.e., direct action, ensure compliance to standard actions across the DAF. DAFIs, AFIs, and SPFIs are written clearly and concisely and in a manner that an average Air and Space Professional can understand. DAFs, AFIs, and SPFIs may be supplemented at any level below the DAF unless otherwise stated in the publication.
DAF Manual DAFMAN, AFMAN or Space Force Manual (SPFMAN). DAFMANs, AFMANs, and SPFMANs are Orders of the Secretary of the Air Force and generally instruct readers on "how to" and may be either: 1) an extension of an DAFI, AFI, or SPFI, providing detailed procedure and additional technical guidance for performing standard tasks, or supporting education and training programs, or 2) an alternative to an DAFI, AFI, or SPFI, if appropriate. DAFMANs, AFMANs, and SPFMANs intended for use only by Air and Space Professionals who have graduated from special schools (such as flight training, intelligence or maintenance schools) may include more specialized and technical language. The writer should use good judgment on the use of acronyms and technical language to ensure audience comprehension.

2021 E6 Study Guide

18.2. Department of the Air Force (DAF) Publications Process
The DAF, the United States Air Force (USAF), and the USSF shall prepare all publications in accordance with DAFI33-360_DAFGM2021-01. This includes, but is not limited to, policy directives, instructions, manuals, mission directives and operating instructions. Additional guidance regarding the drafting of mission directives and operating instructions found in this guidance memorandum does not apply to mission directives, which are governed by Headquarters Operating Instruction (HOI) 90-1, or AFI 38-101.
Department of the Air Force Policy Directive (DAFPD). DAFPDs are orders of the Secretary of the Air Force and contain directive policy statements that guide Department of the Air Force implementation of Department of Defense issuances or other authorities outside but binding on the Department of Air Force that require Department of Air Force action. They also initiate, govern, delegate authorities/responsibilities, and/or regulate actions within specified areas of responsibility by Department of Air Force activities. DAFPDs are written clearly and concisely and in a manner that an average Air and Space Professional can understand 
Department of the Air Force Instructions (DAFIs), Air Force Instructions (AFIs), and Space Force Instructions (SPFIs). DAFs, AFIs, and SPFIs are orders of the Secretary of the Air Force and are certified and approved at the HAF level. DAFs, AFIs, and SPFIs generally instruct readers on "what to do," i.e., direct action, ensure compliance to standard actions across the DAF, the USAF, or the USSF. DAFs, AFIs, and SPFIs are written clearly and concisely and in a manner that an average Air and Space Professional can understand. DAFs, AFIs, and SPFIs may be supplemented at any level below the DAF, the USAF, or the USSF, unless otherwise stated in thepublication.
Department of the Air Force Manual (DAFMAN), Air Force Manual (AFMAN) or Space Force Manual (SPFMAN). DAFMANs, AFMANs, and SPFMANs are Orders of the Secretary of the Air Force and generally instruct readers on "how to" and may be either: 1) an extension of an DAFI, AFI, or SPFI, providing detailed procedure and additional technical guidance for performing standard tasks, or supporting education and training programs, or 2) an alternative to an DAFI, AFI, or SPFI, if appropriate. DAFMANs, AFMANs, and SPFMANs intended for use only by Air and Space Professionals who have graduated from special schools (such as flight training, intelligence or maintenance schools) may include more specialized and technical language. The writer should use good judgment on the use of acronyms and technical language to ensure audience comprehension.

2021 E5 Study Guide

18.4. Responsibility
USAF standards must be uniformly known, consistently applied, and non-selectively enforced. Accountability is critically important to good order and discipline of the force. Failure to ensure accountability will hinder the trust of the American public, the very people living under the Constitution we swore to support and defend, and who look to us, the members of their nation's USAF, to embrace and live by the standards that are higher than those in the society we serve. Airmen have a responsibility to learn these standards well enough not only to follow them, but to articulate them clearly to subordinates and enforce proper observation by other members. For additional information on standards of conduct, refer to DoD Directive 5500.07, Standards of Conduct, 29 November 2007, DoD 5500.07-R, and AFI 1-1.

2021 E6 Study Guide

18.4. Responsibility
Air Force standards must be uniformly known, consistently applied, and non-selectively enforced. Accountability is critically important to good order and discipline of the force. Failure to ensure accountability will hinder the trust of the American public, the very people living under the Constitution we swore to support and defend, and who look to us, the members of their Nation's Air Force, to embrace and live by the standards that are higher than those in the society we serve. Airmen have a responsibility to learn these standards well enough not only to follow them, but to articulate them clearly to subordinates and enforce proper observation by other members. For additional information on standards of conduct, refer to DoD Directive 5500.07, Standards of Conduct, DoD Regulation 5500.07-R, The Joint Ethics Regulation, and AFI 1-1, Air Force Standards.




Differences Between E-6 Study Guide and Previous 2019 AFH-1

Section 18A, Way of Life

Paragraph 18.1. Air Force Way of Life: Minor editing

Paragraph 18.2. Department of the Air Force (DAF) Publishing Process: New content, many changes

Paragraph 18.3. On Duty Twenty-Four/Seven: Minor editing

Paragraph 18.4. Responsibility: No changes

2021 E6 Study Guide

18.1. Air Force Way of Life

Air Force employees are required to comply with prescribed standards of conduct in all official matters, as well as when off-duty. This means military and civilian Airmen (Regular Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard) are all expected to maintain high standards of honesty, responsibility, and accountability, as well as adhere to the Air Force core values of Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do. As Airmen, we are proud of our high standards, adhere to them, and hold our fellow Airmen accountable.

Air Force Standards. The Air Force's mission is critical to national security, global stability, and international relations. Each member has specific responsibilities for accomplishing his or her part in the mission. AFI 1-1, Air Force Standards, states the importance of the Air Force's mission and inherent responsibility to the Nation requires its members to adhere to higher standards than those expected in civilian life. While current Department of Defense and Air Force policies provide specific guidance on standards, leaders must ensure employees are kept informed of the Air Force standards and take timely and appropriate actions to ensure employee standards meet the spirit and intent of Air Force policy on proper conduct.

2019 Air Force Handbook

19.1. Air Force Way of Life

Air Force employees are required to comply with prescribed standards of conduct in all official matters, as well as when off-duty. This means military and civilian Airmen (Active Duty, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard) are all expected to maintain high standards of honesty, responsibility, and accountability, as well as adhere to the Air Force core values of Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence In All We Do. As Airmen, we are proud of our high standards, adhere to them, and hold our fellow Airmen accountable.

Air Force Standards. The Air Force's mission is critical to national security, global stability, and international relations. Each member has specific responsibilities for accomplishing their part in the mission. AFI 1-1, Air Force Standards, states the importance of the Air Force's mission and inherent responsibility to the Nation requires its members to adhere to higher standards than those expected in civilian life. While current Department of Defense and Air Force policies provide specific guidance on standards, leaders must ensure employees are kept informed of the Air Force standards and take timely and appropriate actions to ensure employee standards meet the spirit and intent of Air Force policy on proper conduct.

2021 E6 Study Guide

18.2. Department of the Air Force (DAF) Publications Process

The DAF, the United States Air Force (USAF), and the USSF shall prepare all publications in accordance with DAFI33-360_DAFGM2021-01. This includes, but is not limited to, policy directives, instructions, manuals, mission directives and operating instructions. Additional guidance regarding the drafting of mission directives and operating instructions found in this guidance memorandum does not apply to mission directives, which are governed by Headquarters Operating Instruction (HOI) 90-1, or AFI 38-101.

Department of the Air Force Policy Directive (DAFPD). DAFPDs are orders of the Secretary of the Air Force and contain directive policy statements that guide Department of the Air Force implementation of Department of Defense issuances or other authorities outside but binding on the Department of Air Force that require Department of Air Force action. They also initiate, govern, delegate authorities/responsibilities, and/or regulate actions within specified areas of responsibility by Department of Air Force activities. DAFPDs are written clearly and concisely and in a manner that an average Air and Space Professional can understand

Department of the Air Force Instructions (DAFIs), Air Force Instructions (AFIs), and Space Force Instructions (SPFIs). DAFs, AFIs, and SPFIs are orders of the Secretary of the Air Force and are certified and approved at the HAF level. DAFs, AFIs, and SPFIs generally instruct readers on "what to do," i.e., direct action, ensure compliance to standard actions across the DAF, the USAF, or the USSF. DAFs, AFIs, and SPFIs are written clearly and concisely and in a manner that an average Air and Space Professional can understand. DAFs, AFIs, and SPFIs may be supplemented at any level below the DAF, the USAF, or the USSF, unless otherwise stated in the publication.

Department of the Air Force Manual (DAFMAN), Air Force Manual (AFMAN) or Space Force Manual (SPFMAN). DAFMANs, AFMANs, and SPFMANs are Orders of the Secretary of the Air Force and generally instruct readers on "how to" and may be either: 1) an extension of an DAFI, AFI, or SPFI, providing detailed procedure and additional technical guidance for performing standard tasks, or supporting education and training programs, or 2) an alternative to an DAFI, AFI, or SPFI, if appropriate. DAFMANs, AFMANs, and SPFMANs intended for use only by Air and Space Professionals who have graduated from special schools (such as flight training, intelligence or maintenance schools) may include more specialized and technical language. The writer should use good judgment on the use of acronyms and technical language to ensure audience comprehension.

Publication Series Numbers. Series numbers of publications are organized based on Air Force Specialty Code. Table 18.1. is provided here as a quick reference.

Table 18.1. Publication Series Numbers.
1-Air Force Culture40-Medical Command
10-Operations41-Health Services
11-Flying Operations44-Medical
13-Nuclear, Space, Missile, or C2 Operations46-Nursing
14-Intelligence47-Dental
15-Weather48-Aerospace Medicine
16-Operations Support51-Law
17-Cyberspace Operations52-Religious Affairs
20-Logistics60-Standardization
21-Maintenance61-Scientific Research and Development
23-Materiel Management62-Developmental Engineering
24-Transportation63-Acquisition
25-Logistics Staff64-Contracting
31-Security65-Financial Management
32-Civil Engineering71-Special Investigations
33-Communications and Information84-History
34-Services90-Special Management
35-Public Affairs91-Safety
36-Personnel99-Test and Evaluation
38-Manpower and Organization

Nondirective Publications. Nondirective publications are informational and suggest guidance that may be modified appropriately to fit existing or forecasted circumstances. Complying with publications in this category is expected, but not mandatory. Air Force personnel use these publications as reference aids or guides. Nondirective publications include pamphlets; basic and operational doctrine; tactics, techniques, and procedures documents; directories; handbooks; catalogs; visual aids; and product announcements.

2019 Air Force Handbook

19.2. Air Force Publications

Directive Publications. Directive publications are necessary to meet the requirements of law, safety, security, or other areas where common direction and standardization benefit the Air Force. Air Force personnel must comply with directive publications unless waived by proper authority. Air Force directive publications include: policy directives, policy memorandums, mission directives, instructions, manuals, instructional checklists and addenda, guidance memorandums, and operating instructions. Each of these types of publications may be applicable to specific levels of organizations in the Air Force, as prescribed by the issuing authority.

- Air Force Policy Directives. Air Force Policy Directives (AFPD) are the policy statements of the Secretary of the Air Force directing Airmen to initiate, govern, delegate, and regulate actions within specified areas of responsibility by Air Force activities. AFPDs are written clearly and concisely in a manner comprehensible by most Airmen.

- Air Force Instructions. Air Force Instructions (AFI) are orders of the Secretary of the Air Force, certified and approved at Headquarters Air Force (Secretariat or Air Staff) level. AFIs generally instruct readers on 'what to do', such as direct action or ensure compliance to standards Air Force-wide. They are written clearly and concisely - comprehensible by most Airmen. AFIs may be supplemented at any level below Headquarters Air Force, unless otherwise stated.

- Air Force Manuals. Air Force Manuals (AFMAN) are orders of the Secretary of the Air Force and are directive publications provided as extensions or alternatives to AFIs that generally instruct readers on 'how to' perform a task with detailed procedures, technical guidance, or support for education and training programs. Some AFMANs may include specialized and technical language; however, only when used in a way that ensures audience comprehension.

Publication Series Numbers. Series numbers of publications are organized based on Air Force Specialty Code. Table 19.1. is provided here as a quick reference.

Table 19.1. Publication Series Numbers.
1-Air Force Culture40-Medical Command
10-Operations41-Health Services
11-Flying Operations44-Medical
13-Nuclear, Space, Missile, or Command and Control Operations46-Nursing
14-Intelligence47-Dental
15-Weather48-Aerospace Medicine
16-Operations Support51-Law
17-Cyberspace Operations52-Religious Affairs
20-Logistics60-Standardization
21-Maintenance61-Scientific Research and Development
23-Materiel Management62-Developmental Engineering
24-Transportation63-Acquisition
25-Logistics Staff64-Contracting
31-Security65-Financial Management
32-Civil Engineering71-Special Investigations
33-Communications and Information84-History
34-Services90-Special Management
35-Public Affairs91-Safety
36-Personnel99-Test and Evaluation
38-Manpower and Organization

Nondirective Publications. Nondirective publications are informational and suggest guidance that may be modified appropriately to fit existing or forecasted circumstances. Complying with publications in this category is expected, but not mandatory. Air Force personnel use these publications as reference aids or guides. Nondirective publications include pamphlets; basic and operational doctrine; tactics, techniques, and procedures documents; directories; handbooks; catalogs; visual aids; and product announcements.

2021 E6 Study Guide

18.3. On Duty Twenty-Four/Seven

As stated in AFI 1-1, Air Force Standards, the mission must be accomplished, even at great risk and personal sacrifice. Airmen are always subject to duty, including weekends, holidays, and while on leave. Airmen, if so directed by a competent authority, must report for duty at any time, at any location, for as long as necessary. For the mission to succeed, we must always give our best. We must strive to be resilient -physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually -and be prepared to meet the challenges inherent to being a member of a fighting force, both in the deployed environment and at home station. Due to the importance of the Air Force mission, the dangers associated with military service, national and international influences, and potential implications relevant to global operations, the Air Force enforces more restrictive rules and elevated standards than those of the civilian community.

General Orders. General Orders are often published to provide clear and concise guidance specifically tailored to maintaining good order and discipline in the deployed setting. Our current operations place us in areas where local laws and customs or mission requirements prohibit or restrict certain activities that are generally permissible in our society. We must respect and abide by these restrictions to preserve relations with our host nation and support military operations with friendly forces. No mission, particularly a combat mission, can succeed without the discipline and resilience produced by strict compliance with these rules. Members who fail to comply with General Orders may be subject to punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or adverse administrative actions

2019 Air Force Handbook

19.3. On Duty Twenty-Four/Seven

As stated in AFI 1-1, Air Force Standards, the mission must be accomplished, even at great risk and personal sacrifice. Airmen are always subject to duty, including weekends, holidays, and while on leave. Airmen, if so directed by a competent authority, must report for duty at any time, at any location, for as long as necessary. For the mission to succeed, we must always give our best. We must strive to be resilient -physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, and be prepared to meet the challenges inherent to being a member of a fighting force, both in the deployed environment and at home station. Due to the importance of the Air Force mission, the dangers associated with military service, national and international influences, and potential implications relevant to global operations, the Air Force enforces more restrictive rules and elevated standards than those found in the civilian community.

General Orders. General Orders are often published to provide clear and concise guidance specifically tailored to maintaining good order and discipline in the deployed setting. Our current operations place us in areas where local laws and customs or mission requirements prohibit or restrict certain activities that are generally permissible in our society. We must respect and abide by these restrictions to preserve relations with our host nation and support military operations with friendly forces. No mission, particularly a combat mission, can succeed without the discipline and resilience produced by strict compliance with these rules. Individuals who are unable to maintain these higher standards, or are deemed not compatible with military service, will not be retained in the Air Force.

2021 E6 Study Guide

18.4. Responsibility

Air Force standards must be uniformly known, consistently applied, and non-selectively enforced. Accountability is critically important to good order and discipline of the force. Failure to ensure accountability will hinder the trust of the American public, the very people living under the Constitution we swore to support and defend, and who look to us, the members of their Nation's Air Force, to embrace and live by the standards that are higher than those in the society we serve. Airmen have a responsibility to learn these standards well enough not only to follow them, but to articulate them clearly to subordinates and enforce proper observation by other members. For additional information on standards of conduct, refer to DoD Directive 5500.07, Standards of Conduct, DoD Regulation 5500.07-R, The Joint Ethics Regulation, and AFI 1-1, Air Force Standards.

2019 Air Force Handbook

19.4. Responsibility

Air Force standards must be uniformly known, consistently applied, and non-selectively enforced. Accountability is critically important to good order and discipline of the force. Failure to ensure accountability will hinder the trust of the American public, the very people living under the Constitution we swore to support and defend, and who look to us, the members of their Nation's Air Force, to embrace and live by the standards that are higher than those in the society we serve. Airmen have a responsibility to learn these standards well enough not only to follow them, but to articulate them clearly to subordinates and enforce proper observation by other members. For additional information on standards of conduct, refer to DoD Directive 5500.07, Standards of Conduct, DoD Regulation 5500.07-R, The Joint Ethics Regulation, and AFI 1-1, Air Force Standards.




Section 18B, Law of War

Paragraph 18.5. Law of War Defined: Minor editing and the terms, "Law of Armed Conflict" and "LOAC" were changed to "Law of War" throughout these paragraphs.

Paragraph 18.5. Law of War Training: "and completes a legal review of new weapons" was removed as a training requirement.

Paragraph 18.6. Law of War Principles: Minor editing and the terms, "Law of Armed Conflict" and "LOAC" were changed to "Law of War".

Paragraph 18.7. The Protection of War Victims and Classes of Persons: Minor editing and the terms, "Law of Armed Conflict" and "LOAC" were changed to "Law of War".

Paragraph 18.8. Military Objectives: Minor editing and the term "LOAC" was changed to "Law of War".

Paragraph 18.9. Enforcing Law of War Rules: The paragraph about Reprisals was deleted. Minor editing and the term, "LOAC", was changed to "Law of War".

Paragraph 18.10. Rules of Engagement: Minor editing.

2021 E6 Study Guide

18.5. Law of War Defined

The law of war, also called the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC), is defined by the Department of Defense as the treaties and customary international law binding on the United States, that regulate: the resort to armed force; the conduct of hostilities and the protection of war victims in international and non-international armed conflict; belligerent occupation; and the relationships between belligerent, neutral, and non-belligerent states.

Purpose of the Law of War. The law of war arises from civilized nations' humanitarian desire to lessen the effects of conflicts. The law of war protects combatants and noncombatants, including civilians, from unnecessary suffering, and provides fundamental protections for persons who fall into the hands of the enemy, particularly prisoners of war, civilians, and military wounded, sick, and shipwrecked. The law or war aims to keep conflicts from degenerating into savagery and brutality, thereby helping restore peace. The law of war also serves to assist commanders in ensuring the disciplined and efficient use of military force and preserving the professionalism and humanity of combatants

Law of War Training. DoD Directive 2311.01, Department of Defense Law of War Program, requires each military department to implement effective programs that ensure law of war observance, prevent violations, ensure prompt reporting of alleged violations, and appropriately train all forces. law of war training is an obligation of the United States under provisions of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, other law of war treaties, and customary international law. Air Force personnel receive law of war training commensurate with their duties and responsibilities. Certain groups, such as aircrews, medical personnel, and security forces, receive specialized training to address unique situations they may encounter.

Law of War Treaty Obligations. Article six of the U.S. Constitution states that treaty obligations of the United States are the "supreme law of the land," and the U.S. Supreme Court has held that international legal obligations, to include custom, is part of U.S. law. This means that treaties and international agreements to which the United States is a party, enjoy equal status to laws passed by Congress and signed by the President. Therefore, all persons subject to United States law must observe law of war obligations, as well as military personnel, civilians, and contractors authorized to accompany the U.S. Armed Forces when planning or executing operations.

2019 Air Force Handbook

19.5. Law of Armed Conflict Defined

The Law of War, also called the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC), is defined by the Department of Defense, as the part of international law that regulates the conduct of armed hostilities; the protection of victims of international and non-international armed conflict; belligerent occupation; and the relationships between belligerent, neutral, and non-belligerent states.

Purpose of Law of Armed Conflict. LOAC arises from civilized nations' humanitarian desire to lessen the effects of conflicts. LOAC protects combatants and noncombatants, including civilians, from unnecessary suffering, and provides fundamental protections for persons who fall into the hands of the enemy, particularly prisoners of war, civilians, and military wounded, sick, and shipwrecked. The law aims to keep conflicts from degenerating into savagery and brutality, thereby helping restore peace. LOAC also serves to assist commanders in ensuring the disciplined and efficient use of military force and preserving the professionalism and humanity of combatants.

Law of Armed Conflict Training. DoD Directive 2311.01E, Department of Defense Law of War Program, requires each military department to design a program that ensures LOAC observance, prevents violations, ensures prompt reporting of alleged violations, appropriately trains all forces, and completes a legal review of new weapons. LOAC training is an obligation of the United States under provisions of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, other law of war treaties, and customary international law. Air Force personnel receive LOAC training commensurate with their duties and responsibilities. Certain groups, such as aircrews, medical personnel, and security forces, receive specialized training to address unique situations they may encounter.

Law of Armed Conflict Treaty Obligations. Article six of the U.S. Constitution states that treaty obligations of the United States are the "supreme law of the land," and the U.S. Supreme Court has held that international legal obligations, to include custom, is part of United States law. This means that treaties and international agreements to which the United States is a party, enjoy equal status to laws passed by Congress and signed by the U.S. President. Therefore, all persons subject to United States law must observe LOAC obligations, as well as military personnel, civilians, and contractors authorized to accompany the U.S. Armed Forces when planning or executing operations.

2021 E6 Study Guide

18.6. Law of War Principles

Five important law of war principles govern armed conflict, and are addressed here:

Military Necessity. Military necessity is the law of war principle that justifies the use of all measures needed to defeat the enemy as quickly and efficiently as possible, that are not prohibited by the law of war. Attacks must be limited to military objectives. Combatants, unprivileged belligerents, and civilians taking a direct part in hostilities, are military objectives and may be made the object of attack. Military objectives, insofar as objects are concerned, include objects which by their nature, location, purpose, or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture, or neutralization, at the time, offer a definite military advantage. Examples of these objects generally include tanks, military aircraft, bases, supplies, lines of communication, and headquarters. Military necessity does not authorize all military action and destruction. Under no circumstances may military necessity authorize actions specifically prohibited by the law of war, such as the murder of prisoners of war, ill treatment of prisoners of war or internees, the taking of hostages, or execution or reprisal against a person or object specifically protected from reprisal.

Humanity. The law of war principle of humanity forbids the infliction of suffering, injury, or destruction unnecessary to accomplish a legitimate military purpose. Although military necessity justifies certain actions necessary to defeat the enemy as quickly and efficiently as possible, military necessity cannot justify actions not necessary to achieving this purpose. Moreover, once a military purpose has been achieved, inflicting more suffering is unnecessary and should be avoided. For example, if any enemy combatant has been placed hors de combat (in other words, taken out of the fight) through incapacitation by being severely wounded or captured, no military purpose is served by continuing to attack him or her. Similarly, the principle of humanity has been viewed as the source of the civilian population's immunity from being made the object of attack because their inoffensive and harmless character means there is no military purpose served by attacking them.

Distinction. The law of war principle of distinction imposes a requirement to distinguish (discriminate) between the military forces and the civilian population, and between unprotected and protected objects. Military force may be directed only against military objectives, and not against civilian objects. Civilian objects, such as places of worship, schools, hospitals, and dwellings, are protected from attack. A defender has an obligation to separate civilians and civilian objects (either in the defender's country or in an occupied area) from military objectives. However, civilian objects can lose their protected status if they are used to make an effective contribution to military action. Employment of voluntary or involuntary human shields to protect military objectives or individual military units or personnel is a fundamental violation of the law of war principle of distinction. Parties to a conflict must not disguise their military forces as civilians or as other protected categories of persons to kill or wound opposing forces.

Proportionality. Proportionality, as a principle of the law of war, may be defined as the expectation that even where one is justified in acting, one must not act in a way that is unreasonable or excessive. Proportionality generally weighs the justification for acting against expected harms to determine whether the latter are disproportionate in comparison to the former. In war, incidental damage to the civilian population and civilian objects is unfortunate and tragic, but often inevitable. Applying the proportionality rule in conducting attacks does not require that no incidental damage result from attacks. Rather, this rule creates obligations to refrain from attacks where the expected harm incidental to such attacks would be considered excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated to be gained, and to take feasible precautions in planning and conducting attacks to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and other protected persons and objects.

Honor. Honor is a principle of the law of war that requires a certain amount of fairness in offense and defense and a certain mutual respect between opposing military forces. In doing so, honor reflects the principle that parties to a conflict must accept certain limits on their ability to conduct hostilities. Honor also forbids the resort to means, expedients, or conduct that would constitute a breach of trust with the enemy. Enemies must deal with one another in good faith in their non-hostile relations.

Even in the conduct of hostilities, good faith prohibits: (1) killing or wounding enemy persons by resort to perfidy (treachery), (2) misusing certain signs, (3) fighting in the enemy's uniform, (4) feigning non-hostile relations to seek a military advantage, and (5) compelling nationals of a hostile party to take part in the operations of war directed against their own country. Honor; however, does not forbid parties from using ruses and other lawful deceptions against which the enemy ought to take measures to protect itself.

2019 Air Force Handbook

19.6. Law of Armed Conflict Principles

Five important LOAC principles govern armed conflict, and are addressed here.

Military Necessity. Military necessity is the LOAC principle that justifies the use of all measures needed to defeat the enemy as quickly and efficiently as possible, that are not prohibited by the law of war. Attacks must be limited to military objectives. Combatants, unprivileged belligerents, and civilians taking a direct part in hostilities, are military objectives and may be made the object of attack. Military objectives, insofar as objects are concerned, include objects which by their nature, location, purpose, or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture, or neutralization, at the time, offer a definite military advantage. Examples of these objects include tanks, military aircraft, bases, supplies, lines of communication, and headquarters. Military necessity does not authorize all military action and destruction. Under no circumstances may military necessity authorize actions specifically prohibited by the law of war, such as the murder of prisoners of war, ill treatment of prisoners of war or internees, the taking of hostages, or execution or reprisal against a person or object specifically protected from reprisal.

Humanity. The LOAC principle of humanity forbids the infliction of suffering, injury, or destruction unnecessary to accomplish a legitimate military purpose. Although military necessity justifies certain actions necessary to defeat the enemy as quickly and efficiently as possible, military necessity cannot justify actions not necessary to achieving this purpose. Moreover, once a military purpose has been achieved, inflicting more suffering is unnecessary and should be avoided. For example, if any enemy combatant has been placed hors de combat (in other words, taken out of the fight) through incapacitation by being severely wounded or captured, no military purpose is served by continuing to attack him or her. Similarly, the principle of humanity has been viewed as the source of the civilian population's immunity from being made the object of attack because their inoffensive and harmless character means there is no military purpose served by attacking them.

Distinction. The LOAC principle of distinction imposes a requirement to distinguish (discriminate) between the military forces and the civilian population, and between unprotected and protected objects. Military force may be directed only against military objects or objectives, and not against civilian objects. Civilian objects, such as places of worship, schools, hospitals, and dwellings, are protected from attack. A defender has an obligation to separate civilians and civilian objects (either in the defender's country or in an occupied area) from military targets. However, civilian objects can lose their protected status if they are used to make an effective contribution to military action. Employment of voluntary or involuntary human shields to protect military objectives or individual military units or personnel is a fundamental violation of the law of war principle of distinction. Parties to a conflict must not disguise their military forces as civilians or as other protected categories of persons to kill or wound opposing forces.

Proportionality. Proportionality, as a principle of the LOAC, may be defined as the expectation that even where one is justified in acting, one must not act in a way that is unreasonable or excessive. Proportionality generally considers the justification for acting against expected harms to determine whether the response is disproportionate in comparison to the initiated or predicted action or attack. In war, incidental damage to the civilian population and civilian objects is unfortunate and tragic, but inevitable. Applying the proportionality rule in conducting attacks does not require that no incidental damage result from attacks, rather, this rule creates obligations to refrain from attacks where the expected harm incidental to such attacks would be considered excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated to be gained and to take feasible precautions in planning and conducting attacks to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and other persons and objects.

Honor. Honor is a principle of the LOAC that requires a certain amount of fairness in offense and defense and a certain mutual respect between opposing military forces. In doing so, honor reflects the principle that parties to a conflict must accept certain limits on their ability to conduct hostilities. Honor also forbids the resort to means, expedients, or conduct that would constitute a breach of trust with the enemy. Enemies must deal with one another in good faith in their non-hostile relations.

Even in the conduct of hostilities, good faith prohibits: (1) killing or wounding enemy persons by resort to perfidy (treachery), (2) misusing certain signs, (3) fighting in the enemy's uniform, (4) feigning non-hostile relations to seek a military advantage, and (5) compelling nationals of a hostile party to take part in the operations of war directed against their own country. Honor; however, does not forbid parties from using ruses and other lawful deceptions against which the enemy ought to take measures to protect itself.

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18.7. The Protection of War Victims and Classes of Persons

The Geneva Conventions of 1949 consist of four separate international treaties that aim to protect all persons taking no active part in hostilities, including members of military forces who have laid down their arms and those combatants placed out of the fight due to sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause. These treaties also seek to protect civilians and private property. The Geneva Conventions also distinguish between combatants, noncombatants, and civilians. Should doubt exist as to whether a captured individual is a lawful combatant, noncombatant, or an unprivileged belligerent, the individual will receive the protections of the Geneva Prisoner of War Convention until their actual status is determined.

Combatants. Lawful or "privileged" combatants are: (1) members of the military forces of a state that is a party to a conflict, aside from certain categories of medical and religious personnel; (2) under certain conditions, members of militia or volunteer corps who are not part of the military forces of a state, but belong to a state; and (3) inhabitants of an area who participate in a kind of popular uprising to defend against foreign invaders, known as a levée en masse. A combatant is commanded by a person responsible for subordinates, wears fixed distinctive emblems/uniforms recognizable at a distance, carries arms openly, and conducts his or her combat operations according to the law of war. Lawful combatants are subject to capture and detention as prisoners of war by opposing military forces. Combatants have a special legal status, as well as certain rights, duties, and liabilities. They have the right to prisoner of war status if they fall into the power of the enemy during international armed conflict. Combatants have legal immunity from domestic law for acts done under military authority and in accordance with the law of war.

Noncombatants. Noncombatants include certain military personnel who are members of the military forces not authorized to engage in combatant activities, such as permanent medical personnel and religious affairs personnel. Noncombatants must be respected and protected and may not be made the object of attack.

Civilians. Civilians, a type of non-combatants, are protected persons and may not be made the object of direct attack. They may; however, suffer injury or death incident to a direct attack on a military objective without such an attack violating the law of war, if such attack is on a lawful target by lawful means and adheres to the principal of proportionality. With the exception of the levée en masse, the law of war does not authorize civilians to take an active or direct part in hostilities.

Unprivileged Belligerents: A Distinction Not Made by the Geneva Conventions. The term unprivileged belligerent is not used in the Geneva Conventions, but is defined in the DoD Law of War Manual to include "lawful combatants who have forfeited the privileges of combatant status by engaging in spying or sabotage, and private persons who have forfeited one or more of the protections of civilian status by engaging in hostilities." An unprivileged belligerent is an individual who is not authorized by a state that is party to a conflict to take part in hostilities but does so anyway.

2019 Air Force Handbook

19.7. The Protection of War Victims and Classes of Persons

The Geneva Conventions of 1949 consist of four separate international treaties that aim to protect all persons taking no active part in hostilities, including members of military forces who have laid down their arms and those combatants placed out of the fight due to sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause. These treaties also seek to protect civilians and private property. The Geneva Conventions also distinguish between combatants, noncombatants, and civilians. Should doubt exist as to whether a captured individual is a lawful combatant, noncombatant, or an unprivileged belligerent, the individual will receive the protections of the Geneva Prisoner of War Convention until status is determined.

Combatants. Lawful or "privileged" combatants are: (1) members of the military forces of a state that is a party to a conflict, aside from certain categories of medical and religious personnel; (2) under certain conditions, members of militia or volunteer corps who are not part of the military forces of a state, but belong to a state; and (3) inhabitants of an area who participate in a kind of popular uprising to defend against foreign invaders, known as a levée en masse. A combatant is commanded by a person responsible for subordinates, wears fixed distinctive emblems/uniforms recognizable at a distance, carries arms openly, and conducts his or her combat operations according to LOAC. Lawful combatants are subject to capture and detention as prisoners of war by opposing military forces. Combatants have a special legal status, as well as certain rights, duties, and liabilities. They have the right to prisoner of war status if they fall into the power of the enemy during international armed conflict. Combatants have legal immunity from domestic law for acts done under military authority and in accordance with the law of war.

Noncombatants. Noncombatants include certain military personnel who are members of the military forces not authorized to engage in combatant activities, such as permanent medical personnel and religious affairs personnel. Noncombatants must be respected and protected and may not be made the object of attack.

Civilians. Civilians, a type of non-combatants, are protected persons and may not be made the object of direct attack. They may; however, suffer injury or death incident to a direct attack on a military objective without such an attack violating LOAC, if such attack is on a lawful target by lawful means. With limited exceptions, the LOAC does not authorize civilians to take an active or direct part in hostilities.

Unprivileged Belligerents: A Distinction Not Made by the Geneva Conventions. The term unprivileged belligerent is not used in the Geneva Conventions, but is defined in the DoD Manual on the Law of War, as "lawful combatants who have forfeited the privileges of combatant status by engaging in spying or sabotage, and private persons who have forfeited one or more of the protections of civilian status by engaging in hostilities." An unprivileged belligerent is an individual who is not authorized by a state that is party to a conflict to take part in hostilities but does so anyway.

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18.8. Military Objectives

Military objectives include any object which by its nature, location, purpose, or use, makes an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture, or neutralization in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.

Protection of Civilians and Civilian Objects. Military objectives may not be attacked when the expected incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, and damage to civilian objects would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage expected to be gained. In general, military operations must not be directed against civilians. In particular, civilians must not be made the object of attack and must not be used as shields or hostages. Measures of intimidation or terrorism against the civilian population are prohibited, including acts or threats of violence with the primary purpose of spreading terror. The principle, that military operations must not be directed against civilians, does not prohibit military operations, short of violence, that are militarily necessary. For example, such operations may include: stopping and searching civilians for weapons and verifying that they are civilians; temporarily detaining civilians for reasons of mission accomplishment, self-defense, or for their own safety; collecting intelligence from civilians, including interrogating civilians; restricting the movement of civilians, or directing their movement away from military operations for their own protection; or seeking to influence enemy civilians with propaganda.

Feasible precautions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and civilian objects must be taken when planning and conducting attacks, and in connection with certain types of weapons. Also, feasible precautions should be taken to mitigate the burden on civilians when seizing or destroying enemy property. Commanders and other decision-makers must make decisions in good faith and based on the information available to them. Even when information is imperfect or lacking, as will frequently be the case during armed conflict, commanders and other decision-makers may direct and conduct military operations, so long as they make a good faith assessment of the information that is available to them at the time. Judge advocates, intelligence, and operations personnel play a critical role in determining the propriety of a target and the choice of weapon to be used under the particular circumstances known to the commander when planning an attack.

Protected Objects. The law of war provides specific protection to certain objects, including medical units or establishments; transports of wounded and sick personnel; military and civilian hospital ships; safety zones established under the Geneva Conventions; religious, cultural, and charitable buildings; monuments; and prisoner of war camps. However, if these protected objects are used for military purposes, they may lose their protected status. An attack on protected objects near lawful military objectives, that suffer collateral damage when the nearby military objectives are lawfully engaged, does not violate the law of war, subject to adherence to the principle of proportionality.

Enemy Aircraft and Aircrew. Enemy military aircraft may be attacked and destroyed, unless in neutral airspace or territory. Airmen who parachute from a disabled aircraft and offer no resistance may not be attacked. Airmen who resist in descent or are downed behind their own lines and who continue to fight may be subject to attack. The rules of engagement for a particular operation often include additional guidance for attacking enemy aircraft consistent with law of war obligations. An enemy's public and private nonmilitary aircraft are generally not subject to attack unless used for a military purpose.

If a civil aircraft initiates an attack, it may be considered an immediate military threat and may be lawfully attacked (on the basis it qualifies as a military objective). An immediate military threat justifying an attack may also exist when reasonable suspicion exists of a hostile intent, such as when a civil aircraft approaches a military base at high speed or enters enemy territory without permission and disregards signals or warnings to land or proceed to a designated place.

Military medical aircraft are used exclusively for the removal of the wounded and sick and for the transport of medical personnel and equipment. Military medical aircraft are entitled to protection from attack by enemy combatants while flying at heights, times, and on routes specifically agreed upon between the parties to the conflict. Under the law of war, a military medical aircraft found to be in violation of established agreements could be lawfully attacked and destroyed.

2019 Air Force Handbook

19.8. Military Objectives

Military objectives are limited to those objects or installations that, by their own nature, location, purpose, or use, make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture, or neutralization in the circumstances ruling at the time, offer a definite military advantage.

Protection of Civilians and Civilian Objects. Military objectives may not be attacked when the expected incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, and damage to civilian objects would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage expected to be gained. In general, military operations must not be directed against civilians. In particular, civilians must not be made the object of attack and must not be used as shields or hostages. Measures of intimidation or terrorism against the civilian population are prohibited, including acts or threats of violence with the primary purpose of spreading terror. The principle that military operations must not be directed against civilians does not prohibit military operations short of violence that are military necessary. For example, such operations may include: stopping and searching civilians for weapons and verifying that they are civilians; temporarily detaining civilians for reasons of mission accomplishment, self-defense, or for their own safety; collecting intelligence from civilians, including interrogating civilians, restricting the movement of civilians, or directing their movement away from military operations for their own protection; or seeking to influence enemy civilians with propaganda.

Reasonable precautions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and civilian objects must be taken when planning and conducting attacks, and in connection with certain types of weapons. Also, reasonable precautions should be taken to mitigate the burden on civilians when seizing or destroying enemy property. Commanders and other decision-makers must make decisions in good faith and based on the information available to them. Even when information is imperfect or lacking, as will frequently be the case during armed conflict, commanders and other decision-makers may direct and conduct military operations, so long as they make a good faith assessment of the information that is available to them at the time. Judge advocates, intelligence, and operations personnel play a critical role in determining the propriety of a target and the choice of weapon to be used under the particular circumstances known to the commander when planning an attack.

Protected Objects. The LOAC provides specific protection to certain objects, including medical units or establishments; transports of wounded and sick personnel; military and civilian hospital ships; safety zones established under the Geneva Conventions; religious, cultural, and charitable buildings; monuments; and prisoner of war camps. However, if these protected objects are used for military purposes, they may lose their protected status. An attack on protected objects near lawful military objectives, that suffer collateral damage when the nearby military objectives are lawfully engaged, does not violate LOAC.

Enemy Aircraft and Aircrew. Enemy military aircraft may be attacked and destroyed, unless in neutral airspace or territory. Airmen who parachute from a disabled aircraft and offer no resistance may not be attacked. Airmen who resist in descent or are downed behind their own lines and who continue to fight may be subject to attack. The rules of engagement for a particular operation often include additional guidance for attacking enemy aircraft consistent with LOAC obligations. An enemy's public and private nonmilitary aircraft are generally not subject to attack unless used for a military purpose.

If a civil aircraft initiates an attack, it may be considered an immediate military threat and may be lawfully attacked. An immediate military threat justifying an attack may also exist when reasonable suspicion exists of a hostile intent, such as when a civil aircraft approaches a military base at high speed or enters enemy territory without permission and disregards signals or warnings to land or proceed to a designated place.

Military medical aircraft are used exclusively for the removal of the wounded and sick and for the transport of medical personnel and equipment. Military medical aircraft are entitled to protection from attack by enemy combatants while flying at heights, times, and on routes specifically agreed upon between the parties to the conflict. Under LOAC, a military medical aircraft found to be in violation of established agreements could be lawfully attacked and destroyed.

2021 E6 Study Guide

18.9. Enforcing Law of War Rules

All Department of Defense personnel, including contractors when assigned to or accompanying deployed armed forces, comply with the law of war during all armed conflicts and military operations. Law of war principles and rules are consistent with military doctrine for a profession of arms that is the basis for effective combat operations. Following doctrinal guidance, such as accuracy of targeting, concentration of effort, maximization of military advantage, conservation of resources, avoidance of excessive collateral damage, and economy of force, is consistent with the law of war and reinforces compliance. Each member of the armed services has a duty to comply with the law of war, which includes the refusal to comply with clearly illegal orders to commit law of war violations. For law of war violations, members may be prosecuted by courts-martial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or through an international military tribunal.

Reporting Violations. Department of Defense personnel who suspect or have information which might reasonably be viewed as a violation of the law of war committed by or against U.S. personnel, enemy personnel, or any other individual, shall promptly report the violation to their immediate commander or the proper authority. This includes violations by the enemy, allies, U.S. Armed Forces, or others. If the allegation involves or may involve a U.S. commander, the report should be made to the next higher United States command authority. Particular circumstances may require that the report be made to the nearest judge advocate, inspector general, a special agent in the Office of Special Investigations, or a security forces member.

2019 Air Force Handbook

19.9. Enforcing Law of Armed Conflict Rules

All Department of Defense personnel, including contractors when assigned to or accompanying deployed armed forces, comply with LOAC during all armed conflicts and military operations. LOAC principles and rules are consistent with military doctrine for a profession of arms that are the basis for effective combat operations. Following doctrinal guidance, such as accuracy of targeting, concentration of effort, maximization of military advantage, conservation of resources, avoidance of excessive collateral damage, and economy of force, is consistent with LOAC and reinforces compliance. Each member of the armed services has a duty to comply with LOAC, which includes the refusal to comply with clearly illegal orders to commit violations of LOAC. For LOAC violations, members can be prosecuted by courts-martial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or through an international military tribunal.

Reporting Violations. Department of Defense personnel who suspect or have information which might reasonably be viewed as a violation of the LOAC committed by or against United States personnel, enemy personnel, or any other individual, shall promptly report the violation to their immediate commander or the proper authority. This includes violations by the enemy, allies, U.S. Armed Forces, or others. If the allegation involves or may involve a United States commander, the report should be made to the next higher United States command authority. Particular circumstances may require that the report be made to the nearest judge advocate, inspector general, a special agent in the office of special investigations, or a security forces member.

Reprisal. Reprisals are extreme measures of coercion used to enforce LOAC by seeking to persuade an adversary to cease violations. Reprisals shall be resorted to only after careful inquiry into the facts to determine that the enemy has, in fact, violated the law. To be legal, reprisals must respond in a proportionate manner to the preceding illegal act by the party against which they are taken. Identical reprisals are the easiest to justify as proportionate because subjective comparisons are not involved. Reprisals must be made public and announced as such. Prohibited in all circumstances are the use of mines, booby-traps and other devices, either in offense, defense, or by way of reprisals against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians or civilian objects. Reprisals are likewise prohibited against medical personnel and chaplains, medical units and facilities, hospitals and ships, and against prisoners of war. The authority to conduct reprisal is held at the National level. Service members and units are not to take reprisal action on their own initiative.

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18.10. Rules of Engagement

Rules of engagement exist to ensure use of force in an operation occurs according to national policy goals, mission requirements, and the rule of law. In general, rules of engagement set parameters for when, where, how, why, and against whom commanders and their Airmen may use force. All Airmen have a duty and a legal obligation to understand, remember, and apply rules of engagement. The standing rules of engagement are approved by the U.S. President and Secretary of Defense, and are issued by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They provide implementation guidance on the inherent right of self-defense and the application of force for mission accomplishment.

Note: Mission-specific rules of engagement present a more specific application of law of war principles tailored to the political and military nature of a mission which are contained in execution orders, operations plans, and operations orders. Commanders at every echelon have an obligation to ensure that all operations comply with the mission rules of engagement and with the standing rules of engagement.

Self Defense. The fundamental U.S. policy on self-defense is repeatedly stated throughout the standing rules of engagement, "These rules do not limit a commander's inherent authority and obligation to use all necessary means available to take all appropriate actions in self-defense of the commander's unit and other U.S. Armed Forces in the vicinity." Self-defense methods include national, collective, unit, and individual levels of action. Several elements must be considered before undertaking the use of force in self-defense.

De-escalation. When time and circumstances permit, the forces committing hostile acts or hostile intent should be warned and given the opportunity to withdraw or cease threatening actions.

Necessity. Rules of engagement provide more specific guidance to operations and are guided by the law of war; therefore, the principle of necessity applied to the rules of engagement focuses on the threat perceived by an individual, or if a hostile act is committed, or hostile intent is demonstrated against U.S. Armed Forces or other designated persons or property. Necessity requires that no reasonable alternative means of redress are available. Hostilities are defined as forces or threats of force used against the United States, U.S. Armed Forces, designated persons and property, or intended to impede the mission of U.S. Armed Forces.

Proportionality. Proportionality in the context of self-defense under the rules of engagement relates to the reasonableness of the response to a threat. In self-defense, U.S. Armed Forces may only use the amount of force necessary to decisively counter a hostile act or a demonstration of hostile intent, and ensure the continued safety of U.S. Armed Forces or other designated persons and property. Force used must be reasonable in intensity, duration, and magnitude compared to the threat based on facts known to the commander at the time.

Pursuit. U.S. Armed Forces can pursue and engage a hostile force that has committed a hostile act or demonstrated a hostile intent if those forces continue to commit hostile acts or demonstrate hostile intent. Applicable rules of engagement may restrict or place limitations on U.S. Armed Forces' ability to pursue or engage a hostile force across an international border.

2019 Air Force Handbook

19.10. Rules of Engagement

Rules of engagement exist to ensure use of force in an operation occurs according to national policy goals, mission requirements, and the rule of law. In general, rules of engagement set parameters for when, where, how, why, and against whom commanders and their Airmen may use force. All Airmen have a duty and a legal obligation to understand, remember, and apply rules of engagement. The standing rules of engagement are approved by the U.S. President and Secretary of Defense, and are issued by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They provide implementation guidance on the inherent right of self-defense and the application of force for mission accomplishment.

Note: Mission-specific rules of engagement present a more specific application of LOAC principles tailored to the political and military nature of a mission which are contained in execution orders, operations plans, and operations orders. Commanders at every echelon have an obligation to ensure that all operations comply with the mission rules of engagement and with the standing rules of engagement.

Self Defense. The fundamental United States policy on self-defense is repeatedly stated throughout the standing rules of engagement, "These rules do not limit a commander’s inherent authority and obligation to use all necessary means available to take all appropriate actions in self-defense of the commander’s unit and other U.S. Armed Forces in the vicinity." Self-defense methods include national, collective, unit, and individual levels of action. Several elements must be considered before undertaking the use of force in self-defense.

De-escalation. When time and circumstances permit, the forces committing hostile acts or hostile intent should be warned and given the opportunity to withdraw or cease threatening actions.

Necessity. Rules of engagement provide more specific guidance to operations and are guided by LOAC; therefore, the principle of necessity applied to the rules of engagement focuses on the threat perceived by an individual or if a hostile act is committed or hostile intent is demonstrated against U.S. Armed Forces or other designated persons or property. Necessity requires that no reasonable alternative means of redress are available. Hostilities are defined as forces or threats of force used against the United States, U.S. Armed Forces, designated persons and property, or intended to impede the mission of U.S. Armed Forces.

Proportionality. Applying the basic LOAC principle of proportionality to the rules of engagement relates to the reasonableness of the response to a threat. In self-defense, U.S. Armed Forces may only use the amount of force necessary to decisively counter a hostile act or a demonstration of hostile intent, and ensure the continued safety of U.S. Armed Forces or other designated persons and property. Force used must be reasonable in intensity, duration, and magnitude compared to the threat based on facts known to the commander at the time.

Pursuit. U.S. Armed Forces can pursue and engage a hostile force that has committed a hostile act or demonstrated a hostile intent if those forces continue to commit hostile acts or demonstrate hostile intent. Applicable rules of engagement may restrict or place limitations on U.S. Armed Forces' ability to pursue or engage a hostile force across an international border.




Section 18C, Code of Conduct

Paragraph 18.11. Responsibilities under the Code of Conduct: Minor editing

Paragraph 18.12. The Articles of the Code of Conduct: Minor editing

Paragraph 18.13. Detention of U.S. Military Personnel in Operations Other than War: Minor editing

2021 E6 Study Guide

18.11. Responsibilities under the Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct is a moral code designed to provide U.S. military personnel with a standard of conduct that all members are expected to measure up to. The six articles of the Code of Conduct were designed to address situations that any member could encounter to some degree. It includes basic information useful to prisoners of war to help them survive honorably while resisting captors' efforts to exploit them. It is also applicable to service members subject to other hostile detention, such as hostage scenarios. Survival and resistance in hostile situations requires knowledge and understanding of the six articles. Violations of the Code of Conduct are not criminally punishable per se, but actions that also violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) may subject members to disciplinary action.

Code of Conduct Training. Department of Defense personnel who plan, schedule, commit, or control members of the U.S. Armed Forces must fully understand the Code of Conduct and ensure personnel have the training and education necessary to abide by it. The level of knowledge members need depends on how likely they are to be captured, their exposure to sensitive information, and how useful or valuable a captor considers them to be. Code of Conduct training is conducted at three levels, briefly described here.

- Level A-Entry Level Training. Level A training represents the minimum level of understanding needed for all members of the U.S. Armed Forces. This level is imparted to all personnel during entry training.

- Level B-Training After Assumption of Duty Eligibility. Level B training is an enhanced version of training from Level A. It is the minimum level of understanding needed for service members whose military jobs, specialties, or assignments entail moderate risk of capture, such as members of ground combat units. Training is conducted for such service members as soon as their assumption of duty makes them eligible.

- Level C-Training Upon Assumption of Duties or Responsibilities. Level C training is an enhanced version of training from Levels A and B. It is the minimum level of understanding needed for military service members whose military jobs, specialties, or assignments entail significant or high risk of capture and whose position, rank, or seniority makes them vulnerable to greater-than-average exploitation efforts by a captor. Examples include aircrews and special mission forces, such as pararescue teams. Training for these members is conducted upon their assumption of the duties or responsibilities that make them eligible.

2019 Air Force Handbook

19.11. Responsibilities under the Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct is a moral code designed to provide United States military personnel with a standard of conduct that all members are expected to measure up to. The six articles of the Code of Conduct were designed to address situations that any member could encounter to some degree. It includes basic information useful to prisoners of war to help them survive honorably while resisting captors' efforts to exploit them. It is also applicable to service members subject to other hostile detention, such as hostage scenarios. Survival and resistance in hostile situations requires knowledge and understanding of the six articles. Violations of the Code of Conduct are not criminally punishable, but actions that also violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) may render the member subject to disciplinary action.

Code of Conduct Training. Department of Defense personnel who plan, schedule, commit, or control members of the U.S. Armed Forces must fully understand the Code of Conduct and ensure personnel have the training and education necessary to abide by it. The level of knowledge members need depends on how likely they are to be captured, their exposure to sensitive information, and how useful or valuable a captor considers them to be. Code of Conduct training is conducted at three levels, briefly described here.

- Level A-Entry Level Training. Level A training represents the minimum level of understanding needed for all members of the U.S. Armed Forces. This level is imparted to all personnel during entry training.

- Level B-Training After Assumption of Duty Eligibility. Level B training is an enhanced version of training from Level A. It is the minimum level of understanding needed for service members whose military jobs, specialties, or assignments entail moderate risk of capture, such as members of ground combat units. Training is conducted for such service members as soon as their assumption of duty makes them eligible.

- Level C-Training Upon Assumption of Duties or Responsibilities. Level C training is an enhanced version of training from Levels A and B. It is the minimum level of understanding needed for military service members whose military jobs, specialties, or assignments entail significant or high risk of capture and whose position, rank, or seniority makes them vulnerable to greater-than-average exploitation efforts by a captor. Examples include aircrews and special mission forces, such as pararescue teams. Training for these members is conducted upon their assumption of the duties or responsibilities that make them eligible.

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18.12. The Articles of the Code of Conduct

President Dwight D. Eisenhower first published the Code of Conduct for members of the U.S. Armed Forces on 17 August 1955. In March 1988, President Ronald W. Reagan amended the code with gender-neutral language. The six articles of the Code of Conduct are listed below, followed by an explanation of each article and significant aspects of that article.

ARTICLE I

I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

ARTICLE II

I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.

ARTICLE III

If I am captured, I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.

ARTICLE IV

If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information or take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way.

ARTICLE V

When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.

ARTICLE VI

I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.


ARTICLE I. Article I applies to all members at all times. A member of the U.S. Armed Forces has a duty to support U.S. interests and oppose U.S. enemies regardless of the circumstances, whether in active combat or captivity. Past experiences of captured Americans reveals that honorable survival in captivity requires a high degree of dedication and motivation. Maintaining these qualities requires knowledge of and a strong belief in the advantages of American democratic institutions and concepts. Maintaining these qualities also requires a love of and faith in the United States and a conviction that the United States' cause is just. Honorable survival in captivity depends on faith in, and loyalty to, fellow prisoners of war.

Note: Possessing the dedication and motivation fostered by such beliefs and trust may help prisoners of war survive long, stressful periods of captivity, and has helped many return to their country and families with their honor and self-esteem intact.

ARTICLE II. Members of the U.S. Armed Forces may never surrender voluntarily. Even when isolated and no longer able to inflict casualties on the enemy or otherwise defend themselves, their duty is to evade capture and rejoin the nearest friendly force. Surrender is the willful act of giving oneself up to the enemy. In contrast, capture occurs when a member has no means to resist, evasion is impossible, and further fighting would lead to death of the U.S. member with no significant loss to the enemy. Capture dictated by overwhelming enemy strength and the futility of fighting is not dishonorable. Service members must understand and have confidence in search and recovery forces rescue procedures and techniques, and proper evasion destination procedures.

Note: Under the UCMJ, a U.S. commander who shamefully surrenders to the enemy, any command or place that is his or her duty to defend, is subject to punishment. In addition, any person subject to the UCMJ who compels or attempts to compel a commander of any place, vessel, aircraft, or other military property, or of any body of members of the Armed Forces, to give it up to an enemy or to abandon it, or who strikes the colors or flag to an enemy without proper authority, is subject to punishment.

ARTICLE III. A U.S. Armed Forces member's duty to continue to resist enemy exploitation by all means available is not lessened by the misfortune of capture. Contrary to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, enemies that United States forces have engaged since 1949 have treated the prisoner of war compound as an extension of the battlefield. The prisoner of war must be prepared for this. Enemies have used a variety of tactics to exploit prisoners of war for propaganda purposes or to obtain military information, in spite of Geneva Convention prohibitions. Physical and mental harassment, general mistreatment, torture, medical neglect, and political indoctrination have all been used, and the enemy has tried to tempt prisoners of war to accept special favors or privileges in return for statements or information, or for a pledge by the prisoner of war not to attempt escape. A prisoner of war must not seek special privileges or accept special favors at the expense of fellow prisoners of war. Under the guidance and supervision of the senior military person, the prisoner of war must be prepared to take advantage of escape opportunities. In communal detention, the welfare of the prisoners of war who remain behind must be considered. Additionally, prisoners of war should not sign or enter into a parole agreement. Parole agreements are promises the prisoners of war make to the captor to fulfill stated conditions, such as not to bear arms, in exchange for special privileges, such as release or lessened restraint.

Members should understand that captivity involves continuous control by a captor who may attempt to use the prisoner of war as a source of information for political purposes or as a potential subject for political indoctrination. Members must familiarize themselves with prisoner of war and captor rights and obligations under the Geneva Conventions, understanding that some captors have accused prisoners of war of being war criminals simply because they waged war against them. Continued efforts to escape are critical because a successful escape causes the enemy to divert forces that may otherwise be fighting, provides the United States valuable information about the enemy and other prisoners of war, and serves as a positive example to all members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

ARTICLE IV. Officers and enlisted members continue to carry out their responsibilities and exercise authority in captivity. Informing, or any other action detrimental to a fellow prisoner of war, is despicable and expressly forbidden. Prisoners of war must avoid helping the enemy identify fellow prisoners of war who may have valuable knowledge to the enemy. Strong leadership is essential to discipline. Without discipline, camp organization, resistance, and even survival may be impossible. Personal hygiene, camp sanitation, and care of the sick and wounded are imperative. Wherever located, prisoners of war must organize in a military manner under the senior military prisoner of war, regardless of military service. If the senior prisoner of war is incapacitated or otherwise unable to act, the next senior prisoner of war assumes command.

Members must be trained to understand and accept leadership from those in command and abide by the decisions of the senior prisoner of war, regardless of military service. Failing to do so may result in punishment under the UCMJ. Additionally, a prisoner of war who voluntarily informs or collaborates with the captor is a traitor to the United States and fellow prisoners of war, and after repatriation, is subject to punishment under the UCMJ. Service members must be familiar with the principles of hygiene, sanitation, health maintenance, first aid, physical conditioning, and food utilization.

ARTICLE V. When questioned, a prisoner of war is required by the Geneva Conventions, and permitted by the UCMJ, to give name, rank, service number, and date of birth. Under the Geneva Conventions, the enemy has no right to try to force a prisoner of war to provide any additional information. However, it is unrealistic to expect a prisoner of war to remain confined for years reciting only name, rank, service number, and date of birth. Many prisoner of war camp situations exist in which certain types of conversation with the enemy are permitted. For example, a prisoner of war is allowed, but not required by the Code of Conduct, the UCMJ, or the Geneva Conventions, to fill out a Geneva Conventions capture card, to write letters home, and to communicate with captors on matters of health and welfare. The senior prisoner of war is required to represent prisoners of war in matters of camp administration, health, welfare, and grievances. A prisoner of war must resist, avoid, or evade, even when physically and mentally coerced, all enemy efforts to secure statements or actions that may further the enemy's cause. Examples of statements or actions prisoners of war should resist include giving oral or written confessions, answering questionnaires, providing personal history statements, and making propaganda recordings and broadcast appeals to other prisoners of war to comply with improper captor demands. Additionally, prisoners of war should resist appealing for United States surrender or parole; engaging in self-criticism; or providing oral or written statements or communication that are harmful to the United States, its allies, the U.S. Armed Forces, or other prisoners of war. Experience has shown that, although enemy interrogation sessions may be harsh and cruel, a prisoner of war can usually resist if there is a will to resist. The best way for a prisoner of war to keep faith with the United States fellow prisoners of war, and him or herself, is to provide the enemy with as little information as possible.

Service members familiarize themselves with the various aspects of interrogation, including phases, procedures, methods, and techniques, as well as the interrogator's goals, strengths, and weaknesses. Members should avoid disclosing information by such techniques as claiming inability to furnish information because of previous orders, poor memory, ignorance, or lack of comprehension. They should understand that, short of death, it is unlikely that a prisoner of war will prevent a skilled enemy interrogator, using all available psychological and physical methods of coercion, from obtaining some degree of compliance. However, the prisoner of war must recover as quickly as possible and resist successive efforts to the utmost.

ARTICLE VI. A member of the U.S. Armed Forces remains responsible for personal actions at all times. When repatriated, prisoners of war can expect their actions to be subject to review, including both circumstances of capture and conduct during detention. The purpose of such a review is to recognize meritorious performance and, if necessary, investigate any allegations of misconduct. Such reviews are conducted with due regard for the rights of the individual and consideration for the conditions of captivity. Members should understand the difference between the Code of Conduct as a moral code and the UCMJ as a legal code. Members should understand that failure to follow the Code of Conduct could ultimately lead them to commit misconduct punishable under the UCMJ. Members should also understand that the U.S. Government will use every available means to establish contact with prisoners of war, to support them, and to obtain their release. Furthermore, U.S. laws provide for the support and care of dependents of the U.S. Armed Forces, including prisoners of war family members. Military members must ensure their personal affairs and family matters are up to date at all times.

Note: No United States prisoner of war will be forgotten. Every available means will be employed to establish contact with, support, and obtain the release of all our U.S. prisoners of war.

2019 Air Force Handbook

19.12. The Articles of the Code of Conduct

President Dwight D. Eisenhower first published the Code of Conduct for members of the U.S. Armed Forces on 17 August 1955. In March 1988, President Ronald W. Reagan amended the code with gender-neutral language. The six articles of the Code of Conduct are listed below, followed by an explanation of each article and significant aspects of that article.

ARTICLE I

I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

ARTICLE II

I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.

ARTICLE III

If I am captured, I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.

ARTICLE IV

If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information or take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way.

ARTICLE V

When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.

ARTICLE VI

I will never forget that I am an American, fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.


ARTICLE I. Article I applies to all members at all times. A member of the U.S. Armed Forces has a duty to support United States interests and oppose United States enemies regardless of the circumstances, whether in active combat or captivity. Past experiences of captured Americans reveals that honorable survival in captivity requires a high degree of dedication and motivation. Maintaining these qualities requires knowledge of and a strong belief in the advantages of American democratic institutions and concepts. Maintaining these qualities also requires a love of and faith in the United States and a conviction that the United States cause is just. Honorable survival in captivity depends on faith in, and loyalty to, fellow prisoners of war.

Note: Possessing the dedication and motivation fostered by such beliefs and trust may help prisoners of war survive long, stressful periods of captivity, and has helped many return to their country and families with their honor and self-esteem intact.

ARTICLE II. Members of the U.S. Armed Forces may never surrender voluntarily. Even when isolated and no longer able to inflict casualties on the enemy or otherwise defend themselves, their duty is to evade capture and rejoin the nearest friendly force. Surrender is the willful act of giving oneself up to the enemy. In contrast, capture occurs when a member has no means to resist, evasion is impossible, and further fighting would lead to death of the United States member with no significant loss to the enemy. Capture dictated by overwhelming enemy strength and the futility of fighting is not dishonorable. Service members must understand and have confidence in search and recovery forces rescue procedures and techniques, and proper evasion destination procedures.

Note: Under the UCMJ, a United States commander who shamefully surrenders to the enemy, any command or place that is his or her duty to defend, is subject to punishment. In addition, any person subject to the UCMJ who compels or attempts to compel a commander of any place, vessel, aircraft, or other military property, or of any body of members of the Armed Forces, to give it up to an enemy or to abandon it, or who strikes the colors or flag to an enemy without proper authority, is subject to punishment.

ARTICLE III. A U.S. Armed Forces member's duty to continue to resist enemy exploitation by all means available is not lessened by the misfortune of capture. Contrary to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, enemies that United States forces have engaged since 1949 have treated the prisoner of war compound as an extension of the battlefield. The prisoner of war must be prepared for this. Enemies have used a variety of tactics to exploit prisoners of war for propaganda purposes or to obtain military information, in spite of Geneva Convention prohibitions. Physical and mental harassment, general mistreatment, torture, medical neglect, and political indoctrination have all been used, and the enemy has tried to tempt prisoners of war to accept special favors or privileges in return for statements or information, or for a pledge by the prisoner of war not to attempt escape. A prisoner of war must not seek special privileges or accept special favors at the expense of fellow prisoners of war. Under the guidance and supervision of the senior military person, the prisoner of war must be prepared to take advantage of escape opportunities. In communal detention, the welfare of the prisoners of war who remain behind must be considered. Additionally, prisoners of war should not sign or enter into a parole agreement. Parole agreements are promises the prisoners of war make to the captor to fulfill stated conditions, such as not to bear arms, in exchange for special privileges, such as release or lessened restraint.

Members should understand that captivity involves continuous control by a captor who may attempt to use the prisoner of war as a source of information for political purposes or as a potential subject for political indoctrination. Members must familiarize themselves with prisoner of war and captor rights and obligations under the Geneva Conventions, understanding that some captors have accused prisoners of war of being war criminals simply because they waged war against them. Continued efforts to escape are critical because a successful escape causes the enemy to divert forces that may otherwise be fighting, provides the United States valuable information about the enemy and other prisoners of war, and serves as a positive example to all members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

ARTICLE IV. Officers and enlisted members continue to carry out their responsibilities and exercise authority in captivity. Informing, or any other action detrimental to a fellow prisoner of war, is despicable and expressly forbidden. Prisoners of war must avoid helping the enemy identify fellow prisoners of war who may have valuable knowledge to the enemy. Strong leadership is essential to discipline. Without discipline, camp organization, resistance, and even survival may be impossible. Personal hygiene, camp sanitation, and care of the sick and wounded are imperative. Wherever located, prisoners of war must organize in a military manner under the senior military prisoner of war, regardless of military service. If the senior prisoner of war is incapacitated or otherwise unable to act, the next senior prisoner of war assumes command.

Members must be trained to understand and accept leadership from those in command and abide by the decisions of the senior prisoner of war, regardless of military service. Failing to do so may result in legal proceedings under the UCMJ. Additionally, a prisoner of war who voluntarily informs or collaborates with the captor is a traitor to the United States and fellow prisoners of war, and after repatriation, is subject to punishment under the UCMJ. Service members must be familiar with the principles of hygiene, sanitation, health maintenance, first aid, physical conditioning, and food utilization.

ARTICLE V. When questioned, a prisoner of war is required by the Geneva Conventions, and permitted by the UCMJ, to give name, rank, service number, and date of birth. Under the Geneva Conventions, the enemy has no right to try to force a prisoner of war to provide any additional information. However, it is unrealistic to expect a prisoner of war to remain confined for years reciting only name, rank, service number, and date of birth. Many prisoner of war camp situations exist in which certain types of conversation with the enemy are permitted. For example, a prisoner of war is allowed, but not required by the Code of Conduct, the UCMJ, or the Geneva Conventions, to fill out a Geneva Conventions capture card, to write letters home, and to communicate with captors on matters of health and welfare. The senior prisoner of war is required to represent prisoners of war in matters of camp administration, health, welfare, and grievances. A prisoner of war must resist, avoid, or evade, even when physically and mentally coerced, all enemy efforts to secure statements or actions that may further the enemy's cause. Examples of statements or actions prisoners of war should resist include giving oral or written confessions, answering questionnaires, providing personal history statements, and making propaganda recordings and broadcast appeals to other prisoners of war to comply with improper captor demands. Additionally, prisoners of war should resist appealing for United States surrender or parole; engaging in self-criticism; or providing oral or written statements or communication that are harmful to the United States, its allies, the U.S. Armed Forces, or other prisoners of war. Experience has shown that, although enemy interrogation sessions may be harsh and cruel, a prisoner of war can usually resist if there is a will to resist. The best way for a prisoner of war to keep faith with the United States fellow prisoners of war, and him or herself, is to provide the enemy with as little information as possible.

Service members familiarize themselves with the various aspects of interrogation, including phases, procedures, methods, and techniques, as well as the interrogator's goals, strengths, and weaknesses. Members should avoid disclosing information by such techniques as claiming inability to furnish information because of previous orders, poor memory, ignorance, or lack of comprehension. They should understand that, short of death, it is unlikely that a prisoner of war will prevent a skilled enemy interrogator, using all available psychological and physical methods of coercion, from obtaining some degree of compliance. However, the prisoner of war must recover as quickly as possible and resist successive efforts to the utmost.

ARTICLE VI. A member of the U.S. Armed Forces remains responsible for personal actions at all times. When repatriated, prisoners of war can expect their actions to be subject to review, including both circumstances of capture and conduct during detention. The purpose of such a review is to recognize meritorious performance and, if necessary, investigate any allegations of misconduct. Such reviews are conducted with due regard for the rights of the individual and consideration for the conditions of captivity. Members must understand the relationship between the UCMJ and the Code of Conduct and realize that failure to follow the guidance may result in violations punishable under the UCMJ, and they may be held legally accountable for their actions. Members should also understand that the U.S. Government will use every available means to establish contact with prisoners of war, to support them, and to obtain their release. Furthermore, United States laws provide for the support and care of dependents of the U.S. Armed Forces, including prisoners of war family members. Military members must ensure their personal affairs and family matters are up to date at all times.

Note: No United States prisoner of war will be forgotten. Every available means will be employed to establish contact with, support, and obtain the release of all our United States prisoners of war.

2021 E6 Study Guide

18.13. Detention of U.S. Military Personnel in Operations Other than War

U.S. military personnel isolated from U.S. control are still required to do everything in their power to follow Department of Defense and Air Force policy and survive with honor. Basic protections available to prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions may not be adhered to during operations other than war; thus, personnel detained may be subject to the domestic criminal laws of the detaining nation. These personnel should use the Code of Conduct as a moral guide to assist them to uphold the ideals of Department of Defense policy and survive their ordeal with honor.

Rationale. Because of their wide range of activities, U.S. military personnel are subject to detention by unfriendly governments or captivity by terrorist groups. When a hostile government or terrorist group detains or captures U.S.s military personnel, the captor is often attempting to exploit both the individual and the U.S. Government for its own purposes. As history has shown, exploitation can take many forms, such as hostage confessions to crimes never committed, international news media exploitation, and substantial ransom demands, all of which can lead to increased credibility and support for the detainer.

Responsibility. U.S. military personnel detained by unfriendly governments or held hostage by a terrorist group must do everything in their power to survive with honor. Furthermore, whether United States military personnel are detained or held hostage, they can be sure the U.S. Government will make every effort to obtain their release. To best survive the situation, military personnel must maintain faith in their country, in fellow detainees or captives, and most importantly, in themselves. In any group captivity situation, military captives must organize to the fullest extent possible under the senior military member present. If civilians are part of the group, they should be encouraged to participate. United States military personnel must make every reasonable effort to prevent captors from exploiting them and the U.S. Government. If exploitation cannot be prevented, military members must attempt to limit it. If detainees convince their captors of their low propaganda value, the captors may seek a quick end to the situation. When a detention or hostage situation ends, military members who can honestly say they did their utmost to resist exploitation will have upheld Department of Defense policy, the founding principles of the United States, and the highest traditions of military service.

Military Bearing and Courtesy. U.S.s military personnel shall maintain military bearing, regardless of the type of detention or captivity, or brutality of treatment. They should make every effort to remain calm and courteous, and project personal dignity, particularly during the process of capture and the early stages of internment when captors may be uncertain of their control over the captives. Discourteous, nonmilitary behavior seldom serves long-term interests of a detainee or hostage and often results in unnecessary punishment that serves no useful purpose. Such behavior may jeopardize survival and complicate efforts to gain release of the detainee or hostage.

Guidance for Detention by Governments. Detainees in the custody of an unfriendly government, regardless of the circumstances that resulted in the detention, are subject to the laws of that government. Detainees must maintain military bearing and avoid aggressive, combative, or illegal behavior that may complicate their situation, legal status, or efforts to negotiate a rapid release. As American citizens, detainees should ask immediately and continually to see United States embassy personnel or a representative of an allied or neutral government. United States military personnel who become lost or isolated in an unfriendly foreign country during operations other than war will not act as combatants during evasion attempts. During operations other than war, there is no protection afforded under the Geneva Convention. The civil laws of that country apply.

A detainer's goal may be maximum political exploitation. Detained U.S. military personnel must be cautious in all they say and do. In addition to asking for a U.S. representative, detainees should provide name, rank, service number, date of birth, and the innocent circumstances leading to their detention. They should limit further discussions to health and welfare matters, conditions of their fellow detainees, and going home.

Detainees should avoid signing documents or making statements. If forced, they must provide as little information as possible. U.S. military detainees should not refuse release, unless doing so requires them to compromise their honor or cause damage to the U.S. Government or its allies. Attempting to escape by unfriendly governments is not recommended by Department of Defense policy except under life threatening circumstances. This is because attempted or actual escape from a government confinement facility will likely constitute a violation of the unfriendly government's criminal law and may subject the escapee to increased criminal prosecution.

Terrorist Hostage. Capture by terrorists is generally the least predictable and structured form of operations. Capture can range from a spontaneous kidnapping to a carefully planned hijacking. In either situation, hostages play an important role in determining their own fate because terrorists rarely expect to receive rewards for providing good treatment or releasing victims unharmed. U.S. military members should assume their captors are genuine terrorists when it is unclear if they are surrogates of a government. A terrorist hostage situation is more volatile than a government detention, so members must take steps to lessen the chance of a terrorist indiscriminately killing hostages. In such a situation, Department of Defense policy accepts and promotes efforts to establish rapport between United States hostages and the terrorists to establish themselves as people in the terrorist's mind, rather than a stereotypical symbol of a country the terrorist may hate. Department of Defense policy recommends U.S. personnel stay away from topics that could inflame terrorist sensibilities, such as their cause, politics, or religion. Listening can be vitally important when survival is at stake. Members should not argue, patronize, or debate issues with the captors. During rescue attempts, hostages should take cover, remain stationary when practicable, and not attempt to help rescuers. Hostages may experience rough handling from the rescuers until the rescuers separate the terrorists from the hostages.

2019 Air Force Handbook

19.13. Detention of U.S. Military Personnel in Operations Other than War

United States military personnel isolated from United States control are still required to do everything in their power to follow Department of Defense and Air Force policy, and survive with honor. Basic protections available to prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions may not be adhered to during operations other than war; thus, personnel detained may be subject to the domestic criminal laws of the detaining nation. These personnel should use the Code of Conduct as a moral guide to assist them to uphold the ideals of Department of Defense policy and survive their ordeal with honor.

Rationale. Because of their wide range of activities, United States military personnel are subject to detention by unfriendly governments or captivity by terrorist groups. When a hostile government or terrorist group detains or captures United States military personnel, the captor is often attempting to exploit both the individual and the U.S. Government for its own purposes. As history has shown, exploitation can take many forms, such as hostage confessions to crimes never committed, international news media exploitation, and substantial ransom demands, all of which can lead to increased credibility and support for the detainer.

Responsibility. United States military personnel detained by unfriendly governments or held hostage by a terrorist group must do everything in their power to survive with honor. Furthermore, whether United States military personnel are detained or held hostage, they can be sure the U.S. Government will make every effort to obtain their release. To best survive the situation, military personnel must maintain faith in their country, in fellow detainees, or captives, and most importantly, in themselves. In any group captivity situation, military captives must organize, to the fullest extent possible, under the senior military member present. If civilians are part of the group, they should be encouraged to participate. United States military personnel must make every reasonable effort to prevent captors from exploiting them and the U.S. Government. If exploitation cannot be prevented, military members must attempt to limit it. If detainees convince their captors of their low propaganda value, the captors may seek a quick end to the situation. When a detention or hostage situation ends, military members who can honestly say they did their utmost to resist exploitation will have upheld Department of Defense policy, the founding principles of the United States, and the highest traditions of military service.

Military Bearing and Courtesy. United States military personnel shall maintain military bearing, regardless of the type of detention or captivity, or brutality of treatment. They should make every effort to remain calm and courteous, and project personal dignity, particularly during the process of capture and the early stages of internment when captors may be uncertain of their control over the captives. Discourteous, nonmilitary behavior seldom serves long-term interests of a detainee or hostage and often results in unnecessary punishment that serves no useful purpose. Such behavior may jeopardize survival and complicate efforts to gain release of the detainee or hostage.

Guidance for Detention by Governments. Detainees in the custody of an unfriendly government, regardless of the circumstances that resulted in the detention, are subject to the laws of that government. Detainees must maintain military bearing and avoid aggressive, combative, or illegal behavior that may complicate their situation, legal status, or efforts to negotiate a rapid release. As American citizens, detainees should ask immediately and continually to see United States embassy personnel or a representative of an allied or neutral government. United States military personnel who become lost or isolated in an unfriendly foreign country during operations other than war will not act as combatants during evasion attempts. During operations other than war, there is no protection afforded under the Geneva Convention. The civil laws of that country apply.

A detainer's goal may be maximum political exploitation. Detained United States military personnel must be cautious in all they say and do. In addition to asking for a United States representative, detainees should provide name, rank, service number, date of birth, and the innocent circumstances leading to their detention. They should limit further discussions to health and welfare matters, conditions of their fellow detainees, and going home.

Detainees should avoid signing documents or making statements. If forced, they must provide as little information as possible. United States military detainees should not refuse release, unless doing so requires them to compromise their honor or cause damage to the U.S. Government or its allies. Attempting to escape by unfriendly governments is not recommended by Department of Defense policy except under life threatening circumstances. This is because attempted or actual escape from a government confinement facility will likely constitute a violation of the unfriendly government's criminal law and may subject the escapee to increased criminal prosecution.

Terrorist Hostage. Capture by terrorists is generally the least predictable and structured form of operations, other than war captivity. Capture can range from a spontaneous kidnapping to a carefully planned hijacking. In either situation, hostages play an important role in determining their own fate because terrorists rarely expect to receive rewards for providing good treatment or releasing victims unharmed. United States military members should assume their captors are genuine terrorists when it is unclear if they are surrogates of a government. A terrorist hostage situation is more volatile than a government detention, so members must take steps to lessen the chance of a terrorist indiscriminately killing hostages. In such a situation, Department of Defense policy accepts and promotes efforts to establish rapport between United States hostages and the terrorists to establish themselves as people in the terrorist's mind, rather than a stereotypical symbol of a country the terrorist may hate. Department of Defense policy recommends United States personnel stay away from topics that could inflame terrorist sensibilities, such as their cause, politics, or religion. Listening can be vitally important when survival is at stake. Members should not argue, patronize, or debate issues with the captors. During rescue attempts, hostages should take cover, remain stationary when practicable, and not attempt to help rescuers. Hostages may experience rough handling from the rescuers until the rescuers separate the terrorists from the hostages.