This post expands on the topic of casualty status as relates to missing personnel. Right about now, you probably want me to stop quoting Department of Defense Publications. I kinda think this one is important and suggest reading through to the end.
Each casualty is composed of a) Type, b) Status, and c) Category.
DoD Instruction 1300.18 - "Personnel Casualty Matters, Policies, and Procedures"Taken from the Section E.2 Definitions (page 26):
From the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, January 8, 2008
- replacing DoD Instruction 1300.18, “Military Personnel Casualty Matters, Policies, and Procedures,” December 18, 2000 (hereby canceled)
4 CASUALTY INFORMATION (page 38)
Use the chart below when completing blocks 4a (TYPE), 4b (STATUS), and 4c (CATEGORY). Only these combinations are authorized. Definitions are contained in Enclosure 2. The word Pending can only be used on Initial or Interim reports.
E2.32. Hostile Casualty. A person who is the victim of a terrorist activity or who becomes a casualty "in action." "In action" characterizes the casualty as having been the direct result of hostile action, sustained in combat or relating thereto, or sustained going to or returning from a combat mission provided that the occurrence was directly related to hostile action. Included are persons killed or wounded mistakenly or accidentally by friendly fire directed at a hostile force or what is thought to be a hostile force. However, not to be considered as sustained in action and not to be interpreted as hostile casualties are injuries or death due to the elements, self-inflicted wounds, combat fatigue, and except in unusual cases, wounds or death inflicted by a friendly force while the individual is in an AWOL, deserter, or dropped-from-rolls status or is voluntarily absent without authority from a place of duty.Status
E2.38. Non-hostile Casualty. A person who becomes a casualty due to circumstances not directly attributable to hostile action or terrorist activity. Casualties due to the elements, self-inflicted wounds, and combat fatigue are non-hostile casualties.
[Again, "Pending" can only be used on Initial or Interim reports and from what I can glean, it pretty much means deceased...]
E2.11 (page 27)Category
There are six casualty statuses: (1) deceased; (2) duty status – whereabouts unknown (DUSTWUN) for military, or excused absence – whereabouts unknown (EAWUN) for civilians; (3) missing; (4) very seriously ill or injured (VSI); (5) seriously ill or injured (SI); and (6) not seriously ill or injured (NSI). At the DoD Component’s discretion, an additional casualty status of Special Patient (SPECPAT) or Special Category (SPECAT) may be used [both are injury or illness related].
E2.20. Deceased. A casualty status applicable to a person who is either known to have died, determined to have died on the basis of conclusive evidence, or declared to be dead on the basis of a presumptive finding of death. The recovery of remains is not a prerequisite to determining or declaring a person deceased.
E2.26. Duty Status - Whereabouts Unknown (DUSTWUN). A transitory casualty status, applicable only to military personnel, that is used when the responsible commander suspects the member may be a casualty, whose absence is involuntary, but does not feel sufficient evidence currently exists to make a determination of missing or deceased.
E2.28. Excused Absence – Whereabouts Unknown (EAWUN). An administrative status, applicable only to civilian personnel, that is used when the responsible commander suspects the employee may be a casualty, whose absence is involuntary, but does not feel sufficient evidence currently exists to make a determination of missing or deceased.
E2.37. Missing. A casualty status for which the United States Code provides statutory guidance concerning missing members of the Military Services. Excluded are personnel who are in an AWOL, deserter, or dropped-from-rolls status. [see categories below]
E2.54. Very Seriously Ill or Injured (VSI). The casualty status of a person whose illness or injury is such that medical authority declares it more likely than not that death will occur within 72 hours.
E2.50. Seriously Ill or Injured (SI). The casualty status of a person whose illness or injury requires medical attention, and medical authority declares that death is possible, but not likely within 72 hours, and/or the severity is such that it is permanent and life-altering.
E2.39. Not Seriously Ill or Injured (NSI). The casualty status of a person whose illness or injury requires medical attention, may or may not require hospitalization, and medical authority classifies as less severe than SI.
E2.49. Returned to Military Control (RMC). The status of a person whose casualty status of DUSTWUN or missing has been changed due to the person's return or recovery by U.S. military authority.
[Again, "Pending" can only be used on Initial or Interim reports.]
E2.46. Prisoner of War (POW). POW is not a casualty status for reporting purposes. For reporting purposes, the casualty status and category would be missing-captured.
A person declared missing is categorized as follows:
E2.37.1. Beleaguered. The casualty is a member of an organized element that has been surrounded by a hostile force to prevent escape of its members.Missing Missing is Missing
E2.37.2. Besieged. The casualty is a member of an organized element that has been surrounded by a hostile force, compelling it to surrender.
E2.37.3. Captured. The casualty has been seized as the result of action of an unfriendly military or paramilitary force in a foreign country. See also Prisoner of War (POW).
E2.37.4. Detained. The casualty is prevented from proceeding or is restrained in custody for alleged violation of international law or other reason claimed by the government or group under which the person is being held.
E2.37.5. Interned. The casualty is definitely known to have been taken into custody of a nonbelligerent foreign power as the result of and for reasons arising out of any armed conflict in which the Armed Forces of the United States are engaged.
E2.37.6. Missing. The casualty is not present at his or her duty location due to apparent involuntary reasons and whose location is unknown.
E2.37.7. Missing in Action (MIA). The casualty is a hostile casualty, other than the victim of a terrorist activity, who is not present at his or her duty location due to apparent involuntary reasons and whose location is unknown.
[Again, "Pending" can only be used on Initial or Interim reports.]
If you managed to work your way through the various definitions and read the above carefully, many small details probably started to jump out at you. Keep in mind, the whole point of DoDI 1300.18 is it "provides uniform official casualty terms and definitions."
Mission so not accomplished.
There is no written definition for one line shown in the Casualty Information Chart a) Type: Hostile b) Status: Missing and c) Category: Terrorist. In theory, this combination should have been included as a category under definition E2.37.8. But, it's not there. Further along, there is a definition for "Terrorism"...but I'm specifically interested in "Terrorist" as used to categorize Missing Status.
E2.52. Terrorism. The calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological.Two
There is no line in the Casualty Information Chart for a) Type: Hostile b) Status: Missing and c) Category: Missing although this combination is included in the definition E2.37.6.
Missing-Missing (E2.37.6) is quite literally missing from the Casualty Information Chart. Instructions are very clear - "Only these combinations are authorized." With a little help from Photoshop, the corrected chart with the line inserted is shown below:
If "RET MIL CONTROL" or Returned to Military Control is shown under "4b) Status" on the Casualty Information Chart, why isn't it included in the list at E.11 on page 27 which specifically states that there are "six casualty statuses?" Dare I mention, the acronym for Returned to Military Control is RMC not RET MIL CONTROL under "Definition."
Does the chart over rule the definition? Does the definition overrule the chart? Which instruction is correct? And what kind of impact does all of this have on casualty reporting?
There's also an issue with the Casualty Feeder Card (DA Form 1156) used by Commanders that I referenced in another post just the other day, Iraq, Contractors and The Missing Persons Act. The options for "Status" on DA Form 1156 do not match those in the definitions or in the Casualty Information Chart of DoDI 1300.18. Statuses shown on the DA Form 1156 are: (1) deceased; (2) DUSTWUN (3) VSI (4) SI (5) NSI and (6) Pending. No "Missing." And as there is no "Missing," I'm also wondering why DUSTWUN isn't at least listed as DUST/EA-WUN since the form applies to both military and civilian personnel.
I'd love to drop an email to the Office of the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness to point out the conflicts between chart and definitions. But, they don't have any contact information on their website. So, I'm off to fill out the generic contact form at DefenseLink.
Maybe I should just type up a new Excel Table for the DoD.