Monday, February 22, 2010

DoD Instruction 1300.18 - update

Wonk stuff.

New language and some new policies added as per 'Change 1' on August 14, 2009 to existing DoD Instruction 1300.18 aka "Personnel Casualty Matters, Policies, and Procedures" (See red text within the instruction for changes/additions/deletions) Enclosure 10 is the one I'm most interested in - 'Procedures for Notifying the Military Service Casualty Offices of Death Investigations.' It appears to be an entirely new addition to 1300.18.

Enclosure 10 is on the last page, page 62. Unfortunately, the language is a bit 'fuzzy' regarding who exactly is covered as 'authorized' 'personnel accompanying' US Armed Forces. For now, let's assume it covers private contractors.

(A note on fuzziness, I do find it fascinating that a bureaucracy as large as the Department of Defense isn't more narrow and specific in their use of language. It's like they don't do a simple cross check of their own terminology. Odd that.


DoD Instruction 1300.18 (PDF)
"Personnel Casualty Matters, Policies, and Procedures"
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)


When an investigation into the cause or circumstances surrounding the death of a military member or DoD civilian employee who becomes a fatality while accompanying military personnel in the field or as a result of military-related actions is initiated, the appropriate Military Service Casualty Headquarters Office shall be notified immediately. At a minimum, the Casualty Office shall be provided written confirmation containing:
a. The name of the DoD organization conducting the investigation.
b. The type of investigation being conducted.
c. The existence of any reports by the investigating organization that have been or will be issued as a result of the investigation.
d. A point of contact within the investigating organization that can provide information on the status of the completion of any investigative reports.
e. The procedures for family members to obtain a copy of the completed report(s), to the extent such reports may be furnished consistent with sections 552 and 552a of Reference (h), and to obtain assistance in obtaining a copy of the completed report(s).
f. The procedures for family members to obtain answers to their questions on the completed investigation from a fully qualified representative.
At one point I contacted the Department of Defense to clarify some of the conflicting language within the Instruction and how it relates to the Missing Persons Act (see related posts below). Spoke at some length with a very nice man from Public Affairs who unfortunately, really didn't understand the core policy discrepancies within the Instruction. That wasn't really surprising given the wonkish nature of the subject but what was a shock was to learn there's only one person -- O.N.E. -- in all of Mortuary Affairs who can answer policy questions. Two wars, not to mention smaller conflicts - just one man. Obviously, he's a bit busy. Unfortunately, that also meant too busy to answer any of my questions.

Previous related posts

Defense Base Act vs War Hazards Compensation Act - non-hostile vs hostile Type of Casualty

Casualty Status of Missing - looks at Status and Category of a Casualty in DoD Instruction 1300.18

Iraq Contractors and The Missing Persons Act - outlines legal obligations of the US government

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

from Jeff in Liberty. I think it is highly worth mentioning the last date of 1300.18.....Dec 18, 2000. That WAS written /changed ABOUT TWO WEEKS before POW Navy CPT Scott Speicher BECAME THE FIRST MAN in American history TO BE TAKEN OFF the KIA list. I believe it was Jan 11,2001.