CASUALTY OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT
This chapter describes the mission, proponency, doctrinal requirements, principles of support, unit and section responsibilities, manpower requirements, and personnel information requirements of the casualty system.The mission of the casualty system is to record, report, verify, and process casualty information from unit level to HQDA; notify appropriate individuals; and provide casualty assistance to next of kin.
Casualty operations includes casualty reporting, casualty notification, casualty assistance, line-of-duty determination, reporting status of remains, and casualty mail coordination.
"There's no more effective way of creating bitter enemies of the Army than by failing to do everything we can possibly do in a time of bereavement, nor is there a more effective way of making friends for the Army than by showing we are personally interested in every casualty which occurs." General of the Army, George C. Marshall, Army Chief of Staff, 1944.
The functional proponent for casualty operations is the Casualty and Memorial Affairs Operations Center (CMAOC), The Adjutant General Directorate, United States Total Army (USTA) PERSCOM.
AR 600-8-1, Army Casualty Operations (Draft), and AR 600-8-4, Line of Duty Investigations (Draft), provide policy and procedural guidance for managing casualty information and line of duty investigations.
Casualties can occur on the first day of a contingency operation. Thus, casualty managers from each echelon of command must deploy without delay.
On the eve of Operation Overlord, 6 June 1944, invading American units did not carry casualty management personnel on their wartime TDAs. Consequently, units went ashore on D-Day with no or few trained soldiers to report the nearly 208,000 American soldiers wounded on the shores of Normandy Beach. The large volume of inaccurate reports resulting from this situation caused embarrassment to the War Department and unnecessary suffering of next of kin.
Personnel, medical, logistical, and provost marshal communities operate as a team in the casualty operations system.
Units report all casualties found on the battlefield, including DoD civilians, contract personnel, and military personnel from other U.S. Army units, other services, and allied forces. Units record casualties on Witness Statement/Casualty Feeder Reports (DA Forms 1155/1156). These reports are sent to battalion level without delay or as soon as the tactical situation permits.
Battalions and separate units may submit the DA Forms 1155/1156 to any PSB on the battlefield.
Battalions normally send this information to their supporting PSB. The time standard for casualty information processing is 24 hours from time of incident through casualty reporting channels to receipt at USTA PERSCOM.
Casualty information is frequently incomplete on the battlefield. This should not delay initial report submission. Updated casualty information is provided as it becomes available.
The casualty system must continually reconcile duty status whereabouts unknown, missing, missing in action and medical evacuation cases against other information sources to reach a final casualty status determination.
Casualty information flows up, across, and down the reporting chain to help account for soldiers and reportable civilians reported outside the normal reporting chain. A flow chart is shown at Figure 3-1.
The medical evacuation system may move many injured soldiers from the battlefield to corps hospitals while the unit is still engaged. Therefore, communications and an electronic interface between the Theater Army Medical Management Information System (TAMMIS) and SIDPERS must be established to furnish timely casualty information. This information flows from the corps-level hospitals to the corps personnel management center (PMC). The corps PMC passes the casualty information by electronic transmission to the appropriate PSB for unit notification and report preparation, if required.
There is also a requirement for an interface between SIDPERS and mortuary affairs, provost marshal, and logistics systems such as the Mass Fatality Field Information Management System (MFFIS).
There is a requirement to account for all casualties, whether reportable or not, to exercise accurate strength reconciliation. SIDPERS 3.0 will provide SIDPERS/TAMMIS interface which will assist in patient accountability. The TAMMIS transaction recording admission to a corps support hospital signals a requirement to generate a SIDPERS arrival transaction to a UIC under control of the replacement company in direct support. The losing unit must also submit a departure transaction. This process removes patients from unit strength and provides patient accountability within a single unit.
The PMCs at corps/TAACOM and theater level must establish a casualty accounting data base and maintain a casualty status record. USTA PERSCOM developed interim casualty data base software for recording and transmitting casualty information. The personnel community will use this software or software that is compatible with the USTA PERSCOM system for operations occurring before objective software is fielded.
Until an automated SIDPERS/TAMMIS interface is fielded, the personnel group commanders task subordinate commanders to station casualty liaison teams (CLTs) with all mortuary collection points and levels 3 and 4 medical facilities to include other service and host nation hospitals. This provides the interface between the personnel and medical systems. Casualty liaison teams consist of organic personnel. They are supplemented by borrowed military manpower such as soldiers returned to duty from the medical facility with physical profiles which prohibit return to their original units.
The Office of the Surgeon General is responsible for identifying the medical facilities within the sustaining base to be used to treat theater casual ties. Once identified, HQDA tasks the appropriate casualty area commanders to establish casualty liaison teams as necessary.
Casualty area commanders are responsible for notifying and providing casualty assistance to the next of kin of soldiers or civilians identified as casualties. They make notifications in compliance with regulatory guidance. USAR soldiers and soldiers recalled from retirement often serve as notification officers or survival assistance officers.
The following paragraphs describe the principles of support of casualty operations management.
All persons with the knowledge of a casualty will report to their chain of command using, DA Forms 1155/1156. The commander of a unit in which a casualty occurs has responsibility for initiating the casualty information flow. The unit submits the initial information to the battalion on DA Forms 1155/1156. The battalion forwards them to the PSB and sends a copy through its brigade to the division G1. Medical treatment facilities (MTFs) provide information on patient status and assist in personnel accounting, Casualty liaison teams provide an interface between medical facilities, mortuary affairs (MA) collection points, and the personnel group.
The PSB verifies casualty information against the data base and emergency data in the soldier's/civilian's deployment packet. The PSB adds appropriate information and prepares and forwards the casualty information to the personnel group (corps/TAACOM AG). From there it is forwarded to the theater PERSCOM (theater AG) and then to USTA PERSCOM. A Human Resources Division element (if deployed) assists in providing civilian casualty information (see Chapter 9).
USTA PERSCOM verifies information provided in the casualty report against available information systems. USTA PERSCOM then directs/coordinates notification actions through the appropriate casualty area commander who makes the notification and provides casualty assistance. A model of the casualty management network is at Figure 3-2.
Although this chapter identifies the formal flow of casualty information, it must be recognized that casualty information will be collected from all available sources and reported though official channels as quickly as possible.
Casualty operations management requires information from the following sources:
- Witness Statement/Casualty Feeder Reports (DA Forms 1155/1156) from the unit.
- Individual personnel information from the servicing PSB.
- Patient accountability status from medical facilities.
- Individual diagnosis and prognosis reports from medical facilities.
- Evacuation reports from medical facilities.
- Status of remains from MA collection points and mortuary sites.
- Straggler information from provost marshal channels.
In addition to the previously described casualty system, the PSB must take extraordinary action to transfer personnel accountability for patients from the assigned unit to a patient accounting system. This is essential for two reasons: to remove soldiers and Army civilians no longer fit for duty from the unit's SIDPERS/ACPERS or off-line/manual data bases and to isolate and consolidate patient information for intensive accountability management.
The number of sick and wounded treated by Army hospitals during the Civil War was staggering. Large numbers of return-to-duty troops passed through "convalescent camps" in each of the major commands before returning to their units. An equally large number of troops were able to desert or take unauthorized leaves of absence because no system existed that would have accounted for their status and eventual return to their units.
In many instances, medical facilities and/or MA units will have information about casualties before the units have time to submit casualty reports. Pending automated system interface development, the personnel system must identify available medical facilities and establish a system to capture casualty information at those facilities.
Managers of casualty operations must be proactive. They cannot afford to wait for units to submit casualty information. They must establish casualty liaison teams at all medical facilities to obtain casualty information as injured and ill persons arrive for treatment. Managers must also establish a liaison with mortuary affairs and provost marshal personnel.
Personnel groups and their subordinate units are responsible for the casualty liaison teams at level 3 and 4 (corps and above) MTFs, to include other services and host nation hospitals. They are also responsible for casualty liaison teams at MA collection points. Division G1s and brigade/battalion S1s are responsible for establishing a casualty liaison with level 1 and 2 (division and below) MTFs.
The casualty liaison team must get as much information as possible about each case and report it quickly to the appropriate PSB or next higher organization in the casualty reporting chain (even to the theater PERSCOM if necessary). Having received and processed the initial casualty report, the PSB must seek supplemental information from the injured or ill soldier's or civilian's unit.
All commanders, soldiers, and deployed civilians must be sensitized to the confidentiality of casualty information. Commanders must ensure that it is processed only through official channels. Casualty information is assigned the protective marking of For Official Use Only (FOUO) which may not be removed until verification that next of kin have been notified. Information on a soldier/civilian in a missing status will remain FOUO until the person is returned to military control or the FOUO protection is removed, IAW appropriate regulations. Emphasis on confidentiality and sensitivity of casualty information should be part of training on the DA Forms 1155/1156 and integrated into formal training programs at all levels.
Modern communications have increased the risk that family members will get casualty information from sources outside the official system. To combat this risk, casualty managers must employ all available means to get casualty information at the earliest possible moment.
During Operation Desert Storm, soldiers from divisions called their home stations to alert rear area personnel to casualties that their unit had sustained. The home station in turn called DA Casualty who in turn called the Casualty Area Command in Saudi Arabia. The incident had not yet been reported; no one in the casualty reporting chain had been alerted to the incident Reporting through unofficial channels causes confusion and creates unnecessary stress.
Overall policy for the disposition for remains and personal effects rests with HQDA, DCSPER. At CONUS installations, the supervision of the care and disposition of remains and the disposition of personal effects is a logistical function and may be accomplished by the installation Adjutant General. In OCONUS commands, the supervision of the care and disposition of personal effects is accomplished as a logistics function by the logistics commands and staffs.
During major military operations, the collection and evacuation of remains to a mortuary and the collection and evacuation of associated personal effects to a personal effects depot is a logistics responsibility under the supervision of logistics commands and staffs. The care and disposition of remains and the disposition of personal effects outside the area of military operations continues to be a personnel or logistics function depending on location. The CMAOC has the functional responsibility, during peace or war, for coordinating instructions for the permanent disposition of remains and archiving records and reports pertaining to the disposition of remains and personal effects.
Each management level in the casualty reporting chain will verify information as necessary to meet the 100 percent accuracy standard.
During Operation Desert Storm, a Casualty Area Command, based on unconfirmed reports, made erroneous notification to next of kin that two soldiers had been killed in a helicopter accident.
The following agencies have critical roles in establishing and operating the casualty operations management system for a contingency operation.
Battalion casualty management responsibilities include the following critical tasks:
- Ensure that all soldiers and civilians carry and are trained on DA Forms 1155/1156.
- Collect DA Forms 1155/1156 from units.
- Submit reports to the PSB.
- Send information copy to the brigade S1.
- Seek additional information from the medical support system on evacuated soldiers and Army civilians.
- Use all available information sources to determine the status of evacuated and missing soldiers and Army civilians; follow up continually on open cases to determine final status.
- Maintain a casualty log.
- Prepare letters of sympathy, and forward them to the division PMC.
- Accept and report changes to emergency data information.
- Coordinate information on mortuary affairs and personal effects disposition with the battalion S4.
The brigade S1's casualty operations management responsibilities include the following critical tasks:
- Collect and forward DA Forms 1155/1156 to the PSB and the division G1 when the battalion is unable to do so.
- Collect and submit automated casualty information to the PSB.
- Collect letters of sympathy, and forward them to the division PMC.
- Collect and forward emergency data changes to the PSB.
- Ensure units train on and require soldiers and civilians to carry DA Forms 1155.
The division's personnel operations branch is responsible for casualty management. Its responsibilities include the following critical tasks:
- Ensure that all soldiers and civilians carry and are trained on DA Forms 1155/1156.
- Manage line of duty investigations.
- Coordinate information on mortuary affairs (MA) and personal effects disposition with the MA team and/or platoon augmented to the main and forward support battalions.
- Coordinate information on soldiers and civilians separated from their units, wounded in action, or injured not in battle.
- Forward letters of sympathy and condolence to next of kin upon confirmation of family notification from theater PERSCOM.
PSB responsibilities are the following:
- Prepare and forward casualty reports to the personnel group (corps AG).
- Plan for and establish an electronic casualty/patient accountability data base.
- Obtain additional casualty information, and submit supplementary reports.
The lead corps AG has the following responsibilities:
- Work with forward-deployed elements of USTA PERSCOM to establish an immediate data link between the area of operations and USTA PERSCOM for casualty information flow.
- Publish and distribute information on the casualty reporting channel to all deploying units.
- Identify medical evacuation facilities, in coordination with the corps surgeon.
- Coordinate with USTA PERSCOM to ensure casualty liaison team establishment at each medical facility within the sustaining base.
- Ensure that a casualty manager from the theater PERSCOM deploys with an early element of the corps PMC.
- Establish and maintain an electronic casualty/patient accountability data base.
- Establish the casualty management system and the personnel casualty network, and obtain necessary personnel for liaison with treatment facilities.
The staff actions branch of the corps PMC manages the casualty operations system and ensures that commanders, soldiers, and civilians receive essential personnel services. Their casualty management responsibilities include the following:
- Determine the location of medical facilities in the corps area of responsibility, and establish personnel casualty liaison teams at each site.
- Operate the corps casualty management network.
- Provide technical direction to the PSBs and coordinate information management on casualties reported outside their normal reporting chain.
- Synchronize casualty matters between the G1 and G4 for the nondivisional force.
- Research cases to assist the MA office in identifying remains.
- Coordinate information on the disposition of remains.
- Coordinate casualty information among medical facilities, mortuary affairs offices, military police, and intelligence activities.
- Coordinate information on personal effects disposition.
- Process casualty reports.
- Reconcile open cases against all potential information sources.
- Prepare and submit initial and supplemental casualty reports to the theater PMC.
- Ensure patients in corps medical facilities are reassigned from the original unit to derivative UICs through the TAMMIS/SIDPERS interface for patient accountability.
- Report and record casualties (U.S. Army, allied military personnel, U.S. civilians, and military members of sister services).
- Manage a corps casualty data base.
- Provide casualty information to commanders.
The lead elements of the theater PERSCOM initially focus on the following responsibilities:
- Deploy a casualty manager with an early increment of the corps PMC.
- Prepare to assume theater-level casualty management responsibilities.
- Prepare to direct the establishment of additional casualty liaison teams.
- Assume responsibility for the theater's casualty accounting data base from the lead corps upon arrival in theater.
To remedy current shortfalls in automation and meet the doctrinal requirements, the theater PERSCOM will initially focus on the following:
- Maintain casualty records.
- Transfer casualty records to USTA PERSCOM.
- Maintain patient accountability for the theater using nonstandard data base management systems.
- Plan for and publish procedures for maintaining a theater casualty/patient accountability data base.
Theater Personnel Services Directorate
Once the theater matures, the personnel services directorate will provide essential services to commanders, soldiers, and civilians. Their casualty management responsibilities include the following critical tasks:
- Operate the theater casualty management network.
- Synchronize casualty matters between the DCSPER and DCSLOG.
- Research cases to assist the J4 joint MA office to identify remains.
- Coordinate information on remains disposition.
- Coordinate memorial affairs.
- Coordinate information on personal effects disposition.
- Conduct liaison, and obtain casualty information from medical, mortuary affairs, law enforcement, and intelligence activities.
- Coordinate joint casualty requirements.
- Process casualty reports.
- Reconcile open cases against all potential information sources.
- Prepare and submit initial and supplemental casualty reports to PERSCOM.
- Report and record casualties (U.S. Army, allied military, U.S. civilian, and sister service military personnel).
- Review and validate the status of soldiers and civilians reported killed or missing in action before marking mail addressed to them for return to sender.
- Manage a theater casualty data base.
- Ensure missing-in-action investigation completion.
- Manage U.S. prisoner of war and missing-in-action cases.
- Develop a casualty estimation data base.
- Revise casualty stratification factors based on empirical data.
Theater Army Casualty and Records Center
When the tactical situation dictates and the theater PERSCOM commander directs, elements of the casualty division and other personnel services directorate divisions form into a Theater Army Casualty Records Center (TACREC).
The TACREC normally locates at the alternate CP. The deputy director, personnel services directorate, supervises TACREC operations. The TACREC is the focal point at the theater for casualty report processing. It may also serve as the personnel records repository for all records within the theater.
If the theater PERSCOM commander directs, personnel organizations with personnel records in theater move them to the TACREC. This gives the TACREC access to records for casualty report processing.
The casualty management system extends beyond the area of operations and includes casualty area commands (CAC) within CONUS and other theaters. The CACs, with direction from the Casualty and Memorial Affairs Operations Center (CMAOC), assist families with funeral arrangements and personal effects disposition. CACs train soldiers to serve as notification officers or survival assistance officers.
Responsibilities are the following:
- Direct casualty area commands outside the area of operations to establish casualty liaison teams where appropriate.
- Assist the lead corps to establish and operate a data link between the corps PMC and USTA PERSCOM for casualty information transmission.
- Shift the data link from the corps PMC to the theater PMC when established.
- Publish procedural guidance governing patient accountability during a contingency operation.
- Publish procedural guidance governing casualty accounting system establishment and maintenance.
The casualty operations management system requires manpower beyond current organizational authorizations.
Personnel groups must form casualty liaison teams to obtain casualty information. There is no documented personnel authorization to satisfy this requirement. The personnel group commander must form these teams from organic resources, borrowed military manpower, soldiers released from medical facilities, and excess replacement personnel. Casualty liaison teams must have sufficient personnel to provide for continuous operations.
There is an immediate requirement for a data link between the theater PMC and PERSCOM to transmit casualty information. Voice communications are equally essential to achieve the 24-hour reporting standard. Personnel units must have the necessary communication assets and computer hardware and software to establish essential communications on a priority basis.
Within the theater, mobile subscriber equipment and other communications means must support data transmission and voice communications.
The current Army casualty information processing system works within an early SIDPERS information architecture. New systems must work within current and SIDPERS 3.0 environments. Chapter 27 outlines objective requirements for the system.
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