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This chapter implements STANAGs 2033, 2044, 2070, and 2084

As an MP you have the mission to safeguard, account for, and maintain captives until the captives are transferred to HN or Allied forces, released, or repatriated. MP maintain accountability of US-captured EPWs and CIs at all times. Even if a HN agrees to secure US-captured EPWs, MP in-theater are responsible for the processing and accountability of those EPWs. Division and corps MP operate EPW collecting point and holding areas. MP in TA units like the PERSCOM have traditionally provided the technical expertise and force structure to process, evacuate, and intern captives. But MP in corps and TAACOM elements must also be able to carry out these operations. For detailed discussion of the PERSCOM see FM 12-6.


Captives must be fully processed before they can be interned, evacuated out of theater, or repatriated. Processing may be done where captives will be interned. It also may be done separately at facilities set up for just that purpose. For instance captives being sent to CONUS for internment could be processed at temporary camps set up near overseas terminals. Captives to be interned by HN or allied forces could be taken to an international processing and transfer point. And sick or wounded captives to be hospitalized, or perhaps repatriated in a neutral third country during hostilities, would be processed at the medical facility to which they had been taken.

When setting up a processing point--

  • See that facilities offer shelter, water, and latrines of the quality available to the US forces guarding the captives.
  • Use existing structures if you can. If they are not available, use tents. Or you can request help from Engineers to plan and construct a facility. There is no set design. But ideally the design should keep a captive from knowing what is taking place at any processing station but his own. (Uncertainty reduces prisoner collaboration, organizing, and escape attempts.)
  • Use captives (except officers) to help build, maintain, and run the facility. For more information on using captive labor see section on Setting Up and Operating Internment Facilities in Theater later in this chapter.
  • At the least, set up a receiving compound separate from the processing compound. And try to have separate areas for segregating captives.
  • Request interpreters (linguists) from MI or PSYOP units or from HN or allied forces. Or ask for help in identifying and clearing trusted captives or local nationals to interpret.

Once in operation, be sure the facility can--

  • Receive captives arriving at any time, day or night.
  • Field process captives when they arrive if this has not been done earlier.
  • Segregate captives into groups. Have one group for officers, one for NCOs and so on for enlisted soldiers, civilians, males, females. Separate also by nationalities and ideologies as much as possible. And segregate captives who surrendered willingly from those who resisted capture.
  • Provide first aid for a captive who is wounded or ill.
  • Provide rations and water.

When directing operations, be sure the receiving element--

  • Counts arriving captives and receipts for captives and their effects from escort guards.
  • Keeps newly assigned captives apart from those who arrived earlier and who may have been partially processed.
  • Assigns a temporary control number to each captive to link captives with their property until an internment serial number (ISN) is assigned by the processing element (STANAG 2044). (You could use the capture tag number for the temporary control number. Or you could use the julian date and a sequence number of four digits, starting with 0001 each day at 2400 hours. In which case the control number 8265-0001 would denote the first captive received after 2400 hours on julian date 8265 [17 September 1988].)
  • Records the captive's temporary control number and the captive's last name on a prisoner identification band.
  • Attaches a wrist band to the left wrist of each captive, using the prisoner banding kit.
  • Marks the captive's control number on the property that was taken from each captive as he or she arrived.
  • Stores the property in temporary storage areas nearby until the captives can be processed.
  • Controls access to the temporary storage areas.
  • Ensures each captive receives physical and medical processing.
  • Tales captives to the processing compound as soon as possible.
  • If captives cannot be processed immediately, holds them in the receiving compound.

Ensure the processing element--

  • Keeps segregated captives apart as much as possible during processing.
  • Conducts the administrative processing.
  • Expedites the processing of captives selected by MI teams for interrogation.
  • Assigns each captive an ISN, ISNs are provided by TA PWIC. An ISN is the official number assigned to and identifying each internee in US custody. No two ISNs are alike. Each ISN has two parts. The--

--First part contains the letters US, a number standing for the theater in which the person came into US custody, and two letters standing for the person's country of origin.

--Second part has a set of numerals (five digits) assigned in sequential order to each captive processed in a command. The numerals are followed by the letters EPW, RP, CI, or OD to denote the person's classification group. For example, the first EPW to be processed by the US Army in a theater that was designated as "9" and whose country was designated as "AB" would be assigned an ISN of US9AB-OOO01EPW. The fifteenth such EPW to be processed by the same command would be assigned US9AB-00015EPW. Detailed discussion is in the Prisoner of War Information System Users Manual.

  • Replaces the control number on each captive's wrist with the ISN.

MP are not assigned to medical facilities to process or guard captives. But you may be tasked to take an element to medical facilities to process sick or injured captives. Process the captives as soon as possible after medical personnel have decided the captives' physical condition is fit enough. Obtain, at the least, a captive's name and--

  • Grade.
  • Serial number.
  • Date of birth.
  • Fingerprints.

See Appendix J for more information on forms and their preparation.


US-captured EPWs may be interned in a theater of operations. They may be evacuated out of a theater of operations or to the CONUS for internment. (Civilians may not be removed for internment.) Or they may be transferred to HN or allied forces for internment. EPWs may be transferred only to another country that is a signatory of the Geneva Conventions. Prisoners are transferred after the US is satisfied that the HN or allied force is willing and able to apply the provisions of the Geneva Conventions. Then the EPWs are escorted to an international transfer point.

EPWs to be moved must first be processed. The MP unit with overall responsibility for EPWs in a theater of operations processes EPWs in US facilities. The EPWs remain in US facilities until transportation is available for evacuation or transfer.


If EPWs are to be evacuated out of the theater, the EPW unit responsible for their internment is responsible for their evacuation. MP units in the CONUS EPW Command under the Forces Command commander are responsible for evacuating US-captured EPWs to CONUS and for operating CONUS EPW facilities. The CONUS unit responsible for EPW internment sends MP into the theater to assume accountability for and to evacuate captives. The escort guard MP from CONUS accept custody of EPWs in-theater and evacuate the EPWs from the theater to CONUS and on to their final destination. Transport from point of arrival in CONUS to internment camps is arranged by the CONUS PW Command through the Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC).

To evacuate EPWs out-of-theater, request transportation through a Regional Movement Control Team (RMCT) assigned to the Theater Army Movement Control Agency (TAMCA). The TAMCA coordinates transportation to CONUS through a representative from the MTMC in theater. The MTMC representative arranges movement with a representative from the US Air Force Military Airlift Command (MAC) or the US Navy Military Sealift Command (MSC) in theater. (The CONUS PW Command maintains liaison with the TA MP responsible for EPWs. The PW Command liaison officer in the theater coordinates movement of escort guards from CONUS to evacuate EPWs.)

EPWs may be evacuated out of theater by ship or aircraft, Both military cargo aircraft and civil aircraft from the civilian reserve aircraft fleet (CRAF) may be used. Selection of aircraft is made by MAC. Passenger aircraft are most suited to evacuating EPWs. They--

  • Are built to carry a large number of people in a small space.
  • Have passenger cabins that can be sectioned for easier control, especially on large wide-body jets like the 747.
  • You can erect barriers of chain link fencing or other material.
  • Have less easily exposed hydraulic and electrical lines.
  • Have a seating configuration that allows guards to quickly reach and subdue EPWs who become disruptive.
  • Make it easier to meet the comfort and safety requirements of the Geneva Conventions, which may encourage the cooperation of EPWs.

Policies and procedures for securing EPWs to protect the aircraft and for maintaining discipline among the EPWs and US military prisoners are set by Army regulations. See lists of ARs in Appendix J, in References, and also in FMs 19-10 and 19-60. Procedures for loading and unloading US military prisoners on aircraft and for restraining high risk or belligerent US military prisoners apply also to en route EPWs.

EPWs may not be restrained in their seats by more than their seat belts. Do not use additional restraining devices to secure prisoners to freed portions of the aircraft. (For EPWs deemed to be high-risk individuals, consider using a body restraint or having one guard per five high-risk EPWs.)

The type of weapons that may be carried for use while on board the aircraft varies with the theater of operations. You must securely store on the aircraft weapons used during other phases of the evacuation. Plan to use nightsticks or riot batons to maintain discipline. Consider the need for--

  • Carrying .38-caliber pistols with plastic or rubber stun bullets.
  • Carrying specially adapted 12-gauge shotguns with half-loads that will not penetrate the skin of the aircraft when fired.

Guards should wear helmets and flak vests if these weapons are to be used.

The aircraft commander is responsible for the security of the EPWs and the aircraft. He may decide additional measures are needed. Follow his instructions, if any, in addition to your standing orders.


Accountability must be maintained for US-captured EPWs who are transferred to HN or allied forces for internment. If the accepting HN or allied force fails to carry out the intent of the Geneva Conventions, the US is responsible for taking corrective action.

Specific procedures for transferring US-captured EPWs to HN or allied forces is governed by treaty or agreement between the US and the HN or allied force. US processing-point liaison teams locate at HN and allied processing points. They ensure US interests are maintained at the point of transfer and they document transfer of custody.

Prisoners of war and CIs who are not sick or wounded are normally sent home or released at the end of hostilities as directed by the State Department and the Department of Defense. But chronically ill or wounded EPWs may be repatriated or accommodated in a neutral country during hostilities. (Captives are not repatriated during hostilities against their will.) A medical commission set up by HQDA determines which cases are eligible. The medical commission consists of two members appointed by the International Red Cross and approved by the parties to the conflict. The third member is a medical officer of the US Army selected by HQDA. Decisions made by the commission are communicated to HQDA, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel (ODCSPER); the protecting power; and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Decisions of the commission are carried out by the US government within three months of notification.


Captives who are to be interned in the theater of operations must be sustained and safeguarded as far to the rear as possible. In a mature theater of operations, MP special-purpose EPW elements will escort, guard, process, and intern captives. In a developing theater, or under conditions involving mass captures or surrenders, TAACOM MP elements may be needed to intern captives for a short time under field-expedient circumstances. (Field-expedient internment lasts only until the captives can be moved to an out-of-theater internment facility or until MP special-purpose units arrive from CONUS to intern the captives in theater.)


If you must set up an internment enclosure, even as an interim facility, select the location based on the--

  • Number of captives you expect to intern.
  • Location of sources for transport, supplies, and medical treatment.
  • Degree and kind of Threat activity in the area.
  • Attitude of local civilians toward the captives.
  • Presence of a collocated MI interrogation site.
  • Presence of usable structures.
  • Need for and presence of electricity, fuel, water, sewage treatment, garbage disposal, latrines, laundry facilities, and firefighting equipment.
  • Ability to expand operations. If you found yourself operating for an extended period of time, you would need space in which to set up a place for--

--Storing impounded property.

--Receiving, storing, and issuing supplies.

--Retaining captives in need of maximum security.

--Treating and caring for persons with light illnesses or injuries.

--Segregating hard-core uncooperative captives under maximum security.

--Repair and utilities elements.

--Work projects.

--Staff operations.

The longer you must operate an enclosure, the more you need space for--

  • In-processing and records areas.
  • Showers, barracks, and dining facilities.
  • A CP and an administrative office.

However long you operate, you must have space to segregate captives by rank (officer, NCO, or enlisted), status (EPW or retained person), and sex. You must be able to keep separate those captives providing information to MI interrogation teams, safeguarding them from other captives. And you must intern CIs in an enclosure separate from that holding EPWs or retained persons.

You may locate your enclosure by itself or near other enclosures for mutual or shared support. But each enclosure must be separate from all others. You want it to be hard for captives to communicate with each other.

Use terrain features as obstacles between enclosures when possible. On level terrain, set enclosures up to one mile apart to prevent collaboration if need be. When using existing structures--

  • Consider using a multistory structure to keep the size of the perimeter small.
  • Consider adapting a vacant warehouse, school, apartment building, or the like.
  • Avoid choosing a building shaped in a way that would make perimeter security or patrolling difficult.
  • Do not use building sharing walls with other structures that are not part of your faciltity.

Make and keep a diagram showing the placement of--

  • Doors, windows, stairwells, elevators, fire escapes, skylights, and other entry and exit points.
  • Fuse panels, circuit breakers, light fixtures, switches, and outlets in the electrical system.
  • Telephone outlets and equipment.
  • Barriers, guard posts, and gates.

If you must construct an enclosure--

  • Consider the climate, likely permanency of the enclosure, and the number of facilities in the area.
  • Consider the availability of labor and materials. Use of local materials reduces transport needs and reduces the diversion of resources from the MBA.
  • Keep in mind that conditions need not exceed that under which US forces are billeted in the same area.
  • Use tents for temporary shelter during construction.
  • Use captives, except officers, to help construct the enclosures (closely supervise them).

Enclosures must have 360-degree secure perimeters. If Engineer help is not available, you may have to construct perimeter fences yourself. Enclose open areas with double perimeter fences. Set up a sally port. You must be able to search vehicles and people entering and leaving the enclosure. The sally port must be large enough to handle both kinds of traffic. Have separate gates for captives and vehicles whenever you can. Minimum standards include--

  • Two barbed wire fences around the perimeter, one outside the other.
  • Barbed wire top guards at the top of the outside perimeter fence.
  • A 12-foot clear zone, free of any vegetation or shrubbery, between the inner and outer fences. Procedures for constructing temporary fences are discussed in FM 5-34.

External security requires elevated perimeter guard posts. Build these "tower" posts--

  • With platforms wide enough to mount crew-served weapons.
  • High enough to permit observation of the compound and the area between the inner and outer fences.
  • Low enough to provide an adequate field of fire.
  • With cover for the guards.
  • To mutually support each other with direct fires.
  • With retractable access to the towers (for example, a rope ladder).
  • In areas at risk from the Threat, build fighting positions at ground level for use if the facility is attacked.

Install and use more than one source of power for the facility. Consider the need for generators and battery packs. Consider using portable exterior lights. Ensure lighting on perimeter fences--

  • Does not light or silhouette guard posts.
  • Is powered by at least two sources, alternating every other light. A total blackout can occur if the same source of power is used for all perimeter lights.

Protect facility lighting from the captives. Put wire mesh coverings on light bulbs and reflectors.


Be sure captives have adequate clothing and sleeping equipment. Until it wears out, use clothing worn or carried by captives at the time of their capture. Replace clothing when needed. Select clothing suited to the environment and type of work that the captives perform. Issue class X and nonstandard clothing when captured supplies are not available or suitable. All outer garments worn by captives must be marked "PW" or "RP". ISNs or other identifying marks may be put inside the clothing.

If dining facilities are not available at the enclosure, feed captives field rations like those they ate before arriving at the enclosure. Such rations do not need refrigeration or dietary supplements. You can prepare the rations in a mobile kitchen.

Ensure the quantity, quality, and variety of the food ration keeps captives healthy and prevents weight loss and poor nutrition. (Ask medical personnel to keep you apprised of any special situational needs.) When you can, give thought to the food habits and rules of captives' national groups. Have captives prepare their own food under supervision of US personnel. Control rations to keep captives from stockpiling food. Give working captives additional rations. When you can, give thought to the food habits and rules of captives' national groups. Have captives prepare their own food under supervision of US personnel. Control rations to keep captives from stockpiling food. Give working captives additional rations.

You must sustain the health of captives at a level equal to that of the US forces guarding them. To prevent the spread of disease, carry out hygiene and sanitation measures. See AR 40-5. To the degree you can under field conditions, you must--

  • Provide potable water for drinking and cooking, and sufficient water for bathing and laundry.
  • Have latrines available day and night.
  • Provide separate latrines for females. Dispose of waste according to the facilities available.
  • Provide captives with soap, shaving equipment, detergents, and brushes to ensure personal cleanliness and a sanitary environment.
  • Ensure the enclosures are kept clean.
  • Provide enough space to prevent overcrowding.

During internment, dental, surgical, and medical treatment are provided by medical personnel. Medical personnel examine and inspect captives on a monthly basis. Each captive is weighed and his weight is recorded. Captives are checked for vermin, diseases (especially tuberculosis, malaria, and sexually transmitted diseases), and their general state of health, nutrition, and cleanliness. Medical personnel maintain, according to blood type, a list of captives who have volunteered to furnish blood. The echelon surgeon prescribes immunizations to be given to captives. If a captive dies in US care, the medical commander prepares a certificate of death. Deaths resulting from suicide, from accident, or from unknown causes are investigated to the same degree for both US soldiers and EPWs/CIs. In the event of a captive's death, burial is carried out IAW STANAG 2070 and with the same care given US soldiers.

If there are retained persons qualified to perform medical duties, they are allowed, under the supervision of US medical personnel, to provide as much medical and hygiene care for the captives as possible. But medical retained persons must belong to the same armed forces as the captives they are treating.

Medical personnel give captives a record of their medical treatment. The record cites the nature of their illness or injury and explains the length and kind of treatment needed. Medical personnel make sure a copy of the record goes to the branch PWIC. The same medical records and forms are used for EPW as those used for US Army personnel, but "EPW" or "RP" is stamped at the top and bottom of each medical record.


A personnel, finance, and supply record must be kept for each captive interned. You must also prepare and distribute strength reports and legal documents. And you must account for impounded property. For details see AR 190-8 and AR 37-36. You submit your reports through command channels. Ultimately they go to the PWIC. Use captured materials and supplies to reduce the use of US supplies. Send your request for such materials through your chain of command to the logistics officer of the corps or TAACOM. (The logistics officer will coordinate with the intelligence officer before issuing the captured material.)

When preparing captives for transfer to more permanent internment facilities--

  • Verify captives' personnel, finance, medical, and supply records for completeness and accuracy.
  • Place records in a sealed envelope.
  • Have records signed for and carried by the MP element responsible for security during movement.
  • Ensure captives have all of their authorized clothing and equipment.
  • Ensure captives have their personal effects:

--Each EPW and retained person may handcarry a maximum of 55 pounds.

--Each EPW officer may also ship 50 pounds at government expense.

--Chaplains and EPWs who have been serving as clergymen may also ship 110 pounds of theological and religious material at government expense.

If impounded property and effects must be transferred, be sure they are ready for forwarding with the escort or by separate shipment. (When transport requirements allow, MP responsible for security during movement sign for and transport impounded property of captives.)


Secure construction and the presence of guards are the basic means of providing security and control. But maintaining a high state of discipline is important. A system of routines and standards for behavior also contributes to security and control.


You must constantly update security plans based on current intelligence. Be alert for information about uprisings, outbreaks, or escapes. Security and administrative personnel in their day-to-day contact with captives can acquire important information by their observations and insight. Everyone must be alert to detect and report significant information.

Plan responses for internal and external threats to the interment facility. And be alert for attempts by the enemy to communicate with captives by smuggled radios or by foreign language newspapers, or through agents. Sometimes members of enemy armed forces submit to capture in order to infiltrate a camp and become agitators. When planning security--

  • Try to identify agitators, leaders, and their followers.
  • Try to determine if clandestine organizations exist inside the facility.
  • Try to determine the identity, strength, and objectives of the organization and its members.
  • Search for evidence of underground communications systems between local civilians and compounds, enclosures, or camps.
  • Be alert for overt attempts by captives or local civilians to communicate with each other.
  • Be alert for suspicious actions of local civilians, like taking photographs or sketching near the facility.
  • Watch for the presence of weapons and stores of food and/or clothing.
  • Be alert for plans for demonstrations (date and time, number of captives, nature of the demonstration and its objectives).

If MWD teams are available to augment security, they can be a very effective adjunct to a guard force. MWD teams working with the guard force--

  • Offer a real and a psychological deterrent against escape attempts.
  • Reinforce security against attacks by hostile elements.
  • Offer guards an effective alternative to the use of deadly force.
  • Are an economy-of-force measure.

To increase the psychological deterrent of MWDs, hold periodic demonstrations. Do this in full view of captives using the best qualified MWDs. These demonstrations--

  • Show the ease and speed with which MWDs can overtake an individual who is running.
  • Show the ability of MWDs to attack and overcome physical resistance.
  • Show the tracking capabilities of MWDs.

Use MWDs for--

  • Perimeter security. Use them to make unscheduled patrols around the perimeter fence during periods of limited visibility or darkness.
  • Work details. Place them between captives and the area that offers the greatest opportunity for escape. Place them where they are noticeably visible to captives.

Use of MWDs is also discussed in Appendix K.


Preventing escape from or liberation of internment facilities requires sound security measures. You must continuously--

  • Evaluate your available resources.
  • Weigh the ability of the captives to resist your control measures.
  • Adapt your security measures to current intelligence information on EPW plans.

External guards man tower and gate posts. They ensure captives remain inside the enclosure unless removed for labor details, transfer, or other authorized purposes. External guards also repel attempts to liberate captives through direct military action by regular or irregular enemy forces. You--

  • Ensure tower and gate guards have a means of communicating with other external guard posts and with the operations center.
  • Augment security during periods of limited visibility by posting static and/or roving guards between towers outside the perimeter.

Internal guards maintain segregation and order. They also ensure captives do not have access to buildings that have a wall included in the fence line. Locate internal guard posts--

  • At entrances.
  • On stairwells.
  • In corridors.
  • In maximum security areas.
  • On rooftops.
  • Where guards will have protection.
  • Wherever else needed.

Provide a reliable means of communication with other internal guard posts and with the operations center.

Set up communications between internal and external guard posts, maximum security areas, reaction force areas, foot patrols, and the operations center. When wire is used, locate it where it can be inspected but where captives cannot tamper with it.

Use lighting on walls and fences to illuminate the entire perimeter and to detect escape attempts. Use lighting inside compounds and enclosures to control movement of captives at night. The security force available to guard captives must consist of--

  • An on-duty force of at least one guard for each tower, gate, and internal post.
  • A reserve force large enough to reinforce the posted guards if needed. (The reserve force is usually drawn from the relief guards, guard company elements who are not on duty.)

Leaders of a guard force include--

  • A commander of the guard.
  • One or more sergeants of the guard.
  • A relief commander for each relief shift.

As a leader of a security guard force, you must ensure equipment is functioning, guards are alert, and the facility is secure. Check to see that guard elements--

  • Are familiar with the facility.
  • Know, understand, and comply with their general and special orders.
  • Make periodic communications checks, using hand and arm signals between guard posts that are within sight of each other.
  • Know the pyrotechnic signals (designated by local SOP) to use when rapid notice of the entire facility is needed during darkness. For example, if the facility were being attacked, guards might--

--Fire red star clusters to mark an attack location.

--Fire parachute flares to illuminate the area.

--Fire green star clusters to mark the location of an escape attempt.

  • Know the duress codes set by the facility SOP. (The duress codes are changed periodically.)


The controlled well-being of captives is central to humane internment operations.


The senior EPW officer assigned to each camp is recognized as the EPW representative, unless he or she is determined by US authorities to be incapacitated or incompetent. If an EPW officer is not present in camp to represent enlisted EPWs, they may elect an enlisted representative. In officer EPW camps, one or more advisors are chosen by the interned officers to assist their representative. In mixed camps (enlisted and officer EPWs assigned) advisors are elected by and from the EPW population to assist the prisoner representative.

Elected and appointed representatives must have the same nationality, customs, and language as the prisoners they represent, Each group of EPWs interned in separate compounds or enclosures because of differences in nationality, language, customs, or ideology is permitted to have an elected representative.

EPW representatives further the physical, spiritual, and intellectual well-being of the prisoners they represent. Representatives are given freedom of movement (within security requirements). (Representatives do not have authority to discipline prisoners.) They are allowed to--

  • Inspect labor detachments.
  • Receive supplies.
  • Communicate with US military authorities, protecting powers, ICRC and its delegates, medical commissions, and other organizations authorized to assist EPWs. (The protecting power, such as the ICRC, will periodically inspect the compound and interview the prisoner regarding the conditions of their internment welfare, and rights.)
  • Use postal and telegraph facilities.

Representatives are not required to work if it makes their job as representative more difficult.

Representatives are elected by secret ballot and serve for a term of six months. EPWs are permitted to consult freely with their elected representative. In turn, their representative is allowed to represent them before--

  • The ICRC.
  • The protecting power.
  • US military authorities.
  • Other relief or aid organizations authorized to represent EPWs.

The camp commander approves prisoner representatives before they are allowed to perform their duties. If the camp commander refuses to approve or dismisses an elected representative, a notice citing reasons for the refusal is forwarded to HQDA, ODCSPER. EPWs are permitted to elect another representative. An elected EPW representative may appoint assistants. Assistants must be approved by the camp commander.

Captive medical personnel and chaplains are not considered EPWs and may not be represented by prisoner representatives. The senior captive medical officer in each camp is responsible to US military authorities for the activities of retained medical personnel. Captive chaplains have direct access to camp authorities.

Each member of the committee must be approved by the camp (battalion) commander. A notice must be sent through the branch PWIC to the national PWIC and the protecting power when a committee member is removed from office or not approved by the camp (battalion) commander. Each committee member may have an assistant.


It is important to maintain humane but firm control of EPWs. To control captives you must--

  • Observe rigorous self-discipline.
  • Maintain a soldierly, impersonal attitude.
  • Cope calmly with hostile or unruly behavior or incidents.
  • Take judicious, yet immediate, decisive action.

You also must--

  • Set policies, procedures, and techniques that provide firm control of EPWs.
  • Give reasonable orders.
  • Give orders decisively and in a language that captives understand.
  • Post copies of the Geneva Conventions where captives can read them in every compound.
  • Post the rules, regulations, instructions, notices, orders, and announcements that captives are expected to obey. Posted information must be--

--Printed in a language that captives understand.

--Copied and given to captives who do not have access to the posted copies.

  • Make sure captives obey orders, rules, and directives.
  • Report captives who refuse or fail to obey an order or regulation.

If necessary the commander can initiate judicial proceedings against EPWs. They can be by courts-martial or civil court. The Manual for Courts-Martial and the Uniform Code of Military Justice are used when prisoners are court-martialed. EPWs can be delivered to civil authorities when authorized by the Secretary of the Army. An EPW will not be delivered to civil authorities for an offense unless a member of the US armed forces would be delivered for committing a similar offense.

Disciplinary measures should be used instead of judicial punishment whenever possible. Disciplinary measures include--

  • Discontinuing privileges that are granted over and above the treatment provided for by the Geneva Conventions.
  • Confinement.
  • A fine not to exceed one-half of the advance pay and working pay that the EPW/CI would otherwise receive during a period of not more than 30 days.

Fatigue duties not to exceed two hours per day. This punishment will not be applied to officers. NCOs can only be required to do supervisory work.

Prisoners cannot be disciplined until they are given precise information regarding the offense of which they are accused. They must be given a chance to explain their conduct and defend themselves. They will be permitted to call witnesses and use an interpreter if necessary.


Make daily inspections to help maintain discipline and control. Account for captives by number when you conduct roll call formations. Do this--

  • At least twice each day, morning and evening.
  • Immediately following a mass disturbance, discovery of a tunnel, or detection of a hole or break in the perimeter fence. Count captives outside the facility on work details often and at random.

Inspect ID bands at random intervals. ID bands are attached to captives when they are processed for internment. They are used--

  • To account for captives during activities in internment facilities, such as during compound inspections or while waiting in line to eat.
  • To match captives to medical, supply, and personnel records and for other administrative uses.
  • To identify captives departing for and returning from work details.

Make sure that every captive has an ID band. Because ID bands can be removed or altered, compare the ID band with an ID card when positive identification is required. Replace ID bands when the ISN or the name is not legible or the band is weakened because of wear or damage. Normally, ID bands will last about six months.

Conduct periodic and unannounced searches of compounds and facilities. When searching--

  • Look for evidence of tunneling.
  • Look for caches of food, clothing, weapons, maps, money, or other valuables that make escape easier.

Maintain strict accountability for tools and equipment used by captives. Check tools and equipment into and out of the compound or enclosure by item and number. Search all captives when they enter or leave an enclosure.

Examine all perimeter fences daily. Report and immediately investigate any evidence of weakness or damage.


You must be able to identify captives as cooperative or uncooperative. Be aware of the importance of observing, recognizing, and reporting information. To collect information at internment facilities, offer captives the chance to volunteer information. Accurate and timely information about captives' attitudes and activities helps you to--

  • Determine measures needed to maintain control and to adjust to trends in prisoner behavior.
  • Counter resistance and minimize the use of force.
  • Identify and segregate "hard-core" uncooperative captives in maximum security facilities.
  • Protect cooperative captives from reprisal.

PSYOP civil affairs, and MI elements also have an interest in captives' behaviors. They support efforts to promote captives' cooperation with US forces and to ensure the safety of cooperating captives. PSYOP elements working under the OPCON of the MP EPW commander--

  • Screen the camp's EPWs to find suitable interpreters and translators.
  • Develop comprehensive information, reorientation, educational, and vocational programs that prepare the EPWs for repatriation.
  • Develop good relations with the local population near EPW camps to reduce the camps' impact.
  • Help EPWs and CIs understand and appreciate US policies and actions.
  • Encourage EPWs and CIs to accept camp authority and regulations.
  • Try to gain cooperation of EPWs and CIs. (This can reduce MP guard requirements.)
  • Aid in controlling the camp population during emergencies.
  • Develop indoctrination programs to help eliminate political activities of activist EPWs and CIs.
  • Identify malcontents, trained agitators, and political officers in the camp population. This reduces likelihood of organized resistance or unexpected disturbances.
  • Gain information or PIR regarding enemy forces.

MI personnel at the theater army's interrogation facility are located close to a theater's internment facilities to provide access to EPWs for questioning. MI interrogators interact with PSYOP and civil affairs units working with EPW at the internment facility to gain information or PIR. And they coordinate with the internment facility to enable MP to safeguard from other captives those who are providing information to the MI interrogators.


All displays of conflict must be brought under control quickly. You must promptly segregate and/or isolate of-fenders. Aggressively uncooperative captives will try to--

  • Refuse to eat, work, or attend formations.
  • Malinger, sabotage equipment and facilities, or intimidate other captives.
  • Commit acts of violence, like assaulting other captives or US personnel.
  • Take hostages to secure concessions from US forces.
  • Plan and attempt individual escapes or mass breakouts.
  • Make weapons or other illegal or prohibited items.
  • Print and distribute propaganda.
  • Create embarrassing situations, make false accusations, or start disturbances to influence inspection teams or members of the ICRC or to create unfavorable publicity.

Sometimes captives form groups that promote conflict with or attempt to gain concessions from or to harass authorities. Captives may protest kinds and quantities of food and clothing, other living conditions and treatment, and the like. Demonstrations and protests can lead to riots. Riots can arise spontaneously even from--

  • Group singing.
  • Religious gatherings.
  • Fires or other endangering or disruptive events--any events that promote strong feeling.

And a spontaneous riot may be organized and used by determined leadership to--

  • Protest grievances.
  • Intimidate persons or groups who are cooperating with US forces.
  • Divert attention from an escape.
  • Cause US forces to divert assets from other operations.
  • Embarrass the US in relations with protecting powers and other nations.

To maintain control you must have a well-developed, well-rehearsed plan for defusing tense situations, handling unruly captives, and quelling riots should they occur. Only through quickly restoring order can you exercise effective control. Because physical layouts of internment facilities can differ, you must plan your actions to suit your given--

  • Terrain features.
  • Structural needs.
  • Number of captives.
  • Size of control force.

You must restore order using the least degree of physical force possible. Often PSYOP resources can play an effective role in restoring order. And you can, if need be, incapacitate captives with riot control agents.

You are authorized to use riot control agent CS, in both the powder and burning forms, for the control of EPW riots. CS is effective in very small amounts. In seconds it distresses exposed personnel. It causes extreme watering of the eyes, a choking sensation, and chest pains. Although the effects of the agent will disappear in 5 to 10 minutes in clear air, the experience is one few captives care to repeat.

In good circumstances, 20 pounds or less of CS agent should provide an effective concentration over the open area of a compound. Riot control agent dispersers let you rapidly cover extensive areas. And you can supplement dispersers with bursting and burning riot control grenades. See FM 19-15 for detailed information on the use of riot control agent dispersers, not control grenades, and the not control agent launcher and projectile.

Only when extreme weather conditions prevent the use of riot control agents should you use physical force alone to restore order. Even then, you must weigh the benefit of using immediate force against the risks of delaying action until favorable weather would allow the use of riot control agents.

To be able to effectively use riot control agents, you must, before an incident--

  • Review riot control plans in detail.
  • Review basic loads of riot control agents to be sure you have an adequate supply.
  • Be able to quickly supplement your stock from strategic storage points.
  • Develop and implement courses of instruction in riot control operations appropriate for administrative and security personnel.
  • Conduct operational checks of protective masks.
  • Identify and train elements of the riot control force who will operate agent dispersers or supervise the operator as dispersal occurs.

At the time of an incident you must--

  • Ensure your troops wear protective masks.
  • Deploy your troops rapidly, ensuring they can quickly and effectively disperse CS agent over the compound.

You must be aware that when captives in one compound start rioting, often those in other compounds in the same enclosure also riot. If only one riot control force is available, first subdue captives in the most riotous compound. At the same time, employ some of the riot control agent personnel to contain rioting in other compounds until the riot control force is free to subdue them.

If captives do riot, take immediate action to exert control within the capability of your forces. Use the CS early enough to avoid the need for physical force. Then take follow-up actions with supporting troops. If needed, call for outside reinforcements from MP units in the AO.

When troops are deployed, have disperser operators take a position upwind, but with the wind direction toward the compound so they can provide adequate agent coverage on the rioting EPWs. After they have dispersed the agent, have a skirmish element move into and through the agent dispersing area in a line. Their entry time is determined by watching the disperser's coverage of the compound area and noting the reactions of the rioters. Rioting captives must be incapacitated before they can be channeled elsewhere. As they force the rioters from the dispersing area, the skirmish element can search out lingering captives and then declare the area cleared.

But if the first use of agent does not bring the desired result, the dispersers can release additional quantities of the agent. If additional agent is needed, disperser operators obtain refills and quickly return to their positions. Troops carrying CS hand grenades also can engage any captives giving the slightest indication of further resistance. (Make sure burning CS grenades are not thrown into buildings.)

A second element, located outside the agent dispersing area, controls the movement of captives fleeing the riot control agent. This element channels the fleeing captives toward a "neutral" area where they will be met by an awaiting third element who will receive, search, and control all arriving captives.

When all rioters have been forced out of the riot area, the skirmish element reenters the area and searches the compound, buildings, or tents for contraband and items of intelligence value. They also check for riot control equipment. Before captives can be returned to their compounds, all riot control weapons, grenades, and protective equipment must be accounted for. If a weapon, grenade, or protective mask is missing and there is reason to believe that it has been left in the enclosure, all areas used by the riot control force must be searched until it is found.

Be sure former rioters are retained in the neutral area until all captives have been searched and their compounds have been cleared. Return captives to their compound in groups small enough to be easily controlled. (Captives who require medical attention are escorted to the enclosure dispensary for treatment.)

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