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Commander's Guide to Money as a Weapons System Handbook

Handbook 09-27
April 2009

CALL Handbook 09-27: Commander's Guide to Money as a Weapons System Handbook

Department of Defense Rewards Program

Chapter 6

The Department of Defense (DOD) Rewards Program offers incentives for information and can be a remarkably effective tool in preempting enemy operations and denying sanctuary and weapons. It provides monetary, goods, or services rewards for information and other nonlethal assistance beneficial to force protection or operations against international terrorism.

Rules and Guidance 

The DOD Rewards Program can pay for information:

  • That leads to the arrest of wanted persons.
  • That leads to weapons cache locations.
  • That is beneficial to military operations or armed force activities against international terrorism.
  • That aids in force protection.

The DOD Rewards Program is not an intelligence program and does not replace existing intelligence programs. The program's scope is limited to specific pre-nominations and pre-approved categories in which reward payments are restricted to instances where information leads to the capture of wanted individuals or weapons.

Units may take steps to expedite the reward nomination, approval, and payment processes, but they must follow these guidelines regardless of the procedures used:

  • All rewards must be approved at the appropriate level.
  • Units must maintain specific information for each payment.
  • Units must meet reporting requirements through their major support commands.
  • All reasonable efforts must be made to protect the reward recipient's confidentiality.
  • Company/Battery/Troop commanders must ensure they do not develop an ongoing working relationship with local nationals through any level of the DOD Rewards Program.
  • The DOD Rewards Program is the primary rewards program authorized for use. Do not confuse it with rewards programs offered by other government agencies, such as the Department of State Rewards for Justice Program which is coordinated through higher headquarters and U.S. Central Command.
  • The DOD Rewards Program is not a weapons buyback program, but it does allow payment for information leading to the capture of wanted weapons as outlined by DOD.
  • Funds from the DOD Rewards Program may be used to advertise the program and is referenced in information operations products funded by the Operational and Maintenance Account. Local products may include national tip lines, but units must closely coordinate with the tip line personnel in order to accurately disseminate and act on information. Ultimately, units are responsible for developing their own mechanisms, such as a locally generated tip line, to facilitate local nationals contacting the coalition. There is no requirement for advertisements to have an official U.S. Government/DOD symbol. Advertisements can, but are not required to, refer to coalition or allied headquarters as the agencies offering the rewards.
  • Rewards are paid in cash or in the form of like-kind benefits such as food, local amenities, necessities, vehicles, or communal rewards whose value is equal to or less than the authorized/approved reward amount.
  • Rewards cannot be paid to U.S. military members, employees, contractors, citizens of the United States, or coalition or allied forces (the Iraqi security forces [ISF] are exempted).
  • Units cannot pay rewards to detainees for information that assists the coalition with operations or force protection. There is no statutory or regulatory prohibition against providing rewards to detainees.
  • All ISF are eligible for rewards per the Office of the Secretary of Defense waiver. Prior to making rewards payments, ensure a current waiver is in effect.
  • Units cannot pay rewards for information that leads to a person who is found deceased, unless the person is killed during operations based upon information provided, or the request is specifically approved by the Secretary of Defense.
  • Units cannot pay rewards for information gathered by methods contrary to DOD policy, such as extortion. (*Note: Original statement incorrectly stated units can pay rewards for information.) 
  • Units must advise those eligible for rewards above $10K that due to administrative requirements, the payment process may take several weeks.
  • Units with the authority to operate human intelligence (HUMINT) collection teams (HCTs) or HUMINT exploitation teams can use rewards to pay sources for information leading to the capture of wanted persons and seizure of equipment. However, they may not use rewards to pay salaries or provide equipment to task the source to collect information.
  • There are three types of monetary reward levels within the Multi-National Corps–I DOD Rewards Program: 
    • Micro-rewards. Less than or equal to $500 for information per incident; $1K a month available per company; commanders can pay rewards for information received on the spot.
    • Small rewards. Greater than $500 but equal to or less than $10K; payouts are for high-value individuals (HVI) (terror cell leaders, terrorist financiers, and smugglers) or weapons caches, as the theater, division, or brigade combat team commander deems appropriate.
    • Large rewards. Greater than $10K; payouts of over $10K are for the capture of HVIs, large weapon caches that significantly reduce the effectiveness of a terror cell, and other pre-approved rewards of similar significance (capture of foreign fighters or the abductor of a U.S. Servicemember).

See Appendix D, MNC-I CJ8, Money as a Weapons System Standing Operating Procedure.

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