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[NOTE: This appendix is a reprint of Enclosure A, Chairman, JCS Instruction 3121.01 (1 Oct 94), which is the unclassified portion of that instruction. Within Enclosure A, there are references to its Appendix A as well as to Enclosures B and C and the Glossary of the CJSC instruction. However, those referenced documents are classified and are not reproduced here. The purpose of reprinting Enclosure A is to provide commanders with the source document of several key terms discussed elsewhere in this publication.]


1. Purpose and Scope.

a. The purpose of these SROE is to provide implementation guidance on the inherent right obligation of self-defense and the application of force for mission accomplishment. The SROE establish fundamental policies and procedures governing the actions to be taken by U.S. force commanders during all military operations, contingencies, or prolonged conflicts. In order to provide uniform training and planning capabilities, this document is authorized for distribution to commanders at levels to be used as fundamental guidance for training and directing their forces.

b. Except as augmented by supplemental rules of engagement for specific operations, missions, or projects, the policies and procedures established herein remain in effect until rescinded.

c. U.S. forces operating with multinational forces:

(1) U.S. forces assigned to the operational control (OPCON) of a multinational force will follow the ROE of the multinational force unless otherwise directed by the National Command Authorities (NCA). U.S. forces will be assigned and remain OPCON to a multinational force only if the combatant commander and higher authority determine that the ROE for that multinational force are consistent with the policy guidance on unit self-defense and with the rules for individual self-defense contained in this document.

(2) When U.S. forces, under U.S. OPCON, operate in conjunction with a multinational force, reasonable efforts will be made to effect common ROE. If such ROE cannot be established, U.S. forces will exercise the right and obligation of self-defense contained in this document while seeking guidance from the appropriate combatant command. To avoid mutual interference, the multinational forces will be informed prior to U.S. participation in the operation of the U.S. forces' intentions to operate under these SROE and to exercise unit self-defense. For additional guidance concerning peace operations, see Appendix A to Enclosure A.

(3) Participation in multinational operations may be complicated by varying national obligations derived from international agreements, i.e., other members in a coalition may not be signatories to treaties that bind the United States, or they may be bound by treaties to which the United States is not a party. U.S. forces still remain bound by U.S. treaty obligations even if the other members in a coalition are not signatories to a treaty and need not adhere to its terms.

d. Commanders of U.S. forces subject to international agreements governing their presence in foreign countries (e.g., Status of Forces Agreements) are not relieved of the inherent authority and obligation to use all necessary means available and to take all appropriate action for unit self-defense.

e. U.S. forces in support of operations not under operational or tactical control of a combatant commander or performing missions under direct control of the NCA, Military Departments, or other U.S. government departments/agencies (i.e., marine security guards, certain special security forces) will operate under use-of-force or ROE promulgated by those departments or agencies.

f. U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) units and units under USCG OPCON conducting law enforcement operations, and USCG personnel using their law enforcement authority, will follow the use-of-force policy issued by the Commandant, USCG. Nothing in the USCG use-of-force policy negates a commander's inherent authority and obligation to use all necessary means available and to take all appropriate action for unit self-defense in accordance with these SROE.

g. The guidance in this document does not cover U.S. forces deployed to assist federal and local authorities during times of civil disturbance within the territorial jurisdiction of any state, the District of Columbia, Commonwealths of Puerto Rico and the Northern Marianas, U.S. possessions, and U.S. territories. Forces in these situations will follow use-of-force policy found in DOD Civil Disturbance Plan, "Garden Plot" (Appendix 1 to Annex C of Garden Plot).

h. U.S. forces deployed to assist foreign, federal, and local authorities in disaster assistance missions, such as earthquakes and hurricanes, will follow use-of-force guidelines as set forth in the mission's execute order and subsequent orders.

i. U.S. forces will always comply with the Law of Armed Conflict. However, not all situations involving the use of force are armed conflicts under international law. Those approving operational rules of engagement must determine if the internationally recognized Law of Armed Conflict applies. In those circumstances when armed conflict, under international law, does not exist, Law of Armed Conflict principles may, nevertheless, be applied as a matter of national policy. If armed conflict occurs, the actions at U.S. forces will be governed by both the Law of Armed Conflict and rules of engagement.

2. Policy.


b. U.S. national security policy serves to protect the United States, U.S. forces, and, in certain circumstances, U.S. citizens and their property, U.S. commercial assets, and other designated non-U.S. forces, foreign nationals, and their property from hostile attack. U.S. national security policy is guided, in part, by the need to maintain a stable international environment compatible with U.S. national security interests. In addition, U.S. national security interests guide our global objectives of deterring armed attack against the United States across the range of military operations, defeating an attack should deterrence fail, and preventing or neutralizing hostile efforts to intimidate or coerce the United States by the threat or use of armed force or terrorist actions. Deterrence requires clear and evident capability and resolve to fight at any level of conflict and, if necessary, to increase deterrent force capabilities and posture deliberately so that any potential aggressor will assess its own risks as unacceptable. U.S. policy, should deterrence fail, provides flexibility to respond to crises with options that:

(1) Are proportional to the provocation.

(2) Are designed to limit the scope and intensity of the conflict.

(3) Will discourage escalation.

(4) Will achieve political and military objectives.

3. Intent. These SROE are intended to:

a. Provide general guidelines on self-defense and are applicable worldwide to all echelons of command.

b. Provide guidance governing the use of force consistent with mission accomplishment.

c. Be used in operations other than war, during transition from peacetime to armed conflict or war, and during armed conflict in the absence of superseding guidance.

4. Combatant Commanders' SROE.

a. Combatant commanders may augment these SROE as necessary to reflect changing political and military policies, threats, and missions specific to their AOR. When specific standing rules governing the use of force in a combatant commander's AOR are required that are different from these SROE, they will be submitted to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for NCA approval as necessary and promulgated by the Joint Staff as an Annex to Enclosure C of these SROE.

b. Combatant commanders will distribute these SROE to subordinate commanders and units for compliance. The mechanism for disseminating ROE supplemental measures is set forth in Enclosure B.

Section VII: About the Appendices
Appendix A, Part 2

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