HomeNewsMessagesMessages Display
17 YEAR OLD MARINES IN COMBAT

Date Signed: 1/23/2003
MARADMINS Number: 030/03


R 231139Z JAN 03
FM CMC WASHINGTON DC(n)
TO ML MARADMIN(n)
MARADMIN
BT
UNCLAS
MARADMIN 030/03
MSGID/GENADMIN/CMC WASHINGTON DC/MPO-40//
SUBJ/17 YEAR OLD MARINES IN COMBAT//
REF/A/DOC/-/-//
REF/B/DOC/ODASD/21AUG2002//
NARR/REF A IS THE OPTIONAL PROTOCOL TO THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS
OF THE CHILD ON THE INVOLVEMENT OF CHILDREN IN ARMED CONFLICT (CHILD
SOLDIER PROTOCOL.) THIS PROTOCAL STATES PARTIES SHALL
TAKE ALL FEASIBLE MEASURES TO ENSURE THAT MEMBERS OF THEIR ARMED
FORCES WHO HAVE NOT ATTAINED THE AGE OF 18 YEARS DO NOT TAKE A
DIRECT PART IN HOSTILITIES. REF B IS ODASD MEMO, IMPLEMENTATION
OF SERVICE PROCEDURES TO COMPLY WITH THE CHILD SOLDIER TREATY.//
POC/A.J. DYER/LTCOL/-/-/TEL:DSN 278-9386/TEL:COMM (703) 784-9386//
GENTEXT/REMARKS/1. PURPOSE. TO IMPLEMENT REQUIREMENTS OF REFS A
AND B.
2. BACKGROUND. REFS A AND B STATE COMMANDERS SHALL TAKE ALL
FEASIBLE MEASURES TO ENSURE THAT MARINES UNDER THE AGE OF 18
YEARS DO NOT TAKE A DIRECT PART IN HOSTILITIES.
A. "ALL FEASIBLE MEASURES" ARE DEFINED AS THOSE MEASURES WHICH
ARE PRACTICABLE OR PRACTICALLY POSSIBLE, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT ALL
THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES KNOWN AND AVAILABLE TO THE
AFFECTED COMMANDER AT THE TIME, INCLUDING RELEVANT HUMANITARIAN
AND MILITARY CONSIDERATIONS.
B. "DIRECT PART IN HOSTILITES" IS DEFINED AS IMMEDIATE
AND ACTUAL PARTICIPATION IN COMBAT ACTION. THERE MUST BE A DIRECT
CAUSAL CONNECTION BETWEEN THE ACTION OF THE SERVICEMEMBER AND THE
HARM DONE TO THE ENEMY. IT DOES INCLUDE ENGAGING AN ENEMY
ON THE GROUND WITH INDIVIDUAL OR CREW SERVED WEAPONS. IT DOES NOT
MEAN INDIRECT PARTICIPATION IN HOSTILITIES, SUCH AS GATHERING AND
TRANSMITTING MILITARY INFORMATION, TRANSPORTING WEAPONS, MUNITIONS,
OR OTHER SUPPLIES, OR FORWARD DEPLOYMENT.
3. TO IMPLEMENT THE MARINE CORPS POLICY THAT COMPLIES WITH
REFERENCES A AND B, THE FOLLOWING GUIDANCE IS PROVIDED.
A. COMMANDING GENERALS AND COMMANDING OFFICERS OF MARINES WHO HAVE
NOT ATTAINED 18 YEARS OF AGE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR MANAGING UNIT
ASSIGNMENTS OF THOSE MARINES SO THAT ALL FEASIBLE MEASURES ARE
TAKEN TO ENSURE THAT THEY DO NOT TAKE DIRECT PART IN HOSTILITIES.
B. COMMANDERS WHO HAVE OPERATIONAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROL OF
MARINES UNDER THE AGE OF 18 ARE IN THE BEST POSITION TO TRACK,
MANAGE AND SUPERVISE COMPLIANCE WITH REFERENCE A. ACCORDINGLY,
COMMANDING GENERALS AND COMMANDING OFFICERS MAY DELEGATE TO
SUBORDINATE COMMANDERS (DOWN TO BATTALION AND SQUADRON LEVEL) THE
AUTHORITY FOR MANAGING UNIT ASSIGNMENTS OF 17 YEAR OLD MARINES IN
ORDER TO COMPLY WITH REFERENCE A.
C. TAKING ALL FEASIBLE MEASURES TO ENSURE MARINES UNDER 18 YEARS
OF AGE DO NOT TAKE PART IN HOSTILITIES SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO
UNDULY INTERFERE WITH THE COMMANDER'S PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY OF
MISSION ACCOMPLISHMENT.
D. SAFEGUARDING AND PROTECTING 17 YEAR OLD MARINES, AS WITH ALL
MARINES, IS OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE, BUT MUST NOT UNDULY INTERFERE
WITH THE PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY OF MISSION ACCOMPLISHMENT.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHMENT AND WELFARE OF THE UNIT SHOULD BE FOREMOST
IN THE MINDS OF THE COMMANDER.
4. THE COMMANDER SHOULD WEIGH THE MISSION REQUIREMENTS AGAINST
THE PRACTICABILITY OF DIVERTING 17 YEAR OLD MARINES FROM COMBAT.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER MAY INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO: THE
TACTICAL SITUATION; THE MANPOWER NEEDS OF THE UNIT; THE DANGER TO
THE SERVICEMEMBER; THE IMPACT ON UNIT COHESION IF THE SERVICEMEMBER
WERE TO BE REMOVED FROM THE UNIT; THE REASONABLE ABILITY OF THE UNIT
TO EXCLUDE THE 17 YEAR OLD MARINE FROM TAKING DIRECT PART IN
HOSTILITES; AND ANY OTHER RELEVANT CRITERION. THE COMMANDER IS
RESPONSIBLE FOR DETERMINING THE CORRECT COURSE OF ACTION, IF ANY,
BASED ON HIS ESTIMATE OF THE SITUATION AND HIS UNDERSTANDING OF THE
PREVAILING CIRCUMSTANCES.
5. NOTHING IN THIS MARADMIN, OR REF A, SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO LIMIT
A COMMANDER'S INHERENT AUTHORITY AND OBLIGATION TO USE ALL NECESSARY
MEANS AVAILABLE, AND TO TAKE ALL APPROPRIATE ACTIONS IN SELF-DEFENSE
OF THE COMMANDER'S UNIT, AND OTHER US FORCES IN THE VICINITY.//