Accession Number:

ADA279705

Title:

The Law of War and the Operational Commander

Descriptive Note:

Final rept.

Corporate Author:

NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI DEPT OF OPERATIONS

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1994-02-08

Pagination or Media Count:

36.0

Abstract:

Every member of the military is bound by oath to discharge his or her duties in accordance with the law of war. This paper examines the influence of the law of war on the operational commander and includes legal planning considerations for campaigns. It does not list all laws of armed conflict or the provisions of applicable conventions concerning warfare. Operational law, based on the principles of military necessity, unnecessary suffering, and proportionality enables the operational commander to plan and execute legal, successful operations. Command criminal responsibility assumes an operational commander does not issue illegal orders or in some way personally directs or supervises a prohibited activity. Selected cases in military history clearly indicate that operational commanders who have adhered to the law of war emerged victorious in their respective campaigns. Analysis of these cases and current law supports the premise that the operational commander must obey the law of war, and has no authority to violate or selectively enforce the law. To ensure operations are conducted within the spirit and intent of the law of war, training programs need to be instituted at all levels of professional military education.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE