Annual Report on International Efforts to Prohibit Military Small Arms
JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL WASHINGTON DC
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Before beginning a summary of the years efforts, it is necessary to offer a paid commercial for the benefit of newcomers with respect to one aspect of my job. This concerns longstanding Department of Defense policy with respect to legal reviews of all new weapons, weapon systems and ammunition to ensure their compliance with the treaty obligations of the United States, In 1974 the Department of Defense promulgated a policy and regulation that requires such a review. It requires a legal review by the Judge Advocate General of the proponent department I also perform this function for weapons developed and acquired by the U.S. Special Operations Command, if necessary in coordination with the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the Navy or Air Force if users include special operations forces SOF other than Army SOF. The policy and directive was promulgated based upon our experience in the Vietnam War, where opponents of U.S. participation in that war alleged that many of its weapons - the 5.56x45mm M16 rifle, flechettes, napalm, cluster munitions - were illegal, A United Nations conference that met between 1978 and 1980 produced a convention that prohibited certain weapons while regulating others, while putting the lie to the allegations. Since that time, our weapons review program has been beneficial in countering allegations made against other weapons, in addition to ensuring that the United States complies with its treaty obligations.