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Casualty Assistance – Defense Department Policy

These resources include Defense Department directives, instructions and guidance for casualty and mortuary affairs-related issues and management for DOD cemeteries.

DOD Directive 1300.22, “Mortuary Affairs Policy,” Oct. 30, 2015, incorporating Change 2, Sept. 2, 2021

This reissued issuance:

  • Establishes policy and assigns responsibilities for DOD Mortuary Affairs.
  • Cancels the Secretary of the Army designation as the DOD Executive Agent for the Contingency Fatality Operations portion of Mortuary Affairs.
  • Establishes the Central Joint Mortuary Affairs Board as a permanent standing DOD board to develop recommendations for DOD Mortuary Affairs policy, procedures, mobilization planning and mortuary services.
  • Provides overarching policy for DOD’s development of tactics, techniques and procedures for mortuary affairs.
  • Authorizes the cremation of biologically or chemically contaminated remains in a DOD or Department of Homeland Defense-contracted or -operated crematory.

DOD Directive 1332.27, “Survivor Annuity Programs for the Uniformed Services,” June 26, 2003, certified as current April 23, 2007

This issuance updates the responsibilities, functions, authorities and relationships associated with Survivor Annuity Programs.

DOD Instruction 1005.06, “Display of the National Flag at Half-staff,” July 17, 2015

This issuance establishes policy and assigns responsibilities for the display of the national flag of the United States at half-staff after the death of present and former principal officials of the federal government, during national days of mourning or when directed by proclamation by the president of the United States, governor of any state, territory or U.S. possession, mayor of the District of Columbia or the secretary of defense.

DOD Instruction 1300.15, “Military Funeral Support,” Dec. 27, 2017, incorporating Change 1, April 9, 2021

This issuance establishes policy, assigns responsibilities and provides direction for military funeral support pursuant to section 1491 of Title 10 of the United States Code.

It also includes the responsibilities of the secretaries of the military departments and the commandant of the Coast Guard to define military honors in accordance with their service customs and traditions.

The amendment authorizes military funeral honors to be re-rendered for those service members declared deceased and remains not recovered when the deceased service member’s remains are recovered and identified.

DOD Instruction 1300.18, “Department of Defense Personnel Casualty Matters, Policies and Procedures,” Jan. 8, 2008, incorporating Change 2, March 29, 2023

This issuance has revised the responsibilities of the Defense Human Resource Activity director to include serving as the DOD review and recommending authority for adding names to the Korean War Veterans Memorial Wall of Remembrance.

Responsibilities have also been amended to include meeting periodically with representative groups of survivors of deceased service members to discuss DOD policies regarding the casualty and mortuary affairs programs.

The reissuance assigns responsibilities and establishes uniform personnel policies and procedures for reporting, recording, notifying and assisting the next of kin whenever DOD casualties are sustained; establishes the DOD Casualty Advisory Board; establishes a central DOD repository for casualty information; provides uniform official casualty terms and definitions; and establishes uniform guidelines for obtaining and maintaining emergency notification information.

DOD Instruction 1300.29, “Mortuary Affairs Program,” June 28, 2021

This issuance establishes policy and assigns responsibilities, and prescribes procedures for the DOD Mortuary Affairs Program and dignified transfers to:

  • Implement Section 562 of Public Law 109-364, Section 564 of Public Law 109-163, and Sections 573 and 580A of Public Law 116-92.
  • Prohibit delays in the transportation of human remains and allow for ramp ceremonies with certain restrictions.
  • Expand the travel entitlement of family members to observe dignified transfers at Dover Air Force Base.

DOD Directive 1300.30, “Department of Defense Support of State, Official, Special Military, and First Lady Funerals,” Aug. 24, 2021, incorporating Change 1, Feb. 16, 2023

This amended policy clarifies that any request for military support for state, official, special military, first lady funerals and funerals without classification exceeding that which is specified in this issuance or DODI 1300.15 requires approval by the secretary of defense.

DOD Instruction 1300.31, “Department of Defense Cemeteries,” Aug. 3, 2022

This issuance establishes policy, assigns responsibilities and provides procedures for the management of DOD cemeteries.

DOD Instruction 1332.42, “Survivor Benefit Plan,” Dec. 30, 2020

This issuance prescribes procedures for administering the Survivor Annuity Program.

DOD Instruction 1344.08, “Interment Allowance for Deceased Military Personnel,” March 11, 2009, incorporating Change 2, March 25, 2020

This issuance establishes policy and assigns responsibilities to ensure that survivors of military personnel are reimbursed for interment expenses on a uniform basis.

DOD Instruction 1348.36, “Gold Star Lapel Button, Service Flag, and Service Lapel Button,” Dec. 21, 2016, incorporating Change 1, Sept. 25, 2020

This issuance establishes policy, assigns responsibilities and provides procedures for the administration of the DOD Gold Star Lapel Button Program, the service flag and the Service Lapel Button Program. The change expands eligibility for the Gold Star Lapel Button Program to include stepsiblings.

DOD Instruction 2310.05, “Accounting for Missing Persons – Boards of Inquiry,” Jan. 31, 2000, incorporating Change 1, March 14, 2008

Part of this issuance establishes policy, assigns responsibilities and prescribes procedures followed by military department boards of inquiry and the officials reviewing the reports of such boards. It also determines the status of covered persons and provides for the systematic, comprehensive and timely collection, analysis, review, dissemination and periodic update of information related to such persons.

DOD Instruction 5154.30, “Armed Forces Medical Examiner System (AFMES) Operations,” Dec. 29, 2015, incorporating Change 1, Dec. 21, 2017

This issuance establishes policy, assigns responsibilities and provides direction for forensic medicine activities throughout the DOD in accordance with the authority in DOD Directive 5124.02.

It also provides for the continued operation and governance of AFMES, a component of the Defense Health Agency under DOD Directive 5136.13, in carrying out assigned functions, including those under Section 1471 of Title 10 of the U.S.C.

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