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United States Military Code of Conduct

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What Military Personnel Need to Know: Specifically, Service members should:

  • Be familiar with the various aspects of the interrogation process, its phases, the procedures, methods and techniques of interrogation, and the interrogator's goals, strengths, and weaknesses.
  • Understand that the Geneva Conventions and the CoC require a POW to disclose name, rank, service number, and date of birth, when questioned. Understand that a POW must avoid answering further questions. A POW is encouraged to limit further disclosure by using resistance techniques such as claiming inability to furnish additional information because of previous orders, poor memory, ignorance, or lack of comprehension. The POW may never voluntarily give the captor additional information, but must resist doing so, even if it involves withstanding mental and physical duress.
  • Understand that short of death, it is unlikely that a POW may prevent a skilled enemy interrogator, using all available psychological and physical methods of coercion, from obtaining some degree of compliance by the POW with captor demands. However, understand that if the interrogator takes the Service member past the point of maximum endurance, the POW must recover ("bounce back") as quickly as possible and resist each successive captor exploitation effort to the utmost. Understand that a forced answer on one point does not authorize continued compliance. The POW must resist answering again at the next interrogation session.
  • Understand that the CoC authorizes a POW to communicate with the captor on individual health or welfare matters and, when applicable, on routine matters of camp administration. Conversations on those matters are not considered to be giving unauthorized information.
  • Understand that the POW may furnish limited information on family status and address in completing a Geneva Conventions capture card.
  • Be aware that a POW may write personal correspondence.
  • Be aware that the captor shall have full access to both the information on the capture card and the contents of personal correspondence.
  • Be familiar with the captor's reasons for and methods of attempting to involve POWs in both internal and external propaganda activities. Understand that a POW must use every means available to avoid participating in such activities and must not make oral or written statements disloyal to the United States or its allies, or detrimental to fellow POWs.
  • Be familiar with the captor's reasons for and methods of attempting to indoctrinate POWs politically. Be familiar with the methods of resisting such indoctrination.
  • Understand that even when coerced beyond name, rank, service number, date of birth, and claims of inabilities, it is possible to thwart an interrogator's efforts to obtain useful information by using certain additional ruses and stratagems.
  • Understand and develop confidence in the ability to use properly the ruses and stratagems designed to prevent successful interrogation.

Special Provisions for Medical Personnel & Chaplains (Articles V and VI). These Articles and its explanations also apply to medical personnel and chaplains ("retained personnel"). They are required to communicate with a captor in connection with their professional responsibilities, subject to the restraints discussed in Article I, V, and VI..

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