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DOD D 5210.56 2011 Edition, April 1, 2011
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Carrying of Firearms and the Use of Force by DoD Personnel Engaged in Security, Law and Order, or Counterintelligence Activities
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This Directive reissues reference (a) and implements the provisions of reference (b) that govern the carrying of firearms and the use of deadly force by DoD military and civilian personnel performing law enforcement and security duties, and references (c) and (d) that apply to the carrying of firearms by DoD military and civilian personnel aboard commercial aircraft.


This Directive:

Applies to the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Military Departments, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Combatant Commands, the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Defense, the Defense Agencies, the DoD Field Activities, and all other organizational entities in the Department of Defense (hereafter referred to collectively as "the DoD Components"). The term "Military Services," as used herein, refers to the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Marine Corps.

Authorizes DoD personnel to carry firearms while engaged in law enforcement or security duties, protecting personnel, vital Government assets, or guarding prisoners.

Does not apply to DoD personnel engaged in military operations and subject to authorized rules of engagement, or assigned to duty in the following areas or situations, as defined by an executive order or a DoD Directive:

In a combat zone in time of war.

In a designated hostile fire area when rules of engagement apply, or when the combatant commander issues operations orders setting forth different criteria.

Under the operational control of another Federal Agency carrying firearms in support of the mission, subject to the approval and requirements of both the Federal Agency and the DoD Component.

Civil disturbance mission area.

Military Services personnel performing training missions.

Requires that the principles defined in this Directive on use of deadly force with firearms be applied equally to personnel using any weapon or equipment which, when properly employed in their intended application, would exert deadly force.

Requires establishing criteria for compliance with its provisions by contract security forces.