These templates of the Standing Rules for the Use of Force were developed by Army North (ARNORTH) and approved by Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) School for commands to follow. The first two templates apply to forces under federal control. The third template is an example State RUF card for National Guard personnel in a State Active Duty (SAD) or Title 32 status. These templates are taken from the “DoD Defense Support to Civil Authorities Handbook” which includes other information relating to military support operations related to civil disturbances.
SRUF Card Template (Title 10 Forces)
RULE 1: UNIT SELF-DEFENSE – A COMMANDER always has the inherent right and obligation to exercise unit self-defense in response to a hostile act or demonstrated hostile intent.
RULE 2: INDIVIDUAL SELF-DEFENSE – A SERVICE MEMBER may exercise individual self-defense in response to a hostile act or demonstrated hostile intent.
Rule 2.1: LIMIT ON SELF-DEFENSE – A COMMANDER may limit individual self-defense by members of his unit.
RULE 3: DE-ESCALATION – When time and circumstances permit, a SERVICE MEMBER will give a threatening force warning and an opportunity to withdraw or stop the threatening actions before using force.
Rule 3.1: AVOID CONFRONTATION – Avoid confrontation with individuals who pose no threat to the unit, to non-DoD persons in the vicinity, or property secured by DoD forces.
Rule 3.2: NOTIFY CLEA – Increase self-defense posture and notify civilian law enforcement authorities (CLEA) or security agency personnel as soon as practical, if confrontation appears likely, civilians are acting in a suspicious manner, or immediately after a confrontation.
RULE 4: LIMITATIONS ON THE USE OF FORCE – A SERVICE MEMBER will use force of any kind only as a last resort and, if used, the force should be the minimum necessary to accomplish the mission.
Rule 4.1: REASONABLE – Any use of force must be reasonable in intensity, duration, and magnitude to counter the threat based on all the circumstances.
Rule 4.2: SAFETY – Exercise due regard for the safety of innocent bystanders when using any type of force.
Rule 4.3: WARNING SHOTS – Warning shots are NOT authorized.
RULE 5: USE OF NON-DEADLY FORCE – A SERVICE MEMBER may use non-deadly force to stop a threat when it is reasonable:
- to control a situation and accomplish the mission,
- to provide protection for himself and other DoD personnel,
- to defend non-DoD persons in the vicinity, but only IF directly related to the assigned mission, or
- to defend designated protected property.
RULE 6: USE OF DEADLY FORCE IN SELF-DEFENSE, DEFENSE OF OTHERS, AND DEFENSE OF PROPERTY – A SERVICE MEMBER may use deadly force to stop a threat only when all lesser means have failed or cannot reasonably be employed and it reasonably appears necessary:
- to protect DoD forces when a commander reasonably believes a person poses an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm,
- to protect yourself and other DoD forces from the imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm,
- to protect non-DoD persons in the vicinity from the imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm, but only IF directly related to the assigned mission,
- to prevent the actual theft or sabotage of assets vital to national security or inherently dangerous property, and
- to prevent the sabotage of a national critical infrastructure.
Rule 6.1: USE OF DEADLY FORCE NOT AUTHORIZED – Deadly force is not authorized to disperse a crowd, stop looting, enforce a curfew, or protect non-designated property.
RULE 7: USE OF DEADLY FORCE AGAINST A SERIOUS OFFENSE – A SERVICE MEMBER may use deadly force, but only IF it is directly related to the assigned mission AND it reasonably appears necessary:
- to prevent a serious crime against any person that involves imminent threat of death of serious bodily harm,
- to prevent the escape of a prisoner where probable cause indicates he has committed or attempted to commit a serious offense and would pose an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm to DoD forces or others in the vicinity,
- to arrest or apprehend a person who, there is probable cause to believe, has committed a serious offense that involved imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm or sabotage of designated protected property.
RULE 8: USE OF DEADLY FORCE AGAINST A VEHICULAR THREAT – A SERVICE MEMBER may fire his weapon at a moving land or water vehicle when he reasonably believes the vehicle poses an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm to DoD forces or to non-DoD persons in the vicinity, but only IF doing so is directly related to the assigned mission.
RULE 9 INSPECTION OF PERSONNEL ENTERING AND EXITING AREA – A SERVICE MEMBER may inspect individuals and property, per command security guidance, prior to granting persons or property entry inside a DoD perimeter or secured area and upon leaving such an area.
Rule 9.1 DENIED ACCESS – An individual or property that does not meet the command security requirements for entry may be denied access inside a DoD perimeter or secured area.
RULE 10: TEMPORARY DETENTION OF THREATENING PERSONNEL – A SERVICE MEMBER may temporarily detain an individual:
- who has gained unauthorized access inside perimeters or other secured areas, who refuses to depart such an area after being denied access,
- who otherwise threatens the safety and security of DoD forces, property secured by DoD forces, or non-DoD persons in the vicinity but only IF their defense is directly related to the assigned mission.
Rule 10.1: SEARCH – Detained individuals, vehicles, and property may be searched as a force protection measure.
Rule 10.2: RELEASED TO CLEA – Detained individuals and any secured property will be released to CLEA at the earliest opportunity consistent with mission accomplishment.
RULE 11: PURSUIT AND RECOVERY OF STOLEN PROPERTY – A SERVICE MEMBER may pursue and recover stolen assets vital to national security or inherently dangerous property if:
- CLEA or security forces are not reasonably available to recover them, and
- Commander, USNORTHCOM, has pre-authorized the pursue and recovery mission, and the pursuit is immediate, continuous, and uninterrupted.
Rule 11.1: CONTACT CLEA – DoD forces will notify CLEA as soon as practicable to inform them of the theft/pursuit.
RULE 12: REPORT VIOLATIONS OF THE SRUF – A SERVICE MEMBER will IMMEDIATELY report any violation of or non-compliance with the SRUF to the chain-of-command, Inspector General, Judge Advocate, Chaplain, or any commissioned officer with information concerning who, what, when, where, and why.
Commander’s SRUF Responsibilities (Title 10 Forces)
RULE 1: TEACH AND TRAIN – A commander must teach, train and implement the SRUF to his soldiers.
RULE 2: UNIT SELF-DEFENSE – A commander retains the inherent right and obligation of unit self-defense and defense of other DoD forces in the vicinity in response to a hostile act or demonstrated hostile intent.
RULE 3: INDIVIDUAL SELF-DEFENSE – A commander may limit the right of individual self-defense.
RULE 4: COORDINATE SRUF – A commander will coordinate the SRUF with civilian law enforcement authorities (CLEA) or security forces when operating in conjunction with them to ensure a common understanding. Any RUF issues that cannot be resolved will be forwarded to the SECDEF thru the chain-of-command and CJCS.
RULE 5: IMMINENT THREAT –A commander will determine if a threat of death or serious bodily harm by an individual or motor vehicle is imminent based on an assessment of all of the circumstances. If he determines such a threat is imminent, deadly force is authorized to stop the threat.
RULE 6: INHERENTLY DANGEROUS PROPERTY – A commander may designate DoD property or property having a DoD nexus as inherently dangerous. This includes weapons, ammunition, explosives, portable missiles, rockets, chemical agents, and special nuclear materials.
RULE 7: PURSUE AND RECOVER – A commander may not authorize forces to pursue and recover a stolen asset vital to national security or inherently dangerous property unless delegated this authority by the Commander USNORTHCOM. Any pursuit must be immediate, continuous, and uninterrupted.
RULE 8: MISSION-SPECIFIC RUF – A commander may request SECDEF-approval of mission-specific or supplemental RUF based on mission requirements thru the chain-of-command and CJCS. A commander of a unit detailed to another federal agency will ensure his unit is operating under a common mission-specific RUF approved by the SECDEF and the federal agency.
RULE 9: IMPOSED RESTRICTIONS – A commander may impose restrictions to the SECDEF-approved SRUF or mission-specific RUF, but must notify SECDEF thru the chain-of-command and CJCS of imposing the restrictions as soon as practicable.
RULE 10: INVESTIGATING VIOLATIONS – A commander will immediately report any suspected violation of or non-compliance with the SRUF thru the chain-of-command to CDRUSNORTHCOM, attn: SJA, investigate any suspected violation or non-compliance and preserve all evidence.
Title 32 and SAD National Guard RUF Card Template
RULE 1: MINIMUM FORCE: Military personnel will use only the minimum force required to accomplish the mission.
RULE 2: SELF-DEFENSE: Nothing in these Rules for Use of Force (RUF) shall limit a commander’s inherent duty to safeguard his/her force or an individual‘s inherent right of self-defense. An individual is always authorized and expected to use necessary force, proportional to the threat, in self-defense. An individual’s right of self defense may be limited by a commander.
RULE 3: DEADLY FORCE: Deadly force refers to physical force that could reasonably result in death, whether or not death is the intent. Discharge of a firearm is always considered deadly force. Before resorting to deadly force, all of the following conditions must be met:
a. All other means have been exhausted, are not appropriate, or are not reasonably available, including but not limited to restraining, detaining, and subduing.
b. The use of deadly force does not significantly increase the risk of death or serious bodily harm to innocent bystanders.