Download Law-of-War-and-Introduction-to-Rules-of-Engagement-ROE.pdf (360KB)


The Law of War is defined as that part of international law that governs the conduct of armed hostilities.  Included in this lesson are the principles underlying the Law of War, as well as classification of persons that may be found on the battlefield.  The Law of War is often referred to as the law of armed conflict (LOAC).  The two terms are interchangeable. The Rules of Engagement (ROE) are those directives that delineate the circumstances and limitations under which United States (US) forces will initiate and/or continue combat engagement.


The importance of understanding the Law of War in the current operational environment cannot be overstressed. All we need to do is look at one of the several cases where questionable actions have been publicly showcased to understand its importance.  It is imperative that we as leaders not only know what the Law of War is, but we also have the ability to conceptualize these principles and train our Marines to the same standards.

In This Lesson                     

Discussed here will be the Law of War, ROE, training our Marines, and the impact effectively conveying the tenets and principles of the Law of War and ROE can have on a unit.

Topic Page
Evolution of the Law of War 4
Principles of the Law of War 4
Classifications of Persons 6
Weapons and the Law of War 8
Tactics and the Law of War 10
Implications and Training Marines 10
Rules of Engagement 13
Purposes of Rules of Engagement 13
Rules of Engagement and National Security 14
Standing Rules of Engagement for US Forces 15
Training 23
Supplemental Rules of Engagement Card 24
Summary 24
References 26
Glossary of Terms and Acronyms 27
Notes 28