10 U.S. Code § 2579 - War booty: procedures for handling and retaining battlefield objects

(a) Policy.— The United States recognizes that battlefield souvenirs have traditionally provided military personnel with a valued memento of service in a national cause. At the same time, it is the policy and tradition of the United States that the desire for souvenirs in a combat theater not blemish the conduct of combat operations or result in the mistreatment of enemy personnel, the dishonoring of the dead, distraction from the conduct of operations, or other unbecoming activities.
(b) Regulations.—
(1) The Secretary of Defense shall prescribe regulations for the handling of battlefield objects that are consistent with the policies expressed in subsection (a) and the requirements of this section.
(2) When forces of the United States are operating in a theater of operations, enemy material captured or found abandoned shall be turned over to appropriate United States or allied military personnel except as otherwise provided in such regulations. A member of the armed forces (or other person under the authority of the armed forces in a theater of operations) may not (except in accordance with such regulations) take from a theater of operations as a souvenir an object formerly in the possession of the enemy.
(3) Such regulations shall provide that a member of the armed forces who wishes to retain as a souvenir an object covered by paragraph (2) may so request at the time the object is turned over pursuant to paragraph (2).
(4) Such regulations shall provide for an officer to be designated to review requests under paragraph (3). If the officer determines that the object may be appropriately retained as a war souvenir, the object shall be turned over to the member who requested the right to retain it.
(5) Such regulations shall provide for captured weaponry to be retained as souvenirs, as follows:
(A) The only weapons that may be retained are those in categories to be agreed upon jointly by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Treasury.
(B) Before a weapon is turned over to a member, the weapon shall be rendered unserviceable.
(C) A charge may be assessed in connection with each weapon in an amount sufficient to cover the full cost of rendering the weapon unserviceable.

Source

(Added Pub. L. 103–160, div. A, title XI, § 1171(a)(1),Nov. 30, 1993, 107 Stat. 1765.)
Regulations

Pub. L. 103–160, div. A, title XI, § 1171(b),Nov. 30, 1993, 107 Stat. 1766, provided that: “The initial regulations required by section 2579 of title 10, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), shall be prescribed not later than 270 days after the date of enactment of this Act [Nov. 30, 1993]. Such regulations shall specifically address the following, consistent with section 2579 of title 10, United States Code, as added by subsection (a):
“(1) The general procedures for collection and disposition of weapons and other enemy material.
“(2) The criteria and procedures for evaluation and disposition of enemy material for intelligence, testing, or other military purposes.
“(3) The criteria and procedures for determining when retention of enemy material by an individual or a unit in the theater of operations may be appropriate.
“(4) The criteria and procedures for disposition of enemy material to a unit or other Department of Defense entity as a souvenir.
“(5) The criteria and procedures for disposition of enemy material to an individual as an individual souvenir.
“(6) The criteria and procedures for determining when demilitarization or the rendering unserviceable of firearms is appropriate.
“(7) The criteria and procedures necessary to ensure that servicemembers who have obtained battlefield souvenirs in a manner consistent with military customs, traditions, and regulations have a reasonable opportunity to obtain possession of such souvenirs, consistent with the needs of the service.”

 

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