Safeguarding cultural property while in-theater is an obligation derived from international treaty and law of war doctrine. It also plays a critical role as a force multiplier —improving relationships with local populations by enforcing our message that the U.S. military is a respectful and professional fighting force. When our forces show consideration of and respect for a local population’s cultural heritage and historic properties, we earn trust that can be built upon. Military doctrine on the protection of cultural property meets the requirements of international law, is an expression of our national values, and serves as a force multiplier, which supports the defense mission.
The tangible evidence or expressions of a culture’s heritage is reflected in their cultural property —inherently valuable, non-renewable resources that can include, but is not limited to:
Cultural heritage and cultural resources (or cultural property) can be numerous and are not always immediately apparent, which makes identifying the nature of the conflict and the terrain important to avoid damage or destruction of cultural property. Archaeological sites, religious and historical monuments, museums, archives, libraries and the cultural property found therein should be safeguarded and protected when possible.
The Preamble to the Convention sets forth the principle that because “damage to cultural property belonging to any people whatsoever means damage to the cultural heritage of all mankind,” it is incumbent upon the international community to enact special legal measures for its safeguarding. The main convention defines the term ‘cultural property’ for the first time. The First Protocol for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict has two unambiguous purposes. First, all High Contracting Parties must take active measures to prevent all exports of movable cultural property, as defined in the 1954 Hague Convention, from any territory that they might occupy during an armed conflict. Second, they must undertake to seize and hold, to the end of hostilities, any cultural property that was imported into their territory in contravention of the first principle of the Protocol. It also provides that such cultural property must never be retained as war reparations. The Second Protocol provides more detail than the main Convention and its First Protocol regarding actions that State Parties must take during both peacetime and armed conflict.
Members of the DoD Components must comply with the law of war during all armed conflicts, however such conflicts are characterized, and in all other military operations.
Provides specific instructions for respecting and protecting cultural, historical and religious sites, monuments and other immoveable and moveable property.
This policy has incorporated a reference to cultural property protection.
A script for In-Theater Heritage Training concerning archaeological sites and sacred places in Iraq and Afghanistan. Basic briefing appropriate for all deploying military personnel.
This one page summary describes a project that developed and partially populated a cultural resources database and a GIS data layer for OCONUS regions where DoD personnel are deployed; assessed the depth, breadth, and availability of needed OCONUS culture resource information; and made recommendations concerning how to efficiently and effectively develop these OCONUS cultural resource data layers in future efforts.
Consideration for preservation of archeological sites and cultural properties in military theaters of operation is becoming increasingly essential to the mission. The attached specifications offer quick solutions for construction of training assets that replicate a variety of cultural properties that our personnel may encounter overseas. At Fort Drum we have added these assets to the Adirondack Aerial Gunnery Range as well as to the Mobile MOUT and the Urban Sprawl Area. The trainers at Fort Drum are finding them to be valuable and are requesting more.
This one page summary describes the objective of this project, to provide practical training materials that are easily available to military personnel at all levels.