POLICY - Directives and Instruction

The following is a library of policy directives and instruction regarding mortuary affairs.

DOD Policy - Media Access to Dignified Transfer
Policy issued by Secretary of Defense governing media access to the dignified transfer of fallen service members at Dover Air Force Base.
Enhanced Honors for Deceased Service Members
Document includes the following:
- Memo reaffirming OSD's commitment to fallen service member's families
- Memo on providing honors for deceased military members at final destination airports
- Operations directive for military escorts for human remains

DoD Instruction 1300.18 - Military Personnel Casualty Matters, Policies and Procedures
Establishes uniform personnel policies and procedures for reporting, recording, notifying, and assisting the next of kin whenever DoD casualties are sustained. Establishes a central DoD repository for casualty information and provides uniform official casualty terms and definitions. Establishes uniform guidelines for obtaining and maintaining emergency notification information.
Establishes the Central Joint Mortuary Affairs Office for coordinating mortuary affairs policy, procedures, mobilization planning, and recommendations on mortuary services during military operations. Provides overarching policy guidance complementing Joint Publication 4-06, which establishes tactics, techniques, and procedures for mortuary affairs in joint operations.
This publication provides joint doctrine for mortuary affairs support in joint operations. It outlines procedures for the search, recovery, evacuation (to include tracking of human remains), tentative identification, processing, and/or temporary interment of remains. This publication addresses both the Department of Defense's mortuary affairs responsibilities in regards to civil support duties under United States Northern Command, and to the other geographic combatant commanders. It further addresses the handling of personal effects of deceased and missing personnel.
Memorandum establishing policy guidance authorizing Department of Defense to provide internal coverage of dignified transfers at Dover when primary next of kin has not authorized external media but wishes to receive a recording of their loved one's dignified transfer.

 Central Command Regulation 638-1

This regulation stipulates policy guidance in order to define and allocate responsibilities required for Mortuary Affairs support in the United States Central Command Area of Responsibility.

USCENTCOM Mortuary Affairs Awareness Policy

This memorandum re-emphasizes USCENTCOM policy regarding human remains movement and use of escorts in the AOR.


This memorandum outlines the standard operating procedure for requesting formal approval to move civilian US and non-US human remains on US military aircraft.
Air Force Instruction 34-501 - Mortuary Affairs Program
This instruction supersedes AFI 34-242 Mortuary Affairs Program. It provides guidance for remains disposition of Air Force and other eligible personnel, identification of remains, military funeral honors, guidance and procedures for search and recovery, government cemeteries and headstones, government mortuary facilities, procurement of supplies, contract mortuary services, case file maintenance, records administration and disposal and reimbursable supplies and services.
This instruction providesfor the disposition of personal property and effects of deceased persons under Air Force jurisdiction.
General Officer Presence at Dignified Transfers and Funerals
Memorandum from Gen. Norton Schwartz, U.S. Air ForceChief of Staff,announcinga general officer will attend all dignified transfers and funerals for fallen Airmen.

Mortuary Affairs Operations -- FM 4-20.64
This manual serves as a planning and operations guide for all personnel involved in mortuary affairs within a theater of operations.
This regulation prescribes the policies and mandated operating tasks, responsibilities, and procedures for casualty operations functions of the military personnel system. The casualty operations functions include casualty reporting, notification, assistance, and fatal accident family brief program.
Outlines changes to the Secretary of Defense's policies for the Army regarding media coverage of fallen at Dover Air Force Base.