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Department of Defense


NUMBER 1300.15

January 11, 2001

Certified Current as of November 21, 2003


SUBJECT:  Military Funeral Support

References:  (a)  DoD Directive 1300.15, "Military Funeral Support," September 30, 1985 (hereby canceled)

(b)  Sections 101 (24); 2301 (f); 5303 (e); and Chapter 24 of title 38, United States Code

(c)  Chapters 3 and 7 of title 37, United States Code

(d)  DoD Instruction 1215.19, "Uniform Reserve, Training and Retirement Category Administration," December 12, 2000

(e)  through (i), see enclosure 1


This Directive:

1.1.  Reissues reference (a).

1.2.  Updates policy and responsibilities for military funeral support.


This Directive applies to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Military Departments (including the Coast Guard when it is operating as a Military Service in the Navy by agreement with the Department of Transportation), the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Combatant Commands, the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Defense, the Defense Agencies, the Defense Field Activities, and all other organizational entities within the Department of Defense (hereafter referred to collectively as "the DoD Components").  This policy is not applicable to Arlington National Cemetery (covered by Chapter 24 of 38 U.S.C. (reference (b)).


Terms used in this Directive are defined in enclosure 2.


4.1.  It is DoD policy that a Military Funeral Honors ceremony shall be provided to eligible beneficiaries, upon request.  Commanders at all levels must support paying a final tribute on behalf of a grateful Nation to comrades in arms, and must respond expeditiously and sensitively to requests for military funeral support.  Rendering Military Funeral Honors reflects the high regard and respect accorded to Military Service and demonstrates military professionalism to the Nation and the world.

4.2.  Upon request of the next of kin or authorized representative, the Military Services shall provide Military Funeral Honors to an eligible beneficiary, consisting of the ceremonial folding and presentation of the American flag and the sounding of "Taps."

4.2.1.  The ceremony requires a minimum of two uniformed military persons, in addition to a bugler, if available.  One of the uniformed military persons shall be a representative of the parent Service of the eligible beneficiary who shall present the flag to the next of kin or other appropriate individual.  This Service Representative will be designated the Military Funeral Honors detail leader.

4.2.2.  The Military Services are encouraged to provide elements of honors in addition to those listed in paragraph 4.2. (e.g., a firing party, color guard) and use additional uniformed members or other Authorized Providers, as defined in enclosure 2, paragraph E2.1.1. of this Directive, to augment the funeral honors detail for this purpose.

4.2.3.  Further guidance on Authorized Providers is at enclosure 3.

4.3.  The provision of Military Funeral Honors is designated a total force mission.  Active Duty personnel, Reserve/National Guard component members, and military retirees qualified by active or Reserve component honor guard personnel may perform this mission.

4.4.  Personnel selected for Military Funeral Honors details shall be appropriately trained and equipped for this duty.

4.5.  Commanders shall issue travel orders, as required, authorizing personnel to perform Military Funeral Honors details.  If a member is required to perform this duty before issuance of orders, availability of funds must be determined before the performance of duty and confirmatory orders shall be issued.

4.6.  A bugler, either military or civilian, is preferred for the sounding of "Taps."  Bugler support may be contracted or voluntary.  The Military Service responsible for providing Military Funeral Honors shall ensure there is an active search for a bugler.  If none is available, the Service Representative may authorize the playing of a high quality recording of "Taps" and shall ensure that it is available.  In general, whereas a bugler sounds "Taps" in a prominent position, sound systems should be out of sight of the funeral party.

4.7.  Coordination of Requests.  The next of kin or authorized representative should request Military Funeral Honors through their funeral director, who shall be provided with a telephone directory of Regional Military Funeral Honors Coordinators.  The next of kin or authorized representative, through their funeral director, should only need to make a single telephone call to request Military Funeral Honors.  Upon request of the next of kin, authorized representative, or authorized funeral director, the Regional Military Funeral Honors Coordinator will arrange the provision of funeral honors for an eligible beneficiary.  The parent Service of the eligible beneficiary shall assume full responsibility for the entire process; from initial contact to final report of completion.  The Regional Military Funeral Honors Coordinator shall coordinate the request with the funeral director, other Military Services, and other authorized providers, as appropriate.

4.8.  Members of the Ready Reserve may volunteer to participate in Military Funeral Honors details or the preparation for Military Funeral Honors as a Federal function.

4.8.1.  Such duty shall be with the consent of the member who may be in a paid or unpaid status.

4.8.2.  Pay, allowances, travel and transportation expense reimbursements, when appropriate, shall be paid from funds appropriated to the Department of Defense and shall be paid in accordance with the applicable provisions of 37 U.S.C. (reference (c)).

4.8.3.  Pay, allowances and service credit for Ready Reserve members shall be based on the duty category in which the member is performing Military Funeral Honors and/or the preparation for such honors.

4.8.4.  Military Funeral Honors and the preparation for Military Funeral Honors may be performed by members of the Ready Reserve in one of the following duty categories as described in DoD Instruction 1215.19 (reference (d)):  Active duty other than for training; full-time National Guard duty other than training duty; or Funeral Honors Duty as specified in 10 U.S.C. 12503 or in 32 U.S.C. 115 (references (e) and (f)) in the case of members of the Army National Guard of the United States and the Air National Guard of the United States.  Members of the Ready Reserve performing Military Funeral Honors in Funeral Honors Duty status may receive service credit under 10 U.S.C. 12732(a)(2)(E) (reference (e)) and, if authorized by the Secretary concerned, compensation as permitted in title 37, U.S.C. (reference (c)).  Members of the Ready Reserve performing Military Funeral Honors in Funeral Honors Duty status may be reimbursed for travel and transportation expenses incurred in conjunction with such duty as authorized in 37 U.S.C. Chapter 7 (reference (c)) if such duty is performed at a location 50 miles or more from the member's residence.

4.8.5.  The Secretary concerned determines the duty category in which the preparation and the conduct of Military Funeral Honors are performed.  In no case may the performance of Military Funeral Honors or the preparation be considered a period of drill or training.

4.8.6.  Members of the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard may not be ordered to perform funeral honors in any duty status without the consent of the Governor of the State or territory or the Commanding General of the National Guard of the District of Columbia or other appropriate authority of the State, territory, or District of Columbia.

4.9.  The Services shall deny Military Funeral Honors under the following circumstances:

4.9.1.  The deceased was discharged or released from Military Service under conditions other than honorable as defined in enclosure 2, paragraph E2.1.9. of this Directive.

4.9.2.  Military Funeral Honors support of any kind shall be withheld for any individual convicted of a capital offense under Federal or State law for which the person was sentenced to death or life imprisonment without parole (in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 985 (reference (e))).

4.10.  The Secretary of Defense may waive all or part of the obligation to render Military Funeral Honors when the Secretary considers it necessary in order to meet the requirements of war, national emergency, contingency operation or other military requirements as described in 10 U.S.C. 1491 (reference (g)).

4.10.1.  The authority to make such a waiver may not be delegated to an official of a Military Department other than the Secretary of the Military Department and may not be delegated within the Office of the Secretary of Defense to an official at a level below Under Secretary of Defense (in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 1491 (reference (g))).

4.10.2.  Prior to or promptly after granting a waiver under this paragraph, the Secretary of Defense shall provide notice of this waiver to the Committees on Armed Services of the Congress.


5.1.  The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (USD(P&R)) shall:

5.1.1.  Establish policy on the provision of Military Funeral Honors and direct the Military Services to develop policies and procedures for performing Military Funeral Honors in accordance with this Directive.

5.1.2.  Ensure that the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) collects and analyzes data on the provision of Military Funeral Honors.

5.2.  The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Management Policy (ASD(FMP)), under the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) (USD(P&R)), shall monitor compliance with this Directive.

5.3.  The Secretaries of the Military Departments shall:

5.3.1.  Ensure Military Department policy and guidance are consistent with policy established by the USD(P&R).

5.3.2.  Assign regional responsibilities for receiving and coordinating requests for Military Funeral Honors and establish procedures to ensure compliance with a request for honors.  The office with regional responsibilities shall be known as the Regional Military Funeral Honors Coordinator.

5.3.3.  Appropriately train military members to perform Military Funeral Honors duties and ensure a sufficient number of trained military members are available for this mission.

5.3.4.  Establish a mechanism for ensuring the quality of Military Funeral Honors ceremonies.

5.3.5.  Ensure that Military Funeral Honors details are fully supported with the requisite equipment, transportation, uniforms, and other items necessary to perform the mission and that sufficient funds are budgeted for this purpose.

5.3.6.  Provide specified data to DMDC on Military Funeral Honors, to include the Reserve Forces.  Password-protected Internet access to the required database is available at

5.3.7.  Ensure proper decorum for Military Funeral Honors including:  trained personnel, implementation of standardized Military Funeral Honors procedures, dignified, respectful honor guard details, professional dress and appearance, synchronization of movement, and regular quality control of funeral details.

5.3.8.  Use consistent wording accompanying the presentation of the flag to the next of kin, in accordance with the respective Service traditions.

5.3.9.  Collect standardized data on all Military Funeral Honors rendered, including those provided by authorized providers when these honors were coordinated through the Military Services.  The Military Services shall provide an annual impact statement to the ASD(FMP) to measure any effect these operations have on readiness.

5.3.10.  Determine procedures for augmenting the two-person Military Funeral Honors details in accordance with respective Service traditions.  The Military Services are authorized to provide elements of honors such as, firing parties, pallbearers and color guards in addition to those deemed mandatory as described in paragraph 4.2.  Authorized Providers, after receiving authorization status, may render these additional honors for the Military Service.

5.3.11.  In accordance with 10 U.S.C. 1588 (reference (e)), afford training to other prospective providers for the purposes of gaining Authorized Provider status.

5.4.  Information/Communication.  The Department of Defense, through the Department of the Air Force as Executive Agent, shall establish and maintain information systems for access by veterans, families and funeral directors for the purpose of assisting them in obtaining Military Funeral Honors.  This includes a web site, a toll-free telephone number, and an information kit.  There shall be national and local liaison with appropriate groups and organizations to inform and update them on funeral honors policy and procedures.


6.1.  The reporting of Military Funeral Honors data required by subparagraph 5.1.2., above, has been assigned Report Control Symbol DD-P&R(AR)2089 in accordance with DoD 8910.1-M (reference (h)).

6.2.  The annual impact statement required by subparagraph 5.3.9., above, is exempt from licensing in accordance with paragraph C4.4.2., of DoD 8910.1-M (reference (h)).


This Directive is effective immediately.

Signed by:  Rudy de Leon, Deputy Secretary of Defense

Enclosures - 3

E1.  References, continued

E2.  Definitions

E3.  Authorized Provider Partnership Program Guidance


REFERENCES, continued

(e)  Sections 985; 1074a (a)(1)(C); 1491; 1588; 12503; 12552 and 12732 (a)(2)(E) of title 10, United States Code

(f)  Sections 114 and 115 of title 32, United States Code

(g)  Section 1491 of title 10, United States Code

(h)  DoD 8910.1-M, "DoD Procedures for Management of Information Requirements," June 30, 1998

(i)  DoD 7000.14-R, "DoD Financial Management Regulation," Volume 9, Chapter 4, Section 0409



E2.1.1.  Authorized Providers.  Individuals or groups recognized by a Secretary of a Military Department, who are not members of the Armed Forces or employees of the United States and who augment the uniformed members of a Military Funeral Honors detail.  Authorized providers may include, but are not limited to, Veterans Service Organizations, members of the Reserve Officer Training Corps and other appropriate individuals and organizations which support the rendering of Military Funeral Honors.

E2.1.2.  Authorized Representative.  A person chosen by the next of kin to represent them in matters dealing with the loss of the eligible beneficiary.

E2.1.3.  Eligible Beneficiaries for Military Funeral Honors.  Deceased active duty personnel and Veterans (as defined in 10 U.S.C. 1491) (reference (g)), which includes members and former members of the Selective Reserve (as defined in 38 U.S.C. 2301(f) (reference (b))).

E2.1.4.  Funeral Director.  A State-licensed individual responsible for arranging all details of the burial.  This includes requesting Military Funeral Honors.

E2.1.5.  Military Funeral Honors.  The ceremonial paying of respect and the final demonstration of the country's gratitude to those who, in times of war and peace, have faithfully defended our Nation.  The Military Funeral Honors ceremony consists of, at a minimum, the folding and presentation of the American flag and the sounding of Taps by a detail of two uniformed members of the Armed Forces.  At least one of the detail's members shall be from the parent Service of the eligible beneficiary.

E2.1.6.  Regional Honors Coordinator.  The military office, as directed by each Military Service, responsible for arranging the delivery of Military Funeral Honors within a specified geographic region.

E2.1.7.  Service Representative.  Uniformed member of the parent Service of the eligible beneficiary who leads the honors detail and presents the flag to the next of kin.

E2.1.8.  " Taps."  The traditional "lights out" musical composition played at military funerals and memorials.  The official version of "Taps" is played by a single bugle.

E2.1.9.  Under Dishonorable Conditions.  For the purposes of determining eligibility for Military Funeral Honors under 10 U.S.C. (reference (g)) and this Directive, individuals who have at any time been discharged or released from military service with any of the following characterizations of service or under any of the following circumstances, shall be considered to have been discharged or released under dishonorable conditions, and Military Funeral Honors shall not be provided:

E2.1.9.1.  A Dishonorable Discharge.

E2.1.9.2.  A Bad Conduct Discharge.

E2.1.9.3.  A Dismissal from the Service awarded by courts-martial.

E2.1.9.4.  An Under Other Than Honorable Conditions Discharge.

E2.1.9.5.  An Officer Resignation for the Good of the Service in Lieu of courts-martial, which results in a discharge characterization of Under Other Than Honorable Conditions.

E2.1.10.  Veteran.  A decedent who:

E2.1.10.1.  Served in the active military, naval, or air service (as defined in 38 U.S.C. 101(24) (reference (b))) and was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable by means of an honorable or under honorable conditions (general) discharge; or

E2.1.10.2.  Was a member or former member of the Selected Reserve described in 38 U.S.C. 2301(f) (reference (b)).




Authorized Providers as defined in E2.1.1.  may:

E3.1.1.  Complement a Military Funeral Honors detail by rendering additional elements of honors such as a firing party, pall bearers, bugler, or color guard.

E3.1.2.  Be considered Government employees for the purposes of liability and workers compensation when augmenting an Armed Forces Military Funeral Honors detail in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 1588 (reference (e)).


E3.2.1.  In accordance with 10 U.S.C. 1491 (reference (g)) and subparagraph 5.3.10. of this Directive, the Secretary of a Military Department may include Authorized Providers in the delivery of Military Funeral Honors.  If the Secretary determines that Authorized Providers will augment a funeral detail, the Department may assist these individuals as follows:

E3.2.1.1.  Military Funeral Honors training as authorized by reference (e).

E3.  Prior to recognizing an individual as an Authorized Provider, the Secretary will provide initial training to ensure a professional, dignified and coordinated delivery of Military Funeral Honors in accordance with the ceremony, standards and procedures established by the respective Military Service.

E3.  The Secretary will provide periodic training for Authorized Providers, once qualified, in order to maintain professionalism and proficiency in the rendering of Military Funeral Honors.

E3.2.2.  In accordance with a Military Department's policy, the Secretary of a Military Department may recognize an individual as an Authorized Provider of Military Funeral Honors after providing the training dictated by subparagraph E3.

E3.2.2.1.  The Secretary of a Military Department will document the recognition of an individual Authorized Provider.

E3.2.2.2.  Documentation may take the form of a certificate or other appropriate record.

E3.2.3.  Recognition as an Authorized Provider is Service-specific.  A prospective Authorized Provider must secure the same status from each Military Service that he or she desires to participate with unless there is an agreement between Services to accept the other's recognition.


E3.3.1.  The Secretary of a Military Department may assist Authorized Providers in obtaining the materiel and equipment required for a professional appearance and delivery of Military Funeral Honors.  This may include access to military clothing sales stores or other sources of uniform items in accordance with statutory authority and Military Service policy.

E3.3.2.  The Secretary of a Military Department may refer Authorized Providers to the appropriate point of contact within the Army Materiel Command for the express purpose of acquiring ceremonial rifles and blank ammunition to augment a military funeral detail with a firing party.


E3.4.1.  The Secretary of a Military Department may reimburse Authorized Providers.  The Secretary of a Military Department may only approve reimbursement to Authorized Providers for expenses incurred while augmenting a Military Funeral Honors detail if such approval precedes the incurring of any expenses, in accordance with 10 U.S.C. 1491(d) (reference (g)).  Covered expenses must be in direct support of the Armed Forces funeral detail and include, but are not limited to: fuel (not mileage), parking fees, tolls, public transportation, occasional meals, and other related expenditures.

E3.4.2.  The Secretary of a Military Department may provide Government transportation instead of the use of privately owned vehicles.

E3.4.3.  Standard Form 1164 (SF 1164), "Claim for Reimbursement For expenditures on Official Business," will be used by authorized providers to submit expense claims in accordance with DoD Financial Management Regulation Volume 9, Chapter 4, Section 0409 (reference (i)).  The parent Service of the honored veteran shall be responsible for the processing and payment of the claims of Authorized Providers.

E3.4.5.  In the rare case that a Military Department's approval of a request by an Authorized Provider to augment a Military Funeral Honors detail requires travel that necessitates overnight accommodations, the Military Department must place the Authorized Provider on Invitational Travel Orders prior to travel.


The Secretary of a Military Department may delegate the responsibilities outlined in this enclosure to appropriate organizations within his or her respective Military Department under regulations prescribed by the Military Department.