Department of Defense Rewards Program
The Department of Defense (DOD) Rewards Program offers incentives for information
and can be a remarkably effective tool in preempting enemy operations and
denying sanctuary and weapons. It provides monetary, goods, or services
rewards for information and other nonlethal assistance beneficial to force
protection or operations against international terrorism.
Rules and Guidance
The DOD Rewards Program can pay for information:
- That leads to the arrest of wanted persons.
- That leads to weapons cache locations.
- That is beneficial to military operations or armed force activities against
- That aids in force protection.
The DOD Rewards Program is not an intelligence program and does not replace
existing intelligence programs. The program's scope is limited to specific
pre-nominations and pre-approved categories in which reward payments are
restricted to instances where information leads to the capture of wanted
individuals or weapons.
Units may take steps to expedite the reward nomination, approval, and payment
processes, but they must follow these guidelines regardless of the procedures
- All rewards must be approved at the appropriate level.
- Units must maintain specific information for each payment.
- Units must meet reporting requirements through their major support commands.
- All reasonable efforts must be made to protect the reward recipient's confidentiality.
- Company/Battery/Troop commanders must ensure they do not develop an ongoing
working relationship with local nationals through any level of the DOD
- The DOD Rewards Program is the primary rewards program authorized for use.
Do not confuse it with rewards programs offered by other government agencies,
such as the Department of State Rewards for Justice Program which is coordinated
through higher headquarters and U.S. Central Command.
- The DOD Rewards Program is not a weapons buyback program, but it does allow
payment for information leading to the capture of wanted weapons as outlined
- Funds from the DOD Rewards Program may be used to advertise the program
and is referenced in information operations products funded by the Operational
and Maintenance Account. Local products may include national tip lines,
but units must closely coordinate with the tip line personnel in order
to accurately disseminate and act on information. Ultimately, units are
responsible for developing their own mechanisms, such as a locally generated
tip line, to facilitate local nationals contacting the coalition. There
is no requirement for advertisements to have an official U.S. Government/DOD
symbol. Advertisements can, but are not required to, refer to coalition
or allied headquarters as the agencies offering the rewards.
- Rewards are paid in cash or in the form of like-kind benefits such as food,
local amenities, necessities, vehicles, or communal rewards whose value
is equal to or less than the authorized/approved reward amount.
- Rewards cannot be paid to U.S. military members, employees, contractors,
citizens of the United States, or coalition or allied forces (the Iraqi
security forces [ISF] are exempted).
- Units cannot pay rewards to detainees for information that assists the
coalition with operations or force protection. There is no statutory or
regulatory prohibition against providing rewards to detainees.
- All ISF are eligible for rewards per the Office of the Secretary of Defense
waiver. Prior to making rewards payments, ensure a current waiver is in
- Units cannot pay rewards for information that leads to a person who is
found deceased, unless the person is killed during operations based upon
information provided, or the request is specifically approved by the Secretary
- Units cannot pay rewards for information gathered by methods contrary to DOD
policy, such as extortion. (*Note: Original statement incorrectly stated units can pay rewards for information.)
- Units must advise those eligible for rewards above $10K that due to administrative
requirements, the payment process may take several weeks.
- Units with the authority to operate human intelligence (HUMINT) collection
teams (HCTs) or HUMINT exploitation teams can use rewards to pay sources
for information leading to the capture of wanted persons and seizure of
equipment. However, they may not use rewards to pay salaries or provide
equipment to task the source to collect information.
- There are three types of monetary reward levels within the Multi-National
CorpsI DOD Rewards Program:
- Micro-rewards. Less than or equal to $500 for information per incident;
$1K a month available per company; commanders can pay rewards for information
received on the spot.
- Small rewards. Greater than $500 but equal to or less than $10K; payouts
are for high-value individuals (HVI) (terror cell leaders, terrorist financiers,
and smugglers) or weapons caches, as the theater, division, or brigade
combat team commander deems appropriate.
- Large rewards. Greater than $10K; payouts of over $10K are for the capture
of HVIs, large weapon caches that significantly reduce the effectiveness
of a terror cell, and other pre-approved rewards of similar significance
(capture of foreign fighters or the abductor of a U.S. Servicemember).
See Appendix D, MNC-I CJ8, Money as a Weapons System Standing Operating