Watch out for the children: Army policy and child soldiers
Burkhart, John A., III
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According to the United Nations, there are over 300,000 child soldiers operating throughout the world and the potential that U.S. soldiers will interact with child soldiers remains significant. Military doctrine, policy, and training have been updated to take the current operational environment into consideration. The same cannot be said for the interaction with child soldiers. This thesis will begin to identify and address gaps in the current Army policy and doctrine concerning child soldiers. Additionally, this thesis will begin to identify ways to bridge the gaps identified in order to address how U.S. soldiers can best be prepared when they confront child soldiers on the battlefield. This research identifies that there is a rising issue concerning child soldiers, but that the U.S. Army has failed to implement the necessary changes to support its soldiers in dealing with this when they deploy. The Army references international treaties that the United States is not a party to in order to provide guidance to soldiers concerning child soldiers. This guidance needs to be codified, implemented, and distributed to support soldiers that might be faced with the choice about whether to take the life of a child.
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