King George County

Constitutional Militia

​King George, Virginia


Sic Semper Tyrannis


Thus Always to Tyrants

King George County Constitutional Militia

King George, Virginia

Rules Of Engagement


Rules of Engagement (ROE) are the commander’s tool for regulating the use of force, making them a cornerstone of the Operational Law discipline. The legal sources that provide the foundation for ROE are complex, including customary, treaty law principles, and from the Laws of War. However, international law is not the sole basis for ROE. Domestic law enforcement operations and militia mission limitations are necessary to the construction and application of militia ROE. Therefore, commanders bear ultimate responsibility for the ROE. The ROE will be formed by the leadership within the King George County Constitutional Militia.

To ensure that ROEs are versatile, understandable, easily executable, and legally and tactically sound, militia members must understand the full breadth of policy, legal, and mission concerns that shape the ROE, and collaborate with law enforcement in their development, implementation, and training. Militia leadership must become familiar with mission and operational concepts, force capabilities and constraints, operations planning and execution. Militia must familiarize themselves with the domestic legal limitations on the use of force and the Law of Armed Conflict. Militia especially must understand Virginia’s use of force and self-defense law to provide effective ROE to militia forces.


Unit commanders always retain the inherent right and obligation to exercise unit self-defense in response to a hostile act or demonstrated hostile intent. Militia members may exercise individual self-defense in response to a hostile act or demonstrated hostile intent unless otherwise directed by a unit commander as detailed below. Individual self-defense should be considered a subset of unit self-defense. As such, unit commanders may limit individual self-defense by members of their unit in pursuit of mission objectives. Both unit and individual self-defense includes defense of other U.S. law enforcement and militia operating in the vicinity.

All necessary means available and all appropriate actions may be used in self-defense. The following guidelines apply:

  • (1) De-escalation. When time and circumstances permit, the forces committing hostile acts or demonstrating hostile intent should be warned and given the opportunity to cease threatening actions. 
  • (2) Necessity. Exists when a hostile act occurs or when a force demonstrates hostile intent with a capability to act upon the intent. When such conditions exist, use of force in self-defense is authorized while the force continues to commit hostile acts or exhibit imminent hostile intent. 
  • (3) Proportionality. The use of force in self-defense should be sufficient to respond decisively to hostile acts or demonstrations of hostile intent. Such use of force may exceed the means and intensity of the hostile act or hostile intent, but the nature, duration, and scope of force used should not exceed what is required. The concept of proportionality in self-defense should not be confused with attempts to minimize collateral damage. 
  • (4) Pursuit. Self-defense includes the authority to pursue and engage forces that have committed a hostile act or demonstrated hostile intent if those forces continue to commit hostile acts or demonstrate hostile intent. 



The purpose of the Standing Rules of Engagement (SROE) is to provide implementation guidance on the application of force for mission accomplishment and the exercise of self-defense. The SROE establish fundamental policies and procedures governing the actions to be taken by militia leadership during all operations and contingencies and routine unit functions. 

Militia unit leaders at all levels shall ensure that individuals within their respective units understand and are trained on when and how to use force in self-defense. To provide uniform training and planning capabilities, this document is authorized for distribution to militia at all levels and is to be used as fundamental guidance for training and directing of forces. 

The policies and procedures in this instruction are in effect until rescinded. Supplemental measures may be used to augment these SROE. 

King George County Constitutional Militia will comply with the Law of Armed Conflict during militia operations involving armed conflict, and during all other operations as applicable. 


When King George County Constitutional Militia operate in conjunction with other Militia units, reasonable efforts will be made to develop common ROE.  If common ROE cannot be developed, King George County Constitutional Militia will operate under its own baseline ROE for the given mission.




Supplemental measures enable commanders to tailor ROE for specific missions. This enclosure establishes the procedures for formulation of, request for, and approval of supplemental measures.


The goal in formulating ROE is to ensure they allow maximum flexibility for mission accomplishment while providing clear, unambiguous guidance to the forces affected. ROE must be properly crafted and militia members properly trained to avoid any hesitation when determining whether and how to use force. 

Operational ROE supplemental measures are primarily used to define limits or grant authority for the use of force for mission accomplishment. However, unit commanders may issue supplemental measures to limit individual self-defense by members of their units. The use of force for mission accomplishment may sometimes be restricted by specific political and militia goals that are often unique to the situation. Developing and implementing ROE is a dynamic process that must be flexible enough to meet changes in the operational situation. In addition to ROE, a commander must take into account the assigned mission, the current situation, the higher leadership's intent and all other available guidance in determining how to use force for mission accomplishment. 

Although normally used to place limits on the use of force for mission accomplishment, supplemental measures may also be used specifically to authorize a certain action if clarity is required or requested. 


This enclosure establishes the procedures for formulation of, request for, and approval of supplemental measures. Supplemental measures are intended to:

  • (1) Provide enough of the framework underlying the policy and militia guidance to enable the commanders to appropriately address unforeseen situations when immediate decisions and reactions are required. Commanders must never forget that ROE are a tool to guide them through their decision-making process and can never substitute for their sound judgment.

  • (2) Provide clear and tactically realistic policy and guidance to commanders on the circumstances in which use of force can be used for mission accomplishment.

  • (3) Enable subordinate commanders to request additional measures needed to carry out their mission. 




Developing and implementing effective ROE are critical to mission accomplishment. This enclosure provides guidelines for incorporating ROE development into the crisis action planning (CAP) and deliberate planning processes by commanders and staff at all levels.

ROE Development General Guidelines.

ROEs are an operational issue and must directly support the operational concept. Once assigned a mission, the commander and staff must incorporate ROE considerations into mission planning. Operations planning and ROE development are parallel and collaborative processes that require extensive integration. 

As missions develop and requirements emerge, it is natural to request supplemental measures from higher headquarters for mission accomplishment. The issues addressed throughout the planning process will form the basis for supplemental ROE requests requiring approval in support of a selected course of action (COA). ROE development is a continuous process that plays a critical role in every step of crisis action and deliberate planning. 

Include guidance for disseminating approved ROE that is consistent with approved guidance. Consider: 

  • (1) Developing "plain language" ROE
  • (2) Creating ROE cards
  • (3) Issuing special instructions (SPINS)
  • (4) Distributing ROE to forces 

Virginia Self Defense and Use of Force Laws

The article at the following site is written by top rated Use of Force and Self-Defense trial attorney Marina Medvin, who has represented Virginia Law Enforcement in many cases.  Her discourse does an excellent job explaining the many aspects of self-defense laws and all legal ramifications one may face in the court of law. 

This article is written by criminal defense attorney Thomas M Wilson of Charlottesville VA, and is an excellent resource for further understanding self-defense as a legal defense in Virginia.  He discusses the legal definition of self-defense, Virginia’s No Retreat law and its significance, Virginia’s self-defense laws and applications, and explains self-defense in the context of specific crimes.

The following modified excerpts are from medvinlaw. It is best to read through both sites for a full understanding of Virginia’s acceptable use of force in self-defense.

Virginia law protects the use of reasonable and proportional force to defend life, limb, and property.  This right extends to individuals and to those they seek to protect (third Parties).  

Self-defense, however, is not summarized in a statue or through a simple equation. Instead, self-defense is defined broadly by Virginia courts as the amount of force used to defend oneself that is not excessive and is reasonable in relation to the perceived threat. This means that judgement as to whether the use of force was reasonable will be determined on a case-by-case basis, after the fact.  

Individuals planning to or exercising self-defense must think, act carefully, and use force cautiously. They may have to defend their actions in court.

Virginia police and prosecutors will decide whether to charge someone who used force in self-defense. They will evaluate each case based on physical evidence, eyewitness observations, and statements made by the person claiming self-defense. As a matter of self-protection, anyone who has used force in defense should, at most, point out where evidence lays (e.g. location of empty shells, dropped weapons), point out the threats (regardless of current condition or presence), and witnesses. After that, the person who utilized self-defensive force should tell law enforcement that they will cooperate after talking with an attorney, and promptly cease all forms of communication. Unfortunately, firearm owners in Virginia frequently find themselves charged with brandishing, manslaughter, or even murder when law enforcement officers and prosecutors do not believe self-defense was a valid claim. This is often facilitated by the firearm owners’ statements made directly after the event, even if well intentioned. 

As such, self-defense is most commonly used by criminal defense attorneys as an affirmative defense to a criminal charge. Self-defense is used as a defense in the following types of Virginia cases: Murder, Manslaughter, Assault and Battery, Brandishing, Disorderly Conduct, Reckless Handling of a Firearm, and Resisting Arrest. “…a person who reasonably apprehends bodily harm by another is privileged to exercise reasonable force to repel the assault.” 

Understanding Self-Defense

In Virginia and many other states, self-defense is all about proportions.  Your actions must be proportional to the assailant’s actions.  A person “shall not, except in extreme cases, endanger human life or do great bodily harm.”

A person must also be able to articulate to the court that they feared that they, or a third party, were in danger of losing their life or suffering serious bodily harm. It is not enough to just say that you feared the assailant as the ability to cause harm and intent are considerations. The details of the threat are of ultimate importance. For this reason, it is in your best interest to only make a statement to the police under an attorney’s advice and supervision.  

Under Virginia law, lone fear that a person intends to inflict serious bodily injury onto you, however well-grounded in your mind, will not warrant killing such person if the fear is unaccompanied by any overt act indicating such intention.  A person may not kill because they cannot otherwise effect their object (desire), although the object sought to be effected is right. A person can only kill to save life and limb, or prevent a great crime, or to accomplish a necessary public duty.

The Right to Arm Yourself In The Presence of Danger

Another’s threat to use deadly force by brandishing a deadly weapon has long been considered as assault.  

Such a threat may give the threatened person a right to defend himself by the use of a deadly weapon. 

Virginia law allows you to arm yourself with a deadly weapon when you believe that someone intends to kill or cause you serious harm.    

Virginia’s Castle Doctrine:  Defense of the Home

Virginia recognizes the common law castle doctrine.  A person’s right to defend himself in his own home dates back to classic American freedom reasoning:  In the early times our forefathers were compelled to protect themselves in their habitations by converting them into holds of defense: and so, the dwelling house was called the castle.  To this condition of things, the law has conformed, resulting in the familiar doctrine that while a man keeps the doors of his house closed, no other may break and enter it, except in particular circumstances to make an arrest or the like – cases not within the line of our present exposition.   From this doctrine is derived another:  namely, that the persons within the house may exercise all needful force to keep aggressors out, even to the taking of life.  

Hence, a homeowner may always use force upon the reasonable appearance of danger, and whether the danger is reasonably apparent is always to be determined from the viewpoint of the homeowner at the time they used force.  In the context of a self-defense plea, the danger must have been imminent, which means it must have appeared to the homeowner as an immediate and real threat to safety.

Use of Force to Defend Your Property

The Virginia higher courts have ruled consistently that you have the right to defend your property through the use of reasonable force, but you “cannot, except in extreme cases, endanger human life or do great bodily harm

Defense of Another Person

Finally, we address defending a third person, whether or not this person is a family member.  You first need to understand all of the ramifications above. In Virginia, whether the person you defended is a daughter or a stranger, that person had a right to life and you had the right to defend their life.  

Legally, the right to defend another is “commensurate with self-defense”- you are put into the third person’s shoes and are judged from their perspective – did the person who you defended have a right to use force of that magnitude against the assailant? Additionally, the third person cannot have appeared to have been at fault for the conflict from your perspective in order for you to invoke this defense.  

While it is the burden of the government to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed a crime, it is your burden to prove that you had to hurt another person in defense of yourself or another person.  This means that you will need to admit evidence or witness testimony at your trial to establish your defense. This is best helped by making statements, including any discussions with law enforcement, only after discussion with an attorney and with an attorney present. Unfortunately, you cannot assume law enforcement has your best interests in mind when investigating an event with self-defense. 

Militia ROE Card 


  • (1) You may use deadly force in the defense of one’s self or others around you, who are in danger of being killed or seriously harmed, and it is deemed necessary to engage with arms the assailant to prevent them from destroying the life of another.  
  • (2) Positive Identification (PID) is required prior to engagement. PID is a reasonable certainty that the proposed target is a legitimate threat to one’s life or the lives of those the assailant is threatening.
  • (3) Escalation of Force Measures (EOF). When time and circumstances permit, EOF Measures assist militia members to determine whether hostile act/intent exists in a particular situation. When you are confronted with a hostile act or demonstration of hostile intent that threatens death or serious bodily injury, you may use deadly force without proceeding through EOF measures. 
  • (4) Warning Shots. In general, militia members may not use warning shots as they add danger to the situation. If deadly force is reasonable, then it should be used to protect life. 
  • (5) The use of force, including deadly force, is authorized to protect the following: (1) yourself, your unit, law enforcement who may be onsite, and other friendly forces; (2) detainees; (3) civilians from crimes that are likely to cause death or serious bodily harm, such as murder or rape; (4) personnel or property designated by law enforcement or the militia when such actions are necessary to restore order and security. 
  • (6) You may DETAIN people based on a reasonable belief that the person: (A) is interfering with militia or law enforcement mission accomplishment; (B) is on a list of persons wanted for questioning, arrest, or detention; (C) is or was engaged in criminal activity; or (D) must be detained for imperative reasons of security. Anyone you detain MUST be protected. You MUST fill out a detainee apprehension card for EVERY person you detain. 

Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) Principles

  • (1) Use of Force. The use of force will be necessary and proportional to comply with the LOAC.  
  • (2) Minimize Collateral Damage. Militia operations will, in so far as possible, minimize incidental injury, loss of life, and collateral damage when in defensive posture or during an armed engagement.  
  • (3) Do not target or strike anyone who has surrendered or is out of the conflict due to sickness or wounds. 
  • (4) Treat all civilians and their property with respect and dignity. Do not seize civilian property, including vehicles, unless the property presents a security threat. When possible, give a receipt to the property’s owner. 

Firearms 5 Safety Rules

  • (1) Treat every weapon as if it were loaded.  
  • (2) Never point a weapon at anything you do not intend to shoot.  
  • (3) Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you intend to fire. 
  • (4) Keep your weapon on safe until you intend to fire.
  • (5) Know your target and what lies behind it.