International Law Studies



The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations is used in the United States and throughout the world as a restatement of U.S. doctrinal law positions on matters affecting the operations of the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Coast Guard. Judge advocates and legal advisers have occasion to conduct deeper research to identify the context and source of the rules reflected in the Commander’s Handbook. Responding to this need, an Annotated Supplement to The Commander’s Handbook was produced in 1997 and published as volume 73 of International Law Studies. In the intervening decades, international law has evolved, and the underlying sources and context have grown considerably. Judge advocates have long used the Annotated Supplement as a resource alongside the Commander’s Handbook and as a point of departure for further inquiry. This 2024 updated Annotated Supplement excerpts numerous U.S. government sources to provide clarity and fidelity to the text of the Handbook, including U.S. legislation and executive branch policy proclamations and the Department of Defense Law of War Manual.