When it comes to Department of Defense doctrine on military treatment of detained persons, “unlawful enemy combatants” are a thing of the past. That term has been retired and replaced by “unprivileged enemy belligerents” in a new revision of Joint Publication 3-13 on Detainee Operations, dated November 13, 2014.
The only actual mention of the previous term comes in the Summary of Changes on page iii, which notes that the revision “[r]evises terminology, taxonomy, and definitions for unlawful enemy combatant, unprivileged belligerent, detainee, and detainee operations.” There is no particular explanation for why unlawful combatant no longer suffices, or why “unprivileged” makes for a clearer understanding between the categories of legitimate POW and everyone else.
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