Leahy Laws

A “Leahy Laws” refer to laws which prohibit the provision of training, equipment, or other support to individual members, or units, of a foreign security force, if there is credible information that the individual or unit has committed a gross violation of human rights. For many years, Leahy Laws were implemented as amendments to annual defense authorization acts (for DoD) and by statute (for State Department), and (for DoD at least) was limited in scope to “training.” In FY 2014, Leahy Law expanded substantially when its scope for DoD was expanded to include “training, equipment, or other assistance.” In FY 2015, the DoD Leahy Law was codified.

Prior to providing DoD-funded training, equipping, or other support of covered forces, DoD works with State Department to perform “human rights vetting,” including querying database called “INVEST” which tracks allegations of human rights violations, as well as other issues of possible policy significance in making support decisions.


  • DoD Leahy Law: 10 U.S.C. 2249e
  • CRS Report on Leahy Laws: CRS Report 46631, Leahy Law Human Rights Provisions and Security Assistance
  • DoD has implemented the Leahy Laws through various policy memoranda not available to be posted here.

    (last updated 2 May 2016)