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Authorized departure


Authorized departure is a term used in military operations to describe the voluntary evacuation of non-essential personnel, dependents, and select employees from a designated area due to potential or imminent security threats. This decision to evacuate is generally made by the host country’s government, military authorities, or the sponsoring organization. The purpose of an authorized departure is to ensure the safety and security of those involved while maintaining the ability to continue essential functions in the affected area.

Key Takeaways

  1. Authorized departure is a procedure used by the U.S. Department of State to evacuate non-emergency personnel, family members, and eligible dependents from a designated area due to potential security risks or threats.
  2. It is a voluntary process, not a mandatory evacuation, which allows eligible individuals to make an informed decision about whether to temporarily leave the area or country.
  3. The decision to authorize departure is made based on assessments of local conditions, potential threats, and the capacity for the U.S. government to effectively provide assistance and support to those who remain.


Authorized departure is an important military operations term because it highlights a pre-planned, organized process for the temporary and voluntary evacuation of non-essential personnel, dependents, and designated individuals during emergencies or potential threats.

This term serves as an essential aspect of military readiness, ensuring the safety and well-being of those who need to be removed from the vicinity while maintaining the operational effectiveness and efficiency of pivotal military functions.

By facilitating an authorized departure, the military can prioritize necessary resources, keep families and non-essential individuals out of harm’s way, and minimize the potential for larger-scale complications during highly sensitive and complex situations.


Authorized departure is a procedural directive employed by the United States Department of State in situations where the safety and well-being of its personnel, their dependents, or the U.S. mission abroad is potentially compromised. The purpose of this measure is to facilitate the voluntary and temporary relocation of non-emergency staff members and their families to a designated safe location, typically outside the affected country. Its implementation allows for the ongoing assessment of threats, adjustments in security measures, and the adaptability of diplomatic operations under challenging circumstances.

Furthermore, authorized departure allows for the preemptive reduction of personnel presence, alleviating strain on resources and security in volatile environments. Throughout a broad range of circumstances, including natural disasters, political unrest, or escalation of conflict, authorized departure remains an essential component of U.S. foreign policy contingency planning. By working in conjunction with host nations, the U.S.

effectively secures the safety of its personnel while continuing to fulfill its diplomatic mission. It is important to note that this practice should not be misconstrued as an evacuation or abandonment of diplomatic responsibilities; instead, the temporary relocation of staff and dependents enables the preservation of diplomatic ties and ensures the viability of future engagement. In summary, authorized departure serves as a key instrument for maintaining both the safety and the operational effectiveness of U.S. diplomatic efforts around the globe.

Examples of Authorized departure

Authorized departure refers to the voluntary or mandatory evacuation of specific personnel and/or their dependents from a location due to security risks, natural disasters, or other dangerous situations. Here are three real-world examples:

In 2011, following the devastating earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear incidents in Japan, the U.S. Department of State authorized the voluntary departure of eligible family members of U.S. government personnel in the areas affected. The decision was taken to move families away from potential radiation exposure and allow government personnel to focus on relief and recovery efforts.

In 2015, the U.S. Department of State authorized the departure of non-emergency personnel and family members of U.S. government personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a, Yemen, amid escalating violence during the Houthi rebel uprising. The move was aimed at protecting U.S. citizens and minimizing their exposure to potential harm.

In 2016, due to the increasing level of crime and violence, including homicides and armed robbery, the U.S. Department of State authorized the voluntary departure of family members of U.S. government personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Nassau, The Bahamas. The order aimed to minimize risks to American families while also implementing additional security measures for embassy personnel still in the country.

FAQ: Authorized Departure

What is an authorized departure?

An authorized departure is a procedure utilized by the government to allow specific individuals or groups, usually governmental employees and their dependents, to leave a country temporarily due to safety or security concerns, natural disasters, or other emergencies.

Who can authorize a departure?

An authorized departure is typically ordered by the Chief of Mission, in consultation with the U.S Department of State, or other relevant government authorities who are responsible for making decisions regarding the safety and well-being of governmental employees and their families overseas.

How long does an authorized departure last?

The duration of an authorized departure may vary depending on the situation on the ground and the assessment made by relevant authorities. Generally, authorized departures can last for up to 30 days, but they can be extended if necessary.

Are evacuations mandatory during an authorized departure?

No, evacuations are not always mandatory during an authorized departure. However, government employees and their dependents are strongly encouraged to follow the guidance and recommendations provided by their respective embassies or consulates, as well as other governmental agencies involved in organizing the departure.

What services are provided to those affected by an authorized departure?

Individuals affected by an authorized departure may receive assistance with travel arrangements, temporary lodging, and transportation to safe locations. Additionally, relevant government agencies may offer financial assistance, medical services, and logistical support during this process.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Evacuation Assistance
  • Special Pass
  • Safe Haven Allowance
  • Transportation Reimbursement
  • Emergency Family Support

Sources for More Information