ONI Directive 930
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ONI Directive 930 is a United Nations Space Command regulation regarding the reporting of SPARTAN-II fatalities. It created a tradition which eventually extended to the SPARTAN-IIIs as well. However, the protocol is no longer applied to Spartans, the UNSC opting to honor their sacrifices accordingly rather than maintaining an aura of invincibility for propaganda purposes.
When the UNSC went public with the SPARTAN-II program, the Office of Naval Intelligence feared that reports of Spartans losses would cause a crippling loss of morale throughout the UNSC. To prevent this, Section Two of ONI issued a directive requiring the falsification of any circumstances regarding the deaths of Spartans, specifically, it banned the application of KIA status to SPARTAN-II personnel. The protocol created and maintained the myth that Spartans never die, and led to the common use of the bitterly ironic phrase "Spartans never die" among the Spartans themselves. This has not gone unnoticed by the Covenant, whose members (including Prophets) often refer to Spartans as "demons", due to their ability to kill thousands of Covenant infantry at a time without death.
Application to SPARTAN-IIIs
At least three Spartan-IIIs have been listed under this protocol. Catherine-B320 was listed MIA following her death by a Sangheili sniper during the Fall of Reach. Additionally, just before his death, SPARTAN-II Kurt Ambrose listed the status of two deceased SPARTAN-IIIs as MIA, "adhering to the tradition of never listing a fallen Spartan as 'killed in action'". However, his action was likely more sentimental than official, as ONI Directive 930 was specific to the SPARTAN-IIs' publicity. In fact, the SPARTAN-III program was never even intended to go public due to concerns about a negative effect on morale and faith in the UNSC. Kat, however, was likely a special case, as her status as part of NOBLE Team put her on a standing equal to the Spartan-IIs. It is likely that her treatment as MIA carried over to the rest of NOBLE Team's S-IIIs.
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