November 23, 2010

Rules of Engagement from Free Range International

Free Range International: Rules of Engagement
- I have written in the past about night raids and aggressive ISAF convoy tactics causing unnecessary civilian casualties. I have also written on the importance of not allowing enemy fighters who attack ISAF units to live and fight another day. Counterinsurgency requires adaptation and my annoyance at night raids or shooting car loads of locals who come too close to convoys is that there are better ways to handle both situations. Nine years and counting and I have seen very little adaptation to the local environment.

But I have seen adaptation now during my recent patrol with the Marines. What I need to stress is that this was the first time I have been embedded in a long patrol. My observations from the AO of Regimental Combat Team 1 are limited to this small part of Afghanistan. The terrain is flat the enemy not able or willing to operate in large numbers. Prior to this trip all my observations regarding military efforts have been “effects based”. I have been on the outside looking in. I have never before traveled with a military patrol nor have I had the opportunity to observe and talk with troops in the field.

I have posted in the past on the rules of engagement often linking to Herschel Smith at The Captains Journal with whom I am in complete agreement. We feel the rules of engagement are too restrictive and endanger the lives of ISAF and Afghan soldiers in the field. I posted recently about my first visit to RCT 1 where the Col Furness and his staff do not feel the rules of engagement are too restrictive or inappropriate. On this trip I had a chance to talk to everyone from grunts in the field, platoon sergeants, company commanders as well as all three battalion commanders. The consensus is that the Marines do not consider the rules of engagement too restrictive. The only bitching I heard from the junior enlisted men concerned the strict PID – positive identification of a target before they can engage.

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