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U.S. News and Commentary



Entries in ROE (8)

Thursday
Nov112010

In Afghanistan US fights Taliban and military ROE

"We are pinned down. We are running low on ammo. We have no air. We've lost today," Marine Maj. Kevin Williams told his translator as Afghan soldiers repeatedly asked for helicopter support.

 American military trainers and the Afghan soldiers they were working with had been pinned down by intense machine gun, rocket-propelled grenades and mortar fire for several hours. The artillery support they had been promised was being withheld by commanders at a nearby forward operating base.

The Billard Memorial in Jacksonville, Florida, is part of a park dedicated to those who serve in the US military.The combined force of 60 Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers, 20 Afghan border police, and 13 U.S. trainers set out before dawn on Sept. 8, 2009 to search the rugged Afghan village of Ganjgal in eastern Kunar province for weapons and to conduct a meeting with local officials. The town had just recently rejected the Taliban's authority in favor of the Afghan government. The village elders had requested that Afghan troops would conduct the sweep, and the embedded American trainers were present in case air or artillery support was required.

As the unit approached the village situated in a valley encircled by craggy mountains, the town's lights suddenly turned off – a likely sign that the mission had been compromised. Minutes later, the first shots were fired at the column, and the force was quickly enveloped with heavy machine gun and rocket-propelled grenade fire. The Americans and Afghans took cover behind rock walls, and the enemy began an attempt to flank the pinned-down unit.

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Saturday
Jun262010

Rep. Jones wants ROE hearing as bloggers discuss Petraeus and Burger King

By Kay B. Day

The US Report was one in a minority of voices in the political blogosphere months ago when we raised the issue of the Rules of Engagement for US forces, partly in response to reading milblogs as well as following dispatches filed by war correspondent Michael Yon.

Rep. Walter Jones is calling for a hearing about the Rules of Engagement. And Congress, at least, appears to be mindful. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) issued a statement on Friday after sending a letter to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (MO-4) and Ranking Member Howard “Buck” McKeon (CA-25). Jones’ statement said he is “requesting a Full Committee classified hearing on Rules of Engagement and Tactical Directives in Afghanistan.”

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Wednesday
May192010

Some US troops in Afghanistan may patrol with no rounds chambered in weapons

Update, May 21, 2010: Herschel Smith, writing at Captain's Quarters, describes an official communication about this policy. Smith received the communication after writing commentary about the policy described in our article.

Update, May 24, 2010: The US Report stands by this story. Some blogs appear to view the situation regarding patrols as harmless. We do not. Some of those same critical blogs even note decisions about weapons protocol are made at the "lowest tactical level." Apparently that is where the claim in our story began--at the lowest tactical level. When blogs and media cite our work, we would appreciate accuracy on the claims and charges. Furthermore the blog offering a crit of our story cites the wrong source for the official communication we mention above. That official communication went to The Captain's Journal, not to Black Five.

Original story:

Scenic photo of one of Afghanistan's beautiful places, the Bamyan lakes region of Bamyan Province, Afghanistan. [Photo CIA World Fact Book.]By Chris Carter

Commanders have reportedly ordered a U.S. military unit in Afghanistan to patrol in a manner that could handicap them.

Some soldiers are being ordered to conduct patrols without a round chambered in their weapons, The US Report has learned from an anonymous source at a forward operating base in Afghanistan.  Our source was unsure if the order came from his unit or if it affected other units.

On war correspondent Michael Yon's Facebook page, commenters stated that this is a common practice in Iraq, while others said that it is occurring in Afghanistan as well. According to military protocol, “Amber” status requires weapons to have a loaded magazine, but the safety on and no round chambered.

"The idea that any combat unit would conduct any operation, including patrolling and even manning a security post -- in which direct action may-or-may not take place -- and not having weapons loaded, borders on being criminally negligent in my opinion," says Lt. Col. W. Thomas Smith Jr., a recognized expert on terrorism and military/national defense issues. "This is nothing more than infusing politically correct restrictions into already overly restrictive rules of engagement. And this PC nonsense is going to get people killed."

According to Smith, "American soldiers are highly skilled in the use of 'loaded' weapons, and so should be trusted to operate with 'loaded' weapons. If someone overseeing decisions on ROE thinks not, then ratchet up training. But don't put a man on the street and force him to go through multiple prompts when a gunfight breaks out. Remember, the situation can go from quiet to kinetic in half the time it takes to breathe."

In an ambush situation, just how long does it take to engage a target when your weapon isn't already loaded?

“Too long,” states Sandy Daniel, military veteran and Deputy Director of the Victory Institute. “The first couple of seconds in an ambush are critical, and when that block of time is used to load a weapon instead of firing, you are losing the time you need to stay alive. Patrolling without a chambered round is suicide.”

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Thursday
May132010

NATO's proposed 'Courageous Restraint' medal – another victory for our enemies

By Chris Carter

The military's rules of engagement (ROE) in Afghanistan have become so emasculated that commanders are now considering the creation of a medal awarded for not using lethal force during war.

NATO Commander General Stanley McChrystal is currently reviewing the “Courageous Restraint” medal, which was suggested by British Maj. Gen. Nick Carter following an incident where U.S. soldiers fired on a bus carrying Afghan civilians.

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Thursday
Apr292010

For layman’s context on ROE, ‘Lone Survivor’ is an eye-opener

By Kay B. Day

Pt. 2 of 2

When I saw a recommendation on David Lussier’s Facebook page for the book ‘Lone Survivor,’ I picked up a copy and read it. The account of SEAL Team 10 written by Marcus Luttrell with Patrick Robinson is an eye-opener for those who have never fought in a war zone. You begin to see how the Rules of Engagement (ROE) affect decisions for troops confronting an enemy who can be almost impossible to identify.

The authors did an excellent job of telling a story that puts the reader there alongside 4 members of a SEAL team heading to a dangerous mission along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The target of the mission was an al Qaeda leader in an area dominated by Taliban.

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Monday
Apr192010

Congressman calls for hearing on military's restrictive rules of engagement

by Chris Carter

A congressman said that Congress should review the military's rules of engagement in Afghanistan, saying, “They have proved too often to be fatal” to US troops.

Rep. Walter Jones (R – N.C.), whose district includes Camp Lejeune, called for the House Armed Services Committee to hold a hearing on the rules, which families of fallen Marines have called “shameful” and “suicidal.”

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Friday
Apr162010

SEAL’s book is a backgrounder on training, discipline

By Kay B. Day

Pt. I of 2

I came to the book ‘Lone Survivor’ by Marcus Luttrell with Patrick Robinson later than many—David Lussier listed it as a favorite book on his Facebook page. Lussier founded the group Support the Navy SEALs who Captured Ahmed Hashim Abed.

Lussier's recommendation spurred me to buy a copy.

The book became a bestseller for first time author Luttrell. Robinson is an acclaimed writer of fiction and nonfiction and had already racked up bestsellers.

I didn’t know much about the inner workings of the US Navy’s legendary fighting force. By the time I put the book down I’d learned enough to know that being a SEAL is beyond the reach of most of us.

There were 180 in Luttrell’s original group hoping to graduate; approximately 30 made the cut. [Pg. 155] I did know beforehand about the brutal training and exacting requirements. Luttrell gave my general perceptions the specifics I lacked.

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Thursday
Apr152010

Top war correspondent’s embed in Afghanistan halted 

By Kay B. Day

Top war correspondent Michael Yon's embed in Afghanistan comes to a close. [Photo used with permission, Michael Yon]No one reporting on the Global War on Terror has done a more effective or honest job than Michael Yon. For one thing he knows the military, having served in U.S. Army Special Forces. With his camera and his pen, he enabled readers to see aspects of war corporate media could or would not divulge.

On Saturday, April 10, Yon posted a message on his magazine-style website. “[A] message came from military that this embed has ended.” He headed off to pack his bags.

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