Tactical Decision Games

[General and Special Situation] [CO Guidance] [Rules of Engagement]

In the December 2009 issue of the Gazette, readers were informed that tactical decision games (TDGs) would be returning to the magazine. With the assistance of Maj Gregory A. Thiele and the students of the Expeditionary Warfare School’s (EWS’) Advanced Warfighting Seminar, TDGs are back. While the titles of some TDGs may be familiar to readers, the contents of the TDGs are different. This particular set of TDGs takes place in Afghanistan; names of locations will be familiar to most of our readers.

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We are publishing the General Situation, the Commander’s Engagement Guidance, and Rules of Engagement as they appear in the Fourth Generation Tactical Decision Game Manual used by the students at EWS. It is our intention that a new TDG will be published each month, with solutions to be published on the Gazette website as soon as they are edited and formatted for the web. The Gazette will publish a “proposed” solution 2 months after the TDG appears in the print issue of the magazine. Because of space constraints, the Gazette will not republish the TDG when the proposed solution is published. The proposed solution will appear under the title of the TDG for which it was written.

The General Situation, Commander’s Engagement Guidance, and Rules of Engagement will not be reprinted in the print copy of the magazine. This information will be posted on the web and may be accessed when necessary. Now, on to the first TDG.

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General Situation

You are assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (11th MEU), with Battalion Landing Team 2d Battalion, 1st Marines (BLT 2/1), as the ground combat element, as it deployed to Afghanistan for 6 months in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Your assigned area of operations (AO) is Nangarhar Province (capital city: Jalalabad) in the northeast sector of Afghanistan. The MEU has relieved a small coalition (NATO) force headquartered at an airfield southeast of Jalalabad near the town of Samarkhel.

The terrain varies from desert to temperate and is generally mountainous. There are three provincial main supply routes that run from Jalalabad south through the Tora Bora Valley into Pakistan, from Jalalabad east into Pakistan through the Khyber Pass, and west from Jalalabad to Kabul. There are no railroads or major rivers, but there are underground waterways that have been used for various activities from smuggling to insurgent activities.

Your primary mission is to execute support and stability operations in Nangarhar Province in order to strengthen the legitimate government and economic development of your AO. Specific tasks include:

• Monitor and maintain security of Afghan-Pakistan border.
• Monitor and maintain security in Afghanistan.
• Interdict illegal arms trafficking.
• Protect members of the Afghan Government and provide security during elections, as necessary.
• Train local security forces.

You have a coordination relationship with adjacent NATO forces and are under operational control of U.S. Central Command headquartered in Kabul.

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Commander’s Engagement Guidance

I intend that all Marines under my command understand their authority and obligation to defend themselves, fellow servicemembers, our allies, and local civilians from any hostile act. That being said, our leaders are under a further obligation to understand that most engagements should be resolved in our favor using methods other than deadly force. In many circumstances, resolving situations through deescalation vice resorting to deadly force will increase our standing and authority among the local populace. Resolving situations through means other than deadly force, when possible, increases my ability to work with local leaders by demonstrating that while Marines can kill those who attack us, our allies, and those we protect, we apply selective force. This tells neutral and hostile parties that we are not using “full force” but are “holding back.” These neutral and hostile parties will be more inclined to talk because they do not know how much we are “holding back” and what our “full force” is. I intend to exploit that uncertainty and our standing among the local population to our advantage, but I need thinking leaders who do not “shoot first and ask questions later” to set the stage for me to engage hostile and neutral leaders from a position of advantage.

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Rules of Engagement

a. These rules do not limit a Marine’s inherent authority and obligation to use all necessary means available and to take all appropriate actions in self-defense of the unit, yourself, and other U.S. forces in the vicinity.

b. Neither these rules nor the supplemental measures activated to augment these rules limit the inherent right and obligation of self-defense.

c. HOSTILE FORCES: NO forces have been declared hostile. U.S. forces are not authorized to engage forces based solely on uniform, appearance, or possession of weapons.

d. HOSTILE ACTORS: You may engage persons who commit hostile acts or show hostile intent with the minimum force necessary to counter the hostile act or demonstrated hostile intent and to protect U.S. forces, designated non-U.S. forces, nongovernment organizations (IRC [International Red Cross], Doctors Without Borders, etc.), and unarmed civilians.

e. A Hostile Act is an attack or other use of force against the United States, U.S. forces, U.S. nationals, their property, designated non-U.S. forces, foreign nationals, and their property as outlined in part d. A Hostile Act is also force that precludes the mission of our forces including recovery of U.S. personnel and vital U.S. property as designed by the CO. Vital U.S. property is defined as:

• All ComSec [communications security] gear.
• All military issue weapons.
• All military issue explosives and demo.

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f. Hostile Intent is the threat of imminent use of force against the United States, U.S. forces, and other forces designated in parts d and e. It is also the threat of force to impede the mission and/or duties of U.S. forces, including the recovery of U.S. personnel or vital U.S. Government property.

g. Civilians will openly carry weapons as a sign of status. Possession and carrying weapons is not automatically considered a hostile act or demonstration of hostile intent. Marines who believe a civilian carrying weapon(s) demonstrates hostile intent are authorized to engage in accordance with Graduated Measures of Force (part i, below). At no time are civilians authorized to impede military operations.

h. Local security forces, who often do not wear uniforms, are authorized weapons required to maintain order in their respective areas. During initial operations, detection of local security forces are to be reported to Battalion S–3 [operations] to include security force commander, location, and security force HQ location. At no time are local security forces authorized to impede military operations.

i. Use Graduated Measures of Force. When time and circumstances permit, use the following degrees of graduated force when responding to hostile act/intent: (1) shout verbal warnings to halt, (2) show your weapon and demonstrate intent to use it, (3) block access or detain, (4) fire a warning shot, (5) shoot to eliminate threat. These Measures of Force will change if issued riot control or security force gear. Examples include rapidly approaching thieves with weapons at the ready to stop them from robbing a civilian. Further example includes approaching several local military-aged males carrying rifles that are impeding the activities of representatives from the IRC. The males offer no resistance when confronted, are detained, and transported to HQ for questioning. If the males try to escape, military forces are authorized to pursue. Deadly force is only authorized if the males execute a hostile act (shooting at military forces or civilians) or demonstrate hostile intent (draws a weapon and begins to aim at civilians or military forces). Do not target or strike anyone who has surrendered or is out of combat due to sickness or wounds.

j. Do not target or strike hospitals, mosques, churches, shrines, schools, museums, national monuments, and any other historical cultural sites or civilian populated areas or buildings UNLESS the enemy is using them for military purposes or if necessary for your self-defense.

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k. Do not target or strike infrastructure (public works, commercial communications facilities, dams), Lines of Communications (roads, highways, tunnels, bridges, railways) and Economic Objects (commercial storage facilities, pipelines) UNLESS the enemy is using them for military purposes, if necessary for self-defense, or if ordered by your commander. If you must fire on these objects, fire to disable and disrupt rather than destroy.

l. ALWAYS minimize incidental injury, loss of life, and collateral damage.

m. U.S. military forces are authorized to use force, to include deadly force, in the following circumstances:

• To protect U.S. forces and designated allies (see General Situation).
• To protect vital U.S. property designated by the commander (part e).
• To protect U.S. property not designated by the commander to be vital but is inherently dangerous (i.e., non-U.S. military demolitions or UXO [unexploded ordnance]).
• To prevent serious offenses against others (rape, murder, etc.).
• To prevent escape of personnel who commit hostile acts.
• When you receive a lawful order from a commander. The lawful order must have:

- Description of the person(s) to use force on.
- Reason why lawful force is authorized. Example: “Engage the four men in the green truck; they attacked the marketplace.”

n. ALL personnel MUST report suspected violations of the Law of War committed by any U.S., friendly, or enemy force. Notify your chain of command, judge advocate, IG [inspector general], Chaplain, or NCIS [Naval Criminal Investigative Service].

Editor’s Note: To view manuals on fourth-generation war produced by the Advanced Warfighting Seminar, go to http://www.d-n-i.net/dni/strategy-and-force-employment/fourth-generation-warfare-manuals, or if you are in the U.S. military and have a common access card, go to https://www.intranet.tecom.usmc.mil/sites/EWS/AdvWF.

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