Tactical Decision Game 07-23: Trouble in the Archipelago

You command a rifle company. You find yourself on Big Island. Big Island and Little Islands 1-12, along with a few thousand other islands, make up the territory of Ally. Ally is an archipelagic country located within the weapons engagement zone (WEZ) of Adversary. Ten months ago, Adversary sought to annex Island Nation 100 NM east of their coast. This act of aggression led to our engagement in a costly 57-day war with Adversary over Island Nation that also involved Ally. Currently, all parties are signatories to a tentatively negotiated cease-fire. Adversary still maintains a foothold on Island Nation.  

Ever since the cease-fire, the expeditionary strike group has been busy ensuring continued logistical support to special operation forces (SOF) in the theatre. Our maritime freedom of movement has depended upon Ally’s ability to maintain sovereignty over its archipelago. We helped Ally hold the archipelago when Adversary attempted an invasion during the short war to open another flank on Island Nation. While Adversary cannot forcibly remove us from the archipelago, for fear of openly violating the terms of the cease-fire, they continue to explore other ways to make us reconsider our commitment to Ally and the terrain Ally has permitted us to occupy as stand-in forces.  

Coincidentally, Ally now has an insurgent problem made up of violent extremists. Intel reports indicate that the insurgent ambitions, armories, and coffers have been propped up through covert help from Adversary. Additionally, tensions with Adversary, who has been known to respond to what they perceive as violations of the negotiated cease-fire with long-range precision strikes, remain high. Key terms of the cease-fire limit the number of troops in the region. For this reason, perceived increases and build-ups inside the WEZ are heavily scrutinized. While our staff judge advocate tells us that our numbers and movements are permitted, one misunderstanding could lead to catastrophic consequences. Therefore, signature management inside of the WEZ remains important as it not only protects us from insurgent forces but more importantly protects us from Adversary’s persistent and ubiquitous targeting efforts. Simply put, if Adversary can make us leave the archipelago, they can further limit our logistical support to our SOF and further position themselves for success if hostilities resume. 

The battalion landing team’s (BLT) mission is to conduct security operations on this key maritime terrain with our archipelagic ally to ensure our continued control of sea lanes that Adversary seeks to contest.  

Two weeks ago, a host-nation commando squad was destroyed on neighboring Little Island 4 (5 NM north of your current location on Big Island) when an insurgent small UAS tracked the motorized unit long enough to execute an ambush. This ambush was initiated with a swarm of loitering munitions and ended when a few trucks equipped with NSV 12.7mm machineguns rolled up on the ambush site and finished off the remnants of the squad. One week ago, locals on Little Island 7 reported fishing vessels unloading what appeared to be 82mm mortars under cover of darkness. Meanwhile, you and your Marines have been distributed across Big Island supporting host-nation commandos while also emplacing, calibrating, and monitoring sea and ground sensors.   

The BLT has now tasked your company with linking up with SOF elements on Little Island 4 to prepare for the BLT’s establishment of a larger presence throughout the archipelago. Upon occupying Big Island, the BLT intends to distribute more squad-sized elements throughout Little Islands 1-12 to further the mission. For the last 48 hours, you have been preparing to depart the Big Island by way of a Light Amphibious Warship and Land Craft Utilities. Your plan is to join two of your platoons as they displace north to Little Island 4 to link up and reinforce SOF elements already in the vicinity of Little Island 4 and keep your most experienced platoon on Big Island to act as an advance party for additional reinforcements from the BLT.   

1st and 2d Platoons will embark aboard the connectors from the Blue River Docks at the port of Ubeda while 3d Platoon remains in overwatch in the town of Secliso.  Secliso is mostly mud huts with thatched roofs and is home to about 400 local nationals. Green Creek separates Secliso from North Ubeda. Ubeda is the most contemporary city on Big Island, made up of concrete buildings and home to about 3000 locals. South Ubeda is separated from North Ubeda by the Blue River. Blue River can only be passed at the Bridge.  Blue River Docks sits on the banks of North Ubeda. 

You have established a company command post in a concrete building in North Ubeda. You left your mortars in the company arms room on ship twenty-two days ago. However, you still maintain elements of the company fire support team alongside you in the command post. You have a section of Amphibious Combat Vehicles attached to the company. One of the battalion’s four scout sniper teams is currently in direct support of your company to assist with the extract. They have placed themselves in the vicinity of Loma Linda. They are outstanding in recon/counter-recon and maintain working proficiency in close air support and joint fires. A HIMARS battery resides on Little Island 6, 22 NM NE of Big Island. Their employment requires clearance at the one-star level. There is also a section of AH-1Z SuperCobras on a ten-minute strip alert on the Landing Helicopter Dock. The fact that the Landing Helicopter Dock is constantly steaming in and out of the WEZ remains a constant source of consternation for you as there are times it is as far as 60 NM from Big Island.   

3d Platoon is foot-mobile and has been in the vicinity of Secliso in overwatch for the past eight hours. 1st Platoon is in the vicinity of North Ubeda and has been in place for six hours. Amphibious Combat Vehicles are co-located with the 1st Platoon. While the 1st Platoon and the company command post have aggregated within the bounds of Ubeda proper, the 2d Platoon is conducting an infiltration north along Route 3 toward Ubeda for the purpose of extract.  Your company has nine man-packed loitering munitions (three per platoon), each with a range of ten km or ten minutes, a cruising speed of 100km per hour, and each carrying a 40mm warhead. Each platoon has two Carl Gustav 84mm Recoilless Rifles, two medium machineguns, and limited small UAS assets.  

2d Platoon is foot-mobile and moving slowly to maximize security. Thirty minutes ago, the 2nd Platoon reported gaining visual of South Ubeda. The Land Crafts Utility and Light Amphibious Warship should begin arriving in 45 minutes. 

Ten minutes later, the scout snipers on Loma Linda observed at least three generic quadcopters moving south along Route 3 moving toward your position before losing visual. No one else has reported gaining visual of the quadcopters.  

Six minutes later, you hear two faint explosions to your northeast in the vicinity of Secliso.   

Forty seconds later, your third platoon commander reports that one of his overwatch positions was just hit with what he can only believe were 40mm grenades dropped from a loitering munition. He reports one routine, two urgent casualties, and one priority. He is requesting that you send the Amphibious Combat Vehicles for the urgent MEDEVACs.   

Suddenly, you hear six distant pops to your south across the Blue River: mortars. The volume makes you believe the enemy must be very confident in their accuracy for some reason to drop that many mortars in the first salvo. You brace for the impact as rounds slam into the vicinity of 1st Platoon in Ubeda. Outside of the command post, you can hear at least two Marines screaming for a corpsman and plenty of commotion. 

Twenty seconds later, 2d platoon commander reports over comms that the lead trace of his infiltration squads saw several puffs of faint smoke in the vicinity of South Ubeda at the time the mortars were fired. That same squad now sees seven to nine men moving across the road and in and out of buildings in the vicinity of the smoke. 2d platoon commander is requesting permission to engage the men he sees in the vicinity of South Ubeda. 

With all this radio traffic you begin to become concerned with your electromagnetic signature. More radio traffic: scout snipers at Loma Linda report one of the Route 7 ground sensors was tripped 30 seconds ago. Snipers reoriented southeast of their position and now have observation of four to five pick-up trucks rapidly moving west on Route 7 toward Secliso.  

In a time limit of three minutes: 

  • What is the enemy trying to do to you? 
  • As the company commander, what can you affect in this fight?  
  • What are your orders? 
  • What do you tell higher? 

After Action Report:   

  • How did you get into this mess?   
  • What must you learn from this action? 

Tactical Decision Game #23-04: Hide and Seek

The year is 2031 and the world is at war. You are the squad leader for 1st Squad, Alpha Company, 3rd Marine Littoral Regiment. You are tasked with maintaining a low signature sensing cell on the small island of Pamitinan in the Philippine archipelago. Enemy ships frequent the straight between your island and the island approximately nine kilometers to the north. Although remaining undetected to protect sensing capabilities is the primary mission, your squad is equipped with one squad deployment missile system which has eight missiles as well as two unmanned aquatic vehicles each carrying sixteen surface-to-surface launched missiles. Your weaponry allows you a last line of self-defense if spotted and enables a strike capability in case of a high-priority target as designated by the fleet commander.  

You have been on the island for 57 days and are quickly approaching the end of your 60 days of rations and logistical sustainment. Resupplies have been planned for your squad twice in the past three weeks but have fallen through due to unexpected enemy movement in the area that could reveal your positioning or down the incoming aircraft. Three days ago, your 1st fire team leader, Cpl Snow, developed a high fever. He has been vomiting, in and out of consciousness, and recently finished the last IV bag. A medevac for Cpl Snow and a logistical resupply is now a necessity. To avoid detection, you are limited to one randomly generated comm window a day that lasts for two minutes. During the last window, it was passed that an MV-22 Osprey would be landing at your LZ at 0900 with a medical crew for an extract of Cpl Snow and a logistical resupply of 60 days of sustainment.  

As you are preparing the second fireteam to move to the LZ and rendezvous with the Osprey a Marine from your squad grabs you to tell you to look at the radar. You look to see your sensor has picked up not one but two enemy ships. To your northeast is an enemy sensing ship capable of picking up any transmissions that use SATCOM, HF, and VHF within seconds and pinpointing its location for precision-strike capabilities to act on. To your northwest heading toward the other ship is an enemy battleship capable of ship-to-air and ship-to-shore precision-ballistic strikes. It would take approximately 36 of your organic missiles to overwhelm the battleship’s defense capabilities and 24 for the sensing ship. The Osprey that is inbound is only minutes from being within range and is currently flying dark on comms only able to be reached by an emergency VHF net that you could contact to call them off. A strike from the enemy destroyer would be on target within 90 seconds with an attack from the nearest enemy-held island being 5 minutes. The time is 0852, what do you do? 

>GySgt McGrorty-Hunter is a Cyber Network Chief and is currently serving as a Faculty Advisor at the Staff Non-Commissioned Officers Academy aboard MCB Quantico. He is also the founder of the Quantico Warfighting Society. His most recent assignment prior to serving at Quantico was with ¼ MAR where he deployed twice in support of the 31st and 15th MEUs. 

Part VII: Deal or No Deal

Situation

You are the Company Commander, A Company, 1st Bn, 1st Marines. It has been two days since the two families of squatters living in COP Ritz hastily left their rooms in the outpost after a visit from two of their “cousins.” You have taken a team of three MUGA commandos, including Sgt Chef Benazzi. His seniority and experience remind you of an old-school infantry gunnery sergeant, and he has also proven to be one or your most savvy interpreters. You have been outside the wire since dawn meeting with Imam Mehmet Binouadoud, the Imam of the Al Mumeet Mosque, and Mkuu (chief) Uhuru Honore, the leader of the Albu Xuzuri tribe. You are determined to build on your relationships with these two very different local leaders to get to the bottom of the sudden departure of the squatters and to shore up local security in the neighborhood.

Your reports, based on many engagements over the past months, have helped confirm multi-source intelligence analysis findings that the leaders of the Albu Xuzuri tribe may be ready to openly support the MUGA and the CJTF. Your battalion CO has also “read you in” regarding diplomatic efforts at the U.S. mission in the capital, Minna Sultan Usween, to bring the Nuzuris into the MUGA. The Nuzuris are numerous and heavily armed, but they are a minority in the country. They have been historically ostracized as the descendants of enslaved mainland Africans brought to the country by the French in the 18th century. The Nuzuri are further stigmatized due to their unorthodox interpretation of Sufi Islam influenced by tribal and Christian practices. In response, they have developed a strongly self-reliant and isolated warrior culture with a reputation for violence, revenge, and criminal enterprises.

The three of you, along with Sgt Chef Benazzi, are all sitting on the floor of one of the offices on the third floor of the Imam’s compound due east of the mosque, drinking sweet tea. Your commandos, the Imam’s mosque police, and the Mkuus personal guard are posted outside. Soon after the noon call-toprayers, you hear two explosions and heavy small arms fire. You see smoke rising from the northern boundary of the COP, but you cannot make contact with your Marines on the company radio. More automatic weapons fire and several smaller explosions follow, now you are able to see smoke rising from north of the COP. You cannot see the action north of the COP and have no idea how many attackers are involved, what has caused the explosions, or what actions your Marines are taking.

You are still unable to raise your 3d Platoon Commander, 1st Lt Przyby, who you Iert in charge at the COP. As you silently recite the “mantra” of tactical reporting-“What do I know? Who needs to know? Have I told them?”- you use your local network cell phone to call the battalion’s CMOC (civil-military operations center) and, after a brief exchange with one of the contracted interpreters, you provide a “Flash” SITREP to the Battalion Operations Officer: “40-plus enemy; attacking COP Ritz from the north; time: now; automatic weapons and IEDs; COP in danger of being overrun.” You deliberately create a number of attackers to “work the system” the CFACC (combined force air component commander) uses to authorize CAS requests when there is a tactical unit in contact, or “TIC.” You know 30 enemy is the CJTF Commander’s threshold to immediately pull attack aircraft plus either rotary-wing or a UAS terminal controller from one of the “stacks” managed by the CFACC from their palatial combined air operations center at the international airport in the capital. Further, you add a “worse case” assessment about COP Ritz being overrun to ensure your Marines have the best chance for immediate support. As you finish your call, you hear the familiar sound of a .50 cal machingun and the crum-crump-crump of a MK19. You had been expecting the S-4A with a resupply convoy, and it sounds as if he has arrived and is joining the fight.

The Mkuu turns to you and, in heavily accented but perfect English, says, “My men can help you. My Militia is here protecting us at this meeting, and they are ready to fight and kill the terrorists attacking your Marines. I know you are only a captain, but at least you are here with us. I also know you understand what I am offering, and your generals and colonels will listen to you. You will make your reports, and you will see to it that 1 meet with the general of your ‘see jay tee eff.'”

He goes on to tell you that he has 30 militiamen with rifles and RPGs spread between the large, 4-story apartment building north of the Mosque and the COP. Mkuu Honore assures you that his men will support your Marines and help you get safely back to the COP. He goes on to report that the Albu Nuzuri are “blood enemies” of the terrorists and the tribes who support them, and that they are ready to secure this part of the city for the MUGA. Sgt Chef Benazzi and the Imam have been conferring Arabic, and while clearly caught off guard, they both appear pleased.

Suddenly, the Mkuu calls in one of his personal guard who is carrying a Styrofoam cooler held together with duct tape and wire. With obvious pride, he declares “to prove my point…” and opens the cooler to show you the severed heads of the two “cousins” who had visited the squatters at COP Ritz two days ago. Sgt Chef Benazzi starts cursing in Arabic, and Imam Binouadoud reels in shock. The commandos, mosque police, and Nuzuri Militia start screaming at each other in the hall way. You fight back the nausea and lean in to the Mkuu.

Realizing what this means to the CJTF and your battalion, do you accept his offer of support? “Deal, or no deal?”

If you do accept, how do you want to employ the militiamen in the apartment building between you and the COP? What are your instructions, and how do you communicate them?

If your ploy to get immediate CAS to support your Marines is successful, and with degraded communications, how do you plan to ensure effective terminal control of these aircraft?

Where do you put yourself in this fight? Do you get back to the COP as fast as possible, or do you “embed ” with your new allies?

How and when do you tell your battalion commander that your SITREP included deliberate fabrications?

Do you do something completely different?

Requirements

In 5 minutes or less, write your decision, providing a brief discussion of the rationale behind your actions. Submit your solutions by email to gazette@???marines.org or to the Marine Corps Gazette, TDG 09-17, Box 1775, Quantico, VA 22134. The Gazette will publish solutions in an upcoming issue.

Cache Search

by Capt Jason Topshe

Situation

 

You are 3d Squad Leader, 1st Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, deployed to Farah Province, Afghanistan. Your squad was tasked with finding and destroying a suspected Taliban weapons cache reported to be located somewhere in the village of Wadi Zai.

The last reported activity involving U.S. forces in the area is from an Army patrol which conducted a route clearance mission almost seven months ago. That patrol identified a possible IED on the road in vicinity of Building A5. However, when they dismounted their vehicles to investigate, one soldier stepped on a pressure plate IED located near the southeast corner of Building A4. A second soldier moved to provide first aid, but he also stepped on a pressure plate IED along the eastern wall of Building A3. In the ensuing minutes, both of them died of their injuries. The possible IED in vicinity of Building A5 was later confirmed and rendered safe.

During mission planning, through the use of sensors provided by unmanned aerial systems, and through reliable reports from intelligence sources, you have identified four possible IED locations in the village. These are marked by a red “X” on the map.

The remainder of your platoon is located 2km south at Forward Operating Base Driftwood. As your squad patrols into the village from the South, your Platoon Commander comes over the radio with the following information: “Intel reports indicate a high probability the enemy weapons cache is located in Building A3. Get there ASAP and search that building.”

As you approach Building A3 on foot from the south, you notice disturbed earth in three locations surrounding the building, specifically in locations that you identified as likely IEDs during mission planning. Your interpreter is also talking to a local man who claims to live in Building B1. He nervously tells you that you should not go in there because the entire compound is filled with “bombs.”

You report the situation back to your Platoon Commander and request explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) support to further investigate and render any IEDs safe before entering the compound. He comes on the radio with this reply: “Negative. EOD currently unavailable. Find another way to get into that compound. You need to find that cache.”

The compound walls are about six-feet high, and you know your Marines can scale them with the help of a buddy. Through your interpreter, you ask the local man if he knows of a safe way to get into the compound while avoiding IEDs, but he says that he is not sure. He adds that the Taliban used to use the building, but they do not go in it anymore because they forgot where the “bombs” are. After you spend a few minutes talking with the local man, your Platoon Commander comes over the radio and says the following: “Quit delaying. Search that building or I’ll put someone else in charge of your squad who will.”

Troops and Fire Support Available

  • (1)Rifle Squad with (15) Marines
  • (1)Interpreter
  • 155mm howitzer battery located 5km west
  • Squad-sized QRF with (4) MRAPs located 2km South at FOB Driftwood.

Requirements

  1. How do you respond to your Platoon Commander?
  2. In three minutes or less, develop a plan and give orders to your squad.

Considerations

What are the potential risks and benefits associated with obeying your Platoon Commander’s order to search the building? What are the potential risks and benefits of disobeying him?

T&R ITS Links

  • INF-ASLT-4003: Conduct a breach (T&R pg 7-10)
  • INF-FSPT-4001: Integrate fires (pg. 7-11)
  • INF-INT-4001: Conduct Tactical Site Exploitation (TSE) (pg. 7-12)
  • INF-MAN-4213: Conduct a cordon and search (pg. 7-31)
  • INF-MAN-4301: Conduct a combat patrol (pg. 7-32)
  • 0300-PAT-2007: Lead a unit in reaction to a detonated Improvised Explosive Device (IED) (pg. 8-82)
  • 0300-PAT-2008: Lead a unit in reaction to a undetonated Improvised Explosive Device (IED) (pg. 8-83)
  • 0311-MOUT-1003: Execute lower-level entry (pg. 11-15)
  • 0311-MOUT-2001: Lead a squad in urban operations (pg. 11-36)
  • 0311-OFF-2002: Lead a squad in offensive operations (pg. 11-38)
  • 0311-OFF-2005: Direct the employment of an assault team in offensive operations (pg. 11-41)

Tactical Decision Game 94-6*

Here we present a Tactical Decision Game from the pages of the June 1994 Gazette along with previously published solutions.  Your mission is to critique the solutions.  You may point out what you see as flaws in the proposed solution, highlight relevant tactical concepts, identify the effects new weapons or technology on the course of action or offer your own solution.

Click here to view TDG 94-6

Click here to view the solutions

Trouble at the VCP

Situation

You are the Squad Leader, 1st Squad, 3d Platoon, Company G, Battalion Landing Team 2d Battalion, 1st Marines (BLT 2/1). Recently the MEU was sent to Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in support of NATO forces during Operation Enduring Freedom. You have been in-country approximately 2 months and have been assigned to the northeast sector of the area of responsibility, Nangarhar Province. Last month Company G engaged sizable needihajum forces under Sher Dil during a cordon and search operation within the valley. Company G was able to disrupt arms trafficking via the valley; however, small pockets of resistance continue to slip through the valley (squad-sized, Soviet small arms, light machineguns, and rocket propelled grenades). Some of the platoon checkpoints (CPs) have received inaccurate 82mm mortar fire in the last week. Additionally, Company Gs actions last month resulted in significant collateral damage to local poppy fields and goatherds. Several houses and barns within Ada At ah were damaged, and the sole pump in the village center was crushed under the weight of the company’s assault amphibious vehicles. Unequal distributions of solatia payments (appearing to favor Kushtuz farmers in Ada over the minority Nu ristani) have led to increased theft and violence against the Kushtuz by nonaligned Nuristani tribesmen. The company CP is located 25 miles southwest, and the commanding officer has deployed his platoons throughout the valley to provide security for nongovernmental organizations, conduct security patrols, and support human exploitation teams in answering demographic requests for information about the local leaders, population, atmosphere, etc.

It is 1030 and your squad has been at work in Ada Atah for about an hour and a half. You have been in radio contact with your platoon commander and the vehicle CP (VCP). The VCP is closing up shop and is about to push out to continue patrolling along the main supply route. It’s about time; you believe they’re just a target there. In the street in front of you, children kick around a soccer ball that one of your Marines produced out of his pack earlier in the morning. You can hear music from flutes of shepherds who are intermingled with the growing crowd of locals at the seed distribution center and the building housing the health workers. As you clip the handset back to your flak vest you hear the dull thud of two mortar rounds to the north and look up to see a brown pickup truck tear off of the main supply route into a poppy field, heading south. Your radio crackles to life with the voice of one of the heavy machinegun (HMG) corporals up at the VCP, “Orphan 1-3 this is Thor 1. Brown pickup with four Afghans heading south along the dirt road.”

One of the HMG HMMWVs wheels around to the south in the poppy field west of the dirt road and stops. Its gunner traverses the .50 caliber and fires a six-round burst over the pickup that impacts about 100 meters short of the creek bed. The brown pickup jumps onto the northsouth dirt road and continues south at about 40 kilometers per hour. You have about 20 seconds until that pickup makes it to Ada At ah. What now, Sergeant?

Requirement

Given the deployment and current activities of your squad, and in a time limit of 5 seconds, issue your verbal orders to your element leaders and any reports to higher headquarters. What are you doing after your orders are issued?

Issues for Consideration

1. Do you engage the pickup truck? Did the truck’s occupants commit a hostile act/show hostile intent? How does the indirect fire play into your decision? Do your actions change if the passenger points an AK-47 straight in the air out of the window? What if the passenger fires the AK- 47 back at the HMG section?

2. What do you tell the HMG section to do, if anything?

3. Do your actions and their probable results escalate or deescalate violence in your area of operations?

4. What do you expect the enemy to do as a result of your orders? How do your orders exploit the enemy’s response?

5. How do you expect the nongovernmental organizations to react to the actions of your squad?

6. What do you expect civilian reaction/sentiments to be to the collateral damage and/or the actions of your squad? Within 2 hours after you have arrived? At the end of the day? At the end of the week?

7. What is the expected enemy response to collateral damage and/or actions of your squad? Within 2 hours after you leave? At the end of the day? At the end of the week?

8. What actions can you and the BLT take to counter and exploit enemy and civilian responses to collateral damage? While you are in the area? After you return to base?

9. What actions can you, the company, and the BLT take to deter future enemy activity in this area? While you are in the area? After you return to base? During subsequent patrols in the area:

Tax Trouble

Situation

You are Khorasan Parsi, a warlord of the Tajik clan in the city of Sar-e Pol. For the last several years, foreign armies have been operating in your country after ousting the Taliban from the government. Over a month ago American armies moved into Jalalabad, about 30 kilometers north of your city. The continued invasions of foreign powers over your lifetime have left their mark upon your family and clan. Your family has learned to deal with all countries that respect them, and your clan sells good and services to all people. At the same time, some members of your clan are resentful that outsiders from Kabul, Europe, and now the United States seek power in your land for reasons that you do not understand. As a warlord, you know how to stoke the fires of resentment when needed and how to laugh and celebrate with strangers from all over the world, all the while looking to increase your clan’s standing, influence, money, goods, and property.

Your family and clan reside north and east of the Styx River and in the north and east sections of the city south of the river as well. In the middle of your area a French and British nongovernmental organization (NGO) has been distributing food, blankets, and fresh water to those whose homes have been destroyed as a result of the invasion and occupation.

During the American invasion, the Pashtun tribes have gained the uppet hand in the endless power struggle between the clans. Through manipulation of the French and British, they have convinced them to distribute the majority of the aid goods to warlords of the Pashtun clans who establish distribution points in the city center then charge tolls to cross the bridge. Through these tolls your clan loses most if not all of what they receive. The French and British do not understand the extortion, and the Americans are only seen in their armored trucks moving from Tora Bora north to Jalalabad.

A few weeks ago your clan leader ordered that the bridge be destroyed and the NGO camp attacked and looted with the spoils distributed among your clan. The bridge was destroyed, and your clan leader ordered you to take charge of sacking the camp when he orders it. Your warband consists of 30 fighters who have trained with AK-47s and rocket propelled grenades (RPGs). As young children they learned to fight with all manner of improvised weapons. You also have 6 pickup trucks from your family, 1 cell phone with contacts with the rest of your clan leaders on both sides of the river, 2 radios, 30 AK-47s with 40 rounds each, and 2 RPGs with 2 rounds each. Your men generally move as a mob and will break into smaller warbands of two to five fighters once the battle is joined.

Yesterday evening, over dinner with the clan chief, he informed you that the time to take the camp is today. Whether to attack during the day or at night is up to you. All of the clan leaders and heads of the community have offered their support with the stipulation that you wait until afternoon or evening. You agreed to their requests and reconnoitered the camp that evening. You discovered that the camp has about 20 workers, 2 trucks, and enough food to see your family through the next year.

The next morning you notice a group of 50 or so American Marines with armored trucks and a lot of construction equipment enter your area and begin work on building a new bridge. It is now noon, the attack must commence this afternoon or evening (within 3 to 10 hours), and the Americans look like they have no intention of leaving. What now?

Requirement

In 20 minutes, explain to your men and supporting clan leaders what you intend to do and what you need them to do. Issue your orders to your warband.

Issues for Consideration

1. What is your goal for this attack? How does the American presence complicate it? How do your actions negate the American presence?

2. What do you consider mission success?

3. How does your vision of success correspond to your clan leader’s objective?

4. How sensitive are you to casualties among your own fighters? How sensitive are you to local civilian casualties and property damage? How do your actions reflect this?

5. Is your warband being used to attack the Americans, instigate the local populace to action, take the NGO camp, or something else? Whom do you use and who will be reliable to deal with other situations that your warband cannot handle; i.e., will they take the NGO camp and keep the supplies?

6. Do your actions force the Americans to fight your warband? If so, what are the possible repercussions of a fight with the Americans?

7. If you chose not to attack the Americans, what other methods could you use to neutralize them?

Fight for Rahadnak Valley

Situation

You are Marwand Paywastun, a local leader of the needihajum freedom fighters led by Sher Dil. You live in Rahadnak Valley and are proud to have never left it. It is now spring, the winter has gone, and your friends, family, and neighbors have planted the annual crops hoping for a bountiful harvest. After a few years of relative peace, foreign soldiers invaded your valley. Over the past month the Americans took over to impose foreign rule upon the dozen villages that make up the Rahadnak Valley. There is no reason to expect they will stop. They come in the hundreds, riding in their armored vehicles, often with helicopters flying overhead. Fortunately, while they have vehicles, you own this land and know every cave, ravine, goat trail, and hiding place in the valley.

This season you have been able to recruit over 60 fighters from your village of Ada and 2 nearby villages. While they include many of the major clans, some of the clans are neutral to your cause and some are hostile, favoring the Americans over their freedom. Your fighters have trained since birth as hunters and are organized as eight groups of seven to eight fighters (ineluding your own bodyguard) by clan affiliation. You have been able to amass 6 rocket propelled grenades with 20 rounds, one 82mm mortar with 25 rounds, two 14.7mm machineguns, 45 AK-47s with 80 rounds for each weapon, 4 cell phones, and 3 radios. Communication in the valley is primarily by messenger. Clan leaders have cell phones, and you have most of their numbers. Ada has four vehicles that belong to the local clan leader, who is also your uncle. The landscape is littered with unexploded bombs and shells left over from past wars.

Sher Dill has charged you with defending the western entrance of the valley from the American invaders. (See map.) He also reminds all of his leaders to be vigilant of the mood of other clans and to take every advantage to both defeat the Americans and increase our own numbers and supporters.

This morning one of your nephews rides to your home with news from your brother, a worker at the American base near Jalalabad. He states that the Americans have just received a new unit of soldiers with their armored vehicles, who began patrolling in the area a day after arrival. Based on previous experience, the Americans usually follow the same pattern, encircling the village with some of their men and vehicles and sending a smaller force into the village to search houses. You believe the Americans will be here by tomorrow afternoon at the latest. What now?

Requirement

In a time limit of 15 minutes, prepare your order to your group leader. Be prepared to discuss the rationale for your decisions.

Issues for Consideration

1. What do you believe the Americans’ goal is?

2. What is your estimate of the American strength compared to your own?

3. What do you consider mission success?

4. How does your vision of success correspond to Sher Dil’s objectives?

5. How sensitive are you to casualties among your own fighters? How sensitive are you to local civilian casualties and property damage? How do your actions reflect this?

6. Is your focus on using your fighters to destroy the Americans or to instigate the local populace to action?

7. Assume that at the end of the engagement you have brought down two Americans but are unable to photograph or claim the bodies, one home is damaged in the fighting, one oí your lighters from a nearby village is killed, another is wounded in the fighting, and your force has fallen back to the surrounding countryside and into the valley.

What actions can you take to exploit the loss of life and damage to property?

What actions can the Americans take that will help you exploit the situation?

How can this action increase your standing with the local populace?

How will you communicate your message to the local populace?

Return to Rahadnak

Situation

You are Baz Dagar. You are 45 years old and fought with the mujahideen when the Soviets came across the mountains. You were running guns for Sher Dil when the Americans roared up the valley in armored vehicles last month, just like the Soviets in 1981. You are the fifth son of Dagar and have little chance of becoming the patriarch of your fatherâeuro(TM)s Tajik enclave in the northern end of the valley. Thatâeuro(TM)s why you decided to help Sher Dil. Since the 1970s, the Soviets came and left, and then the Americans pushed out the Taliban. When the Americans left the Rahadnak, the Taliban came back. Though you are not interested in where the guns are going or whether the Taliban come back, one thing is for certain, working for Sher Dil has given you prestige that being the fifth son of Dagar never could have afforded.

Over the past month the militia who stood and fought were cut down by the Americans. If Allah wills it, it is of no importance to you, but the fields were destroyed. An illumination mortar round burned your uncleâeuro(TM)s house to the ground. In response to this, you called on some of the younger Tajiks in the north to come down to Ada, where a platoon of Americans has been staying. You have heard that the Nuristani in Atah are upset with the Americans, who are trying to appease the Kushtuz majority in the province. You sent your nephews to spray paint graffiti in Ada Atah about the godless Americans plowing under the poppies because their masters see opium as competition for American drug dealers. Some Nuristani teenagers you met at the gas station on the Jalalabad road agree to help you if you can prove you have Sher Dilâeuro(TM)s blessing. The only problem is that no one has seen him since before the Americans came back last month.

Five fighters arrived yesterday, and you met with their Taliban leader who agreed to help you recruit the Nuristani in Ada Atah for attacking the Americans. With the five Taliban on your side, perhaps the Nuristani will think Sher Dil sent the fighters. What then will your father think of his fifth son who controls all of the guns and poppies that travel through the Rahadnak?

Just before sunset, 3 days after the squad of Americans landed in their helicopters at Ada Atah, one of your sons calls on his cell phone. He heard, over a captured Motorola radio, that the Marines are leaving the day after tomorrow at noon. The European aid workers will be leaving too. You have to act tonight. In your pickup truck you have 4 AKâeuro?47s, 22 full magazines, 1 rocket propelled grenade launcher with 7 rockets, and 1 RPK (light ma-chinegun) with 400 rounds. It would take all night to dig up the cache in the mountains. This is all you have, not counting the Taliban. It has to be tomorrow. What do you say to your family? What do you say to the Taliban fighters?

Requirement

In a time limit of 20 minutes, indicate what actions you will take, what your intent is, and what actions your sons, nephews, and Taliban leader must take tonight.

Issues for Consideration

1. Do you face a threat from the Americans or an opportunity? Explain.

2. What do you believe the Americans will do tonight and tomorrow?

3. What is your intent for your actions?

4. How do your actions and orders meet your intent?

5. What do you consider mission success?

6. How sensitive are you to:

* Casualties among your family?

* Casualties among the Taliban?

* Casualties among the Nuristani villagers?

* Damage to the village?

7. Do your actions force the Americans to fight? If so, what are the possible repercussions of a fight with the Americans?

8. If you choose not to attack the Americans, what other methods could you use to neutralize them?

Rabblerousers

Situation

You are the Squad Leader, 1st Squad, 3d Platoon, Company G, Battalion Landing Team 2d Battalion, 1st Marines (BLT 2/1). Recently the MEU was sent to Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in support of NATO forces during Operation E N-DURING FREEDOM. You have been in-country approximately 2 months and have been assigned to the northeast sector of the area of responsibility, Nan-garhar Province. Last month Company G engaged sizable needihajum forces under Sher Dil during a cordon and search operation within the valley. Company G was able to disrupt arms trafficking via the valley; however, small pockets of resistance continue to slip through the valley (squad-sized, Soviet small arms, light machineguns/rocket propelled grenades (RPGs)). Some of the platoon checkpoints (CPs) have received inaccurate 82mm mortar fire in the last week. Additionally, Company G’s actions last month resulted in significant collateral damage to local poppy fields and goat herds. Several houses and barns within Ada Atah were damaged, and the sole pump in the village center was crushed under the weight of the company’s assault amphibious vehicles. Unequal distributions of solatia payments (appearing to favor Kushtuz farmers in Ada over the minority Nuris-tani) have led to increased thefts and violence against Kushtuz by nonaligned Nuristani tribesmen. The company CP is located 25 miles southwest, and the commanding officer has deployed his platoons throughout the valley to provide security for nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), conduct security patrols, and support human exploitation teams in answering demographic requests for information about the local leaders, population, atmosphere, etc.

It is about 1830 now after 3 days in Ada Atah. The villagers are beginning to be less skittish around your Marines and even the World Agro Fund (WAF) and Healthwatch are less irritable. As you head under the cover of an awning by a stable, you hear Cpl Clark’s voice over your internal squad radio, Boss, this is Echo 4 Charlie. I’ve got two males in man-dresses checking out the village from the farm 300 meters to the north. They were out there this morning, but they’re back with binoculars now.

Roger, Charlie. You release the handset, but something has changed in Ada Atah. The village is still packed. There is a hum, a murmur underneath the noise of the crowd. Then you notice the soccer ball lying still in the middle of the road. The flutes of the shepherds aren’t playing. There are no children. A WAF volunteer sprints from the pile of seed to the medical center. As she does, a rifle cracks over the noise of the crowd. A gunman with an AK-47 stands behind a donkey cart and tries to incite the crowd, ‘Bey-baies . . . paida-warunah . . . bon-sat-tunah!’? A rock is hurled from the crowd and strikes the wall next to you. Seconds before the rock above you explodes you see an RPG skip off the top of the pile of seed bags directly across the village. The chatter of machinegun fire comes from the farm to the north. Your radio squeals as your fire team leaders talk over one another, ‘oeBoss, Williams is hit bad. He needs casevac!’

As soon as you look over to Cpl Clark”s position, a teenage boy from the village runs across your path with an AK’?47. He is 1 meter ahead of you and doesn’t see you. What now, Sergeant?

Requirement

Given the deployment and current activities of your squad, and in a time limit of 5 minutes, issue your verbal orders to your element leaders and any reports to higher headquarters. What are you doing after your orders are issued?

Issues for Consideration

1. What are your priorities? The casevac? The machinegun? The RPG? The boy?

2. What do you want to make happen in the next 60 seconds?

3. What can you make happen in the next 5 minutes?

4. Do your actions and their probable results escalate or deescalate violence in your area of operations?

5. Do you want to kill or capture possible opponents?

6. What considerations do you give to injury to noncombatants and damage to local property (collateral damage)?

7. How much collateral damage do you anticipate as a result of your actions?

8. Assuming your actions result in a fight and victory over insurgent forces, what actions do you take with regard to:

* Dead and injured enemy combatants?

* Dead and injured noncombatants?

9. Based on your actions in question 7, what do you expect civilian/NGO response will be to collateral damage:

* At the conclusion of fighting, while you are in the area?

* Within 1 hour after you leave?

* At the end of the day?

* At the end of the week?

10. Based on your actions in question 7, what is the expected enemy response to collateral damage:

* At the conclusion of fighting, while you are in the area?

* Within 1 hour after you leave?

* At the end of the day?

* At the end of the week?

11. What actions can you and the BLT take to counter and exploit enemy and civilian responses to collateral damage:

* While you are in the area?

* After you return to base?

* When you subsequently patrol in the area?

12. What actions have you, the BLT, and local forces taken to defeat enemy motivation to attack:

* While in the area?

* After you return to base?

* Over the next week?

Unwanted Guests

Situation

You are Ahmed al Aba. You have been the patriarch of your extended family in Basawal for over 30 years. Your extended family is of the Wakhi tribe, and your family interests are primarily in farming and trade. Over the past several years you have watched the Taliban leave to Pakistan through the Khyber Pass, the Americans move in and then leave, the Taliban return, the Europeans come and go, and now the Americans have returned. During this time you have noticed other tribes and families ally themselves with the foreigners, installing themselves in government and army positions, and then stealing from the people they should be protecting. Your family has not benefited from the occupation and has suffered in confrontations with the local “army” and “police” force who are primarily members of the majority Pashtun and city-dwelling Tajik tribes. You have regained some of your family’s prominence by hosting and moving weapons and people from Pakistan into Jalalabad. While you do not have strong passions toward this “insurgent” faction, they at least let your family live in peace according to your customs and tradition and provide you with some means to resist the corrupt police and army in your area.

Over the past month the Americans have been supporting local Pashtun and Tajik tribes as they seek to consolidate power over the region. To further this gain, the Americans have been training the local police force. While this has had the desired effect of making them less corrupt (they cannot charge bribes in front of the Americans), it has also given them more power to attack other family and tribe strongholds, usurping power in the area.

In response to this situation, you called the leaders of three of the families in the area with the idea of diverting some Taliban fighters who flow through your area from Jalalabad into the town of Basawal in order to attack the local police and remind them who is boss. The patriarchs agreed to your idea, and three of you arranged a home and weapons for the fighters in Basawal.

Fifteen fighters arrived yesterday, and you met with their Taliban leader who agreed to do what you asked. In the Afghan tradition, the night before the first attacks in Basawal, the fighters, the family heads, and several members of your family have come to your house to celebrate the coming venture.

Just before sunset, as you are readying to sit and eat, you see your son, Ustad, talking excitedly on his cell phone. He hangs up, walks over to you in defiance of good manners, and whispers in your ear, “Father, my friend told me there are some, maybe four, American armored vehicles with an Afghan police vehicle perhaps 1 kilometer southwest of here along the City Center Road.” You look around and realize that you have 1 5 Taliban fighters, the heads of 3 families with 2 fighting- aged sons each, 20 AK- 47s with 2 magazines each, 6 grenades, and 1 rocket propelled grenade with 4 rockets in your home. There are also four women and children from each of the families who have not learned to fight. You think and remember that your pickup truck and van are inside the compound. You close your eyes, gather your thoughts, and walk over to the head of the three families and the Taliban leader. What do you say?

Requirement

In a time limit of 20 minutes, indicate what actions you will take, what your intent is, and what actions the family heads and Taliban leader must take tonight.

Issues for Consideration

1. Do you face a threat or an opportunity? Explain.

2. What (and when) do you believe the Americans and Afghan police will do tonight?

3. What is your intent for your actions?

4. How do your actions and orders meet your inrenr?

5. Can you ambush the Americans? If so, how?

6. What do you consider mission success?

7. How sensitive are you to:

* Casualties among your family?

* Casualties among the Taliban?

* Casualties among the other family members?

* Damage to your property?

8. Do your actions force the Americans to fight? Is so, what are the possible repercussions of a fight with the Americans?

9. If you chose not to attack the Americans, what other methods could you use to neutralize them?