The rules of engagement in the conduct of special operations
Reilly, Michael S.
Hughes, Wayne P., Jr.
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This thesis examines the effect that ROE have on the conduct of special operations in order to contribute to an increased understanding of the proper employment of elite forces. It argues that 'inappropriate' ROE can result from (1) an imbalance in the natural tension between the requirements of statecraft and military efficiency present in all military operations and (2) organizational friction resulting from inaccurate translation of broad political objectives, through various levels in the chain of command, into an inappropriate tactical ROE for a specific unit. Additionally, it argues that the nature of special operations missions, and the principles vital to their proper employment, cause them to be most sensitive to these sources of inappropriate ROE in either crisis or conflict. This thesis concludes that ROE can be used to achieve indirect political control over special operations but achieving this control is more difficult and more hazardous with special operations than with conventional forces.
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