Friendly Fire: Time For Action CSC 1992 SUBJECT AREA Warfighting EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Title: Friendly Fire: Time For Action Author: Major Bradford G. Washabaugh, United States Marine Corps Thesis: Our recent experience during Operation Desert Storm reveals that many of the primitive measures we employ to protect our ground forces from friendly fire reflect neither the nature of modern combat nor the capabilities of our weapons systems. To reduce friendly fire casualties in future conflicts, the Marine Corps must implement changes in doctrine, organization, training, and material. Background: One of the most painful memories of the Gulf War is the fact that 35 of the 148 U.S. combat deaths were caused by friendly fire. Friendly fire has always been a tragic consequence of war. Despite attempts to lessen its occurrence throughout history, it has remained a battlefield fact of life. But as we are painfully reminded that the problem of friendly fire continues to be an inseparable part of war, we must recognize that the very nature of warfare has exacerbated the problem. On today's fast, fluid, and firepower-intensive battlefield, technology and our warfighting doctrine have increased rather than decreased the risk of friendly fire. Most of the Gulf War friendly fire incidents involved armored vehicles, struck by high-velocity, non- explosive tank rounds that rely on kinetic energy to destroy the target. According to battlefield investigations, poor situational awareness and target identification during rapid maneuver, often at night and in conditions of poor visibility, were cited as the primary causes of most of the war's friendly fire incidents. Traditional methods used during the Gulf War to lessen the chance of fire on friendly forces, such as the fluorescent orange panels and the inverted "vee" painted on vehicles, were not effective due to the prolonged periods of limited visibility in which even thermal sights were not able to distinguish friend from foe. Although we can never completely eliminate the chance of fire on friendly forces, many critics have alleged that not enough has been done to minimize its occurrence on the battlefield. Today, the Department of Defense (DOD) is searching for solutions to the vexing problem of friendly fire. Before dedicating time, effort, and money to the problem, the Marine Corps must first develop a concept to serve as the basis for changes to doctrine, organization, training, and materiel. Many solutions to the friendly fire problem are possible, but no single approach or device is likely to produce a sufficient, totally reliable capability for all situations. We must realize that friendly fire can never be totally eliminated from the battlefield due to the inability to prevent human error in the "fog of war." A reasonable goal then is to take measures to reduce its probability on the battlefield. Recommendation: To minimize friendly fire casualties in future conflicts, the Marine Corps must develop a concept which takes multiple measures within the human and technological dimensions to improve situational awareness and target identification. FRIENDLY FIRE: TIME FOR ACTION OUTLINE Thesis Statement. Our recent experience during Operation Desert Storm reveals that many of the primitive measures we employ to protect our ground forces reflect neither the nature of modern combat nor the capabilities of our weapons systems. To reduce friendly fire casualties in future conflicts, the Marine Corps must implement changes in doctrine, organization, training, and materiel. I. Historical Background A. What Is Friendly Fire? B. Measures Taken In Past Wars C. Causes and Effects of Friendly Fire D. The Gulf War vs. Historical Data II. The Modern Battlefield A. Warfighting Doctrine B. Advanced Weapons In Limited Visibility C. Coalition Warfare III. Operation Desert Storm Friendly Fire Incidents A. U.S. Forces B. U.S. --Coalition Forces C. Common Denominators IV. Measures Taken To Prevent Friendly Fire During Operation Desert Storm A. Visual Devices B. Training C. "Quick-Fixes" D. Control Measures E. GPS/PLRS Navigation Aids V. On-going Efforts Today To Reduce Friendly Fire Incidents A. DOD Initiatives B. Army Proposals 1. Quick-Fixes 2. Mid-Term 3. Long-Term C. Training Initiatives D. IFF Systems VI. Concept For The Future A. Goals B. Objectives C. Recommended Changes 1. Doctrine 2. Organization 3. Training 4. Materiel FRIENDLY FIRE: TIME FOR ACTION The First Marine Division's plan for breaching the primary Iraqi defensive belt is bold. A supporting force of 2 foot-mobile infantry regiments will cross the Kuwait border before G-day to clear enemy resistance from trenches for a mechanized infantry regiment conducting the main attack. The assault elements of the division have been rehearsing their part in the breach for weeks. By G-day, advance units of the division successfully infiltrate on foot through a deadly minefield. They clear an Iraqi fortified position which threatens the mechanized breaching force, Task Force Ripper, with anti-tank guided missiles. As the sun begins to rise, a light rain starts falling under skies still dark from the smoke of burning oil fires. The advance unit of foot-mobile Marines pauses to don protective gear after an alarm warns of an impending Iraqi chemical attack. Still, as the Marines await the breach of the Iraqi defenses by Task Force Ripper, they remain confident. They believe in their gear, their training, and their leaders. Suddenly, the noise of battle erupts around the advance force Marines as Task Force Ripper makes its assault. Heavy machine-gun and tank rounds cut through the air, impacting around them. It takes only seconds to realize that the fire is not from the enemy, but from their fellow Marines in Task Force Ripper. Miraculously, only one Marine dies before unit leaders bring the misdirected fire under control. Unfortunately, Lance Corporal Christian Porter becomes part of a now well-known statistic: he is one of the 35 Americans killed by their comrades during Operation Desert Storm.1 Months have passed since the end of the Gulf War, yet Americans continue to receive similar, but no less tragic accounts from the media. As we are painfully reminded that the problem of friendly fire continues to be an inseparable part of war, we need to recognize also that the very nature of modern warfare has exacerbated the problem. On today's fast, fluid, and firepower-intensive battlefield, technology and our warfighting doctrine have increased rather than decreased the risk of friendly fire. Although we can never completely eliminate the chance of fire on friendly forces, many critics have alleged that not enough has been done to minimize its occurrence on the battlefield. Brigadier General P. K. Van Riper, USMC, in an early assessment of lessons learned in the Gulf War observed, "Friendly fire, as in all wars, had tragic results. This is a problem insufficiently studied in the past. The time has come to devote a significant effort to ensure that we reduce incidents in future conflicts."2 Our recent experience during Operation Desert Storm reveals that many of the primitive measures used to protect our ground forces reflect neither the nature of modern combat nor the capabilities of our weapons systems. For this reason, the view that friendly fire has been, and always will be, a tragic but inevitable part of the controlled chaos of war must be questioned. The purpose of this paper is to examine the problem of friendly fire during Operation Desert Storm and propose a concept for the Marine Corps to help minimize friendly fire casualties on the next battlefield. The proposed concept involves changes in doctrine, organization, training, and materiel. FRIENDLY FIRE: AN AGE OLD PROBLEM No official definition for friendly fire, also referred to as fratricide or amicicide, exists. The lack of a precise, clearly defined term has caused disagreement about what is or is not a friendly fire casualty. Debate still continues as to whether the 11 Americans killed by unexploded allied munitions in the Gulf War were "non-battle deaths" or friendly fire casualties. By the Pentagon's account, these deaths were not attributable to friendly fire, although critics have argued otherwise.3 A universally accepted definition for friendly fire does not exist. To the Pentagon, friendly fire describes the inadvertent fire by military forces upon their own or allied forces during combat operations- -it does not describe deaths from unexploded allied ordnance and mines or non-battle deaths from accidents. Researchers have found that historical information on friendly fire is scarce, often erroneous, and is usually incomplete. As noted by LtCol Charles R. Schrader in his 1982 study Amicicide: The Problem of Friendly Fire in Modern War, . . . the researcher must collect and analyze the scattered, often cryptic, references to amicicide found in general operational military histories or in the available official documents of combat units . . . Commanders may be reluctant to report instances of casualties due to friendly fire because they are afraid of damaging unit or personal reputations, because they have a misplaced concern for the morale of surviving troops or the benefits and honors due the dead and wounded, or simply because of a desire to avoid the unprofitable conflicts with personnel of supporting or adjacent units.4 Throughout history armies have taken steps to prevent friendly fire casualties. As early as the seventeenth century, measures such as drill, organization, discipline, and brightly colored uniforms were used to prevent troops from firing on each other.5 During this century we have seen many examples of preventive measures developed to reduce friendly fire. These measures included flares during World War I and white stripes painted on aircraft during the Normandy invasion in World War II. In further conflicts following World War II, fluorescent air panels, electronic Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) devices, and inverted "vees" were painted on vehicles. The death of a soldier from friendly fire has been described as ". . . the most ghastly type of casualty you can anticipate."6 The emotional impact of friendly fire casualties may be more destructive to a unit's morale and fighting capacity than enemy fire. Each incident can cause a gradual degradation of combat power by lowering morale and confidence in supporting arms, a factor so vital to combined arms operations. The effect of friendly fire on combat power is both complex and subtle. In the past, friendly fire seemed to have had only a local and temporary effect on the final outcome of tactical operations. It has certainly delayed, disrupted, and weakened operations. On occasion, friendly fire has even caused withdrawals and local defeats. Today, friendly fire incidents, no matter how localized, may have wide-ranging consequences. Once only a tactical problem, friendly fire now has influence on operations at every level of war. For example, the effect of friendly fire on the national will alone may jeopardize the tolerance of the U.S. public to endure casualties in war. As a study of Vietnam friendly fire incidents found, The statistics and examples of incidents, although important, cannot and do not of themselves reveal the complete picture of the deplorable loss of life by fire from friendly sources. All Service components are acutely aware of the seriousness of these incidents in terms of lowered effectiveness of the fighting forces, lessened rapport between U.S. forces, themselves, and Vietnamese nationals, and the unquestionable adverse effect on the overall military effort.7 Schrader concludes in his study that there is nothing at all mysterious about the cause of ground friendly fire; incidents of friendly ground troops firing on one another are natural products of the fog of battle. He says, "In every war, inexperienced and nervous soldiers, poorly planned or inadequately coordinated operations, and occasionally poor fire discipline or true mistaken identification result in friendly forces inadvertently engaging each other with weapons ranging from rifles and hand grenades to tanks and anti-tank guns."8 While searching for the causes of friendly fire, Schrader considered such factors as visibility, the type of tactical operation in progress, the type of weapon being used, and the degree of coordination between units. He found that of these factors, target misidentification and the lack of adequate coordination were frequent contributors to the problem. But in Schrader's final analysis, he identified the primary cause of most friendly fire incidents as being direct human error--rooted in fear, inexperience, and the inherent chaos and fog of battle.9 Every war, especially those of the 20th century, has had a significant number of casualties from friendly fire. The number of battlefield deaths caused by friendly fire in wars of this century, with the exception of the the Gulf War, has been impossible to determine with any reasonable degree of accuracy. Schrader suggested that friendly fire has accounted for something less than 2 percent of all battle casualties in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.10 In the Gulf War, friendly fire accounted for twenty-four percent of battle deaths. Statistically, this is a higher rate than any other major conflict fought by the U.S. in this century. But this percentage can be misleading, according to a Department of Defense (DOD) spokesman. In DOD's view, deaths from friendly fire were expected to be higher than in the past because of the short duration of the war, limited casualties, and the more thorough investigations done after each case of suspected friendly fire.11 Those investigations included interviews of witnesses and radiological examinations of battle-damaged vehicles to definitely confirm hits by U.S. depleted uranium tank rounds. Gun films and voice tapes used by attack helicopters and jet aircraft were also closely scrutinized. THE MODERN BATTLEFIELD Using aggressive and fluid warfighting doctrine and employing long- range precision fire weapons in limited visibility made the Gulf War very different than previous conflicts. Fighting with coalition forces having equipment very similar to that of the enemy also created unusual problems. However, many of these factors will continue to characterize future wars, regardless of the spectrum of conflict or its intensity. Service doctrines such as the Army's Airland Battle and the Marine Corps' Maneuver Warfare depend on securing or retaining the initiative and exercising it aggressively to accomplish the mission. The very nature of these doctrines, with their fluid maneuver against enemy weaknesses, create a certain level of unavoidable risk--a risk which increases the chance of a friendly fire incident. Paradoxically, although our warfighting doctrine can increase the danger of fire from friendly forces, maneuver warfare is designed to save lives. According to Lieutenant General Martin Brandtner, Director of Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, "The very means by which we won the victory did cause, to some extent, the battlefield situation that resulted in some of these incidents. If we had plodded along methodically, conservatively, and hadn't gone after them in the highly aggressive manner that we did, the (overall) casualty rate would have been significantly higher."12 Risk of friendly fire is also increased when doctrine is carelessly applied, as is often the case with poorly trained and inexperienced units. Doctrinal control measures, such as unit boundaries, fire support coordination lines, and engagement criteria, are designed to reduce the risk of interference between units. However, these control measures cannot always provide protection, especially when units lack situational awareness, as was often the case during Operation Desert Storm. Combat during the Gulf War was characterized by fast-paced maneuvers across large distances, conducted at night, or in other conditions of reduced visibility. Armored units moved day and night during the four-day ground war and covered distances in the hundreds of miles. Without identifiable terrain features, units easily became disoriented, lost situational awareness, and ran unexpectedly into other friendly units while moving at high speed and with guns ready to fire. The tendency in such cases was to shoot first and ask questions later. Doctrine has also changed the geometry of the modern battlefield. Instead of the traditional linear formations used in previous wars, converging formations of large maneuver units have transformed the battlefield into a non-linear configuration. A fluid, non-linear battlefield can cause confusion regarding the location of enemy and friendly units. Under such conditions they are likely to become intermingled. Some analysts attribute the higher rate of friendly fire losses to engagements at longer ranges during periods of limited visibility with advanced weapons and fire control systems. James A. Blackwell Jr., a former Army officer and now deputy director of Political-Military Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies observed, "There's been a revolution on the battlefield. The application of precision- guided munitions and information processing gives a new dimension to the opportunities for friendly fire that we didn't anticipate."13 Technology was so advanced during the Gulf War that troops with thermal sights could detect heat from tanks when normal vision was obscured. But these sights can fail to distinguish between friend or foe, as they sometimes did during the Gulf War, especially in conditions of reduced visibility. Compounding the problem is the lack of effective identification measures. As an Army report dealing with battle accidents stated, "We can shoot farther than we can see."14 In the Gulf, visibility was often obscured by rain, sandstorms, and the smoke from oil fires. The fact that fighting takes place at long ranges, by both tanks and aircraft using standoff techniques, increases the danger. At long distances, gunners or pilots looking through thermal sights can easily mistake friend for foe. For example, the thermal sights used in the M1A1 tank and the TOW anti-armor weapon may only be able to distinguish hostile targets with sufficient clarity to about 1500 meters, far below the maximum range of these weapons. In a "shoot first or be killed" situation, gunners looking at a nearly shapeless blob in their thermal sights must take a calculated risk. The lethality of our modern weapons also adds to the problem. Lieutenant General Charles A. Horner, the Joint Air Force Component Commander (JFACC) of the U.S. Central Command during the Gulf War, notes that the impact of a single modern weapon gone astray can be catastrophic. "If an incident happened in World War II or Korea, you had a guy with a shrapnel wound. Now you have large numbers of Killed in Action (KIA) and Wounded in Action (WIA)."15 Another factor which may be typical of future military conflicts is the likelihood of coalition warfare. Coalition forces can expect to fight with different doctrine, training levels, and equipment, especially armored vehicles and aircraft. In modern warfare, it is now likely that coalition forces will have equipment similar to that of the enemy, as was the case with Syria's T-72 tanks in the Gulf War. Future enemies could also have equipment similar to our own, purchased from allies. Without distinctive differences in equipment, coalition forces will have difficulty distinguishing friend from foe. The future battlefield, as in the Gulf War, will likely be fast- paced, fluid, and highly lethal. Coalition forces will be matched against enemy forces with equipment indistinguishable from their own. Leaders will use aggressive, innovative maneuver tactics and sophisticated weaponry to bring quick and decisive victories. Under such conditions, the risk of friendly fire incidents remains high. DESERT STORM FRIENDLY FIRE INCIDENTS Following Operation Desert Storm, the military made the most accurate accounting of friendly fire incidents in the history of warfare. After painstaking investigations, the Pentagon determined that friendly fire was responsible for at least 35 of the 148 Americans killed and 72 of the 467 wounded. Of the 28 reported incidences of friendly fire, ground-to-ground engagements were the most prevalent, causing 24 KIA and 57 WIA in 16 incidents. This followed by air-to-ground engagements, causing 11 KIA and 15 WIA. Although there was one ship-to-ship, one shore-to-ship, and one ground-to-air engagement, these incidents resulted in no friendly fire casualties.16 Of the 35 servicemen killed, all were soldiers or Marines. Army killed included 1 M1A1 crewman, 15 Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) crewmen, and one crewman from a modified M113 armored personnel carrier. Four were ground soldiers. Of the 65 Army wounded, 49 were BFV crewmen, and 7 were tank crewmen. Nine were ground soldiers.17 The Marines' 14 KIA included 11 Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) crewmen and 3 infantrymen. Of the 7 Marines wounded, two were LAV crewmen and 5 were on foot or in trucks. One sailor was wounded while serving with a Marine reconnaissance unit.18 The majority of the friendly fire ground-to-ground incidents involved armored vehicles, struck by high-velocity, non-explosive tank rounds that rely on kinetic energy to destroy the target. Of the 35 KIA and 72 WIA, 28 dead and 58 wounded were crew members of armored vehicles. Had it not been for the built-in safety and survivability features of the M1A1 tank and the BFV, more casualties would have likely resulted from these vehicle hits. Some of these features included fire suppression systems and hardened armor.19 Of the 9 air-to-ground incidents, 4 were from the Air Force, 1 from an Army attack helicopter, 1 from a Marine aircraft, and 3 were from High Speed Anti-Irradiation Missiles (HARMs) from sources still undetermined.20 U.S. fire also caused casualties among our allies. According to the UK Ministry of Defense, 22 UK personnel were killed or wounded in accidental attacks by American forces. The worst air-to-ground incident of the war occurred when 2 U.S. Air Force A-10 aircraft pilots, confident they were over an Iraqi armored column, fired Maverick missiles against what turned out to be 37 British Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs). The attack occurred in daylight and killed 9 British soldiers and wounded 11. 21 In another incident, two soldiers were wounded when 2 Scorpion reconnaissance vehicles were fired upon by U.S. M1A1 tanks.22 Furthermore, in incidents about which Pentagon officials decline to comment, U.S. ordnance caused casualties among Arab allies. In one case, the Saudi Army's Eighth Brigade was hit by Marine Corps A-6 aircraft 12 miles inside the "no fire" line near the Saudi-Kuwait border, resulting in eight killed and 12 wounded. According to a source who witnessed the incident, the Saudi commander refused to complain to the Americans because "he did not want to lose U.S. air support."23 What were the causes of friendly fire incidents? According to incident investigations and Service studies, numerous contributing factors such as the flat, almost featureless terrain, limited visibility, and fast-moving offensive action with complex formations were identified. Two factors stood out in nearly all investigations and studies as the primary causes of friendly fire. Factor one was the inability to maintain situational awareness (accurate knowledge of one's own location, as well as the locations of friendly, enemy, neutrals, and noncombatants) The second was the lack of positive target identification (accurate, dependable, through-sight discrimination between friend or foe).24 MEASURES TAKEN TO PREVENT FRIENDLY FIRE 321 DURING OPERATION DESERT STORM Fighting side by side with Syrian and Egyptian units equipped with Soviet-built tanks were 3,529 American tanks and combat vehicles. This prompted U.S. forces to seek preventive measures to reduce the risks of friendly fire before the start of the war.25 Such measures included visual techniques, technological initiatives, and training to reinforce doctrinal warfighting procedures. However, by the war's end it was apparent that these actions were only partially successful in thwarting friendly fire incidents. Before the start of the war, coalition forces designated the inverted "vee" and the VS-17 panel (a fluorescent orange panel) as standard vehicle marking to improve ground-to-ground and air-to-air identification and control. But visual devices were not effective because of the prolonged periods of limited visibility in which even thermal sights were not able to distinguish friend from foe. An interim post-war report by the Pentagon concluded that despite more than 5 months of coordination and effort to mark thousands of tanks and armored vehicles, "the procedures and material used by coalition forces were only marginally effective. . .we have yet to devise a cost-effective approach to achieving improved identification procedures."26 Coalition forces trained extensively before Operation Desert Storm to hone warfighting skills. As units prepared for combat, they conducted numerous rehearsals, sand table briefings, and maneuver and live fire exercises. These emphasized such critical tasks as command and control measures, fire support coordination procedures, adjacent unit coordination, and liaison teams. In addition, day/night operations, limited visibility operations, and engagement rules were addressed. According to after-action reports by the Services, this training did much to reduce friendly fire incidents.27 Also cited by the Services was the use of doctrinal control measures such as the Fire Support Coordination Line (FSCL), Coordinated Fire Line (CFL), boundaries, and air defense engagement rules. According to a joint report on the conduct of the war, the lack of control measures was not the most significant cause of friendly fire incidents, although it did prove to be a contributory cause in some cases.28 Doctrinal control measures cannot prevent friendly fire incidents if targets are misidentified, situational awareness is lost, or if control measures are sloppily applied. The author of a report on friendly fire casualties in Vietnam noted, They (friendly fire incidents) also serve as a reminder that the battlefield is and always has been a strict and harsh disciplinarian. Those who have deviated from proven techniques, used "short cuts" because it was the easy way out or failed to follow directives and established procedures, have done so with disastrous results.29 After the first cases of friendly fire casualties during Operation Desert Storm, then Lieutenant General Michael Carns, USAF, Director of tile Joint Staff, ordered development of a "quick-fix" to the problem of firing on friendly forces. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) examined more than 61 proposals representing 41 different off- the-shelf technical approaches across five technology categories: thermal imagery, infrared imagery, laser, radio frequency, and visual techniques. After evaluations, a U.S. company, Test Systems Incorporated, was awarded a $3.2 million contract in February 1991 to provide nearly 100,000 Anti- Fratricide Identification Devices (AFIDs). The AFID is a battery-powered infrared beacon mounted on vehicles to provide identification through thermal sights. Unfortunately, only 196 systems were delivered prior to the cease-fire, hardly enough to have any measurable effect in reducing friendly fire incidents.30 The Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Position Locating and Reporting System (PLRS), although not specifically designed to prevent fire from friendly forces, nevertheless were very effective in this role. These small, lightweight receivers provided units with nearly exact coordinates and locations on the ground. By enhancing navigation, maneuver control, position reporting, and situational awareness, the risk of inadvertent fire was reduced. Although very effective, there was an unfortunate lack of these devices available during the war. A wider distribution would have greatly helped command and control, coordination, and safety of ground units.31 ON-GOING EFFORTS TODAY TO REDUCE FRIENDLY FIRE INCIDENTS What is being done to reduce the risk of friendly fire in future conflicts? Critics have alleged that the military has historically been haphazard in its efforts to reduce fire on friendly forces. Despite the problem being nearly as old as war itself, reducing friendly fire casualties always has been a low priority. As one officer pointed out, development of "Identification-Friend or Foe (IFF) technology has never been a high budgetary priority since. . .in peacetime. . . the attitude is we can only afford so much. We'll fix it later on."32 In the Gulf War, the "fix" took the form of painting an unobtrusive and hard-to-see inverted "vee" on the sides of American and allied vehicles, as well as the traditional fluorescent panels for identification from the air. However, neither fix helped identify friend or foe through thermal sights. An intense government-industry effort during the war to produce the Anti- Fratricide Identification Device, (AFID), was a step in the right direction, but it came too late to be of any help. After the war, the problem of reducing friendly fire incidents continues to be examined. In October 1991, the Army Chief of Staff, General Gordon R. Sullivan, recommended the establishment of a joint organization to focus solely on friendly fire problems, including acquisition of hardware and software to improve the means of identification of friend or foe in combat. The proposed office will have a structure similar to other program offices and its manager will answer to a general officer's steering committee and to the Joint Requirements Oversight Committee on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A DOD-wide office will ensure continued interest, effort, and coordination throughout the services. The constant evolution of weapon systems and their spread to potentially hostile powers is another reason why a permanent combat identification office must be established. Any system retains a few years advantage since its superiority on the battlefield is only a function of time, place, and current technology. The Army's Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) has been appointed as the lead agent to work with the other Services to develop solutions in doctrine, training, organization, materiel, and technology. Change in the military is effected in four ways: doctrine, training, organization, and materiel. While reviews of doctrine and organization are still ongoing, the Services have recognized that to help minimize friendly fire casualties in the next conflict, action in the areas of materiel and training is also necessary to improve situational awareness and target identification. According to Colonel Roger Brown, Deputy Assistant to the Army's Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, most of the friendly fire incidents during Operation Desert Storm were caused by misidentification of targets. Although he stated, "no complete solution for avoiding misidentification exists," a recent study concluded the Army "cannot accept casualties that can be prevented by our own actions to improve identification in combat." This study proposed a phased approach involving possible "quick," mid-term, and long-term materiel fixes to reduce the problem of firing on friendly forces.33 The "quick-fix" phase encompasses devices such as DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) lights and BUDD lights (named after its inventor). These as well as thermal tape are now available or could be procured quickly and issued to units. A DARPA light is a battery- powered, near-infrared beacon visible through standard third generation night goggles from a distance of approximately 5 miles under normal night viewing conditions. BUDD lights are small, blinking infrared beacons, powered by simple 9-volt batteries, visible through the thermal night sights commonly issued to ground units. Low-emission thermal tape also shows up on thermal sights. Equipping vehicles with these devices would aid in target identification during periods of reduced visibility. A technological strategy used to provide a quick-fix for improving situation awareness is to equip deploying forces with more Global Positioning System (GPS) and Position Location arid Reporting System (PLRS) units. These small, lightweight receivers provide users with exact coordinates of their own and adjacent unit locations. By equipping more units and vehicles with these devices, better control of maneuver forces is ensured, thereby reducing the risk of firing on friendly forces. The mid-term fix phase includes using off-the-shelf technology to procure infrared (IR) beacons with ranges from 6 to 10 kilometers, and laser warning receivers that can warn crews when their vehicle has been located by a targeting laser. These measures would further enhance target identification, especially at the extended distances typical of air-to-ground situations. The long-term fix phase involves producing sensors which respond automatically to electronic queries from computers that recognize radar signatures made by various friendly and enemy units. This solution would reduce the danger from computer-controlled weapons, such as the HARM. During the Gulf War, several HARMs steered themselves to hit U.S. radars mounted on ships and trucks, killing one Marine and wounding three.34 Situational awareness reduces the potential for friendly fire by providing real-time, accurate knowledge of one's relative position, as well as locations of friendlies, enemies, neutrals, and noncombatants. Improvements in situational awareness are being proposed predominantly through unit and leader training, aided by technological advancements in position location and reporting systems. Each Service is trying to incorporate the lessons learned from the Gulf War into its training center. The Army's National Training Center (NTC) and the Marine Corps' Air-Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC), for example, offer ideal training areas and facilities to hone critical combat skills related to the prevention of friendly fire casualties. Units training at the NTC now find a new emphasis on friendly fire. The philosophy at the NTC is that better training, focusing on the human dimension of combat, will help reduce friendly fire incidents. After- act ion reviews are conducted following each battle to discuss the causes and responsibility of every friendly fire incident experienced during force-on-force training. Observers and controllers stress techniques to prevent battlefield friendly fire such as effective direct-fire planning, clearance of indirect fires, rehearsals, and discipline. Finally, force- on-force training with hit indicators and source recorders is one proposal to help develop situational awareness.35 The second key factor in reducing friendly fire is positive target identification. Ensuring positive target identification reduces the probability of fire on friendly forces by accurate, dependable, through- sight discrimination between friend or foe. Misidentification of targets must be prevented. A means for positive identification out to the maximum range of weapon and target acquisition systems in reduced visibility is necessary. The search for suitable IFF systems has been difficult. In 1980, the Pentagon established a joint services IFF development program at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. A decade later, little progress has occured. One reason for slow progress is that the U.S. has yet to meet the technical challenge of developing an IFF system that an enemy force cannot emulate or neutralize.36 According to a senior Air Force off ical, other reasons have contributed to the slow development of an IFF system. Electronic systems, similar to current air-to-air identification systems, are prone to malfunction, which could lead to even more friendly fire casualties. Also, ground vehicles with transmitting devices or passive systems with sensors or signatures could alert the enemy to friendly positions. Finally, the cost to produce such devices can be prohibitive.37 CONCEPT FOR THE FUTURE Before dedicating time, effort, and money to the problem, the Marine Corps should first develop a concept to serve as the basis for changes to doctrine, organization, training, and materiel. Many solutions to the friendly fire problem are possible, but no single approach such as an IFF device is likely to produce a sufficient, totally reliable capability for all situations. We must realize that friendly fire can never be totally eliminated from the battlefield due to the inability to prevent human error in the "fog of war." A reasonable goal then is to take multiple measures within the human and technological dimensions to reduce the probability of friendly fire. To lessen the chance of fire on friendly forces, the Marine Corps' concept should improve the two major factors contributing to the problem: poor situational awareness and target misidentification. As concluded by an earlier study on friendly fire, "If we know where we are and where our friends are in relation to us, we can reduce the probability of friendly fire. If, in addition, we can distinguish between friend, neutral, and enemy, we can reduce that probability even more."38 No change is necessary in the Marine Corps' fundamental warfighting doctrine. Based upon rapid, flexible, and opportunistic action, maneuver warfare involves defeating enemy forces through bold, swift, decisive action. In comparison to an attrition style of warfare, maneuver warfare relies on overwhelming, selective firepower to suppress the enemy while maneuvering Marine unit's strength against an enemy's weakness. Maneuver warfare, however, has added a new degree of complexity to the modern battlefield, making the risk of friendly fire even greater than before. Strict adherence to doctrinal control and fire support coordination measures is the key to offsetting that higher risk. The battlefield cannot become an unrestricted environment without control measures. They are an absolute requirement in maneuver warfare. Standard control measures ensure coordination and allow the flexibility of action needed by commanders using maneuver warfare doctrine. The old battlefield has disappeared. Realizing that maneuver warfare has increased the potential for friendly fire incidents, commanders now must correctly apply the science of their profession with precise use of doctrinally sound control measures. However, some of our control measures need revision. Current control measures originated on a linear battlefield and lack the safeguards necessary for the future battlefield. Traditional, linear and non-continuous boundaries can be replaced by continuous, non-linear ones that specifically define areas of responsibility. In other words, closed goose egg-type boundaries instead of opened ended box-type boundaries would facilitate maneuver in any direction. Fire support coordination measures also require re-examination. For example, the restricted fire line (RFL) could be eliminated and replaced by the restricted fire area (RFA) to ensure better control of forces converging from any direction.39 Other changes are also necessary. First, the Services must agree on a joint definition of friendly fire that defines the scope of the problem and to guide the development of preventive measures. I recommend the definition be: "The unnecessary destruction of or fire upon one's own or allied forces resulting from a lack of situational awareness or target misidentification during combat operations, regardless of the method of delivery or munition." Second, the doctrine for joint and combined warfare needs revision to ensure commonality and clarity of terms, control and fire support coordination measures, and combat identification. For example, a standard set of procedures should be the basis for joint and combined Close Air Support (CAS) and IFF procedures and it should be incorporated into a joint CAS publication. Third, publications involving tactics, techniques, and procedures need to include detailed guidance on how to apply doctrine to circumstances when the risk of friendly fire is extremely high. The guidance should cover control measures for direct and indirect fire in the offense, airspace management, operations in limited visibility, unexploded ordnance reporting, and emergency combat identification signals. Organizational changes also can reduce the probability of friendly fire incidents in future conflicts. In the near term, establishing more liaison teams to better coordinate and communicate between adjacent units, especially among joint, allied and coalition forces will enhance situational awareness. To be effective, liaison teams must have appropriate language skills and be well-versed in fire support procedures, communications and U.S. military doctrine. The assignment of personnel dedicated solely to plotting and maintaining friendly unit positions in command and control centers will also improve situational awareness. In the far term, the Marine Corps must enlarge the organization of the Tactical Exercise and Evaluation Control Group (TEECG) at the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) in Twentynine Palms, California, to provide quality force-on-force training similar to that of the Army at its National Training Center (NTC) in Ft. Irwin, California. Measures to reduce friendly fire must also improve human abilities. Nowhere can this be gained except in battle or in intense, meaningful training. Rigorous training under conditions resembling actual combat must reinforce maneuver warfare and the need for unremitting attention to detail in doctrine as well as correct application of military science. Strict fire discipline, controlled by calm and capable leaders, is a fundamental requirement. Operations must be planned and thoroughly coordinated with a realistic assessment for the risk of friendly fire. The best place to begin improving human ability is at Service training centers. Force-on-force training followed with after-action reviews to discuss the causes and responsibility of friendly fire incidents experienced would promote situational awareness. Exercises conducted at Service combat training centers also could serve as a means to validate friendly fire prevention concepts. Enhancement of Service combat training centers with remote-controlled, friendly targets on tank and infantry live-fire ranges, force-on-force training with hit indicators/source recorders, and friendly fire data collection must be a priority. Forceful attention to the human causes of friendly fire can reduce the chance for individual error in the "fog of war". Materiel change, in the form of technological advancements, can assist in reducing the problem of friendly fire by improving situational awareness and target identification. Technology has permitted us to maneuver with highly mobile and autonomous forces and to use weapon systems of greatly increased range, however, it has not provided us with adequate measures to protect our forces from friendly fire. Compared to the other methods to effect change, technology can be the most difficult, time-consuming and cost-prohibitive. Therefore, the Marine Corps must proceed wisely and to implement solutions best suited to its needs and available resources. To do this, five objectives should guide our actions, First, any friendly fire solution should result in multiple benefits. Solutions for improved situational awareness or target identification should also result in a corresponding improvement in weapons capability, navigation, position reporting, and command and control. For example, situational awareness can be greatly improved by providing command and control centers with real-time displays of enemy and friendly unit locations. This would reduce the chance of inadvertent fire by disoriented friendly units. At the same time, friendly unit ability to locate and engage enemy forces would be enhanced. As directed by DOD, the search for technological and materiel solutions must be a joint and combined effort to ensure interoperability. Accordingly, the Marine Corps should closely follow allied and other Services' studies and developments, especially those of the Army's Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). Second, a phased approach to fielding equipment or improving existing systems should be taken to develop near, mid, and far term solutions to situational awareness and target identification. Near term solutions should use off-the-shelf technology to prepare military forces for immediate employment, while mid and far term solutions will be based upon evolving technologies. Third, in order to close the gap between human ability and system capability, positive target identification through weapons sights to the maximum effective range of weapon and target acquisition systems is necessary. New weapons systems must include provisions for better target identification and aid situational awareness. Fourth, an IFF capability is needed for surface-to-surface, air-to- surface, surface-to-air, and air-to-air situations. Priority should be given to surface-to-surface and air-to-surface situations involving armored vehicles. Ideally, IFF devices should be simple, not easily exploited by enemy forces, cost-effective, have a day or night all- weather capability, and be deployable to coalition forces. Finally, the Marine Corps should establish a project office to oversee development, testing, and fielding of proposed technological and materiel solutions. Testing, evaluation, and validation of solutions should be done in conjunction with input from combat training centers. The Marine Corps must work closely with the permanent DOD combat identification office to ensure coordination, interoperability, and currency in fielded technologies. CONCLUSION Nothing compares to the stress, confusion, and emotion of combat. People make decisions that are irreversible, and other people may die as a result. The death of a soldier is always tragic, but never more so than when he is inadvertently killed by his own comrades. Despite efforts to prevent friendly fire, it has been one of the inevitable costs of war. One of the most unfortunate memories of the Gulf War is the fact that 35 of the 148 U.S. combat fatalities were caused by friendly fire. Because a large portion of U.S. combat deaths were due to friendly fire, it has been difficult for the American people to accept that the quick and decisive victory against Iraq likely saved hundreds of lives. But to many this question has remained: Did those killed by friendly fire have to die? According to battlefield investigations, poor situational awareness and target misidentification were the key contributors to friendly fire incidents during Operation Desert Storm. Military technology and our warfighting doctrine have increased rather than reduced tide problem of friendly fire on today's lethal and fluid battlefield. The Gulf War shows that we have not yet developed adequate measures to reduce friendly fire casualties. Friendly fire affects the tactical, operational and even strategic levels of war, making the price of friendly fire too high to delay the search for solutions. However, the search for a remedy to the problem of friendly fire is a difficult one. No single approach is likely to provide a sufficient, totally reliable capability for all situations. The Marine Corps' concept for reducing the chance of friendly fire must include multiple strategies involving changes in doctrine, organization, training, and materiel. These strategies should focus on improving situational awareness and target identification. Technology is not the sole solution. Materiel change can do much to help reduce friendly fire incidents by improving the ability to locate and identify friendly troops, and enhancing command and control. But the human dimension must not be neglected either; the best equipment poorly employed will not lessen friendly fire casualties. The problem of friendly fire will never be completely eliminated because the "fog of war", human error, and materiel failure inevitably will make some Instances of friendly fire impossible to avoid. Our duty is to take all reasonable measures to minimize its tragic occurrence. ENDNOTES 1. Personal experience of author while serving as Operations Officer for 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, Task Force Grizzly, 1st Marine Division during Operation Desert Storm. 2. Paul K. Van Riper, "Observations during Operation Desert Storm, "Marine Corps Gazette 75 (June 1991): 61. 3. Triumph Without Victory (New York: U.S. News and World Report, 1992), p. IX. 4. Charles R. Schrader, Amicicide: The Problem of Friendly Fire In (U.S. Army Command and Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas 1982), p. X. 5. Martin van Creveld,Command In War (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985), p. 52. 6. James A. Blackwell, Albany, New York, Sunday Times Union, 21 July 1991 as quoted in LtCol. George H. Harmryer and Maj. John F. Antal, "The Problem of Battlefield Fratricide," (Fort Irwin: Operations Group, National Training Center, August 1991), p. 9. 7. U.S. Army, Army Regulation 600-100, The Army Casualty System, 15 January 1976, with change 1, dated 15 September 1978 as cited by Schrader, p. 108. 8. Schrader, p. 101. 9. Ibid., p. 107. 10. Ibid., p. 105. 11. Stewart M. Powell, "Friendly Fire,"Air Force Magazine, (December 1991) pp. 60-61. 12. Ibid., p. 60. 13. Ibid., p. 61. 14. Army Acquisition Command Combat Identification Task Force, Combat Identification Interim Report, 11 December 1991. 15. Powell, p. 61. 16. Chairman, Joint Chief of Staff, Title V Report to congress (Draft), Appendix M, 13 January 1992, pp. M-3-M-4. 17. Ibid. 18. Ibid. 19. Ibid. 20. Ibid. 21. "Friendly Fire," Air Force Times, 26 August 1991, p. 3. 22. Powell, p. 60. 23. "Killed By Their Comrades," Newsweek, 18 November 1991, p. 45. 24. Army Acquisition Command Combat Identification Task Force, pp. 2-3. 25. Powell, p. 60. 26. Ibid. 27. Title V Report To Congress, p. M-7. 28. Ibid., p. M-10. 29. Schrader, p. 107. 30. "DOD Lists Friendly Fire Casualties," Janes Defence Weekly, 24 August 1991, p. 302. 31. Title V Report To Congress, p. M-6. 32. "Killed By Their Comrades," p. 45. 33. Army Acquisition Command Combat Identification Task Force, p. 5. 34. Powell, p. 60. 35. LtCol. George H. Harmeyer and Maj. John F. Antal, "The Problem of Battlefield Fratricide," (Fort Irwin: Operations Group, National Training Center, 1991) p. 10. 36. "They Didn't Have to Die," Time Magazine, 26 August 1991, p. 20. 37. Powell, p. 61. 38. Army Acquisition Command Combat Identification Task Force, p. 3. 39. Jay F. Grandin, "Fire Support Coordination-Its Time for a Relook," Field Artillery, (Feb 92): 19-23. BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. "Army Still Withholding Names of Friendly Fire Dead." Washington Post, 18 January 1992. 2. Capps, Maj. "Anti-Fratricide Measures." Marine Corps Lessons Learned System, #30456-89874, 7 March 1991. 3. Combat Identification Program Interim Report. Commanding General, Army Acquistion Command Combat Identification Task Force, 11 December 1991. 4. van Creveld, Martin. Command In War. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985. 5. "DOD Lists Friendly Fire Casualties." Jane's Defence Weekly, 24 August 1991. 6. "Friendly Fire." Air Force Times, 26 August 1991: 3. 7. Grandin, Jay, F. "Fire Support Coordination-Its Time For A Relook." Field Artillery, February 92: 19-23. 8. Hackworth, David H. "Friendly Fire Casualties." Marine Corps Gazette, 76 (March 1992): 46-48. 9. Hackworth, David H. "Killed By Their Comrades." Newsweek, 18 November 1991: 45-46. 10. "How U.S. Troops Died During The Gulf War." The Detroit News, 17 August 1991. 11. Harmeyer, George H. and Antal, John F, "The Problem of Battlefield Fratracide." Study by the Operations Group, National Training Center, Ft. Irwin, August 1991. 12. Johnson, LtCol. "Close Air Support (CAS) Procedures." Marine Corps Lessons Learned System, #52350-80174, 18 December 1991. 13. McAbee, LtCol. "Fratricide." Marine Corps Lessons Learned System, #13779-30700, 8 February 1991. 14. "Military Probes Friendly Fire Incidents." News Release by Office of Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), 13 August 1991. 15. Powell, Stewart M. "Friendly Fire." Air Force Magazine, December 1991: 58. 16. Schmidt, LtCol. "Interoperability In Coalition Warfare." Marine Corps Lessons Learned System, #14454-67200, 4 February 1991. 17. Schrader, Charles R. Amicicide-The Problem of Friendly Fire in Modern War. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, December 1982. 18. "Sullivan Backs New Joint Office to Push Friendly Fire Solutions." Inside The Army, October 1991: 1. 19. "They Didn't Have To Die." Time Magazine, 26 August 1991: 20. 20. Tiger Team Anti-Fratracide Report. Saudi Arabia: I MEF Expeditionary Force, 10 February 1991. 21. Taylor, Robert. Department of Defense, PDASD/Public Affairs. News Briefing on Friendly Fire, Washington, DC, 13 August 1991. 22. Title V Report to Congress (Draft). Washington, DC: Joint Services, 13 January 1992: Appendix M 23. Truimph Without Victory. New York: U.S. News and World Report, January 1992. 24. Van Riper, Paul K. "Observations During Operation Desert Storm." Marine Corps Gazette, 15 (June 1991): 61. 25. Wiltse, Jeffrey S. "Training to Prevent Fratricide." Armor, (July- August 1991): 46-47.
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