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Military

CHAPTER IX

CHECKPOINTS


TOPIC: Checkpoints

DISCUSSION: Checkpoints are often scenes of violence or have the threat of violence. Leaders must take this into consideration when preparing personnel to man checkpoints. The rules of engagement must be clear, but flexible, to accommodate rapid changes in any situation that may develop. During Operation PROVIDE COMFORT in northern Iraq, one type of checkpoint used was called a "flying checkpoint." Mobile units, usually consisting of truck-mounted infantry, combat engineers, and TOW vehicles overwatched by attack helicopters, would move forward to key intersections in areas where armed Iraqi or guerrilla fighters were known to operate and would set up hasty roadblocks to disrupt unauthorized or unwanted military activity. This mission always required designating soldiers to detain and search intruders, a sizeable element to overwatch the checkpoint, air cover on station, mobile mortar support, and a quick reinforcement force of TOW and infantry carriers that could extract or reinforce the flying checkpoint.

LESSON(S):

  • Be imaginative while operating in an operation other than war; develop tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) that can be applied to anticipated situations.

  • Ensure that checkpoints are designed so that only the minimum number of soldiers are exposed at any given time and that they are overwatched by automatic weapons when they are exposed.

  • Make reinforcement and counterattack plans and rehearse them.

  • Develop situational exercises to train soldiers on how to conduct checkpoint procedures. Included below are a few examples of these situational exercises:

SITUATION
RESPONSE (A TECHNIQUE)
Receive Sniper FireTake cover: employ smoke, protect wounded; identify location of sniper; REPORT; respond IAW ROE.
Projectiles ThrownREPORT; protect self/others; do not throw objects back.
Imminent HarmProtect yourself/others; use force IAW ROE; REPORT.
Civilian CasualtyREPORT; provide first aid.
Drive-By ShootingTake cover; REPORT; respond with force IAW ROE.

TOPIC: Belligerent Checkpoints

DISCUSSION: UN forces usually encounter belligerent checkpoints during both peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations. These checkpoints vary from squad size to reinforced company size. The purpose of these checkpoints are:

  • To deny freedom of movement to UN forces.
  • To acquire food, fuel, and other items by requiring convoys to pay a toll.
  • To prevent the distribution of UN relief supplies to civilians.
  • To prevent intervention of UN forces during belligerent combat operations.
  • To prevent UN observation of violations to peace agreements.

The construction ranges from a simple log across the road to heavily fortified positions reinforced with obstacles. Some have a simple gate manned by a few local soldiers. Others will have obstacles in the roadway to prevent vehicle traffic. Obstacles, such as mines, wire, and beam obstacles, may be used to hinder or stop vehicle movement. Checkpoints will be located at natural chokepoints such as in ravines or on top of hills. This allows the natural terrain (winding mountain roads or rivers and streams) to channelize and limit vehicle movement. It also eliminates any bypass around the checkpoint. Belligerents usually lay mines along the sides of the road leading to the checkpoint. This limits vehicle movement and allows the belligerents to trap the convoys in a kill zone if they try to run through the checkpoint. Any vehicle that moves off of the road will be destroyed. The checkpoints may also be overwatched by heavy antitank weapons and artillery.

LESSON(S):

  • Don't give food or supplies to belligerents as payment of tolls. This sets a precedent that UN forces can be manipulated and will not force their way through checkpoints.

  • The convoy commander should travel with the main body. The convoy commander must be able to move up with the advance guard if required to negotiate with belligerents.

  • The commander must be firm but cautious when dealing with belligerents. Insist on the right of passage.

  • The commander must ensure he has adequate firepower available should it be necessary to force his way through a checkpoint. Remember, the lead vehicles at the checkpoint location will most likely be inside of a kill zone.

  • Commanders must properly assess the situation and stop or withdraw when the checkpoint strength exceeds his capability to overcome it. Also, the commander must stop or withdraw his unit when persistence would lead to a fight which exceeds the mandate of the force.

TOPIC: Checkpoint Tactics

DISCUSSION: A high volume of pedestrian and vehicle traffic can be expected to pass through a checkpoint. The normal congestion at checkpoints can be compounded by undisciplined driving habits of local people and by a shortage of soldiers able to speak the local language. Combatants usually develop techniques and ruses to get weapons and explosives through checkpoints.

LESSON(S):

  • Expect the unexpected at checkpoints.

  • Develop and rehearse drills to prepare soldiers for all possible situations at checkpoints.

  • Some belligerent techniques and suggested responses are:

    • Action: Place guns or explosives in vehicle fuel tanks or inside of component parts of vehicles.
    • Counter-Action: Rehearse vehicle search techniques. Develop a checklist for soldiers to use and obtain the proper equipment to conduct a search of vehicles large mirrors to inspect the undercarriage of vehicles, bolt cutters to cut locks) Don't rush the search just because traffic backs up.

    • Action: Weapons, explosives, and combatants can be concealed in hearses and ambulances instead of bodies or wounded civilians.
    • Counter-Action: Treat these vehicles with respect, but develop drills for searching vehicles or verifying wounds.

    • Action: Create a diversion to sneak or rush through a checkpoint. Commonly used techniques are: a sniper attack; an ambulance arriving at the checkpoint with sirens blaring; staging fights or riots near the checkpoint; and staging a vehicle accident or starting a fire.
    • Counter-Action: Develop drills and techniques to rapidly emplace barricades to stop both vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Establish signals or code words to initiate closure operations. Use a quick-reaction team at each roadblock to handle unexpected situations so checkpoint personnel do not have to leave their post.

    • Action: Using females to smuggle weapons and explosives.
    • Counter-Action: Develop techniques to search females. Male soldiers should not physically touch females. Use female soldiers to search female civilians. Use metal detectors or mine detectors to scan individuals for weapons. The detectors may not detect explosives.

TOPIC: UN Checkpoint Guidelines

DISCUSSION: The UN has specific guidelines for the conduct of peacekeeping soldiers at checkpoints. The following "DOs" and "DON'Ts" can assist in training soldiers for checkpoint duty.

LESSON(S):

DO

  • Smile when approaching a vehicle and talking to the driver.

  • Speak to the driver and let him speak to the passengers.

  • Ask the driver politely to do what you want him to do.

  • Speak naturally and no louder than needed.

  • When searching a person, be courteous. Use scanners and metal detectors whenever possible.

  • Whatever happens at the checkpoint, stay calm, and make a special effort to be polite, regardless of your feelings.

  • Always maintain a high standard of dress and military bearing.

DON'T

  • Do not be disrespectful or give any hint of dislike.

  • Do not put your head or arm in through the side window or open the door without permission.

  • Do not shout or show impatience.

  • Do not frisk women or tell them to put their hands up. Do not point a weapon directly at a woman unless essential for security reasons.

  • Do not become involved in a heated argument. Do not use force unless force is used against you and then use only the minimum necessary.

  • Do not hesitate to call your checkpoint commander whenever the need arises.

  • Do not become careless or sloppy in appearance. If you look smart and professional, people are more likely to accept your authority and be willing to cooperate.

TOPIC: Vehicle Search Rates

DISCUSSION: Soldiers will be required to conduct vehicle searches during peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations. The degree of search will be determined by the ROE and the potential threat.

LESSON(S): There are six search patterns that a unit can use.

  • Ensure proper roadblock procedures are established. Military police forces are well trained in the operation of roadblocks.

  • Ensure the area is highly visible, and that it is a defendable position with an armed overwatch area 25-30 meters beyond the checkpoint.

  • Display bilingual warning signs.

  • The layout should resemble an obstacle course requiring extensive maneuvering. Consideration should be given to a layout which will accommodate large and small vehicles.

  • Also consider convenience for the UN military traffic that will transverse the same area.

VEHICLE SEARCH PROCESSING RATE

SEARCH PATTERN
RATE
(veh/hr/lane)
TIME
min/vehicle
None600-800---
Check Vehicle Decal ID400-60010 sec
Check Driver ID200-40020 sec
Visual Observation of Passenger
and Cargo Area
150-30025 sec
Basic Physical and Visual Search
of Passenger and Cargo Area
50-1501.2 min
Comprehensive Vehicle Search12-245 min

TOPIC: Checkpoint and Roadblock Priority Intelligence Requirement (PIR) Checklist

DISCUSSION: The peacekeeping force can gain valuable intelligence information while operating checkpoints. The checklist below was developed to help standardize the intelligence collection effort.

LESSON(S):

  • Units presented with nontraditional intelligence requirements should develop a detailed checklist to ensure the completeness and standardization of the collection effort.

  • This list is not all inclusive, but gives suggestions into many areas of importance at checkpoints and roadblocks.

    • Report number and type of vehicles stopped.
    • Report identifying markings, license plate numbers, and a description of the vehicle.
    • Report number of passengers in the vehicle.
    • Report age and sex mix of passengers.
    • Report type and quantity of cargo.
    • Report point of origination and destination of vehicle.
    • Report stated reason for travel by passengers.
    • Report any weapons found in the vehicles.
    • Report any sightings of weapons or bandits by passengers.
    • Report the condition of passengers (general health, dress, and attitude).
    • Report anything unusual observed by passengers.


Chapter VIII: Conduct of Operations
Chapter X: Convoys



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