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Meanwhile, I shall have to amplify the ROE so that all commanding officers can know what I am thinking, rather than apply their own interpretation, which might range from "ask them for lunch to 'Nuke' em for breakfast."

                                           Admiral "Sandy" Woodward
                                        Commander of the Task Force
                                           (Falkland Islands, 1982)

This appendix provides actual unclassified ROE and instructions for use of force and weapons policy as samples. The purpose of this appendix is to familiarize commanders and their staffs with the types of rules and instructions and various formats and means of dissemination used by US Army forces in recent operations.

The selected operations include Operation Restore Hope the UN-sanctioned humanitarian relief and enforcement operation conducted in Somalia in 1992 and 1993--and Operation Provide Comfort--a UN-sanctioned humanitarian protection operation conducted in Northern Iraq in 1991.


1. (U) Situation. Basic OPLAN/OPORD.

2. (U) Mission. Basic OPLAN/OPORD.

3. (U) Execution.

  1. (U) Concept of the Operation.

    1. (U) If you are operating as a unit, squad, or other formation, follow the orders of your leaders.

    2. (U) Nothing in these rules negates your inherent right to use reasonable force to defend yourself against dangerous personal attack.

    3. (U) These rules of self-protection and rules of engagement are not intended to infringe upon your right of self defense. These rules are intended to prevent indiscriminate use of force or other violations of law or regulation.

    4. (U) Commanders will instruct their personnel on their mission. This includes the importance of proper conduct and regard for the local population and the need to respect private property and public facilities. The Posse Comitatus Act does not apply in an overseas area. Expect that all missions will have the inherent task of force security and protection.

    5. (U) ROE cards will be distributed to each deploying soldier (see Annex A to this appendix).

  2. (U) Rules of Self-Protection for all Soldiers.

    1. (U) US forces will protect themselves from threats of death or serious bodily harm. Deadly force may be used to defend your life, the life of another US soldier, or the life of persons in areas under US control. You are authorized to use deadly force in self-defense when--

      1. (U) You are fired upon.

      2. (U) Armed elements, mobs, and/or rioters threaten human life.

      3. (U) There is a clear demonstration of hostile intent in your presence.

    2. (U) Hostile intent of opposing forces can be determined by unit leaders or individual soldiers if their leaders are not present. Hostile intent is the threat of imminent use of force against US forces or other persons in those areas under the control of US forces. Factors you may consider include--

      1. (U) Weapons: Are they present? What types?

      2. (U) Size of the opposing force.

      3. (U) If weapons are present, the manner in which they are displayed; that is, are they being aimed? Are the weapons part of a firing position?

      4. (U) How did the opposing force respond to the US forces?

      5. (U) How does the force act toward unarmed civilians?

      6. (U) Other aggressive actions.

    3. (U) You may detain persons threatening or using force which would cause death, serious bodily harm, or interference with mission accomplishment. You may detain persons who commit criminal acts in areas under US control. Detainees should be given to military police as soon as possible for evacuation to central collection points (see paragraph d below).

  3. (U) Rules of Engagement. The relief property, foodstuffs, medical supplies, building materials, and other end items belong to the relief agencies distributing the supplies until they are actually distributed to the populace. Your mission includes safe transit of these materials to the populace.

    1. (U) Deadly force may be used only when--

      (a) (U) Fired upon.

      (b) (U) Clear evidence of hostile intent exists (see above for factors to consider to determine hostile intent).

      (c) (U) Armed elements, mobs, and/or rioters threaten human life, sensitive equipment and aircraft, and open and free passage of relief supplies.

    2. (U) In situations where deadly force is not appropriate, use the minimum force necessary to accomplish the mission.

    3. (U) Patrols are authorized to provide relief supplies, US forces, and other persons in those areas under the control Of US forces. Patrols may use deadly force if fired upon or if they encounter opposing forces which evidence a hostile intent. Nondeadly force or a show of force should be used if the security of US forces is not compromised by doing so. A graduated show of force includes--

      (a) (U) An order to disband or disperse.

      (b) (U) Show of force/threat of force by US forces that is greater than the force threatened by the opposing force.

      (c) (U) Warning shots aimed to prevent harm to either innocent civilians or the opposing force.

      (d) (U) Other means of nondeadly force.

      If this show of force does not cause the opposing force to abandon its hostile intent, consider if deadly force is appropriate.

    4. (U) Use of barbed wire fences is authorized.

    5. (U) Unattended means of force (for example, mines, booby traps, trip guns) are not authorized.

    6. (U) If US forces are attacked or threatened by unarmed hostile elements, mobs, and /or rioters, US forces will use the minimum amount of force reasonably necessary to overcome the threat. A graduated response to unarmed hostile elements may be used. Such a response can include--

      (a) (U) Verbal warnings to demonstrators in their native language.

      (b) (U) Shows of force, including the use of riot control formations (see Annex A for information on using RCAs).

      (c) (U) Warning shots fired over the heads of the hostile elements.

      (d) (U) Other reasonable uses of force, to include deadly force when the element demonstrates a hostile intent, which are necessary and proportional to the threat.

    7. (U) All weapons systems may be employed throughout the area of operations unless otherwise prohibited. The use of weapons systems must be appropriate and proportional, considering the threat.

    8. (U) US forces will not endanger or exploit the property of the local population without their explicit approval. Use of civilian property usually be compensated by contract or other form of payment. Property that has been used for the purpose of hindering our mission will be confiscated. Weapons may be confiscated and demilitarized if they are used to interfere with the mission of US forces (see rule (10) below).

    9. (U) Operations will not be conducted outside of the landmass, airspace, and territorial seas of Somalia. However, any USCENTCOM force conducting a search and rescue mission shall use force as necessary and intrude into the landmass, airspace, or territorial sea of any county necessary to recover friendly forces.

    10. (U) Crew-served weapons are considered a threat to US forces and the relief effort whether or not the crew demonstrates hostile intent. Commanders are authorized to use all necessary force to confiscate and demilitarize crew-served weapons in their area of operations.

      (a) (U) If an armed individual or weapons crew demonstrates hostile intentions, they may be engaged with deadly force.

      (b) (U) If an armed individual or weapons crew commits criminal acts but does not demonstrate hostile intentions, US forces will use the minimum amount of necessary force to detain them.

      (c) (U) Crew-served weapons are any weapon system that requires more than one individual to operate. Crew-served weapons include, but are not limited to tanks, artillery pieces, antiaircraft guns, mortars, and machine guns.

    11. (U) Within those areas under the control of US forces, armed individuals may be considered a threat to US forces and the relief effort, whether or not the individuals demonstrate hostile intent. Commanders are authorized to use all necessary force to disarm and demilitarize groups or individuals in those areas under the control of US forces. Absent a hostile or criminal act, individuals and associated vehicles will be released after any weapons are removed/demilitarized.

  4. (U) Use of riot control agents (RCAs). Use of RCAs requires the approval of CJTF. When authorized, RCAs may be used for purposes including, but not limited to--

    (1) (U) Riot control in the division area of operations, including the dispersal of civilians who obstruct roadways or otherwise impede distribution operations after lesser means have failed to result in dispersal.

    (2) (U) Riot control in detainee holding areas or camps in and around material distribution or storage areas.

    (3) (U) Protection of convoys from civil disturbances, terrorists, or paramilitary groups.

  5. (U) Detention of Personnel. Personnel who interfere with the accomplishment of the mission or who use or threaten deadly force against US forces, US or relief material distribution sites, or convoys may be detained. Persons who commit criminal acts in areas under the control of US forces may likewise be detained.

    (1) (U) Detained personnel will be treated with respect and dignity.

    (2) (U) Detained personnel will be evacuated to a designated location for turnover to military police.

    (3) (U) Troops should understand that any use of the feet in detaining, handling or searching Somali civilians is one of the most insulting forms of provocation.

    4. (U) Service Support. Basic OPLAN/OPORD.

    5. (U) Command and Signal. Basic OPLAN/OPORD.



Staff Judge Advocate
Annex A
ROE Card

Annex A

ROE Card

Rules of Engagement
Joint Task Force for Somalia Relief Operations
Ground Forces

Nothing in these rules of engagement limits your right to take appropriate action to defend yourself and your unit.

1. You have the right to use force to defend yourself against attacks or threats of attack.

2. Hostile fire may be returned effectively and promptly to stop a hostile act.

3. When US forces are attacked by unarmed hostile elements, mobs, and/or rioters, US forces should use the minimum force necessary under the circumstances and proportional to the threat.

4. You may not seize the property of others to accomplish your mission.

5. Detention of civilians is authorized for security reasons or in self-defense.


  • The United States is not at war.

  • Treat all persons with dignity and respect.

  • Use minimum force to carry out the mission.

  • Always be prepared to act in self-defense.
Rules of Engagement for
Operation Provide Comfort (1)
(As Authorized by JCS [EUCOM Dir 55-47])

1. All military operations will be conducted in accordance with the laws of war.

2. The use of armed force will be utilized as a measure of last resort only.

3. Nothing in these rules negates or otherwise overrides a commander's obligation to take all necessary and appropriate actions for his unit's self-defense.

4. US forces will not fire unless fired upon unless there is clear evidence of hostile intent.

Hostile Intent - The threat of imminent use of force by an Iraqi force or other foreign force, terrorist group, or individuals against the United States, US forces, US citizens, or Kurdish or other refugees located above the 38th parallel or otherwise located within a US or allied safe haven refugee area. When the on-scene commander determines, based on convincing evidence, that hostile intent is present, the right exists to use proportional force to deter or neutralize the threat.

Hostile Act - Includes armed force directly to preclude or impede the missions and/or duties of US or allied forces.

5. Response to hostile fire directly threatening US or allied care shall be rapid and directed at the source of hostile fire using only the force necessary to eliminate the threat. Other foreign forces as (such as reconnaissance aircraft) that have shown an active integration with the attacking force may be engaged. Use the minimum amount of force necessary to control the situation.

6. You may fire into Iraqi territory in response to hostile fire.

7. You may fire into another nation's territory in response to hostile fire only if the cognizant government is unable or unwilling to stop that force's hostile acts effectively or promptly.

8. Surface-to-air missiles will engage hostile aircraft flying north of the 36th parallel.

9. Surface-to-air missiles will engage hostile aircraft south of the 36th parallel only when they demonstrate hostile intent or commit hostile acts. Except in cases of self-defense, authorization for such engagements rests with the designated air defense commander. Warning bursts may be fired ahead of foreign aircraft to deter hostile acts.

10. In the event US forces are attacked or threatened by unarmed hostile elements, mobs, or rioters, the responsibility for the protection of US forces rests with the US commanding officer. The on-scene commander will employ the following measures to overcome the threat:

  1. Warning to demonstrators.

  2. Show of force, including the use of riot control formations.

  3. Warning shots fired over the heads of hostile elements.

  4. Other reasonable use of force necessary under the circumstances and proportional to the threat.

11. Use the following guidelines when applying these rules:

  1. Use of force only to protect lives.

  2. Use of minimum force necessary.

  3. Pursuit will not be taken to retaliate; however, immediate pursuit may begin and continue for as long as there is an immediate threat to US forces. In the absence of JCS approval, US forces should not pursue any hostile force into another nation's territory.

  4. If necessary and proportional, use all available weapons to deter, neutralize, or destroy the threat as required.

1. These rules of engagement were extracted from the Rules of Engagement Card carried by all coalition soldiers.

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