UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!




Low-intensity conflict (LIC) is a political-military confrontation between contending states or groups. It is below conventional war and above the routine, peaceful competition among states. LIC frequently involves protracted struggles of competing principles and ideologies. LIC ranges from subversion to the use of armed force. US policy recognizes that indirect rather than direct, application of US military power is the most appropriate and cost-effective way to achieve national goals and to protect US interests in a LIC environment. The indirect means used most frequently by the US is security assistance. This can be provided in the form of training equipment, services, combat support, or a combination of these. Any US military response must be conducted IAW the principles of international and domestic laws. This appendix provides an overview of the LIC environment; it also provides the tactics, techniques, and procedures for battalion and subordinate unit operations in LIC. (FMs 7-10, 7-30, and 100-20 provide more information about LIC.)

Section I


Low-intensity conflict is a political contest. It includes violence, but is won or lost in the minds of men. Low-intensity conflict is most often less violent than modern conventional war. However, the parties fighting in low-intensity conflict may use the military resources available to them, which may result in heavy fighting.


The US provides assistance to several countries throughout the world. Some of these countries have ongoing internal conflicts; in some cases, these conflicts are compounded by insurgency. Other countries, friendly to the US, face external rivalries or international conflicts. The US aids these countries to promote the growth of democracy, to protect US lives and property, and to protect vital natural resources. Most US support is provided through political, economic, and informational initiatives. It is coordinated through the US political representatives within a country, mainly the ambassador and the country team. The military supports other US initiatives indirectly, mainly by supporting security assistance; that is, it provides equipment, supplies, services, training, and advice to an ally. The military representative on the country team, referred to as the security assistance officer, coordinates this indirect support. When US national interests are threatened and indirect support is inadequate, National Command Authorities may use the US military more directly. Force is used carefully, if at all, to achieve the desired political and psychological results.


The following imperatives of low-intensity conflict must be honored for success to be achieved:

a. Political Dominance. Political dominance is based on the nature of the conflict and refers to the fact that a political solution is preferable to a military solution. The military instrument cannot achieve victory in LIC. The objective of LIC is to avoid a military solution and instead to support growth and development within a country. A hostile environment encourages neither. The military instrument can provide the security that allows for growth and development.

b. Unity of Effort. Unity of effort is required, all the instruments of national power must work together. These include the political, economic, informational, and military instruments. The political instrument leads--the others provide support. This requires the Army to cooperate with the Department of State and with other government agencies.

c. Adaptability. Adaptability refers to changes in the nature of the tight, the threat, the measures of success, and the application of combat power. The use of politically-imposed restrictions, such as ROE, requires the commander to adapt his planning and fighting to meet the unique challenges of the LIC environment.

d. Legitimacy. Legitimacy refers to public acceptance and approval of the way in which low-intensity conflict is conducted. The US military must do everything it can to protect and improve the legitimacy of its own actions and of the people it is supporting. This means that soldiers must carefully avoid actions that offend and must conduct themselves at all times according to law, regulation, and local customs. It also means that the US must avoid taking over the struggle for the people it supports. Winning in LIC is the responsibility of the country or group being supported.

e. Perseverance. Perseverance means that the US military must be prepared to remain for a long time. In a contest for public support, quick victories are unlikely. Perseverance also means patience. Sometimes opportunities for short-term success must be sacrificed to achieve long-range goals. The perseverance imperative affects tactical operations. For example, sometimes an enemy force must be allowed to escape to avoid harming innocent civilians.

Section II


The military in LIC supports other instruments of national power, and protects US personnel, property and interests. The military is often used in LIC to avoid escalating the conflict, to return as quickly as possible to a peaceful end state, or both. This fact, coupled with the interaction of the US military with political authorities in the US as well as in other countries, may result in the political imposition of restrictions on movement, in the use of force, in engagement criteria, and possibly in the sizes and types of forces used. Established infantry doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures apply. However, these might need to be adapted when the battalion is operating in LIC.


The types of operations the Army conducts in low-intensity conflict are divided into four operational categories: support for insurgency or counterinsurgency; combatting terrorism; peacekeeping operations; and peacetime contingency operations. The role of the infantry battalion in each of these broad categories is discussed in Sections III through VI of this appendix.


Politically-imposed restrictions on military operations are called rules of engagement. These restrictions may require, for example, that the battalion limit its use of firepower to a certain geographical area or that it limit the duration of its operations. Soldiers at battalion and lower levels must understand and abide by these restrictions. The restrictions change as often as do political and military security factors, and so must be explained to soldiers continually. Each soldier must execute ROE properly, because violations are easily exploited. Figure C-1 provides an example ROE.

a. Minimizing violence and limiting collateral damage do not require tactically unsound decisions or unnecessary risk to the force. On the contrary, an overpowering use of force can reduce violence or prevent an opposing force response. In either case, force protection is a constant priority.

b. The personal conduct of US soldiers during LIC operations affects the opinions and thus the support of the host nation's populace. Soldiers must understand that misconduct by US forces (even those deployed only for a short time) can damage rapport that took years to develop. Soldiers should treat local civilians and military as personal and professional equals, affording them the appropriate military customs and courtesies.

c. Soldiers may have more contact with host nation civilians during LIC than during other types of operations. To enhance civilian cooperation and support of US units, the commander might choose to issue a "key word and phrase card" (Figure C-2) to translate key English phrases to the language of the host nation. These phrases should apply specifically to the area of operations.


The commander uses IPB to help determine what kind of threat the battalion may face, who will present a threat, and when and where it is expected to occur. When faced with large areas of operations, limited maneuver units, and finite collection assets, the commander must rely on IPB for the locations of enemy elements. This allows him to best determine his actions against the threat. IPB must be updated continuously. (FM 34-130 provides a detailed discussion of IPB in LIC.)


Personnel in CS and CSS units are significant multipliers in both war and conflict. Familiar support bases may be unavailable in remote or less-developed areas. Procuring support locally may prove inadequate or may deny the local area or host nation much-needed resources. The US may be required to establish storage facilities or a logistics base for its own sustainment. However, doing this may not be readily acceptable to the supported nation or to personnel in the affected area. Support personnel may establish a positive rapport with the local populace by their actions. Commanders use these capabilities to enhance operations. For example, an engineer helps build abridge, road, or school; a medic inoculates villagers against diseases; a veterinarian cares for cattle or inspects foodstuffs; a legal representative understands international law and treaties; and a quartermaster understands local contracting, field laundry, and water desalinization.


US military forces may operate in support of other US agencies or in support of another government. Both command and support relationships may be modified to accommodate this participation. In combined or coalition operations, US commanders may also have under their charge soldiers from the host nation or from other services or nationalities. These commanders must contend with the disorientation caused by different cultures and values, different levels of prosperity or poverty, uncertainty of purpose, and difficulty in identifying the enemy (who may be the same race or nationality as the host nation). When commanders have no formal authority, such as when they must rely on permission to deal with foreign forces, other US government agencies, or nongovernmental organizations and individuals, they must exert a positive influence. When working with civilian agencies or with the forces of another nation, commanders also must consider equipment compatibility.

Section III


The US can aid either a counterinsurgent force (government) or an insurgent force operating against a government. Because most insurgency operations involve SOF, support for insurgency is discussed in other manuals. Counterinsurgency operations can involve infantry battalions, and are discussed in this section.


The way in which the US supports another nation's efforts against an insurgent threat is referred to as internal defense and development (IDAD). An IDAD plan combines a program of balanced political, economic, and social development with a program of defense against insurgent violence.

a. The US military normally conducts strategically defensive operations while providing the security that allows for growth and development. However, if US military forces are committed to combat, their roles are similar to those of the host country's forces.

b. Military operations support political action. US forces support an insurgency or a government (counterinsurgency force) to improve the efficiency and military operations of the supported force. All forces involved try to avoid killing or injuring noncombatants or destroying property. The US military must understand the causes of unrest, the nature of the threat, and the organization and tactics used, whether training, advising, and equipping a friendly foreign force or, less likely, participating in combat operations in counterinsurgency.


Both a political and military component usually make up an insurgent organization. The personnel in the military arm are referred to as guerrillas. Their tactics may differ from those used by the personnel in the political arm.

a. Insurgents may be treated as criminals unless the host nation recognizes the legitimacy of the insurgent organization.

b. Insurgents often employ guerrilla tactics against militarily superior government forces. The insurgents attack when they can gain local superiority and when they have a high probability of success. When challenged by a superior force, insurgents retreat, disperse, and hide--they do not stand and fight. If the territory of a neighboring country has safe haven, the insurgents may use it.

c. Insurgents gain several advantages by attacking small government forces and installations. They undermine the ability of the established government to protect itself, possibly forcing it to consolidate its forces into large units for protection.

(1) They establish themselves as a political or military alternative for the populace.

(2) They take government weapons, ammunition, and supplies for their own use. This may result in insurgent's assuming control over certain territory and people.

(3) They usually attack the police first then, as their strength grows, they attack small military units. These attacks divert the government from its routine procedures, and prevent it from protecting all the installations and people in the country. This leaves the populace open for insurgent propagandizing and recruiting. Insurgents use their successes and their propaganda effectively. As their strength grows, they may attack even larger targets. These actions discredit the government and disrupt its ability to focus on growth and reforms.


The presence and authority of the host nation's government must be secured throughout the country. Combat operations in counterinsurgent must protect development and must prevent the insurgents from gaining control of the populace. Combat forces face a dilemma in defending against an insurgent attack: they cannot be everywhere at once. If they divide their forces into small units to protect important installations and population centers, they can be defeated in detail. If they concentrate their forces, they abandon these same installations and population centers to the insurgents. The fight against insurgency is more than a military operation. The government must persuade the people to support it and to deny support to the insurgents. Thus, the fight against insurgency must include political, economic, and informational programs. PSYOP and civil affairs personnel should be involved early to best complement other military involvement. The battlefield in an insurgency is completely nonlinear. The enemy may come from any direction; indeed, elements of the insurgent organization are everywhere. Therefore, planners for all tactical combat operations must consider the requirement for all-round security. Advance, flank, and rear guards must accompany every movement; at every halt, a hasty but complete perimeter defense must be established.

a. Combat Operations. These are conducted IAW methods outlined in this and other doctrinal publications. Each operation must be modified to fit the political nature of the conflict and to offset offensive tactics used by the guerrillas. The infantry battalion in LIC requires a more careful and selective application of force than that used for similar operations in war. (FM 90-8 provides more information about counterguerrilla operations.)

b. Defensive Operations. All defensive operations, which include those by police, paramilitary, and military forces, must be fully integrated. This is true regardless of whether the military forces are only those of the host government or are a combination of host government and US Army units.

(1) Police are a permanent government presence throughout the country. They are a valuable source of information. They also prevent and punish criminal action, and seek out the insurgent infrastructure. They may be aided by paramilitary and military organizations. For the police to be effective, they must be sufficiently protected from insurgent attack.

(2) Military forces (host country or US) can help guarantee police presence in the face of the insurgent threat. The military forces add strength to the defense, permitting a government presence in larger areas than the police alone can maintain. More importantly, military forces can provide much greater security than can police and paramilitary forces. If the enemy attacks, military forces reinforce friendly outposts. Thus, these forces must be ready to act and mobile.

(3) A US Army infantry battalion conducts combat operations against insurgent guerrillas. The battalion may defend a territorial area. It may also maintain strong defensive positions, connected by communications and readily reinforcable by a strong and mobile reserves, in its own area. However, its greater mission is to provide back-up combat power for the host country military, paramilitary, and police forces in a much larger area. The infantry battalion enables other security forces to maintain their positions by protecting them from attack and by aiding them when such attacks occur. The infantry battalion should avoid being tied down in static defense.

(4) A common guerrilla tactic is to attack a small outpost and then prepare an ambush for reaction forces. Thus, while one enemy force attacks, an even larger guerrilla force may be waiting for reinforcement on roads, waterways, air avenues of approach, DZs, or helicopter LZs. Intelligence must warn the battalion if the insurgents are able to ambush the reaction force. If they are, an air assault operation should be conducted to insert the reaction force to the flanks or rear of the enemy to prevent the reaction force from being attacked during a direct approach to the outpost. Also, the reinforcing unit must be ready to deal with this tactic.

(5) Air and ground reconnaissance and armored vehicle units can spoil a guerrilla ambush. The relieving force can frustrate the guerrilla ambush by using unexpected avenues of approach. Tactical air, armed helicopters, and artillery fire on the enemy as soon as the target can be positively identified and as soon as the risk of death or injury to noncombatants and the destruction of their property would be minimal. Carelessness with regard to the safety or property of noncombatants can negate the success of military operations.

c. Offensive Operations. The infantry battalion can and should carry the fight to the enemy. Taking the initiative in this way protects the government, the people, and installations. The battalion can seek out and defeat or capture the enemy, and disrupt the insurgents' plans.

(1) Disruption and defeat of the infrastructure. The insurgents' strength derives from strong political leadership, intelligence nets, and propagandists who live and operate secretly among the populace. Finding and neutralizing each of these is the function of the host nation's police, with help from the US military.

(2) Defeat of the insurgent combat force (guerrillas). A secure environment that permits political, social, and economic development depends largely on the disruption and defeat of the guerrillas.

(3) Intelligence. Accurate information is needed about the locations, strength, and activities of guerrilla forces. Friendly combat units must protect their own intentions and actions, yet must be prepared to act on time-critical information without delay. If the insurgents learn of an impending attack, they will withdraw, disperse, and take refuge in safe areas.

(4) Guerrillas. The guerrillas will withdraw to avoid battle on unfavorable terms. Strong forces can be positioned on likely avenues of regress to prevent the enemy from withdrawing. Indirect fires may be preplanned to complement this effort, but must be planned carefully to avoid harming noncombatants. Trapped between the hammer of an attacking force and the anvil of a blocking force, the enemy will be formal to defend in place. This way, the battle is fought on the government's terms, and the guerrilla force can be defeated or captured.

(5) Operations. Successful offensive operations rely on monitoring the movements of and ambushing the enemy rather than on stomping the bush. After a victory over the enemy, the battalion should give him an opportunity to surrender. The guerrillas are citizens of the country, potentially capable of making positive contributions to the society. Many of them may have been conscripted by the insurgency and will change over to the government side if given the chance. These people are good sources of intelligence; if re-indoctrinated, they may be converted to support the government, perhaps to the extent of serving in the government's security forces.

Section IV


Terrorism programs are violent campaigns to alter political behavior. Therefore, battalions supporting a government force are likely targets for terrorists who oppose the government. Combatting terrorism consists of two parts: antiterrorism, which consists of defensive measures used to reduce the vulnerability of individuals, units, and installations; and counterterrorism, which consists of offensive measures to deter or respond to a terrorist attack. The US military is mainly concerned with antiterrorism, which is a force-protection responsibility of commanders at all levels.


Terrorism can be used either in war or in low-intensity conflict. Terrorism is a weapon of political psychology commonly directed at innocent parties who neither caused nor are able to solve the problem which motivates the terrorist. Acts of violence are committed for their effects on an audience other than the victim. This audience generally consists of governments. These acts are intended either to coerce officials into acting or to intimidate them into not acting. Since terrorism is a political psychological act, it must be dealt with in the same dimensions. The LIC imperatives apply.


Individuals, vehicles, installations, and units are all vulnerable to terrorist attack.

a. Individuals. Terrorist tactics against individuals include bombing, kidnapping, taking hostages, and assassinating people. Terrorists avoid conspicuous activity. They blend with the populace and are difficult to identify. Old men, women, and children may be employed in terrorist operations. Some simple precautions reduce the chance of effective terrorist attacks against people.

(1) The first requirement is awareness of the threat. Personnel must avoid being lulled into complacency. During their off-duty time, they should travel in groups; they should avoid conspicuous behavior and known dangerous areas; and they should remain constantly alert. At times of heightened threat, the pass policy may have to be curtailed or limited to certain hours and places.

(2) Predictable patterns of activity should be avoided. Routes and times of travel should be varied from day-to-day. If local conditions and directives permit, soldiers should remain armed. However, soldiers must exercise discipline in the use of weapons; they should fire only if fired on.

b. Vehicles. Vehicles not in use should be stored in secured motor parks. Before operating any vehicle, the crew should inspect it for bombs. A pass system can be instituted to aid in control of personnel. Any person whose purpose for being in the battalion area is unclear should be detained and questioned. Packages or any other object that appears to be out of place must be investigated.

c. Installations. Billeting areas must be protected in ways appropriate to the threat. When the level of violence is low, the fortress mentality must be avoided, though prudent precautions should be taken. Approaches to the battalion area must be restricted by obstacles that can be covered by fire. Car or truck bombs area favorite, devastating terrorist device. Especially at night, access to billeting areas can be controlled by such expedient means as parking heavy vehicles across roadways or filling 55-gallon drums with sand. In semipermanent installations, heavy obstacles such as large, concrete flower planters afford significant security without creating an inappropriate impression. Guards equipped with automatic weapons must cover all avenues of approach. Sentries must patrol the perimeter of the garrison area accompanied by military working dogs. When the situation requires, Claymore mines and other heavy weapons should be sited to cover avenues of approach. Patrols should move through the surrounding areas to discover and disrupt possible terrorist attack.

d. Units. The battalion S2 must obtain current estimates of the threat situation from higher headquarters. He must initiate collection within the battalion to focus on the terrorist threat. Local civilians who can provide services to the battalion must first be registered and subjected to background checks. Also, their behavior must be carefully monitored. As the terrorist threat increases, or when the battalion is deployed in field positions, the full range of protective measures is put into effect. Bunkers and fighting positions are constructed. Buildings and tents are protected by sandbags. Fencing, including barbed and concertina wire, is used to define the perimeter and mines are implanted. However, the commander must remember that the terrorist, unlike an attacking military force, gains access by subterfuge. A terrorist will present a logical reason for his presence. The use of fortifications is only part of preventing a terrorist attack.


Forces designed, trained, and equipped for counterterrorism may be augmented or replaced by the infantry battalion in extreme circumstances. The tactics for raids, cordons and searches, and roadblocks may apply. (FM 100-37 provides more information on combatting terrorism.)

Section V


Peacekeeping operations are conducted with the consent of the belligerent parties. The purpose of such operations is to maintain a truce and to aid in diplomatically resolving a conflict. Peacekeeping operations consist of placing a neutral force or observers between the belligerent parties. This gives each party confidence that the other is abiding by the cease-fire agreement. Peacekeeping operations may include supervising the truce, aiding in withdrawal and disengagement, exchanging prisoners of war, supervising arms control agreements, and aiding in demilitarization and demobilization. Soldiers in the peacekeeping force must maintain the highest standards of conduct; they must understand and enforce the rules of engagement provided by the commander of the peacekeeping force.


Peacekeeping forces are established under the auspices of the United Nations, another international organization such as the Organization of American States or the Organization of African Unity, an ad hoc international group such as the Multilateral Force and Observers, or less likely, are established as a unilateral American operation. Operational control is vested in a single combined commander who reports to the political authority in charge. In the case of the UN, the secretary general has that authority. National contingents maintain unit integrity the regular functions of command are retained by the country providing the force. Logistical support may be centralized for the entire peacekeeping force, but more often remains in national channels. The US often provides logistical support for other national contingents.


Peacekeeping forces wear distinctive uniform items. For example, UN forces wear a blue helmet or beret. Peacekeeping forces display the flag of the sponsoring organization conspicuously at all times. Vehicles and equipment are painted in distinctive colors and are clearly marked. (UN vehicles are painted white.) Installations are identified by flags and signs, and are illuminated at night.


The actions of peacekeeping forces are clearly defined by political mandate and terms of reference. Unit SOPs are modified to support established guidelines. Operations are strictly limited as to what maybe included in unit SOPs. Peacekeeping forces are seldom permitted to use violence to accomplish their mission. They may use force only in self-defense. Detailed ROE are provided by the sponsoring organization. The mandate and terms of reference may both restrict the types of weapons the peacekeeping force may possess. For example, mortars and antitank weapons may be prohibited.

a. People. Peacekeeping personnel must be oriented on the language and customs of the area where they will be deployed. They must know the basic issues involved in the late conflict and must know which ones remain unresolved. Also, peacekeeping personnel must remember they will be the constant target of targets of foreign intelligence.

b. Units. Units operate in alternating conditions of tension and boredom. Therefore, they must develop patience. They must be approachable, understanding, tactful, and fair, yet firm. They must be able to cope with unpopularity. They must be prepared to execute their mission effectively during long periods of isolation. Units as small as squads may operate for long periods without direct contact with their superiors. Soldiers must be able to respond to and defuse confrontations while minimizing the use of force.

c. Operational Security. A battalion may have limitations imposed on its own information and intelligence. Political sensitivities (the need to remain neutral, yet to protect the force) makes this a delicate issue. Because these forces are multinational, the sharing of information and of operational security needs must be carefully considered.

d. Observations and Reports. Peacekeeping personnel must learn to complete observation reports in the standard format of the peacekeeping force. These reports include situation reports, shooting reports, and overflight and aircraft recognition reports.


Soldiers taking part in peacekeeping operations must modify their warfighting tasks to accommodate their unique environment. This requires them to adhere strictly to mandates, terms of reference, ROE, and discipline; and to understand the difference between conduct and actions. At battalion level, greater emphasis may be placed on standardization and debriefings.

a. Patrolling. Patrols are conducted in daylight, either on foot, in vehicles, or in aircraft. A peacekeeping patrol must be readily identifiable as such by all parties. Movement is conducted openly. Distinctive items of uniform are worn and the flag of the United Nations or of another peacekeeping force is carried by the patrol. In night operations, the patrol displays lights, and the flag is illuminated.

(1) Patrols are conducted to accomplish the following:

(a) Deter potential truce violations by displaying their presence.

(b) Cover gaps between fixed observation posts.

(c) Confirm reports from observation posts.

(d) Investigate alleged breaches of the armistice.

(e) Monitor the execution of agreed actions.

(2) A patrol must do the following:

(a) Avoid deviating from the planned route.

(b) Record in writing and sketch all observations.

(c) Halt when challenged; identify itself; and report any attempt to obstruct its progress.

(d) Maintain continuous radio contact with its base.

(e) Record any changes in the disposition of the opposing forces.

b. Observation Posts. These must be sited for maximum view of the surrounding area, for clear radio communications, and for defensibility. Their locations are recorded; any relocation must be authorized by the peacekeeping force commander. OPs are manned at all times. They are marked with the peacekeeping force flag and with signs on the walls and roof. OPs are protected by field fortifications. Access to them is limited to peacekeeping personnel. An OP is usually manned by one squad, and a log of all activities is maintained. Personnel are continuously accountable for weapons and ammunition. When the personnel in an OP are relieved, they conduct a joint inventory for the record. If weapons are discharged, this fact is reported immediately to headquarters, and a written record is made of the circumstances. (SOPs include details on these and similar matters.) The mission of OPs is to report the following:

(1) Movement of the military forces of the belligerent parties, including unit identification, time, direction, and other details that can be ascertained.

(a) Shooting, hostile acts, or threats directed against the peacekeeping force or civilians.

(b) Any improvement to defensive positions of either of the former belligerents.

(c) An overflight by unauthorized aircraft, either military or civilian, along with the time, direction, aircraft type, and nationality.

(d) Any observed violations of the armistice agreement.

(2) The peacekeeping force relies mainly on the goodwill of the former belligerent parties for its safety. Conspicuous markings on installations, vehicles, and personnel are a source of protection. The peacekeeping force maintains its legitimacy and acceptability to the former belligerents by its professional, disinterested, impartial conduct of the peacekeeping mission. However, factions in one or both of the former belligerents' armed forces, in the civilian population, or among other interested parties may want to disrupt the peacekeeping operation and subvert the diplomatic process. Therefore, the peacekeeping force must be prepared to defend itself.

(a) Limitations on the use of force and the ROE must be strictly followed.

(b) Each unit must maintain a ready reserve which can reinforce an OP or aid a patrol in distress.

(c) Installations must be protected by field fortifications, barriers, and well-sited weapons.

(d) Precautions, prescribed elsewhere in this appendix, must be observed to protect personnel and facilities from terroristic attacks.

(e) The peacekeeping force must fight defensive engagements only if they cannot avoid such an engagement.

(f) The commander must be prepared to recommend withdrawal of the force when a serious threat appears.

Section VI


Peacetime contingent operations are politically sensitive military activities characterized by short-term, rapid projection or employment of forces. These operations are often conducted when the military is required to enforce or support diplomatic initiatives taken to avoid or manage crises. Military efforts in peacetime contingency operations complement political activities. Wartime contingency operations are often conducted for military objectives. (FM 7-30 provides more information on wartime contingency operations.)


Peacetime contingency operations are conducted in support of diplomacy when a brief military intervention can decisively affect a specific situation. Such operations are usually executed to prevent or manage crises. These operations are typically rapid, short-term projections of force under politically-sensitive conditions. They are usually joint or combined. As the name implies, they are executed on short notice in response to a precipitating event or condition. Contingency operations in LIC differ from those in war in that they are limited in time and scope and are conducted under restrictive ROE.


Some contingency operations are violent, while others are quite benign. The infantry battalion may be employed in any of them. This paragraph discusses some of the types of peacetime contingency operations. Peacetime contingency operations are conducted IAW basic combat doctrine described in this manual, with modifications to fit the special requirements of the situation. A common feature of all peacetime contingency operations is that the least possible violence necessary to accomplish the mission is used. None of these peacetime operations are conducted to destroy enemy forces, although that might become necessary if lesser means do not suffice. ROE are likely to be very restrictive. Representative types of contingency operations in LIC include the following:

a. Disaster Relief. Infantry battalions and other US Army forces are sometimes called on by the government to provide manpower in emergency conditions, such as in natural disasters. Their organization, leadership, discipline, equipment, deployability, and availability make them a valuable asset to the government under emergency conditions. In disaster relief and in similar emergencies, the battalion may also provide backup for police forces. It can help control crowds and prevent looting, and can perform other security functions.

b. Security Assistance Surges. The US may provide a large influx of equipment to another nation when it deems this appropriate. An infantry battalion may be required to turn in equipment, which in turn will be sold or leased to this nation.

c. Support to US Civil Authorities. The military may be required to support political, economic, and informational initiatives of the US government inside or outside the US. For example, they may provide support to an ambassador and his country team or support to drug law-enforcement agencies.

d. Noncombatant Evacuation Operations. Infantry battalions maybe employed to aid in the evacuation of US and other noncombatants from hostile areas. If all goes according to plan, no fighting is required. However, these operations only occur when there is a threat of danger, so violence may ensue at any time and the force must be prepared to deal with it.

(1) The objective is riot to destroy an enemy force, but to get people out of a dangerous situation. Fighting should be avoided, but may become necessary. The infantry battalion so engaged must protect not only itself, but also the people or things it is trying to rescue or evacuate.

(2) The battalion must establish a perimeter of defense, because an attack can come from any direction. The threat may consist of hostile individuals, a mob, an organized guerrilla force, or even the police or military forces of the country being evacuated. The battalion must mount patrols to search for people or things to be recovered, and must avoid ambushes while returning to the departure airport or seaport.

(3) Physical barriers may be needed to protect the area to be evacuated. Blowing bridges or tunnels, or preparing to do so, maybe necessary when and if the threat materializes.

(4) The battalion must warn an approaching mob or organized force, ordering them to advance no further. The objective is always to avoid a fight. Infantry may be able to use their rifle butts and bayonets to penetrate the threatening force and extract people to be evacuated. The battalion may also need to use riot control agents or to fire warning shots.

(5) The battalion may have to withdraw under pressure of an enemy attack.

(a) Noncombatants must be evacuated first. They are escorted to air or sea transportation under the protection of the contingency force, which can conduct defensive combat operations. Aircraft take off as they are loaded. Ships stand off shore, and the evacuees are ferried as they arrive at the evacuation site by boat or helicopter.

(b) Forward elements of the contingency force are withdrawn into a defensive perimeter around the evacuation site. As soldiers embark on aircraft or ships, the perimeter is contracted. Light forces are the last to depart. These forces use automatic weapons fire to hold off the enemy as they embark. Equipment that cannot be evacuated is destroyed. Fire support is provided by Air Force, Naval, and Marine Corps tactical aircraft, armed helicopters, and naval gunfire.

e. Counterdrug Operations. Military personnel help train drug law-enforcement personnel in the eradication of drug trafficking. Drug traffickers are often linked with insurgent organizations. The drug traffickers may provide financial support to insurgent organizations or guerrillas; the insurgent organizations or guerrillas may in turn protect the drug operations.

f. Rescue and Recovery. Rescue refers to the withdrawal of people from positions of danger. Rescues may be conducted in the manner of noncombatant evacuation operations. Recovery refers to the reestablishment of US control over an object, such as a downed satellite or a sensitive item of military equipment. Like noncombatant evacuation, these operations may be either opposed or unopposed. The intent is to try to accomplish the mission without fighting. If the operation is opposed by a hostile force, combat is conducted IAW the warfighting doctrine described elsewhere in this manual. Violence is limited to assure the safe withdrawal of the force and the persons or objects which are the subject of their mission.

g. Shows of Force and Demonstrations. These consist of the deployment of military forces to the locale of threatened violence to demonstrate US political resolve and support for the threatened country. The rapid deployment of a military capability may deter hostile acts. Combined exercises are a means of portraying continued US commitment while reinforcing relationships, interoperability, and the foundations of democracy. The intent is to avoid war by threatening to engage in it. Both the psychological effect, and the fact that the enemy may not be deterred by such a show, demand that a unit involved in a show of force or demonstration be fully capable of executing combat operations without notice.

h. Peacemaking Operations. Infantry battalions may be employed to force an end to lawlessness. An example is the intervention by a large joint US force into the Dominican Republic in 1965 (Operation Power Pack) to end fighting between political factions, restore order, and establish an effective government. Some aspects of Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada in 1986 resembled this class of operations. These operations differ from peacekeeping in that the parties to the conflict have not consented to them and force must be used to bring the situation under control. Like other operations in LIC, the mission is to accomplish apolitical objective with minimum violence. Casualties and property damage must be limited; the safety of noncombatants, who may be present in large numbers, is a major consideration; and ROE are restrictive. These operations end with a planned withdrawal or transition to a peacekeeping operation.

i. Strikes and Raids. These are attacks on specific limited objectives, followed immediately by a planned withdrawal. They are not used to occupy territory. In the LIC environment, strikes and raids may be conducted against terrorist bases, drug traffickers, or similar targets. Strikes and raids are narrow in scope. Like other operations in LIC, they require a concern for legitimacy and the avoidance of death and injury of noncombatants and unnecessary destruction of property.

Section VII


Security measures are necessary to safeguard individuals, units, and installations. Force protection measures apply in the conduct of all operations. These measures are most needed during operations in areas with a known terroristic or guerrilla threat.
Good security and defensive measures reduce losses and discourage enemy operations. The tactics, techniques, and procedures for force protection are based on METT-T factors. (FM 90-12 provides more information about multiservice procedures for the defense of a joint base.)


Security measures safeguard individuals, units, and installations.

a. Individual Security Measures. Soldier security is a command responsibility and function. All elements of the battalion must be briefed on known or suspected insurgent forces. Supply discipline must be strictly enforced. Leaders must emphasize to soldiers that supplies lost, traded, or thrown away will be recovered by the the enemy and used against friendly forces. Arms and equipment must be salvaged from battle areas and from civilians who have collected them. All soldiers, including battalion and company headquarters personnel, are trained in the tactics to be used against the enemy. Soldiers may also be given the mission to safeguard key personnel.

b. Unit Security Measures. Combat security measures, including extensive patrolling, are used on the march, during halts, and in the combat base to reduce losses from ambushes and attacks. Specially trained dogs can be used along with guards and patrols. Soldiers in rear areas can acquire a sense of false security that causes them to relax. However, the threat to these soldiers is as great as in the forward areas. Commanders of units that have not experienced or witnessed an enemy attack must supervise methodically to maintain security discipline. Units may establish static security posts to protect themselves or a fixed installation.

c. Installation Security Measures. Command posts and support installations are secured from attacks and sabotage. Special attention is given to the security of arms, ammunition, and other equipment of critical value to the enemy. To economize on manpower, the sites selected for CPs and trains installations must be readily defensible. Installations are grouped together so they can be guarded as a unit. To conserve personnel, physical obstacles; restricted areas; and aids such as wire, mines, alarms, illumination, and searchlights are used. Fields of fire are cleared and field fortifications are constructed for guards and security forces. The guard or security system should be supplemented by a vigorous patrol system. Rigid security is enforced on native labor; as a defense against sabotage within installations, native labor personnel are screened, identified, and supervised. All security measures are kept ready, and all soldiers keep their weapons available for instant use. Routines for securing an installation are altered frequently to prevent the enemy from obtaining accurate detailed information about the composition and habits of the defense.


Indigenous authorities or other high-ranking officials might require the protection of a military escort when moving by road.

a. The following should be considered:

(1) The strength of the escort required depends on the circumstances; a platoon is seldom adequate.

(2) An armored vehicle should be provided as optional transportation for the official(s).

(3) The vehicle carrying the official(s) must be closely supported throughout the move by a second vehicle--preferably armored--with at least one automatic weapon and "bodyguard" soldiers.

(4) The vehicle carrying the official(s) should bear no distinguishing marks, and more than one vehicle of that type should be employed.

(5) The "bodyguard" soldiers protect the official(s) in the event at an attack they get the official vehicle out of the danger area as quickly as possible. Contingent plans, alternate routes and actions in case of attack must be developed and rehearsed.

b. The escort commander should brief the official before starting the move about what will be done in the event of an attack. Regardless of the official's seniority, the escort commander is in command of the move.


A static security post is any security system organized to protect critical fixed installations--military or civil--or critical points along lines of communication such as terminals, tunnels, bridges, and road or railway junctions (Figure C-3).

a. The size of the post depends on the mission, the size and characteristics of the hostile force, the attitude of the civil populace, and the importance of the item being secured. The post can vary from a two-man bridge guard to a reinforced company securing a key communications center or civilian community. However, establishment of security posts must be coordinated with the host nation.

b. The organization of a static security post varies with its size, its mission, and its distance from reinforcing units. For security reasons, static security posts in remote areas must be larger than the same type post would be if located closer to supporting forces. In any case, it is organized for the security of both the installation and the security force. Reliable communications must be established between remote static security posts and the parent unit's base.

c. Access by indigenous personnel to the security post must be controlled. People living near the positions are screened and evacuated. Along the routes of approach to an installation, informers from the local population can be established.

d. All possible consideration is given to soldier comfort during the organization and preparation of the security post. Even under the best conditions, morale suffers among soldiers who must operate for prolonged periods in small groups away from their parent organization.

e. Sustaining supplies are prestocked in sufficient quantities within the static security post if it is far removed from other battalion units and if it might be isolated by enemy action. A static security post should never have to depend solely on the local populace for supplies.


The infantry battalion maybe required to secure the lines of communication in its assigned area or to secure a major route or network of routes. Lines of communication are difficult to secure. Limited manpower and long lines of communication make this task more difficult. Armored vehicles help.

a. Concept. All movements of soldiers and supplies must be planned and conducted as tactical operations with emphasis on extensive security measures. These security measures can include--

(1) Operations security and deception plans.

(2) Front, flank, and rear security during movement and halts. This includes propositioned security elements along the route of movement, which aid in performing route reconnaissance and movement security.

(3) Fire support and air cover.

(4) Battle drills, OPs, and contingency plans.

(5) Communications with supporting units and higher headquarters, to include airborne radio relay.

(6) Varying the locations of leaders, communications, and automatic weapons within the movement formation.

(7) Interrogation of local civilians along the movement route to obtain intelligence information, including possible ambush sites.

(8) Movement by bounds with overmatching fire.

(9) Use of scout dogs and other ambush detection means.

b. Operations. Plans for movement should be coordinated with military units along the routes. The following should be considered during this planning:

(1) Radio communication and prearranged visual and sound signals must be planned between convoy serials and march units, artillery FOs, air controllers, units, and population centers in the areas along the route of movement.

(2) Artillery and mortar support may be provided by units within range of the route of movement or by artillery and mortars that can be moved within range of the proposed route. Movements requiring artillery and mortar support need observers with them or in observation aircraft. Using strip maps marked with planned fires enables personnel with communications capability (other than FOs) to request fires. The FO must be able to coordinate with FDCs who can provide fire along the route of movement. The FO must also be able to enter the FDC net, make routine location reports, and request and adjust fires. The FO must coordinate call signs, frequencies, secure communications, authentications, areas of possible employment, schedules of movement, and indirect-fire target numbers with the FDC in advance.

(3) Close air and aerial fire support planning provides for armed helicopters and fixed-wing strike aircraft. Methods of employment include column cover, air alert, and ground alert. Column cover should always be requested, because the presence of aircraft deters ambushes. However, column cover by fighter aircraft is expensive in terms of crew fatigue and equipment maintenance. Therefore, light observation aircraft are sufficient for short movements over frequently-used routes in more secure areas. In planning column cover, special attention must be given to the enemy air defense threat.

(4) Route-clearing operations might be needed before critical movements. Whether the roads and other routes are cleared depends on the availability of soldiers, the importance of the movement, and the threat within the area to be traversed. Mounted and dismounted elements from the unit responsible for the area are designated to clear the routes. This may include both engineer and armor assets. The main route must be thoroughly reconnoitered and all critical terrain nearby must be secured.

(5) Reserves (reaction forces) are vital in planning and coordinating movements. They are designated in case of ambush. The enemy must believe that, if he ambushes friendly soldiers, he will be hit back hard with a fast, relentless response that will include air strikes and ground pursuits. Before a movement, reserve force commanders and aviators are briefed on the general area of operations. Landing areas, known and suspected enemy locations, communications, and other normal preoperational information are emphasized. If the route is long, reserve forces are designated in successive areas.

c. Motor Movement. Convoys must be prepared to secure themselves because the extent of the threat may limit the availability of special escort attachments. Highway systems can be identified according to the levels of threat affecting their parts. Corresponding security measures are then identified.

(1) Roads with negligible ambush risk. These include roads that lie within the city limits of large towns and other roads as designated by the responsible headquarters. Subject to restrictions imposed by local commanders, military personnel may travel on these roads in any type of vehicle. No special measures exist concerning the movement of military convoys.

(2) Roads with limited ambush risk. All personnel transported in military or civilian police vehicles should be armed; also, each military vehicle should carry at least one other armed person besides the driver. Military personnel may travel alone in civilian cars but should be armed when doing so. Armored escorts are unnecessary. Convoys of up to ten vehicles may move at normal intervals; convoys of more than ten vehicles should be approved by the commander of the operational area concerned; convoys of any size should move in blocks of no more than five or six vehicles each.

(3) Roads subject to ambush or inteference. All soldiers in combat areas should be armed, and each military vehicle should have at least one armed soldier besides the driver. Travel at night is restricted to trips of operational necessity. Movement of single, unescorted military vehicles is prohibited. Vehicles move close enough to each other that they can help each other in an emergency, but not so close that an ambush is likely to catch several of them. Soldiers and armored vehicles should accompany convoys. Helicopter or other observation aircraft should be assigned for reconnaissance and control.

Section VIII


The battalion might be required to conduct concurrent security force and offensive operations. However, all actions must follow the established ROE and the law of land warfare. The objective of the security force is to protect the civilian populace and to prevent them from interfering in friendly operations (populace control); to secure soldiers, military and civilian installations, and lines of communication from attack; and to establish secure communities.


The host nation government may impose certain controls on the movements and activities of the people and the traffic in various kinds of goods which would be of use to the insurgents. The possession of such items as weapons and ammunition, explosives, large amounts of cash, fuel, communications equipment, and even food may be more stringently regulated. Some items are forbidden for civilian use. Others may require a license or be subject to rationing. This prevents people from having more than they need for their own use and supplying the excess to the enemy. Establishing curfews and off-limits areas makes movement difficult for the enemy. Such measures are known as "populace and resource control." They must be no more restrictive than necessary to meet the threat. When the situation improves, restrictions are immediately relaxed, as they are a hardship on the people and can, if abused, undermine the legitimacy of the government. Enforcement is the responsibility of the host country government and its police, paramilitary, and military forces. If the US Army infantry battalion is called on in an emergency to help enforce these regulations, the battalion must always act in concert with host country officials.


Populace and resource control measures are used to deny support and aid to the insurgents by controlling the movement of people, information, and goods. These controls are levied by the host government; for US forces to assume this role would undermine the legitimacy of the host government and convert the conflict into an American war.

a. US forces participating in populace control operations should be accompanied by members of the host nation's military or police. The extent of the control and the degree of sternness imposed on the civilian populace depends on the situation in the locale. Information about public attitudes must be gathered and judged with sensitive perception. Control and restrictions are relaxed on a populace in direct proportion to its efforts to cooperate. The overriding objective to isolate the enemy force from the populace, must be kept in mind.

b. Measures imposed to control the populace and reduce its ability to collaborate with enemy forces can include the following:

  • Registration and documentation of all civilians.
  • Curfew.
  • Establishment of off-limits areas.
  • Restrictions on public and private transportation and on communication means.
  • Block control for constant urban surveillance.
  • Roadblocks and patrols.
  • Search and seizure operations.
  • Apprehension or relocation of known or suspected sympathizers.
  • Inspection of individual identification documents, permits, and passes.
  • Control of the possession of arms, ammunition, demolitions, drugs, medicine, food, and money.
  • Complete evacuation or depopulation of areas.

c. Populace control measures are vigorously enforced and stern punishment meted out by civilian authorities if the control measures are ignored. Half-hearted or lax enforcement breeds contempt and defiance among the populace. Violators must be apprehended and justly but fairly punished; care must be taken to punish the true offenders. To provoke unjust retaliation against communities, the enemy can initiate acts of violence in communities that are earnestly cooperating with the government. To gain sympathizers and strengthen their own cause, the enemy may exploit any unjust or misplaced punishment. Every means is used to publicize the nature of offenses for which punishment is imposed. The populace must realize that the action taken is not arbitrary, but necessary to enforce law and order.


The host nation must be an equal or greater player than US forces in populace control, which is exercised IAW host nation support agreements. Some techniques are as follows:

a. Registration of Civilians. Civilians may be registered by the host nation and, if it requests, by US civil affairs units. This is done to screen civilian officials, employees of the military, and the paramilitary organizations of allied forces. Civil affairs units also establish an office of records and documents that pertain to everyone in the area of operations. This is done to find and control people who are hostile to the allied operations.

b. Curfews. Curfews are one of the simplest and best means used to isolate civilians and to prevent them from interfering with military operations (Figure C-4). Curfew regulations are rigidly enforced, preferably by civil police, who can check anyone on the streets after curfew hours and spot-check residences to determine that residents are home. The power to grant curfew exemptions can be delegated to the local police in most cases. Exemptions should be numbered serially the reason for the exemption, the conditions of the exemption, and the name of the issuing officer should be clearly stated. Anyone who misuses their curfew exemption should be publicly deprived of their exemption. Those who may be excepted from curfew restrictions are as follows:

  • The clergy.
  • Doctors and midwives.
  • The civil police.
  • Public officials and employees specified by civil affairs officers.
  • Fire-fighting personnel.
  • Emergency repair crews of water, gas, and power concerns.
  • Private employees providing vital services.
  • Individual meritorious requests.

c. Establishment of Restricted Areas. Areas that can be designated as restricted include military and critical civil installations (police facilities, communications centers, utilities activities, supply agencies, and so on). This is done to prevent insurgent interference and limit civilian access. The installations should be fenced off, gate guards established, and warning signs, in the language of the host nation) conspicuously posted. Vegetation or obstructions are cleared to at least 100 meters on both sides of the fence. Fenced areas are patrolled. People who try to cross the fence or flee the cleared area are dealt with IAW ROE. People who enter or leave the area are subject to search. The percentage of people searched in detail depends on the degree of security required, the amount of support the local populace is suspected of rendering the insurgent and the amount of traffic.

d. Restrictions on Communications and Transportation. The exchange of information and the amount of traffic allowed to enter or leave an area maybe limited in certain situations. These are normally host nation decisions.

(1) Communications. Telephones and telegraphs can be restricted from general civilian use in cooperation with civil police to prevent civilians from passing messages that could be important to the enemy. Radio transmitters can also be restricted from civilian use. Mail can be censored. Search parties should be alert for written messages. Printed matter such as books and newspapers can be coded to carry messages.

NOTE: All searches should have host government representation.

(2) Transportation. Personnel movement may be controlled at freed or mobile sites. Gate checkpoints should be established to control traffic entering restricted areas. These can also be required in specific villages and settlements.

e. Block Control. Constant surveillance and reports of civilian activities within a block or other small populated area are referred to as block control. An appropriate authority appoints a loyal resident of the block or area to do this, then supervises them.

(1) Block control is one of the most effective and economical means of populace control. However, much time is required to set this up. Also, due to its nature, block control operates much better under civil authority than under military control. A battalion may establish a system of block control in the absence of an effective civil administration.

(2) A block leader is appointed for each block. Each block or area is divided into zones. Each zone includes all buildings on one side of a street within a block. For each zone, a zone leader is appointed from among trusted residents. Zone leaders report all movements within their zones, including arrivals and departures, to their block leaders, who periodically report all movements within their blocks. Unusual activities are reported immediately.

(3) Informants can be placed throughout a block or area if the loyalty of the zone or block leaders is questionable. The informant system is set up like the block control system.

f. Rewards and Inducements. Rewards can be given to civilians who inform military or civilian authorities of illegal actions taken by other civilians. Rewards may also be given for information leading to the apprehension of insurgents. For example, information about curfew violations or about possession of weapons, restricted articles, or illegal food. Rewards can take the form of local currency, extra food and clothing, or supplies in critical demand.

(1) People who inform should not receive confidences or privileges that could violate security. Inducements should be scaled to provide greater value in proportion to the value of the information received.

(2) Reward systems can backfire. People may begin by readily volunteering information, without reward. If they are then paid for information, they begin to withhold it. For example, they may begin to piecemeal their information to increase their rewards.

g. Formation of Self-Defense Units. Self-defense units from the civil populace provide some security from attack. These units can also help enforce civil populace control measures and help with area damage control. The military capabilities of these units vary. However, they provide the military commander with another means of economy of force. Care must be taken in arming self-defense units; they might be easy prey for local insurgents. Their weapons an be secured under military custody when not in use. Training of self-defense forces can be conducted by the host nation or, in certain cases, by US forces. The ability of these units to contact local police or military must be considered.

h. Civil Disturbances. Plans should provide for civil disturbances. Local civil police or civil defense units should be employed to quell riots, strikes, or disturbances. Military action is used as a last resort. (FM 19-15 discusses in detail the techniques to be employed.)


Resource control, like populace control, is exercised IAW host nation support agreements. The host nation plays the most important part in resource control.

a. Control of Materiel and Equipment. Control must begin at the point of origin and continue throughout the cycles of storage, transit, distribution, and use. Control can be achieved by licensing, prohibiting, or substituting relatively harmless materials.

b. Control of Weapons. Weapons control must be planned in detail and analyzed carefully before any order or decree is issued to disarm the civil populace.

(1) The weapons control plan should include the following:

(a) The measures necessary to strengthen existing civil laws.

(b) The allocation of force needed to execute the order or decree.

(c) The form and method that used to announces the order or decree.

(d) The designation and preparation of storage areas for arms, ammunition, and explosives.

(e) The disposition of munitions collected.

(f) The method of accounting for such munitions, including the methods of preparation for receipts, tags, and permits to be used.

(g) The designation of the types and classes of munitions to be turned in.

(h) Any people who are exempted from the order or decree. These people are issued a special permit.

(i) The agencies (civil, military, or both) who are to collect, guard, and transport the material.

(j) The time limit for compliance and penalties assigned thereafter.

(2) Control of knives, machetes, and certain agricultural tools can cause problems and misunderstandings. The most common and sometimes the only implement on a farm or in a forest may be a working machete or knife; these tools are used to clear land as well as to harvest crops. Civilians must be allowed to keep these general utility tools. The disarming order (or supplementary instructions) should be specific enough in describing the weapons to be controlled to properly guide subordinates executing the weapons control order.

c. Control of Food and Restricted Articles. Control of food and other articles, conducted in cooperation with civil agencies, can effectively reduce civilian support of insurgent forces. The harvesting, distribution, and sale of these items must be supervised closely. The development of a food and restricted article denial plan should cover the following points:

(1) Foodstuffs must be defined to include all types of prepared or unprepared food, grain, oil, sugar, and canned goods that could be used in any way for human or animal consumption. Crop audits may be required.

(2) Restricted articles are defined. This usually includes paper, ink, medical supplies, flashlights, clothing, and cloth. Items such as fertilizer and photographic chemicals may also be controlled. Currency control provisions may also be instituted.

(3) Restrictions on the sale, movement, or possession of foodstuffs and restricted articles are carefully prepared and thoroughly publicized.


Searches are an important aspect of populace and resource control. The need to conduct search operations or to employ search procedures is a continuous requirement. A search can orient on people, materiel, buildings, or terrain. It usually involves both civil police and soldiers.

a. Planning. Misuse of search authority can adversely affect the outcome of operations; thus, the seizure of contraband, evidence, intelligence material, supplies, or other minor items during searches must be conducted and recorded lawfully to be of future legal value. Proper use of authority during searches gains the respect and support of the people.

(1) Authority for search operations is carefully reviewed. Military personnel must know that they may perform searches only in areas within military jurisdiction (or where otherwise lawful). Searches may be conducted only to apprehend suspects or to secure evidence proving an offense has been committed.

(2) Search teams have detailed instructions for handling of controlled items. Lists of prohibited or controlled-distribution items should be widely disseminated and on hand during searches. The military or civil police who work with the populace and the resource control program are contacted before the search operations or periodically if search operations are a continuing activity. Units must consider the impact of early warning on the effectiveness of their operation.

(3) Language difficulties can interfere when US forces conduct search operations involving the local populace. Therefore, US units given a search mission are provided with interpreters as required.

(4) Search operations are conducted slowly enough to allow for an effective search but rapidly enough to prevent the enemy from reacting to the threat of the search.

(5) Minimum essential force is used to eliminate any active resistance encountered.

(6) Searchers can return to a searched area after the initial search to surprise and eliminate insurgents or their leaders who might have either returned or remained undetected during the search.

(7) Plans should be developed for securing the search area (establishing a cordon) and for handling detained personnel.

b. Procedures. Search procedures are as follows:

(1) Search of individuals. The fact that anyone in an area to be searched could be an insurgent or a sympathizer is stressed in all search operations. However, to avoid making an enemy out of a suspect who may support the host country government, searchers are tactful. The greatest caution is required during the initial handling of a person about to be searched. One member of the search team covers the other member, who makes the actual search. (FM 19-40 and STP 19-95 B1-SM discuss the procedure for searching people.)

(2) Search of females. The enemy will use females for all types of tasks when they think searches might be a threat. To counter this, female searchers should be used. If they are not available, doctors, medics, or male members of the local populace should be used. If male soldiers must search females, all possible measures must be taken to prevent any inference of sexual molestation or assault.

(3) Search of vehicles. Searching of vehicles may require that equipment such as detection devices, mirrors, and tools be made available. Specially trained dogs may be used to locate drugs or explosives. A thorough search of a vehicle is a time-consuming process. Impact on the population must be considered. A separate vehicle search area should be established to avoid unnecessary delays.

(4) Search of built-up areas. These searches are also referred to as cordon-and-search operations. This subparagraph discusses the principles, command, control, and procedures for this type of search. When intelligence identifies and locates members of the insurgent infrastructure, an operation is mounted to neutralize them. This should be done by police, acting on the warrant of a disinterested magistrate, and based on probable cause. In the more violent stages of an insurgency, emergency laws and regulations may dispense temporarily with some of these legal protections. The method used should be the least severe method that is adequate to accomplish the mission. Care should be taken to preserve evidence for future legal action.

c. Cordon and Search. The area to be searched in a built-up area should be divided into zones and a search party assigned to each. A search party consists of a security element (to encircle the area, to prevent entrance and exit, and to secure open areas), a search element (to conduct the search), and a reserve element (to help as required) (Figures C-5 and C-6).

(1) Establishing the cordon. An effective cordon is critical to the success of the search effort. Cordons are designed to prevent the escape of individuals to be searched, and to protect the forces conducting the operation. In remote areas, the cordon maybe established without being detected. The use of limited visibility aids in the establishment and security of the cordon, but is difficult to control. ROE must be enforced. Plans should be developed to handle detained personnel. Infantrymen accompany police and intelligence forces who will identify, question, and detain suspects. Infantry may also conduct searches and assist in detaining suspects, under police supervision, but their principal role is to reduce any resistance which may develop and to provide security for the operation. Use of force is kept to a minimum. Deployment for the search should be rapid, especially if the enemy is still in the area to be searched. Ideally, the entire area should be surrounded at once; observed fire covers any gaps. The security element surrounds the area while the search element moves in. Members of the security element orient mainly on people evading the search in the populated area; however, the security element can also cut off any insurgents trying to reinforce others within the area. Checkpoints and road blocks are established. Subsurface routes of escape in built-up areas, such as subways and sewers, may also need to be searched. The following procedures should be considered when preparing for the search of a built-up area:

(2) Conducting the search. A search of a built-up area must be conducted with limited inconvenience to the populace. However, the populace should be inconvenienced enough for them to discourage insurgents and sympathizers from remaining in the locale, but not enough to drive them to collaborate with the enemy as a result of the search. A large-scale search of a built-up area is a combined civil police and military operation. Such a search should be planned in detail and rehearsed. Physical reconnaissance of the area just before a search is avoided. Information needed about the terrain can be obtained from aerial photographs. In larger towns or cities, the local police might have detailed maps showing relative sizes and locations of buildings. For success, the search plan must be simple and the search must be conducted swiftly. The search element conducts the mission assigned for the operation. The element is organized into special teams. These teams can include personnel and special equipment for handling of prisoners, interrogations, documentation (using a recorder with a camera), demolitions, PSYOP/civil affairs, mine detection, fire support, employment of scout dogs, and tunnel reconnaissance. Three basic methods are used to search the populated area.

(a) Assemble inhabitants in a central location if they appear to be hostile. This method provides the most control, simplifies a thorough search, denies insurgents an opportunity to conceal evidence, and allows for detailed interrogation. It has the disadvantage of taking the inhabitants away from their dwellings, thus encouraging looting which, in turn, engenders ill feelings.

(b) Restrict inhabitants to their homes. This prohibits movement of civilians, allows them to stay in their dwellings, and discourages looting. The disadvantages of this method are that it makes control and interrogation difficult and gives inhabitants time to conceal evidence in their homes.

(c) Control the heads of the households. The head of each household is told to remain in front of the house while everyone else in the house is brought to a central location. During the search, the head of the household accompanies the search team through the house. Looting is reduced, and the head of the household sees that the search team steals nothing. This is the best method for controlling the populace during a search.

(3) Searching a house. The object of a house search is to screen residents to determine if any are suspected insurgents or sympathizers and to look for controlled items. A search party assigned to search an occupied building should consist of at least one local policeman, a protective escort, and a female searcher. Escort parties and transportation must be arranged before the search of a house. Forced entry may be necessary if a house is vacant or if an occupant refuses to allow searchers to enter. If a house containing property is searched while its occupants are away, it should be secured to prevent looting. Before US forces depart, the commander should arrange for the community to protect such houses until the occupants return.

d. Other Considerations. The reserve element is a mobile force positioned in a nearby area. Its mission is to help the other two elements if they meet resistance beyond their ability to handle. The reserve element can replace or reinforce either of the other two elements if the need arises. Any enemy material found, including propaganda signs and leaflets, should be treated as if it is booby-trapped until inspection proves it safe. Underground and underwater areas should be searched thoroughly. Any freshly excavated ground could be a hiding place. Mine detectors can be used to locate metal objects underground and underwater.

e. Aerial Search Operations. Search units mounted in armed helicopters take full advantage of the mobility and firepower of these aircraft.

(1) Air assault combat patrols conducting an aerial search reconnoiter an assigned area or route in search of enemy forces. When the patrols locate an enemy force, the patrol may engage it from the air or may land and engage it on the ground. This technique has little value in areas of dense vegetation or when a significant man-portable air defense threat is present.

(2) Use of air assault combat patrols should be used only in operations when sufficient intelligence is available to justify their use. Even then, such patrols should be used along with ground operations.

f. Apprehended Insurgents. Certain principles govern actions taken when insurgents desert or surrender voluntarily and indicate that, at least in part, their attitudes and beliefs have changed. In this situation, the following guidelines apply:

(1) Confine them only for screening and processing, and keep them separate from prisoners who exhibit no change in attitude.

(2) Supervise them after their release, though the supervision need not be stringent.

(3) Relocate them if they are in danger of reprisal from the enemy.

(4) Remember that they expect any promises that were made to induce their defection or surrender to be met.

(5) Provide special handling to nonindigenous members of the insurgency who were captured.

g. Captured Insurgents. Captured insurgents who retain their attitude of opposition are handled IAW the following principles:

(1) These insurgents must be confined, for long periods.

(2) Captured insurgents charged with specific crimes are brought to justice immediately. Each is charged for their individual crimes. They are not charged for their participation in the resistance movement, because that could make them martyrs and cause other insurgents to increase their activities.

(3) Families of imprisoned insurgents may have no means of support. A program of care and reeducation should be initiated to administer adequate support.


A related aspect of populace and resource control mentioned previously was the control of transportation. Individuals and vehicles may be stopped during movement to assist in individual accountability or capture of enemy personnel, or to control the trafficking of restricted material. The ability to establish roadblocks and checkpoints is an important aspect of movement control and area denial. The fundamentals of searches, discussed previously, apply to roadblocks and checkpoints also. (FM 7-10 provides more information about roadblocks and checkpoints.)

a. Roadblocks and checkpoints prevent traffic in contraband and stopping the movement of known or suspected insurgents. They should be manned by police or paramilitary forces, who stop vehicles and pedestrians and conduct searches as required by conditions. Either host country or US Army combat forces defend these roadblocks and checkpoints from enemy attack. If police strength is insufficient for the number of positions required, the Army can operate them. Whenever US Army forces operate roadblocks and checkpoints, host country police or other forces should be present to conduct the actual stop and search. US forces should establish communications with other elements of the site, but should also remain in contact with their own chain of command. The same principles apply to waterways as to land lines of communication.

b. Roadblocks are established in locations where they cannot be observed by approaching traffic until it is too late to withdraw and escape. Narrow defiles, tunnels, bridges, sharp curves, and other locations which channel traffic are the preferred sites. Obstacles slow traffic, restrict it to a single lane, and finally bring it to a halt. An area off the main road should be provided to conduct detailed search of suspect vehicles and people without unduly delaying innocent traffic. A small reserve in nearby defended areas, using hasty field fortifications, should provide immediate support to operating personnel in case of attack. A larger reserve, which serves a number of posts, should be capable of rapid reinforcement (Figure C-7).

c. US forces should be used in the reserve role in combined operations with host nation personnel. The reserve invulnerable to being set up or ambushed, especially if an enemy has observed rehearsals. The enemy may hit multiple locations simultaneously to test responsiveness or to aid his future planning. Locations of roadblocks and routes used should be varied.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list