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Coordinating The Marine Corps Crisis Response With 
The State Department
CSC 1992
SUBJECT AREA National Military Strategy
Title:   Coordinating The Marine Corps Crisis Response With The
	   State Department
Author:  Major Gary S. Supnick, United States Marine Corps
Thesis:  To ensure the safety of U. S. lives and property during
crisis overseas, the U. S. Marine Corps and the Department of State
must develop emergency response as a coordinated team.
Background:  Unstable political situations in foreign countries
often cause concern for the safety of U. S. lives and property.  U.
S.  Marines responding to the American Ambassadors call for help
will conduct non-combatant evacuation and security operations.
Unfortunately, this response is not always a smooth, coordinated
operation.  The need for rapid evaluation of the situation by the
Ambassador and a timely call for assistance is significant to
mission success.  During the 01 December 1989, attempted overthrow
of the Aquino government in the Philippines, Operation Sharp Edge
in Liberia, and Operation Eastern Exit in Somalia, Marine forces
were called upon to protect American lives and property and to
perform security and non-combatant evacuation operations.  In these
operations a variety of problems were experienced to include;
unknown mission constraints for the security force, command and
control/chain of command problems, and disparity on understanding
the rules of engagement.   Marine Expeditionary Units,  Marine
Security Guards, and the Department of State all have a vested
interest in ensuring the sanctuary of American interests overseas.
Consequently, all work separately, and to some degree, together to
ensure these interests are maintained.
Recommendation:   The Marine Corps should take the initiative and
provide a series of briefings to key State Department officials,
ensure high level participation by Ambassadors and their staff in
practical exercises, and develop agreed upon command, control, and
communication procedures.
THESIS:  To ensure the safety of U. S. lives and property during
crisis overseas, the U. S. Marine Corps and the Department of State
must develop emergency response as a coordinated team.
I.    Mission
	a.    Crisis response scenario
	b.    Marine Corps concerns
II.   The problem
	a.    Marines in Lebanon 1958
	b.    Security/NEO operations during Philippine coup attempt
	c.    Coordination/mission problems during Operation Sharp Edge
III.  Organizations Concerned with the Appropriate Response
	a.    U. S. Marine Corps
		1)  Fleet Marine Forces
		2)  Marine Security Guard Battalion
	b.    Department of State
IV.   Proposed Solutions
	a.    Liaison Teams Within Unified Commands
	b.    State Department Training Briefs to Marine Forces
	c.    Joint Military/State Department Training Program
V.    Recommended Solution
	a.    Joint Military/State Department Training Program
	b.    Marine Corps Capability Briefs to Key State Department
	c.    Tactical Exercise Gaming
	d.    State Department Participation in Military Exercised
	e.    Trained State Department on Marine Corps Capabilities
	f.    Joint Problem Solving
	g.    Development of Procedures
VII.  Corrective Steps
	a.    Marines Need to Take the Initiative
	b.    Marines Need to be Concerned With Working with State
		Department During Crisis
	Once again, an American Embassy and U. S. citizens are
threatened by an unstable political situation in some foreign
country.  As the situation deteriorates the U. S. Ambassador
contacts the State Department and expresses his concern for the
safety of his staff and other Americans present in country.
After much deliberation the National Command Authority directs
the employment of forces to protect U. S. lives and property at
the embassy and to conduct non-combatant evacuation
operations (NEO).   U. S. Marines, operating from land bases or
navy ships, then conduct the required security and non-combatant
evacuation operations.   But what happens may not be a smooth,
coordinated operation.  Instead, due to insufficient lead time
for planning, a lack of communication, and an unclear mission
statement, the operation is a confused and uncoordinated affair.
	To ensure the safety of U. S. lives and property during
crisis overseas, the U. S. Marine Corps and the Department of
State must develop emergency response as a coordinated team.
With the changing world order and a continued increase in
political, religious, and insurgent activity throughout the world
the possibility for military action to protect American lives and
property has increased in its probability and importance.  The
United States Marine Corps, as the nation's foremost forward
deployed expeditionary force, can expect to be the force of
choice when the Ambassador asks for military assistance.
Therefore, as military leaders who will be called upon to perform
security and non-combatant evacuation operations abroad, it is
our duty to insure that the proper command action and requisite
planning occur so that military operations are well coordinated
with representatives of the State Department.
	As a potentially threatening situation develops in a foreign
country, the U. S. Ambassador keeps the State Department informed
of significant events as they take place.  However, there is a
reluctance, except in the most immediate and severe
circumstances, on the part of the Ambassador to consider the need
for military action.  This is primarily due to the fact that when
military action is called for, diplomacy has failed.
Additionally, many Ambassadors have a very limited experience
with military operations and do not fully understand the various
responses the military can provide.  However, delays in informing
the proper command authority that military action may be required
causes an unacceptable delay in positioning the necessary forces
and robs from those forces valuable mission planning and
preparation time. (1: 1531) (2: 3)(9: 23)
	Even more significant is the requirement for a clear
understanding between the Ambassador and the leaders of the
security forces about the goals and parameters of the mission.
Very few items are more detrimental to successful mission
accomplishment than preparing for the wrong task or having the
individual who requested help announce that a misconception
exists in what is to be done.   Often, the key disagreements are
the degree of security to be provided, how to provide the
requested security, and rules of engagement. (6: 11) (10)
	On 14 July 1958, a coup d'etat by Brigadier Abdel Karem
Kassem resulted in the overthrow of the government of Iraq.  As a
result of previous alliances and ethnic unrest, King Hussein of
Jordan feared for his throne and President Chamoun of Lebanon
appealed to the United States and Great Britain for intervention
to occur within the next 48 hours.  President Eisenhower's
decision to assist Lebanon was tasked to the U. S. Sixth Fleet
and included three U. S. Marine battalion landing teams.
Additional U. S. Army and British forces were allocated to
complete the force requirements.  Based upon information received
from the State Department and the theater commander-in-
chief (CINC), the landing force, ready for the worst of situations
planned for a simultaneous amphibious assault to secure water
supply systems, bridges, the northeastern sector of the city, and
the airport.  However, the landing conducted on D-Day, 15 July
1958, did not receive the type of welcome the Marines had planned
for.  Acting upon State Department orders, the U. S. Ambassador,
Robert McClintock, was to inform Lebanese President Chamoun at
1200 of the 1500 landing.  Once informed of the U. S. action,
President Chamoun asked Ambassador McClintock to tell General
Chehab, head of the Lebanese Army, of the impending assault.
General Chehab, who had received guarantees from rebel leaders
that they would not follow the Iraqi action, turned down a
proposed coup plot from some of his officers and was concerned
that his army would revolt in view of the U. S. intervention.  He
requested an administrative docking to take place at the port and
Ambassador McClintock, with approximately an hour left before the
landing and unable to radio the Sixth Fleet due to a broken radio
link, sent his Naval Attache, Commander Baker, to intercept the
assault force.  On the beach the Marines were greeted by bikini-
clad-sunbathers, villagers, beach workers, and Commander Baker.
When Lieutenant Colonel Hadd, the senior Marine commander, was
informed of the Ambassador's desire for an administrative docking
he notified the Commodore, Captain MCrea, who responded to
Ambassador McClintock as follows:
		I am operating under orders from Commander Sixth
		Fleet and Commander in Chief Specific Command
		Mediterranean who in turn are operating under orders
		U. S. President.  All troops have landed and will
	  remain ashore in vicinity airport until further
	  orders.(4: 13)
When Captain Baker informed the Commander, Sixth Fleet, of the
Ambassador's orders, Admiral Brown replied:  "Your action
approved . .   . Decision to use beach or harbor belongs to the
commander on the scene."(4: 14) (4: 11-15)
	On the morning of 01 December 1989, rebel forces of the
Armed Forces of the Philippines attempted to overthrow the
elected government of President Corazon Aquino.  By 0330, rebel
forces had gained control of Vilamoor Air Force Base, Sangley
Point Naval Base, and had started the battle for control of army
headquarters at Fort Bonafacio.  By 0600, rebel ground forces
were throughout the streets of Manila and rebel air forces were
bombing the presidential palace, located only one and a half
miles from the TJ. S. Embassy.  Based on these events the
Ambassador requested the assistance of U. S. Marines from nearby
Subic Bay to provide security for the U. S. Embassy.  Once on the
ground, the Marine commander discovered that a problem existed
concerning the degree of security to be provided.  The Regional
Security Officer (RSO), acting on behalf of the Ambassador,
desired a civil disturbance/crowd control type of defense, while
the Marine commander saw the immediate need for a tactical
defensive perimeter.
	Further problems developed when the Deputy Chief of Mission
wanted to make changes in the size of the security forces  "in
order to show the Philippine government we have faith in them."
This action was opposed by the Marine commander and led to a
heated discussion of the doctrinal position stated in FMFM 3-1
that the Ambassador, while the senior U. S. official in-country,
does not exercise military command.  The lack of communication at
the National Command Authority level and understanding of
responsibilities between the military leaders and the diplomats
in-country contributed significantly to the difficulty of the
	Another situation where lack of military and diplomatic
coordination occurred was during Operation Sharp Edge in Liberia.
During this operation, as a result of significantly deteriorating
political situation and the onset of civil disorder, U. S.
Marines were once again called upon to protect the Embassy,
American lives, and certain vital facilities.  The situation as
developed and reported by the American Embassy in Monrovia caused
the Defense Department to position the Mediterranean MEU (Marine
Expeditionary Unit) off the coast.  However, instead of being
called for immediately ashore, they sat off the coast waiting for
almost two months.  This was largely due to hesitancy by the
senior State Department officials in country to call for
assistance. Again, when military action is required, diplomatic
action has failed--a sensitive development for diplomats. (2: 3)
(6: 12)
	Once the Ambassador decided to request military
intervention, the force sent in to secure the embassy compound
and certain other vital U. S. sites had some rather significant
difficulties.  The first of these problems was that the Marine
unit not only set up defensive positions within the U. S.
facilities, but also, as is tactically sound to do, in blocking
positions outside the facilities.(5: 14-15)  This becomes a major
problem, because now U. S. forces had landed on foreign soil and
directly interjected themselves in a foreign domestic problem.
Once the location of the Marines was reported to the State
Department, the decision was made to pull back all forces to
within the U. S. facilities.  The order to do this was passed on
to the Marine units on the ground through the military chain of
command and the situation was rectified. (10)
	Another problem experienced is stated in the 22nd Marine
Expeditionary Unit's after-action report and addresses a
misunderstanding in the rules of engagement (ROE).  When Marine
forces arrived at the embassy they found the Ambassador and his
staff completely uninformed about the European Command ROE.   As
a result, initial forces were hindered In their immediate
deployment to defensive positions and confusion was reflected in
the leaders and young Marines as to when they could use deadly
force.  This situation was solved by a face to face meeting
between the Marine ground forces commander and the Ambassador.
(7: 18)
	In consideration of the above, the question is not whether
or not the Marine Corps will be called upon to perform security
and non-combatant evacuation operations in a foreign country,
but, rather, when.  During the massive build-up of Operation
Desert Shield, Marines were called upon to conduct a NEO
operation in Somalia, and subsequently executed Operation Eastern
Exit.  In this instance, after a 466-mile helicopter flight, U.
S. Marines and Navy SEALS landed in the embassy compound as
Somali soldiers were preparing to scale the embassy walls.
Despite the very real threat to all personnel and the firing on
the Marines by the Somalis, U. S. Ambassador James K. Bishop gave
the Marines strict orders not to open fire without his
command. (3)  This certainly created a stirring dilemma for
Marines on the alert.
	To ensure that the necessary coordination between military
leaders and the diplomats takes place, Marines must take the
initiative.  Coordination meetings discussing command
relationships, tactical employment of forces, military
capabilities, and rules of engagement should be undertaken at the
highest levels of the Marine Corps and the Department of State-
before action is called for in-country.  Duties and
responsibilities should be stated in agreements so both military
leaders and diplomats understand command relationships prior to
the "bullets flying."
	Each and every Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations
Capable) and infantry battalion participating in the Unit
Deployment Program undertakes a series of combat readiness
evaluations prior to its deployment.  The purpose of these
evaluations is to ensure the ability of these units to accomplish
various missions that may occur while overseas.  These missions
include the common tasks of conducting offensive and defensive
operations, as well as conducting special security missions and
non-combatant evacuation operations. (8: 10)
	Another Marine Corps organization concerned with security
and NEO operations overseas is the Marine Security Guard
Battalion.  Marines of this battalion provide the guards that
often are the first defense of U. S. lives and property on
foreign soil.  While trained in civil disturbance, crowd control,
and basic defensive tactics, these Marines also have a primary
responsibility for destroying classified material.
	Section 1530 of the U. S. State Department's Ambassadors'
Procedural Handbook addresses U. S. military evacuation
assistance.  In this section, instructions are given concerning
the notification of a need for military assistance, what planning
information will be required by the military, liaison and support
to be provided, and command and control responsibilities.
Additionally, this document speaks to the determination of the
nature of the NEO (permissive, semi-permissive, non-permissive, or
hostile) and to the providing for evacuee identification.
(1: 1531)
	Specifically, this State Department Handbook designates the
Chief of Mission as the authority to determine when an evacuation
of U. S. citizens from a foreign country should occur and the
means for that evacuation.  One of the overriding factors in
making the determination for the use of U. S. military forces is
the potential for international repercussions.  Accordingly, the
military must be prepared to respond across the entire spectrum
of possible hostilities.  This document, in paragraph 1531,
states that in the conduct of military operations in support of
emergency and evacuation plans the military commander has the
sole responsibility.  However, in paragraph 1533, it discusses
command and control and determines the Chief of Mission to be the
"supported" commander, and the military the "supporting" element.
(1: 1531,1533)
	To tie these three distinct organizations into a coordinated
crisis response team, the Marine Corps should take the lead.  A
review of recent situations, as cited in this paper and the case
of State Department involvement in the 1958 Marine landing in
Lebanon, clearly indicates the need for better coordination
between the U. S. Marine Corps and the Department of State in
responding to a call for help.
	The first step to be addressed is that of ensuring the
issuing of a clear, concise mission statement to the military
unit conducting the security/NEO operation.  Not only is this
critical so planning can commence, but also because the unit
preparing to act is sure to provide the type and degree of
response the State Department is expecting.  Continuous
communication during the preliminary planning phase is also
crucial to guaranteeing a response that matches what was
	The next concern to be addressed is that of command and
control.  While it is clearly understood that the Ambassador is
the senior representative of the U. S. government in his
accredited country, he does not exercise military command.
Current Marine Corps and State Department orders and directives
adequately address this relationship in writing, but the practice
on the ground during a crisis shows a lack of understanding by
participants.  Probably, the area in which the Marine Corps needs
to improve the most in is that of political sensitivities and
impressions.  All to often the crisis situation can be alleviated
by a low-key response that does not further aggravate the host
nation.  That is, one in which the landing force does only what
is necessary for U. S. security concerns while remaining aware of
the foreign country's sovereignty.
	In solving the problem, a team of officers from
Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps, should brief State Department
personnel on Marine Corps capabilities as a first step.  This
brief ideally would be conducted for all top level embassy
personnel prior to reporting to their overseas assignment.  In
doing so, it is very important that the many key personnel found
at an embassy participate along with the Ambassador and Deputy
Chief of Mission.  An example of some of these personnel are the
RSO, Political Officer, Administrative Officer, and the
Facilities Officer.  Next, Ambassadors, their staff, and Marine
Corps officials should participate in a series of decision-making
exercises.  These exercises would be run by a tactical exercise
control group similar to the one used for Fleet Marine Force
units in staff planning exercises.   Computer-aided scenarios
could be used to add reality and time sensitivity to the process
and to develop decision-making skills in a near real-time
condition.  Finally, the State Department should provide as many
of its top personnel as is reasonably possible to serve as
participants in the large-scale exercises run by Marine infantry
battalions as part of their predeployment work-up.  While this
recommendation is now practiced by both the 1st and 2nd Marine
Division, often the rank of the State Department participants is
not the same as those who will be involved in making the crisis
decisions at the level the exercise requires.  The incorporation
of the Marines of the Marine Security Guard Battalion into these
scenarios and practical exercises is also an important part of
this crisis-response training.
	What makes this proposed plan a practical and economical one
is that it requires the expenditure of a minimal amount of time
on the part of key State Department representatives, incorporates
exercises that are currently scheduled, and develops the required
interagency teamwork.  By integrating a series of professional
briefs and exercises for Ambassadors and their staffs, an
educational and, therefore, capable decision-making mechanism is
developed.  This is accomplished by, first, instructing the State
Department personnel on the Marine Corps' capabilities and what
is required to position forces so they may properly respond to a
crisis.  Next, through a series of game board, or computer
assisted exercises, all participating organizations will combine
their knowledge to develop courses of action, consider possible
responses, and reach decisions on what final responses should be
approved.  This drill will develop standing operating procedures,
identify points of contention, and work to solve those issues
where disagreement exists.  Finally, the taking part in actual
exercises, with operational units and actors, introduces into the
decision-making and implementation process the unpredictable.
Building on the acquired skill, the personalities of individuals,
logistics, and the effectiveness of equipment will come into
	As we analyze the current world situation, it becomes quite
clear that stability in Eastern Europe, Africa, and other
locations around the globe cannot be counted on.  Then, too, the
literal disintegration of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
has resulted in a significant increase in ethnic unrest and civil
disorder.  Also, the continual decline in communist control and
the failure of the communist way of life has spurred many
countries to strive for democracy.  This combination, along with
the day-to-day instability of a changing world, emphasizes the
need for Marine Corps and State Department unity of action.  In
the past two years, the U. S. Marine Corps has conducted three
separate operations involving the protection of an American
Embassy and the evacuation of citizens.  To ensure Marine Corps
and State Department cohesion during future crisis, the U. S.
Marine Corps should adopt a training program as outlined above
and present it to the appropriate authorities for immediate
1.      Ambassador's Procedural Handbook.  U. S. Department of State.  
Section 1530.
2.      Bumgardner, Major Sherrod L., "Operation Sharp-Edge: Paradigm for 
Problems."  U. S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College, Military Issues 
Paper, 06 April 1992.
3.      Gellman, Barton, "Amid Winds of War, Daring U. S. Rescue Got Little 
Notice."  The Washington Post.  January 5, 1992: A21.
4.      Marines in Lebanon 1959.  Marine Corps Historical Reference           
Pamphlet. Historical Branch, G-3 Division, Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps, 
Washington, D. C., 1966.
5.      Operation Sharp Edge.,  "American Embassy Reinforcement," MCLLS Number: 
80450-31109 (01778), submitted by BLT 2/4.
6.      Operation Sharp Edge., "Assigned Missions," MCLLS Number: 80380-75508 
(01774), submitted by BLT 2/4.
7.      Operation Sharp Edge.,  "Interpretation of Rules of Engagement (ROE),"  
MCLLS Number 80657-91953 (01782), submitted by BLT 2/4.
8.      Operation Sharp Edge., "Rapid Response Planning," MCLLS Number: 80377-27495 
(01771), submitted by BLT 2/4.
9.      Operation Sharp Edge., "U. S. Ambassador," MCLLS Number:  82455-59250 
(01798). submitted by BLT 2/4.
10.     Shannon, Major James K.,  Interview at U. S. Marine Corps Command and 
Staff College, 20 March 1992.

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