Military

APPENDIX A

JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF
STANDING RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (cont)


5. Definitions.

a. Inherent Right of Self-Defense. A commander has the authority and obligation to use all necessary means available and to take all appropriate action to defend that commander's unit and other U.S. forces in the vicinity from a hostile act or demonstrated hostile intent. Neither these rules nor the supplemental measures activated to augment these rules limit this inherent right and obligation. At all times, however, the requirements of necessity and proportionality as amplified in these SROE will be the basis for the judgment of the commander as to what constitutes an appropriate response to a particular hostile act or demonstration of hostile intent.

b. National Self-Defense. National self-defense is the act of defending the United States, U.S. forces, and, in certain circumstances, U.S. citizens and their property, U.S. commercial assets, and other designated non-U.S. forces, foreign nationals and their property, from a hostile act or hostile intent. Once a force or terrorist unit is declared hostile by appropriate authority exercising the right and obligation of national self-defense (see paragraph 2 of Appendix A to Enclosure A), individual U.S. units do not need to observe a hostile act or determine hostile intent before engaging that force.

NOTE: Collective Self-Defense, as a subset of national self-defense, is the act of defending other designated non-U.S. forces, personnel and their property from a hostile act or demonstration of hostile intent. Only the NCA may authorize U.S. forces to exercise collective self-defense.

c. Unit Self-Defense. Unit self-defense is the act of defending a particular unit of U.S. forces, including elements or personnel thereof, and other U.S. forces in the vicinity, against a hostile act or hostile intent. The need to exercise unit self-defense may arise in many situations such as localized low-level conflicts, humanitarian efforts, peace enforcement actions, terrorist response, or prolonged engagements. Individual self-defense is a subset of unit self-defense: see the Glossary for a definition of individual self-defense.

d. Elements of Self-Defense. The application of armed force in self-defense requires the following two elements:

(1) Necessity. A hostile act occurs or a force or terrorist unit exhibits hostile intent.

(2) Proportionality. The force used must be reasonable in intensity, duration, and magnitude, based on all facts known to the commander at the time, to decisively counter the hostile act or hostile intent and to ensure the continued safety of U.S. forces.

e. Hostile Act. A hostile act is an attack or other use of force by a foreign force or terrorist unit (organization or individual) against the United States, U.S. forces, and in certain circumstance, U.S. citizens, their property, U.S. commercial assets, and other designated non-U.S. forces, foreign nationals and their property. It is also force used directly to preclude or impede the mission and/or duties of U.S. forces, including the recovery of U.S. personnel and U.S. government property. When a hostile act is in progress, the right exists to use proportional force, including armed force, in self-defense by all necessary means available to deter or neutralize the potential attacker or, if necessary, to destroy the threat. (See definitions in the Glossary for amplification.)

f. Hostile Intent. Hostile intent is the threat of imminent use of force by a foreign force or terrorist unit (organization or individual) against the United States, U.S. forces, and in certain circumstances, U.S. citizens, their property, U.S. commercial assets, or other designated non-U.S. forces, foreign nationals and their property. When hostile intent is present, the right exists to use proportional force, including armed force, in self-defense by all necessary means available to deter or neutralize the potential attacker or, if necessary, to destroy the threat. (See definitions in the Glossary for amplification.)

g. Hostile Force. Any force or terrorist unit (civilian, paramilitary, or military), with or without national designation, that has committed a hostile act, demonstrated hostile intent, or has been declared hostile.

6. Declaring Force Hostile. Once a force is declared hostile by appropriate authority, U.S. units need not observe a hostile act or a demonstration of hostile intent before engaging that force. The responsibility for exercising the right and obligation of national self-defense and declaring a force hostile is a matter of the utmost importance demanding considerable judgement of command. All available intelligence, the status of political decision, and the potential consequences for the United States must be carefully weighed. Exercising the right and obligation of national self-defense by competent authority is in addition to and does not supplant the right and obligation to exercise unit self-defense. The authority to declare a force hostile is limited as amplified in Appendix A to Enclosure A.

7. Authority to Exercise Self-Defense.

a. National Self-Defense. The authority to exercise national self-defense is outlined in Appendix A to Enclosure A.

b. Collective Self-Defense. Only the NCA may authorize the exercise of collective self-defense.

c. Unit Self-Defense. A unit commander has the authority and obligation to use all necessary means available and to take all appropriate action to defend the unit, including elements and personnel thereof, or other U.S. forces in the vicinity, against a hostile act or hostile intent. In defending against a hostile act or hostile intent under these SROE, unit commanders should use only that degree of force necessary to decisively counter the hostile intent and to ensure the continued safety of U.S. forces.

8. Action in Self-Defense.

a. Means of Self-Defense. All necessary means available and all appropriate actions may be used in self-defense. The following guidelines apply for unit or national self-defense:

(1) Attempt to Control Without the Use of Force. The use of force is normally a measure of last resort. When time and circumstances permit, the potentially hostile force should be warned and given the opportunity to withdraw or cease threatening actions. (See Appendix A to Enclosure A for amplification.)

(2) Use Proportional Force to Control the Situation. When the use of force in self-defense is necessary, the nature, duration, and scope of the engagement should not exceed that which is required to decisively counter the hostile act or hostile intent and to ensure the continued safety of U.S. forces or other protected personnel or property.

(3) Attack to Disable or Destroy. An attack to disable or destroy a hostile force is authorized when such action is the only prudent means which a hostile act or hostile intent can be prevented or terminated. When such conditions exist, engagement is authorized only until the hostile force no longer poses an imminent threat.

b. Immediate Pursuit of Hostile Foreign Forces. In self-defense, U.S. forces may pursue and engage a hostile force that has committed a hostile act or demonstrated hostile intent and that remains an imminent threat. (See Appendix A to Enclosure A for amplification.)

c. Defending U.S. Citizens, Property, and Designated Foreign Nationals.

(1) Within a Foreign Nation's U.S. Recognized Territory or Territorial Airspace. A foreign nation has the principal responsibility for defending U.S. citizens and property within these areas. (See Appendix A to Enclosure A for amplification.)

(2) At Sea. Detailed guidance is contained in Annex A to Appendix B of this enclosure.

(3) In International Airspace. Protecting civil aircraft in international airspace is principally the responsibility of the nation of registry. Guidance for certain cases of actual or suspected hijacking of airborne U.S. or foreign civil aircraft is contained in MCM-102-92, 24 July 1992, Hijacking of Civil Aircraft.

(4) Terrorism. Terrorist attacks are usually undertaken by civilian or paramilitary organizations, or by individuals under circumstances in which a determination of hostile intent may be difficult. The definitions of hostile act and hostile intent set forth above will be used in situations where terrorist attacks are likely. The term "hostile force" includes terrorist units when used in this document. When circumstances and intelligence dictate, supplemental ROE will be used to meet this special threat.

(5) Piracy. Piracy is defined as an illegal act of violence, depredation (i.e., plundering, robbing, or pillaging), or detention in or over international waters committed for private ends by the crew or passengers of a private ship or aircraft against another ship or aircraft or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft. U.S. warships and aircraft have an obligation to repress piracy on or over international waters directed against the vessel or aircraft fleeing from pursuit proceeds into the territorial sea, archipelagic waters, or superjacent airspace of another country every effort should be made to obtain the consent of nation sovereignty to continue pursuit. Where circumstances permit, commanders will seek guidance from higher authority before using armed force to repress an act of piracy.

d. Operations Within or in the Vicinity of Hostile Fire or Combat Zones Not Involving the United States.

(1) U.S. forces should not enter, or remain in, a zone in which hostilities (not involving the United States) are imminent or occurring between foreign forces unless directed by proper authority.

(2) If a force commits a hostile act or demonstrates hostile intent against U.S. forces in a hostile fire or combat zone, the commander is obligated to act in unit self-defense in accordance with SROE guidelines.

e. Right of Assistance Entry.

(1) Ships, or under certain circumstances aircraft, have the right to enter a foreign territorial sea or archipelagic waters and corresponding airspace without the permission of the coastal or island state to engage in legitimate efforts to render emergency assistance to those in danger or distress from perils of the sea.

(2) Right of assistance extends only to rescues where the location of those in danger is reasonably well known. It does not extend to entering the territorial sea, archipelagic waters, or national airspace to conduct a search.

(3) For ships and aircraft rendering assistance on scene, the right and obligation of self-defense extends to and includes persons, vessels, or aircraft being assisted. The right of self-defense in such circumstances does not include interference with legitimate law enforcement actions of a coastal nation. However, once received on board the assisting ship or aircraft, persons assisted will not be surrendered to foreign authority unless directed by the NCA.

(4) Further guidance for the exercise of the right of assistance entry is contained in CJCS Instruction 2410.01, 20 July 1993, Guidance for the Exercise of Right of Assistance Entry.



Appendix A, Part 1
Appendix B: A Soldier's Task: Use Force Appropriately



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