Roe Through the Chain of Command Essay

922 WordsJun 19, 20134 Pages
President Johnson implemented the Rules of Engagement (ROE) during the war in Vietnam, particularly Southeast Asia. His intention for this set of rules was a means of control. The ROE dictated who (of the enemy) and where the American troops were allowed to attack, even if they were clearly within enemy reach. This set of rules benefited the hierarchy in the Chain of Command, but had a much less desirable effect on those who actually carried out the rules. This paper will explore the ROE and how it affected the military through the Chain of Command. Soldiers were limited in their ability to defend. The ROE paralyzed them from shooting even when they were shot at because the rules stated they must be certain their target is the…show more content…
What made sense to the Division commander was secondary to the restrictions of the ROE. The commanders were able to increase and add to the ROE but they were not allowed to reduce the rules or bend the rules in any way (Moss, 2010). The Division Commander was faced with great difficulty of knowing the enemy was at an advantage due to the ROE because their goal was to defeat the enemy. It seems the ROE had a different goal. In 1967, Gen William Westmoreland initiated his war of attrition in hopes of victory. Westmoreland requested 2000,000 additional troops to expand the military against the VC/NVA forces, among other requests. President Johnson denied these requests. President Johnson only approved 55,000 additional troops (moss, 2010, p. 216). General Westmoreland was one of the commanders whose expertise was ignored and overridden by President Johnson and Secretary McNamara. He was forced to give Americans false information on the US status of the war; this was demeaning to his professionalism. The department of Defense was responsible for informing Vietnam troops of ROE’s implementations and changes. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara delegated to the Joint Chief of Staff to provide the commanders with the rules. Debates were held when changes to the ROE occurred and Secretary McNamara was often the mediator who settled those debates. Again, during these debates, military advise from experts was often

More about Roe Through the Chain of Command Essay

Open Document