One of the best tools available to policy-makers to help manage armed forces during a crisis is a set of orders known as Rules of Engagement (ROE). ROE are guidelines specifying under what conditions or circumstances force may be used to satisfy political and/or military demands. Tension inescapably exits in a system that subordinates armed forces under civilian control while retaining military command. Managing this tension by delineating the boundaries of military action in support of political objectives is another major role of ROE. There are vital links between the strategic and tactical levels of conflict. The strongest of these links are often ROE. They enable mission accomplishment, force protection, and compliance with law and policy. ROE are a kind of tool for politicians to control the level of “use of force” by the military. ROE are also used by military commanders to command and control their units in order to fulfill the requirements of their mission accomplishment. The ROE for counter-terrorist operations are different to war ROE in terms of applicable law and the political desire, which must avoid being provocative in order to minimize the possibility of escalating the political situation.
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