Thursday, 27 October 2011

Combat Tactical Challenge - Presence patrol in an urban area

The Centre for Army Lessons in the Australian Army publishes a series of Combat Tactical Challenges.

More details in the link below.

opswarfare hopes to keep an archive of the scenarios presented.



You are the patrol commander of a presence patrol in an urban area of Timor Leste. You have conducted similar patrols in your tactical area of operations. Your role on the patrol is to interact with the local community, gauge the mood of the community and to hear of any problems or issues which may be occurring in the community.

When the situation is normal, schools and businesses are in full operation and there are several groups of children who enjoy joking and playing with your patrol.

The ISF has very good relations with this community and the chief of this particular village. You have not personally met the village chief, but you know who he is. You have a strong rapport with a group of children, two of whom are the village chief's children. There are 6 children in the group. You have played football and baseball with this group of children before.

Two patrols previous to this patrol, children within this group threw a number of small stones at the patrol. You thought they were trying to get your attention. This was not the case and they appeared to be playing a game or showing off to two new children in the group.

The previous patrol to this one, the children threw larger stones, but when you approached, they ran to the village chief's house. You noticed the two new children were present in the group. You chose to do nothing.

As the patrol approached the group of children, they again threw rocks and one of the rocks slightly injured a soldier.

As in the last patrol, they ran to the village chief's house where they made a rude gesture at you before they went inside the house. The village chief's car is parked outside the house, indicating he is probably inside.

You need to develop a plan to deal with the situation without further injury to your soldiers and offending the chief and local community. If in your plan you choose to talk to the village chief, what do you say?

Considerations Regarding the Problem:
  1. What are the strengths and weaknesses of doing nothing again?
  2. What courses of action are open to you? How do you de-escalate this situation?
  3. Why are the children behaving like this? Is the rock throwing a game, showing off to the new children or is there a more malicious intent?
  4. If there is a more malicious intent, who would be behind this?
  5. By hiding in the village chief's house, are they using the house as a cover?
  6. Is having not been introduced to the village chief going to be an issue in how you deal with this situation?
  7. Should you talk to the village chief directly? Do you talk to the children? Do you involve the Timor Leste Police Service (TLPS)?
  8. What do you say in your post patrol report? Could you recommend combined patrols with the TLPS? Is there a ROE issue? What would be the ethics of using force on these children?

It is not the intent of the Combat Tactical Challenge to provide all the specific information necessary for a ‘DS solution'. As such, write down any assumptions you may have made and then come up with a solution.

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