How Can the Theater CINC Improve Peacetime Maritime Force Protection Against the Terrorist Threat?   [open pdf - 1006KB]

"With a national security strategy that emphasizes peacetime engagement and overseas presence, the recent terrorist attack against the USS Cole (DDG 67) raises concerns about the effectiveness of current peacetime maritime force protection policies, procedures and practices. The Department of Defense reexamined and improved its force protection program after the 1983 marine barracks attack and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing. With the shift in terrorist targets to maritime units, a similar analysis of the Commander, U.S. Central Command (CINCCENT), and Commander, Naval Forces U.S. Central Command (NAVCENT) Force Protection programs yields recommendations on ways the Combatant Commander (CINC) can improve maritime force protection. Using the attack on the USS Cole as an illustrative example, the organizations, policies, procedures and practices of CINCCENT and NAVCENT are analyzed for deficiencies and disconnects. Also, the actual practices that were used throughout the chain of command in the case of the USS Cole are analyzed to determine if published guidance was followed. Four recommendations are provided based on the analysis. Treating the fight against terrorism as war, the four recommendations are formulated by applying principles of war and the four questions of operational art to the theater force protection and antiterrorism program."

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