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Detainee operations and combat power: challenges and responsibilities

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report,26 Jun 2017,24 May 2018

Corporate Author:

U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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This monograph discusses the moral, legal, and operational requirements related to the successful conduct of detention operations. It uses the Rule of Law as a framework to test four hypotheses across three conflicts. The Korean War 1950-1953, Vietnam 1965-1975, and Operation Iraqi Freedom 2003-1010 are the conflict case studies. The first hypothesis asserts that US forces detain individuals for shorter periods of time in environments consisting of the Rule of Law. The second proposes that animosity decreases between the local population and US forces in environments consisting of the Rule of Law. The third argues that US forces maintain legal and ethical safeguards in environments consisting of the Rule of Law. The fourth contends that operations have a greater chance of success in environments consisting of the Rule of Law. This monograph discusses how failing to incorporate Rule of Law considerations forces commanders to react to volatile political and operational environments and the reallocate critical resources and combat power away from desired objectives. Planners must account for detention operations when planning and adjust as the operational environment changes.

Subject Categories:

  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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