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Khobar Towers: The Aftermath and Implications for Commanders

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Master's thesis

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On 25 June 1996 a terrorist attack upon US forces deployed to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia resulted in nineteen fatalities and numerous injuries. The Khobar Towers tragedy serves as yet another grim reminder of the increasing vulnerability and likelihood of attack to US forces in garrison both abroad and potentially at home. This research examines the chronology of events leading up to the explosion and offers varied analysis of the conflicting conclusions resulting from the multiple investigative reports which ensued. Were the lessons learned from the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon in October 1983 absorbed Did they apply Can future incidents such as this be effectively prevented At what sacrifice To what extent do we or should we hold commanders responsible, accountable, or culpable for acts of rogue states while executing their mission especially regarding Military Operations Other Than War MOOTW where requirements may exist to remain politically or culturally inert There have been four separate investigations into the circumstances leading up to and immediately following this event 1. The Khobar Towers Bombing Incident- House Committee on National Security 2. The Force Protection Assessment of USCENTCOM AOR and Khobar Towers Report of the Downing Assessment Task Force- Gen. Ret Wayne A. Downing 3. The Independent Review of the Khobar Towers Bombing- Lt Gen James F. Record 4. The Report of Investigation, Volumes I - III, Khobar Towers Bombing, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia- Inspector General and Judge Advocate General of the US Air Force Based on these investigations, Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen wrote his report entitled Personal Accountability for Force Protection at Khobar Towers.

Subject Categories:

  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Unconventional Warfare

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