The Impact of Law and Lawyers on Operations and Planning
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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Staff Judge Advocates are negatively affecting a planning groups abilities to develop effective operational plans which cover the full spectrum of available courses of action. Why does this matter As commanders, planners and operators, we have an obligation to provide clear guidance and expectations to those forces expected to execute the plan. It is important for the SJA to fully participate in the development of plans, guidance, and ROE, but it is the commanders responsibility to ensure that these documents do not become so over drafted or a well-turned locution as was so eloquently stated by an Army JAG, that the person actually executing them does not understand them or needlessly places themselves or their unit at risk by not being willing to ask for clarification. Commanders must always keep the principles of war and international and domestic law enforcement in their thoughts while political considerations and perceptions must be secondary. Allowing SJA predictions of what may be considered politically correct or what public reactions may happen to influence the commanders decision process effectively delegates the decision making to the staff. By being informed about the laws, risks, and gains of any particular course of action, the commanders decision to do the right thing will always be affirmed.
- Sociology and Law