An Analysis of U.S. Army Fratricide Incidents during the Global War on Terror (11 September 2001 to 31 March 2008)
ARMY AEROMEDICAL RESEARCH LAB FORT RUCKER AL WARFIGHTER PERFORMANCE AND HEALTH DIV
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Fratricide is a harsh reality during combat operations. According to data from the U.S. Army Combat ReadinessSafety Center CRC, there were 55 U.S. Army fratricide incidents from 11 September 2001 to 30 March 2008. Forty of these were Class A accidents, resulting in the deaths of 30 U.S. Army personnel. Over the course of 2004-2007, the number of fratricide incidents per year increased experts speculate that this is due to the high operational tempo and the high reliance on technology during the current Global War on Terrorism. The objective of the present study was to classify the causes of U.S. Army fratricide incidents from 11 September 2001 to 31 March 2008 using the well-known Human Factors Analysis and Classification System HFACS and the recently developed Fratricide Causal Analysis Schema FCAS, and to provide recommendations for potential countermeasures. The FCAS is designed specifically to analyze only fratricide accidents, whereas the HFACS is used to classify a broad range of accidents. Only those findings considered present and contributing were classified using the two systems. During the time period under consideration, 40 U.S. Army Class A fratricide incidents, both aviation and ground, occurred. All incidents resulted in the death of a U.S. Army Soldier andor ally. Of the 40 fratricide accidents, 17 were excluded from analysis due to insufficient information and 3 were excluded because they were deemed no fault by the accident investigation board. The FCAS and HFACS analyses revealed that many of the causal factors of U.S. fratricide incidents were human errors related to inadequate leadership, misidentification, judgment and decision making, misperception, restricted vision, teamwork, emotional states like complacency and overconfidence, fire control, and discipline. In addition to a need for more objective risk assessments, improved supervision and leadership may have the greatest potential to reduce U.S. Army fratricide incidents.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Unconventional Warfare