The policy and diplomacy of war, 1965 to 68

Topics: Lyndon B. Johnson, Vietnam War, Robert McNamara Pages: 6 (1195 words) Published: June 7, 2014

HIST415: Professor O’Hara
Adenike Oke
Chamberlain College of Nursing.

Rule of Engagement, also popularly referred to as ROE, is a leadership model that has been in use since many centuries ago (Davidson, 1991). For example, historical military wars fought before and during the world wars used leadership models that involved written principles with which combat soldiers were guided on rules of engagement. It is beneficial as it allows the lowest level participants in the command chain to make decisions that are consistent with the mission as described by ranks at higher level in the command chain (Moss, 2010). ROE promotes the accomplishment of the mission, conformity with policy and law, as well as force protection. However, ROE can be expensive due to the rigidity in terms of actions that are to be conducted and the way they are to be accomplished. The mission of American military in the Vietnam War was conducted with the rules of engagement, regarding the chain of command (Moss, 2010). Individual soldiers in the field; battalion commanders; division commanders; General William Westmoreland; Defense Secretary Robert McNamara; and President Lyndon Johnson. Individual Soldiers in the Field

The infantry soldiers in the Vietnam War were being given orders by the battalion commanders. They are accountable for the execution of the mission and activities in the manner planned and guided by the combatant commanders (Global Security, n.d.). In the lower-level soldiers’ perspective, the limited war ideology never had much meaning as their major concern was carrying out the job that assigned to them and making sure that they guard their lives. The world politics issues and the mission magnificent strategy were minor to their direct strategies of protecting their lives and that of their friends (Davidson, 1991). The ROE made the Combat soldiers’ war hard as they thought that the rules that the higher command levels set up never allowed them to fight as active as they had wanted (Moss, 2010). Battalion Commanders

From the bottom of the command chain, the battalion commanders came second during the Vietnam War. The battalion commanders were responsible for making the daily resolutions for the ground soldiers (Sorley, 2011; Moss, 2010). Regarding the other levels, they had a great operational freedom, as determined by the operations and the type of force they had. During the Vietnam War, the military scholars have recognized Colonel David Hackworth as being among the best leaders. Even though he respected ROE under the direction of the higher-level officers, he bended the rules every time it was necessary to make his fighting units effective; while, simultaneously, pleasing the Division Commanders. For example, he sometimes applied the guerrilla tactics that the National Liberation Front was using. Division Commanders

From the bottom of the command chain, the division commanders came third. They were under the direction of the American General that was in command of the War (Davidson, 1991). Generally, combat engagements in the Vietnam War happened at the company and team levels and occasionally at the divisional level (Sorley, 2011). The commander led divisions conducted operations involving keeping their team and companies on patrols. Regarding the ROE, the division commanders were seen as obstruction to the operations of the units' combat as they had a great responsibility and accountability requirement for institutional policies (Global Security, n.d.). This limited their decision making scope as well as freedom in controlling the war.

General William Westmoreland
The American General William Westmoreland became the United States military operations’ Commander in charge between 1964 and 1968 in the Asian country (Sorley, 2011). He is the one who had complete responsibility of the War. Actually, he was completely responsible for the grand strategy’s failure....

References: Davidson, P. (1991). Vietnam at War: The History, 1946-1975. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Global Security. (n.d.). Chapter 8: Rules of Engagement. Retrieved May 28, 2014, from Global Security:
Moss, G. (2010). Vietnam: An American Ordeal. New York: Peachpit Press.
Sorley, L. (2011). Westmoreland: The General Who Lost Vietnam. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcour.
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