New Rules of Engagement – Mattis Explains a few Changes to Congress

By Faye Higbee

We’ve reported before on the freedom that President Trump has handed to commanders in the field. Secretary of Defense Mattis explained a couple of the new rules of engagement to Congress on Tuesday.

Secretary of Defense Mattis went to Capitol Hill with Joint Chiefs of Staff  General Joseph Dunford yesterday to discuss the changes that President Trump has allowed to occur within the context of fighting the Taliban. There were two specific areas he talked about, although generally, the ROEs are classified.

According to Defense News,

Mattis has taken that freedom and implemented at least two changes: The removal of proximity requirements for strikes against Taliban forces, and the spreading out of U.S. and allied advisors to lower-level Afghan units.

“You see some of the results of releasing our military from, for example, a proximity requirement — how close was the enemy to the Afghan or the U.S.-advised special forces,” Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee in the morning.

“That is no longer the case, for example. So these kind of restrictions that did not allow us to employ the airpower fully have been removed, yes.”

“We are no longer bound by the need for proximity to our forces,” Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee in the afternoon. “It used to be we have to basically be in contact with that enemy.”

General Dunford explained that they would be spreading more advisers within the Afghan forces. Previously, the advisers were only at the headquarters level, not planted within the Afghan units.

“[Air power] wasn’t being delivered to those Afghan units most relevant in the fight because we didn’t [previously] have the authority to put advisers down in that level of the fight. That has, and it will, make us more effective.” General Joseph Dunford

Two changes in the rules of engagement that may, indeed, have an effect on the battle against the Taliban and other Islamic extremist organizations. SecDef Mattis did state that they would still try to avoid civilian casualties in their operations.

Featured photo:  U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles provide air support and drop bombs in support of Operation Hammer Down II. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael B. Keller)