Case 2

Chapter 2

Control Force Operations

Information is the key to developing civil disturbance plans. One must know who the demonstrators are; when, where, and why they are demonstrating; what their capabilities are; and what their possible course of action (COA) is. A commander's need for current, valid information cannot be overemphasized. The commander must learn as much as he can about the participants (their motivations, strategies, tactics, targets, and dedication). The more knowledge a commander has about the participants, the better equipped he is to counter their actions. He needs sound information to decide how to best use his available resources.

Civil Disturbance Planning Considerations

2-1. The side that possesses better information and uses that information to gain understanding has a major advantage over its opponent. Forces that have this advantage can use it to bring about changes in attitudes, decisions, and actions in assembled demonstrators. In planning for crowd control or civil disturbance operations, planners must decide what data is needed to develop threat assessments. This decision is based on a multitude of information sources.

Standardized Postures In Company Tactical Standing Operating Procedures

2-2. Within squads, platoons, and companies, equipment may be increased or decreased, as needed. Some examples are as follows:

·         Choose the M9 pistol for extraction and apprehension teams. The use of a long weapon (for example, an M16 with an M203, an M4 with an M203, or a 12-gauge shotgun) with NL munitions capability is also recommended, especially for overwatch personnel.

·         Add nonstandard weapons such as shotguns for greater NL capabilities.

NOTE: The shotgun is used to protect the M203 gunner as he reloads.

·         Add NL munitions to existing organic weapons systems, such as the M203.

·         Arm soldiers in the front line of the formation with their standard weapon. If the weapon is a long weapon, it should be carried across the back from left to right or vice versa, with the butt up and muzzle down. Ensure that the weapon is cleared and that the magazine is in the appropriate ammunition pouch.

·         Balance the mix of weapons and munitions according to the mission, enemy, terrain, troops, time available, and civilian considerations (METT-TC).

·         Establish command relations and determine who has or gives the authority to fire NL munitions.

·         Maximize the distance and barriers between the crowd and control formations. Use NL munitions to create a standoff distance.

·         Maintain a lethal overwatch of the control force at all times.

·         Maintain a reserve force at all times to reinforce the control force, as needed.

·         Create NLW range cards for static positions.

·         Consider environmental conditions and their effect on the performance of NL munitions. Proper storage, periodic inspections, and the rotation of NL munitions are critical to maintaining the effectiveness and viability of NL munitions.

Weapon and Ammunition Configurations

2-3. Individuals designated as NL shooters must have the means to transition to lethal rounds, if required. Lethal rounds are carried separately from NL rounds so that the shooter will not confuse them in the heat of confrontation. However, in the heat of confrontation where a lethal option is necessary, NL rounds can be used lethally by adjusting the point of aim to a vulnerable part of the body and closing in on the distance to the target.

2-4. Squad leaders should designate NL shooters within their squad. Ideally, the squad should not change its organization to accommodate NLW.

2-5. Commanders should not dispatch NL patrols. They should plan a combat or security patrol with NL capabilities. Soldiers are never sent in harm's way without lethal protection. NLW are only considered additional tools for the mission and not a mission in itself. There is no such thing as a NL mission.

2-6. Soldiers manning a static position should have NL capabilities depending on METT-TC. Shotguns and the M203 work well at static positions.

2-7. Recovery, apprehension, and/or extraction teams should be established before deployment. Team members should be equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE), an M9, NL munitions and weapons, and Flex-Cufs®. They should have some training in open-hand control, pain compliance, and handcuffs and/or Flex-Cufs.

2-8. Crowd control formations (see Chapter 6) should be well trained and well rehearsed. Rapid, coordinated movements of a well-trained and well-rehearsed control force can often be a strong enough deterrent. A lethal overwatch marksman always covers the control force.

2-9. During a NL engagement, the use of designated marksmen (DM) provides confidence and safety to those facing a riot. The DM in an overwatch position scans the crowd to identify threats and designate personnel for recovery and lethal rounds firing (if a lethal threat is presented). They are ideally suited for flank security and countersniper operations.

Nonlehtal Planning

2-10. The fundamental principles of mission planning are not changed by the incorporation of NLW into a plan. NLW are intended to be operational-enhancement tools. The first concern of a commander is the successful completion of the mission. NL munitions provide a commander with a wider range of response options, but these munitions are not a replacement for lethal capabilities. Commanders must always be capable of answering a lethal attack with a lethal response.

2-11. When a commander commits his soldiers and equipment to a crowd control situation, he commits his forces with the additional tools of NL capabilities. This is an addition to the force continuum that the force commander now has available to him. Commanders that properly employ NL munitions and weapons have a tactical advantage over those who rely completely on lethal means.

2-12. When developing a tactical standing operating procedure (TSOP) (see Chapter 6), units should consider the following:

·         Crowd control formations.

·         Extraction teams.

·         Apprehension teams.

·         Lethal overwatch marksmen and/or observer teams.

·         Reserve and/or security forces.

Military Working Dog Teams

2-13. Military working dog (MWD) teams may be employed with a control force formation as a method of increasing crowd apprehension about approaching or engaging the formation. The teams should be in the rear of the formation in plain sight of the crowd, but in front of the command element and the M33A1 squad RCA disperser. The MWD teams work back and forth behind the formation as an intimidation measure. The presence of the MWD may produce a profound psychological effect on the crowd. These teams may also be used to help control individuals who have been captured by the recovery and apprehension teams.


Do not unleash an MWD on a crowd.

Combat Cameramen

2-14. Video and still cameramen should make a photographic record of the individuals in the crowd who are leaders and instigators. Events must be documented to hold personnel, factions, gangs, or groups accountable for acts that violate law, destroy property, or cause physical harm. Electronically recording events aids in the prosecution of such cases and eliminates the sense of anonymity that people in large crowds often feel.

Information Operations

2-15. Information superiority helps forces to anticipate problems and requirements. It allows commanders to control situations earlier and with less force, creating the conditions necessary to achieve the optimal end state. Public affairs, psychological operations (PSYOP), and civil military operations are activities that will allow the commander to control situations earlier and with less force.

2-16. Information is available from a multitude of sources. A diversity of sources is the best approach because it prevents biased perspectives. Primary sources are as follows:

·         Open sources.

§         Libraries.

§         Newspapers and news periodicals.

§         Radio and television.

§         Internet.

·         Law enforcement sources.

§         Local law enforcement agencies.

§         National law enforcement agencies.

·         Military sources.

§         Department of Defense (DOD) intelligence community (most restrictive source).

§         Local military intelligence (MI) field offices.

2-17. Police intelligence operations (PIO) is one of the five military police functions. This function is a process of actively and passively collecting information that is of a police, criminal, or combat nature. As military police perform the other four functions of maneuver and mobility support (MS), area security (AS), law and order (L&O), and internment and resettlement (I/R), they are gathering information that supports, enhances, and contributes to the commander's protection program, situational awareness, and battlefield visualization by portraying relevant threat information that may affect operational and tactical environments.

2-18. IPB is a continuous process for analyzing the threat and the environment of a specific geographic area. During the IPB process, the Intelligence Officer (US Army) (S2) or Assistant Chief of Staff, G2 (Intelligence) (G2) uses all available databases, intelligence sources and products, and related MI discipline to analyze the threat and the environment. The PIO function supports this process by providing the S2 with collected police, criminal, and combat information that can directly and significantly contribute to the success of the MI effort. In addition to combat information, the PIO function provides additional information on possible criminal threats and COAs. This is intended to support the S2 IPB process and can be used by the commander to upgrade force protection. (See FM 19-10.)

Threat Analysis

2-19. Crowd control requires its own thought process. Emphasis should be on prevention rather than confrontation. In combat, military forces are taught to fight and eliminate threats. In crowd control, military forces must deal with noncombatants that have internationally recognized rights. These rights must be respected while maintaining public order. This is an issue that law enforcement agencies (LEAs) have been struggling with for years.

2-20. Dealing with crowd control incidents is a matter of using some basic guidelines. It also includes asking the right questions in a logical manner so that key issues are not omitted. The commander must use these guidelines in context with METT-TC and the location of the incident (CONUS or OCONUS).

Preincident Planning

2-21. This phase of planning begins before the incident and is initiated at the operational level with guidance from the strategic level. The planning includes guidance on crowd control and addresses responsibilities, training, organization, operating procedures, use of force (CONUS), and/or rules of engagement (OCONUS). The most difficult and productive decisions are those made in the preincident planning process.

Avoid Confrontation

2-22. Crowd situations are highly unpredictable, but one thing seems certain—confrontation will likely cause crowd resistance. When pushed, people tend to resist opposition to the realization of their purposes.

Focus on Prevention

2-23. Planning should key in on the prevention of unfavorable outcomes. Experience has shown some LEAs attempting to help crowds accomplish their goals within the law that have been beneficial and even led to conceding some violations for the purpose of avoiding confrontation. However, LEAs maintain a law enforcement presence, which signifies social restraint. LEAs also decide when and where they will not compromise and the amount of force to use.

Define Goals

2-24. When defining a goal, deciding what must be accomplished is the first step. Defining the goal is fundamental. However, actually working toward and accomplishing the goal is easier said than done, as the process can drive the situation. Commanders and leaders must be aware of this. The military force must focus on what they are trying to accomplish.

Background Information and Intelligence

2-25. Seek to know as much as possible about social protest groups (within the limits of the law, see Appendix B) before an incident. This will provide insight into the organization and its functions and provide a warning as to what to expect. When you know as much about these organizations as possible, then it is possible to anticipate their next move. See Appendix C.

2-26. Continually assess what is to be accomplished against what others are trying to accomplish. Some groups may not have goals that conflict with those of US forces, but their actions may. Other groups may have goals and activities that do conflict. In either case, the assessment of group goals compared to the goals of US forces helps to understand and avoid potential conflicts.

Civil Disturbance Operations Preparation

2-27. Counterdemonstration workgroups are a mixture of traditional and nontraditional staff proponents brought together to coordinate the resources to be employed by task force (TF) units before a potential civil disturbance. Meetings of the counterdemonstration workgroup are held on a regular basis (generally weekly) and are chaired by the Assistant Chief of Staff G3 (Operations and Plans) (G3). The following staff proponents may be involved, and others may be involved as needed:

·         Public affairs office (PAO).

·         Joint military commission (JMC), if organized.

·         Provost marshal office (PMO).

·         PSYOP.

·         G2, Assistant Chief of Staff G5 (Civil Affairs) (G5), Assistant Chief of Staff G6 (Signal) (G6).

·         Civil affairs (CA).

·         Army airspace command and control (A2C2).

·         Chaplain.

·         Engineer.

·         Surgeon.

·         Fire support element (FSE).

Relationships Development

2-28. Working relationships between commanders and protest group leaders are increasingly seen as the best means for preventing bad outcomes in crowd situations. This is called the negotiated management model of crowd control. LEAs in large metropolitan cities in the US and Europe practice it.

2-29. Open dialog helps develop working relationships between commanders and protest group leaders, providing an opportunity to communicate clearly. Talking allows group leaders to tell authorities and tactical commanders what they want to accomplish. It also allows authorities and commanders to tell group leaders what they are prepared to do and how they might respond to certain crowd behaviors. Such communications can do much to resolve issues and prevent violence.

2-30. Commanders may not be able to talk to all leaders before a crowd assembles. Some groups do not have recognized leaders and are ad hoc organizations. Other groups may have several leaders, but only some of those leaders will negotiate. In such cases, meetings with some leaders may tell you who the other leaders are and provide critical information. Negotiations may also encourage more moderate leaders to do things that will support the commander.

2-31. Initiate communication with group leaders to work out issues before an event. Commanders should make a concentrated effort to maintain a working relationship with the leaders of protest groups.

2-32. Communication also means persuasion. Commanders should make a concerted effort to win over demonstration leaders. Commanders may tell group leaders that they want to help them complete their mission in a safe manner. They should encourage demonstrators to protest in an acceptable way and, if possible, offer favors to get them to do just that.

NOTE: Commanders must only offer what they are willing and able to deliver.

2-33. Several rules apply in negotiations, and credibility is key. Only communicate necessary information and those actions that authorities and commanders intend to do. Negotiations are made from a position of strength, and by negotiating an agreement may be reached. However, contingencies should be developed in the event that the agreement is violated.

2-34. Working relationships between commanders and protest group leaders often result in protest groups policing themselves. This is one of the basic premises of negotiated management. Protesters are more likely to listen to their own leaders, as opposed to listening to US forces. Protest organizers are likely to buy into a cooperative effort and agree to ground rules set during preprotest negotiations. Many protest leaders seek to stay on the right side of the law.


2-35. Deployed US forces will find themselves engaged in crowd control operations under difficult circumstances. The host nation (HN) may have groups that do not accept the presence of US forces, which will make imposing order and the protection of citizens difficult at best. US forces will be under intense media and political scrutiny (an environment much like what LEAs operate in on a day-to-day basis).

2-36. Winning in this environment is not like winning in combat. US forces may appear to be invincible and formidable, but they risk being portrayed as oppressors. Thus, US forces can lose by appearing to win. Groups that perceive themselves as oppressed will readily seek victimhood in an effort to gain the support of public opinion. Winning in this environment is about seizing and holding the moral high ground. US forces must maintain the authority and legitimacy of what they are doing.

2-37. Projecting a favorable image will require outreach to local leaders and citizens. It will also require developing a relationship with the media. For example, the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department often invites the media to accompany their tactical commander during crowd control situations. This shows that they have nothing to hide. It also provides an opportunity for individuals to see the commander's side of an event.

2-38. In this environment, commanders must consider how actions will play among several audiences—local, allied, US, and international. The media effect is inescapable. In some cases, it will be difficult to accommodate all of these audiences. However, the most important audience will be the US public, which is key to the continued support of US forces.

Crowd Assessment Questions

2-39. Assessing crowds requires its own set of questions. These questions should be answered before a crowd assembles or as quickly as possible if a gathering occurs without notification. In some cases, all the questions may not be answered. These questions represent a logical way to think about crowds. The questions are as follows:

·         Who are they? What is the overarching identity of the crowd? Are they strikers, ethnic factions, or social protesters? Do they identify themselves as strikers, ethnic groups, religious factions, or protesters against some perceived social injustice? Understanding who they are will indicate what they may do. It may be possible to determine identities and goals from advance assembling instructions, leaflets distributed to bystanders, placards and banners, and chants and songs.

·         What are their goals? What the group wants to accomplish by assembling could determine the extent to which they can be accommodated once they have assembled. They may only seek recognition for their cause (being seen and heard). If so, this goal is usually easy to accommodate. However, some groups may have more demanding goals, for example the demonstrators in Seattle who sought to stop the WTO. Goals that cannot be accommodated make confrontation very likely.

·         What is the composition of the crowd and are there any known factions? Seattle demonstrations against the WTO were comprised of groups that were protesting environmental issues, wages, and child labor laws. Differing goals and the resulting friction were evident between such organizations as the Ruckus Society and the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). Factions within a crowd represent threats and opportunities.

·         What are they capable of doing? Protest groups often claim that they will assemble large numbers of people to produce some disruptive action. However, there is often a difference between the claim and reality. An organization may claim that it can mass a 100,000 people, but in reality can only get 40,000. Organizers exaggerate for the following reasons: they want to boost the morale of their own people and they want the media to report that they have strength in numbers. Studying the past activities of a group may provide indications of what they are capable of doing in the future.

·         What are their traditional behaviors or cultural repertoires? What people do during protests is not universal. It varies with the group and the culture. Social protest organizations and striking unions will carry placards and banners. Other groups will protest in a more quiet way, like the 5,000 women in Sarajevo whose standard Sunday behavior was to sit and block traffic. They were protesting the loss of male relatives in the Bosnian war. Understanding the goals of the protesters can be helpful in deciding how to respond to their behaviors.

·         When and where will they assemble? Every protest organizer has a time and place for assembling and perhaps a destination for the crowd to move toward. If the organizer attempts to mobilize large numbers of participants, the time and place for assembling and dispersing must be made known in the instructions. This information may be stated in the mobilization instructions or disseminated by an informal network, such as word of mouth. Such impromptu networks in densely populated areas can enable rapid assembling.

·         Where will they go? Many crowds have destinations. Organizations may march a specified distance to ensure that their cause gets sufficient attention. Commanders need to know the route to minimize disruptions to the rest of the community. In Los Angeles, LEAs attempt to reroute traffic and prevent congestion caused by protest marches. It is also necessary to provide security along the route to prevent counterdemonstrators from confronting the marchers. This will prevent an even greater problem for the community.

·         What are the possible targets of violence? Riots, in particular, may focus on target facilities. In the 1992 Los Angeles riots, gun stores were major targets. In developing countries, targets may be more basic. In Somalia, throngs of people stormed food supply facilities. In Haiti, riots broke out over trash dumps where US forces had discarded the remnants of meals, ready to eat (MREs).

·         What is the worst-case scenario? The worst-case scenario must be recognized for the sake of avoidance. This may be when a peaceful crowd degenerates into a violent riot.

·         When and where will they disperse? Crowds have a life cycle that includes how they disperse (see Chapter 1). Commanders must consider this. It is essential that there be one or more avenues that individuals can use to disperse. These dispersal routes should be clearly marked, visible, and open-ended. There may be a need for US forces to assist the crowd with dispersal. For example, in Los Angeles a 70,000-man march went from east to central Los Angeles. Once at their destination, they engaged in peaceful activities and then dispersed. The LEAs provided transportation back to the assembly area (AA); otherwise, the protesters would have returned to the AA in a disorganized and unsupervised manner.

·         Are there plans for subsequent gatherings? A crowd may disperse for a short time so participants can take care of personal needs. This could be days or only a few hours.

Legal Considerations

2-40. The legal authority in which a peace operation is conducted defines the parameters of the operation. All commanders, leaders, and soldiers must know the legal authority that regulates their operations.


2-41. There are two types of mandates—United Nations (UN) and non-UN. Mandates are the authority under which an operation is conducted. UN mandates are created from resolutions by the UN Security Council (UNSC) or the UN General Assembly (UNGA) that authorize and define an operation. Non-UN mandates are created from treaties, accords, resolutions, or agreements evolving from other international or regional organizations.

Status of Forces Agreement and Status of Mission Agreement

2-42. A status of forces agreement (SOFA) and a status of mission agreement (SOMA) are key documents that define the legal authority and responsibilities of a force and force personnel participating in an operation. A SOFA or SOMA may be a treaty or memorandum of understanding. It is an agreement negotiated between the UN and the host countries, which details the rights, privileges, immunities, and nature of services to be provided to the force and its personnel and their responsibilities and obligations.

International Law

2-43. Legally, international law affects most stability operations and support operations (SOSO). These laws consist mainly of international agreements, treaties, and customary international law, which include the agreements and laws known as the law of war. International agreements prescribe the rights, duties, powers, and privileges of nations relative to particular undertakings. International agreements will affect US participation in SOSO in the—

·         Right of US forces to enter a foreign country.

·         Status of US forces while in the foreign country.

·         Construction and operation of US bases of operations.

·         Aircraft overflights and landing rights.

·         Processing of claims for any damage to persons and property of the foreign country.

2-44. These agreements or customary international laws govern all aspects of operations carried out. In the absence of a viable HN government or proper international agreement, many aspects of the operations are controlled by domestic (US) or customary international law.

United States Law

2-45. Operations in peace and conflict must comply with US law, whether as a statute, executive order, regulation, or other directive from a branch or agency of the federal government. The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) applies to questions of military justice. Various statutes, Executive Order 12333; Section 3, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR); and DOD and service regulations govern all intelligence-gathering activities. The staff judge advocate (SJA) must actively advise and participate in all activities from initial planning to redeployment.

Host Nation Law

2-46. If a viable HN government exists, whether at the national or the local level, all laws of the HN will apply to US forces in that country unless an international agreement provides otherwise. The types of laws that may inhibit US operations are in the fields of immigration, labor, currency exchange, the procurement of goods and services, customs and taxes, and criminal and civil liabilities. A SOFA usually covers these areas before an operation begins. Therefore, planners must understand the law to assess it and determine if it will adversely affect the operation. Assistance may be available from the local US embassy or the command judge advocate; if not, the command may have to rely on other sources for guidance. If local law hinders the operation, the commander must inform the US embassy and request that it negotiate a solution.

Civil Authorities

2-47. There will be times that US forces will deploy to nations where the infrastructure of civil authorities has survived the conflict and is functional. Local authorities and police are responsible for ensuring the safety of their citizens, including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). US forces assist in this by providing general military security and by facilitating negotiations. In countries where the civil authority infrastructure has collapsed, the UN mandate may require the coalition of forces to help ensure the safety of citizens until their own civil authorities can be rebuilt.

Rules of Engagement

2-48. The rules of engagement (ROE) are the commander's rules for the use of force (RUF). Commanders are responsible for interpreting, drafting, disseminating, and training on the ROE. Ensure that the SJA assists throughout the ROE development process. This will ensure that the ROE will not improperly constrain actions, but are still consistent with domestic and international law and policies and orders of the chain of command.

2-49. Clearly stated ROE are published before Army forces are committed. The highest military authority, with input from subordinate commanders, will continually evaluate the ROE and modify them as appropriate. When the use of NLW has been authorized in the ROE, the decision to use NLW should be delegated to the lowest possible level, preferably the platoon or squad level. This requires that all personnel, not just leaders, have a clear understanding of the ROE and the commander's intent (see FM 3-22.40).

2-50. In peace operations, the use of force is restrained while the diplomatic solution is sought through negotiation or mediation. Accordingly, ROE are more restrictive in peace operations, making them more politically sensitive. In today's world, peace operations are usually conducted by a coalition of forces operating under the purview of the UN charter and customary international law. Therefore, the UN may mandate certain restraints. Using overwhelming force could compromise diplomatic efforts to reach a peaceful settlement. Even a single, relatively small engagement could jeopardize the legitimacy of the peacekeeping force and upset negotiations or mediations. Commanders must beware that in any confrontation ROE decisions made by soldiers can have strategic political implications on current and future operations. Therefore, it is vital that leaders and soldiers hold a common understanding of when, how, and to what degree force is to be used. This requires training.

Multinational Operations

2-51. Multinational operations include military forces from different nations. These operations are usually interagency operations. Conducting operations with foreign military partners, like operations with civilian partners, is uncommon to many soldiers, so a clear understanding of this different environment is necessary.

2-52. The majority of US peace operations will be part of a UN peace operation. Their multinational character merits particular attention because national interests and organizational influence may compete with doctrine and efficiency. Commanders can expect contributing nations to adhere to national policies and priorities, which at times complicate the multinational effort.

2-53. When working within a multinational force and with allies, do the following:

·         Train coalition partners and allies on tactics and techniques.

·         Remember that teamwork and trust are essential.

·         Achieve unity of effort.

·         Consider equipment and communications capability and interface.

·         Strive to eliminate sources of confusion and misunderstanding.

·         Remember that military doctrine varies from country to country.

·         Remember that national culture influences the way units operate.

·         Remember that language barriers represent a significant challenge.

Scalable Effects

2-54. Scalable effects concepts are a measured approach in response to a crowd gathering. By recognizing a use-of-force policy, soldiers must be taught and understand that they use the minimum force necessary. Without the appearance of a graduated response, the gathering crowd may consider actions as excessive, causing a possible escalation of hostilities or violence. Do the following to aid in the scalable effects process:

·         Try to persuade the crowd to quietly disperse by talking with leaders.

·         Use translators as necessary.

·         Let the first approach be by local authorities (the mayor or police).

·         Pass out handbills requesting that the crowd return home.

·         Use video and still cameras to photograph individuals and events for later use at trials.

·         Give warnings before moving to the next level of force.

2-55. Ideally, the force should be positioned out of sight of the crowd. Have the troops move into position with few shouted commands. For maximum effect on the crowd, have them form their formation decisively and professionally. Do the following to aid in the formation process:

·         Display force in a graduated manner (for example, a UH 60, hardened vehicles, and soldiers with charged weapons).

·         Exploit the psychological effects of show of force.

·         Demonstrate force (do not use on unarmed civilians).

·         Escalate the PSYOP message.

·         Highlight the target pointer.

·         Demonstrate sniper precision strike capability.

·         Employ riot control measures.

·         Use NL munitions.

·         Use RCAs (if approved).

·         Move through the crowd using riot control formations and movement techniques.

·         Use the graduated response matrix (GRM)

2-56. With the increased participation of US forces in contingency operations around the world, it accentuates the need to establish procedures for applying graduated military responses to situations that threaten these missions. Numerous GRMs and similar products exist throughout the military. These products graphically portray available responses in a graduated manner. The intent of these products is to give the on-scene commanders a list of options with which to control or defuse a situation before it gets out of hand. Most threats can be eliminated without loss of life or collateral damage by effectively applying the resources available.

Plan a Graduated Response Matrix

2-57. The planning for and development of a GRM begins with the mission analysis portion of the military decision-making process (MDMP). Some missions require US forces to enforce treaties or accords to protect the lives of civilians in uncertain or hostile environments (such as noncombatant evacuation operations [NEO]) or to provide large-scale humanitarian assistance. These missions require some sort of graduated response criteria to maintain order and prevent uncertain environments from becoming hostile. The development of a GRM requires the following seven steps:

·         Identify the need for a GRM.

·         Establish a team to develop the GRM.

·         Develop targets.

·         Coordinate staff functions.

·         War-game.

·         Receive command approval.

·         Operate deliberately.

Identify the Need for a Graduated Response Matrix

2-58. Not all missions require a GRM. The decision to use a GRM requires careful consideration. Once it is agreed that a GRM is necessary, it requires guidance from the commander regarding the response options available. Determining the appropriate responses is based on the facts, assumptions, and limitations identified during mission analysis.

2-59. Planners (staff) must agree on the intent of the GRM. The GRM can be used as a training and rehearsal tool. It provides leaders with the most likely vignettes that can be incorporated into a COA analysis, predeployment training, and rehearsals. The GRM can also be used as a handy reference during situations that require graduated responses.

Establish a Team to Develop the Graduated Response Matrix

2-60. Establish a GRM development team with a broad range of skills, knowledge, and professionalism. The following list of individuals makes up a typical GRM team:

·         Provost marshal or senior military police advisor.

·         FSE.

·         Brigade legal officer.

·         PSYOP representative.

·         Land information warfare or information operations officer.

2-61. Since the GRM is designed to give commanders graduated options for dealing with both hostile and nonhostile threats to the mission, this team composition allows for target selection, application of the ROE, and attack methods using both NL and lethal means.

Develop Targets

2-62. The FSE, in conjunction with the S2 section, develops targets for both lethal and NL attacks. In the case of stability operations, these targets are usually not the conventional specific point or piece of equipment on the ground. They are more situational than specific. The GRM identifies situations or acts that subordinate elements could face during the mission. The sample GRM in Figure 2-1 shows three possible situations or acts that on-scene commanders could expect to encounter. From the targeting standpoint, these are groups of more specific targets.


Figure 2-1. Sample GRM Card

Crowd Action

Nonlethal Response




Show of Force

Demonstration of Force

Riot Control Means

(if approved)

Unarmed Civilians

- Ensure that the on-site commander of the TPT directs the broadcast of the dispersal proclamation and/or passes handbills.

- Escalate the tone of the dispersal proclamation from information to a warning of force.

- Display force along with escalating the dispersal proclamation.

- Display force in a graduated manner, such as a helicopter hovering over a crowd or soldiers with charged weapons.

- Exploit the psychological effect of a show of force.

- Do not demonstrate force toward unarmed civilians.

- Employ RCAs at the point of penetration.

- Use PSYOP to exploit the psychological effect.

- Move through the crowd using riot control formations and movement techniques.

Armed Civilians (knives, clubs)



- Display force along with escalating the dispersal proclamation.

- Highlight the target pointer.

- Demonstrate sniper precision strike capabilities.


Armed Crowds/Military (firearms)




- Do not use RCAs—they may escalate the situation.

Hostile intent/hostile act occurs by armed threat.

Crowd Action

Lethal Response


Sniper Response

Small Arms

Direct Fire

Aerial Fires

Indirect Fires

Unarmed Civilians

- Ensure that target leaders or troublemakers are targeted.

- Use the minimum response necessary.

- Exploit the psychological effect of an attack.

- Determine that sniper attack is insufficient.

- Consider demonstrating capabilities.

- Exploit the psychological effect of a lethal response.

- Escalate gradually, starting with a small caliber, single round and work up to a large caliber, automatic.

- Determine that small arms direct fire is ineffective.

- Use the minimum response necessary.

- Use a minimal precision strike initially; use subsequent fires based on the situation.

- Exploit the psychological impact of each strike.

- Determine that air assets are unavailable or ineffective.

- Use the minimum response necessary.

- Ensure that the response is directed by the on-site commander.

Armed Civilians (knives, clubs)



- CAS/indirect fires must be authorized by the MACOM commander.

- Consider requesting permission for use when—

·     All lesser means have been ineffective.

·     There are physical eyes on target.

·     Proximity to civilians has been considered.

·     Risk to friendly forces/evacuees outweighs the risk of collateral damage.

Armed Civilians/Military (firearms)





2-63. During mission analysis, the fire support officer (FSO) identifies both lethal and NL assets available to the unit. A tactical PSYOP team (TPT) attached to the unit is an example of a NL attack asset that should not be overlooked. The following are examples of what the FSO should look for:

·         RCAs.

·         TPTs.

·         Electronic warfare assets.

·         CA teams.

·         Information operations (IO) teams.

·         Artillery smoke projectiles.

·         Aircraft (AH-64s, OH-58Ds, and AC-130s).

·         Mortars.

2-64. The lethal assets described could be used in a NL show of force or demonstration to defuse a situation before it requires lethal force. The critical element of this mission analysis is not to focus solely on lethal assets. In stability operations, the Army wants to prevent acts of hostility first and then be prepared, if necessary, to apply lethal force.

2-65. Graduated responses can range from command presence through the show of force, a demonstration, the use of RCAs, and other techniques (such as the application of lethal force using snipers, small arms, AC-130s, and indirect fires).

Coordinate Staff Functions

2-66. To coordinate staff functions the rest of the GRM team assembles to complete the escalation sequence for each response. PYSOP and legal representatives are critical attendees during the escalation sequencing process. In the area of psychological operations, the TPT must exploit the effects of all responses.

2-67. The legal officer evaluates each escalation of force option and graduated response to ensure that it is consistent with the ROE. The GRM is designed to recommend applications of force consistent with the ROE, yet not limit the leader or individual soldier's right of self-defense. A GRM should clearly show that if a hostile act occurs, lethal options would be first and foremost.

2-68. In the case of lethal responses, the commander's guidance must again be applied. For example, lethal responses are allowed only in self-defense.


2-69. Once the types of escalations for each potential graduated response are determined and annotated, the GRM must then be war-gamed. The staff must walk through each act or situation from the on-scene commander's standpoint.

Receive Command Approval

2-70. Once the GRM has been war-gamed, it must be submitted to the commander for approval. This is the final check to ensure that the GRM team has applied the commander's guidance correctly and met his intent.

Operate Deliberately

2-71. Operating deliberately affords commanders ample opportunity to plan and prepare for possible civil disorder situations. Through the effective gathering of information and a working cooperation with local government and police officials, commanders can often be made aware of dates, times, locations, and what groups may assemble before the operation. The purpose is to gather as much information as possible who is involved, where they are assembling, what incident promoted the activity, and what seems to be the prevailing attitude of the assembling crowd.

2-72. Civil disturbance operations are dynamic, ever-changing environments requiring effective communications both up and down the chains of command. They require advance preparation and planning using the established troop-leading procedures (TLP) outlined in FM 3-19.4. The eight-step process of TLP aids commanders and their subordinate leaders in planning and preparing for an operation. Most steps can be accomplished concurrently, but rarely is there enough time to go through each step in detail. Despite this, leaders must follow these steps to ensure that nothing is left out of the planning process. As outlined in FM 3-19.4, the following are the eight steps of TLP:

·         Receive and analyze the mission.

·         Issue a warning order.

·         Make a tentative plan.

·         Initiate movement.

·         Conduct a reconnaissance.

·         Complete the plan.

·         Issue the order.

·         Supervise, refine, and rehearse.

Conduct Hasty Operations

2-73. Conducting hasty operations seems to be the norm rather than the exception. Unlike deliberate operations, hasty civil disorder operations are reactionary in nature with little or no time for planning. In these situations, the event of a crowd gathering is already underway. There is very little, if any, advanced warning of the unfolding situation, and commanders are usually put in the position of sending their soldiers into an already volatile, and perhaps hostile, environment.

2-74. Commanders should be in immediate and constant communication with local civil and police authorities. The purpose is to gather as much information as possible about who is involved, where they are assembling, what incident promoted the activity, and what seems to be the prevailing attitude of the assembling crowd.

2-75. It is essential that commanders operating in environments where civil disturbance operations are likely ensure that their soldiers receive training at all levels. Commanders and subordinate leaders need to instinctively rely on the same TLP that they would in a deliberate operation. See FM 3-19.4.

Conduct Tactical Options

2-76. In the peacekeeping and peace enforcement environment, the use of conventional firearms or the threat of their use may not be the solution to a situation where US forces must separate two belligerent, hostile ethnic groups or prevent a similar group from entering an area that is off limits to them.

2-77. Crowd control options are often combined. Commanders choose their options based on an evaluation of the particular crowd. Commanders select any combination of control techniques and force options they think will influence the particular situation (METT-TC). Commanders must always try to choose the response that can be expected to reduce the intensity of the situation.


2-78. Monitoring an assembled crowd consists of gathering necessary intelligence and watching them to determine progress and development. It is this gathered information that helps commanders select the appropriate actions. Gathered information can often be used to help defuse a situation through persuasion.

2-79. Monitoring is continuous. Without timely information, responses could cause the situation to escalate beyond what it should have or cause a response to be inadequate based on the situation.

2-80. Commanders may task teams with specific missions to monitor crowd activity and note any new developments. Monitoring done by these observation teams gives the commander up-to-the-minute information so he can gauge crowd activity and intent in relation to the overall situation.

2-81. Observation teams monitor crowd activities to gather information. They observe and report on crowd size, location, and mood and on the developing situation. An observation team may consist of a marksman, a radio operator, and an observer equipped with binoculars. They may be posted strategically on rooftops and other high terrain that overlooks the crowd. Sometimes observers use helicopter-mounted observation devices. This also affords security for the operational forces. Commanders must know where their observation teams are located so they are not mistaken for teams of snipers.

2-82. The timely flow of information may allow the commander to influence the outcome of the situation with simple negotiations. Monitoring is appropriate when more decisive action is not feasible because of crowd size or when the intensity of a situation might escalate. It is particularly useful in large, nonviolent demonstrations. Monitoring can serve as an interim measure until more control forces arrive. It includes establishing communication with crowd leaders to convey official interest and intent to the crowd. Monitoring also includes efforts to gain the cooperation of crowd leaders.

2-83. Communication with crowd leaders and participants can help a commander control a situation without more severe measures. If communications exist with crowd leaders, the authorities may be able to divert the leaders or the crowd from their stated or apparent goal. Pressure can be put on leaders to channel the crowd into an area that minimizes disruption to the community and aids crowd control operations. March routes and demonstration areas can be limited to those that will help contain the crowd and reduce their potential for disrupting the community. Pressure can be positive (offering concessions) or negative (with deterrents).

2-84. If the commander can gain the cooperation of crowd leaders, it can decrease the potential for disorder, and if crowd leaders seek cooperation from authorities, officials should try to be accommodating. Crowd leaders can be placed in liaison positions between the crowd and the control force. Crowd leaders can be made responsible for managing the crowd by policing their own activities.

2-85. Taking still pictures or videotaping the faces of individuals within a crowd may prevent or reduce unlawful and violent acts. This could lessen their sense of anonymity. If needed, photographs or videotapes can be used as evidence for prosecution. To be effective, crowd members must see their presence being recorded. The photographer or cameraman should be in uniform to let the crowd know who he or she is. Recorders must be close enough to the crowd to be seen easily, but not close enough to be endangered.


2-86. It is not uncommon for protests and demonstrations against the US or its forces to occur outside the main entrances to military installations or US Embassies. Because of the sensitive nature of equipment and information that can be found at these locations, blocking unauthorized entry is critical.

2-87. Blocking is the physical denial of advance upon a facility or an area by a crowd. Commanders may have to task their forces to block a crowd. Blocking physically denies crowd advance. Crowd control formations, particularly line formations, along with barricades can be used to block advancing crowds. Barricades of vehicles, concertina wire, and water-filled barrels are used to block or channel the movement of the crowd.


2-88. Dispersing is taking deliberate actions to fragment an assembled crowd in order to prevent the destruction of property or prevent injury. It is extremely effective against smaller crowds in congested urban environments. However, this may increase and spread lawless activity rather than reduce it. Thus, the commander's forces must control dispersal routes and the areas in which the dispersal will occur. Forces must protect the facilities that could be considered likely targets of opportunity for dispersing individuals or groups. Dispersal of the crowd may require apprehension of small groups still active in the area. Proclamations, shows of force, crowd control formations, and RCAs can disperse crowds.

2-89. Avoid (if possible) the dispersion of crowds into wide-open areas because it gives the crowd the opportunity to grow rapidly in size. The direction of crowd movement is difficult to anticipate and channel.

2-90. Once the crowd has started to disperse, it may occasionally be necessary for the forces to advance, keeping the crowd on the move and in the right direction. A crowd on the move should not be hurried to avoid panic. At no time should the crowd be cornered in a position where there is the perception of no escape. This invokes the "fight-or-flight" syndrome, possibly escalating violent activity.

2-91. Issuing a proclamation (see Figure 2-2) can help disperse a crowd. Proclamations officially establish the illegal nature of crowd actions and put the populace on notice that the situation demands special measures. Proclamations prepare the people for the presence of military authority and it tends to inspire respect. Proclamations support law-abiding elements and psychologically bolster military forces trying to restore order. They also demonstrate the gravity of the situation to all concerned and are excellent ways to make a commander's intentions known to a crowd. It is also a good way to reduce crowd size before direct action is taken. Commanders can make a verbal proclamation similar to the following statement: " In the name of the President of the United States, I command that you disperse and retire peaceably to your homes. " Such a proclamation may even make direct action unnecessary.


Figure 2-2. Sample Proclamation


2-92. In making a proclamation, a commander may consider imposing a time limit. However, the situation may change, and not imposing a time limit leaves the commander free to choose other actions when he wants. A proclamation must be specific in its instruction.

2-93. If a time limit is stated, it must be a reasonable length of time for the crowd to comply with the instructions. When drafting a proclamation, the commander must consult closely with the SJA. He must use the simplest language possible to maximize the effects of the proclamation. If proclamations must be translated to a local language, the translation must be made with great care.

2-94. The commander at the scene may direct that a proclamation be issued over public address (PA) systems. The force of the words used in the proclamation must be gauged to the composition of the crowd. If the crowd consists of normally law-abiding citizens who are presently assembled to show disagreement with an existing situation, the proclamation requires less force. On the other hand, if the crowd consists of militant rioters, the proclamation requires more force. The text may take a number of forms, depending on the situation.

2-95. A show of force is often a useful measure for dispersing a crowd. When troops arrive, the psychological impact of their arrival can be used. Soldiers can dismount from the helicopters, buses, or trucks in plain sight of the crowd, but they must be far enough away to prevent a provoked attack of thrown objects. The first echelon to dismount from the vehicle secures the surrounding area.

2-96. When small groups are scattered throughout a large disturbance area, a show of force can be made by marching troops conducting motor marches, conducting saturation patrolling, and setting up static posts. Sometimes marching well-equipped, highly-disciplined soldiers in view of a crowd may be all that is needed to convince them to disperse and retire peaceably. On the other hand, a show of force may attract people to an event. It may also provoke a nonviolent crowd into a violent confrontation. Intelligence can help best in preparing a show-of-force response.


2-97. Containment is the process of limiting a crowd to the area they are presently occupying. It is a suitable option when the crowd must be prevented from spreading to surrounding areas and communities. Additionally, it prevents those outside the already assembled crowd from joining the gathering. Containment is useful when apprehensions become necessary for preventing those in the crowd from escaping. Crowd control formations, perimeter patrols, and barriers are effective methods to accomplish containment. In all instances, caution must be used to avoid the "fight-or-flight" syndrome common to people feeling trapped with no escape.

2-98. Armored vehicles, armored security vehicles (ASVs), and up-armored high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs) are adaptable to roadblock operations as they can serve as barriers. They also provide added protection for the soldiers inside and those outside manning the roadblocks because they provide an easily accessible barrier for them to crouch behind.

2-99. Military vehicles traveling at close intervals in a column formation next to a crowd are largely a psychological barrier (see Chapter 6). They can be used to contain a large, fast-moving crowd. The moving cordon creates a temporary obstacle between the crowd and the line beyond which they will not be allowed to cross. A well-trained driver in a mobile cordon can do a better job than dismounted soldiers. In order to execute safe, quick reversals of direction for mobile cordons on narrow roads, the soldiers executing this formation must be highly-trained vehicle operators.

2-100. By-the-number commands issued over vehicle radios are the most common method for coordinating a cordon movement. Vehicles equipped with PA systems can also prove effective to issue both commands to troops and directives to the crowd. The cordon speed is no more than 5 miles per hour with an interval of at least 20 feet. Blue and red lights, sirens, blinkers, and horns may or may not be used. Armored vehicles can also serve as mobile command posts. When used properly, vehicles provide security, communications, and mobility.

Decide to contain or disperse

2-101. Current crowd control doctrine places emphasis on crowd dispersal. Forced dispersal may result in a crowd breaking up into multiple groups that scatter over a large area. This may pose even greater public order problems and may pose a continued threat to control forces. A crowd is often better controlled by means of containment (confining its activities to a given area). A crowd has a limited duration, and its numbers are likely to diminish as individual needs take precedence over those of the crowd.

2-102. During the G8 summit protest in Ottawa, Canada, in June 2002, several thousand people showed up to demonstrate against the evils of world corporate leaders. Canadian Police determined that their best response to this event was a "soft response." Throughout the two-day event, hundreds of officers in standard patrol uniforms operated in four-officer teams, prestaged throughout the city. As the demonstrators began to assemble and eventually took to marching, officers provided escorts both in the front and rear of the enormous crowd along with officers marching to the flanks of the demonstration. This "soft approach" frustrated demonstrators, especially those who had it within their agenda to cause property damage and personal injury. Even more frustrating to the demonstrators was the heavy downpour of rain they endured on both days. Their organizations quickly disbanded out of concern for their own creature comforts. In the end, 10,000 people participated in the protest, with only three arrests made in two days.

Use Patrols

2-103. Alert, aggressive patrolling of the disturbance area deters the gathering of crowds. The use of saturation patrolling is most effective for this purpose. It allows information to be collected, and it creates the psychological impression of the control force being everywhere at once.

2-104. Standard military transport vehicles provide mobility and communications for area coverage. Soldiers must be deployed with enough vehicles to provide the flexibility to handle all situations in the disturbance area. The vehicles can be modified with sandbags, wire screens, or similar materials to protect against sniper fire and thrown objects. If sniper fire is expected or has been encountered, then up-armored HMMWVs or light armored vehicles should be used for patrolling.

2-105. Armored vehicles patrolling an area of violence provide an added psychological effect and allow troops to maneuver close to snipers to make an apprehension. They may also be used as rescue vehicles to extract hostages or people surrounded by a hostile crowd.

2-106. Varying patrol routes and times for mounted and dismounted patrols keep lawbreakers from being able to pick a safe place or time to act. Patrols are particularly useful in preventing overt arson and violence. Patrol members can also spot and promptly report fires. Whenever possible, military patrols are integrated with civil police patrols. Joint patrols conserve military forces and aid civilian military communications. They also help troops become familiar with an area quickly. In addition, the civil police are available to make apprehensions, if needed. Patrol members must practice proper standards of conduct and fair treatment of civilians at all times. They are performing an important community relation and control function.

2-107. Motorized patrols, because of their speed and mobility, provide timely reconnaissance and broad area coverage. Motorized patrols are in radio contact with TF headquarters (HQ). They can make periodic contact with foot patrols and stationary posts, while patrolling their own areas. Moreover, motorized patrols can respond quickly to calls for help from other patrols and guard posts. Motorized patrols should have at least three vehicles with three men in each. Strength in numbers is necessary for protection. When planning patrol routes, avoid areas where the patrols can be isolated or placed in jeopardy. In addition, motorized patrols are equipped with fire extinguishers to put out small fires, thus reducing the burden on the fire department.

2-108. Besides foot and motorized patrols, air patrols provide a third dimension in directing the overall control effort in the disturbance area. They can perform reconnaissance and surveillance and provide near real time formation over the disturbance area. They are an excellent means of providing timely information to the commander concerning the demonstration area and its surrounding perimeter. They can monitor the actions of rioters, the extent of damage, the status of access routes, locations and conditions of road barriers, and other important conditions.

Use Delaying Tactics

2-109. AOs that units are assigned to patrol are often larger than the unit has resources to manage effectively. In addition, units must manage taskings, contingency plans, and other commitments, which will quickly drain available manpower. This problem will manifest itself when factions threaten to riot or gather in large numbers to demonstrate. In order for the commander to stall for time while he shifts unit assets, he may want to delay the arrival of buses and vehicles full of demonstrators. This technique is based on the assumption that demonstrators are moving to the demonstration site by vehicle. Key and secondary routes into the demonstration site must be analyzed by the S2 when he does the IPB.

NOTE: There should be an overwatch when this technique is attempted.

2-110. As demonstrator buses and/or vehicles move toward the demonstration site, soldiers in two HMMWVs block the road just ahead of the approaching vehicles. Once the demonstrators dismount their vehicles and begin to close in on the soldiers, the soldiers leapfrog (see Figure 2-3) 1 kilometer farther down the road to repeat the process again. This is repeated as often as necessary. This process, if repeated enough times, should discourage the demonstrators enough that they give up and go home. It should also provide enough time to shift assets to the demonstration site.

2-111. Demonstrators are just as capable of blocking secondary and key routes leading into a demonstration or riot site to prevent relief forces from assisting with riot control as US forces are capable of preventing demonstrators access to the site. One must remember that demonstrators are often well organized and have handheld radios and other items. A great example of this was the 1999 demonstration against the WTO in Seattle, Washington. Police had erected temporary portable fences in the downtown areas to keep demonstrators from disrupting the delegates. Determined to be disruptive, the demonstrators relocated the temporary fences by not allowing police to enter the area. Police were forced to back patrol cars over their own fences to gain access.


Figure 2-3. Delaying Tactics