Conventional wars fought on the European models developed by Napoleon involve the leadership in writing and training troops for rules of engagement (ROE). Having ROE has brought both benefits and costs, and broadly training ROE at every level of leadership right down to the foot soldiers allows every participant to make responsible decisions and accomplish the mission as the battlefield commander has declared it. ROE is a management tool with benefits to keep situations under control and aligned with the mission. And yet the ROE in General Westmoreland’s command placed precise limits on what could be done and how it could be done.
The chain of command links everybody in uniformed service to those both senior and junior to them, all the way from the most junior ranks up to the President of the United States. There are a great many levels, but for this assignment we are looking at only six levels.
Looking all the way up the chain of command from the infantry soldiers in Vietnam to the President, write a short paper that will correlate the understanding of ROE with the limited war ideology and its assumptions as seen through the perspective and experiences of the six levels. Write your paper as seen from the following six points of the chain of command (a paragraph for each level plus an introduction and conclusion should be about right):
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- individual soldiers in the field;
- batallion commanders;
- division commanders;
- General William Westmoreland;
- Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara; and
- President Lyndon Johnson.