The Strange Case of Lieutenant Waddell: How Overly Restrictive Rules of Engagement Adversely Impact the American War Fighter and Undermine Military Victory
St. Mary's Law Journal
A rules of engagement (“ROE”) Review Board should be created in order to provide an impartial review process for service members facing adverse administrative action for violations of ROE. Politicians defining the ROE, rather than military experts, create rules that are so restrictive and confusing that they ultimately run counter to the military objective of victory. A violation of a ROE can be a criminal offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, but violations are issued arbitrarily, and often the military does not charge the service member with a crime, instead using adverse administrative measures to impose punishment.
While service members charged with crimes have numerous due process rights, their rights in administrative actions are far more limited. This injustice provides a chilling effect on other service members who may now choose inaction when faced with a difficult decision on when to use force. n autonomous ROE Review Board that functions outside of the chain of command may prove useful in revealing ROE that should be repealed.
Jeffrey F. Addicott, The Strange Case of Lieutenant Waddell: How Overly Restrictive Rules of Engagement Adversely Impact the American War Fighter and Undermine Military Victory, 45 St. Mary’s L.J. 1 (2013).