Murphy's Law: Neutered Jet Fighters


February 1, 2011: In Afghanistan, Italian Tornado fighter-bombers can only use one weapon, their 27mm automatic cannon, and then only in emergencies and only with permission from higher commanders. No smart bombs or missiles can be used by these Italian fighter-bombers. The primary mission of the Italian Tornados in Afghanistan is reconnaissance and surveillance, but on rare occasions they go low to use their cannon (and expose themselves to enemy fire.) Italian helicopter gunships, however, may use both their 20mm automatic cannon and TOW missiles, but have to get permission from headquarters first.

This sort of thing can get worse. Some nations are not allowed to leave their bases, and other simply have lots of restrictions on how they can use their weapons. For nearly a decade, NATO commanders in Afghanistan have been frustrated by all the strings attached to their authority by politicians back home. The ROE (Rules of Engagement) for NATO troops contain dozens of restrictions on how the NATO commander may use troops assigned to him. Most of these have to do with where national contingents can be moved, and how much they can be exposed to danger, and even what weapons can be used. These restrictions render nearly half the NATO troops in Afghanistan useless for combat, but they are there because their governments promised to send troops to Afghanistan to fight Islamic terrorism.



Article Archive

Murphy's Law: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close