To: The Secretary of the Navy
Subject: The Attack on the U.S.S COLE
The U.S.S Cole attack, which occurred in October 12, 2000 in response to United States presence in the Arab countries, was one of the most fatal attacks on US military personnel. The U.S.S Cole was attacked during a re-fueling stopover at port of Aden, Yemen. It led to the death of 17 U.S sailors and while others severed injuries. The prevention measures at the were inadequate in dealing such attacks on the ship (Kettl, 2013). Some of the factors that lead to the occurrence of the attack include the increased desire to cooperate with Yemen, operational regulations, force limitations, intelligence shortfalls, inadequate training, and the failure to react appropriately to the political changes. However, it was a combination of all these factors that led to the attack.
In terms of the strategic level, the U.S foreign policy on engagement encouraged the country’s involvement with the Yemen. This included increasing brief stops and visits to Aden. However, tactically, the need for refueling depended on the operational considerations of the country. The commanding officials had failed in their implementation of the protection measures available, more so during the refueling stops in Aden. Full investigation established that intelligence reports on the threats to the US in Yemen were not only scarce but confusing too (Mueller & Stewart, 2011). For instance, the decision to perform the port visits in Aden was based on incomplete and unreliable information that increased the perceived risks for terrorist attacks.
The resources and assets of the Navy to deal with imminent threats were significantly reduced by the reduction in the number of personnel in the force. For instance, the number of weapons, oilers, and combatants reduced led to the operational recommendations that increased the risk of U.S.S Cole. In spite of the division of responsibilities between the Navy, DoD, and the U.S Department of State, avoidable confusion in the coordination process still arose. This put the U.S.S Cole at a greater risk of attack.
To prevent future attacks on the U.S military personnel, there are various measures that can be recommended. These include increased funding for the military. This will allow for the deployment of in transit units to prevent any future attacks. Contradictory threat levels was useful in developing threat levels with AOR. Thus, there is need to improve the threat condition system to enhance threat analysis and evaluation. Prioritizing intelligence collection, development and analysis should be a priority in combating any future terrorist threats. Therefore, the DoD should allocate more resources to antiterrorist mission to prevent any potential attacks.
Moreover, the problem of training deficiencies must be effectively tackled. In order to improve training, there is need to use training programs that accomplish high level of rigor that meets the primary goals of the various missions. It is also recommendable that the accuracy of the investigation process followed and behavior of all personnel involved in the incident be examined. If their actions are found to be incompatible with the crime prevention standards, they should be held accountable (White, 2011). A lack of transparency and accountability put the country and military personnel deployed in various missions at a greater risk of terrorist attacks most of which are deadly and fatal. Finally, it is necessary to improve the component commanders’ tools. This will help in developing a reliable force protection practices and programs. This will allow for determining a balance between benefits and costs or risks of engagement.
Kettl, D. F. (2013). System under stress: Homeland security and American politics. London, UK: SAGE.
Mueller, J., & Stewart, M. G. (2011). Terror, security, and money: Balancing the risks, benefits, and costs of homeland security. Oxford, NC: Oxford University Press.
White, J. (2011). Terrorism and homeland security. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.