February 02, 2016
Presentation of the new HLMG report about the use of force against terrorist groups in the U.S. House of Representatives
Following the Assessment of the 2014 Gaza conflict, the High Level Military Group (HLMG) has released a second report produced by a group of top military experts and analysts. The report as such is a comparative study on the use of military force against non-conventional forces entitled “Our Military Forces’ Struggle against Lawless, Media Savvy Terrorist Adversaries” which has been presented in February 2 and 3 in Washington DC.
On February 2, the Council on Foreign Relations hosted three members of the HLMG, Lieutenant General David A. Deptula, Colonel Richard Kemp and Ambassador Pierre Richard-Prosper who carried out the presentation of the comparative study. Elliott Abrams welcomed the HLMG members and conducted short introductory remarks; and for his part, the historian Max Boot led the roundtable discussion after the presentation.
During the event Colonel Kemp highlighted the threat that Western troops are confronting today “this report illustrates a new threat our forces are faced with—a political warfare strategy of our adversaries, terrorists, and insurgents, who fight with utter disregard for the laws of war or human rights,” Ambassador Prosper was clear about the real intentions of the enemy “[Terrorists] effectively commit these war crimes as a matter of policy” and Lieutenant General Deptula pointed out core legal dimensions of the problem “The expectation of precision is now being confused with the legal requirements of the laws of armed conflict.”
The presentation in the Council on Foreign Relations was followed by a wide and influential audience, from senior officials of the Department of Defense, State Department, National Intelligence Council, National Defense University, Senate and House Armed Services and various policy organizations, to media outlets such as The New York Times, USA Today, US News & World Report, The Hill, Washington Free Beacon, Washington Examiner, Air Force Magazine, Diplomatic Courier, Voice of America Radio Network.
The next day, on February 3, Colonel Kemp and Ambassador Prosper briefed about the HLMG findings to Members of Congress hosted by Peter Roskam (R-Illinois) Co-Chair of the Republican Israel Caucus, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida) Chairman of the Emirates/ Foreign Affairs Committee and Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-Indiana) from the Armed Services Committee. The briefing was attended by a broad group of lawmakers from the Armed Services Committee such as Congressman Jim Cooper (D - Tennessee) Congressman Paul Cook (R – California), Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R – Missouri), and Congressman Brad Wenstrup (R - Ohio) as well from the Intelligence Committee; from the Foreign Affairs & Veterans Affairs Committees Congressman Lee Zeldin (R - New York) and from the Israel Caucus Congressman Tim Walberg (R – Michigan).
Colonel Kemp and Ambassador Prosper outlined before the Congressmen the difficulties that the troops face in such scenarios and how terrorists take advantage of military adherence to Laws of Armed Conflict —among other outcomes from the comparative study like the exploitation of media by the terrorist groups.
The global media has echoed both events and the conclusions that rose up in the debates, especially on how to defeat the Islamic State. In this regard, as Colonel Kemp emphasized to the lawmakers, tough unpopular decisions must be made.
As the HLMG delineated in the assessment on the 2014 Gaza conflict, the Israel Defense Forces faced several predicaments that have set up patterns for all the rest of the conflicts against non-conventional forces. Thus Western armies will face similar conditions in battlegrounds where the enemy is sheltered among vast urban areas and will have to handle the abuse of the Law of Armed Conflicts, the use of human shields by terrorists groups, the exploitation of the media, and other new challenges.
These two major papers produced by the HLMG address these new circumstances that surround contemporary conflicts and also suppose a novel approach in modern warfare against non-conventional forces, which emerges nowadays as one of the main challenges in the international security.