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Urban Warfare, Jointness Raise New Challenges for Rescue

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14, 2004 – Urban warfare fighting from street to street, building to building -- makes it extremely difficult for rescue teams to extract American combatants who are isolated behind enemy lines, said DoD's top official for prisoner of war and missing personnel affairs.

Fighting on an urban battlefield, said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Jerry D. Jennings during a recent interview, "makes it harder for our rescue forces or rescue personnel to get in."

"So as the battlefield changes, the enemy changes and our rescue approach changes, requiring slightly different training and maybe enhanced equipment," he noted.

Jennings pointed out that rescue operations include U.S. allies and coalition partners, making jointness paramount in conducting successful rescue operations.

"It's important that we're able to work with each other in a seamless way," Jennings said. "We're going from a service-centric approach to a joint approach. Then we have an additional concern of working with our allies -- coalition partners.

"We want to make sure that if they go down, we go out and rescue them," he continued. "And we want to ensure that we have communications equipment that works on both sides."

And also from now on, military personnel will not be the only ones trained in escape, evasion and other techniques to survive if they're isolated in enemy territory, Jennings noted.

"Training is going to be expanded beyond the military to DoD contractors and civilian personnel," he said. "So we have a broader mandate than we've ever had historically."

"When you talk about transformation, the bottom line is saving lives," Jennings said. "Anything that will assist us in saving lives today on the battlefield is something that we want."

"In personnel recovery, we have only one thing on our minds bringing that trooper back," he said. "We'll succeed when we bring home every individual soldier, sailor, Marine, airman or Coast Guardsman that goes down in harm's way out that's our objective."

He said his organization would make the jobs of everyone -- military personnel, contractors and civilian employees alike safer by "expending all resources, energy and time on ensuring that we bring them back. We'll leave no one behind."

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Biographies:
Jerry D. Jennings

Related Sites:
Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office

Related Articles:
America Will Never Forget Its Missing Servicemembers



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