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Posted on Apr 23, 2008 in Tactics101, War College

Tactics 101: 026. Cordon and Search Operations

By Rick Baillergeon and John Sutherland

Search Element
Objective EagleNow let’s look at the decisive operation. The main purpose of a cordon and search operation is to find selected personnel or material. It is the search element’s job to do just that. The search element contains an assault team, search team, security team and a support team. The assault team seizes the objective to allow the search team to conduct the search. The security team provides on-location security of the immediate objective area and holds any detainees. The support team provides overwatch in the search area and is prepared to assist the other teams as required. In addition the search element may use many unique special teams depending on mission requirements. Some of the more common types of special teams include:



Detainee Team
Vehicle Search Team
Demolition Team
Documentation Team
Military Working Dogs
Tunnel Recon Team
Interrogation Team
Mine Detection Team
Combat Camera
Civil Affairs Team
Psychological Operations Team
Human Intelligence Team
Field Interview Team
Sensitive Site Team
Escort Team
Female Personnel Search Team
EOD Team
Possibly Media
**As many interpreters and linguists as you can get!!

Again, imagination and careful planning drives the special team configurations that the search element requires. The search may be in the form of a forced entry where shock and speed is used to rapidly gain control of the search area or a more benign approach can be used. Cordon and search operations normally fall into the categories of “Cordon and Kick” or “Cordon and Knock or Ask.” Units use the same organization of forces as a regular cordon and search with similar security procedures, but instead of breaking in the door the search element knocks on the door and informs the occupants that a search is to be conducted. This may seem odd given that this is still considered a combat operation, but in the battle for the population’s hearts and minds politeness counts. Planners choose the hard or soft approach based on the level of intelligence of the objective and the estimate of the threat involved. Female solders are another important consideration to include within the search team. Units must respect cultural taboos in searching and handling of female noncombatants and children. Let’s briefly discuss Cordon and Kick and Cordon and Knock/Ask.

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1 Comment

  1. This was an outstanding help to my classes on CS. Thanks for publishing this peice.