This universal method is to give a set of guidelines that are always in effect unless stated otherwise.
Much of this is common sense but it's a good thing to put this in a written form that there's no confusion on anyone's part when a threat presents itself as a danger to friendlies.
The need for an universal RoE comes primarily from more junior members of a community. Most people with a decent amount of experience are not going to hesitate to employ deadly force to protect himself or his teammates. Newer people might not be so sure of their tactical options.
Being familiar with the universal RoE will help all players to be on the same tactical page and be able to make quick decisions when times is of the essence.
The core questions we want to answer with these rules are:
- When to shoot first?
- When to talk first?
These questions begins upon making contact. Contact comes in 2 basic forms
- Visual / audible enemy, they do not see friendlies.
- Enemy sees friendlies and is engaging or about to.
If you are taking hard contact you are always authorized to return fire. The only time where this is not true is when mission specific RoEs restrict you. This is very uncommon and you will know when this is happening.
How to react to hard contact:
- 'Contact!', or firing at the enemy if close.
- Improve your protection against enemy fire.
- Search for the enemy, adjust your position as needed
- Engage the enemy. Continue communicating!
There are three primary factors
- How close is the enemy to ANY friendlies?
- The closer, the faster the decision.
- The closer, the higher the potential threat.
- Are they alerted to friendly presence?
- Does the enemy know of ANY friendlies?
- Are they in the process of acting on that knowledge?
- How much damage can they do?
Is the enemy capable of harming ANY friendlies?
- Actual danger: Enemy is aware of friendlies and is turning to engage.
- Potential danger: E.g. A powerful weapon is unaware of friendlies yet in a position to where it could do great damage if it became active.
- Unarmed / tied up / surrendered personell?
Generally speaking the danger factor is what causes you to make the decision between shooting first and talking first.
You see an RPG gunner 150 meters away, turning it's RPG towards a friendly vehicle which doesn't see him. The RPG gunner isn't aware of you however he is aware of the friendly vehicle. He is extremely dangerous. Your actions done swiftly can be the difference between the vehicles survival or destruction. In this situation you are justified in firing at the gunner before making a contact report.
In short, if the enemy is a threat to you or a friendly unit, is positioned close enough to do reasonable damage if not acted upon immediately and has the means to do that damage, you can engage them before your contact report is given.
Your gunfire will act as the alert stage of a contact report however if the situation does not require instant action you should make a contact report and allow your leadership to develop the situation. If the enemy is unaware, take advantage of that and put yourself and your teammates in the best possible situation before engaging.
Universal RoE relies on your judgement.
You are authorized to fire in the protection of friendly forces (including yourself)
under ANY circumstances
unless explicitly restricted by mission-specific rules of engagement.