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Military and Oral History Conference:

Between Memory and History



Soldiers Like Rules: An Examination and the Necessity and Desirability of ROE to Soldiers in the Field


Liz Williams, University of Victoria and CAF


This is an oral military history paper that examines the in-theatre effectiveness of Rules of Engagement using secondary research and interviews with four veterans of the Canadian Forces. Those interviewed had all seen service with the Canadian Airborne Regiment, and there were three officers and one non-commissioned member. The paper examines their memories of ROE with reference to the FLQ Crisis and UN Peacekeeping missions in the Golan Heights, Cyprus, Bosnia-Croatia, and Somalia. Some issues raised are the importance of leadership to enforcement of ROE, the necessity of practical training, and the need for the Canadian Forces to learn the lessons of previous missions and swiftly enact any necessary changes. The conclusion of the paper is that while their implementation has been occasionally problematic, ROE are a necessary set of rules welcomed by the soldiers who use them.



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