Panel to Look at Force Protection Lessons Learned from Cole
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 19, 2000 -- A DoD panel will examine the
terrorist attack against the destroyer USS Cole in Aden,
Yemen, to see what commanders can do to prevent such
attacks, Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon said Oct. 19.
Defense Secretary William S. Cohen has appointed retired
Army Gen. William Crouch and Adm. Harold Gehman to co-chair
the panel. The Cole Commission will develop a lessons
Bacon said the effort will take a couple of months, "but we
want this out as soon as possible so we can start using the
Crouch was the commander of U.S. Army, Europe and the
commander of the NATO Implementation Force in Bosnia. Bacon
said his experiences in force protection for troops in
Bosnia should help him in his panel work. Gehman, who will
retire from the Navy Nov. 1, was commander of U.S. Joint
Forces Command. He has extensive surface warfare experience
and served on and commanded destroyers.
The Cole panel is in addition to the Navy's Judge Advocate
General Manual investigation. The JAG Manual investigation
looks at the operations aboard the ship before the attack
to ensure all Navy procedures were followed.
The Cole Commission is much broader than the Navy JAG
Manual investigation, Bacon said. Panelists are to look at
Navy guidance, U.S. Central Command rules, intelligence
reports and other factors before compiling their report.
The panel will not look for culpability, but rather solely
at force protection and ways the United States can improve
FBI Director Louis Freeh was in Aden meeting with Yemeni
and U.S. officials. He said he was pleased with the
cooperation the FBI team has received from the Yemenis. He
said they had located several locations that may be
relevant to the case.
"They found those locations on their own with very, very
good police work," Freeh said during a press conference.
"They've shared the results of that with us." He said
recovery of evidence on the Cole proceeds, but it's too
early to say with any certainty who sponsored or launched
"We have some theories, as you almost have to have when you
begin an investigation of this kind, but the determination
with respect to participation, sponsorship, if any, will be
strictly delegated by the facts, by the forensics,
witnesses that are developed, linkages to other places or
persons," Freeh said. "But we are very, very far from doing
that and are really looking at this with a very open mind
at this point.
Bacon said U.S. commitment to the Central Command region
will remain strong. "We had the embassy bombings in Africa,
we didn't close our embassies," Bacon said. "We had threats
in Saudi Arabia, we didn't stop our commitments there.
"But, right now, we're concerned with recovering the
remains, stabilizing the ship and moving forward with FBI
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