Infantry Drills

2-223: Cordon and Search

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Note. The Infantry platoon usually does not have the resources to conduct an independent cordon and search. However, the platoon may conduct it as part of a larger force as the cordon or search element in whole or in part. Each element’s function may be assigned to a platoon that can be broken down into teams.

2-223. The most common tactical task during stability is a cordon and search. This involves two potentially inflammatory processes: limiting freedom of movement and searching dwellings. These two actions have a clear potential for negative consequences. Therefore, organizing cordon and search elements requires extensive mission tailoring and Infantry leaders always are prepared for a civil disturbance.

2-224. Searches are an important aspect of populace and resource control. The need to conduct a search operation or to employ search procedures is a continuous requirement. A search conducted by civil police and Soldiers can orient on people, materiel, buildings, or terrain. Searches may be enabled by biometric or forensic exploitation.

2-225. Cordon and search involves isolating the target area and searching suspected buildings to capture or destroy possible insurgents and contraband. It involves the emplacement of a cordon, or security perimeter, to prevent traffic in and out of the area. The cordon permits the search element to operate unimpeded within the secured area. The purpose of cordon and search is to obtain weapon caches, materiel or information, persons of interest, or a specific high-value target.

2-226. There are two cordon and search methods and the method selected to accomplish the mission depends on a number of factors. The primary consideration is to capture the designated personnel, site, or equipment but additional factors such as the enemy threat, local populace support, and host-nation security force capabilities are taken into account during planning this task.

2-227. The cordon and kick method is used to maintain speed, surprise, and timeliness in entry to the target within the objective. In this instance, considerations of population perceptions and integration of host-nation security force are less important than accomplishing the task of capturing the target individual, site, or equipment.

2-228. If the mission is focused on increasing the legitimacy of the host-nation
government and security forces, it may be necessary to sacrifice a degree of surprise and timeliness to achieve its goal by conducting a cordon and knock/ask. In this instance, the unit focuses on maintaining a presence and control of an area by incorporating local authorities into the mission. (Refer to ATP 3-06.20 for more information.)

Next: 2-229: Organization Of Forces For A Cordon And Search

Go Back To: U.S. Army FM 3-21.8: The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad