Tactical Decision Games

Tactical Decision Games (TDGs) are exercises designed to increase the understanding of military tactics and decision-making.

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BAMCIS (Troop Leading Steps)
– Begin the planning
– Arrange reconnaissance
– Make the reconnaissance
– Complete the plan
– Issue orders
– Supervise

SMEAC (5-Paragraph Order)
– Situation
– Mission
– Execution
– Admin and Logistics
– Command and Signals

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Marine Corps Gazette

Combat Team: The Captain’s War: An Interactive Exercise in Company Level Command in Battle

By John Antal


TDG #3 – Military Functions in Civil Disturbances

TDG Archives:
TDG #1: Executive Decision – Military coup in 2009 Thailand
TDG #2: NEO in Africa (Noncombatant Evacuation Operation)

It’s early 1993 and you are Attorney General Janet Reno. A situation at a religious compound near Waco, Texas is necessitating your attention. A federal raid on the compound has gone bad. Armed militants within the compound have repulsed the raid and killed several federal agents. Inside the compound are approximately 80 people. About 15 people are thought to be armed and dangerous. The rest – women, children and the elderly – are not considered dangerous, though they are considered to be brainwashed by David Koresh, the charismatic and demented leader of the compound.

The standoff is now dragging into the second month, and federal authorities on the scene want a resolution to the crisis. They want you to authorize military force against the compound to end the siege. Specifically, the authorities want you to authorize the use of military CS riot control agents within the walls of the compound. Do you authorize or deny the use of CS riot control agents within the compound? 

Discuss this TDG

(Hint: The solution to this TDG has a very specific military textbook answer.)


According to U.S. Military manuals available at the time, riot control agents should not be used in closed structures except under extreme circumstances. According to FM 19-15:

"Generally, persons reacting to CS are incapable of executing organized and concerted actions and excessive exposure to CS may make them incapable of vacating the area."

" The riot control agent dispersers should not be used to introduce a riot control agent directly into a closed structure except under extreme circumstances."

Therefore, there are no justifications for the use of CS riot control agents in this scenario.

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