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Five Pillars of Close Quarters Combat

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 54 Issue: 6 Dated: June 2006 Pages: 40-44,46,47
Jeff Gonzales
Date Published
June 2006
7 pages
This article describes the five pillars of successful close quarters combat.
Once a decision has been reached to enter a close area for combat, there are a set of five minimum skills, or “pillars,” that officers need to master in order to be successful. The five pillars of successful close quarters combat are identified as: (1) gaining access; (2) making entry; (3) securing the space; (4) moving to adjoining spaces; and (5) command/control of the team and the subsequent actions. Training in these five pillars is conducted in three layers. The first layer involves developing the individual’s skills, the second layer involves developing the individual’s skills within the team, and the third layer involves building the team’s overall capability. It is recommended that each of the concepts or pillars be mastered in sequence. The author describes each of the pillars and the necessary actions and skills to completing each pillar. For example, different techniques are described for gaining entry into a building, which is required for the first pillar, such as ballistic breaching, mechanical breaching, and explosive breaching. Making entry into the building after gaining access requires a well-rehearsed, coordinated plan that ensures a predictable set of actions occurs from each team member. Descriptions are offered on how to effectively clear the rooms and hallways of threats and secure the space. Command and control functions of the operations ensure that all team members know the commander’s intent with the mission and enable stealth methods of communications, such as the use of hand signals. The ultimate success of the mission depends on the effective execution of all five pillars of close quarter combat.