First Navy SEAL Rep. Ryan Zinke in Book: Troops Bound by ‘Restrictive’ Rules of Engagement

Ryan Zinke /
Ryan Zinke /

In his new book, a retired commander and the first Navy SEAL combat veteran to be elected to the U.S. Congress, Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT), shares his experience in leading and training some of America’s greatest warriors, while repeatedly reminding readers that “restrictive rules of engagement” are preventing American troops from fighting to win.

The new book, co-written with New York Times bestselling author Scott McEwen (American Sniper), is titled, American Commander: Serving a Country Worth Fighting for and Training the Brave Soldiers Who Lead the Way and will hit bookstores Tuesday.

“I would like the reader to end the book being proud of the exceptional Americans that serve in our elite fighting forces,” Zinke, a 23-year veteran of the U.S. Navy SEALs, told Breitbart News. “I wrote the book because I wanted others to have an idea of what it was like to lead America’s most elite fighting force and to share an insight into the sacrifice of the military families.”

In the book, Zinke repeatedly argues in the book that the current rules of engagement are a hurdle to the success of ongoing military operations, namely efforts against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) in the Middle East and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

U.S. troops “can’t fight to win” as a direct result of the “restrictive and unworkable rules of engagement” currently in place, writes Zinke, who served as commander at the fabled Navy SEAL Team Six and earned two Bronze Stars as the acting commander of Joint Special Forces in Iraq.

“Having too many layers of approval in a dynamic battlefield environment delays our ability to fight and win, especially when troops are engaged in combat,” he adds.

The importance of having the “right” rules of engagement to win on the battlefield is the underlying theme in American Commander.

In discussing the book with Breitbart News, Zinke argues that the U.S. government is allowing too many uninformed bureaucrats to make decisions about combat operations that should be handled by field commanders and their on-the ground-staff.

“Our military sons and daughters that are placed in harm’s way deserve the right equipment, the right training, and the right rules of engagement to win decisively on any field of battle,” stressed Zinke.“Period.”

“The right rules of engagement means giving our forward commanders the authority and flexibility to take the initiative and win,” he added. “Trust our forward deployed warriors to do their job. Political appointees running the war from Washington is just wrong.”

In American Commander, Zinke provides a rare perspective of one of the men who actually trained, motivated, and commanded some of the most celebrated group of warriors in the United States, many of whom have participated in recent conflicts and operations —  killing Osama bin Laden and the war in Iraq.

At the same time, the now retired decorated officer expresses a desire to ensure his disciples and their colleagues have the appropriate tools to win during combat.

One of the top reasons why Zinke decided to continue serving his country as a member of Congress is ensure U.S. troops are trained and equipped for success, according to his new book.

The congressman commanded and trained many of the SEALs who would one day be involved in the covert operations to hunt and execute bin Laden.

Zinke served as mentor for famous SEAL Chris Kyle from the movie and book American Sniper.

Zinke also commanded various other prominent and decorated SEALs such as Rob O’Neill, Marcus Luttrell, and Brandon Webb. Navy SEAL O’Neill is the NAVY SEAL Team Six member who fired the shot that executed bin Laden.


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