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NTC Decisive Action Tr aining
Envir onment Newslet ter
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Forewor d
The future of land warfare will include a return to our core principles. While we have had great
successes over the last decade of counterinsurgency (COIN) operations, we can neither forgo
those hard-fought lessons nor look beyond the worlds regional hotspots for glimpses of where
the next confict may take our Soldiers. Rotation 12-05 at the National Training Center (NTC)
was our frst decisive action (DA) rotation since 2003, and the Sledge Hammers of the 3rd Heavy
Brigade Combat Team (HBCT), 3rd Infantry Division were ready for a return to the home of
desert maneuver warfare.
After a year of preparation, the NTC introduced an operational environment comprised of a
near-peer conventional force and various asymmetric actors designed to stress a brigade combat
team (BCT) with the simultaneity of offensive, defensive, and stability operations across the
breadth and depth of the battle space. Through a continually rheostated blend of combined arms
maneuver and wide area security, NTC and the 3/3 HBCT trained together to assess post-COIN
assumptions and identify weaknesses in our approach to maneuver warfare:
Our Soldiers excel at individual and team tasks such as gunnery skills, and our
command posts are confdent in the use of upper tactical Internet suites.
Staffs at echelon are challenged with enabler planning and synchronization in support
of intelligence and combined arms maneuver.
Mission command on-the-move, over great distances, in an austere environment, is a
lost art.
We must re-blue our leaders on sustainment planning, positioning, and maintenance
evacuation procedures.
The Sledge Hammer Brigade performed admirably. This newsletter chronicles their successes
while also providing lessons for future BCTs operating in a DA environment. The NTC is proud
of their achievements, and we look forward to the challenges ahead as we continue training to
best prepare our Army. Train the Force!
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NTC Decisive Action Tr aining Environment
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Agile Fires and Decisive Action: Achieving Per vasive Agility by
Focusing on Fundamentals
COL Timothy Bush and MAJ Michael S. Coombes
Chapter 2. Br igade Combat Team and Below Digital Mission Command:
The Next IV Line
MAJ Ernest Tornabell IV
Chapter 3. Challenges of a Militar y Intelligence Company in a Decisive
Action Environment: Obser vations from NTC Rotation 12-05
CPT Kristina L. Stokes
Chapter 4. Intelligence Suppor t to Combined Ar ms Maneuver
MAJ Michael Childs
Chapter 5. Living in Both Wor lds: Building a Mission Command System
for Br igade Combat Teams Executing Decisive Action in an Uncer tain
MAJ Robert M. Summers Jr.
Chapter 6. Lessons Lear ned in Civil-Militar y Oper ations in a Decisive
Action Tr aining Environment
LTC Karl A. Morton and MAJ John Perrine
Chapter 7. A Legal Per spective to Detention and Humanitar ian Assistance
Oper ations in the Decisive Action Tr aining Environment
MAJ Christopher C. Ryan and CPT Jesse T. Greene
Chapter 8. The Br igade Combat Team Mission Command Validation
Exercise: Enabling Mission Command
Major Jason E. Burns
Chapter 9. Tr aining Oppor tunistic For mations: Leading Tr ansitions for
the Br igade Combat Team
MAJ William Adler
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Chapter 10. Nonlethal Engagement Area Development
MAJ Gerald S. Law
Chapter 11. Shor t-Range Air Defense Asset Utilization by the Br igade
Combat Team in the Decisive Action Tr aining Environment
Major Shelton T. Davis
Chapter 12. Tar geting Contempor ar y Oper ating Environment Force
Integr ated Air Defense Systems at the Br igade Combat Team
MAJ Michael S. Coombes, CPT Erick D. Buckner, and CW4 Stephen T. Roberts
Chapter 13. Br igade Special Troops Battalion Oper ations in the Decisive
Action Tr aining Environment: Doing More with Less
MAJ Todd F. Polk
Chapter 14. Explosive Or dnance Disposal Integr ation in the Decisive
Action Tr aining Environment
CPT David A. Duncan
Chapter 15. Integr ating a Key Enabler : Militar y Police in the Decisive
Action Tr aining Environment
Major Paul J. Thiessen
Chapter 16. Roles of the Br igade Combat Team Engineer Coor dinator in
Decisive Action
MAJ John D. Collins
Chapter 17. Planning Maintenance Suppor t for Success in Decisive Action
MAJ Christopher L. Camphor
Chapter 18. Tr aining Memor ial Ceremonies: A How-To Guide
Chaplain (Major) Barton Herndon
Chapter 19. Under standing Reception, Staging, Onwar d Movement, and
Integr ation for Success at the National Tr aining Center and Beyond
MAJ Robert M. Summers
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Chapter 20. Air space Planning, Management, and Control at the Br igade
MAJ Ashley S. Lee
Chapter 21. Aviation Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefeld
CPT Kimberly D. Boothe
Chapter 22. Attack and Scout Weapons Teams Employment in Suppor t of
Joint Air Attack Team Oper ations
MAJ Jamey Welch
Chapter 23. Employment of Lift Aircr aft in a Decisive Action
CPT(P) Christopher Getter
Chapter 24. Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses Planning and
Consider ations for the Aviation Task Force
CPT Daniel K. Symonds
Chapter 25. Scout Weapons Team Employment in the Reconnaissance and
Counter reconnaissance Fights
MAJ Adam Duvall
Chapter 26. Tactical Convoy Oper ations in an Aviation Task Force
CPT Keith R. Benoit
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Center for Ar my Lessons Lear ned
Director COL Thomas H. Roe
Oper ations Team Chief James R. Walley
CALL Analyst Mar vin Decker
NTC Analyst David Nelson
Editor Jenny Solon
Gr aphic Ar tist Er ic Eck, CALL Contr actor
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Agile Fires and Decisive Action: Achieving Per vasive Agility
by Focusing on Fundamentals
COL Timothy Bush and MAJ Michael S. Coombes
In December 2009 General Martin Dempsey wrote: Ideas matter . . . ideas can serve as the
driving force behind signifcant institutional change.
The fundamental idea he was referring
to was the concept of adaptability, supported by the underlying tenets of agility, versatility, and
fexibility. Our nations senior leaders echo General Dempseys assessment. President Obama
wrote in the Strategic Planning Priorities released in January 2012, As we end todays wars and
reshape our Armed Forces, we will ensure that our military is agile, fexible, and ready for the
full range of contingencies.
Secretary of Defense Panetta wrote that the future force will be
smaller and leaner, but will be agile, fexible, ready, and technologically advanced.
A powerful
concept, agility is a specifed capability from our nations senior leaders.
But this concept raises the question: After 10 years of successfully adapting in support of
counterinsurgency (COIN) operations, what does agility mean for the Army of the future?
Preliminary answers can be found not only in the Strategic Planning Priorities, but also in
Army Doctrine Publication (ADP) 3-0, Unifed Land Operations, and Training and Doctrine
Command (TRADOC) Pamphlet (PAM) 525-3-1, The Army Operating Concept. All three of
these documents describe a complex operational environment that will require an Army that
is agile and adaptable enough to execute decisive action by means of complementary core
competencies: combined arms maneuver (CAM), the application . . . of combat power to achieve
advantage over the enemy, and wide area security (WAS), the application . . . of combat power
in coordination with other military and civilian capabilities to deny the enemy positions of
advantage, protect forces, populations, infrastructure and activities and consolidate tactical and
operational gains to set conditions for achieving strategic and policy goals.
The Army must
be able to anticipate and adapt to changing battlefeld conditions; the Army must be nimble,
dexterous, able to transition rapidly between CAM and WAS, or execute both simultaneously.
Acknowledging the challenges of decisive action, General Dempsey wrote that operational
adaptability and agility are not yet institutionalized in our doctrine and our training they do
not yet pervade the force.

Recent observations of brigade combat teams (BCTs) at the National Training Center (NTC)
support General Dempseys observation. While the Army has turned in a magnifcently agile
performance over the last 10 years, adapting our operations to the dynamic and complex
COIN environments of both Iraq and Afghanistan, feld artilleryman and fres supporters have
struggled with the disparate challenges of executing the core competencies of decisive action at
the NTC. Looking to the future, what does agility mean in practical terms to feld artilleryman
and fre supporters? How do we seamlessly blend lessons learned from operations in Iraq and
Afghanistan with our traditional core competencies to achieve pervasive agility for the future?
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We would like to propose three broad priorities for fres leaders as we strive to achieve agility:
Focus on the fundamentals and own the fres warfghting function.
Build agile fres organizations.
Establish and enforce agile standards and processes.
Pr ior ity 1: Focus on the Fundamentals and Own the Function
In the environments of Iraq and Afghanistan, the fres function has been competing for attention
with other demands of COIN: maneuver missions, base defense, personality targeting, civil
military operations, bottom-up driven intelligence collection and analysis, etc. A parallel
transformation that occurred during this timeframe that had second-order effects on the fres
warfghting function was the transformation to the modular BCT. Under the modular BCT, the
Army organized fre supporters under their maneuver headquarters, removing the fres battalion
commander from the direct chain of responsibility for the fres. Pervasive agility in the fres
warfghting function will require an agile fres mindset, leaders who have visualized the fght at
both ends of the spectrum and who own the warfghting function across the extremes, who have
re-mastered the science of gunnery and the art of fres integration. Brigadier General Thomas
Vandal, the former commandant of the Field Artillery School, wrote, We must recapture the
core competencies that combined arms maneuver will require without surrendering the fexibility
and versatility to provide responsive fres in a wide area security environment.

Own the function
First and foremost, fres leaders must own the fres warfghting function again. We must embrace
agility and visualize what both core competencies will require from fres. Pervasive agility will
require fres organizations that can provide fres in both extremes simultaneously or can nimbly
transition between the two. Within the BCT, fres battalion commanders must re-establish the
role of the fre support coordinator (FSCOORD) and work with the brigade commander and his
staff to provide training oversight and supervision of subordinate fres elements.
FM 3-09, Fire Support, gives the FSCOORD the doctrinal basis for training oversight and the
establishment of standing operating procedures (SOP). In a supporting action, the Fires Center
of Excellence (FCoE), with the concurrence of the Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE),
is seeking the reorganization of fre supporters within BCTs to facilitate the execution of these
responsibilities. However, this is only a half-step in the right direction.
More importantly, the once commonly understood role of the FSCOORD during CAM
operations remains poorly defned. FSCOORDs must reintroduce themselves into the brigade
planning process by providing guidance on the employment of fres. FSCOORDs must also
prepare to fght side by side with the brigade commander throughout a CAM operation,
something that has not been trained in our Army in nearly a decade.
At the NTC, we have observed that BCT staffs working on transitions from WAS to CAM fail to
bring the FSCOORD into the planning process until it was too late, after COA analysis, thereby
robbing the FSCOORD of the opportunity to properly advise the commander and staff. We have
observed FSCOORDs expected to manage all six warfghting functions for a battalion-size area
of operations while attempting to manage the fres warfghting function for the BCT a demand
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expected of no other battalion commander within the BCT. In a recent rotation, a BCT employed
the FSCOORD in a traditional role for a CAM operation, resulting in more effective fres;
however, ownership of the FSCOORD role was slow to develop as the fres battalion commander
focused on the feld artillery battalion at the expense of his advisory role during the planning.
Furthermore, during execution, the FSCOORD struggled to fulfll his duties due to his inability
to access and operate on the upper and lower tactical Internets to better manage fres in support
of commanders intent. How we should equip the FSCOORD remains a question.
Looking at the extremes of CAM and WAS, it is possible to infer that CAM will require more
centralized mission command to achieve the BCT commanders intent. Fires in support of CAM
will also require more centralized control. As we take the lessons learned from WAS and move
back to CAM, we will need to recognize that the fres function cuts across all of the formations
in the BCT. This will be a change within the BCT. To offset the shock of this change, a fres
battalion commander taking an active role in managing and training the fre supporters within
the BCT, fres battalion commanders need to demonstrate value-added to the combined arms
battalions and the cavalry squadron through training oversight of the fre supporters within the
BCT. Once maneuver commanders experience more effective fres during CAM operations
through more effectively trained fre supporters and more effective centralized control of massed
fres, we expect that they will prove to be more receptive to a more centralized mission command
of the fres function.
Perhaps the best evidence in support of centralized fres in support of CAM was observed during
the most recent decisive action training environment (DATE) at the NTC. As the BCT attempted
to conduct a combined arms breach for a task force when a bypass to prepared obstacles could
not be found, their inexperience at executing fres in support of this operation hamstrung their
efforts. Due to positioning, it was the reconnaissance squadron who needed to control the smoke
screen for the breaching task force, and an entire battery was dedicated to that screen. While the
FA battalion managed the smoke screen, it maintained a counterfre fght with additional fring
elements and managed survivability moves. It is impossible to use the decentralized mission
command of recent years and expect a task force to integrate and synchronize all of the assets
and actions required for timely and accurate fre support.
Reclaim the science of the gunner y solution
With a high percentage of artillerymen of all grades performing non-standard missions over the
last decade, we have a generation that has missed a decade of experience in the practical science
of the delivery of indirect fres. We have feld grade offcers whose experience of command
was commanding an artillery battery transformed into a motorized-infantry company; in effect,
theyve never commanded a fring battery, never massed fres, never faced the intellectual
challenge of troubleshooting the elements of the fve requirements of accurate predicted fre to
achieve target effects. Likewise, we will have fring platoon sergeants who have never served
as howitzer section chiefs and who have never supervised a howitzer section in the execution of
the basics of TLABSPAP (trails, lay, aiming points, boresight, safe, prefre checks, ammunition
preparation, and position improvement).
Pervasive agility will require not only that we recapture the competencies of massing fres,
but also that we capture and inculcate the gunnery lessons from the last decade of WAS. Some
key takeaways are our improvements in timely and precise reactive counterfre, distributed
fres in support of dispersed operating bases, and the practical techniques of precision fres.
As an example of the blending of lessons learned from WAS operations as we move back
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to CAM, we will need to sustain and promulgate across the breadth of our formations the
tactics and procedures of employing precision munitions (Excalibur and GMLRS). Within the
budget constraints that our Army will face, this pollenization may require creative measures,
perhaps virtual or constructive scenarios. The NTC, with its vast terrain and immersive training
environment, provides an opportunity for live fre that trains the fring unit the BCT in mission
command and sensor-to-shooter linkages in a live scenario.
Recover the art of fres support integration/synchronization into combined arms maneuver
CAM will present fres organizations with operations that have a more complex scheme of
maneuver, a more rapid operational tempo, and with greater possibilities for branches and
sequels. Pervasive agility will require fre supporters to more actively integrate fres into the
scheme of maneuver during planning and preparation for operations. Over the last 10 years, there
has been an attrition of fres planning skills. The ability to develop fre support tasks from the top
and refne them through bottom-up planning and rehearsals has atrophied. Agility will require
fre supporters who retain the WAS skills personality targeting, specifc functional expertise
(information operations, civil-military operations, public affairs operations, intelligence analysis,
etc.), but also rediscover the fundamentals of fres integration. There are multiple skills that need
to be recaptured in the fre support realm, but well focus on one: rehearsals.
From our observations at the NTC, a decade of WAS operations has desensitized leaders within
the BCT to the effcacy of the fre support rehearsal. As we move forward, fres leaders would
do well to focus energy on reviving and reintegrating fre support rehearsals into BCT mission
preparation timelines. More complex fres in support of higher tempo maneuver operations
will require not only better synchronization across the warfghting functions, but also a more
complete dissemination and situational understanding of fres among all leaders. Reclaim our
reputation of 24/7 reliability by continuing this rehearsal of fres from a map board/terrain model
rehearsal to a technical rehearsal that not only validates the gunnery solution for individual
targets, but exercises communications linkages between sensor and shooter and clarifes tactical
and technical triggers.
Additionally, how we conduct our rehearsals needs to improve. Some units have managed to
schedule and conduct fre support rehearsals, but many of those units accomplished little during
those rehearsals. It starts with emphasis and attendance. Fire supporters must win over our
S-3s. The S-3 is responsible for the integration of all fre support assets into the concept of the
operations based on the fre support offcer/FSCOORDs recommendation. He can best visualize
this at the fre support rehearsal. At the NTC, most units are content with the fres rehearsal being
a fres community event, evidence we do not currently have the mindset as an Army to properly
integrate and synchronize fres. It does not end with S-3s. Due to decentralized control of fre
supporters, entire task forces often go unrepresented. Further, units struggle to get the brigade
aviation offcer (BAO) and air liaison offcer (ALO) to participate. For those who do participate,
the rehearsal usually becomes more of a backbrief on a terrain model than a rehearsal. Briefers
walk on and off the terrain model to speak their piece, robbing participants of the opportunity to
visualize their actions in space and in the context of adjacent units. We very rarely see friction
injected into rehearsals; consequently, the frst time fre supporters work through a problem is
during execution. The rehearsal is simply another example of a fundamental we need to master
immediately if we are going to achieve the required individual and unit agility to integrate and
synchronize fres into decisive actions of CAM and WAS.
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Artful blending of lessons learned to achieve agility will require bringing forward lessons
learned from recent COIN operations that may be diffcult to sustain. As examples, we simply
mention two: the integration of joint fres and the sensitivity to collateral damage. First, we
know that the Army will not fght alone in the future. It will be a joint environment, and we
must retain the skills that we have refned over the last 10 years in leveraging the capabilities
of joint platforms. The training and qualifcation of joint forward observers (JFOs) is costly
and intensive; the exponential payoff in increased capability make it worth the investment,
though. Second, any adversary that we may face in the future will leverage complex urban
terrain and intermingled civilian populations to limit our ability to maneuver and apply fres.
We need to sustain the sensitivity and techniques of collateral damage estimates to minimize
the negative consequences of exploitable collateral damage. Through 10 years of operations in
a restrictive fres environment with the attendant hypersensitivity to collateral damage, weve
become profcient in collateral damage analysis in our fre support elements. Simultaneously,
weve developed operating procedures for disseminating the potential risk of collateral damage
to maneuver commanders who make informed decisions about the risk and reward of attacking
targets with various methods of fres. This is hard work. But as weve learned, an agile enemy
will use any mistakes we make in this arena to create exponentially devastating effects against us
in the information domain. It would be a shame to walk away from this hard-earned competency
thinking that we wont need it again.
Pr ior ity 2: Build agile for mations
Pervasive agility will demand versatile and fexible fres organizations that can not only execute
fres in support of both core competencies, but also the assorted skills that we have accrued over
10 years of WAS operations. Agile fres organizations must execute core competencies at both
ends of the spectrum and transition between centralized and decentralized operations, grounded
in the broad base of tactical fundamentals and avoiding the trap of specialization.
Build agile for mations prepared to execute core competencies and pr ior itized non-
tr aditional tasks
As leaders visualize the extremes of both core competencies to build agile formations, we should
establish priorities to avoid overloading ourselves with essential tasks and risk paralyzing
ourselves. Focus on the fundamentals; look for the commonalities across the spectrum of
confict, both delivering and integrating fres in support of the extremes of CAM to WAS.
According to the Army Operating Concept, both CAM and WAS will possess elements of
offensive operations, defensive operations, and stability and support operations. Furthermore, the
Operating Concept explains that both CAM and WAS both possess similar core elements such
as combined arms competency, effective reconnaissance and security operations, and the need
to seize and retain the initiative.
Fires are instrumental in the successful prosecution of all of
these operations. Fires organizations should strive to rebuild their core competencies of shoot,
move, and communicate. However, we cannot simply turn back the clock to recapture our core
competencies. Recognizing that decisive action will require the agility to move between the two
extremes, leaders within the BCT will need to prioritize the training of nontraditional skills.
Looking for the commonalities of fundamentals needed in CAM and WAS and for a priority
of COIN lessons learned to maintain, we recommend the following: For all artillerymen, links
between the intelligence warfghting function and fres will remain paramount for targeting in
all environments; counter-improvised explosive device (IED) skills must be retained; rules of
engagement and escalation of force training; partnership, with both host nation forces and allies
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(NATO); and every Soldier will remain a sensor and ambassador. For fring units, the ability
to conduct dismounted patrolling in urban environments should be maintained in anticipation
of economy of forces missions during WAS operations and negotiation skills will be needed
to accentuate those patrols. Fire supporters can assume they will be the default choice to run
company intelligence support teams (COIST) if operating in a less lethal environment and
therefore should maintain an understanding of information operations and personality targeting.
Build agile modular for mations to facilitate decentr alized oper ations and r apid tr ansitions
In decisive action, we must be prepared to execute rapid transitions between CAM and WAS.
Pervasive agility will demand that we have fexible and standardized modular formations that
are prepared to rapidly adjust their task organization to support more centralized CAM and more
decentralized WAS, and every possible permutation in between the two extremes. The principle
of standardization underpins modularity: in theory, a standardized and self-suffcient modular
BCT can plug and play into any task organization. The same principle leads us to recommend
that fres leaders develop agile modular formations that facilitate the rapid adaptability of
frequent task organization changes. We need leaders and organizations capable of conducting
myriad scalable operations. For example, a fully capable platoon fre direction center should
be capable of controlling and massing simultaneous fre missions encompassing echelons from
platoon to battalion, as well as sustaining their ability to conduct a dismounted patrol to provide
security for a key leader engagement.
Avoid creating specialized units that limit fexibility
We should strive to avoid the trap of creating functionally specialized units that limit the
fexibility and operational adaptability of fres organizations. For a fring battalion, there will be
a tendency to create fring pure batteries and platoons and maneuver pure batteries (companies)
and platoons, enabling leaders and Soldiers to focus on a limited set of tasks and to train to
achieve a deeper and more comprehensive expertise. Unfortunately, this specialization limits the
overall fexibility and agility of the fres warfghting function. Agility will require us to retain
fexibility by retaining multifunctional units units that can serve as fring elements and/or
as maneuver elements and headquarters. For fre supporters, we need to remember that we best
contribute to our supported maneuver units success in decisive action by giving them fully
functional fres. We need to be grounded in the fundamentals of fre support. We must contribute
by providing the nonstandard tasks that we have accrued over the last 10 years. However, we
need to develop a backup plan, a bench that is prepared to perform those tasks so that we can
ensure the fres function is serviced frst and always.
As an example, many BCTs routinely employ their company fre support teams (FISTs) as the
COISTs during WAS operations. Pervasive agility, however, should drive unit leaders to develop
a transition plan for their fre supporters to hand off this responsibility in the event of a CAM
operation that requires observed and synchronized fres. The same battle handover plan applies
to fre supporters at all echelons. Pervasive agility must prevent us from assuming non-standard
roles and combat tasks that we cannot hand off. This is easier said than done. We have yet to
defne as an Army how we identify triggers at all echelons to transition between CAM and WAS
or what is the lowest level we should rightfully expect a unit to be capable of executing CAM
and WAS simultaneously. Regardless, observations from the NTC absolutely enforce the view
that our fre supporters must be able to escape COISTs to provide timely and accurate fres in
support of all operations.
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Pr ior ity 3: Establish and Enforce Agile Standing Oper ating Procedures and
Our fnal recommendation to fres leaders is the establishment and enforcement of standards
and SOPs that support agility. We establish the foundations of our combat readiness in training.
We must train as we plan to fght, and we must create standards that will enhance our agility to
operate effectively in both core competencies and at any point in between. Our recommendation
here is twofold: First, we recommend that leaders focus on developing standards that support
operations at both end of the spectrum and the transition between the extremes, and second,
establish standards that enhance agile mission command the transition from centralized
to decentralized mission command. We charge all FSCOORDs as a part of the responsibility
outlined in FM 3-09 to facilitate establishing standard operating procedures across the brigade
(to save time and ensure a single standard), to demand ownership of this task within their BCTs,
and own the function.
Agile SOPs
Pervasive agility demands units that are prepared to execute both core competencies; fres leaders
should strive to establish SOPs that are agile enough to support both ends and the transition
between the two extremes. At the NTC, the key difference that separated units that struggle from
units that were well prepared to execute their combat tasks is the establishment, dissemination,
and deep understanding of standards within the organization. Due to anomalies in the Army
Force Generation (ARFORGEN) process, some units arrive at the NTC for mission readiness
exercises more seasoned and mature than others, with multiple combat rotations, stability in
key positions, and on a fairly predictable deployment and dwell time ratio. Other units arrive at
the NTC newly formed with sparse organizational continuity. While all units depart prepared
to execute their combat mission, the units that beneft the most from the intensive collective
experience at the NTC are the units that arrive with the more complete set of understood SOPs.
They are able to use the training event to refne their SOPs and more deeply ingrain those
standards into the DNA of their unit. Units that are developing their SOPs and learning them
while at the NTC depart for combat with fewer repetitions of what right looks like and a
shallower dissemination of the standard across their formation. Blending the lessons learned
from the past 10 years should lead us to establish standards and SOPs that will prepare us for any
environment, any threat, any mission. Most units observed possess SOPs that are either largely
maneuver-centric SOPs developed from previous combat rotations or purely fres-centric
SOPs vestiges from pre-OIF/OEF days culled from the depths of a database buried in the
battalion S-3 shop. Pervasive agility will require the blending of these two documents.
Our recommendation to fres leaders is to focus on the platoon as the centerpiece of battalion
operations and establish rock-solid standards for task organization and operations. Common
standards will reduce friction and allow dynamic task organization changes, allowing platoons
to operate under the battalion or battery direction for massed fres under the centralized control
of CAM, and also reduce friction as we starburst out platoons to support individual task
forces or smaller units in support of WAS. Focus on platoon standards that support both core
competencies. As an example, establish clearly understood standards for every step in the troop
leading procedures operation orders, rehearsals, and precombat checks, and then ruthlessly
enforce them to ensure deep understanding down to the Soldier level. Troop leading procedures
should be the foundation of our operations, whether as a fring platoon supporting CAM or
as a platoon operating in a fring/maneuver capacity as a part of decentralized, task-organized
dispersed WAS operations.
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Agile mission command
The mission command warfghting function, since it underpins all other warfghting functions, is
probably most impacted by the requirements of pervasive agility. As we blend lessons learned,
we must pay attention to the requirements of mission command as we develop an ability to
seamlessly transition between the two extremes and the combinations in between. CAM requires
a more centralized and mobile mission command. Over the last 10 years of WAS operations,
we have refned and established mature mission command systems over dispersed operating
bases that provide real time situational awareness over a blended array of automated systems
Command Post of the Future (CPOF), Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below
(FBCB2), elements of the Army Battle Command System (ABCS) to include the Advanced Field
Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS) with other nonstandard systems to include chat
functions (MircChat and others), intelligence systems (TIGR net and CIDNE), and mapping
tools (Falconview and C2PC). The challenge as we move to centralized mission command and
then transition to decentralized control will be identifying when and how to use these systems.
During CAM operations it is highly unlikely more mobile (subordinate) units will have the
communication infrastructure to use elements of the upper tactical Internet (CPOF, CIDNE,
TIGR, etc.). Therefore, developing and managing the mission command structure will be a
vital task that will demand leader involvement. Additionally, as we transition to more static
operations, bandwidth limitations will still demand prioritization. The communicate of shoot,
move, and communicate is much more technically challenging now. Based on observations from
the NTC, units will have a hard time re-establishing mastery of FM communications, especially
as part of a distributed network that will encompass CAM and ongoing WAS counterfre radar
networks. This is a technical problem, and leaders will need to dig in and get their hands dirty as
we grapple with the problems of communicating complex data sets in real time across dispersed
forces in support of decentralized operations.
Fires leaders should establish standard mission command procedures that facilitate both
core competencies. Flexible battle rhythm with nested reporting is one example. With the
decentralized operations of WAS, BCTs and fres battalions were not engaged with maintaining
situational understanding of the fres warfghting function, and they consequently did not
maintain an accurate common operational picture or running estimate of fres assets
ammunition availability, metro dissemination, Class V distribution, ammunition lots, precision
munition availability or fres assets maintenance issues howitzers, mortars, observation
platforms (LRFs, BFISTs). Establishing standard reports specifcally addressing fres assets and
readiness from subordinate units nested into the BCT battle rhythm will address this problem.
Pervasive agility and the dynamic transitions from WAS to CAM will require accurate running
Finally, BCTs need to practice the transition from WAS to CAM and back again, repeatedly,
and capturing lessons learned, not only for the fres warfghting function, but for all of the
warfghting functions.
Conclusion: Per vasive Agility Owning the Function to Prevent, Shape, and Win
The U.S. Army stands at a historic crossroads, a strategic transition with profound implications
for the future of our nation. Weve been in similar situations before; and unfortunately, weve
botched this transition before.
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Given the uncertainty of the situation, our national leaders have provided us with a valid
roadmap based on a logical premise that we will need to be agile and adaptable. Operational
adaptability and pervasive agility are good ideas that will prevent us from botching this transition
again. We cannot simply turn back the clock to the training environment of 2000 and wish away
the threats of the contemporary environment.
The future will require an Army capable of decisive action, fres forces that are capable of
applying a combination of stability and defeat mechanisms across a spectrum of confict that
encompasses CAM and WAS. More importantly, we must be agile and adaptable enough to
be capable of one type of combat, or the other, and more likely, both simultaneously. This
environment will require what General Dempsey has called pervasive agility, a more agile
fexibility and versatility that must permeate the entire organization. This pervasive agility not
only provides the roadmap for the future, but it effectively captures the lessons learned from the
last 10 years of war with our institutional memory of combined arms operations.
Now the hard work begins.
1. GEN Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Foreword in The Army Capstone Concept,
Operational Adaptability: Operating Under Conditions of Uncertainty and Complexity in an Era of Persistent
Confict, 2016-2028, TRADOC PAM 525-3-0 (Fort Monroe, VA: Training and Doctrine Command, December 21,
2009), we.
2. President of the United States Barack Obama, Preface to Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st
Century Defense (Washington DC: Department of Defense, 3 January 2012) 1.
3. U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Foreword to the Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st
Century Defense (Washington DC: Department of Defense, 3 January 2012) 3.
4. U.S. Department of the Army, ADP 3-0, Unifed Land Operations (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the
Army, October 2011) 6; and U.S. Department of the Army, TRADOC PAM 525-3-1, The Army Operating Concept
(Fort Monroe, VA: Training and Doctrine Command, 19 August 2010), 11.
5. GEN Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Win, Learn, Focus, Adapt, Win Again,
Army Magazine, March 2011, 25.
6. BG Thomas S. Vandal, Commandant of the Field Artillery School, Growing a New Field Artillery, Fires
Journal, SeptemberOctober 2011, 4.
7. Ibid., Army Operating Concept, 27.
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Br igade Combat Team and Below Digital Mission Command:
The Next IV Line
MAJ Er nest Tor nabell IV
Mission command requires commanders to have authority over or access to all resources
required to accomplish the mission. Accordingly, commanders organize resources as well as
forces when making organizational decisions. Organization of [mission command] should
aim to create unity of command, reasonable spans of control, cohesive mission teams, and
effective information distribution.
Field Manual (FM) 6.0, Mission Command: Command and Control of Army Forces, 5-96
through 5-97
[Mission Command] continuity has two requirements: The frst is to have a properly
designated commander available to command. The second is to organize the [MC] system so
the commander can exercise that authority continuously. Continuity depends on the location
and echelonment of alternate and redundant facilities, on managing time for transitions, and
on mitigating the effects of sleep deprivation. Commanders train their units to maintain [MC]
continuity during fast-paced operations. This training addresses succession of command,
transfer of control among facilities, continuous operations, and transitions between different
types of operations.
FM 6.0, 5-117
The brigade combat team (BCT) receives a mission to expand its area of operations
(AO) to the northwest to include a insurgent controlled area called Manj Whola. The
BCT commander decides to move a tactical command post (TAC) forward from the BCT
forward operating base (FOB) to a task force (TF) FOB closest to the expanded part
of the BCTs AO to synchronize and control select aspects of the operation that will
facilitate initiating offensive operations against the insurgents in Manj Whola. The TAC
composition in personnel and equipment is not defned in the units standing operating
procedures (SOP). The noncommissioned offcer in charge (NCOIC) of the TAC does
not have a precombat check (PCC)/precombat inspection (PCI) checklist to ensure
that the TAC will jump to its new location and be ready to set up and assume mission
command of the operation. The BCT rehearsals do not address mission command for the
operation. Who processes calls for fre? Counter-fre? Clears the ground and airspace to
enable lethal fres? Manages reconnaissance and surveillance platforms? Confrms the
situational template (SITTEMP)? Manages the decision support tools so we can see the
terrain, see ourselves, and see the enemy in execution. . . ?
The day before offensive operations begin, the TAC moves to its new location and sets up.
The morning of the operation, the BCT commander with selected staff arrive at the TAC.
What do you think awaits them when they show up ready to start the operation? Basic
tools and processes are not in place almost 12 hours after initial occupation. In reality,
the BCT TAC personnel moved into the battalion TF TOC located on the FOB and took
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over the TF common operational picture as well as most of the available communications
equipment. We degraded our capabilities at both the BCT and battalion TF level to
execute mission command in support of this operation.
Experiences like the vignette above from a National Training Center (NTC) mission readiness
exercise (MRE) are not uncommon at our combat training centers (CTCs). They are reminders
that we must continue to re-blue atrophied skills in mission command, echeloned mission
command, and mission command on the move. In some respects, our skills to execute mission
command of complex combat operations with our existing tactical operations center (TOC), TAC
and command group equipment have degraded in the years following the U.S. militarys march
to Baghdad in 2003. As evidenced in both the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters of operation as well
as recent CTC rotations, BCTs are accustomed to effectively executing mission command of
low-to-medium-tempo operations from fxed-site locations with uninterrupted access to digital
As the force prepares for simultaneous combined arms maneuver (CAM) and wide area security
(WAS) operations in austere environments against mobile, adaptive hybrid threats, BCTs will
increasingly struggle with maintaining seamless C4I (data/voice/streaming video) capabilities
across a potentially large AO. Operational reach is, at times, artifcially constrained due to
temporary reductions in digital connectivity while subordinate units maneuver over restrictive
terrain and mission command nodes reposition to ensure force protection. As a result, BCTs must
retain the capacity to exercise mobile mission command capabilities to maintain effective and
positive control during the execution of operations. Even today, BCTs must maintain mission
command of lower echelon units on the move while operating collectively with host nation
security forces lacking access to digital capabilities. In both instances, this will at times increase
reliance on analog means to match capabilities and enable combined mission command, and
requires an understanding of what BCTs must do to effectively transition between digital and
analog systems.
This article discusses mission command-related trends observed at the NTC and provides
recommended organizational and training focus areas to assist BCTs with their preparation to
conduct mission command in an expeditionary environment.
Obser vations from NTC Rotations
BCT mission execution capabilities in the challenging and complex NTC environment are
routinely limited due to a lack of developed planning and execution tools such as SITTEMPS,
staff running estimates, intelligence collection matrices, graphic control measures and fre
support coordination measures, synchronization and execution matrices, decision support
templates and matrices, SOPs, and reporting procedures. With the recent trend in training and
during deployment of operating from fxed-site locations, commanders are still very capable
of executing mission command in the absence of these products due to increased situational
awareness and understanding provided by digital means coupled with recurring battlefeld
circulation in a known AO. However, these tools take on a more valued role when mission
command is degraded due to repositioning of nodes, a reduction in digital network access occurs,
and mission requirements change with expanding areas of operation. These valuable tools
require production in both digital and analog form to enable portability and use during periods of
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Figure 2-1. Example analog mission command execution tools
Staff running estimates are a start for BCT and battalion TF staffs to enter the mission analysis
step of the military decisionmaking process (MDMP). Most staffs coming to the NTC struggle
to see themselves and often come to the table during the planning process with the inability to
understand new mission requirements in relation to framework operations. As a result, the
requirement to adjust the network or adopt a mix of analog and digital tools is not understood by
the staff. A staffs lack of rigor in course of action (COA) development and the subsequent COA
analysis, compounded with the lack of a rehearsal that addresses mission command challenges,
can easily undermine mission execution for commanders at echelon.
To complicate the already complex problem staffs face in a CTC scenario, BCT S-6s routinely
possess little understanding of how to produce a concept of signal support, to include
requisite electronic preparation of the battlefeld (EPB). Many BCT staffs possess only a basic
understanding of how and what to produce to provide the commander with an understanding
on how the headquarters will enable mission command during various operations. They are
ill-prepared to provide recommendations concerning mission command node employment;
primary, alternate, contingency, and emergency (PACE) plans; and transitions. Concepts of signal
support often lack a clear explanation of the mission, graphics, concept of the operation from
a mission command perspective, task and purpose to subordinate units, properly nested PACE
plans, locations of command groups/mission command nodes (TOC/TAC/command group), and
frequencies/networks to be used for a specifc operation all critical components to enable
effective static or mobile mission command.
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Figure 2-2. Example BCT staff r unning estimate tools
Figure 2-3. Example BCT signal concept of suppor t for an NTC mission
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The NTCs recent decisive action training environment (DATE) rehearsal (Rotation 12-05) in
March 2012 illustrated the challenges associated with our recent reliance on fxed-site locations
to conduct mission command for operations over the past several years. BCT- and TF-level
TOCs repositioned frequently throughout the BCTs rotation so that command posts could be in
position to enable commanders. Moreover, BCT- and TF-level TACs were employed in support
of multiple CAM and WAS missions some TACs operating away from the main command
post for multiple days and not in an assembly area or on a FOB. Static digital mission command
systems have been great enablers to commanders; however, they have contributed to a skill-set
atrophy in our ability to conduct mission command on the move and jump command posts (TOC/
TAC) as our units expand and contract AOs or conduct survivability moves based on enemy
threat capabilities. This perishable art of repositioning our command posts remains crucial to our
capacity to conduct expeditionary mission command at echelon. Additional challenges revolve
around developing and maintaining situational awareness while transitioning between analog and
digital systems at different echelons. These transitions must be planned and wargamed as part of
our mission preparation.
During Rotation 12-05, units re-blued key command post skills such as transferring critical
information tracked on maps and handwritten logs to digital systems. Conversely, units had to
overcome the challenge of translating digital content received from higher headquarters to maps
and handwritten orders. Everyone (observer-controller/trainers [OC/Ts] and the rotational unit)
quickly learned that these processes require practice with both analog and digital systems at
the BCT and TF level, necessitating focused training, comprehensive SOPs, and a certifcation
process. Thus, when a PACE plan is developed for a specifc mission, the SOP is in place for the
leadership to manage information effectively with their communication platforms. Routine tasks
became complicated tasks when the plans did not include what traffc should be sent, to whom,
and on which net. We quickly learned that our SOPs should establish report formats, reporting
times, and FM voice brevity codes to keep nets manageable. Moreover, all of these must be
rehearsed at battalion TF and BCT levels. Additionally, requisite nets must be retransmitted if
they are to be used to ensure units can communicate across the breadth and depth of the OE.
The BCTs limited retransmission (RTX) capability had to be expanded, so we developed
nonstandard RTX capabilities within our formations down to the troop, company, and battery
levels. With the BCTs off of FOBs and conducting mission command on the move and in an
expeditionary manner during Rotation 12-05, everyone confrmed what we knew going into the
rotation that we must establish and practice TOC, TAC, and command group architecture,
organization, and employment.
Recommendations for Or ganizing for Mission Command
Command posts at echelon serve as the units mission command hub, assisting the command
team in synchronizing current and future operations. The main command post (TOC) is where
the majority of planning occurs, as well as monitoring key events taking place in a commanders
AO. TOC personnel must have increased situational awareness and understanding for ongoing
missions to properly support units at echelon. Additionally, staffs must deliberately plan and
track times when the TOC will jump to avoid scheduling major planning efforts at the same
time when digital tools are not available. The TOC must operate effciently and effectively in
a time-constrained environment with everyone prepared to execute a multitude of tasks either
simultaneously or sequentially.
The BCT TOC has transformed from high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs),
M577 tracked vehicles, and other variants backed up to small boot-walled tents with analog
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maps, graphic overlays on acetate, and radios for conducting mission command to a complex
blend of components that includes physical structure, infrastructure, information systems,
visual displays, and combat net radios. The amount of digital mission command systems, full-
motion video capabilities, teleconference suites and enablers have exponentially grown over
time, providing a commander with near-real-time situational awareness that some have argued
has turned into information systems overload. Our BCT TOCs of today rival a division TOC of
yesterday, tethered to a building of opportunity or similar structure that is able to house all of our
digital mission command systems. Unfortunately, as we move away from FOB-centric command
posts and go forward to the moveable command posts and mobile command group variations,
we will beneft from harvesting many of the attributes of how we previously functioned at BCT,
battalion, and company level.
Mission command on the move is only as good as where a commander positions himself,
coupled with the systems a commander has at his disposal. Depending on the type of BCT it can
usually be FM, FBCB2, and SC TACSAT, along with the analog tools required to control a fght.
The systems can provide a commander with initial situational awareness and understanding of
the formation at echelon. Limitations on digital systems in a commanders HMMWV, tracked
vehicle, or Stryker while conducting mission command on the move must be understood and are
reliant on the BCTs ability to provide network capability. At present, an IBCT or HBCT might
be vastly different in its capabilities relative to a SBCT, whose EPLRS-ES backbone can provide
reticent digital connectivity while stationary or on the move.
A key aspect that must be understood is the commanders digital mission command intent. From
this understanding, both the BCT S-3 and S-6 will need to develop a plan of action that will
provide near seamless communication as command posts reposition across the area of operations.
A comprehensive tactical operations center standing operating procedure (TOCSOP) must be
produced identifying the main command post, TAC, and command group makeup, personnel,
equipment, and functionality for all. Some concepts that must be understood are the requirements
and capabilities for operating all command posts simultaneously as they stress the current
manning levels within an organization. With proper confguration, we can maintain all digital
services (excluding the SharePoint Portal based on current confguration) when one node
displaces. A major consideration is the over reliance on feld service representative (FSR) support
during static and displacement operations. Some units are accustomed to operating with upwards
of 50 contractors/FSRs across the formation. We all must consider if we are to conduct the next
deployment with reduced reliance on our FSRs.
A review of a brigade command post structures indicates some challenges lay ahead. Especially
when it comes to who owns what part of what fght. OC/Ts have observed a lack of clarity over
roles and responsibilities between BCT-level mission command nodes that consistently leads
to confusion over who controls what assets/enablers between BCT and TF staffs. Figure 2-4
describes a simple template for mission command on the move and what system/services can be
expected at echelon.
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Figure 2-4. Example BCT template for BCT-level mission command nodes
Figure 2-5. Example BCT mission command node systems capability diagr am
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The main command post (TOC) is the node that contains the most digital mission command
capability, where the majority of planning, analysis, and coordination occur through use of voice,
video, and data services. A brigade TOC is felded with two Joint Network Node (JNN) and two
command post platforms (CCPs) CPP1 and CPP2 with two trailer-mounted 2.4-meter
satellite dishes and four transit cases (data stacks) for TOC, TAC, and disaster recovery. The
larger in size a TOC is makes it less mobile than the TAC for obvious reasons. When determining
the size and scope of a TOC, functionality must be taken into consideration:
Synchronizing all aspects of decisive, shaping, and sustaining operations.
Monitoring the current fght.
Coordinating fres and effects.
Planning for future operations.
Monitoring and anticipating commanders decision points and commanders critical
information requirements (CCIR).
Coordinating with higher headquarters, adjacent, or lateral units and informing them of
ongoing missions.
Supporting the commanders situational understanding through information
Planning, monitoring, and integrating airspace users.
Developing and implementing safety and occupational health; risk management; and
accident prevention requirements, policies, and measures.
Put another way, main command posts or TOCs should be manned, equipped, and trained to
execute six functions through development and maintenance of a number of systems, procedures
and products (see Figure 2-6).
The primary focus of the TAC is to assist the commander with mission command of current
operations through synchronization of maneuver, fres, surveillance, and reconnaissance. It might
also include a limited sustainment coordination capacity. When determining the size and scope of
a TAC, functionality must also be taken into consideration:
Controlling current operations.
Providing information to the common operational picture (COP).
Assessing the progress of operations.
Assessing the progress of higher and adjacent units.
Performing short-range planning.
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Providing input to targeting and future operations planning.
Providing a facility for the commander to control operations, issue orders, and conduct
Figure 2-6. TOC functions with example defnitions
The TAC is typically smaller in footprint but an equally capable operations center that is
designed to control portions of an operation for a limited time based on commanders guidance.
It is commander and mission dependent on when the TAC is to take over the fght, but the
concept must be carefully considered so there are no misunderstandings of when that time is
dictated. Moreover, if the TOC is to displace from its location, the TAC must be capable of
temporarily taking full control of all operations using most, if not all, of the digital mission
command systems (minus the brigade portal) that are held at the TOC. Typically, the signal
package associated with a TAC is the second set of JNN/CPP systems and the TAC data stacks
providing wide area network connectivity and minimal enterprise network services.
As a guide, the TAC must be fully mobile (minimizing its digital footprint); however,
functionality must mirror those considerations listed above. The makeup of the TAC should be
fully understood and mapped out during home station training so that personnel and equipment
can be carefully aligned with requirements to provide the functionality required. Until Warfghter
Infomation Network-Tactical (WIN-T) increment 2 has been felded, the TAC is limited to
upper tactical Internet-related mission command at the halt, meaning digital mission command
platforms are typically used once the TAC is established at full operational capability (FOC).
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Figure 2-7. Example BCT key roles for TOC and TAC command posts
The command group platform or platforms enable crucial functions for mission command.
Without truly integrated and digitally enabled vehicles, the command group relies primarily on
FM, SC TACSAT, FBCB2-EPLRS or FBCB2-BFT each command group can be tailored
to the systems particular to an organizations modifed table of organization and equipment.
Proper loading of graphics, overlays, and other tools that can/will be used in a command group
formation must be taken into consideration. Proper PCCs/PCIs must be conducted prior to the
command group departure so the leadership is able to maintain situational awareness as they
move across the AO. Failure to provide the command group with digital (lower tactical Internet)
and analog mission command capabilities will only undermine the complexity of combined
mission command with a host nation security forces commander and his key staff.
Figure 2-8 describes which services/systems are available for the TOC command post, TAC, and
command group.
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* Depicts pulling services from the TOC data stacks or division services
Figure 2-8
Battalion-level TOCs and TACs must be capable of providing both analog and digital platforms
based on the current digitization of systems supporting operations/mission command, effects,
and intelligence. Battalion TOCs today have organic command post nodes that are felded with
a support vehicle, a trailer-mounted 2.4 meter satellite dish, and two transit cases (data stacks)
that support their wide area network needs connecting them into the brigade TOC for enterprise
network services Exchange, Portal, TIGR, Ventrilo, etc. These sophisticated TOC structures
are typically for mission command at the halt but also have the ability to jump to new locations
as a unit employs subordinate company, troop, and battery formations across the AO to control
the execution of an operation.
A typical organic troop-, company-, and battery-level command post does not have any organic
digital mission command capabilities. However, depending on the theater of operations, digital
infrastructure can be issued upon arrival as theater provided equipment or during reliefs-in-
place. Select company-level organizations under transformation are sometimes equipped with
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limited digital mission command capabilities in the form of a Securer Internet Protocol Router
(SIPR) point of presence SIPR/Nonsecure Internet Protocol Router (NIPR) Access Point
(SNAP) or Traffc Terminal (TT) depending on potential digital capability or new equipment
felding cycles. These systems are not made to be on the move and have likely been designed
to support company intelligence support teams (COISTs). Where this equipment goes in a troop,
company, and battery load plan when there is limited organic lift is another concern. Company-
level mission command in a fuid, expeditionary environment will most likely evolve to a mix of
analog tools, FBCB2 systems, and FM (potentially SC-TACSAT or high frequency capabilities).
The broader training of our COIST personnel to become valued members of our troop, company,
and battery command posts will be part of the next set of challenges facing commanders at
this level (i.e., training the command post personnel to conduct intelligence preparation of the
battlefeld, battle tracking and reporting, etc.).
All command post Soldiers must be prepared to use their provided digital systems and be
familiar with the systems capabilities in providing situational awareness and understanding both
horizontally and vertically. Figure 2-9 depicts potential organic mission command capabilities of
a company/troop/battery for initial operational capability (IOC) and FOC and accessible services
when a command post is provided digital mission command systems.
Recommendations for Tr aining for Mission Command
BCTs begin the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) cycle with the reset phase. Based on
simultaneous reset of personnel and equipment, much of the BCTs organizational knowledge
of mission command systems gained through operational deployments is lost during personnel
transition. The Army recognizes the challenges inherent with mission command systems
training and established the Mission Command Center of Excellence, which recently published
a commanders guide on mission command systems training. The guide recommends that
commanders address the ARFORGEN model and the potential for the acceleration of the timing,
information, and prioritization requirements associated with the Forces Command (FORSCOM)
Reset Conference (two to three months prior to redeployment for FORSCOM units); accelerated
acquisition of mission command systems resulting in limited doctrinal, tactical, or procedural
guidance; and potential connectivity issues between echelons when designing mission command
system training plans.
The mission command training strategy (MCTS) methodology consists of four phases:
Establish skills.
Integrate skills.
Sustain skills.
Delta (currency) training.
Whenever possible, the brigade matches each ARFORGEN cycle with each phase of the MCTS.
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* Depicts pulling services from battalion or brigade organic services
Figure 2-9
Units must identify and train a suffcient number of operators and supervisors to staff each
digital mission command system 24 hours a-day, and leaders must monitor and track operator
qualifcations to maintain profciency. As personnel transition during the ARFORGEN process,
this training may prove to be an iterative process to ensure all requirements are met. The Mission
Command Systems Training Guide includes the recommendation that leaders and operators
should view each digital command system as a distinct weapon system tied to a critical
system-of-systems. As units progress through the nested ARFORGEN/MCTS process, mission
command training programs should deliberately transition from initial mission command
node establishment through integration training and a culminating exercise such as a full-scale
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Figure 2-10. MCTS tr aining methodology
The way ahead to enable effective mobile mission command may be to look back at some
best practices while applying modern tools/technologies. Training for mission command on
the move communications will require home station staff training and repetitions to achieve
competency to deliberately plan and sequentially relocate or echelon the TOCs, TACs, and
command groups. BCTs will continue to beneft from establishing, operating, maintaining and
repositioning all feld communications architectures and tactical networks in home station feld
training environments to raise the entry-level profciency required for mission command while
operating in austere environments. BCTs will also beneft from stressing FM net management
and discipline, with particular emphasis on atrophied fres, operation and intelligence (O&I),
and administrative and logistics (A&L) nets. BCTs should develop a mission command SOP that
covers every communications platform they own and different nets to manage information.
The SOP should address reporting and monitoring requirements for all communications
platforms, along with PACE plans as they pertain to each echelon of command. Setup and
teardown drills, priorities of work, functionality, roles and responsibilities, and mission command
common services architectures will play an integral role in home station training.
Clearly important is the requirement for digital services their availability when TOC/TACs are
set up and plugged into the Warfghter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) network satellite
systems and an appetite suppressant when these systems are not available based on limitation of
equipment. Observations at the NTC indicate a prolonged timeline for establishment of a BCT
or BN TF TOC sometimes taking as long as 36 hours for a BCT TOC to establish FOC. FOC
TOCs provide commanders mission command in the realm of SIPR and NIPR access over voice
and data, Enterprise Network Services (CPOF, Exchange, SharePoint, and Internet Relay Chat),
while IOC provides FM, high frequency, SC TACSAT, FBCB2, and AFATDS to some extent.
Observations from NTC rotations indicate that IOC can take from 8 to 12 hours depending on
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the competency of the Soldiers, PCC/PCIs conducted on necessary equipment, and the size
and complexity of a BCT or TF TOC layout. Multiple command post set-up rehearsals at home
station will increase profciency and reduce establishment times.
What separates functional TOCs, TACs, and command groups from dysfunctional ones is their
ability to track the battle effectively during the execution phase of operations and support the
commanders ability to make decisions. The recurring problem that units experience involves
identifcation of what relevant information to track. Information display, message handling,
and battle-tracking techniques are inseparable. Units cannot effectively track the battle unless
they can handle basic message traffc and have an effective means of displaying or recording
information, starting with and potentially relying on analog means.
OC/Ts observe BCTs that are very profcient at tracking the battle during preparation and
consolidation/reorganization phases of complex operations as well as in operations that involve
limited objectives or employment of portions of the BCT. However, we become challenged as
the tempo or scale of operations increases and when we are required to expand mission command
outside of framework operations or an established AO. This problem becomes compounded
once digital connectivity is degraded and analog back-up systems are not established.
Adequate training and repetition will posture staffs to overcome these obstacles. Recommended
battle-tracking techniques to train at home station include the following:
Start with a series of classes. Classes should include all Soldiers who normally work in
and around the TOC. Recommended topic areas are:
TOC functions.
TOC battle drills.
Communications systems.
TOCSOP review.
LNO duties.
Battle tracking.
Transition to hands-on training that includes:
Identifying and prioritizing critical information to be tracked (CCIR are
essential to defning and prioritizing relevant information).
Developing a system to track the relevant information determined necessary
to track. This system may include charts, matrices, unit symbols, or a butcher
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Developing a system to track both friendly and enemy units. Successful
techniques include using color-coded cellophane stickers, color-coded thumb
tacks, or color-coded dot-type stickers.
Ensuring all participants understand and use the established systems.
Implement mission command SOPs as possible in garrison or a home station training
environment, and let radio-telephone operators answer phone calls to develop their confdence.
When possible, utilize a TOC shift-change SOP as an agenda for daily/weekly meetings.
Encourage leaders to place more responsibility on junior offcers, noncommissioned offcers,
and Soldiers on a daily basis, and schedule NCOs for the Battle Staff Course. Upon graduation,
stabilize their assignment in a staff position for as long as practicable. Integrate the TOC,
TAC, and command group into unit exercises, to include ranges, gunnery, and company-level
situational exercise lanes. Develop TOC, TAC and command group training lanes that include
displacement drills, actions on contact, movement during operations, battle update and shift
change briefngs, and exercising each node. Finally, integrate the BCTs signal architecture
into as many training exercises as possible so everyone gets put in the feld environment and
As training at home station evolves for units with more dwell time or recognition as a
contingency expeditionary force, BCTs have the opportunity to focus on the basics regarding
the mission command of our formations. When BCTs prepare to train at home station for the
next mission (potentially off of FOBs and off of the fber-optic network), we recommend that
commanders and staffs address the organization and training of our command posts as part of
training plan development. If done so, our Soldiers and staffs can effectively plan, prepare, and
practice to raise the deployment entry-level profciency of command posts, at echelon, to enable
our commanders to execute mission command in an uncertain environment.
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Challenges of a Militar y Intelligence Company in a Decisive Action
Environment: Obser vations from NTC Rotation 12-05
CPT Kr istina L. Stokes
Everything in war is simple, but the simplest thing is diffcult. The diffculties accumulate
and end by producing a kind of friction that is inconceivable unless one has experienced
Carl von Clausewitz
Imagine that you are in command of a military intelligence company (MICO) in a brigade
combat team (BCT) and asked to provide information collection and analytical support to
fght a near-peer conventional enemy coupled with insurgents, guerrillas, and violent criminal
smuggling networks. For the past 10 years, the intelligence community has become experienced
in fghting primarily a counterinsurgency threat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Therefore, the junior
BCT S-2, military intelligence company commander, and platoon leader in most cases have little
to no experience to draw upon when faced with the hybrid threat presented in the decisive action
training environment (DATE).
Due to this inexperience and a new type of threat, the National Training Center (NTC)
intelligence trainers presumed that utilization and employment of military intelligence assets
would also drastically change. However, while tackling the NTCs frst presentation of the
decisive action threat scenario, the challenges a military intelligence company (MICO)
encountered were similar to a counterinsurgency-type environment with planning, preparing, and
executing the basic 10-level tasks most critical to a MICOs success. Observations suggest that
for the MICO to fully integrate its capabilities into a BCT in a DATE, the company commander
must ensure that his unit do the following:
Involves itself in the military decisionmaking process (MDMP) at the BCT level.
Clearly defnes the command and support relationships of its collection enablers to
maneuver staffs and commanders.
Coordinates and integrates organic collection assets with maneuver units.
Provides an understanding of contemporary operational environmental force
(COEFOR) systems capabilities to commanders.
Demonstrates profciency in the use of lower tactical Internet (TI) systems to
disseminate intelligence.
MICO commander involvement in the BCT MDMP
To achieve mission success at the intelligence team leader level, it is essential that the MICO
commander involves himself in parallel planning with the BCT staff. In Field Manual (FM)
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2-19.4, Brigade Combat Team Intelligence Operations, there are several references to the
involvement of the MICO commander in BCT S-2 planning. Paragraph 2-38 states that During
COA [course of action] development, the S-2 and the MI [military intelligence] company work
with other brigade staff elements and the staffs of supporting ISR [intelligence, surveillance,
and reconnaissance] organizations and subordinate battalion S-2s to refne IPB [intelligence
preparation of the battlefeld] products and recommend ISR priorities that support the future
operation. The S-2 plans team ensures that the S-2 operations team and the MI company
elements are kept abreast of planning assumptions and projected requirements. Additionally,
paragraph 7-8 states that the MICO commander assists the BCT S-2 with the development of
the intelligence running estimate and all intelligence products and deliverables needed to support
the brigade orders process. These include but are not limited to the mission analysis briefng,
base OPORD [operation order] input, annex B, and annex L.
All of this involvement in planning also indicates that the MICO commander must be savvy
on the capabilities and limitations of his own company intelligence assets and be capable of
explaining them to BCT and brigade special troops battalion (BSTB) staff made up of various
branches. This was apparent during the decisive action rotation more so than a counterinsurgency
rotation because the MICO commander had to essentially sell his assets for use in the
combined arms maneuver (CAM) fght.
On a recent trip to Fort Huachuca to meet with various instructors, including instructors teaching
the Military Intelligence Captains Career Course, it was identifed that the course does not
address the roles and responsibilities of a MICO commander or the capabilities and employment
of MI company assets. With this gap in institutional training, it stands that MICO commanders
and BCT S-2s must conduct their own research and take an active role in understanding their
BCT intelligence asset capabilities.
Furthermore, the MICO commander must report to the BSTB commander and keep him/her
abreast of any change to task organization, system status, or mission planning. This at times is
diffcult for the commander, as essentially he has two reporting chains. With clear knowledge
of troop-to-task and linkup requirements published in the BCT orders process, both the MICO
commander and the BSTB leadership could lean forward to facilitate movement and sustainment
requirements which changed over time. The MICO commander gained advanced notice of
mission requirements by his role in the BCT MDMP and did not need to wait for directives
published in a BSTB OPORD or fragmentary order (FRAGO). The inclusion of the tasks to the
BSTB within the BCT order and then to the MICO within the BSTB order provides appropriate
accountability and visibility for sustainment and other requirements by the BSTB leadership and
Command and suppor t relationships
A critical element to include in the OPORD that the MICO commander develops with the BCT
S-2 staff is defning the command and support relationships to each intelligence asset. According
to FM 2-19.4, command and support relationships may require the MICO commander to
conduct logistical and security coordination and planning with other brigade C2 elements.
Part of this coordination is ensuring that the published command and support relationships are
appropriate to ensure logistical support across all classes of supply to MICO detached organic
elements. This often requires the inclusion of logistical caveats that go beyond the standard
command and support relationships. Per doctrine (FM 5-0, The Operations Process), both direct
support (DS) and general support (GS) require the parent unit to provide sustainment. The MICO
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cannot solely support these requirements without requesting outside assistance. Therefore, it is
important to defne logistical needs of intelligence enablers in an OPORD, especially during a
decisive action fght where intelligence assets such as the low-level voice intercept (LLVI) team
can be forward for several days at a time. Several instances were observed where the maneuver
unit was initially unwilling or unaware of its responsibility to provide specifc logistical support
even though the BCT FRAGO appropriately detailed logistical caveats. By HCT and LLVI team
leaders reaching back to the MICO command group and the MICO commander communication
with the forward maneuver element, the issue was resolved.
Command and support relationships also need to be made clear down to the team leader level.
For example, the unmanned aerial system (UAS) platoon took direction from the BCT S-2 or the
BCT leadership during most of the decisive action fght due to the platoon having intermittent
communications with the maneuver battalions. At times, this also confused the Shadow operators
on whom to take direction from when battalions did fnally re-establish communications with the
operators. HCT and LLVI teams did not understand who to leverage for support their MICO
headquarters or supported maneuver unit. These teams also did not understand the importance
of integrating with the company intelligence support team (COIST) or battalion S-2 to receive
collection focus while in a DS role. It is essential that the MICO commander and frst sergeant
explain these relationships through their own company-level MDMP and orders production to
their subordinate team leaders, as these team leaders operate decentralized from their organic
parent headquarters.
As a result of planning, the MICO commander working with the BCT S-2 staff offcers tasked
one HCT as DS to augment civil affairs missions in the wide area security (WAS) fght by
assisting in collecting town atmospherics and spotting and assessing for potential sources. In
addition, another HCT was GS as a dedicated interrogation team and spent its time collocated
with the brigade support area (BSA). Two LLVI teams were DS to the reconnaissance squadron
and, at times, the maneuver unit serving as the main effort. The UAS platoon was operational
control (OPCON) to the BCT and supported each battalion as appropriately tasked by the BCT
collection manager. The ISR platoon making up the brigade intelligence support element (BISE)
analytical section was OPCON to the BCT S-2. It was observed that these various command and
support relationships worked well throughout the rotation.
Prepar ation
Linkups and intelligence enabler coor dination
In a counterinsurgency fght, the linkup of HCTs and LLVI teams is fairly simple since maneuver
elements are operating from a stationary forward operating base (FOB) or combat outpost
(COP). Daily patrols and fights to these areas make for coordination of transportation fairly
routine. HCTs and LLVI teams tend to stay with the same unit for large amounts of time, and
routinely scheduled daily patrols and fights throughout the area of operations (AO) make
transportation coordination easier when retasking the teams. In DATE, all elements, including the
BCT tactical operations center, were jumping forward and at times future locations of forward
maneuver elements were unpredictable. This required the MICO Commander to be very engaged
in movement coordination to effect necessary link-up of his intelligence enablers.
Due to these circumstances, the MICO commanders role in asset management and coordination
became essential to getting intelligence enablers into the fght. The MICO commander actively
sought out combat logistics patrols moving forward or traveling to adjacent maneuver battalion
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tactical assembly areas by coordinating with the BCT S-4 and battalion S-2s to ensure the
transportation of his assets. As a second COA, the MICO commander coordinated with BSTB
elements such as the military police or other battalions personal security detachments as a
method of transportation. This successful coordination also makes it essential that the MICO
commander is networked and possesses rapport with elements outside the BCT S-2 and the
BSTB. In addition, even after one linkup is complete, the MICO commander must have
foresight on the next mission to determine if the employment of his assets is more advantageous
somewhere else. This, again, requires more coordination. Proper linkup of these assets early on
was key, because it gave the HCTs and LLVI teams time to integrate properly with the maneuver
unit. This allowed time to conduct rehearsals with the maneuver unit, obtain common graphics,
understand the ground commanders intent, conduct proper site selection (LLVI), and receive an
update on the enemy situation from the battalion S-2 or COIST.
During execution of operations in the DATE, it was observed that some basic-level skills for the
MI Soldier had atrophied. This included the operation of Single Channel Ground and Airborne
Radio System (SINCGARS) radios to disseminate intelligence and Soldier understanding of
conventional COEFOR weapons systems and their capabilities. PACE planning also proved
important as intelligence enablers did not always have access to upper TI systems due to
elements jumping TOC.
Digital Systems and PACE planning
Upper TI, such as Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A), Command Post of the
Future (CPOF), and Jabber chat, were not a viable option while jumping the BISE as part of the
BCT main relocation. In fact, the main analyst tool, DCGS-A, became obsolete. DCGS-A laptops
served as regular SIPR computers to store data and make PowerPoint products until upper TI was
re-established. The Trojan Spirit is the primary means for the BISE to receive its connectivity;
however, the unit was unable to bring it online due to inoperable communications security
(COMSEC). To avoid this problem, the BCT S-2 and the MICO commander need to coordinate
with the BCT S-6 COMSEC custodian to receive the proper flls prior to a deployment or feld
The UAS platoon talked directly to the BCT S-2 operations section on the TOC foor and the
MICO command post via FM, as they could not rely on Jabber connectivity due to various
elements jumping mission command nodes simultaneously. This resulted in MICO elements in
the BISE, at the Shadow launch and recovery site, and the forward HCT and LLVI teams relying
heavily on lower TI such as FM and Blue Force Tracker (BFT)/Force XXI Battle Command
Brigade and Below (FBCB2) as the primary means of communication. On the lower TI, units
primarily utilized FM operations and intelligence (O&I) nets, MICO command net, and battalion
command nets. They used BFT to send updated enemy situational template (SITEMP) graphics
and locations. Upon arrival to NTC and during the frst days of the rotation, observer-controller/
trainers (OC/Ts) observed a signifcant lack of profciency on basic lower TI 10-level skills.
Several collectors and leadership needed refresher training on radio operation, loading radio
frequencies, and basic troubleshooting procedures.
Instructors at the Fort Huachuca 35F and 35D courses confrm that they do not currently train
basic use of FM and BFT systems. This training is something that is expected to occur upon
arrival to ones unit. Since intelligence dissemination is a critical task, one could argue that this is
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a basic task that needs to be added to the curriculum, if only for a small block of instruction, and
then Soldiers can apply and practice use of these systems in a feld exercise at the schoolhouse.
Additionally, training on FM and BFT needs to also be emphasized for intelligence Soldiers upon
arrival to their units.
Under standing of conventional enemy weapons systems and capabilities
The employment of the Shadow forward during CAM will be a topic that will need to be
observed in further detail during future decisive action rotations. The lawn mower, as some
lovingly call the noise that the Shadow produces, does not allow it to operate with any element
of surprise, nor does it have the capability to defend itself. The Shadows full-motion video
capability was widely utilized by the BCT; however, the Shadow UAS proved to be highly
susceptible to getting shot down multiple times by conventional enemy weapons systems. There
seemed to be an overarching lack of knowledge and appreciation of the conventional enemy air
weapons systems ranges by intelligence offcers and BCT leadership. Examples of these types
of systems are 2S6, SA-18, and SA-6. BCT analysts, in TOC current operations and in the BISE,
need to understand these basic ranges and capabilities as well. Also, the BCT S-2 and UAS
platoon specifcally need to coordinate for enemy SITEMP updates on the air threat from the
aviation task force S-2 if available and provide adequate analysis prior to UAS missions.
An underutilized resource in maintaining situational awareness on enemy disposition in the
DATE was the Common Ground Station (CGS). The geospatial intelligence section recognized
the importance of understanding the key indicators utilized in its discipline to identify enemy
weapons systems. Using this sections CGS products, analysts in the BISE could determine
where the enemys reconnaissance and main elements were located. However, it was not
understood by many analysts what this data meant and how to interpret it for a conventional
Recommendations and Conclusion
While additional decisive action training rotations will aid in corroborating the initial
observations gleaned from Rotation 12-05, there are several points worthy of attention by the
intelligence warfghting function and MICO leaders in particular.
Clausewitz states that simple things are diffcult during war. It was evident that basic
fundamental intelligence Soldier tasks, such as operation of an FM radio to disseminate
intelligence and understanding of the threat models of conventional enemy weapons systems, are
not easy tasks when faced with a more complex enemy.
In a decisive action environment, the importance of the MICO commander actively inserting
himself into the BCT MDMP process, defning command and support relationships, and
coordinating linkups of intelligence assets was demonstrated. MICO commanders need to
consider these points as basic tips to successful operations.
The intelligence school critical task lists and unit training models will need to emphasize
basic-level skills, such as lower TI systems to disseminate intelligence and knowledge of
conventional enemy capabilities. Systems such as DCGS-A did not work well in a decisive
action environment, and Soldiers needed to have a better working knowledge of BFT and FM to
disseminate intelligence.
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If we focus on the basics, the simplest intelligence tasks will not cause as much friction during
operations, and the intelligence community will continue to provide quality analysis and
collection support to enable the BCTs success against the complex threat present in the DATE
and in our likely future battles.
Clausewitz, Carl von, On War, 1832.
FM 2-19.4, Brigade Combat Team Intelligence Operations, 25 November 2008.
FM 5-0, Operations, 26 March 2010.

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Intelligence Suppor t to Combined Ar ms Maneuver
MAJ Michael Childs
On short notice, your brigade combat team (BCT) is deployed for an initial entry operation
to protect the government and populace of Atropia from the aggressor nation to the north,
Donovia. Your enemy is capable, determined, trained, and well equipped. Your company is at the
spearhead of the Atropian defense. Your orders are to partner with host nation forces and engage
in close combat to stop the invading Donovian army. The fght will be unlike any you have
faced before, as you are expected to execute a wide range of missions from combined arms
maneuver (CAM) to establishing wide area security (WAS). To make matters more complex,
your BCT will execute these tasks simultaneously, engaging an organized force of T-80s and
BMP-2Ms one moment and an insurgency sympathetic to the Donovian cause the next.
You have the latest technologies like Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below (FBCB2)
(Blue Force Tracker [BFT] or Enhanced Position Location and Reporting System [EPLRS]-
based systems), the worlds most lethal armored fghting vehicles, and a company level
intelligence support team (COIST) equipped with the latest suite of digital systems capable of
accessing classifed networks via the Secure Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNET). You
can connect anywhere on the battlefeld to pass and receive critical information in real time. As a
leader in this organization, you were chosen to harness our Nations incredible capability in order
to decisively engage the enemy and win.
This sounds like a script for the next Hollywood blockbuster action flm. In fact, this scenario
refects reality for Soldiers who deploy to the National Training Center (NTC), as we prepare our
warriors for future conficts and train our leaders to defeat any type of enemy, from aggressive
nations with organized military capabilities to decentralized extremist threats like Al Qaeda or
Today, many of our Soldiers are experienced veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Our company
formations are organized with the latest equipment, training, and manpower based on the
lessons learned over the last 10 years of combat. Our Army has shown a remarkable ability
to adapt to our enemies in a counterinsurgency environment. We learned the value of pushing
reconnaissance and surveillance assets to the lowest levels. We resourced our companies with
intelligence support teams, sharing information through our SIPRnet, accessible down to the
company level. We trained our leaders to operate in an uncertain and complex environment and
made remarkable progress sharing intelligence from the bottom up, especially as our brigades
accomplished WAS tasks. However, this newfound experience came with a cost, and recent
observations from the NTC revealed that our brigade intelligence warfghting function (IWfF)
does not effectively collect, analyze, and disseminate intelligence when we are engaged in CAM
operations. Moving forward, the brigade IWfF must be prepared to live in both the digital and
analog worlds.
Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Pamphlet (PAM) 525-3-1, The United States
Army Operating Concept 2016-2028, states that our Army must be capable of accomplishing
both CAM and WAS missions simultaneously. However, the way we organize for combat and
pass relevant information differs based on our military objectives and the specifc type of enemy
we face. For example, when facing an organized conventional enemy force, we may employ
collection assets to identify key weapons systems and pass intelligence through our FM or
FBCB2 nets while formations are on the move. However, when facing an insurgent force, we
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may employ collection assets to identify the whereabouts of key enemy personalities and pass
intelligence through our established classifed networks right from our COIST, because we are
stationary and focused on consolidating our gains to ensure freedom of movement and action.

No matter how we pass information, we are charged with the same responsibilities when
conducting both CAM and WAS operations. First, all fve functions of the intelligence process
plan, prepare, collect, process and produce intelligence must be met. Second, we must
constantly analyze, disseminate, and assess information to help commanders at echelon maintain
initiative and exploit success.

Our intelligence process does not change when we transition between CAM and establishment
of WAS. Yet, we must be cognizant of how formations receive and process relevant information
when engaged in CAM operations. Truth be told, our intelligence community is not profcient in
passing information over both analog and digital systems of record. Therefore, it is imperative
that intelligence Soldiers and leaders from the company to the brigade become comfortable
using mission command systems that reside on both the upper and lower tactical Internet (TI).
This means that intelligence Soldiers must be able to operate a wide range of Army systems
from the FM radio and FBCB2 to the upper TI systems such as Command Post of the
Future (CPOF), Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A), and Tactical Ground
Reporting (TIGR) System and tactical chat programs such as Jabber or MIRc. We must
realize that when formations are on the move or in contact, the primary means for receiving and
disseminating intelligence will be on the lower TI over systems like FBCB2 and FM radio. In
addition, intelligence support through the orders process must be applicable to the CAM fght,
and products must translate to both our analog and digital systems. In reality, during CAM,
intelligence Soldiers must be prepared to communicate and support maneuver commanders in
two worlds.
As we plan for operations, the intelligence warfghting function (IWfF) plays a heavy role in
mission analysis. During the military decisionmaking process (MDMP), the brigade staff must
make many assumptions in order for the planning process to continue. When conducting CAM
operations, these assumptions often are focused around enemy capabilities, vulnerabilities,
composition, disposition, and strength. From this, our brigade staff develops a prioritized high-
payoff target list (HPTL) and analyzes in both time and space how the brigade should collect
on the enemy and ultimately defeat or destroy his critical assets. Therefore, by the frst warning
order (WARNO 1) to the subordinate battalions, the brigade collection manager (or chief of
reconnaissance) must employ collection assets to answer these assumptions about the enemy
and continue to drive the planning process. WARNO 1 should be heavy on reconnaissance
and surveillance (R&S) tasks. That being said, intelligence Soldiers must examine the threat
and develop a series of products to drive the planning process. These include the intelligence
estimate, threat order of battle charts, threat templates derived from enemy doctrine, terrain and
weather analysis, named area of interest (NAI) overlay, threat situational template (SITTEMP),
threat event template (EVENTEMP), and collection plan.
Our analysts are very comfortable developing intelligence products in DCGS-A and in
PowerPoint. However, this presents two signifcant issues. The frst issue is that DCGS-A is not
designed as an expeditionary system, meaning that it requires a stationary and stable network
to effectively pull information from databases, analyze this data, and distribute overlays over
the Publish and Subscribe Server (PASS) via our brigades ABCS systems. The second issue
is that PowerPoint (even compressed fles) are too large to send over our lower TI systems
and require subordinate units to access Web portals, an extremely diffcult task while on the
move or in contact with the enemy. Intelligence products are packaged into an operation order
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(OPORD) and may be posted to a Web portal accessible in three clicks or less. When units are
stationary under the optimal mission command architecture, this works great. However, when
formations are postured in temporary tactical assembly areas ready to maneuver at a moments
notice, these PowerPoint products are not practical, nor are they easily accessible as we strive to
rapidly disseminate intelligence across the brigade to the lowest levels possible. In a CAM fght,
this can be very challenging, as companies and in some cases battalions do not have access to
Web portals or classifed networks. These systems usually come on line when maneuver units
consolidate their gains, establish stationary mission command nodes, and transition to WAS.
Figure 4-1. Ar my Battle Command System (ABCS) at echelon
As the brigade moves from the planning process to operations, the IWfF must prepare
commanders with the critical intelligence they need to understand both the terrain and threat.
To accomplish this during CAM, we must maximize systems that are universal at echelon, such
as FBCB2 and FM radio. To accompany these systems, brigades need standardized reporting
formats and defned nets in order to build in effciencies, ensure brevity, and communicate
quickly on the battlefeld. When we examine our communications systems from the company
to the brigade level, FBCB2 and FM radio emerge as our universal systems. Both are ideal
for communicating in a CAM fght. It only seems logical for the IWfF to communicate over
these two critical systems of record as well. As such, the intelligence products from company
to brigade should be passed verbally over FM and graphically over FBCB2. Battalions and
companies that establish their upper TI systems can also use tactical chat programs to pass
written information as well as fles without tying up signifcant bandwidth.
In both the planning and preparation phases of combat operations, brigades beneft from
developing their products and especially their critical decision-making overlays on FBCB2.
For the IWfF, it is crucial to develop an NAI overlay and a SITTEMP/EVENTEMP in FBCB2
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using the shape fle feature inside the system. This can be accomplished in the very early stages
of planning. When these overlays are sent to a prebuilt address book (ideally with company
commanders, battalion commanders, battle captains, and key staff), they become dynamic
decision-making tools, ensuring the brigade fghts from a common set of graphics. In addition,
items such as the HPTL, weather effects, and current intelligence estimate can be drafted as a
free text message and sent to the same distribution list. If the commander chooses, he can insist
that subordinate units acknowledge receipt as a means to guarantee widest dissemination.
In each shape fle or enemy icon, additional information can be added, such as a grid describing
the graphic. In the case of a digital SITTEMP; the analyst building the overlay can write the
task and purpose of the enemy or even describe the enemy course of action (COA) as it pertains
to that particular threat icon. When updates are made and published to the force due to current
battle tracking and reporting from the bottom up, units across the board have the latest and most
accurate snapshot. When these digital overlays are disseminated with the OPORD, subordinate
units are provided a common set of graphics, and they are armed with situational awareness
about the enemy, whether stationary or on the move.
Figure 4-2. FBCB2 SITTEMP
Developing digital overlays in FBCB2 also contributes to bottom-up refnement from the
company level up to the brigade, which is crucial as the brigade transitions to the execution
phase of its operation. When companies make enemy contact, members of the COIST (who
are also drivers, gunners, and fghters) are able to confrm or deny the threat read and provide
bottom-up assessments through their enemy contact reports or follow up debriefs and threat
assessments. Coupled with this digital information sharing, the brigade must operate an
operations and intelligence (O&I) FM net to pass voice data in real time. In 13 rotations from
January 2011 to March 2012, only two brigades established an O&I net, and of those two
brigades, only one used it. That brigade reaped great benefts, successfully providing the entire
formation with a common enemy sight picture. The IWfF Soldiers from the COIST to the
brigade level were able to regularly listen in to an FM broadcast call and share intelligence about
the threat, further contributing to cross-talk and bottom-up refnement.
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Figure 4-3. Digital to analog checklist
As mentioned previously, the IWfF must be prepared to live in two worlds, and when conducting
simultaneous CAM and WAS missions, the brigade headquarters becomes the echelon that
must translate both analog and digital information to the rest of the subordinate units. With this
construct in mind, the brigade S-2 section must establish the right systems to make the brigade
Recent observations during the decisive action training environment (DATE) exercise in
March 2012 revealed that the brigade S-2 must have access to an FBCB2 in the brigades
main command post to stay a step ahead of the threat and pass indicators to maneuver units in
contact. In addition, the brigade S-2 section must have a dedicated FM radio in both the brigade
intelligence support element (BISE) and the S-2 current operations section to make rapid
assessments and disseminate them to the force. When this infrastructure is put into practice,
subordinate units are empowered to receive critical information and push refnements to the
brigade, confrming or denying enemy activity in its operating environment. Because the BCT
supports subordinate units who are using upper and lower TI systems at any given time, the onus
is on the brigade to echo updates from FBCB2 into tactical chat to level the bubbles and achieve
the maximum amount of information sharing possible, especially if one battalion is conducting
CAM missions while another is simultaneously establishing WAS.
Not only does the brigade have to be the echelon that translates analog and digital data, it also
must be the point of consolidation for enemy battle damage assessments during the CAM fght.
The brigade intelligence section has the manpower and systems necessary to assess the effects
that subordinate units are having on the enemy. Therefore, prior to execution, the brigade S-2
must develop and disseminate battle damage assessment or blood charts. The key to developing
a useful chart begins with the brigade wargame during MDMP. The brigade S-2 must take the
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order of battle chart and task-organize the enemy the way they will fght on the battlefeld. In
addition, the enemys strength must be taken into account. When this is complete, the chart can
be built. To build in effciencies, systems should be numbered so that intelligence Soldiers can
make rapid assessments to the commander on how many enemy fghters and key threat assets
Figure 4-4. Enemy blood char t
During execution of CAM, the brigade must be able to confrm or deny its threat SITTEMP
and EVENTEMP. Battalions are given reconnaissance and surveillance tasks to accomplish,
and sometimes they are given organic assets like the Shadow UAS or low-level voice intercept
teams. In addition, the brigade often controls division- and corps-level assets identifying the
threat across the entire depth of the brigades operational environment. When synchronizing the
collection effort, the brigade must help paint the threat picture. This is when the O&I net and
the use of FBCB2 overlays become most crucial to the fght. On the O&I net, the brigade S-2
benefts from giving periodic or scheduled intelligence estimates through a broadcast call to
all subordinate units who tune in. Immediate or fash traffc should also be passed as enemy
indicators are identifed. When these indicators are passed over voice, all stakeholders who are
listening immediately have situational awareness. However, when coupled with a written FBCB2
free text message, the brigade S-2 ensures widest dissemination. This message also provides a
written assessment that can be referenced later by COIST or battalion S-2 sections when sending
up bottom up refned intelligence. As upper TI systems come online, the same message can
be posted concurrently to a common O&I tactical chat room, ultimately serving as a current
intelligence running estimate accessible to every battalion main command post and any adjacent
brigade command post that is monitoring tactical chat nets.
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Figure 4-5. FBCB2 free text intelligence assessment
After the dust settles and battalions begin to consolidate their gains, the brigade can take
advantage of upper TI systems and publish a graphic intelligence summary assessing the post
battle damage assessments and the effects on the threat. Incorporated in this assessment should
be an updated SITEMP. This is also the most ideal opportunity for the brigade S-2 to update the
digital overlays on FBCB2 and publish an updated intelligence summary, which can be done
over FBCB2 free text or FM radio as a broadcast call to all stations on the net. This completes
the intelligence cycle and opens a dialogue with subordinate units who can provide bottom-up
refned information for the next meeting engagement on the battlefeld.
While our intelligence process does not change between CAM and establishment of WAS, the
way we share information does. When intelligence Soldiers are provided the equipment to share
information on both the upper and lower TI, maneuver units in contact are much more informed.
Furthermore, the IWfF, from company to brigade, understands its analysis and reporting
requirements across all communication systems available.
Brigade S-2s must develop intelligence products that can be accessed in tactical fghting
vehicles, and we must be willing to share information over our FM nets.
With these considerations in mind, the brigade IWfF will make a considerable impact to help
drive maneuver operations during the planning, preparation, and execution phases of the CAM
fght. Ultimately, when intelligence Soldiers operate in both the digital and analog worlds,
commanders at echelon are empowered with the critical intelligence they need to engage and
defeat our enemies on any battlefeld.
1. TRADOC Pam 525-3-1, The United States Army Operating Concept 2016-2028, August 2010, Chapter 3, How
the Army Fights.
2. FM 2-0, Intelligence, March 2010, Chapter 1, Intelligence Process.
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Living in Both Wor lds: Building a Mission Command System for Br igade
Combat Teams Executing Decisive Action in an Uncer tain Future
MAJ Rober t M. Summer s Jr.
This article is for U.S. Army commanders and staffs who need their mission command system
to take advantage of the networks and information systems available today to fght and win in
a decisive action training environment (DATE), like the one offered at the National Training
Center (NTC). It addresses the challenges units face when sharing information across the upper
and lower tactical Internet (TI) as well as balancing the roles of digital and analog components
to the common operational picture (COP). Furthermore, it presents a way ahead for the brigade
combat team (BCT) to organize and manage the mission command system to enable effective
mission command.
In recent years BCTs and battalion/squadron task forces (TFs) have predominantly executed
decisive action (DA) by means of wide area security (WAS), with command posts located on
established forward operating bases (FOBs) with reliable access to the upper TI. During that
time the responsibility to transfer information between the upper and lower TI rested primarily
at the TF level, and in many cases at the company, troop, battery levels. Future conficts will
probably be different, and the BCT must identify what capabilities are required by the mission
command system at echelon. Not all TFs will have the same networks and information systems
available or the same mission requirements at the same time. The BCT must manage the fow of
data, information, and knowledge between the upper and lower TI, because not all TFs will have
continuous and reliable connectivity to the upper TI.
Additionally, the BCT must identify the optimal balance of maintaining a COP with primarily
digital components, such as Command Post of the Future (CPOF), and an analog backup or
on-the-move version consisting of items like paper maps with overlays on acetate. This
allows BCTs to beneft from the advantages provided by the Army Battle Command Systems
(ABCS) while retaining the ability to fght on the move and under less-than-ideal conditions that
could degrade or prevent the use of digital systems for a period of time. Trained and profcient
personnel combined with the effective implementation of processes and procedures are critical to
meeting the challenges stated above.
The graphs below depict two things: First, how the networks and information systems
individuals use to communicate change based on contact with the enemy, and second, the degree
to which units rely on digital and analog tools to maintain a COP based on their movement or
contact with the enemy.
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Figure 5-1. Effects of enemy contact on infor mation shar ing and the COP
Capabilities of the Mission Command System at the BCT and Below
BCTs must identify what capabilities the mission command system needs to provide at each
echelon. Commanders cannot exercise mission command without a mission command system
to support decision making. The capabilities of the mission command system are a sum of
contributions from the personnel, networks, information systems, processes and procedures, and
facilities and equipment in the organization.
Figure 5-2. Components of the mission command system
(Field Manual [FM] 6-0, Mission Command)
Generally speaking, more capability at lower echelons is better since it provides fexibility,
redundancy, and improved situational awareness for leaders and commanders in contact with
the enemy. However, more does not always mean better. For example, it is absolutely necessary
for a platoon leader to have reliable communications with his company commander and a map
with graphics. It would be ideal for the platoon leader to have reliable push-to-talk broadcast
communications on a secure company FM net and a Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade
and Below (FBCB2) with a map of the area of operations (AO), imagery of the objective
area, overlays with operational graphics to include adjacent units, and the most accurate
assessment of the enemy situation. If the platoon leader was given access to multiple methods
of communicating with higher, access to the BCTs entire set of graphics, all intelligence
summaries, and access to outside resources like AKO-S, then he may become overwhelmed with
the information and fail to maintain focus on the enemy with whom he is attempting to gain and
maintain contact. The BCT must help by implementing the processes and procedures to direct
how the mission command system is used to support different types of operations. An accurate
assessment of individual operator profciency on information systems and equipment is essential
to developing sound processes and procedures.
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Capabilities of the Mission Command System at the BCT Level: What does the BCT
need to do in or der to be effective?
Recent observations at the NTC indicate the following capabilities are critical to the successful
employment of the mission command system to achieve effective mission command for the BCT
and below:
Maintain continuous upper TI communications with higher and adjacent units.
Share information with subordinate units using both upper and lower TI systems.
Maintain a digital COP using ABCS with an analog backup and on-the-move
Maintain a parallel and collaborative planning capability with higher and subordinate
The BCT needs the capability to maintain continuous connectivity to the upper TI to
communicate with its higher headquarters as well as adjacent units. We must assume that
in future conficts a BCT will be required to report to a division or combined joint task
force headquarters while operating over broad distances. As a result, beyond line-of-site
communications will be required. Additionally, BCTs are currently felded with equipment
capable of maintaining connectivity to the upper TI at multiple mission command nodes.
The constraint BCTs must consider is how to maintain upper TI communications while the
main command post (CP) is moving. For example, the main CP needs to maintain upper TI
communications using tactical chat with its higher headquarters (HQ) until conditions are set
with an alternate CP, such as the tactical command post (TAC) or the brigade support battalion
(BSB) CP, to assume upper TI reporting requirements.
The BCT provides the link between subordinate units that have upper TI access and the ones
that do not. The BCT headquarters must be able to manage the fow of information to, from,
and between subordinate units using both the upper and lower TI simultaneously. This is
important because we do not want to forfeit the benefts gained by sharing information and
knowledge using the upper TI whenever one or more TFs lose access for a period of time. The
BCT knowledge information (KM) and information management (IM) plan must articulate the
processes and procedures required to make this happen. The KM/IM plan includes the standing
operating procedure (SOP) and primary, alternate, contingency, and emergency (PACE) plan,
which provide unit-specifc standards on reporting requirements, formats, and selecting the
method for reporting.
The BCTs reporting standards and overall KM plan are essential to develop and maintain a
COP for the BCT. At the BCT level, the ABCS facilitates a collaborative digital COP that is
shared in near real time with higher HQ, adjacent units, and subordinate units, but requires an
analog backup or on-the-move capability. The need to capture and share information on the
COP will continue even if the main CP is forced to reposition unexpectedly or if digital systems
are unavailable due to enemy action, weather, equipment failure, or human error. As a result,
the BCT COP must include analog capabilities such as a map with relevant overlays, printed
copies of orders, staff estimates, and execution tools that are updated by the current operations
cell while on the move or in less than ideal circumstances. TFs conducting a range of operations
through combined arms maneuver (CAM) and wide area security (WAS) will modify their
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COP to rely more on analog products while moving and digital tools when command posts are
stationary with established upper TI connectivity. To ease the transition from digital to analog
and minimize duplication of effort, the BCT must educate personnel on the KM plan as well as
the units reporting standards. Another key to success is enforcing discipline in the system.
Current doctrine encourages the BCT to conduct parallel and collaborative planning with its
higher HQ, facilitate parallel and collaborative planning with subordinate units, and ensure
collaborative planning occurs internally on the staff. Multiple tools are available to enable the
BCTs planning efforts, but each tool provides different capabilities, and the availability of these
tools will change in different situations. During the plan and preparation phase of operations, TF
staffs will have greater access to upper TI tools such as Web portals and CPOF, but may have
less access during execution. It is possible to collaborate and issue orders over the radio or the
FBCB2 network, but these methods have limitations and should not be the primary method for
planning and orders dissemination when more capable tools are available.
Capabilities of the Mission Command System at the Battalion/Squadron TF Level:
What does the TF need to do in or der to be effective?
Maintain continuous lower TI communication with higher HQ and subordinate units.
Establish and maintain upper TI communications when the main CP is stationary.
Maintain a digital COP using ABCS with an analog backup and on-the-move
Maintain a parallel and collaborative planning capability.
At the TF level, it is critical to maintain lower TI communications with subordinate units and
with the BCT HQ. Using the combat net radio (CNR) nets, the TF commander can effectively
provide mission command to subordinate units while sending and receiving information to and
from higher.
TFs must establish and maintain upper TI communications when possible, specifcally when the
main CP is stationary. All TFs are equipped with a command post node (CPN) to provide the
capability to quickly establish upper TI services.
At the TF level there is value in maintaining a digital COP that is nested with the BCT HQ using
ABCS; however, it is necessary to maintain an analog backup or on-the-move capability.
Developing analog tools that mirror the digital systems and report formats prevents some
duplication of effort, but operational graphics and other overlays that are received or created
digitally must be created by printing or physically drawing them. The situation will determine
when and to what degree the unit will transition from digital to analog tools. In the end, as
long as the TF COP accurately refects the same information available at the BCT HQ, then the
methods used are less important.
The TF must be able to plan and collaborate internally as well as with the BCT staff.
Collaborative planning can be done without the advantages of connectivity to the upper TI, but
not as effciently. The aim should be to enable upper TI connectivity whenever possible to take
advantage of services such as the Web portal, CPOF, and email, making planning more effcient
and effective.
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Company, Troop, Batter y and Below Mission Command Responsibilities and
Companies, troops, and batteries need to communicate and fght. Reliable communications with
their higher HQ, internal communication between units and vehicles, operational graphics, maps,
imagery, access to orders, and intelligence products facilitate mission command and enable
leaders to maximize their effectiveness. This is true for the company CP, to include the company
intelligence support team (COIST).
Members of the company CP, to include the COIST, need mobile workstations that can access
locally stored information to conduct analysis and develop products that can be shared with
higher once digital connectivity is established or by using a courier to send the information using
removable media. Special considerations for systems at the company level include the ability
to have plug-and-play access to the upper TI at any mission command node across the BCTs
AO. In some cases this may include running cable to provide connectivity to the company CP
for a period of time. Signal Soldiers must ensure networks and workstations are confgured to
facilitate these processes.
Role of the BCT in Br idging Upper and Lower TI Gaps
The role of the BCT HQ is to implement and enforce information and knowledge management
plans to guarantee the fow of data, information, and knowledge using both the upper and
lower TI. The BCT HQ is the link between subordinate units with upper TI access and the
ones without. The BCT also ensures that information received from a lower TI source is made
available to all using the upper TI. To accomplish this, the BCT must conduct an assessment of
its communications process, to include system capabilities and availability across the formation.
The gaps identifed in the assessment will need to be addressed with improvements to the units
KM/IM plans. Implementation of the plan starts with establishing or modifying the SOP and
establishing a PACE plan for specifc processes, ensuring the fow of information regardless of
changes in the situation. Below is an example for how a BCT conducting a movement to contact
addresses the upper and lower TI gap.
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Figure 5-3. BCT concept for balancing upper and lower TI with analog (A Way)
Developing BCT Repor ting Standar ds
The BCT must develop reporting standards that ease the transition of information between the
upper and lower TI through common reporting formats and a comprehensive PACE plan. The
BCT must take on the responsibility to ensure all units receive relevant information regardless
of their access to the upper or lower TI. The following are considerations BCTs need to take into
account when developing reporting standards:
Upper TI networks are built to mirror the lower TI when possible. (Example: Tactical
Chat network mirrors the FM network)
Reporting requirements and formats need to be the same for upper and lower TI
systems. (Example: Same report format used over FM is used on Tactical Chat or
Report formats designed to easily feed the COP. (Example: Sustainment update easily
feeds into the Battle Command Sustainment Support System [BCS3] or the combat
power update covers all metrics displayed on the COP)
The BCT must relay some traffc on both the upper and lower TI. (Example: The BCT
main CP might need to receive a report over FM and then type out the information into
Tactical Chat and broadcast to all for situational awareness or action as required)
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In the fgure below, a BCT takes the administrative and logistics (A&L) FM network design
and applies it to the Tactical Chat network. This includes requiring all the same units to monitor
the net and requires the same organization to fulfll the net control station responsibility. Then
a common reporting standard is developed; in this case it is a logistics report that will easily
feed BCS3. With the addition of a PACE plan, any unit can report to standard regardless of its
situation, and the BCT can effciently share that information and update BCS3 to maintain an
accurate COP.
Figure 5-4. BCT managing sustainment repor ting on both upper and lower TI (A Way)
Developing a Pr imar y, Alter nate, Contingency, and Emer gency Plan for Repor ting
When the BCT is planning and preparing for operations, it is critical to develop a PACE plan
for how information and knowledge will be managed and shared. Developing the PACE plan
is a deliberate process that must determine the optimal methods for sharing information while
managing the fow of information across systems to prevent overloading. The BCT staff must
work collaboratively to develop a framework for how information will fow. The staff begins
with identifying requirements at echelon, then an assessment is made of what systems are
available and best suited to meet the requirement. The staff, led by the signal offcer, must
then determine the BCTs PACE plan. There are advantages of developing this by warfghting
function with the aim of accounting for all communication that must take place between the BCT
and subordinate units (two levels down). This helps the BCT signal offcer identify issues with
the PACE plan, such as overloading a particular system with too many reports being sent at the
same time. Below is an example of a BCT PACE plan that accounts for each warfghting function
and the reporting units access to the upper TI.
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Figure 5-5. BCT PACE plan by warfghting function accounting for
access to upper and lower TI
Balancing the Digital and Analog Components of the COP
The result of effective communications should be a detailed COP with accurate information. The
BCTs and TFs have different equipment, different manning requirements, and different mission
requirements. As a result, the COP at each CP will be different in terms of how much information
is available digitally and how analog tools are incorporated into the COP. Figure 5-6 is an
example of how a BCT could balance the digital and analog components of the COP to meet
mission requirements.
The benefts of maintaining a digital COP with inputs from the ABCS include a rapid fow of
information, increased accuracy of information, and more effcient data entry and processing.
The ability for BCTs to gain information superiority is dependent upon effective, effcient,
and disciplined use of their information systems. However, in an effort to gain information
superiority, we do not want to neglect the capability to conduct mission command on the move or
in less-than-ideal circumstances. All CPs from the BCT main CP down to every company
must maintain enough analog capability to successfully accomplish their missions. The balance
of analog and digital components of the COP will be different for every CP and will change over
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Figure 5-6. Balancing the digital and analog components of a BCTs COP
Summar y
The following recommendations were discussed above regarding capabilities of the mission
command system for commanders and staffs at the BCT and below:
Determine the capabilities needed at every level.
Accept the BCTs role in bridging the gap between upper and lower TI
Develop and enforce reporting standards that are common across systems.
Develop a PACE plan that accounts for all warfghting functions and access to the
upper TI.
Balance the digital and analog components to the COP.
Invest in individual operator training to build profciency; enforce standards.
BCTs cannot default to the lowest common denominator by using only lower TI systems,
because it forfeits many of the advantages afforded by the upper TI. The advantages of
information systems must be exploited while simultaneously retaining the analog and lower TI
capabilities required to fght and win the most challenging operational environment under less-
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than-ideal conditions. This can only be done if the BCT accepts its role in bridging the gaps and
makes an investment in people training Soldiers and clarifying duties and responsibilities.
Also, processes and procedures for how the BCTs mission command system will function must
be developed prior to deployment, and leaders must enforce the disciplined use of the system.
The best technology cannot support mission command without people.
FM 6-0, Mission Command
Ter ms of Reference
To establish a common terms of reference for this document below is the doctrinal defnition of
and brief discussion on several terms as well as a description of information systems used by
todays BCT are discussed below.
Mission command (Army) The exercise of authority and direction by the commander using
mission orders to enable disciplined initiative within the commanders intent to empower
agile and adaptive leaders in the conduct of full spectrum operations. It is commander led and
blends the art of command and the science of control to integrate the warfghting functions to
accomplish the mission. (FM 6-0)
Mission command warfghting function Develops and integrates those activities enabling
a commander to balance the art of command and the science of control (FM 3-0). The mission
command warfghting function consists of the mission command tasks and the mission command
system (FM 6-0)
Mission command system The arrangement of personnel, networks, information systems,
processes and procedures, and facilities and equipment that enable commanders to conduct
operations. (FM 6-0)
Commanders cannot exercise mission command alone. They organize a mission command
system to-
Support the commanders decision making.
Collect, create, and maintain relevant information and prepare knowledge products to
support the commanders and leaders understanding and visualization.
Prepare and communicate directives.
Establish the means by which commanders and leaders communicate, collaborate, and
facilitate the functioning of teams.
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Figure 5-7
Infor mation management (Army) The science of using procedures and information systems
to collect, process, store, display, disseminate, and protect data, information, and knowledge
Infor mation system (Army) A system that collects, processes, stores, displays, and
disseminates information. This includes computers hardware and software and
communications, as well as policies and procedures for their use.
Knowledge management The art of creating, organizing, applying, and transferring
knowledge to facilitate situational understanding and decision making.
Upper Tactical Inter net Generally defned in FM 6-02.72, Tactical Radios, June 2002; and
TM 11-7010-326-23&P FBCB2, February 2010, as digital communications at brigade and above
supported by Warfghting Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T).
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For the purpose of this document, any system that is not a CNR and requires a static mission
command node to gain digital connectivity is using the upper TI. Examples include the use
of Joint Network Nodes (JNNs), CPNs, Secure Internet Protocol Router/Nonsecure Internet
Protocol Router (SIPR/NIPR) access point (SNAPP) terminals, or high-capacity line of sight
(HCLOS) antennas to establish connectivity between units and/or to the global information grid
Lower Tactical Inter net Generally defned in FM 6-02.72, Tactical Radios, June 2002; and
TM 11-7010-326-23&P FBCB2, February 2010, as digital communications within the brigade
and below using FBCB2 and CNR nets.
For the purposes of this document, the lower TI consists of any voice or data network that
is organic to the BCT and below and can be used on the move. Examples include all CNR
systems (FM, tactical satellite [TACSAT], and high frequency) as well as FBCB2. Over time,
improvements in information systems and networks at echelon have improved. As a result, more
upper TI connectivity is available for battalion/squadron and below. In the future, improved
equipment will allow access to the TI on the move and by lower echelons, possibly down to
the individual Soldier level. The improvements in information systems and increased access to
networks will make separating the upper and lower TI irrelevant.
Common oper ational picture (Department of Defense) A single identical display of relevant
information shared by more than one command. A common operational picture facilitates
collaborative planning and assists all echelons to achieve situational awareness. (Army) An
operational picture tailored to the users requirements, based on common data and information
shared by more than one command. Also called COP. (FM 3-0)
For the purpose of this article, the actual display of the COP can be and is expected to be
different at each mission command node, but the information must be the same. For example, if
a TF is on the move and the BCT main CP is not, then the COP in the main CP will be primarily
digital, taking advantage of all that the ABCS brings to the fght, while the TF COP is primarily
analog but refects the same graphics and information available in the BCT main CP.
Tools that Empower the Mission Command System
Every BCT has a slightly different set of tools available, and the suite of ABCS available today
will be different tomorrow, but most of the tools addressed in this article are available in all
BCTs, and the capabilities they provide are similar regardless of the type of BCT.
Combat net r adio (CNR) consists of the SINCGARS or FM network, SC TACSAT, and
high frequency radios. The primary purpose of these systems is to provide push-to-talk voice
transmissions that enable mission command. BCTs use their radio networks as the backbone
for the lower TI. All BCTs and TFs have the capability to use crew access units (CAUs) to
increase access to lower TI radio traffc by allowing multiple users to remotely access a single
radio. There are two type of CAUs: the hard CAU or standalone version and the soft CAU
or software version that can be loaded on any commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) laptop or
workstation. An additional capability of the soft CAU is that it can be used in combination with
the upper TI to expand the range of some lower TI systems, such as the FM network.
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Tactical Chat is a near-real-time, broadcast, or multiparticipant means of textually
communicating among military units (FM 6-02.73, Tactical Chat). Tactical Chat is similar to
radio voice communications but over the upper TI. Anyone with a computer, network connection,
and compatible Tactical Chat software can participate in Tactical Chat. This is a powerful tool
that can provide a means for communication that would typically pass over voice communication
without many of the limitations that exists with CNR or phones such as jamming, limited volume
(one speaker at a time), line-of-sight (LOS) limitations, electro-magnetic interference issues such
as static and intermittent operations, etc. The benefts of Tactical Chat are the following:
Accessibility (any Soldier with a laptop can join the network).
Range is beyond LOS.
Provides a digital log of communications for verifcation and reference (radio-
telephone operators do not have to transcribe the message; instead they can cut and
paste relevant information into a log or save the entire chat session).
Allows recent traffc to be reviewed (users can catch up if they step away or miss a
Reduces burden of voice communications relay.
Limited bandwidth is required. This is often the primary means of communications
between mission command nodes that have access to the upper TI.
BCTs can easily integrate Tactical Chat into their knowledge management plan by developing
procedures for its use that are very similar to that of the FM network. Most Soldiers are familiar
with chat programs and can rapidly become profcient with the program.
Ventr ilo is a software program that allows voice communications over the Internet. Generally
speaking, this is an upper TI capability. Ventrilo is available on all CPOF workstations and
can also be installed on any COTS laptops or workstations at the BCT, TF, or company level.
This provides a broadcast voice capability that is similar to that provided by combat net radio
nets. The availability of Ventrilo (basically every workstation with an Internet connection) and
the broadcast nature of the communications are advantages to using it over Secure Voice Over
Internet Protocol (SVOIP) phones. Loading the program on BCT and TF staff workstations
improves information sharing and collaborative planning, but benefts are limited without
developing and enforcing the procedures and rules for use.
Command Post of the Future (CPOF) is the primary component of tactical mission command
used at BCT and TF command posts. CPOF software is felded on a limited number of COTS
laptop computers or workstations. The CPOF kit also comes with an additional three
monitors, mouse, keyboard, and headset with microphone. CPOF can be a powerful tool to aid
in decision making by providing situational awareness and collaborative planning capabilities
to commanders and staff. CPOF integrates information from the ABCS and other systems to
provide a continuous and near-real-time COP. The CPOF workstation is just like any other COTS
workstation and can be used to perform other functions, such as accessing email, the Web portal,
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Tactical Chat, and remotely accessing CNRs via a soft CAU. In order for CPOF to be effective,
the BCT must determine to what degree the system will be used for providing situational
awareness via the COP and how it will be used to facilitate collaborative planning. Additional
CPOF considerations:
Provides a COP that integrates other ABCS.
Near-real-time situational awareness. (Updates or modifcations made on
one workstation will automatically be refected on all other workstations;
reduces requirement for double work at echelon. The one time creation and
modifcation of operational graphics such as unit boundaries and phase lines is
a good example of this.)
CPOF laptop can be used without additional monitors and rapidly connected
to the network when mission command nodes are on the move. (The same as a
SVOIP phone or any other laptop.)
Availability: Not all workstations have access to CPOF-based products.
Training: CPOF is a complicated program, and operators do require some
training to be effective.
Interoperability: Products created on CPOF are not easily passed to other
systems. The most signifcant problem at the BCT and TF levels is that
operational graphics built in CPOF are not easily shared with FBCB2 systems.
Upgrading FBCB2 systems with Joint Capabilities Release (JCR) will enable
BFT systems to share classifed information and ease the sharing of information
between the upper and lower TIs.
Force XXI Battle Command, Br igade and Below (FBCB2) provides integrated, on-the-move,
timely, relevant information to leaders and Soldiers across all echelons within the brigade. It
allows users to pass orders and graphics to visualize the commanders intent and scheme of
maneuver. FBCB2 is a key component of the ABCS. FBCB2 uses two forms of communication:
a terrestrial-based Enhanced Position Location Reporting System (EPLRS) network and the
satellite-based Blue Force Tracking (BFT) network.
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Figure 5-8. Key Differences between the FBCB2-BFT and FBCB2-EPLRS networ ks
The two networks can exchange information but due to the different levels of classifcation and
other issues with the systems, the exchange of information is limited. Under ideal circumstances
messages can fow to and from FBCB2-BFT and FBCB2-EPLRS in accordance with the chart
Figure 5-9. Maximum FBCB2 message sizes
FBCB2-JCR is currently being felded to units and consists of integrated suites of hardware
and software that interoperates with, and complements, other ABCS. FBCB2-BFT-(JCR) can
access the secure side of the network by using a Type 1 encryption device to allow the system to
process, transmit, and receive secret data.
Distr ibuted Common Ground System-Ar my (DCGS-A) automates intelligence and electronic
warfare operations at the operational and tactical levels. It allows the analyst to quickly correlate
large volumes of information. When correlated, the analyst has the ability to transform raw
data into fnished intelligence products for dissemination. DCGS-A publishes correlated enemy
situational awareness. Additionally, DCGS-A can receive reports from FBCB2-EPLRS to
process through intelligence channels. FBCB2-EPLRS has the ability to receive this correlated
data directly from DCGS-A. However, information on the enemy situation must be manually
inserted into the FBCB2-BFT. DCGS-A can share graphics and enemy information with
CPOF, but the operator profciency is not resident in most units. As a result, DCGS-A does not
effectively contribute to the BCTs COP.
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Advanced Field Ar tiller y Tactical Data System (AFATADS) provides automated decision
support for fre support, to include joint and combined fres. AFATADS supports the planning,
coordination, control, and execution of close support, counter fre, interdiction, deep operations,
and suppression of enemy air defense. AFATADS has the ability and is responsible for publishing
fre support missions. Additionally, AFATDS receives call-for-fre missions from FBCB2-
EPLRS. FBCB2-BFT does not send call for fre information directly to AFATDS, nor does it
receive communications from AFATDS. AFATADS can produce a fres overlay that is viewed on
CPOF by way of the Publish and Subscribe Server (PASS). Viewing the AFATADS fres overlay
in CPOF validates that both systems are operating correctly and that the system operators are
Air and Missile Defense Wor k Station (AMDWS) posts air threat warnings that can be
received by FBCB2-EPLRS. AMDWS provides missile defense plans and air situational
awareness to ABCS and commanders at all echelons. This includes friendly, hostile, and
unknown fxed and rotary-wing aircraft, cruise missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles. AMDWS
can share air tracks, RAM events, location of situational awareness weapons and sensors with
CPOF, but operator profciency is not resident in most units. As a result, AMDWS does not
effectively contribute to the BCT COP.
Battle Command Sustainment Suppor t System (BCS3) provides support to commodity
tracking, convoy operations, and the reception, staging, onward movement, and integration
process. The system also produces a user-defned sustainment COP. BCS3 fuses sustainment
information from numerous sources into one user-defned, mission focused, and tailored map-
centric visual display. BCS3 can exchange limited information with the ABCS. A sustainment
overlay with operational graphics can be built in BCS3 and viewed in CPOF as part of the COP.
Additionally, a BCS3 logistics dashboard can be viewed on the CPOF desktop, but most units
lack the operator profciency required to set up this confguration. As a result, BCS3 does not
effectively contribute to the BCT COP.
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Lessons Lear ned in Civil-Militar y Oper ations
in a Decisive Action Tr aining Environment
LTC Kar l A. Mor ton and MAJ John Per r ine
Figure 6-1. Br avo Company, 413th Civil Affair s (CA) conducts a civil-militar y oper ations
(CMO) working group with interagency and Atropian offcials at the civil-military
oper ations center (CMOC) located in Tactical Assembly Area (TAA) Hammer.
The frst decisive action training environment (DATE) rotation at the National Training
Center (NTC) was conducted in March 2012. Breaking from nearly a decade of rotations
focused on counterinsurgency operations that prepared troops for follow-on deployments to
Iraq or Afghanistan, the DATE scenario provided a hybrid threat consisting of conventional,
paramilitary and insurgency forces.

Early in the rotation, prior to initiation of actual U.S. combat operations, the brigade combat
team (BCT) commander delegated his authority for all BCT wide area security (WAS) efforts to
the brigade special troops battalion (BSTB) commander. This effectively relegated the BCT S-9s
CMO staff functions to the BSTB along with control of the BCT CMOC, which tended to remain
in close proximity to the BSTB due to communications diffculties. Additionally, civil affairs
team-alpha (CAT-A) teams assigned to support the separate combined arms battalions found the
battalion staffs either failing to involve CAT-A team leaders in planning or not knowing how best
to use this enabler in effective dislocated civilian (DC) operations. The end result was a BSTB
that struggled to secure the support area and combined arms battalions that did not effectively
integrate CAT-A teams in support of combined arms maneuver (CAM).
In spite of these challenges, Bravo Company, 413th CA performed well as a unit throughout the
rotation, providing useful lessons learned for the Army regarding CMO in this environment.
This article examines those lessons learned, specifcally in the areas of civil-military operations
centers (CMOCs), DC planning and execution, and BCT and interagency synchronization in
order to focus CA company training in advance of and while supporting future NTC DATE
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CMOC Oper ations
The frst critical area observed was the employment and integration of the CMOC. Early in the
rotation, Bravo Company succeeded in establishing a functional CMOC within the BCT tactical
assembly area (TAA) and worked hard to build positive working relationships with local and
interagency civilian partners from the confnes of a GP medium tent. However, once the BCT
crossed the line of departure to conduct a movement to contact against an advancing
contemporary operating environment force (COEFOR), frequent changes to the CMOC location
were made at the direction of the BSTB. Due to diffculties in
maintaining a BCT-wide common operational picture, the BSTB
often lacked suffcient situational awareness, specifcally the
disposition and composition of the threat, making additional moves frustratingly necessary.
Figure 6-2. A GP medium tent combined with a mine resistant ambush protected (MRAP)
vehicle (providing electr icity) for med the nucleus for the initial CMOC.
The CA company commander
internally managed the physical moves of the CMOC and
CAT-A teams in an effort to reinforce the populations perception of territorial gains while also
reinforcing the relevance of and support for the interim Atropian
government. This required
the CA commander to juggle both CAM and WAS requirements simultaneously. Adding to this
management challenge was the issue that security was frequently overlooked in the CMOC
establishment; site selection was not based on actual BCT S-2 recommendations or detailed
analysis of the current threat. Although planning considerations for CMOC security are well
addressed in existing CA doctrine,
these considerations were not taken into account by the CA
company commander or the CMOC chief.
As the hub for civil-military activities throughout the area of operations (AO), the exact nature
and location of the CMOC depends on mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support
available, time available, and civil considerations (METT-TC) analysis. Doctrine gives four basic
options for locating a CMOC (as represented above from Chapter 4, FM 3-05.401, fgures 4-11
and 4-12):
Within the security perimeter of the supported military headquarters (HQ).
Outside the security perimeter of the supported military HQ.
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On the road (mobile).
In combination of two or all three (echelon- and split-based operations).
Figure 6-3. Recommendations for CMOC positioning (from Field Manual [FM] 3-05.401,
Civil Affairs Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures)
Lacking established bases from which to operate during the rotation, the CMOC effectively
exercised three of these four different confgurations. It was at times located within BCT or
BSTB TAAs, while at other times near humanitarian operations centers or centers of government
within local towns. Wherever located, CMOC personnel facilitated interaction with key
participants and infuencers in the AO, such as local authorities, international organizations (IOs),
and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). This interaction demanded close coordination with
landlord units responsible for security to ensure access control, particularly within TAAs.
Outside the TAAs, the urban CMOC facilities provided contrasting lessons learned. When
establishing the CMOC in the town of Nabron, the presence of military traffc and accompanying
route clearance patrols reinforced a dedicated security force of two CAT-A teams that proved
suffcient. Additionally, Bravo Company and the BCT properly identifed and engaged the
population and local leaders, coordinating for additional local security forces to augment this
CMOC force protection. In contrast, after the clearing of the town of Razish, the BSTB directed
the CMOC to open an offce, but failed to consider the impact of the size of the town or the
continued presence of insurgent elements within. Neither the BCT nor the BSTB provided extra
CMOC security to compensate for the known lack of suffcient host nation security forces in
the area. The result was catastrophic. Shortly after establishing the CMOC, it was attacked by
insurgents; the building was destroyed, and the unit suffered heavy causalities. Subsequently,
several CAT-A teams were consolidated into a dedicated security force that relegated most
CAT-A team personnel to either standing guard outside the Razish Government Center or NGO
offce while the BSTB commander or CMOC personnel conducted engagements with civilian
leadership inside. This limited their ability to effectively conduct CA tasks, such as assessing
public infrastructure and security.
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Figure 6-4. CAT-A team member s provide secur ity at the Razish Gover nance Center.
Recommended tr aining focus: To most effectively accomplish civil information
management related tasks, a CA company CMOC may require a considerable degree
of support in the form of facilities (tents or structures) and accessibility to a variety of
information systems (INFOSYS) from the BCT. It is therefore recommended that all
different communications assets and operators organic to the CA company be exercised
through a COMEX during home station training.
The security issues experienced by the Razish CMOC highlighted the importance of a dedicated
CMOC communication capability. Despite the inherent need to rapidly and reliably communicate
with indigenous government and local stakeholders on short notice as the situation required,
Bravo Company suffered from the lack of a dedicated communication structure. Lacking
suitable alternatives, the CMOC instead used dedicated liaisons to the BCT from the host nation
government or proxies such as civilian U.S. government representatives, the latter being heavily
relied upon. While Bravo Company had shared access with the S-7 to Secure Internet Protocol
Router (SIPR)/Nonsecure Internet Protocol Router (NIPR) networks in the plans cell
at the
BCT main, the CMOC lacked a dedicated reliable military data communication capability, thus
preventing its ability to access the global information grid (GIG).

Recommended tr aining focus: Operator-level training on communications systems such
as FBCB2 and the Command Post of the Future (CPOF) may assist the unit in ensuring
effective communications and reporting procedures during a DATE rotation. Whether
high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles (HMMVWs) or MRAPs are used for DATE
rotations, CA units should ensure their drivers are also qualifed on the use of night-vision
devices along with other collective skills such as conducting tactical troop movements;
understanding intelligence support to civil affairs activities; facilitating situational
understanding through knowledge management; conducting and controlling the
movements of DCs; securing a unit, facility, or location; and combat lifesaver training.
A fnal CMOC observation centers on Bravo Companys use of two different types of MRAP
vehicles. The MaxPro was generally found to be better for CMOC activities, primarily because
the onboard power inverter allowed for continual power supplies for AC appliances, and the
M-ATV was generally found to be better for CAT-A-type activities, as the reduced size and
increased mobility and the onboard FBCB2 allowed for alternate communications capability.
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No previous CA company had used the MRAPs for earlier counterinsurgency (COIN) NTC
rotations. Their use of MRAP vehicles allowed for relatively reliable, continuous data transfer
capabilities for sending reports between CAT-A and CMOC using the onboard Blue Force
Tracker (BFT) systems, particularly when other data communication systems were no longer
useful or available. When operating in an urban environment without a suitable external shelter,
MRAP vehicles alone were inadequate for accommodating regular meeting spaces for any
sizable group of people and required the CMOC to negotiate for building space with local
offcials when the CMOC was directed to move into urban areas.
Dislocated Civilian Planning and Execution
The second critical area observed was planning for and executing DC operations.
The potential
impact of DCs on operations was viewed early on as a planning consideration of the BCT staff.
However, no efforts were made to allow the different DC operation enablers (military police
[MP]/CA/MISO) to practice or rehearse collectively prior to the heavy brigade combat team
(HBCT) crossing the line of departure. Bravo Companys DC operations plan was not effectively
synchronized staff-wide as evidenced by the varying content of the different BCT annexes. Each
separate annex (CA, MISO, MP) discussed different ways of approaching this type of operation.
Furthermore, all annexes were different from what actually occurred on the ground. This
happened in spite of the fact that the different staff sections representatives participated in civil-
military meetings held at the CMOC with civilian representatives to discuss the DC situation
in advance. This failure can be attributed to the lack of a clearly stated or written commanders
intent for DC operations, combined with the fact that the S-9 and other military representatives
at the meetings carried no real directive authority within the BCT. At the end of the day, the plan
was not effectively synchronized.
Recommended tr aining focus: The CMOC should defne how to collate and process
all available civil-related information in a tactical SOP, ideally validated with the BCT
prior to deploying to the NTC. Other useful sources of civilian information that might
also be included are the daily reports from other supporting forces (such as MP, engineer,
or MISO) as well as those from other U.S. or host nation military units performing civil
reconnaissance through directed Soldier and leader engagements.
Appendix F of FM 3-05.401 provides CA tactics, techniques and procedures for planning for and
managing DC operations. DC operations are considered a core CA task under populace resource
control (PRC). DC operations are understood to be the most basic collective task performed
by CA Soldiers, centered on the twin goals
of minimizing civilian interference with military
operations and protecting civilians from combat operations. Because DC operations require tasks
not easily accomplished by a single enabler, military police or infantry elements, for example,
may secure and screen personnel moving through DC collection points or DC checkpoints, while
CA personnel engage them in conversation to develop demographic information related to who is
moving and why, feeding situational awareness and METT-TC related data collection.
Recommended tr aining focus: Coordination between the BCT, the CA company, and
other enabler units must occur early in the planning process to help build relationships,
coordinate support required, and provide expectation management. The Leaders
Training Program (LTP) provided through the NTC occurs in two steps. LTP I occurs
approximately 90 days prior to a rotation (normally at the rotational units home station),
while LTP II occurs at the NTC 3060 days prior to the start of the rotation. These
sessions help the rotational unit develop staff planning functions and conduct initial
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mission analysis for the upcoming rotation. CA company representatives attendance at
LTP II events facilitates logistical, informational, and operational support from the BCT
command and staff.
Consequently, any planned DC operations should be refected not only in the civil affairs
operations (CAO) annex of the BCT operation order (OPORD), but also it should be mirrored
in the annex pertaining specifcally to MP operations as well as the respective supporting
annex of any other possible participating enabler, such as MISO. This was not the case for
Bravo Company and 3-3 HBCT, which had diffculty aligning the different DC tasks across
their various annexes. This resulted in a lack of coordination across the operating environment
independent CA meetings with IOs and NGOs to ascertain DC logistical and humanitarian
requirements that drove nothing, coupled with isolated MP sections establishing checkpoints
near villages without clear instruction for directing DC movements other than keeping military
vehicles out of the town.
Doctrinally, successful DC operations require close planning and management of DC routes,
DC checkpoints, and DC assembly areas or camps in support of the efforts of the host nation
and IGOs. They might also include plans for a foreign humanitarian assistance (FHA) program
support to the affected DC populace. Either way, MP personnel are a key component for
successful DC operations both in planning and execution.
Therefore, BCT MP planners should
be involved early in the DC planning process, as should other affected staff sections, such as the
medical, legal, and logistic sections of the BCT staff. Planners in S-7, S-2, and other sections
may also be required depending on the nature of DC operations
performed and the character of
the hybrid threat faced.
While Bravo Company, 413th CA developed a plan in support of the Atropian governments
intentions for its DCs, and fully intended to utilize multiple battalion-level DC task forces
(each composed of MP, CA, and MISO elements) to execute this plan, it proved to be quite
diffcult to implement in the decentralized DATE environment. Normally, such a TF approach
to DC operations would require task organization of the enablers with BCT command approval,
refecting those relationships in a task organization codifed within the OPORD. This did not
occur during the rotation.
Recommended tr aining focus: Anticipate support requirements that a CA company
should consider requesting from the BCT. These requirements might include equipment
and a dedicated security force (freeing CA personnel to better focus on CAO-related
tasks), while maintaining freedom of movement and projected requirements for
interpreter support dedicated to CAT and CMOC operations should be arranged for
early. To ensure optimal support, the 413th CA Battalion sent representatives from both
battalion and company to the second LTP event prior to the DATE rotation. During
NTC operations, however, a regularly scheduled CMO working group, including both
BCT staff and civilian stakeholders, will improve a units ability to ensure synchronized
BCT and Inter agency Synchronization
The fnal critical observation was the synchronization of CMO with both the BCT and its
interagency partners. To effectively coordinate DC operations and other CMO activities through
host nation engagements and interagency and nongovernmental organizations, a CMO working
group must occur on a regular basis. Doctrinally, the S-9 chairs the CMOWG as the lead
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CMO planner.
However, although regularly scheduled meetings were repeatedly requested
by interagency partners and made possible utilizing meeting space created in the CMOC, the
BSTB commander, after agreeing to discuss such meetings with the BCT commander, failed
to follow through with endorsing or implementing any such formalized collaborative planning
effort in the BSTB or BCT.
Effective CAO must synchronize Solider and leader engagements
with inform and infuence activities (IIA) and public affairs to help the command gain and
maintain information dominance and effective mission command. Close integration of CAO
with IIA provides the ability to engage critical actors and infuencers in the local and host nation
environment through Soldier and leader engagement. In both CAM and WAS, CA support
should help commanders establish, maintain, infuence, and exploit relations among military
forces, civil authorities, and the civilian populace to facilitate military operations.

Once the BCT moved into the town of Razish, only the BSTB commander conducted
engagements with the interim Atropian government offcials. During this process, the BSTB
commander attempted to mitigate already stressed relationships between the Atropian political
leadership and disenfranchised ethnic Bilasuvar and Lezgin parties, but did not coordinate this
with the S-9 or the interagency partners on his engagement priorities. Civilian interagency
partners (U.S. government and host nation), including the U.S. Agency for International
Development Offce of Transition Initiative representative who had proper USG authority to
mitigate in such matters, were effectively alienated from personal involvement in all operations
and plans for the BCTs ongoing lethal and follow-on operations. This situation made any unity
of effort between BCT with both U.S. government and host nation interagency partners for
planning and executing efforts to support DC operations extremely challenging. The regular use
of a CMO working group would have mitigated these problems, as all stakeholders could have
planned for a more coordinated way to engage the local population and governance offcials on
these important matters.
Unlike past rotations, as the balance of operations in this DATE rotation was weighted much less
on stability operations, civilian project planning was not a major consideration. Consequently,
DC operations and support to local governance were the principle focus areas for all interagency
efforts. Coordination with civilian agencies responsible for the control of DC populations
from the host nation and international agencies such as United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR), World Food Programme, and International Committee of the Red
Cross (ICRC), should begin as soon as practical to ensure timely transition of any military DC
operations to the appropriate civilian agency. The DC controlling agencies encountered by
Bravo Company included U.N.-mandated UNHCR, Offce for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs, ICRC, and the Department of States Offce of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) (the
OFDA normally would lead efforts addressing the basic needs of DCs by providing food, water,
shelter, sanitation, and security for all U.S. goveernment agencies).
DC controlling agencies also must be prepared to prevent or arrest the outbreak of disease
among the DC population. This last point is not only important for the health of the DCs and
the local populace but also for military forces that may come into contact with them. With the
early establishment of a functional CMOC and by moving the CMOC functions forward with
advancing maneuver forces, Bravo Company was able to effectively coordinate some ongoing
military police and logistic support for DC operations with the appropriate civilian stakeholders.
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Bravo Company performed well as a cohesive unit during the DATE rotation in spite of the
diffculties captured herein. These diffculties included effectively synchronizing the CA-
developed DC plan across the BCT staff and communicating it to subordinate battalions.
Internally, ensuring reliable internal communications at all times between CAT-A teams and/or
the CMOC and properly planning for force protection measures when the CMOC was directed to
establish in an urban environment previously overrun with insurgents. However, these should not
take away from those things Bravo Company did very well in other CAOs, such as establishing,
maintaining, infuencing, and exploiting relations with civilian stakeholders.
CMOC personnel proved to be very adept at coordinating with interagency and host nation
government partners, advising the BSTB on how to minimize civilian interference with military
operations, and protecting civilians (particularly DCs) from combat operations primarily by
communicating intentions with governance offcials. Probably most importantly, the basing of
the development of their DC plan on the plans and intentions of the host nation government for
their own displaced population showed that the BCT was an alliance force and not an occupying
1. Sheftick, Gary, 3rd ID Brigade to test new immersive training at NTC, February 24, 2012, accessed online 28
March 2012 at
2. The company commander was also acting in the BCT S-9 role as the unit lacked organic CA qualifed personnel
to fll the S-9 position.
3. In the DATE scenario, U.S. forces are initially deployed to deter Donovian aggression into Atropia; then to
reestablish the Atropian international borders. Reference the 52 ID AO Smartbook, NTC.
4. FM 3-05.401/MCRP 3-33.1A, Civil Affairs Tactics, Techniques and Procedures, 5 July 2007, pp. 4-24 to 4-25.
5. Ibid., pp 4-21 to 4-23.
6. The CA commander and CA NCO assisting him conducted most of the S-9 functions alongside the S-7 from a
single desk in the plans cell, but lacked any presence on the current operations foor.
7. GIG is the globally interconnected, end-to-end set of information capabilities, associated processes, and personnel
for collecting, processing, storing, and disseminating information on demand to warfghters, policy makers, and
support personnel. DATE rotations at NTC require CA personnel qualifed to operate such equipment (with proper
predeployment signal training and security clearance documentation, as required) and coordinate with the BCT S-6
for connections to NIPR and SIPR computer networks, SVOIP, and any other capability to link into the nonsecure
civil communications systems utilized by indigenous government, U.N., and U.S. government agency representative
and ad hoc organizations (NGOs, IOs, private voluntary organizations).
8. DC operations are commonly referred to in MP doctrine as a subset of resettlement operations, possibly so as not
to be confused with other MP detainee center responsibilities of the closely related internment operations.
9. DC operations pertain to actions required to move civilians out of harms way or to safeguard them in the
aftermath of a disaster (natural or manmade) and are considered an MP-supported CA task in FM 3-57, Civil Affairs
10. FM 3-39.40, Internment and Resettlement Operations, February 2010, Chapter 10, Resettlement Operations, p.
11. FM 3-05.401, Civil Affairs Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures, Appendix F suggests one method of conducting
DC operations using a special purpose DC TF composed of smaller composite teams of CA, MP, and MISO
Soldiers. Such a TF would be composed of larger block and collect teams and/or smaller clear teams and other
special purpose operational teams (medical, legal, sniper team) as deemed to be required by the BCT plan. These
teams efforts are directed at either blocking DCs from important routes to be used by the military with obstacles
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or vehicles, clearing or removing DC traffc from routes, or collecting groups along a route to allow for a more
effective regulated screening and fow to the rear. Each are composed differently to suit the respective effort. The
special purpose teams normally address a clearly specifed role within DC collection points or DC assembly areas
when they are established.
12. Other members of the CMO working group may include: the director of the CMOC, subordinate CA unit
representative(s), information operations representative (S-7), medical representative, engineer representative,
provost marshal (or MP) representative, Staff Judge Advocate representative with expertise in CMO (preferably
the units senior rule of law offcer), unit political adviser (if applicable), public affairs offcer, S-2 targeting offcer
representative, S-3 current operations representative, S-4 representative, resource management representative, and
subordinate unit liaison offcers.
13. FM 3-57, Civil Affairs Operations, 31 October 2011, p. 4-15.
14. Ibid., p. 3-29.
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A Legal Per spective to Detention and Humanitar ian Assistance Oper ations in
the Decisive Action Tr aining Environment
MAJ Chr istopher C. Ryan and CPT Jesse T. Greene
The changing focus of our Army to unifed land operations and the decisive action training
environment (DATE) at the Armys combat training centers (CTCs) requires commanders and
their staffs to re-examine lessons learned over nearly a decade of simultaneous counterinsurgency
(COIN) operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Each warfghting function must assess the different
considerations raised by decisive action. Leaders must ensure plans are written, and training
conducted, with a view toward future conficts rather than relying upon memories of how we
did it in a previous operation. This premise applies to legal considerations arising in DATE.
Through our experiences in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Operating Enduring Freedom
(OEF), and predeployment exercises at the CTCs, we gained an understanding across the force
of a commanders legal responsibilities and authorities in COIN operations. The shift to DATE,
as part of preparation to conduct unifed land operations, brings the need to understand that some
issues faced by commanders may be resolved differently than they would if they arose in OIF or
Alternatively, other legal issues faced in OIF and OEF will translate almost directly to DATE.
For example, unique logistical challenges may impact the commanders ability to dispense
military justice or conduct investigations in DATE, but the general authorities the commander
relies upon remain the same as those found in a COIN environment. This contrasts with legal
issues such as conducting detention operations or funding humanitarian assistance (HA) efforts.
The commanders authority, and consequently the commanders options, when addressing these
issues will differ in DATE. To a lesser extent, rules of engagement in DATE also contrast with
those found in COIN exercises.
The current National Training Center DATE scenario is focused on initial entry and decisive
action against a near-peer adversary. DATE is not a mission readiness exercise in preparation
for relief in place and transfer of authority in a mature theater. While commanders may be
accustomed to the body of NATO standing operating procedures (SOPs) and tactical directives
that guide OEF for example, these documents do not apply in the DATE rotation. DATE is
guided by the law of war principles of necessity, proportionality, distinction, and preventing
unnecessary suffering (humanity). Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCSI) 3121.01B,
Standing Rules of Engagement (SROE)/Standing Rules for Use of Force (SRUF), embodies these
principles. CJCSI 3121.01B provides guidance to U.S. forces conducting operations worldwide

and forms the basis for DATE rules of engagement (ROE). Commanders and their staffs must
reference CJCSI 3121.01B when preparing for DATE. Given that Soldiers at all echelons receive
classes on the SROE during initial-entry training and subsequent annual refresher training,
commanders and their staffs should already have a frm understanding of the basic DATE ROE
This article focuses on legal issues arising from detention and HA operations in DATE, as these
may be less familiar to commanders and their staffs. Developing profciency in both types of
operations is critical for mission success in DATE.
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Detention Oper ations
The DATE scenario encompasses a wide range of problem sets, from combined arms maneuver
(CAM) to wide area security (WAS) and humanitarian relief. Field Manual (FM) 3-19.40,
Internment and Resettlement Operations, makes it clear that whether engaged in CAM or WAS,
[a]ll Soldiers participating in military operations must be prepared to process detainees.

In preparation for conducting detainee operations at the outset of an initial deployment, as
contemplated by the DATE scenario, combatant command (COCOM) and joint task force
(JTF) planners must consider the potential status of persons likely to be captured. COCOM and
JTF planners must also establish the general parameters for detainee processing (e.g., transfer
timelines, extensions, approval authorities, etc.) for subordinate units to refne and implement at
each respective echelon.
At the brigade combat team (BCT) level, the applicability of Geneva Convention III Relative
to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (GPW) will have been addressed by higher headquarters.
However, once applicable, BCT Soldiers on the ground will have the initial responsibility to
address status issues. Detainees may be lawful combatants, entitled to prisoner of war (POW)
status and protections; unlawful combatants, not entitled to POW status but entitled to humane
treatment; or common criminals not directly participating in hostilities.
Although U.S. forces may ultimately determine that some detainees are not entitled to POW
status, Army Regulation (AR) 190-8, Enemy Prisoners of War, Retained Personnel, Civilian
Internees, and Other Detainees, initially directs that, [a]ll persons taken into custody by
U.S. forces will be provided with the protections of the GPW until some other legal status is
determined by competent authority.
If any doubt regarding status exists, such persons shall
enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined
by a competent tribunal.
Where no doubt exists, no tribunal is necessary.
To determine whether or not doubt exists as to a detainees status, U.S. forces must understand
the prerequisites for POW status.
POWs are:
Members of the armed forces of a Party to the confict, as well as members of militias
or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces.
Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of
organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the confict and operating
in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such
militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfll the
following conditions:
that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
that of having a fxed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;
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that of carrying arms openly;
that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of
Those detainees who meet GPW Article 4 POW criteria, above, are characterized as lawful
combatants, and receive specifc protections and privileges. Detainees that fail to meet the
above criteria are characterized as unlawful combatants, and the GPW confers no protections
or privileges. The single most important protection conferred by POW status is combatant
immunity, discussed in greater detail below. Most detained persons will ultimately fall into the
category of lawful or unlawful combatants.
In rare instances, U.S. forces may detain individuals engaged in criminal acts but not directly
participating in hostilities. For example, U.S. forces may detain a local national (LN) to stop him
from beating another LN to death while committing a robbery. Or, U.S. forces may detain a LN
for attempting to steal fuel from a generator. In such instances, the general rule is to hand the
detainee over to host nation (HN) authorities at the earliest opportunity. The detention SOP in
Afghanistan, consistent with SOPs used in Iraq, directs handover of detainees to HN authorities
where no basis exists for further International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) custody.

The determination of status will have little practical effect on initial treatment, given the
requirement to initially treat all detainees as if they were entitled to the full range of GPW
protections. As noted in FM 3-19.40, [i]t is essential to understand the distinction between the
terms treatment and status. Treating a detainee as an EPW [enemy prisoner of war] does not
mean that the detainee has the actual status of an EPW, as set forth in the Geneva Conventions.

Appreciating the implications of status has, perhaps, the greatest importance for BCT planners
in the allocation of resources to effectively process detainees in conjunction with particular
As mentioned above, combatant immunity is the single greatest protection afforded to POWs.
POWs may not be criminally prosecuted for the deaths of persons or destruction of property
that occur in the course of legitimate military operations, conducted in accordance with the law
of war (i.e., Hague, Geneva, and related conventions).
Combatant immunity has an enormous
practical implication for detention operations, one that was absent for most of our operations in
Iraq and all of our operations in Afghanistan: It determines the relative importance of tactical site
exploitation (TSE) for law enforcement and prosecutorial purposes in a given operation. Planners
who appreciate the dynamic combatant immunity plays in the analysis can help their BCTs focus
TSE efforts for specifc operations to maximize returns and avoid unnecessary commitments of
time and resources.
Preparing for and executing proper TSE can constitute a major muscle movement for capturing
units. Planners should consider the likely status of an opposing force when allocating assets
and defning requirements. TSE for military intelligence purposes remains important against a
force that appears to meet the requirements for POW status. TSE for law enforcement purposes
will not be important unless some reason exists to believe the force has violated the law of
war because members of such a force would not otherwise be subject to criminal prosecution.
Further, the legitimacy of continued POW confnement does not hinge on conviction following
successful prosecution, as it can for unlawful combatants transferred to the HN. Their status as
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POWs permits them, subject to certain exceptions, to be held in detention until the end of the

Conversely, TSE for law enforcement purposes is critical in operations against unconventional
forces that are not expected to meet GPW Article 4 requirements for POW status. At some point,
U.S. forces will transfer unlawful combatants, not entitled to combatant immunity, to the HN
for prosecution. The HN will depend on U.S. forces to provide suffcient evidence to support
prosecution. Since the laws of most nations require that prosecutors either charge or release
a detainee within a specifed period of time, BCTs cannot waste the opportunity to conduct
effective TSE at the point of capture or to quickly develop exploitable, releasable evidence.
The process of documenting the capture of detainees, and ensuring accountability for the custody
of each detainee, whether a POW or not, is beyond the scope of this article. For details, see AR
190-8; FM 3-19.40; and FM 27-10, The Law of Land Warfare. While proper documentation
and accountability are important, proper treatment at point of capture and throughout the entire
period of BCT custody, up to and including transfer to a division holding area or HN facility, is
The Department of Defense (DOD) Detainee Program applies during all armed conficts,
however such conficts are characterized, and in all other military operations.
The directive
extends the minimum Geneva Convention Common Article 3 standards, such as prohibiting
violence to life and person, or outrages upon personal dignity, to all detained persons under U.S.
U.S. forces are accustomed to these as the baseline humane treatment standards from
OIF and OEF. The humane treatment standard would apply as the baseline for detainees in the
DATE scenario, just as it has for COIN operations. BCTs must recognize, however, that Article
3 treatment standards are the foor, not the ceiling. Department of Defense Directive (DODD)
2310.01E notes in paragraph 4.2 that certain categories of detainees, such as enemy prisoners of
war, enjoy protections under the law of war in addition to the minimum standards prescribed in
Common Article 3.

Veterans of OIF will recall the standard practice at division holding area annexes of confscating
all personal items from detainees (once inventoried and documented); requiring them to
exchange their clothing for one piece suits of uniform color; and treating them equally,
without regard for any position they may have held within their respective cells. That practice
was perfectly acceptable because those detainees were not entitled to POW status. Soldiers
participating in DATE must understand that [a]ll effects and articles of personal use, except
arms, horses, military equipment, and military documents, shall remain in the possession of
prisoners of war, likewise their metal helmets and gas masks and like articles issued for personal
Those effects and articles of personal use include uniforms. Similarly, Soldiers
must not remove [b]adges of rank and nationality, decorations, and articles having above all
a personal or sentimental value.
Additionally, POWs must be treated with the regard due to
their rank and age.
POWs may be questioned, but [p]risoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened,
insulted, or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.
questioning, which employs direct questions focused primarily on immediate tactical concerns,
may be conducted by non-military intelligence (MI) personnel (see, FM 3-19.40). Nevertheless,
only qualifed interrogators may interrogate. FM 2-22.3, Human Intelligence Collector
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Operations, establishes the necessary qualifcations for interrogators and lays out the parameters
for conducting approved interrogation approaches. FM 2-22.3 was effectively elevated from the
status of feld manual to federal statute by the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005. FM 2-22.3, in
most respects, clearly tracks the GPW, as where the preface states, No person in the custody
or under the control of DOD, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to
torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.
FM 3-19.40 outlines the parameters to set up and run a BCT-level detainee collection point.
The feld manual provides detailed guidance consistent with Geneva III on all aspects of facility
management, much of which is familiar to COIN operations, such as the requirements to provide
hygienic facilities, protect detainees from public curiosity, etc. However, FM 3-19.40 and AR
190-8 also cover a number of areas specifc to POW operations that BCTs must understand
to function in the DATE scenario. FM 3-19.40 also addresses resettlement operations. Both
internment and resettlement operations are important for the DATE scenario, since BCTs are
challenged not only to account for detainees and POWs in planning, but with dislocated civilians
as well.
Humanitar ian Assistance
Dislocated civilian suppor t
Another problem set explored in the DATE scenario is how the rotational unit addresses issues
arising from the presence of dislocated civilians in the operational environment. In DATE, U.S.
forces are not an occupying power as contemplated by the Hague Convention.
U.S. forces
are invited into, and conduct operations in, a sovereign nation which has a functioning central
government. Accordingly, the Hague articles regarding the responsibilities of occupying powers
are not applicable to the current DATE scenario. U.S. forces are called upon, however, to protect
LNs when/if the HN government is absent from the operational environment. HN civilians
may be internally displaced in a DATE rotation. Consequently, U.S. forces will likely have the
opportunity to conduct HA operations in DATE rotations. The doctrinal basis for these operations
is found in JP 3-29, Foreign Humanitarian Assistance.

JP 3-29 provides guidance to commanders facing a requirement to support dislocated civilians.
The publication defnes a dislocated civilian as a broad term primarily used by DOD that
includes a displaced person, an evacuee, an internally displaced person (IDP), a migrant, a
refugee, or a stateless person. These persons may be victims of confict, natural, or man-made
JP 3-29 states that dislocated civilian support missions may include:
Camp organization (basic construction and administration).
Provision of care (food, supplies, medical attention, and protection).
Placement (movement or relocation to other countries, camps, and locations).

Commanders at all echelons strive to do the right thing at all times and certainly do so
with regard to protecting dislocated civilians. The issue faced by judge advocates is ensuring
commanders and staffs have the legal authority to do the right thing and are appropriately
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advised when they do not. Protecting dislocated civilians and their personal property, camps,
and/or relief items provided for their beneft requires specifc legal authority.
Protection of foreign nationals and their property from a hostile act or demonstrated hostile
intent is contemplated in CJCSI 3121.01B. U.S. forces may be authorized to protect foreign
nationals and their property as an exercise of collective self-defense.
While only the president
or secretary of defense may authorize collective self-defense, this authority is granted in DATE
to protect civilians from violence likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm.
Should the
commander identify an additional need for the extension of collective self-defense to persons or
property, CJCSI 3121.01B provides a mechanism for requesting supplemental measures.
dislocated civilian support mission will require commanders and staffs to examine the suffciency
of authorities to conduct the mission. This examination will extend to determining whether
authority to provide foreign assistance with appropriated funds exists in a given instance.
Funding foreign assistance is the responsibility of the Department of State (DOS).
assistance encompasses all assistance to a foreign nation, including security assistance
(assistance to police and military forces); development assistance (assistance to physical and
political infrastructure); and HA (direct assistance to the population, including disaster relief).

Though DOS is the lead agency, the DOD facilitates support, and commanders have a limited
ability to fund foreign assistance. In practice, this ability is more restricted in DATE as compared
to the COIN environment.
Administering and performing foreign assistance missions under DOS policy and funding
authority involves multiple agencies and/or departments. Of primary importance in DATE are the
DOS, through the embassy and staff.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Specifc assistance programs must be coordinated to ensure resources are not wasted by
duplicated efforts or other ineffciencies. Coordination efforts should extend to nongovernmental
and foreign sources that may be present in the operational environment.
The general rule is DOD may only obligate appropriated operations and maintenance (O&M)
and procurement funds when the primary purpose is to directly beneft the U.S. military.
exceptions to this rule are: (1) interoperability training of foreign military forces
and (2) receipt
of a specifc appropriation or authorization from Congress to conduct foreign assistance.
example of interoperability training is weapons familiarization at a range. This level of training is
of short duration, low cost, and does not signifcantly enhance military profciency.
An example
of a specifc authorization from Congress to conduct foreign assistance, that OIF and OEF
veterans are likely familiar with, is the Commanders Emergency Response Program (CERP).
CERP originated in Iraq and continues in Afghanistan.
With CERP, commanders in OEF are
authorized by Congress to carry out small-scale projects designed to meet urgent humanitarian
relief requirements or urgent reconstruction requirements within their areas of responsibility
(AOR), as long as the project provides an immediate and direct beneft to the people of
The current availability of CERP is unique to OEF
and, consequently, CERP
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funds are not available in DATE. While there is no blanket availability of foreign assistance
funds for DOD, there are specifc authorities granted to DOD that commanders may request
to fll any capability gaps in the general fscal framework. Judge advocates must participate in
operation planning to ensure commanders are aware of fscal constraints regarding providing
assistance and are advised as to which authorities may be available to realize a commanders
Among the authorities available are Combatant Commander Initiative Funds (CCIF). Congress
limits the use of these funds to activities that include: force training, contingencies, selected
operations, and humanitarian and civic assistance (HCA) (including urgent and unanticipated
humanitarian relief and reconstruction assistance).
Requests for CCIF are nominated by
combatant commanders and the fnal approval authority is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff (CJCS).
Requests are prioritized by: (a) activities that enhance war fghting capability,
readiness, and sustainability of the forces assigned to the requestor; (b) activities not within the
AOR of a commander that would reduce threat to or increase national security of the United
States; and (c) urgent and unanticipated humanitarian relief and reconstruction particularly
where engaged in contingency operations.
CCIF provides fexibility to commanders but are
subject to high approval authority levels, thereby requiring extensive coordination.

An Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) is a commanders tool to support
foreign forces and may be utilized in DATE. An ACSA is a bilateral agreement for the
reimbursable exchange of items such as food, billeting, transportation (including airlift),
petroleum, oils, lubricants, clothing, communications services, medical services, ammunition,
base operations support (and construction incident to base operations support), storage services,
use of facilities, training services, spare parts and components, repair and maintenance services,
calibration services, and port services.
This includes temporary use of general purpose vehicles
and other nonlethal items of military equipment that are not designated as signifcant military
equipment on the United States Munitions List.
Among the categories of nations that may enter
in an ACSA with the United States are those that serve as host for U.S. military exercises and
The HN in DATE could request humanitarian support (for example, for food or
medical services) under an ACSA. The key to providing goods and services under an ACSA is
thorough documentation of what is transferred so that the cost of the items can be reimbursed at
a later date.
The DOD has limited authority to provide HA to civilian populations. Overseas, Humanitarian,
Disaster Assistance, and Civic Aid (OHDACA) is an overall funding source for specifc
OHDACA exists to build indigenous capabilities and cooperative relationships with
allies, friends, civil society, and potential partners.
OHDACA funds, $107.7 million budgeted
in FY 12, are used for HA and mine action programs as well as the foreign disaster relief
While there may be opportunities to request OHDACA funds in DATE, commanders
and their staffs should not think of these funds as a substitute for CERP funds. The particular
uses of OHDACA are subject to the regulations controlling the underlying programs it funds.
Selected programs are discussed below.
HA is funded by OHDACA and may be used for the transportation of humanitarian relief and
other types of assistance to include construction or refurbishment of local infrastructure facilities,
disaster preparedness, or refugee repatriation training.
There is no training requirement
associated with this authorization, so it may be executed by contract rather than by service
Additionally, HA is the primary means to ship goods and supplies donated by
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NGOs or private charities to foreign countries on a funded basis.
OHDACA funds all costs of
transportation, and there is no space available requirement (compare Denton program below).
HCA may be provided in conjunction with operations when the activities promote both the
security interests of the United States and HN and the specifc operational readiness skills of
the service members participating in the activities.
HCA must be coordinated with DOS.
of HCA in DATE is problematic in that HCA is tied to operational readiness, i.e., training.

Authorized HCA includes the following:
Medical, surgical, dental, and veterinary care in rural or underserved areas (includes
training of such care).
Construction of rudimentary surface transportation systems.
Well drilling and construction of rudimentary sanitation facilities.
Rudimentary construction and repair of public facilities
O&M may fund incidental costs related to providing ODHCA-funded HCA or even providing
low-level HCA.
Referred to as de minimis HCA, small-scale assistance may be provided
without DOS coordination.
An example of de minimis HCA is a doctors examination of a
few villagers, administering a few injections, and/or issuing small quantities of medicine while
providing support to an existing mission such as accompanying a civil affairs unit conducting a
key leader engagement.
ODHCA may fund transportation of humanitarian relief supplies to foreign countries (Denton
In coordination with DOS, the DOD may transport to any country, without charge,
supplies furnished by NGOs for humanitarian assistance on a space-available basis and may
include distribution by a government agency.
Use of this authority in DATE may be limited, as
it only provides bringing supplies to the HN.
Some issues faced by commanders and staffs in DATE will be resolved differently than they
would if they arose in a COIN training environment. In some instances, the legal authorities
relied upon in DATE may be the same as those relied upon in COIN but with different emphasis.
In other instances, entirely different legal authorities are relied upon to resolve issues. Detention
operations in DATE challenge leaders to focus on POW treatment as distinguished from
treatment of unlawful combatants or common criminals. DATE HA operations illustrate to
leaders that the capability to provide the HN goods or construct facilities is extremely limited as
compared to OIF or OEF.
1. CJCSI 3121.01B, Standing Rules of Engagement (SROE)/Standing Rules for Use of Force (SRUF), 13 June 2005.
2. FM 3-19.40, Internment and Resettlement Operations, September 2007, paragraph 4-1.
3. AR 190-8, Enemy Prisoners of War, Retained Personnel, Civilian Internees, and Other Detainees, October 1997,
paragraph 1-5(a)(2).
4. AR 190-8, paragraph 1-6(a).
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5. Geneva Convention III Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, 1949, Article 4.
6. See Detention of Non-ISAF Personnel, SOP 362.
7. FM 3-19.40, note to paragraph 1-25.
8. The concept of combatant immunity is recognized as a part of customary international law, based on inferences
drawn from the limitations on prosecution for POWs that exist in GPW Article 13, 118, and the Offcial
Commentary to Article 85.
9. GPW, Article 118 states, Prisoners of war shall be released and repatriated without delay after the cessation of
active hostilities.
10. DODD 2310.01E, The Department of Defense Detainee Program, paragraph 2.2.
11. DODD 2310.01E, paragraph 4.2.
12. DODD 2310.01E, paragraph 4.2.
13. Geneva Convention III Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, 1949, Article 18.
14. Geneva Convention III Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, 1949, Article 18.
15. Geneva Convention III Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, 1949, Articles 44 and 45.
16. Geneva Convention III Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, 1949, Article 17.
17. See Hague IV, Art 42, et seq.
18. JP 3-29, Foreign Humanitarian Assistance, 17 March 2009, p. i.
19. JP 3-29, p. I.6-7.
20. JP 3-29, p. I.6-7.
21. CJCSI 3121.01B, Standing Rules of Engagement (SROE) / Standing Rules for Use of Force (SRUF), 13 June
22. CJCSI 3121.01B, Standing Rules of Engagement (SROE) / Standing Rules for Use of Force (SRUF), 13 June
23. CJCSI 3121.01B, Standing Rules of Engagement (SROE) / Standing Rules for Use of Force (SRUF), 13 June
24. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, 22 U.S.C. 2151.
25. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, 22 U.S.C. 2151; CONTRACT & FISCAL L. DEPT, THE JUDGE
edition, Chapter 10: Operational Funding.
26. See 31 U.S.C. 1301(a): Appropriations shall be applied only to the objects for which the appropriations were
made except as otherwise provided by law.
SCHOOL, U.S. ARMY, FISCAL LAW DESKBOOK, current edition, Chapter 10: Operational Funding.
CENTER AND SCHOOL, U.S. ARMY, FISCAL LAW DESKBOOK, current edition, Chapter 10: Operational
SCHOOL, U.S. ARMY, FISCAL LAW DESKBOOK, current edition, Chapter 10: Operational Funding.
30. NDAA 2012, 1202.
31. NDAA 2012, 1202.
32. NDAA 2012, 1202.
33. 10 U.S.C. 166a.
34. 10 U.S.C. 166a.
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35. 10 U.S.C. 166a.
CENTER AND SCHOOL, U.S. ARMY, FISCAL LAW DESKBOOK, current edition, Chapter 10: Operational
37. DODD 2010.9, Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreements, 28 April 2003; CJCSI 2120.01B, Acquisition and
Cross-Servicing Agreements, 20 September 2010.
38. DODD 2010.9, Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreements, 28 April 2003; CJCSI 2120.01B, Acquisition and
Cross-Servicing Agreements, 20 September 2010.
39. I DODD 2010.9, Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreements, 28 April 2003; CJCSI 2120.01B, Acquisition and
Cross-Servicing Agreements, 20 September 2010.
40. Fiscal Year 2012 Overseas, Humanitarian, Disaster Assistance, and Civic Aid Budget Estimate, Department of
Defense Security Cooperation Agency, February 2011.
41. Fiscal Year 2011 Overseas, Humanitarian, Disaster Assistance, and Civic Aid Budget Estimate, Department of
Defense Security Cooperation Agency, February 2010.
42. Fiscal Year 2012 Overseas, Humanitarian, Disaster Assistance, and Civic Aid Budget Estimate, Department of
Defense Security Cooperation Agency, February 2011.
43. 10 U.S.C. 401.
44. 10 U.S.C. 401.
45. 10 U.S.C. 401.
46. 10 U.S.C. 401.
47. 10 U.S.C. 401.
48. 10 U.S.C. 401.
49. 10 U.S.C. 401.
50. 10 U.S.C. 401.
51. 10 U.S.C. 401.
CENTER AND SCHOOL, U.S. ARMY, FISCAL LAW DESKBOOK, current edition, Chapter 10: Operational
SCHOOL, U.S. ARMY, FISCAL LAW DESKBOOK, current edition, Chapter 10: Operational Funding.
54. 10 U.S.C. 402.
55. 10 U.S.C. 402.
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The Br igade Combat Team Mission Command Validation Exercise:
Enabling Mission Command
Major Jason E. Bur ns
For many units, a rotation to the National Training Center (NTC) is the frst training event that
enables them to use all of their systems to exercise mission command in a tactical training
environment. During the staging phase of reception, staging, onward movement and integration
(RSOI) of a units deployment to the NTC, units conduct what is potentially their frst mission
command validation exercise (MCVE) with all assigned and attached units and systems. The
MCVE requires synchronizing all fve components of the mission command system (MCS). A
failure in any one component will degrade an MCVE and will complicate existing gaps in user
training, manning, system function, processes, and procedures. Oftentimes this is magnifed
by lack of leader involvement as well as no clearly defned MCVE end state. Moreover, when
we approach an MCVE like a communications exercise (COMMEX), units check that systems
are connected but miss the opportunity to use these connected systems to practice or rehearse
mission command during RSOI as they prepare for onward movement, integration, and the
challenging follow-on missions.
We potentially are failing to appreciate that there is a distinct difference between an MCVE and
a COMMEX. An MCVE is a more complex training event when compared to a COMMEX,
which is designed to only test connectivity for designated communications systems. It does not
incorporate any higher level relevant data processing other than, You, this is me, radio check.
As we report our COMMEX results to leaders, it is easy to provide a false sense of unit readiness
for conducting mission command.
This article will discuss the challenges units experience when conducting an MCVE and how it
affects them at the NTC. We will present a recommended training model that incorporates the
MCS into the planning, preparation, and execution of an MCVE at home station to enable units
as they prepare for combat training center rotations and deployment.
To be fair, mission command validation exercise is a term we have developed at the NTC. It
involves the integration of the fve categories of the mission command systems as outlined in
Field Manual (FM) 6.0, Mission Command: Command and Control of Army Forces. Its purpose
is to verify that the conditions are in place to enable staff and commander decision making at
echelon. We assess that an MCVE is a complex, command directed training event that builds on
months of preparation, training, and rehearsals. The end result is the synchronization of Soldiers
and digital systems capable of managing relevant information and data inputs. This provides
staffs and commanders a common operational picture (COP) and allows them to exercise
mission command. We introduce the MCVE concept to rotational units during the NTC planning
conferences, the NTC predeployment site surveys, and during the units prerotational Leader
Training Program (LTP) training. Unfortunately, many units miss the mark on this critical event
and rarely progress beyond conducting a brigade-level COMMEX prior to arrival at the NTC.
Due to the compressed rotational timeline at NTC and the complex nature of an MCVE, it is
essential that units develop a holistic, MCS-focused training plan as early as possible.
In order to illustrate the level of complexity in an MCVE, lets discuss key differences between a
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Defning a Communications Exercise and a Mission Command Validation Exercise
There is no doctrinal reference that outlines what exactly a COMMEX is, so we provide a basic
defnition. A COMMEX:
Validates systems for connectivity.
Can be as little as two systems or as many as required.
Requires minimal operator profciency to test.
Requires no operational interpretation of data, other than check complete.
Results can be reported graphically on a communications status (COMSTAT) tracker.
A COMMEX should validate connectivity of designated systems and include reporting overall
system status to commanders by using a COMSTAT. All identifed defciencies are used to
develop additional training requirements and priorities of work to get systems into operation.
A COMMEX serves as a prerequisite to the execution of an MCVE; it is the base exercise that
ensures all systems are interconnected.
An MCVE is a command-directed event that must validate all fve categories of the MCS. The
categories are defned as follows:
Personnel: An effective MCS requires trained personnel on all MCSs, both training
profciency and operator density for each terminal.
Networks: Established networks that connect people and enable commanders to
communicate and control forces.
Information systems: Commanders determine their information requirements and
focus their staffs and organizations on using information systems to answer them. An
information system collects, processes, stores, displays, and disseminates information.
This includes computers, hardware, software, and communications.
Processes and procedures: Commanders establish and use systematic processes and
procedures to organize the activities within the headquarters and throughout the force
(for example, battle drills and standing operating procedures [SOPs]).
Facilities and equipment: Commanders systematically arrange facilities and equipment,
including the brigade main command post, brigade tactical command post (TAC),
signal nodes, and all mission command support equipment.
Commanders cannot exercise mission command alone and should organize their MCSs and their
staffs to:
Enable the commanders decision making.
Collect, create, and maintain relevant information and prepare knowledge products to
support commanders and leaders understanding and visualization.
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Prepare and communicate directives.
Establish the means by which commanders and leaders communicate, collaborate, and
facilitate the functioning of teams.
To provide these four overlapping functions, the staffs organization must account for the fve
components of the MCSs (Figure 8-1).
Figure 8-1. Mission Command Systems (FM 6-0)
These fve components are resident in brigade and battalion staffs. Enabling mission command
is often misinterpreted as an S-6 function. The brigade or battalion S-6 plays a major role in two
categories of MCSs, network, and information systems. The entire staff, at echelon, has certain
duties and responsibilities inside the MCS model, and it is critical that the staff understand their
Consider ations for MCVEs
No amount of technology can replace the importance of people. People, not systems, will
dictate how advanced our systems can become. As we integrate systems, defciencies in operator
training will surface. Before executing an MCVE, all systems and operators must be validated.
COMMEXs must be echeloned and layered, becoming successively more complex and growing
in scope. A crawl, walk, run model should be used when developing the training plan for the
system integration training plan.
Command emphasis is a key factor for a successful MCVE. This sets the tone of the training
event for the Soldiers and staff, making it a priority for the organization. The end state is to
integrate all systems and operators together through scenario based training, ultimately enabling
commanders to make decisions. If the commander or his representative is not part of the MCVE,
the event is a degraded command post exercise (CPX).
Challenges Conducting an MCVE
Obser vations from the NTC
On RSOI day three, the rotational unit is required to execute an MCVE. This event will set the
conditions for the starting of a CPX on training day two for NTC 14-day rotations. Often units
fail to progress beyond executing a COMMEX during RSOI, and it becomes a brigade combat
team (BCT) S-6 led exercise that is relegated to a check-the-box event. In these instances, units
will manage to only get three of the fve MCSs integrated during the MCVE on RSOI 3:
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Networks: The Joint Nodal Transport Capable-Spiral (JNTC-S) systems validated
during a COMMEX prior to RSOI 3.
Information systems: Due to the NTCs information assurance (IA) policies, all
systems are required to be validated prior to entering the training area. This results in
all systems being connected to the network.
Facilities: Units sign for and occupy the NTCs command, control, communications,
computers, and intelligence (C4I) tent or contracted unit tents.
Units are not successful in two categories:
Personnel: Information system operators are not present or not trained on assigned
Processes and procedures: Battle drills, SOPs, or tracking procedures are not practiced.
An MCVE empowers commanders and staffs to use the information systems to solve problems
and make decisions during RSOI. Units can conduct RSOI tracking and continue planning for
future operations by using their tools to:
Employ decision support tools for movement to the box (what are the conditions that
need to be met?).
Populate a COP based on the commanders guidance.
Track RSOI tasks.
Monitor the progress of RSOI-related training.
Prepare and distribute onward movement and integration graphics on Force XXI Battle
Command, Brigade and Below (FBCB2) and Command Post of the Future (CPOF).
Publish enemy situational templates in support of onward movement and integration.
Distribute orders and instructions related to ongoing and future operations.
Initiate sustainment reporting and tracking.
On training day two, the rotational unit must be established with all systems online in their
brigade and battalion main command posts to begin a CPX with the 52 ID (NTC replicated
higher headquarters) in support of integration activities in preparation for follow-on operations.
If the unit executes an MCVE during RSOI, this exercise then serves as a rehearsal for mission
command. If an MCVE exercise is not conducted before the start of the CPX, units will struggle,
especially with the personnel and processes and procedures components of the MCS. The
facilities component of MCS can be a challenge as well, as we re-blue skills such as using
modifed table of organization and equipment (MTOE) tentage, power generation, and vehicles
for our main command posts vice fxed structures. As the CPX begins and the simulated injects
are received by the unit, we often discover that there is no process and procedures to deal with
the relevant information. To compound this information and knowledge management training
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challenge, many operators are not validated on their systems and lack the tools, permissions, and
software needed to perform their duties and responsibilities.
Trends we see with units that do not mandate 100 percent operator and system participation
during the MCVE include:
Operators not in active directory and not able to logon to the domain.
Users do not have necessary permissions for portal access.
No Jabber chat or Ventrilo installed on workstations. If they are installed, they are not
confgured for the user or pointed at the correct server.
No microphones or headsets for operators to communicate.
CPOFs pointed to the wrong repository.
Any one of these minor issues can render a Soldier nonmission capable in the digital world.
These issues often turn into an obstacle that detracts from CPX execution from staffs and
leaders getting practice with making recommendations or decisions. It devolves into a situation
where the BCT S-6 help desk is forced to immediately fx issues in the brigade main command
post. Depending on the number of trained automation Soldiers assigned to the help desk,
working though these issues can become a major bottleneck that can carry through training
day four and cost precious training days for staffs and leaders. Further compounding this issue,
as a brigade fghts through these issues, signal Soldiers do not exercise automation triage by
prioritizing users and systems. Rather, its a frst-come, frst-served basis. Without a help desk
SOP, it is not uncommon to see a signal Soldier fxing a Nonsecure Internet Protocol Router
(NIPR) workstation for a general network user, while the battle captains CPOF on the brigade
main foor is not confgured. The brigade S-6 can establish priorities of assistance by developing
a tiered approach to support inside the brigade main. For example:
Tier I: Top 5, command group, and battle captain.
Tier II: Staff primaries.
Tier III: Network users.
System types can be integrated into the tiered structure. If executed with a tiered approach,
automation triage will get a brigade main or TAC online faster at the NTC, where saving hours
makes a signifcant positive impact on training.
To support training, the NTC provides an immersive training environment that units are unable
to fully create at home station at the BCT level. It is designed to stress a brigades systems, staff,
and commanders through enabling staffs and commanders to make decisions based on scenario-
induced stimulus. As outlined in FM 6.0, an operational environment is a composite of the
conditions, circumstances, and infuences that affect the employment of capabilities and bear on
the decisions of the commander.
The Army Battle Command System (ABCS) model is designed to accept inputs provided by
situations that arise from training in an operational environment, either replicated or real. At
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the NTC the environment is designed to generate events/scenarios that produce these inputs by
warfghting function (WfF) needed to stimulate use of ABCS, support COP development, and
enable mission command practice. Although units are constrained to what level exercise they
can execute at home station, they can beneft from developing training exercises that provide
tactical scenario based stimulus. These scenario-based training events can be conducted at home
station training areas or simulated in installation facilities such as the Battle Command Training
Centers (BCTCs) to provide tactical stimulus to train all fve components of the MCS and enable
staffs and commanders to make decisions. Either just prior to or during mission command
system integration (MCSI; formerly Battle Command System of Systems Integration Training)
BCSoSIT) event III, a brigade should plan on executing an MCVE using scenario-based training
models. We can do this through three methods:
Coordinate with installation BCTCs to provide blue/red feed/white cell injects to
enable commanders and staffs to establish a COP and make tactical decisions. Units
can integrate a Joint Confict and Tactical Simulation (JCATS) simulation exercise into
this training.
Create a white cell and MESL internally to the BCT or work with a sister BCT to
augment training. Units can integrate a JCATS simulation exercise into this training as
Coordinate with a CTC for an operation order, and conduct military decisionmaking
process (MDMP) and a CPX that:
Drive the staff planning process and creation of products.
Stimulate usage of ABCS.
Require the production and use of graphics, overlays, and tracking tools.
Enable development of a COP.
Support staff and commander decision making.
We have discussed two key mission command events (MCVE and CPX) at NTC and identifed
a need to execute a scenario-based training program at home station prior to arrival at the NTC.
We have set our right limit with our home station MCVE and defned our training end state.
Next, units need to accurately assess their left limit understanding of our current defciencies in
regard to the MCS and then develop a training plan to close the training gaps.
Developing a Br igade Mission Command Tr aining Plan
The BCT commander and his staff are briefed by the mission command system integration
team (MCSIT) on training objectives for events IIII early in the Army Force Generation
(ARFORGEN) training cycle. These events provide system integration training and setup of
the brigades command posts (see Figure 8-2). These three baseline training events are essential
for building unit mission command capacity in the ARFORGEN cycle. As it is prestructured
training, some units potentially do not fully appreciate the opportunity to take optimal ownership
of these events and fall into executing MCSITs tasks list lock-step. By not taking full ownership
of these events, units could miss the opportunity to establish training objectives for each of the
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three events and develop a training plan that reaches the BCTs desired end states. In speaking
with units that have come to the NTC about event III execution, more often than not, it was
degraded to a COMMEX often with limited leader involvement and staff integration.
Figure 8-2. MCSIT Events IIII outline
In developing the BCTs long-range training plan, we recommend that units space out events I
and II, as they are initially slated as back-to-back events. This allows the brigade command posts
to get additional repetitions at setup and gives the signal community more time to prepare signal
systems. It also provides users more time to train on their systems. Competent operators will
allow the brigade to push training further during event II, providing commanders and staffs with
more options. It is essential for the BCTs S-6 to get involved in the training plan development as
early as possible and work with the S-3 in outlining the end state and training objectives by MCS
for each event (see Figure 8-3).
Figure 8-3. MCS tr aining integr ation matr ix
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Signal responsibilities
The MCSI end states and MCS training objectives must be approved by the commander and
published in an operation order or training guidance and added to the BCTs training calendar.
Once MCS training objectives for each event have been established, the BCT S-6 can develop
the brigade signal training plan, ensuring that it is nested with the brigades training plan.
The signal training plan should enable events IIII by backwards planning for each event by
integrating signal tasks to be trained at the individual, collective, and leader levels (see Figure
Figure 8-4. Example signal long-r ange tr aining calendar
with events nested through event II
In order to execute signal training at this level, the signal community must be synchronized;
this includes all battalion S-6s and the signal company participating in BCT COMMEXs as
planned by the S-6. At the NTC we still observe a brigade signal community where the roles
and responsibilities of the S-6 and the signal company commander are often not clear, which
undermines unity of effort. Moreover, BCT S-6 coordination meetings, when held, are mostly
reactive, conducted without an agenda and focus on triage of the immediate problems. Training a
signal team with clear priorities, a training strategy, and effective coordination meetings enables
unity of effort across the community and allows the brigade to see and address problems early in
the training cycle, leading to a responsive signal team.
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The BCT S-6, along with the signal company commander, is responsible for developing the
signal long-range training calendar and identifying tasks and end states for each COMMEX. The
S-6 publishes COMMEX guidance in a brigade order that details the event execution (see Figure
8-5). In concert with the S-3, we can track COMMEXs on the BCTs short-term and long-range
training calendars. The S-6 provides staff oversight to signal training for the brigade; therefore,he
must provide guidance for the COMMEX as it draws near during the weekly BCT S-6 meeting
and also provide input to the BCT S-3 for brigade training meetings.
Figure 8-5. Signal COMMEX concept of oper ations
Conducting a COMMEX is resource intensive, and it requires the signal company commander to
resource much of the training. It should be included in the companys training plan and briefed
to the brigade special troops battalion (BSTB) commander as part of the special troop battalions
(STBs) training meetings. This gives the STB the ability to understand how it supports this
brigade mission.
Some will argue that all training and systems should be all-inclusive from the beginning of
the training cycle, but we also must operate within the reality of the ARFORGEN model. The
sooner the brigade signal team can validate and prepare the brigades wide area network (WAN)
and Battle Command Common Services (BCCS), the sooner the brigade can execute collective
digital training. This can be done more effciently if the BCT S-6 and signal company work these
key systems within the signal community while simultaneously headquarters, at echelon, are
preparing its Soldiers and systems.
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As each signal event concludes, it is necessary for the BCT S-6 to evaluate and capture progress.
This can be easily accomplished by using an exercise outbrief or storyboard format (see Figure
8-6). This information should be briefed to commanders so they can understand progress and
provide focus on areas that need improvement for subsequent exercises.
Figure 8-6. COMMEX outbr ief stor yboar d
All training events need to be evaluated with all successes and failures captured on a network
COMSTAT (see Figure 8-7). All training shortfalls are carried over to the next COMMEX. This
gives the commander time to address the S-6s to understand what training and resources need to
be focused on so each respective unit can keep the brigade on track to meet events IIII training
objectives. Moreover, this provides S-6s the opportunity to tailor reports in a home station
environment to meet their commanders information requirements.
Staff responsibilities
A mission command training plan requires participation from all members of the brigade staff.
Each member has a stake in the process, and the staff is responsible for their proponent ABCS
portion of the MCS training plan. The S-3 is responsible for maintaining the digital battle roster
(see Figure 8-8). When used correctly, units will be able to see if they are prepared to execute
an MCVE lasting eight hours, let alone one that lasts 14 days of continual operations which
includes relocating the TAC. The digital battle roster allows brigades to see themselves in regards
to systems training and enables us to develop a training plan to fll in the gaps.
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Figure 8-7. Networ k COMSTAT
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Figure 8-8. Br igade digital battle roster
Individual staff sections are responsible for managing user training for their ABCS systems as
well as keeping the S-3 informed of their training status in order to keep the digital battle roster
current. The brigade digital systems engineer (DSE) can assist by conducting basic-level training
and coordinating with external trainers. The brigade ABCS training status (see Figure 8-9) can be
briefed to the commanders at command and staff or training meetings.
Figure 8-9. Br igade ABCS status tr acker
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Accur ate repor ting: What does green mean?
Caution must be exercised when using colored charts to brief mission command status to
commanders. All too often tracking charts are oversimplifed and do not provide enough clarity
or detail for decision making. Not realizing green has several components. One green status
can effectively stop all training and testing on a system as staffs and commanders believe that
training objectives have been met. Many units end up fghting the tracking chart, as getting
everything in the chart green becomes its own informal mission, pre-empting the necessity to
accurately inform the leader of the status of his systems. At the NTC we ask units, What does
green mean? As we ask the question to the individual operators, the staff, and commanders,
it becomes clear that we have the opportunity to standardize reporting in accordance with the
commanders guidance or to adhere to an already published SOP. If we are unable to accurately
report, we cannot see and fx problems. More importantly, we cannot adjust our primary,
alternate, contingency, and emergency (PACE) communications plan to mirror current system
status. In Figure 8-9, we propose a tracking system that has the staff proponent for each ABCS
and their status reported by fully mission capable (FMC), on hand, and number of trained
operators. In this case, to receive a green status, three conditions must be met:
Ninety percent of systems or greater of on-hand systems must be FMC.
Ninety percent of MTOE systems must be on hand.
Two or more fully trained operators for each on-hand system.
By designating a system FMC, we are stating that the system has or is:
Current operating version with current updates.
Confgured with Internet Protocol (IP) address.
Able to pass traffc through the network.
Passing data to the Publish and Subscribe Services (PASS).
Meets current IAVA, WSUS, and AV compliancy as needed.
By designating users as fully trained on their ABCS system, they are able to:
Install operate and maintain their systems.
Perform all basic and necessary advanced tasks on their assigned systems.
Perform troubleshooting and understand -20 level support requests.
Tr aining integr ation
As COMMEXs and staff ABCS training come together prior to Event I, the challenge units face
is the integration of users and systems onto the tactical network and Battle Command Common
Services (BCCS) servers. At this point, the JNTC-S network and BCCS servers should be
validated and waiting to be populated with systems and users. At the NTC, on average we see
BCTs put 70-80 ABCS systems, 200-250 SIPR work stations, and 60-70 NIPR workstations on
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the tactical network during a rotation, many of these systems for the frst time. The BCT S-6
section is challenged to get these systems on the tactical network in a time-compressed training
environment. They are expected to provide the same level of connectivity and greater levels of
services than a home station Network Enterprise Center (NEC) provides. It is not uncommon
to see Soldiers at the NTC looking to get on the brigades tactical network, show up with a
nonmission capable (NMC) home station computer, not realizing that every user must:
Fill out a user agreement and account request forms for the BCT tactical network.
Posses a secret clearance validated in JPASS.
Have their account created in active directory.
Get permissions set for their account.
Have an account created in Exchange email.
Have a workstation with the most current image.
Confgure their workstation for the network to receive connectivity.
Validate that the workstation is IA compliant and receiving updates.
It is an achievable task to get upward of 400 systems on the tactical network in accordance the
eight steps above. These tasks must be published and integrated into the training plan as early as
possible. If we do not start these processes early in our training, events I and II can degrade into
administrative exercise for the staff and Soldiers to get access to the tactical network and systems
online, rather than training to enable mission command.
Integr ation of the Tactical Networ k to Suppor t MVCE Tr aining Objectives
The limited time a brigades tactical network is online is a major constraint in trying to get users
and systems on the network. Some BCTs are able to have their systems on the NEC backbone
and can use them without having to set up their JNTC-S network. Some units rotating through
the NTC are either unaware of or unable to accomplish this over the course of the training cycle.
They only spend a small fraction of their training time on their tactical network prior to arrival.
This situation creates two problems:
Commanders, staffs, and users develop habits on garrison networks. These habits, often
ungoverned by unit business rules, such as poor bandwidth management techniques,
use of streaming video/audio, transferring large fles over email to multiple users, and
no use of fle compression, are brought over to the tactical network.
Units have not developed business rules or protocols for use of the tactical network. It
is diffcult to use the tactical network and services for limited duration exercises, only
to return to the garrison network when training is complete. Soldiers do not develop the
sense of ownership and the supporting SOPs for using the tactical network in a short
duration exercise.
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What can we do to maximize profciency on the tactical network? First, leaders and staffs
must create a culture that instills a level of dependency on the tactical network and systems, or
integrate systems on the NEC network. This is a challenge, as home station OPTEMPO will take
precedence for users, and many will view trying to work on systems other than their garrison
systems as a distraction. Commanders are responsible for establishing the policies to force users
onto the tactical network, and S-6s must work solutions that enable these policies. Creativity and
follow through is the key ingredient to successful integration of the tactical network.
If it is not feasible to live in a tactical environment while at home station, the easiest and most
practical course of action is to bring the tactical network to garrison operations. Units have the
ability to establish their JNNs and CPNs at the brigade and battalion headquarters and integrate
the network into daily operations. This facilitates getting users and systems on the tactical
network while minimizing the impact to garrison operations. Once this is accomplished, units
can conduct routine garrison battle rhythm events on the tactical network by using collaborative
tools such as CPOF, Adobe Connect, Jabber, SharePoint, and Ventrilo. Some example events that
can be conducted on the home station tactical network include:
BCT training meeting.
BCT command and staff meeting.
Staff meetings.
BCT and battalion staff synchronization meetings.
We can integrate our collaborative processes by using these tools. If we do not get after system
integration at home station, we will not be able to standardize collaborative processes prior to
training at a CTC or deployment. Due to the tempo of training at the NTC, compounded by a
lack of user training, units end up using systems they are comfortable with rather than the most
effective ones. It is not uncommon to have a unit use SVOIP phones and PowerPoint slides in
lieu of Ventrilo and CPOF to conduct a commanders update brief. Integration of these battle
rhythm events with the tactical network at home station will enable units to begin development
of their SOPs.
A brigade can quickly reach the performance constraints of the tactical network at home
station or the NTC and should develop a digital rules of engagement (DROE). A DROE is
a set of user and system polices developed by the S-6 to facilitate proper collaboration and
bandwidth conservation practices on the tactical network to ensure the network is available to the
commanders in support of mission command.
User repetition and command emphasis are the keys to a units success with the tactical network
in this environment. If this level of integration is not feasible, there are other options such as
establishing ABCS systems on the NEC NIPR network. Different installations are at different
levels of integration in this regard, and the key is having enterprise services provided to ABCS
systems. Moreover, we must have a PASS or repository to share information. IA also becomes a
concern when operating on different networks that both users and the S-6 must take into account.
If we can integrate systems on the NIPR network, options are available. An example is using
CPOFs to track daily operations and incidents:
Severe weather.
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Road closures on main post and in the training area.
Unit training events.
Commanders critical information requirements events and locations.
Off-limit establishments.
Garrison morale, welfare, and recreation events and locations.
To get beyond the COMMEX and into MCVEs in support of the commanders at echelon, we
have the opportunity to integrate communications systems training as early as possible in the
training cycles. User competence, system functionality, and an ability to see ourselves in terms of
equipment and operators is essential in preparing a brigade to execute an MCVE.
A high level of practice can only be achieved if we take a comprehensive approach to training
the MCS. By utilizing the fve components of MCS, units can focus training to support mission
command and accurately assess capacity development as the training cycle progresses. Enabling
mission command for the commanders at echelon takes a coordinated effort across the staff and
requires each staff section to understand its roles in planning, training, preparing, and executing
inside the MCS.
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Tr aining Oppor tunistic For mations: Leading Tr ansitions
for the Br igade Combat Team
MAJ William Adler
Operational art is how commanders balance risk and opportunity to create and maintain the
conditions necessary to seize, retain, and exploit the initiative and gain a position of relative
advantage while linking tactical actions to reach a strategic objective.
Army Doctrinal Publication (ADP) 3-0, Unifed Land Operations
After six days of continuous operations, the brigade combat team (BCT) had pushed
back the Donovian regular forces east of Phase Line Francis and were working with
Atropian military forces to secure the provincial capital of Razish. Irregular forces
still conducted sporadic attacks of opportunity against U.S. and Atropian regular
forces. Criminal organizations and separatist insurgents targeted displaced civilians in
internally displaced person (IDP) camps and undermined security within the province.
The BCT was focused on building combat power for upcoming operations concurrent
with sustained enemy contact at the forward edge of the enemys security zone. The BCT
reconnaissance squadron had been in contact with the enemy for nearly six straight
days, and the toll was becoming apparent as readiness rates dropped and units struggled
with sustainment of personnel and equipment. The BCT commander recognized, at
the eleventh hour, that his formations were not prepared to execute reconnaissance
operations in support of the BCT attack, and their continual focus forward along the
screen line had depleted their ability to conduct sustained operations for the next 24
hours. An approved delay in the line of departure (LD) time bought the brigade some time
to consolidate and reorganize; it also presented the enemy with additional opportunities
to prepare their defense in depth in the vicinity of Dezashah and through the unforgiving
washes and passes of the Atropian desert.
During the past nine years the BCTs have grown accustomed to a relatively predictable
operational tempo while conducting training at the National Training Center (NTC) within
scenarios focused on counterinsurgency (COIN) operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. These
operations provide BCTs with fairly predictable transition periods and a threat that is not capable
of dealing a catastrophic blow to the BCT. The U.S. Army has concluded operations in Iraq and
will likely modify the nature of operations in Afghanistan in the near future. The Armys combat
training centers (CTCs) have been directed to modify training rotational design to address the
challenges of uncertain operational environments (OEs) and expose BCTs to simultaneous and
dynamic offensive, defensive, and stability operations to assist BCTs with achieving competence
and confdence at decisive action in support of unifed land operations.
Until recently, BCT commanders and staffs training at the NTC have not been forced to
plan and execute operations against a problem set that includes sustained operations against
a conventional near-peer threat while addressing simultaneous insurgent, criminal, and
noncombatant challenges that infuence complex transition planning. Planning and executing
transitions for the BCT in this environment is less clear cut and relies on effective coordination
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between commanders and their staffs to identify, visualize, describe, and direct the brigades
priorities in relation to the OE and tactical situation. Ultimately, it is the commander who must
understand, describe, direct, and assess these transitions through commanders guidance and the
operations process, with particular focus on adequately defning the desired end state.
Operational environments are not static. Within an operational environment, an Army
leader may conduct major combat, military engagement, and humanitarian assistance
simultaneously. Army doctrine has always stated that Army forces must be prepared to
transition rapidly from one type of operation to another.
ADP 3-0
In March 2012, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team (heavy brigade combat team [HBCT]) of the
3rd Infantry Division conducted the frst HBCT decisive action training environment (DATE)
rotation at the NTC. The BCT was faced with a scenario that presented a capable hybrid threat
possessing an array of modern capabilities able to challenge the BCT throughout the depth of its
area of operation (AO). Within the scenario, the BCT planned and executed offensive, defensive,
and stability missions, against modern adversaries while wrestling with an expanded problem-set
that included civilian displacement, civil unrest, integration of host nation security forces, active
insurgent threats, and a wide array of inform and infuence activities. This scenario exercised
what ADP 3-0 refers to as the Armys core competencies of combined arms maneuver (CAM)
and wide area security (WAS).
The brigade met these challenges head-on and took away, for
the U.S. Army, hard-won lessons about fghting a HBCT in the kind of tough and uncertain
environment we can expect in the foreseeable future.
The Br igade Combat Team in DATE
The BCT is the primary ground combat organization in the U.S. Army. According to current
doctrine, the BCT should expect to conduct simultaneous operations focusing on the U.S.
Armys core competencies of CAM and WAS. Put another way, the potential for conducting
simultaneous offensive, defensive, and stability operations within a deployed BCTs AO should
give any reasonable commander and staff pause. This is not a clean reorientation of the BCT
at the conclusion of a multiphase operation. In this OE, the commander and the staff are not
presented with clear pauses or breaks to conduct resynchronization of forces to meet changing
operational demands. Commanders and staffs will have to determine when and where transitions
will occur and plan for those changes concurrent with ongoing operations. This impacts
formations at echelon in terms of tactical orientation, combat power management, sustainment,
security, and even rest plans. The BCT is the frst echelon where there is suffcient depth in staff
sections to plan for and synchronize forces to rebalance the formation during periods when
operational transitions are required. Revisions to exercise design at the U.S. Armys CTCs will
require a rigorous approach to the problem of balancing efforts during transition periods by
replicating environments that force this problem with greater urgency on commanders and staffs.
Ar my Doctr ine in Tr ansition
Army doctrine addresses the planning process at length in multiple documents. It is not the
purpose of this article to revisit each step in detail, but instead to highlight key points during
a CTC training experience where commanders and the staff can identify and begin setting
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conditions for eventual transitions as part of the planning and decision-making processes
all in preparation for employment as a contingency expeditionary force or as a deployed
expeditionary force.
Revisions to U.S. Army doctrine are currently underway, and ADP 3-0 is only one of many
pending updates to existing doctrine. ADP 3-0 is a keystone document and presents a more
streamlined view of Army operations, known as unifed land operations. It does not describe
transitions or the operations process in great detail. However, addressing transitions as part of
the operational process are discussed in both U.S. Army Field Manual (FM) 5-0, The Operations
Process, and in FM 3-90.6, The Brigade Combat Team. In both documents the role of the
commander to ensure transitions are addressed in the planning process is discussed. Although
the commanders role is described as central, it is not exclusive, and responsibility extends to
subordinate commanders and staffs.

Commanders, staffs, and Soldiers must be aware that elements of the BCT could be
conducting offensive, defensive, and stability operations simultaneously within a small
radius of each other. Actions in one units AO can affect a change in whatever type operation
an adjacent unit is conducting.
FM 3-90.6
The Planning Process and Under standing the Oper ational Environment
The NTC DATE scenario design provides a training environment that requires BCTs to anticipate
transitions and develop guidance to set conditions in relation to the enemy and friendly forces.

Within the context of a DATE scenario, it is plausible that the BCT, as a whole, will not conduct
clear transitions from offensive operations to defensive or stability operations. Instead, those
changes within the BCT will occur concurrently at lower echelons during continuous operations.
In this operational concept, skilled and versatile leaders and staffs manage these transitions to
gain or maintain an advantage and mitigate risks to the force. Commanders and their staffs must
comprehend this reality to assess their own readiness prior to the rotation and plan prerotational
training to build capability within the staffs as well as among commanders at echelon. Planning
profciency, developed through repetition and increasing levels of diffculty prior to arrival at the
NTC, will build depth and capability within brigade and battalion staffs.
Brigade staffs arrive at the NTC with varying levels of profciency. Some struggle with the basic
steps of planning; others demonstrate a higher level of profciency and are able to execute the
basics with effciency. Regardless of staff profciency, doctrine does not relieve the commander
of the responsibility to issue clear guidance during the planning process and to share early, and
often, his priorities and expectations. Moreover, it does not relieve the staff of the responsibility
to provide the commander with reasonable options during the planning process that address
potential branches and sequels. This activity is a key component of the Army planning process
and described in both FM 3-90.6 and more directly in FM 5-0.
During receipt of mission, commanders must have the opportunity to issue guidance that focuses
the staff and orients its activity as it begins analysis of the pending mission. Appendix D of
FM 5-0 provides guidelines to assist commanders, at all levels, in this process. Initial planning
guidance may or may not address transitions and operational phasing. This initial guidance
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should include a detailed desired end state that describes how the commander sees the BCT in
relation to the enemy, the terrain, and the civilian population. This will often arm the staff with a
better understanding of the commanders priorities and concerns going into mission analysis.
During mission analysis the staff strives to enhance the understanding of the problem at hand.
The process must address all aspects of mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support
available, time available, and civil considerations (METT-TC) to be able to accurately describe
the situation and the problem for the commander. Conducted with suffcient rigor and detail, this
process enhances the commanders understanding of the OE and those factors that will impact
the upcoming operation. A collaborative, multifunctional approach to understanding the factors
of the environment and the mission will illuminate how those factors impact the tasks at hand for
the BCT. It is imperative during this process that the staff conducts an evaluation of existing staff
estimates to verify existing conditions across the BCT, identifying constraints and limitations
within the force to include combat power available to address current and emerging threats. Once
the initial mission analysis is completed, the commander should be prepared to develop and issue
refned guidance to the staff to focus continued planning.
At this point in the process, a high-functioning staff will be able to identify likely points when a
transition is required, even before a course of action (COA) is fully developed. Understanding
of the higher headquarters order and the OE will direct, or indicate, when shifts of focus or
emphasis will occur. This understanding should be described in the mission commanders critical
information requirements (CCIR) and essential elements of friendly information (EEFI) linked to
potential indicators or conditions. These are then presented to the commander for approval and
refnement. This understanding will help commanders and staffs refne collection requirements
and focus, in greater detail, on identifying relevant information during the operation to indicate
when the force will have to rebalance or shift emphasis. Moreover, a staffs ability, early in
the planning process, to identify expected transitions can inform the refnement of the initial
commanders intent and the concepts that will frame additional planning efforts.
In doctrine the commanders intent is described as a critical step in the commanders
visualization and description process to infuence mission planning and execution. Some
commanders attempt to address all aspects of the operation in their intent. This could result in
a detailed and complex statement that is not easily understood or remembered two levels down
(company). Moreover, this could undermine the ability of the force to identify opportunities
for initiative and confuse leaders as to the conditions or indicators that must be established to
achieve the end state, or transition point. The commanders guidance and the commanders
intent are distinct from each other. Ideally, the commanders intent identifes an end state and
enables the force to seize opportunities, adapt to changes in the OE, and empower subordinates
to exercise initiative.

As the staff conducts the detailed planning for the operation at hand, they build and describe
the COA.
Doctrinally, the framework facilitates describing the activities of the force in time
and space, in purpose, and emphasis. Organization of the BCT activities along these lines is
linked to the commanders visualization of the end state and his identifcation of conditions and
indicators that will trigger a shift in emphasis and resources. In phased or sequenced operations,
transitions optimally will occur between phases. As COAs are developed along the guidelines
the commander has described, the staff clarifes where a transition for the force will occur. The
staff must also be aware of points of time when emphasis for the force will shift and include in
the COA how the BCT will reorient and possibly retask-organize to sustain a favorable tempo
relative to the enemy.
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When the staff completes the development of the COA(s) it may be useful for select members of
the staff to employ the technique of running the COA through examination by an internal red
Distinct from COA analysis, this technique employs key staff primaries to consider the
COA from the enemy perspective. This will likely identify points where the enemy response
or a shift in the OE will trigger a branch to the operation. Likewise, the enemy will have its
own transitions to work through as well, and these may become opportunities for the BCT.
This process may identify, conceptually, where the BCT will have an opportunity to exploit,
triggering a sequel to the operation.
Guided by the description of the commanders end state,
this represents a staff response and elaboration to the commanders vision for the operation.
This fnal step to the development of the COA will likely result in the identifcation of more
precise additional information requirements (IRs). Feedback from initial reconnaissance and
information-collection efforts will confrm or modify existing assumptions. Finally, the initial
triggers for execution of a transition or branch plan can be developed and carried forward from
this process for validation during COA analysis.
In COA analysis, or war gaming, of the BCT COAs, the staff must actively seek to validate
existing CCIR, to include EEFI, in relation to the developed plan. Here the COA is compared
against likely enemy actions, and likely changes in the OE are identifed. For example, during
offensive operations, bypassed IDP camps may present a rear area problem for the BCT that
will require a coordinated response between elements of the BCT, host nation security forces
(HNSF), and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). This may require a shift or transition for
a subordinate battalion/task force as it reorients combat power and sustainment assets to address
the WAS problems for the BCT. Other examples may include insurgent or irregular force threats
to ground lines of communication, mission command nodes, sustainment assets, or sympathetic
civilians. The staff can assist the commander if, during the COA analysis process, it identifes
these likely points when the BCT will have to conduct simultaneous offensive and stability
operations. The effort to war game should identify planned branches or anticipated sequels. The
commander should expect that indicators for transition points will be identifed coming out of the
war game, and the triggers will have CCIR and collection assets aligned to provide feedback on
the relevant information.
The BCT staffs war game of the COA will also enhance the commanders understanding of
the changes to expect in the OE as the BCT executes its mission. This awareness will allow the
commander to remain sensitive to unexpected changes in the tactical situation or the disposition
of forces that will most often trigger a reorientation or transition for the BCT. This will support
the maintenance of tempo critical to sustained operations of the sort we can expect against future
adversaries. This process itself enables the staff to continue developing, refning, and planning
for branches and transitions that will be required as the BCT conducts operations.
Implementation and Assessment
As BCTs train in the DATE, we should emphasize that leading and managing transitions will
be a reality even in the training environment. This management of transition points involves a
signifcant element of risk management. Once transitions are identifed in the planning process,
elements or periods of risk for the force become apparent. This enables leaders at all levels to
plan for mitigation. Continued commander and staff engagement is essential to correctly assess
and understand relevant information that will indicate when adjustments are required to maintain
pressure on the enemy and still preserve the capability of the BCT. It is important that leading
and management of transitions are seen in balance.
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Staffs will be required to continually update their estimates based on relevant reporting
throughout operations. This activity on the part of a staff is not a given in the training
environment. Home station training does not provide the same level of stimulus and conditioning
as training at a CTC. Moreover, this is a recurring challenge with staffs in development, and even
a decade at war has not ingrained it suffciently so that it is second nature. Also, the decentralized
and deliberate battle rhythm often associated with our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan
provided more space for deliberate planning. In the more dynamic environment of the DATE
scenario, staffs must be able to provide input to continuing planning efforts and the commanders
assessment. To do this effectively, they will require updated information from across the BCT.
Frequently, staff sections struggle to maintain accurate information about subordinate units
regarding everything from updated combat power to a shared common operational picture
(COP) with common graphic control measures. This capability is relevant to the management
of transitions within the BCT. Understanding the capabilities and limitations of the force does
not stop with mission analysis; it is part of the BCT staffs continual assessment of the force.
The staffs activity informs the commanders reassessment of the end state and the associated
conditions or key tasks. Effective collaboration in this process enables the commander to provide
relevant and timely guidance to subordinate commanders and staffs leading the formation
through periods of transition.
Given the Armys unique capacity for sustained land combat, Army leaders must ensure the
resiliency of their organizations- the ability to apply lethal and nonlethal actions relentlessly
for extended periods over extended areas- including rear areas in the face of friendly
casualties and a determined, adaptive enemy.
ADP 3-0
Maintaining Balance
Across the BCTs component parts, some subordinate task forces will be required to conduct
or support simultaneous offensive, defensive, and stability operations. Consider the dilemma
presented to the brigade special troops battalion (BSTB) or an attached aviation battalion. Both
of these battalions will likely fnd themselves supporting shaping and sustaining operations
during simultaneous offensive, defensive, or stability operations. The BSTB may fnd itself
attempting to conduct WAS tasks throughout an expanding BCT AO to preserve combat power
forward for BCT CAM missions. The BCT must clearly defne tasks and expectations for these
subordinate units. The channels for commander-to-commander dialogue and staff coordination
must be open to facilitate a shared understanding of the OE and the challenges relevant to the
Commanders will not be optimally enabled to make informed decisions about their disposition
and focus without recurring assessments from subordinate commanders. Subordinate
assessments, coupled with higher headquarters prioritization, will lead to a shared COP. The COP
across the BCT should change and update as the operation unfolds. Leaders at all levels will not
be able to adapt quickly to changing situations if the relevant information is not effectively and
rapidly shared across the formation through key mission command nodes. In a DATE scenario,
this will occur at a faster pace, for a longer duration, than many BCTs have experienced in the
Accurate reporting of relevant information is essential to maintenance of the BCTs COP.
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Figure 9-1. Example staff product identifying potential CAM/WAS transitions
Balancing Risk with the Requirement to Always do Something To the Enemy
Failure to identify, understand, and adapt to developing changes during ongoing operations will
cause BCTs to lose momentum and possibly cede initiative to the enemy.
As the BCT attempts
to balance CAM and WAS, the risk for a disruption to tempo increases. Transitioning from
offensive to defensive operations clearly requires a shifting of balance across the BCT. This
will require adjustments to the main and supporting efforts, or even the BCTs decisive and
shaping operations.
The staff must understand the implications of that shift and coordinate with
subordinate staffs to gain that understanding. For example, the requirement for reconnaissance
and security is continual during offensive and defensive operations, yet it is not reasonable to
expect only a few formations, like the reconnaissance squadron or aviation battalion, to bear the
brunt of that sustained requirement and maintain excess capacity. The BCT staff can identify and
preserve options for commanders by directing task organization changes to provide additional
capability to formations it expects to sustain contact with the enemy. To do this effectively and
balance other mission requirements, the BCT staff will have to develop triggers, based on defned
CCIR, to reorient elements of the BCT and shift focus during the operation to preserve critical
capabilities for commanders. The commander and the staff must clearly communicate guidance
that enables subordinates to prioritize efforts, preserve combat power, and employ other assets
and enablers to maintain pressure on the enemy through lethal and nonlethal effects.
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Employing All the Elements of Combat Power to Enable Tr ansitions
Combat power is the total means of destructive and/or disruptive force that a military unit/
formation can apply against the opponent at a given time (JP 1-02). It is a commands ability
to fght or in stability operations or support operations, the ability to accomplish the mission.
FM 5-0
Within the BCT there is a broad array of capability that can support BCT transitions. The
commander and staff must consider employment of assets and capabilities from across
all warfghting functions to enable and create favorable conditions for the BCT. During
transition periods the focus might not be exclusive to the repositioning of combat formations
or reprioritization of sustainment. For example, there are times during decisive actions when
inform and infuence activities can be employed to enable transitions. These efforts will support
simultaneous CAM and WAS operations. Nonlethal efforts can extend the BCTs ability to
engage allies, neutral parties, and adversaries as part of a shaping effort to prepare for BCT
transitions. These efforts to employ inform and infuence activities can also involve deception
efforts and the employment of electronic attack to maintain pressure on the enemy and reduce
enemy options during high-risk transition periods.
The BCT feld artillery battalion can support transition planning and conditions setting from
the planning process forward. Close coordination between the battalion and brigade staff can
identify positioning and sustainment requirements unique to the artillery. Clear dialogue between
the fre support coordinator (FSCOORD) and the brigade commander can support a deeper
understanding of how the commander wants to use lethal fres to support transitions and maintain
pressure on the enemy through transition periods.
The BSTB possesses some unique capabilities and manages diverse responsibilities to support
simultaneous CAM and WAS operations for the BCT. In DATE and OEF scenarios, the BSTB
frequently becomes the headquarters tasked with maintaining the brigades LOCs and mobility.
Their MPs escort logistics, provide limited fxed-site security, and can be tasked to manage
detainees. The BSTB headquarters is often uniquely positioned to gain a deeper understanding
of the OE and help the BCT fght the rear area fght and even assume mission command for the
rear area. Changes in priority and focus can rapidly outstrip the ability of this organization to
conduct sustained operations without augmentation. The brigades staff may have to plan for
augmentation as priorities shift during sustained combat operations and if the BCT focus changes
from offensive/defensive operations to stability operations.
All BCTs face sustainment challenges during decisive action. These challenges will be magnifed
in the DATE scenario.
Sustainment efforts and realities will enable or hinder the BCTs ability
to execute planned transitions. What seemed possible during planning frequently becomes a
signifcant challenge as sustainment requirements impact combat power and readiness. The
BCT commander and staff must make clear the priorities for the BSB to support transitions.
The updated logistics estimate and sustainment COP informs this understanding. This enables
commanders and the staffs, at echelon, to plan with greater comprehension of the units combat
power and readiness levels. Accuracy of the sustainment COP, like all others, involves clear
and accurate reporting from subordinates. Failure in this regard can have dire consequences
as the BCT becomes reactive when sustainment functions are overlooked and triggers for
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natural transition points are missed. Properly prioritized to support the BCTs transitions, the
sustainment capabilities of the BSB become the enabling function it is intended to be and will
contribute to maintaining relentless pressure against the enemy.
Again, all of these efforts must be linked to the commanders visualization of how the force will
adapt as the operation unfolds. They cannot be ad hoc, last-minute efforts. Initial concepts are
identifed in the planning effort, initially with the commanders guidance for warfghting function
employment. Further planning by the staff will develop the details to shape efforts to support
transitions. The ability and coordination required to make these efforts support the commanders
vision requires staff collaboration with supporting agencies and subordinates to provide
direction, supervision, and assessment.
The OE for the BCT will evolve during the course of any mission, and the BCT must adapt to
those changes more rapidly than the enemy. Leaders across the U.S. Army lead and manage
transitions of varied scope nearly every day, but there is no set solution to the problem.
Opportunities to train commanders and staffs to identify transitions, manage risk, clarify, and
exploit opportunities all exist at home station and our Armys CTCs . Muscle memory and
profciency with critical staff functions must begin at home station and should be informed by the
Armys planning process as described in FM 5-0 as well as commanders guidance to focus those
efforts. The challenges of the replicated or real world OE will only increase the complexity of
the problem that faces the BCTs commanders and staffs. The commander and the staff owe the
BCT clear guidance to enable subordinates to visualize the problem and understand the requisite
actions to rebalance the force and execute successful transitions.
Points to consider
Build profciency with the planning process through combined staff training at home
Commanders issue planning guidance and intent to the staff for all operations/missions
to condition the staff to receive and incorporate commanders guidance.
Commanders issue planning guidance at receipt of mission and refned guidance
following mission analysis to focus the staff effort.
Continue to train and enforce reporting and battle tracking to inform operational
Structure commander-to-commander and staff-to-staff dialogue to identify transitions
and adjustments to the force.
Clarify through planning and dialog the different challenges faced by different
formations in the BCT during simultaneous CAM/WAS operations.
Identify likely transitions early, and determine relevant information associated with
transitions and how it will be collected and managed.
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Determine how to maintain relentless pressure on the enemy and what changes or
adjustments to the BCT will result from that requirement. How do we do something to
the enemy continually and prevent them from doing it to us?
1. ADP 3-0, Unifed Land Operations (Washington D.C: Government Printing Offce [GPO], October 2011), 6.22.
2. FM 3-90.6, Brigade Combat Team (Washington D.C: GPO, September 2010), 1-16.
3. FM 5-0, The Operations Process (Washington D.C: GPO, 26 March 2010, Change-1, 18 March 2011). A
campaign quality Army requires versatile leaders critical and creative thinkers who recognize and manage not
just friendly transitions but those of adversaries as well as the operational environment, 3-3.
4. FM 5-0, C1, 2-51 to 2-53, 2-90 to 2-91. The commanders intent is also described in relation to the planning in
FM 3-0, Operations, February 2008. See also FM 6-0, Mission Command: Command and Control of Army Forces,
August 2003. Several U.S. Army feld manuals describe the role and signifcance of commanders intent.
5. Normally in time-constrained environments, commanders direct the development of a single COA to simplify the
planning process for the staff. This step simplifes the planning process somewhat and allows the staff to focus on
developing a detailed COA. In fact, this practice is the norm for most BCTs coming through the NTC.
6. FM 5-0, C1, 1-9. At the BCT level, this capability will be limited, but the practice is still of value to identify
problems with the developed COA. Since often BCT commanders will direct one single COA, this has additional
value, even in a time-constrained environment, to enable the staff to identify relevant challenges to the directed
COA. This practice at the BCT may involve only a few minutes with key staff members and the commander, but it
can make the staffs wargame more effcient.
7. FM 5-0, C1, 2-5. Chapter 2 describes planning in detail and defnes branches and sequels, but for the purposes of
this article, both represent transitions that the BCT staff and commander may identify during the planning process.
8. During DATE rotations at the NTC, the BCT will experience continual changes to combat power and the tactical
situation. Even during after action review periods, equipment readiness, reconstitution, and relevant reporting from
higher headquarters and (notional) adjacent units will continue. Tracking these changes in mission command nodes
at echelon is important to enable commanders and staffs to maintain situational awareness.
9. FM 3-90.6, Brigade Combat Team, September 2010, 3-29. Higher headquarters may order the BCT to conduct
a hasty attack, movement to contact, or participate in exploitation. In some cases, the defensive operation might
immediately transition into a pursuit. If reorganization is required, the BCT maintains pressure on the enemy
through artillery, close air support, and/or limited objective attacks.
10. FM 5-0, C1, 2-32 to 2-34.
11. Artillery fres can provide a degree of protection for forces short on ground combat power through disruption or
counter preparation fres.
12. In the DATE scenario, BCTs operate in the feld from tactical assembly areas, and the BSB must operate from a
BSA as opposed to a secured FOB or sanctuary.
ADP 3-0, Unifed Land Operations (Washington D.C: Government Printing Offce [GPO],
October 2011).
FM 3-90.6, Brigade Combat Team (Washington D.C: GPO, September 2010).
FM 5-0, The Operations Process (Washington D.C: GPO, 26 March 2010, Change-1, 18 March
FM 6-0, Mission Command: Command and Control of Army Forces (Washington D.C: GPO,
September 2011).
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Nonlethal Engagement Area Development
MAJ Ger ald S. Law
You are part of a battalion assigned to conduct several wide area security (WAS) tasks
throughout an area of operations (AO) as part of stability operations. Your company is
assigned to an isolated Operational Coordination Center-District (OCC-D) within a town
where the host nation security forces (HNSF) recently abandoned under heavy insurgent
pressure. Additionally, intelligence reports confrm some of the locals do not trust the
local government, and the insurgents have gained freedom of movement throughout the
town. You immediately increase the force protection within the OCC-D using concrete
barriers, wire, and sandbags. Next, you assign guard positions and man them with
crew-served weapons. Finally, you plan indirect fre and intelligence, surveillance, and
reconnaissance (ISR) collection targets and pass them to your battalion. How else can
you protect the OCC-D and yourself? What else can you do? Another option: develop a
defense in depth using nonlethal means through nonlethal engagement area development.
Field Manual (FM) 3-24, Counterinsurgency, describes the importance of synchronizing
military, paramilitary, political, economic, psychological, and civic actions to legitimize local
institutions to provide basic services, economic opportunity, public order, and security. FM
3-24 further states that Military forces can compel obedience and secure areas; however, they
cannot by themselves achieve the political settlement needed to resolve the situation.
engagement area development is a way to legitimize local institutions to provide public order
and security. It consists of incorporating and synchronizing nonlethal means within a specifed
area in order to insert a wedge between civilians and insurgents. This nonlethal engagement area
infuences the local population to protect the area; therefore, protecting you and the OCC-D.
Additionally, it sets the conditions for the local government to become stronger and eventually
return to the area.
This article presents a method to protect the OCC-D and achieve mission success using nonlethal
means. It discusses a way using Figures 10-1 through 10-7 to illustrate the incorporation of
the Commanders Emergency Response Program (CERP) funds, micro-grants, reward funds,
information operations (IO), tip line establishment, and HNSF to build a defense in depth
through nonlethal engagement area development. These steps are only a way and can be done
in any order to meet situational requirements in any AO. This article will not discuss the CERP
approval process or the micro-grant funding process, but makes the assumption that CERP (or
equivalent) funds are available for use. Refer to Army Techniques Publication (ATP) 1-06.2,
The Commanders Emergency Response Program, for a description of the CERP/micro-grant
approval and funding processes.

1. Reference Figure 10-1: Example town layout. Here we see our town with the OCC-D in
the northwest with wire, barriers, and guard towers. Additionally, we have the hospital, roads,
government buildings, vendors, and the water treatment plant identifed. Remember, this is only
an example but provides a framework for reference. Your company is assigned to the OCC-D
within the town. The HNSF recently abandoned this position, and intelligence reports confrm
some of the locals do not trust the local government. You immediately install physical force
protection measures, to include guard towers manned with crew-served weapons. While these
physical measures are valid, force protection and overall mission success can be enhanced
through nonlethal engagement area development using nonlethal means.
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Figure 10-1. Example town layout
2. Reference Figure 10-2: Incor por ate CERP funds. ATP 1-06.2 states, Commanders need to
evaluate how projects can add value to the local community in order to build capacity, promote
peace and hope for future generations, and build trust and lasting support.
The best way to do
this is to have the local population identify the needs in the area. Furthermore, ensure the local
leaders list the projects to address those needs, and identify recommended local contractors
to build the projects. This can be done through key leader engagements (KLEs) with the local
Too often, commanders get too involved with determining specifc needs and projects and
awarding contractors. This creates a perception that the local leaders are not in charge,
thus missing an opportunity to bolster their legitimacy. The local population will not take
ownership and will not likely be stewards of the projects in the future. While CERP projects
aid in addressing near-term needs, their real value lies in increasing the capacity of the local
governance to increase stability and meet those needs in the future. The commander builds the
perception that the population is in charge and simply writes the check.
In our case, the local leaders have identifed their needs and three priority projects to meet those
needs. Referencing Figure 10-2, our projects are:
Improve the local hospital.
Improve roads to the local hospital.
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Improve the water treatment facility.
Figure 10-2. Incor por ate CERP funds
3. Reference Figure 10-3: Use of micro-gr ants. Micro-grants are a form of CERP as stated
by ATP 1-06.2 and expand the fexibility of CERP and authorize commanders to provide cash,
equipment, tools, or other material support to small businesses that lack available credit or
fnancial resources.
Micro-grants are a tool to pay for smaller projects supporting local business
that contribute to protecting our OCC-D while at the same time maintaining the perception that
local governance offcials are in charge.
As with CERP, we have the local leaders identify the needs in the area, specifc projects to meet
those needs, and potential contractors to complete the projects through KLEs with the local
leaders. The biggest challenge is working in unity of effort with the local leaders to oversee
what vendors or local markets receive funding. We can also utilize commanders small-scale
CERP projects to pay for trash removal and area beautifcation. Again, the local leaders need to
be in the decision-making process for whom to contract for the trash removal and where area
beautifcation occurs. Obviously, you want the area of town near the OCC-D to be cleaned and
the local markets within that area to be funded. The idea is to get the local population vested
in the economic development value of well-maintained spaces. Referencing Figure 10-3, our
projects are:
Assist vendors and local markets.
Trash removal.
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Area beautifcation.
Figure 10-3. Use of micro-gr ants
4. Reference Figure 10-4: Infor mation oper ations. FM 3-13, Information Operations
Doctrine, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures, describes the use of IO to infuence decision
making. FM 3-13 states, Infuence is to cause adversaries or others to behave in a manner
favorable to Army forces. It results from applying perception management to affect the targets
emotions, motives, and reasoning. Perception management also seeks to infuence the targets
perceptions, plans, actions, and will to oppose friendly forces.
Our next step is to infuence
decision making by getting the word out through word of mouth, fyers, posters, or radio. We
want to effect the emotions, motives, and reasoning of the local leaders and population to protect
the area around the OCC-D and within the town.
For example, to promote the improved conditions, the local leaders and U.S. forces facilitate
by ensuring they coordinate for and bring local media to each project completion event.
Furthermore, you can promote the legitimacy of the local government and strength of the HNSF
by using military information support operations (MISO) to advertise a tip line, which allows
local personnel to call in information. You should establish a tip line in a location that can be
protected and manned by personnel who can translate the information and provide it to the
proper authorities.
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Figure 10-4. Infor mation oper ations
5. Reference Figure 10-5: Incor por ate rewar d funds. Inform the local population and leaders
that we will pay for information. Facilitate walkups from locals, and pay for information by
rewarding locals who provide information. In our case, we established a tip line in the OCC-D
and have reward funds available for payments.

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Figure 10-5. Incor por ate rewar d funds
As we move to the conduct of decisive action, we cannot forget what we learned over the past 10
years. COIN doctrine has direct application to many of our WAS challenges.
6. Reference Figure 10-6: Host nation secur ity. FM 3-24 describes the role of the HNSF in
establishing a legitimate government. FM 3-24 states, Success in counterinsurgency (COIN)
operations requires establishing a legitimate government supported by the people and able
to address the fundamental causes that insurgents use to gain support. Achieving these goals
requires the host nation to defeat insurgents or render them irrelevant, uphold the rule of law, and
provide a basic level of essential services and security for the populace. Key to all these tasks is
developing an effective host nation security force.
We must partner, train, and put the HNSF
out front to secure infrastructure and provide local security. Partnered missions with the local
police and army will ensure the HSNF are seen by the locals. In our town, we established four
traffc control points and conducted patrolling in and around the town. The primary focus is to
build capacity by incorporating training into partnered patrols and over time put the host nation
forces in the lead.
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Figure 10-6. Host nation secur ity
7. Reference Figure 10-7: Defense in depth. Creating a defense in depth using nonlethal means
is a method that places a wedge between civilians and insurgents. By incorporating CERP funds,
micro-grants, IO, rewards funds, and HNSF, nonlethal engagement area development infuences
the local population to protect the area and creates an environment where the local population is
in charge.
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Figure 10-7. Defense in depth (using nonlethal means)
In nonlethal engagement area development, the local population determines their needs focusing
on stability, identifes the projects to address those needs, awards the contractors to build the
projects, and provides the media to promote the projects. Commanders simply write the check. If
done correctly, the population perceives that their leaders are in charge. Furthermore, nonlethal
engagement area development sets the conditions for the local government to become more
capable and credible, which paves the way for your unit to achieve mission success and return
1. FM 3-24 (MCWP 3-33.5), Counterinsurgency, December 2006, paragraph 5-1.
2. ATP 1-06.2, The Commanders Emergency Response Program, Publication Date (DRAFT) Chapter 3.
3. Ibid., paragraph 1-5.
4. Ibid., paragraph 3-33.
5. FM 3-13, Information Operations: Doctrine, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures, November 2003; Headquarters
Department of the Army, paragraph 1-62.
6. FM 3-24.
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Ter ms of Reference
Combined arms maneuver (CAM) The application of the elements of combat power in unifed
action to defeat enemy ground forces; to seize, occupy, and defend land areas; and to achieve
physical, temporal, and psychological advantages over the enemy to seize and exploit the
Decisive action (DA) Replaces full spectrum operations as the collective term for simultaneous
offense, defense, stability, and defense support of civil authorities.
Military information support operations (MISO) Planned operations to convey selected truthful
information and indicators to foreign audiences to infuence their emotions, motives, objective
reasoning, and, ultimately, the behavior of their governments, organizations, groups, and
Wide area security (WAS) The application of the elements of combat power in unifed action
to protect populations, forces, infrastructure, and activities; to deny the enemy positions of
advantage; and to consolidate gains in order to retain the initiative.
FM 3-24 (MCWP 3-33.5), Counterinsurgency, December 2006; Headquarters Department of the
ATP 1-06.2, The Commanders Emergency Response Program, Publication Date (DRAFT).
FM 3-13, Information Operations: Doctrine, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures, November
2003, Headquarters Department of the Army.
ADP 3-0, Unifed Land Operations, October 2011, Headquarters Department of the Army.
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Shor t-Range Air Defense Asset Utilization by the Br igade Combat Team
in the Decisive Action Tr aining Environment
Major Shelton T. Davis
The commander establishes his air defense priorities based on his concept of operations,
scheme of maneuver, aerial threat, and higher headquarters priorities
Field Manual (FM) 3-90.6, Offensive Operations, Chapter 2
In March 2012, the 3d Brigade Combat Team (BCT) of the 3d Infantry Division conducted the
frst heavy brigade combat team (HBCT) decisive action training environment (DATE) rotation
at the National Training Center (NTC). In support of its rotation, the BCT received a Short-
Range Air Defense (SHORAD) capability consisting of six Avenger systems, three Stinger
teams, and two Sentinel Radars. These systems supported a scenario that included a near-peer
competitor with a capable air threat. Their utilization throughout the rotation demonstrated
the atrophy of a skill set that has not been routinely exercised over the last 10 years the
employment and integration of SHORAD assets within the BCT.
Specifcally, the rotation generated observations for three critical areas:
The comparative employment of Avengers versus Stingers in support of combined
arms maneuver (CAM).
The tracking of individual SHORAD assets by the BCTs air defense airspace
management (ADAM) section.
Ensuring the development of a sensor-to-shooter air common operational picture
(COP) that enables individual fring units to see the BCT and division airspace
Defning the Problem: A Deteriorated State of SHORAD Integration
In 2004, the air defense artillery (ADA) branch started deactivating SHORAD battalions. This
move resulted in the loss of dedicated SHORAD assets to BCTs and inhibited home station
training on these critical assets. To combat this shortcoming, the ADA branch established air
and missile defense (AMD) units with SHORAD assets in them. While the 2004 decision
left an air defense element organic to the BCTs, the ADAM/brigade aviation element (BAE),
the focus of this section was primarily on the development of air defense warnings, weapons
control status criteria, and informing the command on the doctrinal requirements for SHORAD
assets engagement. A sub-task of Section 3, Chapter 8 of FM 3-90.6 on the BCT goes so far
as to codify that one of the air defense elements main responsibilities is the coordination and
integration of AMD augmentation, but offers little to say as to the tactical employment of those
assets at the brigade level. To exacerbate this, it is an NTC observation that the majority of ADA
offcers passing through the NTC are Patriot air defense offcers, with little knowledge on tactical
employing SHORAD assets within the BCT.
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The BCT does not have organic air defense artillery weapons systemsUnits apply passive
air defense measures and expect to sue their organic weapons systems for self-defense
against enemy air threats.
FM 3-90.6, Section 8-17
Recommended Fixes: Employment of SHORAD Assets in Suppor t of CAM
In simple terms, SHORAD systems are deployed to defend a brigades critical assets, forces, and
architecture against enemy aircraft. Using the Air and Missile Defense Workstation (AMDWS),
the ADAM cell is able to pull in near-real-time situational awareness regarding the airspace
picture and use that data to defend the commanders key assets from enemy aerial attacks. These
assets are identifed during the planning process and earmarked for protection via one of the two
key weapons systems, the Stinger (MANPADS) or Avenger system.
The Avenger is a mounted fring unit with eight ready-to-fre Stinger missiles in two turret-
mounted standard vehicle missile launchers (SVMLs), an M3P .50-caliber machine gun, a
sensor package with forward-looking infrared receiver (FLIR), laser range fnder (LRF), and
identifcation friend or foe (IFF). More importantly, it is equipped with an optical sight and
digital shoot-on-the move fre control system. The Stinger (MANPADS) does not have an FLIR,
LRF, or any of the Avengers shoot-on-the move capabilities. This difference is signifcant in that
it demonstrates the limitations of the Stinger in acquiring and engaging a target are centered upon
the naked eye of the operator. In comparison, the Avenger, equipped with its shoot-on-the move
capability, LRF, and FLIR, will provide a more mobile and greater range of air defense coverage
ideal for offensive operations in CAM.
During the 12-05 DATE rotation, the BCT was augmented with six Avenger systems and three
Stinger teams. While the ADAM cell correctly identifed the brigade commanders critical
assets and incorporated them into the defended asset list, it failed to account for the difference in
mobility and range when assigning individual systems/teams to cover those assets. Specifcally,
during the movement-to-contact portion of the rotation, the Avenger systems were placed in
coverage of stationary counterfre acquisition radars within the brigade tactical assembly area,
while the Stinger teams were pushed forward in support of the maneuver assets. Future rotations
would beneft by reversing this assignment and enabling the Avenger systems to maneuver
forward, given their suite of range-extending systems, and allow for coverage of critical mission
command nodes with the less mobile Stingers.
Recommended Fixes: Tr acking of SHORAD Assets by the BCT ADAM
A second order effect of the 2004 decision to deactivate the SHORAD battalions was a failure
to anticipate the need for these now corps level assets within the ADA brigade to be equipped
with a FBCB2/BFT system that would enable it to be digitally tracked on the brigades COP.
The result of this decision has made it imperative that air defense sections within the BCT main
command post (main CP) undertake analog tracking of their mobile SHORAD systems.
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Figure 11-1. 3/3 HBCT ADAM section captures movement of SHORAD assets
through the use of analog map tr acking.
During the 12-05 rotation, the BCT ADAM section performed analog tracking adequately, but
was challenged by a lack of practice, as a previous need for employment (and subsequently
tracking) of ADA assets had not been addressed during training. The result was that the brigade
staff was unfamiliar with the need for including SHORAD assets on the primary analog tracking
systems within the main CP, and instead relegated tracking of these systems to the ADAM/BAE
section. The lack of FBCB2/BFT also created friction between the forward-employed SHORAD
fring units and the air defense staff within the BCT main CP, as it forced those fring units to
use FM radio as their primary means of updating their locations; exacerbating the issue was the
limited FM network capacity within the brigade. Future rotations, while not able to infuence
Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below (FBCB2)/Blue Force Tracker (BFT) allocations
to the ADA brigades, should plan for the need to conduct analog tracking and look for ways to
allocate organic FBCB2/BFT systems to specifc Avenger systems, which could alleviate at least
a portion of this problem area.
Recommended Fixes: Ensur ing Sensor-to-Shooter Air COP
The fnal critical observation from Rotation 12-05 focuses on the importance of sustaining and
sharing the BCTs air COP. The importance of developing a sensor-to-shooter architecture is to
alert the individual SHORAD fring units of the presence of hostile aircraft within their area.
This applies to fxed-wing, rotary-wing, or unmanned aerial systems that could be collecting on
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friendly troop movements. The shared air COP works to prevent aerial friendly force fratricide
and provides an air picture forward for situational awareness. During the 12-05 DATE rotation,
the development of a sensor-to-shooter architecture was a challenge for the ADAM section at the
beginning of the rotation. The air defense unit deployed with two sentinel radars, but only one
was fully mission capable for the rotation. With only one sensor node mission capable, the BCT
was unable to broadcast track data directly to the fring units.
Recognizing this issue, the brigades Command and Control System Technician (140A Warrant
Offcer) was able to develop a work around that allowed the fring units to receive the
broadcast track data by relocating the sensor node closer to the main CP and hardwiring the
system into a Secure Internet Protocol Router portal that enabled access to the two-way data
path. This, in turn, provided situational awareness from the division sensors all the way down to
the fring units. The result was a success story for the rotational unit and a technique for future
rotations to use when developing creative solutions that ensure the air COP is linked from sensor
to shooter.
Observations from the 12-05 DATE rotation at the NTC demonstrated that while work remains
to regain the type of ADA integration and synchronization with maneuver that existed during the
days of Air Land Battle doctrine, creative solutions and prerotational planning will accelerate
the process. The DATE scenario design provided the necessary opportunities for a BCT to
incorporate ADA into CAM and establish initial data points for the U.S. Army to evaluate BCT
air defense capability and training needs.
By focusing on three critical areas the comparative employment of Avengers versus Stingers,
the tracking of individual SHORAD assets, and the sustainment of a shared sensor-to-shooter
air COP BCTs will make signifcant progress toward achieving integration and ultimately be
postured to operate in any operational environment.
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Tar geting Contempor ar y Oper ating Environment Force Integr ated Air
Defense Systems at the Br igade Combat Team
MAJ Michael S. Coombes, CPT Er ick D. Buckner, and CW4 Stephen T. Rober ts
Throughout the Global War on Terrorism, U.S. forces have enjoyed unchallenged air superiority.
As a result, we have become accustomed to an unprecedented reliance on close air support
(CAS) and close combat attack (CCA). As we look to possible future conficts with peer or near-
peer adversaries, we cannot assume air superiority, at least not initially, due to the continued
promulgation of integrated air defense systems (IADS) throughout the world. Because of
this, and our desire to employ the proven advantages of effective CAS and CCA in support of
nearly every combined arms maneuver (CAM) operation, we must master the challenge of joint
suppression of enemy air defense (J-SEAD) and destruction of enemy air defense (DEAD).
For CAM operations, U.S. forces down to at least the brigade combat team (BCT) level will
have to contend with capable enemy air defense threats. Though J-SEAD will be a fght highly
prioritized at echelons above brigade and the fght beyond the fre support coordination line
(FSCL) will belong to the joint Air Force component commander (JFACC), to assume away
responsibility for this fght at the BCT would be a catastrophe in the making. At the National
Training Center (NTC), BCTs participating in decisive action training environment (DATE)
rotations face an IADS threat that includes SA6s, 2S6s, ZSU 23-4s, and SA18s.
The combination of focused targeting and asset management set the conditions for effective CAS
and CCA. Targeting must be nested with higher (and often joint) mission efforts. Optimizing the
management of the BCTs organic systems and echelon above brigade (EAB) is critical. It is a
challenge for the BCT staff, with the fre support offcer (FSO) responsible to oversee the overall
targeting execution, to integrate and synchronize all J-SEAD efforts. Although every mission has
its own unique challenges and opportunities, it is useful to develop a roadmap to guide the FSO
and BCT staff through J-SEAD/DEAD planning, coordination, and execution.
This article proposes one such roadmap, using current doctrine and NTC observations. The
roadmap begins with understanding the assets available, then through the frst four steps of the
military decisionmaking process (MDMP), and ends with a survey of the systems available
within the BCT to facilitate execution. This article uses effective CAS as the framework for
addressing the need for J-SEAD/DEAD, but the principles are applicable to CCA and unmanned
aircraft system (UAS) operations.
Doctrinal Terms, Defnitions, and Framework
Before entering into the nuts and bolts of the planning process for hunting contemporary
operational environment force (COEFOR) air defense artillery (ADA), it is worthwhile to review
a few joint terms and defnitions for reference:
Effective CAS The conditions for effective CAS are: thoroughly trained personnel
with well-developed skills; effective planning and integration; effective command,
control, communications, and computer systems; air superiority (especially suppression
of enemy air defenses); target marking and/or acquisition streamlined and fexible
procedures; and appropriate ordnance. (Joint Publication [JP] 3-09.3, Close Air
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J-SEAD A broad term that encompasses all SEAD activities provided by components
of a joint force in support of one another. (JP 3-01.4, JTTP for Joint Suppression of
Enemy Air Defenses [J-SEAD])
IADS - Air defense threats that are normally integrated in a national, alliance, or sub-
national architecture. IADS doctrine normally includes the tasks of:
Detection, identifcation, and warning of air threats.
Destruction or neutralization of hostile aircraft before they threaten forces and
critical assets.
Redundant protection for high-value assets, strategic targets, key C3
(command, control, and communications) nodes, and critical military units.
Jamming of aircraft navigation, communication, and target acquisition systems
to degrade effectiveness. (JP 3-01.4)
Prior to beginning the planning process, the staff must frst determine its planning objectives
with regard to J-SEAD/DEAD. JP 3-01.4 depicts three planning objectives. The frst is to
establish an accurate appraisal of the enemys ADA capabilities. The second is to decide on the
scope, magnitude, and duration of J-SEAD/DEAD operations necessary to reduce enemy air
defense capabilities to acceptable risk levels. This will depend greatly on assets and resources
available to the commander and how much frepower he is willing to dedicate toward engaging
enemy IADS. The third is to determine the capabilities of available suppression assets as
well as competing requirements for these forces. Questions regarding the employment and
synchronization of all enablers must be asked and answered to satisfy the requirements of this
planning objective. Additionally, a BCT must understand what responsibilities the division and
corps have assumed. Synchronization with EAB is vital to ensure there is no duplication of effort
and as a means of understanding assets available.
The BCT FSO and targeting offcer (TO) have numerous responsibilities throughout the targeting
process relating to the enemy IADS fght. The accomplishment of the following duties covers the
full range of necessary actions that must be completed by the fres warfghting function (WfF)
for the successful prosecution of enemy IADS targets. According to FM 3-60, The Targeting
Process, the FSO and TO are specifcally responsible for the coordination of J-SEAD/DEAD.
Other responsibilities outlined in FM 3-60 of the FSO and TO relating to the prosecution of
enemy IADS include the following:
Assist the BCT S-2 in developing the reconnaissance and surveillance (R&S) and
target acquisition plans.
Ensure that for each target the task and purpose relating to the prosecution of said
target is understood, the sensor-to-shooter architecture is in place and rehearsed, and
a means of conducting an assessment of the engagement of each target is in place and
Develop and update targeting products, to include fre support tasks, high-payoff target
list (HPTL), target selection standards (TSS), and attack guidance matrix (AGM).
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Receive assessment reports, and with the S-2 and S-3, determine if an attack resulted in
the desired effects or if additional attacks are required.
Ensure target nominations are validated, processed, and updated to achieve the desired
effect using joint air assets.
Militar y DecisionMaking Process and D3A
The MDMP and D3A (decide, detect, deliver, and assess) targeting methodology focus the BCT
staffs approach to particular target sets, including enemy IADS. D3A is not conducted separately
from the MDMP, but instead is run concurrently. Figure 12-1 illustrates a simplifed visualization
of how the D3A methodology focuses the targeting effort against IADS.
Figure 12-1
Receipt of mission and mission analysis
The fres cell must be prepared to begin the MDMP prior to the receipt of mission through
maintaining the fres running estimate and subsequently determining specifed and implied tasks,
facts and assumptions, and constraints and limitations. Maintaining accurate fres estimates
relating to the availability and current status of organic and EAB assets and munitions available
is critical through the mission analysis and decide phases, as the FSO must maintain the
assurance that a chosen target can be executed immediately upon identifcation. Units that do
not have an accurate appreciation relating to their assets will make planning errors through the
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course of action (COA) development phase of the MDMP. For reference, there are many organic
and EAB assets that have the capability to contribute greatly to J-SEAD/DEAD:
Electronic warfare (EW) assets provide close-in jamming and standoff jamming of
radar, data links, and voice communications signals. Direction fnding of enemy IADS
communications nodes assist with confrming the location of enemy IADS. (JP 3-01.4)
Reconnaissance and target acquisition assets such as scouts, combat observation and
lasing teams (COLTs), forward observers, and UAS platforms to identify and locate
enemy IADS and execute their suppression/destruction.
Cannon and Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) feld artillery assets for the
quick execution of fres using either conventional munitions or precision munitions.
Obscurants (smoke support) are used to degrade the ability of enemy air defenses to
acquire targets. (JP 3-01.4)
Direct action by special operations forces (SOF) to destroy air defenses or disrupt their
activities. (JP 3-01.4)
Air Force and Navy assets such as the F-16 block 50/52 and EA-6B that are specifcally
designed for and tasked with the counter IADS mission and capable of carrying the
AGM-88 high-speed anti-radiation missile (HARM).
Attack helicopter and air attacks on designated enemy targets, target areas, or targets of
opportunity handed off from aircraft participating in a joint air operation. (JP 3-01.4)
Synchronized ground force maneuvers to disrupt enemy air defenses in an area of air
operations. (JP 3-01.4)
During mission analysis, enemy IADS are identifed by the S-2 as a high-value target (HVT) and
then translated to the HPTL due to their threat to air superiority. The S-2 develops the enemy
situation template (SITTEMP) through the application of intelligence data; enemy tactics,
techniques, and procedures; the adversary template; and terrain analysis, resulting in a template
of the most likely disposition of enemy IADS, to include enemy order of battle, composition,
disposition, strength, and threat models, that serve as the premise for the reconnaissance plan and
Once the draft HPTL is built, the FSO is able to build draft fre support tasks that support the
engagement of high-payoff targets (HPTs). After the FSO develops the draft HPTL and draft
fre support tasks, he gains their approval from the commander during the mission analysis
brief. These approved items, coupled with priority intelligence requirements (PIRs) relating to
enemy IADS and the commanders guidance for fres, are the key outputs of the mission analysis
brief. It is incumbent upon both the FSO and the S-2 to convey the importance of achieving an
accurate appraisal of enemy IADS and defnitive guidance as to the suppression or destruction of
said assets. The commanders guidance for fres should address each type of fre support asset, to
include surface-to-surface fres, CAS, and CCA.
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COA development
With the approved draft HPTL, initial fre support tasks, and the commanders guidance for
fres, the FSO is able to move into the COA development phase with the BCT staff. Through
this phase, detection assets are linked to named areas of interest (NAIs) to confrm or deny
the presence of enemy IADS. The S-2 and TO must work closely together through the process
of linking detection assets to NAIs to ensure the synchronization of efforts. This point cannot
be emphasized enough. At the NTC, observers-coaches/trainers (OC/Ts) often observe the
intelligence and fres cells working independently at this stage of MDMP. Failure to synchronize
efforts early and often results in ineffective or redundant observation plans and inadequate
sensor-to-shooter links. BCTs should develop NAIs with the intention of turning some of them
into target areas of interest (TAIs) as the situation develops through ongoing planning and
collection efforts. It is important to recognize that this process sets conditions for the linkage of
NAIs/TAIs, PIRs and the HPTL.
This is a critical point in the process, because it is here that the 13 steps of the decide phase,
outlined in FM 3-09, help the staff determine the most feasible means of suppressing or
destroying these target systems. Considerations outlined in FM 3-09 that relate to the targeting of
enemy IADS include the following:
What targets should be acquired and attacked?
When and where are the targets likely to be found?
How long will the target remain once acquired?
What accuracy of target location will be required to attack the target? (Note: Target
location error [TLE] requirements will be different for SEAD versus DEAD.)
How should the attack be conducted (type of asset, ammunition)?
Answering these considerations for each target allows the FSO and TO to build draft TSS and
a draft AGM. The use of these products throughout the BCT will result in the expeditious and
effective engagement of targets by outlining the priority of attack system for each type of target,
required maximum TLE, size of the target, activity of the target, and target decay time after
the target has been acquired. Additionally, it is during this time that TAI development begins.
TAIs stemming from NAIs that are linked to PIRs give us the ability to prosecute targets that
are linked to decision points. Developing TAIs versus planning an abundance of BCT targets
will both facilitate rapid prosecution of targets and allow for fexible and prudent bottom-up
COA analysis
COA analysis (war gaming) is vital in the J-SEAD/DEAD process. Through the visualization of
the execution of each friendly COA, COA analysis enables commanders and staffs to identify
diffculties or coordination problems(and) uncovers potential execution problems, decisions
and contingencies (FM 5-0, The Operations Process). It is imperative that during the wargame
the BCT staff validates sensor-to-shooter links and the airspace management plan for every COA
to support J-SEAD/DEAD objectives.
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Additionally, the FSO will assess the overall fre support feasibility for each COA while refning
execution products such as the HPTL, TSS, and AGM. Plainly put, it is during COA analysis that
the staff will truly begin to synchronize all warfghing functions to achieve the desired J-SEAD
results. It is here, through detailed analysis of actions, reactions, and counteractions, that the
staff will be able to visualize the operational environment (OE) and identify shortcomings in
the intelligence collection plan and have the ability to timely and accurately prosecute J-SEAD/
DEAD targets and then assess effects, while ensuring all efforts are synchronized and supportive
of the ground tactical plan.
To validate sensor-to-shooter links, the staff must address the detection asset, the relevant fre
support coordination measures (FSCMs), the active airspace coordination measures (ACMs), the
supporting communications architecture, and delivery asset for each fres action. Additionally,
each affected staff section must replicate its role as well. It is here that the staff will start the
development of its J-SEAD battle drill. The staff must understand how detection information will
move to delivery assets and how the air and ground will be deconficted. This drill must address
what to do when a nontemplate threat appears and how that information will be propagated into
mission command systems to ensure the survival of CAS, CCA, and UASs. It seems simple
enough, but that simple battle drill demands the involvement of the S-2 section, the fres cell, the
brigade aviation element (BAE), the air liaison offcer (ALO),and current operations (CUOPS),
at a minimum.
An NTC observation is that this level of detail is rarely seen during COA analysis, which results
in both the missed opportunities to identify shortcomings and a lack of a J-SEAD battle drill.
The most recent observation during the NTCs frst DATE rotation was a failure to identify
shortcomings in the communications plan for the BCT COLTs. As a result, the BCT COLTs that
were correctly positioned to observe the COEFOR main body movement into attack positions
and a COEFOR SA6 sitting stationary in an urban area sat idle as passive observers. They could
not reach the BCT TAC to call for fres that surely would have positively affected the battle in
the blue forces (BLUFORs) favor.
Airspace management is a problem set of its own. With the many airborne assets fying in
support of todays BCTs, a detailed airspace management plan is paramount to facilitate
timely fres for J-SEAD/DEAD. It is here, working through the complexities of AC2, that the
importance of working closely with other BCT staff members is magnifed. The brigade aviation
offcer (BAO) is ultimately responsible for the airspace management plan, but without the
help of the BCT S-3 and FSO, that plan will fail to facilitate the rapid engagement of targets.
Because of the FSOs ownership of the overall targeting execution (FM 3-60, The Targeting
Process), it is his implied task to synchronize detection and delivery efforts and assist the BAO
in deconfiction. Following are a few questions that must be answered in order to build a suitable
airspace management plan for the rapid prosecution of enemy IADS:
What aerial reconnaissance assets will support this operation, and at what altitude do
they fy? (S-2 or chief of reconnaissance)
What NAIs/TAIs are the aerial reconnaissance assets looking at and when? (S-2/FSO)
Where do scout weapons teams and air weapons teams need to be and when? (BAO/
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What CAS platforms will support this operation, and at what altitude do they fy?
What procedural controls do we need? Where can I restrict friendly air freedom of
movement? Where shouldnt we restrict friendly air freedom of movement? What is the
commanders guidance for fres (artillery, CAS, CCA)? (BAO/FSO)
It is during the COA analysis that ACMs will be evaluated for suitability; simply, do they
facilitate the rapid prosecution of targets (IADS) or do they create potential execution problems?
Acknowledging that there are many types of ACMs, staffs would beneft from using the six
characteristics of an effective airspace coordination area (ACA) for evaluation:
Does it cover ingress, egress, employment, and holding areas?
Is it easily identifed from the air?
Does it allow for simultaneous artillery and CAS (CCA)?
Does it have lateral and vertical limits?
Is it simple to put in effect?
Is it deconficted from known and/or template air defense threats?
This has proved diffcult for most BCTs that have recently conducted exercises at the NTC. Units
throughout the U.S. Army have relied on the use of restricted operating zones (ROZs) during
operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, recent observations at the NTC have shown the
ROZ to be an inadequate ACM during CAM, especially prior to air superiority. The use of ACAs
and air corridors (ACs) have specifc advantages the staff should consider most notably,
the rapid deconfiction of air through procedural control and that the Advanced Field Artillery
Tactical Data System (AFATDS) will require coordination of any surface fres through an ACA
or AC, which is a safeguard that a ROZ does not demand.
The Systems that Facilitate Execution
As implied throughout this article, the S-2 is the major contributor to the detection of enemy
IADS. The intelligence warfghting function uses electronic intelligence (ELINT) and measures
and signals intelligence (MASINT) assets to detect the most pronounced visibility of the
enemy IADS at the BCT level. Additionally, fash traffc from division collection assets is
also fed directly into the brigade S-2 section. The S-2s collection manager and the brigade
targeting analyst are responsible for transferring this highly valued information from the brigade
intelligence support element (BISE) out to the operations foor for execution. These are important
assets that must be leveraged to supplement the BCTs organic assets such as UASs, COLTs, and
scouts to confrm or deny the location of IADS in relation to the S-2s SITTEMP. The challenge
to the BCT is how to design internal systems to move this information from the BISE to decision
makers and delivery assets in the most effcient manner. This includes how we establish the main
command post (CP). Who needs to sit where and what communications capabilities and digital
systems each section requires must be addressed.
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There are several Army Battle Command Systems (ABCSs) resident on the foor of the brigades
main CP that facilitate the ability to provide an accurate and timely response to the detection
of enemy IADS. The ability to effectively leverage these systems depends upon linkage via
the Publish and Subscribe Server (PASS), which allows for the simultaneous exchange of
information across each applicable staff section. These systems include, but are not limited to,
the Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS-A), Air and Missile Defense Workstation
(AMDWS), Tactical Airspace Integration System (TAIS), AFATDS, and the Command Post of
the Future (CPOF). Some examples of information that is shared with respect to the fght against
enemy IADS include signifcant activities (SIGACTS) reports, enemy situation reports, sensor
tracks, targets, indicators and warnings, and the airspace control order.
During a recent NTC brigade-level training exercise, the brigade tactical CP received intelligence
from a UAS confrming the location of an enemy SA6 in the BCT AO. While the unit did
initiate a fre mission in the AFATDS to engage the target, they failed to publish to the PASS for
dissemination to all appropriate subscribers. Indirect fre assets were utilized to engage the target,
and it was assumed the target was destroyed, or at least suppressed. A subsequent report of a
downed AH-64 attack helicopter quickly proved this assumption wrong. The near simultaneous
visibility of this target via the PASS could have facilitated the dynamic redirection of air assets
that may be vulnerable to the threat and also alert observers or scouts in the vicinity to provide
additional eyes on a potentially feeting target. While this can also be done over voice protocols
or via text message, the system of automated reporting will provide redundancy to the common
operational picture and also help ensure the successful engagement and follow-on assessment of
the target.
All of the aforementioned systems reside within the tactical level of ABCS and thus provide
direct linkage to delivery systems. The AFATDS, for example, should have the AGM and TSS
built into its guidance workspace to facilitate the rapid execution of targets identifed based upon
the commanders guidance. The AMDWS is capable of sending targets to the AFATDS, but
the PASS connection and sharing of host names must be established for effective usage of this
capability. The DCGS-A is also critical to the system, as it provides the intelligence feed such
as enemy situation reports and indicators and warnings. While it is feasible to execute HPTs
without this digital linkage, the threat to friendly air assets and target decay time impose a strong
recommendation to utilize every means necessary to suppress or destroy these targets per the
commanders guidance. It is imperative that units develop standing operating procedures and
battle drills for the integration of these systems that will facilitate fuid engagement of positively
identifed targets within the brigades AO.
In future conficts it is reasonable to assume that the amount of CAS available to a BCT will fall
well short of that enjoyed during our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Prior to air superiority,
air interdiction and counter air missions alone will reduce the number of sorties a BCT should
rightly expect for CAS. Therefore, it is imperative that through focused targeting we provide
the J-SEAD/DEAD required to ensure that CAS (and CCA) that is allotted is effective and
supports commanders intent. To do this, the FSO must own the problem along with the rest
of the targeting effort to help the executive offcer and S-3 integrate, then synchronize, efforts
of multiple staff sections and joint capabilities to ensure those efforts are nested with higher
headquarters and commanders intent. Each operation will provide unique challenges, so no
cookie-cutter solution can or should be proposed.
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It is by understanding the assets available, then through a rigorous application of the D3A
methodology embedded in the MDMP, and then maximizing the capabilities of our current
digital systems, that we can defeat COEFOR IADS with timely and accurate effects. If we
cannot do this and do this well, we will spend our time executing combat search-and-rescue drills
instead of piling on the enemy with the full effects of CAM.
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Br igade Special Troops Battalion Oper ations in the
Decisive Action Tr aining Environment: Doing More with Less
MAJ Todd F. Polk
As brigade combat teams (BCTs) execute initial decisive action training environment (DATE)
rotations at the combat training centers (CTCs), the brigade special troops battalions (BSTBs)
are proving their worth by enhancing the BCTs ability to simultaneously conduct the combined
arms maneuver (CAM) and wide area security (WAS) missions that are required in the conduct
of decisive action.
This article will detail lessons learned from the BSTBs synchronization of BCT tactical
assembly area (TAA) defense, WAS key leader engagements (KLEs), and WAS assured mobility
planning and execution. In all of these missions the BSTBs were specifcally challenged by
limited collective staff training prior to their rotations as well as the relatively small operations
section staff provided within the BSTB modifed table of organization and equipment (MTOE).
This article offers priorities for staff training and highlights specifc recommendations for
adjustment to future MTOEs of the BSTB (or the brigade engineer battalion, if that is to be the
Army 2020 evolution of the BSTB).
Fr aming Key Decisive Action Problem Sets
During a DATE rotation, the BSTB faces challenges similar to many observed during operational
deployment mission readiness exercises (MREs) conducted at the National Training Center
(NTC); i.e., limited collective staff training and personnel turbulence at all echelons just prior to
the exercise. Due to the high turnover of junior staff offcers and staff noncommissioned offcers
(NCOs) prior to their rotations, complete staff teams often have limited practice in conducting
the military decisionmaking process (MDMP) or preparing staff running estimates.
A key point of initial friction encountered by BSTB staffs in establishing mission command node
operability is their lack of prerotation repetitions at setting up their tactical operations centers
(TOCs) tents, tables, analog tracking boards, computers, projectors and screens, antenna and
generators, etc. prior to the unit deploying to NTC. Units also experience challenges when they
do not disseminate and conduct checks on learning on their tactical operations center standard
operating procedures (TOCSOP) that guide not only physical setup but also the functions of
reporting, TOC battle drills, and TOC personnel duties and responsibilities. Not unique to
BSTBs, units that execute collective staff MDMP, rehearse their TOC setup, and disseminate
their TOCSOP to all personnel will get a jump on the steep learning curve caused by late-forming
staff teams, thereby better enabling successful mission command.
Obser vations of the BSTBs Synchronization of BCT TAA Base Defense
BCTs often assign mission command of the BCTs TAA defense to their BSTBs. This
requirement is in keeping with doctrine found in Field Manual (FM) 3-90.61, The Brigade
Special Troops Battalion, Chapter 4, Section II, Base and Base Cluster Defense Operations.

In a distributed base cluster and/or rear area, where multiple units operate and synchronization
of security efforts is challenging at best, it is critical that the BCT formally assign the security
responsibilities as tasks to subordinate units in a fragmentary order (FRAGO)/operation order
(OPORD). A BSTB headquarters and staff will fnd itself challenged in carrying out a TAA
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defense mission if they do not clearly establish the communications architecture with a primary,
alternate, contingent, and emergency (PACE) method of communications with the BCT TOC
and laterally to the TAA tenant units. Additionally, since BSTB TOCs lack MTOE-authorized
Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems (AFATDS), they must make very deliberate
coordination with the artillery battalion and the brigade fre support offcer (FSO) to coordinate
counter-fre against indirect fre threats to the TAA. To better enable the BSTB to serve as the
mission command node for BCT-wide TAA defense, at a minimum the BCT must formally
publish the TAA defense plan and direct rehearsals of key battle drills, such as counter-fre, mass
casualty event, and commitment of the quick reaction force.
Obser vations of the BSTBs Execution of WAS Key Leader Engagements
Another critical mission executed by BSTBs in support of WAS is the planning, preparation,
and execution of select KLEs with host nation leaders. Within the NTC DATE scenario, it is not
uncommon for the BSTB to assume WAS responsibility for several population centers as well
as internally displaced persons (IDPs) encampments. As a part of the stability and civil support
operations, the BSTB commander may assume the lead role as the BCTs intermediary with the
host nation political and ethnic factions.
Figure 13-1. Over view of the DATE
As depicted in Figure 13-1, the DATE presents a very complex threat. A descriptive vignette
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Three days prior to the BCTs movement to contact against the Donovian invasion force
(near-peer conventional force), elders from the Lezgin ethnic group (the disenfranchised
population of the host nation of Atropia) came to the BCTs TAA to meet with the
American forces leadership. As the representative of his BCT commander, the BSTB
commander began a mediation process between the Lezgin elders and the Atropian
government (Ministry of Internal Affairs) once security was re-established in Erdabil
Province (the province of Atropia, in which the heavy brigade combat team (HBCT)
was given the mission to restore security). The BSTB commander and his staff planned
for KLEs for villages in Erdabil Province that required the highest priority of security
and humanitarian assistance and have the greatest IDP population. Additionally, they
scheduled meetings with other civilian agencies such as U.S. government organizations
(State Department representatives), nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) (United
Nations and UNICEF), and the International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent.
The paramilitary element, the Bilsuvar Freedom Brigade (BFB), coupled with the
criminal element of the Al Iksir Cartel, remained a threat to the local population once the
BCTs initial movement to contact had taken place and the (combined arms maneuver)
forward line of own troops (FLOT) had moved forward of the villages by over 20
It was within this complex and dynamic security environment described in the vignette that
BSTBs often operate as the BCTs WAS lead.
Key to the success of BSTB commanders in the conduct of KLEs is their staffs ability to
prepare specifc talking points for use during the KLE, conduct debriefs of the KLE that includes
documentation of promises made/kept, and disseminate the KLE debrief into Combined
Information Data Network Exchange (CIDNE) or BCT fle-sharing portals in accordance with
established knowledge management protocols. Dissemination of KLE debrief reports aids in
unity of effort and messaging across the BCT, as BCT civil affairs teams and adjacent units
conduct engagements with their assigned host nation counterparts. Units will beneft from the
assignment of a dedicated KLE manager to manage this battle-rhythm process.
Related to the commanders personal conduct of KLEs, it is also important that the BSTB staff
arm all BSTB patrols with BCT-approved information operations (IO) themes and messages.
As soon as practicable within the conduct of WAS KLE management, BSTBs will beneft
from conduct of a routine nonlethal synchronization meeting. Under the charge of the BSTB
commander or executive offcer, this session should gather the BCTs military information
support operations (MISO), the civil affairs team chief, and the BCT public affairs offcer (PAO)
to discuss near-term (2448 hours) nonlethal objectives and courses of action for stability
operations throughout the WAS area of operations (AO). As the units ability to expand its
planning horizon develops, this near-term synchronization meeting can evolve into a nonlethal
framework operations targeting cycle in support of overall BCT campaign plan objectives.
Early identifcation of KLEs as a part of BSTBs WAS tasks will aid in their assigning a
skilled KLE manager and developing an SOP agenda to support conduct of WAS nonlethal
synchronization meetings.
Obser vations of the BSTBs Execution of the BCTs WAS Assured Mobility Plan
In addition to the TAA defense and rear area KLE responsibilities, planning and execution of the
BCTs assured mobility efforts in the rear area is often a key BSTB mission. The extent to which
the BSTB staff leads the planning effort will often depend upon the duties and responsibilities
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assigned to the BCTs authorized BCT engineer coordinator (ENCOORD) staff offcer as well
as the presence or lack thereof the engineer augmentation recommended by FM 3-90.61, The
Brigade Special Troops Battalion [during offensive and defensive operations a BCT should
receive an engineer battalion headquarters]. Some units choose to assign the BCT ENCOORD
primary duties as BCT chief of current operations (CHOPS), which takes signifcant risk in BCT
staff focus on engineer operations. This, in turn, demands a greater role for BSTB commanders
and/or their S-3s in planning and coordinating assured mobility in the rear area as well as efforts
to support mobility/counter-mobility planning for the CAM fght.
Especially in the early days of a decisive action engagement, units adopt a very near-term/current
operations assured mobility synchronization effort vice deeper future operations planning. Units
will beneft from transitioning to a more forward looking framework operations counter-IED
targeting effort as soon as practicable an option made more feasible if the BCT/BSTB is
augmented with additional engineers.
Units that only plan assured mobility/route clearance patrols out a day or so in advance
experience a number of coordination challenges. One of the signifcant challenges is missing the
suspense for battle rhythm information-collection (IC) asset requests, which forces a reliance
on quick-turn dynamic retasking requests. This has proved to be an unreliable means to ensure
IC coverage for assured mobility patrols (AMPs). Units will beneft from (1) incorporating IC
support requests with appropriate lead time into the AMP execution matrix, and (2) ensuring
that AMPs always have visibility on all IC assets operating across an AO so that with radio
frequencies and asset tail number they can pull down the full-motion video (FMV) feed on
their One System Remote Video Terminal (OSRVT).
BSTBs must also ensure that the BCT S-3 publishes the AMP schedule in a formal FRAGO so
that other BCT troops, especially sustainment tactical convoys, can beneft from the protection
that the AMPs provide along a given route. Whether providing the lead planner because the
BCT ENCOORD has other duties or simply coordinating closely with the BCT ENCOORD,
the STB S-3 and commander can expect to be very engaged in the critical task of planning and
synchronizing the BCT-wide assured mobility WAS effort.
In Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) Newsletter 11-24, referencing 3rd BCT, 82nd
Airborne Divisions DATE rotation at the Joint Readiness Center in October 2010, the author
concludes that the BSTB staff is not adequately resourced to plan future operations and conduct
current operations simultaneously.
Observations of the BSTB during a recent DATE rotation
support this same conclusion. In addition to the missions of TAA defense, WAS KLEs, and
WAS route clearance, the BSTB was engaged in the conduct of several additional missions
simultaneously across the expansive BCT AO. Figure 13-2 helps to better illustrate these
missions sets.
According to the current MTOE, the BSTB has 11 personnel authorized for its current operations
(CUROPs)/S-3 staff sections (HBSTB MTOE effective date of 17 DEC 10).
When compared
to a combined arms battalion (CAB) with 19 personnel authorized for their S-3 staff sections, it
is apparent the BSTB operations staff is minimally manned. A BSTB S-3 section is specifcally
challenged with a lack of an assistant and a dedicated planner. The only other offcer authorized
in the CUROPs section is a chemical, biological, radioactive, and nuclear (CBRN) lieutenant.
The CAB has an assistant and two plans captains, a CBRN lieutenant, and an engineer captain.
As compared to a BSTB operations staff, the disparity of workhorses between a BSTB S-3 and
his maneuver battalion counterpart is obvious.
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Figure 13-2. Tasks a BSTB staff over sees dur ing DATE oper ations
The effects of a minimally manned operations staff are compounded if the operations NCO
is not battle staff qualifed to assist in the training of the junior offcers, NCOs, and Soldiers
in their roles and responsibilities. Future BSTB MTOEs (or brigade engineer battalions upon
conversion) would better enable decisive action execution if authorized four captain positions
(assistant S-3, two planners, and a fres offcer) as well as a sergeant major vice a master
sergeant as the operations NCO. Ultimately, the BSTB S-3 and operations section (just like his
maneuver counterpart) is the principle staff element responsible for training, operations, and
plans; publishing and distributing an SOP; and producing all orders and products involving
other staff sections.
FM 3-90.61 goes on to state that the S-3 section must coordinate, prioritize,
and integrate all battalion operations, to include supervising and reviewing subordinate plans
and actions as well as track each organic and attached element regardless of their location or
command relationship with another unit.
As depicted in Figure 13-2, the myriad tasks requiring oversight and planning by a BSTB staff is
no small task for a branch immaterial major and a CBRN lieutenant, infantry operations master
sergeant, an additional sergeant frst class, and staff sergeant. These suggested increases to the
BSTB (or future brigade engineer battalion if adopted) will better enable the BSTB to support
both current operations execution and future mission planning.
The BSTB is a force multiplier providing important mission execution fexibility to the BCT
commander in the conduct of decisive dction. BSTBs preparing for supporting the simultaneous
execution of CAM and WAS should focus their staff training on the fundamentals of mission
command to provide the BCT an alternate headquarters primarily for current operations. With
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mission-specifc augmentation or with the recommended MTOE increases detailed in this
article, the BSTB will be more capable to support both current operations and future operations
1. FM 3-90.61, The Brigade Special Troops Battalion, December 2006, pp. 4-29 to 4-34.
2. LTC Patrick Daniel, Fighting the BSTB in Full Spectrum Operations Environment: Can you say, Simultaneous?
CALL Newsletter 11-24, JRTC Full Spectrum Operations, pp. 7173, April 2011.
3. HBCT and IBCT BSTBs, infantry battalion, and CAB MTOEs retrieved from Force Management Support Agency
website,, accessed on 10 April 2012.
4. FM 3-90.61, pp 2-5.
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Explosive Or dnance Disposal Integr ation in the
Decisive Action Tr aining Environment
CPT David A. Duncan
As the brigade combat team (BCT) focused on stability and civil support roles in wide area
security (WAS) and offense and defense in combined arms maneuver (CAM) for the decisive
action training environment (DATE), the explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) company did
not integrate early enough with the BCT and conduct proper integration with the BCTs task
forces (TFs) in WAS and CAM. The integration process between the EOD company and the
BCT should start at the same time the BCT starts the planning process to attend the National
Training Center (NTC) or the earliest opportunity. The EOD company did participate in the NTC
EOD-specifc situational training exercise (STX) lanes for EOD-specifc tactics, techniques,
and procedures (TTP) refnement and the engineer STX for assured mobility patrols (AMPs),
but missed the opportunity to participate in TF company- or platoon-level STXs for CAM
The EOD commander was integrated into the BCT staff and participated in all parts of the BCTs
military decisionmaking process (MDMP) for WAS and CAM operations. The EOD teams that
were forward with and participating in TF operations did not integrate or participate in all the
TFs MDMP. The EOD company, BCT, and TFs must constantly work at all levels to ensure
that integration is taking place in a timely manner and during all phases at NTC or they will not
understand each others capabilities and requirements for success in the DATE.
Before arrival to NTC, the EOD company commander did not attend the Leadership Training
Program (LTP) with his respective BCT. This prevented the EOD unit from conducting any form
of coordination until reception, staging, onward movement, and integration (RSOI) on its arrival
at NTC. When the EOD commander arrived for RSOI, he immediately engaged and coordinated
with the BCT staff for operational support, communications, logistics, and improvised explosive
device (IED)-specifc intelligence. This was done with no assistance from his teams or support
personnel due to the fact that the EOD teams were struggling with the same rapid integration
with the BCTs TF staffs as well as signing and accounting for all needed equipment from the
All of this led to hasty EOD capability briefs to the BCT and TFs, who in return did not fully
understand the EOD company and teams support and command relationship, their unique skills,
and how the team could integrate into maneuvers and provide site exploitation during WAS and
CAM operations. Had they been integrated, the EOD teams could have assisted the maneuver
elements in rehearsing the React to IED drill, including execution of the 5 Cs (confrm, cordon,
call EOD, clear, control).
It is recommended that the integration process between EOD and supported BCTs start at the
same time the BCT starts the planning process to attend NTC (with most critical events being
the D-150 Mission Letter and the D-60 to D-30 LTP conducted at NTC). (See Figure 14-1, NTC
rotational planning model.)
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Figure 14-1. NTC rotational planning model
As EOD has a continuous defense support to civil authorities mission and is usually not
collocated at the BCTs home station, early integration is diffcult and cannot always be
accomplished at the beginning of the BCT and NTC integration processes. The EOD command
should make every effort to coordinate for the EOD company commanders attendance at
LTP. Though most activities and planning have already occurred between the BCT and NTC,
this is the fnal coordinating effort and will allow EOD to provide the BCT with its necessary
equipment request and submissions to BCT operation orders (OPORDs) and to better facilitate
its integration once the EOD unit arrives at NTC for RSOI. An early start to integration will pay
dividends in mission effectiveness as EOD supports the BCT during the training rotation and/or
combat operations in a follow-on operational deployment.
During the frst week of a training rotation, units conduct a variety of STX lanes for company-
and platoon-level collective tasks and TTP refnement. Using a crawl, walk, run methodology,
the valuable lessons learned on the STX lanes allow platoons and companies to enter the
force-on-force portion of the rotation at a higher level of profciency. Beyond the specifc task
profciency, these lanes teach valuable lessons in integration across all warfghting functions.
EOD participated in the NTC EOD-specifc STX lanes for EOD TTP refnement, and the teams
completed their necessary TTP training to operate effectively during the rotation. EOD teams
integrated with the engineers on their specifc assured mobility route clearance STX lanes, which
started the refnement and integration of engineer and EOD TTP along with starting their team
building. This early integration with engineers allowed for fnal refnements during operations
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and proper communications as elements TTP, communications, and personalities were worked
out during their lane training.
The EOD teams did not participate in a TF company or platoon STX for CAM operations due
to the EOD commanders belief that the lanes deliberate obstacle focus (vice IEDs) would
not necessarily call for employment of EOD. This is taking too narrow a view of the training
objectives, as the integration itself is a worthwhile training outcome. Because STXs are so
crucial to the BCTs success in DATE, this was a critical opportunity missed by EOD and the
TFs and prevented EOD and TF elements from integrating and refning EOD TTP with the
supported elements early in the rotation. The integration of EOD as an enabler into TF STX lanes
would have better enabled proper and timely use of EOD in WAS and CAM operations in the
DATE force-on-force portion of the rotation.
The EOD commander was integrated into the BCT staff by participating in all parts of the
BCTs MDMP for WAS and CAM operations. The integration of the EOD commander allowed
for proper operational situational awareness, IED tracking and analysis for intelligence, and
effective EOD recommendations for the BCT commander on operations. Even though EOD did
not have a large role on all operations, the BCT staff allowed the commander to brief his teams
role in site exploitation and collection during TF-specifc operations. Following this MDMP, the
EOD commander was successful in publishing key EOD coordinating instructions to the BCTs
OPORD regarding security support, evidence handling and transport procedures, storyboard
requirements, and overall evidence knowledge management (reporting fow) within Annex
E (Protection Annex) of the BCT OPORD, as directed by Field Manual 5-0, The Operations
Process, change 1, 18 March 2011. The EOD commander and BCT integration into MDMP
and the subsequent publication of key coordinating instructions are important so that all staff
elements can understand and prepare support for EOD in BCT operations.
The EOD teams that are forward with and participating in TF operations did not routinely
integrate or participate in the TF-level MDMP. Though the TFs worked to have EOD respond
to IEDs and collected evidence, due to lack of integration from the team in the TF MDMP, the
TF was not prepared to assist the EOD teams efforts in transporting evidence back to the BCT
tactical assembly area (TAA) for further analysis. Pushing evidence back to the BCT TAA took
last-minute coordination by the EOD team leader after returning from the operation. With no
integration on the TF STX lanes and in its MDMP, the TF was focused on the maneuver and not
prepared for site exploitation opportunities in and around its operational objectives. The teams
supporting engineers in assured mobility had integrated TTP during the engineer STX, which
led to the successful render safe of an IED during route clearance operations in WAS and timely
transport of evidence back to the BCT TAA for analysis.
As the decisive action rotation was winding down to the last few days, the BCT received a
biometric intelligence analysis report (BIAR) from evidence collected and submitted properly
from the route clearance operation earlier in decisive action. The proper integration of the
EOD teams with the engineers allowed the BCT to incorporate the BIAR into a warrant packet
that could be actioned and assist in the detainment and prosecution of the linked or matched
individual. The TFs staff had fnally developed a knowledge base of how to use EOD, and EOD
teams understood how to work with the TFs in CAM, but late or limited integration on the STX
and the MDMP did not allow for effective site exploitation during TF CAM operations.
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EOD and BCT commands must constantly ensure that integration at all levels is taking place for
success in the DATE. Integration between EOD and the BCT needs to start alongside the BCT
and NTC integration process. This will ensure EOD is able to provide the BCT and the TFs the
time to assist and integrate EOD into their battle drills, battle rhythms, and MDMP. The BCT and
the TFs must insist on EOD team integration as an enabler into the respective TF STX lanes, and
EOD commands must understand that even when TF STX lanes are obstacle focused (vice IED
focused), the learning of CAM and team building is crucial to the integration process.
As the decisive action rotation came to an end, the BCT and the TFs had reinforced their
relationship with the EOD command and teams through integration into the BCT MDMP and
hard work by the teams forward with the TFs. EOD integrating early in support of the BCT and
TFs in the DATE is crucial for each to understand each others capabilities and requirements for
proper support in decisive action operations.
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Integr ating a Key Enabler : Militar y Police in the
Decisive Action Tr aining Environment
Major Paul J. Thiessen
During Rotation 12-05, the frst decisive action training environment (DATE) rotation at the
National Training Center (NTC), a U.S. Army Reserve military police company and a special
troops battalions military police platoon supported a heavy brigade combat team, host nation
security forces, and the population against a wide variety of threats. Military police worked
across the range of military operations required within the DATE. Combined arms maneuver
(CAM) competencies included military police obstacle breaching. Wide area security (WAS)
tasks required military police to engage assistance with internally displaced persons, establish
traffc control points, and train the host nation security forces.
In the conduct of all of these missions, the military police needed to effectively integrate with
their supported units in order to coordinate and synchronize their operations with the battle space
owner. This article will address potential challenges for military police in the DATE and present
recommendations to avoid these shortfalls during future training or contingency operations.
As the U.S. Army transitions from the counterinsurgency (COIN) fght and prepares for future
near-peer and hybrid threats, it becomes more critical for military police leaders and their staffs
to understand and master the integration of military police capabilities at echelon within a
brigade combat team. This understanding improves both protection and maneuver support by
military police units and reinforces the relevancy of the Military Police Corps in its role to assist,
protect, and defend the force.
The MPs are great in the COIN fght, but in decisive action they just get in the way.
An observation made by an infantry noncommissioned offcer during one of the company
situational training exercise after action reviews, where the military police were assigned to
support their units movement to contact lane.
An observed trend from the NTC is a systemic lack of deliberate planning and execution of
military police unit integration at the company level and below. This trend holds true for both the
military police and their supported maneuver and sustainment units. The diversity of the military
police functions and capabilities, as well as understanding of these functions and capabilities
among the force, contributes to integration shortcomings. Military police integration should be
deliberately taught and exercised at the company level and below. As units master the ability to
employ enablers, credibility, confdence, and lethality increase.
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6-4. Military police execute missions and operations as part of an integrated combined arms
effort. The military police unit commanders staff and the combined arms commanders
military police staff assist the commander in executing military police functions through
the integrating processes and continuing activities during execution. While some tasks are
executed as part of a purely functional unit activity, all tasks and missions executed must
be conducted within the intent and in support of an overall combined arms effort. Effective
planning and preparation ensures the successful nesting of tasks and synchronization of
the efforts necessary to ensure that military police execution supports the senior combined
arms commanders mission and intent. Throughout the operations process, all activities are
continuously assessed to ensure that the desired results are achieved.
Field Manual (FM) 3-39 (FM 3-19.1), Military Police Operations
As captured in FM 3-39 (FM 3-19.1), current military police doctrine establishes a requirement
to integrate but fails to provide any specifc guidance on how to properly integrate. The
preparation needed to detach military police elements from one unit and then attach them to
another is fundamental to military police mission success. Initial coordination sets the stage
for an effective mission support role and lays the foundation for positive and effective mission
command. Initial coordination reduces tactical risk, improves morale, aids in lethality, and serves
as a forcing mechanism to promote the Military Police Corps capabilities by promoting and
building mutual understanding and appreciation with the maneuver commander.
Integration is transition, and leaders at all levels are expected to plan for and manage transitions.
Planning for enabler support occurs at all levels from company through brigade. Military
police battalion commanders and their staffs are responsible for preparing their military police
companies, platoons, and squads for detachment. Planning should be a continuous and seamless
effort, nested as a part of training and captured in the unit tactical standing operating procedures
On the gaining end, division and brigade provost marshals have a responsibility to prepare
maneuver task forces to receive military police support. Practice makes perfect, so the best way
to achieve profciency at integrating military police support into combined arms operations
is to do the same as often as possible during training events. There also needs to be a push of
information from provost marshals to the battalion and brigade operations cells, advising them
of military police capabilities and contributions as one means to accelerate training and mission
effectiveness. This education can improve military police utilization by increasing knowledge
among supported unit plans and operations personnel who request and task enabler support.
Figure 15-1 provides an example checklist to conduct military police attachment and detachment.
This tool can become part of a units TACSOP and serve as a leader reference to ensure success.
By incorporating a formal process for every aspect of military police integration activities,
units can deliberately practice integration during training at home station. More importantly,
the process likewise educates supported units on what the military police are, what they can do,
and how they can serve the unit as a force multiplier. Supported units and leaders do not always
have the time or incentive to learn what enablers can do, so they must be informed. Without a
considered and disciplined integration process, the quality of military police mission support,
as well as relationships with the supported force, will likely suffer. The process must become
effcient and routine to be effective, and the only way to achieve this end state is to educate and
rehearse integration activities until units achieve muscle memory.
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Incor por ate Attachment and Detachment of Elements into Unit SOPs.
Military Police Attachment-Detachment Procedure (Company Level and Below)
1. Purpose. This provides the procedures for military police elements being attached to or
2. Attachments:
a. Upon notifcation of attachment to a gaining unit, the subordinate military police
(1) Establish communication with the parent and gaining units TOCs and
obtain POC information.
(2) Receive TACSOP from gaining unit.
(3) Comply with specifc instructions.
(4) Update combat power trackers.
(5) Prepare capabilities brief.
(a) MP-specifc personnel capabilities (MPI, SRT, traffc, FET,
corrections, etc.).
(b) MP-specifc equipment capabilities (nonlethal, riot control, ASV,
(6) Conduct PCI.
(7) Conduct mission-specifc rehearsals.
b. Upon receipt of notifcation of attachment, request the gaining TOC provide the
attached military police unit the following:
(4) Current OPORD with graphics.
(5) SOI.
Figure 15-1. A way to get at militar y police attachment and detachment
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To properly prepare for initial linkup and integration, military police leadership must frst know
their own units capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. The ability for a unit to see themselves
is critical to the integration process. Misrepresented or unidentifed shortages in capabilities
or combat power will impact the military police units ability to provide enabler support and
detracts from the credibility of the newly arriving unit. Military police leaders should ask
themselves what additional special skill sets they may have within their organization. Trained
specialties such as female engagement teams (FETs); special reaction teams (SRTs); military
police investigators (MPIs); traffc investigators; corrections (internment and resettlement)
specialists; military working dog handlers; and personnel trained in civilian law enforcement,
nonlethal tactics and munitions, physical security, and antiterrorism are all unique skill sets
that are common among military police Soldiers. Within a military police unit, these skill sets
can be found even at the platoon and squad levels. While military police will not execute all
of their unique functions during each and every mission, informing the supported commander
on additional capabilities will help ensure military police are employed effectively when the
opportunity presents.
Military police leaders should come prepared to discuss the units road to war to help the
gaining unit understand the recent military police training history and potential needs or
vulnerabilities. Figure 15-2 provides an example from the Military Police Doctrine Update
created by the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence (MSCoE) Capabilities Development
and Integration Directorate (CDIC), Concepts, Organization, Doctrine Development Division
(CODDD), which is available on the Military Police Warfghter Forum. Use this tool as another
means to assist in the integration effort and to help to correct misconceptions and overcome
stereotypes about what the military police bring to the fght.
Figure 15-2. Enabling capabilities or ganized by the militar y police functions and
synchronized by their relationship to the warfghting functions
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Know the mission of the unit you are supporting and be able to speak their language. In most
cases this is easier said than done but really helps military police achieve credibility. Beyond
Soldiers and leaders who are aware of the overall mission of the maneuver task forces they
support, more attractive are military police with a true understanding of specifc supported unit
techniques, tactics, and planning factors. It is not enough to know the basics: The mission of
the infantry is to close with the enemy by means of fre and maneuver in order to destroy or
capture him or to repel his assault by fre, close combat, and counterattack (FM3-21.8, Infantry
Rife Platoon and Squad). Enablers are advantaged by a strong understanding of supported force
fundamentals and how it conducts operations. Military police knowledge and understanding of
their supported units relevant SOPs, other enablers integrated to support the overall operation,
and the sustainment plan need to be known. Once armed with this knowledge, it becomes easier
to provide solutions and recommendations on how to best integrate and provide military police
mission support to the gaining unit.
Continually assess the effectiveness of the integration. Once the initial integration is complete,
the work is not over. Working systems ensure effective exchanges of information, continuous
sustainment, and close cooperation. Additionally, military police leadership must strictly enforce
and reinforce Soldier standards, especially early in the transition. As a detached unit, the military
police are away from their parent unit, and the gaining unit may not be proactive or see that its
job is to enforce individual standards. Over time, complacency and laxness can undermine an
otherwise positive enabler relationship.
Summar y
As the Army transitions from its COIN orientation and prepares for future near-peer and hybrid
threats across the range of military operations, the Military Police Corps must focus and master
the ability to integrate with maneuver units as an enabling asset. Transitions must be managed
at all levels to ensure success. In this transition period, the Military Police Corps has the
opportunity to re-educate the force on what military police bring to the Armys decisive action
fght in both CAM and WAS. The best way to achieve this is through adhering to a disciplined
integration process in both training and actual combat missions. Although integration can be a
point of friction, prepared leaders will ensure and reinforce future Military Police Corps success
and ultimately the success of the supported maneuver unit.
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Roles of the Br igade Combat Team Engineer Coor dinator in Decisive Action
MAJ John D. Collins
Engineer combat power included the organic engineer company with its six new
assault breach vehicles, 13 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, six armored combat earthmovers
augmented with one engineer mobility augmentation company, and one Royal Canadian
engineer company. In support of the heavy brigade combat team, our primary engineer
staff offcer, who is responsible to integrate engineers, executed current operation
Our problem: Units routinely fail to properly plan, prioritize, resource, and synchronize engineer
operations at the brigade combat team (BCT) level.
As the operational environment (OE) changes and new conficts emerge, engineers must
continuously adapt to support BCT operations. The BCT engineer coordinator (ENCOORD) is
the senior engineer who advises the commander and recommends force allocations based on the
commanders intent. Invariably, he is the only offcer on the BCT staff with this specifc expert
knowledge. The authors nine rotations as an observer-controller/trainer observed that BCT
engineer cells arrive at the National Training Center (NTC) with vacant positions, lack training
as an engineer cell, and (on some rotations) the BCT engineer offcer is reserved to function in
another staff role (e.g., current operations, future operations, safety offcer).
Generally, BCT ENCOORDs come to the NTC focused mainly on assured mobility in support of
stability operations and as lead participants in the counter improvised explosive devices working
group (C-IED WG) during counterinsurgency (COIN) mission readiness exercises. As a result,
BCT ENCOORDs are exposed to and demonstrate the ability to understand and recommend the
use of different warfghting functions. The net result is that the BCT ENCOORD can perform
other staff functions with a degree of competency.
The recent decisive action training environment (DATE) rotation proved to be no different
in terms of the use of the BCT ENCOORD. He was tasked to perform the duties of current
operations (CUOPS) in the BCTs main command post (CP). However, the result was a limited
focus by the BCT ENCOORD to infuence engineer operations for the BCT, and the BCT
struggled to track and manage the integration of engineers to the task force level.
The fx to this problem is simple: Allow the ENCOORD to execute his duties as part of the
BCT staff to plan and coordinate engineer operations in support of the BCT. The following are
recommended tasks for the BCT ENCOORD to consider in support of a successful rotation at
the NTC and, more importantly, to develop engineer staff offcers and their engineer cells to
successfully support the BCT during decisive action operations:
Update the engineer portion of the BCT tactical standing operating procedures
Develop the engineer cell through focused home station BCT training events; must
manage 24-hour operations in the main CP.
Collaboration with the brigade special troops battalion (BSTB), engineer company, and
company intelligence support teams for in-depth assured mobility planning.
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Management of geospatial team in support of the BCT.
Develop and practice using the engineer common operational picture (COP) format.
Focus on integrating engineers in battalion-level training events.
Develop the C-IED WG agenda and attendance, to include integration of the BSTB.
(The NTC is not the time to fgure that out.)
Develop the BCT tactical assembly area (TAA) layout and tasks associated to minimize
lengthy orders. (This can be a TACSOP item.)
Advanced party activities in support of TAA development is critical. Consider
developing Class IV package requirements and identify elements required to move
Class IV, including engineer equipment sections needed to start early TAA protection
Night driving with night-vision devices. Require engineers to conduct night driving as
they move after completing deliberate route clearance operations at night.
Participate in the predeployment site survey (PDSS).
The above list is not all inclusive but are focuses that will reverse negative trends observed by
the author.
Tactical Assembly Area Planning and Engineer Pr ior ities
During the frst DATE rotation at the NTC, protection development was pushed down to
the BSTB. The unit, limited in staff already, quickly developed some tasks for the engineer
equipment section. The BCT essentially received berm building as the primary task for
protection development. As shown in Figure 16-1, blade time for the rotation focused mostly on
berms. In this example, survivability tasks are limited in scope. Support in terms of blade time to
the BCT is limited.
The ENCOORD must plan for survivability tasks and, if necessary, pull from battalions to set
priorities in sequence and identify the protection requirements for assorted critical equipment,
units, and mission command nodes within the BCT. DATE rotations do not have forward
operating bases, and the ENCOORD must analyze the survivability priorities to support the
entire BCT within a TAA. One primary observation by the author that supports the above
statement was the lack of protection to rotary-wing aircraft. Between training day one and day
six, while located in TAA 1, rotary-wing aircraft remained in the open and vulnerable to possible
indirect fre.
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Figure 16-1. OC/T document showing blade time by activity
The ENCOORD will receive the below card (Figure 16-2) during PDSS at the NTC to consider
for his planning of TAA occupations in support of the BCT. These items are associated with
protection and most can be supported by engineers and the equipment section.
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Figure 16-2. Rotation tr aining unit (RTU)
Regardless of what BCT formation the ENCOORD is in, there are equipment sections and/
or earth-moving sections available. Assets are limited, so careful consideration for priority of
protection is imperative.
Revisiting Tr aditional Combat Engineer ing Suppor t Capabilities
The maneuver commander associates mobility, countermobility, survivability (M/CM/S)
tasks with engineers, and these tasks require diligent attention. During mission analysis,
recommendations to the BCT S-3 for M/CM/S reside with the BCT ENCOORD. In support of
combined arms maneuver (CAM), the BCT ENCOORD must adjust the scheme of engineer
operations and tailor engineer integration, focusing more on traditional M/CM/S tasks. He is the
BCT lead on engagement area (EA) development, the coordinator between fres and maneuver to
create a network of obstacles impeding the enemys freedom of maneuver. He must now consider
a complex combined arms breaching operation as part of a counterattack in a mobile defense or
as a component of an attack.
He organizes echelons above brigade (EAB) and BCT-level engineer resources to execute
survivability tasks, such as the protection of critical BCT assets within the TAA, including battle
positions for tracked/wheeled vehicles in support of defensive operations. Considering the above
points, the BCT and the ENCOORD must acknowledge the following limitations.
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Limitations with current engineer force structure are applicable to all three BCT types; all have
one organic engineer company in their formation to include the armored cavalry regiment.
Combat engineers are all trained the same, but as we fll the ranks in heavy, infantry, and Stryker
BCTs, the BCT ENCOORD is responsible for learning and understanding capabilities for that
particular BCT engineer company and what it can accomplish. The importance of understanding
will refect when developing a recommended list of essential tasks for M/CM/S during mission
analysis. Regardless of the BCT type and inherent limitations, the primary focus for engineers
within each BCT is to maintain friendly freedom of maneuver and inhibiting the enemys ability
to mass and maneuver (Field Manual [FM] 3-34, Engineer Operations, para 2-24).
(Note: The following information was copied from FM 3-34.22, Engineer OperationsBrigade
Combat Team and Below, para 1-36, Figure 1.1, The primary relationship of engineer functions
to warfghting functions. The author has reconfgured the data to illustrate the necessity to
integrate the expert knowledge of the BCT ENCOORD, specifcally since he applies knowledge
across all warfghting functions. Without the ENCOORD developing the engineer plan with the
BCT staff, the BCT typically is unsuccessful in synchronizing engineer efforts and priorities.)
Figure 16-3
Note: FM 3-34.22 specifes that the engineer functions are generally aligned in support of
specifc warfghting functions but have impact on and across the other warfghting functions.
Concentrating on engineer tasks associated with combat engineering sets the tone for the
ENCOORD and his planning process for CAM. Engineers conducting operations in the early
stages of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) confrm
that their primary focus was combat engineering. It was only as U.S. forces began sustainment
development in support of stability operations that engineers shifted focus toward the other
engineer functions as time and resources became available.
The following table comes from FM 3-34.22, which describes these traditional engineer support
capabilities. The bulk of engineer support is clearly in combat engineering, and we see that M/
CM/S are the bedrock of engineer missions.
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Figure 16-4
The above tasks require an engineer cell to manage, and the ENCOORD cannot do this alone
while simultaneously supporting other BCT functions. Do not view these tasks as single events
but more in support of continuous CAM and WAS operations as the BCT expands its OE during
decisive action. To summarize, FM 5.0, The Operations Process, states that staff members
support the commander(s) and provide recommendations, develop plans, monitor, control, and
assess progress of operations. The ENCOORD must be engaged in engineer duties to support
commanders if he is to provide these actions as a staff member.
There are implied tasks associated with primary tasks, and commanders must agree that when
their staffs focus is elsewhere, shortfalls result. When the ENCOORD does not have time to
bridge the capabilities of the BCT geospatial engineering team, the BCT does not truly tie terrain
analysis with the plan. The same is true if staff members do not have time to collaborate. The
ENCOORD and S-2 are vital when analyzing the enemy engineer capability together during
intelligence preparation of the battlefeld and terrain analysis.
BCT ENCOORD in Suppor t of the BCT
The success of the engineer mission and for the ENCOORD begins with the engineer running
estimate, which supports the planning process and assists in building the engineer COP. BCT
ENCOORDs do not arrive at the NTC with an idea of what this looks like and spend valuable
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time trying to develop a useful format, when the solution is to create one and practice using
it at home station. No specifc COP layout is better than the next, but it must support the
commanders needs and provide relevant information to the rest of the BCT. Figure 16-5
provides a general format for an engineer COP for the BCT ENCOORD to use as a starting point
if one does not exist for the BCT.
MAJ Gerald Law, an experienced BCT ENCOORD, has captured similar experiences from
a past OEF rotation. He stated that after his BCT engineer cell assumed engineer duties and
responsibilities from the departing unit, it soon discovered it was overwhelmed and seriously
undermanned (The Brigade Engineer, Engineer, JanuaryApril 2010). His article further listed
associated duties that his engineer cell conducted, which span all three engineer functions of
combat, general, and geospatial engineering.
Figure 16-5
Assured Mobility Regar dless of Oper ational Environment
Few if any units have diffculty with engineer Soldiers executing assured mobility in support
of the BCT. However, the planning and synchronization of BCT assets available, route status
tracking, scheduling, and development of an engineer COP are issues for almost every unit.
Current experiences and technology cannot be matched, and as a BCT ENCOORD executes
duties in a DATE rotation, nothing changes for mobility support. Routes are new, historical data
may or may not be available, but the task is the same: clear the routes and protect the formations.
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The ENCOORD must adapt to an OE different from OIF and OEF, but the IED will remain a
threat. The current mechanism to fght the IED is the C-IED WG. The C-IED WG is the driver
to bring the staff, to include available counter IED support element enablers, together. It is vital
that the ENCOORD stresses the importance of debriefs by assured mobility elements and other
combat patrol elements, including logistical patrols, to ensure routes are traffcable. Information
must be collected and analyzed to begin route management, integrate explosive ordnance
detachments for tactical site exploitation, and identify potential IED locations for dissemination
across the BCT formation.
Though the C-IED effort is essentially in its infancy stage during any initial entry, the
ENCOORD must develop the C-IED WG prior to deployment and require that this event is
scheduled and a part of the BCT battle rhythm. This will lock in the event in a very busy BCT
schedule, but must be supported by the commander and enforced by the S-3 and executive
offcer. This simple action will be a key to success to ensure a critical BCT event is locked in and
Roles and responsibilities of the staff offcer are challenging when competing with other
directives and when resources are limited. When given the opportunity and guidance by the
commander, ENCOORDs will spear the engineer mission through proper plans and coordination.
BCT ENCOORDs do more than just track assured mobility assets and IEDs. They support both
CAM and WAS operations through combat, general, and geospatial engineering.
The BCT ENCOORDs primary focus must be on combat engineering, and those tasks are M/
CM/S. By learning and understanding capabilities for that particular BCT engineer company
and what it can accomplish, he can develop and recommend M/CM/S during mission analysis.
When augmented with additional engineer assets, it will be his duty to integrate that formation
accordingly into the M/CM/S plan.
As part of the BCT staff during the MDMP, he will ensure that the unit will properly plan,
prioritize, resource, and synchronize engineer operations at the BCT level. The fx as stated in the
beginning is to allow the ENCOORD to execute his duties in support of the BCT.
FM 3-34, Engineer Operations, 4 August 2011.
FM 3-34.22, Engineer OperationsBrigade Combat Team and Below, 11 February 2009.
FM 5-0, The Operations Process, 26 March 2010.
PB 5-10-1, Engineer, The Professional Bulletin of Army Engineers, JanuaryApril 2010.
PB 5-11-1, Engineer, The Professional Bulletin of Army Engineers, JanuaryApril 2011.
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Planning Maintenance Suppor t for Success in the
Decisive Action Tr aining Environment
MAJ Chr istopher L. Camphor
There is a growing need to focus on planning sustainment operations as based on observations
from the past year (20112012) at the National Training Center (NTC). Logisticians are
challenged to maintain current operations and simultaneously plan for future combined arms
maneuver (CAM) support due to the rapid pace and numerous competing requirements. This
article addresses considerations for planning maintenance support for a brigade combat team
(BCT) offensive operation and is intended for maneuver and sustainment leaders, along with
their supporting staffs at the brigade and battalion levels.
Under the current decisive action training environment (DATE) scenario design at the NTC, an
offensive operation requires the establishment of echeloned trains. There is limited fexibility
in a forward support company (FSC) to support echeloned tracked maintenance repair teams.
Additionally, there is little to no fexibility within the feld maintenance company of the brigade
support battalion (BSB) to provide support.
So how do you fx this problem? The frst step is to address planning for offensive operations
and determine how to echelon tracked maintenance and recovery support in the operational
environment (OE). The second step is to consider the command and support relationships of
maintenance assets. Lastly, consideration of other nuances such as communications architecture,
cross-training low-density military occupational skill (MOS) sets, and fusion between the
maneuver plan and a sustainment plan that overall adheres to the principles of sustainment.
Or ganizational Shor tfalls
Based on an article written by LTG (Ret.) Mitchell H. Stevenson, strategic concepts to reduce
the logistics footprint in the OE, such as two levels of maintenance, began early in the 1990s
under the Force XXI design. The concept did not fully evolve until the U.S. Army held its annual
Army Transformation War Game (ATWG) Vigilant Warrior in 2002. The time frame of the war
game was 2019 to 2021, and the scenario found U.S. forces engaged in a series of hostile actions
within the homeland and spanning the globe. The purpose behind the war game was to examine
the implications of multiple, nearly simultaneous operations, ranging from major combat
operations to smaller scale contingencies and homeland defense.
Many steps have been taken to support this initiative by revamping the force structure of
maintenance activities at the BCT level to sustainment level units under theater sustainment
commands. Maintenance skill sets have been merged, and components for advanced weapon
systems can easily be diagnosed, tested, and returned to the user at the feld maintenance level.
So where is the shortfall? The time that it takes to complete many direct support (DS) level
repairs, now merged under feld maintenance, still has not changed.
Under the two-level maintenance design, nearly all of the maintenance support for a maneuver
task force is embedded in the FSC, which is based on manpower requirements criteria (MARC)
standards. The remaining support rests in the feld maintenance company of the BSB, with
additional low-density mechanics and technical advisers in the areas of electronics, armament,
and ground support equipment for area support to the brigade. The rapid pace of an offensive
operation in the current DATE scenario does not allow maneuver units to hub at a base for
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extended periods of time and requires the brigade to develop support areas or trains to facilitate
expedient replacements, verify faults, and conduct repairs. It is common to overlook planning
for maintenance support, because in the recent and current counterinsurgency (COIN) fghts of
Iraq and Afghanistan, the bulk of maintenance assets are centralized and able to provide support
without much planning guidance. Units simply monitored the nonmission capable (NMC) report
and provided the necessary oversight to maintain combat power.
As depicted in the chart below (Figure 17-1), a heavy BCT can accumulate 30 or more NMC
combat systems within six days of operations in the DATE scenario. Multiple factors contribute
to the spike of NMC equipment. Time is the enemy. Transition periods between missions are
rapid, troubleshooting maintenance faults is lengthy, receipt of requisitions not supplied by
the authorized stockage list (ASL) takes several days to arrive, and recovery efforts to move
equipment may be conducted over distances as great as 30 kilometers. The luxury of letting
maintenance play out is gone. Detailed planning must occur as the U.S. Army transitions to
train in this type of environment.
Figure 17-1
Leaders must plan to position maintenance assets for all types of operations. The challenges of
adhering to the principles of sustainment tend to be the greatest during offensive operations. A
good plan begins with guidance. Leaders across the brigade must understand that in a brigade-
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level fght, sustainment assets have to be prioritized and positioned based on the brigade
commanders intent for that specifc operation.
By following doctrinal references for planning (Field Manual [FM] 5.0, The Operations
Process), after receipt of the mission, the BCT S-4 with key BSB staff personnel must determine
the specifed, implied, and key tasks relating to maintenance support of the operation. From there
the team begins its mission analysis and determines the current capabilities for maintenance and
recovery across the brigade, as well as the limitations and constraints that hinder success. The
chart below (Figure 17-2) is intended to provide a way of organizing thoughts and developing
estimates for the course of action development and comparison stage of the planning process.
Figure 17-2
Cross-talk with battalion executive offcers and FSC maintenance personnel is crucial throughout
the planning process in order to achieve the desired bottom-up refnement. Sharing initial
thoughts verbally or in warning orders is a fundamental way of sparking the collaboration and
dialogue outlined in FM 5.0. Measures of performance and effectiveness (MOPs/MOEs) must
be established to monitor the execution of the mission. They can be simple using operational
readiness rates, 5988E submissions, ASL performance standards, and NMC supply and
maintenance time periods.
An essential part of the mission analysis phase is to determine where support areas are
established in the area of operations (AO). According to FM 3-90.6, The Brigade Combat Team,
the BCT S-4, BCT S-3, and BSB S-3 determine the location of support areas for a brigade-
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level fght. Although Army Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (ATTP) 4-33, Maintenance
Operations, states that There are no fxed time guidelines for performing feld and sustainment
maintenance, it is not feasible to assume that all maintenance can be conducted forward with the
maneuver company. Doing so will force the forward maintenance team to drag all the equipment
around the AO while waiting on a requisition to arrive or while validating a maintenance fault.
The forward trains are required to move with the offensive fght and provide the maintenance
support and combat power to maintain the momentum of the offensive operation. During the
planning process, it is imperative to determine when evacuation to a more suitable location such
as the feld trains/brigade support area (BSA) is required. A solid trigger for that is an evacuation
timeline with conditions that indicate that pushing a piece of equipment to the rear formations
is advantageous. The chart below (Figure 17-3) is intended to provide a guide on where trains
are positioned and the evacuation timelines that can be a condition for planners and leaders to
Figure 17-3
According to authorization documents from the U.S. Army Force Management Support Agency
(USAFMSA), a typical feld maintenance team (FMT) will consist of seven to eight specialized
tracked vehicle mechanics, four of whom are noncommissioned offcers. Each team is designed
to support the tracked vehicles of the line companies in a combined arms battalion. That equates
to two mechanics per platoon of four tracked vehicles. The location of these mechanics is an
essential part of the BCT plan. It is common to see all the mechanics forward in the company
trains area with the company frst sergeant to provide expedient maintenance support, but it
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leaves no qualifed personnel in the subsequent trains, where the majority of the timely fault
validation and repairs can occur effectively to support the offensive operation. As depicted in the
chart above, the placement of mechanics and maintenance assets must be included in the plan to
facilitate the fow for recovery, supply, and maintenance.
Command and Suppor t Relationships
Another area to address in planning is the command and support relationships associated with
an offensive operation. Internal to the BCT, commanders have complicated this matter with
command and support relationships that hinder BSB leaders and the BCT S-4 from effectively
planning to support various types of CAM operations. The chart below (Figure 17-4) from Field
Manual Interim (FMI) 4-93.2, The Sustainment Brigade, shows the most likely relationships that
were intended by force development proponents for a BCT. There are multiple choices, because
brigades conduct different types of operations. It is important to not impose a relationship that
restricts or prohibits the BSB from doing the job the Army designed it to accomplish.
In order to support the main effort of the BCT offensive operation, there may be a need to
consolidate maintenance personnel and assets to provide the punch that is needed to maintain
momentum. This could come from a task force FSC that is not the main effort but is a supporting
or reserve element. Unfortunately, the cultural climate in many brigades is, Theyre mine
hands off; and this infexible approach to task organization hinders sustainment agility within
the BCT.
Figures 17-4
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Figure 17-5
Communicating can be diffcult, especially when staffs and units are not located in the
same vicinity and when you consider that some units may be on the move while others are
stationary. Over the last several years, reliance on advanced communications networks has
increased, and many leaders have forgotten some of the basics of lower tactical capabilities.
DATE scenarios will force units out of comfort zones to focus on communication enablers at
all levels. Establishing a communications PACE (primary, alternate, contingency, emergency)
plan to maintain a common operational picture (COP), using both sides of the communications
spectrum, is a key task that must be included in the plan. The chart below (Figure 17-6)
represents some of the communication enablers available at the BCT level, yet not all of them are
feasible for monitoring a CAM operation on the move. Leaders have to plan and rehearse how
to report combat power, repair part requirements, recovery needs, and other aspects of sustaining
the fght while on the move.
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Figure 17-6
The Battle Command Sustainment Support System (BCS3) is the system of record for reporting
the logistical status of the brigade, but it is not mobile. It was designed as a mission command
system for the upper tactical Internet (TI) of the network. Being stationary long enough to
establish Internet capability during a CAM offensive operation is not guaranteed; therefore,
leaders must determine where to establish the gateway into the BCS3 and remain current on the
maintenance posture of units.
Typically, Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below (FBCB2) will be the best ft for
monitoring the operation. It is widely spread across the brigade and is generally in many support
vehicles. The Movement Tracking System (MTS) is an additional option, as it also is felded to
many sustainment units, not only in the brigade but within echelon support units. Both systems
have the ability of free text, in-transit visibility, and establishing sustainment graphics of
maintenance and recovery assets.
Another consideration is how to conduct a maintenance meeting over some method widely
available in the brigade, such as the FM administrative and logistics (A&L) network. As noted
before, based on the phase of an operation, units will be on the move or stationary. Finding
a common system that can be accessed during both postures is essential until units reach a
transition point that will allow movement back to advanced communications platforms. The
charts below (Figures 17-7 and 17-8) are intended to provide some considerations on what to
cover during a maintenance meeting using advanced systems and abbreviated versions using FM
updates or free text.
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Figures 17-7
Figure 17-8
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It is vital that the A&L network receive the retrans support necessary to support communications
across the brigade AO for sustainment planners to cross-talk with staff counterparts for logistical
success. Once the PACE plan is determined, planners and leaders must defne roles and
responsibilities, set standards for using each method, and, most importantly, exercise the PACE
plan and practice using it prior to deployments and major operations.
Other Areas to Consider in the Planning Process
It is possible to increase the fexibility within the FSC and BSB by cross-training similar
mechanics to perform some of the maintenance requirements that were identifed as shortfalls.
If you take the same chart depicted earlier in the article and add in our H series mechanics
(tracked vehicle repairmen), you can see that the ability to support the operation improves in
the rear trains, and leaders now have more fexibility to support echeloned trains. While two-
level maintenance has eliminated much of the redundancy of the old four-level system, some
fexibility is still required in current formations to support the various types of operations that
are conducted in the BCT. The H series MOS routinely performed what was then known as
3rd Shop direct-support tasks on tanks, infantry fghting vehicles, and self-propelled artillery
prior to modularity and Force XXI concepts. With all the advancements in the technology of
combat platforms, many of the internal components are self-testing and can easily be isolated
with the maintenance support device laptops. With coordination and assistance from mobile
training teams or new equipment felding facilities and a bit of on the job experience prior to unit
deployments, maintainers can signifcantly enhance capability.
Figure 17-9
Summar y
Leaders must adapt and assess ways of accomplishing the mission in the most effcient manner
possible. The planning process is the frst step to accomplishing that task for any mission.
Leaders must take the time to conduct the analysis and make recommendations to commanders
on the best approach given the conditions. Although this article focused on maintenance, similar
steps must be taken to plan for the numerous other functions of sustainment. By doing so, orders
will have the details to enable success in the DATE at the NTC and abroad.
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Throughout the planning process, the details surrounding each mechanic and maintenance
asset should not go unnoticed. Command and support relationships have to be aligned with the
mission and allow the BSB the fexibility to do the job designed by U.S. Army force developers.
Communications have to be established on both sides of the tactical network, and creative
thinking has to occur to ensure data and requirements are captured from units on the move.
Overall, the plan must be designed around the principles of sustainment to ensure the support
provided is agile, responsive, anticipatory, and integrated into the maneuver scheme for the
offensive operation.
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Tr aining Memor ial Ceremonies: A How-To Guide
Chaplain (Major ) Bar ton Her ndon
In March 2012, the 3d Brigade Combat Team (BCT) of the 3d Infantry Division conducted
the frst decisive action training environment (DATE) rotation at the National Training Center
(NTC). Within the scenario, the BCT executed a wide variety of missions while wrestling
with an expanded problem-set that included civilian displacement, civil unrest, integration of
host nation security forces, active insurgent threats, and a wide array of inform-and-infuence
activities. While the brigade found success meeting these challenges head on, they also took
casualties within the context of the scenario.
Combat deaths are an unfortunate reality of war. And while the U.S. Army has gone to great
lengths to inculcate a culture of risk management into its operations, no amount of management
or preparation will eliminate what Clausewitz rightfully labeled the frst-born son of war
the desire of our enemy to annihilate our forces.
Units must confront this stark reality with
preparation and rehearsal. This need is uniquely imperative at the battalion level and below,
where the daily requirements of sustaining combat operations offer little time for dealing with
the acute grief process that naturally accompanies loss of life. Leaders must take measures to
ensure that this natural acute grief does not metastasize into a more traumatic grief that impairs
their units ability to sustain the fght.
A key means of ensuring this is to plan for and rehearse the conduct of memorial ceremonies. Yet
all too often, these simple yet critical ceremonies are left unplanned and unrehearsed. Even more
critically, units rotating through the NTC or other combat training centers (CTCs) fail to utilize
the opportunity to incorporate the execution of these ceremonies as part of their training process.
This article proposes that step and offers a how-to checklist for executing memorial ceremonies
that, if adopted, could prove the difference in preventing Soldiers grief from becoming chronic.
The Cost of Grief:
In 2003, my combat unit experienced the power of grief frsthand, when a well-liked member
of the unit was killed during an attack on one of our convoys. To this day, I can vividly recall
the physician assistant screaming instructions to the medic for over an hour as they labored
unsuccessfully to save the Soldiers life. The loss impacted every member of the patrol and
quickly spread throughout the battalion upon our return to base. Our battalion commander
blamed himself for the Soldiers death and closeted away for a few days before he could
overcome his grief and feelings of guilt.
Identifying the need to provide a means for achieving closure with the death of our fallen
comrade, we hastily planned and executed a memorial ceremony. We had no standing
operating procedure (SOP). Moreover, we had failed to plan for the little but necessary
things that would allow us to ensure our ceremony was executed with an appropriate level of
decorum and solemnity. We were forced to borrow a sound system from a nearby National
Guard unit as well as the appropriate fags from our brigade headquarters. We created a
makeshift memorial stand with sandbags, M16 with bayonet, desert combat uniform, dog
tags, and Army boots. We worked up to the last minute gathering all of these needed items.

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During the ceremony, the fallen Soldiers company commander spoke about the value of the
Soldier and the cost of his loss to the unit. I prayed, and then we conducted a fnal roll call
and fring of volleys followed by Soldiers rendering fnal tribute. As we expressed our last
good-byes, we embraced one another and talked of ways the fallen Soldier would want us to
continue to remain strong until we completed our duty. We found enough closure and healing
from this 30-minute ceremony to help us move on and successfully complete another nine
months of combat.
Chaplain (Major) Barton Herndon

Planning the Memor ial Ceremony
In the above example, hindsight demonstrates that the lack of preparation forced the unit to
plan the memorial ceremony during a time when leaders were emotionally distraught. No one
anticipated the details necessary for the ceremonys proper conduct nor the impact of the failure
to plan or rehearse its execution in advance. The result was stress layered upon stress, and the
ceremony, while acceptable, could have vastly been improved through proper preparation and
To avoid repetition of that stressful experience, battalion staffs must plan for and rehearse
memorial ceremonies prior to deployment. This is best done through command approval of a
codifed process in the form of an SOP that specifcally identifes:
Roles and responsibilities.
Necessary equipment.
A script for narrative.
In delineating roles and responsibilities, the commander remains the driving force behind
adopting and rehearsing the plan.
The below chart (Figure 18-1) demonstrates an example checklist for establishing basic roles
and responsibilities for the ceremony, along with the necessary equipment and a proposed shell
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Figure 18-1
Additionally, the following script is offered as a base example that units can build upon to
complete their memorial ceremony SOP:
Prelude: Patriotic recorded music is playing 10 minutes prior to the beginning of the
ceremony. Immediately upon the ushers seating the command group, the narrator will
announce, The ceremony will begin in one minute. Please silence your cell phones and
electronic devices.
Ser vice is about to begin WARNO: The narrator will notify the attendees that the event
is about to begin fve minutes before the ceremony, two minutes before the ceremony, and
just before the ceremony begins.
Welcome: Guests may be thanked for attending, but distinguished visitors are not
individually recognized. Focus should be on the Soldier being honored. For example, the
narrator may start the ceremony in the following way: Good morning/afternoon/evening
and welcome to todays ceremony to honor our fallen comrade, _________________.
Please stand for the National Anthem and remain standing for the invocation given by
Chaplain ______________, the ______________Chaplain.
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National Anthem: ALL STAND. A recording of the National Anthem will be played if a
band is not available. The commander must ensure that if an individual sings the National
Anthem, the Soldier sings the anthem with dignity and is not affected by emotion.
Invocation: ALL STAND. The chaplain gives the invocation following the National
Anthem and then seats the attendees. An example of an invocation: Let us pray. Lord
God, sometimes we dont know what to say and we just turn to you. That is the case
today. We turn to you our strength during this time that we mourn the death
of____________. You are the giver of life and the one who is the source of eternal life.
You also understand death. So we trust you today for our comfort. Give us peace. Dry our
tears. Soothe our pain. Comfort us in our loss, deepen our trust in you, and strengthen our
resolve to live for you. In your name I pray. Amen.
Battalion/Squadron Commander s Remar ks: The commanders remarks should
not extend beyond 10 minutes to allow ceremony completion within the normal
30-minute time frame. The commanders tribute should provide healing and renewal
for his Soldiers. Moreover, the commanders remarks should help restore or replenish
the personal faith of unit members in themselves, their comrades, and their leadership.
(Training Circular [TC] 16-2, Religious Support to Casualties, Memorial and Funeral
Services, p. 2-8)
Company/Troop/Batter y Commander s Eulogy: The recommended time for the
eulogy is no more than four minutes in length. Also, the eulogy is more than a recital
of the Soldiers biographical sketch. However, commanders should include personal
information of the deceased along with offcial data from the service record.
Soldier Tr ibute: The speakers (no more than two) should be close associates or friends
of the deceased. Their comments (no more than three minutes each) provide those
assembled with a better understanding of the Soldiers life through personal stories and
Chaplain Meditation: The Chaplain meditation should not exceed eight minutes. The
chaplains meditation should focus on the goal of helping Soldiers heal and fnding hope
(TC 16-2, p. 2-8). A general outline for a chaplains meditation should include personal
experience or understanding about the fallen hero, a description of the feelings of grief
many Soldiers are trying to understand, and fnally give Soldiers hope to move on in a
positive way.
Silent Tr ibute: The chaplain or narrator will instruct the assembled group to stand for
the silent tribute and remain standing for the Last Roll Call, Firing of Volleys, and Taps.
(The frst sergeant will move to the front of the chapel/auditorium and face the standing
attendees during the Silent Tribute. The frst sergeant will proceed with the Last Roll Call
immediately following the Silent Tribute.)
Last Roll Call: The company frst sergeant conducts the Final Roll Call. The frst
sergeant should not rush through the roll call. The frst sergeant should pause before
calling out the names of Soldiers.
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Fir ing of Volleys: The fring party will position at a distance away from attendees.
The honor noncommissioned offcer gives commands to the fring party. Additional
clarifcation on what the frst sergeant does during Last Roll Call Format: When the frst
sergeant hears the fnal Soldier in the roll call say, First Sergeant, Private First Class Doe
is no longer with us, the command is given for the fring of volleys, while at the same
time the frst sergeant turns to face the memorial stand. Then, the frst sergeant stately
walks up to the display and slowly hangs the identifcation tags upon the pistol grip
during the Firing of Volleys. Once the Firing of Volleys is complete, the bugler begins
sounding Echo Taps, and the frst sergeant releases his grip on the identifcation tags and
slowly renders his salute as Taps begins playing.
Sounding of Taps: Once the fring of volleys is complete, the bugler begins sounding
Echo Taps, and the frst sergeant releases his grip on the identifcation tags and slowly
renders his salute as Taps begins playing. The frst sergeant will hold his salute in front of
the memorial stand until Echo Taps is complete. Once Taps is complete, the frst sergeant
will order arms and move off to the left to await Final Salute with his company/troop/
battery commander. Immediately following Echo Taps, the narrator will announce the
following: Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes our ceremony. Please be seated until
program participants and the offcial party have rendered Final Tribute and exited. When
released by the ushers, you may either come forward to render tribute or exit the area.
Final Tr ibute: (Salute facing the Soldiers display). A bagpipes rendition of Amazing
Grace (continuous loop over sound system) will begin as program participants move
forward for the Final Tribute. Those rendering Final Tribute will utilize natural
movements instead of facing movements (left face, about face, etc.).
The Cr itical Need to Rehear se
While creation and approval of the unit memorial ceremony SOP is the frst step in ensuring
proper execution, it is the second step the rehearsal that ultimately allows units to turn
their memorial ceremony SOP into the zero-defect event that is required. Key to achieving this
is the inclusion of memorial ceremony rehearsals into standard unit training events. While not
necessary for every training event, high-profle battalion and brigade feld training exercises are
appropriate for earmarking time toward executing these events.
Rotations to the CTCs in particular provide tremendous opportunity, given that the scope, time,
and resources are available, to enable the execution at echelon of memorial ceremonies that
will stress unit plans toward these ends. Yet at the NTC, rotations over the past 12 months have
habitually ignored the opportunity to exercise memorial ceremonies. Units fail to capitalize on
the realistic replication of battlefeld conditions available. While they are forced to deal with the
loss of Soldiers through the use of the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System, the typical
unit stops short of building upon anything more than the necessary administrative processes that
allow for regeneration of its combat strength.
The 12-05 DATE rotation offered a powerful example of the need to reassess this unrealized
opportunity for training. While a mission rehearsal exercise rotation typically results in the
loss of one or two Soldiers at a time from an insurgent improvised explosive device or rocket
attack, in the DATE scenario a company mechanized attack resulted in casualties in much
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greater numbers. These facts reinforced the need for units to plan for the conduct of memorial
ceremonies during CTC training events if only to determine how the unit would emotionally
deal with the grief of losing an entire squad or platoon during one incident.
At what point, if any, does a brigade become involved in holding such a ceremony? And how
does a unit balance the need for enabling Soldiers to deal with the grief of loss while maintaining
operational tempo? While there are no readily available answers to these questions, the primary
negative is that they are currently not being explored at all.
Grief is a powerful human emotion. It is also a natural emotion that Soldiers must be allowed to
express in a timely manner when confronted by the loss of a comrade in arms. Unit leaders must
practice the memorial ceremonies that enable this process in advance, and the realistic training
environment of the CTCs offers unmatched opportunity to capitalize on that challenge. Memorial
ceremonies provide healing that has proved to help Soldiers cope and continue their missions.
They deserve the same level of planning and preparation that go into every other event.
1. Clausewitz, On War, p. 113.
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Under standing Reception, Staging, Onwar d Movement, and Integr ation for
Success at the National Tr aining Center and Beyond
MAJ Rober t M. Summer s
As the U.S. military transitions from a forward deployed force to a CONUS-based, power-
projection force, a shift in the logistical characteristics of todays Army has evolved.
Center for Army Lessons Learned Newsletter 97-7, Reception, Staging, Onward Movement,
and Integration (RSOI), February 1997
This article is for commanders and staffs at the brigade combat team (BCT) and below who
are preparing their formations for a deployment. It provides a summary of current U.S.
Army doctrine regarding the RSOI process and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) for
conducting RSOI at the National Training Center (NTC). This document should serve as a
handbook for staffs charged with planning or executing RSOI-related tasks.
U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Pamphlet 525-3-1, The Army Operating Concept
2016-2028, states that as part of the joint force, the Army conducts opposed or unopposed entry
operations. Unopposed entry takes place when the host nation permits entry and there is no
immediate threat. Army forces conduct RSOI to build combat power and prepare for follow-on
operations only during unopposed entry. Typically, Army forces use developed air and sea ports
of debarkation (POD), but the use of austere or unimproved entry points may be required. Army
forces may conduct RSOI at an intermediate staging base (ISB) and arrive in theater confgured
for immediate operations. In the future, Army forces may require the capability to deploy with a
fght-off-the-ramp confguration, which requires minimal RSOI prior to employment.
Bottom line up front:
RSOI is not logistics. It is an operation with signifcant logistical implications. The
operations process should be used to develop an order with instructions and tasks to
subordinate units that are suffcient to execute successfully.
Commanders must provide clear guidance on standards for readiness based on required
capabilities, rather than simple tallies of vehicles and weapon systems on hand. This is
essential to facilitate planning and the allocation of resources by the staff.
Staffs must take the commanders guidance and publish criteria/metrics for readiness
and establish reporting requirements to track combat power in terms of unit and/or
warfghting function capability. The BCT staff must establish priorities and allocate
resources to support the commanders intent.
Commanders critical information requirements (CCIR) are very important. There
will be CCIR specifc to RSOI. BCTs must have a process for meticulously tracking
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the generation of combat power to enable commanders to make decisions on asset
allocation. Position the right personnel with the right reporting instructions and
communications where they can observe the process. See Yourself.
The BCT communications exercise (COMMEX) and mission command validation
exercise (MCVE) during RSOI are critical. The capabilities of the mission command
have increased signifcantly in recent years. As a result, units must pay a higher
price in terms of individual training and leader involvement to be successful. The
COMMEX and MCVE are not a signal offcers tasks; they are operations with heavy
signal implications.
The role of noncommissioned offcers (NCOs) in RSOI, as with every operation, is
crucial. Senior NCOs must be fully integrated into the planning, preparation, and
execution of RSOI missions.
The Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES) gunnery plan and training
program is critical for success at a combat training center (CTC). The BCT must be
able to boresight to standard, zero the weapon to standard, and achieve kill codes out to
the maximum effective range of the weapon system.
Chapter 1. Over view of U.S. Ar my Doctr ine Regar ding the RSOI Process
Field Manual (FM) 3-35, Army Deployment and Redeployment, is the U.S. Armys authoritative
doctrine for planning, organizing, executing, and supporting deployment and redeployment.
The RSOI process is a critical step in the deployment of U.S. Army and joint forces. This
chapter provides a summary of material from FM 3-35 that, although it may not be BCT-specifc
information, it directly relates to BCTs preparing for a deployment.
Pur pose
Force projection is the military element of national power that systemically and rapidly moves
military forces in response to requirements of operations. Force projection encompasses a range
of processes, including mobilization, deployment, employment, sustainment, and redeployment.
These processes have overlapping timelines that are repeated continuously throughout
an operation. Each force projection activity infuences the other. RSOI is a component of
Deployment is composed of activities required to prepare and move forces, supplies, and
equipment to a theater. This involves the force as it task-organizes tailors itself for movement
based on the mission, concept of operations, available lift, and other resources. One of the U.S.
Armys deployment goals as articulated in FM 3-35 is to deploy and employ a BCT capability in
four to seven days.
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Deployment Pr inciples
Four principles apply to the broad range of activities encompassing deployment: precision,
synchronization, knowledge, and speed.
Precision applies to every activity and piece of data. Its effect is far reaching, and the payoff
is speed. For example, precise unit deployment lists (UDLs) ensure that correct lift assets
are assigned against the requirement. Precision includes accurate weights, dimensions, and
quantities. This degree of precision eases loading requirements and improves departure speed
and safety. Precision allows units to meet the combatant commanders (CCDRs) timeline and
supports the concept of employment.
Synchronization. Deployment activities must be synchronized to successfully close the
force. Effective synchronization of scarce lift assets and other resources maximizes their use.
Synchronization normally requires explicit coordination among the deploying units and staffs,
supporting units and staffs, a variety of civilian agencies, and other military services. Realistic
exercises and demanding training are paramount to successful synchronization.
Knowledge. One of the more critical pieces at this stage of deployment is the knowledge
upon which decisions are made. There is a short period of time during which the deploying
commander must make crucial decisions on employment. These decisions set the tone for the
remainder of the deployment. Many decisions are very hard to change and have signifcant
adverse impacts if changed; others are irrevocable.
Speed is more than a miles-per-hour metric. The proper focus is on the velocity of the entire
force projection process, from planning to force closure. Critical elements of speed associated
with force projection include agile (state-of-the-art) ports, submission of accurate information,
safe and effcient loading, trained unit movement personnel at all levels, timely arrival of
throughput enablers, maintaining unit integrity, delivering capability rather than entire units, and
force tracking information.
Deployment Phases
The joint deployment process is divided into four phases: deployment planning, predeployment
activities, movement, and JRSOI. The terminology used to describe the Army deployment phases
is in synch with the joint process. The joint process includes a planning phase at the outset,
whereas the Army considers planning to be integrated through all the phases.
Figure 19-1. The Ar my deployment process
RSOI Pur pose and Process
An expeditionary Army depends on its ability to project combat power where needed. The
process of RSOI is designed to rapidly combine and integrate arriving elements of personnel,
equipment, and materiel into combat power that can be employed by the CCDR.
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The purpose of RSOI is to build the combat power necessary to support the CCDRs concept
of operation. Force closure is the point which the CCDR determines that an adequate combat-
ready force is available. Force closure requires well-defned criteria by which unit commanders
can measure their readiness. Assessment of combat power begins with established standards
for readiness and is based on unit capability, rather than tallies of vehicles and weapon systems
on hand. Readiness and reporting are inherently operational matters, normally handled through
operations channels.
Segments of RSOI: Reception, Staging, Onwar d Movement, and Integr ation
Reception Unloading personnel and equipment from strategic transport assets;
managing port marshalling areas; transporting personnel, equipment, and materiel to
staging areas; and providing logistics support services to units transiting the PODs.
Staging Organizing personnel, equipment, and basic loads into movement units;
preparing the units for onward movement; and providing logistics support for units
transiting the staging area.
Onwar d movement Moving units from reception facilities and staging areas to
the tactical assembly areas (TAAs) or other theater destinations, moving non-unit
personnel to gaining commands, and moving sustainment supplies to distribution sites.
Integr ation The synchronized transfer of capabilities into an operational
commanders force prior to mission execution.
RSOI Pr inciples
There are four principles of RSOI operations that guide planning and execution. The four
principles are: unity of command, synchronization, unit integrity, and balance.
Unity of command One commander should control and operate the RSOI process
adjusting resources based upon deployment fows, controlling movements in the area of
operations (AO), and providing life support to arriving personnel.
Synchronization Synchronization occurs when the right units, equipment,
supplies, and capabilities arrive in the correct order at the appropriate locations, and
supporting activities are coordinated to operate with one another to ensure the tempo of
deployment is uninterrupted.
Unit integr ity Moving unit personnel and equipment on the same strategic lift
platform provides distinct advantages for units and the force closure process. It
leverages the strength of the chain of command, simplifes force tracking, and increases
training opportunities. While it is impossible to put an entire armored battalion on
one airplane, the increased sealift of the Military Sealift Commands large, medium-
speed, roll-on/roll-off ship (LMSR) allows movement of all the battalion equipment
on a single ship. Maintaining unit integrity during strategic lift can simplify the RSOI
challenge of incrementally building combat power.
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Balance Defning the size of the required support structure required is essential
to effectiveness. The goal is to avoid burdening strategic lift, infrastructure, and the
commander with more support than is necessary, yet deploy minimum assets necessary
to optimize throughput of units and materiel. Supporting assets must be deployed in a
properly timed sequence to leverage their capabilities and may be increased to reduce
vulnerability of the overall force. Increasing the RSOI capability to clear backlogs in
ports and staging areas can be a tool to reduce force vulnerability.
Secur ity
All military operations have an element of risk. To build combat power at an acceptable rate,
the RSOI process must be protected from enemy threats. The arriving force is most vulnerable
when it is closing on the POD and undergoing reception, staging, and onward movement. It is the
responsibility of the CCDR to protect the arriving force, and his staff must coordinate with the
inbound unit to mitigate any risk.
RSOI Infr astr ucture
RSOI operations are the responsibility of the CCDR and his designated mission command
headquarters, normally a theater sustainment command. Deploying forces have a responsibility
for their own security, organization, and movement through the RSOI process to the extent
The complex RSOI system is usually composed of several elements, each contributing to the
In-place command and control forces.
Advanced echelon of the deploying units.
Deploying forces.
Host nation and multinational support elements.
Contractor support.
Army prepositioned stocks.
RSOI Execution
RSOI effectiveness is dependent upon proper time-phased force and deployment data (TPFDD)
development. For example, the CCDR places rapid port clearance capabilities early in the
TPFDD and coordinates personnel and equipment fows on the TPFDD so they can be united
without delay at ports or staging areas. Decisions on force mix and sequence are critical, because
adjustments after deployments begin become diffcult to implement.
Communication is necessary at all levels and across all modes and nodes. The communication
system must link the CCDR, the supporting combatant commands, the deploying units, the
RSOI providers, and the tactical commanders who will integrate the deploying force into their
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The commanders planning and operational dilemma is balancing the need for early deployment
of combat forces against the requirement to deploy tailored logistical units that maximize
throughput of sustainable combat forces. To resolve this dilemma, the commander must have
the ability to see, understand, and balance the fow. The CCDR defnes force requirements in
terms of size, location, and time, while the TPFDD defnes the force fow needed to meet these
requirements. Knowledge of the RSOI infrastructure present in the theater, coupled with assets
arriving via the TPFDD, is critical to understanding the fow.
The relationship between throughput volume and RSOI infrastructure is important to
commanders trying to optimize force closure capacity. Accelerating the arrival of combat forces
in the TAA requires an increased deployment of RSOI forces. Deploying additional RSOI forces
costs space on strategic lift and requires additional positions in the TPFDD.
Coor dination
The Army operates in diverse environments and conducts a variety of operations as part of joint,
multinational, or interagency teams. This fact increases the diffculty of RSOI and reaffrms the
need for established procedures, mutually understood relationships, and robust liaison. Army
commanders need to understand how best to integrate their forces into the various organizations
under which they will operate.
Joint. Joint integration of planning and execution is key to successful RSOI. This, however,
does not occur automatically; it requires trained staffs, pre-established procedures, and ongoing
coordination. Even though logistics is a service responsibility, the CCDR may direct that a
particular service perform certain common user logistics functions based on the dominant-user
or most-capable-service concept. For example, the Army may be designated the lead service
responsible to provide all common user logistics transportation and movement control for RSOI
within the operational area. In this case, the Army service component commander must be
familiar with the total transportation and movement control requirements of the other services to
permit optimum resource allocation necessary to address their needs.
Multinational. Major differences in logistics doctrine, mobility, resources, interoperability, and
language create problems in coordinating the use of highways, rail lines, seaports, and airfelds,
as well as providing support and services for multinational RSOI operations. Considerable
planning is required to integrate multinational forces requirements for ship berthing and
unloading facilities, port staging space, transportation, and labor, which are critical elements of
It is imperative to establish clear responsibilities and identify support roles early in the planning
process. Whenever possible, multinational organizations should be formed to coordinate RSOI
operations. This should allow multinational members to use common items and to set up
commonly understood control measures.
Plans and operations for multinational RSOI should be as simple as possible, using common
terms and procedures and clear and concise language. Where possible, coalition commanders
may combine staffs of two or more nations to better coordinate RSOI capabilities; facilitate
exchange of vital information; and reduce friction, congestion, and duplication associated with
multiple users of limited assets.
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Host nation suppor t. Host nation support is civil and military assistance rendered by a nation to
foreign forces within its territory during peacetime, crises or emergencies, or war. This assistance
is normally outlined in host nation support agreements mutually concluded between nations.
In many cases, U.S. forces must rely on host nation support to supplement or provide services,
supplies, and facilities. This is especially signifcant when the CCDR tries to minimize the
support forces early in the deployment.
It is benefcial to establish host nation agreements beforehand, when possible. Where no
agreements are in place, the CCDRs staff and RSOI manager should understand the RSOI
capabilities or resources of prospective host nations and the contractual procedures necessary
to obtain them. It is also important that the host nation understand overall U.S. requirements.
Moreover, as early as possible, representatives, with interpreters and translators, must be sent to
negotiate the acquisition of host nation services.
Host nation support, by providing a variety of services and facilities, relieves U.S. forces from
the task of establishing and maintaining equivalent capabilities, thereby reducing the U.S.
logistical footprint and RSOI overhead. Additional lift becomes available for transport of
combat forces, expediting force closure. Services and facilities that might be considered for host
nation support are as follows:
Logistics support.
Medical facilities.
Construction and engineering.
Police and paramilitary organizations.
Transportation assets and infrastructure.
Labor force.
Emergency services.
Fuel and power facilities.
Communications facilities.
Inter agency. In the course of joint and multinational operations, the Army operates alongside
U.S. and non-U.S. government agencies and nongovernmental agencies. In most cases, these
organizations and agencies will compete for space at ports, airfelds, and facilities being used for
military operations. They will also travel over the same lines of communication (LOCs) and may
require a variety of support from the military.
To promote unity of effort and assess the impact of these agencies and organizations on the RSOI
effort, the JFC can establish a civil-military operations center. In addition, it may be necessary
to develop formal agreements between the military and civilian organizations to improve
coordination and effectiveness.
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Liaison. Liaison with forces of each service, nation, and higher and adjacent headquarters is a
prerequisite for effective RSOI and timely transfer of critical information. Whenever possible,
liaison personnel should be familiar with operational organizations, doctrine, and procedures of
the force with which they will work. For multinational operations, they should either speak the
language of the force they are with or use qualifed interpreters.
Mission Command
RSOI operations will have one commander. The CCDR may designate a subordinate commander
to execute RSOI, but the individual reports to him. The commanders of the theater sustainment
command, expeditionary sustainment command, or a sustainment brigade are potential
candidates for the role. All organizations engaged in RSOI, whether units arriving or those
operating the arrival nodes, report to the designated commander. There are obvious advantages
of designating one organization as the mission command element for RSOI. It avoids duplication
of effort and competition for critical facilities. It optimizes use of valuable strategic lift and
allows integrated reporting of activities related to the buildup of combat forces. Although the
specifc responsible organization may change from one phase to another or between different
contingencies, the principle of unity of command must be maintained.
RSOI: Descr iption of Each Segment
As the initial step in introducing combat power, reception can determine success or failure of the
RSOI operation.
The intelligence preparation of the operational environment and analysis of theater reception
capability provide an understanding of how competition for reception at airfelds and seaports
could affect the force fow.
Reception functions. Synchronizing transportation reception activities are critical to facilitating
throughput at the ports of debarkation. They include mission command, movement control, and
port operations (port selection, aerial port of debarkation [APOD], and sea port of debarkation
Staging is that part of the RSOI operation that reassembles and reunites unit personnel with their
equipment and schedules unit movement to the TAA, secures or uploads unit basic loads, and
provides life support to personnel. These activities occur at multiple sites in controlled areas
called intermediate staging bases (ISBs) that are required because space limitations normally
preclude reassembly of combat units at seaports of debarkation. In general, there will be at least
one ISB for each SPOD/APOD pairing.
An ISB is a secure staging base established near but not in the AO. ISBs are temporary staging
areas en route to an operation and also may be used to sustain forces in the AO. ISB tasks and
capabilities are contingent on the operational situation and are located where they can best
support the force.
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Figure 19-2. Theater with multiple por ts and ISBs
ISB functions:
Communications: Reliable, secure, and compatible communications are essential to
operations in the theater staging base. The CCDR must know when forces are combat-
capable and prepared for onward movement in order to give him the capability to
control and employ these forces at the decisive point and time.
Life suppor t: Regardless of time actually spent in the ISB, troops staging through it
will require support, including housing, sustenance, sanitation, and health care. RSOI
planners must ensure that the force provider units are sequenced early in the TPFDD
to be in place and functioning by the time the frst units arrive. Even if this requires
displacement of some combat capability, it pays dividends later in the operation in the
form of higher throughput, faster buildup of combat power, and earlier force closure.
Arming, fueling, and fxing: Equipment arriving at the ISB may require maintenance
before it becomes combat ready. This includes calibration of equipment, boresighting
of weapons, replacement of parts damaged in transit, painting, and refueling. The ISB
should provide adequate facilities to support these activities, including marshalling
areas, maintenance shelters, fuel and ammunitions storage, a test-driving loop, and
range areas.
Prepar ation of units for onwar d movement: In addition to preparing equipment,
units at the ISB undergo training and reorganization. Communications networks are
established, vehicle loads are reconfgured, and radio frequency identifcation (RFID)
tags are updated so that tracking systems allow senior commanders to monitor the
buildup of combat power. Commanders must participate in planning the onward
movement, including route planning, unit tracking, and movement control.
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Secur ity: ISBs are high-value targets. Their destruction or damage results in
serious delays in force closure and disruption of the CCDRs concept of operations.
Maintaining the fow of forces through the ISB can be the best means of reducing its
vulnerability to attack.
Force closure:
In order to meet the force closure requirements, the time that units spend in the ISB must be
minimized. Staging should not be a lengthy process, but ineffciencies can cause delays; for
example, personnel arriving before their equipment, equipment arriving before its personnel,
frustrated cargo, and gaps in matching troops with proper equipment. In fact, a battalion-size unit
should strive to spend no more than two days in the ISB.
Under normal circumstances, troops deploy by air, while equipment deploys by sea and/or
rail. The speed differential between air and sea surface transportation is the fundamental cause
of complexity and potential diffculties in the staging process. Troops and equipment must be
sequenced in the TPFDD so that both arrive (nearly) simultaneously, expeditiously unite, and
ready themselves for onward movement.
Onwar d Movement
Personnel and equipment reassembled as combat-ready units must be moved to the TAA based
on the CCDRs priorities. Onward movement is a joint/multinational effort using capabilities
and organizational structures of other services, allies, the host nation, and other governmental
entities. It is an iterative activity in which units advance from one LOC node to another. Onward
movement occurs when units move from ports to theater staging bases or forward to the TAA.
Three primary factors affecting onward movement are movement control, transportation
infrastructure, and security.
Movement control Movement control is defned as planning, routing, scheduling,
and control of forces and sustainment over LOCs while maintaining in-transit visibility
and force tracking. This is not a passive activity. Successful movement control
requires continual analysis of requirements, capabilities, shortfalls, alternatives,
and enhancements. Bottlenecks within the theater must be identifed and potential
interruptions to the fow minimized. Effcient movement control enables the
commander to redirect forces and rapidly overcome disruptions in the LOC.
Tr anspor tation infr astr ucture The transportation infrastructure routes, control
factors, host nation support, and specialized handling requirements must be coordinated
to maximize speed of movement. Capabilities of the transportation network must be
balanced against movement requirements so that modes and routes are neither saturated
nor underused.
Secur ity The onward movement phase can provide the enemy with numerous
opportunities to infict serious losses and delay the buildup of combat power by
exploiting vulnerability of units in transit from the ISB to the TAA. Security consists of
those actions taken by the unit to protect it against all acts designed to or may impair its
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Integr ation
During integration, combat-ready units are transferred to the operational commander and merged
into the tactical plan. The transfer may require interaction and familiarization among units and
that arriving units meet certain standards before being completely integrated into the combat
plan. Consequently, requirements for integration planning and coordination must occur early
in the force projection process and modifed according to mission, enemy, terrain and weather,
troops and support available, time available, and civil considerations (METT-TC) until force
closure is achieved.
Control measures, such as liaison offcers or movement control teams, can reduce confusion
between integrating units, RSOI forces, and receiving headquarters. These measures act as
guardians of the commanders intent and focus effort on force integration. These measures
should be established immediately as part of the planning process and be maintained throughout
the RSOI process.
FM 7-15, The Army Universal Task List, includes the participation in tactical RSOI as a
collective task to support a critical task. Below is an excerpt from FM 7-15 that provides a
common reference for terminology as well as an Army standard for measuring performance.
ART Par ticipate in tactical reception, staging, onwar d movement, and
integr ation activities
The process of reception, staging, onward movement, and integration is designed to rapidly
combine and integrate arriving elements of personnel, equipment, and materiel into combat
power. This task involves unit reception at the POD. It may include drawing equipment from
prepositioned stocks. This task begins when the frst strategic lift system of the main body arrives
at the POD. It ends when units are combat ready. (FM 3-35) (CASCOM)
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Figure 19-3. ART Par ticipate in tactical RSOI activities
Chapter 2. NTC RSOI Trends
The following are recent trends observed during the conduct of RSOI at the NTC.
General: Apply to all Warfghting Functions
Staffs usually lack accurate running estimates at the beginning of RSOI. As a result, units spend
too much time attempting to compile accurate numbers of personnel, trained personnel, and
equipment. Units often discover equipment was left at home station during this time.
Units often lack suffcient SOPs. Specifc issues are a lack of understanding duties and
responsibilities, no agenda for meetings, no knowledge or information management plan, and no
standard for the combat outpost or layout for the main command post.
BCTs and TFs often fail to ensure special equipment is issued prior to movement out of the
rotational unit bivouac area (RUBA); specifcally, Biometric Automated Toolset System (BATS)/
Handheld Interagency Identity Detection Equipment (HIIDE), Wolfhound, and Bearcat scanners.
Commonly, the BCT battle rhythm does not capture key synchronization and coordination
meetings for each respective warfghting function, which results in a lack of participation,
nesting, and compliance with subordinate units down to the company level.
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Mission Command
Commanders and staffs often lack emphasis and focus on establishing the information systems
and network components of the mission command system early during the RSOI process. Failing
to ensure information assurance (IA) compliance delays training and exposes the unit to risk.
Units are challenged to get all of their systems into operation and to validate their ability to
send, receive, and process relevant information during RSOI. This is further complicated when
mission command equipment is not tracked during the reception phase; units do not have shared
communications and mission command tracking tools; equipment or system operators are not
managed effectively during staging; and when predeployment PCCs and PCIs are not conducted,
equipment arrives at the NTC without all required basic issue items and authorized allowance
Staffs often fail to integrate new units, individuals, and capabilities into the organization during
RSOI. Frequently, augmenting units are not provided with SOPs. Conversely, both the BCT and
the augmented battalion never receive a capabilities brief. The result is ineffective integration of
combat power (i.e., aviation TF, engineers, civil affairs [CA] teams, military information support
operations [MISO] teams, provincial reconstruction teams [PRTs], etc.)
Command and support relationships are usually not defned during RSOI.
Rarely do units plan for foreign disclosure, intelligence summaries/reports are not releasable to
HNSF, and FDO/FDRs are not trained or available where needed.
Staffs routinely fail to publish a planning timeline during RSOI, and battle rhythms are not
managed effectively.
Staffs often are challenged with vertical and horizontal collaboration. The BCT headquarters fails
to receive LNOs from subordinate units early during the RSOI process, resulting in integration
issues that linger well into the training exercise. The BCTs LNOs to 52ID lack situational
understanding of the BCTs operations. The staff must select a sound leader and empower LNOs
with information and focused requirements in order to expect positive returns. Bringing HNSF
LNOs into the BCTs planning process early greatly improves results.
LNOs are often new lieutenants who do not understand staff functions and the MDMP, or they
are NCOs or offcers who will PCS or ETS shortly after the rotation. In both cases, LNOs will
rarely perform the duties they practice at the NTC during follow-on deployments.
Routinely LNOs are not resourced to execute duties.
BCTs often lack a knowledge management (KM) and information management (IM) plan. When
the KM plan fails to drive the IM plan, staffs struggle to manage to fow of data, information, and
knowledge. Many times the lack of IM/KM SOPs results in an ineffective method for reporting
Leaders and Soldiers often lack understanding of theater-specifc information, such as the rules
of engagement (ROE) and security agreements. When ROE cards are issued prior to RSOI and
the majority of ROE training takes place prior to deployment to the NTC, units have better
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BCT legal sections are often unprepared to administer foreign claims. Brigade legal sections
rarely conduct foreign claims commission training or seek appointment of unit claims offcers
prior to arrival at the NTC. During RSOI, TFs typically ignore unit claims offcer appointments.
Public affairs offcers generally provide thorough and detailed preparation for commanders prior
to conducting media interviews.
CA company commanders and MISO detachment commanders usually develop a good
relationship with BCT inform and infuence activities (IIA) and CA sections (S-7 and S-9)
during LTP and RSOI. This facilitates effective integration into the BCT staff and increases the
likelihood of effective employment.
Movement and Maneuver
Many units experience a backlog at MILES and counter radio-controlled improvised explosive
device electronic warfare (CREW) installation because they fail to understand the throughput
constraints and stay on schedule.
Many units fail to develop and publish a basis of issue plan (BOIP) for special equipment drawn
from the Army Center of Excellence (ACoE). This usually results in a lack of desired capabilities
in specifc formations.
Operations cells often fail to effectively manage individual training during RSOI, resulting in
the right Soldiers missing training related to their job. Units that identify desired capabilities
and then manage individual ACoE training down to the seat level and send the right Soldier
perform the best during the rotation.
Many units fail to understand the live-fre exercise requirements published in Annex W (RSOI)
to the 52ID base order, which results in time wasted identifying qualifcation data and writing
waivers. Units that show up with unqualifed Soldiers identifed and a plan to qualify them save
time. Also, units that identify live-fre waiver requirements before deploying focus more on
training and less on writing waivers.
BCTs that fail to maintain accountability of ammunition and provide control mechanisms
to specifcally keep live ammunition out of the RUBA often lose valuable time conducing
shakedown procedures and investigations.
Units that fail to use the tactical road march as a planning and mission command opportunity
often have more issues throughout the remainder of the training event. Units that plan for
the tactical road march at the last minute and fail to account for the threats will struggle with
accountability, situational awareness, and recovery operations.
Units often have incomplete or missing joint fres observer (JFO) packets. Failure to have
complete packets results in an inability to properly validate JFOs during the rotation.
Units often lack suffcient fres SOPs. Specifc issues are a lack of understanding duties and
responsibilities, no agenda for fres synchronization meetings, time lost to AFATDS confguration
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and Internet Protocol (IP) address deconfiction, and poorly structured fre support and technical
Units that fail to validate sensor-to-shooter communication links during RSOI struggle greatly
to do so after movement into the training area because the tyranny of distance exacerbates the
challenges of troubleshooting.
Units often fail to obtain, and then distribute, Fort Irwin imagery for PSS-SOF and PFEDs/
Units often fail to obtain, and then distribute, Global Positioning System (GPS) keys for
precision-guided munitions (PGMs). The GPS keys should be distributed to the feld artillery
battalion and maneuver TF S-6 sections. TF S-6 sections should maintain the keys so they are
prepared to support feld artillery units received under mission-specifc command and support
Intelligence leaders at echelon routinely fail to participate in the intelligence systems COMMEX
on Day 3 of RSOI. The result is that intelligence systems (DCGS-A, Trojan, Prophets) are never
fully tested and fail to operate properly upon movement out of the RUBA. Recommend that
BCT and TF S-2s and executive offcers ensure hands-on involvement with the intelligence
COMMEX. In addition, the military intelligence company (MICO) commander needs to be
actively engaged in this event to mitigate missing items, such as crypto keys, network servers,
and IP addresses.
The BCT intelligence warfghting function (IWfF) often fails to have an agenda for
synchronization meetings and IC rehearsals. In addition, the synch meeting and INTSUM
submission time is not on the brigade battle rhythm, and the TACSOP fails to address the PACE
plan for communicating and passing data from the company intelligence support team (COIST)
level all the way to the BCT S-2.
Many units fail to meet isolated personnel report (ISOPREP) standards. This is usually because
units have not identifed responsibility for supervising the process and enforcing the standard.
Frequently units fail to have a plan to verify/collect ISOPREP information for attachments.
Geospatial teams generally come to the NTC prepared and ready to support the BCT. However,
the BCT staff and battalions are usually late to provide them priorities of work or requests for
information (RFIs) for products. It is essential for units to collect digital mapping products
from the geospatial team prior to conducting onward movement. This will alleviate the need to
download large map products from the BCT server.
BCTs often fail to identify the need for and procure Class IV for building detainee holding areas
during RSOI. As a result, during the training event, units are forced to spend time and resources
addressing the issue in lieu of other priorities.
Frequently, BCTs have not identifed, trained, or equipped unit feld sanitation teams in
accordance with Army Regulation (AR) 40-5, Preventive Medicine; AR 350-1, Army Training
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and Leader Development; FM 4-02.17, Preventive Medicine Services; FM 4-25.12, Unit Field
Sanitation Team; and FM 21-10, Field Hygiene and Sanitation, nor have they prepared or trained
their Soldiers to live in austere environments, such as that found in a combat outpost or during
a decisive action training environment (DATE) rotation. As a result, Soldiers do not pack an
adequate personal hygiene kit, and sustainment planners do not plan for adequate water resupply
or storage for personal hygiene and the prevention of heat injury. In addition, BCTs are not
prepared to assist the host nation in stability operations in order to provide humanitarian aid or
assist with displaced civilians. These populations typically require assistance in feld sanitation
resources and training in their own temporary base camps.
Often the BCT S-1 shop is unable to provide timely and accurate personnel status (PERSTAT)
reports during RSOI. Units must capitalize on the close proximity of subordinate units during
RSOI to establish reporting procedures. The tyranny of distance exacerbates reporting problems
after deployment into the training area.
Frequently units experience delays in period of performance start dates. This is usually a result
of contracting offce representatives (CORs) not physically checking the sites of a contracted
service. CORs need to conduct daily inspections to ensure adherence to contract timelines and
quality of work.
Units often fail to attend RSOI Battle Command Sustainment Support System (BCS3) training to
ensure operators can perform basic logistics reporting tool tasks that facilitate the submission of
logistics statistics. Units that train primary and alternate operators as well as leaders (executive
offcers, S-4s, FSC personnel) generally have fewer problems with the system.
The BCT battle rhythm often lacks sustainment meetings during RSOI. Units need to start
logistics synchronization/sustainment targeting meetings by the frst day of RSOI. These
meetings need to be refected on the published battle rhythm and attended by the BCT and TF
executive offcers to maximize effectiveness.
It is commonplace that medical leaders lack or possess incomplete SOPs across the BCT. Often
duties and responsibilities are unclear, reporting standards and formats are not specifed, running
estimates are not maintained, the common operational picture (COP) does not have the location
and status of key medical assets, a system for ordering and distrusting Class VIII is not specifed.
Often BCT battle drills for MEDEVAC and CASEVAC and mass casualty situations (MASCAL)
are not developed or rehearsed.
Medical leaders are often unprepared to provide medical support due to the lack of personnel
to fll key positions and/or insuffcient training of personnel in key positions. Specifcally, the
brigade surgeon position is frequently not flled or it is flled just prior to deployment to the
NTC. Less than 17 percent of BCT medical offcers have attended the 70H Operations Course or
Army Medical Department (AMEDD) Captains Career Course (CCC). Less than 1 percent have
attended battle staff (the position carries a battle staff identifer by modifed table of organization
and equipment [MTOE]) or have had experience in BCT-level planning and operations. Less
than half of brigade support battalion (BSB) support operations medical offcers have flled the
70H Operations or 70K Medical Supply Offcer positions in the BSB SPO. Many of the brigade
support medical company commanders have not yet attended the AMEDD CCC.
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Training units frequently deploy without all of their MTOE MEDEVAC platforms, medical and
dental equipment sets, and communications equipment.
The majority of unit ministry teams have not completed a religious area analysis before RSOI.
This should be part of their running estimate and drives the plan for religious support.
Chapter 3. Tr aining RSOI at the NTC
RSOI at the NTC provides units an opportunity to train critical deployment and redeployment
skills. The RSOI training program is designed to beneft units conducting either a mission
readiness exercise (MRE) prior to deployment or a DATE rotation.
Initial planning and coordination for rotation begins with a video teleconference (VTC) between
the units senior trainer and the NTC leadership approximately 240 days prior to a units
deployment. Training guidance is the focus of the VTC. The NTC will publish WARNO 1 to
the training unit following the VTC. The next milestone is the staff-to-staff VTC conducted
approximately 210 days prior to deployment. The purpose of the VTC is to provide NTC
capabilities, identify support requirements, and review milestones.
At approximately 180 days prior to deployment, NTC personnel will visit the unit to conduct
a planning conference to continue the development of the mission letter (commanders intent,
concept of operations, and training objectives) and 1060R (rotational worksheet) as well as
provide NTC expertise and answer RFIs. Training units submit the mission letter to the NTC
150 days prior to deployment. The NTC deployment operation order (OPORD) will be issued to
the unit 120 days prior to deployment, followed by a PDSS visit approximately 90 days prior to
After the PDSS, 60 to 90 days prior to deployment, the senior trainer will participate in another
VTC to confrm scenario design and review outstanding actions. The completed deployment
OPORD is issued to the training unit 75 to 45 days prior to deployment and at least 15 days prior
to the unit executing the LTP. At 60 days prior to deployment, NTC personnel will again travel
to the unit to conduct a grid set conference to establish the equipment offered to the unit from the
NTC prepositioned feet and determine MILES requirements. After the grid set conference and
before the LTP, the BCT commander will conduct an RSOI backbrief to the commander of the
operations group.
Finally, the LTP will take place 60 to 30 days prior to deployment. The LTP provides the
deploying units staff the opportunity to conduct MDMP, resolve any remaining issues identifed
during the PDSS, and allow the BCT executive offcer to provide a logistics plan backbrief to the
916th Sustainment Brigade commander. Additionally, the BCT will receive scenario briefs, and
the BCT staff will conduct counterpart meetings with operations group BCT staff OC/Ts.
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Figure 19-4. The NTC planning model
What to do before you deploy
Following the LTP and prior to deployment, the BCT staff needs to address the following issues
in order to have a successful RSOI:
Order maps.
Develop and publish BCT graphic control measures (GCMs).
Develop digital products prior to arrival at the NTC.
Develop a tactical road march plan or SOP.
Develop a TAA occupation plan.
Develop a plan for a BCT COMMEX.
Develop a BOIP for special equipment drawn at the NTC.
Develop a plan for individual ACoE training.
Understand live-fre exercise requirements.
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Publish and distribute SOPs.
Or der maps
Companies and battalions can order National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) standard
Fort Irwin military installation map sheets via the supply systems using the national stock
numbers (NSNs) below or coordinate with the local integrated training area management (ITAM)
offce to produce special maps and imagery products. BCTs need to effectively employ their
organic geospatial team, which is part of their engineer staff and is responsible for providing
timely digital terrain products and integrated terrain analysis. The terrain team also enables the
BCT to obtain other geospatial products through reach-back capabilities (FM 3-90.6, Brigade
Combat Team).
1:50,000 Military Installation Map (2010)
1:50,000 Military Installation Map (1996)
The NTC G-3 ITAM offce is not responsible for providing rotational units with map supply
needs but will provide a limited number of maps upon request. The cost of the maps will be
reimbursed from the rotational units MIPR. The ITAM offce will provide data layers and digital
imagery to units upon request. The NTC G-3 ITAM offce can be contacted at:
Bldg 6109 Southloop Rd.
Fort Irwin, CA 92310
(760) 380-3169
Develop and publish BCT GCMs
The BCT movement and maneuver cell must develop and publish GCMs for the BCT AO prior
to deployment. This can be accomplished early in the planning cycle, with refnement occurring
throughout the exercise. The following are common GCMs that BCTs use during operations:
checkpoints tied to terrain, named routes, phase lines (often tied to terrain such as IV lines), and
unit boundaries. Analog overlays and digital overlays (Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and
Below [FBCB2] systems and Command Post of the Future [CPOF]) created prior to deployment
is the best TTP to save time and facilitate dissemination throughout the BCT.
Develop digital products pr ior to ar r ival at the NTC
The BCT geospatial team, under the supervision of the engineer coordinator (ENCOORD),
can build shape fles with layers that mirror observation and felds of fre, avenues of approach,
key terrain, obstacles and movement, cover and concealment (OAKOC) and area, structures,
capabilities, organizations, people, and events (ASCOPE). These fles can be used in FBCB2,
Government Information System (GIS), and Falconview. If a units SOP includes the use of
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Google Earth, it is important to understand that the overlays are a different format and not easily
transferred. Regardless of the type of shape fles/overlays used, building as much as possible
prior to deployment will save time and facilitate rapid distribution.
Creating and sharing FBCB2 graphics is a process that needs to be rehearsed prior to deployment
to ensure that equipment issues and personnel training shortfalls are identifed and resolved prior
to deployment.
Develop a tactical road march plan or SOP
All BCTs will conduct a tactical road march during the onward movement phase of RSOI at the
NTC. This is often a BCT commanders frst opportunity to execute a brigade-level operation and
an excellent opportunity to conduct a deliberate planning cycle to include orders production, a
combined arms rehearsal, a fre support and fres technical rehearsal, and a sustainment rehearsal.
Preparing for this prior to deployment will reduce friction and maximize the training value of
this event.
Develop a TAA occupation plan
BCTs executing a DATE rotation and not an MRE will move from the ISB (which is Logistics
Support Area [LSA] Warrior, also known as the RUBA) and occupy TAAs to conduct additional
training (STX lanes) that will complete the integrate phase of RSOI. The BCT staff will need to
have a TAA occupation plan or SOP prior to deployment. The location of the TAA is specifed in
Annex W (RSOI) of the base OPORD, and reconnaissance can be conducted during PDSS visits
and while attending the LTP.
Develop a plan for a BCT COMMEX
The MCVE and BCT COMMEX are directed by 52 ID to validate that all communications
systems are in compliance of IA policies and ensure the BCT can operate in the joint,
interagency, intergovernmental, multinational (JIIM) environment. In addition to inspecting
and checking mission command systems to ensure functionality, the BCT must also ensure its
systems are protected from outside threats, such as probing of the network via malicious methods
in order to gain access to information and jamming GSM and GPS frequencies.
This is an operation that has signifcant signal considerations, and the BCT S-6 plays a critical
part, but it is a BCT-level operation and requires coordination and supervision from the BCT
operations section to ensure all units complete assigned tasks and execute the COMMEX to
standard. These problems can only be identifed and corrected if the actual system users log in
and test systems during RSOI.
Develop a BOIP for special equipment to be drawn from the NTC
After the PDSS, unit leaders will engage in a virtual grid set with the 916th Support Battalion.
This is where the BCT leadership will receive a list of equipment available for draw and decide
what units are responsible for drawing each piece of equipment. At this point, the BCT staff
is able to update running estimates with projected combat power available for the rotation.
Additionally, the BCT staff must issue clear instructions on what each subordinate unit is
expected to draw, when the draw will take place, what documents are required for the draw,
and reporting requirements back to the BCT headquarters confrming when tasks are complete.
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A fve-paragraph OPORD is the recommend technique. Below is an example of some special
equipment available for draw at the NTC.
Figure 19-5. Example of systems and equipment available for draw at the NTC
Develop plan to execute individual ACoE tr aining
The BCT and subordinate units must determine required capabilities within the formation and
identify the correct personnel to attend ACoE training in order to support those capabilities. This
needs to be part of mission analysis done prior to deploying to the NTC and be refected on staff
running estimates. ACoE training opportunities are identifed during the D-120 staff-to-staff
Understand live-fre exercise requirements
The BCT must develop a plan to identify individuals who are not qualifed on weapons and
equipment prior to deployment. Units must also understand what units will require life-fre
exercise waivers. The BCT must put control measures in place to keep live ammunition out of
the RUBA.
Publish and distr ibute SOPs
Units need to deploy with hard copies of SOPs in hand for reference during RSOI and
throughout training. If a unit does not have approved or validated SOPs, examples and templates
are made available at LTP as well as on the Bronco Team Army Knowledge Online (AKO) Web
portal at
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Good RSOI orders include reporting requirements tied to the generation of combat power.
Annex W (RSOI) to the 52ID OPORD for each rotation is the primary reference for RSOI tasks,
timelines, and procedures.
RSOI Over view
Upon arrival to Fort Irwin, unit leadership will receive a rotational in-brief at 0800 on RSOI Day
1. On Day 2, the unit will participate in the frst of three 52ID operations and intelligence (O&I)
briefs. These briefs provide the training unit leadership an opportunity to receive O&I updates to
drive planning. The BCT leadership is also required to provide an update on the status of combat
power and other topics identifed in Annex W (RSOI) to the base OPORD.
Every training exercise at the NTC is unique. Scenarios are developed to support the training
objectives of the units senior trainer. Generally, all rotational designs will ft into one of two
categories: a DATE or a mission rehearsal exercise (MRE) in support of an ongoing operation,
such as OEF. Below are two charts to show both categories of rotational design.
Figure 19-6. Example of rotational design for an MRE at the NTC
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Figure 19-7. Example of rotational design for DATE rotation at the NTC
Immediately following RSOI, STX lanes will begin at the company, troop, and battery levels.
BCT and battalion/squadron headquarters will generally begin a command post exercise
(CPX) on the second training day. It is important for staffs to understand that the CPX provides
intelligence that drives the units operations process in preparation for the decisive action phase
and STX lanes generally do not. FRAGOs and update briefs conducted during RSOI must
communicate this clearly to subordinate units.
Annex W (RSOI) to the 52ID OPORD will include an STX matrix that directs a schedule for
each unit executing STX lanes. Final coordination for all STX lanes will occur during RSOI. It
is imperative that units coordinate as soon as possible to facilitate resourcing for each lane. BCTs
are best served to allot STX lanes to subordinates prior to arrival at the NTC based on training
The following section breaks down RSOI into three categories: See Yourself, See the Terrain,
and See the Enemy. Each section provides a checklist of important things to consider for
planning and executing the RSOI process.
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See Your self
Commanders and staffs must see themselves during the RSOI process. The following is a list
of suggested focus areas during RSOI:
Tracking the generation of combat power.
Personnel accountability.
Integration of attachments.
Prioritize support to meet security requirements.
Battle rhythm and planning timeline.
Understanding and disseminating ROE.
Class VIII.
Tr acking the gener ation of combat power
Units are provided combat power tracking charts in Annex W (RSOI) of the 52ID OPORD.
These tracking charts enable 52ID to visualize the generation of combat power. Units can adopt
the slides to provide situational understanding to the commander and staff, but some units will
beneft from altering the trackers to meet specifc unit and commander needs.
Per sonnel accountability
The PERSTAT report is a vital mission for the BCT and subordinate unit S-1 sections. Timely
and accurate reporting at the battalion/squadron and brigade levels is critical. The BCT strength
manager is responsible for collecting the personnel reports from subordinate units. To be
successful at the NTC, the strength manager and NCOIC must aggressively track reporting.
During RSOI, the close proximity of units in the RUBA is an opportunity to use face-to-face
meetings and runners to verify the PERSTAT. Failure to correct reporting issues before onward
movement to the training area will make this task signifcantly more diffcult. The PERSTAT
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reporting process also needs a PACE plan to ensure that the fow of information is not broken
regardless of changes in the BCTs situation.
P NIPR email.
A FM BCT administrative and logistics (A&L) net.
C Tactical Chat (Jabber).
E Messenger to BCT main CP.
Integr ation of attachments
(References: FM 3-35, FM 3-0, FM 5-0, and FM 6-0)
Thorough integration has to be completed before a unit is operational and can perform its
mission. Integration is complete when the CCDR establishes positive command and control over
the arriving unit (Soldier) and the unit (Soldier) is capable of performing its assigned mission.
Furthermore, commanders and staffs must ensure new Soldiers and units are assimilated into
organizations and postured to contribute to mission success. To do so, the following needs to
Gaining unit:
Reception checklist must be developed and maintained within the operations
Understand command and support relationships.
Receive a capability brief.
Exchange SOPs.
Provide unit and situation briefs.
Provide the latest graphic intelligence summary (GRINTSUM).
Brief and provide current risk management plan.
Provide operational graphics.
Provide communications plan.
Incorporate into rehearsals.
Provide battle rhythm.
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Incoming unit:
Establish communications.
Understand command and support relationships.
Provide a capability brief.
Exchange SOPs.
Provide battle roster.
Integration helps an organization to prepare for operations, specifcally to transition from
planning to execution. Executing the above tasks will allow units and Soldiers to accomplish the
Improve situational understanding.
Develop a common understanding of capabilities and limitations.
Develop a common understanding of the plan.
Practice and become profcient on critical tasks.
Ensure forces and resources are ready and positioned.
Prioritize support to meet security requirements
During RSOI, units are often required to provide a division ready force (DRF); this requirement
is found in Annex W (RSOI) of the 52ID OPORD. Commanders and staffs must identify the
units responsible for this security requirement early and prioritize them with resources to ensure
they are combat ready the unit can shoot, move, and communicate. Below is an example of
DRF requirements given to a BCT during RSOI.
Ready 1 x infantry PLT by RSOI2 (1200), O/O to serve as part of the DRF from
Ready 1 x infantry CO by RSOI3 (1200), O/O serve as part of the DRF from RSOI3-5.
Ready 1 x infantry BN by RSOI4 (1200), O/O to serve as part of the DRF from
Infor mation assur ance
Units must be IA compliant before they are authorized to begin training. Annex W (RSOI) of the
52ID OPORD provides specifc instructions on what tasks must be accomplished and provides
suspense for completion. IA compliance typically includes the following:
Unit has current OS patches.
Antivirus (AV) server is running latest defnitions.
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All clients are being updated by AV server.
Battalion AV servers are pointing to BCT AV server.
All program managed systems have latest IAVA patch disks installed.
USB/Thumb drive storage devices disabled in accordance with Rampart Yankee and
Strategic Command (STRATCOM) Directive.
Stand-alone or Nonsecure Internet Protocol (NIPR) systems not being managed by AV
Must be within seven calendar days of last defnition.
Auto play is disabled.
Exemptions to no burn policy submitted.
Units must validate their mission command systems in order to facilitate mission command. As
previously mentioned, the 52ID will direct the COMMEX. To ensure success of this operation,
BCTs must publish a plan (recommend the use of a 5-paragraph OPORD) that at a minimum
outlines required tasks, duties, and responsibilities (specifcally for the offcer in charge);
timeline; and reporting requirements.
Battle r hythms and planning timelines
(References: FM 6-0 and FM 5-0)
Battle rhythms and planning timelines are a component part of the mission command system
(processes and procedures). Adhering to battle rhythms and timelines minimizes confusion and
misunderstanding through the synchronization of efforts. Additionally, both provide a level
of control over information fow within an organization to ensure the information is relevant;
specifcally, accurate, timely, usable, complete, precise, and reliable.
A battle rhythm is a deliberate daily cycle of command, staff, and unit activities intended to
synchronize current and future operations (JP 3-33, Joint Task Force Headquarters). The battle
rhythm facilitates integration and collaboration by addressing several important functions:
Establishing a routine for staff interaction and coordination.
Facilitating interaction between the commander and staff.
Synchronizing activities of the staff in time and purpose.
Facilitating planning by the staff and decision making by the commander.
In developing a battle rhythm, the following must be considered:
Higher headquarters battle rhythm and report requirements.
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Subordinate headquarters battle rhythm requirements.
The duration and intensity of the operation.
Integrating cells planning requirements.
Common battle rhythm pitfalls include the following:
Failure to nest battle rhythm with higher and subordinate battle rhythms.
Failure to refect reporting requirements.
Failure to label battle rhythms with date-time groups, resulting in simultaneous use of
different battle rhythms.
Failure to designate protected planning time, which denies sections and staffs the
opportunity to synchronize planning efforts.
Failure to delineate events at echelon.
Planning timelines provide the process to control staff efforts within the context of time. The
staff planning timeline should identify:
What products are due.
Who is responsible for the products.
Who receives completed products.
Timelines must also include:
Subject, time, and location of briefngs.
Times of collaborative planning sessions and the medium over which they will take
Times, locations, and forms of rehearsals.
The focus of any planning process should aim to quickly develop a fexible, sound, and
fully integrated and synchronized plan. The importance of adhering to a timeline will force
organizations to refrain from imposing on subordinate timelines for the MDMP and troop leading
procedures (TLPs).
Common planning timeline pitfalls include:
Failure to adhere to the 1/32/3 rule.
Failure to enforce the production of required briefng/meeting outputs, which delays
follow-on meetings due to a lack of inputs.
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Failure to communicate changes to the timeline, which results in desynchronization
and wasted time.
Under standing and disseminating ROE
During RSOI, leaders should use vignette-based training to check their Soldiers knowledge
of the ROE. Prior to RSOI, the brigade judge advocates (BJAs) should prepare training on
applicable ROE in addition to policies, directives, and FRAGOs that impact the authority to use
force. Ideally, BJAs prepare a leaders class and a Soldiers class. The leaders class should focus
on the targeting process and deliberate offensive operations, whereas the Soldiers class should
focus on basic self-defense ROE and detention operations. The BJA should personally teach the
leaders class for the BCT, battalion, and company commanders. But, for practical reasons, BJAs
must train-the-trainer to ensure every Soldier in the BCT sits through the Soldiers class. Prior to
RSOI, BJAs should ensure ROE cards are printed and disseminated.
Support contracting, torch parties, and preposition feet
Rotations at the NTC require a signifcant amount of support that goes beyond the tactical
sustainment tasks within a BCT. Correctly contracting support such as waste removal, tentage,
and power generation are of critical importance. Additionally, the NTC supports rotational units
with a prepositioned feet. Due diligence by BCTs to identify requirements and manage personnel
to provide this support can, and will, greatly affect the RSOI process. The earlier BCTs identify
requirements to start the contracting process and coordination with the NTC, the better.
A successful RSOI starts with the torch party. The torch party must have the right personnel
(S-4s, CORs, accountable offcers, etc.), be properly resourced (communications and
transportation), and have a clear understanding of the BCTs requirements in order to set the
conditions for the BCTs reception. Units must identify CORs well before torch party movement
and ensure they receive the proper training at home station.
Over view. The NTC Instrumentation System (NTC-IS) and MILES facilitate realistic exercises
by providing real-time feedback and extensive recording of the actions of Soldiers, weapon
systems, and vehicles. Instrumentation allows the operations center to track specifc movements
of units and key leaders and to record engagement fring events involving direct and indirect
weapon systems on a full effects battlefeld and data retrieval and playback for use during after
action reviews (AARs) and other analysis.
All personnel and vehicles/systems must have operable MILES at all times on the NTC
battlefeld while in the training area. All combat vehicles will have instrumentation installed
prior to leaving the cantonment area. It is the rotational units responsibility to maintain MILES
equipment. Rotational units receive initial battery issue when drawing the equipment and are
responsible for ensuring operational 3.6v, 3.0v, and BB390 batteries are kept in individual and
vehicle MILES battery boxes respectively at all times.
Installation. Units will receive a detailed MILES installation brief during LTP. It is important
to note that success in MILES installation starts with torch party operations. The torch party
needs to confrm all MILES requirements with the NTC prior to main body arrival. The torch
party must also provide signature cards to the MILES warehouse, coordinate the priority for
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MILES installation, and coordinate for MILES classes and the boresight range. Of note, feld
artillery vehicles often require priority, because during most rotations, feld artillery calibration is
conducted on RSOI 04.
Unit requirements for MILES installation include:
Identify home station equipment requiring MILES and complete the Grid Worksheet.
Provide the priority for MILES draw.
Sign for all MILES equipment.
Provide a MILES detail that includes eight Soldiers and a medic with an aid bag.
Provide a unit representative to be present throughout the installation process.
Provide latrines (contracting requirement).
Provide a water buffalo.
Provide drivers to accompany vehicles throughout the installation process.
Bring home station M2A1 blank fre adapters (NTC has M2 BFAs only).
Ensure all vehicles remain unlocked during the installation process.
MILES profciency. Soldier and unit MILES profciency will increase the quality of training
through a higher level of realistic and real-time feedback. Units are encouraged to use the
MILES boresight range during RSOI. Coordination for the boresight range is made through the
MILES warehouse. Additionally, units can reference the Operations Group MILES XXI Combat
Vehicle and Individual System Start Up, Boresighting, and Troubleshooting Procedures at https://
Devices. Throughout the RSOI period, the unit is responsible for drawing and tracking the
installation of CREW devices. It is important that prior to arrival at the NTC, the unit identifes
the CREW device requirements by vehicle. There are over 500 CREW devices available for
installation at the NTC. Currently there are two types of devices for vehicles (the Duke and
CVRJ surrogate systems) and two dismounted devices (the THOR III and QRD). These systems
are similar to the actual devices in every way except for nuances for how load sets are changed
and the level of power output compared to an actual device.
Installation. Upon arrival at the NTC, it is important that the unit creates and disseminates a
plan to facilitate the prompt and orderly installation of CREW devices. (Note: This cannot be
done concurrently with MILES installation.) To save time, units must understand throughput
capabilities for installation. Time is wasted when too many vehicles arrive at the installation yard
at once and when there are too few vehicles present to match installation capabilities. Contact
the CREW training devices chief at 760-380-9659 to determine the projected CREW installation
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Accountability. A Soldier with a valid signature card must be present to sign for the CREW
devices per unit identifcation code (UIC). In addition to signing for CREW devices, each
battalion S-4 representative must be present to sign for a CREW user kit, which includes six
PDAs, one laptop computer, and one indicator unit (a type of spectrum analyzer). This equipment
interacts with the CREW devices and is necessary for changing load sets. The indicator unit is
necessary for testing a CREW devices signal to ensure it is operating within normal parameters.
Personnel attending the NTC Electronic Warfare Offcers course during RSOI are responsible
for using this equipment and will receive instruction during the course on how to do so. The
electronic warfare offcer attending this training must work closely with his respective S-4
representatives to ensure the proper tracking and accountability of each device.
Verifcation. Once a CREW device is installed on a vehicle, it is important to test its
functionality. A preferred TTP is to have a Soldier use an indicator unit at the exit gate of the
installation yard to test the CREW devices on each vehicle as it leaves the yard. Devices not
functioning properly can be redirected back to the installation building for troubleshooting.
Tr aining. It is important to ensure that operators understand how to use the equipment. The
NTC offers a daily CREW operators course during RSOI that can facilitate the training of up
to 75 personnel per day. It is recommended that this course is flled to its full capacity, but at a
minimum, all drivers and vehicle commanders should attend.
Rehear sals
RSOI is the frst opportunity for commanders and staffs to conduct rehearsals during a rotation.
Conducting combined arms, sustainment, collection, and fres rehearsals in preparation for the
units tactical road march and occupation of the TAA is critical to successful execution. An
instructional video for conducting mission rehearsals can also be found on the Army Training
Network (ATN) at
Class VIII
Units are required to deploy to the NTC with 100 percent of their required Class VIII (individual
frst aid kits [IFAKs], combat lifesaver [CLS] bags, and medical equipment sets [MES]). A
shortage of medical supplies is frequently an issue during RSOI because units do not meet the
minimum standards for their MES unit assemblage listing (UAL) as stated in AR 40-61, Medical
Logistics Policies and Procedures. The UAL is the authorization document and assemblage
listing that describes all components contained within any one particular set.
Commanders are required to maintain the assemblages issued. MESs are to be 100 percent
mission ready at all times with exception of the Department of the Army (DA) centrally managed
(United States Army Medical Materiel Agency [USAMMA]) items. The DA centrally managed
items refer to those items that are only issued upon deployment. Narcotics (morphine) fall within
this category for combat medics. Units will not receive these items unless the aforementioned
circumstance exists, but units should have requisitions on hand, ready for submission to
USAMMA should the circumstance arise. A given MES was designed for 72 hours of continuous
operations; the misconception is that the MES was designed with enough Class VIII for 30 days.
Therefore, a running estimate must be accurate prior to the start of RSOI.
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A prerequisite for onward movement from the RUBA is 100 percent completion of ISOPREPs
for every Soldier. The only U.S. Army approved means to conduct an ISOPREP is on the
PRO-File database, available at Prior
to arrival, the BCT must issue guidance to the battalions to have every Soldier visit this site,
input the required data, and print out the certifcate that validates ISOPREP is complete. Some
considerations for successfully conducting an ISOPREP are as follows:
Ensure each Soldier has two photographs in uniform a profle picture and a front-
facing picture. Each photo must be 200 kb or less to upload into the database.
Soldiers must enter their company/troop/battery UIC.
Soldiers must know and enter their shirt, pant, hat, and boot sizes.
Soldiers must enter their next of kin information and home of record.
Soldiers must fll out, know, and remember at least four background questions
to validate their identity in the event they are classifed as missing in action then
recovered. Example background questions are pet names, frst car, or high school
Soldiers must print ISOPREP certifcates when completed to place in their fles.
Finally, in accordance with Headquarters, DA guidance, the BCT must designate a Personnel
Recovery Mission Software (PRMS) unit manager to view, update, and verify data in individual
ISOPREPs. Subordinate managers at the battalion and company levels are authorized but are not
See the Ter r ain
The following recommendations will help training units better understand the terrain and plan for
operations at the NTC:
Use time available at the LTP to develop the modifed combined obstacle overlay
Create digital products and shape fles early.
Disseminate maps and overlays.
Standardize COIST map boards.
The frst opportunity to understand the terrain and prepare for a rotation to the NTC is during
the LTP. Units should use the available time they have to develop their overlays early and use
both the brigade terrain/geospatial team and S-2 section to develop the MCOO and support
intelligence preparation of the battlefeld (IPB). Ideally, this overlay is created in both digital
and analog form. After leaving the LTP, the BCT can develop this overlay as a series of shape
fles using both the military and civilian aspects of terrain and disseminate these shape fles to
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the battalions to upload into their digital systems of record, such as FBCB2 and CPOF. Building
these products early encourages effcient planning that is nested at echelon.
Any specialized terrain products identifed during LTP should be tasked to the BCT terrain/
geospatial team for action, completion, and dissemination across the formation prior to
deployment and execution of RSOI activities.
Figure 19-8. Example MCOO
Units and staff sections from the company to the brigade level must develop their map boards
prior to arrival at the NTC in order to be successful. The map board needs to be standardized for
every company. BCTs need to codify the standard in SOPs to maximize effciency. An example
COIST map board standard with a checklist of critical tracking charts is depicted below.
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Figure 19-9. Example COIST map boar d and tr acking char ts
See the Enemy
The following recommendations will help training units better understand the threat and plan for
operations at the NTC:
Keep the NTC PDSS brief from LTP and review prior to RSOI.
Develop adversary template.
Develop threat SITTEMP.
Develop and disseminate threat SITTEMP for tactical road march.
During the LTP, the brigade staff will attend a PDSS brief. This is the staffs best opportunity
to ask questions and clarify any issues. It is during this initial brief that the BCT staff receives
an initial enemy assessment for the tactical problem it will encounter during the rotation. This
enemy assessment is provided early to allow the BCT time to conduct IPB at home station
and arrive to the NTC ready to execute operations with its intelligence products and estimates
complete. This initial brief will provide the BCT staff a named area of interest (NAI) overlay as
well as a list of collection assets available to leverage from the higher headquarters. Just like the
terrain overlays, the BCT should build the NAI overlay into digital systems of record prior to
deployment and disseminate the shape fles to battalions, ensuring all units are operating off of
common graphics.
The BCT S-2 section will have enough data to develop the doctrinal threat models, assess enemy
capabilities, identify vulnerabilities, and complete a SITTEMP. This should be disseminated prior
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to deployment and built as an overlay in digital systems as a baseline product to plan, prepare,
and execute operations both during and after RSOI. An example of the SITTEMP is provided
Figure 19-10. Example SITTEMPs
The S-2 should develop the threat SITTEMP for the BCTs tactical road march into the training
area. Most of this analysis can be completed at home station, then refned during RSOI. Having
the SITTEMP complete prior to arrival allows the BCT to develop its initial reconnaissance and
surveillance plan and publish its frst OPORD, and gives more time to the battalions to plan and
rehearse while simultaneously conducting RSOI activities.
1. Mission command system The arrangement of personnel, networks, information systems,
processes and procedures, and facilities and equipment that enable commanders to conduct
operations. (FM 6-0, Mission Command, September 2011).
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Air space Planning, Management, and Control at the Br igade Level
MAJ Ashley S. Lee
If the band played a piece frst with the piccolo, then with the brass horn, then with the
clarinet, and then with the trumpet, there would be a hell of a lot of noise but no music. To
get harmony in the music, each instrument must support the others; to get harmony in battle,
each weapon must support the others. Team play wins.
General George S. Patton
Airspace at the brigade level can be a complex three-dimensional concept of synchronizing fres
and deconficting rotary wing, fxed wing, fres, unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) and engineer
assets (e.g., mine-clearing line charge). The greatest challenge for the brigade staff is creating an
airspace plan that is not only simple but also supported by the existing communications structure
within the brigade. Observer controller/trainers (OC/Ts) at the National Training Center (NTC)
prepared for and executed one of the frst decisive action rotations in March 2012. The OC/
Ts for the brigade aviation offcer (BAO), air liaison offcer (ALO), fre support offcer (FSO),
fres battalion, and aviation task force have developed a way to integrate airspace planning
into the military decisionmaking process (MDMP). The end result of fully integrating airspace
planning into the MDMP is a unit able to visualize, rehearse, and fght in the three-dimensional
operational environment (OE).
Part I of this article addresses Army Battle Command System (ABCS) integration and
communication linkages (FM/UHF/VHF/HF) that should be established before planning begins.
Part II addresses the seven steps of MDMP as it applies to airspace planners. Of note, Army
Doctrine Publication (ADP) 3-0, Unifed Land Operations, and Field Manual (FM) 5-0, The
Operations Process, do not address airspace integration into MDMP; specifcally, when and what
critical pieces of information and analysis must be provided to the other planners.
ABCS and Communications (Digital and Voice)
The link between the Tactical Airspace Integration System (TAIS) and Advanced Field Artillery
Tactical Data System (AFATDS) is critical. OC/Ts observe uneven profciency at sharing data
and displays from one information system (INFOSYS) to another INFOSYS via the Publish and
Subscribe Services (PASS) running on the command post (CP) battle command server (BCS).
In particular, units are challenged to get their suites of airspace management related ISFOSYS
(AFATDS, TAIS, Air and Missile Defense Workstation) sharing information via the PASS.
This is an area for added emphasis in brigade combat team (BCT)-level Mission Command
System Integration (MCSI; formerly Battle Command System of Systems Integration Training
[BCSoSIT]) training. This link must be established and tested early and often to ensure airspace
control measures (ACMs) entered into the brigade TAIS populate in AFATDS across the brigade.
This requires Soldiers and noncommissioned offcers (NCOs) inside the fres and air defense
air management/brigade aviation element (ADAM/BAE) cells to be trained and competent
on basic utilization of these two systems. However, complete reliance on digital systems is
not recommended. This is due to the likelihood of mission command and communications
systems being targeted by enemy forces, unexpected failures due to environmental effects on
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power generation, and antennas in an uncertain hybrid threat environment. An analog backup
or supplemental tracking system, such as 1:50,000 maps and acetate overlays with ground
maneuver graphics, airspace graphic control measures, and fre support coordination measures
(FSCMs), works to assist the brigade staff in visualizing courses of action (COAs) during
MDMP. It also serves as a good reference during both steady-state and deliberate operations and
facilitates the commanders decision-making process during hasty operations.
For analog management of airspace, voice communications must be established for separate
companies and battalions to the ADAM/BAE for both formal and informal airspace requests.
FM 3-52.1, Airspace Control, Chapter 4, outlines the digital request procedure and link:
AC2 personnel will enter the required airspace coordination area/FSCM data into the
The airspace coordination area data will be sent electronically to the fre support
coordinator (FSCOORD) and automatically entered into AFATDS.
When fre missions are planned or requested, AFATDS will automatically check the
trajectory of the rounds against active ACMs. If the trajectory intersects, AFATDS will
alert the operator before fring the mission. The operator may choose a different attack
option, one that does not violate any airspace measures.
The greatest challenge for any unit managing airspace lies in balancing two different effects: (1)
maximizing use of enablers in the operational environment (OE) and (2) providing responsive
fres for maneuver elements. Employment of enablers in the OE, if not planned for and managed
well, can be a detriment to responsive fres. At the heart of these two objectives is an effective
and redundant voice and digital communication structure.
Seven Steps of the MDMP (Reference: FM 5-0, March 2010, inc change 1)
Below is an outline of the MDMP steps and associated airspace considerations. Regardless of the
step of MDMP, the airspace plan and considerations must always be nested within the brigade
commanders intent/guidance and mission statement. When units do not adhere to the process of
developing an airspace plan during MDMP, the results often include graphics not disseminated
down to the lowest level, ACMs not entered into ABCS, and ground commanders unsupported
by responsive fres in support of their scheme of maneuver.
Before planning can begin, the brigade staff must understand the roles and responsibilities of
the airspace management cell at the brigade level. Figure 1 outlines the three major cells: fres
cell, ADAM/BAE, and ALO. The ADAM/BAE is the brigades airspace integrator and holds the
responsibility of requesting airspace from division or higher headquarters, as required, for the
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Figure 20-1. Air space management at the br igade level
1. Receipt of mission
After the commander issues the initial guidance, airborne reconnaissance and surveillance
assets may initiate reconnaissance or collection operations. Before committing reconnaissance
and surveillance assets, the brigade staff must clearly identify the tasking/launch authority and
method of tasking and control for the brigades tactical unmanned aircraft system (TUAS) assets.
In addition, the BAE must evaluate assets available and submit airspace coordination measure
requests to division for airspace use.
When warning order (WARNO) #1 is issued, the BAE must analyze and relay what actions the
aviation task force must take to posture themselves to meet the commanders initial guidance.
Begin analysis of existing brigade communications structure, and develop initial primary,
alternate, contingency, emergency (PACE) plan for airspace user to airspace control authority.
The BAO should lead a discussion/analysis with the S-6, FSO, and ALO to support airspace
control at the brigade level. (THINK COMMS!) For example, if the brigades tactical assembly
area (TAA) airspace is being controlled by an air traffc control (ATC) detachment, what are the
nets, frequencies, and call signs of the ATC facility that airspace users must contact? During
deliberate operations, this list grows longer with each additional ACM. Every ACM must have an
associated net, frequency, and call sign of the airspace control authority listed either formally on
the air control order (ACO) or disseminated informally via voice or digital communications.
Brigade airspace planners (led by the BAO) should begin a dialogue with division or joint task
force airspace command and control (AC2) for initial airspace control measure requests and
any higher headquarters-level use of airspace that may affect the operation. Owning airspace
that spans your brigades OE from surface to 30,000 feet MSL may sound great, but if you do
not have the airspace personnel (JTAC, ALO, ANGLICO, 15Q, assistant BAO, etc.) to forward
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deploy to the maneuver battalions, the lone fres NCO in charge of all that airspace will most
likely be overwhelmed with the amount of airspace users they will have to manage: TUAS,
SUAS, rotary wing, fxed wing, fres, and engineer assets.
2. Mission analysis
When the approved mission statement is issued, the BAE should cross-reference Training
Circular (TC) 1-400, Brigade Aviation Element Handbook, chapters 35, for planning
considerations for type of aircraft and mission (e.g., recon, security, attack operations, air assault
and air movement operations, and aviation support operations).
Army aviation encompasses all six warfghting functions. As such, the BAO must be
knowledgeable and prepared to brief feasibility and risk considerations of airspace control and
asset allocation before planning guidance is issued to ensure that the priorities of use and fres is
outlined for COA development. Below are some of the key considerations broken down by war
fghting functions.
Determine who the tasking and launch authorities are for the brigades TUAS assets. Tasking
authority should come from the BCT S-3 and through a fragmentary order (FRAGO). The
collection matrix is not a tasking document. After the BCT S-2 and collection manager
make recommendations throughout the targeting process, the S-2 should ensure a FRAGO is
published that supports the collection matrix. As the senior aviator on the brigade staff, the BAO
should assume a role in fully integrating the Shadow UAS platoon into brigades operations.
Specifcally, the BAO should make an attempt to ensure uniformity of the mission packets issued
to the Shadow UAS platoon with that of the aviation task force mission packets. The trend at the
NTC has been that the mission packets for the Shadow UAS platoon organic to the brigade have
included minimal grid and named areas of interest (NAIs) information, while the packets for the
aviation task force aircrews have included a communications card, task and purpose, operational
area map, ground maneuver graphics, a complete grid reference sheet, the friendly situation, and
anticipated enemy COAs .
Movement and Maneuver:
The BAO should brief the aviation task force capabilities and limitations as well as risk to
manned aviation from UAS and indirect fres. Below is an excerpt from FM 3-52.1, Multiservice
Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Airspace Control, of an example BCT baseline airspace
risk chart.
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Figure 20-2. Example BCT baseline air space r isk char t (FM 3-52.1)
This risk chart allows the BCT commander to disseminate to his staff acceptable constraints
and risks during the operation for manned and unmanned air assets. It will also help shape the
airspace plan during COA development.
The commander should outline his intent for synchronization and focus of fres. Additionally,
the FSO should brief feld artillery weapons, feld artillery ammunition, and feld artillery target
acquisition radars. In turn, the ALO should brief close air support and other related fxed-wing
support as either outlined in the air tasking order (ATO) or determined as available for request
from higher headquarters.
Air defense artillery (ADA) plays a key role in this warfghting function. As such, the airspace
picture for the employment of this capability must be clearly outlined and understood by not
only other airspace users, but also the ground commanders. Questions that frequently must be
resolved include;
How are the ADA assets tied into the brigades communications structure for airspace
How will the employment of ADA assets be passed to the rotary- and fxed-wing
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How will protection of the brigades tactical assembly area (TAA) integrate ADA,
counter-mortar, and attack/scout rotary assets?
Who will control the airspace over the TAA?
Who is the launch authority for these assets?
Considerations in fueling, fxing, arming, moving the force, and sustaining Soldiers and their
systems all fall under the umbrella of our utility and cargo helicopter capabilities. TC 1-400, para
4-1, explains these capabilities:
Aviation brigade utility and heavy helicopter assets provide the maneuver commander
the ability to sustain continuous offensive or defensive operations and to conduct brigade
level AASLTs [air assaults]. AASLT operations extend the tactical reach of the maneuver
commander, negate effects of terrain, seize key nodes, attain the advantage of surprise,
and dislocate or isolate the enemy. FARPs [forward area refueling points] emplaced
by lift aircraft and ground assets enable aviation to support and sustain operations
throughout the AO [area of operations]. Additionally, heavy lift helicopters are capable
of transporting internal and external cargo in a variety of confgurations to meet CS
[combat support] and CSS [combat service support] requirements of both the BCT and
the division.
The quantity and frequency of these logistical missions will drive the need to emplace ingress/
egress routes, air check points, and landing zone (LZ) selections. In addition, casualty evacuation
(CASEVAC) and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) capabilities must be considered as a part of
this warfghting function.
Mission Command:
Utilization of an airborne mission command node will require planning not only for the aviation
task force, but also the brigades airspace planners. The location of the airborne mission
command node should be integrated into COA development to ensure full integration of the
mission command aircraft by function and location.
Intelligence preparation of the battlefeld (IPB) in this step is critical in determining how best
to utilize assets to support the commanders intent. Airspace planners should focus on any
threat to aircraft and begin collaborative planning with the FSO and ALO. Based on threat, the
BAO should begin templating airspace routes and checkpoints outside of the threats maximum
ranges. Location of enemy ADA will drive COA development. Understanding the enemys
ADA capability will help in determining how close or far from the objective or terrain to place
the varied airspace enablers/users. Developing a thorough running estimate overlayed with the
initial threat overlay will provide a solid picture on where the commander should and, more
importantly, should not employ friendly assets to minimize risk to assets and aircrews from
enemy aircraft and/or surface-to-air threat.
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The staff weather offcer (SWO) also should be available to provide any forecasts that will have
negative effects on the mission. In addition, the weather forecasts will help determine between an
aviation centric mission versus an artillery centric mission (which is less adversely affected by
winds, ceilings, visibility, and precipitation).
The BAO, FSO, and ALO all have responsibilities to update their respective staff estimates,
as the estimates will affect use of airspace and subsequent priorities of use. Collectively, they
must brief capabilities of aircraft (by type), indirect fre systems (by type), aircraft operating
altitudes, recommended use, and recommended emplacement of each asset. More importantly,
start referencing the ATO for the mission window and build a list of possible airspace users for
deconfiction and synchronization.
The BAO must understand and convey the total number of aircraft (by type) that can be launched
for surge operations and what effect that will have on steady-state operations the next 24 hours,
before issuance of initial guidance. (DO NOT brief the total number of aircraft assigned to a
task force as the number of aircraft available for surge operations. Take into account scheduled/
unscheduled maintenance and crew duty-day cycles.) Remember to include CASEVAC and
MEDEVAC aircraft. The FSO should brief assets available, recommended positioning of those
assets and abilities to mass fres in support of operations.
Listed below are some of the enablers/airspace users often available to a brigade in support
of operations. The list is not comprehensive but indicative of how complex the business of
managing airspace can get. Brigade airspace planners must be prepared to assess the feasibility,
acceptability, and suitability of using some or all of the enablers.
AH-64D (Apache).
UH-60 (Blackhawk).
CH-47 (Chinook).
OH-58 (Kiowa).
Fixed wing:
A-10 (Thunderbolt II).
AC-130 (Spectre).
B-1B (Lancer).
F-15 (Eagle).
F-18 (Hornet).
F-22A (Raptor).
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Fixed wing (electronic warfare):
EA-6B (Prowler).
EC-130H (Compass Call).
EA-18G (Growler).
Fixed wing (air drops):
C-17 (Globemaster).
C-130 (Hercules).

M58 (mine clearing line charge).
Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS):
FIM-92 (Stinger).
RQ-11A/B (Raven).
RQ-7 A/B (Shadow).
RQ-5A (Hunter).
MQ-1C (Gray Eagle).
MQ-9 (Reaper).
M119A2 (105 mm towed howitzer).
M777 (155 mm towed howitzer).
M109A6 (Paladin, 155 mm self-propelled howitzer).
M270A1 (270 mm Multiple Launch Rocket System).
M142 (270 mm High Mobility Artillery Rocket System).
3. COA development
Integrating airspace planners and controllers into COA development is the most important and
most often overlooked step in MDMP. The staff must integrate the brigade and battalions ability
to manage airspace either digitally (TAIS, AMDWS, AFATDS, CPOF, etc.) or analog (map,
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acetate, and voice comms) into the COA development. The resultant COA statement/sketches
should address challenges for the brigade and subordinate battalions controlling a prescribed
block of airspace and how that compares to what the airspace enablers can bring to the ground
FM 3-09, Fire Support, para 3-16, gives great insight into what it means to coordinate
All commanders must have the freedom to use airspace to achieve the commanders
objectives and must have maximum fexibility to use assets (organic, supporting, and
joint) within that airspace. Effective airspace management requires a responsive
air space control system, standar dization, minimal restr ictions, and continuous
coor dination among all air space user s. The COF [chief of fres]/FSO provides input
concerning fre support use of airspace to those agencies (battlefeld coordination
detachment, tactical air control party, brigade aviation element, air defense airspace
management cell, and airspace control) and personnel engaged in airspace management to
ensure that conficts between surface-based indirect fre and air operations are minimized.
Using FSCMs and ACMs cor rectly can prevent fr atr icide and duplication of effor t
while increasing the effectiveness of air-to-ground and ground-to-ground or dnance.
Planning and coordination are necessary to minimize conficts between surface-
based indirect fre and air operations. (Emphasis added by author)
FM 5-0 outlines fve screening criterions for developing a COA: feasible, acceptable, suitable,
distinguishable, and complete. To determine whether the airspace plan falls within the constraints
of the fve criterions, the planners must answer some fundamentals questions/considerations:
Does the airspace plan for each COA fall within the capabilities of the brigades
communications architecture?
Do the communications and airspace personnel assets support the control of airspace
for each COA?
Is the BCT airspace baseline risk chart (refer to Figure 20-2) complete for each COA?
Are the airspace deconfiction measures weighed with the commanders intent for
airspace priority of use?
Is the airspace plan for each COA distinguishable?
Is the airspace control authority for the decisive operation clear?
Does each COA have clearly defned lateral and vertical separations for each airspace
user, to include airspace control authorities for each restricted operating zone (ROZ),
high-density airspace control zone (HIDACZ), or airspace coordination area (ACA)?
Below is a sample depiction of an HIDACZ (from FM 3-52.1, Figure 1) and the vertical
separation within the airspace broken out by users. Note the inclusion of artillery and mortar
trajectories and the use of the CAS HI and CAS LO stacks:
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Figure 20-3. Sample HIDACZ (FM 3-52.1)
4. COA analysis and war gaming
The BAO can create or use a side view of the airspace to show vertical separation of airspace
users. A recommended way is to use multiple layers of acetate to develop visualization of the
operation for the staff. Cut out a piece of acetate to overlay on top of a ROZ, HIDACZ, ACA, or
phaseline-based airspace and layer additional pieces, as needed, to show deconfiction by altitude
and trajectory of artillery and mortars. This can be accomplished on the TAIS, but with only one
TAIS on the MTOE (modifed table of organization and equipment) for the BAE/ADAM cell,
integrating the system into future operations (FUOPS) can be a challenge.
FM 5-0 does not include the BAO as a part of the war-gaming cell. However, the BAO should be
present and function as the FSOs counterpart in the wargame:
Para B-123: The chief of fres (fre support offcer) assesses the fre support feasibility
of each COA. For each COA, the chief of fres develops the fre support execution
matrix and evaluation criteria to measure the effectiveness of the fre support. This
offcer develops a proposed high-priority target list, target selection standards, and
attack guidance matrix. The chief of fres identifes named and target areas of interest,
high-value targets, high-priority targets, and additional events that may infuence the
positioning of fre support assets.
Utilizing the three recommended war-gaming methods (belt, avenue-in-depth, and box), the
brigade airspace planners should complete analysis of available assets (completed in mission
analysis/running estimates step) and determine how best to weigh utilization against simplicity.
5. COA compar ison
Simplicity in who controls what airspace and at what phase of the operation should be a criteria
in the decision matrix. One clear advantage in comparing the different COAs should be a clear
and simple method in clearance of fres and airspace procedures. Additionally, staff estimates for
all warfghting functions should be updated during this step; specifcally, assets task-organized
under the aviation task force and any fxed-wing assets as published in the ATO.
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6. COA approval
The BCT baseline airspace risk chart should be referenced once more during this step and fnal
version approved and disseminated to subordinate unit along with WARNO #3. In addition, the
airspace planners should prepare for the fres rehearsal and subsequent combined arms rehearsal.
The fres rehearsal should involve all airspace planners and representatives from each major
subordinate command (feld artillery battalion, aviation task force, Shadow platoon, ALO,
engineer platoon, and mortar platoon) to ensure procedures for clearance of fres and airspace
are addressed and clarifed. Guidance should be issued for the execution of the combined arms
rehearsal, to include the communications plan for entry into planned (formal) ACMs and the
process for requests of unplanned (informal) ACMs.
7. Or der s production
The fnal operation order must include an airspace annex: Annex C, Appendix 10, Airspace
Command and Control. The BAO must list in detail the names, altitudes, grids, airspace control
authorities, call signs, and frequencies for each ACM and also describe by phase if airspace has
been requested above the coordinating altitude and whether it will be controlled by the brigade
or maneuver battalion (battle space owner). This appendix can include diagrams that show both
lateral and vertical deconfiction measures in place to provide procedural control. In addition,
the appendix should include the airspace control authorities for associated phase lines and unit
boundaries to execute positive control during the operation.
Integrating airspace considerations into the MDMP will make the business of managing airspace
easier. With the preponderance of enablers in todays fght, knowing when and where to block
airspace for deliberate operations can be diffcult. But adhering to the steps of MDMP, knowing
capabilities of each enabler, and ensuring that the necessary ABCS integration occurs can
alleviate the confusion that can occur during mission planning and execution. The end result of
fully integrating airspace planning into the MDMP early is a unit able to visualize, rehearse, and
fght in the three-dimensional OE.
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Aviation Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefeld
CPT Kimber ly D. Boothe
He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.
Sun Tzu
Intelligence preparation of the battlefeld (IPB) is part of providing support to situational
awareness, a fundamental task of an intelligence section. It is often the most poorly executed task
during National Training Center (NTC) rotations. Intelligence products rarely demonstrate the
detail necessary for commanders to understand and visualize the operational environment (OE).
If intelligence is needed to drive operations, staff sections must revisit the basic tasks within
mission analysis, especially when planning for decisive action, the simultaneous combination of
offensive, defensive, and stability operations.
This article discusses methods to improve IPB within the staff planning process and, as a result,
allow the commander to maximize combat power appropriately.
Defne the OE. This is the frst step of IPB. Here the S-3 and S-2 pinpoint OE specifcs for
further analysis while the S-2 section gathers the supplemental information; specifcally, factors
in the defned areas capable of infuencing both friendly and threat operations. Initially, S-2
sections identify signifcant topographical features of the OE to isolate the military aspects of
terrain: observation and felds of fre, avenues of approach, key terrain, obstacles, and cover and
concealment (OAKOC). The section should request assistance from various geospatial entities,
primarily the brigade combat team (BCT) imagery team, to assist in this process and provide
a more refned product. Most units training at the NTC completely miss the mark here by not
conducting this step prior to rotational deployment. This step can easily be conducted at home
station prior to a training exercise or an actual deployment using FalconView or ARGIS.
Next, the section determines the climate and weather patterns to develop the military aspects
of weather. The military aspects of weather are particularly important to aviation units in terms
of the anticipated visibility, wind, precipitation, cloud cover, and temperature, which greatly
impact the units ability to execute missions. Additionally, in conjunction with the S-3, the
S-2 will identify the limits of the commands area of operations (AO) and ascertain the limits
of the area of infuence (AI) and the area of interest (AOI) based on the operational variables.
The operational variables are political, military, economic, social, information, infrastructure,
physical environment, and time. Time is often an overlooked factor when determining AOI
limits; the threats mobility and the time needed to accomplish the friendly mission must be taken
into account but are usually forgotten. The AOI should be broken down into both ground and
air areas of interest, including all threat radar systems and air defense weapons that can affect
fight operations within the AO. Staff sections habitually neglect to consider enemy long-range
detection assets during the decisive action IPB. The S-2 completes step one by verifying if the
above-mentioned information already exists in available databases and, if not, will request data
to fll intelligence gaps within current holdings.
Descr ibe the environmental effects on oper ations. The second step of IPB includes
scrutinizing terrain, weather, and civil consideration effects on the OE. If there is little
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or no effort to make this determination, then the commander will likely fail to exploit the
opportunities that the environment provides. It is highly probable that the threat will fnd and
exploit opportunities that the command did not anticipate.
This step entails analyzing how the
information already identifed affects both friendly and threat operations. Routinely, aviation
battalions or squadrons do not refne estimates/graphics from the BCT or supported ground
unit whose focus is primarily on ground efforts; they simply use what is provided by the battle
space owner. It is imperative that S-2s understand the aviation aspects of terrain critical to the
audience as well as the military aspects of terrain: OAKOC. Emphasis should be placed on
locating potential engagement areas, battle positions that offer good line of sight (LOS), danger
areas that optimize threat air defense artillery (ADA) felds of fre, areas that mask threat radar,
and air defense systems, as well as areas that provide threat ADA systems marked advantages in
covering aviation avenues of approach.
Potential locations for landing zones (LZs), forward arming and refueling points (FARPs), and
forward assembly areas should be included in the terrain analysis as well. An implied task is for
the S-2 to understand the capabilities and limitations of airframes and refueling equipment. Air
avenues of approach should be concealed and covered routes into potential battle positions that
provide for ease of navigation and LOS. Obstacles for rotary wing assets include powerlines,
towers, and rapidly rising terrain; areas where birds may gather; contaminated areas; or other
manmade obstacles. Cover and concealment isolates areas that provide good terrain background
(ground clutter) effects and terrain masking effects. These factors should be graphically depicted
on the modifed combined obstacle overlay (MCOO) along with the standard military aspects of
terrain focused on the ground fght.
Next, the intelligence section will describe how the military aspects of weather affect friendly
and enemy operations. This task implies knowing the capabilities and limitations of both friendly
and threat equipment. Visibility, when diminished, will reduce LOS for friendly and threat assets
and as a consequence, prevent aircraft from fying. Heavy, sustained winds and wind turbulence
can degrade communications and electronic devices, impact radar/target acquisition, and prevent
aircraft operability, especially under conditions of blowing dust, smoke, sand, or precipitation.
Precipitation will degrade many friendly and enemy systems, decrease visibility, and change LZ
surface conditions. Cloud cover, particularly heavy cloud cover, can diminish reconnaissance and
surveillance (R&S) assets, target acquisition systems, and aviation assets overall. Temperature
extremes impact aircraft avionics, target acquisition systems, and the overall effectiveness of
personnel and equipment. Thermal crossover can particularly shape abilities to detect hostile
forces and equipment by masking targets normally visible to forward looking infrared radar
(FLIR) and thermal sights. Atmospheric pressure conditions can alter equipment performance
and payload of systems.
The third portion to this analytical step is to consider the civilian populace and its effect on
the OE, usually overlooked by aviation units. The six factors to civil considerations are: areas,
structures, capabilities, organizations, people, and events (ASCOPE). Understanding ASCOPE is
crucial, as it may affect friendly use of human intelligence (HUMINT) to collect on threat forces.
Friendly forces must understand both the uniformed threat and how combat operations affect the
local populace in order to stabilize and secure the area. These three factors terrain, weather,
and the civilian populace are the environmental effects on the OE and will affect how both the
enemy and friendly forces will develop and execute courses of action (COAs). Some valuable
outputs of this step are the LOS overlay, lines of communications overlay, imagery overlays,
urban terrain overlay, population status overlay, weather analysis matrix, and the MCOO.
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Evaluate the threat. The third step of IPB includes confrming that the composition, disposition,
tactics, training, logistics, operational effectiveness, communications, intelligence, recruitment,
support, and external organizations are evaluated. The S-2 should not only evaluate these
components but also describe the threat decision-making process, estimate the standard lengths
of the threat decision cycle for both planned and unplanned operations, and identify the
collection systems available to each unit. Aviation units at NTC repeatedly fail to refne highers
products down to the appropriate friendly and threat levels; two levels down is the goal. The S-2
should determine which threat assets have the ability to neutralize or destroy friendly aircraft,
how they are arrayed in enemy doctrine, and how they are normally employed. Some focus
areas during this step include determining if enemy doctrine includes targeting FARP operations,
targeting the aviation unit itself, or targeting logistical resupply operations conducted by lift
assets. The S-2 should also establish whether or not the threat commander will use R&S assets to
determine friendly COAs. The end result is an enemy doctrinal template (DOCTEMP).
Using the DOCTEMP, the intelligence section can identify which enemy assets are critical to
executing the threats primary operations, commonly referred to as high-value targets (HVTs).
Threat HVTs then become friendly high-payoff targets (HPTs). Providing this information will
assist the operations staff in developing friendly rotary wing COAs.
The fnal element to this IPB step is determining if the enemy has the capability to execute
certain types of operations, especially shaping and decisive operations. The threat may have the
assets available for a particular type of operation, but can it maintain the necessary momentum to
do so? For example, does the enemy have the profciency to employ its available ADA assets in
a formation that offers protection from both nonlethal and lethal targeting? How will the enemy
employ enablers such as Global Positioning System jammers or electronic warfare assets?
The output of this step requires having a threat template/model complete with operational
graphic control measures and typical tasks for threat subordinate units; simple narratives are
not adequate. The S-2 produces models and effectively forecasts the threats COAs when the
S-2: understands the friendly mission throughout the operation, identifes the physical limits of
the AO and AOI, and identifes the operational environment characteristics that might affect the
The S-2 should continue to gather and capture intelligence gaps throughout this step
for later recommendation as a priority intelligence requirement (PIR). NTC trainers continuously
see PIR developed prior to this step of IPB, which leaves one to ponder, How effectively will
the unit answer these requirements?
Deter mine threat COAs. The fourth step of IPB requires the S-2 to develop enemy COAs
and prioritize them in order of likelihood, but is not completed in a proverbial vacuum;
several other staff sections can provide valuable insight. The outcome is to identify the threats
likely objectives and desired end state, identify the full set of threat COAs available, evaluate
and prioritize each COA, and identify initial collection requirements. Be sure to start at the
appropriate, parallel unit level in identifying the threats most likely objectives and desired end
state and template two levels down.
When identifying the full set of threat COAs available, the S-2 should start with the most basic
of operations, such as a deliberate attack, and work from there. According to FM 5-0, The
Operations Process, Appendix B, every COA must meet certain screening criteria: feasible,
acceptable, suitable, distinguishable, and complete. There are other factors that should also
be considered: the threats desired end state, likely attack or counterattack objectives, threat
vulnerabilities or shortages, current enemy location, location of logistical assets, location
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of supporting assets, the threats perception of friendly forces, and the effects of the OE on
The S-2 will then use the threat model in conjunction with the environmental effects to develop
the threat COAs. Each threat COA will have three components: a situation template (SITTEMP)
complete with time phase lines (TPLs), description of the COA along with available options such
as branches, and a listing of HVTs. The SITTEMP includes the current enemy situation on the
ground as is known to be, major assets and functions, main effort, locations and actions of the
HVTs, and scheme of maneuver. Consider each threat warfghting function and its tasks during
every COA developed. Each threat COA will be evaluated and prioritized by its strengths and
weaknesses, centers of gravity and decisive points, how well it meets the COA screening criteria,
how it takes advantage of the OE, the probability of the threat executing a deception operation by
looking like it is executing this COA, whether or not this COA is preferred over others, whether
or not it will achieve surprise, and, fnally, whether or not the current threat composition and
disposition facilitates this COA. All COA descriptions must answer the fve basic interrogatives:
who, what, when, where, why, and how. There are usually three enemy COAs developed and
fnalized for war gaming with the S-3 section: the most likely, most dangerous, and a hybrid of
the most likely and dangerous.
Once these three threat COAs are developed (only the most likely and most dangerous are
briefed to the commander), the S-2 should begin developing initial collection requirements after
determining named areas of interest (NAI) and activities that confrm or deny which COA the
enemy intends to undertake. Varying differences between the NAIs, TPLs, and certain indications
for each COA form the basis for the event template (EVENTEMP).
The EVENTEMP acts as a guide for R&S and collection plans. It should depict where to
collect in order to determine which threat COA is being executed. The event matrix, if properly
developed, supports the EVENTEMP by portraying the type of activity expected within
NAIs, times NAIs will likely see activity, and relevancy to other activities on the battlefeld.
The primary use for an event matrix is collection planning, but it can be used for situational
development. It will also assist in later planning stages when the decision support template is
This completes the fnal step of IPB, which can often be one of the most critical. The previous
three steps are its building blocks. Units fail to effectively produce the outputs of steps one
through three, yet will attempt step four with incomplete results.
IPB during decisive action is not as obscure as many perceive it to be. Solid understanding of the
IPB process and its outputs often alleviates many of the pitfalls witnessed during NTC rotations.
Intelligence professionals should seek out training opportunities within their respective brigades
and seek self-development to establish a frm foundation. Never dismiss an opportunity to
exercise the mind. There are many Soldiers depending on an effective staff.
1. FM 2-01.3, Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefeld/Battlespace, Chapter 3, October 2009.
2. FM 2-19.4, Brigade Combat Team Intelligence Operations, Chapter 3, November 2008.
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Attack and Scout Weapons Teams Employment in Suppor t of
Joint Air Attack Team Oper ations
MAJ Jamey Welch
A joint air attack team (JAAT) is an engagement technique using a combination of attack
reconnaissance aircraft and fxed-wing aircraft operating together to locate and attack high-
priority targets and other targets of opportunity. The JAAT normally operates as a coordinated
effort supported by fre support (FS); air defense artillery (ADA); naval surface fre support;
intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) systems; electronic warfare (EW) systems;
and ground maneuver forces against an enemy force (Joint Publication [JP] 3-09.3, Close Air
Attack reconnaissance aircraft are comprised of the AH-64D Apache Longbow and the OH-
58D Kiowa Warrior. The Apache elements are commonly referred to as attack weapons teams
(AWTs), and the Kiowas are referred to as scout weapons teams (SWTs). The AWTs and
SWTs are the Armys aviation assets involved with JAAT operations to support the joint force
Once a JAAT operation has been approved to support a maneuver commander, the G-2/S-2
must collaborate with the supporting aviation task force (TF) during intelligence preparation of
the battlefeld (IPB) to identify the target, target area, named areas of interest (NAIs), enemy
defenses, enemy and friendly dislocated persons, and a time window when the target will be
active in the engagement area (EA) (Field Manual [FM] 3-04.126, Attack Reconnaissance
Helicopter Operations). The aviation battalion or aviation TF will utilize the eight steps of EA
development in its mission planning in order to maximize the success of the JAAT operation.
The aircrews will use this information with additional information from the G-3/S-3 pertaining
to friendly units (e.g., FS, EW, ISR, ADA, etc.) participating in the JAAT to plan their direct
fre distribution techniques and their routes to their attack by fre (ABF) or battle positions. The
AWT/SWT air mission commander (AMC) will coordinate with his aviation TF staff to conduct
terrain analysis to identify ground and air avenues of approach to the EA and gaps in the threat
ADA line of sight/range due to the terrain.
Terrain analysis also aids in selecting ingress and egress routes for the AWT/SWT (FM
3-04.126). The aircrews should plan multiple ingress and egress routes to keep from developing
a pattern the enemy could exploit to shoot down the aircraft. Aircrews must coordinate with
the squadron weather offcer to determine what the weather conditions are forecasted to be
on the day or night the JAAT is planned to be executed. High humidity, fog, and precipitation
can reduce visibility and effectiveness of infrared devices and lasers. Low ceilings also affect
the range and employment of laser-guided Maverick and Hellfre missiles, since the trajectory
may put the missiles in the clouds. High temperatures and pressure can limit the range and
weapons payload of aircraft, and high or gusting winds affect the accuracy of indirect weapons
employment and can limit the use of rotary-wing aircraft (FM 3-04.126).
The commander and staff must articulate the desired effect of the JAAT for the aircrews to
continue planning. The JAAT end state can be quantifed in an attack guidance matrix (AGM),
which outlines the priority and number of targets to be destroyed, to ensure the commanders
guidance is met. The AGM will help the aircrews determine which munitions will be carried
on board the aircraft (i.e., Apaches fying Hellfre heavy versus a combination of Hellfre,
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rocket, and 30 mm). The aviation commander should coordinate with the maneuver commander
to determine if the attack aviation assets should use a continuous attack, phased attack, or
maximum destruction to meet the intent of the joint force commander.
The aviation TF must coordinate with the brigade combat team fre support element and brigade
aviation element to obtain graphic control measures of the FS and maneuver forces to develop
airspace control measures to deconfict with the other air assets to sequence munitions into
the EA and to prevent fratricide. The AMC must coordinate with the supported commander
to determine if the initiation of fres will be trigger-based or time-on-target based and review
the destruction criteria desired by the commander. Once the aircrews have obtained all the
information they need, the AMC will complete the plan and then review and rehearse the plan
with all of the aircrews to ensure everyone has detailed knowledge of the operation.
The AMC of the AWT/SWT should be designated as the mission commander of the JAAT, as the
AMC will have the best situational awareness of the targets remaining in the EA and where the
other JAAT assets are located. The AMC can push forward an SWT or unmanned aircraft system
to recon NAIs associated with the EA to confrm or deny the presence of the enemy moving into
the EA. Once the enemy has been confrmed in the NAIs, or moving into the EA, the AMC can
then call forward all air assets to occupy their ABFs or hold at the initial point in preparation
to execute the JAAT. Prior to the engagement into the EA, the AMC should determine how
he will coordinate the attack by using the combined attack, where all air assets use the same
avenue of approach to engage the enemy, or use a sectored attack, where each air asset utilizes a
different avenue of approach that are separated by an acknowledged and well-defned boundary/
terrain feature to engage the enemy (FM 3-09.32, JFIRE Multi-Service Tactics, Techniques, and
Procedures for the Joint Appllication of Firepower). The AMC should also weigh the advantages
and disadvantages of using simultaneous, sequential, or random frepower timing options when
he initiates the JAAT.
As the AWT/SWT expend ordnance, the AMC must prepare to conduct a battle handover to a
relieving force to continue the attack or determine if the AWT/SWT will need to disengage as
targets are destroyed to meet the commanders destruction criteria. When the AMC chooses to
disengage with the enemy, the AMC can use the close air support that is on station or use FS
to conduct covering fre while the AWT/SWT egresses from its ABFs to the rear. As the AWT/
SWT egresses to the rear, the AMC will send battle damage assessment reports to the joint force
commander to keep him aware of what was destroyed in the EA.
Summar y
When a JAAT is approved for execution, it is vital that the aviation battalion staff/aviation TF
staff is notifed to begin parallel planning with the joint force commanders staff. The aircrews
will be given a warning order of the JAAT so they can begin their planning of how they will
conduct their operations to meet the joint force commanders intent. Pre-mission planning
and coordination are the most important elements for the aircrews so that they will have a
comprehensive understanding of the enemy, the terrain, and how to integrate all of the available
assets to maximize the destruction of the enemy inside the EA to complete the JAAT operation
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Employment of Lift Aircr aft in a Decisive Action Environment
CPT(P) Chr istopher Getter
During Rotation 12-05, the National Training Center (NTC) conducted its frst decisive action
contingency expeditionary force rotation in a full spectrum training environment. Similar to any
rotation, aviation task forces (TFs) may initially struggle to build combat power due to multiple
delays caused by maintenance and weather. However, if the TF takes an active role to meet the
NTCs requirements, such as environmental qualifcation, the TF should be able to qualify all of
its aircrews and forward deploy to the tactical assembly area (TAA). The purpose of this article is
to articulate the numerous lessons learned that resulted in multiple sustains and areas identifed to
improve for future rotations.
The assault and general support aviation battalion observer-controller/trainers (OC/Ts) took
the opportunity to take an in-depth review of current doctrine and examine its use during the
decisive action rotation at NTC. Specifcally, the OC/Ts evaluated and observed the aviation
TFs successes and identifed areas of improvement by warfghting function in order to capture
lessons learned for all of U.S. Army aviation as it moves forward into fghting this new type
of battle. The OC/Ts stressed building on current profciencies from 10 years of executing
counterinsurgency (COIN) operations and relearning the tactics, techniques, and procedures
(TTP) for the type of force-on-force fght that the U.S. Army remained focused on for decades
prior to the Global War on Terrorism.
Specifcally, the aviation TF consistently demonstrated profciency in executing the hybrid COIN
portion of the fght. Whether it was providing medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) or air movement
support to the ground force commander (GFC), units usually succeeded without exception while
in a permissive operating environment. Once units made the transition from analog to digital
systems in the TAA, everything else fell into place. However, as soon as the brigade combat
team (BCT) began offensive operations and pushed through enemy terrain, aviation TFs seem to
struggle through many aspects of operations.
The most complex, resource intensive, and demanding mission set executed by the utility and
cargo aircrews is the air assault. During any rotation at the NTC, the aviation TF must clearly
defne the planning timeline that will be used for executing air assaults. Although many units
attempt to conduct deliberately planned air assaults, mission-creep, changes in the plan, or poor
time management force the planning process to become time constrained or hasty. We have seen
multiple aviation TFs begin the full 96 hours planning process, only to see it change drastically
and essentially become a completely new mission within 24 hours of execution. It is unrealistic
to expect units to be able to conduct hasty air assaults during an NTC rotation when they do
not have established air assault planning standing operating procedures (SOPs). The assault
OC/Ts recommend that units conduct air assault mission planning on a constrained timeline
in accordance with Army Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (ATTP) 3-18.12, Air Assault
Operations (FM 90-4) or an equivalent SOP (e.g., the 101st Air Assault Gold Book).
The aviation TF commander or designated air mission commander (AMC) also need to frmly set
restrictions during the planning process in order to provide the utility and cargo companies left
and right limits for their detailed planning. These restrictions do not exclude fexibility from the
plan. Rather, fexibility can be incorporated into the planning process while preventing mission
creep. The chain of command should protect the mission planners and aircrews from further
changes once the air mission coordination meeting (AMCM) is complete. The NTC OC/Ts have
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observed several methods that are consistently successful. One is to plan and brief multiple,
simple courses of action, of which one is selected at the conditions check. Another is to condense
the planning time to allow greater fexibility as the GFC develops the plan.
Of the three types of planning air assaults (deliberate, time constrained, and hasty), the NTC
recommends using the time-constrained process. The hasty planning cycle is the most diffcult
process for units to execute. During decisive action rotations, units struggle to develop a sound
and detailed air assault largely due to uncommon SOPs and to units that have not worked
together before. Establishing these TTP and systems takes additional time and repetitions before
the BCT and aviation TF can establish a habitual relationship. Many times when time is taken
away, signifcant steps are missed in the planning process or not completed to standard. This
leads to a signifcant loss in training value for all elements when the steps are not followed. For
these reasons, the hasty timeline is not recommended.
Because of the complex and evolving scenario, as well as inexperienced staff, we do not
recommend executing the deliberate cycle. The deliberate cycle will consume the staff at
all levels, and frequently it will struggle to plan operations four days in advance. The ideal
solution for a decisive action cycle is using the time-constrained planning process. This process
provides greater fexibility but several additional steps to be successful. The condensed process
relies heavily on combining briefs (such as making the AMB part of the BCT operation order
[OPORD] brief) and using the parallel planning process. Getting the aviation TFs input as the
BCT conducts its steps of the military decisionmaking process (MDMP) sets the conditions
for the planning process. Selecting and using the appropriate subject matter expert to serve
as an aviation liaison offcer (LNO) to the air assault task force (AATF) will provide instant
communication fow between the BCT and aviation TFs.
During this decisive action rotation, the OC/Ts recognized an increase in demand for time and
resources that air assaults placed on the staff and fight companies. Amplifying the demands on
time and resources is the fact that the units in a decisive action environment are challenged by
the reduced ability to use the digital systems they have become accustomed to from Operation
Enduring Freedom (OEF)/Operation New Dawn (OND). Units that are unfamiliar with and do
not have set SOPs for planning using analog systems (e.g., map board and grease pen) will also
have to develop systems for planning while preparing for the mission at hand. The planning
process takes twice as long and the product is far from ideal for these units as they try to develop
systems while they execute the task at hand. The key takeaway from preparing for air assaults is
to expect to use the time-constrained planning process and develop SOPs and TTP to conduct the
planning in a nondigital environment.
Preparing for operating in a decisive action environment requires preparing aircrews for
operations in airspace that will be contested and competitive. This means maintaining and
training with aircraft survivability equipment (ASE), to include the Common Mission Warning
System (CMWS) and APR-39 radar warning receivers. Most fight companies are profcient with
maintaining the CMWS and APR-39 immediately after returning from year-long deployments
to OEF. However, this profciency quickly diminishes, and as a community we will need to re-
examine the use of these systems when we are fghting an opposing force with an integrated air
defense system. During NTC Rotation 12-05, the opposing forces felded ZSU-24-4, SA-6, 2S6
replicators, and a number of shoulder-fred missile variants with great effect on the aviation TF.
Units need to ensure that they are loading their ASE with the proper data sets for the threat they
are fghting. It is imperative that units routinely review the Aircrew Training Manual and tactical
operations feld manuals for TTP on how to fy against each type of enemy weapon system.
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Every aircrew member needs to know what to do given each indication in a given threat profle.
The aviation TF commanders subject matter expert is his tactical operations (TACOPS) offcer.
TACOPS offcers have to provide the roadmap and the direction for the fight companies to
follow to operate in this environment.
The heavily discussed issue regarding fight altitudes also re-emerged during this rotation as we
operate lift aircraft to combat the most deadly enemy course of action. With the technologically
advanced surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery weapon systems on the decisive
action battlefeld, Army aviation needs to again practice fying low to the ground and masking
behind terrain. The new generation of U.S. Army aviators struggle with this profle, as they
have not seen this before. Army aviation needs to train for this new fight profle and, again,
make this a likely type of formation fight. Specifcally, these aircrews need to understand when
each fight profle is appropriate based upon mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and
support available, time available, and civil cosiderations (METT-TC). When operating within
close proximity of the forward line of own troops (FLOT), the aircrew need to keep the aircraft
masked from templated enemy positions utilizing traveling overwatch and the military crest
when available. As the aircraft transition away from the FLOT, they can fy at higher altitudes
that aviators have grown accustomed to in OEF/OND.
In a decisive action environment, pickup zone (PZ) control is much more complicated than the
current COIN operations. Although assumed to be a basic necessity during the air assault/air
movement mission planning process, this facet receives renewed importance in a decisive action
environment. Units have become accustomed to aircraft being parked on improved surfaces,
especially the airfelds and forward operating bases (FOBs) that have been occupied for years by
coalition forces in OEF/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Environmental conditions likely mean
few hardstand PZs or aircraft improved loading areas. Instead, the aviation TF, in conjunction
with the supported unit, is responsible for establishing a PZ at each location. This PZ must be an
improved, usable, and appropriately sized landing location free of hazards in the area. The units
also need to establish an area explicitly for the sole purpose of conducting command and control
of the PZ. This PZ control must have radio communication with the aircraft and aviation TF
tactical operations center (TOC). As essential as PZ control is, at no other time is this as apparent
as during a night air assault. Poor PZ control is routinely the number one source of signifcant
mission delays.
When occupying a TAA, there are multiple complications that aviation TFs will struggle with.
Air mission planning will take a lot more time and will completely consume the staff sections
involved. This is largely due to the reduced ability to use digital systems, whether generating
or distributing products. Just as fight companies need defned SOPs and TTP for conducting
operations with analog systems, the staff needs to develop these as well. Even with refned
SOPs and TTP, it is expected that the process will take more time, as the analog methods are
signifcantly less effcient. Further compounding this delay is that the junior battle staffs usually
do not have the ability to plan multiple mission sets simultaneously. To mitigate this, a tendency
seen at NTC is for the aviation TF commander to grant direct liaison authorized (DIRLATH) for
the fight companies to coordinate with the GFC.
DIRLATH can and does greatly decrease the workload on the staff and, if done properly on the
appropriate mission set, produces better results. For decisive action rotations, extreme caution
should be executed while using this method for planning complex mission sets. These missions
require staff synchronization and support from the TF, which is diffcult to achieve without the
S3s involvement. Further, when DIRLATH is used, the company needs to get a review and
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approval early from the TF commander. Typically, when using the DIRLATH method, this step
happens too late for the TF commander to provide guidance without disrupting the planning
As all of the feld manuals and ATTPs state, the air assault planning process requires the AMCs
guidance and must be conducted at the S-3 level. Without the planning being overseen at the
commander or S-3 level, the staff sections are not synchronized, and there is no coordination
with the fight company.
The fnal consideration for occupying the TAA is to examine obstacle avoidance and wind
direction for the aircraft parking locations, light/heavy PZs, and the MEDEVAC patient transfer
pad. When the aviation TF safety offcer is developing the recommended landing plan, the
fight companies must provide feedback and be actively involved in the selection of the landing
locations for each aircraft. The planning of aircraft approaches to parking and PZs is a signifcant
undertaking. The locations of hazards (e.g., tents and equipment), wind direction, and landing
direction must all be taken into account. Making the plan inherently more diffcult, the aircraft
will most often park on the outer perimeter of the TAA. Potentially, each parking location will
have a different approach direction. With winds remaining relatively constant from the west-
southwest at the NTC, aircraft need to be parked a signifcant distance from any other obstacle or
other aircraft in order for the aircrews to have the fexibility to land into the wind and then hover
taxi to their parking location.
The next most challenging facet of planning for the arrival and departure of aircraft involves
the MEDEVAC patient transfer pad. There is a balance that must be struck between speed of
patient transfer and safety of ground equipment/personnel. For ease of patient transfers, the
brigade support battalion (BSB) will request for the MEDEVAC aircraft to land as close as
possible to the medical treatment facility. Planners must be cognizant of this and remember
that the approach to unimproved pads is inherently more dangerous than what many are used to
from OEF/OIF. Aircrews must be given the fexibility to land into the wind and hover taxi into
the desired patient transfer point. Planners must leave a large direction of approach open to the
perimeter of the TAA, clear of all equipment, with the possible exception of a feld ambulance.
Assault and general support aviation battalion (GSAB) aircrews need to understand the
importance of their role as information collection platforms for the BCT. When operating in a
decisive action environment, aircrews are often not provided with digitally produced products
and are prone to become focused on executing only their assigned mission. During operation
and intelligence briefs, they likely will not be handed a single sheet depicting everything they
need to know from the S-3 or S-2. Instead, aircrews need to actively engage the briefers and
take copious notes, which will arm them with their greatest ability to keep their aircraft and
aircrew out of harms way. Furthermore, crews need to pull information from the TOC during
mission execution for not only weather updates, but also for current friendly and enemy activity
in their areas of operation (AOs). Whether this is via over-the-horizon voice communication
or Blue Force Tracker (BFT), aircrews need to ensure they have the information they need to
successfully operate in this environment. Lack of situational awareness on the battlefeld during
these rotations is a recurring issue.
Gaining and maintaining situational awareness of the AO is absolutely crucial. In a decisive
action environment, aviators now need to be thoroughly familiar with airspace control measures
and understand why they are in place. Consistently, we found MEDEVAC and ARF aircrews
willing to launch on hasty missions that required landing in the middle of ongoing engagements.
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This is poor habit transfer from years of operating in a COIN environment, where conducting
point of injury (POI) patient pickups became almost routine. In the decisive action threat
environments, the aviation TF and BCT have to utilize ambulance exchange points (AXPs)
and casualty collection points (CCPs) in a relatively safe location due to the higher threat of
catastrophic loss of an aircraft from MANPAD or AAA. Additionally, crews need to understand
that the battlefeld is constantly changing and the fog of war will play a huge role. AXPs and
CCPs may have to move due to enemy threat and relocate to an alternate location after the
crews receive the 9-Line. Establishing communication as early as possible with the ground unit
is pivotal to ensure aircrews are headed to the right location. Arming aircrews with the right
information before and during mission execution is only part of the overall objective. Aircrews
owe quality debrief information to the aviation TF S-2 and TACOPS offcers. They need to make
detailed observations of their assigned NAIs and brief the aviation TF S-2 in a timely manner.
Due to the operational tempo, this task is often not executed to standard and could provide the
pivotal information required for the BCT to determine future courses of action.
The most pressing issue for the utility, MEDEVAC, and cargo airframes during this rotation
is tied to their use during sustainment operations. As an overarching issue, the BCT plan for
sustainment operations never included or tasked aviation with resupply or logistic operations. In
turn, the aviation TF had multiple lift aircraft sitting unused in the TAA with aircrews prepped
and ready to support in any way. The tendency is for the higher headquarters to become fxated
on fnding and destroying the enemy and counting on the planned reconstitution of people and
equipment after large operations. Consistently, the maneuver forces sustain heavy casualty
rates, but the MEDEVAC aircraft are deployed less frequently than during a COIN rotation.
Furthermore, the 9-Line submission process needs to be clear cut and defned for analog and
digital operations. At times the aviation TF did not know the submission method had changed
until a 9-Line was actively being processed by the BCT, which resulted in launches being
delayed over an hour as patients waited for transport. The aviation TF needs to understand the
role and capabilities these enablers bring and must push to provide this support to its higher to
get them into the fght.
Due to the physical environment and threat during a decisive action rotation at NTC, the heavy
brigade combat team (HBCT) experienced a higher than anticipated rate of vehicle maintenance
and battle damage on its heavy pieces of equipment. Rather than task the aviation TF to conduct
resupply or air movement operations, the forward support units and the BSB conducted tactical
convoy operations to move parts and personnel across the battlefeld. The utility aircraft could
have transported most of the repair parts required to fx these vehicles at the forward support
team (FST) locations. Unfortunately, the aviation TF never received an air mission request
(AMR) to conduct this support. To push the BCT in this direction, it could have pulled the
information about the FST locations and prepared helicopter landing zones (HLZs). The aviation
TF should coordinate with the BSB to establish a heavy PZ that is suitable to pick up these parts
to make resupply feasible.
With utility and cargo aircraft available for decisive action rotations, the BSB and BCT S-4 need
to develop, hand in hand with the aviation TF, SOPs and TTP for aviation logistical support. This
includes ensuring the right equipment for conducting these operations is on hand, to include:
slings, cargo nets, and fuel blivets. Further, the BAE needs to establish systems that are clearly
defned and known by its subordinate units for the submission, approval, and execution of
AMRs. The emphasis and coordination between the aviation TF, BAE, BCT S-4, and BSB PSO
will set the condition for the successful air logistical support.
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The fnal takeaway for lift aircraft in a decisive action environment is knowing how to use all the
capabilities of these aircraft, not only by the GFC, but also by the aviation TF. After 10 years of
fghting the Global War on Terror, we have become experts at employing the aircraft in specifc
confgurations. We need to again train and maintain the full spectrum of abilities of the aircraft
to include: UH-60 external stores (Wethawk/Fathawk), UH-60 C2 console, UH-60 retrans,
HH-60 patient carousels (litter racks in the HH-60M), CH-47 litter kits, and CH-47 FATCOW
equipment. There are numerous confgurations for the aircraft that have not been used in a
COIN environment that offer enormous combat multipliers in this type of battle. They are on the
MTOE and need to be maintained and trained on. As OC/Ts, we have seen that each of the above
mentioned systems absolutely would have increased the effciency of the aviation TF and BCT.
The use of the utility, MEDEVAC, and cargo helicopters in a decisive action rotation at NTC is a
practice that will require signifcant preparation and rehearsals prior to deploying. Army aviation
is extremely effective at operating aircraft in a COIN environment and now must make these
adjustments to remain relevant, responsive and timely for our future battles.
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Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses Planning and Consider ations
for the Aviation Task Force
CPT Daniel K. Symonds
Suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD) is any activity that neutralizes, destroys, or
temporarily degrades enemy surface-based air defenses by destructive and/or disruptive means
(J oint Publication [J P] 3-01.4, JTTP for Joint Suppression of Enemy Defense [J-SEAD]). SEAD
is a proactive measure taken to ensure the safety of friendly aircraft once an enemy air defense
threat has been determined. This threat can be either lethal or nonlethal. We have not had to
employ SEAD since the beginning of the Global War on Terror and have fallen behind on the
systems available and the planning considerations needed to properly employ them. Decisive
action training rotations at the National Training Center (NTC) will include situations with an
enemy air defense threat to our air superiority, making SEAD planning a vital function.
During the frst decisive action rotation at the NTC, the rotational unit had 12 aircraft shot down
during a 14-day period. The number of aircraft attacked by enemy air defense was high due to
the inexperience at all levels in the planning and execution of SEAD. Figure 24-1 shows the
locations of each aircraft shot down, by training day, and what asset was used by the opposing
Figure 24-1
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Within the aviation task force (AVN TF), the fre support offcer (FSO) plays a critical role in
the planning and execution of SEAD fres. To properly accomplish this task, he must not only
understand the threat situation and capabilities along the fight route, but also understand the
assets available and the commanders desired effect for the SEAD. The frst step in planning a
SEAD mission is ensuring all parties have a working knowledge of the types and categories of
SEAD and the considerations that accompany each.
SEAD includes destructive (lethal) and disruptive (nonlethal) means to suppress the enemys air
defense. Destructive means seek to destroy the threat system or the personnel operating it. The
effects are cumulative and increase aircraft survivability, but destructive means may place large
demands on the available combat capabilities/forces (J P 3-01.4). Lethal attacks can originate
from feld artillery cannon and rocket fres as well as rotary and fxed-wing aircraft. Disruptive
means temporarily deny, degrade, deceive, delay, or neutralize enemy air defense systems to
increase aircraft survivability. Disruptive means may be either active or passive. Electronic
warfare can provide active nonlethal SEAD by jamming the enemys command and control
and radar capabilities using systems like the EC-130H (Compass Call) and the EA-6B Prowler.
Artillery smoke can be used to disrupt enemy radar as another example of active disruption;
examples of passive disruption include camoufage and material design features.
We have not faced an enemy utilizing Integrated Air Defense Systems (IADS) throughout the
Global War on Terror, which has allowed U.S. forces unchallenged air superiority. IADS is
defned in JP 3-01.4 as air defense threats that are normally integrated in a national, alliance,
or sub-national architecture. During the counterinsurgency fght in Iraq and Afghanistan, radar-
supported air defense systems were not prevalent, so most FSOs have not conducted planning
to combat them. The early days of Desert Storm were a testament to successful SEAD planning
against an enemy with air defense artillery (ADA) systems.
The Use of Active Disr uptive SEAD in the Per sian Gulf War
Signifcant use of US defense suppression forces occurred in 1990-91, beginning with the
deployment of US forces to the Persian Gulf region in response to the Iraqi invasion of
Kuwait and potential invasion of Saudi Arabia. After a nearly six-month buildup, the war
began in the pre-dawn morning of January 17, 1991, a war in which electronic warfare would
play a greater role than in any previous confict. Phase 1 of the battle plan for coalition forces
called for the weight of the coalition air effort to be thrown against the Iraqi air defense and
command and control network, air force, and Scud Missiles. The goals of this phase were
to gain and maintain air superiority allowing freedom of action over Iraq for coalition air
forces and to destroy Iraqs ability to retaliate with its weapons of mass destruction. Phase
2 called for destruction of the defenses in the Kuwaiti theater of operations, followed by
other phases aimed at cutting off the entrenched Iraqi forces in Kuwait and preparing the way
for the ground assault.
SOURCE: Hewitt, William A., Planting the Seeds of SEAD, Maxwell AFB: Air University
Press, 1993.
To properly plan these fres, the FSO must collaborate with the AVN TF battle staff (S-2, S-3,
tactical operations [TACOPS], S-6) to understand the threat situation and capabilities along
the fight route. Also, he must know the friendly scheme of maneuver to properly time the fres
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(Field Manual [FM] 3-09.30, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Observed Fire and Fire
Support at Battalion Task Force and Below). Armed with the high-payoff target list (HPTL)
and the friendly scheme of maneuver, the FSO then gathers the fight ingress and egress routes
to begin planning SEAD. SEAD is time and/or event driven, so working with pilots and staff to
have a good understanding of general air craft capabilities is essential.
The brigade aviation element (BAE) will have all air routes, air control points (ACPs), and
airspace coordination areas (ACAs). The air mission commander (AMC) or TACOPS offcer
will be able to tell you the precise time in the aircrafts fight when they will reach a point in
which they will be in range of the enemys radar or direct-fre line of sight. Using these assets
will allow the FSO to plan SEAD targets or effects along the route, ensure that the timing of the
fight is taken into consideration for all targets, and suppress the enemy systems during the entire
time the friendly aircraft are within the enemy range fan. Collaborative planning is essential to a
successful operation. The FSO must work with the brigade staff as well as the fres and maneuver
staffs. Effective SEAD cannot successfully be planned in a vacuum.
Understanding that the goal of SEAD is to take the enemy air defenses out of the fght to allow
freedom of movement for friendly aircraft is paramount. During the mission analysis phase of
the military decisionmaking process (MDMP), key enemy air defense systems are identifed
by the S-2 as high-value targets (HVTs) and then nominated onto the HPTL due to their threat
to friendly air assets. There are three primary objectives for planning SEAD in support of air
operations (JP 3-01.4):
Accomplish an accurate appraisal of enemy air defenses and their ability to infuence
the outcome of overall air operations.
Decide on the scope, magnitude, and duration of SEAD operations necessary to reduce
enemy air defense capabilities to acceptable risk levels.
Determine the capabilities of available suppression assets, as well as potential
competing requirements for these forces.
SEAD fres are categorized as planned or immediate. Planned SEAD is conducted against targets
developed during the targeting process and designated for attack. Planned SEAD is further
broken down into three types: scheduled, on call, and deceptive.
Scheduled SEAD is executed on a time sequence. An artillery time-on-target mission
is used when you know the route and timeline, such as in a preplanned joint air attack
team (J AAT).
On-call SEAD is event trigger based under positive control. The use of pro-words from
an execution checklist simplifes this method of triggering SEAD fres.
Deceptive SEAD is fred into an area to deceive the enemy or cause him to reposition
his air defense weapons away from where actual operations will take place.
Immediate SEAD is conducted against ADA targets of opportunity that are detected within the
range of available weapon systems and not yet targeted. The execution of immediate SEAD
should refect priorities established on the HPTL and attack guidance matrix (AGM). Delivery
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systems and quick-fre nets are critical to support immediate SEAD operations. A quick-fre net
provides a direct link between an observer and weapon system (normally feld artillery).
To begin fre planning for SEAD, work with the AVN TF battle staff to get the necessary
products. Place an enemy situation template and friendly graphics on the fre support situation
map. Obtain a time-distance heading card or air mission planning card from the AVN TF
operations offcer. This provides the fight speed and direction information for the fight route. To
convert air speed in knots to kilometers per hour (kmph) or kilometers per minute (kmpm), refer
to the air speed conversion chart below.
Figure 24-2. Air speed conver sion char t
Using the information from the air mission planning card, plot enemy range fans for the ADA
systems along the route. Determine the friendly delivery assets available for providing SEAD.
Remember that there are many assets available in addition to organic cannon and mortar fres,
such as electronic attack. With enemy range fans plotted, friendly delivery assets available, AVN
fight speed, and route, now you can plan suppressive fres on enemy ADA systems. Below are
samples of an HPTL and an AGM (FM 3-60, The Targeting Process).
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Figure 24-3
Figure 24-4
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The staff must also take communications into consideration when planning for aviation
operations. Aviation communications systems include FM, UHF, VHF, and satellite spectrums,
and the large distances covered by the aircraft are both challenges that must be planned for. The
fre support element (FSE) has a limited number of assets to communicate across the area of
operations. FM radios and Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS) are the
primary means available, so ensure all friendly units are built into AFATDS and commo checks
with all units have been conducted. The AVN TF S-6 must develop a plan that includes primary,
alternate, contingency, and emergency communications venues (the PACE plan). With good
communications established, the FSO is in a position to use the observations from the pilots and
paint the picture, not just for the battalion, but to the fre support coordinator (FSCOORD), as
well. The FSCOORD is the BCTs organic fres battalion commander and the primary adviser
on the planning for and employment of feld artillery and fre support. Having both roles, reports
relayed from the FSO allow the FSCOORD to better understand how a fght is progressing and
allocate the assets needed for any on-call or immediate SEAD missions.
SEAD planning is an essential task of the FSO when faced with any air defense threat. SEAD
needs to be a consideration during mission analysis any time aircraft will be fown in support
of the mission. Remember that timing is essential to the SEAD plan. A plan executed after an
aircraft is shot down will result in combat search-and-rescue operations instead of focusing
combat power on the enemy. Do not overlook the communications plan, and do conduct commo
checks prior to execution. Use the subject matter experts in the aviation staff and collaborative
planning across the staffs at brigade and the battalions to ensure the safety of friendly aircrews
and to allow us to gain air superiority.
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Scout Weapons Team Employment in the Reconnaissance and
Counter reconnaissance Fights
MAJ Adam Duvall
Times and future challenges are changing, and the U.S. Army must change with them to be
prepared for future battles. As we begin to bring a close to one war, we prepare for the next by
examining and adapting to every complex operational environment or hybrid threat imaginable.
Some tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) on how we fght will not change for the most
part, however others will. Some will be resurrected from the past, from doctrine written in feld
manuals (FMs) that most of us havent thought about since we frst came into the Army (e.g., FM
17-95, Cavalry Operations, and FM 1-114, Air Cavalry Squadron and Troop Operations), while
others will be developed from battles won and lost in past operations. As doctrine and tactics
continue to change and what is old becomes new again, each of the U.S. Armys warfghting
functions will need to adapt and train to meet the changes that lie ahead. Similarly, as a function
of movement and maneuver, along with intelligence, Army aviation must adapt to face this
hybrid threat and complex environment.
As attack reconnaissance troop (ART) observer controller/trainers at the National Training
Center (NTC), we witnessed some of these changes frsthand. NTC Rotation 12-05 was the frst
hybrid-threat decisive action rotation at NTC and featured 3/3 Heavy Brigade Combat Team
(BCT) and 3-17 Cavalry (CAV) as the attack reconnaissance squadron (ARS). Focusing on
operations and TTP that have not been practiced in quite some time, these two units conducted
the entirety of operations together and conducted them quite well. These operations focused
outside the norm of how aviation operations are conducted today in environments such as
Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). Tactical assembly area operations, silent forward area
refueling point (FARP) and jump tactical operations center (TOC) operations, maintenance in
austere conditions, as well as combat operations facing a sizable enemy force are just some of the
many challenges 3-17 ARS faced.
For the purposes of this article, we will examine how 3-17 ARS conducted combat operations.
More specifcally, we will focus on reconnaissance and counterreconnaissance and what worked
well for Task Force (TF) Lighthorse.
Reconnaissance is a focused collection effort that produces combat information (FM 3-04.126,
Attack Reconnaissance Helicopter Operations). Commanders frequently task the ARS to
obtain, by visual observation or other detection methods, information about enemy activities
and resources or about the meteorological, hydrographic, or geographic characteristics and the
indigenous population of a particular area (FM 3-04.126). Successful reconnaissance operations
are planned and performed according to seven fundamentals:
Gain and maintain contact.
Orient on the reconnaissance objective.
Report all information timely and accurately.
Retain freedom of maneuver.
Develop the situation rapidly.
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Ensure maximum reconnaissance forces forward.
Ensure continuous reconnaissance.
These fundamentals will serve as our discussion points as we look at how to effectively conduct
reconnaissance during decisive action.
Gaining and maintaining contact. Gaining contact safely and effectively can be a diffcult
operation when you are facing a sizable peer force. A thorough mission analysis of the terrain
and probable enemy line of sight is a must for all aircrews before departing the assembly area to
fnd the enemy. Using the terrain to move stealthily across the battlefeld can be time consuming,
but the reward can be your life, especially when enemy air defense is robust and plentiful. Scout
weapons teams (SWTs) should focus on using the low ground, or a low altitude fight profle, to
maneuver the battle space up to the reconnaissance objective. Using tools and analysis derived
through intelligence preparation of the battlefeld (IPB), it is possible to determine likely air
avenues of approach and template enemy air defense positions.
During the rotation, 3-17 CAV took this seriously. Through thorough analysis of other reports
sent up about possible enemy locations, 3-17 CAV was able to paint a picture of the battle space
and possible enemy positions for all the pilots in the TF. Knowing where the enemy will look
for aircraft and using a low-terrain fight profle can signifcantly reduce a teams radar signature
as well as a visual and acoustic signature for any enemy observation posts that might be out
there. Using ridgelines and hill tops to conceal its position or movement proved to be extremely
effective for 3-17 CAV. SWTs were able to move across the battlefeld almost undetected by
staying low, remaining behind ridgelines, and bounding from hill to hill to gain contact with the
enemy. This movement technique, known as bounding overwatch, not only allowed them to gain
contact, but also it allowed them to maintain it as long as the mission required them to do so.
This fundamental, and in my opinion the most important one, must be practiced extensively by
all aircrews before a decisive action rotation. Your mission success will depend on it.
Or ienting on the reconnaissance objective. The reconnaissance objective is a terrain feature,
geographic area, or an enemy force about which the commander wants to obtain additional
information (FM 3-90, Tactics). The reconnaissance objective clarifes the intent of the
reconnaissance effort by specifying the most important result to obtain from the reconnaissance
effort (FM 3-90). Every reconnaissance mission must specify a reconnaissance objective.
The commander assigns a reconnaissance objective to fll information gaps or answer his
priority intelligence requirements (PIR) resulting from the IPB process and the reconnaissance
assets capabilities and limitations (FM 3-90). The ARS must remain focused on meeting the
reconnaissance objective regardless of what is encountered during the mission. Establishing clear
commanders reconnaissance guidance will help to alleviate wasted efforts. Clear guidance, at
a minimum, will include the focus, tempo (stealthy, forceful/deliberate or rapid), engagement
criteria, bypass criteria, and any limits of advance that have been placed on the unit by a higher
headquarters. Clear reconnaissance guidance can help re-cage aircrews during operations if they
become distracted from the objective, especially during a decisive action rotation at NTC when
the opposing force is plentiful on the battlefeld.
Repor ting all infor mation r apidly and accur ately. The ARSs must acquire and report
accurate and timely information on the threat, civil considerations, and terrain and weather
that could impact friendly operations (FM 3-04.126). All information, even if it appears
unimportant initially, may become valuable when combined with other reports across the
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battlefeld. Delayed reporting, of even the smallest pieces of information, could result in missed
opportunities. Although reporting where the enemy is located is valuable, reporting where he
is not is just as vital. This information, when combined with other reports, is critical in the
counterreconnaissance effort. Essentially, counterreconnaissance is a directed reconnaissance
effort to determine the location, disposition, and composition of the enemys own reconnaissance
force. In a decisive action rotation at NTC, you know the enemy is out there and with him is
his recon elements actively looking for you as you are them. To defeat them, you must rule out
where the enemy recon is through negative spot reports and battle tracking. If you can rule out
where the enemy recon is not, you will predict where he is.
TF Lighthorse fgured this out. Through a very stealthy and deliberate reconnaissance effort by
the ART, they were able to predict and confrm enemy reconnaissance locations through negative
spot reports. This allowed the BCT to focus its combat power at decisive locations where the
enemy was. To do all this effectively, one must keep in mind the most important aspect of this
fundamental: combat information is extremely time sensitive, and it loses its relevance as it ages.
The last time information is of value (LTIOV) must be briefed to every aircrew departing on a
reconnaissance mission. This will play a huge roll in timelines and tempo for the SWT and could
aid in producing relative information to the ground force.
Retaining freedom of maneuver. ARTs must retain the ability to maneuver in order to
successfully complete their missions. The ART obtains information by stealth when possible, but
maintains its ability to fght as necessary to accomplish the mission (FM 3-04.126). Overwatch,
suppressive fres, and cunning and constant awareness of the tactical situation help retain the
freedom to maneuver (FM 3-04.126). During reconnaissance, the ART or SWT should avoid
becoming decisively engaged. If the SWT is decisively engaged, reconnaissance is stopped
and a battle for survival begins. SWTs must have clear commanders guidance concerning
engagement, disengagement, and bypass criteria that support the maneuver commanders intent
(FM 3-04.126). To prevent a decisive engagement, teams must adhere to the commanders
reconnaissance guidance and employ proper movement and reconnaissance techniques. Initiative
and knowledge of both the terrain and threat reduces the likelihood of decisive engagements and
helps maintain freedom of movement (FM 3-04.126).
Unfortunately, retaining freedom of maneuver can be an often misconstrued fundamental. Simply
put, retaining freedom of maneuver means choosing your battles wisely; it means knowing when
to engage and when not to engage. Tactical patience was a big lesson learned by all units during
the decisive action rotation. If an SWT engages an enemy vehicle and by doing so unmasks
and discloses its location, how high is the risk of being seen and subsequently engaged by the
enemy? Who is in the next valley over or behind the next hill? These questions should be in the
back of every air mission commanders (AMCs) mind when conducting reconnaissance at NTC.
Sometimes choosing not to engage and adhering to the briefed engagement and bypass criteria
can be the best course of action.
Develop the situation r apidly. While conducting reconnaissance, SWTs frequently encounter
tactical situations requiring immediate actions on contact and rapid situational development
(FM 3-04.126). These tactical situations may concern obstacles or threat activities. If an
obstacle is encountered, the SWT must determine the type and extent of the obstacle, whether
it is covered by fre, and, if so, who or where the observer is likely to be. Obstacles can provide
information concerning the location of threat forces, weapon capabilities, and organization
of fres (FM 3-04.126). If a threat is encountered, the SWT determines its size, composition,
disposition, strength, activities, and movement. In most cases, the SWT will develop the
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situation by immediately conducting an actions-on-contact battle drill. They will then deploy to
cover, report, and maintain observation of and assist in developing the situation (FM 3-04.126).
Reconnaissance techniques, often in the form of battle drills, are used to rapidly develop the
situation, maintain tempo, and not relinquish initiative to the threat. SWTs develop the situation
based on orders, the unit tactical standing operating procedures (TACSOP), and the commanders
intent. There are situations based on attack guidance and terrain when it may be more appropriate
to immediately develop the situation (for example, conduct a direct-fre engagement) rather than
deploy to cover (FM 3-04.126).
Understanding your units rules of engagement (ROE) is critical for every AMC to properly
and rapidly develop the situation. If you are unable to make timely decisions while in contact
because you do not understand the ROE, this could cost your life or someone elses. 3-17 CAVs
air mission commanders understood the ROE throughout their rotation at NTC. As the SWTs
rapidly moved across the battlefeld, not a moment was lost deliberating between the cockpits
over the ROE. Whether it was a troops in contact situation or the discovering of an enemy
reconnaissance location, the SWTs always knew how they wanted to handle the situation.
Training and enforcing ROE discipline sets your troops up for success, not only at the NTC, but
also for combat in any theater of operation.
Ensur ing maximum reconnaissance forces for war d. SWTs are most valuable when providing
essential, real-time, actionable information about the operational environment. The optimal
number of intelligence-gathering assets should be employed in the reconnaissance effort at all
times. Keeping reconnaissance assets in reserve does nothing for the maneuver commander. This
being said, a commander should also use these assets sparingly, as he may need them for follow-
on or future fghts. To maximize reconnaissance assets effectively, they must be positioned as
far forward as mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available, time available,
civil considerations (METT-TC); combat support; and sustainment factors allow with maximum
unmanned aircraft system (UAS) integration (FM 3-04.126).
Integrating into the maneuver commanders reconnaissance plan is a must for every ARS or
ART. By becoming part of the overall reconnaissance plan, ARTs can support the maneuver
commander by flling in the gaps in the reconnaissance effort where patrols or observation posts
were lacking. This cohesion will allow the ART and other reconnaissance assets to have more
supporting felds of observation and cover a more robust area of terrain. It also provides the
maneuver commander an economy of force as he looks to expand his reconnaissance effort in
other areas.
In a decisive action rotation, having multiple UAS platforms at your disposal can signifcantly
increase a units situational awareness. While not felded to them yet, one capability that would
have served 3-17 CAV well is the new Level 2 manned-unmanned teaming (L2-MUMT)
software and equipment suite. This capability not only would have allowed the SWTs to
recon more ground continuously, it would have allowed them to maximize their standoff and
concealment from enemy elements that posed a signifcant threat. Being able to pull feeds from
a Shadow UAS, or send the feeds to a maneuver commander on the ground, is a highly valuable
tool for an ARS to have during a decisive action rotation. It not only provides real-time voice,
video, and target data to the SWT, it also gives that maneuver commander vital information at
critical decision points during the fght. MUMT is the defnition of maximum reconnaissance
force forward.
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Ensur ing continuous reconnaissance. Effective reconnaissance is continuous and is conducted
before, during, and after all operations (FM 3-04.126). Before an operation, reconnaissance
focuses on flling information gaps on the threat disposition and the operational environment.
During an operation, aerial reconnaissance focuses on providing updated real-time information
verifying the enemys composition, disposition, and intentions as the battle progresses. This
allows the ground force commander to answer PIR, verify which course of action is actually
being adopted by the enemy, and determine if his plan is still valid based on actual events (FM
3-04.126). After an operation, aerial reconnaissance focuses on maintaining contact with the
threat to determine its next move and collecting information necessary to determine branch or
sequel operations (FM 3-04.126). At a minimum, reconnaissance is conducted continuously as
an integral part of all security missions, including the status of local security for forces not in
contact (FM 3-04.126).
Ensuring that continuous reconnaissance is conducted can take a toll on the ARS if not planned
correctly. All troop assets used in the reconnaissance effort, to include Soldiers and systems, need
time for rest, resupply, and maintenance services and checks (FM 3-04.126). The commander
must determine not only where but also when he will need his maximum reconnaissance effort
forward and adjusts fghter management and maintenance plans to ensure adequate assets are
available at these critical times and places. Detailed and disciplined crew rest plans are critical
to attack reconnaissance operations (FM 3-04.126). To be effective, these plans must be nested
with the current battle rhythm and enforced by the personal example and supervision of the troop
command group (FM 3-04.126). The unpredictability of a decisive action environment will put
these plans to the test and must be prepared for.
As we have discussed, using the fundamentals of reconnaissance, planning, and conducting
reconnaissance during a decisive action rotation at NTC is not something that should be taken
lightly. Preparation, training, and rehearsals should be conducted prior to arrival at the NTC. If
the opportunity presents itself, incorporate training with your supported maneuver commanders
and build a relationship early in order to learn how to work together cohesively. Good detailed
and deliberate reconnaissance can win the fght at NTC or whatever theater of operation you
fnd yourself, but you must do it well. Stick to the fundamentals and the basics as you plan your
mission execution. If you can get the basics right in a decisive action fght, everything else will
fall into place.
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Tactical Convoy Oper ations in an Aviation Task Force
CPT Keith R. Benoit
In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Tactical road march day at the National Training Center (NTC) starts in the early morning
darkness of the staging area with the frantic last-minutes briefngs, distribution of hand-drawn
strip maps, attempts to account for all rolling stock and personnel, and the cobbling together of
a communication plan to support the upcoming movement. The frantic and frenetic planning
results in the last three vehicles of the serial being separated from the convoy in an unsecure
area, with no idea of what to do next. The vehicle occupants have no communications, limited
understanding of their mission, and a lack of adequate navigation capability to get them to the
tactical assembly area (TAA). With the unfolding of these events, the brigade combat team
(BCT) has just experienced what is known as an isolated personnel event.
Tactical convoy operations (TCO) planning and execution have always been a challenge for
aviation units. With the U.S. Army moving to a decisive action training environment (DATE),
this challenge will only increase with the complexity of operations. Aviation units at the NTC
are no exception; they too struggle with TCO planning. This struggle perhaps is partly due to the
staffs frst priority being focused on supporting the BCTs movements, leaving the movement
of its own personnel and equipment as an afterthought. Additionally, over the last decade of
warfghting, our aviation units have operated primarily from fxed-base locations and have not
had the need to conduct tactical road marches. The problem set is all the more compounded by
the reality that our staffs are typically small and include a relatively junior group of aviation
offcers, who are much more comfortable planning air operations than ground operations. You
can easily see how we got to this point.
In an attempt to assist units in overcoming these challenges, we have begun teaching the air
assault (AASLT) planning process as a framework for TCO at the NTC. At frst glance this may
seem strange, but when you consider the factors discussed above, it makes sense. We no longer
have to teach a young staff a new way to think about convoy planning; rather, we can reference
their own AASLT standing operating procedure, the 101st Gold Book, or Field Manual (FM) 90-
4, Air Assault Operations, to draw familiarity to TCO planning.
This article will explain how to apply the AASLT planning process and the fve phases of an
AASLT to TCO. If we as a branch apply this process, we can greatly increase our combat
effectiveness and capability to support our customers.
Air Assault Planning Process
The AASLT planning process provides the backbone for planning any convoy operation and
is nested with the military decisionmaking process (MDMP). The initial meetings that occur
during the AASLT planning process should also occur for a convoy. The air mission coordination
meeting (AMCM) is normally a meeting that occurs between the supporting and supported units
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for an AASLT. For a TCO, this meeting should occur between the convoy commander and the
battalion S-3. In addition, the S-2, S-6, S-4, forward support company (FSC) commander, and
serial commanders should be present. During this meeting, the S-3 should brief the concept
for the TCO, assets available, and the tactical environment the TCO will operate in. As with an
AASLT, the result of the meeting should be a fnalized concept of the operation and a framework
for the critical documents required for a successful execution.
The next meeting in the AASLT planning process is the air mission brief (AMB). The AMB is a
coordinated staff effort wherein the plan is briefed to and approved by the unit commander. The
AMB serves as the good idea cutoff point for planning air operations. This should also hold
true for a TCO. The TCO mission brief should include the commander, all battalion staff, and
TCO serial leadership, and all necessary products should be present and distributed. During this
brief, the battalion commander approves the TCO plan, the resources and enablers required to
complete the mission, expected contingencies, and the mission risk.
(Note: Sample products [Figures 26-1 to 26-6] are located at the conclusion of this article.)
Using the six critical documents derived from the AMB (air movement table and crew card,
commo card, pickup zone [PZ] diagram, landing zone [LZ] diagram, operations sketch, and route
cards), an aviation unit can build the necessary documents that must be present for the ground
version of the AMB and ACMB (Figure 26-1). The air movement table is easily converted into
a ground movement table using the same basic layout. The table must include the time schedule
for each serial, the composition of personnel and loads, and the order in which the vehicles will
be staged and moved. The commo card must have all necessary SOI information to include
frequencies of adjacent units or battlespace owners that the convoy will pass through, and any
fre support assets available. The operations sketch can be drawn out to show the route of march
and the basic locations of friendly units and checkpoints on the route. PZ and LZ diagrams are
replaced by a staging area sketch (PZ) and an assembly area sketch (LZ). Finally the route cards
must contain all pertinent information on the route, to include time of legs, maintenance and
medical facilities, and checkpoint locations (Figure 26-3). Additionally, the staff should produce
an execution checklist that contains all pertinent events so that the staff and commander can
easily battle-track the progress of the mission.
The aircrew brief is equivalent to the convoy briefng given by the convoy commander to the
entire convoy. This brief covers the TCO plan and all actions necessary to successfully complete
the mission. Following the TCO brief, a backbrief and detailed rehearsal should always take
place. Precombat checks and precombat inspections are an inherent requirement, as is the
appropriate level of vehicle-operator rest.
Reverse Planning Sequence
The fve stages, or basic plans, of an AASLT as depicted in both the 101st Gold Book and FM
90-4 can also be applied to the TCO planning process. Being familiar with the aviation planning
staff and its function during the AASLT planning process and applying these steps as a guide,
will aid in convoy planning for a staff that is inexperienced in such operations. While not all
aspects of the AASLT process translate directly to convoy operations, using the steps below
should aid any staff in planning a tactical convoy.
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Staging Plan
Much like in the AASLT planning process, the staging plan for a ground movement sets the
conditions for a successful operation. The essential points that have to be considered are the
correct division of serials, cross-load of leaders and equipment throughout each serial, placement
of weapons within the serial, and the staging of key vehicles within the serials. Combined and
done correctly, these steps will set conditions for the execution of the loading plan. The ground
equivalent of the ACMB, which is the convoy briefng, must also take place during this phase.
An example format of this briefng is included as Figure 26-1.
Prior to the convoy briefng, maps and graphics must be distributed. It is crucial that all graphics
are common between echelons of command and with adjacent units to prevent fratricide
and decrease reaction time for fre support or an emergency response force. Ground special
instructions such as immediate evasion plans and code words should also be briefed during this
phase to allow time for rehearsals and dissemination to the lowest level. The intelligence portion
of the convoy briefng should be briefed by a member of the S-2 shop if not by the actual S-2
offcer. At a minimum, an enemy situational template (SITTEMP) must be provided as well as
the identifcation of likely hazards and light and weather data.
The march order and staging of vehicles must be handled by a level of leadership similar to
that designated as PZ control for an AASLT. The most common level of ground movement
for an aviation unit is the battalion level, and, therefore, the battalion executive offcer (XO)
should have overall responsibility for the TCO staging area and march order. Within each
serial, a company-level XO (preferably from headquarters, Delta, or the FSC) assisted by a
senior noncommissioned offcer should be designated as responsible for their individual serials.
Vehicles should be staged no later than four hours and preferably eight hours prior to movement
for a battalion-level movement. Understanding that movements often occur under a compressed
timeline much like AASLTs, the unit leadership must decide what steps will be compressed to
depart in a timely manner. Once vehicles are staged in position and the convoy brief is complete,
loading of personnel and equipment can begin (Figure 26-6).
Loading Plan
The loading plan for a TCO consists of two major components: loading of equipment and
loading of personnel. The challenge that most aviation units face is the fact that their modifed
fable of organization and equipment (MTOE) likely does not provide enough rolling-stock
capacity to haul the units organic personnel, containers, and equipment. The proper loading
of equipment is of the utmost importance so that the unit has to rely less on outside sources for
movement. A key task is to frst account for all personnel, containers, and pieces of equipment
that need to be moved. Once that task is complete, a priority of movement must be determined
and adhered to so that mission-essential personnel and items are not left behind.
Two main factors must be considered when loading equipment on vehicles: proper placement of
special equipment and using all available space while still operating safely. Special equipment
that needs to be considered is the location of recovery assets (e.g., tow bars), medical equipment
(e.g., warrior aid and litter kits), and equipment such as X-Spray and Biometric Automated
Toolset System/Handheld Interagency Detection Equipment. Additionally, equipment for TOC
setup, such as long-range communications and tentage as well as critical aircraft parts and tools,
must be factored into planning. The FSC/troop commander and the aviation unit maintenance
(AVUM) commander are key players in the planning of this phase. The FSC commander has the
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preponderance of rolling stock to move the force, and the AVUM commander usually has the
most equipment to move. An accurate account of moving capability must be communicated by
the FSC commander to the S-3, and likewise the AVUM commander must portray an accurate
list of equipment to be moved. All loading must be documented on a proper load plan that should
be contained in each vehicle, preferably with the dispatch and other important documents.
Each vehicle is different, so there should be a load plan for each type of vehicle. This helps in
documenting the equipment on each vehicle and aids in accountability. Radios and recovery
equipment should be strategically placed within the convoy if there are not enough for each
vehicle. At a minimum, there should be radios in the lead vehicle, commanders vehicle, and trail
vehicle. Finally, the spacing of improvised explosive device (IED)-defeat systems, such as the
Duke or CREW devices throughout the convoy, must be considered for maximum protection of
light-skinned vehicles, such as fuel tankers (Figure 26-2).
The plan to load personnel must be treated with the same precision. Each aircraft that departs on
an AASLT has a complete loading plan and a manifest of all personnel on board and a ground
movement should be no different. The manifests for each serial should be turned into the convoy
commander no later than six hours prior to movement and should include weapons and other
sensitive items. Although planned for during the staging phase, the convoy commander should
ensure the proper distribution of key leaders and medical personnel throughout the convoy. Also,
the distribution of the key teams in the event of contingencies (e.g.. aid and litter, LZ marking,
enemy prisoner of war, etc.) should be even across the formation.
At the conclusion of the loading phase, the convoy commander should conduct a fnal conditions
check to ensure that all conditions are met to conduct the convoy. Intelligence, surveillance,
and reconnaissance coverage; enemy situation; rotary-wing support; close air support; medical
evacuation (MEDEVAC); and weather all must be taken into account on this fnal check. Once
the conditions check is complete and conditions for movement are met, then the movement phase
can commence.
Movement Plan
An aviation operation would never leave the ground without route information, an operations
sketch, PZ and LZ sketches, the most recent version of the EXCHECK, communications card,
and a movement table (Figure 26-2). The same standards apply to the ground movement of
personnel in a combat environment. Each vehicle in the convoy must have at the minimum these
six items, and the documents must be understood by the convoy serial commander and each
driver. If a shortcoming exists, this must be considered a decision point on whether or not to
delay movement in order to ready the TCO. If a vehicle is separated from the main body, having
these items will ensure that the vehicle can still accomplish movement to the next objective.
In order to traverse the battlefeld, each Soldier must know whose battle space they are moving
through, and this should be covered in both the route information cards and the operations
sketch. Also, the route information card should include the location of templated MEDEVAC
LZs, maintenance collection points, checkpoints, and resupply locations on the route. Although
the concept of an LZ sketch may not directly apply to a ground movement, the LZ in this case is
the release point and location of the next movement objective.
If there is a quartering party moving ahead of the main body, then it should handle the reception
of incoming forces. If a quartering party is not present, then the unit must establish its lead
elements at the release point to push incoming forces through the point to avoid a bottleneck
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situation. This portion of the plan must be rehearsed, as it is the single point the unit is most
vulnerable in the movement. The EXCHECK contains all pertinent information by serial and
ensures the convoy commander and battalion staff can keep a clear picture of the movement
The operations sketch (Figure 26-4) contains the overall scheme of maneuver to ensure each
convoy member understands the big picture and that junior leaders also understand in case
the situation of a casualty forces them into command of the convoy. The communications card
should include all frequencies for each unit and battle space owner the convoy will pass through.
The communications plan should include primary, alternate, contingency, and emergency (PACE)
communications methods. Additionally it should include Blue Force Tracker (BFT) addresses,
MEDEVAC frequencies, a common air-to-ground or CAG net, and any other important signal
operating instruction (SOI) material. The distribution of communications responsibilities should
also be laid out just as we do in the air among key leaders in the convoy.
Finally, the movement table should include the information from the staging and loading phase
as well as provide a table for movement times. FM 4-01.30, Movement Control Operations,
Annex G, contains all of the information needed to calculate time and distance analysis for unit
movement and should be used to determine the passing time for each serial. If these documents
look familiar to aviators, they should. They are essentially the six basic documents of the AMB.
The documents ft nicely on to a kneeboard and should be distributed prior to the convoy briefng
to ensure maximum understanding of the plan. This phase is complete once the unit reaches the
release point or their movement objective.
Landing Plan
The landing plan in a ground movement translates to the initial occupation of the TAA. There
are two main methods to occupation: via quartering party and occupation by force. The
quartering party method is the safer and more tactically sound method, as it ensures that the area
to be occupied is secure and free of contamination and/or enemy activity. Using this method,
the quartering party departs 12 to 24 hours prior to the main body and conducts a chemical,
biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosives (CBRNE) reconnaissance of the
planned assembly area as well as staking our areas for the main body to occupy. Initial security
is established along with long-range communications to the unit headquarters, a proposed FARP
location and a parking plan for aircraft, and marking of the unit areas (with priority to command
posts and positions of crew-served weapons) (Figure 26-5).
Once the quartering party has established these pieces, the main body is called forward and
moves to the release point established by the quartering party. From the release point, designated
guides for each unit lead the elements to their predetermined locations in the assembly area,
and the unit begins its priorities of work. Although it is a challenge, the answer for security of
the unit can never be simply we cannot secure ourselves and wish it away. Once established,
security must be maintained until the aviation unit receives a supporting security force or the
perimeter is absorbed into a larger base defense plan.
The second method of TAA occupation is occupation by force, the least preferred but quickest
method. The unit selects an assembly area using either map reconnaissance or aircraft and moves
to the site. Security is paramount during this type of occupation, as there will be increased
confusion and movement within the assembly area as units attempt to occupy each assigned
area. In both methods, each unit will establish a priority of work within the framework of its
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own standing operating procedures (SOPs). The constant among each SOP should be security
as the number one priority of work followed by the establishment of both short- and long-range
communication. This phase is complete when the unit is initially set in its positions within the
assembly area or has reached its movement objectives.
Ground Tactical Plan
This phase correlates to the actions within the TAA or movement objective to ensure unit
readiness from the movement and for future movements. Accountability for personnel and
sensitive items must occur immediately upon arrival in the assembly area. Also upon arrival the
unit must have a plan to refuel vehicles to ensure preparedness for a hasty movement in the case
of enemy action. This can be accomplished through a refuel on the move or the establishment of
a retail point.
Additionally, defensive positions must be continually improved with items such as a range card
and sector sketches. The battalion headquarters should have a battalion sector sketch no later
than six hours after occupation is complete to ensure the commander can refocus manpower
throughout the perimeter.
Vehicle preventive maintenance checks and services (PMCS) must be accomplished immediately
to identify any vehicle deadlines that may hinder further movement and so that parts can be
ordered. Vehicles as well as aircraft must have a parking plan that makes tactical sense; motor
pool style parking in an assembly area does not make tactical sense. This phase is never truly
complete until the unit is fully prepared for the next move.
Over the past 10 years of operations of COIN-focused operations, many of the skills that existed
in our Army have been diminished. The ability of a unit to move and secure itself is one of the
skills that will need to be re-learned and refned through training, both at home station and at
combat training centers. Using steps outlined in current aviation doctrine, it is simple to connect
the dots between ground and air operations for inexperienced staff members. As we continue to
train in the DATE, these skills will become crucial to the success of aviation operations and our
branch as a whole.
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Convoy Coor dination Meeting
1. Roll Call: Serial and convoy commanders, aviation aupport
2. Supported unit/Supporting unit
3. Weather
4. Mission/Key tasks/End state
5. Concept (with macro concept sketch)
6. Number/type of vehicles/Key equipment and loads
7. Staging operations
a. Location
b. Call sign/frequency
c. SP time
d. Movement techniques
e. Vehicle markings
f. Number of troops/Special equipment
g. Line up order
8. Route of march
9. Assembly area/Objective operations
a. Tadpole diagram for each vehicle
b. Objective Sketches
c. Objective marking/Security/Call sign/Frequency
d. Weapons status
e. Number of serials required
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10. Attack/Scout aviation/CAS plan
a. Coverage times
b. Task and purpose
c. Ammo load
11. Refuel plan/location
a. ROM sketch (if applicable)
b. Retail fuel point sketch
c. Location of facilities on/near route
12. Criteria for TAA security (cherry/ice)
13. Alternate assembly area/Objective location
14. Abort criteria (weather, minimum vehicles/Weapons, minimum force, other)
15. Weather call
16. Fires plan (lethal/nonlethal/electronic warfare)
17. Maintenance/Recovery plan
18. Bump plan
a. LZ marking team
b. Location of facilities on/near route
20. Quick reaction force (air or ground)

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21. Communication
a. Commo check time and frequencies
b. PACE plan
c. Internal frequencies
d. Fires
e. Commo changeover points/frequencies
f. Convoy commander/Serial commanders call signs
g. Aircraft call signs
22. Command (convoy commander, serial commanders, task force commander)
23. ISR requested/approved
24. CAS requested/approved
25. Proposed timeline (approval brief, AB, CAR, movement timeline)
Convoy Commanders Initials _________ Battalion S-3 Initials___________

Figure 26-1. Convoy coor dination meeting
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Figure 26-2. Loading plan
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Figure 26-3. Route car d
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Figure 26-4. Oper ations sketch
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Figure 26-5
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Figure 26-6. Staging plan
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the RFI or CALL Product link. Please fll in all the information, including your unit name and offcial
military address. Please include building number and street for military posts.
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Access and download information from CALLs website. CALL also offers Web-based access to the
CALL Archives. The CALL home page address is:
CALL produces the following publications on a variety of subjects:
Combat Tr aining Center Bulletins, Newsletter s, and Trends
Special Editions
News From the Front
Training Techniques
Initial Impressions Repor ts
You may request these publications by using the RFI or CALL Product link on the CALL home page.
Additional Publications and Resources

The CAC home page address is:

Center for Ar my Leader ship (CAL)
CAL plans and programs leadership instruction, doctrine, and research. CAL integrates and synchronizes
the Professional Military Education Systems and Civilian Education System. Find CAL products at
Combat Studies Institute (CSI)
CSI is a military history think tank that produces timely and relevant military history and contemporary
operational history. Find CSI products at <>.
Combined Ar ms Doctr ine Director ate (CADD)
CADD develops, writes, and updates Army doctrine at the corps and division level. Find the doctrinal
publications at either the Army Publishing Directorate (APD) <> or the Reimer
Digital Library <>.
For Official Use Only
Foreign Military Studies Offce (FMSO)
FMSO is a research and analysis center on Fort Leavenworth under the TRADOC G2. FMSO manages
and conducts analytical programs focused on emerging and asymmetric threats, regional military and
security developments, and other issues that defne evolving operational environments around the world.
Find FMSO products at <>.
Militar y Review (MR)
MR is a revered journal that provides a forum for original thought and debate on the art and science of
land warfare and other issues of current interest to the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense. Find
MR at <>.
TRADOC Intelligence Suppor t Activity (TRISA)
TRISA is a feld agency of the TRADOC G2 and a tenant organization on Fort Leavenworth. TRISA is
responsible for the development of intelligence products to support the policy-making, training, combat
development, models, and simulations arenas. Find TRISA Threats at <https://dcsint-threats.leavenworth.> (requires AKO password and ID).
Combined Ar ms Center-Capability Development Integr ation Director ate (CAC-CDID)
CAC-CDIC is responsible for executing the capability development for a number of CAC proponent
areas, such as Information Operations, Electronic Warfare, and Computer Network Operations, among
others. CAC-CDID also teaches the Functional Area 30 (Information Operations) qualifcation course.
Find CAC-CDID at <>.
Ar my Ir regular War fare Fusion Cell (AIWFC)
AIWFC integrates and collaborates information exchange and analysis for irregular warfare (IW)
activities in order to advocate DOTMLPF (doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and
education, personnel, and f acilities) solutions addressing IW threats. AIWFC synchronizes and assists in
the development of IW and countering irregular threats enterprises to support a coherent Army strategy
that accounts for building partner capacity, stability operations, and the integration of unconventional
warfare and counterterrorism. Find AIWFC at: <>.
Joint Center for Inter national Secur ity Force Assistance (JCISFA)
JCISFAs mission is to capture and analyze security force assistance (SFA) lessons from contemporary
operations to advise combatant commands and military departments on appropriate doctrine; practices;
and proven tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) to prepare for and conduct SFA missions effciently.
JCISFA was created to institutionalize SFA across DOD and serve as the DOD SFA Center of Excellence.
Find JCISFA at <>.
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so they may be shared and become Army successes.