Objective Force Echelonment
Under the Objective Force nomenclature, the Unit of Action is the term used for the Brigade, the Unit of Employment level 1 (UE1) replace today's divisions; and the Units of Employment level 2 (UE2) replace the current corps structure. Units of Acton (UA) are the tactical warfighting echelons of the Objective Force. Units of Employment are the basis of combined arms air-ground task forces. They resource and execute combat operations; designate objectives; coordinate with multi-service, interagency, multinational and non-governmental activities; and employ long range fires,aviation and sustainment. They also provide C4ISR and tactical direction to UAs.
Echelonment in the Objective Force is a complex question that demands extensive analysis and experimentation. The Objective Force will fulfill a variety of strategic, operational and tactical purposes, while interacting with various political, military, interagency and non-governmental actors, both international and domestic. Thus, the Army must maintain some combination of functional competencies at all levels. The Army will address many factors to include the challenges of span of control, the increasing complexity of operations,the expanding battlespace geometry,the differences in tasks and purpose, interoperability, and the human capabilities (and limitations)of future leaders and staffs at each level. The Army is using the Unit of Action/Unit of Employment construct to initiate this process of examination.
During the Cold War, Army doctrine defined three distinct types of forces - Heavy, Light and Special Forces. Each of these communities possessed its own distinct set of combat capabilities and missions, and as a result developed its own unique culture. As the Army moves to the Objective Force -- as evidenced by the IBCT -- it is erasing the distinctions between heavy and light forces and are training conventional units using special operations techniques. Objective Force units will be substantially different in structure and content than their predecessors. Combined arms will be organic at lower tactical levels. Units will be modular and organizations will be highly versatile.
The Objective Force is designed around units of employment (UE) and units of action (UA). UEs are command and control structures that synchronize and coordinate battle operating systems to allow UAs to perform their missions. A UE is analogous to a division in today's Army. A UA is analogous to a maneuver brigade in today's Army; brigades are the units of choice for tactical missions immediately on entering a theater and in fluid situations. UAs are employed to achieve their assigned objectives throughout military operations. The success of these units on the battlefield is predicated on assuming that these units will be able to "see first, understand first, act first, and finish decisively"; these organizations have robust command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities to ensure this happens. Battalions within the UA are combined arms battalions that coordinate small fighting units' actions into collective actions or dispersed separate actions.
In the combat developments arena, significant visibility has been given to developing the future full spectrum Objective Force capable of conducting operational maneuver from strategic distances, arriving at multiple points of entry, and immediately capable of continuous, combined arms, air-ground, day-night operations in all terrain and weather conditions. The force is to be comprised of "Units of Employment (UEs) capable of directing cam-paigns and major operations employing "Units of Action (UAs)" which are combined arms organizations capable of deploying anywhere in the world in 96 hours, fighting immediately, and being self-sustaining for 3 to 7 days.
UAs are to be comprised of "Future Combat System (FCS) Battalions", the primary Objective Force combat maneuver units. The FCS equipping these battalions is envisioned as a "network-centric system of systems", land combat capability with multi-mission functionality including beyond line-of-sight (BLOS) direct fires; precision, long-range indirect fires; standoff sensors; and robotics. The U.S. Army Armor Center, with its Mounted Maneuver Battle Lab, has been assigned proponency for the Objective Force UA and the FCS and is proceeding at a greatly accelerated pace to develop and document an Operational and Organizational (O&O) concept. It is concurrently developing the requirements documentation necessary to support materiel life cycle decision points for the FCS and defining the necessary doctrinal and organizational changes for the UA.
The UA's design and organization greatly reduce the need for logistics support. UAs are specifically designed and equipped to perform 72 hours of high operational tempo combat without logistics support, except for force health protection. Ultrareliable equipment, commonality among equipment components, and energy efficiency will enhance the UA's ability to operate without logistics support. UA and UE commanders will design battle rhythm to provide logistics to tactical units during sustainment pauses. UE commanders will rotate UAs to mission staging sites (MSSs) where Objective Force CSS units, called maneuver support commands (MAS-COMs), will link up with a UA to provide critical CSS. The MASCOM may be required to project CSS forces up to 1,000 kilometers into the battle-space to establish the MSS. Force health protection is the only CSS function that is organic to the UA.
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