Reconstitution is extraordinary action that commanders plan and implement to restore units to a desired level of combat effectiveness commensurate with mission requirements and available resources. It transcends normal day-to-day force sustainment actions. However, it uses existing systems and units to do so. No resources exist solely to perform reconstitution.
The status of the unit is the key to initiating reconstitution. Commanders carry it out when units become combat ineffective or when shifting available resources can raise combat effectiveness closer to the level they desire. Besides normal support actions, reconstitution may include--
- Removing the unit from combat.
- Assessing it with external assets.
- Reestablishing the chain of command.
- Training the unit for future operations.
- Reestablishing unit cohesion.
The commander plans and implements reconstitution. His staff, as with all operations, plays a vital role. The G3/S3 role is particularly critical. He is responsible for coordinating reconstitution planning and activities. The mission and commander's intent are the keys in reconstitution planning, decision making, and execution. The higher commander's plan establishes the intent, concept, and priorities. These influence subordinate commanders' reconstitution plans.
The commander and his staff plan reconstitution to fit the priorities of the main effort and to support the higher commander's objectives. The reconstitution plan takes into account the follow-on mission. The final decision on whether to reconstitute an attrited unit depends on the situation. The commander must remain flexible. Mission requirements and available resources (including time) dictate appropriate reconstitution actions.
Reconstitution planning and execution are proactive. During courses of action development, reconstitution planning must be integral to the process. Further, units with roles in the process train in advance to perform their reconstitution tasks. In short, all elements--commanders, staffs, and executing units--plan and prepare for reconstitution before they confront it. Any combat, combat support, or CSS unit may require reconstitution. Therefore, planners at all levels of command should anticipate it.
Reconstitution requires aggressive application of the AirLand Battle tenets and the associated sustainment imperatives. Commanders must be willing and able to take the initiative in reorganizing their units within the framework of the commander's intent. Also, the system must be able to regenerate units to allow the commander to set the terms of battle. These actions are necessary to maintain the force's agility. Quickly recognizing the need for and executing reconstitution help provide the combat-effective forces the commander needs to hold the initiative. The commander only takes these actions if he views the battlefield throughout its depth in time and resources, as well as space. He looks ahead and considers the resources required and available for reconstitution. The planning for and execution of that reconstitution depend on extensive synchronization. Though the commander makes the decision to reconstitute, numerous staff elements and support units make it happen. They all must understand the commander's intent and have already developed and rehearsed responses to expected reconstitution needs.
Since CSS is such an important and challenging element of reconstitution, planners and executors must continually apply the sustainment imperatives. Anticipation is critical. Personnel cannot wait until a unit requires reconstitution to begin to plan for it. Chapter 3 discusses the importance of incorporating it into SOPs, OPLANs, and training programs. In this way, planners can achieve integration of CSS with the operations of the maneuver force. Anticipation also promotes continuity of support. If planners do not prepare for reconstitution, the sustainment system will likely have to disrupt its operations to support the effort, especially for regeneration. Responsiveness and improvisation allow elements to adapt their reconstitution plans to the current situation and expected future operations. They use innovative techniques to help restore the unit to combat effectiveness.
Reconstitution is a total process. Its major elements are reorganization, assessment, and regeneration, in that order. Figure 1-1 depicts the process and its relationship to sustainment.
Reorganization is action to shift resources within a degraded unit to increase its combat effectiveness. Commanders of all types of units at each echelon conduct reorganization. They reorganize before considering regeneration. Reorganization may be immediate or deliberate. Both forms may include such measures as--
- Cross-leveling equipment and personnel.
- Matching operational weapon systems with crews.
- Forming composite units (joining two or more attrited units to form a single mission-capable unit).
With both forms, the goal is to improve the unit's capability until more extensive efforts can take place, if resources, the tactical situation, and time permit. Since reorganization involves activities internal to a unit, it is the most expedient means of maintaining combat power in the early stages of a conflict. In forward units, it remains the most expedient method throughout the conflict. It also forms a basis for regeneration efforts.
Whenever possible, normal CSS operations continue throughout the reorganization process. With this support, reorganized units may remain effective for extended periods. Commanders may be able to delay or avoid the need to regenerate.
The two types of reorganization are as follows:
- Immediate reorganization is the quick and usually temporary restoring of degraded units to minimum levels of effectiveness. Normally the commander implements it in the combat position or as close to that site as possible to meet near-term needs. Commanders use information in OPORDs (such as, succession of command) and unit SOPs (such as, battle rosters, redistribution criteria, and contingency manning standards) and assets immediately available. An example of immediate reorganization is "consolidation and reorganization on the objective." When an infantry platoon seizes an objective, the platoon leader inspects his platoon. He then moves soldiers to fill gaps and directs replenishment or cross-leveling of ammunition. This is the essence of immediate reorganization; it shifts readily available assets to increase combat power.
- Deliberate reorganization is conducted when somewhat more time and resources are available. It usually occurs farther to the rear than immediate reorganization. Procedures are similar to those for immediate reorganization. However, some replacement resources may be available. Also, equipment repair is more intensive, and more extensive cross-leveling is possible.
Assessment measures a unit's capability to perform its mission. It occurs in two phases. The unit commander conducts the first phase. He continually assesses his unit before, during, and after operations. If he determines it is no longer mission capable even after reorganization, he notifies his commander. Higher headquarters either changes the mission of the unit to match its degraded capability or removes it from combat. External elements may also have to assess the unit after it disengages. This is the second phase. These elements do a more thorough evaluation to determine regeneration needs. They also consider the resources available.
FIGURE 1-1. RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SUSTAINMENT AND RECONSTITUTION.
Regeneration is the rebuilding of a unit. It requires large-scale replacement of personnel, equipment, and supplies. These replacements may then require further reorganization. This is a higher level of reorganization than the unit can do during normal reorganization without adequate personnel resources. Regeneration also involves reestablishing or replacing the chain of command and conducting mission essential training to get the regenerated unit to standard with its new soldiers and equipment. Because of the intensive nature of regeneration, it occurs at a regeneration site after the unit disengages. It also requires help from higher echelons. Since regeneration typically requires large quantities of personnel and equipment, commanders carefully balance these needs against others in the command.
A regeneration task force is a task organization formed by the commander directing a regeneration. He uses assets under his control or provided by higher echelons. The RTF conducts the external assessment and executes the regeneration order. It includes both operational and CSS elements. Its specific responsibilities are detailed in Chapter 2. Chapter 3 covers its composition.
Reconstitution is not solely a CSS operation, though CSS plays an integral role. Units receive CSS throughout all phases of operations. CSS activities help prepare a unit to perform its mission, sustain it during operations, and bring it back to a specified level of effectiveness after an operation. Normal CSS activities occur throughout operations up to and including reorganization. What distinguishes CSS during regeneration is that it--
- Occurs along with other regeneration activities of reestablishing the chain of command, training, and building unit cohesion.
- Involves a very high level of CSS activity requiring a task force. The task force temporarily dedicates support to the attrited unit.
- Occurs in a relatively secure regeneration site.
The list below presents an overview of the reconstitution process, which forms the basis of this manual:
- Units develop SOPs and train for reconstitution.
- Units include reconstitution in OPLANs.
- Unit commanders continually assess unit effectiveness (Phase I assessment) and reorganize as required.
- When a unit commander and his higher headquarters determine reorganization cannot restore a unit to its required level of effectiveness, they recommend regeneration.
- An element of the RTF begins to establish the proposed regeneration site. The directing headquarters adjusts the regeneration plan as necessary. It begins assessment based on available information.
- The attrited unit reestablishes minimum essential command structure as necessary and moves to the regeneration site. Elements of the RTF typically link up with the unit to provide supplies and services to help it move. They also begin to assist in the assessment process.
- The RTF receives the unit at the site and provides essential soldier sustainment. At the same time, the assessment element completes the formal assessment of the unit. It identifies the resources required to regenerate the unit (Phase II assessment).
- The first commander in the chain of command controlling all the resources required to regenerate the unit decides whether to regenerate the unit, carry out further deliberate reorganization, or use the resources elsewhere in the command.
- If the commander decides to regenerate the unit, the RTF and attrited unit simultaneously carry out the following four activities during the actual execution of the regeneration process:
-- They complete the reestablishment or reinforcement of the chain of command and its control over the unit as required.
-- They provide the required personnel, equipment, supplies, and services.
-- The unit conducts individual and collective training with help from the RTF.
-- The RTF evaluates the unit's combat effectiveness for future operations.
Below are some general principles that apply to regeneration, the primary focus of this manual:
- It requires a decision by the commander with control of the required resources. No Army unit or other resource exists only to perform regeneration. Regeneration uses existing systems and units. The RTF is task organized from elements under the directing commander's control. Division, corps, and theater army headquarters designate RTFs in SOPs. While performing regeneration tasks, RTF elements are not doing their normal missions. The commander determines whether scarce resources required to regenerate a unit would be better used elsewhere in the command to accomplish its overall mission.
- It is a proactive, planned action. Planners must integrate it into the formal planning process. They include reconstitution in the unit OPLAN. The service support annex, logistics estimate, and TAACOM, COSCOM, and DISCOM OPLANs should provide details.
- Generally, units are regenerated from at least two command levels above. However, a committed division probably cannot regenerate any subordinate unit. Even if it is not committed, the division needs significant help from a COSCOM or TAACOM. In an immature theater, there may not be enough resources to do any regeneration. In such a case, planners work out in advance if and when regeneration may be possible. If not, they develop alternatives if required. Using replacement units is one possibility.
- Units must be removed from their positions. They move off line to a regeneration site.
- Regeneration requires time, especially for training and development of unit cohesion. Commanders must be aware that there is a distinct time-regeneration level trade-off. An RTF may regenerate a unit from a badly degraded state to near full combat effectiveness or it may conduct a lesser regeneration effort quickly. A major regeneration effort takes time.
- The individual situation dictates the trigger point for regeneration. The commander addresses this for his unit in the SOP. He adjusts it as necessary in the OPORD. However, a general guideline is personnel casualties of 40 percent or major weapon system losses of 30 percent. Commanders and staffs take into account that the unit may continue to take losses during disengagement and movement to the regeneration site.
- Normal support operations continue as the unit withdraws to the regeneration site.
Three commanders have roles in regeneration. They are the commander directing the regeneration, the RTF commander, and the commander of the attrited unit.
The commander directing the regeneration is the first commander in the chain of command who controls or can rapidly obtain the resources to accomplish the task. In most cases, this is the commander at least two echelons higher than the attrited unit. Even then he typically requires assets from higher echelons to assist. All divisions, particularly light divisions, have a very limited ability to conduct any regeneration. However, a division commander may control a battalion regeneration (with significant help from echelon above division assets) if the division is not committed. If the division is committed, the corps or theater army controls the regeneration. A corps with theater army help or the theater army itself controls brigade and higher regeneration operations. One consideration is the type of unit. For instance, the theater army has to control regeneration of an aviation brigade.
The commander directing the regeneration forms an RTF to execute the regeneration activities. Chapter 3 discusses the composition of the RTF. The directing commander appoints the RTF commander. The RTF commander's job has two aspects. First, he controls the process as directed by the regeneration order. He also controls support to the elements occupying the regeneration site. Control of the process includes the control of the following activities:
- Assessing unit effectiveness.
- Reestablishing command and control.
- Requisitioning, receiving, and issuing all required materiel.
- Receiving and allocating all personnel.
- Maintaining equipment.
- Providing other services.
- Managing the unit's training.
- Evaluating the unit's combat effectiveness at the end of training.
Support to the regeneration site includes providing the infrastructure to operate the site. This includes--
- Terrain management within the site.
- Security coordination.
- Control of training areas.
- Movement control.
Support to the site also includes all required services such as power generation, mail distribution, and provision of water and rations.
Internal command of the attrited unit remains with the unit if a viable chain of command exists. (If the chain of command is not viable, the unit in control of the process reestablishes the chain of command as a first step. Chapter 4 discusses this process.) If the unit physically leaves its higher headquarters area of responsibility, the command of the unit transfers to the appropriate headquarters. For example, if a battalion moves to the division rear for regeneration, the division headquarters commands the battalion directly rather than through the brigade. If a brigade regeneration site is in the corps rear, the brigade is attached to the corps.
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