Joint, Multinational, and Interagency Engineer Organizations and Capabilities


The ground assault plan into Iraq by the 7th US Corps units called for the 1st United Kingdom (UK) Armored Division to follow and pass through the 1st US Infantry Division's (mechanized) breach of initial Iraqi defenses during the night. This operation equated to a deliberate river-crossing operation and its planning requirements.
As plans were developed to pass the British forces through the 1st Infantry Division, a crossing force HQ was formed that included the 176th US Engineer Group, British liaison officers (LOs), and the 1st US Infantry Division's assistant division commander for maneuver (ADC-M) as the crossing force's commander. Most planning and coordination was done face to face or through the British LOs, due to the incompatibility of communications equipment between the US and British forces.
The crossing force HQ orchestrated several terrain walks and drive-through rehearsals with the 1st UK Division. This series of rehearsals began with sand-table exercises with key British leaders. Scaled-down obstacle mock-ups were used showing lanes, marking signs, and traffic-control points. Force-passage time lines were determined along with passage-control measures. Terrain walks with the British leadership followed at a training obstacle site constructed for the 1st Infantry Division (mechanized). The site was about 10 kilometers deep, contained eight breach lanes, and represented the worst-case obstacle that could be found in Iraq. All British vehicle drivers, riding in 25 percent of the British vehicle fleet, participated in a drive-through rehearsal at the training obstacle site. This drive through was conducted in daylight; all lane-marking signs were in place, and traffic-control points were manned. The 1st UK Division commander was impressed with the results and ordered a full division rehearsal through the training obstacle site with all combat and support forces. This rehearsal took 36 hours to complete, including a nighttime crossing. One British brigade got lost during the rehearsal, missing the breach location. Some soldiers were killed in accidents during the crossing. The British leadership believed that this was a very serious operation and took all of this into account as wartime preparation. Following the 1st UK Armored Division rehearsal, after-action reviews were held with the crossing force HQ, refining the procedures for the actual passage.


Army engineer commanders and staffs operate jointly with Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps engineers during force-projection operations. Also, Army engineers operate with multinational engineers, civilian contractors, US governmental agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), private voluntary organizations (PVOs), and United Nations (UN) agencies. Army engineers must fully understand joint, multinational, and interagency engineer capabilities to integrate them into operational and tactical planning as well as provide engineer support to joint, multinational, and interagency HQs. This chapter provides a brief description of the types of joint, multinational, and interagency engineer units and their capabilities and interoperability considerations.

During all force-projection operations, the Army engineer ensures that adequate Army communications, logistics, topographic, and LO support are provided for supporting the joint, multinational, and interagency engineers. Periodic meetings assist in blending these engineers towards accomplishing the numerous engineer missions required during force-projection operations.


The USAF is challenged by a variety of threats throughout the world. Therefore, it must be prepared¯


The Air Force combat engineer's role is to ensure that the engineering-related aspects of air-base operations are responsive and effective. The following are the basic wartime missions of Air Force engineers:


The RED HORSE was formed specifically to meet wartime needs. Its composition is based on wartime requirements, and it is not assigned to an air base to perform peacetime operations and maintenance taskings. Its primary mission in peacetime is to train for wartime, and the squadrons represent the strongest combat-engineering capabilities in the Air Force. As the lead joint-engineer resource in any force-projection situation, a RED HORSE unit is the most capable Air Force engineering unit when it comes to the initial wartime requirements affecting the launch, recovery, and operation of Air Force combat aircraft. It is the engineer unit that the theater or joint task force (JTF) commander uses when incoming force flow is disrupted, resupply is interrupted, or launch-and-recovery activities at critical locations are stopped due to major airfield damage.

RED HORSE units are packaged to be available early in the time-phased deployment data flow and dedicated to up-front engineer missions. They are assigned to employment locations that are critical to the success of the air war. Dividing responsibilities between Air Force engineering assets (RED HORSE, Prime BEEF, Prime RIBS) is not attempted. RED HORSE units could perform all the engineering missions of the civil-engineering units except for crash rescue and major fire suppression. If Prime BEEF forces are employed at a location, that does not exclude employing the RED HORSE units.

Civil-engineering RED HORSE units are wartime structured to provide a heavier engineering capability than the civil-engineering base Prime BEEF and Prime RIBS units. RED HORSE units¯


RH-1 consists of 16 people that can deploy within 12 hours on a C-141. The team¯


The RH-2 consists of 93 people, with heavy equipment, who can deploy within 48 hours. The team¯


The RH-3 consists of 295 people, with heavy equipment, who can deploy within 6 days. The team¯


All Prime BEEF forces are CS forces. They are generally configured as squadrons and teams. They provide CS to the air combat forces that are, or may become, a part of a theater, command, or TF formed for combat operations. These base civil-engineering (BCE) units are organic at essentially all major CONUS and overseas Air Force bases. This capability is integrated into the peacetime force structure, totally, and gives the operational commander the flexibility to employ weapons systems without depending on others.

When flying squadrons go to war, organic Prime BEEF CS forces that can perform engineering wartime tasks necessary for sortie generation will deploy with the squadrons. Specific Prime BEEF CS units will be linked to specific flying units and will concentrate primarily on supporting aircraft weapons systems and combat operations. There are two basic Prime BEEF mobile force classifications: large-scale CS squadrons and small specialty CS teams. Prime BEEF CS units¯

Large-Scale CS Squadrons

These squadrons provide basic skills to establish BCE operations or to accomplish the most critical wartime tasks where additional assistance is required or where none exists. Eight types of large-scale CS squadrons are available in four separate and distinct sizes: 50, 100, 150, and 200 persons. Combinations of these eight types are used to support theater requirements. The squadrons¯

Small Specialty CS Teams

Small specialty CS teams are comprised of certain numbers and personnel with certain skills to fill known requirements: fire fighting, construction management, and staff augmentation. Nine types of teams are available that range in size from 3 to 48 persons from all components. The size and composition of all Prime BEEF mobile teams are based on METT-T.


Prime RIBS units are worldwide combat morale, welfare, recreation, and services (MWRS) forces organized and trained for wartime support. The Prime RIBS program organizes forces that can deploy on a 22 to 28 hours notice to support global or major regional conflict operations on MOBs, COBs, FOLs, APODs/aerial ports of embarkation (APOEs), and BBs or to support essential MWRS missions at critical CONUS bases. Prime RIBS units can¯


An E&S module is married to deploying aircraft to the greatest extent possible. The objective is to have Prime BEEF and RIBS CS squadrons and teams inextricably bonded to a deploying flying squadron. When a specific Prime BEEF or RIBS CS squadron or team is tied to home-station or other deploying aircraft, it will be tasked to accompany its flying squadron to the wartime location regardless of the degree of wartime HNS in theater. If it is not tied to home-station or other deploying aircraft and assured HNS is available, the CS squadron or team may be reapportioned to some other wartime location. The basic E&S module consists of 282 people from the following:


During force-projection operations, the initial available USAF engineering capabilities in theater will most probably be RED HORSE elements who establish APODs. Prime BEEF and RIBS units will also be quickly deployed to force-projection theater locations to operate at major air bases. The Army engineer staff should consider the following when coordinating joint engineer plans and operations with the Air Force:


The naval-construction force (NCF), known as the Seabees, is a generic term applied to the group of deployable naval units that can construct, maintain, and/or operate shore, inshore, and/or deep-ocean facilities. The NCF does this to support the Navy and United States Marine Corps (USMC), and when directed, other agencies of the US government including the Army and unified commanders. The NCF is composed of active and reserve component units.

Air-transportable, task-organized NCF units can deploy on 48 hours notice. Although extensive horizontal construction cannot be efficiently addressed with air-transportable equipment, priority construction projects can be initiated days before the maritime pre-positioning force (MPF) shipping arrives. Also, acquiring heavy engineer equipment by local contract can augment air-transported NCF assets in a secure environment. The NCF provides¯


Constructing naval bases may fall into two areas: those that are in the country of conflict and those that are off shore of the country where combat is taking place. In-country bases include¯


The major combat organization that the NCF supports is the MAGTF. The MAGTF normally consists of the following elements: a MAGTF command and a ground-combat, an aviation-combat, and a CSS unit. OPCON is the only command or support relationship appropriate and authorized when employing NCF units within the MAGTF. The MAGTF commander may place NCF units under the OPCON of a subordinate element commander (ground-combat unit) for missions such as RRR or civil-action team support required to assist stability operations. NCF units employed under the OPCON of the MAGTF element commander will be tasked according to MAGTF construction priorities.

The normal MAGTF/NCF associations established to support MAGTF operations are as follows:


All component NCF organizations may be employed during amphibious operations. NCF forces are normally placed OPCON to the Commander, Amphibious Task Force (CATF). They perform construction tasks that assist in the ship-to-shore movement of personnel, equipment, and supplies. NCF units OPCON to the MAGTF commander may be located in both the assault echelon (AE) and the assault follow-on echelon (AFOE). The priority given to construction tasks assigned to NCF units will determine the echelon in which the NCF will be employed. Additional NCF units may be assigned to the CATF and employed within the amphibious objective area (AOA) in a fleet support or other role. Examples of tasks requiring immediate priority include drilling wells and establishing or upgrading forward operating bases for fixed-wing aircraft.


The MPF is a task organization of units under one commander formed for introducing a MEB and its associated equipment and supplies into a secure area. The MPF is composed of a command element, a maritime pre-positioning ships squadron, a MEB, and a naval-support element (NSE). As part of their primary mission, NCF units construct and repair MPF logistics terminal facilities. Specific areas include the following:


Unlike amphibious operations, logistic considerations drive beach selection for MPF operations. NCF units can rapidly perform the following tasks:


NCF units can evaluate port capabilities (surface and subsurface) and upgrade facilities to support the MPF operation.

Arrival Airfield

NCF enhancements include¯


NCF tasks include damage control and repair and railhead operations.


The tasks of the NCF in support of Navy base maintenance include operating and maintaining public works and public utilities, to include water purification and distribution, power generation and distribution, and sewage collection and treatment. Once the base has been substantially constructed, the NCF maintains and repairs structures, makes minor alterations and improvements, and maintains and upgrades LOC.


NCF units remain capable to provide disaster relief because of a natural disaster or hostile military action. Each NCF unit is responsible for disaster-control measures to protect its own personnel, equipment, life-support areas, and work sites. It may have to participate in defending other activities. The NCF unit helps make an effective disaster control-and-recovery unit (DCRU), ready to give direct assistance to any military or civilian installation or community during an emergency.


As part of their normal operations, NCF units may undertake civic-action projects in support of the local populace.


NCF units are commanded by officers of the Navy Civil Engineer Corps. Enlisted personnel are primarily from the naval occupational field 13, construction. Occupational field 13 has builders, construction electricians, construction mechanics, engineering aids, equipment operators, steelworkers, and utilities men.

Battalion Commanders

The Commander, Naval Construction Battalion, Pacific Fleet (COMCBPAC) and Commander, Naval Construction Battalion, Atlantic Fleet (COMCBLANT) exercise operational and administrative control of assigned NCF components. They provide policy guidance concerning¯

Naval-Construction Brigade (NCB)

A NCB exercises administrative and OPCON of two or more NCRs operating in a specific geographic area or in support of a specific military operation. The NCB provides an initial review of plans, programs, and construction capabilities; assigns priorities and deadlines; and directs distribution of units or materials and equipment.

Naval-Construction Regiment

A NCR exercises administrative and OPCON of two or more NMCBs operating in a specific geographic area or operating in support of a specific military operation. The NCR¯

Naval-Construction-Force Support Unit (NCFSU)

The NCFSU provides operational construction logistics support to the deployment area for a NCR of up to four NMCBs. The NCFSU¯

Naval Mobile-Construction Battalion


NMCB Air Detachment

The AIR DET is a task-organized advanced element of a NMCB. It is composed of 91 personnel and 38 items of civil-engineering support equipment. It is limited to 250 to 300 short tons (14 C-141 equivalents) of air shipment. The AIR DET is used to repair immediate war damage and construct urgent projects required by major operational plans.

NMCB Civic-Action Team (Seabee Team)

The civic-action Seabee team is a small, highly mobile construction unit that is task-organized from NMCB assets. The civic-action team provides socioeconomic community development, disaster relief, and technical assistance. The team supervises nation-assistance construction projects and conducts on-the-job training and classroom instruction in third-world nations.

Amphibious-Construction Battalion (PHIBCB)

An PHIBCB provides engineering support to the naval beach group (NBG) during the initial assault and landing phase of amphibious operations. The PHIBCB provides designated elements to the CATF, supports the NBG, and assists the landing-force support party (LFSP), or the NSE, in operations that do not interfere with the primary mission. There are two PHIBCBs, one each under the OPCON of the Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT) and Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet (CINCLANTFLT). They are readily organized to support specific tasks. When employed in support of amphibious operations, they become essential elements of the NBG, the naval component of the LFSP. An PHIBCB supports a MAGTF landing over two covered beaches during the amphibious assault. PHIBCBs maintain organizational command integrity under all assignments.

Construction-Battalion Maintenance Unit (CBMU)

The CBMU maintains, operates, and repairs public works, utilities, and other facilities at an established advance base after the NMCB units that started the construction have departed. The CBMU may be attached to the NMCB to help complete the facilities that it will subsequently operate and maintain. When employed, CBMUs carry out their assigned functions under the command of the advanced base commander or naval component commander. Typical CBMU functions include, but are not limited to, the following:

Underwater-Construction Team (UCT)

The UCT constructs, inspects, maintains, and repairs underwater facilities. Generally, all underwater engineering, construction, and repair fall under the control of the UCT. Each UCT is organized and equipped to be self-sufficient in underwater-construction capabilities for the various tasks anticipated. Outfitting includes construction and underwater weight-handling equipment, underwater and terrestrial-construction tools, diving equipment, safety equipment, and a standard allowance of infantry gear. The UCT can deploy as an integral unit or as individual construction detachments in support of other NCF, MPF, MAGTF, or naval units. Tasks include supporting underwater surveillance systems to waterfront facilities inspections.

Construction Battalion Unit (CBU)

A CBU provides engineering support that other NCF units do not provide. It is also used to provide manpower pools to support NMCBs and Navy fleet hospitals.


During force-projection operations, the initial US naval engineering capability available in theater will most probably be NMCB AIR DETs and MAGTF amphibious forces. NMCBs will also be quickly deployed to force-projection theater locations to construct necessary naval facilities. The Army engineer staff should consider the following when coordinating joint engineer plans and operations with the Navy:


The Marine Corps is organized into regiments, each of which contains a division, an aircraft wing, and a force-service support group (FSSG). Each of these contain organic engineer support. The Marine Corps component of the theater command or JTF is normally controlled by a commander of the Marine Corps forces (MARFOR). The regiment forms a MAGTF to meet force-projection operations. Components of a MAGTF may include a MEF, a MEB, and a MEU.


The Marine regiment may form a MAGTF, which is a task organization of Marine forces (division, aircraft wing, and service support groups) under a single command and structured to accomplish specific missions. NCF units may be placed under OPCON to the MAGTF commander who may place them under the OPCON of a subordinate element commander (ground combat element) for missions such as RRR or civil-action team support required to assist stability operations. NCF units employed under OPCON to the MAGTF element commander will be tasked according to MAGTF construction priorities. The MAGTF normally consists of a command element (CE), a ground-combat element (GCE), an aviation combat element (ACE), and a CSS element (CSSE).

Command Element

The CE is the MAGTF HQ and is a permanent organization composed of the¯

Aviation-Combat Element

The ACE is task-organized to provide all or a portion of the functions of Marine Corps aviation in varying degrees, based on the tactical situation and the MAGTF mission and size. These functions are air reconnaissance, antiair warfare, and control of aircraft and missiles. The ACE is organized around an aviation HQ and varies in size from a reinforced helicopter squadron to one or more Marine aircraft wings. It includes those aviation commands (including air-control agencies), combat, CS, and CSS units that the situation requires. Normally, there is only one ACE in a MAGTF.

Ground-Combat Element

The GCE is task-organized to conduct ground operations. It is constructed around an infantry unit and varies in size from a reinforced infantry battalion to one or more reinforced Marine divisions. The GCE also includes appropriate CS and CSS units. Normally, there is only one GCE in a MAGTF.

Combat-Service-Support Element

The CSSE is task-organized to provide the full range of CSS necessary to accomplish the MAGTF mission. The CSSE can provide the following services:


A MEF, the largest of the MAGTFs, normally is built around a division/wing team. However, it can include several divisions and aircraft wings, together with appropriate CSS organizations. The MEF is capable of conducting a wide range of amphibious assault operations and sustained operations ashore. It can be tailored for a wide variety of combat missions in any geographic environment.


A MEB is a task-organized organization normally built around a Marine regimental landing team, a provisional Marine aircraft group, and a logistics support group. It is capable of conducting amphibious assault operations of a limited scope. During potential crisis situations, a MEB may be forward deployed afloat for an extended period to provide an immediate combat response.


A MEU is a task organization normally built around a battalion landing team, a reinforced helicopter squadron, and a logistic support unit. The MEU fulfills routine afloat deployment requirements, provides an immediate reaction capability for crisis situations, and is capable of relatively limited combat.


Each Marine division is supported by one CEB that will provide close combat support and limited general-engineering support for the division through task-organized combat-engineer elements for ground-combat operations. Each Marine infantry regiment (three per division) is supported by a combat-engineer company (CEC). The CEB enhances the M/CM/S of the Marine division through close combat-engineering support and provides limited general-engineering support required for the Marine division to function. Table 4-1 lists the tasks of the CEB.

The CEB consists of a headquarters and service (H&S) company, an engineer-support company (ESC), and four CECs. The CEC provides close combat support of an engineering nature, as necessary, to meet the essential requirements of an infantry regiment and other division elements in combat operations. It contains a company HQ and three combat engineer platoons. The ESC¯


Each Marine aviation wing contains a wing support group; the group contains wing support squadrons for both fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, and the squadrons contain engineer-operations divisions. An engineer-operations division provides organic engineer support to the wing only, deploys with the wing, and will normally not assist in other engineering operations. It provides all essential aviation ground-support requirements and has the capability to perform¯


Each FSSG has an organic ESB. The ESB is organized to plan, coordinate, and supervise the general-engineering and supply-support functions of the battalion. It is structured to facilitate task organization for operations that the battalion conducts. The ESB provides GS to the MEF (to include M/CM/S enhancements and explosive-ordnance-disposal [EOD] support) and GS to the handling, storage, and distribution of bulk Class I (water) and bulk Class III supplies. The ESB is capable of¯


Marine division CEBs, as part of MAGTF operations, probably will be the initial USMC engineering capabilities available in theater during force-projection operations. ESBs will also be quickly deployed to force-projection theater locations to construct necessary Marine facilities. The Army engineer staff should consider the following when coordinating joint engineer plans and operations with the Marine Corps:


The type of available engineers from other nations to support multinational operations varies significantly. National armies generally have a mix of combat and/or construction engineers formed into company- and battalion-sized elements. Combat and construction elements may be integrated within maneuver battalions or formed into separate battalions. Levels of training and equipment fielding also vary. Army engineers usually have greater combat and construction capabilities than other nations.


NATO and American, British, Canadian, and Australian (ABCA) engineer capabilities are well known and available. Standardization agreements (STANAGs) between national armies facilitate engineer interoperability and cooperation. The capabilities of engineers of other nations are normally available through intelligence channels or formal links with the nations concerned. Several nations have engineers that are experts in specific combat-engineering tasks such as mine detection and removal. Other national engineers are focused on specific missions such as disaster relief.


Depending on the multinational force arrangement in theater, Army engineers may control or work closely with engineers from other nations. Multinational engineer C2 relationships are established to foster cooperation and share information. Critical to this process is providing adequate US engineer LO support, including linguist support, communications equipment, and transportation.


During force-projection operations, the initial engineers in theater will most likely provide the HN engineering capabilities. As Army engineers deploy into theater, they may be joined by allied and coalition engineers. The Army engineer staff should consider the following when coordinating multi-national engineer plans and operations:


The US military can contract civilian-engineering support, as required, based on the threat situation and available resources. These contracts relieve the work load on US military engineer units in such areas as logistics base construction, real estate and facilities acquisition, RPMA, and demining operations. Oversees construction and other contracting services are available through the USACE, the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), or the Air Force regional civil-engineer (AFRCE) CCAs, depending on the theater location.


CCAs will maintain control of contractor operations. Various service CCAs throughout the world perform contract construction. Each service has its own geographic AO, but in any one area, only one CCA is designated. The Department of Defense (DOD) has assigned regional contract construction capabilities as follows:


LOGCAP is an Army capability that provides responsive contract capabilities to augment US forces with facility and logistics services during war and MOOTW. The Army currently operates the LOGCAP. The USACE provides program management, coordinates LOGCAP requirements with supported major Army commands (MACOMs), and administers the LOGCAP contract. The MACOM Assistant Chief of Staff, G3 (Operations and Plans) (G3), Assistant Chief of Staff, G4 (Logistics) (G4), engineer, and comptroller are key players in developing LOGCAP requirements and ensuring for the appropriate mix of contractor and troop support. The three major activities supported by the worldwide LOGCAP contracts are¯


The challenge for engineer planners and executers is to achieve the optimal mix of contractor and military engineer-unit capabilities. Construction contractors are best suited for the longer-duration, heavy construction work in stabilized environments. In turn, contractors leverage local resources (labor and materiel) to minimize costs and impacts on intratheater lift and port facilities. The contractor's presence contributes significantly to local-area political and economical stabilization and thereby reduces the need for the presence of US security forces. In turn, the US commander in theater must recognize the need for US military oversight of contract and contractor activities in the areas of project management, financial management, quality assurance, and audit.

During force-projection operations, extensive contracted civilian-engineer capabilities will probably be available only after D+30 due to mobilization and deployment time lines. Civilian-engineer contracting may be available sooner when deliberately and properly planned for during permissive entry conditions. As Army engineers deploy into the theater, they may be joined by contracted civilian engineers. The Army engineer staff should consider the following when coordinating engineer plans and operations with contracted civilian engineers:


Military engineers may need to coordinate their activities with US government agencies, NGOs, PVOs and UN agencies according to the operational mandate or military objective. In all cases, authority must exist for direct coordination. Interagency relationships must be established through negotiation. Agreements should be reduced to writing as memoranda of understanding or terms of reference to ensure understanding and avoid confusion. Most agreements will be made at the unified command or JTF level. These agreements will normally have serious legal restrictions on using military personnel and equipment. These agencies and organizations may have unique engineer capabilities that could be used as part of the overall operational effort. More often than not, these agencies and organizations may request extensive engineer support of their activities and programs. It is critical that an effective engineer liaison is established with the force HQ civil-military operations center (CMOC) to coordinate and execute any engineer support to and from these agencies.

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