The infantry brigade is a critical piece in the Army 's force structure because of its ability to operate both independently or as part of a division. The brigade fights combined arms battles and engagements employing every tactical means available. It integrates and coordinates different kinds of maneuver battalions, field artillery, aviation, engineer, ADA, combat air support, and naval gunfire to accomplish its mission. The brigade is the first level of command that requires the commander to integrate across all the BOSs. The brigade provides the link between the division deep and close battle. Because the only permanently assigned element of the divisional brigade is the HHC, the brigade can accommodate a variety of task organizations depending on the METT-T situation. The brigade commander is responsible for setting the conditions necessary for these assets to make their contributions to the battle in an organized and synchronized fashion. The brigade commander is also responsible for placing the battalions in the right place, at the right time, and in the right combination to decisively defeat the enemy. The brigade commander commands a powerful combined arms team.
The infantry brigade's mission is to close with the enemy by means of fire and maneuver to destroy or capture him, or to repel his assaults by fire, close combat, and counterattack. The brigade is extremely well-suited to operate across a wide range of military operations. The brigade normally controls from two- to five-attached maneuver battalions.
Brigades usually operate as part of a division. The division is a large, fixed Army organization that trains and fights as a tactical team. Normally, the division commander controls two- to five-ground maneuver brigades. The brigade can be employed in autonomous or semiautonomous operations when properly organized for combat. All brigades must be able to deploy, conduct offensive operations, conduct defensive operations, and conduct retrograde operations. Also, airborne, air assault, and ranger brigades/regiments are capable of conducting forced entry operations. All brigades may deploy to conduct operations other than war.
Brigades may deploy as part of a JTF with or without its traditional divisional headquarters. In these types of operations, the brigade may work directly for the JTF commander. Therefore, brigade commanders must know JTF doctrine and joint tactics, techniques, and procedures. The demand for experienced liaison will be high for a brigade in a JTF. Liaison may be required with joint, multinational, interagency, and or nongovernmental agencies. The brigade's requirement for liaison will exceed its normal personnel and equipment structure.
The infantry has been the force that closes with and destroys the enemy in the decisive phase of the battle. Before delivering the decisive blow, the infantry sets certain conditions to allow it to accomplish the mission with the minimum number of friendly casualties. Usually, the infantry has established these conditions. For example, in search and attack, the supporting efforts find and fix the enemy, while the main effort attacks to finish the enemy. In a deliberate attack, the support force isolates the objective, the breach force creates a gap, and the main effort assaults through the gap to accomplish the mission-essential task.
a. Certainly, the infantry has come to expect assistance from the combined arms team in setting these conditions; for example, the artillery preparation used to reduce enemy resistance before the infantry assault. However, the infantry has been required to be an integral part of setting the conditions as well as delivering the decisive blow (Figure 1-1a).
b. Desert Storm demonstrated the potential for using intelligence and precision fires to set the conditions and reserving the maneuver force for employment in the decisive phase (Figure 1-1b). These maneuver forces are highly mobile combined arms forces. Before forces are committed, certain conditions must be set. These conditions include destroying the enemy's integrated air defenses, blinding the enemy, winning the information war, and eliminating the enemy's ability to attack with fires. With these and other actions, the conditions are set for decisive operations. In this phase, the highly mobile combined arms forces will be vectored in to dominate the enemy's combat formations.
c. Change in the nature of warfare is possible because of technological advances in precision fires, high resolution RISTA, enhanced situational awareness, near-real-time battle command, and the mobility and lethality of air and ground maneuver. Desert Storm demonstrated the real possibility of such a framework, and commanders must actively pursue this concept in order to accomplish the mission with minimal casualties.
d. As doctrine and technology advance, facing the enemy on a technological battlefield will become routine. While remaining highly trained in the traditional way of war, infantry brigades must prepare to transition to a new framework for the twenty-first century.
Both the staffing and equipping of separate brigades are geared toward semi-independent operations. They can serve as planning headquarters for larger reserve forces or major contingency operations. Separate brigades normally conduct operations under corps command. They can also serve as a division reinforcement for short periods. The HHCs of separate brigades include support elements that would normally be found at division.
a. Separate brigades can conduct operations like divisional brigades; they can fight directly under corps control or perform rear operations, flank security missions, or covering force operations. They can also serve as corps reserve or reinforce a division. Separate brigades also have their own cavalry troop, engineer company, military intelligence company, military police platoon artillery battalion and support battalion. (Figure 1-2 provides an example of a separate brigade organization.)
b. Additionally combat, CS, and CSS units may be attached to a separate brigade as required by the brigade's mission and operating circumstances.
FM 7-30 focuses on the following types of infantry brigades: light, airborne, air assault, and ranger. The airborne brigade is discussed specifically in Appendix B and FM 90-26. The air assault brigade is discussed in Appendix C and FM 90-4. The ranger regiment is discussed in Appendix D and FM 7-85.
The infantry brigade can be deployed rapidly and can be sustained by an austere support structure. Its training emphasizes fighting during limited visibility in restrictive terrain such as forests, jungles, mountains, and urban areas. The brigade conducts operations against light enemy forces in all types of terrain and climate conditions. When augmented with forces, weapons systems, and equipment, the infantry brigade can perform its mission throughout the entire range of military operations. The brigade may participate in deep and rear operations at division and corps level. Additionally, the infantry brigade can:
a. Conduct operations in all operations other than war activities.
b. Conduct small-unit operations.
c. Conduct operations with armored or mechanized forces.
d. Conduct operations with special operations forces.
e. Conduct widely dispersed operations with organic and augmented forces.
f. Take part in amphibious operations. (See FM 31-12.)
h. Conduct airborne operations (airborne brigade/ranger regiment). (See Appendix B and FM 90-26.)
Limitations of the infantry brigade include the following:
a. The infantry brigade does not have the firepower, mobility, or inherent protection of armored and mechanized brigades.
b. Maneuver battalions of the infantry brigade are predominantly foot mobile. Organic vehicles must move either soldiers or supplies.
c. Infantry soldiers are especially vulnerable to enemy fires and NBC attacks while soldiers are moving.
d. An austere CSS structure, which may require external CSS for extended independent operations.
An infantry brigade is a combination of infantry battalions and other supporting units grouped under the command of a brigade headquarters. The organizational charts depicted in Figure 1-2 through 1-5 illustrates the brigade commander's need to integrate all the BOSs. Paragraph 1-11 discusses the synchronization of these assets. The infantry brigade participates in division or corps operations according to prescribed principles and concepts. (See FM 100-15 and FM 71-100.)
The only unit permanently assigned to the divisional brigade is the headquarters and headquarters company. It provides command and control over units attached to or supporting the brigade. While there are some minor personnel and equipment differences between brigade HHCs, they are essentially the same. (Figures 1-3 through 1-5 list divisional brigades and samples of their organization for combat.)
The brigade will frequently receive support from higher echelons. This support includes tactical air, Navy and Marine Corps, special operations forces, and long-range surveillance units.
Combat air operations involves the employment of air power in coordination with ground and naval forces to gain and maintain air superiority; prevent movement of enemy forces into and within the objective area and to seek out and destroy those forces and their supporting installations; join with ground and naval forces in operations within the objective area in order to assist directly in attainment of their immediate objective. Tactical air missions include counterair, air interdiction, close air support, tactical surveillance and reconnaissance, and tactical air lift. Two of these that warrant additional discussion at the brigade level are close air support and tactical air lift.
a. Close Air Support. Close air support is air action against hostile targets that are in close proximity to friendly forces and require detailed integration of each air mission with the fire and movement of those forces. Preplanned CAS is a request that can be sufficiently anticipated in advance to permit detailed mission coordination and planning. The division G3 may distribute preplanned CAS sorties to the brigades. Immediate CAS is a request that could not be sufficiently identified in advance to permit detailed mission consideration and planning. The effectiveness of CAS is directly related to the degree of local air superiority attained.
b. Tactical Air Lift. The austere support structure of the light infantry brigade makes tactical airlift a vital piece of the brigade's ability to move and receive supplies and equipment. Force projection makes rapid deployment of infantry brigades by air an essential task. Once in theater, resupply, casualty evacuation, and movement of replacement personnel become key aspects of tactical air lift.
The brigade will often have attached air and naval gunfire liaison company (ANGLICO) personnel available through which to submit requests for naval gunfire or CAS. The ANGLICO provides advice on abilities, limitations, and employment of naval gunfire and Navy/Marine CAS as well as recommends the organization and communications that are needed to request, direct, and control this support.
The ANGLICO support to a division consists of three brigade air/naval gunfire platoons organized and equipped to plan, request, coordinate, and control naval gunfire and naval air. Each platoon has two supporting arms liaison teams (SALT) that are normally provided to maneuver battalions. Note that this is not enough teams to provide one to each of the three maneuver battalions. The SALT consists of two officers and six personnel, and they become part of the unit's FSE. The SALT has two firepower control teams (FCT), which may be provided to maneuver companies. The SALT officers coordinate all naval gunfire and supervise the activities of the FCTs. In addition, they advise the FSCOORD on all matters pertaining to naval gunfire employment.
Special operations forces include Army special forces (SF), rangers, special operations aviation (SOA), psychological operations (PSYOP), and civil affairs (CA). Doctrinally, SF, rangers, and SOA are theater-level assets. However, brigades may conduct linkups, reliefs in place, or liaison exchanges with these units. If a tactical relationship between the brigade and the SOF does exist, normally a special operations command and control element (SOCCE) would be employed in a TACON role to provide interface.
a. Psychological operations and CA units regularly support infantry brigades. Civil affairs are those activities that embrace the relationship between the military forces and civil authorities and people in a friendly country or area, or occupied country or area, where the military are present. Because there is no organic S5 at the infantry brigade level, a CA DS team is often attached to provide S5 abilities. The members of this DS team are CA generalists and are part of the CA battalion that supports the division. The CA DS team has the following functions:
- Recommend command policy and guidance for CMO.
- Identify resources from local civil sector.
- Plan, coordinate, and supervise displaced civilian operations and other population resource control measures.
- Support and coordinate humanitarian and disaster relief.
- Assist in planning NEO.
- Coordinate military support for civil defense and civic action projects.
- Observe and analyze trends and public support of military operations.
b. Psychological operations are planned psychological activities in peace and war. These operations are directed toward enemy, friendly, and neutral audiences in order to create attitudes and behavior favorable to the achievement of political and military objectives. As such, PSYOP are a force multiplier, which is merely one piece of the operation. It must be fully integrated, timely, and directed at the right audience. The PSYOP task force is organized based on mission requirements. It usually consists of elements of a regional PSYOP battalion reinforced with other PSYOP assets. The brigade can normally expect to receive a brigade PSYOP support element (BPSE) consisting of at least three to four men that can control the operations of three-to five-mounted tactical PSYOP teams. They are equipped with a variety of loudspeakers and other audiovisual equipment.
It is possible, under some circumstances, that a unit may receive support from a long-range surveillance company. Surveillance teams can be assigned surveillance, reconnaissance, target acquisition, and damage assessment missions. The LRSC affects the brigade by providing information relevant to the brigade, in some cases sharing terrain, and possibly conducting linkups with brigade forces.
One of the brigade commander's greatest responsibilities is to ensure the synchronization of brigade assets. Synchronization is the production of maximum relative combat power at the decisive time and place. The following is a list of tools that is available to the commander, with selected examples, which will contribute to synchronization:
- Synchronization matrix (Figure 1-6).
- Decisions support template with matrix (Figure 1-7).
- Execution checklist (Figure 1-8).
- Rehearsals and briefbacks.
- Fire support execution matrix.
- Combat service support matrix.
- Engineer matrix.
- Air mission brief checklist.
Advances in technology continue to affect how we conduct warfare. The pace of operations is now greater than ever. Communications connectivity, line-of-sight limitations; map and compass navigation; hierarchical flow and bottlenecked information; and static CPs are giving way to new technologies and procedures as we digitize the division's battlefield. However, these advances may create a potential for information overload, and the staff must guard against this occurrence.
a. Digitization is one way the military services have chosen to modernize their forces. Digitization is defined as "near-realtime transfer of battlefield information between diverse fighting elements to permit a shared awareness of the tactical situation." Digitization leverages information-age technologies to enhance the art of command and facilitate the science of control.
b. Continued insertion of digital (data) technology into sensors, intelligence fusion systems, communications systems, and smart munitions will increase our ability to rapidly and globally manage, process, distribute, and display C2 information.
c. Microprocessing and space-based technologies have combined to permit near-real-time intelligence and information distribution. Improved control systems (mobile subscriber equipment [MSE], maneuver control system II [MCS II], cellular phones, satellite links), imagery directly down-linked to ground terminals, broadcast technologies, facsimile, video, color graphics, global position systems, digital overlay mapping, and data base are becoming available to lower echelon units. These capabilities give commanders and soldiers access to accurate data about the battlefield. This type of an architecture will allow them to rapidly act on this data.
d. When properly applied, technology can provide commanders near-real-time information on the operational and logistical status of friendly units, as well as a current picture of the enemy. Map displays and graphics are automatically updated, giving subordinate units complete knowledge of the friendly/enemy situation; thus a common view of the battlefield. This near-real-time common picture/situational awareness permits commanders at all echelons to: make timely decisions on accurate information better control forces, synchronize effects, and achieve decisive victories with minimal casualties.
e. Future integrated, digital computer networks will provide commanders, staffs, sensors, and shooters a great technological advantage. Through digital information exchange, systems can automatically share information between platforms/weapon systems, including relative positioning, identification direction, azimuth, targeting, and support. Network data systems will aid in the performance of tasks. For example, soldiers currently do the data entry and the retrieval by keyboard (or pencil). The current interface method (typing) does not lend itself to speed or cross-country movement over rough terrain. Forthcoming technology will ease data entry, retrieval, and viewing under field conditions. Light pens and pointers as well as menu/mouse driven software are good examples of near term technology that are important for mobile battle command. In the far term, voice input/output commands, speech synthesis, and voice recognition techniques will improve the interface even more.
f. In the future, pushed information through command and control vehicles (C2V), commander's vehicle (CV), airborne command and control (ABC2) CPs, or operations centers will include orders, map overlays/graphics, logistics status, changes in locations, updates to FRAGOs, and so on. Pulled intelligence information from broadcast terminals and operational information from CP vehicles, command centers, and subordinate units will alleviate demands on tactical commanders or staffs answering the interminable questions "where are you/what is your status?"
g. When fully implemented, integrated and digitized control systems of the future will permit any commander or staff officer to access critical information from any point on the battlefield.
h. Digitization of the battlefield is a viable solution for managing command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence information (C4I) from the foxhole to JTF headquarters and higher levels.
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