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AIR-GROUND OPERATIONS SCHOOL (AGOS) (cont)

TRAINING

Observation from the CTC battlefields pre-rotational training is not focused on CAS integration. Observers see staffs who cannot effectively integrate CAS. The general feeling is that CAS ramp-up training is "canned" and unrealistic.. It does not prepare the staff for the CAS challenges at the CTCs. The U.S. Army's foundation training doctrine contained in FM 25-100, Training the Force, Nov 88, and FM 25-101, Battle-Focused Training, Sep 90, indicates areas of leader, individual, and collective training where the inclusion of CAS training could fix some of the integration problems.

Battle-Focused Training: As part of battle-focused training, key CAS staff players derive their training requirements from their wartime mission. As one of the first steps in the training management cycle, the staff develops a battle staff mission-essential task list (METL), supporting the unit's METL. S3 Air, ALO, and FSCOORD incorporate CAS tasks as part of the combined arms tasks included in the battle staff METL. The commander evaluates the battle staff METL, selecting from the battle staff METL those tasks which, if accomplished, are critical to the success of each of his METL tasks.

Identification of the battle tasks related to CAS operations from the battle staff METL is the start point for CAS integration training. S3 Air, ALO, FSCOORD, and commander incorporation of CAS integration into the METL development phase of the training management cycle is the first step in fixing CAS training weaknesses.

LESSON: ALO involvement in all phases of the training management cycle, METL Development, Training, Planning, Execution, and Assessment; pays great dividends. Have the ALO brief CAS training during the Quarterly Training Brief (QTB). Look at the METL and your battle tasks to see if any are CAS related. If none are found, gather CAS key players together and include CAS integration in the METL development process.

Individual and Leader Training: Very few of the key U. S. Army players, commanders, S3 Airs, and FSCOORDs involved in the CAS business are trained in the air-ground operations system and CAS integration. Schools, at all levels, devote very little time to air-ground operations system training. Presently, the AGOS is the only formal training institution focused on training in the air-ground operations system. Upon completion of either the Battle Staff Course (BSC) or the Joint Fire Power Control Course (JFCC), U. S. Army personnel are awarded the 5U or Q8 additional skill identifier signifying formal education in air-ground operations.

The BSC was discontinued in 4QFY94. In lQFY95, the USAFAGOS stood up a new course, the Joint Air Operations Staff Course (JAOSC). The JAOSC focuses on theater air-ground operations at the echelons above corps level. JFCC continues to provide air-ground operations training for planners and operators at corps level and below.

Units should identify key positions with responsibilities in air-ground operations and ensure the manning authorization documents code these positions to identify additional skill requirements.

LESSON: The S3 Air FSCOORD, and select FSE members need to attend formal training at the AGOS. Another alternative is to obtain nonresident instruction from AGOS as part of the pre-rotational training program. Also, the brigade and battalion ALOs, who are AGOS-trained, can serve as the local air-ground operations trainers during pre-rotational unit training.

Battle Tasks: The first place to start is with doctrine. Operations doctrine, fire support doctrine, air-ground operations doctrine, air space doctrine, and CAS doctrine all give insight into the development of battle tasks. Begin at the joint level and work your way through the multi service doctrine down to the single-service doctrine. Additionally, the personal experience of those involved in CAS operations on a daily basis will provide valuable information. The good news is somebody has already expended a lot of energy to develop a task list for CAS integration. The Army Research Institute (ARI), as part of a research project to analyze the inter-service application of CAS at the CTCs to provide a basis for a training and feedback system, developed a detailed list of battle tasks. The doctrinally based list of battle tasks titled Integrated Task List for the Air-Ground Training Feedback System, Aug 93, was prepared by an ARI contractor, Mr. Jim Root. The following draft reports were also prepared in Apr 94: List of Critical Mission Battle Tasks for Close Air Support in a Low Intensity Conflict (Front-End Analysis) and Integrated Task List for the Air-Ground Training Feedback System.

LESSON: These documents will serve as a great starting point for your CAS METL development. Contact the U.S. Army Research Institute, Unit-Collective Training Unit, P.O. Box 5787, Presidio of Monterey, CA 93944-5011 (408-372-3320) to request these reports.

Collective Training: The S3 Air, ALO, and the FSCOORD incorporate CAS battle tasks identified in the METL development process into training plans during the planning phase of the training management cycle of the unit. Those tasks assessed as a training weakness form the nucleus of the training plan. When the staff develops the long-range, short-range, and near-term training plans, they address CAS integration training weaknesses incorporating the commander's guidance. A mutual support agreement between the U. S. Army and the U. S. Air Force, 1 Feb 92, governs the participation of the BALO in training activities during peacetime. This support agreement outlines specific parameters for BALO involvement in battalion training and establishes a 90-day request time line for BALO participation. By getting your BALO involved early in the development of your battalion training plan, you can ensure he is aware and available for the critical CAS battle-task training.

LESSON: Provide the BALO's and ALO's input into the training management cycle to maximize the multi-echelon combined arms training opportunities. This also forces the BALO's early involvement in the staff integration process with his supported unit and ensures his understanding of the pre-rotational training plan and the part he plays on the team. The leader training program should also include the BALOs.

THEATER AIR-GROUND SYSTEM (TAGS)

According to the Theater Air-Ground System (TAGS), Multi-Service Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures, FM 100-103-2, "TAGS is critical in supporting Army operations by providing the ground commander an integrated system to tie together different services' air-ground systems in theater operations. " According to the TAGS, close integration of the commander with the FSCOORD, G3/S3 Air, and ALO is critical to success. The knowledge of these key players of the entire TAGS is essential for the integration of CAS. These key CAS players' understanding of the air-ground operations system is the essential cornerstone in the CAS integration process. Their knowledge of the request process, the Air Tasking Order (ATO) process, and the Airspace Control Order (ACO) process sets the stage for successful CAS operations on the battlefield. Along with formal training, these key players apply the joint operating procedures outlined in Joint Pub 3-56.24, Tactical Command and Control Planning Guidance and Procedures for Joint Operations, Joint interface Operational Procedures (JIOP), Message Text Formats, Change 1, Oct 92. Section C, Air Operations Management, III-23, Joint Pub 3-56.24, discusses air tasking procedures, airspace control messages, and airspace management messages related to CAS operations on the joint battlefield.

LESSON: Staffs who understand how the CTC replicates the TAGS and its processes know the air-ground operations parameters and their effects on their operations. The air tasking cycles and messages in Joint Pub 3-52.24, along with the FM 100-103 series, serve as the staff's primer for CAS operations at the CTCs.

To win on the battled field requires team work. A winning war fighting team begins by having the right team members and training together. Each team member brings individual skills, honed by formal education, doctrinal understanding, and experience, which form the foundation of the war fighting team. These team members understand their role, how they fit into the system, and how the system operates. The team focuses their training on the critical tasks involved in accomplishing their wartime mission. These basic principles hold true of air-ground operations. Successful integrated CAS operations are the result of teamwork, training, and the judicious application of doctrine.

LESSON: There must be two salient, but closely related, training benefits derived from a CTC rotation. First, we pay a lot for training and expend a lot of effort to train for the "Force-on-Force" battles. No question about this, we must execute and we do execute this very well. Second, however, we must also develop the skills necessary to integrate and apply all the joint tools available to the ground commander. Failure to achieve both benefits from a CTC rotation will cost our soldiers dearly on the future battlefields.


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