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Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration (RSOI)

by MAJ Dan McRoberts, Former Chief,G-2 Plans, Operations Group, National Training Center

The dynamics of global affairs places a requirement on the Army to be able to conduct short-notice deployments to the far reaches of the globe, and then rapidly build up combat power on the ground.

Even with force projection doctrine still in the evolutionary stage, the National Training Center incorporates RSOI into each unit's rotational training as an integral part of overall mission preparation.

This article spells out the basic missions and activities associated with conducting RSOI with the intent to inform units about what to expect. This should then help drive incorporating some training at Home Station specifically geared toward preparing for RSOI execution.


Reception: unit arrival in theater.

Staging: building combat power; the integration of combat-ready equipment and personnel.

Onward movement: unit deployment from the staging area to the gaining command in the field.

Integration: unit arrival at the Tactical Assembly Area of the gaining command, and the integration into its command and control structure.


The NTC observer/controllers (O/C) focus only on each unit's deployment and entry operations, with the following training objectives:

  • placing an immediate tactical requirement on the brigade combat team (BCT) by changing from an administrative draw to a tactical RSOI scenario.
  • replicating the draw of prepositioned equipment.
  • exercising the interface with theater-level logistical base.
  • measure the unit's ability to build combat power.
  • familiarize the unit with the complexities of conducting tactical operations under the constraints of Rules of Engagement (ROE).
The scenario driving NTC's RSOI reflects deployment to a semi-mature theater, with an unopposed entry operation. According to FM 100-5, this specifies the following six requirements for deploying units within their lodgment area:

1. Protect the force.
2. Assist forward-presence, or host-nation forces.
3. Reconfigure.
4. Build combat capability.
5. Train.
6. Acclimate to the environment.

PROTECT THE FORCE

Under any circumstances, this remains the most important requirement. The following represent unit actions taken to protect the force during RSOI operations:

  • operation of a checkpoint.
  • reconnaissance and security of routes.
  • fratricide prevention.
  • safety standard enforcement.
  • conduct of preventative medicine.
  • employment of air defense measures, active and passive.
  • liaison with local authorities.
  • the exercise of Operational Security (OPSEC).

ASSISTING FORWARD-PRESENCE OR HOST-NATION FORCES

The following missions represent those typically required of deploying units to meet this requirement:

  • relief in place.
  • clearing obstacles and minefields.
  • delivering supplies.
  • securing routes, lodgments, borders, or zones of separation.
  • conducting a show of force.

RECONFIGURING

The combat force must be rapidly tailored to meet the impending mission. Reconfiguring entails task organizing, and then prioritizing the effort of CSS assets to build the combat-capable units in the order they are needed - based on the mission and task organization. Concurrently, the command, control, communications and intelligence architecture must be emplaced and functioning.

Technique: The order of the equipment draw must be carefully thoughtout prior to deployment. The success of the mission is dependent upon the intelligent and timely buildup of combat power. This implies the initialization of the CSS elements necessary to stand up the combat units in the desired sequence. This sequence of units and equipment should be wargamed in detail at Home Station prior to deployment. The unit advance party must then use the desired sequence as the basis for their coordination at the port of entry and in the lodgment area. Obviously, the sequence of the shipping and the arrival of equipment can impact the desired sequence. This implies the unit must contingency-plan for a variety of potential sequences.

BUILDING COMBAT CAPABILITY

Rapidly building combat power requires the following actions:

  • interfacing with the theater logistics base.
  • conducting large unit supply operations.
  • constituting CSS units rapidly to support the overall buildup.
  • drawing equipment.
  • conducting necessary training.
  • conducting marshaling activities to link combat-ready personnel with their equipment.

Technique: After standing up the necessary CSS elements, build up combat units against a brigade specified timeline. Brigade then tracks the compliance with the build-up timeline. EXAMPLE: The average length of time for rotational units to build up the BCT is six days, from D-7 to D-2, or from a Sunday to the following Friday, the day before the unit moves out of the lodgment.

TRAIN

All training is focused on getting the BCT combat ready. This is METT-T dependent. For contingency operations, training in theater could encompass the following:

  • Theater-specific ROE.
  • Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) provisions and stipulations.
  • Local customs and basic language training.
  • Conduct of Noncombatant Evacuation Operations (NEO).
  • Theater-specific OPSEC requirements, i.e., Terrorist activities, etc.
  • Riot control.
  • Negotiation skills.
  • Dealing with the media.

Training for conventional combat tasks, both individual and collective, will also continue as units conduct marshaling activities. Additionally, there are weapon system-specific requirements, i.e., boresighting and zeroing, etc., that must be done for both individual and crew-served weapons, as well as for tanks and infantry fighting vehicles.

ACCLIMATION

Acclimation is a process that begins with mobilization and then never stops until redeployment. The final processing for overseas movement, for example, where immunizations are updated is an example of starting to acclimate soldiers to the environment where they will operate. The issuance of specialized equipment, based on the geographical area, is another example of how acclimation begins during the mobilization phase of a deployment. Soldiers may also receive cultural, geographic, and linguistic information about the specific country or region to which they are going.

Once on the ground in theater, acclimation continues. A significant aspect of this process may involve just getting used to the climate, i.e., temperature, humidity, rainfall, terrain, etc. Climatic and geographical conditions can obviously have an effect on units' ability to conduct and sustain operations.

Acclimation also involves getting used to working with either forward-presence forces and/or host-nation forces. This interoperability is crucial to the ultimate success of the mission. U.S. Army units can today automatically assume that missions will be joint, i.e.With sister services; it is also likely for contingency operations to be combined, i.e. With allied forces.

CONCLUSION

Units training at the NTC will be placed in a realistic scenario as part of a Joint Task Force (JTF) requiring them to conduct RSOI operations in theater as they execute a road to war timeline.

The keys to success for RSOI are basic:

  • develop and implement a plan to build combat power, and a system for tracking the buildup.

  • establish a series of intermediate goals to help measure progress, and to facilitate the adjustment of priorities during RSOI.

  • exercise a command information system to keep soldiers informed about the in-country political and tactical situation, i.e. The reason for the deployment, the countries and factions involved in any dispute, and the distinctions between friendly and potential enemy forces.

  • a successful command information program will greatly enhance the ability of soldiers and leaders to deal with the media scrutiny built into the training exercise.

CALL is working with the NTC to develop an RSOI Newsletter that captures RSOI techniques and procedures employed by rotational units that work to make this important portion of the training a success. It will capture not only what works once you get into theater, but also what your unit can do at Home Station to better prepare for RSOI when you do deploy.


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