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3rd Battlefield Coordination Detachment - Korea

The 3rd Battlefield Coordination Detachment - Korea represents the Combined Ground Component Commander (CGCC) and his subordinate commands to the Combined Air Component Commander (CACC). Processes CGCC air support requests for tactical and logistical air support and exchanges operations and intelligence data between the components. Synchronizes air power with the ground schemes of fire and maneuver through monitoring the ITO's execution, and interprets the land battle for CACC and air operations for CGCC.

The US Army has four battlefield coordination detachments (BCDs), but only one is combined: the ROK-US Combined Forces Command (CFC) BCD located at Osan, Korea.

Although commonly thought of as the highest level fire support agency in the US Army, officially the BCD isn't titled a fire support agency As stated in FM 100-13 Battlefield Coordination Detachment, the BCD's mission is to "facilitate the coordination and synchronization of the Joint Force Air Component Commander (JFACC) [known as the CFACC in the combined BCD] and Army Forces (ARFOR) ground operations."

In Korea, the mission is greatly expanded to coordinate operational fires for the commander of the ground component command (CGCC). This is currently an evolving mission with the creation of the GCC's future enhanced deep operations coordination cell (DOCC), the fielding of an allay of an array of automation systems to the BCD and a changing modified table of organization and equipment (MTOE).

The CFC BCD is authorized 32 Americans and 14 Koreans. It is commanded by a US Field Artillery colonel with a ROK colonel as deputy. The US colonel, like many in Korea. wears three hats: Commander of US forces of the Eighth Army BCD Chief of the CFC BCD; and Ground Liaison Officer (GLO) for the 7th Air Force.

The BCD operates through four main elements: the operations, plans and intelligence branches and the deep operations synchronization cell. During war or exercises. the detachment expands to well over 100 personnel with augmentees and liaison attachments. Part of the augmentation comes from the 2d BCD, an Army Reserve unit from Anniston. Alabama.

Operations Branch. This branch fights the current battle from the CFA.CC air operations center (AOC), which is the Air Force's "tactical operations center (TOC)." The operations branch tracks the ground battle for the CFACC and air operations for the CGCC.

The BCD operations officer enjoys what may be the best common operating picture in the area of operations. He is surrounded by the best intelligence systems in the theater. A joint surveillance and target attack radar system (JSTARS) ground mobile station module sits on his desk. He also has three ROK Field Army Liaison Officers (FALNOs) permanently assigned to the BCD. While he gets the top-down picture from the intelligence systems, the ROK FALNOs provide him the most up-to-date ground situation from units in contact as well as the situation outlined in future plans. The operations officer gets updates on the situation through the ROK FALNOs much faster than waiting for an automated picture sent from the GCC or CFC TOCs. LNOs from the ld Infantry Division, III US Corps, US Marines and other units participating in exercises also provide timely reports.

Given an up-to-date intelligence and common operating picture, the BCD operations officer uses the CFC commander-in-chief's (CINC's) and the CGCC's targeting guidance and highpayoff target (HPT) list to divert assets to targets that might influence the battle.

He can do this because of the flexibility of air power and the Army tactical missile system (ATACMS) missions available. For example, during an emergency attack of an HPT, he can instantly clear the congested airspace using his own airspace control element, the US and Korean air force controllers and the airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft. This clears the way to divert aircraft or deep fires in an emergency.

The BCD operations officer uses the integrated tasking order (ITO) to help him determine assets to divert. Normally called the air tasking order (ATO), the ATO is called the ITO in Korea because it must integrate the operations of joint and combined forces: US and ROK Air Forces, Navy and Marine fixed-wing aircraft and sometimes also Apache helicopters, preplanned ATACMS and Special Forces direct action missions. The ITO also contains the airspace coordination order (ACO) that deconflicts airspace and provides guidance to air defense units. This single document ensures a coordinated targeting and attack effort.

The ITO is used as a "play book" by the BCD operations officer and the AOC director of combat operations (battle captain), a US Air Force colonel. Unlike the perception of most fire supporters that the Air Force's ITO is written "in stone," only to be executed as published, at the CFC BCD, the opposite is true. In the AOC in Osan, the Air Force refers to the ITO as the "ITS," the "integrated tasking suggestion." It is a list of assets with missions assigned against the best targets intelligence collectors can produce that meet the CINC's guidance. The BCD operations branch links the intelligence, the attack asset and the CINC's guidance together for timely attack.

Besides the ROK FALNOs and other LNOs, the operations officer has additional assets to maintain an excellent common operating picture. Reporting to him are GLOs and battlefield coordination officers (BCOs). The GLOs are US Army officers stationed with US fighter wings. The BCOs are the ROK "GLOs," stationed with the ROK fighter wings. The BCO position is a fairly recent addition to the ROK Army.

The GLOs and BCOs pass pilot mission reports and aircraft status to the BCD operations officer. This is important in determining whether a target should be attacked again. Mission reports are normally the first form of battle damage assessment (BDA) the operations officer receives. The BCD intelligence officer in the AOC feeds pilot mission reports through intelligence channels while the ROK FALNOs send the information down to the field armies.

Two other elements in the operations branch are airlift and air defense. The airlift element verifies and coordinates with the Air Force all intratheater airlift support requests from the GCC. Besides coordinating air defense warnings and measures, the air defense element provides the liaison between US Army Patriot units and the CFACC, who is responsible for theater missile defense.

Plans Branch. This branch executes many nonstandard missions for the CGCC. In addition to creating timely war plans, the branch updates target lists via the GCC cell; conducts GCC targeting meetings; serves as the ground order of battle agency for the CFACC; supports the combined targeting board (CTB); and ensures the decisions made by the CTB are executed in accordance with the CGCC's guidance for weaponeering, packaging, etc.

In peacetime, the theater CTB meets almost every month (daily in wartime) to update the war plan. Unlike the theater operational plan (OPLAN), air support war plans are written every year and updated as assets are added or reprioritized.

The plans branch of the BCD uses current daily intelligence to update its target lists. It conducts GCC targeting meetings with fire support and intelligence representatives from the ROK field armies, ensuring new targets are prioritized and targeted to meet the field army commander's need to shape his battlespace. The branch also ensures the field army plans and targeting priorities stay within the CINC's and CGCC's guidance.

Intelligence Branch. After assessing daily intelligence, this branch provides the plans branch with updated targets. During exercises, it ensures the operations branch receives timely targeting intelligence on HPTs and enemy unit locations. Using the all-source analysis system (ASAS) and other systems, the intelligence branch is fully integrated with US national assets as well as theater, Air Force systems and the GCC analysis and control element. It also provides the CFACC the overall enemy ground order of battle.

Deep Operations Synchronization Cell. During exercises, the cell meets with the ACC synchronization cell to ensure long-range plans reflect GCC future operations considerations. These missions might include synchronizing an attack on a specific enemy unit using both air interdiction aircraft and attack helicopters, using intratheater C-130 aircraft to move forces and supplies from ports to the forward line of own troops (FLOT), deconflicting airspace during a simultaneous attack on enemy air defense assets using ATACMS, or putting together an air suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD) package.

The BCD concept originated in the mid-1980's as an answer to deal with the Soviet Union's tactic of attacking in successive echelons in order to overwhelm the NATO ground defense. The mission for Air Force deep fires at that time, was aimed at attacking the Soviet Union's second and third echelons, and command and control nodes thus disrupting the synchronization, timing and overall effectiveness of their attack. This mission called for an Army organization to provide required close and continuous coordination between the Air Component Commander (ACC) and the Land Component Commander (LCC) in order to pass critical targeting and intelligence information between the Army and the Air Force. As a result, the Battlefield Coordination Element (BCE) was created to work as an Army liaison team in the United States Air Force Tactical Control Center (TACC), now the Air Operations Center (AOC), to ensure continuous coordination and exchange of information.

Operation Desert Storm in 1991, was the first operational deployment of a BCD during war and it's mission and role were validated Today the BCD mission entails coordination between the Commander Army Forces (COMARFOR) and the Joint Forces Air Component Commander (JFACC) to synchronize maneuver, fires, and interdiction in the ARFOR Area of Operation (AO). The BCD supports the COMARFOR by providing preplanned and immediate targeting support, intelligence exchange, airspace coordination, theater airlift coordination and overall friendly and enemy situation awareness.

United States Army Europe (USAREUR) Command created the USAREUR BCE in June 1997 from the old 7th Army Liaison Group to USAFE. On 13 July 1999, the BCE was activated as a regular TOE unit and redesignated the 19th BCD stationed at Ramstein AB, Germany. There are three other Battlefield Coordination Detachments serving the United States Army; the 1st BCD is located at Ft Bragg, NC; the 2nd BCD is located at Hurlburt Field, Florida; and the 3rd BCD is located at Osan Air Base, Korea. Since its formation as a BCE in June 1997, the BCD has participated in numerous large and small-scale exercises. The most significant event was Operation Allied Force (Mar-Jul 99), the war in Kosovo, which provided the proving ground of the BCD's effectiveness for overall success within the joint combined arms fight of today's modern warfare.

Some of the training operations include Union Flash (1997-1999); Trail Blazer (1997, 1998, 2000); and Agile Lion (1997-1999). From its inception in 1997, the 19th BCD has participated in approximately 15 major Air Force contingencies involving our intelligence section, operations assets, and our ground liaison teams at the USAFE wings.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:34:51 ZULU