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ARSOA will require combat support from either SO or non-SO units (theater, service, joint, or combined forces). This chapter discusses ARSOA CS support requirements from non-SO CS units. It also discusses the likely use of non-SO CS by ARSOA and the CS request procedures for support of ARSOA.


Fire support is often critical to mission success. The nature of the ARSOA mission makes the need for fire support extremely time- and target-critical. To achieve the support needed, fire support must be precise and timely. However, it must not prematurely reveal the objective of the mission.

a. Requests. For SOA-supported missions, the supported unit originates most fire support requests. However, the SOA commander must be provided the fire support request and status so he can include it in the SOA mission planning. The fire support coordinator for the entire SO mission, including the ARSOA portion, is the mission planning agent. Fire support requests will be passed to the JSOTF or SOC J3 as appropriate. When they work for the LCC, special operations forces coordinate with the LCC's G3 and FSE for fire and air support. When they operate as a separate component, the special operations commander, COMJSOTF, obtains air and/or fire support from the CINC's J3 or FSE in the joint operations center. Requests for fire support from non-SOF units must be requested and coordinated in advance.

b. Assets. Fire support assets that may be made available to ARSOA include field artillery, the Army tactical missile system, naval surface fire, and air support. This air support will take the form of tactical air support from the Air Force, Navy, or Marine Corps. Depending upon the composition of the ARSOA task force, the ARSOA unit may have some capability for air attack. However, its air attack capability is very limited and should be used only for specific preplanned direct support of SO. It should not be used for general support of the mission.

(1) Field artillery. SOF have no organic field artillery. They may, however, have field artillery assets allocated in direct support of an operation. They may also receive field artillery fire support on a general support basis. Field artillery support will be requested from the SOC through normal channels down to the supporting field artillery unit. The nature of ARSOA missions results in most missions being flown beyond the range of friendly field artillery. That makes field artillery support most useful for covering ingress and egress and for local SEAD. This support may be dedicated to the ARSOA mission, or it may be combined with other fire missions. It may also be used as a diversion to preserve the clandestine characteristics of the ARSOA mission.

(2) Army tactical missile system. The ATACMS is addressed separately because it is normally controlled at corps or EAC. The range of the ATACMS makes it most useful as a fire support asset for ARSOA. Since ARSOA also operates as an EAC tasked unit in enemy territory, the ATACMS is a viable support asset if it is in theater and available. Its range and centralized targeting and command and control system make it the best ground-launched fire support system for ARSOA deep missions. Its response time and accuracy also make the ATACMS very useful to SOF. However, limited assets and control at corps level dictate the need for early, detailed requests to ensure that it is available when needed.

(3) Naval surface fire. When operations are conducted near a coastline, naval surface fire can support ARSOA the same as field artillery. Like field artillery, naval surface fire is requested at the joint level through the SOC J3. Coordination and use of naval surface fire is similar to field artillery and TACAIR, but it may require support from an ANGLICO. The ANGLICO, normally provided by the US Marine Corps, will request, coordinate, and control both naval air and gunfire support at the tactical level.

(4) Tactical air support. TACAIR has the range and firepower to support ARSOA missions anywhere in the theater. Requests for TACAIR support are made through the LCC or SOC J3 to the theater single air manager or ACC. The ACC satisfies all TACAIR requirements. The single air manager concept is proven and universal to all theaters. The ACC provides effective procedures, the organization, and the resources to manage aircraft in the theater. The SOC, or JSOACC, will coordinate requests for TACAIR with the theater ACC. If the theater ACC cannot support the SOC because of higher priority requests and the SOC views his needs as critical, the CINC reviews and establishes priorities. TACAIR, when available, can be used for SEAD, interdiction, or CAS. Planning for TACAIR includes detailed timing and definition of either the target or the mission requirements. Preplanned missions should be requested 72 hours in advance for inclusion in the ATO process. However, exact target coordinates are not necessary until immediately before the mission is launched. If precision-guided munitions are the best armament for ARSOA support requirements, they should be included in the initial request. Comments should also include whether the target designation will be by TACAIR, ARSOA, other SOF, or other agencies. The controlling agency normally approves requests for immediate support if the aircraft are available and have the appropriate ordnance.

(a) Interdiction. The Air Force TACS classifies requests for TACAIR support on targets beyond the FSCL as interdiction. Therefore, close coordination with the BCE and the TACS is necessary to emphasize the nature and need of any SO request for TACAIR beyond the FSCL and to ensure that it is given the proper priority. The JTCB and the TACS deconflict timing and tasking for interdiction targets. If interdiction taskings impact on or affect ARSOA missions or requests, the JTCB must be made aware of these conflicts to prevent fratricide and multiple taskings on a single target.

(b) Close air support. TACAIR support within the FSCL is normally tasked as close air support. CAS can be preplanned or immediate. Although the exact targets and coordinates are not necessary, preplanned CAS should be requested 72 hours ahead of time. On-call CAS can be requested, which tasks aircraft to support a specific operation within a defined period with requested ordnance. However, the exact target location is normally not defined at the time of the request. If an immediate need for TACAIR becomes apparent, a call to a controlling agency such as the ASOC, the ABCCC, or AWACS will normally determine if TACAIR assets are available. These assets can be immediately diverted to support ARSOA requirements. When TACAIR is diverted for immediate CAS, the requester must control the aircraft in the target area.

(c) Reconnaissance. Although it is not normally available, immediate reconnaissance is requested in the same manner as close air support.


SEAD and J-SEAD may be required to penetrate or to exit enemy territory. SEAD activity tends to highlight those areas in which it is conducted. Enemy reaction or increased activity in the areas where SEAD is being conducted should be expected. Ideally, SEAD support for other operations or with other activities should be the primary method of support for ARSOA. SEAD activities can also be used to distract enemy defenses from the actual planned routes or time of ARSOA operations.

a. Planning. Like TACAIR, SEAD is requested through the theater ACC. SEAD planning is conducted at the TACC level, to which all requests for this support should be made. Although local SEAD is often provided for a high-priority mission, it is normally planned on a theater or area basis rather than to support a single mission. Therefore, tasking of SEAD assets to fill the ARSOA SEAD requests will normally be included in a more general support package rather than dedicated to the ARSOA mission.

b. Coordination. Suppression of enemy air defense is temporary. It does not have long-term effects unless it is part of a major extended SEAD operation. While dedicated SEAD support for some ARSOA missions may be necessary, it must be closely timed so that it takes advantage of the initial impact but does not jeopardize the ARSOA mission. The SEAD request must state specifically when and where SEAD is needed the most. Normally, full coverage of an operation is not possible given the limited dedicated SEAD assets. SEAD support may also be split, such as between TACAIR and artillery, and be for different areas or targets or at a different time.

c. Assets and Techniques. SEAD can be accomplished with either fires or electronic means and by using either airborne or surface-based systems. For example, artillery can silence some defenses, and airborne jammers can degrade acquisition systems. Combining these assets increases the total effect of SEAD support. Normally, SEAD is part of an overall operation, which will include other TACAIR and ground activities. SEAD support may not be obvious unless the supported unit has been notified that SEAD is taking place. Limited numbers of lethal and nonlethal dedicated SEAD systems may restrict the availability of SEAD, particularly if quick reaction is required. In general, SEAD or J-SEAD should be employed on all known targets.


Air defense is controlled on an area basis. Coordination with the air defense sector is essential to ensure safe passage through friendly defenses. Air defense sectors may be declared weapons free; any aircraft transiting will be attacked. Sectors may also be declared weapons tight when positive identification is required or weapons hold when no firing is authorized. Therefore, routes through borders, FLOTs, or defense zones must be coordinated with the air defense controlling agency well ahead of mission execution to prevent attack by friendly air defense units. Similarly, any dedicated air defense requirements or CAP over enemy territory must be requested well ahead of mission execution. Like SEAD, CAP will attract the attention of the enemy. It must be used judiciously to prevent compromising ARSOA activities. CAP can be used as a barrier between enemy air bases and the ARSOA mission or route area. It can also be used as a moving CAP near the route or task force or as a sweep ahead of the ARSOA aircraft. In any case, close coordination with the supporting unit is necessary so that the needs and plans of ARSOA are understood.


Units that are a part of or that support a force that includes attack helicopters may be attached or placed under OPCON of another commander. The accuracy and lethality of attack helicopters make them useful for supporting an egress or ingress, covering a landing zone, or conducting SEAD or J-SEAD missions.

a. Planning. The limited availability of advanced attack helicopters and their versatility place them in great demand. Therefore, the ARSOA commander must state his intent, include them in his planning, submit early requests, and specify the desired mission results. Requests for this support should be made through the JFSOCC to the Army component commander. Advanced attack helicopters are useful in supporting ARSOA, since they are flexible and have similar flight characteristics to ARSOA aircraft. For example, attack helicopters may be tasked to create a diversion, conduct SEAD, or provide escort during an ingress or egress. They may also be tasked to provide highly accurate, lethal firepower against enemy force concentrations.

b. Staging Base. Staging the ARSOA mission from the same base as the attack helicopters allows face-to-face briefings. Face-to-face briefings ensure coordination. They also ensure that ARSOA and the attack helicopter units understand the mission. Staging provides for similarity between the launch area and the initial routes of ARSOA and other aircraft. This, in turn, reduces the operational visibility of ARSOA operations.


To successfully operate deep within enemy territory, ARSOA units must avoid enemy detection. Therefore, particular attention is given to avoiding enemy acquisition systems. Current intelligence on the location, status, and operating modes and frequencies of enemy acquisition and tracking systems is essential. ARSOA uses intelligence information to plan routes and determine ASE needs and settings. It also uses this information to determine what type of non-SO agency support it requires. ARSOA mission planners will use combat information and intelligence to plot infiltration and exfiltration routes and to recommend landing zones.

a. Intelligence. The SOC J2 is the primary agency for the tasking and dissemination of IEW products to support ARSOA. The MPA will be the main focus for requesting and disseminating mission intelligence requirements. The supported unit, such as an SF detachment, usually coordinates IRs for the mission and passes them to the MPA, who forwards them to the SOC J2. ARSOA specific IRs are then sent to the JSOACC. The JSOACC J2 then determines if SO, Army, or Air Force intelligence sources can best fill the need. Cross-coordination of IRs at all times and levels during mission planning is necessary. Cross-coordination ensures that the IRs are not duplicated and that essential intelligence is available to the planners.

(1) The SO IEW system is known as the Special Operations Command Research, Analysis, and Threat Evaluation System. ARSOA is not connected to any other intelligence net, and current TOE limitations do not allow ARSOA task forces to deploy a SOCRATES. Therefore, ARSOA must rely on either SF-, ARSOF-, or AFSOF deployed SOCRATES for access to intelligence products and reports. Collocating the ARSOA task force with the SF group, the AFSOF, or the JSOACC, allows access to a SOCRATES and to the intelligence data needed for mission planning. Standing intelligence requirements for ARSOA units should be automatically submitted to the JSOACC or the JSOC J2 for early resolution. FM 34-36 contains more details on intelligence support for SOA.

(2) While ARSOA units will gather certain operational intelligence as part of their overall mission, they have no dedicated organic intelligence-gathering capability. The ARSOA task force S2 is a throughput office only. The lack of any deployable connection to an operations and intelligence net also reduces the ability to enter mission debriefings into the intelligence nets.

(3) Route selection partially depends on known enemy air defense locations. This information is collected by a target information broadcast system or by another system. The detect and destroy radius of known enemy positions allows the system to select routes that avoid these positions. Normally, these systems are not found at AFSOC; however, access to them is necessary during the planning phase.

b. Electronic Warfare. ARSOA relies upon a combination of organic ASE and combat support systems to defeat enemy ground and air defenses. Ideally, SEAD and other activities, such as ground and airborne jammer support, decrease the need for ARSOA to use active ASE. However, the use of organic equipment to defeat enemy tracking systems and missiles is necessary. Coordination ith supporting units and intelligence agencies will provide the data necessary for mission planning. Route selection, ASE settings and equipment, and tactics should be tailored to the expected threats.


ARSOA has no organic deployable counterintelligence assets. Coordination and support for ARSOA CI needs must be accomplished at the SOC, JSOTF, or other appropriate higher echelon.


ARSOA requires light data, sea condition data, and weather forecasts from deep within enemy territory up to 72 hours before mission execution. Accurate current and forecasted weather, including satellite weather forecasting products and interpretation, is needed for mission planning to support route selection, equipment requirements, fuel needs, and combat support. The USAF has approved attaching a staff weather team to each ARSOA task force. This permits face-to-face weather briefings for flight crews. It also gives the flight crews access to Air Weather Service products. If the weather team is not in place, ARSOA task forces normally receive weather support from the AFSOF, the SOC, or the weather team attached to an SF group.


ARSOA TFs have no deployable switchboard or mobile subscriber equipment. They require additional state-of-the-art HF equipment and peripherals to integrate with theater command and control nets. Unless the TF is augmented, message traffic is received through a collocated unit or another supporting unit or by radio facsimile. Support from either a signal battalion, an SF group, a JCSE, the SOC or JSOTF, or other units is required to establish full communications with other theater and service headquarters (see Figure 4-1 on page 4-8).


ARSOA has no organic CS capability for engineer, military police, base defense, or NBC support. These support requirements must be filled by other Army units, other service support, host-nation support, or other agencies.

Figure 4-1. Notionally deployed Army SOA contingent

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