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Appendix F

Troop Order Guide




F-1. This guide is a tool to enable ACT commanders to develop and brief OPORDs that are clear, concise, sufficient in detail, and provide necessary guidance to accomplish the mission.

F-2. Time is the commander's greatest constraint. Repetitive training within the troop will allow a well trained group to produce a detailed order in a timely manner. The commander must determine the level of detail required for the order to provide sufficient information and accomplish all troop-leading procedures.

F-3. The commander's primary focus is the development of his intent and the synchronization of the scheme of maneuver. It is essential that the commander delegates and provides clear planning guidance (WARNORD) and priorities, along with supervision (troop-leading procedures). This process begins with the first WARNORD from HHQ. During this process, personnel must continuously pull and refine information from HHQ as they prepare the products that support the OPORD.

F-4. A written order allows subordinates to focus their efforts during the presentation and provides better clarity than only a verbally presented order. A written order allows subordinates a reference for team and crew planning.

F-5. This guide provides a five-paragraph orders format, planning considerations, and doctrinal references to assist the commander in developing a detailed order in a time constrained environment.


F-6. Visualization is the key to orders presentation. It can be as basic as a sketch of the AO or as detailed as a terrain model with training aids. These aids include large sketches of key events (actions on the objective, engagement areas, zones or routes), troop drill diagrams, pictures of enemy equipment, the enemy order of battle, and threat array.

F-7. The order must be organized and follow the standard five-paragraph OPORD format-it is a time proven method and is doctrine. This format should be included in the troop SOP. A preformatted order allows subordinates to easily follow the commander's presentation and allows the commander to clearly organize his order for presentation. All crews in attendance should have the current operational graphics available at the order. Ideally the commander should provide the attendees with a hard copy of the order. This can be accomplished by using carbon paper copies of the order format, the AMPS word processing function, or a computer.

F-8. The troop five-paragraph order is presented with SITTEMP (with information from the event template-enemy time lines, NAIs, TAIs and DPs), maneuver graphics, and FS graphics. If applicable, the mission briefer will brief CSS graphics and obstacle graphics. Additional items may include sketches, matrices and knee board cards (communication card, maneuver and/or actions on the objective sketch, and route card).

F-9. The presentation will begin with a roll call and distribution of supporting products, then hold all questions until the end. Do not start the order until all products and presentation materials are ready. Finally, be positive, portray confidence and avoid repetition.



F-10. Task organization for combat includes all combat elements, CS elements attached, OPCON, or in DS. ACTs may receive ground scouts OPCON for limited duration missions. ACT may be attached or placed under OPCON to another unit. Formal task organization begins after COA analysis is complete. The commander task organizes subordinate units to maximize the capabilities of subordinate commanders to accomplish their assigned tasks. Task organization further facilitates flexibility and synchronization. It allows the commander to tailor forces to-

  • Adapt to conditions imposed by METT-T.
  • Further the commander's intent and concept, support the scheme of maneuver, and follow his commander s guidance.
  • Weight the main effort by providing additional combat or combat support units; by establishing priorities of fire, protection, or effort; or by using combat multipliers such as lethal and nonlethal fires.
  • Allocate resources with minimum restrictions on their employment.



F-11. Attach is the placement of units or personnel in an organization where such placement is relatively temporary. Subject to limitations imposed by the attachment order, the commander of the formation, unit, or organization receiving the attachment has the responsibility to provide the attached units with sustainment support above its organic capability. However, the parent unit will normally retain the responsibility for transfer and promotion of personnel.

Operational Control

F-12. OPCON is transferable command authority that may be exercised by commanders at any echelon at or below the level of combatant command. OPCON is inherent in combatant command and is the authority to perform those functions of command over subordinate forces involving organizing and employing commands and forces, assigning tasks, designating objectives, and giving authoritative direction necessary to accomplish the mission.


F-13. Air cavalry is expressed as ACTMs, lead, or wingman teams. Attack is expressed in ACTMs or heavy and light attack teams, lead, or wingman teams. The task organization of the parent unit should be outlined. This provides subordinates with an understanding of the higher units organization for the mission and provides a higher degree of friendly situational awareness.


F-14. Often capabilities, limitations, and CSS requirements are not identified for attachments.

F-15.The composition of the parent unit for the operation is not clearly defined, nor is the effective time of the relationship identified.

F-16. Attachments typically are not present for the OPORD brief or for planning, which results in a lack of integration and synchronization. Linkup coordination must be conducted immediately upon notification of the command relationship.

F-17. Typically, attached or OPCON units and/or personnel are not familiar with the troop SOP. Commanders should develop an attachment extract from the SOP covering key elements of maneuver, C, and CSS operations.

F-18. When placed under OPCON or attached to a higher unit, the troop should immediately begin liaison. This will assist the gaining unit with identifying capabilities, limitations, and special requirements for employment and allow the troop to begin concurrent or parallel planning.

F-19. LNOs are typically junior officers and are not equipped with adequate information on the status of the unit, communications, transportation, weapons danger areas, status of battalion or squadron CSS assets, (FARP locations and status) and commander's guidance for employment. LNOs must be experienced, informed, self-sufficient, and well-equipped. An LNO handbook will assist LNOs during the planning phase of the linkup.





Location of Enemy Forces and Recent and Significant Activities

F-20. The enemy situation in the AO will be briefed. The most updated information on current and suspected enemy locations and recent activity will be given. The locations of enemy forces that may be encountered throughout the depth of the battlefield (TAA, FARP, en route, objective area, and egress) will be highlighted. The squadron S2's situational template will be refined to include locations of individual formations, vehicles, and weapons ranges. Enemy reconnaissance and security forces throughout the AO will be included.

Presentation Techniques: Location of Enemy Forces Paragraph

When developing and briefing the enemy situation, the first point of departure is the S2s SITTEMP. The commander refines these products down to the individual formation and vehicles with relation to time and terrain.

A terrain model or sketch with enemy forces depicted helps aircrews visualize how the enemy will appear during critical events (actions on the objective or engagement area).

Diagrams of various formations or doctrinal templates shows the time and space relationships of enemy forces as they are arrayed on the battlefield.

Using troop and squadron symbols to depict enemy locations does not provide sufficient detail.

Strength and Composition

F-21. The enemy forces will be discussed in terms of type and numbers. The numbers of vehicles and weapons systems that can be faced through the depth of the battlefield will be highlighted.

Presentation Techniques: Strength Paragraph

The level of threat doctrine training at the troop level will determine the level of detail required in the OPORD. Identify the enemy order of battle. If not given by higher, turn the percentage into numbers of vehicles per battalion. Example: the 33rd GMRR is at 80-percent strength and consists of 4 MRBs with 10 T80s and 28 BMPs per battalion, organized into three MRCs of 3 T80s and 8 BMPs. This gives the troop pilots an idea of the mass of enemy vehicles to be faced and assists with computing the battlefield calculus to meet the mission criterion. In addition, pay particular attention to combat support and CSS vehicles and their locations on the battlefield to reduce the risk of misidentification as combat maneuver elements. An enemy battle book is quick reference tool that details enemy force descriptions. Ensure this portion is included in the written portion of the order for future reference.

Type of Equipment

F-22. The types of equipment (vehicle type, weapons, ranges, capabilities, and limitations) that are known or can be expected in the AO will be highlighted. This information will be linked with paragraph F-22 to show the time, space, and formation relationship on the battlefield. EXAMPLE: CRPs are platoon size elements composed of 1 T80 and 2 BMPs and operate 15 minutes (3-5 kms) forward of the AGMB along possible avenues of approach. T80s are equipped with a 125mm main gun, which has a max effective range of 2500M APFSDS and 4000M for the AT-8. The BMP is equipped with a 73mm main gun with a max effective range of 800M and the AT-3 with a max effective range of 3000M. The T80 is thermal equipped with a max acquisition range of 3 kms and the BMP has a passive night capability with an 800M acquisition range. The weapon range arcs should be reflected on the SITTEMP for visualization.

Presentation Techniques: Types of Equipment Paragraph

The level of detail is proportional to the level of training in your unit. Some units include pictures and descriptions of vehicles in their SOPs or battle books. If the unit SOP or battle book does not address this information, present it during the order.


F-23. The enemy's capabilities and vulnerabilities will be described. It is especially important to highlight enemy vulnerabilities. These weaknesses are what should be exploited to defeat the enemy. Enemy echelons, formations, and reinforcements will be identified to include reserves and combat multipliers (NBC, air, EW, obstacles, indirect fires, and guerrilla activities).

Presentation Techniques: Capabilities Paragraph

A good visual technique to highlight enemy capabilities is to describe the enemy in terms of echelons and time lines. The use of a time line (event template or event matrix) can help subordinates visualize the enemy in terms of time and space, it additionally assists with identifying the various opportunities for contact. This can be accomplished for both offensive and defensive operations (such as list movement, LD, set and insertion times). Offense: Division and regimental reconnaissance, insertions (air and ground), CRP, FP, FSE, AGMB, MRR main body and trail echelons. Defense: Division and regimental reconnaissance, ambushes, COP, CSOP, obstacles, MRPs, MRC and reserves. The troop EW officer is an excellent subject matter expert on threat AD systems.

Probable Courses of Action (PCOA, the SITTEMP)

F-24. The enemy's task and purpose (terrain and/or force oriented) and how this will effect the enemy's COA will be determined. Ensure the task and purpose for each enemy maneuver and combat support element is clearly understood and integrated with terrain. Example: The forward detachment will seize (terrain oriented) the pass complex located at NK 3040 (task) to allow the AGMB to establish firing lines vicinity NK 3340 to fix the BCTs northern armor TF (purpose). The enemy's most probable COA will be refined with respect to the troop AO and his reaction to the troop scheme of maneuver. Avenues of approach and mobility corridors and how this terrain will influence the enemy's COA (changes in formations, fire and maneuver, establishing firing lines, defend, develop kill sacks, engagement areas, and direct fire execution.) will be described. Where, when, and why he will use combat multipliers (NBC, obstacles, indirect fires, EW assets, smoke, and air assets) to shape the battlefield to support his task and purpose will be identified. Other factors to be considered are dismounted threat, air (rotary and fixed wing), reconnaissance (mounted and dismounted), repositioning forces, counterattacks, reinforcements, and the conditions and/or triggers for their execution.

Presentation Techniques: Probable COA Paragraph

It is critical that your subordinates clearly visualize how the enemy will fight through the depth of time and space on the battlefield. A technique for presenting this information is using a terrain model, sketch (by phase or engagement), or a SITTEMP on the map (least preferred). A brief description of the PCOA in the order is essential for further reference. This is the most important portion of the enemy situation brief, cover it in detail in the verbal order. If time permits include the enemy s most dangerous COA.

Weather and Terrain

F-25. Weather. The weather data portion can be included in the written order or posted in the CP. Common weather data include weather forecast (wind speed and direction, temperature high and low, humidity, visibility, percent illumination, precipitation, pressure altitude and electro-optical forecast), BMNT, end EENT and moonrise and/or moonset. The expected effects of weather on both the enemy and friendly COAs will be briefed. The effects of weather on mobility, observation, lasers, munitions employment (Hellfire and/or Copperhead), smoke, chemicals and other air operations will be briefed.

F-26. Terrain Analysis. The OCOKA format will be used to describe effects of terrain on both friendly and enemy forces. The terrain in the AO to allow subordinates to visualize the battlefield will be described. The first choice for terrain analysis is to walk or fly the terrain for the battle. This is seldom feasible for aviation units. The alternatives are to use the AMPS terrain analysis function, the Terra-Base program, the terrain function in the ASAS, MICRODEM terrain software, or least preferred-a map analysis. ASAS, MICRODEM, and Terra-Base provide three-dimensional products. Enemy and friendly avenues of approach, BPs, ABFs, OPs, EAs, key terrain, air routes, and any other terrain that may impact the mission will be analyzed. Terrain analysis provides trafficability, factors, line of sight, look down angle, range to targets, and intervisibility for weapons employment, observation, and threat direct fire systems. A map reconnaissance should be conducted with the smallest scale maps (1:24,000 or 1:50,000) available to provide an additional level of detail. Specialized maps from the engineer battalion topographic section can provide detailed analysis on intervisibility lines and terrain trafficability. Aerial imagery maps from national intelligence assets are another source for terrain analysis. Once the analysis is complete, it must be visually presented to the aircrews in the form of a terrain model, sketches, the AMPS fly-to function, three dimensional print outs, and/or a MCOO.

Doctrinal Definitions: OCOKA (FM 34-130)

1. Obstacles: Obstacles are man-made and natural terrain features that stop, impede, or divert military movement. Identify the existing and/or reinforcing obstacles and hindering terrain that will reduce or eliminate the advantages of firepower and mobility. This can be done by developing the MCOO highlighting unrestrictive, restrictive, and highly restrictive terrain.

2. Cover and concealment. Cover is the protection from the effects of direct and indirect fires. Concealment is protection from ground and air observation.

3. Observation and fields of fire. Observation involves the influence of terrain on reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition, and communication capabilities. Fields of fire involves the effects of terrain on weapons, sensor, and communications effectiveness. The effects of weather and battlefield obscurants should be factored.

4. Key terrain. Key terrain is any feature or area the seizure or control of which offers a marked tactical advantage. Look for key terrain that dominates avenues of approach or objectives for direct fires and observation. AD positioning must be factored when determining key terrain. Intervisibility lines that prevent long range fires and observation may be considered key terrain. Terrain that prevents line of site communications may be considered key terrain for aviation units.

5. Avenues of approach. Routes by which a force may reach key terrain or an objective. These include both ground (mounted and dismounted) and air approaches (rotary- and fixed-wing). Using the information from the MCOO, discuss mobility corridors in which different types of units can deploy. Avenues of approach are identified by the size of the unit.


Presentation Techniques: Terrain Analysis

Numerous tools can be used to assist the aircrews with terrain visualization. During the orders brief, a 1:50,000 map (with MCOO, if available) should be used to orient everyone to the AO. Prior to issuing the order (if time is available), all aircrews should use the AMPS terrain function or hard copy three dimensional products to review routes and actions on the objective. During the paragraph three briefing in the order, a detailed sketch of the EA or actions on the objective area should be used. During the rehearsal, a terrain model of the routes and actions on the objectives should be used. The EA or objective area should be expanded to allow for the level of detail required for terrain visualization. Terrain relief should be depicted as accurately as possible, with key terrain being identified. These tools also assist with presenting the enemy's most probable COA. Electronic hard copy products may be provided to each aircrew to assist with team orders and planning.


Mission of Next Two Higher Commanders

F-27. The mission will be stated two levels up. The written order will include the next higher intent (squadron).

Intent of the Next Two Higher Commanders

F-28. The intent will be stated two levels up. A bullet format will be used to emphasize the next higher intent (squadron) in the written order.

Presentation Techniques: Higher Commander's Intent

During the presentation of the order read the commander s intent verbatim. In your written order, depending on the length, summarize the intent in bullet format.

Scheme of Maneuver of Next Higher Commander

F-29. This is a brief description of the big picture to include the squadron and any supported higher unit.

Presentation Techniques: Scheme of Maneuver Next Higher Unit

The scheme of maneuver for the next higher unit will be stated and included in the written order. Sketches of the squadron scheme of maneuver and any higher supported units provide subordinates with a clear picture of the next higher maneuver plan. Start with a brief overview of the big picture (higher supported unit, such as brigade, division or corps), then go into detail on the squadron plan (such as main effort, supporting effort, DPs, actions on the objective). A sketch is often better than words. You will emphasize any safety or fratricide issues and control measures from the squadron scheme of maneuver that may influence the troop plan.

Essential Missions

F-30. These are missions issued by the higher unit commander that are essential to the operation.

  • Mission of the unit to the left.
  • Mission of the unit to the right.
  • Mission of the unit to the front and rear.
  • Supporting or reinforcing units available. (This should include all combat multipliers available [CSS, ADA, MI, ATC]. When discussing these elements describe the specific command relationships and roles.)

Presentation Techniques: Other Unit Missions

Include the missions and locations of any forces operating in the squadron AO. Pay particular attention to friendly ADA, scouts, COLTs, LRSD, SOF, ground maneuver, artillery position areas, CAS ACAs and other aviation forces. Friendly situational awareness is essential for fratricide prevention. These forces should be depicted on the terrain model and operations map, with locations (grid coordinates) provided to the aircrews. Continuous battle tracking in the troop CP will assist with maintaining a current estimate on the friendly situation.


F-31. Any attachments or detachments for the troop and the effective time (unless this has been given in the task organization portion of the order) will be listed.

Planning Considerations: Situation Paragraph

One of the most common problems commanders have with the situation paragraph is that they simply restate the squadron information provided. Commanders do not refine the S2's SITTEMP, use it in developing COAs or during the orders presentation. Commanders must consider the entire threat spectrum, not just AD. More than half of the aircraft losses are due to other than AD systems, such as chemical, indirect fires, and direct fires. Commanders and aircrews fail to realize how the enemy will fight and react to contact. A detailed analysis of the enemy will answer the following questions:

What does the enemy have?

Where is the enemy?

Where will the enemy go?

Where can we kill him?

When will he be there?

What does he have that can kill me?

What will he do on contact?

One of the most common problems commanders have with the situation paragraph is that they simply restate the battalion or squadron information provided. Commanders do not refine the S2's SITTEMP, use it in developing COA (intelligence must drive the maneuver plan) or during the orders presentation. Commanders must consider the entire threat spectrum, not just AD. More than half of the aircraft losses are due to other than AD systems, such as chemical, indirect fires, and direct fires. Commanders and aircrews fail to realize how the enemy will fight and react to contact.

A detailed analysis of the enemy will answer the following five questions:

Where is the enemy?

Where is the enemy going?

Where can we engage or acquire the enemy?

When will the enemy be there?

What does the enemy have that can hurt me?

Detailed analysis of the enemy situation will cause the scheme of maneuver to become apparent. Commanders often spend most of their time on paragraph three, with little consideration of the enemy or friendly situation. This usually results in paragraph three becoming a scheme of movement instead of a plan to maneuver in concert with other maneuver and CS forces on the battlefield. Commanders seldom brief the friendly situation in sufficient detail to provide a clear picture of the battlefield environment. This typically results in chance encounters with friendly units and often results in fratricide. Painting a clear picture of the enemy and friendly forces (to include vehicle types) in relation to the terrain is the key to developing a fully synchronized and effective maneuver plan to achieve the higher commander's end state.


F-32. The OPORD will state clearly and concisely the essential tasks and purpose (who, what, when, where and why) for the mission. It will include on-order missions, but will not include "be prepared" missions.

Doctrinal Definitions: Mission Statement (FM 101-5)

State the form of operation, task and purpose, that clearly indicates the essential actions to be taken and the reason therefore. State the primary task assigned to an individual unit, or force. It contains the elements of who, what, when, where and why, but does not specify how.


Planning Considerations: Mission Statement

Often commanders do not understand how to identify the unit's task and purpose. Instead they use nondoctrinal terms, resulting in confusion or contradiction of the task given by the higher commander. Commanders have difficulty in translating task and purpose into who, what, when, where, and why. The "what" is the essential task and form and the "why" is the purpose (see following tables for doctrinal terms). Commanders do not develop a concise statement that details only the essential tasks to be accomplished by HHQ. Commanders often place "be prepared" missions in the mission statement, which adds confusion to the priority of the assigned tasks by HHQ for planning and execution. According to FM 101-5, "be prepared" missions are stated in the concept of the operations paragraph.

Examples: Attack: A Troop, as the main effort (who), conducts a deliberate attack (what or form of tactical operation) along Air Axis Snake at 010001Jan 97 (when) to fix the AGMB (what or task) vicinity EA Viper (NK 1234) (where) to allow B and C Troop to destroy the 1st Echelon MRBs of the 173d MRR in EA Cobra (NK1133) (why).

Some commanders confuse the form of tactical operation with the doctrinal task. For instance, in the above example, most commanders leave out "to fix the AGMB." The result is the troop task is not fully identified.

Security: NLT 010001 Jan 97 (when) D Troop (who) conducts a zone reconnaissance (what or form of operation) to clear Axis Jack (what or task) of division reconnaissance from PL Custer to PL Maverick (where) to enable the Squadron to occupy BP 1 and 2 (why). On order (when) screen (what or form of tactical operation) PL Maverick (where) to destroy (what or task) enemy regimental reconnaissance forces to prevent direct observation of the squadron forward defensive positions on PL Custer (why or purpose).


Doctrinally Correct Terminology for Intent and Mission Statements (FM 101-5)


Doctrinal Forms (1st Half of the "What")

All Operations Reconnaissance Security Offense Defense

Passage of lines
Tactical Combat Force

Reconnaissance in force

Flank Guard
Advance Guard
Rear Guard

Follow and assume
Follow and support
Movement to Contact
Advance to Contact
Meeting Engagement
Show of force
Support Force

In Sector
In Battle Position
In Strong Point
Reverse Slope
Relief In Place


Doctrinal Task (second half of the "what" ) Purpose (to..., the "why")
will or to...
Attack by Fire


Reconnaissance by Fire
Support by Fire


The doctrinal task plus the doctrinal form equals the "what" in the mission statement.



F-33. The OPORD will state clearly and concisely the execution of the mission.

Presentation Techniques: Paragraph Three

Techniques for presenting paragraph three to subordinates are a sand table, sketch, map, or a combination. Due to the large AO for aviation units, it is seldom feasible to brief the order from a position that overlooks the battlefield. This fact further highlights the need for effective terrain analysis and visualization. An accurate sand table with supporting visualization tools (sketches, AMPS and Terra-Base) facilitates a clear briefing.


Commander's Intent

F-34. The single most important thing a commander must communicate to his unit is his intent. The commander's intent is a concise statement of what the force must do to succeed with respect to the terrain and the enemy and the desired end state. It provides a link between the mission and the concept of the operation by stating the key tasks. The key tasks, along with the mission, are the basis for subordinates to exercise initiative when unanticipated opportunities arise, or when the original concept is no longer valid. It is mandatory for all orders. The mission and commander's intent must be understood two levels down.

F-35. The following guidelines are for developing and issuing the commander's intent:

  • The intent must be framed in the context of the higher and supported commander's intent.
  • Key tasks are defined in the commander's intent. These tasks are those that must be performed by the force, or conditions that must be met, to achieve the stated purpose of the operation. They are not tied to a specific COA, rather they are fundamental to the force's success. The operation's tempo, duration, and effect on the enemy, and terrain that must be controlled, are examples of key tasks.
  • The commander's intent no longer contains the "method" by which the force will achieve the end-state. The method is the concept of the operation.
  • Acceptable risk is no longer defined in the commander's intent. Risk is addressed in the commander's guidance and is addressed in all COAs.
  • If purpose is addressed, it does not restate the "why" of the operation. Rather, it is a broader purpose that looks to the broader operational context of the mission.
  • The intent statement must be prepared personally by the commander. When possible, he delivers it, along with the order personally. This enhances subordinate understanding and facilitates immediate clarification of any issues.

F-36. Example: The purpose of this operation is to allow the squadron to establish a flank guard on key terrain along PL Horse with sufficient time to allow the establishment of a 5- to 7-kilometer deep security zone to destroy the FSE and AGMB. Our key tasks are as follows:

  • Conduct a hasty zone reconnaissance (force oriented) to allow the squadron to move in zone to set the guard not later than 3 hours after LD. We must gain contact with enemy remnants in zone and conduct target handovers with the GCTs for destruction.
  • Do not slow our tempo by becoming decisively engaged prior to the screen on PL Maverick.
  • Maintain sufficient depth along the screen to prevent observation of the squadron main defense and allow the destruction of regimental reconnaissance, and to gain contact with the FSE. Conduct battle handover with the GCTs as the FSE penetrates PL Horse.
  • Contact is gained and maintained with the FSE and BHO is conducted with the GCTs for destruction. Following BHO, the troop reconsolidates in the FAA and is prepared to conduct hasty attacks on platoon size enemy penetrations of PL Custer.

Doctrinal Definitions: Intent Paragraph (FM 100-5)

Its utility is to focus subordinates on what has to be accomplished to achieve success, even when the plan and concept of operation no longer apply, and to discipline their efforts toward that end.


Presentation Techniques: Intent Paragraph

This paragraph can be written in bullet format based on purpose, method, and end state and briefed at the beginning of the execution paragraph. It should be brief and concise enough for subordinates to remember. State your intent using visual aids (sand table, map, and sketch). This will provide subordinates with a picture rather than words alone.


Planning Considerations: Commander's Intent

Troop commanders have difficulty expressing a clear and concise intent to their subordinates. Commanders fail to use correct doctrinal terminology. Their purpose statement often conflicts with their own mission statement and the higher commander's intent. End states are often expressed only as the number of aircraft the commander is willing to lose during the battle, instead of outlining the commander's vision for what he wants his force to look like with respect to enemy, terrain, and future operations.


F-37. This paragraph is a concise statement of the COA developed in the MDMP. If the operation can be logically broken down into phases, the commander outlines the phase designation, description, start and end times and/or events. Example: Phase I: Occupation of the Screen. This phase begins on order and ends with the occupation of designated OPs. "Be prepared" missions may be included in the concept. These missions should be outlined in the form of task, purpose, and conditions for execution. For clarity, "be prepared" missions instead may be placed in tasks to maneuver units (if it applies to only one subelement) or coordinating instructions (if it applies to two or more subelements).


F-38. The commander must visualize how the battle will be fought. The scheme of maneuver is a clear and concise statement that provides subordinates with a framework in which to operate without further guidance. The maneuver paragraph describes the movement or placement of all subordinate maneuver elements within the troop, their task and purpose with respect to the overall plan. It addresses the battlefield conditions (friendly and/or enemy) associated with higher commander's DPs that will trigger the execution of friendly maneuver events or commitment. This paragraph is briefed in the chronological order of the battle or phases. The plan must be built on flexibility to execute possible branches. Tasks identified in the maneuver paragraph should not be addressed in subparagraphs unless additional clarity is required.

F-39. Offensive schemes include identification of objectives, order of movement, main and supporting effort, reserves (if applicable), passage of lines, movement formations, and movement techniques. They also include flight profiles, holding area operations, direct fire plan, fratricide control measures, ABF, BP, and/or OP operations, and actions on the objective.

F-40. Reconnaissance operations include many of the offensive elements. They also include control measures, critical reconnaissance tasks, bypass criteria, relief on station, target handover, observer plan, and objectives.

F-41. Security operations include many of the offensive and reconnaissance elements. In addition, they include movement to the screen line, actions on the screen, screen displacement and/or repositioning, observer plan, battle handover procedures and/or criteria, counter-reconnaissance force, and critical security tasks.

F-41. Maneuver paragraph is a base scheme of maneuver from which there should be flexibility to provide the commander other options as the battle progresses.

Presentation Techniques: Maneuver Paragraph

A technique to organize this paragraph is to phase the major events in the sequence in which they will occur. Although fires is a separate paragraph, a technique to ensure fires are synchronized with the maneuver plan, is to brief fires with each phase of the maneuver plan. Begin with a broad view of the scheme of maneuver and state the number and description of the phases of the operation. Brief the scheme of maneuver in detail for each phase. The phases should accomplish the troop purpose and have forces arrayed according to the higher commander's end state.

Another technique in development of the maneuver paragraph is to develop a direct fire plan (to include the direct fire sketch) or R&S plan, then develop the scheme of maneuver paragraph. Many commanders have found this to be a more logical method of developing their maneuver paragraph.

This paragraph should be briefed in detail first, then covered again in general terms on a sand table or from a sketch of the AO.


F-43. The scheme of fires that supports the overall concept of the operation will be stated. How indirect fires will be used to compliment the troop scheme of maneuver will be described. Who is responsible for the initiation of fires (observer plan) and what the TPME (EFSTs) is for each target will be briefed in detail. The text box below shows a discussion on EFSTs. All indirect fires systems (artillery, mortars, CAS) should be addressed to include their locations on the battlefield and expected available times by phase. The following subparagraphs may be used to provide clarity:

  • Priority of fires. (Identify the priorities for FA and mortars and the triggers for shifting their priority.)
  • Priority targets. (Identify the priority targets (if applicable) for the squadron and troop. State when (event or time) these targets are activated and deactivated.)
  • SEAD plan. (Identify the lethal and nonlethal SEAD that will be used during the mission. Cover each target with respect to task, purpose, method, end state and triggers.)
  • Target engagement criteria. (Indirect fire engagement criteria establishes priorities and minimum enemy size and disposition for which fires will be initiated. This allows the commander to maximize the availability of firing units and manage artillery ammunition.)
  • Target responsibilities (observer plan). (Detail who will initiate calls for fire, who is responsible for which targets and when, who is the alternate observer, which unit will shoot the mission [who do you call], what is the desired effect for each target, and what is the trigger.)
  • Fire support coordination measures. (Outline the specific control measures and clearance of fires procedures that will facilitate and restrict fires on the battlefield. Ensure these control measures are included on the visual aids and that subordinates fully understand when these restrictions are in effect to reduce fratricide [see doctrinal definitions below]).
  • Special munitions use. (If applicable, discuss the employment of FASCAM, Copperhead, smoke, and illumination on the battlefield. These have a direct impact on the availability of fires, maneuver, and weapon employment for the troop.)
  • CAS. (Although these missions are typically controlled by the squadron ALO or ETAC, the troop may be designated to assist with orienting and supporting CAS on the target. Identify the CAS initial point, ACA locations, time on station, sortie configuration, ordnance, higher commander's intent for employment, initial contact and coordination procedures, restrictions, and marking means.)

Doctrinal Definitions: Fire Support (FM 6-30)

Essential Fire Support Tasks. An EFST is a task for FS to accomplish that is required to support a combined arms operation. Failure to achieve an EFST may require the commander to alter his tactical or operational plan. A fully developed EFST has a TPME. The task describes what effect fires must achieve on an enemy formation's function or capability. The purpose describes why the task contributes to the maneuver plan. The method describes the firing unit, volume of fire, and/or duration. The end state defines what the fires will achieve with the supported friendly force and the enemy formation.

Example: EFST #1

Task: Suppress SA-14 at NK 123456 (AB 1001) as B Troop crosses PP1.

Purpose: Allow B Troop to occupy ABF 1.

Method: 1/ C/1-23 FA, 1 RD per minute continuous suppression from F-1 to F + 2

End State: SA-14 is suppressed and forced to displace, no loss of aircraft as B Troop occupies ABF 1.

Target of Opportunity. Appears during combat, no attack has been preplanned.

Planned Target. Fire has been preplanned. Can be either scheduled or on call. A scheduled target is a planned target to be attacked at a specified time or event. An on-call target is one that is preplanned and fired only when requested.

Target Number. Assigned to each planned target by the FSO. Blocks of alphanumeric numbers (two letters and four numbers) are provided for all fire planning agencies.

Target Group. Consists of two or more targets on which a simultaneous attack is desired by the maneuver commander. The DS battalion is the lowest level unit that will fire a group of targets.

Target Series. A number of targets or groups planned to be fired at a predetermined time sequence to support the scheme of maneuver. A series can be on call or scheduled.

Priority Targets. Firing units lay the guns on priority targets when they are not engaged in active missions. Generally, each FA battery has a priority target. An FPF is an example of a priority target in a defensive situation.


Fire Support Coordination Measures

NOTE: These are measures that facilitate or restrict the attack of targets.

Coordinated Fire Line. Line beyond which all surface-to-surface FS assets may fire without further coordination. A CFL may be established by a maneuver battalion operating independently, but is normally established by brigades and HHQ.

Fire Support Coordination Line. Line beyond which all targets may be attacked by any weapon system without additional coordination, as long as the effects will not effect personnel short of the line. Normally established on recognizable terrain by corps or independent divisions.

Free Fire Area. Area in which any weapon system can fire without coordination. It is normally established on identifiable terrain by a division or higher.

Restrictive Fire Area. An area with specific restrictions. Fires that exceed those restrictions will not be delivered without coordination with the establishing headquarters. An RFA is normally established by a battalion or HHQ.

Restrictive Fire Line. A line which is established between two converging forces. No fires or effects of fires can be executed across the RFL without coordination with the establishing headquarters and the affected force. An RFL is established on recognizable terrain by the HHQ of the converging forces.

No-Fire Area. An area in which no fires or their effect may be delivered except on a mission by mission basis after coordinating with the headquarters establishing the NFA. Fires are allowed if friendly forces are attacked by the enemy and if, in the opinion of the senior soldier on site, there is no time to effect coordination. An NFA is usually established by a division or HHQ.

No-Fire Line. A line short of which artillery or ships do not fire except on request or approval of the supported commander, but beyond which they may fire at any time without danger to friendly troops.

Airspace Coordination Area. A block of airspace allowing relatively safe transit of military aircraft to facilitate the simultaneous attack of targets by both aircraft and indirect fire assets. ACAs are established by brigade or HHQ.


Effects of Fires

Suppression. Fire on or about a weapon system to degrade its effectiveness or performance. The effect of suppressive fires usually lasts only as long as the fires are continued.

Neutralization. Fire delivered to render a target temporarily unusable or ineffective. Experience has shown that 10 percent or more casualties may neutralize a unit. The amount of ammunition required to neutralize a unit will depend on the factors of unit morale, state of training , and degree of protection.

Destruction. Fire puts the target out of action. Thirty percent (Artillery) and seventy percent (Aviation) or more casualties will typically render a unit ineffective. Direct hits are required to destroy targets. This requires a significant volume of fires.


Presentation Techniques: Fire Support

Most of the information listed above can be outlined in a FS matrix generated by the squadron FSO. Although the majority of targets come from top-down, the troop should submit target refinement from bottom-up. The commander can also plan targets by coordinating with the FSO (timeliness being the critical component). The criteria for target development are location, purpose, primary and alternate observer, trigger, communication plan, and a rehearsal.


Planning Considerations: Fires Paragraph

Troop commanders seldom refine targets at their level. They generally brief exactly what they have been given by the FSO and do not discuss how FS is integrated in the troop scheme of maneuver. Observer plans are generally not established with primary and alternate observers. Additionally, the task and purpose of each target is not defined for the observer. Commanders seldom brief the locations of friendly position areas and FS coordination measures, which result in airspace conflicts. Artillery units often are forced into a cease fire status due to aircraft flying in close proximity or over the guns. The higher scheme of fires, priority of fires by phase, target lists, engagement criteria, positioning guidance for observers, special munitions employment, engagement area integration of indirect fires and the relationship of indirect fires and maneuver are seldom briefed in detail.

Intelligence and Electronic Warfare

F-44. Information on the use and location of collection and jamming assets in zone and/or sector will be included. This should include COLTs, LRSD, scouts and other reconnaissance assets in sector and/or zone. Additionally, this paragraph can be used by the troop EWO to discuss ASE passive and active countermeasures to be used on the mission. The EWO identifies the ASE objective, triggers, procedures, and capabilities and/or effects desired on the target. To provide better clarity and continuity, the EWO capabilities portion of the briefing may be done during paragraph one under the enemy situation.

Obstacles, Mines, and Fortifications

F-45. A general picture of the friendly obstacle effort and how it may effect the troop direct fire plan will be described. This paragraph may be briefed in conjunction with the direct fire plan to give subordinates a clear picture of how friendly obstacles will effect the enemy's movement on the battlefield, the use of FASCAM, and identify areas to avoid. When in support of a breach, the commander should identify the elements of SOSR and what effects it may have on the direct fire plan and scheme of maneuver.


All maneuver units or components in the troop according to the task organization paragraph will be listed. This can be delineated as scout weapons teams, heavy and light teams, or platoons. Any additional assets (maneuver) that have been allocated will be included. This paragraph covers any additional tasks (define the purpose with each task) that have not been identified in the maneuver paragraph. If no additional tasks are required, list none. Ensure the task and purpose for each subordinate element is attainable. If the operation is phased, list each task by phase.

Presentation Techniques: Specific Instructions Paragraph

During the confirmation brief, subordinates articulate their specific instructions and identify any limitations that prohibit them from accomplishing their assigned tasks. An execution matrix is useful to communicate this paragraph. Ensure subordinates understand how to read the matrix.


F-47. If the troop is allocated CS assets (such as ETAC), ensure their specific task and purpose is outlined here, if not already outlined in the maneuver paragraph.


F-48. Information or tactical instructions that pertain to two or more elements will be listed. Many of these items can be SOP items. If the unit SOP does not address a specific requirement or procedure it should be addressed in this paragraph. The following instructions may be included:

  • Time line. (List all timed events to include PCC/PCI, final inspection time, weather decision time, crank, communication check, take off, LD/SP, SEAD timing, passage of lines, time on the objective, critical event times, time in the BP/ABF, and egress times. Additional times that may be included are resupply times, rehearsals, and confirmation briefs.)
  • Order of movement. (Address the order of movement for subelements.)
  • Routes. (Detail the ingress and egress routes and alternates.)
  • Formations, movement techniques, and flight profiles. (Address only those that have not been addressed in the maneuver paragraph.)
  • Actions on contact. (This should be an SOP item, if not address here. Address the seven forms of contact direct fire, indirect fires, EW, NBC, visual, obstacles, air [rotary and/or fixed wing]).
  • Control measures. (Identify all control measures not previously briefed. Identify passage of lines procedures and control measures.)
  • Aircraft lighting.
  • Abort criteria and/or bump plan.
  • Engagement and/or bypass criteria and target priorities.
  • Reporting requirements. (This includes the components of the CCIR. These are PIRs [critical information on the enemy], EEFI [information if known by the enemy could result in mission failure, such as FARP location], and FFIR [critical information needed by the commander of friendly information, such as weapons and fuel]).
  • Air coordination order. (Brief other pertinent data from the ACO that may influence the mission.)
  • IMC breakup procedures.
  • Rules of engagement.
  • Special equipment. (Any special equipment required for the mission [SOP]).
  • MOPP level. (Identify the time of various MOPP levels and auto mask criteria. Specify any modifications to MOPP level by higher.)
  • ADA weapons control status and/or warning.
  • Downed aircraft recovery procedures and/or escape and evasion. (May be covered in paragraph 4. Should cover pickup times, package to be used for DART and any ACO specific information.)
  • Fighter management.
  • Post mission requirements. (Mission debrief place and time.)
  • Force protection. (There are many formats and SOPs for risk assessment. When you determine the format you will use, ensure you identify the safety, fratricide, and operational hazards with control measures implemented.)
    • Risk assessment. (Identify the hazard [by event] that could lead to accidents. Assess the hazard and determine the potential magnitude of the hazard and determine the level of risk. Select controls and make a decision. Risk that cannot be eliminated must be controlled. Implement controls. Control measures must be a part of the OPORD. Leaders must ensure soldiers and aircrews know the potential hazards and control measures to reduce risk. Leaders ensure control measures are fully implemented and those measures that do not work are identified.)
    • Operational risk. (Discuss the areas, events, or points in the battle where the unit is at the greatest tactical risk and describe the measures that are being applied to reduce this risk.)
    • Fratricide risk. (If not covered in detail in paragraph three/five, the measures to reduce fratricide throughout the operation must be identified, enforced, and checked throughout the battle. Vehicle marking, signals, friendly and enemy locations, rules of engagement, and clearance of fires procedures must be fully understood.)

Planning Considerations: Risk Assessment

Many commanders view risk assessment as filling out a number matrix according to the HHQ SOP. Safety officers and commanders seldom identify operational and fratricide hazards and seldom implement controls to reduce the risk. Risk assessment is viewed as an afterthought instead of being a fully integrated portion of the decision making process. OPs for friendly marking and signals along with other fratricide countermeasures lack detail and are not well understood at the subordinate level. Units that have good friendly and enemy situational awareness, as well as clearly defined clearance of fires procedures, seldom have fratricide problems.


Planning Considerations: Execution Paragraph 3

Commanders seldom consider the enemy and friendly situation and the higher commander's intent when developing a scheme of maneuver. Most schemes of maneuver are actually more of a scheme of movement. A good technique to use for developing a scheme of maneuver is action, reaction, and counteraction. Additionally, commanders spend a significant portion of the briefing discussing items that should be SOP. Actions on contact and bypass are seldom covered, while inadvertent IMC procedures are covered in excruciating detail, although it has been covered in previous orders or in the troop SOP. Commanders do not provide sufficient detail, clarity and flexibility in paragraph 3 for subordinates to effectively operate in the absence of the commander.



F-49. This paragraph covers the general friendly situation for CSS operations. It addresses the scheme of support, priorities, and a general picture of how the operation will be supported logistically.



F-50. The specific classes of supply will be addressed as they apply to the troop.

  • Class I. The ration cycle and times will be briefed. The basic load required for the mission will be stated.
  • Class III. The FARP operations will be briefed. Locations, times active, detailed sketch (confirmed by reconnaissance, if possible), C procedures, priority, routes to and from, arming and refueling pad configuration and procedures, holding areas, lighting, and dirty FARP procedures will be included.
  • Class V. Ammunition loads for mission, ammunition available in the FARP, and small arms distribution will be briefed.
  • Other classes. These classes of supply will be briefed as pertinent to the mission.
  • LOGPAC. LOGPAC times and locations will be briefed.


F-51. Information on supply routes and priorities on the route will be included.


F-52. Instructions for the evacuation of KIA in both the AA, FARP and in the battle area will be provided. The location of decontamination points and GRREG points will be discussed.


F-53. Instructions for downed aircraft recovery procedures, maintenance priorities, locations, launch and recovery teams, support in the FARP, and AVUM and/or AVIM support will be provided. Destruction criteria for downed aircraft will be outlined.

Medical Evacuation and Hospitalization

F-54. The location of aid stations and CASEVAC and/or MEDEVAC requirements and procedures will be stated, also include dirty CASEVAC. The location of ground maneuver force ambulance exchange points and aid station locations in the troop AO will be stated.


F-55. Instructions for the handling of EPWs, personnel replacements, and any other administrative issues will be provided.


F-56. Information on civil affairs, host nation support, and psychological operations will be provided. If not already covered as part of the ROE, this must be covered to prevent incidents with the local civilian population.



F-57. Any special instructions not covered by SOP will be included. This will also include the location of the commander, platoon leaders, squadron commander and S3, squadron CP, and the succession of command.


F-58. All communications instructions not included in the SOP will be stated. Items covered include SOI index and edition and/or communication card, listening and silence instructions, challenge and password, IFF procedures, anti-jamming code words with frequencies, special signals, communication plan, (Have Quick, ATHS, and NET responsibilities), and laser codes.

Presentation Techniques: Conclusion of the Order

End the briefing with a GPS time hack to ensure everyone is synchronized. Update the time line and ask for questions. Five minutes after completion of the order, conduct a confirmation briefing with subordinate leaders. Sixty to ninety minutes after the order, conduct back-briefs or at the troop rehearsal subordinate leaders back brief their execution. (Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.)


Planning Considerations: The Troop Order

Time management is the key to the entire orders process. The time management solution is the effective use of preestablished planning cells and parallel planning. Orders production must be a standard drill that is well trained in field type environments.

Sound SOPs streamline the troop planning process. SOPs should clearly outline the procedures and standard products produced by each cell. They must be well understood, trained, and executed at the subordinate levels.

Develop an orders kit that has all of the necessary tools to produce an order. Preprinted orders formats with carbon paper, alcohol pens, standard drops, enemy battle book, direct fire planning guides, terrain model kits acetate, and necessary tabbed doctrinal manuals will serve as an additional tool to assist the commander with developing a timely and effective order.



Figure F-1. Sample format for a Troop OPORD

Figure F-1. Sample format for a Troop OPORD

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One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias