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Army Airspace Command and Control Elements

The A²C² staff elements are organized at each command echelon from maneuver battalion through land component commander (LCC). They are located within the command post (tactical and main) and are collocated with the fire support cell. These A²C² elements form a vertical and horizontal channel through which airspace control information and requirements are coordinated and disseminated.

The LCC coordinates airspace control issues with the theater army for those requirements that overlap the rear combat zone and COMMZ. The theater army, theater ATS assets, and theater army air defense command units positioned in the COMMZ perform the airspace control function within the COMMZ.


Airspace coordination and integration at the LCC level are accomplished by the G3 who is the A²C² staff proponent. The G3 relies upon an A²C² element within each command post to interface with the airspace planners of the Tactical Air Force (TAF).

At this command echelon (Figure 4-1), airspace coordination and integration are focused on assisting the TAF airspace planners develop a theater (joint force) airspace control plan and on defining the broad policies and procedures for operation of the integrated airspace control system.

As the air-land campaign and major operations are planned and implementing orders written, coordination and integration are achieved. The Airspace Control/Utilization Annex to the OPLAN/OPORD provides implementing direction to subordinate forces related to the coordination and integration of Army forces using airspace within the area of operations.



The battlefield coordination element is provided by the LCC and is collocated with the TACC or theater equivalent. The BCE expedites the exchange of information through face-to-face coordination with elements of the TACC (see Figure 4-2).

The TACC is the operational facility in which the ACC has centralized the planning, directing, and controlling functions over all tactical air (TACAIR) resources. The BCE's basic missions include processing land forces requests for TACAIR support, monitoring and interpreting the land battle situation for the TACC, providing the necessary interface for the exchange of current intelligence and operational data, and coordinating air defense and airspace control matters.


One BCE is authorized per TACC. The BCE is assigned to the LCC's headquarters. The BCE is organized with six sections: plans, operations, intelligence, fusion, air defense and A²C², and airlift. The sections represent the LCC and are collocated with the TACC's combat plans, combat operations, combat intelligence, and enemy situation and intelligence divisions and the airlift coordination center.

The Army organizes the BCE as required with manning requirements varying from theater to theater based upon TACC facility limitations, and the command and control architecture of the Tactical Air Force. The ground liaison officers and air reconnaissance liaison officers located at the various Tactical Air Force wings are assigned to the BCE. In the event a single corps conducts independent operations, there may not be a fully staffed BCE available; however, manning must be sufficient to accomplish all BCE functions.

The BCE operations section collocates with the TACC combat operations division. This section keeps the TACC combat operations division updated on land component operations and coordinates changes to land component targets and priorities that occur during the battle. It also stays abreast of the TACAIR effort by monitoring the missions being executed in support of the land component and the results of those missions when flown.

The BCE fusion section is collocated with the enemy situation correlation element (ENSCE) of the TACC. This section is responsible for maintaining current ground threat information from all available sources. This section keeps the ENSCE updated on current ground and air intelligence.

The BCE ADA and A²C² section coordinates Army air defense and airspace activities with the plans and operations staffs within the TACC's airspace control center. Additionally, this section exchanges information with the ADLO at the CRC, land component headquarters, and ADA headquarters. Specific A²C² duties include--

  • Coordinating Army airspace use requirements within the airspace control authority subarea with, as a minimum, TACC combat operations and TACC combat plans.

  • Coordinating Air Force airspace use requirements with the appropriate land component command, or corps G3 Air and, or A²C² elements and ATS elements.

  • Integrating Army airspace user activities with the TACC A²C² plans.

  • Advising the TACC about combat plans, combat operations, other BCE sections, G3 Airs, A²C² elements, and ATS elements of significant activities which affect the joint use of airspace.

  • Advising the airspace control authority on the impact of joint airspace control measures or restrictions on the conduct of the ground battle.

  • Representing ground force interests in the development and approval of airspace control measures and restrictions.

  • Receiving, for staffing and approval, Army requests for airspace control measures and restrictions.

  • Monitoring the integration of ground commander's A²C² SOPs into the TACC's airspace control system.

  • Monitoring the integration of Army ATS facilities into the TACC's airspace control system.

  • Providing the location and status of Army airfields, NAVAIDs, SAAFRs, and ATS facilities.

The BCE plans section is located in the TACC combat plans division. This section's representatives must integrate the ground battle planning with the TACC's TACAIR support planning process. To do this, needs and air support priorities of land component forces must be clearly stated. This section provides the TACC with planned land component schemes of maneuver to help synchronize ground and TACAIR support activities.

The BCE intelligence section works in the collection management, targets intelligence, and operations intelligence branches within the TACC combat intelligence division (CID). This section coordinates with the land component G2 collection management and dissemination section to obtain intelligence reports and collection requirements. This section provides the TACC combat intelligence division with the enemy ground order of battle, ensures proper interpretation of that information, and assists the TACC targets intelligence branch in the target development process.

The airlift section coordinates airlift support at the airlift control center (ALCC). This section is the point of contact for joint airlift operations being performed for supported land component units.


Under the current TOE, the BCE is authorized three officers and three noncommissioned officers (NCOs) for the ADA and A²C² section. One officer and one NCO are specifically allocated for A²C² functions. This manning allows a very limited 24-hour operational capability by dedicated airspace managers. The ADA and A²C² section interfaces with both combat operations and combat plans. Positioning of the ADA and A²C² section personnel can be difficult because of the separate and distinct tasks each TACC internal division must accomplish. Tactical Air Force command and control arrangements within NATO require the positioning of ADA and A²C² personnel with the appropriate TACS organization. Two recommendations for positioning, structuring, and establishing communications for the ADA and A²C² section of the BCE are a dispersed TACC and a consolidated TACC.

A Dispersed TACC. Within some theaters, the classical TACC's organization and operation have been modified. These modifications may consist of using several dispersed headquarters to accomplish all the TACC functions and, or reorganizing the missions and functions of the sections within the TACC. These modifications may include separating the functions of defensive air and offensive air operations into individual sections. Each individual section completes the missions of current operations execution and future operational planning. Additionally, while the command functions of both offensive and defensive air operations are retained in a single headquarters or center, separate centers are established for controlling the offensive and defensive air battles.

Because these headquarters or centers are in dispersed locations, no single Air Force section is charged with A²C². A²C² requirements are handled by each section as needed and consolidated at the headquarters exercising command.

The BCE organization must be modified to operate within the C² structure as described above. The ADA and A²C² section within the BCE must be split. The ADA personnel locate with the defensive air operations section and, or the defensive air control centers. Since current operations execution and future operational planning are combined, the A²C² personnel of the BCE locate with the offensive air operations section of the command headquarters.

Locating the A²C² personnel with the offensive air operations section is preferred because offensive air operations have greater direct impact on the ground commander's battle and airspace than does defensive air operations. This does not eliminate the requirement for close and continuous coordination between the defensive air operations section and the A²C² section. With only two personnel (one officer and one NCO) authorized, the A²C² section requires additional personnel to provide the 24-hour operational capability. These additional personnel allow the section to monitor both future operational planning and current operations execution of the offensive air battle while maintaining the required coordination with the defensive air planners and executors. Other sections of the BCE located with the offensive air section may provide these personnel. To accomplish A²C², they must understand theater procedures (Chapter 2), A²C² tasks (Chapter 3), and information networking (Chapter 5). With this knowledge, they can accomplish A²C² as part of their normal operations. The dedicated A²C² personnel serve as the subject matter experts and as the coordinators for A²C² requirements for all TACC sections (such as defensive air and airlift).

A Consolidated TACC. Under this organization, the ADA and A²C² section may remain together or may be split. If the section remains together, all assigned section personnel must be capable of accomplishing both AD and A²C² tasks. If the section is split, the A²C² personnel require some type of augmentation. Again, a 24-hour operational capability for future operational planning and current operations execution is necessary. This capability could be accomplished as described for the dispersed TACC. The A²C² section should be located with the Air Force A²C² section. If such a section does not exist, the A²C² section should locate with the BCE plans section since most A²C² tasks accomplished at the BCE consist of future operational planning. Regardless of its location, the A²C² section must maintain continuous coordination with all BCE sections.

Linkage between the land component commander's headquarters, the corps, and the BCE at the air component commander's TACC depends on a reliable and responsive communications system. Communications to the BCE is provided through the theater army communications system and includes secure voice, data, facsimile, and message communications. Land forces' requests for airspace control measures, and airspace control information such as the ATO and the ACO, must have priority within the theater communications system to ensure their timely transmission. BCE automation and communications systems must interface with the Tactical Air Force Computer Assisted Force Management System (CAFMS) and those theater-specific automated command and control systems.


The Army's principal organization charged with the responsibility of airspace control is the A²C² staff element. The A²C² element is located within the command posts (CPs) established by each tactical echelon. Current doctrine requires that corps through brigades establish three CPs: tactical, main, and rear. The functions of each CP vary; however, generic functions (Figure 4-3) are usually accomplished at each CP.

As A²C² elements are normally manned by personnel from other staff sections within each CP, they are constrained by personnel and equipment authorization. Only corps and division have dedicated A²C² elements to accomplish A²C² tasks. The A²C² elements are responsible for determining how the commander's A²C² needs can be met. The A²C² elements at corps (designated corps A²C² element) and division (designated division A²C² element) are under the staff responsibility of the ACofS, G3, and supervised by the G3 Air. The A²C² elements consist of representatives from, but not limited to, the ADA element, the aviation element, the air liaison officer, the FSE, the ATS unit assigned to the corps or division, the combat electronic warfare and intelligence (CEWI) unit or the G2 section, the G4 section (corps and division), and, when required, the air and naval gunfire liaison company (ANGLICO).


  • Conduct the close fight.

  • Synchronize the battle.

  • Conduct the deep fight

  • Plan.

  • Sustain the battle.

  • Conduct rear area operations.

  • Monitor the deep
    and rear fights.

  • Plan.

  • Coordinate combat
    service support.

  • Monitor the battle.

  • Serve as the backup to the main.

  • Plan.

A²C² element tasks are specified in Chapter 3 and include:

  • Identifying and resolving airspace user conflicts.

  • Maintaining A²C² overlays and information displays.

  • Developing A²C² procedures, plans, SOPs, and annexes.

  • Coordinating and integrating airspace user requirements within the area of operations.

  • Coordinating Army airspace use with other components of the joint force and with adjacent units.

  • Advising subordinate and higher headquarters of significant activities affecting airspace use.

  • Advising subordinate and higher headquarters of the impact of airspace control measures or restrictions on the ground battle.

  • Approving or staffing of requests for special use airspace.

One or more of the command posts must accomplish all procedures described in Chapter 2 and tasks explained in Chapter 3 to support future operational planning and execution of current operations.

Heavy and light units of the Army from corps through battalion differ in their organizational configuration. Therefore staff sections and liaison elements from which the A²C² element is organized vary in personnel, grade structure, and equipment authorizations. The principal staff sections and liaison elements that represent the major functional users of airspace, and from which the G3 organizes the A²C² element, include the G3 section, ADA element, aviation element, fire support element, ATS element, and Air Force TACP. An Air Defense Operations Liaison Team (ADOLT) is included in NATO. The ADOLT provides the interface between the corps and the theater integrated air defense system elements operating in the corps area of operations.

These staff sections and liaison elements are represented within both the tactical and main command posts and, to a limited degree, at the rear command post. These principal staff elements are included in the fire support cell, facilitating its organization and collocation with the A²C² element.

Personnel from these sections and elements assigned A²C² staff responsibilities accomplish two separate tasks. First, they assist the echelon commander in the proper application of their parent units' assets, provide the necessary functional area (technical) expertise, and serve as liaisons between the commander, his headquarters, and their parent units. Second, they assist in the A²C² process by synchronizing the airspace requirements of their parent units with other airspace users of the combined arms team and services.

Personnel performing A²C² staff functions require an in-depth knowledge of Army airspace control doctrine and procedures, the theater airspace control plan, and the unit's airspace control SOPs. Such expertise requires personnel assigned fulltime staff duties within the A²C² element.


This section describes the organization of a corps A²C² element. The organization is based on the requirements to conduct A²C² tasks to support future operational planning, conduct current operations, and perform the specified functions of each CP.

Tactical. The corps A²C² element representatives at the tactical CP should consist of, as a minimum, a FSO, an aviation officer or an NCO, an ADA officer or an NCO, and an ALO from the TACP. The FSO or Army aviation LO should serve as corps A²C² element chief at the tactical CP. These personnel may require augmentation from the corps main to conduct 24-hour operations. These personnel will accomplish A²C² tasks as part of their normal duties. The corps A²C² element's responsibilities at the tactical CP should normally be limited to the A²C² tasks of monitoring current operations execution of all three fights. The corps A²C² element at the tactical CP will use the operational communications channels at the TAC.

Main. The A²C² element at the main CP accomplishes all future operational planning tasks. It exercises airspace control responsibilities for the deep fight and corps rear area airspace users as specified in Chapter 2. These dedicated airspace managers accomplish specified A²C² tasks as their first priority.

The corps A²C² element at the main CP works for the G3. The day-to-day activities of the A²C² element are supervised by the corps A²C² officer (Chief, A²C² Element) usually the G3 Air. The G3 may designate the senior ADA operations officer or the senior aviation officer to be the corps A²C² officer. Selection is based on functional responsibilities and on airspace control experience and training. Factors that influence the composition and staffing of the A²C² element at the main command post include: 24-hour operational capability facility limitations, operational requirements of the force, and composition of the force. A²C² staff representatives at the main CP (Figure 4-4) include:

  • G3 operations section (G3 Air).

  • ADA element.

  • Aviation element.

  • ATS liaison element.

  • Fire support element.

  • G2 CM&D section (as required).

  • G4 section (as required).

  • Air Force TACP.


The corps A²C² element representatives are collocated and provided a common work area. The corps A²C² element is collocated with the fire support cell and sufficiently close or electronically connected to the ASOC to allow for continuous coordination. The corps A²C² element is provided, as a minimum, a secure voice capability to higher, lower, and adjacent headquarters. Secure communications means is also required to the tactical CP and rear CP. The capability for record traffic and data is also necessary. This capability may be a separate net or an existing net. These nets should have the same importance as any other command or operations net. The corps A²C² element is linked to the maneuver control system through the G3 Air's tactical computer terminal with additional work stations for the ATS representative, fire support representative, and ADA representative.

Rear. Because of personnel and equipment constraints, the rear CP has no A²C² staff element. Rear CP requirements are handled at the main CP by the A²C² element. The corps A²C² element coordinates with the rear CP operations and intelligence section and plans section as appropriate to satisfy rear operations airspace command and control requirements. The corps OPLAN may identify a tactical combat force (TCF) with an on order mission to conduct rear operations. The corps A²C² element, with the TCF's A²C² staff and the rear CP plans section, develops and coordinates all airspace requirements to support the commander's plan for rear operations.

The organization and staffing of the corps rear CP are very austere. Individuals in the operations and intelligence section (fire support, ADA, operations), concurrently with their other duties, also address airspace control and utilization issues. These individuals in the rear CP work with their counterpart within the corps main CP A²C² element to accomplish airspace control planning for the rear area.

The A²C² element at the main CP works with the combat service support cell at the main CP and the staff at the rear CP to satisfy airspace control requirements for sustainment operations. For example airlift operations involving Air Force intratheater airlift assets require airspace control coordination as discussed in Chapter 1. The corps movement control officer, transportation officer, tactical airlift liaison officer, and A²C² staff interface as required.

During the conduct of rear operations, the A²C² element at the main CP, and the operations and intelligence section of the rear CP, monitor changes in the tactical situation. Tactical changes may require changes to airspace control measures established in the rear combat zone. Primarily low-level transit routes, and other air corridors that transit through the rear area, are affected by level III combat operations.


The organization of the A²C² elements within the tactical and main command posts at division is similar to that at corps. The location and the airspace control tasks to be accomplished are the same as the corps with the following modifications.

The division's primary focus is on the conduct of battles and engagements in the forward portion of the combat zone (division rear boundary and forward). Accordingly, airspace control tasks are primarily those required to synchronize all airspace users of the combined arms team and supporting sister services with the close battle.

Division airspace control methodology stresses the use of procedural control, relying on standard operational procedures selected use of theater airspace control measures, and compliance with the theater airspace control plan and unit SOPs. While airspace control tasks of the corps and division A²C² elements are similar, the geographical orientation (forward combat zone vs rear area) results in minor differences in the airspace control procedures employed, and the degree of interface with the theater integrated airspace control system.

A²C² staff representatives at the division main CP (Figure 4-5) include:

  • G3 operations section (G3 Air).

  • ADA element.

  • Aviation element.

  • ATS liaison element (as required).

  • Fire support element.

  • G2 CM&D section (as required).

  • G4 section (as required).

  • RPV unit commander (as required).

  • Air Force TACP.



At brigade and battalion levels, no special staff elements exist to perform the A²C² element function. Consequently, the A²C² function must be performed by existing staff personnel, supporting liaison representatives, and fire support representatives. Although the A²C² function at brigade and battalion levels is the staff responsibility of the S3, it is supervised by the S3 Air.

These A²C² staff elements (Figure 4-6) include the following personnel:

  • S2, brigade and battalion operations,

  • S3 Air, brigade and battalion operations,

  • FSO,

  • LOs from supporting Army aviation and air defense units, and

  • ALOs from the TACP.

The CP where each of these personnel is located varies according to the tactical situation. To conduct brigade and battalion A²C² (executing current operations tasks and exercising procedural and positive C²), these personnel must be collocated or have a real-time communications capability. These personnel must be at that CP (normally the Tactical Air Command (TAC) CP) which is conducting the close fight. A²C² planning is accomplished as part of the normal operational planning. A²C² requirements identified that require approval by division or higher are forwarded for approval by the main CP.

A²C², air defense, and fire support coordination functions are closely interwoven. These functions involve the detailed coordination and integration of TACAIR, indirect fire, organic and augmenting AD, and tactical fire and maneuver operations (to include Army aviation). Those individuals directly involved in the conduct of localized combat operations--battalion and company commanders, fire support coordinators, ALOs, and forward air controllers--perform A²C² functions established at other echelons (for example, division A²C² element).

Existing command or operational nets and those nets provided by the support or liaison sections are used to implement A²C². Aviators and flight leaders coordinate with the operations center using the brigade air-to-ground or command nets. The maneuver brigade and battalion S3 are linked via the MCS to the division, thus the S3 Air has a communications and automation link with the division A²C² element and S3 Air.

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