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Efficient planning, coordination, and execution of air support to United States (US) Army forces (ARFOR) ground operations is essential to overall success of the ARFOR mission. This manual describes the role of the battlefield coordination detachment (BCD) as the ARFOR commander's vital link between ARFOR ground operations and the joint force air component commander's (JFACC) air operations. The BCD facilitates the synchronization of air and ground operations in the following areas:

  • Air interdiction (AI).
  • Air reconnaissance.
  • Close air support (CAS).
  • Electronic warfare (EW).
  • Theater airlift.
  • Reconnaissance, intelligence, surveillance and target acquisition (RISTA).
  • Army airspace command and control (A2C2).
  • Air and missile defense.

The concept for this organization originated in 1980. It was required in Europe to deal with the capability of Soviet Union at that time to attack in successive echelons, overwhelming the ground defense. The US doctrine of deep operations was aimed at attacking the Soviet array in depth to disrupt their synchronization and, therefore, diminish their effectiveness. The success of US deep operations required close and continuous coordination between the air component commander (ACC) and the land component commander (LCC). The result of this deep operations doctrine was creation of the battlefield coordination element (BCE). The BCE was an Army liaison team that operated in the United States Air Force (USAF) tactical air control center (TACC) for continuous coordination and exchange of information. The TACC is now called the air operations center (AOC). The BCE name was changed to battlefield coordination detachment (BCD) with the writing of this manual to conform to Army force structure designations.

The Memorandum of Agreement Between the United States Air Force and the United States Army for Army/Air Force Liaison Support, dated 1 Nov 95, states:

The U. S. Army will field a robust battlefield coordination element (BCE) (or theater equivalent) to USAF air operations centers (or theater equivalent). The BCE will effectively integrate US Army operational requirements into the air tasking order (ATO) development process. BCEs should participate as often as possible in exercises with appropriate USAF organizations to maintain combat mission readiness.

Note: As stated the BCE is now replaced by the BCD.

This manual describes the mission, role, organization, and operations of the BCD. Also provided are:

  • Considerations for training and material required to perform the BCD mission and functions.
  • Descriptions of BCD personnel and equipment requirements.
  • Considerations for augmentation in contingency operations.

Army forces must be able to provide liaison to any commander tasked as the ACC in joint operations. This manual addresses considerations for adapting the BCD to various service requirements for interoperability.

Field manual (FM) 100-13 is fully compatible with the operations doctrine of the Army as contained in FM 100-5 and is consistent with joint and combined doctrine. It assumes the user has a fundamental understanding of the following FMs:

This manual amplifies Army doctrine for the BCD provided in these manuals.

This manual does not provide specific detailed functional techniques and procedures which are more appropriately addressed in US Army branch publications. For example:

  • Intelligence.
  • Fire support.
  • Air defense.
  • Airspace management.
  • Airlift.
  • Joint tactics, techniques and procedures (JTTP).
  • Unit standing operating procedures (SOPs).

Joint publications (JPs) which impact this field manual and take precedence include the following:

  • 3-52, Doctrine for Joint Airspace Control in the Combat Zone.
  • 3-56, Tactical Command and Control Planning Guidance and Procedures for Joint Operations.
  • 3-56.1, Command and Control for Joint Operations.

In addition, theater commanders-in-chief (CINCs) may publish concepts of operations (CONOPS) or other directives which clarify how joint and service doctrine will be applied in their theaters with regard to the command and control of all joint operations.

The proponent of this publication is the US Army Field Artillery School (USAFAS). Submit changes for improving this publication on Department of the Army (DA) Form 2028 Recommended Changes to Publications and Blank Forms and forward it to:

US Amy Field Artillery School
Fort Sill, Ok 73503-5600

    Unless this publication states otherwise, masculine nouns and pronouns do not refer    
    exclusively to men.


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