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Chapter 2

Planning the RSO&I Operation

Successful planning requires an appreciation of the simultaneous nature of operations, an awareness of the total mission, anticipation of future events, and application of the battlefield framework.

FM 100-5, Operations

In all force projection operations, the focus is on bringing the proper force to the right location at the appropriate time. RSO&I is a means by which this is achieved. Successful RSO&I is fully integrated into the campaign plan. This chapter examines general planning considerations and procedures essential to permit a quick transition from RSO&I to combat operations.

The Campaign Plan

2-1. A campaign is a series of related military operations designed to achieve strategic or operational objectives within a given time and space. A campaign plan describes how these operations are connected in time, space, and purpose. While campaign planning is done in crisis or conflict, the framework for a successful campaign is laid in peacetime analysis, planning, and exercises.
  2-2. Campaigns consist of major operations; RSO&I is one such major operation within a campaign (see Figure 2-1), and consequently must be as well planned and clearly understood as any other major operation. Moreover, RSO&I must be synchronized with the other phases to achieve designated objectives.

Theater Structure

Theater structure is a product of the JFC's strategic objective; the forces allocated for the theater, the strategy for employment, the factors of METT-TC, and the presence of alliance and coalition structures.
  2-3. In developing the campaign, the JFC imposes structure on the theater environment and the full range of military operations. Inherent in the structure is a clear picture of the potential theater organization and command relationships-factors that assist the JFC in determining priorities and assigning tasks.

Figure 2-1. RSO&I within the Campaign

  2-4. RSO&I is an integral part of the theater structure. Visualizing an RSO&I organization, its tasks, and its place within the theater, helps the JFC prepare phases of the campaign plan and complete sequencing decisions. The RSO&I organization then plans and executes the RSO&I operation. Planning includes coordination with:
  • Joint Forces.
  • United Nations Forces.
  • Host Nation Authorities.
  • Multinational Forces.
  • Non-Governmental Organizations.
  • LOGCAP Organizations, CONCAP Organizations, and other Contractor Support
  2-5. There are obvious advantages of designating one organization as the RSO&I command and control element. It avoids duplication of effort, waste of resources, and competition for critical facilities. It optimizes use of valuable strategic lift. It allows integrated and specific reporting of activities related to incremental buildup of combat forces. Although the specific responsible organization may change from one phase to another or between different contingencies, the principle of unity of command must be maintained. One organization needs to be able to control and operate the entire RSO&I process to maximize the throughput of forces and materiel. The organization must be able to adjust resources based upon the deployment flows into the air and seaports, control movements in the area of operations, and provide life support to personnel arriving in-theater.

Joint and Army RSO&I Command and Control Options

  • Joint Support Command (ad hoc).
  • Dominant User or Most Capable Service (by phase, or in total).
  • Combination of Joint and Service by Phase.
  2-6. The JFC will routinely designate the ASCC as executive agent for RSO&I. The ASCC will designate the senior support commander to provide unity of command to execute RSO&I and specific units will be assigned or OPCON to the senior support command.
  2-7. The largest support command is the TSC. It is a major subordinate command of the ASCC. It may, at the option of the ASCC Commander, centralize control of CSS and some CS functions dependent on theater requirements. It is modularly deployable. Elements can deploy early as part of a Major Theater War to establish the COMMZ or may augment with required functionality the primary logistical organization in smaller operations.


  2-8. Planning for RSO&I operations requires application of operational art-for by its nature, RSO&I helps the commander fight when and where he wants. Properly planned, it ensures the effective use of soldiers, materiel, and time. RSO&I also requires a simultaneous awareness of everything that affects the operation, such as theater infrastructure elements, development of a sequenced TPFDD, and integrated, timely, and reliable communication.
  2-9. To develop an effective deployment plan, "reverse planning" techniques are used. First, tactical plans and timetables are developed, and the RSO&I timetable needed to meet force closure objectives is worked out. Next, strategic lift required to move the force is determined, and then timetables needed to move forces from "fort to port" are calculated.


2-10. The JFC commander evaluates the geographical area to determine whether it is adequate for efficient employment of assets, forces, facilities, and supporting systems. In cases where the geographical area is inadequate, the JFC has the following options:
  • Increase RSO&I infrastructure.
  • Reduce deployment flow.
  • Extend allowable force closure times.
  2-11. The JFC sees the RSO&I operation-with its availability of ports, roads, host nation support capabilities, in-theater stockage, communications, and so forth-affecting the tempo of his operation, and manages it to build combat power needed to achieve strategic objectives. He applies the necessary command and control to ensure unity of command, and establishes communications for a seamless flow of information to manage and influence the incremental buildup of combat power.

One of the early force tailoring decisions made during Operation Joint Endeavor was the decision to significantly reduce the Reception, Staging, Onward Movement, and Integration forces from the initial flow. This decision, though made to move up the LOC opening package (force protection, Sava Bridge construction, MSR opening equipment), significantly reduced the ability of the Task Force to receive and stage units as they came out of the strategic pipeline in Zupanja. Therefore, it was difficult for the Task Force to initially provide life support and regain unit integrity in TAA Harmon prior to crossing the Sava River into the area of operations.

Operation Joint Endeavor,
After Action Report
December 1995

  2-12. In a mature theater, RSO&I forces must balance demands for deployment of reinforcement or follow-on forces, with the demands of sustainment flow for the engaged force. In a contingency theater, the focus is on building the necessary force capability while simultaneously building the necessary physical infrastructure.
Time-Phased Force Deployment Data
  2-13. The TPFDD prioritizes arrival of forces in-theater. RSO&I effectiveness is dependent upon proper TPFDD development. For example, the JFC places rapid port clearance capabilities early in the TPFDD, as well as coordinating personnel and equipment flows on the TPFDD, so they can be united without delay at ports or staging areas. Decisions on force mix and sequence are critical, because adjustments after deployments begin become difficult to implement. Moreover, changes cause ripple effects and may seriously disrupt the flow to the battlefield.
  2-14. The JFC also ensures the TPFDD prioritizes joint rather than individual component RSO&I needs. Components normally build their portion of the TPFDD based on their Service requirements, rather than on the needs of the entire force. This results in duplication of capabilities, wastes valuable lift, and siphons support from the main effort. Consequently, the TPFDD must contain the required capability and nothing more.

A crucial CINCCENT decision was made early in the crisis. To ensure the greatest amount of ground combat power was available as soon as possible, CINCCENT accelerated deployment of combat forces and deferred deployment of theater logistics forces. .Although placing arriving units in a somewhat precarious logistics position, the decision to deploy primarily combat forces in August and September let CINCCENT place a capable defensive and deterrent force in-theater rapidly during the crucial weeks when the Iraqis greatly outnumbered the Coalition.

Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, 1992

  2-15. Seamless transfer from strategic lift to intratheater onward movement depends on RSO&I providers knowing what is coming and when. The communication system must link the JFC, the supporting CINCs, the deploying units, the RSO&I providers, and the tactical commanders who will integrate the deploying force into their structures.
  2-16. Communication is necessary at all levels, and across all modes and nodes. Many organizations within the theater will require data to plan and conduct their assigned part of the RSO&I operation. Assured, compatible, and reliable means of relaying that data are essential for a seamless intratheater flow. Most importantly, the JFC must be able to influence the outcome of the deployment. To do this, he must know what force capabilities he has and what will be available in the near future.

The RSO"&"I support structure must be responsive to the JFC and his priorities. METT-TC influenced changes may cause certain units to be in high demand or necessary for immediate employment. RSO&I providers must be able to locate these units and coordinate their onward movement. Critical resources like heavy equipment transporters, fuel support, or buses to move personnel may have to be diverted to rapidly move these units. Rapid response missions become the norm during deployments. Communication is the key to managing this type of complex, ever-changing support environment


Army forces must be prepared to conduct a number of operations that integrate warfighting and operations other than war with a variety of government and non-governmental agencies, other Services, forces from other nations, and international agencies.

FM 100-5, Operations


2-17. The Army operates in diverse environments and conducts a variety of operations as part of joint, multinational, or interagency teams. This fact increases the difficulty of RSO&I and reaffirms the need for established procedures, mutually understood relationships, and robust liaison. Army commanders need to understand how best to integrate their forces into the various organizations under which they will operate (for example, joint commands, UN, NATO, and so forth). This understanding, and appropriate planning, can improve the immense RSO&I difficulties inherent in joint and multinational operations, as well as allow the best use of the complementary features of each nation and Service to maximize RSO&I.


Whether we have years to plan and rehearse, as for the Normandy invasion, months as for Operation DESERT STORM, or only a few days, the US Armed Forces must always be ready to operate in smoothly functioning joint teams.

Joint Pub 1

  2-18. Joint integration of planning and execution is key to successful RSO&I. This, however, does not occur automatically; it requires trained staffs, pre-established procedures, and ongoing coordination.
  2-19. Even though logistics is a Service responsibility, the JFC may direct that certain logistics functions be performed by a particular Service, based on the dominant-user or most-capable-Service concept. For example, if the Army provides all transportation and movement control for RSO"&"I, the Army component commander must be intimately familiar with the total transportation and movement control requirements of the other Services and SOF, to permit optimum resource allocation necessary to address their needs.
  2-20. There are two key joint organizations that can be established to assist the JFC in managing RSO"&"I: the JMC and the JFUB.
  • The JMC balances the JFC's movement requirements with capabilities of the military and civilian mode resources and capacities of theater LOC nodes in order to best meet priorities.
  • The JFUB evaluates and reconciles component requests for real estate, facilities, inter-Service support, and construction. This is especially critical in the reception and staging areas. Terrain management remains an operational responsibility with the JFC, based on staff recommendation, allocating terrain to the components.
  2-21. The same rationale also applies to multinational operations with the functions of movement control and facilities utilization residing at the multinational command level for the entire area of responsibility.
  2-22. Logistics responsibilities can be formally assigned to Services through the WEAR process. A listing of Army WEAR responsibilities is in Appendix C.
Multinational RSO&I
In Operation DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM, more than 800,000 military personnel from 36 nations combined their will, forces, and resources to oppose the Iraqi military.

FM 100-5, Operations

  2-23. As compared with joint operations, multinational RSO&I presents a greater challenge. Major differences in logistics doctrine, mobility, resources, interoperability, and language all create problems in coordinating use of highways, rail lines, seaports, and airfields, as well as providing support and services to RSO&I operations. Considerable planning is required to optimize use of multinational land, naval and air forces, space management, ship berthing and unloading facilities, transportation, labor, and construction materials-all critical elements of RSO&I.
  2-24. While logistics is ordinarily a national responsibility, it frequently falls to the United States to provide strategic lift and logistics support. Nonetheless, detailed logistics planning by all coalition forces is essential for successful RSO&I. It is imperative to establish clear responsibilities, and identify support roles early in the planning process. Whenever possible, multinational organizations should be formed to coordinate RSO&I operations. This should allow coalition or alliance members to use common items (for example, POL, medical supplies, tools, and so forth), and to set up commonly understood control measures.
  2-25. Plans and operations for multinational RSO&I should be as simple as possible, using common terms and procedures, and clear and concise language.
  2-26. Where appropriate and possible, coalition commanders may combine staffs of two or more nations to better coordinate complementary RSO&I capabilities, facilitate exchange of vital information, and reduce friction, congestion, and duplication associated with multiple use of limited assets and capacities.
  2-27. Host nation support is civil and military assistance rendered by a nation to foreign forces within its territory during peacetime, crises or emergencies, or war based on agreements mutually concluded between nations. In many cases, US forces must rely on host nation support to supplement or provide services, supplies, and facilities. This is especially significant when the JFC tries to minimize the number of CS/CSS forces and equipment early in the TPFDD.
  2-28. It is beneficial to establish host nation agreements beforehand, when possible. Where no agreements are in place, the JFC's staff and RSO&I manager should understand the RSO&I capabilities or resources of prospective host nations and the contractual procedures necessary to obtain them. It is also important that the host nation understand overall US requirements. Moreover, as early as possible, representatives, with interpreters, must be sent to negotiate the acquisition of host nation services. Appendix D describes financial management operations during RSO&I.
  2-29. Host nation support, by providing a variety of services and facilities, relieves US forces from the task of establishing and maintaining equivalent capabilities, thereby reducing the US logistical footprint and RSO&I "overhead." Additional lift becomes available for transport of combat forces, expediting force closure. Among specific services and facilities that can be partially delegated to host nation support are as follows:
  • Life Support.
  • Medical Facilities.
  • Construction and Engineering.
  • Police and Paramilitary Organizations.
  • Transportation Assets and Infrastructure.
  • Labor Force.
  • Emergency Services.
  • Fuel and Power Facilities.
  • Communications Facilities.
Recalling Clausewitz' analogy of a military force as an intricate machine, ample liaison parties, properly manned and equipped, may be viewed as a lubricant that helps keep that machine working smoothly. The Gulf War vividly demonstrated the role of effective liaison in both the joint and combined contexts.

Joint Pub 1


2-30. Liaison with forces of each Service, nation, and the next higher headquarters is a prerequisite for smooth operation of RSO&I. It is indispensable for understanding each participant's operating procedures, and for timely transfer of critical information. Whenever possible, liaison personnel should be familiar with operational organizations, doctrine, and procedures of the force with which they will work. For multinational operations, they should either speak the language of the force they are with or use qualified interpreters.
  2-31. RSO&I liaison personnel need to be familiar with the overall RSO&I plan. They must understand how their Service fits into the overall design and best supports the JFC's plan for the incremental build of combat power. It is helpful if the liaison members are experienced in joint/multinational operations.
Through a structure such as a civil-military operations center, the Joint Force Commander can gain a greater understanding of the roles of the non-governmental organizations and private voluntary organizations and how they influence mission accomplishment

Joint Pub 3-07

  2-32. In the course of joint and multinational operations, the Army operates alongside US and non-US government agencies, non-governmental agencies, and private voluntary organizations. In most cases, these organizations and agencies will compete for space at ports, airfields, and facilities used for military operations. They will travel over the same LOCs and require a variety of support from the military. They may disrupt RSO&I and siphon resources away from military tasks.
  2-33. To build unity of effort and consequently gauge impact of these agencies and organizations on the RSO&I effort, the commander should establish a CMOS. In addition, it may be necessary to develop formal agreements between the military and civilian organizations to improve coordination and effectiveness.


  2-34. The RSO&I planner has access to a number of RSO&I resources or enablers. They include organizations, personnel and equipment supporting these organizations, contract or based support, and the information management systems used by these organizations. Appendix E lists key Army units and their functions that support RSO&I operations. Examples are as follows:
  • LOGCAP: is contractor based support arrangement made in peacetime designed to support Army forces in contingency operations worldwide. The concept is to maintain, based on regional needs, a worldwide umbrella contract. The program includes the contracting equivalent of contingency plans for various regions. It allows for the swift acquisition of contract logistic support required in crisis. The JTF commander may choose to execute elements of the plan to increase flexibility and to fill shortfalls in the force as he evaluates the TPFDD. He must decide where to use force structure to accomplish the mission and where contract support can be used.
  • CTG: is able to operate all theater ports (aerial and sea), other nodes (railheads, trailer transfer points, and so forth), inland transportation (road and water), and assorted life support. It can perform harbor operations, terminal and terminal service operations, cargo transfer operations, cargo documentation, A/DACG and railhead operations, movements control and surface transportation operations (truck). The CTG is assigned Army watercraft and lighterage and is capable of conducting instream off-load operations. The CTG provides the supported JFC with RSO&I capability throughout the theater of operations.
  • CTC: are units within the CTG and are able to load, discharge, and transload cargo at air, rail, truck terminals, and water terminals located in fixed ports or LOTS operations. They also supplement cargo/supply-handling operations at corps and division areas to alleviate cargo backlogs.
  • CSG: provides command and control, CSS functional support, and life support capabilities. Specific capabilities are tailored to the commander's needs. It provides the logistics resources to support corps soldiers and to arm, fuel, fix, and move the corps force. Whether CONUS based or part of a forward presence force, it must be prepared to deploy on short notice for contingency operations in support of joint or combined operations. See FM 54-30 for more information on the Corps Support Group.
  • ASG: provides support to forces in power projection roles. Selected ASG elements may augment the COSCOM or DISCOM when support requirements exceed their support capabilities. They may deploy from a forward presence site in response to a crisis or remain at that forward site to receive and process follow-on forces. ASGs may tailor a slice of support to set up a forward support base or provide support at a staging area. An ASG is a tailored CSS organization in the COMMZ. It has area responsibility for supply (including petroleum support), field service support (including water purification and mortuary affairs), and maintenance (including aviation intermediate maintenance). It may also have area responsibility for real property maintenance activity. It provides NBC warning and reporting and controls rear operations in its assigned area. The ASG may include other capabilities to fulfill designated theater support responsibilities. Though it has no fixed structure, it may include civil affairs, supply and service, petroleum supply, and maintenance battalions. The ASG commander may also choose to task multifunctional organizations to provide support for specific missions or organizations. See FM 54-40 for more information on ASGs.
  • MTMC Advance Party: is the MTMC port manager's advance party and provides technical support to the port operator and the CTG. The advance party's mission includes liaison with port authorities, assessment of port capabilities, initial recommendations for size and type port operations required, assessment of contracting capabilities, and initial contract coordination. The advance party provides the automated link to the IBS and the Worldwide Port System, and supplies the JFC with visibility over inbound ocean cargo.
  • MTMC Port Management Cell: provides a port management cell or reinforces an existing cell to support the JFC. The cell will workload the port operator based on the theater commander's priorities and intent. The cell will assist with OPLAN development and analysis, conduct assessment of ports, and recommend the size and type of port operations required. The cell will establish liaison with host nation port authorities and develop statements of work for contracting facilities and stevedore labor, if available. The cell will provide ADP and communication capabilities in support of water terminal operations. It will provide common-user container management services.
  • Army Movement Control Organizations: contribute to the joint theater movement control plan. In the COMMZ, the MCA supports echelons above corps; in the corps AOR, MCBs provide support; and in division AORs, the DTO is responsible for movement control.
  • Allied and HNS: provide civil and/or military assistance to US forces during peacetime, crises or emergencies, or war, based on mutual agreements. If available, Allied and HNS can be a significant military force multiplier. Properly planned for and utilized, it can augment deployment shortfalls or requirements and assist deploying and deployed units and, therefore, reduce the requirement for strategic lift assets.
  • Local Contracting: provides use of local resources, such as truck drivers, warehousing, stevedores, and so forth, which can reduce the RSO&I footprint by offsetting the requirement for US forces.
  • TSC: is a major subordinate command of the ASCC. It may, at the option of the ASCC Commander, centralize control of CSS and some CS functions dependent on theater requirements. It is modularly deployable. Elements can deploy early as part of a Major Theater War to establish the COMMZ or may augment with required functionality the primary logistical organization in smaller operations. Additional information on the Theater Support Command will be available in FM 100-10-1, Theater Distribution, when published.
  • MEDCOM: is the single medical manager for combat health support in the theater. Appendix F describes in better detail the various medical functions during RSO&I.
  2-35. Equipment needed for RSO&I operations is either organic to enabling organizations, or included in the following:
  • APS Afloat (APS-3): allows the early deployment of Army heavy brigade forces, theater-opening CS/CSS forces, force provider, port-opening capability, and sustainment stocks in order to minimize initial requirement for strategic lift. The sustainment stocks, unit equipment, and port opening packages are prepositioned on Military Sealift Command vessels that are home based in Diego Garcia and Guam. The vessels and the prepositioned equipment are both subject to cyclic maintenance schedules. The schedules are coordinated by the Army Materiel Command. The vessels can be sailed worldwide in response to any contingency. Additional information on the ASP-3 program is available in FM 100-17-1, Army Pre-positioned Afloat Operations.
  • APS Ashore (APS-2 Europe), (APS-4 Korea), (APS-5 SWA): allow early deployment of a heavy brigade in Korea and a heavy division plus in both Europe and SWA by C+4. These prepositioned sets of equipment are essential for timely support of US national military strategy in areas of US national interests and treaty obligations. Fixed land based sites store Army War Reserve Prepositioned Sets of combat and CS/CSS equipment, Army War Reserve Operational Project stocks (for example, chemical defense equipment, cold weather clothing, petroleum distribution equipment, and so forth) and Army War Reserves Sustainment. Land based sets can be used to support a theater lodgment to allow off-load of APS-3 equipment, and can be shipped to support any theater worldwide
  • Appendix G contains additional information on RSO&I enabling teams, and Appendix H contains information on the US Army Materiel Command Logistics Support Element..
  • TOFM: are modules of selected logistics functions designed to provide the deploying force the capability to open air and seaports and establish RSO&I capability in-theater. They are available for employment across the full spectrum of military operations. Additional information on the TOFMs is available in FM 100-17-1, Army Pre-positioned Afloat Operations.
  2-36. Several information management systems presently support RSO&I operations, among these are as follows:
  • Knowledge Based Logistics Planning Shell.
  • JTAV.
  • GTN.
  • AALPS (will be included in TC-AIMS II).
  • Global Combat Support System.
  • WPS.
  • IBS.
  2-37. See Appendix I, Movement Control Operations, and Appendix J, Deployment Planning Tools, for a more detailed discussion of some of these information management systems and planning tools.
The intermediate staging base is a temporary location used to stage forces prior to inserting the forces into the host nation.

Joint Pub 1-02

  2-38. In an ideal situation, secure bases are available in the AO for RSO&I and continued support of the deploying force. Unfortunately, the very situation that compels deployment of US forces may negate the advantage of basing within the AO. The JFC weighs requirements against the risk of basing within the AO. The theater operational situation may constrain the joint commander to select and prepare an ISB. The ISB is located within the theater of operations and outside of the combat zone and area of operations. (See Figure 2-2) In cases where the joint force must secure a lodgment in order to project the force, an ISB may be critical to success.

2-39. If established, the ISB may be the initial theater reception and staging facility. Deploying forces debark from strategic lift, reassemble, and prepare for missions in the AO.

  2-40. Onward movement from the ISB to the combat zone may be multimodal and require some level of reassembly in the AO. Transportation assets employed in onward movement will normally include strategic and theater assets including truck, rail, sea, and airlift. These movements are a part of deployment and should be included in the TPFDD.
  2-41. The location of the ISB is dependent on a number of variables including distance to combat zone, host nation access, ports, and tempo of operations. Coordination with the host nation for use of an ISB is a State Department responsibility.
  2-42. The selection of an ISB is a JFC decision. However, if the Army is tasked to operate the ISB, it should have a primary role in the selection process. The ISB should include properly sequenced and sufficient Army C2, CS, CSS, and joint support to enable projecting the force into the combat zone. The ISB should be shielded from long-range engagement systems, including missile, SOF, and terrorists.
  2-43. The ISB may serve as the principle staging base for entry operations, which allows the joint commander to project the maximum number of forces into the combat zone. For example, armored forces arrive at the ISB by strategic air and sealift. They reassemble, prepare for combat operations, and conduct a joint entry operation using Army watercraft.
  2-44. The longevity of the ISB varies according to the circumstance. The ISB may function throughout the operation serving as a secure facility for split-based operations which include selected logistic management functions that can be accomplished from home station or from a forward based location, deploying only those functional capabilities absolutely necessary into the AO. The ISB may continue to function because of superior air and sea bases. In an austere unstable area, it may also continue to serve as a rest and relaxation site. However, if the ISB is a great distance from the AO, its usefulness diminishes. As soon as the lodgment has been expanded and the tactical situation permits, the JFC normally establishes a theater staging base within the AO as part of the RSO&I process.

Figure 2-2. Intermediate Staging Base


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