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Chapter 3

Operational-Level Considerations

This task requires implementation of a carefully thought out, sustained and progressive peacetime process of development, training, and integration in all the critical areas of...operations. Interoperability, mutual confidence, and success cannot be obtained on the brink of a conflict, nor can they be achieved by a sudden and improvised effort. Good intentions cannot replace professional preparations.
Commander Juan Carlos Neves, Argentine Navy
Military capabilities differ based on national interests and objectives, national character, doctrine, training, leader development, organizations, and materiel. Some doctrines emphasize offensive operations while others emphasize defensive operations. Some nations prepare for highly mobile, mechanized operations, while others concern themselves with counterinsurgency operations. The MFC must know and consider these differences when assigning missions and conducting operations. This chapter provides operational-level considerations to improve the effectiveness of US forces when operating with the MNF.
A variety of functions helps commanders build and sustain combat power. In general terms, these are called combat functions and are described fully in FM 100-5. Army commanders and staffs translate combat functions into more specific operational-level functions when conducting operational-level missions and tactical-level functions when conducting tactical operations. The five operational-level functions discussed in this chapter are movement and maneuver, intelligence, firepower , support, and protection.
At the operational level, C2, intelligence, and support are critical to building an effective MNF. A major weakness in one of these areas is a far greater threat than one in other systems. All other elements hinge on the effective integration of these three systems. Major differences, real or perceived, among alliance or coalition partners cannot be tolerated. Within these operating systems, effective liaison and language capabilities make effective operations possible and alleviate friction and confusion.


Movement and maneuver involve the disposition of the MNF to create a decisive impact on the conduct of subordinate campaigns or major operations. This is achieved by securing the operational advantage of position before battle is joined or exploiting tactical success to achieve operational success. This operating system includes the movement or deployment of force for operational advantage and the conduct of maneuver to operational depths (for offensive or defensive purposes). It also includes the enhancement of the mobility of friendly forces, to include--

  • Ensuring noninterference from dislocated civilians, enemy prisoners of war (EPW), and other civilian internees (CI).
  • Degrading the mobility of enemy forces.
  • Controlling land, sea, or aerospace for operational advantage.

Movement and maneuver can be on sea and land or through the air.


Operational movement is critical to MNF operations. An MNF headquarters, or supporting CINC, normally plans and executes all strategic movement, but it remains a national responsibility to move forces into the operating area. The MNF headquarters is responsible for coordinating these strategic deployments to support the commander's plan and then for planning and controlling intratheater movement through the reception, staging, onward movement, and integration (RSO&I) process.

Intermediate Staging Base

The decision on use of an intermediate staging base (ISB) outside the operating area requires a conscious decision to balance numerous requirements, including greater lift requirements against better efficiency. MNFs should assemble and stage in an ISB, especially if combat is imminent. The ISB provides a secure area to assemble, train, equip, and bond the coalition or alliance force into a cohesive one. It is better to solve problems and correct deficiencies in a nonhostile environment. The MNF staff should assemble first and work together, followed by the rest of the MNF force. The ISB should have sufficient billeting and training capacity to support the entire MNF at once. Access to airports and seaports for smooth reception of the force and its subsequent deployment is critical. If the multinational operation is a lesser regional contingency or a second major regional contingency (MRC), an ISB may not be possible. This is because of limited strategic lift (air and sea), size of MNFs, or availability of an HN in theater for use as an ISB.

Planners should anticipate disruptions from many factors, ranging from weather to political decisions, that alter the planned flow of personnel, forces, and equipment. The ASCC, or a supporting CINC, operates the ISB and deploys fully ready forces into the operating area. When the lodgment is well established, the ISB may shift into the operating area if it will not drain additional resources. Larger areas, such as Europe or Korea, allow for a reception center or ISB in theater from the beginning. In the Korean War, UN forces operated the UN reception center where incoming contingents were equipped, trained, and linked up with US liaison elements.

Theater Reception

At ports of debarkation (PODs), units work with HNS and multiservice personnel to secure the POD, discharge equipment, process equipment and personnel, and move units to marshaling areas. HN forces can perform and assist in many of these functions. If no HNS forces are available, national units must perform those functions. All units must be planned for in the strategic flow and some, because of their limited capability, may be assigned a certain function.

Theater Staging

Staging is that part of the RSO&I operation in which several key activities take place in controlled areas in the ongoing incremental buildup of combat power. During this phase, units are reassembled and united with their equipment and scheduled for movement toward the tactical assembly area; materiel is segregated, prioritized, and prepared for transport; class V supplies are uploaded; and life support is provided to personnel.

Theater Onward Movement

This phase begins when units are configured to move to their final destination. Such movement is accomplished through a carefully devised movement program that employs convoy, rail, and HN contract assets (such as heavy equipment transporters and other trucks) to ensure the forward and concurrent movement of troops and supplies. Centralized control of transportation assets is required. Real estate management may be a problem unless a multinational counterpart to the US joint force utilization board (usually controlled by engineers) is given authority to allocate terrain to all forces and agencies.

Movement planning must account for differences in how nations conduct road marches or similar administrative movements. These differences can lead to confusion and disorganization. For example, one MNF contingent may consider any movement made by a tactical unit to be a tactical movement. Terminology must be coordinated through the movement control center to avoid confusion.

When planning the movement of MNFs, planners must know the details of the organization, equipment, capabilities, and limitations of the forces. Planners must know how to efficiently request intratheater movement of multinational operational forces consistent with the operational commander's operations plan (OPLAN). The movement should complement sequencing of operations and time-phased force deployment. Movement planners should consider all assets (joint, allied, HN, and third country) and modes (air, land, or sea) of transport. During execution of these movements, movement control personnel must locate where they can validate actual movements.

Theater Integration

This phase covers both the effective management of reception, staging, and onward movement of units and the transfer of authority (TOA) of units to the tactical commander.


Operations in depth include both conventional forces and SOF. To best achieve operational aims, plans should reflect the special capabilities of each national contingent in the assignment of missions. Significant factors at this level include--

  • Mobility, size, and sustainability of formations.
  • Training for operations special environments.
  • Preparing for operations involving nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons.

Differences in MNF doctrine, materiel, and national styles become evident when forces conduct continuous operations, penetrations, encirclements, exploitations, or pursuits.


Operational mobility facilitates the movement of the MNF in a campaign or major operation without delays caused by operationally significant terrain, obstacles, or dislocated civilians, EPW, and CI. Operational countermobility delays, channels, and stops the air, land, and sea movement of enemy operational formations. It creates positional advantage for friendly forces and exposes enemy centers of gravity or high-payoff targets for destruction. The principle of centralized planning and decentralized execution applies. Engineers play a key role in mobility and countermobility, and national forces vary greatly in equipment and organization. The MNF commander must ensure missions are assigned appropriately to achieve desired results and avoid unnecessary casualties.


Operational intelligence is required to plan and conduct MNF operations. Allied and coalition partners normally operate separate intelligence systems to support their own policy and military forces. Intelligence systems supporting MNF operations should focus on collection, analysis, and dissemination of information to identify and locate the threat centers of gravity. They should also identify potential weaknesses or targets within the friendly MNF. Effective MNF intelligence operations--

  • Define the end state in terms of information to be shared and work from the beginning of planning to make that happen.
  • Define dissemination architecture for all partner forces.
  • Agree on and disseminate common maps.

Flexibility is essential to adjust to each nation's expectations of intelligence support. Sharing of intelligence sources and methods, to include cooperative intelligence collection and production, helps coalition members attain common objectives. National systems vary widely in sophistication and focus. Most allies cannot approach the range of US technical capabilities to collect and process intelligence. Yet, many MNF partners have greater ground reconnaissance and human intelligence (HUMINT) capabilities than do US units. Questions on the amount of intelligence a US commander is permitted to share with non-US partners surface frequently.

The MNF commander must ensure rapid dissemination of military intelligence and use of available intelligence assets by all partners. Limits and procedures for sharing intelligence must be confirmed during initial coordination and negotiations among the MNF participants. This usually requires the formation of a multinational intelligence staff at the highest level. Once the senior US commander establishes the procedures and limits for sharing intelligence, the J2 establishes the system to provide the information. In many cases, an intelligence support element (ISE) is provided to the coalition or alliance headquarters. This may require an intelligence network with dedicated communications and LNOs to provide appropriate interface among headquarters.

Prior to receipt of instructions, initial guidance can be obtained from National Disclosure Policy (NDP-1). This policy promulgates national policy and procedures in the form of--

  • Specific disclosure criteria and limitations.
  • Definitions of terms.
  • Release arrangements.
  • Other guidance required by US departments and agencies having occasion to release classified US military information to foreign governments and IOs.

In addition, it establishes and provides for the management of interagency mechanisms and procedures required for the effective implementation of the policy. When guidance is lacking, only perishable information that immediately impacts tactical operations may be shared.


Operational firepower, according to US Army doctrine, is the application of firepower and nonlethal means to decisively impact the conduct of a campaign or major operation. Operational firepower is a separate component of the operational scheme and the coequal of movement and maneuver, but maneuver and firepower must be fully integrated. Operational firepower is not fire support (close air support [CAS], artillery, mortars, rockets, missiles, etc.), and operational maneuver is not necessarily dependent on operational firepower. However, operational maneuver can be affected by operational firepower. Assets (mostly joint) other than those required for the routine support of tactical maneuver normally furnish operational firepower. They include deep strike assets (ATACMs) and attack helicopters on deep missions. Other national forces do not normally have the deep attack capabilities of US forces. The US is unique in using aviation assets as a maneuver combat force capable of independent offensive action.

Effective C2 of MNF firepower assets is the key. Operational firepower must be coordinated with the joint force air component commander's (JFACC) air operations plan through a multinational targeting coordination board. The joint targeting coordination board (JTCB), if established, may be subordinate to the multinational board. In Korea, the combined targeting board already exists and works under the JFACC. This is an example of how terminology may differ slightly in different situations, but the function is more important than the name. Most major powers use similar firepower terminology such as fire support coordination line (FSCL).

Nonlethal attack intends to impair, disrupt, or delay the performance of enemy (or adversary) forces and their facilities. It includes PSYOP, use of SOF, electronic warfare (EW), and the command, control, communications, and countermeasures subset of information operations. Planners must pay close attention to the effect such operations may have on members of the MNF. Although PSYOPs are directed at adversaries/enemies, some MNF members may have cultural, religious, or ethnic ties to the targets.

Integrated joint and MNFs must achieve a balanced mix of all available joint and allied air defense (AD) forces. They must establish positive control measures to minimize mutual interference or fratricide. Also, easily identifiable means of identification to ensure survival of friendly aircraft if positive control measures fail must be established. Some nations have air defense artillery (ADA) assets with the army while others are with the air force. Some divide ADA assets between both services. Differences in procedures must be understood throughout the MNF.

PSYOPs are planned operations to convey selected information to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and, ultimately, the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals. The purpose of PSYOP is to induce or reinforce foreign attitudes and behaviors favorable to the originator's objectives.

As a force multiplier, PSYOP is one of the most effective weapons available to a commander. It can reduce casualties on both sides by--

  • Reducing the morale and combat effectiveness of the enemy.
  • Creating dissidence and disaffection within their ranks.
  • Encouraging surrenders or defections.
  • Promoting resistance or inducing within a civilian populace a lack of support for a hostile regime.

PSYOP also has proven to be effective in peacetime operations, supported SOF, conventional forces, other US Government agencies, and foreign governments.


Operational support ties requirements to strategic capabilities to accomplish operational plans. It encompasses support required to sustain both the tempo and continuity of joint and multinational campaigns and other military activities within the AOR. The major CSS areas of concern are reception, staging, onward movement, integration, positioning of facilities, materiel management, distribution, reconstitution, and redeployment.

Multinational logistics presents major challenges. Included are differences in doctrine, stockage levels, mobility, interoperability, infrastructure, national resource limitations, and units of measurement. Multinational operational-level logistics focus on how to integrate sustainment operations through coordinating and executing a cohesive logistics program. Traditionally, national differences have made logistics solely a national responsibility. Future multinational operations will require greater compatibility, and support must be the collective responsibility of the nations involved. For example, NATO's logistics principles give nations and NATO authorities a collective responsibility for logistics support of NATO's multinational operations. The NATO commander at the appropriate level must have sufficient authority over logistics resources to enable him to employ and sustain his forces in the most effective manner. Varying methods of mutual logistical support must complement the partners' capabilities and minimize their weaknesses.

Personnel service support (PSS) includes replacement operations; strength management; personnel accounting; casualty management; personnel data base management; personnel information management; postal operations; enlisted and officer evaluations; promotions; transfers and discharges; morale, welfare, and recreation; and awards. It must be planned and coordinated within personnel channels of US forces and other MNFs.


The level of participation by US Army support forces depends upon the specific political and military objectives agreed to at the national level in consonance with US national military strategy. Lacking existing international agreements, combatant commanders must have NCA to enter into relationships (providing or accepting CSS from multinational partners) that are contrary to US policy. While execution of multinational support requires approval, planning does not. Full coordination with potential allies needs to be aggressively pursued before and during operations. Planning considerations include--

  • MNF composition.
  • Compatibility.
  • HNS limitations.
  • Overall infrastructure conditions in the AO (for example, electricity, water, roads, rail, communications).
  • Budget limitations.

Any support provided to multinational partners is in addition to established executive agent support responsibilities that the Army has to other US services, civilian contractors, DOD, and other US government agency personnel. It does not take priority unless so directed by the NCA.

The objective is to achieve a realistic degree of compatibility of equipment, supplies, and procedures. This is within the mission, enemy, terrain, troops, and time available (METT-T) constraints, political and legal realities, and the participating nations' capabilities. The intent is to introduce units to support the MNF in achieving the political and military goals with minimal duplication. To do this, leaders and their staffs must understand the organization and capabilities of all national contingents. Such knowledge allows them to compensate for differences and shortfalls during plan formulation and remain flexible during execution. Some major differences between national forces include doctrine, organizational structures, equipment, SOP (to include reporting formats), terminology and definitions, requirements computation methods, sustainment planning criteria, common supply resources, support services, reconstitution policies and procedures, and automated data processing (ADP) support systems. Within NATO and the ABCA armies program, STANAGs and QSTAGs have been developed to assist planners in multinational operations. Nations outside of these programs could possibly use these documents as guidance for support planning.

Combat Service Support Structure

Planners must resolve several key subjects as they build the CSS structure of the MNF. Some common concerns include--

  • Identification of common supplies and services that might be provided to all participants by one nation (role specialization).
  • Chapter 138, title 10 US Code authorizes the Secretary of Defense to negotiate Mutual Logistics Support Agreements or Acquisition Cross-Service Agreement1 (ACSA) with friendly nations in which US forces are deployed. ACSA permits the reciprocal transfer of logistics support, supplies, and services between the armed forces of the US and the armed forces of NATO countries and other designated countries outside of NATO including Japan. ACSA permits the multinational commander to acquire and transfer logistics items or services for cash, replacement-in-kind, or equal value exchange.
  • Development of the means to maintain national asset visibility (from national sustaining bases to the front-line units).
  • Procedures to obtain and update the readiness and stock status of national forces.
  • Ensurance of compatibility of communications networks including ADP interfaces among multinational and national support systems.
  • Security.

Combat Service Support Template

The CSS structures that support multinational contingency planning include selective functional areas and subareas available to multinational commanders and staffs during planning and execution of operations. Most nations use individually developed operational and logistical employment concepts and terms. The employment concepts and terms used here represent an acceptable standard for contingency operations in most US forces' multinational operations.

Multinational Support Command and Control

Multinational support C2 is extremely complex and may require a supreme effort to coordinate the collective resources of all assigned forces. The basic concept of C2 is an integrated system comprised of doctrine, procedures, organizational structure, personnel, equipment, facilities, and communications. This system then provides authorities at all levels with timely and adequate data to plan, direct, and control their activities. The CSS staff must maintain close contact with all units, customers, providers, G3 staffs, staffs of higher and lower formations, and, especially, with headquarters of CSS forces under their control.

Multinational Support Command/Element

The multinational support command element (MSC/E) prioritizes and synchronizes key CSS functions to best use the collective assets and resources of all contributing nations. The MSC/E is a generic, CSS headquarters created for the multinational operation. The primary tasks of the MSC/E staff, composed of both the multinational commander's CSS staff and CSS representatives from each contributing nation, are to coordinate the efforts of assigned multinational CSS organizations, to help resolve international and interservice issues, and to coordinate the use of scarce resources such as strategic and tactical lift. Furthermore, the MSC/E sets the sustainment phasing and timing of the operation, as well as the priorities for assets and resources for the MNF. Its primary responsibility is to monitor and access the entire CSS situation; to translate operational guidance, plans, and orders into CSS requirements; to issue directives; and to implement CSS priorities.

The MSC/E of the force should establish a materiel in-transit monitoring role to ensure the accurate shipping status of selected critical assets and resources. Do not interpret this to mean involvement of the MSC/E in national responsibilities of materiel management. The MSC/E critically needs the time-sensitive ability to query national supply systems to track and forecast the arrival of decisive logistics materiel. National forces should have modern ADP systems capable of processing the quantitative analysis of all logistics functions, in addition to effectively monitoring essential items of stocks and resources. Likewise, ADP technology employed for critical functions should be compatible with other national systems as much as possible throughout the MNF. ADP and communications systems training for logistics staffs is vital for effective sustainment. The efficient transfer of logistics management information and data ensures planners have flexibility, are responsive and predictive, and meet the operational and tactical plans. Liaison teams must compensate for any technological shortfalls.

National contingents have their own support command or element to ensure their force's sustainment. This element, generically known as a national support element (NSE), must ensure that a timely and accurate logistics information management system is established between their respective nation and the MNF's MSC/E. A difficult C2 relationship may develop between NSEs that remain under national command but are located in the multinational commander's operating area. National commanders must inform, advise, and support in all matters of combined execution. These actions allow the multinational commander to establish specific operational guidelines. The national commander must follow these guidelines within his operating area for real estate management, area security, contracting, and interface with local population and authorities, although no command relationship exists.

Legal and Financial Considerations

A commander performing a multinational/interagency mission must call upon his legal representative,2 political-military advisors, and comptroller as urgently as he does his operations officer. Funding issues and legal issues demand much time and effort. If not fully addressed, they may either lessen mission effectiveness or cause significant bureaucratic and possible legal consequences later. Actions may include training, moving, and equipping multinational/interagency participants. Much of this falls under Title 22, Sections 505 and 506 of the FAA, and can only legally occur upon Presidential signature. Such actions go through DSAA, are incredibly complex, and must not be ignored if the mission is to succeed. The commander's staff judge advocate and operational judge advocate can help him understand the problems associated with multinational operations.

Congress requires details on the projected and actual costs of operations. Accurate, detailed costs are needed in dealing with multinational partners at political levels to determine how costs have been or should be apportioned. Therefore, throughout an operation, commanders must track funding, expenditure authority, accountability, costs, and support received from or provided to others. This record is necessary to determine the financial costs of the operation and to support the process of reimbursement at all levels (including international).


Two general methods exist to execute multinational support: lead nation/lead role responsibility and national responsibility. The method chosen depends upon the circumstances of the alliance or coalition, the AO, and the composition of the force. The objective is to find the most efficient and politically acceptable method of providing sustainment. A key subset of these methods, role specialization, is also described.

Lead Nation/lead Role Responsibility

This method encompasses a nation accepting responsibility for the centralized coordination, management, and control of the contracting or procurement and provision of a broad spectrum of supplies and services for all or part of the MNF. This method can be performed by a nation (the lead nation) or an organization. It is normally performed at echelons above corps, although the lead nation concept can be effected within corps. The lead nation establishes a framework where other nations and organizations contribute units and resources to accomplish specified missions. In a case where a lead nation is dominant, that nation may provide almost complete CSS for the entire force. While conceptually the simplest approach, financial constraints make this option undesirable for anything short of an MRC or war.

Within UN Protective Force (UNPROFOR) in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the UK is the lead nation for vehicle recovery support to all nations along certain critical main supply routes (MSRs). While nations carried out limited self-recovery within their own zones of operations and within their own military convoys, the UK underpinned the system to ensure that vital routes remained open. UK assets also undertook responsibility for vehicle recovery outside those zones and augmented nations when possible.

If national contingents are similar in size, the nation that assumes lead nation responsibility normally requires staff augmentation and some operational support forces from participating nations. Thus, the overall CSS is more accurately described as partially integrated. Functions are integrated to the extent feasible depending on the specific function. Some procedures are performed solely by the lead nation, some functions are pooled and run by a multinational organization, and some may even be done by a single nation.

This approach would be most common in a coalition where some members belong to an alliance (or have some other compatibility that sets them apart from other members) and others do not. The nations with the most commonality would form the integrated structure, and other national contingents would use this structure as much as possible.

National Responsibility

Similar to the parallel mode among ABCA army members, national responsibility is the traditional approach. Each nation provides its own CSS, and the MNF headquarters monitors the support status of each unit. Any directive authority given to the MNF commander for cross-leveling supplies or services across national lines would be negotiated among contributing nations. See Figure 3-1.

Figure 3-1. National Responsibility for Combat Service Support

Role Specialization

Role specialization is where a nation or organization assumes the sole responsibility for procuring and providing a particular class of supply or service for all or part of an MNF. Normally performed at EAC, role specialization may be executed at a lower level, depending upon the size of the MNF. Role specialization is normally used for a finite mission and time because of the great burden it places upon the nation or organization. First, unless reimbursement across national lines is agreed to before deployment of the force, the providing nation bears an unfair portion of the financial cost of the operation. Secondly, the nation or organization may use an inordinate amount of its own resources supporting others. This leads to internal supply shortfalls or delays in resupply and increases wear and tear on vehicles and personnel. Other MNF members may then have to provide other support to the partner doing the role specialization.

If properly planned and negotiated, this approach promotes greater efficiency in cases where one MNF member is already well established in the area and has contractual arrangements in place, has a unique relationship with the populace, or has a much greater capability than other nations. One example is Saudi Arabia's role of supplying fuel to coalition members during Operation Desert Shield/Storm. Another is the French role in supplying theater-level transportation and certain logistics commodities to members of UNPROFOR in the former Republic of Yugoslavia.

Optimum Method

Planners must consider a myriad of factors to determine the optimum logistical support method for a particular situation. This paragraph discusses responsibilities in categories within the respective functional areas and provides an initial framework for planners to analyze situations. The lists are neither prescriptive nor all-inclusive.

Multinational Organizations

Logistics responsibilities that can be executed by a multinational organization include--

  • Movement control.
  • General support of road, rail, and air transportation.
  • General support of recovery operations.
  • POD operations, all modes.
  • Medical, roles 1 and 2, preventative medicine, and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC).
  • Sanitation and refuse.
  • Fresh rations and water.
  • Management/operations of staging area and camp.
  • Bulk petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) storage and distribution.
  • Bulk water purification, storage, and distribution.
  • Engineering resources and materials.
  • Coordination of mutual assistance.
  • Contracting support (of multinational functions).
  • Ammunition management and security operations (possible bulk distribution).

National Contingents

Logistics responsibilities performed more effectively by national contingents include--

  • Direct support of road, rail, and air transportation.
  • Direct support of recovery operations.
  • Maintenance operations and repair.
  • Package POL.
  • National ammunition procurement and distribution.
  • Medical, role 3, and national preventative.
  • Field rations.
  • Troop support supplies and most field services.
  • Major end-item replacement.
  • Contracting to support national requirements. Careful coordination is required to optimize use of the available resources and minimize effects of competition in local markets.

Host Nation Support

HNS assets should, if possible, perform deployment operations, sustained operations, and closing/retrograde operations. While contingency planners cannot assume significant HNS in many theaters, they should try to find and employ existing local services and facilities upon deployment. The objectives are to preserve the logistics capability of the MNF for future operations, to strengthen and rebuild the local economy, and to positively impact the morale of the populace. HNS is the best option for--

  • Deployment operations. Ships must be received into port and subsequently off-loaded. Local harbor pilots, navigators, and customs officials should be employed. Local storage facilities, electricity, petroleum, sanitation, and other support services should be used as much as possible.
  • Sustained operations. MNFs work directly with local labor, training and teaching the use of new equipment and techniques. Direct results include future ideas, programs of foreign military defense sales, and commercial contracts that begin the HN's road to reconstruction. Also during this phase, MSRs should be improved by working closely with local contractors using available local resources.
  • Closing/retrograde operations. Many additional local HNS aspects can complement the MNF: transportation assistance (buses and small transport vehicles); maintenance support operations; laundry, cleaning, bath and sanitation support; and general engineering and construction contracting operations.


Recent operations demonstrate future sustainment operations must be a collective responsibility with the multinational commander having sufficient authority and mechanisms over assets, resources, and forces. To require each individual nation to perform these functions separately would be inefficient and expensive and would hinder the commander's ability to influence and prioritize limited logistics resources.

MNF sustainment requires a cooperative relationship among coalition members. Whatever the method of support execution, support command representatives must meet regularly with one another and with representatives from other support sources such as contractors, near nations, and other interested parties. The representatives should assess who can (and will) provide what to whom; revise usage plans for main supply routes, airfields, and so forth; and build trust and openness among managers at a personal level. The multinational commander may choose to form a support management cell or similarly named organization. This cell would not be formally recognized in force structure documents. It is tailored from elements of all support organizations involved in the operation. This cell would ensure full involvement and understanding among the support managers from all of the potential sources for theater sustainment. CSS must be blended with personalities, languages, country agendas, and commitment to achieve logistics success. A formal, multinational logistics command authority will most likely not be an option and should not be expected.

Logisticians must focus on the defined military end state of the campaign plan. Other national contingents, and especially other agency participants, tend to view US support capabilities as inexhaustible; therefore, limitations on US support responsibilities are essential.


Proper protection of the MNF conserves fighting potential for application at the decisive time and place. It includes actions taken to counter the enemy's firepower and maneuver by making soldiers, systems, and operational formations difficult to locate, strike, and destroy. Operational protection includes protecting all MNFs, bases, and LOCs from enemy operational maneuver; air, ground, and sea attack; and natural occurrences. Operational protection also includes providing operational air defense, safeguarding operational forces in campaigns and major operations, and employing operations security (OPSEC)--to include providing physical and personnel security, and conducting deception.


Operational protection includes protecting joint and multinational air, space, land, sea, and SOF; bases; and LOCs from enemy air and missile attacks. Dedicated, ground-based, all-weather, 24- hour ADA units execute the bulk of the theater missile defense (TMD) and AD force protection missions. Army ADA protects forces and selected geopolitical assets from aerial attack, missile attack, and surveillance during war and throughout the full range of military operations, to include the transition from war to peace. After transition, ADA units typically remain in overseas theaters for extended periods. Significant considerations for the employment of ADA in theater operations include its role in joint and multinational operations.

The Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC) is the theater-level organization conducting TMD/AD operations for the JFC and controls Army AD assets. It is linked to joint and multinational organizations and coordinates and integrates TMD/AD operations with the airspace control authority (ACA), area air defense commander (AADC), and JFACC as required. Short-range air defense (SHORAD) elements are integrated throughout the theater of operations and provide force protection during all phases of force-projection operations.

The contributions of all services to theater missile and AD offensive and defensive tactics ensure engagement of all applicable targets. These offensive and defensive tactics cover all aspects of active and passive defense measures throughout the theater. During passive defense operations, AD elements conduct counterreconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition/unmanned aerial vehicle operations to enhance early warning.

Counterair Operations

Counterair operations are conducted to attain and maintain a desired degree of air superiority by destroying or neutralizing enemy forces. Joint and multinational counterair operations include both offensive and defensive measures taken against enemy air threats. Offensive counterair (OCA) operations destroy, disrupt, or limit enemy air threats as close to their source as possible. Defensive counterair (DCA) operations are conducted primarily to counteract enemy air offensive actions to nullify or reduce the effectiveness of hostile air attacks.

AD forces conduct DCA operations using both active and passive measures. Active DCA operations include ADA, EW, chemical (smoke), and air elements to disrupt or destroy airborne enemy aircraft, missiles, and other aerial vehicles that pose attack and surveillance threats. Passive DCA measures such as cover, concealment, signature reduction, smoke operations, and deception frustrate enemy targeting efforts and minimize the effects of enemy attacks.

Theater Missile Defense Operations

TMD operations may be required within the context of an alliance, coalition, or other international agreement. Commanders must consider those areas peculiar to multinational operations, such as force capabilities and disparities, information and equipment security levels, and procedural and organizational differences as they influence the ability to achieve unity of effort. Commanders must identify differences in doctrine, training, equipment, and organization and consider such differences when determining multinational interoperability requirements for employing forces. Leaders must approve command relationships among the elements of the alliance or coalition. The objectives of TMD are--

  • To reduce the probability of and to minimize the effects of damage caused by theater ballistic missile attack.
  • To detect and target theater missile platforms.
  • To detect, warn of, and report theater missile launch.
  • To coordinate a multifaceted response to theater missile attack.
  • To integrate TMD with other combat operations.

TMD has four operational elements--active defense, passive defense, attack operations, and command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I). The Army contributes to all four. Active defense engages missiles and enemy aircraft armed with air-to-surface missiles in flight. Passive measures reduce the vulnerability of critical forces and assets to theater missile attack. Attack operations are conducted to prevent the launch of theater missiles. C4I is required to coordinate and integrate the defense against the theater missile capability with other services and nations. FM 100-12 and FM 44-100 provide detailed information on TMD and AD operations.


A detailed warning and reporting system, supported by a viable communications network and a standardized theater alarm system, must be established. This system will inform all MNF units of impending or actual employment of NBC weapons. The MNF should establish standards for levels of protective posture, detection, and decontamination. All MNF units should understand these criteria to ensure overall force protection. Protective and decontamination assets should be shared, and NBC reconnaissance assets centralized or at least coordinated to cover all forces and important areas. A set protocol for handling NBC samples must be developed because of the political implications of confirming the use of an NBC weapon. The large number of casualties that results from the use of NBC weapons will tax the medical community, but tremendous opportunities for standardization and interoperability exist for their treatment.


Care must be taken to ensure that our deception of an opponent does not affect MNF and interagency partners. To prevent our deception effort from confusing the MNF, FAOs, LNOs, SOF, and State Department personnel should be used to ensure the correct messages are sent. Language cannot be directly translated because of nuances and phrasing.

1 A formal decision between two or more nations that delineates the procedures to release national assets to forces of the other nations.

2 The US Army Judge Advocate General School produces the Operational Law Handbook annually. This publication addresses the wide variety of issues that commanders face while performing multinational/interagency missions. It is considered an essential reference tool for commanders as well as their legal representatives.

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