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Chapter 3

Planning and Preparation


The commander's mission is paramount in the reconstitution planning, decision making, and execution processes. The higher commander's plan establishes the intent, concept, and priorities. These guide subordinate commanders as they develop their reconstitution plans. They incorporate the entire reconstitution process, including reorganization, assessment, and regeneration, into the planning process in the same way they include a concept of operations. In that sense, reconstitution is a preconceived action; commanders plan and execute it within the context of the overall operation.


Unit SOPs should address reconstitution. They establish the means to maintain a continuous combat presence and the methods to shift to more extensive efforts. A template for a reconstitution SOP is at Appendix B. Key points in the SOP are as follows:

  • Information needs to make reconstitution decisions and reporting procedures.

  • Assessment procedures and responsibilities. For an organization that may direct a regeneration, the SOP includes functions and composition of the RTF assessment element.

  • Battle rosters, to include assignment of and training for alternate duties. This is crucial for low-density, highly technical areas. The SOP also covers contingency manning standards.

  • Critical tasks for overall mission accomplishment.

  • Procedures to reestablish or reinforce C2 systems.

  • Reorganization procedures, criteria, and priorities.

  • Techniques to maintain unit cohesion.

  • Personnel and equipment replacement procedures.

  • Procedures for transition to regeneration.


During battle planning, commanders assess unit capabilities in depth. Unit leaders and staff officers help in this process. The analysis is part of the commander's routine and continuing assessment of his unit. It focuses on the general indicators of combat effectiveness and on others unique to a unit or situation. It considers specified and implied tasks of future missions. From this analysis, the commander develops a set of actions which reduce the impact of the battle and preserve his force. These actions include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Developing a course of action that directs friendly strengths against enemy weaknesses. It also (as much as possible) protects the force. The purpose is to maximize combat power at the decisive time and place while minimizing weaknesses. This reduces subsequent needs for reconstitution.

  • Conducting leader, soldier, and cross-training.

  • Conducting an extensive information program within OPSEC constraints. This enables leaders at all levels to exercise initiative, continue the operation, and succeed. (This reduces the size of the reconstitution challenge.) It also helps soldiers mentally prepare for the upcoming battle. Soldiers who are aware of conditions and available support are less likely to suffer debilitating stress in adverse conditions.


The OPLAN for a specific mission should include a concept for reconstitution in the same way it includes a concept of operations and a concept of support. Planners base the plan on--

  • The unit's current condition.

  • Its assigned mission.

  • The guidance from higher headquarters.

  • The expected intensity of the conflict and levels of losses.

  • The anticipated future missions.

These may affect the extent of reconstitution and the speed or priority of the effort. The plan includes enough details to enable staffs and supporting units to prepare for rapid restoration of units within command priorities.

Degraded units should expect reduced communications capability. This restricts the flow of information and impedes commanders in making decisions on reconstitution. A reconstitution plan helps overcome such difficulties. While the plan cannot meet all the contingencies of the AirLand Battle, commanders must have a plan they can adapt to the situation.

In addition to addressing reconstitution in the OPLAN for a specific mission, planners on the staff of the directing headquarters may have to write a separate OPLAN for a regeneration operation. This is especially true if the plan differs significantly from the SOP and sufficient time is available. Time constraints may require use of a fragmentary order. Appendix C includes a template for an OPLAN.

The more fully developed a unit's reconstitution SOP, the easier it is to develop any reconstitution plan. For a regeneration, the plan answers the questions below to the extent to which they differ or are absent from the SOP:

  • Who is in charge of the regeneration site?

  • Where do RTF personnel come from? Where does their equipment come from? (See suggestions below and in Appendix D.)

  • Do the attrited unit and all of the supporting units have the plan? Does the plan include timelines, responsibilities, and overlays?

  • Has regeneration been planned for combat support and CSS units? (Considerations are in Chapter 4).

  • Have planners provided for refresher training for units issued unfamiliar equipment (for example, M1A1 tankers receiving M60A3s)? (Considerations are given below.)

  • What are the specific trigger points for considering regeneration in this plan?

  • What procedures apply for a contaminated unit?


Reconstitution is a major mission for a division, corps, or theater army. It may be the most difficult mission it has to accomplish. As planners put together reconstitution SOPs and plans that address all the elements cited above, they should consider many diverse but interrelated factors. This section covers a number of those factors. Planners may pick up others by reading the discussion on execution in Chapter 4. In addition, there are some automated systems designed to help plan regeneration. One of these is SABRE which Appendix E addresses.

Some general planning considerations are:

  • Successful reconstitution requires integration of all aspects of the unit and its support system. This includes most services and classes of supply.

  • There is a trade-off between time and the extent of reconstitution possible.

  • The reconstitution effort should be thoroughly planned and understood by all involved. All applicable SOPs and OPLANs should include details. These include timelines, locations, sources of supplies, and responsibilities.

  • Wargaming courses of action during the planning process can help identify what units may require reconstitution and when and where to perform the process.

  • Planners integrate security for regeneration actions into the overall rear operations plan.

  • Planners should consider the opportunity to use HNS, LOGCAP, contractors, government agency, and US Army Materiel Command resources whenever possible in the regeneration process. AR 700-4 covers LOGCAP.

  • The commander in control of the process should establish a system to aggressively manage any reconstitution effort. He should ensure units meet set milestones.

  • The RTF commander also keeps his chain of command aware of progress so it can include a regenerated unit in plans for future operations.


Personnel constraints may prohibit the full-strength manning of primary groups or weapon systems during reconstitution. Therefore, commanders must prepare for the possibility of manning weapon systems or primary groups with a less than full complement of soldiers.

For example, a commander may receive 12 qualified tank crew members and four tanks. Rather than fielding three fully crewed tanks, the commander may opt to field all four tanks with crews of only three per tank. Further, by maintaining the integrity of crews during reconstitution, commanders may be able to reduce training needs and provide a base for preserving or restoring cohesion. Using contingency manning standards can provide a nucleus of soldiers with an assortment of critical skills. As a team, they may be able to perform a number of predesignated critical combat functions.

This technique is an excellent emergency measure which maximizes combat power with limited personnel. It maintains primary group integrity, reduces training needs, and enhances cohesion. Commanders must remember, however, that they will be fighting with reduced combat capability and lower unit endurance. They must deal with higher risks inherent with this technique.


Units undergoing immediate reorganization use basic soldier skills and hasty personnel and equipment decontamination techniques. Decontamination elements from chemical companies usually provide deliberate decontamination support to units undergoing deliberate reorganization or regeneration. The RTF also plans for needed support, such as station operators, to help the contaminated unit with detailed personnel decontamination. For regeneration, they decontaminate personnel and equipment at a site en route to an uncontaminated regeneration site. In such cases, the RTF commander may have to send a liaison team to link up with the unit while it is still contaminated. If not, the commander controlling the resources to direct a regeneration has two undesirable options. He must make a decision based on the limited information from the unit or wait until the unit can be decontaminated and assessed formally. If he decides with limited information, he may commit valuable resources which may be wasted. If he waits, he loses the advantage of timely actions.

The unit determines what equipment is contaminated. If it lacks that capability, the RTF provides an NBC survey party. In either case, the chemical officer of the headquarters directing the regeneration receives the information and coordinates with the RTF. The RTF prepares to receive uncontaminated assets of the attrited unit first. The chemical staff of the directing headquarters and RTF prepare estimates on arrival times of decontaminated assets. These measures assist in planning for use of valuable resources.

The commander and staff consider options to decontamination, such as weathering. They consider the time required to conduct deliberate decontamination. This process reduces contamination to less than negligible risk levels. It enables contaminated units to reduce their MOPP level and unmask.

Once the commander decides to decontaminate the unit, decontamination follows set priorities. Chemical personnel coordinate support requirements with operations and logistics personnel. They ensure needed resources are available. The decontamination site should provide for security and adequate water. The RTF coordinates sites for decontamination with terrain managers and, as appropriate, host-nation authorities. This is particularly important when run-off may contaminate a water source. Host-nation territorial forces may have already established decontamination sites that meet operational and environmental needs. Whenever available, mortuary affairs personnel, in conjunction with chemical personnel, decontaminate human remains as much as possible.


Forces undergoing regeneration and elements assisting in the effort are subject to attack by a wide array of rear area threats. They should plan for--

  • Sabotage from agents, terrorists, and sympathizers.

  • Attacks by special operations forces, airborne and air assault forces, and deep strike units.

  • Artillery, air, and missile attacks, including NBC munitions.

  • Electronic warfare systems.

Units undergoing regeneration are particularly vulnerable because they are tired and depleted. Also, the presence of all the CSS elements to support regeneration creates a lucrative target. The RTF coordinates security with the rear CP/RAOC. Elements in the regeneration site are responsible for defending themselves against a Level I threat. This includes acts of sabotage by agents, terrorists, and sympathizers. Planners should also identify a response force to defeat Level II threats. The RTF commander should closely coordinate responsibilities with the commander of the attrited unit. The attrited unit may need help with security in the early phases of regeneration.


The commander directing a regeneration appoints the RTF commander. The SOP should identify the choice under normal conditions as well as alternatives. Some possibilities include the deputy/assistant commander, a key member of the G3 staff, and subordinate commanders. The actual choice in a particular case depends on the situation. Factors may include the level of regeneration required, the type of unit being regenerated, and other operations being conducted by the command.

The RTF includes both operational and CSS elements to fulfill the responsibilities listed in Chapter 2. The operational element should include personnel of the same branch as the type of unit being regenerated. So, for example, engineers must be in the RTF regenerating an engineer unit. They help reestablish command and control and assess the unit in relation to the commander's effectiveness goals. They also assist in the training program.

The CSS element should have enough people and expertise in the required functional areas. Whenever possible, the reconstitution plan should designate an existing headquarters element like that of a support battalion as part of the RTF; the directing commander should not piecemeal an ad hoc headquarters from various units. When choosing CSS elements for the RTF, planners should consider the fact that if an attrited unit is removed from combat, the remaining force may require less support forward. (Even if another unit fills the gap, it should bring at least part of its own support structure.) However, support requirements may not decrease much if, for example, the parent organization of the attrited unit is targeted for exploitation. In addition, planners should consider that elements of some support units are indivisible. They may not be able to significantly restructure the support system when a unit is pulled from combat. This is particularly true for EAD support assets and their role in supporting forward units. However, it also applies to support units more directly associated with an attrited unit. For instance, when a combat battalion is disengaged, one-third of the associated FSB cannot accompany it to the regeneration site. Many of the support functions of the FSB are performed by assets that are not divisible by three. So if the FSB has to continue to support the remaining elements of the brigade, it cannot give up any significant amount of resources for the regeneration effort. Still, whenever possible, RTF designers should try to pick as RTF elements CSS units whose work load declines when a unit is removed from combat. For example, if a brigade is removed from combat and its associated FSB does not itself require regeneration, the RTF may include the FSB. In any case, as regeneration proceeds, unit and accompanying DS CSS elements begin to perform their normal support roles as they are able.

An assessment element of the RTF conducts the Phase II assessment discussed in Chapter 4. At least some of the people in that element should help execute regeneration. They provide continuity from the assessment phase through the regeneration execution. The knowledge they gain during assessment is useful in facilitating the process. For example, the personnel responsible for assessing the command and control of the attrited unit should have a major role in reestablishing the chain of command. They know the status of the unit and the personnel resources available to fill the chain of command. Also, whenever possible, the core of this assessment element should be the element that determines whether the regenerated unit has met the commander's effectiveness requirement.

The RTF should also include a liaison element to link up with the attrited unit. This element typically begins the external assessment. Therefore, part of the RTF assessment element should be in the liaison team. It transmits preliminary requirements to the regeneration site. The liaison element should have adequate mobility and communications capability. Having adequate communications means more than just having the necessary equipment. The liaison element should also have the correct SOI and a secure voice capability in the nets of higher headquarters, supporting units, and the RTF. This element accompanies the unit to the regeneration site. It stays there to assist in further assessment and regeneration execution.

Appendix D includes a list of sample candidate elements for an RTF.


Site selection is an important consideration early in the planning process. The terrain manager for the rear area of the relevant echelon, for example, the division/corps rear CP, in conjunction with the DISCOM/COSCOM, evaluates terrain. The commander directing regeneration uses this analysis to pick the site. In the communications zone, the TAACOM commander normally designates a site as directed by theater army. Coordination of the site with host-nation representatives and allied commands is essential in a combined environment.

The site should not be under immediate enemy pressure; preferably it should be secure as possible from interdiction and harassment. Also, terrain managers should carefully manage the electronics/visual signature of the site. A brigade-sized element and an RTF sharing an assembly area emit a signature similar to two brigades. To a threat intelligence analyst, two brigades in the corps rear may look like the corps reserve. Therefore, the site would be high on the threat targeting priority list. The threat may respond with a direct attack by airborne, air assault, or other deep strike forces. It may also launch an indirect attack with aircraft or surface-to-surface missiles against the regeneration site.

One consideration often overlooked is battlefield circulation and control. BCC is a critical subprocess. It should already be established since the regeneration site is in a rear area. However, planners should adjust BCC as the RTF begins to assemble. It extends through the arrival of the attrited unit and ends when the unit and RTF move out. FMs 19-1 and 19-25 cover BCC.

A key factor in site selection is the mobility of essential RTF elements. For example, if the regeneration involves a substantial number of aircraft, planners should consider a site near an AVIM facility due to that facility's lack of mobility. Other possible RTF elements with limited mobility include ground maintenance, HSS, and ammunition supply assets. As a result, planners should consider an established support area as a possible regeneration site.

The following list summarizes key site selection considerations:

  • Site out of enemy direct support artillery range.

  • Site near or at immobile, essential facility required by the RTF, such as an AVIM or large DS ground maintenance facility.

  • Distance attrited unit has to travel not excessive.

  • Size large enough for unit and RTF to occupy without presenting a concentrated visual or electronic signature.

  • Training space adequate.

  • Access to military load class 100 road net, railhead, and/or landing zone or airfield for CH-47s.

  • Layout suitable to process equipment as it arrives--loading and off-loading ramps.

  • Layout suitable for use of materials-handling equipment.

  • Decontamination site available for unit en route to regeneration site.

  • Site situated to take advantage of HNS facilities, training facilities, labor, and medical facilities.

  • Commercial power and telephones available.

  • Site situated to facilitate move to follow-on mission site.

  • Water sources adequate.

  • Site relatively secure from enemy interdiction and harassment.

  • Site beyond enemy's immediate objective.

  • Communications network and physical plant adequate to take advantage of RTF automation capability.

  • Political aspects of site enhance combined effort.

Figure 3-1 shows a sample regeneration site depiction. The actual layout of a site depends on the size of the unit and all the factors listed above. Considerations for support area layouts at specific echelons are in the 63-series field manuals.


A unit being regenerated may receive nonlike replacement items for several reasons. These include the continued modernization of the force, low-density equipment, and incompatibility of systems fielded in units with materiel in war reserve stocks. Such replacements create problems for regeneration planners and executors.


Unit personnel may not have trained on or worked with such equipment. In some cases, unit maintenance personnel lack compatible special tools and test equipment; test, measurement, and diagnostic equipment; manuals; and repair parts. They may also lack training on the equipment. The same applies to DS CSS personnel and units.

A possible solution is to configure required materiel into unit sets. This materiel may include maintenance assets, as well as training aids and materiel for a crash program. The set may have a line item number to facilitate requisition of the entire package from war reserve stocks. This would be a management intensive effort. It involves calibration considerations and control of such elements as shelf-life items and manual updates.

Nonlike replacements are not only a CSS problem. Maneuver commanders and their staffs also play a role. This is especially true with regard to training packages and dealing in the early stages of war with replacement personnel who have never trained on the system they must use. Tactical commanders should have firmly planted in their minds that like equipment goes in the same unit to minimize problems. They may even shift old equipment to another unit to make the equipment in the unit all of the same type. This minimizes employment and maintenance problems.

Considerations for the unit and supporting elements go beyond the regeneration process. Some factors are as follow:

  • Units may require dual PLLs.

  • Support units may have to adjust ASLs to include new lines.

  • Class III and V usage changes.

  • Maintenance skills required in support units may change.


BCC personnel and CSS operators should ensure a smooth movement flow within the site. They should avoid having all of a unit's logistics assets in one place at the same time, for example, all its HEMMTs and TPUs at the fuel point. The signature from such buildups represents a valuable target for enemy aircraft.

The RTF predetermines maintenance (unit and DS) collection points in the site so terrain managers do not have to find a site suitable for HET on/off-loading during hours of darkness with limited time available. Equipment towed or carried from the battle area goes to a central location, known to all. This facilitates a sorting of equipment. There are special requirements for vehicles that are not totally off-road capable or that require special road clearances. The RTF takes care of these before regeneration execution.

Time constraints to effect regeneration can overtax organic assets to do supply point distribution for Classes I, III, and V supplies. The RTF may need transportation assets for unit distribution.

Planners should examine all aspects of PSS for applicability in the regeneration of a specific unit. Besides the obvious need for handling personnel actions, they should consider finance, legal, MWR, religious, and public affairs support to the soldiers of the attrited unit.

Information relevant to the combat readiness of the unit may be sketchy. This precludes quick identification and provision of needed major assemblies, repair parts, and other materiel. The logistics status reports on hand at division and corps often reflect data that is 24 hours old. They may have only limited use to measure materiel readiness of an attrited unit. The assessment element needs adequate communications with the attrited unit and the RTF CP to ensure information is current. SOPs and OPLANs should include TTP for the flow to the RTF of logistics intelligence about the attrited unit.

Planners should also consider use of HNS. Host-nation facilities, personnel, and other resources can significantly enhance the regeneration effort. Coordination with host-nation officials is vital.

Other CSS planning considerations are as follow:

  • Assessment elements should not place any burden for CSS on an attrited unit.

  • Both planners and executors of regeneration actions should understand the status of equipment issued from theater reserve stocks. They should understand the meaning of the status, such as ready-to-fight or ready-for-issue. They should also know what each dictates in terms of logistics actions.

  • An MCT in support of the RTF may have to orchestrate the unit's move to the rear.

  • SOPs should list the information a regeneration candidate unit should provide (if possible) to the assessment element. They should also dictate what information and overlays the RTF should provide the unit.

  • Reconstitution SOPs and plans should reflect procedures for managing replacements of soldiers with low-density MOSs. These include medics and maintenance personnel who may not be available through normal replacement channels.

  • The SOP should include the role of combat stress elements. These include stress counselors and psychologists.

  • If the unit recovers disabled vehicles from forward areas to the regeneration site, planners should also arrange to move the vehicle crews.

  • A unit may arrive in the site still task-organized. This affects logistics and numbers of unit tactical assembly areas needed. However, regardless of how the attrited unit is task-organized, the RTF regenerates all the entities within the task force.

  • The RTF should have a 24-hour operating capability.

  • The SOP and plan should address the role, if any, of the parent organization's CSS structure. For example, a DISCOM PBO representative may assist in the regeneration effort.

  • The RTF requires signal support to supplement the DISCOM/COSCOM's austere communications capabilities.

  • The main CP of the unit being regenerated should collocate with the RTF headquarters. This facilitates communications between the two elements.

  • The plan addresses decontamination support from the RTF.


Commanders should begin training for reconstitution early. They integrate it with other aspects of their training program. Reconstitution training does not significantly add to the amount of training a unit undergoes. All aspects of reconstitution rely on and complement existing systems and programs; this is particularly true of training. The vast majority of tasks critical to reconstitution are already trained under other programs. Commanders need only to recognize their value to reconstitution and place proper emphasis.

Staff officers and support units at all levels should train to plan for reconstitution needs and activities. They should train to balance reconstitution needs with overall objectives. They stress quick, accurate assessments and alignment of reconstitution efforts with the priorities, intent, and concept of the commander. Staff training should also cover techniques and procedures to ensure continuous operation of the staff or to quickly reestablish a depleted staff.

Unit training should focus on reorganization techniques and procedures, use of contingency manning standards, and implementation of reconstitution SOPs. Cross-training should occur across sections, squads, and crews. It should cover all functions critical to maintaining the unit's combat effectiveness.

Units should cross-train soldiers into low-density MOSs within a unit. This facilitates reorganization and reduces the magnitude of any later regeneration effort. Cross-training is a time-consuming process which should be complete before a unit engages in combat. Since time is critical during reconstitution, all levels of command should identify low-density, highly technical MOSs early. They should implement necessary cross-training programs during peacetime. This is particularly important in combat support and CSS units.

Cross-training of leaders across the spectrum of leader, staff, and commander skills is imperative for smooth reconstitution, particularly reorganization. Units should train for succession of command down to the lowest levels. Additionally, staff officers should be cross-trained with the unit. They should also train to assume the duties of their counterparts at the next senior headquarters.

Also, the overall reconstitution training program should integrate training of all elements identified to participate on RTFs. Commanders of units with potential missions to perform regenerations should ensure that the human aspect is not ignored. It is one thing to surge to provide large amounts of equipment, supplies, and maintenance in a training exercise; it is another to do that while integrating vast numbers of replacements into the unit, dealing with widespread battle fatigue, reestablishing command and control, and training the unit all while the command is conducting other operations.

All personnel should receive stress management training aimed at reducing the negative psychological impact of battle (battle hardening). Leaders should receive specialized training in controlling the impact of stress.

By training for reconstitution, units can prevent many of the problems which could cause a need for it or which could impede its successful execution. They should train under all conditions, including NBC environments.

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