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Chapter 2


2-1. The Corps Environment

The corps is the largest tactical unit in the US Army. It is tailored for the theater and the mission for which it is deployed. Once tailored, it contains all the organic combat, CS, and CSS capabilities to sustain operations for extended periods.

The corps may be assigned divisions of any type required by the theater and the mission. They possess support commands and are assigned combat and CS organizations based on their needs for a specific operation. Armored cavalry regiments, field artillery (FA) brigades, engineer brigades, air defense artillery (ADA) brigades, and aviation brigades are nondivisional units available to the corps. This allows the corps to weigh its main effort and to perform special combat functions. Separate infantry or armored brigades, military police (MP) brigades, civil affairs brigades, chemical brigades, and psychological operations (PSYOP) battalions are the CS organizations in a corps. The corps CSS organizations are the personnel group, the finance group, and the corps support command.

The corps is the link between the operational and tactical levels of war. It plans and conducts major operations and battles. It creates and maintains the conditions for the success of current battles and sets up the conditions for the success of future battles. The corps synchronizes tactical activities including maneuver, artillery fires, naval fires, supporting tactical air, and actions of their CS and CSS units. These separate activities are brought together in a decisive and timely manner to create success on the battlefield. Its success depends on highly effective and survivable signal support.

2-2. Signal Support Responsibilities

Effective signal support requires integrating and synchronizing the efforts of countless elements and individuals throughout the corps environment. Signal support responsibilities are linked to a commander's authority and responsibility to manage and to use his signal support resources. Successful signal support is vital to the corps. To achieve success, signal staffs and organizations and nonsignal units and staffs must be organized and must function as a team. Figure 2-1 shows the division of responsibilities.

Corps Signal Support Staff.

The corps signal officer (CSO) is a member of the corps headquarters special staff. He fulfills a dual-hatted role as he is also the corps signal brigade commander. As a special staff member, the CSO is responsible for accomplishing the corps signal office's mission. The mission is to perform signal management functions. These functions provide adequate communications to the corps commander for commanding and controlling his forces. The corps signal office--

  • Advises the corps commander, his staff, and subordinate commanders on command signal matters.
  • Prepares signal estimates, plans, and orders for guiding and directing subordinate commanders and signal units.
  • Exercises technical supervision of signal activities within the command.
  • Manages all operational and contingency communications security (COMSEC) matters.
  • Aids in developing COMSEC operational plans and policy.

The CSO has ample assistance in performing his duties. His chief assistant is the assistant corps signal officer (ACSO), COL (25 E). His main duty is to oversee the operations of the corps signal office. Other duties include--

  • Representing the CSO in corps headquarters actions.
  • Assisting the CSO in planning corps communications operations.
  • Assisting in preparing the signal annex of the corps operation order (OPORD).
  • Assisting in planning the corps standing operating procedure (SOP).
  • Providing signal assistance to the corps headquarters staff elements.
  • Assisting in planning automated systems and the corps telephone directory.
  • Controlling radio frequency (RF) allocation and providing RF management for the corps.
  • Coordinating host nation and allied signal interface.
  • Managing/controlling actions and responsibilities of the information services support officer.

The signal brigade staff supports the corps signal support staff along with the CSO and the ACSO. Appendix A details their responsibilities and duties.

Signal Support Organization. The corps signal brigade is the primary signal support organization. The brigade's primary mission is to install, operate, and maintain a corps communications system. This system supports corps-level combat functions including C2, intelligence, fire control, CS, and CSS. The brigade also provides special staff and technical assistance for planning and controlling all division communications. To fulfill mission requirements during combat operations, the corps signal brigade can install, operate, and maintain a highly mobile and reliable area communications system. This system supports major subscribers throughout the corps.

2-3. C2 Support

To fight and win future battles successfully, the corps commander's C2 system must allow the commander to control and synchronize deep, close, and rear operations. His decision cycle will be shortened. Therefore, he will require a signal support system that can distribute his decision to any unit on the battlefield rapidly. The corps must be able to plan and conduct operations with the other US forces and allies. Interfacing must be done on the appropriate level and automated when required.

The Army Tactical Command and Control System (ATCCS) is the objective C2 architecture. It is a subset of the Army Command and Control System (ACCS). ATCCS includes automated information systems for the five battlefield functional areas (BFAs) and the communications links between and among the control systems. The BFAs are maneuver, air defense, FS, intelligence and electronic warfare (IEW), and CSS. At each BFA the ATCCS allows the commanders and staff to plan and control their operations and to coordinate these with other functional commanders.

The wide-area network (WAN) is the backbone communications over which the control system operates. The WAN provides connectivity for voice and digital data transmission. ATCCS is divided into the Area Common-User System (ACUS), Army Data Distribution System (ADDS), and the combat net radio (CNR). Additional key elements of ATCCS are the Tactical Record Traffic System (TRTS) and local terminal devices. Terminal devices such as battlefield automated systems (BAS), telephones, and facsimiles will be user-owned, -installed, and -maintained.

ACUS. The corps signal brigade provides the corps area common-user support. This system provides an integrated switching system from corps down through battalion level. With the fielding of the Mobile Subscriber Equipment (MSE), the corps brigade has been reorganized to provide this service in a more efficient and survivable manner. The MSE network integrates the transmitting, switching, controlling, and terminating functions of voice and data equipment into one system. Figures 2-2 through 2-15 show the current organizational structure of the corps MSE brigade. It is the Army's intent to field the MSE system to all US corps. Now, the Army Tactical Communications System (ATACS) is supporting corps which do not have MSE. For reference purposes, see Appendix B for the organizational structure of the ATACS equipped signal brigade.

CNR. The CNR system provides extremely mobile and highly survivable communications. The network is designed around three radio systems. Each system has different capabilities and transmission characteristics. The three systems are--

  • The Improved High Frequency Radio (IHFR).
  • The Single-Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS).
  • Single-Channel Tactical Satellite (TACSAT).

Each system takes a different transmission path, thereby increasing the probability that at least one system will work at any given time. Corps are not the main users of CNR.

ADDS. The ADDS is the primary objective vehicle for passing selected data communications. ADDS provides real-time or near real-time data links for target-weapon pairing, position location and navigation, control measure distribution, and identification information for the corps. It is distributed to the lowest tactical level.

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