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Section VI. Command and Control Communications

"The major-general commanding directs me to say that it is of the utmost importance to him that he receives reliable information of the presence of the enemy, his forces, and his movements."

George G. Meade
Orders to the Union Cavalry
30 June 1863

Communications are essential to cavalry operations. Fundamental to reconnaissance and security is the reporting of combat information. This information is of interest to other maneuver units as well as to corps or division staffs and requires widest dissemination possible by eavesdrop or other means. Cavalry frequently operates over long distances, wide frontages, extended depths, and great distances from the controlling headquarters. Communications must be redundant and long range to meet these internal and external requirements.

In division cavalry, operational requirements may employ the squadron under different controlling headquarters. These conditions require the squadron to have the flexibility to communicate on division as well as brigade nets. The squadron requires the equivalent communications capability of a brigade.

Communications, particularly electromagnetic, are subject to disruption. Disruption may result from unintentional friendly interference, intentional enemy action, equipment failure, atmospheric conditions, nuclear blast electromagnetic pulse, or terrain interference. To compensate for these, the commander should-

  • Provide for redundancy in means of communication.
  • Ensure subordinates understand his intent so they know what to do during communications interruptions.
  • Avoid overloading the communications systems.
  • Minimize use of the radio.
  • Ensure proper signals security and communications security practices are followed.


All levels of command gain and maintain communications with the necessary headquarters and personnel. The traditional communications responsibilities are listed below.

  • Senior to subordinate. A senior unit is responsible for establishing communications with a subordinate unit. An attached unit of any size is considered subordinate to the command to which it is attached.
  • Supporting to supported. A supporting unit is responsible for establishing communications with the supported unit.
  • Reinforcing to reinforced. A reinforcing unit is responsible for establishing communications with the reinforced unit.
  • Passing to stationary. Forward passage of lines.
  • Stationary to passing. Rearward passage of lines.
  • Lateral communications. Responsibility for establishing communications between adjacent units may be fixed by the next higher commander or SOP. If responsibility is not fixed by orders, the commander of the unit on the left is responsible for establishing communications with the unit on the right. The commander of a unit positioned behind another unit establishes communications with the forward unit.
  • Restoration. Regardless of the responsibility, all units take prompt action to restore lost communications.


Cavalry uses the full spectrum of communications means.


Wire is normally used for internal communications within the command post, support areas, and assembly areas. It is the primary means of communication whenever the situation permits.


Messengers are used between the command post, trains, and higher and lower headquarters. Although ground messengers are slower than other means of communications, air cavalry provides a rapid capability. Aviation messengers may be particularly useful in carrying administrative/logistics messages when en route to and from rear assembly areas. They can be used even if units are in contact and especially when jamming or interception hampers FM communication.

Sound and Visual

Sound and visual signals are in the SOI or the unit SOP. Signals not included in the SOI may be established by SOP. The battlefield will have many sound and visual cues. Commanders and staff planners carefully determine how sound and visual signals will be used and authenticated. Sound and visual signals include pyrotechnics, hand-and-arm, flag, metal-on-metal, rifle shot, whistles, and bells.

Commercial Lines

Commercial lines are used when approved by higher headquarters. If the unit is forced to withdraw, existing wire lines, including commercial lines, are cut and sections removed so the enemy cannot use them.


Cavalry operations normally depend on radio as the primary means of communication. This is particularly so during reconnaissance and security missions. Net discipline and SOP minimize needless traffic. To avoid detection by enemy direction finding equipment, cavalry uses all other means of communication to supplement the radio. Once in contact, the primary means of communication will be FM voice. Radio communications include electromagnetic communications in FM, AM, UHF, and VHF spectrums.


The armored cavalry regiment communicates on the corps nets as illustrated in Figure 2-9 and discussed below.

Corps Area Common User Network

The area common user network is the primary system for voice telephone, data, and hard copy communications in the corps area. The network is installed and operated by the corps signal brigade. It provides an interlocking network of communications facilities providing the means to exchange information throughout the corps. Individual circuits within the network are terminated by common user telephones, facsimile machines, and data terminals that are user owned, installed, and operated. The network is built on a series of communication nodes providing communications support to headquarters and units operating in the corps area. Command posts are connected to two or more nodes to ensure redundancy, reliability, and survivability of communications. The area common user network provides a limited mobile individual call capability as well as a conference call. The net is capable of passing secure traffic.

Corps Command Net

This is a secure FM voice net, controlled by the corps G3. It is a back-up means to the corps area common user system. If established by the corps G3, the regimental command group, TAC CP, and main command posts will monitor.

Tactical Satellite Communications Network

The corps signal brigade provides the regiment with a tactical satellite communications terminal that links it to the tactical satellite communications network. This network is used to provide critical command and control communications between the corps and its subordinate maneuver units, echelons above corps, and national command authorities. This terminal normally positions with the regimental main command post and operates under the control of the regimental signal officer.

Regt Cmd Grp X A X
Regt Main CP X X X
Regt Rear CP A X
X - Enter net.
A - Enter as required.
O - Monitor.

Figure 2-9. Regimental external communications nets.

Other Communications/Information Systems

The regiment is usually provided a ground terminal that provides a direct information link to corps side-looking airborne radar (SLAR) operating within the corps' area of operations. This ground terminal positions near the analytical control element in the main command post and passes information directly to the staff by landline or messenger. As the joint surveillance target attack radar system (JSTARS) is fielded, the ACR can expect to receive ground terminals from corps that also provide a direct information link to the aircraft. These terminals will also position near the TOC analytical control element and transmit information directly to the staff.


The armored cavalry regiment operates the internal nets discussed below and shown in Figure 2-10.

Regimental Command FM Net

This is a secure voice net, controlled by the regimental S3 in the TAC CP or the regimental XO in the main command post. It is the primary means used for command and control of all units assigned, attached, or under operational control of the regiment. Normally, only commanders, XOs, and S3s of subordinate units are permitted to communicate on this net.

Regimental Operations and Intelligence (OI) FM Net

This is a secure voice net, controlled by the regimental S2 in the main command post. It is primarily used to collect and disseminate routine reports and information between command posts. It serves to keep the command net clear of anything but priority and urgent information.

Regimental Fire Support FM Net

This is a secure voice net, controlled by the fire support element in the regimental main command post. It is used to plan and coordinate employment of available indirect fires with subordinate squadron fire support elements and the fire support units providing support to the regiment. It is also used to monitor the status of available ammunitions, expenditures, and distribution of ammunition within the regiment's area of operations.

Digital Fire Direction FM Net

This is a digital net, used by the fire support element to prepare, coordinate, disseminate, and execute fire planning data by means of either the tactical fire direction system (TACFIRE), advanced field artillery tactical data system (AFATDS), or initial fire support automated system (IFSAS). The net is usually controlled by the supporting artillery unit, normally a direct support battalion or a field artillery brigade headquarters. The fire support element is provided a variable format message entry device (VFMED) that has a digital communications interface with the supporting artillery unit and subordinate fire support elements. The fire support element can also use the VFMED to transmit and receive battlefield information for the regimental commander and to conduct coordination by plain text if the command net is jammed or communications are lost with a subordinate squadron.

Regimental Administrative/Logistics (A/L) FM Net

This is a secure voice net, controlled by the regimental S4 in the rear or main command post. It is used primarily to plan and coordinate sustainment operations with subordinate units. Routine personnel and logistics reports are transmitted on this net. It is also used to monitor the status of personnel, equipment, fuel, and ammunition.

Regimental Command AM Net

This is an unsecure net that serves as a backup for the regimental secure FM command net. It is controlled by the regimental S3 in the TAC CP or TOC. It is used when the regiment is spread over wide frontages and FM secure communications with subordinate squadrons cannot be sustained.

Regimental Area Common User Network

This network is the primary system for data and hard copy communications in the regiment's area of operations. It may be used for command and for operations and intelligence traffic from the regiment to its subordinate squadrons in cases where FM voice communications cannot be established. The regiment should be provided with enough dedicated communications nodes so that all regimental and squadron main and rear command posts are supported. Without the dedicated nodes, vital combat information and logistics and other data traffic cannot be sent from squadron to regiment. This is because information would require too much time to transmit, making the unit vulnerable to radio electronic combat.

Regt Cmd Grp X A A X
Regt Main CP X N X N N X
Regt Rear CP X N X
Support Sqdn X O/A X A A X
Separate Trp/Cos X X A A X
ACS Cmd Grp X X
Rear CP A
N - Net control station.
X - Enter net.
A - Enter as required.
O - Monitor.

Figure 2-10. Armored cavalry regiment internal nets.


The armored cavalry squadron operates on the internal nets described below and illustrated in Figure 2-11.

Command Net

The command net is a secure FM net controlled by the S3 section at the TAC CP or TOC. It is used to command and control the squadron. All organic and attached units, fire support officer, air liaison officer, and supporting units operate in this net. The command net is used to send combat critical information to the squadron commander or the S3 and to allow troop commanders and the squadron commander to talk to each other. The TOC can also operate a command AM net as a back-up means of communication over extended distances. Ground cavalry troops are equipped to enter this net.

OI Net

The OI net is a secure FM net controlled by the S2 section of the TOC. All routine tactical reports and other intelligence matters are sent on this net. This net should be used to free the command net for command and combat critical traffic.

A/L Net

The A/L net is an FM net controlled by the S4 section in the CTCP. This net is used for A/L reports and coordinating maintenance operations. The first sergeant, TOC, squadron maintenance officer, and squadron field trains operate on the A/L net.

Fire Control Nets

The squadron fire control nets are part of the squadron fire control system. This system is used to control all indirect fire support within the squadron. Up to four nets may be used to control and coordinate fires. Internal nets are squadron and troop fire support, and external nets are a digital fire net and artillery command fire net. When the squadron has a direct support relationship with an artillery battalion, the battalion command fire net may become the squadron fire support net. The fire control system centers on the squadron fire support officer and his fire support net. This net is used to pass fire support coordination measures and information. Additionally, this net is used for back-up voice call for fire.

Troop Command

The troop command net is a secure FM net controlled by the troop XO in the troop command post. All organic and attached elements of the troop operate in this net. All tactical and logistics reports are forwarded to the troop command post on this net. Platoons operate on internal nets.

Troop Fire Support

The troop FIST controls this FM net. The troop FIST and mortars operate on the net to call for fires. An air cavalry troop commander or scout weapon team leader may enter the net as necessary to call for fire. Tank companies do not have this net.

Sqdn Cmd Grp X A A XI XI
Sqdn TOC X N N O N X
Sqdn Rear CP A X
Trp/Co Cdrs X O A A A
Troop CP X X X O/A O/A
Trp/Co Plts A X A
Trp/Co 1SG X X
Trp Mortars X X

N - Net control station.
X - Enter net.
A - Enter net as required.
O - Monitor.
I - FSO operates on this net.

Figure 2-11. Regimental armored cavalry squadron internal nets.


The regimental aviation squadron operates the internal nets described below and illustrated in Figure 2-12.

Command Net

The regimental aviation squadron operates a command net on secure FM, UHF, and HF (AM) controlled by the S3 section in the air TAC CP, ground TAC CP, or TOC. It is used to command and control the squadron. All organic and attached units, fire support officer, air liaison officer (if present), and supporting units operate in this net. The command net is used to send combat orders to troop commanders, critical combat information to the squadron commander or S3, and to allow troop commanders and the squadron commander to talk to each other. The UHF command net is normally used for back-up command, US Air Force communications, and flight-following. The air cavalry and attack troop command nets are normally VHF or secure FM nets controlled by the troop commander.

OI Net

The OI net is a secure FM net controlled by the S2 section of the TAC CP. All routine tactical and intelligence reports are sent on this net. Routine coordination is conducted on this net. This net is used to free the command net for command and critical combat traffic.

A/L Net

The A/L net is a secure FM net controlled by the S4 section of the CTCP. This net is used for sending A/L reports and coordinating maintenance operations. The HHT and AVUM commanders and their subordinates execute logistics support using this net. Troop first sergeants coordinate logistics support on this net. Communications between the TOC and the CTCP are by face-to-face, messenger, or wire since they are normally collocated or in close proximity.

Fire Support Net

The squadron fire support net is used to control and coordinate all indirect-fire support. This net is used to pass fire support coordination measures and information. When the regimental aviation squadron has direct support artillery, calls for fire may be sent to a fire support officer or directly to the fire direction center on this net. The artillery unit command fire net may become the squadron fire control net. When air cavalry and attack troops cannot establish communications with an artillery unit, calls for fire may be relayed through the regimental aviation squadron fire support element on the fire support net.

General Purpose Net

The general purpose net is a VHF net controlled by the air TAC CP. It is used to talk aircraft-to-aircraft, freeing the on-board FM radios to monitor critical nets. It may be used as a command net or OI net for specific missions.

Cmd Grp X X X A
Air TAC CP X1 X1 N A X
Trp Cdr X X A A A X N
N - Net control station.
X - Enter net.
O - Monitor.
A - Enter as required.
1 - Air TAC is NCS when deployed.

Figure 2-12. Regimental aviation squadron internal nets.


External Communications

External communications nets vary with the controlling headquarters (see Figure 2-13). The brigade nets illustrated include both ground and aviation brigades. As indicated, the squadron always enters certain nets, regardless of the command and control relationship in effect.

Cmd Grp X X1 X X3
TAC CP X2 X2 X2 X3
Rear CP
Cmd Grp X O/A A
Rear CP X4
X - Enter net.
A - Enter as required.
O - Monitor.
Notes. 1. When performing rear operations.
2. When deployed; otherwise TOC.
3. Always active.
4. Net of brigade providing area support.
5. Division command FM is normally an on-call net.

Figure 2-13. Division cavalry squadron external nets.

Internal Communications

Nets for squadron and troop internal communications are shown in Figure 2-14 and described in the paragraphs that follow.

The command, OI, A/L, fire support, troop command, and troop fire support nets are the same as discussed under the regimental armored cavalry squadron.

The division cavalry squadron also operates a UHF aviation net. The S3 flight operations section is the net control station. This net is used for routine communications with aircraft, freeing the squadron FM command net for combat-critical communications. It is also used for disseminating A2C2 measures and as a flight-following net (when required).

Division cavalry ACTs operate internally on UHF and VHF nets. These radios are also used to communicate with other Army and Air Force aircraft supporting the squadron. The troop commander or senior airborne leader communicates on the squadron command net. The commander or another designated aircrew operates on the squadron OI net. Aircrews enter ground troop FM nets and the squadron fire support net as required for coordination. ACT aircraft may also serve as a radio relay for ground cavalry units operating at extended distances from the supported headquarters. To do this, some ACT assets may operate between ground cavalry units and the supported unit's headquarters. They may enter the fire support net for fire support. The commander, when airborne, communicates with the first sergeant on the squadron A/L net. Due to the ACT's lack of communications equipment and the distance that is usually between the assembly area, the squadron TOC, and ground troops, the flight operations section acts as a vital communications link. Wire and messenger are predominant in rear assembly areas. When the troop is in a forward assembly area, communications with the squadron TOC or TAC CP are normally maintained by an aircrew on the ground at flight idle, with manpack radio, or by a single ship launch. The troop must remain responsive when in a forward assembly area.

Cmd Grp X A A X1 X1
Rear CP A X
Sqdn Atchs X X X X
Air Trp X X A A A X A A X
Gnd Trp Cdr X O A A X A
Trp CP X X X O/A O/A N O/A
Plts A X A
Trp Atchs X A
Mort X X
N - Net control station.
X - Enter net.
A - Enter as required.
O - Monitor.
1 - FSO operates on this net.
2 - When deployed command NCS.

Figure 2-14. Division cavalry squadron internal nets.


COMSEC involves physical security, crypto security, and transmission security. COMSEC procedures must be covered in the unit SOP.

Physical security protects the crypto system and classified documents (including plain-language copies of messages and carbons) from capture or loss. Before an area is vacated, soldiers inspect for messages, carbons, cipher tapes, and copies of maps or orders. Wire lines are patrolled to prevent enemy tapping. When SOI codes or cryptographic equipment is lost or captured, the unit reports the facts promptly to the next higher command. The SOP must contain instructions for destruction of equipment and classified documents to prevent their capture or use by the enemy. Complete SOIs should not be carried forward of the squadron TOC. When necessary, the signal officer distributes extracts for use by forward elements. The SOP establishes priority for issue of SOIs and extracts.

Crypto security is maintained by using operations codes, numerical encryption devices, secure voice devices, and other secure communications equipment.

Transmission security limits the enemy's ability to listen to radio signals. Any signal transmitted can be intercepted and jammed by the enemy. All transmissions should be short and treated as if the enemy were listening. Net discipline is the responsibility of all users, but the net control station is responsible for policing the net. Brevity codes, the terrain index reference system, and coded reports all serve to reduce net traffic.

Section VII. Integrated Air and Ground Operations

Integrating air and ground operations is essential to cavalry operations. The regimental commander is responsible for integrating the regimental aviation squadron and armored cavalry squadron in regimental combat operations. The commander normally employs the aviation squadron as a squadron. It frequently performs missions over the same ground that ground squadrons are assigned. This dictates the development of techniques and procedures to provide effortless combined arms operations. An air cavalry troop may be placed under operational control of a ground squadron. This method ensures the squadron gets combat information immediately from the forward air elements. When the air troop is under the operational control of the ground squadron, the ground squadron commander bears the responsibility for integrating air and ground operations. Forming a habitual relationship between an air cavalry troop and a ground cavalry squadron is important in fostering effective integration.

Division cavalry is unique as the only battalion-level structure in the Army with organic air and ground maneuver assets. Integrating operations is a continuous requirement for all operations.

This section discusses the integration of air and ground cavalry from the perspective of the division cavalry squadron. It is applicable to the ACR squadron when employing an air cavalry troop under its operational control. The principles of synchronization discussed apply to the regiment as it integrates air and ground squadron operations.


Air and ground troops are employed by the squadron to perform missions that are frequently the same or overlap. Mission profiles are similar. Each troop offers specific operational strengths that compensate for the other's weaknesses. Of particular note, all air cavalry assets now have improved night acquisition capabilities and increased lethality over previous air cavalry platforms. These capabilities must be exploited in future air-ground cavalry operations. When employed together in an integrated concept, the effectiveness of the air and ground units is enhanced and the tempo of operations is increased. Teamwork must be diligently trained to develop air and ground leaders who inherently understand the employment, capabilities, and limitations of each troop. Training also develops the close operational teamwork necessary for integrated operations.

Air cavalry capabilities and limitations are listed in Figure 2-15.

Ground cavalry capabilities and limitations are listed in Figure 2-16.

Terrain independent movement Degraded limited visibility
Speed Lack detail in reconnaissance
Add agility to operations Limited station times
Add depth to operations Crew endurance
Increase tempo of operations Aircraft maintenance requirements
Digital link
Enhanced optics
Elevated observation platform
Video reconnaissance

Figure 2-15. Air cavalry capabilities and limitations.
Hold terrain Terrain restrictions
Detailed reconnaissance Movement
Continuous operations Responsiveness over
extended distances
Self supporting
Command and control organization

Figure 2-16. Ground cavalry capabilities and limitations.


The commander must define control of the integrated air and ground operation. Two basic methods of control are used. Under either method, control normally rests with the commander in place who possesses the terrain the operation is covering.

The normal method of employment is by the squadron commander. He issues orders to all troops and controls the integration of their operations. Troop commanders operate on the squadron command net. They coordinate actions on this net or meet on an agreed upon troop net for detailed coordination. Eavesdropping is essential since troop commanders often report information of immediate concern to their peers. The squadron commander ensures the focus of the troops remains synchronized, clarifies coordination, and issues orders to each troop as necessary.

The second method of employment is by air-ground teams. This is often a temporary relationship to deal with a specific situation. Operational control is the relationship used. Control of the team may rest with either the air or ground troop commander.

Control by the air cavalry troop is appropriate when-

  • Limited ground troop assets are in the area.
  • Ground troop commander or command post is not positioned to control.
  • Air cavalry troop commander is more familiar with the terrain or situation.
  • Operation is of limited duration.

Ground troop control is appropriate when-

  • Ground troop commander and command post are positioned to control.
  • Limited air cavalry troop assets are operating in the area.
  • Contact is made in the ground troop's area of operations.


Due to the size of the air cavalry troops, both in personnel and in aircraft, it is critical that the commander clearly determines how he will employ them. If 24-hour operations are required with the air troops, the result is having only two or three aircraft covering the entire squadron zone/area. If 24-hour operations are not required, he can accept risk and only employ them at the critical times and places as determined by the IPB process. Once determined, the two air troops are employed in one of two ways in relationship to another. He can elect to assign each of them the same mission in the same operational area. One ACT would operate for a given period of time and then be replaced by another ACT. The duration of each rotation is determined by the fuel and crew endurance and availability of aircraft. The deployed troop operates out of a forward assembly area while the other troop rests and performs maintenance in the tactical assembly area or another forward assembly area. This establishes rotation by troops into the operational area. The deployed troop commander establishes a rotation plan within his troop to maintain a continuous presence on station as directed by the squadron commander. This method provides sustained air cavalry presence for the squadron and is appropriate for an extended operation.

The second method is to employ all troops simultaneously in the squadron operation. The ACT commanders establish internal rotation plans for the scout weapon teams to maintain aircraft presence as directed by the squadron commander. Troops operate out of the air troop assembly area or forward assembly area and refuel out of the forward area rearm/refuel point (FARP), which is pushed forward. This method provides maximum aircraft forward. This may be appropriate for surge requirements, short duration operations, if the squadron is extended over broad frontages, or if oriented in several directions. The significant disadvantage is the potential total loss of ACT presence due to crew endurance or maintenance requirements.

Under either method, the squadron commander can place constraints on when and where the air cavalry will be allowed to engage with direct fire. This may be necessary to ensure the availability of armed aircraft when required for a critical squadron task.


Integration is achieved by the manner in which the commander uses techniques of command and control to improve the air-ground synchronization. The most critical method is through an effective SOP. The SOP establishes standard organizations for air-ground operations, common operating procedures, and delineation of responsibilities among commanders and staff.

The integration of air cavalry into the decision-making process is an important and unique aspect of staff planning in any cavalry organization. How the regiment or squadron plans to use their air cavalry will often be the significant difference in courses of action presented to the commander. When developing courses of action, air-ground synchronization should be planned along the following guidelines:

  • Friendly Maneuver. Air and ground cavalry may cross the line of departure together or separately. Always having the air cavalry cross ahead of the ground elements may limit the availability of the air troops during the operation's critical phase. Tying the air cavalry's line of departure time to a friendly event will better focus the air assets and ensure they are available for the more critical time of the operation. For example, ground troops conducting a zone reconnaissance cross the line of departure at 0400. No enemy contact is expected for 15 kilometers, so air troops wait until the ground troops reach phase line (PL) Stuart before crossing the line of departure. The air troops make contact with the ground troops along PL Stuart and conduct zone reconnaissance one phase line ahead of the ground troops. When the ground troops reach PL Grant (LOA), the air troops will continue zone reconnaissance to PL Viking (air LOA) and screen in order to provide early warning to ground troops establishing observation posts along PL Grant (LOA). (See Figure 2-17.)

Figure 2-17. Air-ground synchronization.

  • Enemy Actions. The most important consideration for planning air and ground coordination is the enemy. What has the enemy done in the past? How does he configure his reconnaissance, and how does he maneuver? What size formations, placed where on the battlefield, determine the difference between the main effort and a supporting attack? Where does he place his reconnaissance in the defense? Obviously this is IPB intensive. Commanders plan to have air cavalry make contact with the enemy first, provide information, and develop the situation using both air and ground elements. This works only if the air cavalry is on station and focused on an enemy that they understand. The S2, role-playing as the enemy commander during the war-gaming process, adds immeasurably to the unit's understanding of the enemy, and ultimately helps to focus air-ground synchronization. Units that designate specific aircrews for day operations and specific aircrews for night-vision system operations, while having utility in garrison, do not help in planning against the enemy's most probable course of action. Assuming most enemy reconnaissance will be conducted during periods of limited visibility, all aircrews must be proficient in operating with night-vision systems. This allows the staff to plan against the enemy's capability and not the unit's limitation.

  • Fighting the Air Cavalry. The fundamental role of the air cavalry is to observe the enemy and report information to the commander. The advent of the OH-58D (Kiowa Warrior) does not change this. In fact, that ability is enhanced with its advanced optics located in the mast mounted sight. Additionally, the Kiowa Warrior's ability to defend itself or conduct offensive operations with a combination of Hellfire, 2.75-inch rockets, .50 caliber machine gun, and Stinger missiles increases the capabilities of the air cavalry. Couple that with the ability to have an eight-digit grid to the aircraft and the target locations and to digitally talk to supporting artillery units presents the commander with a potent fighting asset. The cavalry commander must focus the information-gathering potential of the Kiowa Warrior, and set strict engagement criteria so that his air assets do not become engaged in the fight unnecessarily. Different guidance should be provided for the different cavalry missions the air cavalry will be asked to perform. Reconnaissance missions should focus the aircraft on the reconnaissance objective, and set strict engagement criteria and criteria for developing the situation in conjunction with a ground cavalry unit or indirect fire. Security missions should stress weapons loads and engagement criteria. Since the air cavalry is usually placed forward of the ground cavalry, guidelines on what the air should engage, when it should engage, and with what asset (direct fire or indirect fire) should be specified. Commanders should be trained to recognize battlefield events that would change these engagement criteria. Ground cavalry displacing from an initial screen line should do so without pressure from the enemy. The air cavalry, with its organic weapons and ability to deliver observed field artillery fires, can ensure the ground cavalry elements displace without being engaged by the enemy. In a regiment, the attack helicopter troops can be used to conduct aerial reconnaissance, to supplement the combat power of the ACTs, or to conduct independent attack missions.

An operation is integrated through the use of control measures. Squadron level control measures must be useful to both air and ground troop commanders. Troop commanders, in turn, add additional control measures to facilitate internal operations. A2C2 control measures should be on operations overlays, or at a minimum, an A2C2 overlay available as a drop to the operations overlay. Control measures should be recognizable on terrain from the ground and the air. Multipurpose graphics are particularly useful. They may be used to-

  • Report locations.
  • Establish physical contact on the ground.
  • Facilitate internal air and ground troop control.
  • Conduct a passage of lines when an air cavalry troop is forward of the ground.
  • Serve as downed aircrew points.
  • Control direct and indirect fires.

The S3/flight operations sends down to the ACTs both the standard hard copy overlays and the same information on aviation mission planning station (AMPS). Due to the large amount of data that could be entered into the AMPS and the limited number of waypoints available in the aircraft, the squadron only sends the ACTs the mission-essential graphics on the AMPS. This will leave the troop commander enough waypoints to do his detailed mission planning.

Battle handover is an important concept in synchronizing operations. The nature of integrated operations frequently calls for one troop to pass an acquired enemy force over to another. In a practical sense, this is established in the SOP as target turnover procedures. These procedures are automatically executed by commanders as an informal process normally coordinated on the squadron command net.

Fire support coordination is critical to prevent the troops from engaging each other. This includes coordination with supporting air defense assets who may not be familiar with squadron operations. Control must not needlessly restrict the engagement of the enemy by either air or ground troops. Chapter 9 discusses fire support synchronization in detail.

The concepts of the operation are coordinated between troop commanders and the squadron commander. He can delineate specific tasks to be performed by air and ground troops to increase the tempo of an operation. This is particularly useful during reconnaissance. Troop commanders coordinate in advance actions they plan or anticipate to reduce coordination required during the operation.

Location of the air troop assembly areas and the FARPs are coordinated by the staff with the troop commanders. They frequently lie in the assigned area of operations of a ground troop. Their locations must not interfere with ground maneuver. Ground commanders can provide emergency support or protection to these areas if they are attacked. With prior coordination, ACTs may be able to use FARPs of the division aviation brigade.


A divisional cavalry squadron is given the mission of conducting a zone reconnaissance forward of the division. The squadron is focused on the critical tasks of finding and reporting all enemy within the zone and reconnoitering key terrain within the zone. The squadron crosses the line of departure with one ACT conducting zone reconnaissance focused on locating the enemy and reconnoitering specified NAIs. Three ground troops are on line, conducting zone reconnaissance approximately 3 to 5 kilometers behind the ACT. As the ACT crosses PL Cougar, one of its air cavalry teams locates an enemy reconnaissance platoon in the vicinity of CP 1. The ACT commander directs the air cavalry team to maintain contact and reports to the commander on the command net. Simultaneously the ACT's two other air cavalry teams continue their reconnaissance in order to develop the situation to the flanks and rear of the reported contact. The ACT commander orders them to proceed no further than PL Tiger and establish a screen oriented on the high-speed avenues of approach.

The squadron commander orders the ACT to maintain contact with the enemy platoon and pass it off to B Troop for destruction. The ACT commander and the B troop commander acknowledge and then coordinate briefly on the squadron command net. The ACT commander informs the B Troop commander that the enemy platoon is currently at CP 1 and moving towards CP 10. He estimates that it will reach CP 10 in approximately 15 minutes. He informs the B Troop commander that his platoon leader is maintaining contact by bounding back through the zone and that the platoon leader will contact him on his internal troop command net. He also passes off the air cavalry team's present location. The air cavalry platoon leader then contacts the ground troop commander on the B Troop command net and passes an updated spot report suggesting potential engagement areas or attack-by-fire positions. The B troop commander issues a FRAGO to his troop, sending the scout platoons to occupy designated OPs in the zone to gain contact with the enemy platoon. He orders the tank platoons into attack-by-fire positions to ambush the enemy platoon in the vicinity of CP 10 while also moving the mortars into a mortar firing position behind 2nd platoon.

Soon after the B Troop scouts occupy their OPs, the air cavalry platoon leader relays the current location of the enemy platoon. B Troop then conducts internal coordination per its SOP and destroys the enemy platoon. The B Troop commander then releases the air cavalry platoon back to the control of the ACT commander. Once released and handover of the target is complete, the air cavalry platoon continues its reconnaissance to PL Tiger. (See Figure 2-18.)

Figure 2-18. Example of divisional cavalry squadron air-ground coordination.

Section VIII. Continuous Operations

Fatigue is probably the foremost degrader of performance. Performance and efficiency begin to deteriorate after 14 to 18 hours of continuous work and reach a low point after 22 to 24 hours. Most tasks involving perceptual skills begin to show a performance degradation after 36 to 48 hours without sleep. Soldiers cease to be effective after 72 hours without sleep. Performance degradation increases dramatically in an NBC environment and sleep becomes more difficult in mission-oriented protective posture (MOPP) gear.

The commander must recognize the signs of sleep loss or performance degradation. These effects are characterized by the following:

  • Slower reaction time.
  • Increased time to perform a known task.
  • Short-term memory decrement.
  • Impairment in learning speed.
  • Errors in omission.
  • Lapses of attention.
  • Irritability.
  • Depression.
  • Erratic performance.

The day/night cycle has a significant effect on performance. When soldiers become accustomed to a set pattern of work and rest periods, they become physiologically adapted to this schedule. Any deviation from this schedule will result in performance decrements. Physiological adaptation to work or rest schedules may take from 20 to 30 days.

Units deployed on contingency operations are particularly vulnerable to disruption of physiological time schedules. Sleep and meal times should be adjusted to coincide with the contingency area. Soldiers and leaders should not be pushed without sleep before departure to preclude arriving in the contingency area already suffering from sleep loss.

Endurance factors for aircrews are a fact of life. Protecting the force demands taking into account the mission, flight mode, time of day, and weather conditions that aircrews must operate in. By thoroughly war-gaming courses of action and understanding the enemy, squadron commanders know when the air cavalry is needed on station and can better enable the squadron to operate aircraft without unnecessarily tiring aircrews. Air troop commanders, aviation safety officers, and instructor pilots can assist in the planning process to ensure that the air cavalry is on station when needed.

A strictly enforced sleep plan is vital when possible. In continuous operations each soldier should get at least four hours of uninterrupted sleep each 24 hours (five hours if sleep is interrupted). Do not go with only four hours of sleep each 24 hours for more than two weeks before paying back the sleep debt. See FM 22-51 for additional information on risk factors associated with sleep loss.

Another aspect of sleep loss that must be considered is the time it takes to recover from the effects of sleep loss. After an operation of 36 to 48 hours without sleep, 12 hours of sleep or rest is required to return soldiers to normal functioning; however, fatigue may linger for three days. After 72 or more hours without sleep, soldiers may need as much as two or three days of rest to recover to normal performance.

To minimize the effects of sleep loss, the commander has several options. Possibly the best solution for staff personnel is periodic breaks and mild exercise. Among combat crews, the commander may rotate tasks if the crews are cross-trained. Varying tasks through job rotation, however, works only if the jobs include tasks with different requirements (gunner to loader or driver).

The two categories of personnel who can be expected to show signs of fatigue first are the young immature soldier who is not sure of himself and the seasoned older soldier upon whom others have relied and who has sustained them at cost to himself. Commanders and leaders often regard themselves as being the least vulnerable to fatigue. Tasks requiring quick reaction, complex reasoning, and detailed planning make leaders the most vulnerable to sleep deprivation. The display of sleep self-denial as an example of self-control by leaders is extremely counterproductive.

Section IX. Command and Control Techniques

Effective command and control is challenging. The commander must develop a body of techniques and procedures to facilitate and streamline the process. These techniques become central elements of the SOP. Effective techniques are simple, timely, brief, and clear. Techniques are discussed in FM 17-97, FM 17-98, FM 24-1, FM 101-5, and FM 101-5-1. Figure 2-19 summarizes major techniques.

SOPStanding orders prescribing routine methods followed in operations.
Graphic Control Measures Standardized system of military symbols that identify items of operational interest on maps.
Operational Terms Common language of terms to enhance brevity and clarity in communications.
Standardized Organizations Standardized squadron organization for combat and troop formations provide maneuver framework.
Movement Techniques Manner of traversing terrain based on likelihood of enemy contact. Used with formations.

Figure 2-19. Command and control techniques.

Standardized Reports Formatted reports enhance brevity and clarity in communications.
Precombat Inspections Provide standardized means for unit leadership to determine combat readiness.
Backbriefs/Rehearsals Ensure subordinates understand intent and comply with concept.
Readiness Conditions (REDCON) Establish the amount of time after receiving orders the unit will have to get ready for action.
Orders Group Standing group of key personnel requested to be present for orders.
Eavesdrop All stations monitoring a radio net use message traffic even when not the recipient. Speeds dissemination; reduces repetition.
Terrain Index Reference

System (TIRS)

Quick and accurate method to articulate intent, report locations, control maneuver, pass out control measures, reference battle positions or orientation. Must be encrypted on unsecure nets. Based on analysis of terrain.
Vehicle Identification System Helps commander control maneuvers and identify friendly elements. Useful at troop and squadron level.
Staff Journals Official chronology of events about a unit or staff section. Logs OPORD and messages.
Situation Map (SITMAP) Graphic presentation of current operational situation. Used in command posts.
Information Display Supplement SITMAP with tabulated data not suited for the map.
Staff Workbook Ready reference for conducting current operations and preparing reports.
Preformatted Orders Facilitate preparation and issuing orders. Used for all combat orders.
Fragmentary Orders Enable the commander to quickly change or modify an order, or to execute a branch or sequel to that order.
Execution Matrix Graphically portrays instructions to subordinates in table form. Embodies concept of operation. Synchronizes CS and CSS with maneuver. Used with overlay orders/FRAGO. May be used separately for fire support execution and CSS operations.

Figure 2-19. Command and control techniques (continued).

Section X. Automated Information Systems in Support of Battle Command

The Army is developing computer-aided command and control systems to support the maneuver commander and his staff. Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) will be the bottom-up feed to the Army tactical command and control system (ATCCS). The ATCCS is comprised of six systems: maneuver control system/Phoenix (MCS/P); all source analysis system (ASAS); forward area air defense command, control, communications, and intelligence (FAADC3I); advanced field artillery tactical data system (AFATDS); combat service support control system (CSSCS); and FBCB2. FBCB2 will provide automated command and control support to enhance the quality and shorten the duration of the decision-making cycle and to give the operational warfighter a mobile, distributed, and seamless command and control system.

FBCB2 is the implementation of information age technology to provide increased battlefield operational capabilities. When combined with changes in doctrine and organizational design made possible by these technologies and placed in the hands of soldiers/leaders who are trained in their use, FBCB2 provides an increased battlefield capability. Battle command in a digitized brigade will require the development of new initiatives across doctrine, training, leader development, organizations, and materiel in order to manage information resources to achieve the maximum benefits to tactical operations. FBCB2 will provide horizontal and vertical integration of the data and information generation and processing capabilities of individual soldiers as well as weapons, sensors, and support platforms. Aggregation of individual subsystems with linkage to each battlefield operating system (BOS) will establish a computerized digital network resulting in one homogenous battle command operational architecture throughout all facets of the brigade structure. As a component of the Army battle command system (ABCS), FBCB2 will seamlessly interoperate with and exchange appropriate data and information with all other battlefield automated systems (BAS), SOF, USAF, USMC, and USN.

FBCB2 will complement and have synergy with MCS/P. MCS/P will integrate the maneuver function with the command and control systems of the four major functional areas (fire support, air defense, intelligence and electronic warfare, and combat service support) as they become available. It will assist in managing information and in executing the commander's concept of operations. The MCS/P will provide automated assistance in coordinating plans, disseminating orders and guidance, and monitoring and supervising operations.

MCS/P is the integration at regiment and squadron command posts, whereas FBCB2 is the holistic system for the maneuver commander. The two systems rely on each other. As we move toward the twenty-first century, the Army will continue to pursue advanced technology and operational concepts that will give our soldiers an information advantage over potential adversaries.

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