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Chapter 7


"Peace is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous."

George Bernard Shaw

The Army's primary focus is to fight and win our nation's wars. However, forces may operate around the world in various environments other than war. The makeup of cavalry organizations gives them the versatility and the flexibility to conduct stability and support operations. The majority of missions given to regiments and squadrons will conform to standard reconnaissance and security roles. The planning and training for these missions obviously must conform to the immediate environment in which the missions will be performed.

Stability and support operations missions and scenarios are not new to the cavalry. For many years cavalry units have been involved in these types of missions: from securing the nation's frontiers during the westward expansion, to border surveillance in Europe, to peace operations missions in Haiti. The scope of the different missions varies significantly from unit to unit and from mission to mission.

Stability and support operations apply capabilities developed for warfighting to the political-military environments of peace and conflict. The warfighting doctrine described elsewhere in this manual is used, with suitable modification, to accommodate the situation. Army policy does not prescribe modifying the warfighting mission-essential task list (METL) unless and until a unit is selected for stability and support operations. Only then should a unit train for the specific mission-related tasks. Chief among these are operations with very restrictive rules of engagement and orientation on the area, its culture, and the nature of the conflict.


Section I. Principles of Stability and Support Operations
Section II. Stability and Support Operations Activities
Section III. Peacekeeping
Section IV. Peace Enforcing
Section V. Training and Preparation
Section VI. Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield
Section VII. Missions
Section VIII. Planning Considerations
Section IX. Rules of Engagement

Section I. Principles of Stability and Support Operations

The principles of stability and support operations, defined in FM 100-20, are paraphrased in the following paragraphs.


Stability and support operations are conducted with political goals as the number one priority. Units conducting stability and support operations are always part of a larger operation that has political implications and will almost always limit the standard combat missions of that unit. The units conducting stability and support operations must remember that the political instrument of national power dominates every aspect of the operation.


Stability and support operations require working closely with other state and/or federal agencies, civilian agencies, and host-nation governments if the operation is outside the United States. There must be a determined effort on the part of all agencies to ensure mutual cooperation is the rule and not the exception. The immediate development of liaison with the appropriate agencies is necessary to ensure successful operations. Commanders must ensure they are working within the framework of the overall mission, and remember that the military mission is not the primary focus of stability and support operations.


Army commanders and their forces must be able to adapt mentally from their wartime missions to the constraints and limitations that will be imposed upon them during stability and support operations. Units must realize their potential for many useful, but nontraditional activities in support of an integrated national or multinational level. Each participating organization must learn to accommodate the culture, values, and methods of operations of the other participants.


Legitimacy refers to the exercise of governmental powers by the controlling organization. It also refers to the international legitimacy of the mission that is being accomplished. Legitimacy is often safeguarded on an international level by having a coalition of nations or their forces to accomplish missions or by a United Nations (UN) mandate.


Conflict may endure for years, and the military must be prepared to carry out its portion of the stability and support operations mission for as long as necessary. Success depends on changing people's attitude, beliefs, and behavior. This change usually does not come about quickly. It takes time for people or organizations to adjust to the presence of US Army forces or other aid organizations. It takes time for organizations to establish their legitimacy. Time may have little relevance to the people or the organization the US is trying to assist, or even to other coalition members. This aspect is very hard for US Army leaders to abide by, given their action-oriented training and the impatient nature of American culture. It also may conflict with the domestic political requirement for a quick solution to a problem.


The military's job in stability and support operations is to ensure a relatively small or regional conflict does not escalate and spread. Patience should substitute for violence whenever possible. Collateral damage, the injury or death of noncombatants, and the destruction of property caused by the military erode the sense of legitimacy for the stability and support operations mission.


Security is a top priority in all phases of a stability and support operations mission. Stability and support operations environments may lull a unit into complacency about its security efforts. Lower security postures and lack of active security measures put US forces at risk for attack from terrorists or revolutionaries.

Section II. Stability and Support Operations Activities

The stability and support operations activities listed below are established in FM 100-5 and discussed in detail in FM 100-20. As seen in the list, stability and support operations cover a wide spectrum of environments and scenarios. This chapter deals mainly with peacekeeping and peace enforcing, the two types of operations with significant military participation.
  • Deterrence.
  • Noncombatant evacuation operations.
  • Arms control.
  • Support to domestic civil authorities.
  • Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
  • Security assistance.
  • Nation assistance.
  • Support to counterdrug operations.
  • Combating terrorism.
  • Peacekeeping.
  • Peace enforcing.
  • Show of force.
  • Support for insurgencies and counterinsurgencies.
  • Strikes and raids.
  • Quick reaction force.

Section III. Peacekeeping

Peacekeeping is a military operation conducted with the consent of the belligerent parties to maintain a negotiated truce and to facilitate a diplomatic resolution. Consent of the belligerents is a necessary condition of peacekeeping. Peacekeeping operations are sometimes known more realistically as "truce-keeping operations." Peacekeeping operations cannot solve the political problem; they merely aid the diplomatic process.

The US participates in peacekeeping operations under the auspices of an international organization, such as the UN, in cooperation with other countries, or unilaterally. Peacekeeping takes many forms of supervision and monitoring in such actions as listed below.

  • Withdrawals and disengagements.
  • Cease fires.
  • Prisoner of war exchanges.
  • Arms control.
  • Demilitarization and demobilization.

The greatest military consideration in peacekeeping is the political objective of the operation. During peacekeeping operations cavalry forces must operate within clearly and carefully prescribed limits established by agreement between the belligerents and the UN or other political agencies. The use of force is not required to carry out the assigned tasks, except in self-defense. Extreme restraint in both appearance and application of force is crucial to maintain a posture of impartiality and neutrality toward the former belligerents.

Peacekeeping operations may result in cavalry units conducting operations similar to traditional military police missions in addition to the traditional reconnaissance and security missions. Specific missions and training and preparation considerations are addressed in Section V.

Section IV. Peace Enforcing

Peace enforcing entails the use of armed forces to separate combatants and to impose a cease-fire. Force may also be used to establish other peaceful ends such as safe havens for victims of the hostilities. The UN also uses the term to refer to forceful actions to prevent cease-fire violations or to reinstate a failed cease-fire.

Consent distinguishes peacekeeping from peace enforcing. This means that, unlike peacekeepers, peace enforcers are not welcomed by one or more of the belligerent groups. The difference in peacekeeping and peace enforcing has important implications in the way US forces must operate to accomplish their missions and provide for their security. Peace enforcing attempts to reduce the level of violence among the belligerents through negotiation and actions to prevent their engagement with one another. Peace enforcers must interpose themselves between belligerent units to prevent one from attacking the other. They establish and supervise neutral or buffer zones and prevent belligerent maneuver to the disadvantage of another party.

Peace enforcers observe the activities and dispositions of the belligerents and report any conflict-aggravating activity, such as reinforcement, fortification, maneuver, or firing incidents, to the political authorities. If violence occurs, peace enforcers take effective counter-action to bring it to an early halt. They determine the cause and aid in negotiating a cease-fire. When peace enforcers have to use force, either in self-defense or to stop violence among the belligerents, they always leave the door open to termination.

Peace enforcers use the minimum coercion necessary to bring conflict to a halt. They focus their military attention narrowly on the smallest identifiable offending unit. They immediately initiate communication with the belligerents at local and higher military level and at the political level as well. Communication with the belligerents is the peace enforcer's most important tool. To use it effectively, peace enforcers must strive to preserve their neutrality by treating all parties even handedly.

Peace enforcing is difficult and demanding as well as dangerous. It can easily escalate to war. Units assigned to peace enforcing duties must be fully prepared to transition to war or, at least, to extricate themselves from a violent situation, as policy may require.

Cavalry units can expect to conduct the missions of route and zone reconnaissance, screen, and guard during peace enforcing operations. These missions will require special planning considerations based on the current status of the operation, the rules of engagement, and other political and military constraints.

Section V. Training and Preparation

To accomplish peace operations, individuals and units need training in various skills and techniques before deployment to change their focus from combat-warriors to soldiers who may use force only in self-defense. The urgent need to deploy forces often precludes a complete and lengthy training program; however, with prior planning, a training program can be developed that will assist commanders to prepare for these missions.

Training and preparation for peace operations should not detract from a unit's primary mission of training soldiers to fight and win in combat. The first requirement for success in peace operations is the successful application of warfighting skills learned through normal military training. Peace operations are not a new mission and should not be treated as a separate task added to a unit's METL.

Units selected for a peace operations mission normally require 4-6 weeks of specialized training. The unit tailors its entire training methodology towards the tasks required to be effective. The unit training program depends on whether the primary mission is peacekeeping or peace enforcing. Key subjects to include in unit training for a peace operations mission are as follows:

  • Peacekeeping.
    • Rules of engagement and rules of interaction.
    • Nature of peacekeeping.
    • Establish a lodgment.
    • Perform a relief in place.
    • Establish a buffer zone.
    • Supervise a truce or cease-fire.
    • Monitor boundaries.
    • Negotiating skills.
    • Mine/booby trap training and awareness.
    • Checkpoint operations.
    • Investigation and reporting.
    • Information collection.
    • Patrolling.
    • Media interrelationships.
    • Demilitarize forces/geographical areas in a permissive environment.
    • Observation post duties.
    • Small arms marksmanship.
    • Use of interpreters (if appropriate).
    • Graduated response techniques.
    • Cordon and search.
    • Non-governmental organization (NGO) escort.
    • VIP security.
    • Weapons buy-back operations.
    • Humanitarian relief operations.
    • Civilian interaction.
    • Crowd control.
    • Route clearance.
  • Peace enforcing.
    • Rules of engagement.
    • Fight a meeting engagement.
    • Conduct a movement to contact.
    • Enforce UN sanctions.
    • Protect humanitarian relief efforts.
    • Disarm belligerents of heavy offensive weapons.
    • Demilitarize forces/geographical areas in a nonpermissive environment.
    • Open secure routes.
    • Use of search dogs.
    • Base cluster operation.
    • Field sanitation.
    • Combat lifesaver/first aid.
    • Traffic control points.
    • Quick reaction force.
    • Riot control techniques.

Section VI. Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield

Intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) is the first step in developing a successful operation. IPB analyzes the enemy, weather, and terrain to graphically depict the intelligence estimate and to present decision options for the battlefield commander. IPB is not an end product or a solution, but rather a process to stimulate thought on the application of doctrine to a particular, often unique, situation facing the commander.

The IPB process starts with the mission. IPB integrates threat doctrine (if applicable) and operational patterns with weather and terrain data. It also covers available information on the political, economic, and social situations, including demographics of the population. The complex military, political, social, and economic situations in stability and support operations complicate intelligence requirements that support the mission. Ethnic diversity, numerous factions, the changing threat, and terrorist tactics constitute an intelligence-intensive environment.

Stability and support operations can occur unilaterally or with other military operations. It is possible that cavalry forces can be involved in stability and support operations while the host-nation is at war. Stability and support operations can evolve into war; units should be prepared for that transition in their IPB process. The primary differences between IPB for conventional war and stability and support operations are focus and the demand for demographic analysis required to support the decision-making process.

Units deployed into undeveloped theaters and their subsequent employment against ambiguous threats makes IPB planning, along with intelligence dissemination, critical. IPB reveals threat capabilities, vulnerabilities, and methods of operation. It allows the intelligence officer to predict enemy courses of action and enables the commander to better understand the theater of operations and synchronize his operating systems for maximum effect.

The steps of the IPB process remain constant regardless of the mission, unit, staff section, or echelon: define the battlefield environment, describe the battlefield effects, evaluate the threat, and determine threat courses of action. The art of applying IPB to stability and support operations is in the proper application of the steps to specific situations.

This section focuses on peacekeeping and peace enforcing operations while developing the IPB process. Other operations and more detail on IPB are covered in FM 34-7 and FM 34-130.


Peacekeeping operations support diplomatic efforts to maintain peace in areas of potential conflict. They stabilize conflict between two or more belligerent nations, and as such, require the consent of all parties involved in the dispute. Cavalry units may participate in peacekeeping operations under a variety of conditions.

Define the Battlefield Environment

Identify and locate all outside influences on the operation. Consider political groups, media, and third-nation support to the belligerents of the conflict. The following are types of activities to consider:

  • Identify the legal mandate, geographic boundaries, and other limitations upon both the peacekeeping forces and the belligerent forces.
  • Identify the pertinent demographic and economic issues. These might include living conditions, religious beliefs, cultural distinctions, allocation of wealth, political grievances, social status, or political affiliations.
  • Identify the best case and worst case timelines of the operation.

Describe the Battlefield Effects

  • Demographics.
    • What are the root causes of the conflict? Analyze this from the perspective of all belligerents.
    • What would cause (or caused) each side to agree to peace?
    • Are there any new issues that have increased tensions since peace was initiated?
    • How committed is each belligerent to keeping the peace? How much trust and faith do the belligerents have in each other to keep the peace?
    • How capable is each belligerent of keeping the peace? Can the leadership that negotiated the peace enforce discipline throughout the belligerent parties?
    • How do these factors affect the courses of action (COA) of each belligerent? How do they affect the COAs available to the peacekeeping force?
  • Legal.
    • What legitimate COAs are available to the belligerents and to the peacekeeping force?
    • How likely is each belligerent to obey the laws and provisions of treaty agreements?
  • Terrain.
    • Does terrain lend itself to military operations? Conduct terrain analysis. Identify good infiltration lanes, engagement areas, defensive positions, attack routes, and staging areas.
    • Does the terrain lend itself to peacekeeping operations? Can the peacekeepers see and be seen? If so, the belligerents may be less likely to violate the peace. If necessary, where can the peacekeeping force establish blocking positions to blunt possible violations of the peace?
    • Identify the terrain that allows all belligerents equal access to the peacekeepers.
    • Analyze the terrain to identify likely current dispositions of belligerent forces.
    • Analyze the terrain to identify unobservable areas "dead space" between checkpoint and observation points that allow the belligerents the ability to move undetected.
  • Weather.
    • Analyze the effect of weather on visibility among all parties, including the peacekeepers.
    • Consider the influence of weather on mobility and operations.
    • Consider the effect of weather on the turnout at activities such as demonstrations.
  • Other. Identify and analyze government, military, and agency support available to the peacekeeping force.

Evaluate the Threat

  • Identify all factions involved in the peacekeeping operation. Which are likely to violate the peace and why?
  • What are the political organization and the military order of battle of each belligerent group? Who are the key personnel that control the rank and file of each faction?
  • Identify the political and religious beliefs that directly affect or influence the conduct of the belligerents.
  • Identify belligerent tactics for offense and defense. Use this as the basis for doctrinal templates.
  • Identify local support to all belligerent parties.

Determine Threat Courses of Action

  • Template or describe the actions of belligerents that would violate the peace. Crossing borders, entering demilitarized zones, and initiating hostilities are examples of violations.
  • Template or describe the actions associated with violations of the peace, such as occupation of assembly areas; training; logistics activity; and command, control, communications, and intelligence (C3I) facilities.
  • Template or describe the response of all belligerents to violations of the peace.
  • Template or describe the reactions of all belligerents to US actions within the area of operations and area of interest.
  • Identify the possible actions of the belligerents to the peacekeeping mission. Consider acts of terrorism.
  • How will the local populace react to friendly COAs?
  • How will the host-nation government and military react to friendly COAs?
  • During wargaming, designate staff members to role-play belligerents.
  • Wargame each COA.
  • Wargame terrorist actions and other activities that belligerents could reasonably avoid claiming responsibility.


Peace enforcing operations are military operations in support of diplomatic efforts to restore peace between hostile factions who may not consent to intervention and may be engaged in combat activities. Peace enforcing implies the use of force or its threat to coerce hostile factions to cease and desist from violent actions.

Define the Battlefield Environment

Significant characteristics of the battlefield include almost every demographic factor (religion, politics, ethnic differences).

  • Identify third-nation support for any of the belligerent parties.
  • Identify other outside influences, such as world organizations and news media.

Describe the Battlefield Effects

  • Legal.
    • Identify the legal limits of friendly use of force in the area of operations.
    • What COAs does this allow, and under what conditions?
  • General demographics.
    • A comprehensive and continuing demographic study is required to support peace enforcing operations. The symptoms, causes, and aggravations of the conflict should be defined in terms of the population and economics.
    • Identify and study obstacles to resolutions in detail.
    • Identify how demographics allow for, encourage, and discourage belligerent COAs. For example, an historical feud between two religious sects might designate certain monuments or other icons as key terrain.
    • Also identify which friendly COAs will be tolerated, encouraged, or discouraged given the demographic situation. Consider the balance of forces in the area.
  • Terrain.
    • Conduct a standard OCOKA analysis to determine where the terrain lends itself to offensive and defensive operations for all belligerents.
    • Identify the terrain that is best suited for police action to support friendly patrols.

Evaluate the Threat

  • Fully identify all belligerent groups. If the relationship between two groups is in question, consider them distinct even if their political objectives are the same.
  • What is the relationship of each group (allied, neutral, or hostile) to the others?
  • What is the political organization of each group? What are the political objectives of each group? How strong are their convictions?
  • How much discipline can the leadership of each group expect from their followers? How likely are rank and file members to violate a truce negotiated by their leaders?
  • Fully identify the military capability of each group. Start with traditional order of battle factors to develop doctrinal templates.
  • What friendly COAs would induce the belligerents to obey the law? The following are some options to consider:
    • Show of force.
    • Defensive measures for key facilities, patrols, cordon and search operatons.
    • Designated territorial boundaries.
    • Established demilitarized zones.

Determine Threat Courses of Action

  • Template or describe the belligerent actions, such as raids, ambushes, occupation of contested areas, that prevent peace or other desired end states.
  • Template or describe the supporting functions associated with the belligerent actions of the warring groups, such as massing at assembly areas, logistics, finance, and C3I.
  • Template or describe the responses of belligerent groups to US actions within the area of operations and area of interest. Consider terrorist actions.
  • During wargaming, designate staff members to role-play the belligerent parties.

Section VII. Missions

Doctrinal cavalry missions remain the basis for the operations cavalry regiments and squadrons conduct in the stability and support operations environment. The area of operations will probably be noncontiguous, and the IPB process will have significantly different planning aspects from those for a conventional fight. The stability and support operations environment will require the regiments and squadrons to focus on the local population as a vital planning consideration.

The majority of operations will be conducted at troop level and below during stability and support operations. The most important command-related function will be to ensure the coordination for individual missions is accomplished. This coordination may include other military organizations, both US and foreign, as well as other governmental agencies and civilian aid organizations. Most missions will require cavalry units to coordinate with one or more sides in conflict if they are operating as peacekeepers or peace enforcers.

Cavalry units can expect to execute the following missions in stability and support operations:

  • Secure a lodgment area.
  • Secure an airfield.
  • Separate belligerents.
  • Secure border.
  • Secure route.
  • Secure a facility.
  • Secure an urban area.
  • Escort a convoy.
  • Secure a checkpoint.
  • VIP security.
  • Quick reaction force.
  • Route clearance.
  • Expand a lodgment area.

FM 17-97 and FM 17-98 provide greater detail of troop and platoon responsibilities during these missions.

Section VIII. Planning Considerations

Stability and support operations missions have some similarities to combat operations in planning and preparation; however, additional planning considerations should be included for stability and support operations. Some significant planning considerations for stability and support operations missions are listed below.
  • Clear, understandable mission and commander's intent.
  • Increased reliance on nonorganic personnel for assistance (NGO, civil affairs, counterintelligence).
  • Nondoctrinal service and support requirements (increased distances, special supply packages).
  • Nondoctrinal communications requirements (AM, land-line).
  • Flexibility for junior leaders to plan and execute missions independently from higher headquarters.

Based on the nature of the operation and the estimate the situation, units may develop their own list of special planning considerations.

Section IX. Rules of Engagement

Rules of engagement (ROE) dictate the extent to which force may be used during operations mandated by the UN, NATO, or the US. ROE may be as restrictive or permissive as necessary, based on the mission. It is imperative that all soldiers know and understand how to enforce the ROE to protect themselves, their unit, and their mission. A good technique is to develop vignettes based on the ROE and the area of operations, then train soldiers by putting them in a position to enforce the ROE.

Rules of engagement are usually an annex to a much larger mandate or operations order. It is important that at least the critical portions of the ROE are distributed to each soldier. By developing a card and issuing it to each soldier, the critical information from the ROE gets to the lowest level. See Figure 7-1 for a sample generic ROE card.


Nothing in these ROE limits your right to take all necessary and appropriate actions for your personal and your unit's self-defense.
Our mission is to enforce the peace plan. We are not at war. In all situations you are to use the minimum force necessary. Fire arms must be used only as a last resort.
Know and follow the tactical control measures in effect each day.
    a. You must give a challenge before opening fire unless-
      (1) To do so would increase the risk of death or grave injury to you or others.
      (2) You or others in your immediate vicinity are under armed attack.
    b. Use the following challenging procedure except in those cases described in paragraph 1 above:
      (1) Warn aggressor to stop by shouting (in native language) "Stop or I will fire."
      (2) Repeat warnings as many times as possible to ensure that the aggressor has understood the situation.
      (3) Charge weapons, if not already authorized.
      (4) Fire aimed warning shots into the ground, if safe to do so; otherwise fire into the air.
      (5) If the warnings are ignored, open fire initially with single aimed shots until the protection task is complete.


    You may open fire against a person only if he/she is committing or about to commit an act likely to endanger your life or another's life and there is no other way to stop the hostile act.


    a. A person fires or is about to fire a weapon at you.
    b. A person plants, throws, or detonates an explosive device.
    c. A person deliberately drives a vehicle at you and there is no other way of stopping him/her.
    d. You may open fire against a person who attempts to take possession of or tries to destroy or damage property or installations you are guarding, if you are authorized use of deadly force by your special guard orders and there is no other way to prevent this.


    a. Fire only aimed shots.
    b. Fire no more rounds than necessary.
    c. Take all reasonable precautions not to injure anyone other than your target.
    d. Upon cease firing, secure the area and assist any injured.


    a. Treat ALL persons, including civilians and detainees, with respect and dignity.
    b. Do not seize private property to accomplish your mission without your commander's permission.
    c. Looting and the taking of war trophies are prohibited.
    d. Prevent and report to your superior(s) any crime committed under the laws of war.

Figure 7-1. Sample rules of engagement card.

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