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CHAPTER 8

GENERATING COMBAT POWER

Some MP operations to help protect critical combat resources may, for short periods of time, place you in a direct combat role. MP generate substantial short-term combat power in the rear area. MP elements defending a base or countering small enemy incursions in the rear area extend a tactical commander's combat power by reducing his need to use his tactical combat forces in the rear area.

COUNTERINCURSION OPERATIONS

MP counterincursion operations are "limited" combat operations. They focus on impeding enemy intelligence-gathering and movement. Multiple MP elements throughout the AO work in concert to prevent or counter enemy access to critical facilities, supplies, and LOC. The intent is to locate enemy activity in the rear area before the enemy can dictate the time and the place of an encounter.

When you counter small, scattered incursions of light enemy forces, you act to neutralize the threat if possible. For larger incursions by ground, airborne, or air assault elements, you seek out and report the size and apparent intent of the Threat. (A TCF is needed to counter large or concentrated incursions, although sometimes MP elements are tasked to harass the enemy to gain time for the TCF to arrive.) Regardless of the size of the enemy force, you keep it under surveillance and keep your chain of command apprised of your actions.

DISCOVERING AND COUNTERING INFILTRATORS

The MP element most likely to first find evidence of enemy activity is a team on mounted patrol. But one team alone cannot stop infiltrating groups of special-purpose forces (like SPETSNAZ). Infiltrating long-range reconnaissance elements (LRREs) and special-purpose forces are usually squad-size or smaller. But special-purpose forces can be platoon-size. Defeating such infiltrators requires multiple MP elements operating in concert. MP teams must concentrate on--

  • Finding indicators that infiltrators are operating in the area.
  • Using their contacts with the local populace and with friendly units in an AO to link signs of enemy activity to likely enemy objectives.
  • Maintaining constant contact with HN police and the rear CP G2 for information that could indicate infiltrator activity. (For example, an upsurge of stolen vehicles, clothes, or food could be caused by infiltrating teams obtaining supplies.)
  • Confirming information from local and HN intelligence.

LRREs and special-purpose forces are highly trained in infiltration techniques. Many are particularly adept at demolitions, weapons, communications, and languages. In areas where there is suspicious activity, multiples of MP teams and/or larger MP elements work in concert. In such areas, you conduct aggressive mounted and dismounted patrols to impede infiltrators, saboteurs, and other enemy forces. All patrols watch for signs of enemy activity. Area recon patrols analyzing terrain move off-road to obtain as much information as possible. Use overlapping search techniques to--

  • Make it difficult for enemy infiltrators to reach their objectives without being exposed and stopped.
  • Provide random coverage not easily predictable by simple observation.

To help locate the enemy's efforts and identify his next target, the MP company commander and the operations section maintain a situation map at the CP. Each enemy incident can be assigned a number, posted on the map, and constantly updated. With this knowledge, you can focus your most aggressive mounted/dismounted patrol plans on those AOs.

Infiltrating elements use the cover of darkness for their operations. You must make maximum use of illumination to help detect their movement. Put the devices on key terrain that oversees avenues of approach to critical bases, and cover the area with crew-served weapons. Coordinate with HN authorities and friendly units to prevent friendly units from firing on one another. If you cannot use night-vision devices, use PEWS and trip flares. When likely targets are known, consider setting up ambushes to obtain the initiative.

Infiltrators are most vulnerable during the day. Concentrate daytime mounted/dismounted operations on locating their base camp or "hide positions." Combat patrols can conduct a search-and-destroy mission and systematically check grid squares during daylight until the special-purpose forces are found. Once they are discovered you can lay ambushes on likely escape routes. Have mounted patrols deny access to the roadway and surrounding terrain. If enough MP can be assembled, you will be directed to close with and destroy them.

COUNTERING RECON UNITS

MP counterincursion operations are most likely to be against LRREs or small-element special-purpose forces. But patrols in brigade and division areas may come in contact with the larger-sized Threat recon elements. Threat recon elements push far out in front of their combat unit to gain intelligence of their rear area objective. Contact is possible even in a corps' rear area.

Enemy recon units operate at night, reconnoitering extensively before an attack. They look for--

  • Nuclear-capable units and storage locations.
  • Base clusters.
  • CPs.
  • Intelligence units.
  • Air defense sites.
  • Critical bases.

Threat doctrine calls for the recon force to determine our strength and find a weak point. Recon units (usually platoon size) will range great distances to complete their missions. They are as mobile as MP. And they have more firepower. To help keep the initiative if you make unexpected contact, use the bounding technique when you move. See Encountering the Enemy, Chapter 2. If contact is made, you may be directed to maintain contact (surveillance) until enough force can be assembled to counter them. Or you may be directed to disrupt their movement and delay them until a large enough force is available to defeat them.

If directed to disrupt and/or delay, clearly identify the enemy before attempting to engage them. Make good use of terrain and of your weapons' capabilities. You may use harassing fire from crew-served weapons if you can do so without becoming decisively engaged. Do not become decisively engaged unless ordered to do so. Just maintain harassment until reinforcement arrives. Heavy harassing fire from crew-served weapons and artillery may cause the enemy to believe he has encountered a defense. The enemy must not realize your actions are delaying tactics.

COUNTERING SMALL SCATTERED GROUND, AIRBORNE,
OR HELIBORNE INCURSIONS

MP route and area patrols continuously look for signs of the enemy's presence. They watch for enemy attempts to gain access to DZs, LZs, maneuver corridors, and avenues of approach to critical assets. If you can counter or, possibly, neutralize the threat without becoming decisively engaged, do so. Otherwise, use barriers, employ smoke, and aggressively use mounted and dismounted patrols in the surrounding area. Your intent is to deny the enemy freedom of movement.

If you discover a small enemy air insertion, within your element's capability attack quickly. You will want to interdict their progress as they descend into a DZ/LZ, engaging and disrupting them when they are most vulnerable. Take immediate action to--

  • Report the enemy insertion. (The responding MP element ensures that SALUTE reports are sent up the chain of command.)
  • Interdict helicopters/troops before or as they are landing.
  • Call for fire support, if enemy targets are large enough, on preplanned targets (DZ/LZ identified by the IPB). See Calling for Fire, Chapter 2.
  • Call for additional MP support if it is needed. (When multiple teams are joined by additional teams, the senior MP leader controls the fight.)
  • Maintain contact tactics if the enemy can move from the DZ/LZ.
  • Attack or ambush the enemy along maneuver corridors/avenues of approach leading from the DZ/LZ to their targets.

You can harass the DZ/LZ using indirect fire support and your weapons. Do not become decisively engaged by the enemy--delay and disrupt them. After landing, the enemy needs time to consolidate and organize before moving toward his objective. Aggressive actions by multiple MP teams can disrupt the initial reorganization and cause command and control problems. This allows more time for friendly forces to react. Use "hit and run" maneuvers while minimizing exposure. Harass the enemy until enough force can be assembled to eliminate the threat. Operate most often at the maximum range of your weapons. Call for fire support (artillery and CAS) to strike the enemy on the DZ/LZ.

MAKING CONTACT

If you make contact with the enemy, immediately report (using the SALUTE format). See Chapter 3. Continue to monitor the enemy situation. (Your superior immediately forwards your information up the chain of command. If you must engage the enemy and MP assets will be used to delay the enemy, MP elements must be directed to consolidate for combat action as quickly as possible.) See Delaying the Enemy, Chapter 7, for further discussion.

Plan your course of action. See Using Troop-Leading Steps, Chapter 2. Make a leader's recon of the situation before deciding when or how to use your elements. Make maximum use of terrain and your weapons' capabilities. Move your teams to bring effective fire on the enemy without becoming decisively engaged. See Moving in Combat, Chapter 2. Maintain contact with the enemy. Report your status to the next higher element leader. He determines if more MP response is needed based on your report of the size of the enemy force. If additional elements arrive, they move to a contact point to link up with and receive direction sent by the elements in contact.

BASE RESPONSE FORCE AND AIR BASE GROUND DEFENSE OPERATIONS

Any threat to combat support bases must be dealt with swiftly. Few rear area units can sustain their mission while under attack by even a low-level threat.

The echelon commander designates what ground forces are the response forces for ground and air bases under attack. Response force options include--

  • MP units.
  • Engineer units.
  • Transiting combat units.
  • Elements of the reserve.
  • HN assets if available.

The rear CP operations cell designates which ground forces will respond to bases or base clusters under attack. MP often are designated as a rear response force. But MP mission requirements routinely exceed available MP assets. The echelon commander and rear operations commander must make a risk assessment:

  • Accept risks to BCC and EPW operations.
  • Augment MP with additional fires and/or combat multipliers to enhance their response ability.
  • Assign the response mission to another force (TCF).

Early warning information is critical to RAOCs, response forces, and the TCF. Bases and base clusters must be able to adjust their level of security to meet the assessed threat.

Rear operations rely on MP to stay apprised of enemy activity near bases. MP forward early warning of enemy activity up their chain of command to the operations cell at the rear CP. The rear operations cell immediately notifies subordinate RAOCs and bases and base clusters. They may also alert the rear area's response forces.

If a base or base cluster or an air base comes under attack, the base commander responds within his capability. But interruptions of base sustainment operations must be kept to an absolute minimum. Rear area response forces help bases under attack retain their ability to carry out their functions. If a threat exceeds a base's ability to defend itself, the base commander requests response force support (through his corps' RAOC or his TAACOM's rear tactical operations center [RTOC]).

Response forces move quickly to counter the enemy before it can cause much damage to the base. Base commanders lift or shift base defense fires to support the maneuver of the response force. If the response force cannot destroy or deter a threat, the force attempts to delay and disrupt the threat until the arrival of a TCF. When base defense and the rear area response force engage enemy forces exceeding their combined ability to defeat, they notify their RAOC (or RTOC if in the TAACOM). They maintain contact with the enemy force until the TCF arrives. When a TCF is committed, the TCF commander has operational control (OPCON) of all bases and response forces within the TCF's designated AO.

CONDUCTING BASE RESPONSE FORCE OPERATIONS

MP elements in an AO may be tasked by the rear CP operations cell to be the area's base response force. If so, multiple MP elements are task-organized for response force operations. MP providing area security and/or BCC near the base or base cluster under attack quickly consolidate and deploy.

The MP chain of command directs both the size and composition of the force. The nature and size of the enemy force to be engaged influences the size and number of MP elements that make up the response force. So, too, does the current rear IPB and the rear operations commander's risk assessment. The PM, in coordination with the rear operations commander, considers--

  • The priority of operations being performed at the time.
  • The criticality of the base under attack.
  • The amount of time needed for given elements to consolidate.

He assesses the situation continuously and, if appropriate, commits more response force assets to deal with the threat, while keeping the rear CP informed.

RESPONSE FORCE PLANNING

Extensive planning and coordination help the response force eliminate the threat and avoid the need for committing a TCF. You must know the terrain and be able to use it against the enemy. You must be able to mass combat power quickly to destroy the enemy or delay them until a TCF can arrive. To do this, you must integrate available field artillery, Army aviation, joint air attack team, and CAS fire support into your plans. (The rear CP fire support element along with the main CP fire support cell establishes procedures by which you can call for fire support.)

You must consider--

  • Coordinating with supported RAOCs and bases or base clusters.
  • Conducting a joint IPB.
  • Exchanging SOI information.
  • Developing contingency plans to counter likely enemy activities, including rally points and fire control measures.

You must know the location of bases within your AO. And you must know which bases are the most critical and which are the most vulnerable. Include this information in your local IPB. In coordination with the rear CP operations cell and the affected RAOC, position your elements where they can best--

  • Detect enemy incursions (near DZs, LZs, and the like).
  • Interdict enemy forces en route to their targets.
  • Consolidate quickly in response to threatened key assets in the corps rear.

As a response force commander you should have readily available the--

  • "Base defense status" of each base.
  • Locations of any obstacles or mines near the base.
  • Locations and direction of fire of crew-served weapons.
  • Signal for final protective fires.
  • Locations of target reference points and preplanned fires.
  • Method of contacting the BDOC or BCOC, to include call signs and frequencies.
  • Locations of OPs/LPs and friendly patrols if employed.

You also must be able to mass supporting fires and be able to support TCF operations if need be. You must know the--

  • Call signs and frequencies for supporting artillery and Army aviation units tasked to respond.
  • Call signs and frequencies for the TCF, RAOCs, and rear CP.
  • Fire support targets that are on the "approved" list.
  • Locations of the nearest medical treatment facility, NBC decontamination site, and ammunition supply point.

COORDINATION WITH BASES

Continuous communication is the key to knowing how and when your response force will be needed. Bases and base clusters establish 24-hour communications with the RAOC, if they are located in the corps area; with the rear CP, if they are located in the division. This liaison and interface allows timely response and information dissemination.

Your force will be effective only if it can react swiftly. When you can, obtain a copy of the base defense plans to effect coordination between bases and your response force.

Coordinate all your response actions for a base through its BDOC. (For base clusters go through its BCOC.) Coordinate--

  • Call signs/frequencies.
  • Base defense plans/layouts.
  • Positions of critical internal assets, external coordination points, and no-fire areas.
  • Indirect fire support.
  • Engineer support, if needed, to help prepare defensive positions or for ADC.

MP battalion commanders and/or their staff most often coordinate with RAOCs. (All plans for and overlays depicting MP support are forwarded by the BDOC to the BCOC. There they are consolidated and forwarded to the RAOC. If a base is not part of a base cluster, the base forwards the plans and overlays directly to the RAOC.) MP providing area security and/or BCC in the vicinity of the base receive the plans through their chain of command.

In coordination with the main CP fire support cell, the operations cell sets procedures by which you can call for fire support. (Just as you can call for and adjust indirect fire provided by artillery, so too you can call for and control CAS if you have help from a tactical air control party or Army aviators trained in joint air attack team operations.)

You may be called on to assist base and base cluster commanders in preparing their defense plans. New bases may need MP assistance in assessing their--

  • Vulnerability.
  • Access control procedures.
  • Perimeter defense measures.
  • External coordination and control measures.

RESPONSE FORCE ACTIONS

Base response force operations call heavily on MP tactical skills. Base your choice of action on METT-T and the base commander's tactical assessment. When possible, you attack the enemy from outside the base's defense perimeter. You might--

  • Call for fire support to make the enemy break contact.
  • Attack into the flank of the enemy, using the base for fire support. Use extreme caution when lifting and shifting the fires of the base.
  • Use ambushes along likely escape avenues if it is obvious that the attacking force is not strong enough to overrun the base.
  • Enter the base to augment the base's defense forces and provide support from within abase, but only if you must. Efforts to augment a base from within must be very carefully coordinated. MP must ensure rally points are not within the range of that defensive fire.

While your response force elements are consolidating at a rally point, plan your operation and begin your troop-leading steps. (Company and platoon tactical SOPS help speed your response time.) Plan your response operation using information gained from the rear IPB, METT-T, and prior coordination with base/base clusters. You may want to use OPs to observe the enemy attack on the base. Review the base/base cluster detailed defense plan and contingencies plan if you can. See Conducting Combat Patrols, Chapter 7, for actions to take.

When you defeat the enemy, consolidate, reorganize, and ready your response force for the next operation directed by your chain of command. If the threat exceeds your capability, request a TCF. Continue to maintain contact with Threat forces and send SALUTE reports to the rear CP and TCF commander until the TCF arrives. Be prepared to aid the TCF as needed.

CONDUCTING AIR BASE GROUND DEFENSE OPERATIONS

The Army is responsible for defending air assets from ground threats outside the boundary of the air base and its area of responsibility. The Army tasks "air base ground defense forces" to defend particularly critical air bases. They may be forces operating in the area specifically on-call for ABGD operations. Or they may be the rear area response forces. The ABGD forces provide an "all-around" defense in depth in the area surrounding the base. The needed depth of the projected defense area surrounding the air base depends on the IPB, METT-T, and other normal defensive planning factors. The focus of the defense is on providing the base early warning of an enemy attack. The ABGD force tries to destroy the enemy, when possible, or tries to delay and disorganize the enemy until a TCF can arrive.

How Army units conduct the external defense depends on the IPB. Ground forces in the defense area operate combat patrols, construct fighting positions, and man OPs/LPs. They use obstacles and PEWS whenever they can. The ABGD force conducts ambushes and, when they must, delays and withdrawals. The AO for an ABGD force normally ranges out past the base tactical perimeter. However, METT-T and Threat weapons' capabilities determine the actual size of the AO.

If MP are tasked by the echelon commander to provide an air base with long-term protection against attack, MP providing area security reduce the Threat opportunities for attack by providing the air base with the "security-in-depth" they provide to other critical ground facilities.

MP SUPPORT FOR DEFENSE OF AN AIR BASE

Your actions to help an air base defend against an incursion are much like your response force actions for ground bases. But you must have made prior contact with the chief of security police (CSP) as well as with the echelon tactical operations center to gather all available information/intelligence. And your response force may transition to the OPCON of the air base commander. This ensures MP actions do not interfere with air sorties being generated by the air base commander.

Aggressive defense tactics are employed in the defense area. Area security plans provide for increased security patrols and static security measures around an air base. Aggressive mounted and dismounted patrols "screen" the area day and night. See also discussions of CP security in Chapter 6, security of special ammunition in Chapter 13. Screening operations are coordinated with the echelon RAOC or RTOC, depending on whether the air base is in the corps or TAACOM. You must keep the enemy from destroying resources on the ground and from interrupting or stopping air operations. To do this you--

  • Focus most of your efforts on night operations because the Threat is most active at night.
  • Conduct area/zone recon patrols.
  • Increase mounted security patrols.
  • Man OPs/LPs at possible enemy DZs/LZs.
  • Locate defensive positions on key terrain.
  • Set up defensive measures like mines (if available), sensors, and barriers to deny key terrain.
  • Set up BCC measures like TCPs and holding areas to control all traffic moving onto the base (if large numbers of troops must depart the country from the air base).
  • Increase NBC detecting and reporting.
  • Conduct combat patrols and hasty attacks to close with and destroy the enemy if you can.
  • If needed, conduct ADC operations and seal off contaminated areas.
  • If needed, conduct a deliberate defense to keep enemy forces from overrunning the base.
  • Conduct delays to allow a TCF to assemble if the enemy exceeds the combined capability of the security police (SP) and the MP forces.

The air base commander often delegates OPCON of responding MP forces to the base CSP. He is in charge of all aspects of the defense of the air base. The CSP will inform you of the current tactical situation and threat facing the base. And he will provide guidance on where your assets are needed to defend against the Threat. You direct the tactical operations of your force, keeping the CSP informed of your actions. If a TCF must be called to defeat the Threat, all units, Air Force and Army, are under the OPCON of the TCF commander until the Threat is defeated. When the Threat is defeated or withdraws, all elements revert to their normal chain of command.

For the local ground defense of their base, the Air Force provides an SP group HQ that closely resembles the Army's BDOC organization. It is responsible for combat intelligence, combat operations, logistics, and personnel administration. It collects the ground combat intelligence within each ABGD area. Smaller bases without an assigned SP group also organize a BDOC, but on a smaller scale. The use of mortars and other indirect fire weapons sited in the defense area is coordinated through a fire support coordination center in the BDOC.

Portions of ABGD forces may be tasked to reinforce inside the air base to counter penetrations by ground forces or landings on the base by airborne or airmobile forces. These forces become OPCON to the SP commander controlling the battle within the defense area. Rally points and assembly areas on the air base must be known to the ABGD units to facilitate their contribution to the battle.

AIR FORCE SUPPORT FOR DEFENSE OF AN AIR BASE

The Air Force is responsible for defending air assets from within the air base and inside their area of responsibility. SP provide defense by using--

  • Mounted and dismounted patrols.
  • Tactical sensors.
  • OPs/LPs.
  • Mines if available.
  • Obstacles.

Prepared defensive positions can be manned if earlywarning of a possible incursion is received. The positions are developed IAW an integrated fire plan that has determined the best means to cover all ground surrounding the defensive perimeter within the ground defense area. Security measures are used to restrict access to critical facilities. Such measures may include the occupation of selected areas. Areas of the base not deemed critical enough to warrant physical occupation are defended by firing positions near them on--

  • Likely avenues of approach.
  • Points of entry into the area.
  • Key terrain.

The SP maintain a mobile reserve force. The mobile reserve's purpose is to mass sufficient firepower to destroy Threat forces within the air base boundary or, at least, to delay the Threat until a larger force can be assembled. The mobile reserve is usually a mounted force. It is under the direct control of the BDOC. The mobile reserve tries to contain any direct landing by the Threat on the airfield. It also responds to penetrations of the defense area by forces that have managed to elude external defense forces. SP must be aware of the disposition of the friendly forces in front of them. Fire discipline between SP, MP, mobile reserve (and TCF if called) is imperative. Positive control must be maintained at all times.

If the Threat penetrates deeply into the defense area, the MP commander can request that the BDOC commit the mobile reserve to battle. If the mobile reserve is committed, it usually will be under the OPCON of the ground force commander. Contact points and assembly areas are established around the base to assist in integrating the mobile reserve during combat operations outside the ground defense area. Upon the arrival of a TCF, all ABGD forces come under the OPCON of the TCF commander.

FIRE SUPPORT

Planned targets for indirect fire support are provided to the RAOC and to the forces in the defense and screening areas. Organic indirect fire systems on the base are incorporated into the base defense plan for both SP and MP. This ensures compatibility with all air base defense measures in the surrounding area and mutual support to other bases when practical.

The use of mortars and other indirect fire weapons located in the defense area are coordinated through a five-man FDC located at the BDOC. SP primarily use their mortars for illumination. SP weapons controlled by the FDC vary. And the number of weapons available depends on the size of the air base.

Often air defense artillery (ADA) units are employed in direct support of an air base or in general support to the echelon. Other support units may be positioned around the air base to help have defense in depth.

CAS is obtained from aircraft at the base. Aircraft may be sent aloft to provide CAS. Or targets may be assigned to aircraft already airborne for other purposes. CAS can provide suppressive fire or increased detection capabilities. Among the CAS aircraft that may be available, the AC-130 Spectre gunship and the A-10 Thunderbolt II both have night flying capability. Both have compatible FM communications equipment. Both are especially effective for use against targets considered dangerously close to ABGD forces. Both aircraft, however, are very susceptible to surface-to-air missiles (SAMs).

COMMUNICATIONS

Communications equipment of both services supporting rear battle operations must be interoperable. Continuous coordination between the SP and the ABGD forces is a must, both to conduct effective operations and to prevent inadvertent destruction of friendly forces. The MP communications net must include--

  • Higher HQ.
  • The BDOC.
  • Any other defending elements.
  • Support facilities.
  • Air Force support activities, when appropriate.

Switchboards should be located at your CP both company and battalion (if battalion-level staff is present), and the BDOC. Defense forces check the wires frequently been compromised. The alternate method of communication is by FM radio.

Effective coordination must be an ongoing process. Call signs and frequencies are exchanged among the ADA unit, the BDOC, Army units, and ground bases located near the air base. Intelligence information provided by ADA and other units must be processed in "real time" so that friendly forces can react.

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR ABGD

Significant air base avenues of approach are those leading into special weapons storage areas and areas fanning out from the ends of runways. The latter are of particular importance to ground forces within the defense area. It is the area on either end of a runway where, because aircraft taking off or landing are moving slowly, the aircraft are particularly vulnerable to enemy ground fires. Targeting of aircraft with portable SAMs is easier for the Threat if they can set up firing positions in such areas. Leaders should concentrate efforts within these areas to discourage the enemy from engaging aircraft. Conducting mounted or dismounted operations in those areas can detect and help prevent the Threat from engaging aircraft as they take off and land.

Threat forces reconnoitering around air bases will try to identify sector boundaries and hard-to-reach areas like swamps where external defense may not be as extensive. Consequently, a dismounted Threat will try to infiltrate while conducting patrols to ensure the wire net has not an air base through these areas.

The greatest single threat to air sorties are man-portable, shoulder-fired, low-altitude missiles similar to the US Army's Redeye. These missiles have high-explosive warheads and passive infrared homing guidance. One version is a tail-chasing missile system that locks onto the heat source of low-flying aircraft. Aircraft taking off and landing are unable to outmaneuver its speed. Another version can engage targets head-on at a range of up to 4,000 meters. Both systems, however, are susceptible to suppressive fires and battlefield obscurations.

Night Operations

Air bases are most vulnerable when visibility is limited. In response to the threat, the bulk of both internal and external ABGD operations must be dedicated to detection of Threat forces during periods of limited visibility. The large gaps between defensive positions facilitate Threat infiltration through the external defenses. To narrow these gaps during limited visibility, external defensive efforts may have to be set up closer to the ground defense area. External Army units, therefore, may have to collapse their external defenses to within 2 to 3 kilometers of the ground defense area. External defensive efforts should integrate the extensive use of--

  • Reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA) devices.
  • Tactical deception.
  • OPs/LPs.
  • Aggressive patrolling.

Water Obstacles

Many air bases border water obstacles. Air bases located next to rivers, lakes, or oceans provide unique ABGD problems. Threat efforts directed against an air base from the water include infiltration, reconnaissance, and stand-off weapons attacks. As a result, water obstacles that penetrate the defense area may require ABGD forces to set up continuous battle positions between the water and any critical air base facility near the water. ABGD obstacle plans should include fences, mines, and sensor employment along that portion of perimeter. Planned fires are coordinated to defeat water craft trying to fire at aircraft. Floating expedient barricades may have to be assembled. Warning buoys should also be anchored offshore. Underwater approaches provide excellent avenues to air bases. They must be considered during ABGD planning. Joint support from Navy and/or Coast Guard may also be needed.

Urban Terrain

Air bases bordered by urban areas pose a special challenge for ABGD operations. Increased security is a necessity. You must be aware of underground approaches like sewers that could bypass defensive positions. This is especially true for Threat agents and saboteurs. They will use these avenues of approach to gain access to the air base. Many air bases use local public services like water and refuse disposal. Countermeasures and procedures must be established to prevent access to the air base through these means. Cooperation and coordination with the local government, police, and fire officials can enhance operations.

Infiltrating groups like special-purpose teams will be very difficult to detect because they avoid direct confrontation and usually move at night. These teams have the greatest potential for disrupting air operations throughout the rear area. These teams also will try to surreptitiously enter the air base.

The ABGD commander may want to evacuate areas next to the air base to enhance local security. Or he may choose to rubble the area to deny the Threat a tactical advantage.

Selective rubbling can be done if a building provides an unimpeded view of the air base or could serve as a weapons site for enemy fires. An alternative to selective rubbling is sealing off or occupying buildings that provide overwatch of the air base. This option, however, is so manpower intensive it may be prohibitive.

General rubbling also may have to be done to deny the Threat a small arms vantage from within an urban area. A clear zone prevents the use of rocket-propelled grenades against--

  • Command and control facilities.
  • Aircraft hangars.
  • Aircraft support facilities.
  • Nuclear storage sites.
  • Crew quarters.

A clear zone helps prevent fires set by Threat forces in the urban area from affecting air base operations. Rubbling is employed as an extraordinary measure against a known Threat. Indiscriminate or unnecessary rubbling only antagonizes the local populace and adversely affects US efforts.

Fighting as Part of a Dedicated Asset

Given the size of air bases and their high priority as Threat targets, providing ABGD as a dedicated asset requires a force the size of at least two companies. MP do not have the force structure to be dedicated for ABGD. But an echelon commander could decide to redirect MP mission priorities to ABGD and redeploy his limited MP assets to serve as part of a larger composite force, such as a TCF. MP serving as part of such a composite force would use all of their aggressive area security measures (addressed earlier) and also static defensive techniques. They might also need to conduct refugee control, straggler control, and EPW operations.

MP operating as part of a larger ABGD force--

  • Set up checkpoints and roadblocks to limit access to the air base.
  • Prepare fighting positions on key terrain and likely avenues of approach to the air base.
  • Are prepared to conduct hasty attacks.
  • Are prepared to take part in a battle handover in the event of a large enemy incursion.
  • Are prepared to conduct EPW operations.




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