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Chapter 1

Field Artillery Mission, Roles, Capabilities, and Tasks

This chapter provides an overview of the FA as a principal contributing member of the combined arms and joint FS teams. With FM 6-20, Doctrine for Fire Support, FM 6-20-60, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Fire Support for Corps Operations and 6-20-30, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Fire Support for Division Operations addressing FS in detail (to be published), the FA commander's additional role as the force commander's fire support coordinator (FSCOORD) on corps, division, and maneuver brigade staffs is only briefly addressed in this and subsequent chapters. The same applies to differences in functions and responsibilities between force and field artillery command posts.


1-1. The mission of the FA is to provide responsive lethal and nonlethal fires and to integrate and synchronize the effects of fires to achieve the supported commander's intent.


1-2. FS is the collective and coordinated use of land- and sea-based indirect fires, target acquisition (TA), armed aircraft, and other lethal and nonlethal systems against ground targets in support of the force commander's concept of operations. Lethal FS consists of indirect fire weapons and armed aircraft to include FA, mortars, naval surface fires, and air-delivered munitions from fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. Nonlethal means include electronic warfare (EW), psychological operations (PSYOP), offensive information operations (IO), and munitions such as illumination, smoke, and riot control agents. FS is most effective when its effects are massed. The four basic FS tasks, equally applicable to the FA, are:

Support Forces In Contact

1-3. Commanders must provide responsive indirect fires to protect and ensure freedom of maneuver for forces involved in decisive, shaping, and sustaining operations. The process by which this support is provided in all phases of war is discussed in FM 6-20, FM 6-20-60, and FM 6-20-30.

Support the Concept of Operations

1-4. Force commanders must retain direct control over sufficient firepower to influence the battle by attacking high-payoff targets (HPTs). The successful attack of HPTs hinders the enemy from interfering with friendly operations or effectively developing his own operations. Of particular concern is the large-scale attack of counterfire targets and deep interdiction

Synchronize Fire Support

1-5. FS is synchronized among all relevant members of the Army's battlefield operating systems (BOS) and joint and allied assets. This synchronization is assisted by the decide, detect, deliver, and assess (D3A) targeting methodology discussed in further detail in Chapter 6. Successful use of this methodology helps attack the right target with the best weapon at the right time.

Sustain Fire Support Operations

1-6. FS planners must formulate FS plans to reflect logistic limitations and capabilities. The three imperatives for sustaining the FS system during all phases of war are protection, logistic support, and technical support. They are discussed in further detail in FM 6-20 and Chapter 5. FSCOORDs are responsible for identifying overall FS sustainment requirements and ensuring those necessary actions are taken to achieve the required level of support.


1-7. The FA, as an integral part of the FS system, is responsible for participating in the planning, preparation, and execution of lethal and nonlethal FA fires delivered by FA cannons, rockets, and missiles at the operational and tactical levels. This often includes simultaneous FA fires in support of decisive, shaping, and sustaining operations, including counterfires. Deep fires, beyond the boundaries of tactical operations under joint force control, may involve the delivery of operational-level fires directly supporting the joint force commander's (JFC) campaign plan. Such fires may have potential strategic implications as in the case of enemy attack with theater ballistic missiles carrying warheads armed with agents of mass destruction.

1-8. In addition, FA commanders at all levels are responsible for the internal sustainment of the FA system to include actions to safeguard the survival of the necessary logistic and technical combat service support (CSS) infrastructure to ensure continuous operations. Commanders must be fully aware of prevailing logistic limitations and capabilities and assign priorities in harmony with the schemes of fires and maneuver. Logistic sustainability is a central aspect in achieving operational and tactical success.



1-9. A command's organic FA headquarters (HQ) is normally the force FA HQ, (e.g., div artys). When formations do not have an organic FA HQ, the respective force commander may designate an FA HQ such as an FA brigade as force FA HQ. An example of this is an FA brigade in direct support of a maneuver brigade or armored cavalry regiment (ACR). The force FA HQ performs the following functions:

  • Provides C2 for subordinate units.

  • Recommends FA organization for combat for the force commander.

  • Provides unity of command.

  • Facilitates single point of contact for outside agency coordination for force protection and additional fires.

  • Accepts or passes control of fires during passage of lines operations.

  • Authorizes changes to approved or doctrinal net structures for nets it controls.

  • Coordinates for sustainment of subordinate FA units.

  • Plans fires and positions all FA units with a tactical mission of general support (GS)/ general support reinforcing (GSR) to the force.

  • Orchestrates the counterfire battle for the force commander.

1-10. Designation as force FA HQ is not a tactical mission statement. However, when serving as force FA HQ, FA brigades have responsibilities for the organization for combat of subordinate units identical to those of a div arty.


1-11. Commanders of combined arms and joint task forces are responsible for the overall control of the FS system. Their guidance is reflected in their scheme for fires, which must be synchronized with their schemes for maneuver and support. Effective control of FS is as critical as control of maneuver forces. To assist commanders with FS C2 and decision-making, FSCOORDs are delegated the authority to perform FS tasks in the name of their commander.


1-12. As their command's FSCOORD, corps arty and div arty commanders are responsible for planning, integrating, coordinating, synchronizing, and implementing all FS matters in support of their command's current and future operations. These FS responsibilities are normally performed by fire support cells (FSCs) or FSEs in corps and division main, tactical, and rear command posts (CPs) and DOCCs. The senior field artilleryman present supervises FSC/FSE/DOCC operations and represents the command's FA commander when absent. FSCOORDs assisted by FSE/DOCC personnel:

  • Coordinate, integrate, and synchronize all indirect fires, lethal and nonlethal, in support of the force commander's intent and of forces in contact.

  • Determine FS requirements by developing essential fires support tasks (EFSTs).

  • Develop, disseminate, and implement the approved FS plan as part of the command's operation plans (OPLANs) and operation orders (OPORDs).

  • Accommodate FS requirements through the allocation of corps and division FS assets, assignment of missions, and positioning of delivery, TA, and logistic assets.

  • Advise force commanders on FS capabilities for committed maneuver units engaged in the current battle and expedite processing of immediate FS requests.

  • Maintain the status of the command's available FS and TA means.


1-13. When assigned a direct support (DS) mission, FA brigade commanders become the supported maneuver command's senior FA officer and FSCOORD. The commander of the unit's maneuver DS battalion will normally become the assistant FSCOORD (AFSCOORD) and, in this role, significantly facilitate coordination with the supported maneuver element. Regardless of circumstances or mission assigned to an FA brigade, div arty commanders remain their division's FSCOORD. (See FM 6-20-30 for additional information on FS operations.)


1-14. Corps arty, div arty, and FA brigade commanders are responsible for the C2 of subordinate FA units. They execute their FA responsibilities with the help of a separate staff principally organized in tactical operations centers (TOCs) and administration and logistic operations centers (ALOCs). Dividing available time and emphasis among FS and FA responsibilities subject to mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available, time available, and civil considerations (METT-TC) requirements, the FA commander attends to his FA tasks to ensure the timely, effective, and efficient delivery of FA fires.


1-15. FA, as a principal component of the Army's FS system, has repeatedly proven itself to be a highly effective and efficient agent for destroying enemy capabilities and the enemy's will to fight. The synchronized use of massed or selectively applied FA fires in support of simultaneous decisive, shaping, and sustaining operations is intended to weaken the enemy at all echelons and to deny him opportunities to hide and rest. Lethal and nonlethal fires can be used to isolate the battlefield and to compensate for limited maneuver forces in an economy-of-force role. In addition, FA contributes materially to force protection and survivability. It can achieve surprise with the instantaneous delivery of high volumes of fire without warning. As such, it becomes the most potent and responsive, 24-hour, all-weather combat multiplier available to force commanders.


1-16. Deep and simultaneous attacks, executed at increasingly longer range and with precision, are key elements for division, corps, and JFCs in shaping the battlespace and accelerating the enemy's defeat. In both offense and defense, deep operations are conducted to isolate, immobilize, and weaken the enemy in depth, using fire, maneuver, or a combination of the two. Deep offensive FA fires may be used to limit the enemy's ability to shift forces to meet attacking friendly maneuver forces and to sustain the momentum of the attack. Deep fires limit, delay, or disrupt the enemy's attacking echelons and FS, command, control, and communications (C3), and logistic infrastructure. They are intended to reduce the enemy's rate of arrival in the close battle area to a level manageable by brigade and battalion task force commanders.

1-17. FA systems are fully capable of conducting deep precision strikes and massing fires under all weather conditions, day or night. They provide joint and land component commanders the capability to engage HPTs when and where required. Precision strikes are also important factors in stability operations where the threat of collateral damage is often of primary concern.

1-18. As part of deep operations, proactive TA and FA counterfires can silence threat indirect fire systems before they have a major influence on the battle. Similarly, deep attack can interdict or attrit enemy maneuver forces, surface-to-surface missile systems, and logistic units/facilities; alter combat power ratios; and limit an opponent's freedom of action while simultaneously enhancing friendly options and force protection. FA fires, either separately or as part of a joint air attack team (JAAT), assist in the suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD).


1-19. At corps and division levels, close operations during the offense or defense are undertaken to win the current battle or engagement. Close battle occurs where, when, and against whom commanders choose to commit assault forces. FA fires, in the form of preparations, counterpreparations, SEAD, programs of fires, etc., support friendly schemes of maneuver by assisting in denying the enemy favorable avenues of approach, helping maneuver forces control terrain, and defeating attacks as they are mounted. Although not taking place at the line of contact, counterfires silence enemy artillery and other indirect fire systems to preserve friendly fighting forces and combat capabilities. They give supported elements the freedom to maneuver, while smoke hides friendly movements and illumination exposes enemy formations at night. Close fires are normally the main concern of DS FA battalions whose fires in support of forces in contact may be augmented by fires from div arty and corps arty units. Commanders and planners must ensure that maneuver forces engaged in face-to-face engagements receive an appropriate share of available FS to include security forces and reserves upon commitment.


1-20. Rear operations are conducted to ensure that friendly forces retain freedom of action to support combat forces engaged in deep and close operations. The focus is on protecting the most critical capabilities. FA assets are seldom sufficient to dedicate firing units to rear area support as their sole or primary mission. FA commanders, in the role as FSCOORD, may assign on-order missions to support corps or division rear area operations. They can also meet rear area FA support requirements by positioning GS and GSR cannon units to range rear areas while continuing to perform their primary missions in support of deep and close operations. However, if a tactical combat force (TCF) is designated, commanders will ensure it is supported with a commensurate size FA unit in DS. For additional details, see FM 6-20-30.


1-21. Modern warfare and United States (US) strategic and operational considerations require US armed forces to fight as a joint team. To optimize the effects of firepower as an element of US combat power, the JFC establishes guidance for planning, prioritization of missions and targets, and the apportionment and allocation of joint FS resources. FA capabilities in support of joint operations consist principally of long-range Army tactical missile system (ATACMS) fires directed against operational objectives. They are closely integrated into the JFC's scheme of operations as part of the Army's overall FS contributions. Joint Pub 3-09, Doctrine for Joint Fire Support, and FM 6-20 provide the doctrine governing Army contributions to the joint effort.


1-22. Although US forces must be prepared to fight and win any future conflict unilaterally, it is in the national interest to employ friendly combat power in concert with regional allies and partners. Many of the treaties and defense pacts to which the US is signatory provide for US forces to operate with those of other nations. Among principal US allies, mutual agreements have evolved over extended periods of time to facilitate the conduct of combined actions. For example, artillery operating procedures are specifically addressed by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and quadripartite (Australia, Britain, Canada, America [ABCA]) standardization agreements (QSTAGs). The Combined Forces Command in Korea is also an example of a long-standing relationship fostering the development of shared contingency plans, compatible military systems, and common procedures.

1-23. In more temporary coalition environments, agreements on doctrine, tactical principles, and operating techniques may have to be worked out under the pressure of imminent conflict or after initiation of combat operations. In any case, FA units are expected to make the necessary adjustments to adapt themselves to coalition and multinational environments.

1-24. Since few potential coalition partners and allies are expected to match deep US attack capabilities, US forces will most likely have to shoulder the responsibility of providing the resources necessary to shape the deep battlespace for the force as a whole. See Appendix A for additional considerations for US FA "out-of-sector" missions in support of an allied division or corps and how to integrate allied support into US operations.



1-25. Successful execution of future battles will require careful planning of limited FA resources and the coordinated employment of acquisition and assessment means. FSCOORDs and fire support officers (FSOs)/FSEs on corps and division staffs normally ensure FS adequacy in support of force operations by varying the allocation and level of control over available FS resources to include FA formations. They establish command relationships and assign standard or nonstandard tactical missions with input from corps arty and div arty G3s/S3s.


1-26. Artillery C2 relationships must be clearly established to set the conditions for successful task accomplishment. As operations progress, support requirements may shift and require changes in C2 relationships. FA units are integrated into the force structure of an operational command in accordance with one of the following four command relationships: organic, assigned, attached, or under the operational control (OPCON) of a maneuver command. See Appendix B for further details.

1-27. Deployed FA brigades normally remain assigned to their controlling corps arty HQ. However, force commanders, on the advice of their FSCOORD, may on rare occasions change command relationships based on special mission requirements. They may attach units or place them OPCON to subordinate maneuver commanders. These are the most decentralized methods of employing corps arty assets, giving subordinate maneuver commanders the authority to employ FA augmentations as deemed appropriate to support their mission.

1-28. Although attachment gives gaining maneuver commanders greater employment flexibility, it is also accompanied by increased logistic and administrative responsibilities. If attached to a division, an FA brigade is normally subattached to the div arty, placing all FA assets with the division under a single FA commander. Since div arty commanders have the authority to tailor divisional FA assets, they also may change the composition of battalions in the attached brigade(s).


1-29. Fundamentals addressing FA organization for combat are shown at Appendix C. In coordination with force FSCs/FSEs, corps arty and div arty G3s/S3s recommend the organization for combat for all available FA units to their FSCOORD. When an FA brigade is the force artillery HQ, it may also recommend the FA organization for combat. These recommendations should be based on in-depth analysis of stated and implied FA tasks to support anticipated battles and engagements as they progress from deep attack into covering force and main battle areas. Plans should also include requirements for rear area battle support and security and reserve elements. Sufficient FS resources to include FA are normally retained under centralized control to concentrate fires at the decisive place and time. When approved by corps or division commanders, the FA organization for combat is established in the FS plan/annex of the force OPLAN/OPORD.

1-30. Standard and nonstandard tactical missions are discussed in Appendix D.




1-31. Corps arty commanders, in their FSCOORD role, control the command's FS system, ensuring that it supports the corps commander's guidance for fires, meets joint force requirements, and reacts responsively to changing battlefield conditions. Artillery fires in support of corps and echelons above corps (EAC) operations must be carefully integrated with other Army and joint FS elements and the Army's combined arms team.


1-32. The application of FA fires is reflected in the FA support plan, which is normally prepared under the overall supervision of the corps arty G3 in the corps arty TOC. This is not a stand-alone document developed in isolation. Rather, the plan is developed in close coordination with the corps FSC/DOCC and other corps staff elements and becomes part of the FS Annex in the force OPLAN/OPORD. It is based on corps FSC/DOCC guidance directing the FA's organization for combat, unit positioning, essential field artillery tasks (EFATs), ammunition usage, target selection, targeting criteria, and related products. It incorporates corps intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) products and other critical information developed at corps, higher, or adjacent HQ.

Corps Shaping Operations in the Deep Area

1-33. Corps shaping operations in the deep area are directed against enemy forces and other targets beyond the close battle to seize and sustain the initiative within the corps commander's area of operations (AO). They may consist of a combination of fires and maneuver or fires alone and are separated from the close battle in time or space or both. Effective use and integration of corps and higher-level intelligence, TA, and targeting assets are critical.

1-34. Corps arty deep attack systems may be tasked to destroy, neutralize, or suppress HPTs supporting the JFC's operational objectives. Examples of operational-level FS include joint suppression of enemy air defenses (JSEAD) to support deep attack helicopter, air assault, and airborne operations. In addition, FA fires may support deep maneuver operations, attack enemy centers of gravity, and execute attack operations as part of theater missile defense (TMD).

1-35. Corps shaping operations in support of the close battle are used to influence the enemy so that divisions can accomplish the piecemeal destruction of enemy forces. Alternatively or concurrently with joint FS (subject to resource availability), Corps arty units deliver long-range fires to shape the battlespace and support the corps commander's tactical scheme of maneuver and fires. Corps-level deep FA fires as part of the overall FS effort are intended to disrupt, divert, or destroy enemy centers of gravity and critical functions and capabilities including attack of uncommitted forces.

1-36. To ensure unity of effort and fully integrated use of capabilities in shaping operations, a single organization within the corps is doctrinally responsible for synchronizing all FS assets in consonance with the commander's guidance. This organization is the DOCC, which interfaces with the corps FSC, and other Army, joint and allied FS agencies.

1-37. Responsibility for executing FA fires as part of the force FS plan rests with FA delivery units in consonance with FSC/DOCC guidance under the overall supervision of corps arty TOC and FA brigade personnel. The primary FA attack system currently available to strike operational targets in the deep area is ATACMS. FA rockets and cannons are principally directed at tactical-level deep targets in corps and division sectors, respectively.


1-38. Counterfire is a shaping operation that improves friendly force ratios, protects the force, and provides for successful maneuver. Counterfire is used to attack enemy indirect fire systems, observation units, C2 facilities, TA assets, and ammunition/logistics sites.

1-39. Corps commanders are responsible for counterfire throughout the depth of their AO. The corps commander, FSCOORD, and the FSC assess the corps counterfire threat as part of their FS responsibilities and determine the best way to protect the force using fires, maneuver, or both (for details see FM 6-20-60). These actions include an assessment of FA counterfire capabilities to include those in subordinate divisions.

1-40. By allocating corps assets, issuing attack guidance, and identifying corps HPTs, corps HQ influences how subordinate divisions fight their counterfire battle. Corps can shape a division's counterfire efforts by:

  • Allocation of assets.

  • Division of labor within the battlespace.

  • Delineation of areas of operation.

  • Prioritization of effort.


1-41. Corps decisive, shaping, and sustaining operations include battle in close and rear areas and engagements of its committed divisions, separate maneuver brigades, and cavalry regiments together with the combat support (CS) and CSS activities supporting them. Subject to METT-TC conditions, div arty attack capabilities are intended to be enhanced with augmentation of two FA brigades. Divisions may also nominate targets within divisional AOs for attack by corps arty assets after FSC approval and coordination with division FSEs. In all cases the division must approve all corps fire missions within its AO. Potential uses include:

  • Counterfires to suppress enemy artillery.

  • Massed preparations to create weak points or gaps in enemy defenses.

  • SEAD.

  • Counterpreparations to blunt enemy penetrations or counterattacks.

  • Assisting maneuver commanders in the protection of flanks in a corps counterattack or spoiling attack.

1-42. FA fires against enemy formations in corps rear areas will normally require the repositioning of FA cannon units since most, if not all will be positioned to engage the enemy well forward. They may receive on-order (o/o) missions in support of units designated to meet Level II and Level III threats. Level II targets require FA support to local response forces and Level III threats call for FA support for a corps combined arms TCF. Pre-positioning of artillery in the corps rear solely to support the TCF may be a viable option. Also, FA units transiting the corps rear area or undergoing reconstitution may be tasked to provide such support. Close air support (CAS), weather permitting, is also a responsive FS means to support and respond to enemy actions in the rear area. Army aviation is another flexible and responsive means to support a friendly response to or independently respond to "hot spots" in the corps or division rear area.


1-43. If corps main CPs are destroyed or lose communications, corps arty CPs can assume responsibility for selective functions temporarily.


1-44. Corps is the lowest level at which nuclear fire planning is conducted. Divisions are responsible for force protection and nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) defenses only, which include strike warnings and conducting vulnerability analyses.

1-45. Residual nuclear planning considerations are addressed in detail in FM 100-30, Nuclear Operations. FM 100-30 requires commanders and staffs at all levels to be familiar with nuclear weapons effects, actions required to minimize such effects on operations, and risks associated with nuclear weapons. Detailed information on how to operate successfully in an environment marked by biological, chemical, or radioactive contamination are found in FMs 25-50, Corps and Division Nuclear Training and 25-51, Battalion Task Force Nuclear Training.

1-46. Army responsibilities for integrating nuclear options into battlefield operations rest with the United States Army Nuclear and Chemical Agency (USANCA). They deploy mobile training teams to augment, train, and exercise with existing nuclear planning staffs. Additionally, artillery warrant officers and Army Chemical Corps officers are trained and certified to conduct nuclear target and effects analyses.


1-47. The US signed the Chemical Weapons Convention on January 13, 1993, and thereby effectively renounced the use of chemical weapons for any reason including retaliation. To deter enemy use of chemical (or biological) weapons, military units must establish and maintain a strong defensive capability against such threats.



1-48. The basic task for a div arty is to provide responsive indirect fires that protect and ensure freedom of maneuver to forces in contact with the enemy in division shaping, decisive and sustaining operations.


1-49. Div arty commanders and AFSCOORDs work closely with division G3s and G2s throughout the planning, preparation, and execution phases of an operation. The schemes of maneuver and of fire are developed at the same time based on the commander's intent. The FSE passes this information to the div arty TOC, which concentrates primarily on divisional counterfires, other shaping fires, and SEAD.

1-50. The division FA support plan implements corps and the division commander's attack guidance to include FA organization for combat, ammunition allocations, positioning instructions, and target selection criteria and designations. Similar to operations at corps, the completed FA support plan becomes part of the force FS plan in the force OPLAN/OPORD. When an FA brigade(s) has been attached to or is reinforcing a div arty, the FA brigade's firing elements are included in the div arty's FA support plan.


1-51. Divisional deep FA fires are interdiction fires that use targeting objectives to destroy, divert, delay, and disrupt uncommitted enemy forces before they can engage friendly forces or to support deep maneuver operations. This includes counterfires and the attack of air defense artillery (ADA) systems, TA systems, and enemy aircraft, and missiles on the ground. To accomplish this task and create favorable conditions for decisive operations, div artys are normally supported by at least two corps FA brigades to provide them with missile fires and additional rocket and cannon firepower.

Divisional Counterfire

1-52. Counterfire responsibilities of division commanders essentially mirror those of corps commanders. They are a major task for div arty commanders within boundaries established by corps. Successful prosecution of the divisional counterfire battle destroys, neutralizes, or suppresses hostile indirect fire systems in both offensive and defensive operations, thereby protecting friendly elements from the effects of enemy artillery fires. This, in turn, provides friendly maneuver forces with the necessary freedom of action and flexibility to prosecute the direct firefight relatively unencumbered by threat artillery fires. This is particularly critical for light units and any mechanized elements conducting dismounted operations, e.g., breech operations.

1-53. Since most threat FA systems are located in a division's AO, the preponderance of counterfire battles will take place within this area. Divisional organic FA counterfire assets are limited to the division (3x6) multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) battalion in heavy divisions supported by its organic target acquisition battery (TAB). One of the two FA brigades that will normally augment a div arty in an attached or reinforcing status may be given the responsibility for planning and executing the division's counterfire battle. However, even in this case, the div arty commander as division FSCOORD retains overall responsibility for orchestrating the division's counterfire effort.

Support of Decisive Operations

1-54. The delivery of FA fires against enemy formations in contact is primarily the responsibility of DS artillery battalions as an integral part of the combined arms team at brigade/battalion task force and company team level. If these capabilities are insufficient, DS artillery may be augmented with fires from div arty or FA brigade units. In addition, close combat operations can be materially supported through counterfires and deep FA interdiction fires as noted above.

Support of Rear Area Battles

1-55. Fires in the rear area are coordinated and cleared by FSEs in rear area CPs. FA support will normally consist of cannon units that have been positioned within range of priority protection points or units with an o/o mission such as a DS o/o mission to support a TCF. Their primary employment will be against Level III threats, requiring commitment of a designated TCF. The use of air assault artillery in this role facilitates rear area coverage and decreases response times, especially if relocation distances are significant. Although Army aviation or Air Force CAS including AC-130H gunships may be the more mobile and responsive FS assets, FA firing units and maneuver force mortars are not as restricted by adverse weather or low visibility conditions at night.

Responsibilities as Alternate Division TOC

1-56. Similar to corps arty TOCs, div arty TOCs have the necessary infrastructure, supporting communications, and situational awareness to assume responsibility for selective division TOC functions for limited periods.



1-57. FA brigades retained under corps control provide the MLRS and cannon systems to attack corps HPTs. As determined by joint and corps FSC/DOCC/targeting elements, these fires may be directed against critical facilities, installations, or troop formations such as counterfire targets, air defense, and TMD nodes.


1-58. Divisional assets available for engaging division HPTs within sector beyond the close battle are limited. Each division is normally reinforced by at least two FA brigades to provide additional fires in the division battlespace. An appropriate mission is for the divisions to assign the responsibility for coordinating and executing the counterfire battle to one of the reinforcing FA brigades. The division must augment that FA brigade HQ with acquisition and processing assets in the form of Firefinder radars and div arty target processing personnel. This allows div arty's FA, using organic assets and the remaining attached or reinforcing FA brigade, to focus on attacking other deep targets or supporting the close battle. Assignment of the divisional counterfire mission should receive prior corps arty concurrence to ensure availability of the FA brigade to perform the counterfire role for the duration of the operation. The FA brigade may also be provided target processing augmentation from the corps arty.


1-59. FA brigades may be tasked to support division decisive operations when given a reinforcing (R) tactical mission to a div arty or when assigned a DS tactical mission or attached to a brigade-sized maneuver element. Assigning two FA brigades in support of a committed division gives the force commander the flexibility to assign one of the FA brigades the counterfire mission, while using the other FA brigade to augment the fires of the div arty in the close area.


1-60. Unless specifically assigned the mission to support a rear area maneuver force, FA brigade elements may be positioned so that they support rear area operations while performing their primary mission in support of the corps or division close and deep battle.


1-61. FA brigades can, for limited periods of time, perform the functions as alternate corps arty or div arty TOC as in the case of div arty displacements. In preparation, FA brigades must track current situations and prepare to assume control over all FA assets and execute corps/div arty-planning functions. This could be a viable role for an FA brigade headquarters not assigned the counterfire mission.



1-62. The basic task of a Marine artillery regiment is to provide close, continuous, and responsive artillery fires that protect and ensure the freedom of maneuver to forces in contact with the enemy in deep, close, and rear operations.


1-63. Regimental commanders and division assistant fire support coordinators (AFSCs) work closely with division G3s throughout the planning, preparation, and execution processes of an operation. The scheme of maneuver and the plan of fires are developed at the same time based on the commander's intent. The fire support coordination center (FSCC) passes this information to the regimental combat operations center (COC), which concentrates primarily on divisional counterfires, deep fires, and SEAD.

1-64. The artillery fire plan implements division FSCC guidance, task organizations, positioning instructions, and target selection criteria and designations. The completed artillery fire plan becomes part of the division FS plan in the division's plan/OPORD. When additional artillery units are attached to or reinforcing a regiment, they are included in the artillery fire plan.


1-65. Divisional deep artillery fires are interdiction fires intended to disrupt, delay, and destroy uncommitted enemy forces before they can engage friendly forces. This includes attack of enemy CPs, ADA, and missiles. To accomplish this task and create favorable conditions for the close battle, a regiment may be reinforced by additional cannon artillery from other artillery regiments and/or rocket/missile artillery provided by the Army.


1-66. Counterfire activities include the targeting and attack of enemy indirect fire weapons, associated equipment, and observers. Counterfire is a major task for the artillery regiment within boundaries established by the Marine air-ground task force (MAGTF) commander. Successful prosecution of the divisional counterfire battle destroys, neutralizes, or suppresses hostile indirect fire weapons in both offensive and defensive operations. This both protects friendly forces from enemy indirect fire and provides friendly forces with the necessary freedom of action to engage the enemy.

1-67. The regiment maintains organic TA and target processing assets; however, organic artillery counterfire assets are essentially nonexistent. The artillery regiment requires additional attached or reinforcing artillery to meet its close support and deep support responsibilities. MLRS units from the Army may reinforce or be OPCON to a regiment to provide counterfires.


1-68. The delivery of artillery fires in support of forces in contact with the enemy is primarily the responsibility of DS artillery battalions. If the DS artillery battalion's capabilities are insufficient, its fires may be reinforced with fires from other artillery units within the regiment.


1-69. Fires in the rear area are coordinated by FSCCs in rear area CPs. Units that have been positioned within range of critical installations or unit concentrations will normally provide artillery support. Scarce artillery resources rarely permit units to be dedicated to rear area FS.


1-70. The entire artillery regiment is rarely deployed as part of an amphibious force. Normally, individual firing batteries are attached to a Marine expeditionary unit (MEU) for amphibious operations. Larger operations will involve the deployment of Marines to meet equipment aboard maritime prepositioned shipping. If the conflict requires the commitment of a Marine division, upon its arrival in theater, the artillery regiment will assume control of all artillery in the division sector.


1-71. A regimental COC with personnel and/or equipment augmentation may be used as the alternate division COC for a limited period of time.

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