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Chapter 8

Separate Brigades and Initial/Interim
Brigade Combat Teams

The MP support separate brigades and IBCTs designed to provide the brigade commander with MP assets that can serve as a force multiplier and that can be employed as an economy of force. The brigade MP platoon is as lethal, flexible, and capable as any other platoon in the MP Corps.
The Army uses separate brigades to inject a small but powerful force where it is needed. It must be able to fight and win while operating on its own for a sustained period of time. It must be able to defend itself on a 360-degree front in war or MOOTW. While there are some variations of separate brigades, it is the heavy separate brigade that is most commonly found within the force.


8-1. The Army's IBCT is a full-spectrum, wheeled combat force. It is employed in all operational environments against all projected future threats. However, it is designed and optimized primarily for employment in small-scale contingency operations in complex and urban terrain, confronting low-end and midrange threats that may employ both conventional and asymmetric capabilities. The IBCT deploys very rapidly, executes early entry, and conducts effective combat operations immediately on arrival to prevent, contain, stabilize, or resolve a conflict through shaping and decisive operations. The IBCT participates in war (with augmentation) as a subordinate maneuver component within a division or a corps and in a variety of possible roles. The IBCT also participates (with appropriate augmentation) in stability and support operations as an initial-entry force or as a guarantor to provide security for stability forces by means of its extensive capabilities.


8-2. MP support to separate brigades is provided by a four-squad MP platoon organic to the brigade HHC. A separate PM cell within the brigade HHC serves as the C2element for the platoon (see Figure 8-1 below). Support to the platoon and the PM section for maintenance, supply, mess, and communications is provided by the brigade HHC. Since the platoon and PM section have no organic support, the MP leadership must perform close coordination for this support. However, the MP platoon must compete with other brigade HHC assets for priority of repair for weapons, vehicles, and communications equipment.

Figure 8-1. MP Support to a Separate Brigade

8-3. The C2of an MP unit supporting separate brigades also extends down from the tactical commander. The separate brigade PM has OPCON of brigade MP assets the same way the division PM has OPCON of division MP assets. This includes any MP assets that may have been provided from the corps. The PM advises the commander of a separate brigade on matters pertaining to MP operations. The platoon leader directs the execution of his platoon's mission based on the priorities set forth by the PM and the supported commander. Since the separate brigade's organic MP platoon is more robust than an MP platoon supporting a division maneuver brigade, METT-TC will determine the requirement for augmentation. However, corps L&O and CID augmentation is required.

8-4. The separate brigade's MP platoon is capable of performing all five MP functions. However, its resources are quite limited. Although the MP squads are employed according to METT-TC, the platoon supporting the separate brigade may have-

  • One squad operating in the EPW collection point.
  • One squad providing a mobile security screen and providing AS around the brigade's main CP.
  • Two squads conducting MMS and AS throughout the brigade's rear area.


8-5. The IBCT is a divisional brigade. It is designed to optimize its organizational effectiveness and to balance the traditional domains of lethality, mobility, and survivability with the domains required for responsiveness, deployability, sustainability, and a reduced in-theater footprint. Its two core qualities are its high mobility (strategic, operational, and tactical) and its ability to achieve decisive action through a dismounted infantry assault. The major fighting components are its motorized infantry battalions. The IBCT has a unique reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA) squadron to enhance situational understanding.

8-6. To achieve a rapid deployment threshold, the brigade's design capitalizes on the widespread use of common vehicular platforms-particularly a highly mobile, medium-weight, combat/CS platform coupled with the minimization of the personnel and logistical footprint on theater. Encompassing a personnel strength of about 3,500 and preconfigured in ready-to-fight combined-arms packages, the entire IBCT can deploy within 96 hours of "first aircraft wheels up" and begin operations immediately upon arrival at the APOD. In essence, the APOD is the TAA. The IBCT cannot conduct forced-entry operations, but it provides the JFC with an improved capability to arrive immediately behind forced-entry forces and begin operations to shape the battle space and to execute decisive action to expedite decisions. Once committed, the IBCT can sustain operations for up to 180 days without relief.

8-7. The IBCT's organization is expandable either through augmentation or scalability (according to METT-TC) in any given contingency. The IBCT is scalable in terms of its ability to accept like-type additional forces to expand core tasks and functions already resident within the IBCT (for example, adding additional infantry or RSTA organizations). The IBCT is also capable of accepting augmentation consisting of units or elements that execute tasks or functions not resident within the IBCT (for example, adding armor, air-defense, MP, or aviation assets). In both cases, added units execute their normal mission-essential task list (METL) tasks and, therefore, will not require extensive training to deploy and operate with the IBCT. In both cases, the IBCT includes the command, control, and communications (C3) capabilities necessary to permit the rapid integration of additional enabling capabilities, particularly for operations outside the scope of small-scale contingency operations (such as stability operations, support operations, and war).

8-8. The IBCT organization excludes other unit-based capabilities often provided in a division slice. However, for each missing capability, the brigade headquarters includes staff cells capable of conducting rudimentary planning and analyses to ensure that all functional-area considerations are incorporated in route planning and preparation for operations. The first MP elements in support of the IBCT are at the brigade headquarters level.

8-9. The MP planning cell is composed of a two-person (a major [MAJ] and a sergeant first class [SFC]) planning cell located within the HHC's maneuver-support cell and under the direct staff supervision of the brigade S3. The role of the MP planning cell is significantly different from that of a traditional division PM or a separate brigade PM. The main difference is in the IBCT's lack of organic or habitual MP assets. However, the absence of organic MP assets makes the job of the MP planning cell that much more critical. The MP planning cell must-

  • Understand the organization, capabilities, and limitations of the IBCT.
  • Conduct effective liaison with higher headquarters PM elements.
  • Become an effective planner and anticipator of MP requirements.
  • Prepare MP staff estimates and employment recommendations.
  • Plan for MP deployment via air, sea, rail, or land.
  • Task-organize MP units effectively and efficiently.
  • Assume C2of incoming MP forces or, if operating under a division or corps, relinquish C2to the division/corps PM or battalion commander (if appropriate for effective employment of MP forces).

8-10. Depending on METT-TC, the brigade may be augmented by MP elements ranging from a platoon to a battalion. In any case, the MP planning cell then becomes a staff planner and coordinator of functional matters pertaining to-

  • Force protection, physical security, and vulnerability countermeasures.
  • Operations for collecting, processing, and evacuating (possibly) EPWs, CIs, and detainees.
  • US military prisoner operations.
  • Operations for processing and controlling dislocated civilians and refugees.
  • Customs and counterdrug operations.
  • Criminal investigations and CID-/MP-investigator support.
  • PIO and establishing links with HN police agencies and other international/interagency law-enforcement agencies.
  • MMS, AS, and L&O operations.
  • Coordination of MP or CID division/echelons above division (EAD) augmentation forces, MWD teams (explosives, narcotics, and patrol), L&O detachments, and MP I/R units through the division, corps, and major Army command (MACOM) PMs.
  • Training guidance to other US forces required to perform MP functions in the absence of MP forces.

8-11. Since the IBCT is a divisional brigade, the division PM and the IBCT MP planning cell play an important role in developing an optimum MP force package to support the brigade commander's concept of operations. Despite the brigade's early-entry timelines, the MP planning cell must consider and plan for MP augmentation forces as early as possible to free valuable combat resources. Small-scale contingency operations that result in numerous EPWs, civilian detainees, and refugees will hamper momentum and freedom of maneuver.

8-12. Once the initial brigade receives MP augmentation (see Figure 8-2), the MP priority of effort during the offense will focus on ensuring that routes remain unencumbered and secure for movement of ground combat, CS, and CSS forces. The MP's priority of effort during the defense will focus on conducting AS and counterreconnaissance along the LOC, C2centers, and CSS bases. The MP may conduct response-force operations or become part of the TCF.

Figure 8-2. MP Support to the IBCT

8-13. Stability and support operations present some unique challenges. The IBCT may be deployed to a geographical area that is politically unstable, that lacks civil control, or that is in complete turmoil. The MP planning cell plans for and coordinates MP support according to available resources and the supported commander's needs. In this scenario (and based on METT-TC), an MP battalion TF could be required to deal with the challenges of-

  • A significant number of refugees or dislocated civilians.
  • AS or force-protection issuesMMS operations.
  • Black-market and criminal investigations.
  • Restoration of order.
  • Civil unrest.
  • Intervention of private and nongovernmental organizations.

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