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This chapter defines, provides planning considerations, and discusses stability operations for the Stryker brigade combat team. US forces are employed in stability operations outside the US and US territories to promote and protect US national interests by influencing political, civil, and military environments and by disrupting specific illegal activities. The SBCT normally performs stability operations as part of a larger, multinational, or unified team but may be required to work independently. The depth and breadth of the SBCT force provides the combatant commander of a unified command with vital options to meet theater operational requirements and to promote regional stability.


Stability operations promote and protect US national interests by influencing the threat, political, and information dimensions of the operational environment through a combination of peacetime developmental and cooperative activities and coercive actions in response to crises (FM 3-0). Army force presence promotes a secure environment in which diplomatic and economic programs, designed to eliminate root causes of instability, may flourish. Presence can take the form of forward basing, forward deploying, or prepositioning assets in an AO. Army forces have the ability to establish and maintain a credible presence as long as necessary to achieve the desired results. Army force presence as part of a unified command's theater engagement plan (TEP) often keeps situations from escalating into war.


The overarching purpose of stability operations is to promote and sustain regional and global stability. These operations may complement and reinforce offensive, defensive, and support operations. Army forces conduct stability operations in crisis situations and before, during, and after offensive, defensive, and support operations. In a crisis situation, a stability operation can deter conflict or prevent its escalation. During hostilities, it can help keep armed conflict from spreading as well as assist and encourage committed partners and allies. Following hostilities, a stability operation can provide a secure environment in which civil authorities can work to rebuild lost infrastructure and resume vital services. Demonstrating the credible ability to conduct offensive and defensive operations within peacetime military engagements underlies successful stability operations.

a.   Stability operations are inherently complex and place great demands on the organization's small-unit leadership. Junior leaders are required to develop skills associated with non-combat and nation-building issues while maintaining essential warfighting skills. Capable, trained, disciplined, and high-quality leaders, soldiers, and teams are especially critical to the success of stability operations. Soldiers and units at every level must be flexible and adaptive. Stability operations often require the mental and physical agility and capability to shift from non-combat to combat operations and back again.

b.   Stability operations demonstrate American resolve through the commitment of time, resources, and forces to establish and reinforce diplomatic and military ties. Military forces conduct these operations to accomplish one or more of the activities listed below:

  • Protect national interests.
  • Promote peace and deter aggression.
  • Satisfy treaty obligations or enforce agreements and policies.
  • Reassure allies, friendly governments, and agencies.
  • Encourage a weak or faltering government.
  • Maintain or restore order.
  • Protect life and property.
  • Demonstrate resolve.
  • Prevent, deter, or respond to terrorism.
  • Reduce the threat of conventional arms and WMD to regional security.
  • Protect freedom from oppression, subversion, lawlessness, and insurgency.
  • Promote sustainable and responsive institutions.

c.   Stability operations may include both developmental and coercive actions. Developmental actions enhance a host nation government's willingness and ability to care for its people. Coercive actions apply carefully prescribed limited force or the threat of force to change the environment of the AO. For example, rapidly responding to a smaller-scale contingency operation can diffuse a crisis situation and restore regional stability.

d.   Stability operations complement and are complemented by offensive, defensive, and support operations. Stability operations help restore law and order during support operations in unstable areas. Similarly, offensive and defensive operations may be necessary to defeat adversaries intent on preventing the success of a stability operation. The ability of Army forces to stabilize a crisis is related to their ability to attack and defend. For example, shows of force often precede offensive and defensive operations in attempts to deter aggression and provide opportunities for diplomatic and economic solutions.

e.   Stability operations vary by type and are further differentiated by the specific factors of METT-TC. The SBCT performs many familiar core tactical missions and tasks during stability operations. The purposes of operations, the special constraints on commanders, and the unique missions and tasks, however, differentiate stability operations from other operations.

f.   Ideally, the SBCT receives advance notice of stability operation missions and has time to complete a preparatory training program before deploying. In other cases, the SBCT may deploy and assume stability operation responsibilities on short notice. In those cases, the SBCT relies on its training in the fundamental tasks (such as command and control, patrolling, reporting, establishing OPs, and maintaining unit security) and trains to specific mission tasks during the operation.

g.   The SBCT's C2 INFOSYS can reach the continental United States (CONUS) information support assets in addition to using theater assets. The ability of the SBCT's C2 INFOSYS to rapidly distribute information internally is of great value in stability operations. As in combat operations, digitized units in stability operations must make special provisions for communicating with analog units and systems. In stability operations, commanders must emphasize cooperation and communication with joint headquarters, multinational units, civilian authorities, and nongovernmental organizations. Additionally, close association with the population in the AO typifies many stability operations. The broad imperatives of stability operations are—

  • Protect the force.
  • Conduct active information operations.
  • Maximize joint, multinational, and interagency cooperation.
  • Present the clear ability to apply force without threatening its use.
  • Apply force as precisely and selectively as possible.
  • Understand the potential for grave consequences originating from soldier and small unit actions.
  • Act decisively to prevent escalation of violence.


Stability operations are conducted in a dynamic environment. These operations are normally nonlinear and often conducted in noncontiguous areas of operations. They are often time- and manpower-intensive. The commander and staff must analyze each aspect of the mission and adapt the factors of METT-TC to fit the situation. SBCT and subordinate unit missions should be viewed as decisive, shaping, or sustaining operations. Determining and executing the military actions necessary to achieve the desired end state can be more challenging than in situations requiring offensive and defensive operations.

a.   Mission and Enemy. During all operations, the commander and his staff must constantly assess the situation in terms of the application and interrelation of the factors of METT-TC. However, stability operations often require the application of METT-TC differently than they would when conducting offensive and defensive operations.

(1)   The "enemy," for example, may be a set of ambiguous but sophisticated threats and potential adversaries. The unit mission may change as the situation becomes less or more stable. A mission can be as simple as conducting a briefing to host nation forces in a military to military exchange or as difficult as conducting combat operations to accomplish a peace enforcement mission. Stability may be threatened for a number of reasons, and the enemy may be difficult to define or isolate. Depending upon the progress of the operation, the complexity of the mission may change quickly.

(2)   Stability operations help restore law and order in unstable areas outside of the US and its territories. However, the mere presence of the SBCT and cooperating forces does not guarantee stability. Offensive and defensive operations may be necessary to defeat enemies that oppose a stability operation and may need to be executed with significant constraints. The ability of forces to stabilize a crisis is directly related to their perceived ability to attack, defend, and conduct other combat operations as necessary. This agility is a hallmark of the SBCT.

b.   Terrain and Weather, Troops and Support Available. Different factors may be important when analyzing the terrain and the troops and support available in stability operations. What constitutes key terrain may be based more on political and social considerations than the physical features of the area of operations. The troops available may include both organic units and nontraditional assets such as host nation police units, contracted interpreters and laborers, or multinational forces. The level of integration and cohesion of a force composed of diverse assets is a key consideration for mission success.

c.   Time Available and Civil Considerations. Time considerations normally are substantially different in stability operations. The goals of a stability operation may not be achievable in the short term. Success often requires perseverance—a long-term commitment to solving the real problem. SBCT operations may be part of the continuum of this long-term commitment. The achievement of these goals may take years. Conversely, daily operations may require rapid responses to changing conditions based on unanticipated localized conflict among competing groups. Civil considerations are especially critical in stability operations. The civil population, host nation government, nongovernmental organizations, and international organizations can greatly affect achieving stability.

d.   Small Unit Leaders. Stability operations are inherently complex and place great demands on small units and small unit leaders. Small unit leaders may be required to develop or improve interpersonal skills-such as cultural awareness, negotiating techniques, and critical language phrases-while maintaining warfighting skills. They must also remain calm and exercise good judgment under considerable pressure. Soldiers and units at every level must be flexible and adaptive. Often, stability operations require leaders with the mental and physical agility to shift from noncombat to combat operations and back again.


Stability operations typically fall into ten broad types that are neither discrete nor mutually exclusive. For example, a force engaged in a peace operation may also find itself conducting arms control or a show of force to set the conditions for achieving an end state. This section provides an introductory discussion of stability operations; for more detailed information, refer to FM 3-0 and FM 100-20. Types of stability operations are as follows:

  • Peace operations.
  • Peacekeeping.
  • Peace enforcement.
  • Operation in support of diplomatic efforts.
  • Foreign internal defense.
  • Security assistance.
  • Humanitarian and civic assistance.
  • Support to insurgencies.
  • Support to counterdrug operations.
  • Combating terrorism.
  • Noncombatant evacuation operations.
  • Arms control.
  • Show of force.


Peace operations (PO) support strategic and policy objectives and the diplomatic activities that implement them. POs include peacekeeping operations (PKO), peace enforcement operations (PEO), and support to diplomatic operations. Although the US normally participates in PO under the sponsorship of the United Nations (UN) or another multinational organization, it reserves the right to conduct peace operations unilaterally. Optimally, forces should not transition from one PO role to another unless there is a change of mandate or a political decision with appropriate adjustments to force structure, ROE, and other aspects of the mission. Nevertheless, just as in other operations, it is crucial that commanders and staffs continually assess the mission. In peace operations, this translates into planning for possible or likely transitions. Examples include transitioning from a US unilateral operation or multinational coalition to a UN-led coalition, from combat to noncombat operations, or from military to civilian control.

a.   Peacekeeping Operations. Peacekeeping operations are military operations that are undertaken with the consent of all major parties to a dispute. They are designed to monitor and facilitate implementation of agreements (such as a cease-fire or truce) and to support diplomatic efforts to reach a long-term political settlement (JP 3-07.3). Before PKO begin, a credible truce or ceasefire is in effect, and the belligerent parties consent to the operation.

(1)   In peacekeeping operations, the SBCT must use all its capabilities, short of coercive force, to gain and maintain the initiative. The SBCT may be assigned a variety of missions designed to monitor peace and stability and to improve the humanitarian environment. The following are examples of PKO missions:

  • Deter violent acts by the PKO force's physical presence at critical locations.
  • Conduct liaison with disputing parties.
  • Verify the storage or destruction of military equipment.
  • Verify disarmament and demobilization of selected disputing forces.
  • Negotiate and mediate.
  • Investigate alleged cease-fire violations, boundary incidents, and complaints.
  • Collect information about the disputing forces, using all available assets.
  • Contend with ambiguous, tense, or violent situations without becoming a participant, in compliance with the ROE, ROI, and preparatory training.
  • Provide security for prisoner of war (POW) exchange.
  • Supervise disengagements and withdrawals.
  • Assist civil authorities.
  • Support local elections.
  • Provide relief to refugees and internally displaced persons.
  • Restore emergency and basic infrastructure functions.
  • Transition to peace enforcement or combat operations. (The SBCT must train to ensure that the force has the ability to respond to a contingency plan requiring an increase in the use of force.)

(2)   JP 3-07.3, FM 100-23, and FM 100-20 provide additional details on PKO-related tasks. Army forces conducting PKO rely on the legitimacy acknowledged by all major belligerents and international or regional organizations to obtain objectives. They do not use force unless required to defend the soldiers or accomplish the mission. Intelligence and information operations are important in PKO to provide the commander with the information he needs to make appropriate decisions, protect the force, and to ensure the success of subordinate PKO-related efforts.

b.   Peace Enforcement Operations. Peace enforcement operations involve the application of military force or the threat of military force to compel compliance with resolutions or sanctions designed to maintain or restore peace and order. By definition, PEO are coercive in nature and rely on the threat or use of force. However, the impartiality with which the peace force treats all parties and the nature of its objectives separates PEO from war. PEO support diplomatic efforts to restore peace and represent an escalation from peacekeeping operations.

(1)   In peace enforcement operations, the SBCT may use force to coerce hostile factions into ceasing and desisting violent actions. These factions usually have not consented to intervention, and they may be engaged in combat activities. The SBCT conducting a peace enforcement operation must be ready to apply elements of combat power to achieve the following:

  • Forcible separation of belligerents.
  • Establishment and supervision of protected areas.
  • Sanction and exclusion zone enforcement.
  • Movement denial and guarantee.
  • Restoration and maintenance of order.
  • Protection of humanitarian assistance.
  • Relief to refugees and internally displaced persons.
  • Support for the return of refugee operations.

(2)   The nature of PEOs dictate that Army forces assigned a PEO mission must be capable of conducting combat operations. Maintaining and demonstrating a credible combat capability is essential for successful PEO. Units must be able to apply sufficient combat power to protect themselves and forcefully accomplish assigned tasks. Units must also be ready to transition quickly either to PKO or to offensive and defensive operations, if required.

c.   Operations in Support of Diplomatic Efforts. Forces may conduct operations in support of diplomatic efforts to establish peace and order before, during, and after a conflict. These operations include preventive diplomacy, peacemaking, and peace building. Military support of diplomatic activities improves the chances for success by lending credibility to diplomatic actions and demonstrating resolve to achieve viable political settlements.

(1)   Preventive Diplomacy. Preventive diplomacy is diplomatic action taken in advance of a predictable crisis to prevent or limit violence. Army forces are not normally directly involved in preventive diplomacy but may support a State Department effort by providing transportation and communications assets. In some cases, military forces may conduct a preventive deployment or show of force as part of the overall effort to deter conflict.

(2)   Peacemaking. Peacemaking is the process of diplomacy, mediation, negotiation, or other forms of peaceful settlement that arranges an end to a dispute and resolves the issue that led to the conflict (JP 3-07.3). Peacemaking includes military actions that support the diplomatic process. Army forces participate in these operations primarily by performing military-to-military contacts, exercises, peacetime deployments, and security assistance. Peacemaking operations also serve to influence important regional and host nation political and military groups.

(3)   Peace Building. Peace building consists of post-conflict actions, predominately diplomatic and economic, that strengthen and rebuild governmental infrastructure and institutions in order to avoid a relapse into conflict (JP 3-07.3). Military actions that support peace building are designed to identify, restore, and support structures that strengthen and solidify peace. Typical peace-building activities include restoring civil authority, rebuilding physical infrastructure, providing structures and training for schools and hospitals, and helping to reestablish commerce. When executing peace-building operations, Army forces complement the efforts of nonmilitary agencies and local governments. Many of the actions that support peace building are also performed in longer-term foreign internal defense (FID) operations.


Foreign internal defense (FID) is the participation by civilian and military agencies of a government in any action programs taken by another government to free and protect its society from subversion, lawlessness, and insurgency (JP 1-02). The main objective of FID is to promote stability by helping a host nation establish and maintain institutions and facilities responsive to its people's needs. Army forces engaged in FID normally advise and assist host-nation forces conducting operations to increase their capabilities.

a.   Generally, US forces do not engage in combat operations as part of an FID operation. However, on rare occasions when the threat to US interests is great and indirect means are insufficient, US combat operations may be directed to support a host nation's efforts. When conducting FID operations, Army forces provide military supplies, military advice, tactical and technical training, as well as intelligence and logistics support (not involving combat operations). The SBCT's primary roles in nation-assistance operations are usually similar to its roles in peace-building operations. If involved in these operations, an SBCT is most likely to be a force provider rather than lead the effort themselves.

b.   SBCT forces conduct FID operations in accordance with JP 3-07.1 and FM 100-20. They provide indirect support, direct support (not involving combat operations), or conduct combat operations to support a host nation's efforts.

(1)   Indirect Support. Indirect support emphasizes the principles of host nation self-sufficiency and builds strong national infrastructures through economic and military capabilities (JP 3-07.1). Security assistance programs, multinational exercises, and exchange programs are examples of indirect support. Indirect support reinforces the legitimacy and primacy of the host-nation government in addressing internal problems.

(2)   Direct Support. Direct support provides direct assistance to the host nation civilian populace or military (JP 3-07.1). Examples of DS include civil-military operations, intelligence and communications sharing, and logistics. DS does not usually involve the transfer of arms and equipment or the training of local military forces.

(3)   Combat Operations. Combat operations include offensive and defensive operations conducted by US forces to support a host nation's fight against insurgents or terrorists. The use of US forces in combat operations should only be a temporary measure. Direct involvement by the US military can damage the legitimacy and credibility of the host-nation government and security forces. Eventually, host-nation forces must be strengthened to stabilize the situation and provide security for the populace independently.

c.   FID demands a long-term investment. The factors that led to instability in the region or an insurgency compound over time. The host nation and its supporters cannot expect to correct years of problems and their consequences quickly. The affected segments of society must see that the changes being introduced are lasting and that they address the problems.

d.   US forces must conduct FID operations while subjected to close scrutiny. Hostile information operations will attempt to exploit the presence of foreign (US or allies other than host nation) troops to discredit the host-nation government and the US. Domestic and world opinion may hold the US responsible for the actions of the host nation as well as for the actions of American forces.


Humanitarian and civic assistance (HCA) programs provide assistance to the host nation populace in conjunction with military operations and exercises. The very nature of HCA programs frequently dictates that additional engineer units and support capabilities will augment the SBCT. In contrast to humanitarian and disaster relief operations, HCA programs are planned activities. HCA programs must be in compliance with Title 10, United States Code, Sections 401, 401(E),(5), and Section 2551. For additional information on selected sections of Title 10 US Code for medical support, see Appendix L of FM 8-42. See AR 40-400 for information on emergency medical treatment for local national civilians during stability operations. Humanitarian and civic actions are limited to the following categories:

  • Medical, dental, and veterinary care provided in rural areas of a country.
  • Construction of rudimentary surface transportation systems.
  • Well drilling and construction of basic sanitation facilities.
  • Rudimentary construction and repair of public facilities.


The US supports insurgencies that oppose regimes that threaten US interests or regional stability. While any Army force can support an insurgency, Army special operations forces (ARSOF) almost exclusively receive these missions. The US supports only those forces that consistently demonstrate respect for human rights. Given their training, organization, and regional focus, ARSOF are well-suited for these operations. While conventional Army forces can be tasked to support an insurgency, they cooperate with insurgents under the command of a ground component or joint force commander. Conventional US forces supporting insurgencies may provide logistic and training support but normally do not conduct combat operations.


Military support to counterinsurgencies is based on the recognition that military power alone is incapable of achieving true and lasting success. More specifically, American military power cannot ensure the survival of regimes that fail to meet the basic needs of their people. Support to counterinsurgency includes, but is not limited to, FID, security, and humanitarian as well as civic assistance (JP 3-07).

a.   The SBCT most often conducts counterinsurgency operations by providing security for a host nation. The security operations include security of facilities and installations, defensive operations, and protection of the local population. SBCT activities directly or indirectly support the host government's efforts to establish itself with the citizens as the legitimate and competent authority in the nation.

b.   For American military power to be effective in supporting a counterinsurgency, the supported government must address or revise its policies that affect the disaffected portions of the country's population. Insurgencies are usually an end result of the problem, not the cause of it. There will be few immediate, decisive results of operations against insurgent forces. When they do occur, the results are short-lived unless the government acts just as decisively to address the long-term problems that underlie the insurgency.

c.   American military programs and actions promote a secure environment in which to implement programs designed to eliminate both the causes of the insurgency and the insurgents. The fundamental cause of large-scale insurgent activities stems from dissatisfaction with standing ethnic, religious, political, social, or economic conditions by some sizable portion of the population.

d.   Within the restrictions of international law and US policy, commanders make maximum use of host nation forces and personnel for all possible activities. These activities include offensive and defensive operations, protection of the civilian populace, security of critical facilities and installations, intelligence and counterintelligence tasks, new construction and reconstruction, psychological operations, police duties, and civil affairs. Ultimately, the host nation, not its American support, must prevail.

e.   Army support of counterinsurgencies is conducted in the context of the US ambassador's country plan and the host nation's specific internal defense and development (IDAD) strategy. Its goal is to integrate all resources—civilian and military, public and private—so that defensive and development efforts complement each other and lead to improvement in the economic, social, and political well-being of supported peoples. Army forces can directly assist in development programs by helping government and private agencies provide essential supplies and services.

f.   Support to counterinsurgencies helps supported governments deal with the two principal groups involved: the insurgents and the people. Army forces help a supported government protect the people from insurgent violence and separate them from insurgent control. These actions require the use of persuasion, prosecution, and destruction to attack insurgent leadership and organization. The goal is to deny insurgent organizations sources of personnel, materiel, funds, and intelligence.

g.   Army forces help the supported government's police, paramilitary, and military forces perform counterinsurgency, area security, or local security operations while respecting the rights and dignity of the people. They provide advice and assistance in finding, dispersing, capturing, and destroying insurgent forces. They emphasize the training of national, state, and local forces to perform essential defense functions. Their aim is to provide a secure environment in which development programs can take effect. Examples of US security assistance programs are foreign military sales, foreign military financing, international military education and training (IMET), economic support fund, and commercial sales licensed under the Army Export Control Act.


Army forces support security assistance efforts by training, advising, and assisting allied and friendly armed forces. Security assistance includes the participation of Army forces in any of a group of programs by which the US provides defense articles, military training, and other defense-related services to foreign nations by grant, loan, credit, or cash sales in furtherance of national policies and objectives (JP 3-07).


In 1986 the president issued National Security Directive 221, which defines drug-trafficking as a threat to national security. It is also a threat to the stability of many friendly nations. Two principles guide Army support to counterdrug (CD) operations. The first principle is to use military capabilities both to benefit the supported agency and to train our soldiers and units. The second is to ensure that military members do not become directly involved in law enforcement activities. Army forces may be employed in a variety of operations to support other agencies that are responsible for detecting, disrupting, interdicting, and destroying illicit drugs and the infrastructure (personnel, materiel, and distribution systems) of illicit drug-trafficking entities.

a.   Counterdrug operations are always conducted in support of one or more governmental agencies. These include the Coast Guard, Customs Service, Department of State, Drug Enforcement Agency, and Border Patrol of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. When operating inside the US and its territories, counterdrug operations are considered support operations and are subject to restrictions under the Posse Comitatus Act.

b.   Whether operating in the US or in a host nation, Army forces do not engage in direct action during counterdrug operations. Units that support counterdrug operations must be fully aware of legal limitations regarding acquiring information on civilians, both US and foreign. Typical support to counterdrug operations includes the following activities:

  • Detection and monitoring.
  • Host nation support.
  • Command, control, communications, and computers.
  • Intelligence support.
  • Planning support.
  • Logistics support.
  • Training support.
  • Manpower support.
  • Research, development, and acquisition.
  • Reconnaissance.


Terrorism is the calculated use of unlawful violence or the threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear. It is intended to coerce or intimidate governments or societies in pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological (JP 3-07.2). Enemies who cannot compete with Army forces conventionally often turn to terrorism. Terrorist attacks often create a disproportionate effect on even the most capable of conventional forces. Army forces conduct operations to defeat these attacks. An SBCT uses offensive operations to counter terrorism and defensive measures to support antiterrorism operations. The tactics employed by terrorists include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Arson.
  • Hijacking.
  • Maiming.
  • Seizure.
  • Assassination.
  • Hostage taking.
  • Sabotage.
  • Hoaxes.
  • Bombing.
  • Kidnapping.
  • Raids and ambushes.
  • Use of NBC.

a.   Counterterrorism. Counterterrorism refers to offensive measures taken to prevent, deter, and respond to terrorism (JP 1-02). Army forces participate by supporting the full array of counterterrorism actions, including strikes and raids against terrorist organizations and facilities. Counterterrorism is a specified mission for selected special operations forces that operate under direct control of the President, Secretary of Defense, or under a unified command arrangement. However, an SBCT infantry battalion may conduct conventional small-unit raids against terrorist forces in support of counterterrorism operations.

b.   Antiterrorism. Antiterrorism includes defensive measures used to reduce the vulnerability of individuals and property to terrorist attacks to include limited response and containment by local military forces (JP 1-02). Antiterrorism is always a mission consideration and a component of force protection. Antiterrorism must be a priority for all forces during all operations—offensive, defensive, stability, and support. US units may be high priority targets for terrorists because of the notoriety and media attention that follows an attack on an American target. Experience shows that sensational acts of terrorism against US forces can have a strategic effect. The 1983 bombing of the US Marine barracks in Lebanon, for example, resulted in a change in US policy. Commanders must take the security measures necessary to accomplish the mission by protecting the force against terrorism. Typical antiterrorism actions include:

  • Coordination with local law enforcement.
  • Siting and hardening of facilities.
  • Physical security actions designed to prevent unauthorized access or approach to facilities.
  • Crime prevention and physical security actions that prevent theft of weapons, munitions, identification cards, and other materials.
  • Policies regarding travel, size of convoys, breaking of routines, host nation interaction, and off-duty restrictions.
  • Protection from weapons of mass destruction.


Army forces may conduct a noncombatant evacuation operation (NEO) to support the Department of State in evacuating noncombatants and nonessential military personnel from locations in a foreign nation to the US or an appropriate safe haven. Normally, these operations involve US citizens whose lives are in danger either from the threat of hostilities or from a natural disaster. They may also include selected citizens of the host nation or third-country nationals. The NEO may take place in a permissive, uncertain, or hostile environment and can be either unopposed or resisted by hostile crowds, guerrillas, or conventional forces. Most often, the evacuation force commander has little influence over the local situation. The commander may not have the authority to use military measures to preempt hostile actions, yet he must be prepared to defend the evacuees and his force. A key factor in NEO planning is correctly appraising the political-military environment in which the force will operate. The NEO can be a prelude to combat actions, a part of deterrent actions, or a part of peace operations.


Army forces can play a vital role in arms control. Army elements may be involved in locating, seizing, and destroying weapons of mass destruction after hostilities, as they were following Operation Desert Storm. Other actions include escorting authorized deliveries of weapons and materiel (such as enriched uranium) to preclude loss or unauthorized use, inspecting and monitoring production and storage facilities, and training foreign forces in the security of weapons and facilities. Arms control operations are normally conducted to support arms control treaties and enforcement agencies. Forces may conduct arms control during combat or stability operations to prevent escalation of the conflict and reduce instability. This could include the mandated disarming of belligerents as part of a peace operation. The collection, storing, and destruction of conventional munitions and weapons systems can deter belligerents from re-instigating hostilities. Specific Army force capabilities, including engineers and explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) personnel, are particularly suited to these operations. Companies at checkpoints and conducting patrols have some part to play in controlling, seizing, and destroying weapons. Arms control assists in force protection and increases security for the local populace.


A show of force is an operation designed to demonstrate US resolve that involves increased visibility of US deployed forces in an attempt to defuse a specific situation that, if allowed to continue, may be detrimental to US interests or national objectives (JP 1-02). The show of force can influence other government or political-military organizations to respect US interests and international law. The SBCT may participate in a show of force as part of a temporary buildup in a specific region, by conducting a combined training exercise, or by demonstrating an increased level of readiness. The US conducts shows of force for three principal reasons: to bolster and reassure allies, to deter potential aggressors, and to gain or increase influence.

a.   A combatant commander may have established force deployment options as part of an existing contingency plan. These shows of force are designated as flexible deterrence options (FDOs). For Army forces, show of force operations usually involve the deployment or buildup of military forces in an AO, an increase in the readiness status and level of activity of designated forces, or a demonstration of operational capabilities by forces already in the region.

b.   A show of force is designed to demonstrate a credible and specific threat to an aggressor or potential aggressor. The mere presence of forces does not demonstrate resolve or deter aggression. To achieve the desired effect, forces must be perceived as powerful, capable, and backed by the political will to use them. An effective show of force must be demonstrably mission-capable and sustainable.

c.   Although actual combat is not desired when conducting a show of force, the SBCT commander must be prepared for an escalation to combat. Commanders must organize their units as if they intend to accomplish the mission by the use of force. Units assigned a show of force mission assume that combat is not only possible, but is probable. All actions ordinarily associated with the projection of a force to conduct combat operations pertain to show of force deployments.


Stability operations, with the exception of specific actions undertaken in combating terrorism, support to counterdrug operations, and noncombatant evacuation operations, tend to be decentralized operations over extended distances. As such, the SBCT's activities consist largely of separated small-unit operations conducted across an assigned AO. The SBCT must conduct these operations with consistency, impartiality, and discipline to encourage cooperation from indigenous forces and garner popular support.


Subordinate commanders to the SBCT need maximum flexibility in executing their missions. The SBCT commander should give his commanders specific responsibilities and ensure they understand his intent.

a.   SBCT commanders must achieve mass, concentration, and their objective must not become so decentralized as to piecemeal their efforts. The C2 INFOSYS facilitate tracking and supervising this kind of operation and give the SBCT commander and his subordinate commanders unparalleled clarity about their situations.

b.   Given the volatile and politically charged nature of most stability operations, the SBCT's individual and small-unit actions can have consequences disproportionate to the level of command or amount of force involved. In some cases, tactical operations and individual actions can have strategic consequences. Preventing these problems requires disciplined, knowledgeable leaders and soldiers at every level who understand the potential consequences of the actions they take or fail to take.


The rules of engagement are directives issued by competent military authority that explain the circumstances and limitations under which US forces initiate and continue combat engagement with encountered opposition. The ROE reflect the requirements of the law of war, operational concerns, and political considerations when military force shifts from peace activities to combat operations and back to the peace phase of an operation. These requirements are the primary means the commander uses to convey legal, political, diplomatic, and military guidance to the military force for handling the crisis in peacetime.

a.   Tactical and legal channels cooperate closely when formulating ROE. The tacticians, usually represented by the S3, determine the desired intent of the ROE. The staff judge advocate puts that intent into legal terms.

b.   Generally, the commander permits a wider use of military force in wartime through ROE. The ROE restrict the use of military force to achieve political objectives. In all operations, the commander is legally responsible for the care and treatment of civilians and property in the AO until transferred to a proper government. The ROE assist the commander in fulfilling these responsibilities. ROE vary in different conflicts and often change during the respective phases from combat or crisis through peace building or nation assistance. Even during a single-phase of operation, the rules are amended at different levels of command, which may result in confusion.

c.   The ROE must be consistent with training and equipment capabilities. When necessary, command guidance clarifies the ROE. While the rules must be tailored to the situation, the SBCT should observe that nothing in such rules negates a commander's obligation to take all necessary and appropriate action in unit self-defense, allowing soldiers to protect themselves from deadly threats. The ROE rule out the use of some weapons and impose special limitations on the use of weapons. Examples include the requirements for warning shots, single shot engagements, and efforts to wound rather than kill. An SBCT deploying for stability operations trains its soldiers to interpret and apply the ROE effectively. It is imperative for everyone to understand the ROE since small-unit leaders and individual soldiers must make ROE decisions promptly and independently.

d.   The ROE are normally developed with political considerations in mind and come from Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS)-level decisions. Changes to the ROE can result from immediate tactical emergencies at the local level. The SBCT commander should be able to request changes to the ROE; changes are requested through the operational chain of command and must be approved by the designated authority, usually division or higher-level command. Commanders at all levels need to know the request channels for ROE as well as the procedures to obtain approval for recommended changes to the ROE. Situations requiring an immediate change to the ROE could include introduction of combat forces from a hostile nation, attacks by sophisticated weapon systems including NBC, or incidents resulting in loss of life. These situations should be war-gamed and request channels exercised.

e.   The ROE are established for, disseminated down to, and understood by individual soldiers. However, the ROE cannot cover every situation. Soldiers at all levels must understand the intent of the ROE and act accordingly despite any military disadvantage that may occur. The commander responsible for ROE formulation should consider including an intent portion that describes the desired end state of the operation as well as conflict-termination considerations. These considerations assist commanders and leaders at all levels in situations not clearly addressed in an OPORD.


The rules of interaction embody the human dimension of stability operations. They lay the foundation for successful relationships with the numerous factions and individuals that play critical roles in these operations. The ROI encompass an array of interpersonal communication skills such as persuasion and negotiation. These skills are the tools that the individual soldier needs in order to deal with the nontraditional threats that are prevalent in stability operations, including political friction, unfamiliar cultures, and conflicting ideologies. In turn, ROI enhance the soldier's survivability in such situations. The ROI are based on the applicable ROE for a certain operation. The ROI must be tailored to the specific regions, cultures, and populations affected by the operation. Like ROE, the ROI can be effective only if they are thoroughly rehearsed and understood by every soldier in the unit.


Protection has four components: force protection, field discipline, safety, and fratricide avoidance. Force protection, the primary component, minimizes the effects of enemy firepower (including weapons of mass destruction), terrorism, maneuver, and information. Field discipline precludes losses from hostile environments. Safety reduces the inherent risk of nonbattle deaths and injuries. Fratricide avoidance minimizes the inadvertent killing or maiming of soldiers by friendly fires. Force protection requires special consideration in stability operations since threats may be different and, in some cases, opposing forces may seek to kill or wound US soldiers or destroy or damage property for political purposes. Commanders attempt to accomplish a mission with minimal loss of personnel, equipment, and supplies by integrating force protection considerations into all aspects of operational planning and execution. Commanders and leaders throughout the brigade deliberately analyze their missions and environments to identify threats to their units. They then make their soldiers aware of the dangers and create safeguards to protect them. Commanders must always consider the aspects of force protection and how they relate to the ROE. Some considerations are—

  • Secure the inside perimeter if the host nation secures the outside perimeter.
  • Avoid becoming a lucrative target and do not become predictable.
  • Include security in each plan, SOP, OPORD, and movement order.
  • Develop specific security programs such as threat awareness and OPSEC.
  • Restrict access of unassigned personnel to the unit's location.
  • Constantly maintain an image of professionalism and readiness.
  • Consider force protection throughout the range of military operations; base the degree of security established on a continuous threat assessment.
  • Force protection consists of OPSEC, deception, health and morale, safety, and avoidance of fratricide.

a.   Operations Security. OPSEC considerations include the following:

(1)   COMSEC is as important in stability operations as it is in conventional military operations. Belligerent parties can monitor telephones and radios. However, the need to maintain transparency of the force's intentions in stability operations is a factor when considering OPSEC.

(2)   Maintaining neutrality contributes to protecting the force. In stability operations, the entire force safeguards information about deployment, positions, strengths, and equipment of one side from the other. If one side suspects that the force is giving information to the other side, either deliberately or inadvertently, one or both parties to the dispute may become uncooperative and jeopardize the success of the operation, thus putting the force at risk from this loss of legitimacy.

(2)   The force must take precautions to protect positions, headquarters, support facilities, and base camps. These precautions may include obstacles and fortifications. Units also practice alert procedures and develop drills to occupy positions rapidly. A robust engineer force provides support to meet survivability needs.

(4)   MP forces establish and maintain roadblocks. If MP forces are unavailable, other forces within the SBCT may assume this responsibility. As a minimum, the area should be highly visible and defensible with an armed overwatch.

(5)   The single most proactive measure for survivability is individual awareness by soldiers in all circumstances. Soldiers must look for things out of place and patterns preceding aggression. Commanders should ensure soldiers remain alert, do not establish a routine, maintain appearance and bearing, and keep a low profile.

b.   Health and Morale. Stability operations often require special consideration of soldier health, welfare, and morale factors. These operations frequently involve deployment to an austere, immature theater with limited life support infrastructure. Commanders must consider these factors when assigning missions and planning rotations of units into and within the theater.

c.   Safety. Commanders in stability operations may reduce the chance of mishap by conducting risk assessments, assigning a safety officer and staff, conducting a safety program, and seeking advice from local personnel. The safety program should begin with training conducted before deployment, and it should be continuous. Training includes awareness of the safety risks in the natural environment, terrain, road conditions and local driving habits, access to or possession of live ammunition, unlocated or uncleared mine fields, and special equipment such as armored vehicles and other factors that present special hazards. These other factors may include details on water or waste treatment facilities and other natural or cultural aspects of the area that may constitute a hazard to troops.

d.   Avoidance of Fratricide. Most measures taken to avoid fratricide in stability operations are no different than those taken during combat operations. However, commanders must consider other factors such as local hires or IO personnel or civilians that may be as much at risk as US forces. Accurate information about the location and activity of both friendly and hostile forces and an aggressive airspace management plan assist commanders in avoiding fratricide. (See Appendix C, Risk Management and Fratricide Avoidance.)


In conducting stability operations, the SBCT commander organizes his command's assets for the type of mission he must perform, integrating any attached assets and the assets from higher headquarters to accomplish the mission. The SBCT organization must enable the brigade to meet changing situations; thus, the commander must consider which resources to allocate to his subordinate units and which to maintain control of at the SBCT headquarters. Task organization and support arrangements change frequently during long-term stability operations. Commanders must frequently shift the support of engineers, medical units, and aviation units from one area or task to another. The C2 INFOSYS provide the battalion with an excellent means of tracking and directing operations; therefore, soldiers operating the C2 INFOSYS must be well trained in the use of these valuable systems.

a.   Augmentation. The unique aspects of stability operations may require additional personnel and augmentation cells to support unique force-tailoring requirements and personnel shortfalls. Augmentation supports coordination with the media, government agencies, NGOs, IOs, other multinational forces, and civil-military elements. METT-TC considerations will drive the augmentation.

b.   Liaison. Commanders may consider task organizing small liaison teams to deal with situations that develop with the local population. Teams can free up maneuver elements and facilitate negotiation. Teams must have linguists and personnel who have the authority to negotiate on behalf of the chain of command. Unit ministry, engineers, CA, counterintelligence, linguistics, and logistics personnel may be candidates for such teams. Commanders must provide augmenting team members with the same resources and quality of life normally provided to their own soldiers.


In today's environment there are few military operations in which the media are not present with their ability to immediately transmit sights and sounds. The images and words they project are powerful and can affect national policy. In our form of government, the media have the right to cover operations, and the public has a right to know what the media have to say. Many in the media lack a full understanding of the military, yet they provide key information about the Army to the public; therefore, there are many good things about the Army that are unknown to the public. Commanders and public affairs office (PAO) personnel have a responsibility to tell the Army story. Freedom of the press does not negate the requirement for OPSEC and the accomplishment of the military mission.

a.   SBCT Objective. The objective of the SBCT commander in dealing with the media is to ensure that SBCT operations are presented to the American public and audiences around the world in the proper context. All leaders and soldiers must know how to deal effectively with broadcast and print reporters and photographers. They should also understand which subjects they are authorized to discuss and which ones they must refer to the PAO. Educating soldiers and leaders about the positive aspects of a well-informed public is the best way to achieve this objective.

b.   Media Objectives. Stability operations are carried out under intense media scrutiny. The media expect daily authoritative briefings from operators and leaders, and they report US casualty figures, both actual and projected. They seek access to soldiers and units. In its ongoing effort to gain the soldiers' perspective, the press requests permission to accompany them on missions. The media look for fresh stories every day. They are particularly interested in excessive civilian casualties, fratricide, the plight of noncombatants, and any military-civilian disagreements or conflicts such as looting, murder, rape, or mistreatment of prisoners. Civilian statements that blame US forces for the lack of food, fuel, water, or medical care will surely reach the media. Knowing this, opponents of the stability effort seize on relatively minor incidents to achieve strategic advantage. Therefore, a single instance of lack of discipline or the rash application of force can undo months and years of disciplined effort.

c.   Media Capabilities. With available technology, the media have the ability to collect and transmit images and sounds worldwide from any location. They have the ability to cover events quickly and to influence the public either positively or negatively. With interest in worldwide deployments high, the media can send large numbers of reporters to cover the operations in great detail.

d.   Media Realities. Political sensitivity and media interest are normally quite high in stability operations. The Army cannot and should not control media messages or stories. The media go wherever they can to uncover unique angles and stories. They mistrust or discount official statements or accounts. They resist management and escort, and they try to gather their information first hand. However, most members of the media have not served in the military and do not understand military nuances. In the modern era, it is impossible to keep large-scale military movements quiet. The media speculation on destinations and likely missions can affect OPSEC. News coverage of deployments is immediate and worldwide. Messages from television and the print press can change policy, and casualties and collateral damage attract enormous attention.


US Army units conduct certain stability operations in coordination with a variety of outside organizations. These include other US armed services or government agencies as well as international organizations (including NGOs and the UN military forces or agencies). Coordination and integration of civilian and military activities must take place at every level. Operational and tactical headquarters plan their operations to complement those of government and private agencies. Likewise, military commanders need to make clear to other agencies their own objectives and operational schemes. Coordinating centers such as the civil-military operations center are designed to accomplish this task. These operations centers should include representatives from as many agencies as required.


The SBCT commander must clearly understand the mission and the situation, and he must ensure his staff and subordinate units understand these as well. He must plan for continuous operations and as with offensive and defensive operations, planning and preparation time is often very limited. The plan must facilitate adjustment based on changes in the situation and information gained from the SBCT's robust ISR assets. The SBCT commander and his staff must consider—

  • The mission and what the force is expected to do.
  • The AO (such as size, location, terrain, and weather).
  • The political, economic, military, and geographical situation in their AO.
  • Local customs, cultures, religions, ethnic groups, and tribal factions.
  • The importance of force protection, OPSEC, physical security, and permissible protection measures.
  • The ROE and ROI and appropriate actions to take concerning infringements and violations of agreements.
  • Physical considerations (such as minefields, bridges, road conditions, and existing infrastructure).
  • Security operations.
  • Use of additional assets such as intelligence, public affairs, civil affairs, psychological operations, engineers, and MPs.

The SBCT commander influences and shapes the AO for mission success by effectively using buffer zones to separate belligerent factions, establishing checkpoints to control movement through and within the SBCT area, and conducting cordon and search operations to isolate and locate belligerents. To plan effective stability operations, the commander must consider his AO and the environment. Diplomacy and negotiations assist the SBCT in building support from the host nation, in reducing the threat of possible belligerents, and in creating an environment supportive of US actions. All planning should provide a reserve of appropriate size for a quick reaction force to separate hostile parties before potential violent situations grow out of control. The reserve must have the ability to respond anywhere in the SBCT area and handle any unforeseen crisis.


Reconnaissance plays an important role in the SBCT's ability to accomplish its stability operations mission. The SBCT commander uses every available ISR asset to collect information that helps him accomplish his mission. He uses these assets in compliance with the ROE. Every member of the SBCT plays a role in gathering information to support the SBCT. The commander uses his S2, the cavalry squadron (RSTA) S2, the MICO, and the SBCT infantry battalions' intelligence section to form a coordinated intelligence production team. The SBCT S2 manages the intelligence synchronization effort to ensure every element of the SBCT understands the intelligence required and plays an active role in the collection and production of that intelligence. Collection elements normally available to the SBCT include the reconnaissance troops; surveillance troops; ISR assets organic, attached to, or supporting the SBCT; infantry companies; and soldiers on patrols, in OPs, and at checkpoints.

a.   Other Collection Elements. In addition to attached organic ISR assets, the SBCT may also have interrogation, counterintelligence, other HUMINT elements, or signal intelligence elements attached from the divisional MI battalion, corps MI brigade, or other theater intelligence resources.

b.   Human Intelligence. The attitudes and perceptions of the local populace in the AO are important in helping the SBCT commander decide how to use his forces to accomplish his objectives. The SBCT uses HUMINT, collected by the SBCT or other supporting or cooperating elements, as a primary means of understanding the attitudes and perceptions of the local populace.

c.   Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield. The SBCT S2, assisted by other staff members, uses the IPB process and the intelligence cycle as cornerstones for successful stability operations. These help the commander visualize who the enemy is, what capabilities the enemy has, and where he can find the enemy. They also serve as the basis for creating the SBCT commander's concept of operations and allocating combat power available to the SBCT. (See FM 34-130 for IPB and how it applies to stability operations.) Although some of the traditional IPB products, such as the warfighting templates, may not be applicable in stability operations, the methodology remains intact. The development of detailed PIR and IR enables all personnel in the AO to gather critical information necessary to support the SBCT commander's decision-making and to assess the area in which the SBCT will be operating. (See Table 8-1, for an area assessment checklist.)

d.   Intelligence Considerations. The SBCT performs IPB and uses these products and the intelligence estimate to portray the threat and the operating environment to the commander. The intelligence effort must be continuous. (See FM 34-130 for more information on IPB for stability and support operations.)

(1)   Organizations. Organization sources include all host-country military and civilian intelligence systems as well as US intelligence sources.

(2)   Collection. Tactical collection includes all sources. Technological capabilities may not provide a significant advantage in some environments. HUMINT may be a major focus and often the main source of intelligence. An intelligence database may or may not apply or be available to the tactical commander. Every soldier must be trained and able to collect and report information of value.

(3)   Restrictions. Internal and external restrictions may exist on the dissemination of information. Gathering information on and within another country in operations other than war has political sensitivity.

(4)   Emphasis. The intelligence effort must have continued emphasis. Before force commitment, the SBCT must effectively collect, process, and focus intelligence to support all planning, training, and operational requirements. During execution, intelligence determines the proper course of action.

Table 8-1. Area assessment checklist.

Table 8-1. Area assessment checklist.


SBCT maneuver in stability operations is similar to maneuver in traditional combat operations, with extensive emphasis on security. The intent is to create a stable environment that allows peace to take hold while ensuring the force is protected.

a.   SBCT Maneuver. Maneuver of the SBCT in stability operations is often decentralized to the battalion, company, or platoon level. As required, these units receive relief from support forces such as engineers, logistics, and medical personnel. The SBCT commander must be prepared to rely on CS and CSS elements to assist the maneuver forces when the need arises. When new requirements develop, the CS and CSS elements must be ready to shift priorities.

b.   Combat Maneuver. Maneuver may involve combat. The SBCT uses only the level of force necessary to stabilize the crisis. Depending on the ROE, the SBCT may precede the use of force with a warning or the use of nonlethal means, employing lethal means only if a belligerent does not stop interfering. The methods employed to reduce the crisis could take the form of separating belligerent forces or maneuvering SBCT elements to provide security. A show of force or demonstration may be all that is necessary, or the SBCT's subordinate units may employ patrolling, searches, negotiation and mediation, information gathering, strikes and raids, or combat operations to accomplish the mission.


Aviation units—which can be deployed into the area of operation with early entry ground forces—can be a significant deterrent on the indigenous combatants, particularly if these factions have armored or mechanized infantry forces. Observation or attack helicopters may be employed to act as a tactical combat force (TCF) or as a reaction force against enemy threats. They may also conduct reconnaissance and surveillance over wide areas and provide the SBCT a means of visual route reconnaissance for its subordinate units. Utility helicopters provide an excellent enhanced command and control capability to stability operations. Medium lift helicopters are capable of moving large numbers of military and civilian peace enforcement personnel and delivering supplies when surface transportation is unavailable or routes become impassable. (See Appendix F, Aviation Support of Ground Operations.)


Although fires and effects planning for stability operations is the same as for traditional combat operations, the use of some fires and effects assets may be very restricted and limited.

a.   The SBCT commander integrates fires and effects into his tactical plan IAW the ROE and restrictions imposed within the AO, such as no-fire zones, presence of noncombatants, and so forth. Special considerations include—

  • Procedures for the rapid clearance of fires.
  • Close communication and coordination with host country officials.
  • Increased security for indirect firing positions.
  • Restricted use of certain munitions such as DPICM, area denial artillery munition, or remote antiarmor mine (RAAM).

b.   Information operations focus on shaping the ideas, perceptions, and beliefs of friendly, neutral, and belligerent forces. The successful management of information helps to give the SBCT commander the ability to affect the perception of the local population, belligerent factions, and local leaders and to accomplish his mission. Information operations are critical in stability operations. The SBCT may have PSYOP, CA, public affairs (PA), and OPSEC elements attached or operating in support of the SBCT. If the SBCT FECC coordinates and synchronizes their employment, the FECC must consider the ROE, the order from higher headquarters, and the commander's intent. If these elements are operating in the SBCT AO, the SBCT may be responsible for providing security for them. Sources of information the SBCT must use include:

  • Neutral parties.
  • Former warring factions.
  • Civilian populace.
  • Other agencies working in the AO.
  • Media and information passed from organic and non-organic assets.


Mobility in the SBCT AO may be restricted due to poorly developed or significantly damaged road systems, installations, and airfields. Before the SBCT can maneuver effectively, it must prepare the AO to support that maneuver. This restricted mobility and the need for the SBCT to maneuver effectively may cause higher headquarters to augment the SBCT with engineer assets. The SBCT's MANSPT cell coordinates their efforts.

a.   Engineers can play a major role in stability operations by constructing base camps, upgrading the transportation infrastructure, conducting bridge reconnaissance, assisting in civic action by building temporary facilities for the civilian populace, and reducing the mine threat. Factors that help determine the amount of engineer support the SBCT receives include—

  • Terrain in the AO.
  • Type and location of obstacles in the AO.
  • Engineer assets available.
  • Duration of the operation.
  • Environmental considerations (see FM 3-100.4).
  • Water supply and location.
  • Sewage and garbage facilities.
  • Local power facilities.
  • Fire fighting capability.
  • Base support requirements.
  • Demining center issues
  • Countermine awareness training
  • Basic country infrastructure (road, bridge, rail, airfield, and port capability) including contracted engineering support.

b.   Regardless of SBCT requirements, there may not be enough engineer assets, including civilian contract engineer support, available. This situation requires SBCT units to construct their own fortifications and assist with other engineer tasks within their capabilities. In prioritizing the use of engineers or the use of organic forces to accomplish engineer tasks, the SBCT commander emphasizes the strengthening of force protective measures.


The ADAM cell assesses the air and missile threat to determine if air and missile augmentation is required. If augmentation is required, it is obtained in the form of a tailored air and missile defense task force that will provide active air defense for the SBCT.


The SBCT's ability to sustain itself in the AO depends on the theater's maturity, the CSS structure, and the time flow of forces. Refugees, an inadequate infrastructure, and demands by the host nation and coalition partners can make logistical support complex.

a.   General Principles. General principles to consider when planning CSS for stability operations include—

  • Ability to implement logistical support in any stability operations area.
  • Ability of the SBCT to provide its own support.
  • Ability of higher headquarters to provide support.
  • Availability of local supplies, facilities, utilities, services, and transportation support systems by contract or local purchase.
  • Availability of local facilities such as a line of communication, ports, airfields, and communications systems.
  • Local capabilities for self-support to facilitate the eventual transfer of responsibilities to the supported nation for development or improvement.
  • Availability of resources.

b.   Augmentation. To make up for inadequate logistical and health service infrastructures in the AO, the SBCT may be augmented with additional CSS elements. Some or all of these CSS elements may precede combat or CS elements into the AO. In addition to supporting the SBCT, CSS elements may provide support for—

  • Allied or indigenous governmental agencies.
  • Allied or indigenous civilians.
  • Allied or indigenous military forces.
  • US governmental agencies.
  • US civilian agencies and personnel.
  • Other US military forces.
  • US-backed personnel and organizations.
  • International civilian and governmental agencies.

c.   Health Service Support. In stability operations, the brigade deploys with its organic medical assets. In addition, the BSMC will be augmented with a forward surgical team and a forward support MEDEVAC team (FSMT). Health service support for the SBCT in stability operations is dependent upon the specific type of operations, anticipated duration of the operations, number of personnel deployed, evacuation policy, medical troop ceiling, and anticipated level of violence. Additional HSS requirements could include veterinary services, preventive medicine (PVNTMED), hospital, laboratory, combat and operational stress control, and dental support. For definitive information on HSS for stability operations, see FM 8-42.

d.   Contracting. Contracting can be an effective force multiplier and can augment existing CSS capabilities. Weak logistical infrastructures in the AO may make it necessary to contract for some supplies and services. If he knows that contracting may be required, the SBCT commander obtains guidance from higher headquarters concerning contracting during the initial planning stages. Hostilities can cause interruptions in the delivery of any contracted services, such as food and water. For this reason, the SBCT must be prepared to support itself and provide necessary support to attached and supporting forces as well as the local populace for limited periods of time. A good plan anticipates large consumption rates of supplies in Classes I, III, IV, and VIII and provides for reserve stockage of non-perishables.


The SBCT normally does not perform the function of a joint headquarters. If there is no JTF for the operation, a command and control element from the SBCT's designated higher headquarters performs the role of the JTF to integrate the other services. This allows the SBCT to focus on the control of its subordinate units.

a.   Command and Support Relationships. With the exception of military forces under the command of a regional combatant commander, the ambassador to the country is responsible for US operations, both civilian and military. He heads a country team that interfaces with civilian and military agencies. The term country team describes in-country interdepartmental coordination among the members of the US diplomatic mission. Examples of team members are—

  • Economic officer.
  • Director of United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
  • Commercial attaché.
  • Agriculture attaché.
  • Department of State.
  • Chief, Security Assistance Office (SAO).

(1)   The US area military commander is not a member of the diplomatic mission. The JTF interfaces with the senior military defense representative on the country team. If there is no JTF, a division or SBCT headquarters may be responsible for interface with the country team and host nation.

(2)   Command and control headquarters may be unilateral or established with the host nation. An interagency headquarters of civilian and military forces also includes police, paramilitary, security, and even other US agencies. The headquarters must coordinate operations with civilian agencies to ensure no conflict of political and military objectives.

(3)   The Agency for International Development (AID) and the US Information Service (USIS) coordinate CA and PSYOP initiatives in and out of country through the JTF. The SBCT conducts detailed coordination to ensure the purpose of current PSYOP and CA efforts is understood. This situation may influence the planning, preparation, and execution of operations.

(4)   If an SBCT follows an SOF unit or operation during a deployment, it should request a liaison before arriving in the operational area. The SBCT coordinates with SOF through the JTF. If there is no JTF, the unit contacts the SOF through the SAO.

b.   End State. The commander develops and articulates a desired end state in terms of the military conditions that have the greatest potential for lasting stability in the area. The SBCT commander and staff determine the required sequence of tasks and objectives the SBCT must accomplish to meet this end state. Other critical actions include moving into the AO, establishing a base of operation, and sustainment for the SBCT as well as implementing appropriate force protection policies. As the immediate situation stabilizes, the SBCT conducts follow-on actions to restore order and to assist the local government in repairing infrastructure, removing weapons, and disarming factions. The commander and staff assign objectives and AOs, allocate forces, and establish control measures for subordinate forces to accomplish their missions.

(1)   To keep the SBCT focused throughout the operation, the commander and his staff develop a concept of the operation that establishes objectives and sets timelines to meet the desired end state. The concept should cover the entire duration of the operation from deployment to the end state, and it should define how the SBCT will accomplish its assigned mission. The commander uses FRAGOs and subsequent OPORDs, as required, to control execution of each phase of the operation and the various missions.

(2)   To ensure a unified effort, the SBCT commander and his staff coordinate plans and actions with their higher headquarters and adjacent units, as well as with government and nongovernmental organizations present in the AO. Use of liaison officers is vital for this requirement.

c.   Communications. Communications abilities are augmented to effect long-range communications and proper liaisons. The commander and his staff consider equipment compatibility, crypto use, information sharing, and security measures when working with SOF, joint forces, and multinational forces.


Generally, all stability operations follow the sequence of—

  • Deploy and move into the AO.
  • Establish a base of operation.
  • Conduct stability operations.
  • Terminate operations.

a.   Deployment and Movement into the Area of Operation. The commander and staff must plan, synchronize, and control the movement of forces intothe AO to maintain the proper balance of security and flexibility. The commander must decide thesequence in which his forces will enter the AO. The SBCT must consider the number of suitable routes or lift assets available to meet the movement requirements of its subordinate elements. Other considerations include the following:

  • Road and or route improvement and maintenance.
  • Route construction.
  • Obstacles clearance.
  • Bridge and culvert repair.
  • Bridging rivers or dry gaps.
  • Establishment of security along routes.
  • Traffic control to permit freedom of or restrict civilian movements along routes.
  • Communications architecture.

There may be a need to deploy an advance party heavy with logistical and engineering support into the AO initially if the AO does not have the infrastructure to support the operation. In other circumstances, it may be necessary for the commander and a small group of specialized key personnel such as CA, public affairs, or the staff judge advocate to lead the advance party. These personnel will set the groundwork for the rest of the force by conducting face-to-face coordination with local civilian or military leaders. Show of force operations will most likely necessitate that the commander send a large contingent of forces to act as a deterrent and to ensure initial security. In all cases, a well-developed movement order is essential.

b.   Conduct of the Stability Operations. After the SBCT has moved into its AO and established a base for future operations, a continuation of the stability effort commences. To successfully execute the mission, commanders at all levels must clearly understand the root causes of the conflict. This knowledge enables the commander to prioritize tasks and begin stability operations. Tactical tasks executed during the stability operation will be dependant upon the factors of METT-TC. Some tasks that have been conducted during recent stability operations include:

  • Establishment of zones of separation.
  • Combat operations including raids, checkpoints, patrols, and reconnaissance.
  • Support to the host nation.
  • Security operations.
  • Treaty compliance inspections.
  • Negotiation or mediation.

c.   Termination of Stability Operations. The stability operation may be terminated in several ways. The SBCT may be relieved of its mission and conduct a battle handover of the operation to a follow-on force. This force could be another US brigade, a UN force, or a nonmilitary organization. The situation could become stabilized and not necessitate the continuance of operations. In this case, the host nation or domestic community will assume responsibility of stability. The SBCT could be redeployed with no follow-on forces and without the area being stabilized. A condition such as this would place the SBCT in a vulnerable situation. Security must be intense and the protection of the force during its exit must be well planned and executed. Finally, the SBCT could transition to combat operations. The commander must always ensure the SBCT maintains the ability to transition quickly and forcefully.

d.   Transition to Combat Operations. If the stability operations are unsuccessful, the SBCT may be ordered to transition to tactical combat operations. The commander and staff must always keep in mind that the situation may escalate to a full-spectrum operation at any time. An escalation to combat operations is a clear indicator that the peace enforcement effort has failed. The SBCT must always retain the ability to conduct full spectrum operations. Preserving the ability to transition allows the SBCT to maintain the initiative while providing force protection. The commander must task organize the SBCT to expeditiously transition to combat operation while maintaining a balance between conducting the stability mission and maintaining a combat posture.


The SBCT's subordinate units control their AOs using the techniques of patrols, observation posts, guarding officials, static security posts, searches, roadblocks, and checkpoints.


The infantry battalions will conduct aggressive patrolling as a technique of maintaining a secure environment in the AO. The patrols must be readily identifiable as such by all parties and must conduct movement openly. The patrol wears distinctive items of uniform such as the American flag and non-subdued unit patches and overtly conducts the patrol while maintaining full combat readiness. The SBCT may also be required to provide security for government officials, indigenous authorities, or other high-ranking officials who might require the protection of a military escort when moving by road. The strength of the security element required depends on the circumstances.

a.   Patrols can accomplish the following:

  • Deter potential truce violations by maintaining a presence.
  • Cover gaps between fixed OPs.
  • Confirm reports from OPs.
  • Investigate alleged breaches of the armistice.

b.   A patrol must do the following:

  • Avoid deviating from the planned route.
  • Record all observations in writing and by sketch.
  • Halt when challenged, identify itself, and report any attempt to obstruct its progress.
  • Record any changes in the disposition of the opposing forces.


Observation posts are an especially important element of the SBCT's effort to establish and maintain OPSEC. They provide protection when long-range observation from current positions is not possible. The SBCT can employ any number of OPs, either mounted or dismounted, as the situation dictates.

a.   OPs are sited for maximum view of the surrounding area, for clear radio communications, and for defensibility. OP locations are recorded, and the SBCT's subordinate commanders must authorize any OP relocation. The mission of the OP is to report the following:

  • Movement of belligerent military forces, including unit identification, time, direction, and any other details that the OP can ascertain.
  • Shooting, hostile acts, or threats directed against the peacekeeping force or civilians.
  • Any improvement to defensive positions of a former belligerent.
  • An overflight by unauthorized aircraft, either military or civilian, including the time, direction, aircraft type, and nationality.
  • Any observed violations of an armistice agreement.

b.   The peacekeeping force relies on the goodwill of the former belligerent parties for its safety. Conspicuous markings on installations, vehicles, and personnel are a source of protection. The peacekeeping force maintains its legitimacy and acceptability to the former belligerents through its professional, disinterested, and impartial conduct of the peacekeeping mission. However, factions in the former belligerents' armed forces, in the civilian population, or among other interested parties may want to disrupt the peacekeeping operation and subvert the diplomatic process. Therefore, the peacekeeping force must be prepared to defend itself.

c.   The SBCT must strictly follow the ROE and limitations on the use of force. Each of the SBCT's units that have responsibility for OPs in their AO must maintain a ready reserve that can reinforce an OP or aid a patrol in distress. Field fortifications, barriers, and well-sited weapons must protect installations, and the SBCT must take precautions to protect personnel and facilities from terrorist attacks. The peacekeeping force fights defensive engagements only if it cannot avoid such engagements. The SBCT unit commander on the ground must be prepared to recommend withdrawal of the force engaged when a serious threat appears.


The SBCT may require static security posts throughout the AO. A static security post is any security system organized to protect critical fixed installations, military or civil, or critical points along lines of communication such as terminals, tunnels, bridges, and road or railway junctions (Figure 8-1).

Figure 8-1. Static security post.

Figure 8-1.  Static security post.

a.   The SBCT's subordinate units determine the size, number, and location of security posts in their AOs and forward their recommendations to the SBCT. The size of the security post depends on the mission, the size and characteristics of the hostile force, the attitude of the civil populace, and the importance of the area, equipment, or facility being secured. The post varies from a two-man bridge guard to a reinforced company securing a key communications center or civilian community. The SBCT may require subordinate units to coordinate the establishment of security posts with the host nation and the SBCT.

b.   The organization of a static security post varies with its size, mission, and distance from reinforcing units. For security reasons, static security posts in remote areas are larger than the same type post would be if located closer to supporting forces. It is organized for the security of both the installation and the security force. Reliable communications between remote static security posts and the parent unit's base must be established.


Searches are an important aspect of populace and resource control. The need to conduct search operations or to employ search procedures is a continuous requirement. A search can orient on people, materiel, buildings, or terrain. A search usually involves both civil police and soldiers.

a.   Planning Considerations. Misuse of search authority can adversely affect the outcome of operations; thus, soldiers must conduct and lawfully record the seizure of contraband, evidence, intelligence material, supplies, or other minor items for them to be of future legal value. Proper use of authority during searches gains the respect and support of the people.

(1)   Authority for search operations is carefully reviewed. Military personnel must perform searches only within areas of military jurisdiction (or where otherwise lawful). They must conduct searches only to apprehend suspects or to secure evidence proving an offense has been committed.

(2)   Search teams have detailed instructions for handling controlled items. Lists of prohibited or controlled-distribution items should be widely disseminated and on hand during searches. The SBCT coordinates the search with military or civil police before the search operations begin (or periodically if they are a continuing activity), keeping in mind the effect that early warning may have on the effectiveness of the operation.

(3)   Language difficulties can interfere when SBCT forces conduct search operations involving the local populace. The SBCT units assigned a search mission are provided with interpreters as required.

(4)   The SBCT conducts search operations slowly enough to allow for an effective search but rapidly enough to prevent the enemy from reacting to the threat of the search.

(5)   Soldiers use minimum essential force to eliminate any active resistance encountered.

(6)   Searchers can return to a searched area after the initial search to surprise and eliminate insurgents or their leaders who might have either returned or remained undetected during the search.

(7)   The SBCT should develop plans for securing the search area (establishing a cordon) and for handling detained personnel.

b.   Procedures. Search procedures are as follows:

(1)   Search of Individuals. In all search operations, leaders must emphasize the fact that anyone in an area to be searched could be an insurgent or a sympathizer. To avoid making an enemy out of a suspect who may support the host country government, searchers are tactful. The greatest caution is required during the initial handling of a person who is about to be searched. One member of the search team covers the other member, who makes the actual search. (FM 19-40 and STP 19-95B1-SM discuss the procedure for searching people.)

(2)   Search of Females. The enemy can use females for all types of tasks when they think searches might be a threat. To counter this, use female searchers. If female searchers are not available, use doctors, aidmen, or male members of the local populace. If male soldiers must search females, take all possible measures to prevent any inference of sexual molestation or assault.

(3)   Search of Vehicles. Searching vehicles may require equipment such as detection devices, mirrors, and tools. Specially trained dogs can locate drugs or explosives. A thorough search of a vehicle is a time-consuming process, and leaders must consider the effect on the population. Use of a separate vehicle search area can help avoid unnecessary delays.

(4)   Search of Built-Up Areas. These procedures are employed during cordon-and-search operations. When intelligence identifies and locates members of the insurgent infrastructure, an operation is mounted to neutralize them. This operation should be done by police acting on the warrant of a disinterested magistrate and based on probable cause. In the more violent stages of an insurgency, emergency laws and regulations may dispense temporarily with some of these legal protections. Use the least severe method to accomplish the mission adequately. Take care to preserve evidence for future legal action.

c.   Cordon and Search. The SBCT subordinate commander who receives this mission should divide the built-up area to be searched into zones and assign a search party to each. A search party consists of a security element (to encircle the area, to prevent entrance and exit, and to secure open areas), a search element (to conduct the search), and a reserve element (to assist either element, as required) (Figures 8-2 and 8-3).

(1)   Establishing the Cordon. An effective cordon is critical to the success of the search effort. Cordons are designed to prevent the escape of individuals to be searched and to protect the forces conducting the operation. In remote areas, an SBCT battalion that has this mission may very well be able to establish the cordon without being detected. The use of limited visibility aids in the establishment and security of the cordon but makes it difficult to control.

(a)   The SBCT must enforce the ROE and should develop plans to handle detained personnel. Infantrymen accompany police and intelligence forces to identify, question, and detain suspects. Infantry may also conduct searches and assist in detaining suspects, under police supervision, but their principal role is to reduce any resistance that may develop and to provide security for the operation. Use of force is kept to a minimum.

(b)   Deployment for the search should be rapid, especially if the enemy is still in the area to be searched. Ideally, the entire area should be surrounded at once. Observed fire covers any gaps. The security element surrounds the area while the search element moves into the area.

(c)   Members of the security element orient mainly on people evading the search in the populated area. The security element can also cut off any insurgents trying to reinforce others within the area, isolating the search area internally and externally.

(d)   Checkpoints and roadblocks are established. Subsurface routes of escape in built-up areas, such as subways and sewers, may also need to be searched and blocked.

Figure 8-2. Typical organization for search operations.

Figure 8-2.  Typical organization for search operations.

Figure 8-3. Conduct of a search.

Figure 8-3.  Conduct of a search.

(2)   Conducting the Search. A search of a built-up area must be conducted with limited inconvenience to the populace. The search should inconvenience the populace enough for them to discourage insurgents and sympathizers from remaining in the locale, but not enough to drive them to collaborate with the enemy as a result of the search. A large-scale search of a built-up area is a combined civil police and military operation. Such a search should be planned in detail and rehearsed while avoiding physical reconnaissance of the area just before the search. Aerial photographs can provide information needed about the terrain. In larger towns or cities, the local police might have detailed maps showing relative sizes and locations of buildings. As with any Army operation, mission analysis is critical.

d.   Other Considerations. The reserve element is a mobile force positioned in a nearby area. Its mission is to help the search and security elements if they meet resistance beyond their ability to handle. The reserve element can replace or reinforce either of the two other elements if the need arises.

e.   Aerial Operations. Units transported in helicopters, armed with self defense weapons, take full advantage of the mobility and agility of these aircraft.

(1)   Helicopters may transport combat patrols conducting reconnaissance of an assigned area or route in search of enemy forces. When a patrol locates an enemy force, the patrol may engage it from the air or may land and engage it on the ground. This technique has little value in areas of dense vegetation or when a significant man-portable air defense threat is present.

(2)   Helicopter transported mobile combat patrols should be used only when sufficient intelligence is available to justify their use. Even then, ground operations should be used along with such patrols.

f.   Apprehended Insurgents. Certain principles govern actions taken when insurgents desert or surrender voluntarily and indicate that their attitudes and beliefs have changed, at least in part. In this situation, the following guidelines apply:

(1)   Confine them only for screening and processing and keep them separate from prisoners who exhibit no change in attitude.

(2)   Supervise them after their release. The supervision need not be stringent and is best accomplished by host nation authorities, if possible.

(3)   Relocate them if they are in danger of reprisal from the enemy.

(4)   Remember that they expect any promises made to induce their defection or surrender to be met.

(5)   Provide special handling to nonindigenous members of the insurgency who are captured.

g.   Captured Insurgents. Captured insurgents who retain their attitude of opposition are handled IAW the following principles:

(1)   These insurgents must be confined for long periods.

(2)   Captured insurgents charged with specific crimes are brought to justice immediately. Each is charged with his individual crimes. They are not charged for their participation in the resistance movement because that could make them martyrs and cause other insurgents to increase their activities.

(3)   Families of imprisoned insurgents may have no means of support. Provide adequate support through programs of care and reeducation.


Controlling transportation is a related aspect of populace and resource control. Individuals and vehicles may be stopped during movement to assist in individual accountability or capture of enemy personnel or to control the trafficking of restricted material. The ability to establish roadblocks and checkpoints is an important aspect of movement control and area denial. (FM 7-10 provides more information about roadblocks and checkpoints.)

a.   Roadblocks and checkpoints help prevent traffic in contraband and stop the movement of known or suspected insurgents. The roadblocks should be manned by police or paramilitary forces that stop vehicles and pedestrians and conduct searches as required by conditions. They must take care to maintain legitimacy by not targeting specific groups. Either host country or SBCT combat forces defend these roadblocks and checkpoints from enemy attack. If police strength is insufficient for the number of positions required, the SBCT can operate them. Whenever US Army forces operate roadblocks and checkpoints, host country police or other forces should be present to conduct the actual stop and search. SBCT forces should establish communications with other elements of the site but should also remain in contact with their own chain of command. The same principles of communications and security apply to waterways as to land lines of communication.

b.   Establish roadblocks in locations where approaching traffic cannot observe them until it is too late to withdraw and escape. Narrow defiles, tunnels, bridges, sharp curves, and other locations that channel traffic are the preferred sites. Constructed, nonexplosive obstacles slow traffic, restrict it to a single lane, and bring it to a halt. An area off the main road should be used to conduct detailed searches of suspect vehicles and people and to avoid unduly delaying innocent traffic. A small reserve using hasty field fortifications in nearby defended areas should provide immediate support to operating personnel in case of attack. A larger reserve, which serves a number of posts, should be capable of rapid reinforcement (Figure 8-4).

c.   US forces should fill the reserve role in combined operations with host nation personnel. The reserve is vulnerable to being set up or ambushed, especially if an enemy has observed rehearsals. The enemy may hit multiple locations simultaneously to test responsiveness or to aid his future planning. Forces should vary locations of roadblocks and routes used.

Figure 8-4. Physical layout of roadblock.

Figure 8-4.  Physical layout of roadblock.

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