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Stability operations encompass a range of actions that shape the political environment and respond to developing crises. These operations are diverse, continuous, and often long-term. Stability operations may include both developmental and coercive actions. Developmental actions are aimed at enhancing a government's willingness and ability to care for its people. Coercive military actions involve the application of limited, carefully prescribed force, or the threat of force, to achieve specific objectives. Stability operations are usually nonlinear and noncontiguous and often are time and manpower intensive. Army elements may be tasked to conduct stability operations in a complex, dynamic, and often unconventional (or asymmetric) environment to accomplish one or more of the following purposes:

  • Deter or thwart aggression.
  • Reassure allies or friendly governments, agencies, or groups.
  • Provide encouragement and support for a weak or faltering government.
  • Stabilize an area with a restless or openly hostile population.
  • Maintain or restore order.
  • Satisfy treaty obligations or enforce national or international agreements and policies.


Planning for stability operations follows the procedures described in FM 5-0. The principles of objective, unity of command, economy of force, and security offer checks on the contents of all plans; the other principles of war may apply to stability operations in special circumstances. Simple concepts of operation, a clear commander's intent, and well-understood tasks, responsibilities, and priorities are as important in stability operations as they are in any other operation.


For more detailed information on stability operations, refer to FM 3-0, FM 3-07, and FM 3-07.3.


Direct every military operation toward a clearly defined, decisive, and attainable objective. A clearly defined and attainable objective—with a precise understanding of what constitutes success—is critical when US forces are involved in stability operations. Commanders should understand specific conditions that could result in mission failure as well as those that mark success. They must understand the strategic aims of the mission, set appropriate objectives, and ensure these aims and objectives contribute to unity of effort with other agencies.


Seek unity of effort in every operation. This principle is derived from the principle of war directing US forces to retain unity of command within their contingents. Unity of effort emphasizes the need for directing all means to a common purpose. However, the numbers of nonmilitary participants (non-governmental organizations [NGOs] and private volunteer organizations [PVOs]) complicates achieving unity of effort during stability operations. Whenever possible, commanders should seek to establish a control structure that takes into account and provides coherence to the activities of all elements in the area. This requirement necessitates reliable communications and extensive liaison with all involved parties. Because stability operations often involve small-unit activities, all levels of command must understand the military-civilian relationship to avoid friction.


Never permit hostile factions to acquire an unexpected advantage. In stability operations, security deals with force protection as a dynamic of combat power against virtually any person, element, or hostile group. These could include terrorists, a group opposed to the operation, criminals, and even looters.

a.   In stability operations, commanders should not assume that the non-hostile intent of their mission protects their force. The inherent right of self-defense, from unit to individual level, applies at all times in stability operations.

b.   Security, however, requires more than physical protective measures. A force can significantly enhance its security through perceived legitimacy and impartiality, the mutual respect built between the force and the other parties involved in stability operations, and the force's credibility in the international arena. In stability operations, security involves demonstrations of inherent military capability and preparedness.


Apply appropriate military capability prudently. Restraints on weaponry, tactics, and levels of violence characterize the environment of stability operations. The use of excessive force may adversely affect efforts to gain or maintain legitimacy and impede the attainment of both short-term and long-term goals. ROE that are established by the tactical controlling headquarters for the operation should clearly spell out these restraints. ROE do not preclude the application of sufficient or overwhelming force when required to protect US or indigenous lives. When used, force should be precise to reduce friendly and noncombatant casualties and collateral damage. Precision and high-technology weaponry help reduce casualties.


Prepare for the measured, sustained application of military capability in support of strategic aims. While some stability operations may be of short duration, most require long-term commitments that involve more than military efforts alone. Underlying causes of confrontation and conflict rarely have a clear beginning or a decisive resolution. Commanders need to assess each action in terms of its contribution to long-term strategic objectives. Perseverance requires an information strategy that clearly explains the goals, objectives, and desired end states and links them with US interests and concerns. This effort should continually emphasize the long-term nature of many stability operations without giving the impression of permanency.


Sustain the people's willing acceptance of the right of the government to govern or a group or agency to make and carry out decisions. Commanders must be aware of the authority under which they operate and the relationship between it and the other sources of legitimacy that are present. During operations where a clearly legitimate government does not exist, using extreme caution in dealing with individuals and organizations can help prevent inadvertently legitimizing them. The conduct of information operations, to include public affairs, civil affairs (CA), and psychological operations (PSYOP) programs, can enhance both domestic and international perceptions of the legitimacy of an operation.


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 3-07. Types of support operations include—

  • Peace operations.
  • Peacekeeping.
  • Peace building.
  • Operations 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 encompass three general areas: operations in support of diplomatic efforts, peacekeeping, and peace enforcement. The antiarmor company (or platoon), as part of a larger force, may participate in peacekeeping or peace enforcement operations.

a.   Peacekeeping Operations. A peacekeeping force monitors and facilitates the implementation of cease-fires, truce negotiations, and other such agreements. In doing so, it must assure all sides in the dispute that the other involved parties are not taking advantage of settlement terms for their own benefit. An antiarmor company most often observes, monitors, or supervises and assists the parties involved in the dispute. The peacekeeping force must remain entirely neutral. If it loses its reputation for impartiality, its usefulness within the peacekeeping mission is compromised.

b.   Peace Enforcement Operations. Several unique characteristics distinguish peace enforcement activities from wartime operations and from other stability operations. The purpose of peace enforcement is to compel compliance with resolutions or sanctions and to maintain or restore peace and order. It may entail combat, armed intervention, or physical threat of armed intervention. Under the provisions of an international agreement, the battalion (or SBCT) and its subordinate units may be called upon to use coercive military power to compel compliance with international sanctions or resolutions.

c.   Operations in Support of Diplomatic Efforts. Forces may conduct operations in support of diplomatic efforts to establish peace and order before, during, or 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 normally are not involved directly in preventive diplomacy but may support a state department effort by providing transportation and communication 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 (FM 3-07). 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 (FM 3-07). 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 also are performed in long term foreign internal defense (FID) operations.


Foreign internal defense is 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 (FM 3-07). The main objective is to promote stability by helping a host nation establish and maintain institutions and facilities responsive to its people's needs. Army forces in FID normally advise and assist host-nation forces conducting operations to increase their capabilities.

a.   Types of Support. When conducting foreign internal defense, Army forces provide indirect support, direct support, military supplies, military advice, tactical and technical training, and intelligence and logistics to support a host nation's efforts. Generally, US forces do not engage in combat operations as part of an FID. 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.

b.   Antiarmor Company's Role. The company's primary roles in nation assistance operations usually are similar to its roles in peace-building operations. If involved in these operations, the company normally will participate as part of a larger force and will most likely be a force provider rather than lead the effort themselves.


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 (FM 3-07).


Humanitarian and civic assistance (HCA) programs provide assistance to the host nation populace in conjunction with military operations and exercises. In contrast to humanitarian and disaster relief operations, HCA programs are planned activities, and they 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.


This type of support includes assistance provided by US forces to help a friendly nation or group that is attempting to combat insurgent elements or to stage an insurgency itself. The US Army's special operating forces normally conduct this type of stability activity.


US military forces may be tasked for a variety of counterdrug activities that are always conducted in conjunction with another government agency. These activities include destroying illicit drugs and disrupting or interdicting drug manufacturing, growing, processing, and smuggling operations. Counterdrug support may take the form of advisory personnel, mobile training teams, offshore training activities, and assistance in logistics, communications, and surveillance.


Terrorism is the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear, intended to coerce or intimidate governments or societies in pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological (FM 3-07). 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. The company uses offensive operations to counter terrorism and defensive measures to conduct 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 (FM 3-07). Army forces participate in 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 (SOF) that operate under direct control of the national command authorities or under a unified command arrangement. The company may participate in battalion or higher level controlled 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, including limited response and containment by local military forces (FM 3-07). 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. The unit may be a high priority target for terrorists because of the notoriety and media attention that follows an attack on an American target. 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.


A noncombatant evacuation operation (NEO) is conducted primarily to evacuate US citizens whose lives are in danger, although it also may include natives of the host nation and third-country nationals. These operations involve swift insertion and temporary occupation of an objective followed by a planned withdrawal. Leaders use only the amount of force required for protection of evacuees and self-defense.


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 reinitiating hostilities. The unit may be required to conduct or participate in arms control while conducting checkpoint operations and patrols by 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 and 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 (FM 3-07). The company may participate in a show of force by participating in a temporary buildup in a specific region, conducting a combined training exercise, or demonstrating an increased level of readiness. Although actual combat is not desired, a show of force can escalate rapidly and unexpectedly. 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.


Although stability operations normally are centrally planned, execution often takes the form of small-scale, noncontiguous actions conducted over extended distances. Responsibility for making decisions on the ground falls to junior leaders. The following paragraphs examine several important considerations that influence planning and preparation for stability operations. (For a more detailed discussion of these subjects, refer to FM 3-07.3.)


In decentralized operations, effective command guidance and a detailed understanding of the ROE are critical at every level.

a.   ROE are directives that explain the circumstances and limitations under which US forces initiate and continue combat engagement with forces encountered. These rules reflect the requirements of the laws of war, operational concerns, and political considerations when the operational environment shifts from peace to conflict and back to peace.

b.   ROE must be briefed and trained to the lowest level. They should be established for, disseminated to, and thoroughly understood by every soldier in the unit. Another important consideration in development and employment of ROE is that commanders must assume that the belligerents they encounter will also understand the ROE. These unfriendly elements will attempt to use their understanding of the ROE to their own advantage and to the disadvantage of the friendly force. (Refer to FM 3-07 for a more detailed discussion of ROE.)


Rules of interaction embody the human dimension of stability operations. They lay the foundation for successful relationships with the myriad of factions and individuals that play critical roles in these operations. ROI encompass an array of interpersonal communication skills, such as persuasion and negotiation.

a.   ROI are tools the individual soldier needs to deal with the nontraditional (or asymmetric) threats that are prevalent in stability operations, including political friction, unfamiliar cultures, and conflicting religious ideologies and rituals. In turn, ROI enhance the soldier's survivability in such situations.

b.   ROI are based on the applicable ROE for a particular operation; they must be tailored to the specific regions, cultures, and populations affected by the operation.

c.   Reinforcement of ROI is critical. ROI can be effective only if they are thoroughly rehearsed and understood by every soldier in the unit.


Antiarmor company commanders (or platoon leaders) must implement appropriate security measures to protect the force. Establishment of checkpoints, effective base camp security procedures, and aggressive patrolling are examples of force protection measures. The antiarmor company (or platoon) may receive taskings as part of the higher headquarters' security plan. Additional security taskings result from the commander's concept for the defense. These taskings may be oriented on friendly units (screen, guard, or secure), on the enemy and terrain (reconnaissance), or on the enemy's reconnaissance assets (counterreconnaissance). The antiarmor company commander (or platoon leader) establishes a security plan to keep the enemy from observing or surprising the unit. He establishes this plan before moving the unit into the area and maintains it continuously. The antiarmor company commander (or platoon leader) bases this plan on tasks received from the higher headquarters and on an analysis of the factors of METT-TC. The plan provides active and passive measures and counterreconnaissance.

a.   Active Measures. These include establishing OPs, conducting stand-to, and conducting patrols.

(1)   The antiarmor company commander (or platoon leader) can require each subordinate unit to have a set number of OPs; if not, the subordinate leaders decide what they need. As a guide, there should be at least one OP for each platoon.

(2)   The commander (or platoon leader) can also require a set quantity of men and weapon systems to be on security at all times. The quantity varies based on an analysis of the factors of METT-TC. As a guide, at least one third of the soldiers should be on security at all times.

(3)   When an attack is expected, the entire unit should be on alert; however, this should not be maintained for long periods. The commander (or platoon leader) must keep in mind that his soldiers need rest to function in future operations. A sleep plan must be established and enforced. Security, however, cannot be sacrificed for rest.

(4)   A stand-to is held both morning and evening to ensure that each man adjusts to the changing light and noise conditions and is dressed, equipped, and ready for action. The stand-to should start before first light in the morning and continue until after light. It should start before dark in the evening and last until after dark. The starting and ending times should vary to prevent establishing a pattern, but the stand-to must last long enough to accomplish its purpose.

(5)   The higher headquarters can have its subordinate units dispatch patrols whose missions contribute to the higher unit's security. The company commander can dispatch patrols in addition to those required by the higher headquarters to satisfy the security needs. He may have the patrols reconnoiter dead space in the company sector, gaps between platoons, gaps between the company and adjacent units, or open flanks. Antiarmor platoons in light infantry battalions may dispatch security patrols as part of the higher unit's security plan. All patrols sent out must be coordinated with the higher headquarters.

b.   Passive Measures. These measures include camouflage, movement control, light and noise discipline, and proper radiotelephone procedures. The company's weapons systems (TOW, M2, and MK19), with their daysights and nightsights, can add to the security effort both day and night. The company should also use other night vision devices to compliment the surveillance plan.

(1)   To ensure effective coverage, a commander may direct antiarmor platoons to cover specific areas with specific devices (such as thermal sights). He may also specify how many night vision devices will be in use (for example, "one half of the soldiers on security will use night vision devices").

(2)   Sector sketches should include the locations of key weapon systems and the type of sight being employed.


Because of the unique demands of stability operations, an antiarmor unit often is task-organized to operate with a variety of other elements that it might not otherwise operate with in offensive or defensive operations. These include: linguists/interpreters, military attorneys, political advisors, counterintelligence teams, and civil affairs teams.


The operational environment an antiarmor unit faces during stability operations may be very austere, creating special CSS considerations. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Reliance on local procurement of certain items.
  • Shortages of various critical items, including repair parts, Class IV supply materials, and Class III lubricants.
  • Special Class V supply requirements for non-lethal weapons.
  • Difficulty in finding or obtaining potable water, resulting in reliance on bottled water.


The presence of the media is a reality that confronts every soldier, especially when involved in stability operations. All leaders and soldiers must know how to deal effectively with broadcast and print reporters and photographers. Leaders and soldiers must always tell the truth; however, they should understand which subjects they are authorized to discuss and which subjects they must refer to the public affairs officer (PAO). They must talk about what they know and not what they may speculate.


US Army units may 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 such as PVOs, NGOs, and United Nations (UN) military forces or agencies.


Stability operations are complex and very demanding. Antiarmor units participating in stability operations must master skills ranging from conducting negotiations to establishing observation posts and checkpoints or conducting a convoy escort. The tasks discussed in this section include lessons learned that will assist the antiarmor company commander and platoon leaders in implementing these and other tasks. The light infantry battalion's antiarmor platoon or its subordinate elements will most likely be task-organized to an infantry company conducting many of these same tasks.


A lodgment area is a highly prepared position used as a base of operations for force projection in stability operations (Figure 8-1). Like an assembly area or defensive strongpoint, the lodgment provides a staging area for the occupying unit, affords a degree of force protection, and requires 360-degree security. However, several important characteristics distinguish the lodgment area from less permanent positions.

Figure 8-1. Example company lodgment area using existing facilities.

Figure 8-1.  Example company lodgment area using existing facilities.

a.   Long Term Occupation. Due to the probability of long-term occupation, the lodgment requires a high level of preparation and logistical support. It must have shelters and facilities that can support the occupying force and its attachments for an extended period. The area must be positioned and developed so the unit can effectively conduct its primary missions (such as peace enforcement) throughout its area of responsibility.

b.   Use of Existing Facilities. In establishing the lodgment area, the company may use existing facilities or request construction of new facilities. A key advantage in using existing structures is immediate availability, and this also reduces or eliminates the need for construction support from engineers and other members of the company. There are disadvantages as well. Existing facilities may be inadequate to meet the company's operational needs, and they may pose security problems because of their proximity to other structures.

c.   Participation as Part of Larger Unit. The company may establish and occupy a lodgment area as part of a battalion or as a separate element (with significant support from the controlling battalion).

d.   General Layout of Lodgment. Before he begins preparation, construction, and occupation of the lodgment area, the antiarmor company commander must plan its general layout. He should evaluate the following factors:

(1)   Location of the lodgment area.

(2)   Effects of weather.

(3)   Local traffic patterns.

(4)   OP sites and patrol routes.

(5)   Entry and exit procedures.

(6)   Vehicle emplacement and orientation.

(7)   Bunkers and fighting positions.

(8)   Direct and indirect fire planning.

(9)   Size and composition of the reserve.

(10)   Location of possible LZs and PZs.

(11)   CSS considerations, including locations of the following:

  • Mess areas, showers, and latrines (including drainage).
  • Storage bunkers for Class III, IV, and V supplies.
  • Maintenance and refueling areas.
  • Aid station.
  • CP site security.

(12)   Size, composition, and function of advance and reconnaissance parties.

(13)   Nature and condition of existing facilities (such as quarters, water, sewer, and power utilities and reinforced "hard-stand" areas for maintenance).

(14)   Proximity to structures and roadways (including security factors).

(15)   Priorities of work. The commander must designate priorities of work as the company establishes the lodgment area. He should consider the following tasks:

  • Establishment of security of the immediate area and the perimeter.
  • Establishment of initial roadblocks to limit access to the area.
  • Mine clearance.
  • Construction of revetments to protect vehicles, generators, communications equipment, and other facilities.
  • Construction of barriers or berms around the lodgment area to limit observation of the compound and provide protection for occupants.
  • Construction of shelters for lodgment personnel.
  • Construction of defensive positions.
  • Construction of sanitation and personal hygiene facilities.
  • Construction of hardened CP facilities.
  • Continuing activities to improve the site (such as adding hard-wire electrical power or perimeter illumination).


The antiarmor company may face a number of situations in which leaders need to conduct negotiations. There are two general types of negotiations: situational and preplanned.

a.   Situational Negotiations. Situational negotiations are conducted in response to a requirement for on-the-spot discussion and resolution of a specific issue or problem. An example would be members of an advance guard negotiating the passage of a convoy through a checkpoint. At the company level, situational negotiations are far more common than the preplanned type.

(1)   Working Knowledge. Employment in stability operations requires the commander, his subordinate leaders, and other soldiers to conduct some form of negotiations almost daily. This, in turn, requires them to have a thorough understanding of the commander's intent, ROE, and ROI. Members of the company apply this working knowledge to the process of discussing and, whenever possible, resolving issues and problems that arise between opposing parties, which may include the unit itself. A critical aspect of this knowledge is the negotiator's ability to recognize that he has exhausted his options under the ROE and ROI and must turn the discussion over to a higher authority. Negotiations continue at progressive levels of authority until the issue is resolved.

(2)   Preparation. In preparing themselves and their soldiers for the negotiation process, the commander and subordinate leaders must conduct rehearsals covering the ROE and ROI. One effective technique is to rehearse application of ROE and ROI in a given stability situation, such as manning a checkpoint. This rehearsal forces both leaders and subordinates to analyze the ROE and ROI while applying them in an operational environment.

b.   Preplanned Negotiations. Preplanned negotiations are conducted in response to a requirement for discussion and resolution of an upcoming specific issue or problem. One example of preplanned negotiations is one conducted in situations such as an antiarmor company commander conducting a work coordination meeting between leaders of the belligerents to determine mine clearance responsibilities. Preplanned negotiations require negotiators to thoroughly understand both the dispute or issue at hand and the factors influencing it, such as the ROE and ROI, before talks begin. The negotiator's ultimate goal is to reach an agreement that is acceptable to both sides and that reduces antagonism and the chance of renewed hostilities between the parties involved. The following paragraphs list guidelines and procedures for each step of the preplanned negotiation process.

(1)   Identify the Purpose of Negotiations. Before contacting leaders of the belligerent parties to initiate the negotiation process, the commander must familiarize himself with both the situation and the area in which his unit will operate. This includes identifying and evaluating avenues of approach that connect the opposing forces. Results of the negotiation process, which may be lengthy and complicated, must be based on national or international agreements or accords. Negotiation topics may include the following:

  • When the belligerent sides will withdraw.
  • Positions to which they will withdraw (these should preclude observation and direct fire by the opposing parties).
  • What forces or elements move during each step of an operation.
  • Pre-positioning of forces that can intervene in case of renewed hostilities.
  • Control of heavy weapons.
  • Mine clearance.
  • Formal protest procedures for the belligerent parties.

(2)   Establish the Proper Context. The commander must earn the trust and confidence of each opposing party. This includes establishing an atmosphere (and a physical setting) that participants will judge to be impartial and safe. These considerations apply:

  • Always conduct joint negotiations on matters that affect both parties.
  • When serving as a mediator, remain neutral at all times.
  • Learn as much as possible about the belligerents, the details of the dispute or issue being negotiated, and other factors such as the geography of the area and specific limitations or restrictions (for example, the ROE and ROI).
  • Gain and keep the trust of the opposing parties by being firm, impartial, and polite.
  • Use tact, remain patient, and be objective.
  • Never deviate from the applicable local and national laws and international agreements.

(3)   Prepare for the Negotiations. Thorough, exacting preparation is another important factor in ensuring the success of the negotiation process. Company personnel should use the following guidelines:

  • Negotiate sequentially, from subordinate level to senior level.
  • Select and prepare a meeting place that is acceptable to all parties.
  • Arrange for interpreters and adequate communications facilities as necessary.
  • Ensure that all opposing parties, as well as the negotiating company commander, use a common map (edition and scale).
  • Coordinate all necessary movement.
  • Establish local security.
  • Keep higher headquarters informed throughout preparation and during the negotiations.
  • Make arrangements to record the negotiations (use audio or video recording equipment, if available).

(4)   Conduct the Negotiations. Negotiators must always strive to maintain control of the session. They must be firm, yet evenhanded, in leading the discussion. At the same time, they must be flexible, with a willingness to accept recommendations from the opposing parties and from their own assistants and advisors. The following procedures and guidelines apply:

  • Exchange greetings.
  • Introduce all participants by name, including negotiators and any advisors.
  • Consider, if warranted, the use of small talk at the beginning of the session to put the participants at ease.
  • Allow each side to state its case without interruption and without making premature judgments.
  • Make a record of issues presented by both sides.
  • If one side makes a statement that is incorrect, be prepared to produce evidence or proof to establish the facts.
  • If the negotiating team or peacekeeping force has a preferred solution, present it and encourage both sides to accept it.
  • Close the meeting by explaining to both sides what has been agreed upon and what actions they are expected to take. If necessary, be prepared to present this information in writing for their signatures.
  • Do not negotiate or make deals in the presence of the media.
  • Maintain the highest standards of conduct at all times.


Compliance monitoring involves observing belligerents and working with them to ensure they meet the conditions of one or more applicable agreements. Examples of the process include overseeing the separation of opposing combat elements, the withdrawal of heavy weapons from a sector, or the clearance of a minefield. Planning for compliance monitoring should cover, but is not limited to, the following considerations:

  • Assign liaison teams, with suitable communications and transportation assets, to the headquarters of the opposing sides. Liaison personnel maintain communications with the leaders of their assigned element; they also talk directly to each other and to their mutual commander (the antiarmor company or battalion commander).
  • Position the company commander at the point where violations are most likely to occur.
  • Position platoons and squads where they can observe the opposing parties with instructions to assess compliance and report any violations.
  • As directed, keep higher headquarters informed of all developments, including the company commander's assessment of compliance and noncompliance.


Construction and manning of OPs may be a task the antiarmor company and subordinate elements execute when they must establish area security during stability operations. Each OP is established for a specified time and purpose. During most stability operations, OPs are overt (conspicuously visible, unlike their tactical counterparts) and deliberately constructed. Each OP must be integrated into supporting direct and indirect fire plans and into the overall observation plan. Based on an analysis of the factors of METT-TC, deliberate OPs may include specialized facilities such as the following:

  • Observation towers.
  • Ammunition and fuel storage areas.
  • Power sources.
  • Supporting helipads.
  • Kitchens, sleep areas, showers, and toilets.

OPs are similar in construction to bunkers (see FM 5-103) and are supported by fighting positions, barriers, and patrols (Figure 8-2).


If necessary, the company can also employ hasty OPs, which are similar to individual fighting positions.

Figure 8-2. Example of a deliberate observation post.

Figure 8-2.  Example of a deliberate observation post.


Establishment of checkpoints is a high-frequency task for an antiarmor company and its subordinate elements involved in stability operations. Checkpoints can be either deliberate or hasty.

a.   Purposes. The antiarmor company or a subordinate element may be directed to establish a checkpoint to achieve one or more of the following purposes:

  • Deter illegal movement.
  • Create an instant roadblock.
  • Control movement into the area of operations or onto a specific route.
  • Demonstrate the presence of stability forces.
  • Prevent smuggling of contraband.
  • Enforce the terms of peace agreements.
  • Serve as an OP, patrol base, or both.

b.   Checkpoint Procedures. Checkpoint layout, construction, and manning should reflect a thorough analysis of the factors of METT-TC (Figure 8-3). The following procedures and considerations may apply:

(1)   Position the checkpoint where it is visible and where traffic cannot turn back, get off the road, or bypass the checkpoint without being observed.

(2)   Position a combat vehicle (HMMWV or ATGM) off the road, but within sight, to deter resistance to soldiers manning the checkpoint. The vehicle should be in a hull-down position and protected by local security. It must be able to engage vehicles attempting to break through or bypass the checkpoint with the mounted weapon system (more than likely M2 or MK19).

(3)   Place obstacles in the road to slow or canalize traffic into the search area.

(4)   Establish a reserve if applicable.

(5)   Establish a bypass lane for approved convoy traffic.

(6)   Establish wire communications within the checkpoint area to connect the checkpoint bunker, combat vehicle, search area, security forces, rest area, and any other elements involved in the operation.

(7)   Designate the search area. If possible, it should be below ground to provide protection against such incidents as the explosion of a booby-trapped vehicle. Establish a parking area adjacent to the search area.

(8)   If applicable, checkpoint personnel should include linguists/interpreters.

(9)   Properly construct and equip the checkpoint. Consider inclusion of the following items:

  • Barrels filled with sand, concrete, or water (emplaced to slow and canalize vehicles).
  • Concertina wire (emplaced to control movement around the checkpoint).
  • Secure facilities for radio and wire communications with the controlling headquarters.
  • First-aid kit.
  • Sandbags for defensive positions.
  • Wood or other materials for the checkpoint bunker.
  • Binoculars, night vision devices, and flashlights.
  • Long-handled mirrors (used to inspect vehicle undercarriages).

(10)   Elements manning a deliberate checkpoint may require access to specialized equipment, such as the following:

  • Floodlights.
  • Duty logs.
  • Flags and unit signs.
  • Barrier poles that can be raised and lowered.
  • Generators with electric wire.

Figure 8-3. Checkpoint layout.

Figure 8-3.  Checkpoint layout.


Patrolling is also a high-frequency task during stability operations. Planning and execution of an area security patrol are similar to procedures for other tactical patrols except that antiarmor company and platoon patrol leaders must consider political implications and ROE. Figure 8-4 illustrates the use of patrols, in conjunction with checkpoints and OPs, in enforcing a zone of separation between belligerent forces.

Figure 8-4. Employment of checkpoints, OPs, and patrols to enforce a zone of separation.

Figure 8-4.  Employment of checkpoints, OPs, and patrols
to enforce a zone of separation.


This mission requires the antiarmor company (or platoon) to provide a convoy with security and close-in protection from direct fire while on the move (Figure 8-5). The higher headquarters may choose this course of action if contact is imminent or when it anticipates a serious threat to the security of the convoy. The antiarmor company, with augmentation (for example, military police, infantry platoons, MGS), is capable of providing effective protection for a large convoy. Lighter security forces such as military police units or pure antiarmor platoons may conduct smaller-scale convoy escort missions.

Figure 8-5. A task-organized antiarmor company convoy escort mission.

Figure 8-5.  A task-organized antiarmor company convoy escort mission.

a.   Command and Control. The task organization inherent in convoy escort missions makes battle command especially critical. The antiarmor company commander may serve either as the convoy security commander or as overall convoy commander. In the latter role, he is responsible for the employment not only of his own organic combat elements but also of CS and CSS attachments and drivers of the escorted vehicles. He must incorporate all these elements into the various contingency plans developed for the operation. He must also maintain his communication link with the controlling higher headquarters.

(1)   Effective SOPs and battle drills must supplement OPORD information for the convoy, and the antiarmor company should conduct rehearsals if time permits. Additionally, the company should conduct extensive PCCs and PCIs, to include inspection of the escorted vehicles. The company commander must also ensure that the company conducts all required coordination with units and elements in areas through which the convoy will pass.

(2)   Before the mission begins, the convoy commander should issue a complete OPORD to all vehicle commanders in the convoy. This is vital because the convoy may itself be task-organized from a variety of units and some vehicles may not have tactical radios. The order should follow the standard five-paragraph OPORD format; however, it may place special emphasis on these subjects:

  • Inspection of convoy vehicles.
  • Route of march (including a strip map for each vehicle commander).
  • Order of march.
  • Actions at halts (scheduled and unscheduled).
  • Actions in case of vehicle breakdown.
  • Actions for a break in column.
  • Actions in built-up areas.
  • Actions on contact, covering such situations as snipers, near or far ambush, indirect fire, and minefields.
  • Riot drill.
  • Refugee control drill.
  • Evacuation drill.
  • Actions at the delivery site.
  • Chain of command.
  • Guidelines and procedures for negotiating with local authorities.
  • Communications and signal information.
  • Tactical disposition.

(3)   In any escort operation, the basic mission of the convoy commander (and, as applicable, the convoy security commander) is to establish and maintain security in all directions and throughout the length of the convoy. He must be prepared to adjust the disposition of the security force to fit the security requirements of each particular situation. An analysis of the factors of METT-TC, specifically the convoy's size, composition, and organization, affects this disposition. In some instances, the commander may position security elements, such as platoons, to the front, rear, and or flanks of the convoy. As an alternative, he may disperse the combat vehicles throughout the convoy body.

b.   Task Organization. When sufficient escort assets are available, the convoy commander usually organizes convoy security into three distinct elements: advance guard, close-in protective group, and rear guard. Upon appropriate augmentation, the commander may also designate an additional reserve in the rear guard to handle contingency situations. The following paragraphs examine the role of the advance guard, security assets accompanying the convoy main body, and the reserve in the rear guard.


The convoy escort is provided with linguists and interpreters as required.

(1)   Advance Guard. The advance guard reconnoiters and proofs the convoy route. It searches for signs of threatening activity, such as ambushes and obstacles. Within its capabilities, it attempts to clear the route. The distance and time separation between the advance guard and the main body should be sufficient to provide the convoy commander with adequate early warning before the arrival of the vehicle column. This separation should be short enough, however, to ensure that the route cannot be interdicted between the passage of the advance guard and the arrival of the main body. The advance guard should be task-organized with both reconnaissance and mobility assets. As necessary, it should also include linguists.

(2)   Main Body. The commander may choose to intersperse security elements with the vehicles of the convoy main body. These may include combat elements (including the rear guard), the convoy commander, his linguist/interpreter, mobility assets, and medical and maintenance support assets. The convoy commander also may consider the employment of flank security after conducting a thorough analysis of the factors of METT-TC.

(3)   Rear Guard. The rear guard serves as a reserve and either moves with the convoy or locates at a staging area close enough to provide immediate interdiction against a threatening force. The supporting headquarters normally designates an additional reserve, consisting of an additional company or combat aviation assets, to support the convoy.

c.   Actions on Contact. As the convoy moves to its new location, the threatening force may attempt to harass or destroy it. This contact usually occurs in the form of an ambush, often executed in coordination with the use of a hasty obstacle. In such a situation, the safety of the convoy rests on the speed and effectiveness with which escort elements can execute appropriate actions on contact. A portion of the convoy security force, such as (based on task organization) an antiarmor or infantry platoon or section, may be designated as a reaction force. This element performs its normal escort duties, such as conducting tactical movement or occupying an assembly area, as required until contact occurs; it then performs a react-to-contact mission when ordered by the convoy commander.

(1)   Actions at an Ambush. An ambush is one of the most effective ways to interdict a convoy. Reaction to an ambush must be immediate, overwhelming, and decisive. Actions on contact in response to an ambush must be planned for and rehearsed so they can be executed as a drill by all escort and convoy elements, with particular attention given to fratricide prevention. In almost all situations the security force takes several specific, instantaneous actions in reacting to an ambush. These steps include the following:

(a)   As soon as they acquire an ambushing force, the escort vehicles immediately return fire in the direction of the attack and attempt to clear the kill zone quickly. They seek covered positions between the convoy and the threatening force and continue to fire in the direction of the attack. The convoy commander sends a contact report to the higher headquarters as quickly as possible.

(b)   Convoy vehicles, if armed, may return fire only if the security force has not positioned itself between the convoy and the attacking force.

(c)   The convoy commander retains control of the convoy vehicles and continues to move them along the route as quickly as possible.

(d)   Subordinate leaders or the convoy commander may request that any damaged or disabled vehicles be abandoned and pushed off the route.

(e)   The convoy escort leader uses situation reports to keep the convoy security commander informed. If necessary, the convoy commander can then direct the reserve force from the rear guard or the staging area to take action; he should also call for and adjust indirect fires.

(f)   Once the convoy is clear of the kill zone, the convoy escort element executes one of the following COAs based on the composition of the escort and reaction forces, the commander's intent, and the strength of the threatening force:

  • Continue to return fire as the reserve moves forward to provide support.
  • Break contact and move out of the kill zone.
  • Assault the threatening force.

(2)   Actions at an Obstacle. Obstacles are obstructions that prevent advancing movement. They include, but are not limited to, deliberate roadblocks, disabled vehicles, and large groups of demonstrators. Obstacles pose a major threat to convoy security and can canalize or stop the convoy to set up an ambush. The purpose of route reconnaissance ahead of a convoy is to identify obstacles and either breach them or find bypasses. In some cases, however, the threatening force or its obstacles may avoid detection by the reconnaissance element. If this happens, the convoy must take actions to reduce or bypass the obstacle.

(a)   When an obstacle is identified, the convoy escort faces two problems: reducing or bypassing the obstacle and maintaining protection for the convoy. Security becomes critical, and actions at the obstacle must be accomplished very quickly. The convoy commander must assume that the obstacle is overwatched and covered by direct and indirect fires.

(b)   To reduce the time the convoy is halted, thus reducing its vulnerability, these actions should occur when the convoy escort encounters point-type obstacles:

  • The advance guard element identifies the obstacle, and the convoy commander directs the convoy to make a short halt and establishes security. The convoy escort element overwatches the obstacle and requests to the convoy commander that the breach force moves forward.
  • The escort maintains 360-degree security and provides overwatch as the breach force reconnoiters the obstacle in search of a bypass.
    • Once all reconnaissance is complete, the convoy commander determines which of the following COAs he will take:
    • Bypass the obstacle.
    • Breach the obstacle with the assets on hand.
    • Breach the obstacle with reinforcing assets.


The convoy may encounter an impromptu checkpoint, with obstacles, established by civilians or noncombat elements. If the checkpoint cannot be bypassed or breached, the commander must be prepared to negotiate passage for the convoy (based on the factors of METT-TC, the ROE, and the ROI).

  • The commander relays situation reports (SITREPs) to his higher headquarters and requests support from combat reaction forces, engineer assets, and aerial reconnaissance elements, if they are not already a part of the convoy task organization.
  • Artillery units or the supporting mortar sections are alerted to provide fire support.

(3)   Actions during a Halt. During a short halt, the convoy escort remains at readiness condition (REDCON)-1 status regardless of what actions other convoy vehicles are taking. If the halt is for any reason other than an obstacle, the following actions should be taken:

(a)   The convoy commander signals the short halt and transmits the order via tactical radio. Based on his analysis of the factors of METT-TC, he directs all vehicles in the convoy to execute the designated formation or drill for the halt.

(b)   Ideally, the convoy assumes a herringbone or coil formation. If the sides of the road are untrafficable or are mined, however, noncombat vehicles may simply pull over and establish 360-degree security as best they can. This allows movement of the escort vehicles through the center of the convoy main body.

(c)   If possible, escort vehicles are positioned up to 100 meters beyond other convoy vehicles, which are just clear of the route. This is METT-TC dependent. Escort vehicles remain at REDCON-1 but establish local security.

(d)   When given the order to continue, convoy vehicles reestablish the movement formation, leaving space for escort vehicles. Once the convoy is in column, local security elements (if employed) return to their vehicles, and the escort vehicles rejoin the column.

(e)   When all elements are in column, the convoy resumes movement.


This task is a mobility operation normally conducted by the engineers. The antiarmor company may be tasked to assist in route clearance and to provide overwatch support. The route may be cleared to achieve one of several tactical purposes:

  • To clear a route for the initial entry of the higher unit into an area of operations.
  • To clear a route ahead of a planned convoy to ensure that belligerent elements have not emplaced new obstacles since the last time the route was cleared.
  • To secure the route to make it safe for use as a main supply route (MSR).

The planning considerations associated with opening and securing a route are similar to the planning considerations for a convoy escort operation. The antiarmor company commander must analyze the route and develop contingency plans covering such possibilities as likely ambush locations and sites that are likely to be mined. (For information on combined-arms route clearance operations, refer to FM 20-32.)


Reserve operations in the stability environment are similar to those in other tactical operations in that they allow the antiarmor company commander (or platoon leader) to plan for a variety of contingencies based on the higher unit's mission. As noted throughout this section, the reserve may play a critical role in almost any stability activity or mission, including lodgment area establishment, convoy escort, and area security.

a.   The reserve force must be prepared at all times to execute its operations within the prescribed time limits specified by the controlling higher headquarters.

b.   The controlling higher headquarters may also tailor the size and composition of the reserve force according to its assigned mission. If the reserve force is supporting a convoy, it may consist of an augmented antiarmor platoon. If the mission is to support established checkpoints, then an antiarmor company is augmented with infantry elements.

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