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Chapter 2

Planning Combat and Stability and Support Operations

This chapter describes general ammunition planning considerations necessary to support combat operations and/or SASO. It includes development of contingency plans and SOPs, prepacking of unit material, transportation for unit movement, retrograde of ammunition, and transitions to and from combat operations or SASO.


2-1. The term, combat operations, is generally used to describe both war and contingency operations. War is a major conflict between nations employing total resources and may be of a limited or general nature. Generally, war involves large-scale combat operations for an indefinite period until a favorable conclusion is reached.

2-2. The term, contingency, is generally used to describe a crisis, often with complex political implications, that may happen anywhere in the world where US interests are threatened. Such a crisis may lead to hostilities where the military mission and threat may not be specifically defined but where strategic objectives are identified. Although contingencies may evolve slowly, the decision to use a military option may be made with short notice. Contingency operations are expected to be of short duration with a quick, clear victory. They almost always take place in a new or a maturing theater where there are either no or few established US forces. In combat operations, US services may be fighting as part of joint or combined forces with allied participation.

2-3. The term, stability and support operations, is generally used to describe the use of armed forces to help keep tensions between nations below the level of conflict. Typical operations include disaster relief, nation assistance, security and advisory assistance, counter-drug operations, arms control, treaty verification, support to civil authorities, and peacekeeping. In this manual, combat operations and SASO are synonymous for Class V support operations. The main differences are the nature of the activity, the size and structure of the combat force, the support structure on the ground, and METT-TC.

2-4. Future military operations will require that ammunition units be effective and efficient, highly mobile organizations. Battles may be nonlinear and require rapid movement, multiple relocations, and the ability to support and sustain maneuver forces in a variety of mission profiles. Thus, ammunition support units must be capable of adapting to many scenarios and configurations. Depending on the size of the supported force, an ammunition unit may conduct support operations in either a company or modular configuration. Modular configurations will be used based on operational needs. This may mean that a single modular platoon could be deployed to support a brigade contingency, or a number of platoons and/or companies could be deployed to support a mature theater. These units must be self-sustaining for a period of time, able to operate as part of a multifunctional organization, and 100 percent mobile using organic assets. Training for combat operations and SASO is an essential element of readiness, effectiveness, and success.

2-5. The mission of ammunition support units is to provide the required type and amount of ammunition to the combat user at the needed time and location. Therefore, ammunition units are organized and deployed to meet mission support requirements. In peacetime, they operate out of fixed sites with all associated support and facilities in place. When deployed, they operate in an unfriendly or hostile environment to support a combat force. The condition of facilities may be uncertain, and operational support may be unstable for an undetermined period.

2-6. Since there is no one scenario for combat operations/SASO, ammunition units must be prepared to support operations ranging from peacekeeping to regional conflicts to major war. Like other logistical support, ammunition support requires that the unit have the appropriate mix of personnel, MOS skills, and tools and equipment to accomplish the mission.


2-7. A review of US Army involvement in recent operations clearly indicates the need to improve logistical planning. Plans must be developed to support all levels of combat operations/SASO. It is critical that Class V support planning be detailed and threat-based. See FM 100-5 for discussions covering the following:

  • Five tenets of Army operations doctrine.
  • Five logistics characteristics essential to supporting combined arms operations.
  • Four support considerations for incorporating sustainment imperatives into support planning.

Ammunition units will apply this guidance when developing plans to support ASCC or CINC plans and priorities.

2-8. Ammunition support planners must stay ahead of the situation as operational campaigns unfold by reinforcing successes with priority of support, planning for forward logistics bases, and extending lines of support. As tactical developments render earlier support plans obsolete, ammunition support planners formulate new ones. For more information on CSS, see FM 100-10.

2-9. Because units must deploy quickly, they do not have time for detailed, last minute planning. For example, when a unit deploys to a maturing theater, a support infrastructure may not be available to provide the logistical information needed to perform the mission. The unit commander must identify the logistical support structure that will sustain the unit. This type of contingency planning must be done in peacetime so that the unit can develop detailed SOPs and plans. At a minimum, the following factors must be considered during planning:

  • Local POCs for unit support (i.e., computer, engineer, signal, security, defense, transportation, and POL).
  • Status charts for unit personnel, equipment, and ammunition, including organic basic load (see Appendix A).
  • Replacements for equipment, personnel, ASL, and PLL.
  • Factors affecting the mission (i.e., stock objectives; chain of command; site locations/grid coordinates of supported units; identifying supporting MMC and MCCs, and QASAS; and HAZMAT certified personnel).
  • Equipment staging location and procedures.
  • Organization of march units.
  • Organization of duties for advance and rear parties and reconnaissance element.
  • Densities and speeds for different types of moves.
  • Maintenance of records, including ammunition accountability and serviceability.
  • C2 procedures.
  • Actions to take in the event of attack.
  • Accident and maintenance procedures.
  • Messing and refueling procedures.
  • Communications methods.
  • Load plans for personnel, equipment, and ammunition-related materiel.
  • Night operations.
  • Continuity of operations plan.
  • Directional signs, fire symbols, and FSU stack signs sufficient for three storage locations.
  • Retrograde operations.
  • Identification of QASAS source organization and method of acquiring support.

Less complex local and field SOPs will be developed as necessary. For more information, refer to FM 100-5.


2-10. Field SOPs of ammunition units are based on logistical field SOPs of the command organizational element. They provide guidance in developing SOPs for supported units to facilitate the ammunition support process. SOPs must be adapted to actual operational conditions. Regardless of the SOP being written, considering worst-case situations is the key to useful, effective planning. At a minimum, external SOPs must cover the following:

  • Unit and Class V WHNS.
  • Communications, engineer, and transportation support.
  • Safety.
  • Ammunition issue and turn-in procedures.
  • Protecting ammunition from the elements.
  • Emergency resupply procedures.

At a minimum, internal SOPs must cover the following:

  • Deployment (i.e., staging) procedures.
  • Field setup, including storage, perimeter defense, and storage facility layout plans.
  • Operational procedures, including ammunition receipt, storage, issue, and maintenance operations.
  • Link to C2 element.
  • Routine and emergency destruction plans.
  • Fire-protection plans and other safety concerns.
  • Air resupply procedures.
  • Logistical plans for required augmentation elements (e.g., QASAS personnel).

During actual combat operations or SASO, there is no time to develop plans and procedures. Development of simple, realistic SOPs are essential for fulfillment of the unit Class V mission.


2-11. To make any plan work in the changing combat/SASO environment, everything possible must be done in advance. Prepacking is one of the most useful actions a deploying unit can take. While expendable supplies are generally available through normal supply channels, a period is likely when these items may not be obtainable. Units must prepack as many expendable supplies as possible (e.g., blank forms, directional signs, ammunition placards, banding, paint, and stencils) that can be packaged and/or palletized for transport. Consideration must be given to developing packing lists that cover a variety of METT-TC environments.

2-12. Another critical asset to prepack is a complete, up-to-date Class V reference library that also includes applicable transportation publications. Commanders must ensure that manuals required to complete support tasks and maintain organic equipment are included in packing preparations.


2-13. MOADS-PLS ammunition companies are only 50 percent mobile, less ammunition stocks. Because they do not have sufficient organic transportation to move an entire unit at one time, additional transportation must be requested. Transportation requests are normally coordinated through the unit C2 element to the nearest MCT and/or local transportation activity. For information on motor transportation request procedures, see FM 55-10. Transportation requests will include the following information:

  • Move date.
  • Routes.
  • Destination.
  • Time and place transportation required.
  • Number of personnel to be moved.
  • Quantity, type, weight, and cube of cargo.

Although modular ammunition platoons are 100 percent mobile minus ammunition stocks, they must still coordinate unit movements through their supporting higher headquarters.


2-14. Upon completion of combat operations or SASO, the ammunition retrograde process begins. This process includes the following steps:

  • Collecting.
  • Identifying.
  • Inspecting.
  • Requesting disposition instructions.
  • Repackaging.
  • Load planning.
  • Shipping.

Retrograde of ammunition generally includes the return of unserviceable ammunition, CEA, and serviceable ammunition to rear supply or depot facilities.

2-15. In recent operations, excessive amounts of munitions were requisitioned and issued to deploying forces, placing a tremendous burden on the ammunition support system. The high cost and low density of current and emerging technology munitions mandate the planning and development of a system for retrograde operations that begins at the onset of combat operations or SASO. The functions of estimating and monitoring the amount of repackaging materials needed for the retrograde of munitions are critical. Requisitioning these materials at the last minute may be difficult, particularly during redeployment when competition for movement of all types of materials is intense. Retrograde operations must be covered in field SOPs, and strong emphasis given to return of packaging materials by using units.


2-16. The transition from a peacetime mission and the move from an installation, post, camp, or activity are major steps for ammunition units. Commanders must ensure that officers and NCOs understand the transition process, and that unit training is given priority. This understanding and training prepare the unit to deploy to its assigned area and perform its mission effectively and efficiently.

2-17. During movement, units must continue to execute contingency plans and tactical operations. When a move is to be made, the following must be considered:

  • Planning.
  • Equipment and personnel.
  • Transportation.
  • Reconnaissance and site selection.
  • Area preparation and layout.
  • Defense, security, and area damage control.

2-18. Command elements analyze many factors when making decisions concerning unit deployment. These factors include the following:

  • Location or theater of deployment.
  • Operational situation (i.e., forced or permissive entry).
  • Date and time of deployment.
  • Support structure in theater.

2-19. Many deployment decisions are made based on answers to critical questions. Questions that must be addressed prior to deployment include the following:

  • Will the deployment be as a unit, and will advance, main, and rear parties be required?
  • Will the deployment be in phases?
  • What organization will act as the POC in the theater?
  • What is the deployment mission (i.e., forward in support of a brigade-, corps-, or division-size force)?
  • What is the theater situation?

2-20. The warning order for deployment normally includes the general location of the area in which the unit will conduct its operations, the movement date, and a list of special requirements or instructions. When notified of an impending move, the unit commander alerts unit personnel and initiates planning. The move is coordinated with the supporting C2 element and transportation activity. The commander determines the type of move to be made (unless specified), requests additional transportation as necessary, takes steps to phase out current operations, and schedules a reconnaissance of the area.

2-21. Rapid, efficient deployments are subject to the detailed contingency planning and preparation of simplified field SOPs discussed earlier. To ensure a successful move under stressful conditions, unit training must employ these contingency plans and SOPs, making adjustments as necessary, until procedures are understood thoroughly by all unit personnel. See Appendix B for guidance that commanders can use in preparing for deployment. There likely will be a continuing need to forecast and manage training ammunition effectively. See Appendix C for information and guidance.


2-22. One of the major missions of all ammunition support units, following completion of combat operations/SASO, is the retrograde of Class V materiel and components. Retrograde operations often signal the beginning of the redeployment process (see earlier discussion on retrograde operations). The same amount of detail given to transitioning to combat operations/SASO should be given to redeployment operations. Post-combat/SASO transitions may constantly change. Unit commanders must maintain close coordination and contact with their C2 element to ensure that their unit's deployment is carried out as smoothly as possible. Briefings should be conducted frequently to control rumors and prevent erroneous information from having a negative effect on morale and operations.

2-23. Command emphasis must be given to training for transition to and from combat operations/SASO. Scenario-based training is often the most effective method since preplanning and transitions can be emphasized separately. A unit's ability to develop situational SOPs may be somewhat dependent on logistical guidance from their C2 element and higher logistical headquarters. However, it is always appropriate to maintain a standard SOP package that can be tailored to meet operational requirements. Preplanning and training can ease the strain and stress characteristic of deployment, unit movement, and redeployment.


2-24. Combat operations and stability and support operations require detailed munitions support planning consistent with the Army's doctrine, logistic characteristics, and support considerations. Support planners must adapt quickly to changing requirements as a result of tactical successes. Combat/SASO and post-combat/SASO transitions are major missions of munitions units.

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