Find a Security Clearance Job!


Chapter 2

Fundamentals of Theater-Engineer Operations

Great victories of military forces are often attributed to superior firepower, mobility, or logistics. In actuality, it often is the commander who makes good decisions and executes these decisions at a superior tempo who leads his forces to victory. Therefore, victory demands that commanders effectively link decision making to execution through the concept of C2.
 Fleet Marine Force Manual (FMFM) 3


Although the C2 process begins and ends with the commander, the commanding, decision making, and problem solving that come with it are not done in isolation. The commander's staff and subordinates assist in developing, modifying, and improving courses of action (COAs) and in developing future COAs for events that are not totally clear.

Engineer commands (ENCOMs) and/or theater brigades will likely command and control the means by which forces execute the core-engineer functions for integrating systems. The theater backbone structure, absent in the first months of Desert Shield, now enters the theater early through the employment of an incremental deployment strategy. This provides continuity, the focus of operational issues by appropriately trained units, and allows corps and division engineers to remain focused on the conduct of operations.


Commanders are challenged to generate a force that is tailored for current and anticipated missions, flexible to changing circumstances, and fits the constraints of lift capabilities in today's force-projection Army. The factors of mission, enemy, terrain, troops, time available, and civilian consideration (METT-TC) drive the initial tailoring of the force. Prioritizing and leveraging available assets for acceptable degrees of risk guide the commander in determining the timing, the amount, and the type of units to employ. Engineer units that make up the architecture of the theater-level engineer force are diverse, and many possess highly specialized capabilities. (See Appendix A for the types and missions of these units). Because the demands of any given operation vary, there is no set structure that comprises the engineer structure, and a building-block approach that is based on need is used to determine the ultimate force refinement.

Figure 2-1 is a useful depiction of the multiple engineer organizations that may comprise the theater-engineer task organization. This organization meets the needs of all the battlespace functions addressed in Chapter 1. This mature structure develops incrementally over time during a contingency response. This concept is addressed more thoroughly in Chapter 3. Examining the notional task organization, however, reveals the inclusion of Army assets other than traditional deployable units and units outside the sphere of habitually associated ENCOM units. Appendix A catalogs the deployable modification table of organization and equipment (MTOE) units within this structure. Discussed in the following paragraphs are organizations outside the military deployable units who also contribute to theater-engineer missions.

Figure 2-1. Notional theater-engineer structure.


A contract-construction agent (CCA) designated by the DOD manages and orchestrates defense-oriented construction activities overseas. This worldwide presence is divided between the USACE and the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC). The CCA is usually familiar with construction standards, materials, and contract providers within the AOR through their daily operation (before the events leading to a contingency response). Within the Army's AOR, the USACE provides the following support to the ASCC and engineer units with facilities-engineering responsibilities:

  • Design and construction services.
  • Construction and services contracts administration.

The theater's USACE (forward) commander may support the ENCOM, other commanders within the ASCC, and other service components. (See Appendix B for a more detailed description of USACE.) The USACE forward element's missions include—

  • Planning and designing theater facilities for contract or troop construction.
  • Providing engineer technical expertise (such as force protection, cold-weather effects, water detection, flood prediction, and topography) to support units in the field and providing engineer solutions for operational requirements.
  • Managing the contract-construction program.
  • Ensuring quality assurance (QA) for contract construction and troop construction, if requested.
  • Planning for and acquiring real estate.
  • Providing contract-construction management/oversight.
  • Serving as the administrative contracting officer (ACO) for the Logistical Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP) construction and the contracting officer's representative (COR) for QA.
  • Providing environmental technical support and managing contractor-executed hazardous and toxic-waste cleanup and environmental restoration missions.
  • Ensuring that users of the Theater Construction Management System (TCMS) have technical support.
  • Managing and accounting for all appropriated military-construction (MILCON) and international-construction support funds provided for construction execution in the theater.
  • Providing a USACE liaison to the ENCOM staff and other supported or coordinating command staffs.


An FE team is a reserve table of distribution and allowances (TDA) unit. In times of national emergency and contingency operations, it may mobilize and deploy to be attached to the senior engineer HQ, a group or higher engineer organization, or an area support group (ASG). As part of a large and diverse FE TDA unit, the team can be task-organized to fit a specific mission before deployment. The team has no organic communication, transportation, or defensive equipment.

The ASCC has overall responsibility for real-property maintenance activities (RPMA). A principal RPMA function in a TO is the operation, the repair, and the maintenance of facilities and utilities occupied by Army forces and other service-component units. The FE team is uniquely suited for this mission. It is a part of the FE TDA. The team is a nationwide reserve organization with the mission of assessing and managing the upkeep of the physical plant of our reserve facilities and mobilization base. The FE TDA is comprised of small highly skilled teams that can be easily task-organized to manage FE missions. Environmental considerations and mitigation have become increasingly relevant to US force-projection operations throughout the world in recent years. The team is particularly equipped to aid and advise the ASCC on Environmental Compliance and Assessment System (ECAS) issues as they relate to current and future operations. The team's skills, originally envisioned for use only within the US during partial or full mobilization, has been used repeatedly during contingency responses. The team was deployed to Saudi Arabia during Desert Shield, and others have been used in Somalia (Operation Continued Hope), Haiti (Operation Uphold Democracy), and Bosnia (Operation Joint Endeavor). The team is normally attached to ASGs and has a coordination relationship with the ENCOM.


The use of combat-engineer units and bridge assets are depicted in the notional structure because of their utility and purpose beyond the needs of the maneuver elements, see Figure 2-1. These highly mobile, offensive US force-projection units will span great distances in an area from the entry points of the COMMZ to the forward edge of friendly forces.

The theater-engineer structure assumes responsibility for forward areas as the corps structure moves forward in the offense. The battlespace is expected to be an engineer challenge due to unexploded ordnance, mines, and damaged road networks. Combat-engineer units have immense utility within the theater-engineer task organization. Task organizing combat-engineer units with theater-engineer units increases the survivability of forward EAC engineer workforces and improves mobility throughout the theater AOR. The combat engineers' skill proficiency in demolitions and mine clearing reinforces the EAC engineers' military occupational specialties for construction. Likewise, the engineer bridge specialists' unique equipment and skills, organic to bridge units, are required to rapidly expand tactical bridging to a more permanent gap-crossing site that is capable of transiting sustained two-way traffic. When other services, such as the Marine Corps, require Army engineer augmentation, combat engineers may be assigned to the theater engineer for C2 to provide engineer support in a joint operation. To perform M/CM/S and general engineering within the environment described above, bridging units and mechanized and wheeled combat battalions are task-organized within the theater-engineer structure.

All missions may not require the inclusion of these combat elements, bridge assets, or TDA units. The makeup of the task organization will vary based on the METT-TC. Task organization for the operational-engineer structure is situational dependent. The notional task organization depicted in Figure 2-1 illustrates that the applicable "building blocks" are not limited to the customary EAC-type units.


Engineer coordination in modern contingencies is as axiomatic as coordination between maneuver elements, whose coordination (left to right and higher to lower) enhances the probability of success, synchronization, and mass at the decisive moment and precludes fratricide. The earlier reference to an initial limited engineer-force structure within the AOR is overcome through the effectiveness of coordination. Just as the operator establishes maneuver graphics, boundaries, axes of advance, and fire-support coordination lines to control fires and maneuver, the engineer employs standards, prioritizes the effort, establishes EWLs, and employs obstacle-free zones. Some of these coordination measures are put forth by the CINC and the joint-force commander; others are established by the ASCC and the joint-force land-component commander.

The CINC's, joint-force commander's, and ASCC's ability to influence the battle with engineer assets may be managed through operating a theater contingency engineering management (TCEM) or a regional contingency engineering management (RCEM) cell. The composition and the procedures of the TCEM and the RCEM cells are governed by the respective geographic CINCs. These cells are augmented to the staffs they support and do not form an engineer-command stovepipe. The TCEM and the RCEM cells apply the commander's intent, merge engineer-support requirements, and orchestrate resources by—

  • Establishing priorities and policy for theater Class IV (A and B) stockage levels.
  • Establishing theater distribution protocols that are consistent with construction priorities.
  • Monitoring and recommending the allocation and use of construction assets against priority operational requirements and recommending taskings for engineer assets.
  • Developing construction standards and priorities.
  • Providing input to the Joint Civil-Military Engineering Board (JCMEB).


Established construction standards and policies guide engineer operations and are generally stated within the OPORD. These standards and policies provide for allocating limited resources to accomplish the most vital tasks and direct the priority and the level of effort to be expended. Engineer materials and services support the operator as well as the logistician. Mounting or conflicting demands on engineer resources must be resolved to ensure that the greatest use is gained. For example digging assets have multiple uses throughout the AOs. They can be used to—

  • Enhance sustainment and the QOL in rear areas.
  • Improve survivability of forward elements.
  • Contribute to countermobility activities.

A principal tool that is available to the engineer is the Civil-Engineering Support Plan (CESP). For more information on the CESP, see Chapter 5 and Appendix C. Generally, facility requirements within a contingency are needed for a short duration and, therefore, are satisfied (in priority) by—

  • Obtaining maximum use of existing facilities (controlled by the US/HN).
  • Modifying existing facilities rather than constructing new ones.
  • Leasing facilities.
  • Constructing new facilities.

Using an appropriate balance of US engineer troop units and contractors, Army forces that are deployed to developed areas capitalize on an established infrastructure and maximize the use of existing facilities. The construction effort is focused on facility modification and battle-damage repair, making maximum use of the HN's available manpower, equipment, and materials.

Army forces deployed to lesser-developed and undeveloped operational areas rely more on the construction of new austere facilities. The construction effort at first is focused on initial standard (up to 6 months expected use) or temporary standard (up to 24 months expected use) construction and battle-damage repair. As the operation extends over time, these standards may not be adequate for the level of QOL the commander deems appropriate for his soldiers. Whatever the standard, HNS is sought, but it may be less available than in developed areas. In all theaters, a prudent mix of troops, direct contracts, and LOGCAP contractors accomplish theater construction and/or repair requirements in the most efficient means available. Only through this mix can the engineer overcome shortfalls in resources while maintaining the support level required by all forces deployed in theater.


Engineer work requirements throughout the operational area normally exceed capabilities. The CINC routinely establishes a broad priority system within his OPORD (usually in Appendix 5 of Annex D in the OPORD). This priority system assists in applying resources across all services against only those tasks that are most critical to success. The following list provides a framework for assessing the priority of required engineer support in broad terms:

  • High loss of life or combat defeat.
  • Degraded combat effectiveness or increased vulnerability on the battlefield.
  • Degraded critical then noncritical combat service support (CSS).

These broad priorities are often inadequate to address specific projects that compete for resources. Frequently, these instances impact on more than one service either through the consumption of limited Class IV materials or the allocation of a limited construction element. Adjudication occurs within the TCEM cell for cases of broad theater consequence or the RCEM cell for cases of a more local nature. These cells are augmented to the CINC's staff engineers and almost always have joint membership.


Accurate and timely engineer reports from subordinate units to the senior engineer and the ASCC are critical to the Army engineers' ability to inform and advise the ASCC on engineer status and issues. This routine feedback mechanism allows the commander and his staff the visibility of current operations as they monitor activities. This in turn gives the engineer and his staff a way to anticipate needs and validate current plans and future engineer efforts. A thorough awareness of the activity level, unit locations, equipment, material, and personnel status provide the basis for the commander's decisions on—

  • Task organization.
  • Mission allocation.
  • Viability of future operational COAs.
  • Time-phased force-deployment data adjustments.

The reporting times, the frequency, and the format will be specified within the OPORDs or the standing operating procedures (SOPs) for the units involved. Avoid generating reporting requirements that distract from the unit's mission capability or exceed their staffing capability. If the reports serve multiple purposes and HQ, duplicating information in varied formats would be minimized. The TCMS software fielded for all Army engineer battalions (combat) (heavy), groups, brigades, and ENCOMs has imbedded reports formats that could—

  • Standardize reporting.
  • Draw from management data assembled for mission execution.
  • Benefit the reporting unit by decreasing the generation of reports for the higher HQ.

Obstacle and minefield reporting are engineer coordination measures with grave consequences if not recorded and communicated properly. The land-component commander by joint doctrine is the command repository for all minefield data. The need for a single clearing house for these reports is paramount to engineer units, maneuver elements, and logisticians operating within the theater. As units cross boundaries or push forward into enemy territory, friendly reinforcing obstacles must be known. Scatterable minefields, whether emplaced by the Air Force (Gator), Army aviation (air Volcano), artillery (area-denial artillery munition [ADAM], remote antiarmor mine [RAAM], and wide-area mine [WAM]), or combat engineers (Volcano or Modular Pack Mine System [MOPMS]), have variable self-destruct times and reliability that will affect operations.

At the time of publication, the US's use of antipersonnel land mines is being changed according to presidential guidance and the fiscal year (FY) 98 DOD Authorization Bill. As friendly elements report enemy or friendly emplaced systems, the ASCC's staff engineer is the clearing house for this information. This single repository becomes the authoritative source on obstacle status and is a principal guard against fratricide. The ASCC's staff engineer is assessable by all services that anticipate ground operations in affected areas. He possesses the visibility and/or connectivity to other services to ensure maintenance of the most complete, reliable database on obstacles.


Each committed corps will have an organic corps engineer brigade. The ASCC equips the corps brigade with sufficient combat and general-engineering assets to maintain operations for the requirements within the corps area. These requirements include—

  • Integration into the combined-arms maneuver team.
  • Survivability of assigned assets.
  • General-engineering operations, such as construction support to the division support commands (DISCOMs) and the corps support commands (COSCOMs).

Some construction effort will be expended through expanding—

  • Combat trails to divisional- and corps-level MSRs.
  • Support to attack aviation bed down.
  • Support to forward-area refueling points (FARPs).

Just as the ASCC desires the combatant corps's attention to be focused on matters oriented forward, engineers also maintain theater support and reinforce Army missions as far forward as practical to focus combat engineers on tactical support to combatant commanders.


The CSS units' ability to conduct RSO&I, sustain operations, and move and/or shelter combat and CS forces depends on adequate, responsive engineer support. The number and the type of engineer-support units depend on the—

  • Size of the support base required.
  • HN infrastructure and the support available.
  • Mission.
  • Availability of existing engineer support brought to the TO and other services.
  • Perceived threat in the rear area.
  • Duration of the operation.

Figure 2-2 displays the typical command and support relationships between the engineer elements and their supported Army sustainment providers. Although the theater support command (TSC) requires extensive general-engineering support, the operating systems that provide this support are shared by both the combat and support channels. The ASCC, through the engineer chain of command, orchestrates engineer support for all stakeholders. Depicted in Figure 2-2 are the management/coordination cells within the theater that establish priorities and standards. The TCEM arranges theater-wide standards while the RCEM states the priorities relevant to a smaller geographic region.

Figure 2-2. Theater-engineer support relationships (Army only.

Within the theater's rear area, Army engineer units provide—

  • Topographic support to the theater at large.
  • Real estate acquisition and management.
  • RPMA support.
  • Electric-power generation/distribution.
  • Troop construction and repair.
  • Contract-construction support.
  • Environmental engineering support.
  • Transportation engineering support.
  • Underwater-port construction and repair.
  • Underwater-port obstacle clearance or salvage.


The EAC's topographic-engineer battalion is the ASCC's topographic asset. The battalion commander is the theater's topographic engineer. The battalion can conduct topographic operations from the home station or a split-based or deployed environment. The battalion—

  • Analyzes the terrain—
  • — To plan for the intelligence preparation of the battlespace (IPB), tactical-decision aids, and sustainment and rescue operations.

    — To plan and estimate for M/CM/S and general-engineering missions.

  • Updates existing maps and digital topographic data.
  • Establishes geodetic survey controls in the operational area.
  • Manages, updates, and reproduces digital terrain information.

The topographic battalion is tailored to meet the requirements of the particular operational area. This unit supplements and enhances the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) effort by compiling data from various sources into special-purpose topographic products such as—

  • Digital topographic data for C2 and mission planning and rehearsals.
  • Image-based map substitutes.
  • Terrain-analysis information (trafficability, line of sight, cover, concealment, route analysis, hydrological data, and obstacles).
  • Geodetic survey data for precise positioning and targeting of weapons.
  • Map overprints
  • Map revisions.
  • Model and simulation databases.


The USACE forward element, through its real estate component, provides technical real estate guidance and advice to the ASCC. It recommends real estate policies and operational procedures. The element acquires, manages, disposes of, administers payment for rent and damages of, handles claims for, and prepares records and reports for the real estate used within the theater. The USACE, through the CREST, may also exercise staff supervision over the real estate operations of the Army's real estate detachments and routinely provides real estate support to other US services. Real estate planning must be initiated in the preparatory phases of a campaign by a planning group because of the significant role it plays in the initial RSO&I, particularly in less developed theaters. The ASCC's staff engineer participates in all planning activities. After hostilities cease, real estate requirements for the reconstruction period should also be considered.

Outside the active CZ, real estate is normally acquired by lease or HN agreements, and all transactions are documented thoroughly under the applicable provisions of theater directives. Large tracts of real estate are required for—

  • Airfields and railheads.
  • Port operations.
  • Reception areas.
  • Staging areas.
  • Training and maneuver areas.
  • Pipelines.
  • In-theater recreation and reconstitution areas.
  • Storage locations.
  • Chemical decontamination sites.
  • HQ installations.

Accommodations for displaced civilians and enemy prisoners of war (EPWs) are often suited to leased facilities within the COMMZ. Some of this property may be highly developed and may have considerable value to the HN corporate or civilian population. Procedures must be followed to provide the property required while ensuring that the legal rights of owners and the US government are protected. Environmental baseline surveys must be conducted before US personnel occupy any property.


The ASCC has the overall responsibility for the RPMA. The theater Army area command (TAACOM) (or TSC), through the FE teams (assigned to the ASGs), normally provides the needed RPMA support, using engineer units (attached to or in general support [GS] of the ASGs) to provide the engineer-specific services. These services include—

  • Facilities and utilities repair and maintenance.
  • Fire prevention and protection.
  • Refuse disposal (landfill operations as opposed to refuse collection, which is an ASG responsibility).

Tailoring engineer units to support the ASGs is based on the expected RPMA workload. As logistics bases are established, the RPMA requirements are normally met with the assigned or attached assets of the ASG or other logistics organizations. As the bases mature and the RPMA requirements exceed these capabilities, the requirements are forwarded to the supporting engineer group for execution according to theater priorities. RPMA support is required for all Army facilities within the AOs, which includes leased facilities, unless HNS is available for them. The FE team is ideally suited as an RPMA manager within large HN-provided or -leased facilities equipped with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and utility systems typical to commercial buildings and complexes. The FE team—

  • Provides C2 of a base directorate of public works (DPW) organization with augmented assets.
  • Inspects facilities and systems.
  • Prepares the scope of work and provides limited design services and contract administration for RPMA support.
  • Provides staff support for a full spectrum of FE services to Army units requiring technical support.
  • Coordinates engineer-support requirements and passes them on to supporting engineer teams, an engineer group in GS, a contracted RPMA engineering service, or HNS personnel.

Except for the specialized teams assigned to the ASG, the engineer group in GS to the ASG has control of all engineer units in its assigned area. The ENCOM can also administer real-property maintenance on a centralized basis as the need arises in task organizing engineer assets and weighting the main effort.

Once the capabilities of the ASG are exceeded, a DPW should be established. At this point, the base has under its control extensive facilities, possibly including HN-provided or -leased permanent buildings with complex utility, HVAC, solid-waste, housing-management, and other systems that provide life support and mission support.

The DPW organization must be tailored to the specific base RPMA needs from a variety of assets. The FE team should serve as the nucleus of the DPW organization. The team must be supplemented with HNS, USACE-contracted assets, and engineer units such as utility detachments, fire-fighting detachments, and others. The DPW can be assigned to the ASG or to a centralized RPMA organization under direct control of the theater commander.


The technologically advanced systems employed within the TOs place demands on electrical power sources that existing facilities within the HN may not be able to accommodate. Many nations have electrical distribution systems that—

  • May provide unreliable power with voltage fluctuations.
  • May not be capable of meeting our power demands.
  • Require step-down transformers.
  • Are not compatible with normal US equipment.

To meet power needs, the prime-power battalion has the ability to generate and distribute utility-grade electrical power as well as provide expertise on all electrical and distribution systems. This is a superior alternative to multiple tactical generators that were designed for very different applications. Prime-power units meet the demands of large command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) networks, such as the ASCC HQ and its multiple major subordinate commands (MSCs). These C4I nodes are typified by large power demands for extensive communications and automation systems. Remote base camps of significant density or those made up with force-provider packages use prime-power assets to reliably source electrical requirements.


For the greatest efficiency and increased responsiveness, the ENCOM operates on the principle of decentralized execution of the theater's construction program. Although progress is monitored within the ENCOM, decentralization requires that work requests enter the system at the lowest possible level. Within the theater-support base, alignment along area-support boundaries provides established conduits through the ASG. If the ASG cannot accomplish the work with its organic assets, it prioritizes the requests and provides them to the supporting engineer group. When the work cannot be done at this level, the engineer group enters the requests into a construction and repair backlog and passes them to the engineer brigade for resolution. Troop-construction tasks come as construction directives. Appendixes D and E show sample formats for a construction directive and a construction SOP.

The civil-affairs teams receive HN requests for US engineer support and pass them to the engineer group for execution. The engineer group enters these requests into its workload according to established theater priorities. Other component services submit work requests directly to the engineer brigade supporting the geographical area where the construction is required. The engineer brigade prioritizes these requests and provides them to the engineer group who supports the area requiring the work. When the work cannot be done, the ENCOM is advised through the reporting procedures so it can resolve the problem.

The ENCOM may receive work that is required in support of the theater's base-development plan (BDP) through coordination with the TAACOM or the TSC. The ENCOM also receives work generated at the CINC or the ASCC level based on plans for future operations. The ENCOM prioritizes the work and passes it to the appropriate engineer brigade for accomplishment. It may also redistribute backlog work to other engineer brigades that are not fully committed. This two-way flow of backlog work and taskings identifies the required workload to each level of the organization. The engineer group can do objective scheduling according to theater priorities. Only an exceptional case needs to be referred to the higher HQ; for example, to settle a question of priority. Figure 2-3 is a flow diagram that summarizes these procedures. The TCEM/RCEM cells will most likely be involved with prioritization during the early days of any operation.

Figure 2-3. Flow of construction request.


The CCA oversees construction and other contracting services that are available through the USACE, the NAVFAC, or the Air Force regional civil engineers' (AFRCE) CCAs, depending on the theater's location. CCAs will maintain control of the contractor's operations. Each service component has its own geographic AO; however, in any one area, only one CCA is designated. The DOD has assigned regional contract-construction capabilities as follows:

  • The USACE has Northeast and Central Asia, Central and Northern Europe, North and South America, the Middle East, and Northeast Africa.
  • The NAVFAC has the Iberian Peninsula, the South Pacific, the Caribbean, Antarctica, Southeast Asia, the Mediterranean Basin, and the Horn of Africa.
  • The AFRCE has the United Kingdom (UK).

The CCAs will establish contract-management offices in support of force-projection operations. They will be deployed as early as possible to initiate the necessary contracting operations.

Army engineers routinely support other component services, HNs, and coalition partners as well. The Air Force, for example, plans on Army support for air-base damage repair to quickly generate sorties after an attack. The Marines have limited engineer-construction capabilities and rely on Army support if they will be engaged in an operation for any extended period of time. Joint engineer doctrine addresses these applications specifically; however, the fundamentals discussed within this manual apply to any engineer mission regardless of the supported unit.


Army engineer support spans more than the theater-sustainment base. Maneuver elements receive limited organic engineer support. The theater support relationships are not traditionally direct support (DS) or GS roles because the senior engineer must maintain greater flexibility in assigning operational missions and redirecting assets while providing consistent C2. Nevertheless, these Army engineers can and do support the combat engineers in accomplishing missions through activities within the CZ. Control measures, such as EWLs, delineate work zones and are positioned as far forward as practical for the respective level of engineer effort. This line between the combatant Army engineers is coordinated with the ASCC's staff engineer, the corps's engineer brigade, and the ENCOM to meet the operational and tactical needs. Coordinated EWLs ensure the most effective and efficient use of all engineer assets within the theater.

To facilitate the forward focus of the corps's engineer assets and to accomplish the myriad of tasks beyond the corps engineer's capabilities, Army-level engineers frequently work within the corps's area. All engineer missions behind the EWL delineating corps- and Army-level engineers are the responsibility of the Army engineer. Such missions include MSR maintenance and construction requirements for support facilities (hospitals and airfield matting for rotary aviation operations and bed down). This frees the corps's and the division's engineer assets from missions that draw their attention rearward.

Forward-placed EWLs posture the operational assets for continuing missions that would be otherwise handed off as the corps moves forward. Therefore, EWLs are independent of other boundary control measures (such as the corps's rear boundary), allowing division- and corps-level engineers to concentrate on forward efforts that are critical to the close fight. Finally, the theater augments all of its corps by assuming responsibility for specific support on a task basis forward to the specified EWL, again releasing the corps's construction units to engage in activities far forward and of immediate concern to the corps commander. Examples of such projects are constructing forward log bases and repairing war-damaged airfields or EPW/dislocated civilian camps in anticipation of the rapid advances of the forward elements.

Very specific operational support occurs at transition periods of current operations. Transitioning from the offense to the defense requires rapid employment of engineers in the following areas:

  • Survivability emplacements for ADA.
  • Primary and alternate positions for artillery.
  • Survivability emplacements for C4I.
  • Linear obstacle emplacements (tank ditches).

Transitioning from the defense to the offense has similar engineer requirements, such as—

  • Expanding tactical breaches of obstacle systems.
  • Positioning ammunition supply points (ASPs) forward.
  • Establishing FARPs.
  • Preparing areas for forward logistics bases.
  • Assuming missions previously worked by divisional engineers.
  • Upgrading combat trails to supply routes.
  • Adjusting obstacle controls and allocations, as required.

After successful river-crossing operations, division and corps engineers are focused forward on the far-shore objectives that drove the river crossing. They need not be tied to the river at their rear—again handover to Army-level engineers to expand the bridgehead will proceed the shift of the corps's rear boundary.

Join the mailing list