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Chapter 4

Joint, Multinational, and Interagency Engineering Operations

When a team takes to the field, individual specialists come together to achieve a team win. All players try to do their very best because every other player, the team, and the home town are counting on them to win. So it is when the Armed Forces of the US go to war. We must win every time. Every soldier must take the battlefield believing his or her unit is the best in the world. Every pilot must take off believing there is no better in the sky. Every sailor standing watch must believe their is no better ship at sea. Every marine must hit the beach believing there is no better infantrymen in the world. But they must all believe that they are a part of a team, a joint team, that fights together to win. This is our history, this is our tradition, this is our future.
 General Colin L. Powell,
Retired Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff


General Shalikashvili, former Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, echoes these opening remarks in Joint Publication (JP) 1, "...the concepts and principles found in joint doctrine have been implemented and validated during major operations and deployments in Somalia, Rwanda, Haiti, and Kuwait, each skillfully executed by armed forces of our great nation. The enduring theme—joint warfare is team warfare." Beyond joint warfare, future operations will be multinational and include interagencies inside and outside the government structure. This is particularly true as our military force has been significantly drawn down in size and corresponding capability. The consequence of smaller components in the armed forces and the reduced overall total for the military structure is sharing the responsibility and the execution of war-fighting, stability, and support operations globally. Joint engineer capabilities are discussed in FM 5-100, Chapter 4. This chapter elaborates on those discussions and expounds on the fundamental actions that arise from the team effort of joint, multinational, and interagency engineer activities.


Discussions of the joint units' capabilities and missions are relevant within Army doctrine because of the team approach to war fighting and the units' conduct within stability operations and support operations. Army units have and will continue to participate in joint response to crises around the world. For example, the Third US Army and each corps has been trained to act as a nucleus for a joint task force (JTF) HQ. The HQ is augmented with Marine, Navy, Air Force and interagency civilians who address component schemes unfamiliar to these Army staffs. Besides directing joint engineer operations in a small contingency as a JTF, Army engineers will be engaged in joint operations with missions and roles affected by other component activities. FM 5-100, Chapter 4, describes the missions and the organizations of component engineer forces such as the—

  • Navy Seabees.
  • Air Force Prime base engineer emergency force (BEEF); Prime readiness in base support (RIBS); and rapid, engineer-deployable, heavy, operational repair squadron (RED HORSE).
  • Marine combat-engineer battalion.

Table 4-1 is a summary of the equipment that is available within these units. The table is arranged in a format that allows general comparison of the equipment.

Table 4-1. Construction equipment summary.

  Army Air Force Navy USMC
Equipment Cbt Hvy Cbt (W) Abn CSC CSE RED
Seabee CEB
Road grader, > size 5 9 9 9   6      
Road grader, < size 5           5 6 7
Dozer, > D7 21 12   3 6 2 6 20
Dozer, < D7     15     4 2 3
Front-end loader, > 2.5 cu yd 2     5 3      
Front-end loader, < 2.5 cu yd 6   9 4   6 10 8
Backhoe or SEE* 6 18 18   6 3 2 *
Trencher           1 2 *
Scraper 12   9   6 2 8 6
Dump truck, > 10 ton 9     8 20 12 16  
Dump truck, < 10 ton 30 54 32   9     34
Line maintenance truck           1 1 1
HEMMT/TPU fuel truck 9 3 3 1 3 3 4  
Tractor Truck 28 12 15 7 6 4 1 8
Low-bed semitrailer 22 12 15 6 6 8 13 8
Rock drill       2     1 *
Well driller           1 1  
10-K AT forklift 3   2 1   3 3 8
Concrete mixer truck           1 2  
8-cu-yd mobile concrete mixer 3         1 1 3
Asphalt paver       2   2 1  
Bituminous distribution truck 2     1        
Asphalt mix plant       1        
Water distributor truck 6 3 3 1 3 2 6 7
Crane 5 2 3 3 3 1 4 10
Vibratory roller 3 3 3   3 3 3 4
Pneumatic roller 5   3 2        
Steel-wheeled roller 1     4        
Sheepsfoot roller 3 3 3   3      
Towed sweeper 1     2        
Rock crusher/screen       1        

*Small emplacement excavator (SEE) tractor attachments.


1. Air Force Prime BEEF units are individually tailored to meet the needs of the assigned bases. Their equipment is not structured.

2. A metric conversion chart is included in Appendix F.


Joint topographic operations include liaison with and support from the NIMA and operations with the US Marine Corps (USMC). These operations will come out of normal engineer channels as the USMC's topographic platoons are intelligence forces. The GI&S officer at the CINC or JTF level may work in the Intelligence Directorate (J2), Operations Directorate (J3), or even the Logistics Directorate (J4).

Multinational topographic operations may come out of normal engineer channels as topographic functions; however, in other countries, they are handled by the intelligence and field-artillery communities as well as the engineers'.

Interagency topographic operations in support of natural disasters and emergencies within the US will include coordination with the US Geological Survey (USGS) as well as the NIMA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FM 5-105 describes topographic operations in more detail.


A joint staff often convenes boards to manage activities and ensure the visibility of all issues. These boards allow concerns to be raised and considered before policy implementation. The CINC's J4 or his engineer may convene these boards before deployment, if appropriate, to establish the standards and provide the guidance to components during their mission analysis and during deployment preparations. Often, this will not be possible as the joint staff, or the contingency JTF staff, will be assembled and deployed along with the component forces in a rapid fashion. Nevertheless, the nature of these boards dictates assembling at the earliest possible time. Based on the scope of the mission, the engineer may choose to convene the following boards to facilitate establishing policy and executing his responsibilities:

  • Joint Facilities Utilization Board (JFUB).
  • JCMEB.
  • Joint Environmental Management Board (JEMB).


This board evaluates and reconciles component requirements for real estate, the use of existing facilities, interservice support, and construction when conflicting or competing requirements materialize. The board meets to resolve these issues and to coordinate with the JCMEB to achieve its priorities. The CINC's engineer-facilities section, with assistance from other selected JFUB members, handles most of the JFUB's work and issues as routine staff actions. The JFUB provides administrative support and functions as the executive agent for the tasking of the JCMEB.

The JFUB's composition varies depending on the nature of the contingency and the forces, the organizations, and the agencies involved. The board is activated on the order of the joint-force commander and chaired by the J4. Its members may consist of any required special staff (for example, legal and civil affairs).


This temporary board provides joint input on establishing policies, procedures, priorities, and the overall direction of the civil-military construction and engineering requirements within the assigned joint operations area (JOA). The standards and the priorities derived from this board and approved by the CINC, or his designated representative, express to components the policy of the command, providing uniformity and conservation of limited resources. The JCMEB settles all issues referred to it by the JFUB.

The JCMEB's composition varies depending on the nature of the contingency and the forces, the organizations, and the agencies involved. The CINC/joint-force commander establishes the board with personnel from the component commands and the DOD agencies or activities that are in support of the CINC.


This is a temporary board that the joint-force commander or his designee may activate. The JEMB establishes policies, procedures, priorities, and the overall direction for the environmental-management requirements in the theater. This is done according to the overseas baseline environmental guidance and/or the final governing standards in effect for the countries within the JOA. If appropriate, the board may assume responsibility for preparing the environmental-management support plan.

The JEMB's composition varies depending on the nature of the contingency and the forces, the organizations, and the agencies involved. The board is established by the CINC/joint-force commander and is staffed by personnel from the component commands and the DOD agencies with real property and/or environmental responsibilities in the AOR.

Beyond chairing the previously mentioned boards, the CINC's staff engineer will likely seek representation on the following boards or organizations to express engineer concerns:

  • Joint Transportation Board (JTB).
  • Joint Material Management Office (JMMO).
  • Joint Targeting Coordination Board (JTCB).
  • Operations Planning Group (OPG).
  • Joint Civil-Military Coordination Board (JCMB).
  • Joint Intelligence Center (JIC).
  • Joint Operations Center (JOC).

In addition to these standing boards, a contingency engineering-management organization may also be formed. The mission of these boards is to arbitrate and establish policy decisions for the joint HQ on matters with multicomponent interest. The CINC may form a TCEM cell that is structured and staffed to support his concept of operations. This cell augments the CINC's engineer staff by—

  • Supporting engineer-plan development.
  • Analyzing the commander's intent.
  • Developing joint policy guidance for construction.
  • Reviewing HNS agreements.
  • Reviewing construction priorities and requirements.
  • Monitoring the status of the theater's engineering forces.

Supporting a TCEM cell, or sometimes in lieu of a TCEM cell, the CINC may establish an RCEM cell and/or a JTF contingency engineering-management (JTFCEM) cell, depending on the conditions. Service components with operational forces in the theater will be expected to assign personnel to the TCEM cell as augmentees to the joint staff, adding service-specific expertise and facilitating coordination.


When military operations are considered, the US seeks to develop coalitions as preferable to unilateral operations. The operation in the Dominican Republic in 1965, for example, was under the aegis of the Organization of American States (OAS). More recently, Operations Provide Comfort (Northern Iraq) and Joint Endeavor (Bosnia) included a coalition of forces from other nations as well as the US, which was under the sponsorship of the United Nations (UN). The US may participate in a US-led coalition such as Operation Restore Hope (Somalia) or a non-US-led coalition such as Operation Able Sentry (former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia). The agencies involved in each of these operations are both consumers and possible resources of engineer activity.

Army engineer units may be subordinate to, collocated and working alongside, or directing engineer activities and providing oversight or support for the missions assigned to these organizations. The engineer force's effectiveness to operate within the varied framework surrounding a collective international enterprise can be greatly enhanced by respecting the multinational partners; their construction and engineering techniques; and their ideas, culture, religion, and customs. Equally important and parallel to operating within a US-only joint environment is understanding the unit's or organization's capabilities and training. This understanding ensures the assignment of appropriate missions and avoids the risk of offending national honor or prestige by allocating unsuitable tasks to partners in the multinational endeavor.


UN-sponsored operations normally employ a force under a single commander. The force commander is appointed by the Secretary General of the UN with the consent of the UN Security Council. The force commander reports either to a special representative of the secretary-general (chief administrative officer [CAO]) or directly to the secretary-general. While the force commander conducts day-to-day operations with a fairly wide discretionary authority, he refers all policy matters to the special representative (CAO) or the secretary-general for resolution. The CAO not only establishes policy, but he can also control the resources and funding expenditures within a given operation.

The US commander retains command over all assigned US forces. The US chain of command runs from the national command authority (NCA), through the CINC, to the lowest commander in the field. This chain of command is national policy. The OPCON over US military forces by other agencies may be negotiated and exercised subject to prior approval by the NCA. The degree of OPCON exercised over US forces must be coordinated and agreed upon by the multinational-force commander and the CINC in accord with the NCA criterion. The US commander is therefore responsible for mission success to the UN-force commander as well as the theater CINC.


Although the US is more likely to undertake involvement in multinational operations with the UN, a number of regional organizations may perform this leadership function. The following are a few of those organizations:

  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
  • Organization of African Unity.
  • OAS.
  • Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The UN may designate one of these regional organizations, with a greater vested interest and appreciation for the forces at work in a given region, as its operational agent to exercise control. Each of these organizations will have different operational concepts and organizational procedures. The US forces are familiar with some of these concepts and procedures, such as NATO's. However, there are others that they are not familiar with.


The engineer types that are available from deployed national armies are generally a mix of combat and/or construction engineers formed into company- and battalion-sized units. The training and experience levels and equipment fielding varies with these units. National engineers from Britain, Canada, and Australia have been involved in numerous missions outside their territorial boundaries. The political impact is important to understand. When the German engineers deployed into Somalia in 1992, it took a national legislative amendment to their constitution to allow them to participate in operations off German soil. This was their first experience in multinational efforts outside of NATO. Smaller countries will have more regional bounds on their involvement, and their experience will be correspondingly narrow. However, they are also more likely to be attuned to the special circumstances that are relevant to the AO.


Like operations with the UN or its operating agents, relationships with international and domestic NGOs and PVOs must be established through negotiation. Most agreements are made at the strategic level (unified command); however, the operational commander may have some latitude delegated to him. All agreements normally have serious legal restrictions on using military personnel and equipment. Some of these agencies may have unique and significant engineer capabilities and intelligence that could be used as a part of the overall operational concept. These capabilities may be a useful source of Class IV material, not only for the agency's own projects, but as a negotiated barter for services rendered in support of its mission. More often than not, however, these agencies and organizations may request extensive engineer support for their activities and programs. As these organizations play an important part in the CINC's achievement of strategic objectives, their demands should not be ignored but must be coordinated. Therefore, it is critical that an effective engineer liaison be established and maintained with the force HQ civil-military operations center (CMOC).


Interagency operations greatly expand the scope and capabilities of any given response team because of the wide variety of expertise and funding resources that can be tapped to perform functions during a crisis response. This is true whether the response is international or is within the territorial confines of the US and its protectorates and territories. Not only do interagency operations increase the resources engaged in any given operation, they also significantly increase and complicate the coordination necessary to achieve victory and generate mechanisms that reduce efficiency as organizations work at cross purposes. The SOPs, the report formats, the information requirements, and the intermediate goals and perceptions of each of these organizations vary greatly. Therefore, coordination and a clear understanding of the commander's intent are absolutely crucial when arranging operational efforts involving multiple interagency organizations. The following are some of the interagency organizations that could be involved:

  • FEMA.
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
  • USGS.
  • Public-health service.
  • Civil air patrol.
  • Department of Agriculture.
  • Department of State.
  • Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).
  • Department of the Interior/Fish and Wildlife Agency.
  • General Accounting Office (GAO).


The USACE has worldwide operations, activities, and responsibilities that enable it to respond quickly and more effectively during the initial stages of a crisis because of its forward-deployed field offices. As a major Army command (MACOM), the USACE has trained rapidly deploying cells to meet mission requirements. The USACE forward element (may be a district command or a subdistrict organization) will be tailored to meet the anticipated needs (see Appendix B for a more detailed discussion). Within this element, there can be—

  • A technical staff (with all the engineer disciplines).
  • Contract constructing agents and project/program managers.
  • Quality-assurance representatives (QARs) to monitor contract- construction progress and specification compliance.
  • CREST elements.
  • Specialized scientists and engineers from USACE laboratories and centers of expertise.

The element's makeup is situational dependent and not only varies from crisis to crisis, but also has the flexibility to vary with time in any given crisis. The deployed USACE organization may be assigned to the ASCC and in turn, placed under the control of the most senior ENCOM in theater. Regardless of the C2 relationship, the USACE forward element retains technical and support channels to the division or the district with the responsibility for the crisis region. This split-based operation allows leveraged support from the CONUS outside the immediate crisis area and greatly increases the capabilities of the element. It may use liaison/action teams (forward corps, Air Force) that are collocated with customer activities. These teams have significant or special demands that require on-location USACE site representation, particularly in a geographically extended theater. Regardless of the mix or the employment strategy, this element of professional expertise is extremely valuable within the TO (particularly in the RSO&I) because of its long-standing association with area vendors and its accessibility in the theater before significant troop units arrive.


The DSAA directs, administers, and supervises the execution of security assistance programs. This involves providing guidance to—

  • Military services.
  • Unified commands.
  • In-country security-assistance officers in their efforts to assist foreign governments in obtaining US equipment, training, and other defense-related services authorized by the Foreign Assistance Act, as amended.

An operational-engineer application that may be coordinated through this agency is training foreign government personnel in demining operations. The US does not engage in demining operations as a matter of policy. The US does conduct clearing operations out of operational necessity for the safe operation of US activities within a region. In many foreign countries, mines litter the countryside from years of civil conflict. The US engineers, under the auspices of the DSAA, may provide technical training to assist a government in eliminating the mine threat to their population.


The FEMA is the federal government's emergency coordinating agency within the US. Its major responsibilities include—

  • Continuity of government and civil-defense activities.
  • Prioritization of resources in a national emergency.
  • Coordination of the federal government assistance to state and local governments under the Federal Response Plan (FRP) in presidentially declared disasters.
  • Coordination of the federal component of consequence management in technological disasters or terrorist events.

The FEMA is the lead agency for coordinating federal emergency management activities for disasters. Under the FRP, the FEMA may request support from the DOD to provide assistance to state and local governments or assistance to other federal agencies that are providing assistance to state and local governments. The FEMA will coordinate activities for state and local governments but has no authority over them.


In a forward-deployed theater, the ASCC (in conjunction with the other component commanders, the CINC, the allies, and the HNs) identifies wartime facility and construction requirements for the Army as part of the deliberate war-planning effort. Doctrinal construction requirements for the ASCC may be identified using the planning module in the TCMS. Subsequent analyses further refine construction requirements and provide a basis for—

  • Force structuring.
  • Procurement.
  • Leasing provisions and establishing HN agreements.

The product of these analyses is the CESP. The goal is to reach HNS agreements in peacetime to provide as many as possible of the facilities that are needed within the theater. Advance planning and the commitment of resources by the HNs reduce the lift requirements that are needed early to support the RSO&I and allow force-projection assets to be concentrated on C2 and engagement systems. Engineering support from the HN usually involves providing—

  • Land.
  • Facilities.
  • Construction support.
  • Manpower.
  • Equipment.
  • Materials.
  • Services.
  • Hazardous-waste disposal.

It is highly desirable to secure written agreements with the HNs on support items to foster an understanding of the assistance levels and increase the likelihood of fulfillment upon execution.


Real estate authorities throughout the world have been assigned to components along similar lines corresponding to the designation of DOD construction agents (DOD Instruction [DODI] 4270.5). Within regions designated to the Army, the USACE establishes policies for the acquisition, the maintenance, and the disposal of real estate. This includes both leased and rent-free facilities. Real estate teams may be assigned to each ASG or centrally controlled at the senior engineer HQ. These teams coordinate with HN agencies and private owners for acquiring and disposing of real estate and the terms of lease agreements.

Real estate planning and surveys must be initiated as campaign plans are developed to ensure that timely and adequate facilities are provided to sustain the combat force. Local HN officials can help identify available facilities or land that meets military requirements. Thorough documentation of lease agreements, property conditions at the time of the lease (to include environmental baseline survey data) and expectations of property conditions at the termination of the lease are crucial to expedite a fair and amiable conclusion of lease activities. Civil-affairs and real estate personnel may be required to work through HN governments to settle agreements with property owners. Real estate acquisition is more difficult in contingency operations due to the lack of preparations to identify probable sources and confirm legal ownership. Real estate is required for—

  • Air bases.
  • Base camps.
  • Medical and logistics complexes.
  • Training sites.
  • Quarry and borrow sites.
  • Trailer transfer points.
  • Traffic control points.

Property is generally acquired by requisition, with all transactions documented thoroughly under the provisions of the CINC's directives. Procedures will be used that provide the property required for missions while protecting the property owner's legal rights. Using facilities that are provided by the host government or a host agency rent free require the same legal responsibilities during use as the facilities leased from private owners. Real estate policies and procedures are discussed in more detail in FM 5-104.


Wartime HNS agreements in forward-presence theaters (Europe and Korea) have been negotiated to provide HN construction support, such as facility modifications, LOC maintenance and repair, and utility services. In Southwest Asia, the agreements are less formal and lack the practiced application that accompanies the full-time presence of US forces in Europe and Korea. However, these agreements are no less critical to mission success in the event of an MTW in this region. Such HNS is used whenever possible to free US engineer units for critical missions where HNS alternatives are not viable. Support agreements are negotiated in peacetime on an asset basis. Assets may be facilities, contracts, or equipment. Again, this support is particularly critical during the initial stages of a contingency when RSO&I requirements are high and engineer assets are limited.

Pre-positioning equipment within the region reduces the US response time into a particular theater by allowing military forces to deploy by air and fall in on war stocks within the region. These pre-positioning locations are a critical element of our force-projection national strategy and represent a significant contribution of HNS. The HN's commitment for space, facilities, services, and utility support for these complexes are a demonstration of the HN's interface with US forces and the partnering the US and the UN share in the defense and stability within the region. Beyond direct HNS, other support may be available from allied nations directly or indirectly involved in the crisis. Other nations sympathetic to the cause may be limited in their direct participation because of constitutional limitations or political sensitivities. However, these nations may provide nonlethal equipment or monies much like the Japanese provided during the Gulf War.

During a conflict, the HN may provide construction organizations to repair or construct facilities, usually within the rear area. Construction materials such as portland cement, asphalt, aggregate, timber, steel, and contract labor may also be available. HN assets may be available for local security and for transporting construction materials and equipment. Third country nationals (TCNs) may also be available (either requested through the HN or through direct contact with the nationals) to support engineer activities within the rear areas. Engineer reconnaissance and assessment teams that are engaged in deliberate planning during peacetime or dispatched early in contingency operations are the key to identifying and accessing available HN assets.

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