COMMAND AND CONTROL
A company commander uses the command-and-control (C2 ) process to ensure that his company accomplishes its missions. Many tools are available to assist him in planning and executing tactical missions. This chapter provides the TTP needed to command and control the engineer company and to make sound tactical decisions.
COMMAND AND CONTROL RESPONSIBILITIES
In certain extreme situations, the engineer battalion may not be able to provide all of the CSS the engineer company requires, but an attached relationship with the TF may not be appropriate. With proper coordination (between the engineer battalion, the maneuver brigade, and the TF) the TF can provide additional CSS to the engineer company even though the engineer company is not attached. This additional CSS may be only partial support. For example, the TF may supply Class I, II, III, and V (small arms) supplies and medical support, while the engineer battalion provides all other classes of supply and maintenance support.
- Are adjacent to each other.
- Occupy the same area.
- Maneuver through the same area.
- Are given parts of the same task to accomplish.
ENGINEER COMPANY ORGANIZATION AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The XO is normally the primary engineer staff officer on the TF staff. He assists the engineer company commander in his special staff-officer responsibilities and collocates the engineer CP with the TF tactical operations center (TOC) throughout the planning, preparation, and execution phases of the operation. The CP remains an integral part of the TOC for monitoring the engineer preparation and execution status during the operation. The XO is responsible for the initial development of the engineer battlefield assessment (EBA). He receives guidance and direction from the company commander and information from the TF and engineer battalion S3s and the assistant brigade engineer to assist him in this task. He also supervises the company headquarters section. The XO, along with the TF S2, develops the TF's situation template (SITEMP). The XO ensures that the terrain analysis and the analysis of the enemy's engineer capabilities are incorporated into the SITEMP. He analyzes the friendly engineer capability and assists the company commander in integrating engineers into the TF's scheme of maneuver and in developing the TF engineer annex and the company operation orders (OPORDs). The XO is the logistics planner for the engineers in the TF's sector.
The 1SG is the primary company logistics executor. He coordinates with either the TF or engineer battalion S4, the support platoon leader, the company supply sergeant, and the A&O platoon leader to ensure that the engineer company is logistically prepared for its next mission. He develops the company's CSS plan and ensures that it is integrated into the engineer battalion or TF CSS plan. He is the company commander's senior enlisted advisor, his primary agent for the welfare of the company's soldiers, and his quality-control agent. The 1SG is the driving force behind the company's prebattle preparation. He directly supervises the company's NCOs as they inspect their platoons before the company commander performs his precombat inspections. He is also the key coordinator for additional medical support for the company.
The engineer platoon leader has dual responsibilities as both a platoon leader and as the senior engineer advisor to the maneuver company/team. He is the company/team commander's expert on mobility and countermobility.The A&O platoon leader is the survivability expert in the engineer company. In the offense, he may lead the company's mobility reserve. He may also act as the company's maintenance officer to assist in this critical combat function.
The company operations NCO is critical to the company's ability to maintain 24-hours-per-day operations. He must be able to prepare the initial EBA in the XO's absence. He is pivotal to the company's ability to perform sustained planning.
The engineer company CP provides the TF's TOC with information about current engineer operations that are required for making timely decisions. The company CP should have the same command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) capabilities as the company commander, the supported TF, and the engineer battalion in order to interface digitally with these elements. The engineer company CP-
- Tracks friendly and enemy obstacles.
- Coordinates the execution of the scheme of engineer operations (SOEO) within the TF.
- Synchronizes the engineer effort among the maneuver companies/teams.
- Provides engineer expertise to the TF staff.
- Receives, posts, and analyzes combat information affecting current engineer operations and provides input to the TF intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB).
- Coordinates reports and information with the engineer battalion CP.
- Provides engineer expertise to the TF FSE.
ENGINEER TACTICAL PLANNING
PLANNING AND DECISION MAKING
The engineer estimate is the primary tool that engineers use to facilitate planning in the TF. The estimate allows the TF engineer to integrate his company's capabilities as a combat multiplier into the TF's plan. The estimate allows the timely development of an SOEO and facilitates the early employment of engineers.
The tactical decision-making process provides the framework for focusing the TF staff as they develop the TF plan. The engineer estimate is an extension of the tactical decision-making process and is integral in developing a successful plan. Figure 2-2 illustrates the relationships between the engineer estimate, the tactical decision-making process, and the TLPs.
The TF plan dominates the development of the engineer estimate. The engineer must understand the TF plan in order to plan for engineer support properly. He must thoroughly understand the TF commander's intent and concept for maneuver, engineers, and fire support. The engineer estimate should be a continuous process, with each step or consideration refined based on changes in the current situation and any changes to future missions.
FINALIZED ENGINEER PLAN
- Estimate the situation.
- Analyze the mission in detail.
- Analyze the terrain and enemy.
- Develop a COA (plan).
- Analyze the COA (war-game).
- Make a decision.
- Expand the COA into a tentative plan .
6. Complete the order.
7. Issue the order.
8. Supervise the execution.
Receive the Mission
Issue the Warning Order
- The situation and the mission type (attack, defend, or delay).
- The time the operation starts (start-point [SP] time, line-of-departure [LD] time, or no later time to defend).
- The time and place of the company OPORD.
Make a Tentative Plan
- The time and place of linkup.
- Recognition signals.
- Call signs, frequencies, and communications security (COMSEC) variables.
- The tactical situation (why the platoon is being task-organized).
- The CSS status and requirements.
- Observation and fields of fire, cover and concealment, obstacles, key terrain, and avenues of approach (OCOKA).
- Vehicle positions.
- Routes the company will use.
- Fire-control references, including target reference points (TRPs) and EAs.
- LDs and phase lines (PLs), if they can be seen.
- Terrain to the company's flanks and rear, especially along the flanks.
- Danger areas.
- Known or suspected enemy locations.
Complete the Order
The execution matrix is used to help complete and execute the plan. The matrix is not designed to replace a verbal order with an overlay, a terrain model, or an operational sketch; it is designed to help the company commander develop and execute the order. During the operation, the company leaders refer to the matrix for C2 information. Figure 2-3 shows an example of an execution matrix.
Issue the Order
Supervise the Execution
- Full rehearsal. This rehearsal produces the most detailed understanding of the mission within the command. A full rehearsal involves the entire company. It is time-intensive and requires detailed planning to ensure that all key events are synchronized (for example, a deliberate breach and marking of a complex obstacle). The full rehearsal is the preferred technique because it allows all elements to practice their individual tasks for the mission. Full rehearsals, especially when working with elements or TFs that the commander has not worked with before, are the best preparation.
- Key leader. This rehearsal places the key leaders in their combat vehicles and rehearses on terrain similar to the battlefield. These rehearsals are more involved and allow the commander to rehearse movement techniques and synchronize communication procedures at critical times in the operation.
- Terrain model. This type of rehearsal is done with a terrain model. It rehearses key leaders on critical events. A terrain-model rehearsal is done when there is not enough time for a more involved rehearsal. When possible, the commander should place the terrain model where it overlooks the actual battlefield. The commander and the platoon leaders walk through the terrain model and rehearse their respective plans and how they are synchronized.
- Sketch map. The sketch-map rehearsal uses the same procedures as a terrain model, but is used when time restricts the construction of a terrain model. The commander uses a sketch instead of a model, and the platoon leaders walk through their respective plans. This type of rehearsal is done when there is little time available. When possible, the commander should rehearse at a location overlooking the actual battlefield.
- Map. The map rehearsal is used when time is very short. The commander and the platoon leaders use their maps and graphic overlays to rehearse the plan. Where possible, the map rehearsal should be done on terrain overlooking the actual battlefield. The map rehearsal uses the same procedures as the terrain-model and sketch-map rehearsals.
- Radio. The commander and the platoon leaders rehearse by interactively and verbally executing critical portions of the plan over established communication networks. This rehearsal must be carefully supervised to ensure proper OPSEC procedures are followed.
Inspect. The company commander inspects by physically checking to see what the unit has done for preparation. A precombat checklist may be helpful as a guide and memory cue of what to inspect. The company precombat checklist should follow the same format as the platoon list (Appendix C gives an example of a company precombat checklist). The platoon leaders should finish their inspections at a certain time to give the commander an overall look at the company.
A report halfway through the preparation phase will allow the commander to check the company's progress and give him time to redirect the priority of tasks. A filled-in copy of the checklist does not substitute for a personal inspection. It is not necessary to conduct a formal inspection; the commander just needs to see what his soldiers are doing. Often, the commander can tell how well NCOs have performed the precombat preparation by walking through the company position. The commander should talk to his soldiers and leaders to gauge how well they have prepared and to what extent they understand the upcoming mission.
Deficiencies are corrected when they are observed. On-the-spot corrections provide a chance for the commander to train soldiers and reinforce the chain of command. The following list may help the commander inspect the company's preparations:
Coordinate. Coordinating is a part of supervising the company's preparation for combat. The XO, the 1SG, and other leaders help complete coordination. Coordination is critical during the following functions:
- To tie in flanks and to provide mutual support to adjacent units.
- For overwatch, obstacle handover, and passage of lines (lane closure) with the companies/teams.
- For obstacle location, siting, and construction standards with the TF.
- For CSS plans (including logistics release points [LRPs], unit maintenance collection points [UMCPs], aid stations, prestocks, Class IV/V supply-point locations, combat trains, and decontamination sites) with the TF or battalion S4.
- For field-fortification location and construction standards with the companies/teams.
- For reconnaissance and surveillance (R&S) plans with the TF S3/S2.
- Obstacle locations for adjacent units.
The company XO leads the company CP. He works closely with the TF S2 to develop the SITEMP, particularly in the arenas of terrain analysis and enemy engineer capability. The XO works with the S3 during the COA development and analysis processes. He recommends where obstacles, fortifications, and other engineer efforts can support the TF during the defense. In addition, the XO works closely with the TF FSO during defensive operations for integration of fire-support planning into the obstacle plan. In the offense, he must ensure integration of fire-support planning into breaching operations.
During the offense, the XO recommends where breaching assets should be task-organized and which type of breaching system would be best employed. The engineer company commander will normally provide the engineer XO with planning guidance and engineer company status. The commander will make his own recommendations on which engineer assets should be task-organized and where.
The XO is assisted by the company operations sergeant, the NBC NCO, the communications chief, and the CP-vehicle operator. The engineer CP's vehicle must be a dedicated vehicle with the same C4I capability as the engineer commander's combat vehicle and with the same survivability and mobility as the TF TOC. This allows the CP to operate 24 hours a day and provides for continuous planning and reporting.
The commander gives the XO guidance on using the engineer company. Task-organization recommendations, current equipment availability, and the training level are the commander's to assess, and he provides this guidance to the XO for the planning cell to effectively contribute to the TF planning process.
The engineer company commander frequently accompanies the TF commander during the leader's reconnaissance and assists in the TF commander's development of the command estimate. The company commander's ground reconnaissance can provide pertinent information to the XO and assist him in developing the SOEO.
COMMAND AND CONTROL OF OPERATIONS
The engineer company commander places himself so that he can see the most critical engineer company mission. Terrain and weather should be used to conceal movements from the enemy, but the commander must maintain either visual or radio contact with the platoons. NOTE: If the most critical engineer platoon is not under engineer company control, a good technique is for the company commander to eavesdrop on that platoon's or the attached company's/team's net to keep current on the situation.
The company commander synchronizes actions with the other company commanders. When something critical happens, he quickly sends the TF commander a situation report (SITREP). If contact is lost, he makes every effort to reestablish communications short of abandoning the mission. Until communications can be reestablished, he continues to take actions that best accomplish the TF commander's intent.
The engineer company commander must see the battlefield. He prepares to change and update his estimate of the situation at any time. He uses initiative and understanding of the company's purpose to see ahead and to identify potential problems before they arise. When it is clear that the original plan will not work or a better opportunity presents itself, he modifies the plan quickly and aggressively to meet the changing situation. The commander should seek to lead engineer soldiers rather than task-organize all of his forces to other elements.
The commander demands that subordinates maintain contact with him and keep him informed of their situations. If the commander cannot communicate with subordinate leaders, he has lost control of the company and failed in his primary mission on the battlefield.
The commander issues timely and clear FRAGOs. He tells platoon leaders what he wants them to do and why. He issues WOs, giving the platoons time to react to all possible upcoming missions. He continually updates subordinates on the enemy situation as well as the situations of the TF's other elements.
The commander encourages the company's key leaders to cross-talk on the company command net to coordinate their actions and to ensure that the company has a clear picture of what is happening. The commander uses SOPs and tactical techniques that can be executed quickly with a brief message. He uses checkpoints and terrain features to orient the company and to control its movement from one position to another.
The commander can quickly lose control if the entire company is operating on the command net. The A&O platoon net can be used as the company administrative and logistical (A&L) net if the signal operating instructions (SOI) provides none. The XO, the A&O platoon leader, and the 1SG can use this tactical frequency to synchronize the company logistics operation without crowding the company command net.
The commander ensures that the company has 360-degree security to have the time and space to react to enemy contact. He establishes observation posts (OPs) at each stop. Elements maintain dispersion both laterally and in depth. The armored combat vehicles in the A&O platoon cannot maintain the same cross-country speed as the engineer squad carriers. To compensate for this, the commander moves the unit in quick dashes over short distances. This allows him to keep the entire unit together and prevents the company from becoming strung out in a disorganized column.
All leaders take every reasonable precaution to avoid fratricide. They understand and enforce vehicle and dismounted recognition signals. They ensure that subordinate leaders maintain a high level of situational awareness and keep the TF notified of engineer work locations forward of the TF's main body. They establish obstacle-marking SOPs to ensure that friendly forces do not stray into tactical obstacles. They ensure that lanes are clearly marked and the standard marking is known to all in the TF, especially the support units operating in the area.
SUCCESSION OF COMMAND
The succession of command should be explained in paragraph 5 of the OPORD as well as the location of each key leader. An example of a succession of command follows:
If a platoon leader is in a command relationship to a company/team, he should not be included in the succession of command. For example, if the second platoon leader was attached to a company/team, the 1SG would follow the first platoon leader in the company's succession of command. Also, the XO and 1SG are generally not positioned on the battlefield to assume command of the company rapidly. A possible solution is for the commander to designate a platoon leader as the follow-on commander until the XO can come forward and assume command.
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