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This appendix implements STANAG 2099/QSTAG 531, Edition 4.

The FSCOORD coordinates all fire support impacting in the area of responsibility of his supported maneuver commander, including that requested by the supported unit. He ensures that fire support will not jeopardize troop safety, will interface with other fire support means, and/or will not disrupt adjacent unit operations. Fire support coordinating measures help him in those efforts. They are designed to facilitate the rapid engagement of targets and, at the same time, provide safeguards for friendly forces.


Some fire support coordinating measures described here have not yet been agreed to by NATO and American British, Canadian and Australian (ABCA) allies. The US terms "coordinated fire line, restrictive fire line, restrictive fire area," and "fire coordination line" are being proposed by the US for inclusion in STANAG 2099/QSTAG 531. The fire support coordination line and the optional use of the no-fire line (NFL) are the only measures agreed to in STANAG 2099/QSTAG 531. The US has entered a reservation using coordinated fire line in lieu of no-fire line.


All fire support coordinating measures except boundaries are established by the supported maneuver commander on the basis of recommendations by the FSCOORD. The FSCOORD's recommendation are based on the force commander's guidance, location of friendly forces, the battle plan, and anticipated enemy actions.

Graphic Portrayal

Once established, coordinating measures are displayed on maps, firing charts, and overlays and are stored in computers. Graphic portrayal includes, as a minimum, the visual code, the abbreviation for the measure, the establishing headquarters, and the effective date-time group (DTG). Often, the date-time group is shown as a from-to time. Usually, coordinating measures are labeled at each end of a line or within the graphic, space permitting. Both the graphics and the lettering are in black for all measures.


In various operations, boundaries are used by the maneuver commander to indicate the geographical area for which a particular unit is responsible. They describe a zone of action or sector of responsibility for a maneuver unit. Normally, they are designated along terrain features easily recognizable on the ground. They are so situated that key terrain features and avenues of advance or approach are completely included in the area assigned to one unit. A boundary is the basic fire support coordinating measure. Boundaries are both permissive and restrictive in nature. They are restrictive in that no fire support means may deliver fires across a boundary unless the fires are coordinated with the force having responsibility within the boundary or unless a permissive fire support coordinating measure is in effect that would allow firing without further coordination. Fires delivered near boundaries also should be coordinated with the adjacent unit. They are permissive in that a maneuver commander, unless otherwise restricted, enjoys complete freedom of fire and maneuver within his own boundaries. Boundaries apply to both the maneuver of units and the employment of fire, to include conventional and special ammunition and their effects. Boundaries are displayed as solid black lines with the appropriate designation of the unit(s) to which the boundary applies. Proposed or planned boundaries are displayed as dashed black lines. Boundaries are also used by fire support personnel to designate the zone of fire for supporting field artillery and naval gunfire ships.

Zones of Fire

Zones of fire are assigned to FA and NGF units for the control of fires laterally and in depth to support operations. Lateral limits within which a unit must be able to fire may be designated by azimuths or boundaries. Zones in depth may be designated by minimum or maximum range lines or by forward or rearward extensions of the lateral boundaries of the supported force. The zone of fire for an artillery unit is dictated by the assigned tactical mission. For example, the direct support mission specifies that the zone of fire is the zone of action of the supported maneuver force. Uniform coverage is not a requirement, since the maneuver commander may want to weight certain portions of his zone of action with a fire support means such as artillery.

Types of Measures

With the exception of boundaries, fire support coordinating measures are either permissive or restrictive. In essence, the primary purpose of a permissive measure is to facilitate the attack of targets. The establishment of a restrictive measure imposes certain requirements for specific coordination before the engagement of those targets affected by the measure. Therefore, the primary purpose of a restrictive measure is to safeguard friendly forces.

Permissive Measures

Coordinated Fire Line

A coordinated fire line is a line beyond which conventional or improved conventional indirect-fire means (mortars, field artillery, and NGF ships) may fire at any time within the zone of the establishing headquarters without additional coordination. The purpose of the CFL is to expedite the attack of targets beyond it. Usually, the CFL is established by a brigade or a division, but it may be established by a maneuver battalion. It is located as close to the establishing unit as is possible, without interfering with maneuver forces, to open up the area beyond to fire support. Brigade CFLs may be consolidated at division level as a division CFL designated for the division zone of action. If any modifications to the brigade CFLs are considered, they must be coordinated with the brigades to ensure complete compatibility with their battle plans. In essence, the brigade commanders establish CFLs, and the division commander merely consolidates them and designates a division coordinated fire line.

The CFL is graphically portrayed by a dashed black line with CFL followed by the establishing headquarters (brigade or division) in parentheses above the line and a date-time group below the line. Locations for CFLs are disseminated by message and/or overlay through both maneuver and fire support channels to higher, lower, and adjacent maneuver and supporting units.

Fire Support Coordination Line

An FSCL may be established by the corps within its area of operation to support its concept of the operation. It must be coordinated with the appropriate tactical air commander and other supporting elements. The purpose of this permissive fire control measure is to allow the corps and its subordinate and supporting units (such as the Air Force) to expeditiously attack targets of opportunity beyond the FSCL. The attack of targets beyond the FSCL by Army assets should be coordinated with supporting tactical air. This coordination is defined as informing and/or consulting with the supporting tactical air component. However, the inability to effect this coordination does not preclude the attack of targets beyond the FSCL. The interface within the FS cell between the various fire support representatives provides an excellent means of initially coordinating the attack of targets in this area. Targets of opportunity beyond the FSCL are attacked by a unit if such attacks support the operations of any one of the following:

  • The attacking unit.

  • The higher headquarters of that unit.

  • A headquarters supported by that unit.

Three conditions should be met before an FSCL is established by the corps:

  • A portion of the corps deep operations area does not require selective targeting to shape the deep operations fight.

  • The expeditious attack of targets beyond the FSCL will support the operations of the corps, the attacking unit, or the higher head-quarters of the attacking unit.

  • The corps and its supporting units are willing to accept the possible duplication of effort which may result from dual targeting beyond the FSCL.

The primary consideration for placement of an FSCL is that it should be located beyond the area in which the corps intends to shape its deep operations fight. The deep operations fight is shaped by restricting the movement of enemy follow-on forces to influence the time and location of their arrival into the close operations area. This usually requires selective targeting and coordinating of fires in the area where shaping is to occur. Normally, the FSCL is established well beyond the range of cannon and multiple rocket FA systems to provide sufficient depth to shape the fight against a Soviet-type echeloned attack. In this case, only corps missile systems, tactical air support, and possibly attack helicopters have the range capabilities to attack targets beyond the FSCL.

However, the corps deep operations concept may not seek to shape the fight but only focus on maximizing the destruction of enemy units and/or systems. Then the corps should establish the FSCL as close as possible to its close operations area. This maximizes the number of fire support systems capable of firing beyond the FSCL. A restrictive fire area or a no-fire area can be used to protect key facilities or terrain features beyond the FSCL. This would still allow for an FSCL short of the facility or terrain feature which must be protected.

Whether attacking or defending, the corps usually designates an initial FSCL and plans for a series of on-order FSCLs. A change of FSCL location usually is transmitted well ahead of time to higher, lower, adjacent, and supporting headquarters.

Dissemination of the FSCL is the same as that for the coordinated fire line.

NOTE: The above information is in compliance with the provisions of STANAG 2099/QSTAG 531. However, FM 100-26 states "Areas on the battlefield should never be considered the absolute province of either USA or USAF commanders. Both component commanders will have a continuing interest in the enemy regardless of depth. They will want to collect Intelligence and attack- or cause to be attacked - targets that will affect their future operations. The planning to attack targets in the second echelon should be coordinated among components, concurrence sought, and if not obtained, the matter should be referred to the next higher headquarters."

FSCL employment considerations are as follows:

  • Type of operation - offensive or defensive, and so forth.

  • Deep operations with maneuver.

  • Nature and location of Threat.

  • Target acquisition capabilities.

  • Allocations of air support.

  • Future operations.

Free-Fire Area

A free-fire area (FFA) is a specific area into which any weapon system may fire without additional coordination with the establishing headquarters. It is used to expedite fires and to facilitate the jettison of munitions when aircraft are unable to drop them on a target area. Usually, the FFA is established by a division or higher commander. It is located on identifiable terrain when possible or by grid designation when necessary. It is disseminated through both maneuver and fire support channels.

Restrictive Measures

Restrictive Fire Line

This is a line established between converging friendly forces (one or both may be moving) that prohibits fires or the effects of fires across the line without coordination with the affected force. The purpose of the line is to prevent interference between the converging friendly forces. It is established by the commander common to the converging forces. It is located on identifiable terrain, usually closer to the stationary force. Its location is disseminated in the same manner as that of a coordinated fire line.

Airspace Coordination Area

The ACA is primarily a coordination effort of TACAIR and indirect fires; therefore, fire support people are the focal planning point.

The ACA is a block of airspace in the target area in which friendly aircraft are reasonable safe from surface fires. Occasionally, it may be a formal measure (a three-dimensional box in the sky). More often, it is informal. The purpose of the ACA is to allow the simultaneous attack of targets near each other by multiple fire support means, one of which normally is air. For example, tactical aircraft, field artillery, and naval gunfire can attack the same target complex or targets close to one another while operating within the parameters of an established ACA.

Implementation of the formal ACA takes a significant amount of time. Therefore, informal ACAs are most often used and are the preferred method. The informal ACA can be established by using time, lateral separation, or altitude to provide separation between surface-to-surface and air-delivered fires. An example would be to designate a road as the lateral separation feature and direct air support to stay north of the road and restrict FA and naval gunfire to airspace and targets south of the road. The informal ACA can be established at task force or higher level and is not normally displayed on maps, charts, or overlays.

Occasionally, there may be a requirement for a separate brigade or higher-level commander to establish a formal ACA. Its location is coordinated by the FS cell with the A2C2 element and the FDC. It is located above the target area as recommended to the FS cell by the air liaison element. The size of the area is dictated by the type of aircraft and the ordnance in use.

Vital information defining the formal ACA includes minimum and maximum altitudes (alt), a baseline designated by grid coordinates at each end, the width (either side of the baseline), and the effective times. Information concerning the area is disseminated in the same way that it is for the coordinated fire line.

No-Fire Area

An NFA is an area into which no fires or effects of fires are allowed. Two exceptions are--

  • When establishing headquarters approves fires temporarily within the NFA on a mission-by-mission basis.

  • When an enemy force within the NFA engages a friendly force. The commander may engage the enemy to defend his force.

The purpose of the NFA is to prohibit fires or their effects in the area. Usually, it is established by a division or corps on identifiable terrain, when possible. Also, it may be located by grid or by a radius (in meters) from a center point. Like other fire support coordinating measures, its location is disseminated through both maneuver and fire support channels to concerned levels.

Restrictive Fire Area

An RFA is an area in which specific restrictions are imposed and in which fires that exceed those restrictions will not be delivered without coordination with the establishing headquarters. The purpose of the RFA is to regulate fires into an area according to the stated restrictions. It is established by maneuver battalion or higher echelons of command. On occasion, an RFA may be established by a company operating independently. Usually, it is located on identifiable terrain, by a grid or by radius (in meters) from a center point. Its location is disseminated in the same manner as that of the coordinated fire line. Restrictions may be shown on a map or an overlay, or reference can be made to an OPORD that states the restrictions.

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