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This appendix identifies and discusses the use of backbriefs. Backbriefs identify problems and disconnects in execution but to a lesser degree than a hands-on type of rehearsal. Unfortunately, many task forces use backbriefs as their only form of rehearsal. The backbrief should be used frequently and with other rehearsals.

As the combined arms commander, you should use the backbrief to ensure the FSO understands your guidance for fire support. The backbrief should be combined with a rehearsal technique that involves the physical act of replicating the fire plan in conjunction with the maneuver plan (combined arms rehearsal). Do not assume the FSO understand the mission and concept.

Regardless of the name used, the idea is to increase understanding of commander's scheme of fires and synchronization through the verbal passing of information. The term used here is simply backbrief. A backbrief is an event that can occur as frequently as necessary. It is often confused with coordination.

Coordination could and should involve the participation of all personnel regardless of rank or position. A backbrief is primarily a commander's tool and is used at a minimum, on at least two occasions as shown in the two examples below.


This backbrief occurs after the OPORD. Subordinates repeat to the commander what he wants them to do and why. The FSO must identify all specified, implied, and critical FS tasks. Company or team commanders should include their FS responsibilities in their backbrief. Subsequently, each company or team commander should require his FSO to backbrief him before issuing the company or team OPORD.

The backbrief can be done at any time during or after the commander has issued his guidance for fire support.

The backbrief should occur at the orders group location before subordinates depart.


The second backbrief is when the FSO tells the commander he how is going to accomplish his scheme of fires.

The backbrief can be done after the FSO has received refinements to the original target list and finalized the FS plan. Additionally, the brigade and TF commander should require their subordinate commanders to include execution of the fire plan in their backbriefs.

Ideally, the second backbrief should occur at a location overlooking the area of operations.

Other backbrief uses are- -

  • Anytime instruction or planning guidance is given.

  • When new commanders or FSOs are assigned.

  • When personnel are tired or fatigued.

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