The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW




The commander establishes a standard command and control system by defining the functions of key people, organizations, and facilities. His link to the battle is most efficient if only key people have access to him. These people in turn control the rest of the command, and normally include the second in command, the operations officer, the FSO, and the subordinate unit or element commanders.

Section I.


This section discusses soldier and staff functions and responsibilities.


The commander commands and controls subordinate combat, CS, and CSS elements that are organic or attached to his unit or that are under its OPCON. The commander's main concerns are completing his mission and ensuring the welfare of his soldiers.

a. The commander cannot win the battle alone. He must--

(1) Rely on his staff and subordinate commanders for advice and aid in planning and supervising operations.

(2) Understand their limits and capabilities.

(3) Train them to execute his concept in his absence.

(4) Institute cross-training among the staff so the unit can operate with combat losses or fatigue in the staff elements.

b. The staff reduces the demands on the commander's time and aids him by providing information; estimating; recommending; preparing plans and orders; and supervising the execution of orders issued by, or in the name of, the commander. To ensure conflicts do not arise, the commander assigns responsibility for specific functions to unit staff officers. Though they must be responsive to command prerogative, the staff must have the authority to be responsive to subordinate unit commanders, and to say "yes" to requests from them.


The XO is second in command and the battalion commander's main assistant. As the second in charge, he must be prepared to assume the duties of the commander.

a. The XO, as the coordinator of the battalion staff, establishes staff operating procedures. He ensures the commander and staff are informed on matters affecting the command. To coordinate and synchronize the plan, the XO assembles and supervises the staff during the decision-making process. He establishes the required liaison. Unless instructed otherwise by the commander, all staff officers inform the XO of any recommendations or information they give directly to the commander or any instructions they receive directly from the commander. When required, he represents the commander, supervises the main CP and its operations, and provides for battalion logistical support.

b. The XO, as the second in command, transmits the commander's decision to staff sections and, in the name of the commander, to subordinate units as needed. The XO keeps abreast of the situation and future plans and represents the commander during the commander's absence, directing action IAW established policy. He is considered a combat leader and is prepared to assume command at any time. During combat, he supports the commander by anticipating problems and synchronizing operations at the main CP. Although the XO normally stays in the CP during combat, he must be ready to move if he is required at another location.

c. All information flows through the TOC and the XO except when circumstances require otherwise. The exception occurs during fast-paced operations when vital information flows via orders and reports between the command group and the key maneuver elements. In this situation, the XO is a key leader in the TOC, sometimes checking attachments--for example, monitoring the nets and progress of supporting units--monitoring the overall battle, ensuring reports are rendered as necessary, supervising planning of future operations, and providing the commander with situational assessments as needed.

d. The XO assumes responsibility for the diverse elements operating in the TOC during the battle. Those elements receive and analyze information from a wide variety of sources. The XO analyzes all of this for information that might be immediately useful to the commander. The commander uses the XO's analysis along with the steady flow of information coming from his subordinate commanders and the advice of the operations officer.


The CSM is the senior NCO in the unit. He acts in the name of the commander when dealing with other NCOs in the unit and advises the commander concerning the enlisted ranks. Though he is not an administrator, he must understand the administrative, logistical, and operational functions of the unit to which he is assigned. Since he is normally the most experienced soldier in the unit, his attention should be focused on operations and training and on how well the commander's decisions and policies are being carried out. He is the senior enlisted trainer in the organization. He works closely with company commanders when reaching and training first sergeants and platoon sergeants. He maintains close contact with subordinate and attached unit NCOs. The CSM must be tactically and technically proficient in combat operations at battalion, company, platoon, and squad levels. The CSM should act as the commander's representative in supervising aspects vital to an operation, as determined by the commander and by himself. For example, he can help control movement through a breach in a critical obstacle or at a river crossing, or, he can help coordinate a passage of lines. The CSM can lead the quartering party during a major movement. He can also help in the CSS effort during the battle; he can perform tasks such as monitoring casualty evacuation.


Coordinating staff officers aid the commander by coordinating the plans, activities, and operations of the command. Collectively, they have responsibility for the commander's entire field of responsibilities, except in areas that the commander decides to control personally or in those that are reserved by law or regulation for specific staff officers. Coordinating staff officers are responsible directly to the XO. At battalion level, the coordinating staff includes the S1, S2, S3, and S4. Some battalions might be authorized an S5 to aid in civil-military cooperation. (Chapter 8 provides more information about the S1 and S4.)

a. S1 (Adjutant). The S1 has the responsibility for all personnel matters. The S1--

(1) Maintains unit strength and personnel service support.

(2) Supervises medical, legal, safety, and civil affairs (including civilian labor) assets.

(3) Monitors postal services and public affairs.

(4) Coordinates religious support with the battalion UMT.

(5) Operates from the combat trains with the S4. The S1 also shares supervisory responsibility for logistical operations with the S4. They must cross train to be able to conduct continuous operations.

(6) Moves around as necessary to accomplish his mission.

(7) Is responsible for--

    • Replacement policies and requirements.
    • Unit strength and loss estimation.
    • Morale support.
    • Battalion administration.
    • Administrative support of EPWs and civilian internees.
    • Staff supervision of casualty evacuation.

b. S2 (Intelligence Officer). The S2 is responsible for intelligence. The S2's role in target analysis and his important linkage with the S3 and FSO is vital to mission accomplishment. The S2--

(1) Performs the IPB with the commander and S3 using higher collection sources, ground and aerial reconnaissance, observation posts, GSR, target acquisition, and electronic warfare assets.

(2) Prepares and disseminates intelligence estimates.

(3) Aids the commander with the PIR and generates other IR.

(4) Obtains and disseminates weather information and predicts (with the assistant S3/Chemical Officer) the probability of use and effects of enemy NBC weapons.

(5) Supervises counterintelligence efforts, intelligence training, map procurement/distribution, and storage and control of classified information.

(6) Remains at the main CP where he has the communications assets to plan, prepare, and supervise reconnaissance and surveillance activities (in coordination with the S3) and to update the intelligence estimate.

(7) Maintains the enemy SITMAP, and evaluates and interprets enemy information.

(8) Plans all battalion patrols, intelligence collection, reconnaissance, and surveillance.

(9) Supervises the activities of GSR when attached.

(10) Informs the XO about the enemy situation.

(11) Works closely with the FSO and assistant S3 to ensure information is passed between staff sections.

(12) Supervises the tactical intelligence officer, who is part of the two-man BICC. The BICC manages the collection, processing, and dissemination of battalion intelligence for the S2. It develops and initiates the reconnaissance and surveillance plan, identifies IR, and notifies the brigade S2 of information that cannot be collected by the battalion's assets.

c. S3 (Operations and Training Officer). The S3, as the operations officer, is the commander's main assistant in coordinating and planning the battle. The S3--

(1) Monitors the battle, ensures that CS assets are provided when and where required, and anticipates developing situations.

(2) Advises the commander on combat, CS, and operational matters; organization; and training.

(3) Prepares the operations estimate. When the XO is absent, the S3 coordinates and synchronizes the battle plan and supervises the staff during the decision-making process.

(4) Plans and coordinates with other staff sections. This results in published OPORDs, OPLANs, and training programs.

(5) Is responsible (with the aid of other staff officers) for integrating the following operations into the tactical plan:

    • Psychological operations.
    • Electronic warfare.
    • Jamming/ECM operations.
    • Operations security.
    • Counterreconnaissance.
    • Deception.
    • Tactical troop movements.

(6) Establishes priorities for communications to support tactical operations.

(7) Coordinates with the XO and battalion signal officer on the location of the main CP.

(8) Coordinates the activities of the S2, the FSO, the FAC and, if supporting, the engineer and ADO, to ensure their plans support the commander's concept.

(9) Supervises the chemical and signal officers and the assistant S3/S3 air.

(10) Coordinates closely with the S4 to ensure tactical plans are logistically supportable.

(11) Trains and provides an S3 cell to control and operate forward with the command group when required.

(12) Remains with the commander during the fight, if the commander directs.

(13) Provides the commander with information that has an immediate impact on the battle. To provide such information, he follows the same process outlined for the XO. The S3 and XO complement each other by providing the commander with continuous vital information.

(14) Considers information that affects the area of operations, which complements the XO's focus on the unit's area of interest.

(15) Works directly with elements of the command group to receive information; and to analyze, integrate, and convey his assessment to the commander.

(16) Is aided by the S3 air, who is at the main CP. The S3 air coordinates the employment of CAS with the FSO and the TACP, as well as with the air defense section leader. The S3 air assumes the S3's duties when the S3 is absent. The S3 Air supervises the A2C2 element, which consists of representatives of the fire support and defense elements and of the tactical air control party.

d. S4 (Logistics Officer). The S4 has the main staff responsibility to determine CSS requirements and priorities.

(1) The S4--

(a) Designates lines of movement and locations of CSS elements.

(b) Prepares and develops CSS plans in concert with the current tactical plan and anticipates future logistical needs.

(c) Is responsible for the preparation and distribution of CSS support plans and orders when they are published separately.

(d) Establishes the requirements for civilian labor and the collection and disposal of excess property, salvage, and captured material.

(e) IS OIC of the combat trains and is collocated with the S1.

(f) Monitors closely the tactical situation to begin resupply as soon as possible.

(g) Pushes ammunition, food, fuel, and other supplies forward when a lull in the battle occurs.

(h) Designates two or three soldiers from the section to aid him in running the combat trains.

(i) Supervises the support platoon leader, who is based in the field trains.

(2) The S4's section--

(a) Is responsible for the procurement, receipt, storage, and distribution of supplies.

(b) Is responsible for transportation of units, soldiers, and logistics items to their required locations.

(c) Is (except for elements in the combat trains) in the field trains under the supervision of the HHC supply sergeant. This element collocates with the PAC under command of the HHC commander and maintains communication with the S4 on the administrative/logistics net.


The special staff aids the commander in professional, technical, or other functional areas. Leaders of elements supporting the battalion make up the special staff. These leaders can be officers or NCOs.

a. Headquarters and Headquarters Company Commander. The HHC commander must ensure the command facilities have logistical support. He places his XO with the main CP to supervise support, security, and movement. The HHC commander goes to the field trains to control and coordinate all battalion activities there. He uses land lines and messengers to control all elements in the field trains and communicates with the combat trains using the administrative/logistics net (FM). These actions help free the battalion XO to perform as the second in charge. During operations other than sustained ground combat operations, the HHC commander is available for other tactical missions as ordered by the battalion commander/S3. He can coordinate and control the reconnaissance/counterreconnaissance effort, combat patrols, or any other task designated by the battalion commander.

b. Fire Support Officer. The FSO tries to locate near the commander, but must locate where he can communicate best. The integration of fire support into the maneuver operation is a decisive factor in the success of battle. The FSO is responsible--

(1) For advising the commander on the best available fire support resources.

(2) For developing the fire support plan.

(3) For issuing the necessary orders in the name of the commander.

(4) For implementing the approved fire support plan.

c. Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Personnel. A chemical officer is assigned to the S3 section of each combat battalion. A chemical NCO assists him. A decontamination specialist is assigned to the HHC of airborne and air assault battalions. The chemical officer and NCO train and supervise the battalion decontamination crew. During combat operations, the chemical officer and NCO provide a constant capability within the S3 section to receive, correlate, and disseminate information on NBC attacks. They consolidate reports of subordinate units' OEG radiation status and pass on the results to higher headquarters as required. They provide recommendations concerning the MOPP analysis and the employment of supporting NBC reconnaissance and smoke units. If the unit comes under NBC attack, battalion NBC personnel organize and establish a battalion NBC center. From it they supervise the activities of radiological survey and monitoring teams and chemical detection teams. They also coordinate and supervise decontamination missions conducted with or without supporting divisional decontamination assets.

d. Battalion Signal Officer. The signal officer--

(1) Advises the commander and staff officers on all signal matters.

(2) Plans, manages, and directs all aspects of the unit communications systems.

(3) Supervises the communications activities of subordinate and attached units.

(4) Plans and supervises the integration of the unit communications system into the the systems of higher, lower, and adjacent headquarters.

(5) Supervises the unit maintenance of signal equipment for the unit and for subordinate units. He also monitors the status of support maintenance on unit and subordinate unit signal equipment.

(6) Prepares and writes the signal annex of unit orders and plans.

(7) Advises the commander and staff on the ECCM aspects of EW and develops procedures for MIJI reports.

(8) Determines, with the unit S3, the location of the main, combat trains, and field trains CPs.

(9) Ensures selected areas afford the most in communications potential and the least in potential enemy EW interference.

e. Scout Platoon Leader. The scout platoon leader advises the commander and the S2 on the employment of the scout platoon. He is responsible for conducting tactical reconnaissance in support of the battalion.

f. Battalion Mortar Platoon Leader. The battalion mortar platoon leader advises the battalion commander and the FSO on the tactical employment of the battalion mortar platoon. He can help the FSO fulfill his FSCOORD responsibilities. The mortar platoon's headquarters can also serve as an alternate CP.

g. Antiarmor Company Commander/Platoon Leader. The antiarmor company commander/platoon leader advises the commander on the tactical employment of battalion antiarmor assets. In the absence of an armor threat, he aids/advises the commander about other supporting antiarmor roles. If it is properly task-organized, the antiarmor company/platoon an serve as a fourth maneuver element or its headquarters can serve as an alternate battalion CP.

h. Engineers. The leader of the supporting engineer unit serves as the battalion engineer. He advises the commander on the use of engineer assets. He aids the staff in analyzing terrain, templating enemy obstacles, and coordinating a mobility/countermobility plan to accomplish the scheme of maneuver. If an engineer platoon supports the battalion, it must maintain continuous communications with the main CP.

i. Air Defense Artillery Assets. The commander might have a MANPADS section in support. The MANPADS section leader is located at the TOC to plan and control ADA integration and early warning. He immediately analyzes the changing air defense posture, and recommends how to deal with the air threat. If a platoon of Vulcans is supporting the battalion, the ADA platoon leader coordinates use and employment of all supporting air defense assets. He stays with his platoon, but enters the battalion command net and moves to the TOC to participate in planning.

j. Chaplain. The chaplain works closely with the S1. He is a special/personal staff officer with access to the commander. He advises the commander on the religious welfare, morals, and morale of the unit, as well as about local religions. The chaplain and his assistant form the UMT section. They provide comprehensive religious support to soldiers on the battlefield. The religious support mission includes performing/providing sacraments, rites, ordinances, and worship services; pastoral care and counseling; battle fatigue ministry; and memorial services.

k. Surgeon. The surgeon is the medical advisor to the battalion commander and his staff. He also seines as the medical platoon leader and is the supervising physician of the treatment squad. He is responsible for all medical treatment provided by the platoon. With the aid of the physician's assistant, he operates the BAS at the combat trains. He and assistants train the medical platoon, treat for the wounded and sick, and inform the commander about the health of the battalion. They aid the S1 in making medical estimates. An MSC field medical assistant officer, aided by his platoon sergeant, handles the administration and logistics of the medical platoon.

Section II.


The command and control facilities at battalion level can be classified by echelon as main, combat trains, field trains, and alternate CPs. Figure B-1 shows a typical layout of command and control facilities.


The command group is composed of the commander, the soldiers in the command group, and the equipment the commander has forward with him to help command and control the immediate battle. The command group is not a permanent organization. It is organized by the commander to operate as needed. The command group in the infantry battalion can be organized with or, if terrain is too restrictive, without vehicles (soldiers walk).

a. Personnel. The command group consists of the commander, the S3, the FSO, and the FAC. Depending on the situation, the engineer, the ADA representative, and the reserve company commander can also accompany the command group.

(1) S3. The commander can send his S3 to observe or to provide command and control to another area. Otherwise, the S3 remains with the command group.

(2) S2. The S2 can go forward with the commander and monitor the scout platoon net. Doing this allows him to give information to the commander sooner than it could be relayed from the TOC.

(3) Fire support officer. The FSO is forward with the commander. The FSO coordinates fire support and immediately analyzes and advises on ways to increase the capabilities of the fire support system and thereby increase the combat power of the force. The FSO remains with his vehicle at the main CP with the FSE to monitor fire support and to help with planning. The FSO deploys forward with a manpack radio and DMD. He recommends priorities of fire and integrates CAS and all indirect fire assets, including mortars, to support the battle.

(4) Forward air controller. The FAC should be forward with the commander. Seeing the battlefield enables him to provide more accurate and responsive CAS. He uses a UHF/VHF manpack radio. His vehicle and other communications remain at the main CP as backup.

(5) Enlisted personnel. This includes command group drivers, RATELOs, and security personnel. Security personnel must be proficient and well-trained.

b. Location. The command group must be mobile and must be able to communicate with other elements. The command group is often collocated with a subordinate maneuver unit for security.

(1) The command group must be able to move often or continuously. The commander positions his command group to influence or observe the most critical event or location in the battle area, though factors of METT-T determine the exact location.

(2) The command group should always be near the battalion main effort. Thus, the commander can maintain control through immediate physical contact in the event of a communications failure. Communications are an important factor in deciding the location of the command group, which must communicate constantly with subordinate maneuver units, the TOC, and the brigade command group. This can be accomplished through the use of FM retransmission sites controlled by the command group, although direct FM contact is preferred.

c. Operation. The command group fights the battle. They can form early to conduct a physical reconnaissance as part of their planning. They may then return to the main CP to complete planning and issue the order, or they may have the staff come forward to complete planning and issue the order. The commander positions himself in a critical position (determined during his estimate) on the battlefield. He does this to control the battle and to be able to issue orders at critical times.


The main CP includes all soldiers, equipment, and facilities employed in commanding and controlling the battalion. The TOC is the operations cell within the main CP. The TOC includes all the staff activities involved in sustaining current operations and in planning future operations. Its staff activities are grouped by function (S2, S3, FSE and so on). (Figure B-2, shows the standardized organization of a main CP.)

a. Personnel. The battalion TOC is supervised by the XO. It is composed of the S2 and S3 sections, FSE, elements of the communications platoon and of the TACP, and another support element--for example, engineer or air defense, depending on the unit's task organization.

b. Functions. The TOC helps with tactical control and plans immediate and future tactical operations. The TOC must include a place for planning and orders production and must serve as a tactical briefing area for orders. The TOC must be organized to ease planning and continuous operations and must be able to displace rapidly with little degradation in command and control. (Figure B-3 shows the standardized TOC configuration.) The TOC also must--

(1) Exercise terrain management. The TOC monitors and controls the battalion's movement. It tracks fire support, NBC attacks, employment of illumination and smoke, adjacent units, and the status of CS/CSS.

(2) Stay abreast of the situation and ease the flow of information. The TOC maintains communications with organic, higher, and adjacent units. It answers traffic on the command net so the commander need only monitor radio traffic. It also posts maps, maintains records, monitors BDA and sends reports to higher and adjacent headquarters as required.

(3) Continuously plan and provide information and aid to the commander and his subordinate commanders. To do this, the TOC receives, processes, and analyzes information; maintains historical journals; and updates the S3, XO, and commanders. During engagements, everyone at the main CP is either involved in coordinating and controlling the operation or is on security, and the main CP is prepared for displacement. During lulls or periods of light contact, shifts can be reestablished.

c. Location Requirements. Main CP locations are selected by the S3 with the signal officer. The HHC XO selects the precise location.

(1) Communications. The main CP must be able to communicate with subordinate and supporting units and higher headquarters on all required nets. The site location varies according to whether the operation is offensive or defensive. The main CP is farther forward during an offensive operation than it is during a defensive one. In the defense, the main CP is as far back as it can be and still maintain adequate communications. Radios are remoted as necessary to provide security and protection.

(2) Access. The main CP should be centered in the unit area. It should be near, but not next to, a high speed avenue of approach. No more than one or two routes should lead into the main CP. These routes should be covered, concealed, and connected with routes of communication that provide access to most of the units. Regardless of whether the operation is offensive or defensive, the physical presence of the main CP must not interfere with the tactical maneuver of friendly units. When possible, a helicopter LZ should be nearby.

(3) Survivability. Survivability is equally important. If the main CP is located other than in a built-up area, the best place for it is on a reverse slope with cover and concealment. Key terrain features such as hilltops and crossroads should be avoided, yet the TOC must be accessible for occupation, convening of the orders group, and displacement.

(4) Size. The area selected must be large enough to accommodate all main CP elements when the command group is not deployed forward. This includes liaison soldiers from attached and supporting units. The area selected must include space not only for the TOC and for communications support, but also for eating, sleeping, latrine, and maintenance areas. Also, sufficient area must be available for positioning security and for vehicle dismount points and parking.

(5) Concealment. The main CP must be stationary to be fully effective regardless of its location. Displacements depend on the ability of the enemy to locate and target the TOC. They should be planned to allow the main CP to remain stationary at critical phases of the battle.

(6) Shelter. Dryness and light are vital when working with maps and producing orders and overlays. A CP should be sheltered from weather conditions and should have lights for night work, so an inside CP is preferable.

(a) If buildings are available, the commander should consider using them for the CP. They can provide the required space and protection from the elements. Vehicles can be hidden in barns or garages and radios can be remoted.

(b) If buildings are not available, the TOC can be organized using tentage. Although displacement time for tents is higher than for buildings, this arrangement is sometimes required.

(c) If weather is good or if rapid displacement is required, a TOC designed to operate from organic vehicles can be employed.

(d) If operations are conducted in areas that lack a good road network, they might require a dismounted TOC. Whatever the situation, the TOC must be organized to support its main functions of tactical control and planning.

(7) Security. The HHC XO, supervised by the battalion XO, is responsible for the security of the main CP from ground or air attack. The best way to secure the CP is to prevent the enemy from detecting it. This is enhanced by good noise, light, and signal discipline and by good camouflage from both ground and air observation.

d. Operations. The main CP must be organized into echelons to ease continuous operations and the rapid execution of the command and control process. The use of echelons aids in control during displacement. If the main CP displaces in a single echelon, the command group can control operations during displacement. The physical layout of the main CP should contribute to the speed of coordination and the flow of information. Planners must try to reduce the number and length of message and information stoppages; information must travel quickly and directly to the place of action. The SOP must be known to all and rehearsed. It must include--

  • Organization.
  • Setup.
  • Plans for teardown.
  • Displacement.
  • Eating and sleeping plans.
  • Shift guidelines.
  • Physical security plans.
  • Priorities of work.
  • Cross loading plans and checklists.
  • Orders production.
  • Techniques for monitoring enemy and friendly situations.
  • Posting of map boards.
  • Maintenance of journals.


Integration of CSS is vital to successful combat operations. The combat trains CP is the battalion's CSS planning facility. The combat trains CP and the main CP must coordinate to ensure a unified effort toward mission accomplishment. To aid in this, combat trains should be located near the main CP.

a. The combat trains must have a SITMAP (of operations and intelligence). They must monitor the command net to keep this map current (Figure B-4). The S1 and S4 must continually assess the situation, anticipate the needs of units, and prepare to push the necessary support forward. Anticipating logistical and casualty evacuation requirements is the key to successful CSS.

b. The battalion XO is responsible for ensuring that the necessary staff coordination between the main CP and the combat trains occurs. The main CP must report to the combat trains any important change in the thrust of operations. Conversely, the combat trains report to the main CP any major changes in the logistical system's ability to support an operation. The unit SOP states who leads the combat trains.

c. The HHC commander is located in the battalion field trains. The HHC commander is responsible for battalion assets in the field trains. He coordinates battalion logistical operations with the brigade through the battalion S4 (Figure B-5).


An alternate CP is needed in case either the tactical or main CP is destroyed. Command and control facilities can be reconstituted by higher headquarters, from within the battalion headquarters company, or from subordinate units.

a. The combat trains CP is the organic battlefield facility most appropriately used for the alternate CP. The CP can be re-formed using the antiarmor company headquarters (depending on the TOE), airborne/assault reserve company assets, or the battalion mortar platoon.

b. The alternate CP should be located far enough from the main CP to avoid simultaneous destruction. As much as possible, communications and physical setup in the alternate CP should mirror the TOC. Certain soldiers should be designated by SOP to be the nucleus of the alternate CP. These soldiers monitor the command and administrative/logistics nets as part of their normal duties. The FSE functions might be the hardest to replace. However, a FIST can assume FSE duties if the mortar platoon lacks communications.

c. The alternate CP assumes command and control if the main CP is disrupted by the loss of soldiers, equipment, or communications. The alternate CP needs a good SOP. The alternate CP should have enough trained soldiers and equipment that it can take control without confusion. Repeated rehearsal is vital to success--control must be seized aggressively with the least disruption possible. This must be done while operations are in progress and when the threat is greatest. During transition, the command group assumes many of the main CP's control and coordination functions.

Join the mailing list