The ranger regiment is a major component of the US Army's special operations forces. It is a unique light infantry unit tasked to conduct special military operations in support of national policies and objectives. These operations require highly trained, well-disciplined units capable of employment in any environment, either alone or in concert with other military forces. Within this publication, the term ranger force describes any size force consisting mainly of members of the ranger regiment and led by a member of the ranger regiment's chain of command. A ranger force may be a TOE unit or it may be a specially organized task force for a specific mission.
a. The mission of the ranger regiment is to plan and conduct special military operations. These operations are conducted by specially trained, equipped, and organized forces against strategic or tactical targets in pursuit of national military, political, economic, or psychological objectives. They may support conventional military operations or they may be performed independently when conventional forces cannot be used. (See Figure 1-1.)
Figure 1-1. Spectrum of conflict.
b. Special military operations conducted by the ranger regiment include strike operations, usually deep penetration, and special light infantry operations. Strike operations include raids, interdiction, and recovery operations. Special light infantry operations include many of the light infantry missions assigned to airborne, air assault, or light infantry battalions and brigades. These operations are conducted in support of the AirLand Battle at all levels of intensity.
1-2. Purpose and function.
The ranger regiment provides the national command authority (NCA) the ability to move a credible military force quickly to any region in the world. The regiment uses the entire spectrum of intelligence support, from national systems to organic assets. Ranger units maintain a readiness posture that supports their immediate commitment to battle once deployed. They are often tailored for specific missions and may require augmentation from external sources. Tactical mobility may be augmented by USAF or Army special operations aviation (SOA) aircraft.
a. The ranger regiment conducts light infantry operations on the integrated battlefield as well as in low intensity conflicts. Special light infantry operations are conducted to accomplish certain contingency missions during peacetime or as part of the echelons above corps (EAC) battle.
b. The regiment conducts both strategic and operational missions. Its efforts are combined into an overall plan to destroy, delay, and disorganize the enemy, or to cause him to divert his attention and combat forces to rear area security. The limited number of ranger units and the diverse targets dictate a careful assignment of missions.
c. The mission, enemy, terrain, troops and time available (METT-T) factors govern the command and control arrangement under which the regiment operates. The ranger regiment or separate ranger battalions are normally assigned to the headquarters whose area of responsibility includes the regiment's operational area(s). The strategic or operational value of potential targets means that ranger units are normally employed at no lower than corps level. Employment at EAC is routine. The EAC headquarters employing ranger units could be the commander in chief's (CINC's) special operations command or field army. The controlling headquarters could also be that of a joint task force (JTF) or the Army component command (ARFOR) of a JTF. The ranger regiment's organization, communications equipment density, and training programs do not support operational level reconnaissance missions.
d. Ranger battalions are not oriented to a specific theater. Current force structure, contingency plans, and training needs (see Appendix G) preclude committing battalions to one region.
1-3. Fundamentals of ranger operations.
a. The success of an operation by a ranger unit depends on the observance of the fundamentals of the US Army's AirLand Battle doctrine (see FM 100-5). The ranger regiment fights the enemy as a light infantry force. It follows infantry doctrine and observes all the basic rules of infantry operations.
b. Along with initiative, depth, agility, and synchronization, ranger operations require--
(1) Detailed planning and coordination that allow the ranger unit to discern and exploit the enemy's weaknesses while avoiding his strength. Both permit the evaluation and use of information gathered from all sources. Detailed coordination integrates all supporting units and services. During planning, the ranger unit conducts pre-mission training, briefings, and rehearsals for all personnel. The use of special mission equipment is practiced and perfected.
(2) Decentralized execution IAW mission orders and the commander's intent. Special operations forces must use individual and unit initiative. Mission-type orders give the ranger force commander the flexibility to take advantage of opportunities on the battlefield.
(3) Surprise, achieved through the ranger unit's ability to move by uncommon means, along unexpected routes, and over rough terrain. Ranger units normally conduct operations during poor weather and reduced visibility, aided by night vision devices. This adds to the attainment of surprise.
(4) Survivability, achieved by using the classic infantry combat techniques of stealth and concealment. The ranger unit engages the enemy at the time and place of its own choosing. It takes full advantage of terrain, and destroys or suppresses enemy weapons. The ranger unit seeks to destroy or neutralize the enemy's command and control systems, his surveillance assets, and his mobility assets. Survivability is enhanced by rapid mission accomplishment and a prompt departure from the objective area.
(5) Mobility, speed, and violence of execution that allow the ranger unit it to close quickly on the objective area and complete the mission before the enemy can react. The speed at which events take place confuses and deceives the enemy as to the intent of the ranger unit. This forces the enemy to react rather than to take the initiative. Tactical mobility lets the ranger unit break contact and withdraw from the objective area.
(6) Shock effect, which is a psychological advantage achieved by the combining of speed and violence with the precision of the ranger attack. The ranger unit strives to apply its full combat power at the decisive time and place, and at the point of the greatest enemy weakness. The ranger unit strives to achieve maximum physical and psychological effect on the enemy by exhibiting aggressiveness and reasoned audacity.
(7) Multiple methods of insertion and attack, trying not to repeat operations thus decreasing the chance the enemy will detect a pattern. This is achieved through imaginative training and planning.
(8) Deception, practiced by the ranger unit during all phases of its operations, from deployment through the insertion phase, to the actions in the objective area and extraction. The enemy is kept unaware of the ranger unit's intentions, is fed conflicting and wrong information, and is kept from knowing the size or mission of the ranger force. The ranger force commander makes full use of ruses, feints, false insertions, electronic countermeasures, and dummy transmissions. Concurrent military operations by US or allied forces may be used as cover for ranger operations. Ranger units are careful to hide every possible aspect of an operation and to disguise those that cannot be hidden. While in the operational area, or when departing any location, ranger units ensure that no material is left that could provide the enemy with information concerning the ranger force.
(9) Audacity, achieved by a willingness to accept risk. The ranger force commander considers what the enemy expects the unit to do and the actual ranger abilities, He then chooses a course of action that may confuse the enemy, while remaining within the capability of the ranger unit. This fundamental is combined with deception and surprise to disrupt the enemy command and control.
c. Detailed planning and coordination finds the enemy. Surprise, mobility and speed, variety, deception, and audacity combine to shock and disorient the enemy, fixing him in place. The violence and precision of the ranger attack finishes the enemy while ensuring the ranger force survives.
1-4. Capabilities and limitations.
a. The ranger regiment has the following capabilities:
(1) Deploying quickly to conduct operations on all types of terrain and in all kinds of weather.
(2) Establishing a credible American presence in any part of the world to show US interest or resolve.
(3) Infiltrating and exfiltrating an area of operations, and assaulting an objective by land, sea, or air.
(4) Conducting strike operations to include raids, personnel and equipment recovery operations, and interdiction of key areas.
(5) Conducting special light infantry operations to include seizing and securing airfields, communications centers, command and control facilities, and key bridges; and other special light infantry operations.
(6) Performing short-duration reconnaissance of assigned ranger objectives for the ranger force commander.
(7) Operating for up to three days without resupply, and for longer periods when provided with accompanying or airdropped supplies.
(8) Providing liaison, communication, and coordination personnel and equipment to integrate the deployed ranger force into the logistical, intelligence, and operational system of the theater or joint task force (JTF) commander.
(9) Assuming operational control, for a limited time, of other US military forces such as engineers or infantry, airborne, or air assault battalions.
(10) Providing the focal point for all-source intelligence support to attached and assigned units of the regimental task force.
(11) Conducting limited combat operations under conditions of chemical, nuclear, or biological contamination.
b. The ranger regiment has the following limitations:
(1) Limited capability against armored or motorized units in open terrain.
(2) No organic transportation.
(3) Limited sustained combat capability due to the shortage of organic combat support and combat service support elements.
(4) Limited organic air defense weapons.
(5) Limited organic indirect fire support.
(6) No casualty evacuation capability.
(7) Reconstitution and retraining needed to replace combat losses.
1-5. Employment considerations.
a. Ranger units are characterized by the quality, motivation, training, and individual skill of their members. This produces units with superb collective abilities, able to adapt well to changing, complex situations.
b. Ranger units can conduct either deliberate or quick-response operations.
(1) Deliberate operations rely on careful planning, reconnaissance and surveillance of the target area, deception, secrecy, thorough preparation and rehearsals, and violent execution. A deliberate operation aims to complete the mission even though the enemy may have heavy forces on or near the objective area. Deliberate operations allow for detailed planning, evaluation, rehearsal, and coordination before insertion. A deliberate operation is likely to succeed against targets that the enemy has protected in depth, that have strong natural defenses, or that need a detailed and long insertion process.
(2) Quick-response operations rely on the high level of training and readiness of the ranger regiment to execute a mission before the enemy can react. These operations are conducted when there is little time for long, detailed planning. They rely on set procedures set forth by the ranger regiment and its supporting elements. A quick-response operation aims to complete the mission before an enemy can react. This type of operation may be chosen due to the time-sensitive nature of the target, political or military goals, the time frame of other operations, or the increased chance of enemy detection.
(3) Whether an operation is to be deliberate or quick response is often a difficult and time-sensitive decision by a high-level command authority. Decision-makers must consider the enemy's strength in the area, his intentions, his ability either to reinforce or to alter the target area, and the consequences of success or failure of diplomatic or military initiatives in related areas. The ranger unit commander tries to use the existing time, manpower, and resources to complete a detailed and coordinated plan. He refines that plan up to the insertion into the objective area.
c. Ranger units train to operate in any environment or weather condition. They regularly perform operations during periods of limited visibility. Ranger units maintain a high state of physical fitness and often train in close quarters combatives. In addition to completing advanced marksmanship training with standard US weapons, each member of a ranger unit trains with many foreign weapons. Ranger units are trained to operate on urbanized terrain, becoming specialists in entry and clearing techniques and quick-fire methods, especially during periods of limited visibility.
d. Because ranger units have limited vehicles, logistics operations capability, indirect fire support, and heavy weapons systems, they are not designed for continuous operations. During all phases of operations and training, ranger units need responsive external support.
e. Ranger units are normally employed against targets and under conditions that need their unique skills. Although targeting priority is set by the overall commander, ranger units are not normally assigned missions that can be done by conventional aerial bombardment or by other units.
f. Ranger units are oriented toward offensive operations. They are not normally employed as a rear area protection force. Although the ranger regiment has a small reconnaissance unit, ranger units do not normally conduct long-range reconnaissance missions. The structure, communications, and training of the ranger unit do not prepare it for LRRP missions. Ranger units engaged in strike and special light infantry operations have a secondary mission to collect and report combat information.
g. Ranger units can be deployed worldwide when US military presence or participation with a host national military activity would serve US interests. This deployment shows a readiness to commit forces into a threatened area or proves US national resolve. After the deployment, other activities include staging operations, rehearsing combat operations, securing base areas for use and deployment of other forces, and so on that provide a clear signal of US intent. Ranger units are not trained or organized to provide mobile training teams (MTT) to train indigenous forces. The US Special Forces or other special operation forces are trained to conduct such security assistance operations.
h. Ranger units can serve as an example to a host country and provide limited military advice and training. They will normally be augmented with linguists and technicians to increase their abilities. The regiment would normally still function as a unit. Most of its assistance would be through short-term, high-impact, unit-oriented operations. They would not be long-term individual efforts associated with advisory-type activities.
i. Ranger units may be deployed to engage in combined training exercises with allies. This enhances US national image by demonstrating the outstanding abilities of the American ranger. These activities may include ranger, light infantry, airborne, air assault, or amphibious operations.
j. Ranger units use standard US nuclear, biological, chemical (NBC) warning; detection; protection; and decontamination equipment and doctrine when operating on the integrated battlefield.
1-6. Command and control.
(1) The ranger regiment is a key component of the US Army's special operations forces. The other elements of special operations forces are special forces (SF), psychological operations (PSYOP), civil affairs (CA), and special operations aviation.
(2) The 1st Special Operations Command (1st SOCOM) is responsible for command of all active component special operations forces elements, to include the ranger regiment, in peacetime. The 1st SOCOM has command and control of all assigned special operations forces, less operational command (OPCOM) of special operations forces units forward deployed. (See Figure 1-2.) The ranger regiment, while based in the continental United States (CONUS), is under the control of 1st SOCOM. During peacetime, the OPCOM of deployed ranger units is through channels chosen by the NCA through the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) to the unified command.
Figure 1-2. Command and control of Army Special operations forces during peacetime.
(3) In support of national policy, the NCA may direct contingency operations involving US forces. These are politically sensitive military operations normally characterized by the short-term rapid projection or employment of forces in conditions short of conventional war. One aim of the NCA is to conclude them without going to war. The flexibility and effectiveness of the ranger regiment make it possible to use military force quickly to complete the mission and limit the spread of conflict. Command and control of special operations forces in a contingency operation is usually by a special operations task force (SOTF). (See Figure 1-3.) The SOTF and designated special operations forces are under the OPCOM of the highest level of command responsible for the operation. This command may be the unified command responsible for the contingency area (Option A), or a JTF designated by the NCA through the JCS (Option B). If no SOTF is formed, the ranger regiment could be OPCOM to the Army component commander (Option C). The ranger regiment or its battalions are not normally placed OPCOM to a division. A division's area of influence rarely contains appropriate targets. The division also lacks the assets to adequately support ranger operations. Employment of a ranger unit by a corps-level command is normally on a case-by-case basis. The theater or JTF commander retains centralized control over the mission assigned to the ranger unit.
Figure 1-3. Command and control of Army Special operations forces during contingency operations.
(4) The 1st SOCOM is responsible for the deployment of the ranger force to the theater area. The headquarters having OPCOM provides the all-source intelligence, secure communications, insertion and extraction assets, and logistical support needed. The responsible commander in chief, through the Army component commander, provides support during the contingency operation.
(5) During wartime, ranger units are deployed as strategic assets to the theater of operations. Strategic mission support is provided to the unified commander (CINC) from the NCA through the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It may involve the execution of sensitive operations. The employment of ranger units is controlled at the highest level of command directly responsible for the mission. Ranger units are assigned to a REMAB based on mission, force protection, and OPSEC considerations. The employing command and other elements provide timely and accurate intelligence, communications, logistical, and administrative support. Command and control of these units conforms to the provisions of JCS Pub 2. (See Figure 1-4.)
Figure 1-4. Command and control of Army Special operations forces during wartime.
(a) A theater joint special operations command (JSOC) is subordinate to the unified command to supervise the command and control, employment, and support of all US and allied special operations forces. The JSOC is a key element in the command and control of ranger units performing strike missions or special light infantry operations (Option A).
(b) The JSOC may be placed on a lateral line with other in-theater service components (Option B). This can occur when ranger units are -employed far from conventional forces and against strategic targets. It can also occur when the JCS or a CINC forms a JTF to conduct a limited-duration operation in an area where ranger units and conventional forces may operate near each other, or where operations must be coordinated on a regional level.
(c) Under the Army special operations command (ARSOC) concept, 1st SOCOM deploys as a command and control headquarters within the theater. When this occurs, the command relationships will be as shown in Figure 1-5.
Figure 1-5. Command and control of Army Special operations forces under the ARSOC concept.
(d) Recently passed legislation will modify existing high level SOF command and control arrangements. All US Army, USN, and USAF special operations forces will be consolidated into joint commands at both national and theater level. The ranger regiment will continue to operate under the command of the 1st SOCOM, while increasing its ability to conduct joint operations.
(6) Ranger units conducting strike or special light infantry missions are not normally offered for transfer of authority (TOA) to allied forces. However, this will not preclude allied commands and US elements from combined planning and targeting for ranger missions.
(7) Requests for ranger units, from either US or allied commands, go through normal command channels to the CINC. The CINC, through the JSOC, is responsible for the employment of all special operations forces, including ranger units. This provides flexible response to JCS-directed missions, ensures quick response to the CINC's needs, enhances the joint employment of special operations forces, and lessens the chance of overcommitting and degrading the ranger force.
(8) Command and control of the ranger regiment and its battalions is IAW AirLand Battle doctrine. Before commitment to a mission, command and control is kept at a level where the unit's unique skills can be applied worldwide. Once committed, the ranger unit is placed under the operational control of the command that is responsible for the mission. This normally corresponds to the command whose area of influence includes the target area. Ranger task forces may operate directly under the authority of the senior American representative in the country. Command and control arrangements may vary according to the theater involved and METT-T considerations.
(9) The command and control of special operations is centralized and begins at the highest level of the military and civilian decision-making process. The specific command relationships are normally based on the mission.
(1) The ranger regimental headquarters is organized to operate like that of a brigade headquarters. In addition to commanding and controlling all three ranger battalions, the regimental headquarters can assume operational control (OPCON) of conventional combat and combat support units, and other special operations forces for limited periods. It provides the regimental commander with a well-balanced responsive staff. It is structured as an operational headquarters that can deploy to the mission area and act as the ground tactical headquarters.
(a) The regimental headquarters prepares for combat by forming two small command and control groups. Each of these can deploy to an objective area and control combat operations. Other elements of the staff operate the tactical operations center (TOC) and the logistical operations center (LOC). These may be collocated depending on the situation. The TOC and LOC are normally located well behind the FEBA, at the REMAB or at the intermediate staging base (ISB). The ranger regiment also has two small liaison teams consisting of LNOS, staff representatives, and communications elements. (See Appendix B.)
(b) When a single ranger battalion is committed to an operation, the regimental commander normally exercises control from the TOC. A liaison and communications team is detached from the regimental headquarters to augment the ranger battalion. This team is attached to the deployed battalion until the end of the mission.
(c) If two or more ranger battalions are used in a single operation, the regimental commander normally deploys both command and control groups. He commands from the objective area, The use of two small, mobile control elements makes up for the possible loss of the regimental commander and the primary control element.
(d) Whenever the regimental commander is controlling an operation from the REMAB or the objective area, he normally provides a liaison team with a communications element to the higher headquarters exercising operational control. This cell can provide ranger representation to the controlling staff, operations interface, logistics interface, fire support planning and coordination, intelligence analysis and dissemination, and communications between the higher headquarters and the ranger battalion.
(2) The ranger regimental headquarters can serve as a ranger or special operations force task force headquarters. With augmentation, it can function as the Army special operations force command element. The regimental headquarters can also function as the Army component command of a JTF.
a. Ranger missions need unique and dedicated communication support assets. Along with the ranger regiment's organic communications means, communications support assets are organized within the 1st SOCOM that-can deploy in support of the ranger regiment. This ensures that there are reliable communications to all elements of the SOTF. A special operations communications battalion (SOCB), deployed by the 1st SOCOM, provides more communications systems to support the special operations plan. The SOCB does not replace or duplicate existing in-theater communications. It augments the CINC's communications with the US Army's portion of the critical special operations force command, control, and communications link unique to the SOTF.
b. The ranger regiment's communication platoon can provide secure, long-range communication links from the CINC to a deployed ranger force. It can also enter the SOCB and the joint communications support element (JCSE) nets to provide a direct link with the NCA. Its equipment consists of four light vehicles equipped with various multiple communications systems. The two regimental liaison teams use one of these vehicles each. The TOC and LOC each use one.
c. Secure satellite communications (SATCOM) and radios with AM or FM capability are the main means of communication within the ranger regiment. These are also used for communications within the ranger battalions. The regimental commander has two light vehicles equipped with multiple communications systems. One of these is used to support each of the two mobile command and control elements of the regimental headquarters. Some of the radio systems can be dismounted and man-packed.
d. The ranger regimental headquarters has both man-packed and vehicular tactical satellite communication systems. Each of the ranger battalions has one base station and three man-packed systems.
(1) The man-packed radio is battery-operated. It provides two-way communications in both line-of-sight (mobile) and satellite (at-halt) modes. The digital message device group (DMDG) is the input and output device for data transmission. Secure voice communications is achieved using various encryption devices.
(2) The vehicular net control station uses the basic receiver/ transmitter unit installed on a vehicle. Each can serve up to 15 terminals in a communications net.
e. The reconnaissance platoon is equipped with multiple, man-packed communications systems. These let its teams operate in most of the communications nets within the regiment. Each five-man reconnaissance team has this communications ability, as does the platoon headquarters.
Figure 1-6. Communications capabilities within the regimental headquarters.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|