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"Peace itself is war in masquerade."
                                            John Dryden,

Absolm and Achitopel

Contingency operations are conducted in all categories of LIC. They range from deterrence operations, such as a show of force, to combat operations, which can be conducted under hostile or nonhostile conditions. Contingency operations also include civil military or peacekeeping activities, either as a deterrent or subsequent to combat operations. Usually the maneuver brigade is employed as a component of a JTF. However, brigade commanders must consider many factors as to the projection of CONUS-based combat power in response to global and regional contingencies. This chapter focuses on the operational requirements that affect the conduct of operations and the phases of contingency operations.

Section I.

Contingency operations are crisis situations often with complex political ramifications. They involve imminent or actual military conflict at the low to mid range of the operational continuum. Contingency operations are inherently joint--they involve the projection of CONUS-based forces into a CINC's AOR. This section focuses on the characteristics, political importance, and requirements for the conduct of contingency operations.


Due to the many variables, most contingency operations are not conducted the same.

a. Some characteristics associated with contingency operations are as follows:

    (1) US interests are at stake.

    (2) Pressure is employed for a quick, clear victory.

    (3) The mission, situation, and enemy are vague.

    (4) The political realities impose centralized control with decentralized execution.

    (5) The required airlift and sea lift are constrained due to the short time between decision and execution.

    (6) The decision to refine and execute a military option is usually made under time-sensitive conditions.

b. The characteristics of contingency operation affect the conduct of operations. The brigade involved in deployment must be prepared--

    (1) To task-organize or tailor a force quickly for rapid deployment and combat.

    (2) To deploy a force directly into combat by forced entry into the area of operations.

    (3) To provide an operational headquarters that can conduct rapid response, quick deployment, and fast, decisive, offensive operations.

    (4) To move command and control elements early into the objective area in order to evaluate the situation and to make critical tactical/operational-level decisions.


Contingency operations translate to the brigade a requirement for rapid and decisive response to achieve success. This can be achieved by meeting the following requirements:

a. By formulating concise and timely intelligence on conditions in the objective area.

b. By developing, maintaining, and including a forced entry capability in contingency planning.

c. By ensuring the brigade planners understand joint capabilities and procedures.

d. By carefully managing the closure of forces into an objective.

e. By establishing and practicing proper procedures.


A credible military response to any crises is most important. First, a known, credible response ability inspires the confidence of allies. Second, success in dealing with crises strengthens the impression of resolve and states that a contingency ability exists and will be used. Finally, a credible response positively influences the national and international needs, which in turn affects all of the above. The key to providing this credible response is the brigade establishing SOPs for the conduct of contingency operations. The SOPs must be practiced based on diverse operational options--for example, forced entry, NEO, peacekeeping, show of force, extended combat operations, and so forth.


The brigade conducts contingency operations as part of a joint or combined force, operating under the OPCOM of a CINC or JTF. The projection of brigade forces requires close cooperation with air and naval forces. Also, operations in a foreign territory require combined efforts with SOF and host-nation military forces. Contingency operations are phased to sequence major operations. Phases should begin with planning and preparation, and end with redeployment of the contingency force. This paragraph describes five phases that provide a broad structure for a contingency operation. Each phase can be adjusted to meet the needs of a specific contingency.

a. Phase I--Predeployment/Crisis Action. This is the critical phase of contingency operations. The brigade, within its assigned role(s), must anticipate the required military conditions for success, sequence activities to achieve those conditions, and apply resources. The objectives include selecting and tailoring a force, and quickly developing or refining operational concepts that set the needed conditions for subsequent phases of the campaign. The need to plan and prepare for strategic deployment in the compressed time frame of a crisis is a demanding aspect of this phase. This requires the brigade to rapidly provide the JTF commander several elements of critical analysis: the size and composition of the force, the time required to initiate and deploy the force, and the lift required to deploy it. Also, the brigade conducts IPB and determines additional combat, CS, and CSS requirements. It identifies and allocates airlift and naval transport, and considers OPSEC and deception from the beginning to retain the element of surprise. Also, the brigade establishes command and control facilities and organizations to support the concept of operation.

b. Phase II--Deployment/Initial Combat. This is the key execution phase that encompasses the occupation of the initial lodgments in the objective area. The strength and composition of the first elements of the brigade to arrive in the area of operations depends on METT-T with considerations to political factors. This includes friendly host-nation forces that could provide security, enemy strength and abilities, and availability of other US forces to provide support. Depending on the crisis, this may require forced entry into a hostile, chaotic, or seemingly benign environment. Airborne and air assault forces are best designed to achieve strategic surprise in this phase. Moreover, follow-on forces must be prepared not only to close into the objective area but also to reinforce the assault. If an armor threat is present, an antiarmor ability must accompany either the initial assault or immediate follow-on forces. Armor, aviation, and FA assets provide a combined arms ability. If a hostile air threat exists, an air defense umbrella must be established to protect vital assets. Engineers repair runways for the follow-on forces and provide mobility support to ground forces. Another aspect of this phase is the synchronization of joint combat power during assault operations. When combined with the need to control deployment and employment at the same time, synchronization places great stress on command and control.

c. Phase III--Force Buildup/Combat Operations. This phase focuses on quickly building up combat power and rapidly expanding combat operations. The objective is to place a force on the ground that can take the fight to the enemy while follow-on forces continue to arrive and prepare for subsequent operations. Principal tasks include: establishing a forward operating base, closing the remainder of the force, expanding the lodgment, linking up with the other joint forces, and striking out to engage the enemy in offensive operations. A combined arms ability and continued synchronization of joint combat power are vital. Speed is important since the success of decisive operations depends on the force's ability to build combat power without losing the initiative.

d. Phase IV--Decisive Combat Operations. The brigade attains tactical objectives through decisive combat that achieves the strategic purpose of the campaign. The first phases must set the conditions for this phase (each phase sets conditions for subsequent phases). The brigade must focus on destroying or neutralizing the enemy center of gravity. Though methods vary with the nature of the crisis, success depends on skillful prosecution of maneuver warfare. Incontingency operations, as in other military operations, this requires the synchronization of the operating systems and other functions.

e. Phase V--Redeployment. The objective in this phase is to rapidly redeploy the force to CONUS, to an intermediate staging base, or to another theater of operations. In conjunction with this effort, the force must be reconstituted for other contingency missions. As in the initial phases, the brigade must organize command and control to provide flexibility in execution. It must quickly accomplish the coordination of the assumption of responsibility by the host nation or other forces without giving up the initiative. If redeployment is to the home station, the brigade must provide stress assistance to soldiers as they transition from combat to peacetime operations.

Section II.

PCOs are required when diplomatic initiatives are not effective in gaining US interests. They are time-sensitive, high-value objectives that require a fast response. Commanders tailor forces to quickly stabilize an unacceptable situation. They coordinate the military effort with diplomatic and economic actions to ensure unity of effort. FM 100-20 lists three principles of planning: coordination, balance of forces, and planning for uncertainty. This section expands on these principles.


Other government agencies and information sources besides the military provide input and assistance. Therefore, the final objective of peacetime contingencies is not strictly military. The force employed should be chosen from units that have planned and trained to execute these type operations. The force structure of the JTF is based on the factors of METT-T. It consists of joint or combined forces under a single command and control element. A key for a successful operation is close coordination among all the sources.

a. The military coordinates with other government and private agencies to manage sensitive situations. The State Department is the lead agency while the military is in a supporting role, except during strike operations. The military objectives must be synchronized with the action of these agencies. If this coordination does not occur, the operation will fail.

b. Command relationships (service/joint/ combined) become more complex in peacetime contingency operations. This is due to their unique nature, unique force requirement, and political-military concerns. Clear lines of command, control, and communication must be defined from the start of an operation. This C3 agreement must avoid over-command and over-control. Combining constant monitoring with flexibility and initiative proves difficult; however, the success of the operation depends on it.

c. Brigade, battalion, and company commanders must be aware of the unique and complex traits of the coordination effort in PCO. These along with a constrained and structured environment add pressure to all concerned. The chance that all forces employed have trained and worked together before are remote. This demands that each person be oriented and motivated to US mission accomplishment.

    (1) Leaders must execute Most peacetime contingencies without much time for planning. They write the execution OPORD by adapting an existing OPLAN, CONPLAN, or when no plan exists. The force array is most likely the result of a JDS force list. Since units have probably not trained together, they must be quickly brought together under a single command and control element.

    (2) The NCA authorizes through a JCS executive order the execution of military operations. Table 5-1 lists the events, actions, and results during the planning phases.

    (3) Military planners who face time-sensitive planning needs, must understand that the NCA reviews diplomatic, political, economic, and military options. The military option may be the least desirable option. A decision to execute may be made only after other less severe options have been deemed unsuitable. In deciding to develop a military solution, the NCA may consider the full range of military options (Table 5-2). Final responsibility and authority in a crisis rest with the President. He must authorize the conduct of military operations. This is why soldiers wait at deployment sites ready to be deployed. During Phase IV, military units are alerted. During Phase VI, the President decides whether to deploy or stand down.

    (4) Of the options listed in Table 5-2, five of the seven can include the Army.

  • Show of force/demonstration.

  • Offensive operations.

  • Noncombatant evacuation operations.

  • Peacemaking operations.

  • Forced entry.

  • Unconventional warfare support.

  • Rescue and recovery operations.

  • Support to US civil authority.

  • Disaster relief operations.

Table 5-1. Planning bases of a contingency operation.

Table 5-2. Range of military options.


The military commanders must balance the physical security of forces in regards to the mission and restrictive ROE. ROE for tactical forces come from the unified commander. They are based on NCA guidance, mission, threat, laws of war, and host nation or third country constraints on forces deployed. The political considerations that determine the ROE may conflict with the physical security needs of the mission force. Therefore, the commander must weigh the political needs against the risks to physical security of the force. Instead of accepting the mission and force composition, commanders should ask for clearly stated objectives with operational limits. These limits must allow mission accomplishment as well as protection of deployed forces.

a. The commander must develop a training program to ensure force protection. Some examples include--

    (1) OJT programs for CSS personnel on use of weapons and communication.

    (2) Physical security analysis and development of a local program based on METT-T.

    (3) Base fortification training.

      (a) Stress the use of obstacles and protective shelters.

      (b) Discuss preparing weapons' position.

      (c) Explain improvised types of mines and booby traps, and other explosive devices.

    (4) Integrate first-aid training to include--

  • Care of wounds.

  • Snake/insect bites.

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

  • Manual evacuation carries.

  • Improvised splints and litters.

    (5) Emphasize concealment and camouflage.

    (6) Stress the need for proper health measures such as field sanitation and personal hygiene.

b. Leaders must instill discipline in each soldier. It is the crucial element in the performance of US soldiers in peacetime contingency operations.

    (1) Discipline helps a soldier endure sniper fire each night without firing back at shadows.

    (2) Discipline prevents a soldier from overreacting in an angry outburst.

    (3) In riot control, discipline causes a soldier to hold one's fire in the face of a hostile, often violent, mob.

    (4) Most of all, disciplined soldiers can comply with increasingly complex ROE.

c. The ROE will create a problem for commanders. To obey the rules might further political objectives but at the cost of American lives. During peacetime contingency operations, the ROE could become more constricted as the operation continues. To live within the ROE, the commander must be enterprising. If artillery or mortar fire is not authorized, M203 gunners firing salvo might be a solution. However, his actions must be within the spirit of the ROE.


Because of the sensitivity and complexity of peacetime contingencies, commanders must conduct detailed estimates of the situation. In collecting and analyzing relevant information, commanders must consolidate the principles of coordination and balance into the planning process. At first, the planning process must be discussed as if it has a distinct start and end. However, the actual decision making, planning, and analysis of the conduct of the operation must be continuous. In LIC, the peacetime contingency mission has specified and implied tasks just as in any military operation. As the operation begins, commanders must be prepared and flexible for implementing and executing added tasks. These tasks could be a result of changes in the political environment of the US or host nation. To implement these changes, commanders must conduct additional detailed planning for logistic and intelligence support.

a. Logistic Support. In peacetime contingency operations, moving supplies and equipment is more time-consuming than moving personnel. If the need increases for logistic support, the slow movement of the support to the AOR might result in mission failure. Commanders must plan for an increase in logistic support by performing the following:

    (1) Determine the added logistic support that may be required.

    (2) Determine the source and location of this type of support (either US or host nation).

    (3) Develop detailed transportation and movement plans to get the logistic support to the AOR as soon as possible.

    (4) Identify the weight of material, cubic feet density, mode of transportation, and likely priority of movement.

    (5) Choose seaports, aerial ports, and rail and road networks to aid movement. Plan security at these embarkation points into the AOR.

b. Intelligence Support. Intelligence support must be coordinated, complete, and continuous. This helps to identify and react to changes in the operation. Intelligence comes from many sources to include civilian agencies as well as military. The intelligence analysis must coordinate all the information and develop an IPB for the commander. The PIR must include possible changes in the political environment. These changes could affect the mission and required logistic support. Well-coordinated MI operations must start with early planning.

Section III.

Peacetime contingency operations are unique since they focus on specific problems. They require rapid and decisive solutions. PCOs are politically and time sensitive, and are managed at the highest levels of government. They are normally short in duration but may transition to long-term operations. Commanders tailor forces for these operations and employ them as joint, combined, or both. This section discusses some of the PCOs that brigade and battalion commanders can expect to conduct or support.


Contingency forces lend credibility to a nation's promises and commitments. They influence other nations by displaying a viable military force. PCOs try to reassure a friend or ally. They also can influence another government or political-military organization to respect US interests. Operations develop by deploying forces forward, by using aircraft and ship visits, and by introducing forces as a show of force. The presence of a credible military force can highlight policy interests and commitment.

a. Deployment of strategic or rapid deployment forces provide show of force either in response to specific threats or as part of a routine exercise. Any force composition may be used and is based on METT-T.

b. As with all LIC operations, the political nature of the operation prevails, mainly in the use of military forces. Since the object is not the use of force, legal and political constraints may apply. The operation must be coordinated with the related-country teams. Forces must understand the objectives. Before commitment, the chain of command should ensure that the force understands the purpose, ROE, and inherent risks of the operation. Forces engaged in these operations must be prepared to fight and win if the demonstration alone cannot accomplish the national objective.

c. The first element vital to a show of force is the deployment of contingency forces. The availability of required logistics and infrastructure are crucial. The force must be sustainable. This requires--

    (1) Appropriate intertheater and intratheater mobility assets.

    (2) Sufficient interdepartmental and international liaison.

    (3) Accurate intelligence.

    (4) Clear lines of command and control.

    (5) Adequate communications ability.

    (6) Ready and responsive forces.

d. The mission must be well defined and clear, and be quickly executed.


In conditions short of war, offensive operations are the most overt use of force. Action may be conducted in support of political and diplomatic measures. Offensive and raid operations serve purposes other than gaining or holding terrain. They may be deliberate responses or quick reactions. They are either direct or indirect in nature. As such, they encompass interdiction of LOC, offensive operations against terrorist bases, or a combination of these. Multiple offensive operations can aid cooperation. They create situations that let friendly nations seize and maintain the political initiative.

a. Offensive operations can succeed if performed by organizations skilled in basic war fighting techniques. Such a force (rangers, special forces, or light infantry, airborne, or air assault) may act alone or with other special operations elements or allied forces. If conditions warrant, a light/heavy mixture of forces will be used. However, based on METT-T, the use of heavy forces may be planned as a follow-on. Elements may be inserted by ship or aircraft. They strike strategic objectives, targets of high psychological profile, time-sensitive targets, or key personnel and bases. When provided with the proper assets for insertion, offensive operations units can conduct deep penetration raids. Exfiltration from such raids is hard and is a force limiting factor that must be considered.

b. The NCA approves a strategic raid. A raid is conducted under the operational command of a unified or joint TF commander. Typical targets include--

    (1) Insurgent command, control, communications, and intelligence centers.

    (2) Nuclear and chemical weapons storage sites and delivery means held by irresponsible nations or factions.

    (3) Key terrorist or insurgent facilities such as logistic depots, airstrips, buildings, bridges, dams, tunnels, or LOC.

    (4) Known terrorist living, training, and staging areas.

c. Successful offensive operations are characterized by--

    (1) A start time and location not known by the enemy.

    (2) Undetection during planning, rehearsal, and deployment.

    (3) Swift, violent, precise, and audacious actions that focus full combat power at the decisive time and place.

    (4) Use of all available combat power assets.

    (5) Precise timing of operations.

    (6) Swift disengagement when mission is complete.

    (7) Planned and swift withdrawal that includes deception plans.

d. Although their context may be highly political, execution of offensive operations is less subject to political control than other peacetime contingency operations. Such operations require awareness of the local political climate, which must be supported by a thorough public information initiative. Execution usually requires a limited-size force operating against limited objectives. The operation must be as short as possible. Planning and rehearsing of all phases should precede the effort. There must be precise, real-time intelligence; effective communications; an ability to augment the execution force; and clear lines of command and control. The logistic support system must know force requirements and should sustain it on short notice. Overall, the mission requires stringent OPSEC, which must be constantly measured against effective execution of the mission.

e. Instances do arise where the follow-on to offensive operations is peacemaking. The follow-on must include the deployment of PSYOP and CA assets as well as additional MP units. The handoff to state support forces must be accomplished as soon as possible.


NEOs relocate civilian noncombatants from a foreign (host) nation when they are threatened by hostile action. These operations normally evacuate US citizens whose lives are in danger. They may also include evacuating natives of the host nation and third country aliens friendly to the United States. This type of operation involves swift insertion and temporary occupation of an objective, followed by a planned withdrawal. The operation normally includes a use of force required for protection of the evacuees and for self-defense. These operations are coordinated by the CINC and normally specify detailed plans that are executed by brigades and other military forces.

a. The situation may be impaired as a result of military, political, or other emergencies that could require evacuation of some personnel. The State Department requests military assistance and obtains US and allied government approval to include basing and overflight authorizations, and facilities for executing an evacuation operation. Before starting military operations, the chief of the diplomatic mission ensures that the number of evacuees are as few as possible. He directs the early withdrawal of dependents and nonessential personnel by ordinary transport.

b. The key in planning is to determine whether the evacuation will take place in a benign environment, will involve facing the threat of violent opposition, or will, in fact, be a combat operation.

c. The commander adjusts evacuation sites and timing of the operation based on the existing local situation. His ability to influence the local situation is minimal. The situation may be such that the commander must prepare to defend the evacuation from hostile forces. He does so without the authority to preempt hostile actions. Also, evacuation operations are politically sensitive and are probably monitored, if not controlled, from the highest level.

d. Brigade objectives are limited to those tactically needed to provide a suitable avenue of evacuation. Care of civilians and the maintenance of order in and around the evacuation site are prime responsibilities. Because of the sensitive nature of the mission, political concerns and constraints apply.

e. Commanders should remember that NEO can quickly turn into peacemaking or peacekeeping operations. They must plan for these contingencies.


Contingency operations for peacemaking try to maintain civil law and order under the protection of a military force. Some aspects of peacemaking may occur due to a PKO or may precede a PKO. PKOs require the consent of all interested parties while a peacemaking operation is an act of compulsion.

a. Forces may conduct operations to maintain civil order or to support a threatened host government as part of a multinational force, alone, or with a host government. Although US intervention in the Dominican Republic in 1965 had broad, hemispheric policy goals, US military forces were used in a peacemaking role.

b. Peacemaking is hard to define due to the vague boundary line between it and other types of missions. There are, however, numerous key traits. Planning is vital. Commanders must deal with many doubts and constraints.

    (1) Short notice for a response is likely, and the location may not be known in advance.

    (2) Information on enemy forces and their composition, distribution, strength, and morale may be limited.

    (3) The mission may be unclear, and the composition and size of force to be used may change without warning.

    (4) Restraints are enforced on the use of deadly force.

    (5) The duration of the operation may be unknown.

    (6) There are much political effect, complex ROE, and insistence on the least use of force.

    (7) The mission and military operations may be under major constraints that are subject to sudden change and demands.

    (8) For the commander and his forces, the environment is likely to be stressful and dangerous.

    (9) The prompt commitment of a force larger than a division, which may preclude violence, may not be a likely option.

c. The complex goal of peacemaking operations requires a flexible plan. It places demands on the commander and his staff for tact, innovation, and understanding of the environment and the political effects involved. The task also requires-- Constant mission analysis.

  • Clear command and control relationships.

  • Effective communications facilities.

  • Joint and combined force liaison.

  • An effective public diplomacy and PSYOP campaign.

  • The gradual transition of responsibility back to the host nation.

d. The mission requires that forces adjust well to the environment. Forces are sustained, replaced, rotated, or reinforced to provide continuity of effort. The mission may also require adherence to local law and customs. Once the force commander is given the mission and is aware of his constraints, he may have some personal choices and needs. The political climate of the effort, however, may preclude this. Peacemaking missions are stressful and unique. The personality, training, and skills of the commander, and those of his organization, are crucial to success.


UW is a broad spectrum of military and paramilitary operations. It is conducted in enemy-held, enemy-controlled, or politically sensitive territory.

a. UW includes, but is not limited to, guerrilla warfare, E & E, subversion, sabotage, and other operations of a low visibility, covert, or clandestine nature. The commander can execute interrelated aspects of UW singly or collectively with mostly local personnel. These personnel are supported by external sources during all conditions of war or peace. US Army support of UW can include the use of both SOF and general purpose forces such as CSS for insurgents in a third-world country. Techniques and tactics for certain UW operations are like those used in FID. Unlike most peacetime contingency operations, UW is usually a long-term effort.

b. This operation does not usually involve conventional maneuver forces. Conventional support comes from CS and CSS elements such as:

  • Parachute rigging.

  • Aerial resupply.

  • Radio interception.

  • Photo reconnaissance/topography.


Rescue and recovery operations are quite sophisticated actions requiring precise execution. They may include the rescue of US or friendly foreign nationals, and the location, identification, and recovery of sensitive equipment vital to US national security.

a. Hostile forces may oppose these types of operations. Stealth, surprise, speed, and the threat of overwhelming US force are ways to defeat opposition. Rescue and recovery operations need timely intelligence, detailed planning, deception, swift execution, and firm security measures. They usually involve highly trained special units. Brigade forces may be tasked to provide security support. b. Rescue and recovery operations can be divided into three phases:

    (1) PHASE I - Movement. During this phase security must be stressed. The use of deception and secrecy must be included in detailed planning.

    (2) PHASE II - Assault. During this phase the following rules should be followed:

      (a) Execute the method of assault (parachute, air assault, beach landing) with speed and maximum firepower.

      (b) Secure the avenue of approach to and from the objective.

      (c) Secure the extraction point.

      (d) Rescue, recover, and protect items of interest.

      (e) Evacuate items of interest to the extraction point.

    (3) PHASE III - Extraction and redeployment.

c. The initial assault force normally consists of SOF personnel Brigade forces may be used once a lodgement is established. Some possible tasks for brigade forces include:

  • Secure an airfield.

  • Block routes into the objective area.

  • Secure movement of items of interest to the extraction point.

  • Protect items of interest.


Support to US civil authority includes those activities provided by military forces in support of federal and state officials under, and limited by, the Posse Comitatus Act and other laws and regulations. Congress and the courts view requirements for military support in civilian domestic affairs as situation-specific. They restrict military support to situations that involve disaster assistance, civil disorder, threats to federal property, and other emergencies. Congress has also defined drug trafficking, illegal immigration, and customs violations as threats to national security that warrant military support.

a. Disaster Assistance. Disaster assistance provides emergency aid to civilians and helps restore vital public activities and facilities. The military can become a rapidly deployed manpower base in response to crisis situations. Brigade assistance includes:

  • Medical supplies, equipment, and emergency medical treatment.

  • Food, water, and shelter.

  • Rescue and fire fighting services.

  • Police protection.

  • Route clearance and traffic control.

  • Prevention of panic.

  • Communications.

  • Restoration of facilities.

  • Enforcement of curfews.

b. Civil Disorders. The mission of military forces during civil disorders is to assist local authorities in restoring and maintaining law and order. The brigade can conduct the following:

  • Present a show of force.

  • Establish road or area blocks.

  • Disperse crowds.

  • Release riot control agents.

  • Patrol.

  • Serve as security forces or reserves.

c. Threats to Federal Property. Installation commanders must maintain law and order at their posts. The US Supreme Court recognizes their duties.

d. Drug Interdiction. One of the missions the military is involved in is drug interdiction. Battalions and brigades may be involved in many actions taken to disrupt, interdict, or destroy illicit drugs and the infrastructure (personnel, material, and distribution system) of illicit drug entities.

    (1) Such action is always in conjunction with another governmental agency. Some of these agencies are the Coast Guard, Customs Service, Border Patrol of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Department of State's Bureau of International Narcotics Matters, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and so on.

    (2) Military support to counter-drug operations can include mobile training teams, offshore training, advisory personnel, logistic support (material, maintenance, resupply, and transportation), and intelligence support. It may also include construction of LZ/PZs, assault landing strips, and roads or trails.

e. Counter-Drug Operation. Military activities in support of counter-drug operations are examples of support to civil authorities. Using special aircraft, ships, and personnel, military forces help the US Coast Guard and other US law enforcement agencies track and interdict illegal drug shipments. As directed by the NCA, US military forces also help foreign governments to stop the processing of illicit drugs. Often, military training activities have been adapted to support both combat readiness and the US counter-drug effort. Support to civil authorities in counter-drug operations employs the unique skills of the US military to perform such tasks.


Disaster relief operations provide emergency assistance abroad to victims of natural or man-made disasters. They respond to requests for immediate help from foreign governments or international agencies. In the LIC environment, disasters can weaken an already unstable situation. When well managed, US involvement in disaster relief can have positive effects. Brigade elements involved in disaster relief operations have various tasks. They can include refugee assistance, food programs, medical care, and other civilian welfare programs. Army CS and CSS units are key players in these operations. Also, combat arms units can provide added support. If the operation is conducted in a hostile area, the unit involved may have a force protection or security mission. The military can--

a. Provide the logistic support to move supplies to remote areas.

b. Extract or evacuate victims.

c. Provide emergency communications.

d. Conduct direct medical support operations.

e. Provide construction support to open LOCs, repair bridges and facilities.

The commander discontinues the operation when the host country gains enough control to continue on its own. The operation is reduced activity by activity. This process may be accomplished by phases until all military units have departed.

Section IV.

Due to the many variables involved, no two PCOs are planned and executed alike. However, in executing PCOs, commanders should consider some operational factors that influence the nature and scope of the effort. These include planners executing their own plan, a well-developed PSYOP effort, the role of logistics, a believable deception plan, the complexity of command and control, and constraints. This section describes some techniques and principles that are inherent to PCO missions.


Due to the sensitivity and complexity of peacetime contingencies, planners should execute missions. When standby contingency plans are enforced, commanders and staff must execute them. They are most familiar with these plans and the considerations used during preparation.


Peacetime contingencies are complex and unexpected, though they may require long-term involvement. Therefore, the environment must be prepared in advance of or in support of a commitment of force. Commanders use PSYOP, though time-consuming and better suited to longer-term operations, to exploit enemy weaknesses. They also use them to target forces or a population whose support is crucial to the success of the operation. This effort requires much preparation, regional sensitivity, and coordination between civilian and military authorities.


Logistic requirements are crucial to peacetime contingencies. They can dominate the mission and can present uncommon demands on service and joint support forces. The operations are likely to be of short-notice, unique, and in austere environments. Peacetime contingencies require developing a precrisis logistic baseline. This is for national contingency force structures and includes the needs of various force sizes and compositions.


Speed and surprise are key elements in executing PCO. A believable deception plan targeted at the opposing leader provides the element of surprise. This improves the commander's opportunity for success. In PCOs, most deception plans are planned and executed at the operational level. At the tactical level, deception plans should be employed so that friendly routine actions are conducted with greater uncertainty. Deception can play a significant role in--

a. Masking the movement of tactical formations.

b. Inducing the enemy to miscalculate friendly objectives.

c. Inducing the enemy to miscalculate friendly weaknesses.


Command relationships (service/joint/combined) become more complex in such operations due to their unique nature, form requirements, and the uncommon traits of political-military concerns. Also, there is a constant tension due to the need for sustained and coordinated command and control, and the need to avoid overcommand and overcontrol.


Commanders have difficulty in combining the physical security of forces with the restrictive ROE of LIC. RCE for tactical forces come from the unified commander. They are based on NCA guidance, mission, threat, laws of war, and host nation or third-world country constraints on force deployment. The political concerns used to develop ROE may conflict with the physical security needs of the force. Political needs should be weighed against the risks to the mission and force itself. They should be practical, realistic, and enforceable. Regardless of the situation, forces must operate in a highly constrained environment. This requires the patience, training, and dedication of the military force.


Key functions inherent to PCOs include:

a. Military efforts must be closely coordinated with diplomatic, and public relations initiatives.

b. The State Department is the lead agency except when the military is performing offensive operations.

c. National policy determines military objectives and the composition of the military force. Policy makers must define clear objectives and be sensitive to military constraints.

d. Detailed and flexible planning is required in situations that are uncertain.

e. Clear lines of command, control, and communications must be established among civilian and military agencies.

f. Plans for logistic support must be complete.

g. Specialized training is required at all levels.

h. Minimum-essential force should be applied at the point of engagement. Although, rapid commitment of an overwhelming force to a target area reduces the chance of actual combat.

i. Military units must be aware of the importance of caring for the civilian population or refugees.

j. Security of the committed force is weighed against the unique ROE, and the tactical and political environment of each situation.

Section V.

A joint task force normally conducts peacetime contingency operations. The size of the force, its mission, and its AOR vary with each deployment. In a worst-case scenario, forces would conduct a forced entry into a high-threat environment. The Army component can be a small specialized element or a battalion or brigade TF. PCOs are usually executed by airborne, air assault, or light infantry units and may be augmented by heavy forces.


The initial assault stresses the coordinated action of small units to seize initial objectives before the element of surprise has passed. As assault objectives are seized, the efforts of the force change to developing the airhead.

a. Tactical surprise, along with detailed planning, allow units to seize their assault objectives and to establish the airhead before the enemy has time to react in force. Missions of units are changed as needed by enemy defense of initial objectives. The enemy can be expected to quickly launch unplanned attacks along major avenues of approach using local forces. The degree of coordination and strength of these attacks may continue to increase. The PCO force must expand its defensive posture. Preparing for an early defense against an armored attack is a major concern if such a capability exists.

b. Units assigned to perform R & S missions land in early serials--

  • To establish roadblocks.

  • To locate enemy forces.

  • To disrupt enemy communication facilities.

  • To provide the commander with early warning, security, and information.

Since ground reconnaissance by unit commanders is seldom possible before the operation, it must begin as soon as the unit lands. The flow of information must be continuous. PIR/IR do not vary from those employed by other ground units. However, the unit's method of arrival in the area heightens the need for immediate and thorough reconnaissance. Also required is the transmission of tactical information to higher headquarters.

c. If the initial objectives are heavily defended, a battalion or brigade commander assigns the task of seizing key routes and airfields to the bulk of the force. Also, LZs/PZs are cleared of obstacles and hastily repaired to support follow-on operations. When initial objectives are lightly defended, the bulk of the force can be employed in clearing assigned sectors and preparing defensive positions in depth. Patrolling is started early between adjacent defensive positions within the airhead line, and between the airhead and the R&S line. Army aircraft are well suited for support of this effort. Forces establish early contact with any friendly SOF in the area.

d. Commanders brief personnel on unit plans, adjacent and higher units' plans, and alternate plans. This helps units or personnel landing in unplanned areas to focus on accomplishing the mission. Units or personnel delivered to the wrong place must contact their headquarters as soon as possible.

e. When communications and the tactical situation permit, commanders regain centralized control. Communications channels must be established before the arrival of aircraft in the AO. This is vital for effective control of ground operations. Units should quickly establish the following for effective command and control:

    (1) Command and fire control channels within the forces.

    (2) Communications with supporting air and naval forces.

    (3) Communications with airlift forces concerned with buildup, air supply, and evacuation.

    (4) Communications with bases in friendly territory.

    (5) Communications between widely separated airborne or ground forces (such as linkup forces) with a common or coordinated mission.

Communications personnel and equipment must be moved into the airhead in advance of the CP they are to serve. This ensures the timely installation of vital communications.

f. The commander can effect action by shifting or allocating fire support means, moving forces, modifying missions, changing objectives and boundaries, and employing reserves. He can also move to a place where he can best exert his personal influence.

g. When initial objectives are secure, subordinate units can seize other objectives that aid setting up a coordinated brigade defense or conducting future operations. Defensive positions are organized, communications supplemented, and reserves reconstituted. Other measures prepare the force to repel enemy counterattacks, reduce effects of attack by nuclear weapons, or resume the offensive.

h. Reserves prepare and occupy blocking positions, pending commitment. Common tasks for reserves committed during the initial assault include assuming the missions of misdelivered units, dealing with unexpected opposition in seizing assault objectives, and securing the initial airhead.


After the PCO forces have made the initial assault landings and have accomplished the initial ground missions, commanders must organize the airhead line. (See FM 90-26.)

a. Size of the Airhead. The airhead line extends enough distance beyond the landing areas to ensure continuous secure landings of personnel, equipment, and supplies. It secures the required terrain features and maneuver space for future operations.

b. Occupation and Organization of the Airhead. Occupation and organization of the airhead line varies depending on the situation. Commanders adjust the disposition of troops and installations to fit the terrain and situation. Units take R&S measures, which usually include reinforcing the R&S line. The degree to which the airhead line isoccupied and organized for defense depends mainly on the mission, enemy abilities, and defensive traits of the terrain.

c. Buildup of the Airhead. Buildup of the airhead proceeds along with seizing and organizing the airhead line. As more combat personnel arrive and commanders organize them by unit, frontline positions are reinforced, reserves are constituted, and preparations are made for offensive operations.


The time spent in the defense varies with the mission, the composition and size of the force, the enemy reaction, and the type of operation.

a. Defensive Phase. The need can often be removed for a defensive phase in short-duration missions in isolated objective areas. This can be done by destroying or dispersing enemy forces in the immediate objective area during the assault. Then the assault force is extracted before a coordinated enemy counterattack.

b. Defense of an Airhead. The force usually defends an airhead by dominating key and decisive terrain and likely avenues of approach within the airhead. Units deny the enemy the areas between the occupied positions with a combination of patrols, mines, fires, and obstacles. They reconnoiter between positions within the airhead, between the airhead and RSL, and forward of the RSL They stress reconnaissance forward of the RSL during limited visibility. The airhead configuration allows the commander to quickly shift forces, reserves, and supporting fires. This allows for reinforcing another sector of the airhead. The force also prepares positions in depth within its abilities.

c. Defense During a Withdrawal. If a withdrawal from initial positions is required, the final area must have space for maneuver, for the defense of crucial installations, and for planned airlanding or air evacuation operations.

d. Defense Against Armor. During the initial phases of an operation, one of the main defenses against enemy armor is tactical air support. Aircraft attack enemy armor targets far from the objective area. They continue to attack and observe targets as long as targets threaten the force. Strongpoints defending the airhead use existing and reinforcing obstacles. Units emplace antitank weapons in depth along mounted avenues of approach. They cover all dangerous avenues of approach with planned fires. Antitank weapons can be shifted to reinforce threatened sectors.

e. Defense Against an Airborne Attack, Guerrilla Action, and Infiltration. The defense must include plans for countering enemy airborne attacks, attacks by insurgent forces, or infiltrating forces. The basic defense is an extensive patrol and early warning system, an all-round defense with designated reserve units. Units must remain alert during limited visibility to prevent the enemy from infiltrating. If units build up forces in the airhead interior, they can adversely affect operations. During daylight, units must locate and destroy enemy that has infiltrated the airhead.

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