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"For want of a nail, the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe, the horse was lost.
For want of a horse, a rider was lost.
For want of a rider, the battle was lost."
                                               Benjamin Franklin

This chapter discusses the details of CSS for each LIC category. Sustainment in LIC includes all elements of CSS. It can range from a medical team that provides humanitarian aid to a supporting brigade TF that conducts tactical operations. Each LIC category has distinct support procedures that must be tailored for a each operation. For example, sustainment for peacetime contingency operations is usually provided through normal logistic channels. Sustainment for PKOs is accomplished through a support organization established by the force mandate. For further information refer to FM 63-6, Combat Service Support in Low-Intensity Conflict.

Section I.

This section provides general guidelines that apply to all categories of LIC. Logistic support in LIC involves providing material and supplies to US and host nation combat forces. It can also involve developing logistic systems, infrastructure, and procedures for the host nation and training host nation logistic personnel. In LIC, logistic elements often precede other military forces into the area of operation or may be the only forces deployed. Logistic systems supporting either US or host nation forces must operate within the environmental constraints, and the legal and political constraints governing US involvement. Therefore, such systems must be flexible to tailor support to the situation.


The fundamental principles of support apply across the spectrum of conflict. The CSS unit must apply and adapt these principles to the LIC environment, which presents unique challenges. The following are guidelines for establishing and operating CSS systems in LIC.

a. Maximum economy of resources.

b. Flexible task force composition.

c. Ability to operate in any theater or country.

d. Routine use of host nation support to include local services, supplies, facilities, and transportation.

e. Maximum use of existing fixed facilities such as lines of communication, ports, and airfields.

f. Minimum handling of supplies.

g. Maximum reliance on CONUS supply activities or, when appropriate, existing regional support bases.

h. Provisions for self-protection.

i. Active and passive protection measures for CSS units.

j. Routine use of both strategic and theater airlift until surface transportation can accommodate the deployment.

k. Elimination of duplicated facilities and overlapping of functions.

l. Short duration conflicts (less than 90 days) should be supported by carefully tailored and planned resupply packages.


Support planning for LIC operations is a continuous process. Inclusion of the CSS unit at the outset during mission planning and force development is vital to the success of any operation. Once the concept of operation is determined, detailed CSS planning can proceed. Support planning should be as detailed as time will allow. However, since LIC requirements arise with little warning and may occur in any theater of operation, it is best to be familiar with the LIC environment and its characteristics.


Combat service support intelligence is critical to the LIC planning effort. It is defined as the operational and tactical information required by the CSS manager to develop and execute the logistic support plan for a specific concept of operations. Combat service support intelligence should include:

a. Intent to engage in combined operations.

b. Extent of CSS to non-DOD agencies, allied forces, or a combination thereof

c. Available resources in the area of operations.

d. Conditions that alter the usage factors.

e. Information on the ability of local facilities to support deployment and sustainment operations.

f Foreign military logistics structure and national infrastructure abilities. g. Environmental factors.

h. Analysis of lines of communications.


Once units are deployed, the wide dispersal of forces, the need to protect all bases and installations, the need to provide security for ground and air movement, and the problems of acquiring local resources can hinder logistic support in LIC. Due to these concerns, logistics facilities and stock levels should be kept to a minimum to reduce security requirements. This lowers the risk of supplies being taken/destroyed by an opposing force. While local resources should be used to the fullest, such use should not adversely affect the local security forces or population.


The structure of most CSS organizations allows units to be tailored to the assigned mission and situation. This flexibility is vital to enable CSS organizations to meet the wide range of deployment situations in LIC. The conventional echelons of CSS functions are often not responsive enough to sustain a LIC force in an austere area of the world. Direct contact by units in the area of operations with the wholesale logistic community is vital for responsive support to remote areas. Therefore, procedures must be established early as to how to accomplish such direct contact. Simplicity is vital to CSS. It allows for the required flexibility for effective support under demanding and adverse conditions. Combat service support must be tailored to the force mixture and conditions of METT-T.

a. A preferred method of operation is either a light battalion attached to a heavy brigade or a heavy force OPCON to a light brigade. In LIC, the meaning of OPCON includes the OPCON unit bringing extended support assets on deployment. As the situation develops, the unit could become attached and the support assets may be under the control of the higher headquarters.

b. The light brigade focuses on replacing parts, but the heavy unit focuses on repairing equipment. Commanders must be constantly aware of this throughout the operation.

c. Light units can use transportation assets of the heavy force.


To meet the needs of widely dispersed forces, CSS flexibility, foresight, improvisation, rapid response, and full use of local resources are required. Also, greater mobility is needed to reduce or remove excessive stocks in forward areas, to restrict CSS installations to secure areas, and to provide for rapid evacuation of casualties. Air resupply reduces or excludes the need for escort troops, and reduces targets and supply sources for potential use by the enemy. LIC CSS support requires the following:

a. Clearly understood command and control arrangements.

b. Reliable CSS communications network.

c. Secure lines of communications.

d. Theater mobility stressing airlift and support helicopters.

e. Means to exploit local resources within the limits of the political and social context of the conflict.

f. Means to protect CSS installations.

g. Automated inventory and movement control to provide responsive support.

h. Resources for construction of camps and airfields, adaptation of buildings, provision and maintenance of services to include aid to the civilian community.

i. Means of establishing a casualty evacuation and treatment system.

j. A flexible maintenance system to meet required operational availability rates of equipment.

k. Means of collecting, collating, and disseminating CSS intelligence before and during operations.

l. Means of supporting isolated forces separated from main bodies.

m. Financial support to allow for payment of goods and services received and the recovery costs for goods and services provided.

n. Legal support for the interpretation of law, application of ROE, and protection of assigned forces.

o. An available source of language qualified personnel conversant both with military logistics and host nation business practices and customs.

p. Mobile logistics training teams and logistics training exercises.


LIC operations often require the ability to execute time-sensitive, discrete deployments. Along with speed, the system used to mobilize and deploy must function in an environment where OPSEC is so restrictive as to preclude normal predeployment coordination. This heightened security environment may require much tailoring of set mobilization procedures. Therefore, mobilization signatures should be the same as day-to-day operational signatures. Such requirements must not preclude the required CSS planning and coordination for mission success.

a. Each of the three categories of CSS must be considered. Priorities within each category must be set based on type of operation and the principles of METT-T. The three categories of CSS are logistics support, personnel service support, and health service support.

b. Logistics support includes:

  • Supply.

  • Transportation.

  • Maintenance.

  • Field services to include graves registration, clothing exchange and bath (CEB), salvage, laundry, textile renovation, airdrop, and bakery.

c. Personnel service support includes:

  • Personnel and administration services to include strength management, personnel accounting and strength reporting, replacement operations, casualty management, personnel information management, and personnel database management.

  • Religious support to include conduct of services, personal and religious counseling, and pastoral care.

  • Legal services.

  • Finance services.

  • Public affairs.

  • Postal operations.

  • Enemy prisoner of war support.

  • Morale welfare, and recreation (MWR).

d. Health services support includes:

  • Treatment and evacuation.

  • Medical supply support.

  • Preventive medicine.

Section II.

This section explains how CSS assets support tactical operations in insurgency and COIN operations. Assets include medical, supply, transportation, maintenance, and personnel and administration. CSS assets normally operate from bases that support unit tactical operations. Depending on the size of the unit, these assets may be organic or attached. In insurgency and COIN operations, CSS units may have the primary mission, while the infantry role may be to protect the CSS units. The infantry brigade may function as a combined arms and services unit with minimum fighting strength, while providing C2 for various CSS organizations.


Most CSS assets are located at division or higher level. They are DS to brigades as needed. In some cases, the brigade can receive a larger part of division assets than normal.

a. DISCOM support can consist of small teams for supply, maintenance, ammunition, medical, and transportation support. When augmented and directed DISCOM's immediate purpose is to assist indigenous tactical forces, the long-term goal is to develop a local force to perform these tasks. If local forces fail, the preparation of the conflict area should support contingency plans for employing combat forces. To support FID, selected CSS elements can be employed in support of host country national developmental efforts. Such elements could train local forces on logistic operations.

b. CSS can operate on two levels. The first level is a small requirement for support of the advisory team. The second level is for supply of material to the host country (security assistance) for improving military and civil organizations. The S1/S4 should coordinate with S5 to determine the requirements that can be met by local resources. Local support is used to the greatest extent possible. When planning support forces requirements, the commander must carefully consider local resources. If the US presence increases beyond small teams (engineering projects, medical exercises), the size of the support element (supply and services, maintenance transportation) increases. This is also true in host countries having minimal resources to provide support.


CSS units in counterguerrilla operations, as in conventional operations, provide all classes of supplies to units involved in tactical operations. Since the battalion operational base is as small as possible and provides only a limited logistics base, the supply element at battalion is small. Currently prescribed supply systems and procedures can support counterguerrilla operations with some changes.

a. Most combat trains are collocated with field trains in the brigade support base. Therefore, supply lines to battalions must be maintained. Both aerial and ground resupply operations are considered, ensuring a backup system if one method is disrupted. Resupplying tactical units must be done by request so as not to set a pattern.

b. Assets from DISCOM provide the brigade with direct support CSS.


Operation bases are usually established by battalions and are semipermanent in consolidation operations. They operate only as long as required by the unit mission.

a. The main function of the battalion operational base is to support tactical operations. It may provide a staging area for operations; a command, control, and communications center; a limited logistic base (battalion combat trains); a fire support base; personnel systems support; or a combination thereof. The specific support functions it provides are determined by availability and need. These bases have the minimum personnel needed to operate and provide security. All nonessential personnel--those not crucial to the tactical mission--are positioned in the brigade operational base.

b. Battalion operational bases provide certain advantages. These advantages are secondary and do not take precedence over the main function-- to support tactical operations. Some secondary advantages are:

    (1) Establish a government presence in the area of operations.

    (2) Aid in limiting guerrilla mobility nearby.

    (3) Provide some security to populated areas nearby.

c. When selecting a location for the operational base, commanders must consider several factors. The location must include an area large enough to meet the unit's requirements and be on defensible terrain. Use or construction of protective structures must be considered as well as defensive positions, obstacles, and minefields. If the unit is going to use the base for fire support, the location must provide maximum coverage for indirect fire weapons.

    (1) The operational base is located far enough away from population centers to preclude civilian interference with operations. It must minimize the chance of the population center becoming a collateral target.

    (2) The operational base is located so that it has two methods for resupply. For example, if the main means for resupply is by air, it should also have a secondary means, such as a road, if weather precludes the use of aircraft.

    (3) The brigade operational base provides deployed battalions with command, control, and communications facilities; CSS (BSA); personnel systems support; staging areas; and intelligence activities. The brigade operational base is usually in a secured area within a government-controlled area. It is larger than a battalion operational base. The brigade operational base provides essential tactical and operational support to deployed battalions. It also provides a rear location for nondeployed elements of the deployed battalions (battalion field trains).

    (4) All CSS elements, whether operating from battalion or brigade bases, ensure that their activities support the overall national objective. Since these operations usually involve more interaction with the civilian populace than tactical operations, personnel involved must understand the host country's culture. This precludes any action that might hinder accomplishing the overall national objective.

    (5) The CSS assets that normally operate from the battalion operational base are medical, maintenance, and supply. These same assets can also operate from the brigade operational base. The additional assets of transportation, maintenance, and personnel support usually operate from the brigade operational base. The size of the element at each base depends on the situation. A nonessential element should not be deployed from the home station. Deployed elements should consist only of those assets crucial to the tactical or operational functioning of the unit.


Maintenance involves all actions to keep equipment operational or to restore it to that status. Except for light units, battalion maintenance elements are located at the operational base (combat trains) and the brigade support base (field trains). Maintenance contact teams from the maintenance unit supporting the brigade (forward support maintenance company or forward support battalion) are also located with the operational base. Maintenance doctrine (fix as far forward as possible) is modified to keep the operational base small. As a result, most maintenance, other than minor repair or replacement of parts, occurs at the brigade support base in a secure area. Maintenance elements in the operational base should stress replacement of components (LRUs) and should maximize the use of BDAR teams.


The S4 plans transportation for CSS movement. He must consider departure and arrival facilities, in-country transportation networks, and host nation support.

a. Transportation requirements are classified as tactical and nontactical. Tactical transportation deals with repositioning men and materiel. Nontactical transportation deals with moving men and material in noncombat action.

b. Two major types of transportation means available to counterguerrilla forces are motor and air transport. Less common means of transportation are railroads, watercraft, and pack animals.

c. Tactical transportation by aviation assets is preferred due to its speed and flexibility. When aviation assets are not suitable, motor transportation is used. If motor transportation is required, the logistics task force must be augmented with the transportation assets. Motor transportation requires increased security. Once the unit is repositioned, soldiers move on foot to accomplish their mission. Aviation units are located at division level and above. Aircraft for brigade operations or below are attached or placed in support of the using unit.

d. Nontactical transportation is accomplished by either aviation or motor transportation assets. Normally, nontactical transportation moves supplies and equipment, and supports medical evacuation. Motor transportation assets may be organic to units at company level and above. The use of motor transport depends on distance, security, terrain, availability of routes, and so on.

e. Motor transportation requests are made through S4 channels, consolidated at brigade S4, and forwarded to the division transportation officer. The division movement control officer assigns priorities and allocates truck assets or requests additional assets from corps. Also, additional transport may be needed to move cargo for civic action projects.

f. Requests for Army aviation are made through S3 channels and forwarded to the assistant division aviation officer. The assistant division aviation officer assigns priorities and missions to the division's combat aviation brigade or requests additional assets from corps.

g. When planning transportation support in countries where the road infrastructure is not well developed, commanders may depend upon inland and coastal waterways for transportation. If so, Army watercraft may play a vital role in the support of FID.


Medical units conserve the fighting strength of the counterguerrilla force. They do so by preventive medical and sanitary measures, and by proper medical and surgical treatments. In support of the IDAD effort, medical units and personnel can provide assistance, advice, and training to host country medical personnel. These units may also provide limited medical support to the local populace for a short time. However, such support is conducted under the auspices of the host country and to the credit of that government.

a. Aidmen are at platoon level and give emergency medical treatment within their abilities. They also ensure that patients who must be evacuated are properly prepared and promptly moved.

b. A physician and or physician's assistant normally supervises the battalion aid station. In counterguerrilla situations, the station is within the battalion operational base. Aid station functions include the following:

    (1) Receiving, recording, examining, and sorting patients and returning the physically fit to duty.

    (2) Providing emergency medical treatment and preparing patients for evacuation.

    (3) Providing limited medical support through military civic action programs.

c. Depending on how serious the injury, the patient can be moved directly to a division clearing station in the brigade support base or to a corpslevel hospital. Evacuation to medical support facilities can be by ground. However, the preferred means is aeromedical evacuation in counterguerilla operations due to the speed and security of aerial transport.

d. Any medical facility may be bypassed and the patient evacuated to a higher level when his condition warrants it and the means of evacuation permit. Evacuation of wounded personnel does not take precedence over mission accomplishment.


To remain an effective fighting force, the counterguerrilla unit requires personnel service support. Most, if not all, of this support function occurs in the field trains at the brigade operational base. (See FMs 7-20, 71-2, and 12-6.)

a. The adjutant (S1) locates at the battalion operational base with the supply officer (S4) and functions as the combat unit's primary personnel operational base. The S1's primary role includes managing combat-essential information to support the decision-making process and delivering replacements, mail, and other personnel services. Information essential to the critical functions of the personnel systems must be collected and processed timely and accurately to support command decisions and combat units at all levels. The HHC commander locates with the field trains of the battalion in the brigade base. This arrangement keeps the battalion base as small as possible.

b. Personnel support for the commander includes the following:

    (1) Replacement operations. This entails the coordinated support and delivery of replacements and return-to-duty soldiers on the battlefield. During a LIC, depending on the task force configuration and duration of the conflict, individuals may not be replaced. However, when possible, replacements may be provided on an individual, team, squad, platoon, or unit level depending on the command requirements.

    (2) Strength management. This assesses an organization's combat power, plans for future operations, and assigns replacements on the battlefield. It predicts the need for replacements. Strength management includes the techniques and decision-making process used to allocate replacements and to assess the combat capabilities of units from the personnel perspective. This is a critical function. As part of the task force, units may have personnel from other branches of service or components.

    (3) Personnel accounting and strength reporting. This accounts for soldiers and reports their duty status as the foundation for critical battlefield decisions. This function will also be performed at the home station in a peacetime mode for soldiers that did not deploy. This function also includes the C2SRS. The C2SRS manages the personnel combat power of the tactical force and reconciles deliberate personnel accounting and hasty strength reporting information.

    (4) Casualty management. This records, reports, and accounts forcasualties promptly and efficiently. In a LIC, casualties must be processed as soon as possible. They could be in a CONUS medical facility before the casualty manager is aware of the casualty; therefore, casualties must be reported sooner than current regulations mandate.

    (5) Enemy prisoner of war and civilian internee operations. In a LIC, a reserve military police prisoner of war processing unit may not be activated. The personnel community may perform EPW processing depending on the task force commander's desires.

c. Finance support operations and counterinsurgency operations remain flexible to support the situation.

Section III.

Sustainment operations in a PKO must have the consent of the recently belligerent parties. The PKO force must remain neutral to retain its credibility and acceptability. This can preclude or limit the use of host nation support and contracting. Normal DISCOM support operations should be used to the maximum in PKOs. The support reflects austere base development and a mixed military/civilian contractor support structure.


In the UN's multinational force and observer-type mission, civilian contractors can provide custodial support at bases, maintenance of vehicles, and other supply and service functions. Host nation support may not be a major factor due to political considerations derived from the nature of a PKO. Due to the multinational and noncombat orientation of the operation, the LOGCAP can be used more than in other types of actions. It should not be confused with HNS agreements or contracting with local or third party nationals. The LOGCAP objective includes planning for the use of civilian contractors to perform certain services to augment Army forces. It can be an asset if several conditions have been met and the LIC operation occurs in a country where servicing contracts exist. (See AR 700-137.)


In PKO planning the S3 and S1/S4 identify those units requiring CSS and provide the required support packages. Planning must allow for enough transportation assets to provide for the rapid relocation of peacekeeping forces. If more transportation assets are required beyond the organic assets of the peacekeeping force, then such augmentation should be planned and requested in advance.

a. CSS units in support of the peacekeeping force should establish liaison with the task force commander and staff. Timely guidance allows the unit to begin the detailed planning and preparation required for executing assigned tasks. Support units of higher headquarters can provide CSS directly to UN peacekeeping forces.

    (1) Some of the subjects relative to logistic support for the peacekeeping force include--

  • Supplies and services.

  • Use of indigenous personnel.

  • Use of roads, post facilities, airfields, and railways.

    (2) Planning considerations include--

  • Task-organizing a special CSS unit.

  • Using an intermediate support base near the deployed force.

b. Supply support for a deployed peacekeeping force requires longer order times for surface shipments. Due to this, initial supply support must be planned in advance. Stockage of repair parts and other supplies must be increased to a level that can support a deployed force for a long time. Self-service supply items are required, and their type and amount are based on a particular unit.

c. The force may rely heavily on contractors for fresh food supplies as well as dining facility operations. Therefore, planning and coordination are vital to planning for supplemental rations. Veterinary inspection support must be planned to monitor local purchase activities. Also, the need for MREs or other combat-ready meals may exist for members of the force on remote patrol. Since battalion elements may support all members of the PKO force, they must consider the type/content of certain foods for religious or cultural reasons.

d. Water can be included in an overall custodial contract, obtained from local sources, or provided water purification/distribution units. Commanders must coordinate with preventive medicine personnel to test and approve all water obtained from both local and US military systems.

e. Services at the base camp for PKO personnel can be included in the general custodial contract. The extent to which they are established permanently depends on the length of the operation. Mortuary affairs support is usually reserved for US force operations. Arrangements for the following services must be made in advance so that they are contracted or included as part of the force:

  • Showers.

  • Laundry.

  • Barber.

  • Post exchange services.

  • Recreation facilities.

  • Engineer functions.

  • Firefighting.

  • Sewer.

  • Trash disposal.

  • Electrical power.

f. When neutrality is not in question and all parties agree, host nation contractors can perform maintenance for military and commercial equipment. Use of host nation contractors assists in the growth of their economic base and enhances relations. As host nation contractors' involvement increases, the need for language-qualified maintenance personnel also increases.

g. The brigade may need division and corps assets to ensure a dedicated transportation capability to provide flexibility and mobility to the supported force. Host nation or third-party contract assets, however, should be used to the fullest to meet transportation needs. If US vehicles are used, the need for vehicle operators to have local or international driver's licenses must be determined. Likewise, the road network must be checked before arrival in country. Current data on all roads and bridges are required to include the main supply routes that can be used and restrictions to vehicles--for example, convoy size, weight of vehicle, when roads can be used.

h. Military medical support of PKOs is conducted as part of a single health service assistance program. The brigade surgeon has responsibility for the overall medical planning. All medical support to host country nationals is usually limited to emergency treatment. Strict coordination requirements preclude an improvised medical activity from functioning.

Section IV.

As in other operations, the commander determines the sequence of deployment of the tactical force, supporting elements, fillers and replacement personnel, and bulk supplies in PCOs. The S4 coordinates the deployment of CSS units and recommends changes in the deployment sequence if a balanced force is not maintained. Usually, DS supply and service elements, maintenance, repair parts supply, transportation, and ammunition and petroleum supply are required early in the PCOs. Divisional and corps field service units are not normally required at first. However, they must be sequenced early to provide for the physical needs of the force. The need for such units depends on the nature of the operation and its duration and environment.


Brigade CSS units are not flexible enough to provide needed CSS in contingencies. Additional division and corps CSS elements can be deployed into a hostile environment along with or soon after the first forces land. Selected DISCOM units should land soon after combat units. Some CSS elements can arrive in the country or in an adjacent country before the actual deployment. These elements can arrive by air at a commercial airfield and move to the conflict area to operate as an arrival airfield control group.

a. When developing the OPLAN, the S4 determines the source of support. The force can be resupplied from CONUS designated OCONUS facilities (another theater) or from a third country. It relies on strategic airlift or sealift for rapid deployment and resupply. Due to the unique requirements of PCOs, the time-consuming maintenance activities and management functions may take place at the CONUS support base with mission-ready equipment returned to the user. If the situation escalates from LIC to mid-intensity conflict, the support structure in the area of operations would require expansion.

b. During the buildup phase, the S1/S4 must know the number of CSS units in country, since many of the mutual support units may be detachments, teams, and companies without a parent headquarters. To execute effective command and control, the commander must include some element of brigade support headquarters in early increments. This element can organize smaller elements into a composite and can provide a command and control structure. This arrangement should be reorganized as priorities and resources permit. As the situation develops, temporary composite headquarters can revert to its normal role.

c. The S1 must establish procedures for replacements and, in coordination with the brigade/battalion surgeon, a medical evacuation policy. The replacement requirements are based on estimates on the number of casualties. The source of these replacements must be identified to include all processing the contingency force must provide. This can include where personnel are to be equipped for the local environment such as a replacement center or the receiving unit.

d. The S4 determines the requirements for supply, services, and maintenance. He bases these requirements on the force structure and projected intensity of conflict. The S4 should provide this information to the planners as they develop the amount of support required and for the loading of the supply pipeline.

e. The S4 must examine transportation from the departure point to the arrival facility. The S4 and S5 must coordinate the amount of support that can be provided by and to the host nation.

f. The S4 must determine if any CSS function that is normally performed by higher headquarters is required such as water terminal operations. If so, it should be included in the force structure.


When a friendly host nation requests US assistance in a threatening but inactive combat situation, CSS elements may precede combat elements in deployment. This provides the needed support, units, and materials for combat elements upon arrival. If the PCO is initiated in a hostile country, the first CSS increment is deployed in the contingency area as soon as initial objectives are seized and an operating base area is secured. Civil-military affairs, transportation, engineers, MP, communications, health services, financial support, and personnel systems support operations elevate in importance at this stage. Initially, the tasks to be accomplished and established include--

  • Real estate and facilities.

  • Arrangements for unloading aircraft and ships.

  • Transportation nets.

  • Site selection for service support operating facilities and bivouacs.

  • Facilities for the receipt, storage, and inventory control of material.

  • Transportation movement control.

  • Communications and power.

  • Security for service support.

  • Potable water.

  • Initial personnel support operations.

  • Medical evacuation and initial medical support facilities.

  • Laundry and renovation.

  • Mortuary affairs.

  • Subsistence.

  • POL resupply (bulk/packaged).

  • Ammunition resupply.

  • Repair parts.

  • Public affairs team for command/public information purposes.

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