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In modern battle, the sheer magnitude of available information challenges leaders at all levels. Ultimately, they must assimilate thousands of bits of information to visualize the battlefield as it actually is and then direct military efforts to achieve victory.

Thinking and acting are simultaneous activities for commanders in battle. The commander leads, conceptualizes, synchronizes, and makes timely key decisions. The staff acquires, synchronizes, and disseminates decisions and information.

By definition, AASLT operations feature extended distances and tremendous speed of execution. Air assault operations involve deep penetrations, wide sweeps, and bypassing enemy forces and terrain obstacles, almost always at night. To quickly react to intelligence on hostile forces, planning and execution must keep pace with the accelerated AASLT tempo, maximizing surprise to ensure effective execution at the decisive place and time.

The AASLT operation's unit leaders must have flexibility, the ability to aggressively execute decisions, and the capability to fight based on mission and intent rather than bulky formal orders. To work swiftly under pressure, they must synchronize their efforts based on a sensible AASLT command structure, a well-organized CP network, a sound planning process, well-defined execution techniques, and important airspace control measures.


Command and control are not one and the same. They are separate and distinct with differing applications to how the division fights. Command is the art of making decisions, assigning missions, prioritizing resources, leading subordinates, and focusing the entire division's energy to accomplish its objectives. Control is defining limits, computing requirements, allocating resources, prescribing requirements for reports, monitoring performance, identifying and correcting deviations from guidance, and directing subordinate actions to accomplish the commander's intent.

Control allows commanders freedom to operate, to delegate authority, to lead from any critical point on the battlefield, and to synchronize actions across the entire area of operations. Moreover, the C2 system helps the commander and his staff adjust plans for future operations even while focusing on the current fight. Related tools for implementing command decisions include communications, computers, and intelligence.


Basic time-tested imperatives drive the successful development and efficient operations of divisional CPs and determine their effectiveness in combat; for example--

  • A headquarters must be small to be efficient.

  • There can be only one CP exercising control at any one time, just as there can be only one commander.

  • A commander must limit the number of voices he hears if he is to be effective in a crisis.

  • A commander should avoid lengthy prepared briefings and rely on unstructured, unscheduled discussions if he wants his staff to keep him informed. (Not that briefings in CPs do not occur; they occur periodically to keep everyone up to date and to obtain needed information.)

  • Organizing a CP is a science whose purpose is to acquire and disseminate information in a prioritized fashion.

    The commander should frequently visit subordinate CPs. The best way for him to get information is by firsthand observation and listening to subordinate commanders and their command nets.


    Divisional CPs are centers for planning and coordinating acquisition as well as for generating, processing, and disseminating information and orders. They exist to support the commander wherever he may be on the battlefield.

    Within current force structures, commanders can effectively organize, and staffs can implement, the division C2 system. However, commanders and staffs must clearly understand the relationship between C2 facilities supporting the division and doctrinal functions that each element of the total effort performs.

    Doctrinally, the division fights one simultaneous battle, consisting of deep, close, and rear actions, as one seamless fight which occurs during a single time frame. If the division fights only one battle, then common sense and the principle of unity of command mandate that it have only one central CP (Figure 2-l).

    The main CP manifests unity of command. The division resources tactical (TAC), and rear CPs as extensions of the main CP, to improve synchronization of combat power throughout the battlefield.

    The AASLT division calls their TAC CP an assault CP (ACP). This is different from the doctrinal assault CP which is a portion of the main CP that deploys with the division's lead units during a force-projection operation.

    The primary concern of the TAC CP is the close operation; the rear CP focuses on rear operations. Each CP performs its roles and functions within the division's overall mission, which the main CP directs.

    With three CPs simultaneously participating in the battle, confusion can result. Who is really in charge? Unit standing operating procedures (SOPs) must clearly delineate each CP's authority and responsibility.

    Division CP staff activities have five common functions:

    1. To provide information.

    2. To make estimates.

    3. To make recommendations for decisions.

    4. To prepare plans and orders.

    5. To supervise and monitor the execution of decisions.

    Only the division main CP has the capability to plan branches and sequels to the current mission.

    Because of the speed with which the AASLT division executes moves, it has a fourth CP called the jump CP, usually configured with and moved by helicopter assets. The commander controls the AASLT division through the jump CP, TAC CP, and the main and rear CPs.

    Command posts provide the physical facilities, staff expertise, and communications the division needs to direct wide-ranging, rapid AASLT operations. This CP network provides the control, coordination, and communications systems (C3) from which the division plans, executes, and sustains AASLT operations.

    NOTE: Figure 2-2 describes the usual commanders and functions of each CP.

    Jump Command Post

    The jump CP--

  • Serves as a highly mobile CP; is available and METT-T dependent during offensive AASLT operations; and is not mandatory to use but may be able to control the battle.

  • Places the commander or the assistant division commander for operations (ADC-O) well forward.

  • Allows the CG/ADC-O to fly into the objective area with the lead maneuver brigade.

  • Serves as the de facto TAC CP until the CG/ADC-O and the CP rejoin.

  • Moves aboard two UH-60 aircraft, one of which contains a command console, and includes a specially configured C2 aircraft with appropriate staff and communications.

  • Operates on the ground for up to 24 hours. (Air endurance depends on the precise mission profile, but usually exceeds 3 hours).

    Jump CP personnel normally include--

  • The CG or ADC-O.

  • The assistant chief of Staff (CofS) G2 (intelligence) representative.

  • The assistant CofS, G3 (operations and plans) representative.

  • The FSE representative.

  • The air liaison officer (ALO).

  • The air and naval gunfire liaison company (ANGLICO), if attached.

  • Signal personnel.

    Tactical Command Post (TAC CP)

    The TAC CP--

  • Primarily focuses on close current operations and should not be distracted from that focus.

  • Is configured and operates on organic tactical vehicles that can move by ground or AASLT means.

  • Locates well forward with the maneuver brigades to respond to the close operation's immediate tactical requirements.

  • Is minimally manned to support maneuver, intelligence, mobility, and fire support.

  • Controls only units committed to or engaged in close combat. (The main or rear CPs perform all other C2 functions and control units within the division AO not committed to close operations.)

  • Stands ready to assume the main CP role if necessary, especially during early phases of contingency operations.

  • Usually accompanies brigade air assaults.

    Division Main Command Post

    The division main CP performs seven primary functions to support the division battle. It also performs the following collateral support functions for the TAC and rear CPs: planning, coordinating, integrating, synchronizing, prioritizing, allocating resources, and monitoring close and rear operations. The division main CP normally moves by ground on organic vehicles, but any or all of it could move in a helicopter.

    If the division receives allocation of nondivisional units, a staff element at the main CP focuses on those elements and integrates their current and future support to close, deep, or rear operations. The main CP rarely makes immediate tactical decisions because it does not have the most current information. However, it does make decisions, based on requests from the TAC and rear CPs, that support immediate close and rear operations.

    The main CP controls all aspects of the division battle, receiving input from the TAC, jump (if employed), and rear CPs and higher, lower, and adjacent units. The main CP synchronizes all operations and makes plans that affect committed forces several days out.

    The main CP is the focal point for integrating all intelligence. The main CP is usually just behind the maneuver brigades' rear boundaries at a central location which provides necessary cover, concealment, and access. It rarely air assaults.

    Division Rear Command Post

    The division rear CP performs sustainment, terrain management, movement control, security, and fire support. The rear area is no less an assigned AO than is a brigade AO; there are numerous fire support requirements for rear tactical operations, tactical air (TACAIR) support, artillery, and electronic warfare.

    The AASLT division rear CP includes headquarters, operations, intelligence, and CSS cells. It habitually collocates with DISCOM.


    Alternate Command Post

    The division designates an alternate CP with a clear delineation of its purpose and roles. It does not need to perform all main command post C2 functions. If a catastrophic loss occurs, an alternate CP enables the division to sustain continuous C2 operations until surviving elements rally at another location, assess casualties and damage, reorganize, and reestablish critical division C2 functions.

    The alternate CP's communications facilities must be able to assume the destroyed CP's critical functions; it normally does not support CP displacements.

    An alternate division CP retains the capability to command and control operations for its own units. No subordinate unit CP within the division has enough personnel to simultaneously execute its own primary C2 functions and to support those of a division CP. If attempted, the division CP's functions would quickly consume the alternate CP's austere C2 facilities and assets and degrade operational effectiveness.

    The designated alternate CP activates when a CP informs the command net of its attack, destruction, or inability to function; when contact with all elements within the CP is lost for a prespecified time; or when a unit or element reports and verifies the CP's destruction. Tactical standing operating procedures (TSOP) designate alternate CPs for main, assault, and rear CPs and establish criteria for their activation.

    When necessary, the TAC CP's alternate CP must be able to assume the G3's, G2's, and FSE's critical functions, in that priority. The first choice for a TAC CP alternate normally is wherever the CG and the command group's vehicles are located.

    The CG knows the situation, and the command group should be able to pick up the close operation without losing momentum during information transfer. The command group's vehicles also possess the organic communications capability and personnel to perform critical G3, G2, and FSE functions.

    Once the new TAC CP is functional, information and operations transfer from the CG to the TAC CP. If the CG is unavailable, the next alternative for an adequate TAC CP is the division cavalry squadron CP.

    Designating an alternate CP for the main CP is difficult because of the size and complexity of its functions. The problem becomes less complex when the division identifies which critical functions occur at the alternate CP and which occur at other CPs within the division. However, no other organic division CPs are capable of assuming all the main CP's functions.

    After the main CP's destruction, and the verification of its destruction, subordinate division CPs that routinely send liaison elements to the main CP assume the functional responsibility of their liaison personnel and provide assistance. When selecting a unit CP as the alternate, the division determines the effect the choice will have on current division tactical operations.

    The number of surviving personnel and equipment from the main CP determines the number of personnel and the amount of organic equipment the aviation brigade CP needs. Engineer, signal operations, ADA, and MI battalions, plus DIVARTY, temporarily assume other main CP functions until the division main CP is once again able to function and assume its duties.

    NOTE: Despite a distance issue, some divisions use the division rear CP as the initial alternate CP. Figure 2-3 shows a conceptual allocation of C2 tasks and functions for alternate CPs.

    Divisions also designate an alternate rear CP. Functionally, DISCOM's CP manning and equipment allows it to assume critical functions of the assistant CofS, G1 (personnel); assistant CofS, G4 (logistics); and division transportation officer (DTO), from the rear CP CSS cell, without impacting the sustainment function. Should the enemy destroy the DISCOM CP also, the MSB may be the next best alternative.

    The main CP G3 operations cell assumes the rear functions of terrain management, security, and movement coordination. Selecting an alternate rear CP must not interfere with the capability of CSS elements to continue to logistically sustain current operations.

    Designating an alternate CP and transferring functions to that CP require definitive, practiced staff drills to make the operation efficient and effective. Prioritizing the critical functions each alternate CP performs assists the transfer from one CP to another.

    Identifying and rehearsing synchronization and coordination issues in the transfer of CP functions to and from an alternate CP occur routinely. The most critical consideration is to minimize disruption of the division's capability to command and control current tactical operations.

    Information Management

    The key to effective control is information management. All information the unit's automated and manual systems generate has one overriding purpose--to help the commander make timely decisions during the turmoil and confusion of battle.

    The commander's critical information requirements (CCIR) drive information-generation. The information system focuses on getting the right information to the commander or decision maker as quickly as possible. The division should abandon efforts to provide the commander "nice to have" information that does not contribute to a current or anticipated decision.

    The commander, not a staff officer, develops CCIR. However, the staff may recommend CCIR to the commander as--

  • Priority intelligence requirements (PIR) (how I see the enemy) to determine what the division wants or needs to know about the enemy.

  • Friendly forces information requirements (FFIR) (how I see myself) to allow the commander to determine the combat capabilities of his units.

  • Essential elements of friendly information (EEFI) to allow the commander to determine how he must protect his unit from the enemy's information-gathering sources.

    The chief of staff (CofS) or executive officer (XO) is the unit's information manager. He outlines and monitors the staffs performance and responsibilities in processing information to support the operation and the flow that feeds the system.

    Using color codes on charts to depict current status helps the commander quickly assess critical elements and focus staff efforts to "fix" or "continue to fix" the problem. If the commander desires further information, the CP staff can retrieve or pull it from the submitting staff section or major subordinate command (MSC) in the tree mode.

    To eliminate confusion, a color code standard should be consistent throughout all command echelons. A commonly used standard color code is--

  • GREEN--From 80 percent or greater combat capability remains (full strength).

  • AMBER--From 60 to 79 percent combat capability remains (mission-capable with minor deficiencies).

  • RED--From 40 to 59 percent combat capability remains (marginally mission-capable with major deficiencies).

  • BLACK--Less than 40 percent combat capability remains (NOT mission-capable).

    Operations maps should contain only the minimum essential information to allow the commander to see the battlefield. Staff section maps contain more detail to enable analysis of data before the staff provides information to the command center. However, updating an operations map with too much detailed information is time-consuming. It also interferes dramatically with coordination, integration, and synchronization.

    Operations noncommissioned officers (NCOs) of each element or section within each CP manage information by maintaining a current operations journal. This is a chronological listing of messages, fragmentary orders (FRAGOs), and warning orders. It is a continuing requirement maintained to reconstruct events, clarify guidance, or validate requirements.

    Maneuver Information

    Maneuver is the responsibility of the operations officers (G3 or operations and training officer (S3)) at each echelon of command. It is the pivotal system around which all other support systems revolve. All information relating to the maneuver of forces or the coordination, synchronization, and integration of combat and CS elements passes through the G3 or S3 sections.

    Distributing maneuver information occurs between the G3 operations elements at the TAC, main, and rear CPs. Command posts receive different parts of the information, although all of it eventually goes to the G3 at the main CP for analysis and posting.

    The division TAC CP receives maneuver information from committed brigade CPs during or, as quickly as possible, after a situation occurs in a "salute" format spot report (SPOTREP) or the more detailed commander's situation report (SITREP). The commander or ADC-O must continuously make timely maneuver decisions. Their need to see the current situation requires expedited transfer of information.

    The division TAC CP collates, posts, and analyzes maneuver information. It then turns the data into updated current close operations information which it sends to both the division main CP operations cell and its higher headquarters.

    Maneuver information maintained by the G3 operations of the TAC CP and the G3 operations of the main CP should be identical. Command posts usually focus on enemy combat capability two levels down. In the AASLT division, in order to maintain visibility on setting conditions for air assault, it is imperative that enemy combat units be tracked to platoon level.

    Intelligence Information

    The G2 operations cell at the main CP collates all information relating to intelligence functions. The cell monitors the entire intelligence battlefield by placing elements at the TAC CP and the rear CP.

    The intelligence flow follows a clearly defined and disciplined path using established procedures and reports throughout each echelon from company to echelons above corps (EAC). The G2 cell at the TAC CP (for hasty analysis) or the main CP (for detailed analysis) analyzes all information received from the terrain analysis team as well as from subordinate and adjacent units (other than quick fire targeting information).


    The key leaders in an air assault are the air assault task force commander (AATFC), the air mission commander (AMC), the air battle captain (ABC), the ground tactical commander (GTC) (Figure 2-4). Other key leaders are the aviation liaison officers (ALO) and flight leaders.

    Air Assault Task Force Commander (AATFC)

    For brigade-level air assaults, the AATFC is normally the brigade commander. He locates where he can best command, control, and maintain positive communications with his forces. During an air assault, he is normally in a C2 helicopter.

    Air Mission Commander (AMC)

    The AMC commands all aviation elements involved in an air assault, including the attack element. He typically commands the assault aviation unit supporting the operation. During an AASLT operation, the AMC does not pilot or copilot a C2 aircraft. He collocates with the AATFC at the C2 console and commands air operations throughout execution of the air assault.

    Air Battle Captain (ABC)

    The ABC is responsible for coordinating, integrating, and controlling all attack aviation and supporting fires (ground and air). He understands the AATFC's fire support plan and places himself where he can maintain positive control of all air and ground fire support assets.

    The ABC controls the synchronization of any programmed joint air attack team (JAAT) operation that masses attack helicopter fires, close air support (CAS) aircraft, indirect fires, and direct-fire systems. Although the AATFC has overall responsibility for conducting the battle, the ABC coordinates fires and communicates with the AATFC. The ABC is usually the commander of the attack element supporting the air assault.

    Ground Tactical Commander (GTC)

    The GTC is the commander of the largest ground maneuver task force inserted during the air assault. He is usually an AATFC subordinate maneuver commander and flies on one of the first serials into the objective area. He maintains communications with the AATFC during flight.

    On the ground, the GTC initially uses the combat aviation net (CAN). At a predetermined time he switches to the AATF command net. During flight he uses the assault aircraft's headset and console. After insertion he uses organic communications assets. The AATF command net becomes the primary command net at the AATFC's designation.

    The Relationship Between the Air Mission Commander and the Air Battle Captain

    The exact relationship of attack aviation to the AMC during an air assault depends on METT-T. Normally, attack aviation forces work directly for the maneuver commander, fully coequal with the lift aviation battalion. Synchronizing Army aviation in an air assault necessarily alters this relationship. The result is the unusual circumstance of one battalion commander (attack) working for another (assault).

    The AMC controls attack helicopter units during an air assault. This command relationship aids navigation, sequencing into the objective, recovering downed aircraft, managing airspace, refueling and rearming, and providing an armed escort.

    If the attack element fires in support of a maneuver element already on the ground, the AATFC can temporarily place the attack element, or a portion of it, under the GTC's control. When released, the attack element reverts back to the aviation task force under the AMC's command until the air assault ends.

    Aviation Liaison Officers (ALO)

    Air assaults require close integration between Army aviation and maneuver units. Air and ground units depend on--

  • A permanent liaison system.

  • A well-understood aviation command and support relationship.

  • A reverse planning system to prioritize efforts.

  • A common air mission order format to synchronize troop-leading procedures (TLP).

    Continuous and effective liaison is crucial between all combined-arms units participating in combat air assaults. The aviation brigade headquarters provides liaison officers (LOs) to the division (an assistant division aviation officer (ADAO)).

    Assault battalions provide liaison teams attached to habitually affiliated maneuver brigades (the brigade aviation element (BAE)). Attack battalions provide liaison with maneuver brigades on a mission basis.

    Medium assault aviation brigades provide liaison with DIVARTY or DISCOM on a mission basis. At the brigade level, BAEs provide the maneuver commander the following:

  • Capabilities, limitations, and tactical employment of aviation brigade assets.

  • Assistance in preparing aviation estimates, plans, orders, and reports.

  • Assistance in planning aviation combat, CS, and CSS missions.

  • Coordination with airspace users and the division A2C2 element for airspace management in the TF sector.

  • The operational status of aviation brigade assets and its effects on the supported task force's mission.

  • Informing appropriate aviation units of current and possible future operations.

  • Continuous communications with units supporting the brigade.

    At the brigade level, the assault aviation battalion commander who habitually supports a maneuver brigade normally collocates a TAC CP with that of the brigade AATF. The assault aviation TAC CP coordinates all facets of aviation support the brigade TF uses, including planning, operations, and logistics.

    The assault aviation TAC CP maintains communications with the aviation brigade CP to timely and efficiently effect changes to aviation task organizations. The assault aviation TAC CP also--

  • Advises the maneuver brigade S3 air on managing AATF airspace.

  • Assists the assault aviation commander in his role as principal advisor to the AATFC on the proper use of aviation assets.

  • Controls all aviation units in the AATF during air assaults.


    The division plans element locates near the main CP and works for the G3. It is the only asset available that allows the division commander to maintain his ability to continually look toward the future and effectively transition from current to future operations and vice versa.

    Neither the commander nor any staff officer should divert the plans element from its future planning process to participate in developing plans and orders to support branches to current operations. Warning orders or FRAGOs to support changes to the current operation (branches) are the responsibility of the G3 operations element (not the plans element) at TAC, main, or rear CPs.

    The corps and division are always planning. The division conducts continuous mission planning whether committed to the battle or in reserve. Planning processes for both should follow the traditional, formal estimate process which FM 101-5 (D) outlines. The division normally locates in a rear assembly area when conducting noncommitted force planning.

    Led by the plans cell, each CP element participates in and supports noncommitted force planning. Key to noncomrnitted planning is time available to conduct the formal, time-consuming, step-by-step, detailed staff estimate planning process. The result is a detailed, thought-out, war-gamed plan to begin the division's tactical operations.

    Transition Operations Planning

    The plans element primarily focuses on future operations by developing, coordinating, integrating, and synchronizing plans with current operations to effect a smooth transition to another operation, a branch, or a sequel. The objective is to prevent a loss of tactical integrity and momentum. Main CP staff elements, less the plans element, control the current operation.

    During combat, the division cannot stop to conduct formal planning for the next operation. This requires transition planning battle drills supported by all primary and supporting staff elements.

    Even when not committed, the division plans cell leads the planning effort. Each staff section supports the planning process and also monitors current operations in preparing for combat activities such as reconnaissance, counterreconnaissance, movement, and resupply.

    Successful transition from one operation to another involves several key factors:

  • Early anticipation by the commander and the assignment of one clearly articulated future operations mission (or sequel).

  • Development of a concept of operations that accepts risk with economy of force to allow mass.

  • Continuous planning, coordination, integration, and synchronization of future operations requirements with those of current operations.

    Parallel Planning

    Parallel planning is the act of conceptualizing, developing, and synchronizing a future operation plan (OPLAN) (sequel) with a current operation and its continually changing situations. It replaces the one-third, two-thirds rule and similar fractional divisions of time.

    Parallel planning is effective when dealing with reduced planning time and when transitioning from one operation to another. It requires planners to be continually aware of current tactical developments.

    Parallel planning emphasizes continuous information-sharing through verbal and written means (warning orders, FRAGOs, reports, and messages) to quickly distribute intelligence, planning guidance, and coordination instructions to subordinate, adjacent, and higher staff elements. Continuous information-sharing allows all units to receive information on the future mission early in the planning process. Units should not wait for a detailed analysis or a single published order to begin parallel planning and to develop orders.

    The plans cell has one mission only--to develop and coordinate plans in detail once the corps or JTF commits the division to an operation. Involving higher, lower, and adjacent staff elements early in the planning process allows the entire staff to see both current and future operations and helps identify known or potential problem areas. Identifying conflicts early allows time to fix problem areas without disrupting the current mission.

    Air Assault Mission Planning

    Planning for AASLT operations requires time--time to plan, time to prepare, and time to brief. Available time dictates how much detail can go into the plan while allowing time to complete orders and supporting plans.

    Twenty-four hours represents a minimum-time period for a quality product. From 48 to 72 hours is preferable.

    Within time constraints, the AATFC carefully evaluates capabilities and limitations of the total force as he develops a plan that ensures a high probability of success. When time limitations exist, compression of planning steps and/or parallel planning occurs.

    The division is the lowest echelon that allocates aviation assets, assigns appropriate missions, and has an ACE to gather required intelligence data and analyze enemy capabilities. Therefore, when the division assigns an AASLT mission, division headquarters begins the planning process.

    The division may complete some of the planning tasks itself. When the division performs these tasks, subordinate commanders use their limited time to accomplish other key preparatory tasks. (See also Figure 2-5.)

    The battalion, on the other hand, is the lowest level with sufficient personnel to plan, coordinate, and control AASLT operations. When company-size operations occur, the bulk of planning occurs at battalion and higher headquarters.

    The higher headquarters is responsible for air assaulting subordinate units below brigade level; for example, brigades insert battalions, and battalions insert companies. (Normally, the responsible higher headquarters allows the subordinate maneuver command to choose LZs which best support the maneuver force's ground tactical plan. However, higher headquarters coordinates the selection of the LZs and assists coordinating flight routes.)

    Brigades insert themselves. When multiple brigade operations occur simultaneously, each brigade inserts itself. The division oversees operations.

    Parallel planning offers a useful technique in compressed AASLT planning processes. Subordinate units, however, must be cautious so they do not become completely committed to a course of action (COA) or scheme of maneuver until they gain approval from higher headquarters.

    An AASLT operation consists of five plans: a ground tactical plan, a landing plan, an air movement plan, a loading plan, and a staging plan. All five plans are important, but as time becomes critical, a unit may not have time to write each plan. Therefore, the war game that the senior planner and commander conduct can be informal (Figure 2-6).

    As the higher command refines its scheme of maneuver and fires (usually through informal wargaming procedures), modifications may well affect lower command missions and tasks. Therefore, subordinate units must be flexible enough to incorporate the changes and realize that this situation often occurs as they participate in parallel planning.

    When time becomes short, reliance on the reverse planning process can pay big dividends on focusing and prioritizing efforts. There are five pieces in the reverse planning process.

    The ground tactical plan is the foundation for a successful air assault. All other plans support this one. It specifies actions in the objective area to accomplish the mission and to set the stage for subsequent operations.

    The landing plan enables accomplishment of the ground tactical plan. It sequences elements into the AO. Units must arrive at designated locations and times prepared to execute the ground tactical plan.

    The air movement plan supports the ground tactical plan and the landing plan. It specifies the schedule and provides instructions for air movement of troops, equipment, and supplies from PZs to LZs. It also addresses coordinating instructions regarding air routes; air control points (ACPs); aircraft speeds, altitudes, and formations; and the planned use of attack helicopters, including security and link-up locations. The air movement plan reflects detailed coordination with the AMC and the aviation LO, who provide technical and tactical assistance and recommendations.

    The loading plan depends on the air movement plan and ensures that troops, equipment, and supplies are loaded on the correct aircraft. A good loading plan incorporates integrity, cross-loading, a bump plan, and "bump" priorities.

    The staging plan supports the loading plan. This is critical to all air assaults, especially for CSS assets. It prescribes arrival times of ground units and their equipment at the PZ in the proper order and location for movement.

    NOTE: Field Manual 90-4 contains a detailed explanation of how to execute the five AASLT operations plans.

    Available time normally does not allow the AATF staff to develop these plans sequentially. Therefore, the AATF simultaneously develops plans to make the best use of available time.

    The staff begins to develop the ground tactical plan first because it is the basis for the other plans. As the staff gathers information they begin working the other plans. As the commander approves each plan, the AATF staff makes necessary adjustments to the other plans. Synchronizing all plans occurs during the air mission coordination process.

    The AATF staffs issue multiple warning orders as they gain more information, often appending tentative schemes of maneuver. Experience at the combat training centers suggest that making and issuing tentative plans early, even though they may be changed later, is better than issuing a thorough plan too late.

    Finally, the commander and staff allocate time for air mission briefs and rehearsals. This becomes particularly important during air assaults because of the complex combined-arms integration inherent in such operations. (See Figure 2-7.)

    The Air Mission Brief (AMB)

    The AMB is the order briefing for all key participants in an air assault. An air mission coordination meeting is the commander's forum specifically for resolving and synchronizing details of the entire AASLT operation from staging, loading, air movement, and landing plans to ground operations. The results are briefed at the AMB.

    The AATFC assumes great risk to the entire complex mission if he discards the AMB. (The AATFC may also give an abbreviated AMB "planeside.")

    The AATFC synchronizes an air assault around the air movement table (AMT). The AMT is a matrix depicting the who, what, when, and where of an air assault. It focuses the operation in relation to D-day and H-hour, thus allowing flexibility as those tentative times change. A written AMT constitutes the bare minimum coordination tool that must occur for every air assault.


    Fratricide is the employment of friendly weapons and munitions, used with the intent to kill enemy forces or to destroy his equipment or facilities, which results in unforeseen and unintentional death or injury to friendly, neutral, or noncombatant personnel. Fratricide is a type of accident and is a real, grim consequence of war. Its effects, spreading deep within a unit, can be devastating.

    Causes of Fratricide

    Only one of five things will occur when a soldier fires a weapon; the projectile will--

    1. Miss everyone.

    2. Hit enemy forces.

    3. Hit noncombatants.

    4. Hit friendly forces.

    5. Hit two or more of the above.

    Weapons systems can detect, engage, and destroy targets at maximum range. But weapons-sighting equipment cannot provide high resolution of targets at extended ranges, especially during limited-visibility conditions.

    Insufficient resolution of targets precludes definitive, positive target identification as either friend or foe. Consequently, without additional visual aids or fire support coordination measures, the only thing soldiers can do to definitively distinguish targets as friend or foe is to observe subtle signature differences. They must try to interpret the target's activities as being either friendly or enemy actions and act accordingly.

    Situation awareness improves a soldier's or a commander's ability to positively identify potential targets. Situational awareness is the real-time, accurate knowledge of the locations of friendly forces, most enemy forces, and neutral and noncombat personnel.

    Fratricide Risk Considerations

    There are two types of risk: (1) losing men and equipment to attain the mission and (2) choosing a COA that may not be successful or that may succeed but fail to achieve the desired effect. A commander must take such risks with prudence.

    Prudent risks emphasize operational functions with the proper balance of administrative functions; for example--

  • Understanding capabilities and limitations of units and components.

  • Understanding the enemy, identifying weaknesses, and creating opportunities to exploit enemy weaknesses.

  • Pursuing actions that gain or retain the initiative.

  • Planning for a mission or for unit training.

  • Training with supporting branches (joint and combined arms).

  • Participating, supervising, and observing unit training.

    The format in Figure 2-8 parallels the five-paragraph OPORD. The considerations/factors are key to fratricide reduction and are structured where they would likely appear in the OPORD. This is neither a change nor an addition to the OPORD format.

    Fratricide Countermeasures

    Fratricide countermeasures preserve and conserve the force. Planning for specific fratricide countermeasures begins during COA analysis.

    During the war game, commanders identify procedural and positive control measures which can help eliminate or reduce potential fratricidal situations. (See Figure 2-9.) Commanders can derive specific procedural and positive control measures using operational analysis and risk assessment procedures. They must also balance Army operations doctrine with fratricide countermeasures considerations by integrating procedural and positive control measures into training and materiel considerations.

    The primary task of fratricide countermeasures is to optimize combat power. They must be consistent with the intentions of the commander of the higher headquarters while reflecting guidance two echelons down.

    The degree to which commanders wish to go to implement fratricide countermeasures often depends on time, enemy interference, and an operation's complexity. Other factors commanders may need to consider are--

  • The unit's proficiency.

  • Materiel advantages.

  • The proximity of maneuver units.

  • Environmental factors.

  • Rules of engagement (ROE).

    Fratricide countermeasures are based on--

  • Ensuring unity of effort.

  • Anticipating events on the battlefield.

  • Concentrating combat power against enemy vulnerabilities.

  • Designating, sustaining, and shifting the main effort.

  • Pressing the fight.

  • Moving fast, striking hard, and finishing rapidly.

  • Effectively using terrain, weather, deception, and operations security (OPSEC).

  • Conserving strength for decisive action.

  • Coordinating with combined-arms units and sister services to complement and reinforce the mission.

  • Understanding the effects of battle on soldiers, units, and leaders.

    However, during the chaos of battle, no matter how well commanders plan fratricide countermeasures, they will confront situations for which they are not prepared. Therefore, all soldiers must remember two things before they tire their weapons:

    1. If all potential targets are enemy targets, then detect and engage all targets.

    2. If there is a possibility that enemy targets and friendly forces are inked together in the targeted area, then detect, verify all targets, and engage enemy targets.

    Command and Support Relationships

    While preparing for an AASLT operation, the division commander decides the allocation of aviation assets. He normally assigns them in a command or support relationship to the maneuver or support command requiring these resources.

    When planning a mission, the division's commanders and staffs follow certain command and support relationship rules of thumb. (See FM 101-5 (D).) In most cases, aviation units establish a command (OPCON or attached) rather than a support (DS or GS) relationship with a maneuver brigade.

    The primary factor in determining if aviation is OPCON or attached revolves around the ability of the maneuver headquarters to provide logistic support for its committed aviation units. If the maneuver command cannot render logistic support, the aviation must be OPCON, which is the most common command relationship for Army aviation.

    This relationship works well for limited-duration missions, tasks such as air assaults, or when the parent aviation unit can continue to provide logistic support. When an aviation unit is OPCON to a ground maneuver commander, the ground commander may assign its missions and task organization.

    Aviation forces normally are not OPCON to a headquarters below brigade except in special circumstances. The maneuver brigade is generally the lowest level with the command and staff expertise and resources to plan, control, and support combined-arms maneuver and aviation operations. In an air assault, attack and assault aviation units are under the OPCON of the AMC.

    The attached relationship gives the gaining maneuver commander the same command, control, and logistic support responsibilities, subject to limitations the attachment order imposes, over the aviation unit as he has over organic units. Of particular significance, the gaining commander provides all logistic and administrative support to the aviation unit.

    As with the OPCON relationship, the gaining commander assigns missions to the aviation unit and task-organizes the unit. Attachment is rare. Typically, attaching aviation units to ground maneuver commands only occurs when deploying for independent operations and subsequent employment.

    The DS relationship allows the gaining commander to assign missions to the aviation commander, but the aviation commander remains under the higher aviation command's command and control. In addition, the aviation commander, not the maneuver or supported commander, task-organizes his aviation element.

    OPCON is another relationship used for aviation to support maneuver forces. During OPCON the parent aviation unit provides CSS.

    The DS relationship works well for Army aviation CS (assault) and CSS (medium lift) providing support to DIVARTY or DISCOM. It can be thought of as support on a "mission basis."

    The GS relationship is exactly like the DS relationship, except the division assigns priorities of support to subordinate units. General support missions include aerial courier, airborne communications relays, and aerial electronic intercept work.

    Other considerations for aviation command and support relationships are that--

  • Attack helicopters and air cavalry organizations are maneuver units and usually work under command relationships. Other aviation units receive command or support relationships as appropriate.

  • Assault, attack, cavalry, and command aviation units cannot sustain operations or plan extensively at the company or troop level. A company or troop may occasionally receive a separate mission to execute, such as aerial security in an air assault, but such employment is rare and situation-dependent. Generally, employment of the battalion or squadron headquarters occurs for all aviation operations.

  • When the AASLT division receives corps or theater aviation, the preference is for them to be under OPCON unless they come with a significant corps support command (COSCOMJ augmentation. The division's aviation brigade possesses a limited capability to sustain itself, let alone other forces.


    A rehearsal is the process of practicing for an actual performance. A division rehearsal for an impending combat operation ensures synchronization and agility through practice of the plan.

    A rehearsal reinforces the scheme of maneuver and the support of CS and CSS units. It helps identify problem areas and necessary contingency actions. It also determines movement reaction times, enhances coordination, and refines the plan.

    A rehearsal focuses on actions critical to accomplishing the mission. It ensures the division can, in fact, accomplish the mission given its state of training, the issued orders, and the expected terrain and weather conditions. A unit conducts some type of rehearsal before executing a new OPLAN or mission.

    Rehearsals are part of the tactical operation in which the division, or elements of the division, conduct one or more exercises. The force conducts rehearsals according to a plan which approximates specific operations. Rehearsals test the--

  • Familiarity of all elements with the plan.

  • Timing of detailed operations.

  • Combat readiness of participating forces.

    The division commander is the driving force in the interaction that clarifies the plan in the minds of his subordinates. He helps focus the staff to create conditions that replicate upcoming operations. The commander emphasizes key events that trigger friendly actions.

    The rehearsal is a tool to reinforce understanding of the plan and to help subordinate commanders visualize the commander's intent and what they are to do when the battle does not go according to plan. In the final analysis, whether the commander, the CofS or XO, or the G3 conducts the rehearsal, its effectiveness is the commander's responsibility.

    Rehearsal Planning

    Responsibility for preparing rehearsal plans is the same as for preparing the actual OPLAN. Staffs issue rehearsal plans separately, but as close in time to the OPLAN as practicable.

    During planning, commanders and staffs consider the number, nature, and scope of rehearsals; the date and time for each; and the area for rehearsal execution. Tactical forces must also consider the difficulty of repairing or replacing equipment damaged or lost during rehearsals.

    Factors that influence the number, nature, and scope of division rehearsals are--

  • The complexity of the tasks assigned to division elements.

  • The time available for rehearsals.

  • The forces' state of training.

  • The suitability of available rehearsal areas.

  • Special or unusual problems the force may face in the actual operation (the solution to which must be given special attention in the rehearsal).

  • Intelligence and counterintelligence considerations.

    The dates of rehearsals and the time allocated for them must provide for--

  • Complete and careful execution of the entire rehearsal.

  • Repositioning of troops, equipment, and supplies that conforms to the original tactical plan.

  • Rehabilitation or replacement of equipment and supplies and repair or replacement of any damaged or lost vehicles or aircraft.

  • Critiques at all levels of command to evaluate the rehearsal exercise, to emphasize lessons learned, and to correct mistakes.

  • Time to fix problems.

    Factors that influence the selection of rehearsal areas are--

  • The suitability of the area for maneuver.

  • The similarity and location of the rehearsal area in relation to the actual AO.

  • The feasibility of employing live fire in the rehearsal.

  • Security.

  • The susceptibility to enemy interference.

  • Conditions which might adversely affect the force's health.

  • Civilian activities that might interfere with the rehearsal.

    Rehearsal Techniques

    There are generally seven rehearsal techniques available to the division. Each takes a different amount of time and produces differing results. Time available normally dictates the technique.

    The division usually conducts a full rehearsal only when not committed to tactical operations and when located in an area that can support a division-level rehearsal. In whatever rehearsal technique the division uses, personnel portraying the enemy should portray him as being highly uncooperative.

    The full rehearsal is the most effective rehearsal technique, but consumes the most time and resources. It involves every soldier and system taking a direct part in the operation. If possible, the force conducts the full rehearsal under the conditions (weather, time of day, terrain) forecast for the actual operation.

    The key leader rehearsal takes less time and resources than the full rehearsal. Key leader rehearsals can occur during daytime or nighttime but should be under expected combat conditions. The commander decides the level of leader involvement, which is normally one of the orders groups which the SOP defines.

    Terrain model rehearsal takes even less time and fewer resources than the others. It can be day or night, under a tent, or in a building. The terrain model should depict all of the information on the operation overlay. The commander walks each subordinate leader through an interactive verbal execution of the operation.

    The sketch map rehearsal can be day or night, almost anywhere, with minimum time and resources. Procedures are the same as for the terrain model rehearsal, except a sketch replaces the terrain model.

    The map rehearsal takes less time and resources than the sketch map rehearsal and can be day or night. The commander uses a tactical map with an operation overlay as he walks his staff and key subordinate leaders through an interactive verbal execution of the operation.

    The commander uses the backbrief rehearsal to identify flaws or problems. It reveals how subordinates intend to accomplish their missions and allows the commander to clarify his intent early in the tactical estimate procedure.

    Staffs scheduled to participate in the tactical operation usually conduct radio rehearsals. These frequently take the form of command post exercises (CPXs). When possible, rehearsals exercise all communications facilities and equipment.

    Rehearsal Security

    Because of the similarity between the rehearsal and the actual OPLAN, units must enforce strict rehearsal security. Commanders and staffs carefully conduct reconnaissance for, selection of and arrangements for locations in which to execute rehearsals.

    Deception operations and measures may be necessary to ensure security. Operational security measures can prevent unauthorized observation or communications. Sealing off the rehearsal area with perimeter patrols or a security screen is the most effective way of ensuring physical security. Conducting rehearsals inside buildings or maintenance facilities is also effective.

    NOTE: See FM 71-100-2 for details.


    Continuous operations are a combat multiplier when a commander can maintain his unit's effective performance. Fast-paced combat operations continue around the clock and are intense.

    Stress and fatigue over time cause both individual soldier and CP performance to deteriorate, especially when there is no opportunity for units to stand down or for soldiers to catch more than a few minutes of sleep. Therefore, every unit must have, and enforce, a sleep plan. Soldiers and leaders must sleep when the opportunity exists, and senior leaders must ensure subordinate leaders get some sleep.

    A soldier's ability to quickly or effectively perform necessary tasks significantly degrades after from 36 to 48 hours. Normal sleeping habits or routines are upset and soldiers feel the effects of fatigue and stress.

    Soldiers accumulate a sleep debt when performing continuous operations under limited sleep conditions. The only corrective measure is sleep.

    Variables such as training, motivation, and interest can reduce the initial effects of sleep loss. However, no amount of training, motivation, or interest will maintain performance. Commanders must recognize the characteristics of sleep loss and understand--

  • From 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night indefinitely maintains performance.

  • From 4 to 5 hours of sleep per night maintains effective performance for from 5 to 6 days. Soldiers (and leaders) require a combination of 12 hours sleep and rest (about 8 to 10 of which are sleep) after from 36 to 48 hours of acute sleep loss.

  • Thinking ability degrades more rapidly than physical strength and endurance.

  • Degradation of mental performance comes as early as 18 hours into sustained work.

  • Speed and accuracy are trade-offs during sustained operations. Generally, it is better to maintain accuracy and to sacrifice speed. The likelihood of errors, especially errors of omission, increases with sustained combat.

  • The decline in performance when continually working without sleep is about 25 percent every 24 hours.

    Continuous operations are combat multipliers only if commanders can manage sleep and stress to sustain effective performance. Physical conditioning delays fatigue, builds confidence, and shortens recovery times after sleep deprivation, illness, and injury.

    Before the need arises, commanders should identify and support critical skills. A critical skill is one a soldier must be able to perform regardless of fatigue so he or his comrades can survive.

    Repetitive training and cross-training help soldiers who perform duties requiring a high degree of mental skill. Over-learning a skill provides greater reliability and more rapid performance. Cross-training permits soldiers to share duties and to crosscheck computations.

    Training under conditions of continuous and sustained operations allows units--

  • To develop sensible SOPs.

  • To develop and execute plans that provide at least 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep each day.

  • To determine how much additional time the unit will need to execute tasks for each successive period of operations without sleep.

  • To determine how much recovery sleep the unit will need to restore normal performance following sustained operations without sleep.

    As soldiers become increasingly worn out, leaders must--

  • Give only simple directions. Fatigued soldiers have difficulty in understanding complicated directions and are likely to forget some of them.

  • Give complete, clear, precise orders. Leaders must leave no room for interpretation. Degraded soldiers have great difficulty in reasoning. They cannot "fill in" anything that has not been said explicitly.

  • Repeat orders and directions. Leaders must have degraded soldiers repeat orders given to them or even write them down. Soldiers' memories for new information will be faulty. They are likely to forget orders or parts of orders almost as soon as they are given.

  • Double-check themselves and others. Degraded soldiers may not correctly or completely carry out orders. Therefore, it is necessary to constantly double-check execution to ensure compliance with orders as intended. Leaders should also arrange a way to double-check their own activities.

    Leaders, on whose decisions mission success and unit survival depend, must get the largest allocation of sleep. (This may seem contrary to military tradition, but it is sound practice.) Commanders must plan and schedule their own sleep. If a single unbroken period of from four to five hours is not available, commanders should take naps. (This is less restorative however.)

    Sleep priority goes to soldiers whose jobs require them to perform calculations, make judgments, or evaluate information. Priorities for sleep scheduling are--

  • From 2400 to 0600 (best).

  • From 1200 to 1800 (next best).

  • From 1800 to 2400 (third best).

  • From 0600 to 1200 (least desired).

    Command and control of continuous combat operations requires the CP to operate effectively over long periods until the unit completes the mission or until it is pulled offline. To provide rest as well as to accomplish the continuous operations requirement, division CPs must establish designated work shills for available personnel.

    Command post work cycles must support two 12-hour shifts. Personnel availability is the primary factor influencing the length of a shift.

    Scheduling shift changeover of the entire CP at 12-hour intervals is not effective. It allows departure en masse of the last shift and a complete loss of the collective knowledge of the last 12 hours of operation and planning coordination.

    Regardless of how thorough the shift briefing is, personnel will forget some information, deem some as unimportant, or will simply not brief all supporting decisions and rationale in the haste to go off shift. Incoming shift personnel may then confront situations about which they have no knowledge. They lose effectiveness in controlling current operations and in planning future operations. Also, the CP loses valuable time in researching answers, and synchronization of operations suffers.

    Another disadvantage to the mass shift change is that different cells and elements within TAC, main, and rear CPs have different times within which a shift change is more practical. This is normally a result of specified times that reports are due to higher headquarters or other requirements the mission or tactical situation generates.

    The shift change should not affect the tactical operations center's (TOC' s) operations. A proven method of scheduling shifts and maintaining continuity of information is to stagger the shift change during the 12-hour shift window that the unit SOP establishes.

    The staggered shift change involves scheduling officers, NCOs, and enlisted men on overlapping shifts so each shift element has access to a body of knowledge from four to six hours old. By staggering personnel into the shift, the unit has a constant interface of new and old shift personnel working within the CP.

    NOTE: Figure 2-10 provides an example of one shift-wheel technique.

    When the CP displaces, it does so without waking or working off-shift personnel. When rest for the off shift is not feasible, commanders must reestablish essential rest periods as soon as possible.

    When planning dismounted infantry operations, commanders and staffs must consider the individual soldier's load and its affect on the soldier. The load impacts not only the soldier's endurance, it also affects mission performance. Normally, soldiers air assault without their ruck sacks. Units must implement an effective supply means and instill confidence into the soldiers that the system will work.

    NOTE: Field Manual 21-18 and FM 7-8 address a soldier's loads and provide planning factors and techniques for managing them. These manuals also provide time-distance planning factors.


    The division conducts liaison operations to aid coordination, synchronization, and parallel planning. Liaison teams have their own transportation and communications links to their headquarters. They may need to have a foreign language capability when working with allies.

    Reciprocal liaison involves exchange of liaison teams. When a formation is directly under the command of a headquarters of a different service or nationality, or when units of different nations are adjacent, it requires reciprocal liaison.

    The LO represents the commander at the headquarters of another unit to effect coordination and promote cooperation. Selection criteria for LOS includes knowledge of the unit's situation, ability to communicate effectively (language capability, as required), and other special criteria that enhance effective liaison.

    NOTE: Field Manual 71-100-2 contains a detailed discussion of LO duties, responsibilities, and techniques.


    Displacing a CP is a function of training and staff battle drills that each unit must accomplish within its resources and training schedule. A CP does not normally shut down and transfer operations to another CP while it displaces. Each divisional CP must be able to displace during tactical operations while simultaneously conducting its C2 mission.

    Once the moving echelon establishes itself in its new location, it receives (from the other CPs via maneuver control systems (MCS), MSE, and FM radio) only critical information obtained during the move. Once the echelon receives and understands the information, it accepts control. The remaining echelon then moves to the new location, or it may leapfrog to another location past the last jump site.


    Command post security takes many forms. Using MSE or other wire communications as the primary form of communications enhances electronic security (ELSEC). The CP uses FM communications only when displacing or out of range of enemy medium artillery or electronic detection measures.

    There may be times when the AASLT division CP deploys forward of the corps/JTF FLOT. When this occurs, there is a higher risk to the CP from enemy forces. Detailed planning must occur to protect the CP.


    This section describes critical C2 functions which the TAC, main, and rear CPs need to effectively command and control tactical operations. All descriptions of CP operations derive from the functional CP study. They orient on the performance of critical C 2 functions rather than on specific, rigidly enforced CP configurations.

    There is no requirement, nor should there be, to set up CPs in CP configurations only. The terrain, AO, and tactical situation determine the set-up configuration; however, the functions always remain the same.

    When committed, the AASLT division's logistic support area should remain near the rear CP. There, the logistic support area, because of its size and lack of mobility, does not represent a security risk for the main CP.


    During combat operations, the division TAC CP--

  • Continuously supports the close operation by coordinating and synchronizing immediate tactical requirements of elements committed to division close operations.

  • Receives, posts, analyzes, and distributes combat information and tactical intelligence from higher, lower, and adjacent units to support the close operation.

  • Synchronizes and expedites fires of all fire support assets supporting the close operation.

  • Coordinates and integrates M/S operations (chemical and engineer-obstacles) in support of the close operation.

    The TAC CP is a combat command element capable of operating close to combat maneuver elements and subject to engagement by the enemy's direct or indirect fires. Well forward generally means near the lead or main effort brigade's main CP or even farther forward if the situation dictates.

    The TAC CP is properly positioned if it can "see the close battlefield." It deploys to be in a position on the battlefield to manage and control the division forces committed or moving to close combat with an enemy force.

    The TAC CP--

  • Serves as a net control station (NCS) to receive brigade and separate battalion requests for support and combat status reports (STATREPs).

  • Makes critical, time-sensitive tactical decisions when required.

  • Coordinates close operations requirements for support with the main CP.

    The TAC CP is a small, survivable, highly mobile CP. Its survivability is directly related to its small size and its ability to rapidly displace.

    Only essential personnel and equipment should beat the TAC CP. When deploying the TAC CP, smaller is always better.

    A security element from the AASLT military police GS platoon operating near the division main CP may accompany the initial assault force. This element provides security for the division tactical CP.

    The TAC CP does not always deploy forward into the division's AO. But it does deploy when the division commits to combat operations or when it must coordinate, synchronize, and conduct a collateral operation, such as a passage of lines, river crossing, or relief in place.

    The TAC CP, when not deployed, normally remains near the main CP in a "warm" mode. When warm, the TAC CP monitors radio nets, MCS terminals are on, and it maintains and compiles a current data base.

    The TAC CP staff posts operational maps and updates them as information changes. Manning is at a minimum. However, nearby personnel maintain a high state of readiness to deploy "hot" when required.

    NOTE: Figure 2-11 depicts two basic configurations the TAC CP uses when deployed.

    To control and support elements committed to the close operation, the TAC CP normally includes five mutually supporting elements:

    1. The ADC-O.

    2. The G3 operations.

    3. The G2 operations.

    4. The FSE.

    5. The M/S element.

    The high-mobility, multipurpose, wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs) that make up the TAC CP have redundant communications equipment and C2 accessories to support continuous operations.


    The main CP is the center of division C2 organization and structure. It receives input from the TAC CP, rear CP, and higher, lower, and adjacent units. It maintains its ability to see the battlefield and makes plans and decisions that affect committed forces several hours out.

    The main CP controls all units not specifically designated as being under the control of the TAC or rear CPs. Its design, manning, and equipping allows it to directly interface with all organic and supporting division elements. It is directly responsible for planning, coordinating, integrating, synchronizing, establishing priorities, and allocating resources to support the division's simultaneous conduct of deep, close, and rear operations.

    The main CP commander does not normally make decisions affecting the close operation because of the delay in receiving information. The time required for information to travel from the sender through several information-controlling conduits (headquarters) negates its value. The information does confirm or deny the CP's prediction of enemy intentions and the adequacy of the division's plan against the current threat.

    The main CP supports the division battle by responding to requests for support by committed and noncommitted units throughout the division area. It focuses equally on the three operations supporting the division battle. As decisions are made at the TAC CP or rear CP, the main CP rapidly conducts all coordination to support the decision.

    The main CP normally functions in a massed configuration (Figure 2-12). Enemy acquisition and targeting capabilities, unit technology, and training determine if the CP must disperse to survive. To function in the dispersed mode, the main CP must have the requisite computer and communications equipment that will allow it to electronically collocate.

    The main CP contains three major functional cells: the command cell, the G3 cell, and the G2 cell. All elements within the main CP function under the direct supervision, integration, or coordination of one of these three cells.


    The rear CP focuses on the command and control of all elements within the division's rear area of operations. It also synchronizes rear operations for the division battle.

    The rear CP contains three cells--headquarters, operations, and CSS. This austere structure provides C2 for security and terrain management of all elements functioning, residing, or transiting the rear area.

    Units should not enter the division rear area before coordinating with the rear CP. The rear CP clarifies and approves routes and locations of bases or base clusters, integrates this information into the security OPLAN, and addresses requirements for sustainment. The rear CP passes this data to the main CP.

    The rear CP normally operates from a base within the division rear area. At times it may be near the DISCOM CP for ease of transit and coordination.

    The rear CP uses DISCOM organic life support and security. This does not imply that together they constitute the rear CP. On the contrary, they are two separate and distinct CPs with different but critical functions which require extensive cooperation and coordination.

    The rear CP's primary concerns are terrain management, security of the rear area, tactical and logistic movement within and through the rear area, and synchronization and direction of sustainment. The DISCOM CP's primary concern is sustainment. The rear CP contains elements from the assistant division commander for support (ADC-S) and the G2, G3, FSE, G1, G4, DTO, assistant division signal officer (ADSO), G5, PM operations, and the G1 support element.

    The rear CP's most critical role is to synchronize and integrate rear operations with close and deep operations. Within the rear area, command and control, and especially terrain management, becomes especially critical as brigades air assault from a tactical assembly area (TAA). The air assault would leave only CSS units behind, creating a problem for the rear CP during execution of the air assault. Also, establishing an FOB and maturing it into a TAA for future operations can be a challenge for the rear CP. Rear CP personnel must be proactive in anticipating and controlling such situations.

    The rear CP and the DISCOM CP jointly analyze future division plans for impact on current and future rear operations to ensure that logistic and personnel support is available. Alone, the rear CP--

  • Deconflicts tactical and nontactical moves where needed and controls them when required.

  • Manages rear area terrain.

  • Assigns units to bases, designates base clusters when necessary, and appoints commanders for bases and base clusters.

  • Coordinates and synchronizes rear security operations.

    The G3 designates the tactical combat force (TCF). The rear CP then integrates base defense plans and coordinates the TCF's actions. To prevent potential conflicts with the division's rear operations, the rear CP monitors activity in the brigade's rear, in adjacent division rear areas, and in the corps rear area. In addition, the rear CP monitors close and deep operations. When augmented, it may assume control of the fight if the main and assault CPs can no longer function.


    During contingency operations, assault CP personnel normally provide temporary control until the main CP deploys into an AO. METT-T factors drive the assault CP's specific design, although it is normally austere and consists of selected sections of the main CP. However, its design may vary from deployment to deployment.

    The assault CP controls all elements committed to the close operation. It conducts critical division control functions in tactical operations as the division initially deploys into an unsecure, hostile contingency area.

    To be effective, the assault CP normally arrives early in the deployment, via USAF airlift, with the initial assaulting brigade, after the airhead is secure, or after a perimeter has been established. It controls the current fight with divisional forces on the ground, synchronizing the flow of follow-on units into the AO and phasing them into the fight to expand and secure the airhead.

    The assault CP also begins initial planning for conducting future operations (sequels). It serves as the link between divisional forces on the ground, in the air, at the home station, and with the higher corps or JTF headquarters. It continues this function until the remainder of the division C2 system closes into the AO. As the remainder of the TAC CP, the main CP, and the rear CP arrive, they initiate normal functions.

    There is no standard design for the assault CP. Each situation or contingency mission may have different requirements. However, the basic assault CP design includes the functions of the G3 operations, G3 plans, G2 operations, the FSE with an ALO, the signal element, and the G4 operations. These critical functions require sufficient personnel to effectively sustain 24-hour operations.

    The size of the assault CP normally depends on the number of airframes available. As a general rule, the assault CP should deploy on no more than two cargo (C)-141 aircraft.

    The division TAC CP serves as the base from which to build the assault CP. The assault CP is designed to peel off functions as the main and rear CPs establish operations.

    Figure 2-13 is an example of a basic assault CP. It deploys with nine HMMWVs, eight standardized integrated command post system (SICPS) tents, and sufficient personnel to perform critical battle command functions.

    The HMMWVs contain all communications and computer equipment hard-mounted into the rear. Personnel use this equipment either in the HMMWV, remoted to the SICPS tent or in combination.


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