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FM 71-3
The Armored and Mechanized Infantry Brigade


Battle command is the art and science of battlefield decision making and leading soldiers and units to successfully accomplish the mission. The battle command basic elements are decision making, leading, and controlling. The battle command system at brigade level enables commanders to lead, prioritize, and allocate assets required to employ and sustain combat power. The brigade commander must see further, process information faster, and strike more precisely and more quickly. If information is the medium of the battle command process, the battle command system must provide the commander with timely and accurate information on which to base the commanders decision.

Section I. General
Section II. Organization and Facilities
Section III. Communication
Section IV. Command Post Operations
Section V. Brigade Rehearsals



Command and control is not one word as commonly perceived and used. The words "command" and "control" are separate and distinct, with differing applications to how the brigade fights. Command is the art of assigning missions, prioritizing resources, guiding and directing subordinates, and focusing the entire brigade's energy to accomplish clear objectives. Control is the science of 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. The size of the CP depends on the amount of control the commander and higher headquarters demand.

The command and control process is comprised of:

  • Coordinating.
  • Planning.
  • Directing.
  • Controlling.

The command and control process is executed through:

  • Leadership.
  • Command and control facilities.
  • The planning process.
  • Communication.

Command and Control

In battle, leaders at all levels are challenged by the magnitude of available information that will continue to increase in the future. They must use this information to apply direction to their efforts to achieve victory. The commander leads, conceptualizes, visualizes, synchronizes, and makes timely key decisions. The brigade staff acquires, synchronizes, and disseminates decisions and information. The commander must be where he can best influence the battle, where his moral and physical presence can be felt, and where his will to achieve victory can best be expressed, understood, and acted upon. Command remains a personal function. The commander must appreciate time and distance factors, looking beyond the immediate operation. He must continually evaluate the situation and wargame COAs. He must understand the factors of METT-T and know his force sustainment and force protection requirements.

Command includes the responsibility of accomplishing assigned missions as well as a responsibility to the nation for the lives of the soldiers entrusted to them.

To control is to define limits. Control within the brigade is the science of computing requirements, allocating means, and integrating efforts. It monitors the status of organizational effectiveness, identifies variance from set standards and guidance, and corrects the deviations. It acquires and applies the means to accomplish the commander's intent and develops specific instructions from general guidance.

Control serves its purpose if it allows the commander freedom to operate, delegate authority, lead from any critical point on the battlefield, and synchronize brigade operations across its AOs. The command and control system must support the ability of the commander and his staff to adjust plans for future operations while focusing on the current fight. The tools for implementing command decisions include orders, SOPs, communications, and computers.

Command and Control Guidelines

Some basic, time-tested imperatives to improve successful command and control are listed below. These imperatives drive the successful development and efficient operations of the brigade's CPs and determine their effectiveness in combat. The guidelines are

  • A headquarters must be small to be efficient.
  • Just as there can be only one brigade commander, there can be only one brigade CP exercising control of any specific organizational area on the battlefield at any one time.
  • If a commander is to be effective in a crisis, he must limit the number of voices he hears.
  • If the commander wants his staff to keep him informed, he should avoid lengthy prepared briefings and rely on unstructured, unscheduled discussions. This does not mean that some structured and scheduled briefings will not occur within the brigade.
  • When a commander gives a subordinate a new or revised mission, he should deliver or explain it orally and preferably face-to-face, if time and circumstances permit.
  • A CP is organized to acquire and disseminate information in a prioritized fashion.



The brigade commander analyzes and restates the mission, designs the concept of operations, organizes the forces, determines the main effort, establishes the brigade reserves, transmits his own and the higher commander's intent, and provides support to subordinate units. The brigade commander controls the ongoing battle and provides planning guidance for future operations. He positions himself to follow and influence operations and maintains communications with higher, lower, and adjacent units. The commander must be totally mobile and not depend on a fixed site, CP, or specific vehicle to exercise his command and control responsibilities. He reacts immediately to directions from his higher commander to release and receive forces. When his organization or mission changes, he reorganizes only as needed. Teamwork, functional SOPs, and a clear understanding of the mission permit his subordinates to quickly translate a broad mission order into action.

The commander should not stay in the main CP. The best way for him to get information is from firsthand observation, by visiting subordinate CPs, and by listening to subordinate command nets, to include battalion and company nets when necessary. The commander should not fail to make independent decisions about today's battle for fear that they may be inconsistent with what he wants to do tomorrow.

The commander's intent describes the desired end state. It is a concise expression of the purpose of the operation and must be understood two echelons below the issuing commander. It must clearly state the purpose of the mission and is the single unifying focus for all subordinate elements. It is not a summary of the concept of the operation. Its purpose is to focus subordinates on the desired end state. Its utility is to focus subordinates on what has to be accomplished to achieve success, even when the plan and concept of operations no longer apply, and to discipline their efforts toward that end.

The intent statement is usually written but can be verbal when time is short. It should be concise and clear; long, narrative descriptions of how the commander sees the fight tend to inhibit the initiative of subordinates. A brigade commanders order should contain the intent statement of the division or next higher commander.

Chain of Command

The commander issues orders and receives information through the chain of command. He issues all orders to the commander of the next lower unit. Bypassing commanders should occur only in urgent situations. In such instances, the bypassed commander should be notified by the commanders involved as soon as possible.

The Staff


Staff officers assist their commander in accomplishing the mission. They help the commander make decisions by acquiring, analyzing, and coordinating information. Staff officers present critical information and a recommendation to the commander so he can make good decisions (see FM 101-5 for more detailed information). Common staff functions include:

  • Providing information.
  • Making estimates.
  • Making recommendations.
  • Preparing plans and orders.
  • Supervising the execution of decisions.

Responsibility and Authority

Staff officers are assigned functional areas of interest and responsibility. Normally, the commander delegates authority to the staff to take final action on matters within command policy. The assignment of staff responsibility does not connote command authority over other staff officers or over any other command element.

Relationship with Subordinate Commands

Staff officers support subordinate units and establish good working relationships with subordinate commanders and staffs. The staff should make recommendations and offer advice to subordinate commanders; they may not, however, deny or refuse a subordinate commander's request, except in those areas where the commander has delegated authority for them to do so. Staff officers contact a subordinate command, in the commander's name, only to transmit orders or instructions, but they may offer assistance or exchange information in their own or in the commander's name. If a staff officer determines a subordinate command is not complying with the commander's directives, the staff officer advises the subordinate commander or his staff of the noncompliance. The staff officer then reports his observation and recommendation to his commander. Staff officers normally honor informal requests for information from the higher level staff; they should be open for suggestions from subordinate units.

Command and Staff Communications

The command channel is the direct, official link between echelon headquarters and commanders. Orders and instructions to subordinate units pass on this channel. Within their authority, staff officers may use command channels when acting in the commander's name. The staff channel is the staff-to-staff link between headquarters for coordination and transmission of information.


Coordination is critical to the commander's synchronization of the battle. It must occur internally with combat, CS, and CSS units and externally with higher and adjacent units. It prevents the enemy from exploiting unit boundaries and enables the commander to produce maximum relative combat power at the decisive time and place.


The successful commander delegates authority and fosters an organizational climate of mutual trust, cooperation, and teamwork. The brigade staff working within the TAC CP, main CPs, and rear CPs is composed of personal, coordinating, and special staffs. Coordinating staff officers are the commander's main staff assistants. They assist the commander by coordinating the plans and operations of the brigade.

Personal Staff

The personal staff consists of the deputy commander or executive officer (XO) and the command sergeant major (CSM) who work under the immediate control of the commander and directly assist him in the exercise of command. FM 101-5 contains more detailed information on specific staff positions.

Deputy Commander

In the separate armored brigade, a deputy commander is authorized to assist the commander in the performance of his duties. The deputy commander is kept informed by the staff of operations, plans, intentions, goals, and problems so he can assume command at any time. The deputy commander normally operates within specific areas defined by the commander. These areas may include responsibility for the operation of the BSA, logistics support of the operation, coordination and execution of rear operations, and main CP and BSA interface.

Executive Officer

The XO performs a variety of functions for the commander. The XO is the chief of staff responsible for assignment of tasks and for the efficient, coordinated, prompt response of the staff in support of the commander. He is responsible for the operation of the main CP. The XO directs and coordinates CS with the commander's plan and ensures continuous CSS. During certain periods, the XO may personally go to the trains to determine the status of CSS operations. The XO remains current on the tactical situation and is prepared to assume command. The XO is responsible for the conduct of rear operations because of his duties of coordinating the staffs of the main and rear CPs.

Command Sergeant Major

The brigade CSM's primary role is to advise the brigade commander on matters concerning the enlisted soldiers of the brigade. The CSM is not an administrator, but he understands the administrative, logistics, and operational requirements of the brigade. The CSM is the most experienced enlisted soldier in the brigade and keeps his finger on the pulse of the command. The CSM receives taskings from the brigade commander and acts as a troubleshooter. The CSM focuses attention on functions critical to the success of the operation.

Coordinating Staff

Adjutant (S1)

The S1 normally operates in the brigade operations support section located in the BSA with the S4 section. The S1 is responsible to the brigade commander for the maintenance of unit strength, personnel, morale, discipline, and law and order. The S1 supervises and coordinates various special staff sections including those of the public affairs officer (PAO), chaplain, and surgeon. He is a point of contact for other activities including the inspector general (IG), civil affairs (CA), and judge advocate general (JAG). In the separate brigade, the S1 also serves as the adjutant general. The S1 sections cross-train to enable them to conduct continuous operations.

Intelligence Officer (S2)

The S2 and the DS MI company commander are a team whose mission is to provide IEW support to the commander. As a team, they are responsible to the commander for planning and directing the intelligence activities of the brigade. The S2 is the senior intelligence officer and primary staff officer for intelligence. He directs and supervises the commanders EW operations including counter-intelligence. He ensures the commander is supported with timely intelligence, targets, and BDA. Additionally, he coordinates with the S3 and FSO to ensure EW is fully integrated with FS.

Operations and Training Officer (S3)

The S3 is the commander's primary assistant in planning and coordinating operations of the brigade and CS elements. The S3 is located in the brigade TAC CP and assists the commander in fighting the current battle. The brigade S3 is the OIC of the TAC CP when it is deployed forward. The S3, through the brigade TOC, coordinates closely with the S4 to keep abreast of the current CSS status. The S3 ensures his personnel are trained and equipment maintained to support the brigade XO in the main CP.

Logistics Officer (S4)

The S4 is responsible for operation of the rear CP. He provides logistics information to the commander and functions as the brigade's logistics planner.

The S4 coordinates with the battalion's XOs and S4s about the status of equipment and supplies. The S4 has representatives in both the main and rear CPs. The S4 participates in the planning process when it occurs. The S4 coordinates with the FSB commander and support operations officer to ensure the brigade commander's logistics priorities are understood and supported.

Civil Affairs Officer (S5)

An S5 is organic to a separate brigade and is assigned to a divisional brigade staff by division or corps when needed. The S5 is responsible for all matters pertaining to political, economic, and social aspects of military operations. The S5 is the brigade's liaison between civil authorities and the civilian populace in the brigade's AO. The S5 is located at the main CP.

Special Staff

The special staff aids the commander in professional, technical, or other functional areas. The specific number and duties of special staff officers vary at each level of command based on table of organization and equipment (TOE) authorizations, desires of the commander, and the size and level of command. The special staff functions are described in FM 101-5.

Air Defense Officer

The brigade ADO is the commander of the DS battery that normally supports the brigade. The ADA battery commander integrates ADA weapons and sensors throughout the brigade sector or zone to protect the force and provide early warning. In the absence of an ADA battery in support of the brigade, an ADA LO may serve as the ADO for the brigade. The ADO or ADA LO advise the brigade commander on all air defense matters. To assist the employment and planning for air defense assets the ADA battery CP collocates with the brigade TOC.

Air Liaison Officer

The air liaison officer (ALO) is an Air Force officer who is a member of the tactical air control party (TACP). The ALO is the brigade commander's advisor on support that includes the employment of TACAIR as CAS, joint suppression of enemy air defenses (JSEAD), reconnaissance, and airlift. The ALO coordinates CAS missions with the FSE. The ALO provides the commander and staff enemy TACAIR and air defense capabilities. The ALO supervises the TACP and forward air controllers (FAC). The ALO is located with the command group.

Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Officer

If operating near coastal waters, the brigade may be provided naval air and gun FS. Air naval gunfire liaison officer (ANGLICO) personnel are provided to advise the commander, request, coordinate, and control naval air and NGF.

Army Aviation Liaison Officer

The combat aviation brigade provides an Army aviation LO to work in the main CP when aviation assets are employed by the maneuver brigade. Primary duties of the aviation LO include:

  • Advising the commander on employment of aviation assets.
  • Assisting the S3 in preparation of aviation portions of estimates, plans, orders, and reports.
  • Functioning as part of the airspace management element.
  • Coordinating with the brigade S3/XO for positioning of aviation assets including the forward arming refuel point (FARP) within the brigade AO.
  • Coordinating with the S4 in matters concerning Army aircraft for CSS operations.

The Army aviation LO is located at the main CP, but may move with the brigade commander or lead battalion.

Brigade Engineer

The brigade engineer is normally the commander of the engineer battalion supporting the brigade. The engineer battalion commander advises and assists the brigade commander in all aspects of engineer planning, coordination, and execution. The brigade engineer determines the requirements for engineer support to include recommending the support relationship. The assistant brigade engineer is the commanders principal staff planner in the brigade main CP. He is assisted by other members of the engineer battalion staff. The brigade engineer prepares engineer estimates and engineer portions of the plans and orders to include the engineer annex. The brigade engineer provides the commander and staff information on the enemy's capabilities.


The brigade chaplain pastors to the HHC and provides ministry for casualties, EPWs, civilian internees, refugees, and collocated elements that do not have an assigned unit ministry team (UMT). He assists the commander by monitoring the leadership practices of the command to ensure the highest moral, ethical, and humanitarian standards. The chaplain is located at the rear CP.

Chemical Officer

The chemical officer advises the commander on all NBC matters. He participates in the planning process and prepares the NBC estimate. He also plans and coordinates decontamination operations. The chemical officer works under the direct supervision of the S3, and is located in the main CP.

Direct Support Military Intelligence Company Commander

The DS MI company commander plans and directs the employment of his subordinate IEW assets. He must understand the supported commanders intent and PIR operational and tactical objectives, overall scheme of maneuver and fires, and intelligence collection plan to effectively employ his IEW efforts. The MI commander may be frequently absent from his CP to coordinate with the S2 and to personally oversee the IEW operations of subordinates. He is the principal advisor to the brigade commander on IEW asset capability. The DS MI company commander must be able to deconflict terrain issues with the brigade S3 for GS or other reinforcing MI assets operating in the brigade AO. The DS company CP is normally collocated with the brigade main CP.

Fire Support Coordinator

The commander of the DS artillery battalion serves as the brigade FSCOORD. The FSCOORD advises and assists the brigade commander in all aspects of FS planning and coordination. The FSCOORD is normally in the main CP during planning and is a part of the orders group. The FSCOORD provides a full-time FSE to the main CP. The brigade FSO is the OIC of the brigade FSE when the FSCOORD is not present. The brigade FSO may be part of the brigade command group during the battle.

Forward Support Battalion Commander

The FSB commander is the advisor to the supported brigade commander concerning supply, maintenance, field and health services, and the implementation of the CSS functions throughout the supported brigade. He coordinates logistic support missions with the brigade XO, S4, and division support command (DISCOM) elements operating in the BSA. The FSB commander exercises OPCON over CSS units operating in the BSA (see Chapter 8 for a discussion on the FSB commander's duties). In the separate brigade, the support battalion commander usually works through the deputy brigade commander and performs those duties normally associated with the DISCOM commander in the division.

Headquarters and Headquarters Company Commander or Headquarters Commandant

The HHC commander or headquarters commandant works closely with and answers to the brigade XO. The HHC commander is responsible for the training of assigned personnel, maintenance of organic equipment, and the support, security, and movement of the brigade main CP and TAC CP IAW unit SOP.

Three members of the brigade staff are unique in that they are also major subordinate commanders (battalion size) in the brigade. These officers must command and control their own units as well as coordinate major functional areas including but not limited to their direct subordinates.

Military Police Platoon Leader

The MP platoon leader is the staff adviser on MP combat, CS, and CSS operations. The MP platoon leader directs the actions of the brigade MP platoon in DS to a maneuver brigade. The MP platoon leader is located at the rear CP. In a separate brigade, the PM section is located in the main CP. In all other cases, the MP platoon leader is located in the main CP.

Signal Officer

The brigade signal officer (SO) is the signal expert to the maneuver commander and is located at the main CP. He advises the commander and staff on all signal support matters. He works for the unit and closely interacts with the S3 and other unit staff officers. The brigade SO plans communications assets and resources to support current and future operations. The primary focus is brigade to task force command and control communications. The brigade SO is responsible for information transfer, networking automated systems, and standardization of communications policy, procedure, and training. He coordinates with the next higher echelon SO for additional communications support, if required. As a special staff officer, the brigade SO does the following:

  • Acts as the brigade commanders advisor on communication matters.
  • Recommends the location of the headquarters and signal facilities, and the use of signal activities for deception.
  • Controls assigned or attached signal units.
  • Controls communications assets assigned or attached to brigade.


The brigade surgeon advises and assists the commander on matters concerning force protection of the command to include preventive, curative, restorative care, and related services. The brigade surgeon is located at the brigade clearing station in the BSA.


Brigades are controlled from echeloned command and control facilities with varying levels of staff participation at each echelon. The facilities include a command group, TAC CP, main CP, and rear CP (see Figure 3-1).

Command Group

The command group is normally comprised of the brigade commander and selected staff, normally the S3, FSCOORD, and TACP. The brigade commander is in charge of the command group and operates it forward at critical locations during a battle. The commander must be close enough to communicate with his battalion commanders and make face-to-face contact if necessary. The actual placement of individual personnel is made by the commander. The commander makes his decision based on his experience, analysis, needs, judgment, and on the mission; however, the functions for each CP remain constant.

Tactical Command Post

The TAC CP controls current operations, providing the commander with combat critical information, and disseminates the commander's decisions. It is located as far forward as the battalion main CPs to facilitate communications with subordinate commanders, and the main CP. It is composed of the brigade S3, TAC CP, M577, and the brigade commander's M113. Only key representatives of the command group and current operations section are present at the TAC CP. Due to its small size it is highly mobile, and relies on frequent displacement, and comparatively low electronic signature to provide security. Battle command occurs primarily through combat net radio; this CP may also have MSE access through a mobile subscriber radio terminal (MSRT).

The TAC CP may consist of representatives from operations, IEW, air support, FS, Army airspace command and control (A2C2) section, engineers, chemical, and other areas as needed. They provide the commander with combat critical information and disseminate his decisions concerning CS and CSS to the main CP for implementation. The brigade S3 is responsible for coordinating activities at the TAC CP. See Figure 3-2 for a diagram of this facility.

Due to the mobility of the TAC CP, the primary means of communications is secure FM. MSRTs provide an alternative to FM usage. The minimal radio net capabilities required are:

  • Division command or higher per attachment.
  • Division HF voice net (on call).
  • Division operations and intelligence (OI).
  • Brigade command.
  • Brigade HF voice net (on call).
  • Brigade OI.
  • Air Force coordination nets (FM, HF, UHF, VHF).*
  • FS nets.*
  • Net radio interface is provided by the division signal battalion.
    * Asset will be present if command group collocates with TAC CP.

Main Command Post

The brigade main CP is the control, coordination, and communications center for combat operations. See Figures 3-3 through 3-5 for diagrams of this facility. All configurations suggested are techniques. The main CP:

  • Assists the brigade and task force commanders.
  • Plans future operations.
  • Coordinates operations throughout the depth of the AO.
  • Synchronizes CS and CSS assets as directed by the brigade commander.
  • Executes planned deep attacks.
  • Monitors the close fight.
  • Fights rear operations.
  • Keeps higher headquarters in-formed.
  • Coordinates with adjacent units.
  • Maintains continuous operations for extended periods.
  • Assumes command and control of close operations if the TAC CP is destroyed.

The brigade staff is functionally organized to help plan and conduct deep, close, and rear operations. The components of each functional section within each CP is not fixed. Staff specialists are represented on more than one functional section and participate in the activities of those sections. Sections located at the brigade main CP are normally:

  • Current Operations Section. This section consists of those elements necessary to provide the commander with direct control over the battle. Representation is provided as required in operations, IEW air support, FS, A2C2 section, engineers, chemical, and other areas. Representatives from this section may be required to operate the TAC CP when displaced forward. The brigade S3 is responsible for coordinating activities of the current operations and plans sections.
  • Plans Section. This section maintains a current and projected view of the whole battle and continually updates proposals to the commander for the execution of the future battles. The personnel in this section provide expertise in operations, intelligence, IEW, FS, air defense, logistics support, engineer, chemical, psychological operations Army aviation liaison, Air Force liaison, and special staff as desired by the commander.
  • Intelligence Section. This section includes the S2, IEWSE, and in the separate brigade, the staff weather officer. They receive, analyze, and disseminate intelligence information to the commander and all brigade elements. The S2 coordinates activities in this section.
  • FS Section. This section coordinates FS for the brigade. It consists of the FSO, FSE, and ALO. Other representatives that work closely with the FS section are the S3-Air, ADA officer, assistant brigade engineer, and MI company commander. The brigade FSCOORD controls this section. It conducts :
    • Application of the products of the targeting teams target value analysis (TVA).
    • Integrated fire planning.
    • Coordination of all FS for the brigade.
    • Coordination of EW.
    • Command and control warfare.
  • Engineer Section. This section consists of either the engineer battalions operations cell or the assistant brigade engineer cell. This section conducts engineer coordination as it applies to current and future operations.
  • A2C2 Section. This section conducts routine coordination, and regulates the brigade's airspace. The A2C2 section includes the aviation LO, ADO or air defense LO, and representatives from the FSE and Air Force liaison element. The brigade S3-Air coordinates the activities of this section.

Rear Command Post

The brigade rear CP has the following functions:

  • Tracks current battle.
  • Sustains current deep and close operations.
  • Forecasts future CSS requirements.
  • Conducts detailed CSS planning.
  • Serves as the entry point for units entering the brigade rear area.
  • Coordinates with the FSB CP (collocate).

See Figure 3-6 for a diagram of the brigade rear CP.

The operations support section is located at the rear CP. The S1, S4, S5, surgeon, chaplain, PAO, and MP elements are members of this section. The rear CP is collocated with the FSB CP in the BSA and is under the OPCON of the FSB commander for defense of the BSA. The FSB commander works with the brigade S1 and S4 to coordinate the functions in this section.

The rear CP collocated with the FSB CP is also a large communications and automation hub. Multiple CSS automation systems are employed here as are numerous gateways into different types of communications systems. The FSB relies heavily on MSE/TPN and to a lesser extent on combat net radio. The rear CP must plan for FM range extension due to its distance from the MBA.



Communication is the means through which battle command is exercised. The commander and staff must understand the capabilities, limitations, and vulnerabilities of the brigade communications system. Because enemy and friendly radar, radios, and lasers operate in the same electromagnetic spectrum, commanders plan for interference. Terrain, atmospheric conditions, or electromagnetic pulse emitted by nuclear blast hinder transmissions. The commander:

  • Provides for redundancy in means of communications. Prioritize for backup means at key locations.
  • Ensures subordinates know what to do during interruptions in com-munications.
  • Avoids overloading the communi-cations systems and uses them only when absolutely necessary.
  • Minimizes the use of radios to preserve them.
  • Ensures proper signal security (SIGSEC) practices are followed.
  • Pays particular attention to maintaining effective lateral communications.
  • Considers the employment of re-transmission equipment for each operation.


Responsibilities for communications are:

  • Senior to subordinate.
  • Supporting to supported.
  • Reinforcing to reinforced.
  • Passing to passed (for forward passage of lines).
  • Passed to passing (for rearward passage of lines).
  • Left to right.
  • Rearward to forward.

All units should take prompt action to restore lost communications. These responsibilities also apply to the establishment of liaison between headquarters.


Brigade commanders protect their command, control, communications and intelligence systems by using command and control warfare. The commander and staff execute these countermeasures through the integrated, complementary employment of OPSEC, jamming, deception, and physical destruction.

Command and control warfare consists of two separate, but closely related functions:

  • Communications protection measures protect friendly communications from enemy attack and deception.
  • Communications countermeasures degrade the enemy's command and control ability.

OPSEC, jamming, deception, and physical destruction are applicable to both functions, but the commander and staff determine how to best implement them based on the factors of METT-T.

The brigade's OPSEC program is managed by and is the responsibility of the S3. He analyzes the commander's concept of the operation to determine the essential elements of friendly information (EEFI) that must be protected from exploitation by enemy intelligence. The S3 and S2 develop appropriate OPSEC measures; based on their assessment of enemy intelligence collection capabilities and on the friendly indicators that may compromise the EEFI. These OPSEC measures are primarily procedural in nature and include

  • SIGSEC to protect operational information by practicing (COMSEC) and electronic security techniques.
  • Information security to prevent disclosure of operational information through written, verbal, or graphic communications.
  • Physical security that consists of physical measures that protect personnel; prevent unauthorized access to equipment, facilities, materiel, and documents; and guard against espionage, sabotage, damage, or theft.

Jamming contributes to communi-cations protection by defending and screening friendly communications and intelligence. Jamming is used to disrupt and deceive threat command, control, communications, and intelligence. The brigade has no organic jamming assets. In most instances, EW assets are deployed as GS to the division, with detailed planning for EW operations conducted at division. When EW assets are in GS to the division, the brigade S3 requests EW support for designated targets. EW assets respond to these requests according to the priorities established by the division commander, G2, and G3. When EW assets directly support brigade, the S3 is responsible for planning and coordinating the operations of the EW units. This includes integrating EW with fire and maneuver to ensure supporting EW resources are used effectively to support brigade and battalion operations.

The brigade's primary role in deception is to execute division and corps battlefield deception plans. Brigade units may or may not know that they are participating in a deception effort. The brigade's participation may be limited to practicing sound OPSEC measures or employing active deceptive measures such as demonstrations, feints, ruses, or displays.



Command Group

The command group, operating under the brigade commander, operates well forward at the critical location of the battle. The primary function of the command group is to influence the battle through personal presence. Other functions include providing planning guidance, conducting ongoing close operations, and disseminating the commander's decisions.

Tactical Command Post

The TAC CP, with the S3 in charge, is the forward-most CP in the brigade. It operates as far forward as the battalion main CPs. The TAC CP consists of intelligence, operations, and FS personnel. The brigade command group goes forward from this CP to see the critical location of the battle.

Main Command Post

The main CP, under the supervision of the XO, locates in the brigade area generally forward of the division main CP, but behind the battalion main CPs. The main CP consists of staff personnel representing all facets of brigade operations. The main CP has a support area with assets that provide CSS to the brigade's command and control elements. Assets in the support area also help provide security for the main CP. The alternate CP is normally the TAC CP or a battalion CP.

Rear Command Post

The rear CP, with the S1 in charge, is collocated with the FSB CP and has administrative/logistics (A/L) personnel. The rear CP is responsible for coordinating the A/L activities of the brigade.



Commanders and staffs must understand their communications capabilities and skillfully use them. They must also understand the impact of automation systems on a digitized battlefield.

CP radio operators must understand who is on what net and how to reach net members via alternate nets or means. Contingency plans made by the SO for alternate and back-up systems must be understood by all those working in a CP. CPs should routinely prioritize nets and specify back-up equipment to support those priorities during the planning process of any mission.

Battle staffs must maintain awareness on available communications and rapidly disseminate changes in status throughout the CP. CP users with MSE/TPN access need to understand how the MSE systems work and how to use its capabilities such as conference and precedence calls and commercial interface, effectively. Staffs should also know how to use the combat net radio interface (CNRI) function that allows FM users to call into the system and vice versa. MSRT phones as well as FM radios should be remoted into the CPs.


CPs maintain information in the form of easily understood map graphics and charts. Status charts can be combined with situation maps (SITMAP) to give commanders friendly and enemy situation snapshots that are needed for the planning process. The information can be updated quickly. For simplicity, all map boards should be the same size and scale, and overlay mounting holes should be standard on all map boards. This allows for easy transfer of overlays from one board to another.


There are several considerations in positioning CPs. CPs should be located on ground that is trafficable, even in poor weather. The area around the CP should be large enough to contain all vehicles. Other considerations for positioning CPs are:

  • Ensure line of sight (LOS) communications with higher, lower, and adjacent units.
  • Encourage redundancy of communications.
  • Mask signals from the enemy.
  • Use terrain for passive security (cover and concealment).
  • Collocate with tactical units for mutual support and local security.
  • Locate the CP near an existing road network out of sight from possible enemy observation. Subordinate commanders and LOs must be able to find the CP.


Consider the following OPSEC measures when positioning CPs:

  • The brigade CPs best security comes from frequent repositioning.
  • Do not erect any signs advertising CP locations. Disperse CP vehicles and ensure all vehicles and equipment are camouflaged. Maintain noise and light discipline.
  • Post a security force to protect CPs. Establish security force positions as in any defensive position and maintain a 360-degree perimeter. Position the security force far enough out from CPs to prevent enemy direct fires on the CPs and equip it with antitank (AT) weapons to protect CPs from enemy armor. Also establish a reserve reaction force. Establish communications between the security force and the CPs. Always rehearse the execution of the perimeter defense.
  • At brigade level, the security force consists of support area personnel and off-duty personnel. Battalions normally rely on off-duty personnel. The command group may assist in securing a CP if they happen to be collocated. Units are rarely able to employ combat elements to help secure a CP. Often, however, CP survivability depends on concealment and mobility.

The following are some OPSEC techniques to consider:

  • The enemy threat is reduced when command, control, and communi-cations assets are positioned off major enemy mounted avenues of approach. CPs should be positioned so the enemy bypasses them.
  • If antennas are remoted outside the perimeter, employ listening posts (LP) or OPs to secure them.
  • Disseminate near and far recognition signals to all subordinate units and elements of the CP. These signals, challenges, and passwords are used to control access into the CP perimeter.
  • In case of artillery or air attack, designate a rally point and an alternate CP location at a minimum of 500 to 1,000 meters away.


CPs displace as a whole or by echelon. Displacement as a whole is normally done for short movements, with communications maintained by alternate means and at minimal risk of degrading CP operations. CPs normally displace by echelon. A portion of the CP, called a jump CP, moves to the new location, sets up operations, and takes over OPCON of the battle from the main CP. The remaining portion of the CP then moves to rejoin the jump CP. The jump CP consists of the necessary vehicles, personnel, and equipment to temporarily take over CP operations while the remainder is moving.

The XO or S3 selects a general location for the new CP site. The jump CP can be accompanied by a quartering party. The quartering party may consist of a security element and personnel and equipment for quartering the remainder of the CP. The SO, who is usually part of the quartering party, ensures communications on all nets can take place from the new site. When the jump CP becomes operational, it also becomes the net control station (NCS) for the unit's nets. The remainder of the CP then moves to rejoin the jump CP. The S3 SGM supervises the breakdown of the main CP at the current location and the setup at the new location.

At brigade level, the role of the jump CP can be performed by the TAC CP if necessary. In this case, the TAC CP may or may not be positioned at the new location. Jumping in this manner can be done in both offensive and defensive operations. If it has radios, the plan section's M577 can serve as an alternative jump CP.

During offensive operations, the main CP normally moves with the main body. The main CP deploys temporarily to enhance planning for future operations.



A rehearsal is the act or process of practicing an action in preparation for the actual performance of that action. Rehearsing key combat actions allows participants to become familiar with the operation and to translate the relatively dry recitation of the tactical plan into visual impression. This visual impression assists them in orienting themselves to both their environment and to other units during the execution of the operation. Moreover, the repetition of combat tasks during the rehearsal leaves a lasting mental picture of the sequence of key actions within the operation. Rehearsals also provide a forum for subordinate units and leaders to analyze the tactical plan to ascertain its feasibility, common sense, and the adequacy of its command and control measures before it is too late. To be effectively and efficiently employed in combat, rehearsals need to become habitual in training. All units at every level should routinely train and practice a variety of rehearsal techniques. Local SOPs should identify appropriate rehearsal techniques and standards for their execution.

Time is probably the most precious resource available to commanders and units. Rehearsals take time. The time required for rehearsal varies with the complexity of the task to be rehearsed, the type of rehearsal, and the level of participation. For this reason, the emphasis on rehearsals should be at the lowest level possible, using the most thorough technique possible given the time available.



Full-dress rehearsals are the most effective form of rehearsals. However, they consume the most time and resources. This technique may involve up to every soldier and system taking part in the operation. If possible, the unit conducts the full-dress rehearsal under the conditions (weather, time of day, terrain) expected to be encountered during the actual operation. In defensive operations, the unit can conduct a full-dress rehearsal over the actual terrain. In an offensive operation, the unit conducts the rehearsal on any available terrain that closely matches the terrain of the zone of attack. These rehearsals are the most productive type of rehearsal, however, they are also the most resource and time-intensive.

Key Leader

This type of rehearsal takes less time and resources than the full-dress rehearsal because it involves only the key leaders of the unit. The unit conducts the rehearsal under conditions expected during combat operations. This type of rehearsal requires the commander to decide the level of leader involvement. Selected leaders rehearse the plan in their assigned tactical vehicles over the terrain. The terrain requirements remain the same as those for the full-dress rehearsal; only the number of participants change. Because of the reduced number of participants, the key leader rehearsal takes less time than a full-dress rehearsal. This type of rehearsal is often accomplished during defensive operations.

Terrain Model or Sand Table

This technique is accomplished relatively quickly and normally involves key leaders. Since this type of rehearsal is most often used when time and resources prohibit the full-dress or key leader rehearsal, it is probably used most often. The terrain model is discussed in greater detail later in this section.

Sketch Map

A sketch rehearsal takes even less time and resources than a terrain model rehearsal. Units can conduct this rehearsal almost anywhere day or night. The procedures are the same as for a terrain model rehearsal, except the commander uses a sketch in place of a model. However, sketches must be large enough for all participants to see as the commander and his staff talk each subordinate leader through a sequential, interactive, verbal execution of the operation.


This technique has two variations. The most common is to use a large scale (1:25,000) map and operations overlay, laid horizontally with subordinate commanders seated around it. This technique is especially suited for inclement weather or at night, since the rehearsal can take place in a tent or building. Markers (such as cardboard cutouts or micro armor) are used to track each unit as it moves and each key event as it happens. Each participant is responsible for placing and moving his own markers. Another option is to move to a location that allows a view of the AOs, with each participant following the rehearsal using his own map and operations overlay. This technique has the added advantage of terrain familiarization for the participants, but it has the disadvantage of allowing potential misinterpretations and terrain management conflicts.


A radio rehearsal is less time- and resource-intensive than the map rehearsal, but is not as desirable because participants do not share information face-to-face. The brigade can conduct a radio rehearsal at any time. This technique is used extensively by FS units. To conduct a radio rehearsal, the commander and his staff transmit an interactive verbal execution of critical portions of the operation over the FM radio net. For this technique to be effective, every participant must have operable communications, a copy of the brigade OPORD, and all appropriate overlays. The unit rehearses only the essential/critical phases of the operation. Prolonged FM radio communications, even when conducted with secure radios, may offer the enemy vital intelligence and targeting information on the operation. A commander should use this method only as a last resort. In some cases radio rehearsals are essential to verify the communications system will work. If you intend to execute the FS plan digitally, use a radio rehearsal to test the system.


A backbrief is a briefing to the higher commander in which the commander describes how he intends to accomplish his mission. This type should be used when time is severely constrained.


Although the majority of rehearsals planned and conducted by maneuver units are rehearsals of combat actions by subordinate maneuver units, rehearsals of special tasks or special functional groups are sometimes desirable.

Some examples of special rehearsals include command group, TOC shift, decontamination, R&S plan, and engineer reserve demolition target turnover. The decision concerning which special rehearsals to conduct, if any, is the commanders. Special rehearsals may be as formal or informal as necessity dictates and time allows.

Special rehearsals do not fit neatly into the type and level classifications presented above. How extensive the rehearsal should be and who should participate are dependent on time available, task complexity, and unit training. (For example, the TOC shift rehearsal is probably nothing more than a talk-through of key information and actions likely to be executed by the TOC, set against the framework of the S2s event template.) Rehearsing decontamination may be a Level III, full-scale, type A rehearsal on actual terrain when a certain unit must cross a known contaminated area. The battalion S2 may conduct a Level II, type D rehearsal of the patrolling portion of the battalion R&S plan with the scout platoon.

Special rehearsals do not replace other rehearsals. Rather, they augment, supplement, or reinforce other maneuver rehearsals. Special rehearsals can be conducted at any time during the TLPs, just like any other rehearsal.


Site Selection

Brigade staffs should select rehearsal sites that facilitate the type of rehearsal being conducted. Consider the factors of METT-T to ensure the site is secure, large enough to allow the type of rehearsal selected and, when possible, allows a view of the AO.

Participants should come with maps, overlays, and binoculars, prepared to view the AO during the rehearsal. Brigade staffs plan for, and provide security from, ground and air attacks. A rally point is identified in case the rehearsal site is attacked. Parking is provided, but the dismount point and the parking area must not attract the enemy's attention. Terrain models and maps should be oriented to the north. If the AO can be viewed, key terrain is identified on the ground and on the model or map.

Preparing a Terrain Model Rehearsal

The terrain model rehearsal takes less time and fewer resources than the full-dress rehearsal and the key leader rehearsal and can be conducted day or night. Constructed accurately, this terrain model rehearsal technique can be an excellent three-dimensional aid to assist subordinate leaders and staffs in visualizing the battle.

Preparation of terrain models requires the unit to maintain a number of materiel. Once assembled, inventory the materiel and maintain them like basic issue items (BII) for the designated vehicle carrying the materiel. The materiel must enable the builder to accurately depict all required information. Recommended materiel for a terrain model kit include

  • Tape measure (100 yards/meters long).
  • Engineer tape (minimum of 500 meters).
  • String to mark grid lines.
  • Yarn (red, blue, green, and yellow).
  • Nails and tent stakes.
  • Index cards (3x5 and 5x7 laminated).
  • Alcohol pens.
  • Grease pencils.
  • Premade military and unit symbols.
  • Magnetic compass.
  • Hammer.
  • Chalk.
  • Entrenching tool.
  • Sandbags.
  • Cotton balls.
  • Spray paint (red, blue, green, and yellow).

Identifying and training personnel to construct terrain models are responsibilities shared by the brigade S3 plans officer and the operations SGM. The brigade S3 section trains two primary and four alternative terrain model builders at home station. The size of the terrain model or the time available may necessitate using additional personnel. The size of the terrain model can vary, from a tabletop arrangement (sandbox) to a model where the participants actually walk through a scaled-down version of the terrain. A terrain model large enough to allow the key leaders to walk over a scaled-down version of the terrain helps participants to visualize the battlefield.

The first step in creating an accurate terrain model is to prescribe the scale. This is easily accomplished by walking off several steps per kilometer, or using some other form of measurement. For example, if the brigade zone of attack is 10 kilometers by 6 kilometers, the builder of the terrain model could assign one step per kilometer and walk off the scale of the terrain model.

The second step in developing an accurate terrain model is to lay down selected grid lines based on the tactical map. With the grid lines established, the builder has a handy reference to measure the size and locations of the terrain features. This simple step increases the accuracy of the terrain model and ensures that the terrain features are the proper scale.

The terrain model should depict all required information shown on the operations overlay and brigade SITMAP to include key terrain features, enemy positions (known and suspected), and fire control measures. Place an arrow on the terrain map to depict North for orientation. Label all PLs, numbered hills, and objectives with their appropriate names. The terrain should mirror the brigade operations and enemy overlays.

Once the terrain model is complete, position a map and operations overlay behind or at the side of the model as a point of reference. Attendance at the brigade rehearsal should include, at a minimum, the brigade commander, FSCOORD, brigade XO, coordinating staff, special staff, and all battalion task force commanders with their S3s and FSOs. LOs from higher or adjacent units may attend.

Conducting the Rehearsal

The commander leads the rehearsal; his staff runs it. The director of the rehearsal is the brigade XO. As such, he rehearses his role during the operation. He ensures tasks are accomplished by the right unit at the right time and cues the commander to upcoming decisions. The XO's script is the synchronization matrix and the DST. These are the foundations for the OPORD recorded in chronological order. A terrain model rehearsal takes a proficient brigade from one to two hours to execute to standard. The following example outlines a step-by-step process for conducting a brigade rehearsal.

Step 1. Start at the appointed time and conduct a formal roll call. Ensure everyone brings binoculars, maps, and necessary equipment.

Step 2. Ensure that the XO or the S3 orients the terrain model to the actual ground, the operations overlay, and the map. Describe and point out the overall AOs and explain the markers used on the terrain model.

Step 3 Brief the timeline. The brigade XO should do this, or the S3 in lieu of the XO. Designate the rehearsal start time. For example, have the rehearsal begin by depicting the anticipated situation one hour before line of departure (LD). Set the time interval to be used to start and track the rehearsal. For example, specify a ten-minute interval to equate to one hour of real time during the operation.

Step 4. Designate a recorder. This should be the S3, or a designated representative from the operations cell. Highlight the ground rules and incorporate ground rules into the brigade SOP. They include who controls the rehearsal (brigade XO), who actually walks the terrain board, how the rehearsal will be controlled, and when special staff officers brief. Special staff officers should brief by exception when a friendly or enemy event occurs within their BOS.

Step 5. The brigade S3 reads the mission statement, the commander reads his commander's intent, and the S3 lays out the friendly situation as it currently exists, using the terrain model.

Step 6. The brigade S2 briefs the current enemy situation. He then briefs the most likely enemy COA. (The enemy situation should already be set up on the terrain model.) The S2 also briefs the status of the brigade R&S plan, for example citing any patrols still out and OP positions.

Step 7. The brigade S3 briefs friendly maneuver unit dispositions at the rehearsal start time, including security forces. Other brigade staff officers brief their subordinate unit positions at the start time, as well as any particular points of emphasis. For example, the chemical officer briefs mission-oriented protection posture (MOPP) level, and FSO shows range of friendly and enemy artillery.

Step 8. The commander gives appropriate commands. Brigade FSOs/FSCOORDs tell when they initiate fires, who is firing, from where, the ammunition, and the desired target effect. Task force commanders tell when they initiate fire IAW their FS plans. If FISTs are present, they initiate calls for fire. The brigade XO talks for any staff section not present, and ensures all actions listed on the synchronization matrix or DST are addressed at the proper time or event. Avoid re-wargaming except as absolutely necessary, to ensure subordinate unit commanders understand the plan. If the staff has developed an order that addresses contingencies, do not wargame the operation at the rehearsal site.

Step 9. The enemy is portrayed by the S2 section. The S2 section walks the enemy through the most likely COA (situation template), stressing reconnaissance routes, objectives, security force composition and locations, initial contact, initial fires (artillery, air, attack helicopters), probable main force objectives or kill sacks, likely chemical attack times and locations, and the commitment of reserves. The S2 must be specific by tying enemy actions to specific terrain or friendly unit actions. The walk-through should be an accurate portrayal of the event template.

Step 10. Terminate the first phase of the rehearsal after the desired end state (from the commander's intent) is achieved. In the attack, this is usually on the objective after consolidation. In the defense, this is usually after the decisive action, such as the commitment of the brigade reserve and the final destruction or withdrawal of the enemy.

Step 11. When it becomes obvious that additional coordination is required to ensure success of the operation, try to accomplish it immediately. This coordination is one of the key points of the rehearsal. Ensure it is understood by all participants and captured by the recorder, and all changes to the published OPORD are in effect. However, this is not the time to make major changes. Changes are kept to only those that are vital. As soon as possible, the brigade S3 should collect the verbal FRAGOs into a written change to the OPORD.

Step 12. After the initial walk-through of the base order, backstep to the situation at the initial DP. State the criteria for a decision to change the plan. Assume these criteria have been met and then refight the fight from that point forward, until the desired end state is attained. Complete any coordination to ensure understanding and requirements is met. Record any changes.

Step 13. Go to the next DP and ensure that the criteria have been met. Repeat step 12.

Step 14. Repeat step 13 until all DPs have been rehearsed.

Step 15. Key CS and CSS actions need to be briefed. These items should be integrated into the rehearsal at the appropriate times. Summarizing these actions at the end of the rehearsal adds to the value of the rehearsal as a coordination tool.

Step 16. After the rehearsal is complete, the recorder should restate any changes, coordination or clarifications directed by the commander, and estimate the time that a written FRAGO to codify the changes that follow.

Step 17. The commander should stress any points needing additional emphasis. He should consider reiterating his intent (purpose, method, end state), to remind all participants that the goal is to accomplish the brigade's mission.

See FM 10l-5 for more details on rehearsals.

Forward to Chapter 4.
Return to Chapter 2.
Return to the Table of Contents.

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