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FM 71-3
The Armored and Mechanized Infantry Brigade


Section I. General
Section II. Fire Support
Section III. Combat Air Support
Section IV. Joint Air Attack Team Operations
Section V. Naval and Marine Fire Support
Section VI. Mobility and Survivability
Section VII. Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Operations
Section VIII. Smoke Operations
Section IX. Air Defense Support
Section X. Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Support
Section XI. Military Police Support
Section XII. Signal Support


The application of superior combat power at the decisive time and place determines the outcome of the battle. The commander uses his CS assets to enhance the capabilities of his maneuver unit and to weight his main effort. Knowing CS capabilities, assigning them appropriate missions, and synchronizing their operations are essential to the application of superior combat power at the decisive time and place.

To be most effective, CS elements cannot be simply added into the commander's plan. They must be an integral part of it, not an afterthought made to adhere to a scheme of maneuver. Commanders frequently view CS as something added to the plan to make it better. This add-on nature reduces these critical elements from combat multipliers to merely combat additives. CS representatives must be involved at the outset in the staff planning sequence. The commander's intent must be clearly articulated as to what he wants to do to the enemy for the CS elements to prepare employment recommendations. The commander may then select a COA that synchronizes maneuver, fires, and CS into a cohesive battle plan.




FS is the collective and coordinated use of indirect-fire weapons, armed aircraft, and other lethal and nonlethal means in support of a battle plan. FS includes FA, NGF, and air-delivered weapons. Nonlethal means are EW capabilities of MI organizations, illumination, PSYOP, and smoke. FS encompasses careful integration of all available attack systems. Synchronization is the key to success. The brigade commander and his FSCOORD must know the capabilities and limitations of the systems available. The brigade commander employs these means to support his scheme of maneuver, to mass effects of fires, and to delay, disrupt, or destroy enemy forces in depth. FS planning and coordination exist at all echelons of maneuver.

FS enhances the maneuver commander's combat power by:

  • Destroying, suppressing, and neutralizing targets. A discussion of these terms begins on page 7-3.
  • Obscuring the vision of enemy forces.
  • Isolating enemy formations and positions.
  • Slowing and canalizing enemy movements.
  • Killing or disabling the enemy at ranges greater than that of direct-fire weapons.
  • Screening with smoke or isolating areas with scatterable mines.
  • Reducing the effect of enemy artillery by active counterfire.
  • Interdicting following threat echelons.
  • Providing shock effect and confusion.


The FS system supporting the armored forces is the collective body of target acquisition and battlefield surveillance; attack systems (lethal and nonlethal) and munitions; command and control and coordination systems and facilities; technical support (meteorological and survey); and the personnel required to provide and manage FS. ADA and engineer assets may also become important components of the FS system.

Target Acquisition Assets

The maneuver brigade or battalion FSO has several FA target acquisition assets available to call upon for use in detection of targets. The FA battalion supporting the brigade may have an attached AN/TPQ-36 (firefinder weapons-locating radar). The AN/TPQ-37 is found at division or corps. If this radar is covering the brigades sector, useful information may be available to S2s. OH-58A/C and OH-58D helicopters may be operationally controlled by the division or DIVARTY. Also, a UAV may be available to the brigade for target acquisition and attack. The brigade FSO and targeting officer request, plan, and coordinate these systems to achieve the commander's intent and scheme of fires. The commander ensures the planning, coordination, and synchronization of these assets occur and that this information is exchanged among his staff. HUMINT from FOs and COLTs should also be considered a valuable source.

Attack Systems

The attack could be lethal or nonlethal (such as smoke, illumination, PSYOP, and offensive EW). Assets normally available at brigade level and below are FA, combat air support, communications jammers (see Section X of this chapter for a discussion of communications jammers), NGF, and attack helicopters.

  • Field Artillery

Normally, one FA battalion is in DS of a committed maneuver brigade. However, more artillery battalions can be assigned the mission to reinforce the DS battalion.

The division commander and his FSCOORD (usually the DIVARTY commander) normally place at least one FA battalion in DS of a committed maneuver brigade. Additional FA units may reinforce DS battalions and/or provide GS reinforcing fires to the brigade based on availability and priorities of the division battle.

The advantages of FA are that it:

  • Adds depth to the battlefield. The FA can strike and destroy the enemy deep before he can influence the battle.
  • Provides first round fire for effect capability.
  • Provides a variety of ammunition and fuze combinations.
  • Provides continuous fire under all weather conditions, day or night, and from all types of terrain.
  • Provides responsive shifting and massing of fires.
  • Provides cross-country mobility compatible with the task force.

The disadvantages of FA are that it:

  • Is an area fire weapon. However, point targets can be destroyed by using terminally guided munitions.
  • Has a limited ability to survive enemy ground, air, and artillery attacks. Weapons can be detected because of their large signature from communications and firing. Therefore, artillery must displace frequently.
  • Has limited ability to bring timely and accurate massed fires on moving targets without detailed coordination and planning.
  • Must be observed fire to be effective.

The maneuver commander must decide what effect FA must have on a particular target. The three types of fires are

  • Destruction. Destruction puts a target out of action permanently. Direct hits are required to destroy hard materiel targets. Usually, destruction requires large expenditures of ammunition and is not considered economical. Thirty percent or more casualties normally render a unit ineffective.
  • Neutralization. Neutralization knocks a target out of action temporarily. It does not require an extensive expenditure of am-munition and is the most practical type of mission. Most missions are neutralization fire. Ten percent or more casualties may neutralize a unit.
  • Suppression. Suppression of a target limits the ability of the enemy personnel in the target area to perform their jobs. The effects of these fires usually last only as long as the fires are continued. Suppression requires a small amount of ammunition; however, since its effects are not lasting, it is unsuitable for most targets.

Indirect fires are divided into two categories:

  • Observed fire. Observed fire is fire for which the points of impact can be controlled by an observer. The most economical use of indirect-fire weapons is attained by ensuring fire is observed when accuracy cannot be guaranteed.
  • Unobserved fire. Unobserved fire is fire for which the points of impact are not observed. It involves predicting where targets are, or will be, and placing fire on them. Use of unobserved fire requires follow-up activity to assess effectiveness. This is the least efficient means of employing fires.
  • Combat Air Support

Air support is provided by the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Aircraft Wing if available. The mission is to support Army operations by providing air interdiction and CAS operations. At the brigade, CAS is the primary support mission. CAS involves air actions against hostile targets that are in close proximity to friendly forces and require detailed integration of each air mission with the fire and movement of friendly forces. The missions are distributed to each corps by the land component commander. The corps commander then further distributes the CAS missions down the Army chain of command. Usually, CAS missions are distributed no lower than brigade. CAS targets are either preplanned or immediate. Preplanned and immediate air requests are discussed in greater detail in Section III, Combat Air Support.

  • Naval Gunfire

The mission of NGF is to assist the ground force by destroying, neutralizing, or suppressing targets that oppose that force. NGF provides limited volumes of FS close to coastal waters. Most cruisers, destroyers, and some frigates carry 5-inch guns with over 21 kilometers of range.

The advantages of NGF are that it:

  • Fires a variety of munitions and fuzes, including HE, WP, and illumination.
  • Has a flat trajectory. This makes naval guns particularly effective against vertical-face targets such as coastal fortifications.
  • Can deliver a large volume of fire in a relatively short period.

The disadvantages of NGF are that it:

  • Has limited calibers available.
  • May have a large range error. Always try to ensure that the ship does not fire toward or directly over friendly troops.
  • Is less accurate in rough seas.
  • Can expend a limited quantity of ammunition. All ships must keep some ammunition to protect themselves from enemy air or surface attacks. Self-preservation and preservation of the fleet are their first priority.
  • Has limited interoperability between the ship and ground force communications. The ship's radios are high frequency (HF) amplitude modulated (AM) and are not compatible with the standard Army frequency modulated (FM) radios.
  • Has a flat trajectory so it is less effective than FA against targets on reverse slopes.
  • Attack Helicopters

Attack helicopter units are not generally attached lower than division level, but they may be placed OPCON to a brigade. Attack helicopters rarely do fire support missions, but are capable of this mission and limited CAS because they are both sensors and shooters. In fact, as a shooter, they possess direct and indirect fire weapons. However, aviation units should be addressed under the "maneuver" section of paragraph 3 in an OPORD and not under the "fires" section. On the basis of the commander's risk-versus-payoff assessment, AH-1 and AH-64 attack helicopter units and the OH-58D (Kiowa Warrior) observation helicopter unit may be tasked to provide FS in certain situations (for example, in deep operations or while supporting ground maneuver forces in OOTW).

The advantages of attack helicopters are that they:

  • Have a variety of munitions including wire guided and laser guided missiles.
  • Are capable of attacking targets within 500 meters of friendly troops.
  • Can fire aerial rockets indirectly at extended ranges.
  • Possess rapid mobility throughout the battlefield.
  • Can destroy point targets and moving targets.
  • Deliver, guide, and help guide smart laser munitions.

The disadvantages of attack helicopters are that they:

  • Are vulnerable to enemy air defense and counterair.
  • Have limited loiter times.
  • Require SEAD and may interrupt FA fires due to the risk to the aircraft.
  • Require large amounts of rocket ammunition for effective attacks if the rockets are fired indirectly.
  • Sacrifice antiarmor systems to permit aerial rocket fire.

Fire Support Key Personnel

  • Brigade Commander

The brigade commander sets the guidance for FS and ensures the DS FA battalion commander (FSCOORD) under-stands what he wants and when he wants it. He ensures his FS plan is synchronized with the maneuver plan and details the mission he wants his FS systems to accomplish. The brigade commander is charged with the following:

  • Ensures his staff comes together to integrate obstacles, R&S, fires, and maneuver.
  • Approves the fires paragraph, high-payoff target list, and attack guidance matrix.
  • Trains commanders to know, understand, and execute targets in their zones.
  • Maneuver Brigade S2

The S2 is charged with identifying, templating, and predicting enemy actions. This allows the FSO to help determine possible artillery COAs as well as preliminary position requirements. The brigade S2 is an integral part of the brigade targeting team. He nominates HVTs, evaluates known and suspected enemy target data, and coordinates attack of targets with EW assets. His R&S plan synchronizes targeting requirements with available collection assets.

  • Maneuver Brigade S3

The S3 ensures the FSE is integrated into the planning process and requests input from the FSCOORD about FS assets. He must fully integrate the FS systems into the plan using the synchronization matrix, DST, and combined arms rehearsals. He is the driving force behind positioning coordination for the FA, and conducts the brigade targeting meeting.

  • Direct Support Field Artillery Battalion Commander

The DS FA battalion commander is FSCOORD for the brigade. He is specifically responsible for all FS planning and coordination for the maneuver brigade. The DS battalion commander provides an assessment of current and near-term capabilities of his unit and of other FS assets supporting the force. Duty location of the DS FA battalion commander at any given time is where he can best execute the maneuver commander's intent for FS. In addition to supporting the brigade, the DS FA battalion commander is responsible for:

  • Training the FS system and his battalion to perform successfully all stated and implied missions and tasks associated with providing FS to a maneuver force.
  • Continuously articulating his assessment of the current and future capabilities and status of all FS assets supporting the maneuver force. This assessment may be obtained from reports or by personal observation, at the FSCOORD's discretion.
  • Providing a knowledgeable, experienced officer as brigade FSO. The FSCOORD must establish a special mentor relationship with this officer since the FSO, in the absence of the FSCOORD, personally represents him to the brigade commander. More than any other officer, the FSO must understand the FSCOORDs intent in supporting the maneuver plan. In addition, the FSCOORD must ensure that his brigade FSO is equally conversant on the FSCOORDs assessment of FS assets supporting the maneuver force.
  • Approving the DS battalion FA support plan.


The brigade FSE is organized with the following personnel:

  • FSO (major).
  • FS plans/targeting officer (WO2).
  • FS sergeant (sergeant first class).
  • Two FS specialists.

When added to the FSE to perform their FS functions, other representatives serve to enhance and speed FS coordination. These representatives may include

  • The ALO, for coordination and employment of Air Force assets in support of the brigade.
  • The NGLO, for coordination and employment of NGF and naval air in support of the brigade.
  • The brigade chemical officer, for deployment of NBC defense and use of chemical, riot control, obscurant, and aerosol agents.
  • The S3-Air, to serve as maneuver assistant S3 and to coordinate employment of combat air with Army aviation and the FSO, ALO, and air defense platoon leader.
  • Other representatives as required, such as LOs of allied forces supporting the operation or Army aviation LO when Army aviation is used as an FS asset.
  • The FSO should have a working knowledge of the duties of the following staff members who may be in the brigade TAC CP.

The brigade ADA battery commander manages the air defense assets in support of the brigade. He may have valuable information on the location of enemy air defense targets, airspace coordination, and the enemy air situation.

The brigade engineer manages engineer assets in support of the brigade operation. He assists in the coordination of the integration of obstacles and fires, the use of all FASCAM, and general mobility and survivability requirements.

The IEW representative from the divisional combat EW and intelligence battalion controls and supervises the IEW assets in support of the brigade. He can provide some targets and information and is the tie-in for the offensive use of jamming. The FSO needs a working knowledge of the IEW assets available from this source to effectively coordinate their use in the attack of targets.



The Air Force provides the Army with five types of air support: CAS, combat air reconnaissance, tactical airlift, electronic combat (EC), and battlefield air interdiction. Brigades allocate CAS and combat air reconnaissance. Airlift, air interdiction, and EC are normally allocated at division and higher.

Close Air Support

CAS is defined as air attacks on hostile surface forces that are in close proximity of friendly troops. CAS can be employed to blunt an enemy attack, support the momentum of the ground attack, or provide cover for friendly movements. For best results while avoiding mutual interference or fratricide, aircraft are kept under "detailed integration" (part of the Air Force's combat air system). The effectiveness of CAS is directly related to the degree of local air superiority attained. Until air superiority is achieved, competing demands for CAS and counterair operations for available aircraft may limit sorties apportioned for the CAS role. CAS is the primary support given to committed brigades and battalions. Nomination of CAS targets is the responsibility of the commander, ALO, and S3 at each level.

Combat Air Reconnaissance

Combat air reconnaissance is designed to furnish timely and accurate information on the location, composition, activity, and movement of enemy forces. The mission is flown by high-performance aircraft at high or low altitude, day or night, and in all weather conditions. The inherent nature of air reconnaissance means that it is best used in support of operations 12 to 24 hours ahead and, for that reason, is usually tasked to division level and higher. The brigade S2 requests combat air reconnaissance in support of his intelligence collection process.


To ensure the proper integration and planning of both ground- and air-delivered FS, the battalion commander collocates his Army and Air Force FS personnel. The FSE from the DS FA battalion and the TACP from the Air Force work closely together to ensure the battalion receives the FS it requires. The duties of the FAC are carried out by the ALO or controller-qualified enlisted personnel assigned to the TACP.

The TACP at battalion level and above advises the Army unit commander on the capabilities, limitations, and employment of combat air. It also calls in requests for CAS and controls it once it comes on station. At battalion level, the TACP consists of an ALO and two enlisted terminal attack controllers. These personnel can operate on foot, from ground vehicles, or from fixed- or rotary-wing aircraft. Although not a part of the TACP, there is one other player in this system. The TAC-A normally operates from a fixed-wing aircraft clear of enemy surface-to-air weapons. He coordinates the aircraft that are engaged in CAS but normally does not provide terminal attack control. In the absence of a TACP, Army unit FSEs can provide emergency requests and control of CAS aircraft.


CAS mission success is directly related to thorough mission planning based on the following factors and considerations.


Does the weather favor the use of aircraft? What is the forecast for the immediate future? Weather is one of the most important considerations when visually employing weapons; it can hinder target identification and degrade weapon accuracy.

Target Acquisition

Targets that are well camouflaged, small and stationary, or masked by hills or other natural terrain are difficult to identify from fast-moving aircraft. The use of marking rounds can enhance target identification and help ensure first-pass success.

Target Identification

This is critical if CAS aircraft are to avoid attacking friendly forces by mistake. It can be accomplished by providing a precise description of the target in relation to terrain features easily visible from the air. Smoke, laser target marking, or other means can also be used.

Identification of Friendly Forces

Safe means of friendly position identification include mirror flash, marker panels, and direction and distance from prominent land features or target marks.

General Ordnance Characteristics

What types of targets are to be engaged, and what are the desired weapon effects?

Final Attack Heading

Choice of the final attack heading depends upon considerations of troop safety, aircraft survivability, and optimum weapon effects. Missiles or bombs are effective from any angle. Cannons, however, are more effective against the sides and rears of armored vehicles.

Troop Safety

This is a key consideration in using CAS. The primary cause of friendly fire on friendly troops is misidentification of those troops as enemy forces.

Suppression of Enemy Air Defense

SEAD is required based on the capabilities of the aircraft and presence of enemy air defense systems in the target area.

Close Air Support and Artillery Integration

Army artillery and combat air power are complementary. Because artillery support is more continuous and faster to respond than CAS, CAS missions must be integrated with artillery so that limited firing restrictions are imposed. The airspace coordination area (ACA) is the FSCM used to accomplish this integration. There are four standard ACAs: lateral, altitude, timed, and altitude and lateral separation.

Other planning factors that must be considered are time available for planning; command, control, and communications; and terrain.

Night Planning and Operation Considerations

In a high-intensity, high-threat environment, the capabilities of CAS aircraft employed at night are very limited. To improve the capabilities of night CAS, the Air Force is acquiring additional night-capable systems such as the low-altitude navigation and targeting infrared for night (LANTIRN) system. Despite the limitations, CAS aircraft still have a few advantages while attacking at night. The most important advantage is the limitation darkness imposes on enemy optically sighted and infrared antiaircraft systems. This is true if they do not have NVDs. Airborne or ground-based illumination can also degrade enemy night vision capabilities.

The two most important requirements of a night CAS operation are identification of the enemy or target and positive marking of friendly unit locations. The ground maneuver commander should rely on his own Army assets to accomplish the marking and illumination requirement. Although flares released from airborne FACs, other CAS aircraft, or "flare ships" can effectively illuminate target areas, ground artillery and heavy mortar-fired illumination are normally preferred due to the continuous capabilities of sustained indirect fire.

Marking friendly unit locations improves joint air attack team (JAAT) and CAS safety and can also provide target area references. Tracers and radar beacons can serve both purposes. If safe separation is a factor, friendly unit marking is critical. Fired into the air, 40-mm illumination grenades and flares are effective, but they may be useful to the enemy as well. Flares used during limited visibility operations can create the "milk-bowl" effect, making it more difficult for a CAS aircraft to find its target. When used under a low cloud ceiling, flares can also highlight the aircraft against the cloud cover. Strobe lights are very good night markers. They are commonly used with blue or infrared filters and can be made directional by the use of any opaque tube. In overcast conditions, strobe lights can be especially useful. Aside from the obvious security considerations, almost any light that can be filtered or covered and uncovered can be used for signaling aircraft.


A JAAT operation is an aviation operation capable of adding to the lethality of combined arms operations. The JAAT may operate either integrated into close operations or it may operate independently to the front of ground units. A JAAT is a highly mobile and lethal tank-killing force that can engage the enemy beyond the range of ground AT weapons.

The JAAT can be employed during the conduct of offensive or defensive operations and is especially useful to counter enemy airmobile or Army operations insertions in friendly rear areas. A JAAT can be employed to accomplish specific tasks during the conduct of combined arms team operations. Offensively, the commander can best use the team against enemy counterattacks or in the exploitation or pursuit role.

The ground maneuver commander has overall responsibility for planning and employing the JAAT. When the brigade commander determines that his maneuver forces need increased combat assets to attack a lucrative target array, he requests attack helicopters and CAS aircraft. When attack helicopters are OPCON to a brigade, the commander, on the advice of his FSCOORD, ALO, and attack helicopter battalion commander, requests CAS aircraft through preplanned or immediate air channels.

Planning a JAAT operation is complex and requires detailed coordination between the brigade commander/S3, FSO, ALO, and attack helicopter battalion commander. See FM 90-21 for further details on JAAT operations. The scheme of maneuver, CAS, and FS must be integrated to the maximum extent possible. Planning considerations include

  • Nature of target.
  • Enemy avenues of approach.
  • FS coordination.
  • Airspace control.
  • Provisions for SEAD.
  • Communications.
  • Current ground tactical plan.
  • Contact points/initial points.
  • Weather.

Although JAAT assets may be requested and planned for, the brigade commander must be prepared to execute his maneuver plan without some or all of the JAAT components.



NGF provides large volumes of immediate FS close to coastal waters. Normally, naval fires are controlled by a NGLO attached to the FSE for a specific operation.


NGF in a US Army unit is coordinated through the air and NGF liaison company. The air and NGLO is a Marine organization which consists of three brigade air/NGF platoons organized and equipped to plan, request, coordinate, and control NGF and naval air. Figure 7-1 shows the organization of the air and NGLO. Each platoon has supporting arms liaison teams (SALT) that are normally provided to maneuver battalions. The SALT consists of two officers and six personnel, who become part of the unit's FSE. The SALT has two firepower control teams (FCT) that may be provided to maneuver companies to request, observe, and adjust naval FS. The SALT officers coordinate all NGF and supervise the activities of the FCTs. In addition, they advise the FSCOORD on all matters pertaining to NGF employment


The NGF liaison team of the brigade operates on the division NGF support net (HF). This net provides communication between the division naval gunfire officer (NGO), the brigade NGLO and the ship(s) in support of these units. This net is used for the day-to-day planning between units. No direct naval communications exist between the FCTs and SALTs. FS or maneuver nets must be used to communicate between these two teams. Requests for FS are transmitted to the air and NGF team (at brigade or division), which forwards it to the ship. The NGO at division monitors and/or coordinates as necessary. This coordination is much the same as for FA engagement.

When NGF is available and air and NGLO personnel are not available, units may request NGF through the FS net to the division where the NGO is located with the division FSE. To increase response time for adjustments, Army personnel may interface with the NGF unit if the following equipment is available:

  • NGF ground spotter net (frequency 2-30 MHz HF).
  • Compatible equipment:
    • Army: GRC-106, GRC-193.
    • USMC: PRC-104, GRC-193, MRC-138.
    • Air Force: PRC-104, MRC-107/108, GRC-206.

A complete understanding of the characteristics of NGF is essential to its successful use in ground support.


NGF ships are assigned the missions of DS or GS in the same way as artillery is organized for combat.

Direct Support

A ship in DS usually supports a battalion. This ship can deliver both planned and on-call fires. On-call fires are normally requested and adjusted by the FCT of the supported unit or by an air spotter.

General Support

A ship is usually placed in GS of a brigade or division. The fires for the GS ship are conducted as directed by the NGO of the supported unit.

The primary purpose of a DS ship is to allow the supported commander to add depth to the fires of his artillery without the necessity for requests to higher echelons.



Combat engineers are an integral part of the combined arms team. Engineers adapt terrain to enhance the battle effectiveness of fire and maneuver. The orientation of engineers in support of a brigade is forward; their efforts are designed to support forward fights.


Combat engineers provide five primary engineer functions:

  • Mobility. They enable the commander to maneuver tactical units into positions of advantage over the enemy.
  • Countermobility. They reinforce terrain with obstacles to hinder enemy operations and maximize the effectiveness of direct and indirect fire.
  • Survivability. They reduce the effectiveness of enemy weapon systems by developing protective positions in favorable locations.
  • General engineering. They provide the force construction, LOCs maintenance and repair, airfield damage repair, battle damage restoration, and minefield clearing needed to sustain operations.
  • Topographic engineering. They provide the commander with terrain analysis to aid in the planning and conduct of combat operations.


The heavy division has one organic divisional combat engineer brigade. Each committed maneuver brigade normally has an engineer battalion in DS and habitually associated. The actual level of engineer support is adjusted based on METT-T analysis.

Combat Engineer Battalions

Divisional Combat Engineer Battalion

This unit is organic to the engineer brigade with one engineer battalion per maneuver brigade. The engineer battalion performs engineer battlefield functions for their supported maneuver brigade in the heavy division in the AO, focusing on mobility, countermobility, and survivability. Each divisional engineer battalion has three combat engineer line companies, a headquarters company, and a support platoon (see Figure 7-2).

Corps Combat Engineer Battalions

These corps units may work within the brigade's AO. Units, if assigned to the brigade, work under the control of the brigade engineer.

Combat Engineer Companies

Divisional Combat Engineer Company

The divisional company has two line platoons and an assault and obstacle platoon. The assault and obstacle platoon has two assault sections and one obstacle section used to augment the line platoons (see Figure 7-3).

Corps Combat Engineer Company (Mechanized)

This corps unit has two line platoons and an assault and obstacle platoon. The squad vehicle is an M113 APC. The corps combat engineer company (mechanized) only has six armored combat earthmovers (ACE), whereas the divisional company has seven ACEs.

Separate Brigade/Armored Cavalry Regiment Engineer Battalion

The separate maneuver brigade has an organic engineer battalion. The separate brigades engineer battalion organization is the same as the divisional combat engineer battalion.


The DS engineer battalion commander is responsible for all engineer planning and coordination for the maneuver brigade. The engineer battalion commander provides an assessment of current and future capabilities of his unit and other mobility/survivability assets supporting the brigade. The brigade engineer positions himself where he can best accomplish the intent of the brigade commander. In addition to supporting the brigade, he is responsible for:

  • Training his battalion to accomplish all assigned and implied tasks associated with supporting the brigade.
  • Updating and articulating his assessment of the current and future capabilities and status of all mobility/survivability assets.
  • Approving the mobility/survivability support plan.


Command and Support Relationships

Engineer platoons work most efficiently under the control of an engineer company, and engineer companies work most efficiently under the control of an engineer battalion. This permits close control and the most productive use of all engineer assets. The engineer commander continuously monitors the progress of assigned tasks and shifts elements where the need is greatest throughout his AO. On the other hand, the maneuver commander at the lowest level gets greater responsiveness when the engineer company is under his control. He determines the task organization and gives missions directly to the engineer elements under him. The decision whether to provide engineers in a command or support relationship to a subordinate maneuver headquarters is an important one. The higher maneuver commander must weigh his need for flexibility and responsiveness and his option to task organize engineer forces against the most efficient use of scarce engineer assets.

Organizational Principles

The following principles apply when employing combat engineers:

  • Task organize the engineer force to the requirements of the mission.
  • Give priority to the main effort (mass the engineer effort). Avoid piecemealing engineers to provide every unit a "slice." Provide the main effort with enough engineer support to succeed.
  • Integrate engineers with maneuver and fires.
  • Do not hold engineers in reserve (that does not mean that the reserve maneuver force should not have engineers).
  • Augment engineers logistically to support the plan. Engineers may need additional time, materiel, and transportation assets to execute the maneuver plan.
  • Plan to exploit local resources. Commercial equipment and materiel may be used to support military mobility, countermobility, and survivability operations.

Engineers Fighting as Infantry

Any commander who controls engineers in a command relationship, unless otherwise prohibited, has the authority to employ them as infantry. Because of the long-term impacts, the commander employing an engineer unit as infantry has the responsibility to notify the next higher headquarters of his action. In his decision to do so, he must carefully weigh the gain in infantry strength against the loss of engineer support. Because of the long-term impact, the commander employing an engineer unit as infantry has the responsibility to notify the next higher headquarters of his action.



The brigade chemical section consists of the brigade chemical officer (captain) and a chemical operations NCO (sergeant first class; MOS 54B40). Equipment in the NBC section includes appropriate doctrinal manuals, map boards, overlays, a work station, hazard templates, and status charts.


Organization of deployed brigades may be somewhat different. However, their functions and duties are similar to those of a divisional brigade. The brigade chemical officer works as an assistant operations officer in the operations section of the brigade. Both the officer and NCO are assigned by modified table of organizations and equipment (MTOE) to the headquarters company or troop. Through staff visits, coordination, and inspection of subordinate units, the brigade chemical section is the focal point for NBC operations. This is accomplished in garrison as well as in the field.


During field operations, the brigade chemical personnel provide 24-hour NBC operations capability. A work station is designated in the TSOP for the main CP where chemical information is to be processed and disseminated. The chemical officer is available to cover shift changes within the main CP and provide chemical continuity for tactical operations. However, the section is organized into two distinct yet flexible shifts. In addition, upon movement of the main CP, one person can move to the TAC CP to continue the battle or move with the TAC CP in anticipation of a main CP jump, allowing for one person at each site. It is not recommended to leave these shifts split due to the possibility of overburdening.

Brigade chemical personnel are instrumental in the planning cycle of all tactical operations. They assist the S2 in the IPB process and integrate and synchronize NBC defense and smoke operations to support courses of action. Once the plan is developed, they ensure execution.

Duties and responsibilities of chemical personnel in the brigade main CP are listed in the following paragraphs. These are not all-inclusive and are manipulated to meet changing situations. In addition to these specific chemical duties, chemical officers and NCOs also perform a myriad of operational duties according to their abilities and unit needs.


Monitor, evaluate, and determine training needs and provide technical training; plan and coordinate training; conduct NBC battle focus; evaluate status of training. Aid in professional development of subordinate chemical personnel.


Provide NBC expertise as evaluator; analyze results and present facts; develop solutions to correct deficiencies.


Consolidate and provide data to command group; assist S4 with NBC stocks and resupply; monitor contingency stocks.


Account for NBC expenditures; follow up requisitions and maintenance; balance equipment on hand and requisitions.


Write and update NBC annex to SOP; maintain current publications; remain proficient in current doctrine; maintain liaison with subordinate units and higher headquarters.

Field Operations

Execute NBC warning and reporting system; maintain current operations overlay; post NBC attack overlay; with S4, develop contaminated MSR overlay; maintain decontamination overlay and post NBC unit symbols; conduct NBC vulnerability analyses; maintain radiation status charts; recommend MOPP levels and employment of chemical assets.


When planning offensive or defensive operations, the commander must recognize that NBC weapons can significantly affect his scheme of operations. All threat forces train extensively for operations on a battlefield where NBC weapons are used. They carry a complete array of individual and vehicle NBC protective gear. Some threat forces have armored vehicles that provide pressurized protection for crews. Most threat forces integrate smoke into their scheme of maneuver.

During movement to contact operations, the primary emphasis is on the most trafficable terrain. Aggressive reconnaissance to identify enemy locations and areas of possible NBC contamination must be conducted. Through the use of chemical personnel at brigade level, provisions are made to overcome these obstacles and facilitate movement.

In nuclear warfare, a formation with two or more task forces abreast and a reserve may be adopted in the attack when a successful penetration has been created by other forces. This allows the brigade to attack on a broader front, presenting a less lucrative target. Offensive forces also face a variety of obstacles in defeating the enemy. Actual obstacles constructed forward of, between, and within strongpoints are designed to canalize friendly forces into areas favorable to the defending force or to cause forces to mass and create a profitable target for conventional and/or nuclear fires. When heavy OPFOR are in the defense, the use of chemical agents and smoke can be expected to complement their barrier plan.

Plans must be developed for delaying the concentration of forces and rapid dispersal after mission accomplishment. Reducing vulnerability and the period of risk are major considerations while forces are concentrated. Planning for the use of routes to, on, and through objectives must be complete, and movement must be controlled.

Before and during either the offensive or defensive phase of combat operations, the chemical officer continuously monitors the biological and chemical situation and event development. His IPB analysis factors the weather, terrain, enemy biological/chemical employment doctrine, biological/chemical sensor capabilities and limitations, and field behavior of biological/chemical agents. He uses the information reported by the corps biodetection company and/or other battlefield sensors to initiate the analysis process. The chemical officer analyzes and evaluates biological/chemical surveillance information and, based on this development of the situation, works with the S2 and S3 to assist in the preparation of recommended COAs and the commanders decision-support graphics.


Properly planned and executed smoke operations become a combat multiplier when they increase survivability of friendly forces and degrade enemy command, control, communications, and intelligence capabilities. Specifically, smoke can be used to:

  • Deny the enemy information.
  • Reduce effectiveness of enemy target acquisition means.
  • Restrict nap-of-the-earth and contour approaches for aircraft.
  • Disrupt enemy movement, operations, and command and control.
  • Create conditions to surprise the enemy.
  • Deceive the enemy.
  • Weaken the thermal effects of nuclear weapons.

The brigade employs two categories of smoke - hasty and deliberate. Hasty smoke is employed for short-term requirements with a minimum of planning. It may be delivered by all smoke assets, but is normally delivered by artillery, mortars, and smoke pots. Deliberate smoke is characterized by integrated planning. It is used over extended periods to cover friendly activities throughout an entire operation. Although it is normally employed to conceal friendly units, it may also be used to blind enemy units. Deliberate smoke is normally produced by mechanical generators and smoke pots. Either type of smoke can be used to deceive the enemy.

Smoke has four general applications on the battlefield:

  • Obscuration smoke. Obscuration smoke is employed on or against the enemy to degrade its vision both within and beyond its location.
  • Screening smoke. Screening smoke is employed in friendly AOs or in areas between friendly and enemy forces to degrade enemy ground and aerial observation and defeat or degrade enemy electro-optical systems. Screening smoke is employed to conceal ground maneuver, breaching and recovery operations, key assembly areas, and supply routes.
  • Protecting smoke. Protecting smoke is used to defeat enemy guidance systems or to attenuate energy weapons on the battlefield. For example, smoke can be used to degrade the effects of lasers, high-power microwaves, particle beams, and non-nuclear, directed electromagnetic pulse.
  • Identification or marking smoke. Marking smoke is employed to identify targets, supply and evacuation points, and friendly unit positions. It also provides for prearranged battlefield communications.

Smoke planning is a part of the overall tactical plan. Each echelon of command plans for employment of smoke to support its operations. The brigade S3 has primary staff responsibility for planning smoke operations with the advice and support of the FSO, S2, S4, chemical officer, and staff weather personnel.

In the offense, smoke can be used to deny the enemy information about the size and composition of friendly forces and location of the main attack. A smoke screen can be placed either to the front or to the flanks. When the enemy cannot be screened effectively, obscuring smoke may be required. To support offensive operations, smoke generators remain mounted on vehicles.

Smoke use will support any type of defensive operation. In the defense, use smoke to support maneuver by concealing, disengaging, and moving forces; by isolating and attacking echelons; and by concealing engineer operations. Use smoke to provide additional firepower by disrupting enemy command and control and forcing the enemy to mass, thereby creating the lucrative target. As in offensive operations, the main focus of smoke operations is to defeat enemy target acquisition and reconnaissance and to conceal maneuver forces.

Use smoke to deceive the enemy regarding intentions of friendly forces. Deception operations can make valuable use of smoke assets by making the enemy commit forces to the deception and not to the main attack. The key to a successful smoke deception is to make the enemy believe the smoke support is for the main effort.



The air defense CS for a brigade is provided using a combination of BSFVs, Avengers, and HMMWV-mounted Stinger crews. The brigades mission and the division commanders air defense priorities are used by air defense battalion commanders to determine the air defense allocation for a brigade. Early warning is provided by the air defense sensors and the division early warning net.

Allocation of ADA assets within the brigade depends on the brigades mission. Based on the brigade commanders intent, scheme of maneuver, air IPB, and air defense priorities, the ADA commander may recommend retaining all assets under brigade control or allocating assets to subordinate units.

The air defense battalion organic to an armored division consists of a headquarters and HHB, three BSFV batteries, and one Avenger battery. Total equipment in the battalion consists of 24 BSFVs, 6 BFVs, 40 HMMWV-mounted MANPAD teams, 24 Avenger fire units, and 6 ground-based sensors.

A BSFV battery's organic equipment is 2 platoon leader BFVs, 8 BSFVs, and 10 HMMWV-mounted Stinger crews (see Figure 7-4).

An Avenger battery consists of 6 platoons of 4 fire units for a total of 24 fire units.


Senior Air Defense Officer

The units senior ADO is a special staff officer during the planning process. Based on the maneuver commanders intent, scheme of maneuver, and air IPB, he develops air defense priorities. The maneuver commander must then approve these priorities before task organizing air defense assets. The brigade must provide the ADO with the following information.

The S2 provides information on the ground and air threat and the units PIR. The S3 provides the unit OPORD or OPLAN and TSOP. This includes overlays; preplanned locations; commanders intent and concept of operation and follow-on operations; commanders priorities; what units expect heavy ground and air action; what assets are most critical, most vulnerable, and easiest to recover or replace; special or modified brevity or operations codes, key words, or emergency procedures; points the supported unit commander wants covered in daily briefs; SOI; resupply; the supported units MOPP level; and how changes are disseminated.

The S4 provides the following resupply information: Class I pickup points, times, and feeding cycles; Class II resupply of NBC suits, gear, and batteries; Class III refueling locations and times; Class V arrangements for supply of specialized ammunition; Class IX procedures for ordering and receiving parts and locations and times for pickup. He also determines how resupply is handled and if the air defense unit has been considered in the planning; who maintains air defense unit's non-system-peculiar equipment; and where they are located.

Air Defense Artillery Battery Commander

The ADA commander has two roles: commander of ADA forces and brigade air defense coordinator. He recommends active, passive, and other combined arms air defense measures in the air defense estimate. After approval and staff coordination, he develops the air defense annex to the maneuver plan. He coordinates with ADA elements at higher and lower echelons and with adjacent units. He recommends to the ground commander use of other combat arms for air defense based on careful target value analysis (TVA) and estimate of the air threat. He is also the early warning link to brigade. He can thus monitor the early warning net and relay information to the brigade main CP officer. This information can be passed to maneuver forces over the command or operations and intelligence net (see Figure 7-5).

Air Defense Fire Coordination Team

Each brigade has an air defense fire coordination team consisting of a staff sergeant, sergeant, and driver in an M577 vehicle. Their job is to provide the staff with planning input for air defense employment and tactics, advice on passive air defense measures, and guidance on use of combined arms for air defense. In addition, they provide ADA unit dispositions and missions, changes in established rules of engagement, and near real-time information on air battle intelligence.


When determining the allocation of air defense assets, the air defense commander considers the factors of METT-T, criticality, vulnerability, recuperability, and threats and weighs them against the list of air defense priorities. He then develops an initial allocation to protect these priorities. The advice the air defense commander gives to the maneuver commander can make the difference between adequate and inadequate air defense protection.

If early warning sensors are attached to the battery, the battery commander coordinates with the brigade S3 and emplaces them along high-speed air avenues of approach in the brigade. This is done IAW the air defenses battalion sensor plan. During offensive operations, the battery commander will possibly receive up to two sensors to be employed in the brigade zone. Early warning sensors in defensive operations are not normally assigned a DS mission in a brigade, but are assigned a GS role to support the divisions defense operation.

Active Air Defense

Active air defense is direct action taken to destroy enemy air platforms or reduce their effectiveness. A large volume of fire from small arms (M16, M60, and caliber .50) can destroy attacking aircraft or disrupt their attack. Tank main guns and Bradley 25-mm guns may also be used to engage attacking aircraft effectively. The M830A1 multipurpose AT round is the most effective round to use when

engaging enemy aircraft with a tank. This round has a switch to change it from a ground role to an air role. A proximity switch senses an air target and detonates near the target. General rules for engaging aircraft are found in FM 44-64. Units must also train to take advantage of the terrain to reduce their likelihood of being attacked by air.

Passive Air Defense

Passive air defense measures include all measures other than active taken to reduce the effectiveness of air attack. There are two types of passive air defense measures: cover and concealment and damage limiting measures. Use cover and concealment to avoid being detected by the enemy. Damage limiting measures are those actions you take to avoid damage from air attack such as dispersion and protective construction.

To successfully counter the air assault, you need a well-synchronized combined arms plan that is based on understanding the threat's air assault doctrine. There are four steps in counterair assault planning. First, understand the threat's air assault doctrine. Determining the threat's capabilities, objectives, time, size, and depth provides a framework for understanding air assault doctrine. Second, identify the likely air assault objectives. An objective may be outside your sector, but the air route and landing zone (LZ) could be within it, or vice versa. Third, identify air avenues of approach and potential LZs. Work backwards from the objective to determine the most likely air avenues of approach, and several potential LZs. Fourth, have a combined arms plan that addresses battle command, observation, and fires. The plan should include actions to destroy the air assault during air movement, during the assembly movement at the LZ, and during actions on the objective.


EW is an essential component in winning the information battle. EW helps the commander seize and maintain the initiative by providing real time knowledge of the enemys intent, disposition, and readiness. EW defends friendly information systems by degrading or neutralizing the effects of enemy EW activity. EW denies the enemy effective use of his information systems by degrading or destroying his communication and targeting systems.

EW includes three major components: EW support, electronic attack, and electronic protection. EW is integrated into unit operations regardless of the type of unit, level of war, or the scope of the mission. It complements other destructive systems in the context of overall strategy. When EW is synchronized into lethal fires, the friendly commander gains agility by slowing the reaction time of his adversary.

The division MI battalion directly supports the commander and G2 by providing dedicated multidiscipline battlefield intelligence and EW support to the division and its subordinate maneuver brigades. At this echelon the focus is on the intelligence products and services needed by commanders to plan, fight, and win battles at the tactical level. In addition to the organic intelligence support provided by the MI battalion, the brigade will receive a DS company from the MI battalion.

The brigade S2 is the commanders focal point for intelligence. He assists the brigade commander in identifying intelligence requirements that support the brigade mission. He also provides information to the commander for making tactical decisions by fully employing brigade IEW assets as part of the intelligence BOS. Through the S3, he directs the activity of the DS company. The DS company provides multidiscipline intelligence support to the brigade commander.

The MI battalion commander attempts to establish and maintain a habitual relationship between the brigade and designated DS company. DS MI company capabilities include:

  • Automated multidiscipline intelligence and combat information processing.
  • Analytical control team (ACT).
  • UAV control.
  • Interrogation of prisoners of war (IPW) and limited document exploitation.
  • Counterintelligence support.
  • Command and control of organic and reinforcing IEW assets.
  • JSTARS coverage and product dissemination.

The separate brigade S2s responsibilities are broader than those of the divisional brigade S2 and can be more reasonably compared to the responsibilities of the division G2. Although the unit is smaller and the mission more limited, the separate brigade S2 performs all functions performed at the division level.

The separate MI company mission focuses on developing, assessing, and disseminating the combat information and intelligence required by the combat commander to accomplish his mission. GS MI company capabilities include:

  • Integrated collection management, technical control, ASAS and reporting.
  • Automated multidiscipline intelligence and combat information processing, display, and dissemination.
  • IPW and limited counter-intelligence support.
  • Ground-based signals IEW.
  • UAV close-range launch, collection, recovery, maintenance and control.
  • Intelligence special purpose communications.
  • JSTARS coverage and product dissemination.

The separate MI company's structure includes the following:

  • Company headquarters.
  • Three collecting and jamming (C&J) platoons.
  • Commo section.
  • IEW platoon.

The separate brigade may receive reinforcing IEW assets from within the corps or from echelons above corps.


The analytical control team (ACT) expands the mission, functions, and resources formerly found in the IEW support element (IEWSE) and MI company team. The ACT is organic to the direct support MI company and normally collocates with the company command post. Unlike the ACE at higher echelons, the ACT is not under OPCON of the brigade S2. Under the direction of the DS MI company commander, the team provides the brigade S2 with automated intelligence processing, analysis, and dissemination capabilities. In addition, the MI commander uses the ACT to support intelligence collection and reporting of subordinate elements. The ACT uses its all source analysis system (ASAS) work station to access databases, reports, graphics, and other products at higher echelon organizations, primarily the divisions ACE.


The counterintelligence team provides counterintelligence support to the division to protect its operations from the intelligence threat, and from subversion, sabotage, and terrorism. The counterintelligence teams of the MI battalion are normally deployed in the brigade and division rear areas. With corps augmentation, the counter-intelligence team or teams may be placed in DS or even attached to the brigade to perform specific counterintelligence missions for a specific period of time.

Interrogation teams usually operate from the divisions EPW collection point. As with the counterintelligence teams, given corps augmentation, interrogation teams can be in DS or attached to the brigade for specific missions. Although not usually a timely source of information, interrogation reports can provide the brigade commander with answers to PIR that may not otherwise be collected through electronic or visual means.


GSR teams normally are attached to the maneuver brigade to provide a 24-hour battlefield surveillance capability. They may be employed on patrols or at OPs and are equipped with NODs. They can also be used with thermal sights on various weapon systems to give gunners assistance in target acquisition. They can be employed near the FLOT, forward of the FLOT, or be used on the flanks in a screening role. They can be used to surveil gaps between units or to observe rear areas at possible drop zones (DZ) or LZs.

Normally, the teams provided to the brigade are attached to subordinate battalions. The brigade may retain control of some of the GSR assets to give the S2 more direct access to the collected information in the rear areas.

Detailed information on all MI assets operating in the brigade area may be found in FM 34-80.



MP operations play a significant role in assisting the brigade commander to meet the challenges associated with combat. MPs provide support through their four primary battlefield missions.

Battlefield Circulation Control

MPs support the maneuver and mobility functions by expediting forward and lateral movement of combat resources. The use of MPs in the battlefield circulation control (BCC) role might include:

  • Route R&S. This would include continually monitoring the condition of MSRs; identifying restricting terrain, effects of weather on routes, damage to routes, NBC contamination, and the presence of the enemy; and identifying alternate MSRs, when required. MPs should report all observations, maintain surveil-lance, and develop the enemy situation.
  • MSR regulation enforcement and security. This would include enforcing the commands highway regulation and traffic circulation plans to keep MSRs free for resupply operations. To expedite traffic on MSRs, use the following measures: traffic control points (TCP), roadblocks, checkpoints, holding areas, defiles at critical points, and temporary route signs. MPs should also gather information on friendly and enemy activity by use of mobile teams.
  • Refugee and straggler control. Refugee control operations are the responsibility of G5/S5 and/or host nation authorities. MPs should assist, direct, or deny the movement of civilians whose location, direction of movement, or actions may hinder operations. In the area of straggler control, MPs performing their BCC mission would return stragglers to military control. Mobile patrols, TCP, and checkpoint teams do this as part of their day-to-day operation, and traffic control.
  • Police intelligence collecting and reporting. In carrying out their support of the brigades maneuver and mobility, MPs collect police intelligence (both tactical and criminal) on a continual basis. While conducting area reconnaissance, MSR regulation enforcement, and security operations, MPs routinely interface with soldiers, local police, and the indigenous population as well as gather information on the terrain, weather, and activities in the brigade AO. MPs represent a HUMINT source that should be integrated into the brigades overall intelligence collection effort.
  • Information dissemination. MPs provide information to soldiers, units, and other road users in the course of all MP missions. MPs inform personnel moving through their AO of recent enemy activity there. They provide directions. They also give locations of supply points and medical facilities. MPs also provide information about MSRs, critical points, contaminated areas, and holding areas, as well as the general location of major units.


MPs assist the commander in addressing security and force protection in the rear area by conducting security operations that may include:

  • Area security. This mission would assist in gaining information to guard against unexpected enemy attacks in the rear area. MPs monitor likely avenues of approach and LZs or DZs to give early warning of rear area enemy activity. They provide coverage of NAIs within the brigades rear area. MPs also have the capability to recon routes and bridges and provide detailed overlays.
  • Security of designated critical assets. This might include security of key personnel and facilities. This could be done by operating a mobile screen. This standoff protection detects and defends against the threat before it can move within direct fire range of facilities. MPs may provide protective services to key personnel visiting the brigade area. This may be accomplished by using access control measures in the CP, by providing close-in personal security, or by using around the clock static and in-transit security measures. MPs may provide convoy security for units transporting critical supplies to tactical forces.
  • Base response force operations. MPs help apprise the commander of enemy activity in the rear. MPs are trained to defeat threat levels I and II as well as to delay a level III threat and hand over that battle to a tactical combat force (TCF).
  • Area damage control. MP units take measures to support area damage control before, during, and after hostile actions or natural and man-made disasters. MPs provide support that includes, but is not limited to, BCC, refugee control, straggler control, NBC detecting and reporting, and some local physical security when required.
  • NBC detecting and reporting. MPs have the capability to detect, monitor, and report the presence of NBC hazards. They do this in the course of performing any of their MP missions.

Enemy Prisoners of War Operations

MPs support tactical commanders by undertaking EPW operations. They relieve the tactical commander of the need to use his combat forces to do this. MPs in DS of brigade units and those assigned to separate brigades establish an EPW collection point (normally in the BSA). EPW operations include

  • EPW collection operations. MPs collect EPWs and civilian internees from combat units and from other MP units in an AO. MPs make these collections as far forward as possible.
  • EPW evacuation operations. MPs ensure that EPWs are evacuated from collecting points and holding areas as soon as possible.

Law and Order Operations

MPs conduct these operations when necessary to extend the combat commanders discipline and control. This would include law enforcement and criminal investigations. Close coordination with host-nation civilian police can enhance combating terrorism (anti-terrorism and counterterrorism measures), law and order, and control of civilian populations. Any one of the above missions can easily require an entire MP platoon and more; therefore, it is important that the factors of METT-T be considered when using the provided MP support. It is best to keep MPs mobile, acting as the eyes and ears of the commander. During offensive operations, MPs best support the brigades maneuver and mobility by facilitating route movement and refugee/straggler/EPW evacuation and control, and by controlling road traffic. In the defense, MPs are best employed in the area security role to enhance the brigades maneuver and mobility. It is important that MP resources be synchronized and weighted in support of the brigades main effort just as any other asset. This will help maximize MP resources allocated to the brigade.

The corps MP brigade normally provides an additional MP company to augment each division. Dependent upon METT-T, this support may not be provided down to brigade level. Likewise, dependent upon METT-T, the brigade could receive support ranging from squad size up to platoon or company size (from the corps MP company). Regardless of the size of MP support provided, their employment should maximize their capabilities to operate as dispersed, but connected (by communications), teams and/or massed elements as dictated by METT-T or OCOKA.

Figure 7-6 shows the structure of an armored division MP platoon from which the divisional brigade receives support.

Commanders must realize that MP support may not be available or adequate to perform all necessary MP battlefield missions simultaneously. Commanders must therefore prioritize those missions and designate other soldiers within the brigade to assist in their execution. These MP missions may include:

  • Route reconnaissance, selection of routes/alternate routes, convoy escort, and security of LOCs.
  • Control of roads, waterways, railroad terminals, or other critical choke points in MSRs.
  • Security of critical sites within the brigade AO.
  • Refugee control in close cooperation with host-nation civil authorities.
  • Collection and escort of EPW.


The MP platoon providing DS to the maneuver brigade has an AO coinciding with the brigades boundaries. The platoon headquarters locates within the BSA. To accomplish its missions, a DS platoon must have at least three squads. One squad operates the EPW collecting point. The two remaining squads provide BCC and area security within the brigade rear.

Platoon assets performing EPW operations locate in the BSA. The remainder of the platoon is dispersed throughout the brigade rear. The DS platoon conducts BCC and area security within its resources. They also receive and hold EPWs for evacuation to the division rear.

The MP platoon might also be utilized to support river crossings or passages of lines. Detailed information on MP supporting these missions can be found in FM 19-4.


The MP platoon supporting a separate brigade can perform any of the four MP battlefield missions. However, its resources are quite limited.

Support to the platoon and to the provost marshal section is provided by the brigade HHC. The platoon must compete with other brigade HHC assets for priority of repair for weapons, vehicles, and communications equipment.


The provost marshal has a small section that operates out of the brigade main CP. The section is not organized for split-cell operation. Corps augmentation is not provided on a routine basis and must be requested.

A separate provost marshal cell within the brigade HHC serves as the command and control element for the platoon.

The MP platoon supporting a separate brigade has four squads instead of the three found in the division platoon. One squad operates the EPW collecting point while another provides security at the brigades main CP. The remaining two squads conduct BCC and control and area security operations throughout the brigades rear area. Figure 7-7 shows the structure of an MP platoon for a separate brigade.

Command and Control

The command and control of MP units supporting separate brigades extends downward from the tactical commander. The separate brigade provost marshal has OPCON of separate brigade MP assets the way the division provost marshal has OPCON of division MP assets. The brigade provost marshal also has OPCON of any MP assets that are provided from corps. The platoon leader directs the execution of his platoon's missions.

Staff Relationships

The provost marshal advises the commander of a separate brigade on matters pertaining to MP operations.

Support Relationships

The support relationships of MP units supporting separate brigades differ with the type of brigade to which the platoon is assigned. In an armored separate brigade, the MP platoon employs all of its squads to provide GS to the entire brigade AO. Thus the support relationship of an MP platoon supporting an armored separate brigade and that of an MP company supporting a light infantry division are the same. The number of squads employed vary with the brigade's size and the needs of the brigade's missions. However, establishing the support relationship (DS or GS) of MP assets assigned in support of the brigade remains within the purview of the brigade commander.


Signal support to the divisional brigade is provided by a communications team from the division signal battalion. The small extension node (SEN) team provides MSE service for telephone and packet switch access. Telephones, terminals (DNVT/DSVT), facsimiles, and automated terminals/systems are brought and hooked up by the unit. The unit SO has supervisory responsibility over the team and incorporates them into the units planning process. Normal signal relationships are in effect per FM 24-1. Restoration of lost or down communications is everyone's responsibility until communications are restored.

The division signal battalion is tasked with providing a communications grid to ensure area coverage for MSE communications. The brigade S3, BSO, and divisional signal unit must work together during the planning phase of the operation to ensure communications are effective. As the digitized battlefield evolves and digital information transfer becomes more prevalent, the planning of communications becomes even more critical.

The packet switch capability that the signal battalion and the supporting SEN team provides is critical to hooking the brigades automated systems into the packet switching network. The network is a large mobile local area network (LAN). When hooked to the network via coaxial cable, the unit is capable of conducting large data transfer actions in seconds that a few years ago took hours in the tactical environment. Packet switch is also referred to as the tactical packet network (TPN) that overrides MSE.

Brigade external communications may consist of the following:

  • Area common user (ACU) network. ACU is composed of MSE and possibly some multichannel tactical satellite (TACSAT) assets. The network carries both voice and packet (TPN) data. The network may span several continents or be very small.
  • TACSAT. TACSAT communi-cations network has both single channel and multichannel and may be employed separate from the MSE network.
  • Divisional or task force FM and AM voice nets.
  • Commercial telephones, leased lines, host-nation communications, portable phones, car phones, pagers, beepers, and commercial hand-held radios may possibly be used depending on the threat during an operation.

Brigade internal communications consist of the following:

  • ACUs, MSEs, and TPNs.
    • Circuit switched.
    • Packet switched-
      • * ATCCS devices on TPN.
      • * User owned automation devices.
  • Combat net radio (CNR).
    • FM radio (single channel ground and airborne subsystem [SINCGARS]).
    • Single channel TACSAT.
    • AM radio, IHFR.
  • Automated systems in brigade hooked to MSE/TPN network.


The organic signal section of the brigade HHC provides the following communications services to the brigade CPs (see FM 11-43):

  • Network management for all systems in the brigade exchanging digital information.
  • Frequency and spectrum management for all systems in the brigade AO.
  • Limited FM radio maintenance.
  • FM radio range extension capability.
  • Evacuation of COMSEC material.
  • Communications training and training facilitators.


The BSO is responsible for many aspects of communications planning to support the brigades operations. The two most important areas of communications planning for the brigade are ACU and CNR.

The key to successful ACU support is keeping the supporting signal battalion in the planning loop on what the brigade communications requirements (include slice) are for each mission and include any special requirements during each phase of an operation. When and where service is required must be planned, coordinated, and then synchronized with all of the other BOSs in the brigade AO.

CNR is just as important as ACU in planning. With a new generation of radios (SINCGARS) and the capability to conduct frequency hopping operations, a number of variables must be met for successful operations. Frequency hopping communications must be planned and practiced/rehearsed prior to execution to ensure success.

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