EVACUATION FORCE OPERATIONS
When the advance party rejoins the main body, the evacuation force consists of a command and control element, a marshaling force, a security force, a logistics element, and an administrative element (Figure 5-1). It may be as small as a company team or larger than a brigade task force, depending on the number of evacuees, the number of evacuation sites and assembly areas, and the tactical situation. Fiery Vigil, conducted in the Philippines in l991, illustrates a large-scale evacuation operation. Units from all services using several means of transportation evacuated DOD personnel from multiple locations.
This chapter discusses a task force in a complex operation involving multiple assembly areas and deployment of a marshaling force. An operation of this level is most likely to occur in a permissive or an uncertain environment. It is easily modified to fit a more intense, hostile environment. Depending on the number and location of evacuees, assembly areas and marshaling forces may still be necessary. The size of the security force will be increased substantially and the ROE maybe relaxed somewhat in anticipation of a higher-level threat. Rapid evacuation, always a goal, becomes critical in a hostile environment. In-country processing may be curtailed substantially, limited to ensuring eligibility for evacuation, hastily inspecting for weapons and contraband, and manifesting evacuees.
The command and control element is the evacuation force headquarters. It plans for and directs the evacuation. It has three major components (Figure 5-2). The first is the command group, which includes the commander, the executive officer, the sergeant major, and drivers or radio telephone operators.
The second major component is the staff element. It comprises the primary and special staff sections which run the operations center and the processing center. The functions of these first two command and control components are similar to those of a unit headquarters under normal cimcumstances and require no discussion. The staff section should include officers of other services or liaison officers to ensure effective coordination and communication throughout the operation.
If the evacuation force commander remains in the embassy, the liaison section works under his control. Otherwise, the section works under the direction of the senior military staff officer present. Liaison personnel need excellent and redundant communications with the evacuation force, capable of both secure voice and data transfer. To prevent compromising critical information or jeopardizing couriers' safety, couriers should be used only as a last resort.
The marshaling force is the evacuation force's operational element (Figure 5-3). All other elements exist primarily to support this element. It moves to and secures predesignated assembly areas, brings evacuees to them, and escorts them to the ECC. The size of the marshaling force depends on the number of sites and evacuees. The operations center may use the marshaling force headquarter as a subordinate control element if the force is too large to control with one headquarters.
The marshaling team is the execution element of the marshaling force. One marshaling team controls each assembly area and evacuates the citizens in that area. Each team has a command group, search squads, and a security squad. An infantry rifle platoon will typically be the base unit for the team augmented by personnel with special skills.
The command group consists of the team commander, a processing section, and an interpreter. It plans and directs the team's movement from the ECC to the assembly area, the security of the assembly area, the search for and collection of evacuees, and the return to the ECC.
Search squads find the citizens at their individual residences or through points of contact. They then escort them to the assembly area.
The security squad provides security to the team during movement and in the assembly area. The security squad must use all active and passive measures available to protect the team.
Each marshaling team should have an interpreter and, if possible, a guide. SOF teams may be attached with their organic loudspeakers, radio, television, and print media capabilities to assist the marshaling teams. This would facilitate communications with the HN general populace and noncombatant evacuees. In addition, SOF further support both security and search missions with teams familiar with the region, culture, and language.
Each marshaling team requires sufficient transportation to move to its assembly area quickly and to transport the evacuees and their security back to the ECC.
The best solution is for all transportation requirements to be organic to the deploying force. While it is possible that transportation can be acquired from the HN through contractual arrangements made by the embassy, the environment may be such that any arrangements with the HN may disappear at any time.
The security force is the third major element of the evacuation force (Figure 5-4). This organization has two missions. First, it secures the ECC perimeter. It may also secure the actual evacuation site (airfield, landing zone, dock). Second, it provides a reaction force to respond if a marshaling team or other unit encounters difficulty and requires assistance.
The perimeter security mission is standard for any military unit. It involves establishing defensive positions at intervals along the perimeter of the ECC, controlling the entrance to the site, and establishing an early warning so that a surprise assault does not breach the perimeter. The force must deploy with adequate barrier material and nonlethal crowd control equipment and munitions to secure the ECC and protect it from hostile activities.
Inherent in the perimeter security mission is the requirement to control all civilian and military personnel inside the perimeter, a function the military police performs well. If the security force has an MP unit, the commander gives it specific responsibility for controlling personnel within the perimeter.
The reaction force is the reserve of the evacuation force. It responds to any crisis, although the commander is most likely to use it if the perimeter of the ECC is violated or a marshaling team encounters more trouble than it can handle.
For example, a situation might develop in which HN citizens attempt to enter the ECC or disrupt its operations. The security force commander tries to avoid a confrontation between US military forces and HN civilians. The evacuation force commander should ask that HN police or military respond to the civil disturbance or that a HN official attempt to placate the civilians. If these measures fail, the commander may be forced to use his troops in a crowd control role. During Operation Sharp Edge, serious confrontation was avoided through the display of disciplined US Marines and the threatened use of riot control agents. Tactical PSYOP teams can significantly increase the team's crowd-control capability.
The reaction force's size depends on several factors. First, planners consider its varied missions and the situations it might have to respond to at any given time. For instance, several marshaling teams out at once would require a larger reaction force than only one.
Another factor is the HN's desire and ability to provide military and police forces to control disturbances. If the police and the military are still responsive to the government, and its leaders are willing to commit these forces to control disturbances involving Americans, the need for a reaction force diminishes. The number of evacuation sites needed is another factor. Each evacuation site has a reaction force.
Planners also consider the transportation the reaction force needs to cover its assigned areas when determining its size. The farther the force must go to respond to a unit in difficulty, the less time it has to respond to other crises. If the reaction force travels by helicopter, its response time is less than if it travels on foot or by truck.
Finally, when designing the reaction force, planners consider the size of the JTF reaction force and the travel time required to employ it. If the ISB is close, the evacuation force's reaction force may be minimal.
The reaction force must always have dedicated transportation to deploy at a moment's notice. The best transportation provides the most flexibility-ideally, both trucks and helicopters. Like the marshaling force, the security force either brings its transportation with it or uses HN transportation.
The security force then has three functional components: the command group, the perimeter force, and the reaction force. The evacuation force commander may designate a battalion as the security force, providing a command structure for the force. For this mission, a military police element and truck or helicopter transportation may be task-organized to support the battalion.
The logistics element of the evacuation force provides logistics support for the operation. The logistics support force is normally limited to the minimum essential support for a short-duration mission. The HN may provide some support, but for the most part, the deploying force plans to be self-sustaining. Although the commander may try to procure supplies and services locally to complete the mission, his unit can depend on only what it takes on deployment.
Logistics units supporting NEOs are primarily organic to the supported force and augmented by specific capabilities as required. Supplies and services are limited to those that sustain life and support the mission. A detailed logistics estimate assists in determining these requirements. Augmentation forces provide specific medical, transportation, supply, service, or maintenance requirements that logistics units organic to the deploying force base can not provide.
The administrative element is responsible for the smooth operation of the CC processing center (Figure 5-5). Normally, a processing center has six stations: reception, registration, debriefing, medical, embarkation and comfort. The evacuation force S1 is usually the officer in charge. Each station may have to operate 24 hours a day.
Soldiers trained as personnel clerks and supervisors work best for the reception and registration stations. A representative from the consular section should be stationed with the administrative element to aid in processing third country nationals and US citizens whose eligibility is questionable. The reception station should have male and female military police assigned to assist with inspections, and escorts assigned to assist personnel movement of evacuees through the processing center.
Medical officers and enlisted personnel operate the medical station and tend to special medical needs. Usually, logistics personnel operate the comfort station and a tanker/airlift control element (TALCE) runs the embarkation station. Attached counterintelligence or civil affairs teams operate the debriefing station. If the evacuation force commander determines that time and space allow for evacuation of pets, veterinary personnel with must be on hand to ensure pets are properly immunized for return to the United States and for passage through intermediate safehavens. If pets cannot be transported or left with friends, euthanasia maybe the best alternative, also requiring veterinary personnel.
The administrative element should include chaplains and chaplains' assistants. Their skills are important at the ECC in ministering to the needs of distraught evacuees.
The previous section detailed the organization and mission of each major element in the evacuation force. This section discusses actions the force takes after it lands to prepare the marshaling force for deploying its teams to the assembly areas.
The marshaling force commander first obtains the information collected by the advance party. Significant information includes an updated list of evacuees' names and addresses, specific medical conditions that will affect the evacuation effort, current maps, current developments in the political situation, and sources of help should a confrontation develop. Marshaling teams then use this information as they determine their routes, link up with available interpreted, and ensure transportation is on hand.
The evacuation force commander and his staff confirm the suitability of routes to and from each assembly area. They may have had insufficient information available at their home base to plan the routes in detail. Some planned routes may be unusable. Engineer, MP, or aviation assets are ideal for hasty route recons.
The commander considers several factors when selecting these routes. Air movement of marshaling teams and US citizens is best because it involves minimal confrontation and requires less time. However, the commander must also plan an overland route to use in case air operations are unsuitable.
Aerial routes must avoid known or suspected air defense weapons systems, areas where overflight might provoke a reaction from the HN (such as a military post or a sensitive installation), or built-up areas where overflight could cause unnecessary stir. Aircraft should use several routes to enhance security and reduce signature. If possible, aviation missions should be flown at night, using night vision devices, to reduce risk of detection.
Conducting the evacuation during darkness helps avoid unnecessary publicity and reduces the likelihood of confrontation. The HN government will probably have a curfew in effect, and the local citizenry will be less active. With less vehicular traffic, marshaling force vehicles will likely avoid traffic congestion. The disadvantage to using darkness as a cover is that marshaling teams may get lost or have greater difficulty locating evacuees, particularly if they have no guides or interpreters.
If the unit moves in daylight by vehicle, the routes should avoid densely populated areas, main traffic arteries, and potential road blocks (such as construction sites, railroad crossings, and narrow bridges). The operations center coordinates the routes so that vehicles from separate assembly areas do not intermingle. Again, the use of multiple routes enhances security and reduces signature.
Once the commander selects the routes, the operations center staff informs the marshaling force commander. He in turn passes them to the marshaling teams on strip or topographical maps that exhibit enough detail to be useful. If possible, marshaling team commanders recon the routes by helicopter prior to movement.
The marshaling force ensures it has all the equipment required to conduct the evacuation. When determining the weaponry to bring, it considers the ROE and limitations on the use of deadly force. If the need for force arises, the marshaling force will likely need more than individual small arms. A well-armed force is a greater deterrent to aggression. Crew-served weapons, squad automatic weapons (SAWs), light antitank weapons (LAWs), and grenade launchers should be considered part of the force's equipment.
Use of riot control agents (CS), other than on US military installations, requires approval from the President, through the tasking headquarters and the COM. If authorized, CS should be used instead of live ammunition whenever possible. Each person in the unit should have a protective mask. Measures to protect evacuees in the case of CS use include planning its use in relation to prevailing winds; moving evacuees quickly to limit potential contact with CS; and stocking additional protective masks at assembly areas for evacuees' use while awaiting movement to the ECC.
Each vehicle should have at least one-man portable radio. The marshaling team commander needs at least two radios: one for his internal net, and one for the marshaling force net. He will find secure voice capability desirable.
Special communications requirements in built-up areas and over extended distances may inhibit the use of line-of-sight communications systems. The signal officer must plan for the use of high-frequency nets for communications on the move and SATCOM nets for static connectivity.
Evacuees may need rations or medical attention. The marshaling teams must be prepared for emergencies and for the possibility they cannot return to the ECC immediately. The teams must bring water, rations, and emergency medical supplies as well as blankets, extra clothing, infant supplies, and male and female sundry packs. Supply personnel consolidate these requirements in emergency kits, replenishing them as the teams use them.
Teams that include a combat lifesaver or combat medic can provide enhanced first aid or limited medical support if needed.
The marshaling force locates evacuees at or near their homes and moves them to the ECC. In its most complete form, the operation has several marshaling teams under the control and direction of a marshaling force headquarters. Leaving the ECC, the teams proceed by predesignated routes to their respective assembly areas; secure them to use as bases of operation; dispatch elements to contact, identify, inform, and return the evacuees to the assembly areas; escort the evacuees back to the ECC; and turn them over to ECC personnel for transportation out of the country.
Although the marshaling force staff can locate near the ECC operations center, it may operate more effectively closer to the assembly areas. This is particularly true if the assembly areas are far from the ECC and the unit lacks a communications relay system.
The operations center controls and plans the operation, so it receives situation reports from they marshaling force headquarter. The marshaling teams make as many trips as necessary until they service all assembly areas.
If the commander decides not to send out search squads, the marshaling teams remain in their respective assembly areas, and the evacuees come to them. After waiting a suitable amount of time, the marshaling team either escorts the evacuees to the ECC, or sends out search squads to contact US citizens that have not appeared.
Key planning for the marshaling force includes choosing the best method to transport the marshaling teams and the evacuees. Options for moving marshaling teams include helicopter, airborne insertion, vehicle, and foot. If volunteered, vehicles belonging to the evacuees may be used to move both the marshaling teams and evacuees to the ECC.
Marshaling teams moving on foot must reduce their vulnerability as much as possible. A close tactical formation reduces the chance of separation and enhances the commander's control of his unit if someone tries to disrupt the march.
Vehicular movement is preferred to foot movement but requires more coordination. Drivers must be oriented to primary and alternate routes and provided accurate maps. Local drivers may be used. In some situations, their experience with the road network may aid timely evacuation. Movement by convoy requires security and sufficient radios to maintain control. A traffic circulation plan is needed to identify main and alternate evacuation routes, critical points, and checkpoints. This will simplify reporting. Safe houses or areas should be identified for drivers and passengers if vehicles break down.
If local drivers are not available, unit personnel may drive the marshaling teams and the evacuees after being briefed on the HN's traffic laws. Convoy driving presents some difficulties even when drivers know the laws. In some countries, unfamiliar laws amplify the difficulties and make an incident more likely.
Each team should have an attached mechanic with sufficient equipment to make emergency repairs. If a vehicle breaks down, the marshaling team commander decides whether to attempt repairs or to abandon it. The mechanic can expedite repairs and provide the commander an expert opinion. The commander must not allow anyone to remain with the vehicle without adequate security.
The marshaling force staff monitors the progress of the teams and reports their locations to the operations center. Teams report reaching and departing all checkpoints. They render additional reports in code when they secure their assembly areas, when they are prepared to return with the evacuees to the ECC, and at any other time the commander considers appropriate.
Team commanders use a similar reporting system to control the movement of their search squads. Such a system, improperly prepared and coded, can add to the mission's OPSEC by reducing radio transmission time. Using specially prepared, coded execution checklists is ideal. This allows the team commander to pinpoint immediately the exact location of each squad if needed.
The marshaling team has two basic functions once it arrives at the assembly area. It secures the area itself, and it assembles all the evacuees inside this secured location and begins processing them for evacuation.
The marshaling team occupies the assembly area just as any tactical unit clearing and occupying any assembly area within the constraints of the tactical environment and ROE. Team actions should include occupation of an objective rally point; leader's recon; briefing; and movement to, occupation of, and securing of the assembly area. Once the commander places his security, no one should be allowed inside the perimeter without an escort. An interpreter, if available, remains with the team commander where he can respond to inquiries from the local populace. Security personnel maintain contact with the command group by using short-range radios or telephones.
NEOs must be treated as tactical operations, even in a permissive environment. The team commander must remember that the population, or elements within it, may turn hostile, and he must be able to defend the assembly area if it is attacked. Consequently, the area must be defensible and the security squad and those search squads present must be in defensible positions.
A member of the embassy staff (PSO or RSO) generally chooses the assembly area. If it cannot be suitably defended, the team commander should direct evacuees to an appropriate place nearby. The team commander should attempt to get approval of the new location from an embassy representative. If this proves impossible, the commander is still responsible for protecting his force and its charges. As a minimum, he should inform the marshaling force commander of his decision.
The responsibilities of search squads demand well-trained and well-disciplined soldiers capable of dealing with civilians who will often be under much stress. Commanders must ensure that soldiers assigned to search squads and their leaders are competent, calm under stress, and fully able to handle civil-military interactions. Because the operation is so complex, this section describes in detail the actions of the search squad, fully realizing that the commander may choose not to use them if he deems their use might provoke hostilities against US forces and or evacuees.
As soon as possible after arriving in the assembly area, the marshaling team commander dispatches his search squads, assigning search responsibilities based on the embassy's most current evacuee list. If the ambassador and his staff have successfully implemented the evacuation plan, all US citizens know that evacuation is necessary and are prepared to act accordingly. Inevitably, some people will not have heard, and search squads must locate and accommodate them. In this situation, PSYOP loudspeaker teams and civil affairs direct support teams can be invaluable. The force commander must, however, weigh OPSEC and force protection requirements against notification capabilities.
If all evacuees have been informed, the team commander may not have to dispatch search squads. Evacuees may come to the assembly area on their own if conditions allow for their free movement.
The search squad proceeds to the addresses it has for the potential evacuees. If the individual or family is not present, the squad leader tries to determine their location by asking the neighbors. He may leave instructions in a visible place, but he must consider the effect these instructions will have if they fall into unfriendly hands. If the individual or family is present, the squad leader proceeds as follows.
Each search squad leader has a complete list of the instructions he must give to each individual. If possible, the embassy advance party obtains sufficient copies of the instructions so that the squad leader can supplement his oral briefing and give a written copy to each potential evacuee.
Once he makes contact the squad leader gets one of two responses. Either the individual or family will go, or he or they will stay. If someone decides to remain in the HN, the squad leader repeats the ambassador's warning that the situation is extremely dangerous and the embassy can not assist evacuees if it closes.
If this warning has no effect, the squad leader leaves the address of a point of contact (if available) and asks the individuals to sign a waiver certificate. This shows that the US government has given them the opportunity to depart under US protection and they have refused the offer (see Figure 5-6). If they will not sign, the squad leader makes a note of the time, date, and circumstances surrounding the offer. He should also remind US government employees and their dependents that they may not disregard an evacuation order. (Certificates of waiver may be locally produced by the evacuation force.)
If the evacuees decide to go with the marshaling team, the search squad leader explains the conditions of the evacuation. Again, if possible, he gives them a written document expressing these conditions.
Baggage limitations (usually one 66-pound bag per person) are usually indicated on the embassy evacuation notice. The marshaling team must use common sense in making allowances for evacuees with infants and for other special circumstances. The squad leader must also be thoroughly briefed on what to do with pets. If time and space allow, the commander may authorize evacuation of pets. If not, pets should be left with friends. The evacuation force commander may also have arranged for euthanasia as an alternative. If pets are to be evacuated, owners should bring immunization records to speed processing.
Each evacuee must have documentation that provides positive identification. Normally, documentation includes any or all of the following: passport, consular report of birth, DOD-dependent identification (ID) cards (to include multitechnology automated reader cards (MARCs), or seaman's papers. Unless the embassy has specified otherwise, the search squad should not delay operations due to lack of documentation. Questionable people should be identified, segregated, and moved to the processing center with other evacuees. Processing center personnel may have to delay individuals or separate families if they cannot provide positive identification.
Embassy personnel make the final determination prior to evacuation.
Evacuees must surrender all contraband prior to departure. All nonprescription controlled substances (such as narcotics and amphetamines) and drug paraphernalia, weapons, explosive devices, and national treasures are considered contraband.
Evacuees wishing to go with the search squad must act quickly. While they are preparing their belongings for departure, the squad leader records their names so that he has a record of who his team brings back to the assembly area.
US citizens wishing to be evacuated may travel on their own to the ECC. If they drive their cars to the ECC, they may park there and turn the keys over to an embassy official. This should be discouraged, however, for security reasons. The search squad leader notes the individual's name and indicates his intent is to report directly to the ECC. The team commander reports this information to the processing center officer in charge (OIC) when the marshaling team returns to the ECC.
The search squad leader asks each evacuee if he knows of other US citizens in the area. If evacuees identify citizens who are not on the list the embassy provides, the squad leader notes the names and addresses and reports them to the marshaling team commander who reports them to the operations center.
The search squad leader or marshaling team commander may be asked to evacuate alienor HN personnel such as savants or close friends. These requests may come from US citizens speaking in their behalf or directly from the individuals seeking evacuation. Regardless of the source of the request, the commander has authority to evacuate only US citizens or those on the list provided by the embassy. He must refer any questionable individuals to an embassy official.
US policy is that no one may grant asylum within the territorial jurisdiction of another power. The on-site commander, regardless of grade, may grant temporary refuge under conditions of urgency to save a person from imminent danger. Because such an action may result in retribution against US forces or citizens, he must weigh his decision to grant refuge against the potential danger. US embassy representatives must assume responsibility for these individuals as soon as possible.
The search squad proceeds, in turn, to each assigned location and then returns to the assembly area. To preclude infiltration at the assembly area, the search squad leader vouches for each evacuee. He then turns the evacuee over to the marshaling team command group for inprocessing. The commander may send the squad on another search mission or incorporate it into the perimeter security force.
While the security force prepares positions and search squads deploy, the team command group prepares to take in evacuees. Teams must not spend significant amounts of time compiling administrative data. They must, however, identify each evacuee entering the area and identify medical problems and take appropriate actions (such as administer first aid or arrange for medical evacuation (MEDEVAC)). Individuals arriving at the assembly area on their own must be given the same information the search squads have already provided their groups.
The command group of the marshaling team conducts the processing at the assembly area. A senior noncommissioned officer (NCO) and several assistants can easily do this while the remainder of the team secures the area.
The team must positively identify each individual from a passport or other official documentation. The security team should allow no one into the assembly area without positive identification as an individual to be evacuated. The team commander resolves any discrepancies by having the individual provide reasonable proof that he is a US citizen. US embassy personnel are the final arbiters in disputes. Individuals in question must be segregated and returned to the ECC with the marshaling team where the commander turns them over to embassy personnel.
Embassy-designated wardens can help the team commander immensely. They are personnel who have knowledge of the individuals in the area and can verify their status. They may even have completed processing packets for each evacuee already prepared. This will speed up processing. Unfortunately, the warden system is not foolproof wardens may arrive at the assembly area too late to be of help.
Some problems with US citizen identification may be avoided if each marshaling team has a complete list of evacuees' names. The team commander can then check to see if an evacuee from another area reported to his location. The commander must remember, however, that embassy personnel must make the final decision to deny evacuation to anyone who is not on the list. The only exception will be someone posing a direct threat, as discussed later in this section.
Evacuees must submit to individual inspections before entering the assembly area. This is to ensure their safety as well as the marshaling team's. Amnesty boxes may be provided. The commander should avoid strip searching or other physically intrusive forms of search unless he determines that such procedure are necessary for security and safety. He may want to use metal detectors (for personnel and baggage) and dogs (for baggage only) to speed up the inspection, but without demeaning the evacuees. Military police are trained for this type of operation. Inspectors must remember that the evacuees are human beings, mostly US citizens, and under extreme personal stress. They should be treated with the utmost courtesy.
Conflicts may occur between individual evacuees and members of the marshaling team. Disputes may arise over the amount of baggage, speed of the operation, confiscation of contraband, or deportment of specific individuals. Marshaling team members must remember they have no legal jurisdiction or control over US citizens. They cannot force any civilian to do anything against his or her will unless the civilian is threatening them with bodily harm.
The relationship between the military escort and the civilian evacuees is one of voluntary cooperation. If a citizen becomes disruptive, the team commander gives him the choice of conforming to the rules or departing to fend for himself. The presence of military police, well-versed in the rules of engagement and crowd control, helps to avoid or mitigate such conflicts. The team commander should make allowances for the despair felt by the evacuees, but he cannot endanger the welfare of the other evacuees or his command. He should document the incident and obtain written statements from witnesses.
Personnel arriving with more than the allowed baggage should be counseled about baggage restrictions. As long as sufficient transportation is available, they should be allowed to carry it with them to the processing center, where the embassy can arrange for disposition of excess baggage. This would be an ideal time to mark or tag all baggage for future identification. If evacuees are to be separated from their baggage during transport, the team commander may want to inventory pieces and provide receipts. The simple two-piece tag system used by airlines is one method. Unless an evacuee declares something of high value in his baggage, the commander should not be concerned about contents beyond inspections already discussed. Evacuees with high-value items should be warned that under no circumstances will the government assume responsibility for them. The commander may desire to obtain a written statement to this effect.
The next step in processing evacuees is to record the requisite information on each evacuee. A detailed history is not necessary, but the information recorded must be scrupulously accurate. The command group enters the individual's name, age, sex, citizenship, identification type and document number, and next of kin or permanent home address in an alphabetically tabbed logbook. Figure 5-7 offers an example. The command group handwrites all entries accurately and legibly. The laptop or notebook computer is an alternative for inputting evacuee information into a database for quick retrieval upon return to the ECC. The information must be backed up to ensure it can be retrieved later.
Once the team makes the proper entries in the log book, the commander briefs the evacuees. He gives them an updated situation report, the anticipated schedule for the remainder of the evacuation and any other useful information. He strives to make them feel as comfortable as possible. He cautions them against distracting the security personnel by engaging them in conversation, and he asks them to remain in the most protected portion of the assembly area.
The marshaling team attends to evacuees with special needs first. Medical personnel determine if medical problems require immediate evacuation or special transportation. If so, the commander reports the emergency and acts to move the ill or injured evacuee to the ECC.
Once the marshaling team accounts for the evacuees on its list, its commander requests permission from the marshaling force commander to close out the assembly area and return to the ECC. The marshaling team usually follows the same procedures when returning to the ECC that it followed when it conducted its earlier movement. The commander may adjust to take advantage of more convenient transportation. Helicopter or vehicular transportation is more desirable than foot marches, especially with a large number of civilians with varying physical capabilities.
When the team arrives at the ECC, it moves directly to the processing center. The commander turns his charges and log book over to the reception station OIC for the final processing and embarkation. If his team is assigned another assembly area, he obtains another log book.
Once the marshaling team brings the evacuees to the ECC, processing center personnel assume their complete control. The operations center continues to coordinate all the operation's requirements, while the processing center evacuates the citizens to the safehaven.
The evacuation force executive offilcer (XO) oversees, and has supervisory responsibility for the staffs of, both the processing and operations centers. However, if this stretches his resources, the commander may designate a subordinate headquarters (company or battalion) to operate the processing center.
Processing center personnel move the evacuees from the ECC to the safehaven. Operations in the processing center are similar to preparation for overseas replacement (POR). Evacuees are screened to certify identification and to ensure documentation is accurate and information current. The center must have a representative from the embassy's consular affairs office to assist in determining eligibility of questionable evacuees.
Evacuees either arrive with a marshaling team or report directly to the ECC. If they arrive without escort, processing personnel verify their identity and eligibility for evacuation prior to entry into the ECC. The evacuees then proceed through the six stations.
The six main stations in the processing center are reception, registration, debriefing, medical, embarkation and comfort. An aircraft hanger or similar building is ideal for the processing center. Figure 5-8 shows the flow of evacuees as they go through the stations of a typical processing center.
As evacuees arrive at the ECC, the reception station's OIC collects all available information from the marshaling teams who escorted them. Information from their log books helps to reduce processing time. The evacuees then move into a holding area where they are welcomed and briefed. They are organized into flight-sized groups (family integrity is maintained where possible with children remaining with their parents),inspected for any contraband, and provided an escort to take them through the remaining stations. Unaccompanied children should be identified to an embassy official. Ideally, they will be escorted by a designated guardian or an embassy official. Older children may travel unaccompanied, but younger children must be escorted until turned over to a legal guardian.
The initial briefing should provide evacuees sufficient information to allay their fears about the evacuation process. The briefing should--
- Give a brief summary of reasons for the evacuation.
- Explain the stations through which the evacuees will process.
- Explain the need for an inspection of personnel and baggage.
- Explain that communication means are limited and not for personal use.
- Explain what support to expect at the safehaven.
- Explain what to expect upon arrival in the United States (or other terminal point).
- Explain what the repatriation center will provide.
- Offer an opportunity to ask questions.
- Provide an amnesty opportunity for any contraband.
A guide then escorts those evacuees who have been briefed and inspected through the remaining stations. After he presents them to the embarkation station OIC, the escort returns to the reception station for further duties.
Evacuees suspected of being enemy agents or criminals should be separated from the others and escorted under guard to be further screened by military intelligence (MI) personnel in the debriefing area. At the conclusion of the interrogation, the evacuees are allowed to continue their processing set free, or placed into a detainees' area.
At the registration station, personnel complete the administrative paperwork each evacuee must have to leave the country. The evacuee proves his identity, signs a register, and completes an evacuee identity card. Evacuees prove their identity by using passports, dependent ID cards, seaman's papers, or anything that unquestionably establishes US citizenship. If time allows, each evacuee should be photographed to provide a visual reference. Cameras and film should be brought for this. Only the COM or his representative can determine not to evacuate someone.
Foreign nationals must either be on the list of potential evacuees provided by the embassy or post, or secure approval from the US embassy, before they can continue processing. Registration station personnel should supervise foreign nationals until they are cleared for evacuation or escorted outside the ECC. If available, military police should be stationed here to react to any hostile incidents.
Each evacuee provides information to the registration station clerk concerning his background and personal history. This is recorded in duplicate in an evacuee register (Figure 5-9).
One copy is sent to the operations center, the second is carried by the escort until his group reaches the embarkation station. The embarkation station uses the evacuee register for final manifesting purposes.
Each evacuee fills out an evacuation information card listing next of kin information and any unusual circumstances or requirements that might affect the health and safety of himself or others (Figure 5-10). Each evacuee is given a copy of DD Form 2585, Repatriation Processing Center Processing Sheet, which they must complete before arrival at the repatriation center. (See Appendix E.)
If transportation is scarce, the evacuation force commander establishes evacuation priorities based on information provided by the US embassy and on his own requirements. Chapter 1 outlines the standard listing for evacuation priorities. A supplementary priority system using colored priority cards can speed processing. For example: red cards identify evacuees requiring immediate medical care and selected VIPs; white cards, US citizens; blue cards, foreign nationals; and green cards, all others.
The debriefing station is optional, depending on the situation and time available to the evacuation force. It should be manned by counterintelligence or civil affairs teams.
Each evacuee is debriefed to glean information that may affect the evacuation force, its mission, the evacuees, or other US government activities in the country. The commander's critical information requirements (CCIR) dictate specific items of interest. Other areas might include--
- Movements and activities of belligerents.
- Locations of other potential evacuees.
- Changes in political situation.
The medical station provides emergency medical treatment and immunizations required by the safehaven country (time and resources permitting). Every evacuee processes through the station, but the medical officer examines only those with medical problems. Each individual describes his state of health and indicates whether he needs emergency treatment. Serious medical cases have priority for evacuation but must complete processing. Relatives or friends can provide the information, but the medical officer ensures that no seriously ill, injured, or wounded persons leave his station until they finish processing and are medically stabilized for evacuation.
Personnel at the embarkation station manifest and organize the evacuees into flight order, issue boarding passes based on flight order, and verify baggage tags. The escort of each arriving group gives the evacuee register copies and the evacuee information cards to the station OIC and returns to the reception station. When preparing the final manifest, the embarkation station OIC ensures that information on the manifest agrees with information provided on the evacuee register.
Boarding passes reflecting the appropriate chalk order for departure eliminate confusion when boarding the aircraft and also identify members of a particular chalk order. Personal baggage is checked to ensure there has been no mix-up.
The embarkation station also provides a new escort for each chalk. This escort accompanies the group to the comfort station and is the point of contact for all questions. He maintains positive control, keeping the group together in a designated area until the transport is ready to receive them. He also coordinates evacuee logistics requirements with the comfort station OIC to make the evacuees' waiting time as comfortable as possible.
The comfort station is a temporary waiting area for the evacuees until they board the evacuation aircraft. For long waits, the station must have sufficient shelter, cots, blankets, latrines, water, infant supplies, and food to make the evacuees' stay as comfortable as possible and provide some degree of privacy. The logistics officer may choose to include male and female sundry packs. Chaplains and their assistants may be available to counsel evacuees suffering from stress. Transportation assets should be available to transport evacuees and their baggage to the point of embarkation. If pets are to be evacuated, pet areas should be identified.
The operations center is the hub of activity for the evacuation force in the HN. The evacuation force commander controls and directs the entire operation through his center staff.
The evacuation force XO usually controls the center, which has representatives from each primary and special staff section participating in the operation. Under normal conditions, these sections are personnel, intelligence, operations, and logistics, with communications, movement control, Air Force and Naval liaison, and other appropriate sections performing special missions. Figure 5-11 shows a typical operations center.
Each evacuation operation has its own unique characteristics, and each commander tailors the operation to suit the situation. Therefore, the following information is not detailed and is intended only as a guide. The advance party will have coordinated with the embassy to identify facilities for the center before the main body arrives. The signal representative from the advance party will have arranged for and installed telephone lines. Each staff section will have sent representatives to prepare its respective area. If these activities are not finished when the main body arrives, they continue concurrently with the preparation and dispatching of the marshaling forces.
The XO has the supervisory responsibility for the ECC. He approves its location and ensures that the processing center and operations center work closely together. He mediates and resolves all disputes. Considering his responsibilities, he divides his time between the processing center and the operations center.
The operations officer organizes, establishes, and coordinates the operations center. The center's operations section has several missions. It maintains an accurate and timely situation report that describes in detail each unit's progress during the evacuation. The section requires each subordinate element to submit reports any time its status changes. It plots each unit's location on its situation map and provides the commander with a comprehensive update as he desires.
The section maintains the evacuation force staff log or the significant events log to record the operation's history. It uses its own input and information provided by the other staff sections.
The section also prepares plans for the evacuation force to use if hostilities occur or other circumstances develop that might cause the evacuation force to assume a more tactical posture. The section updates this plan as the situation changes so that it can be quickly implemented.
The operations section maintains radio and telephone communications with the JTF headquarters, embassy, security force, and marshaling force and is the net control station for the command net. It also maintains radio communications with the airborne relay station (if used), ISB, and safehaven. The tasking headquarters may arrange to augment the evacuation force with additional primary and back-up long-range communications equipment.
Depending on the situation, the communications facility at the embassy can provide alternate communications capability. Within the operations section, the PSYOP officer establishes a PSYOP emergency action center to handle any crises requiring PSYOP resolution. He also provides liaison to coalition forces, if any.
This section should also be capable of preparing for and coordinating fire support activities in a hostile or uncertain environment. Both Navy and Air Force assets must be planned for, if available.
The intelligence officer provides the evacuation force with all required intelligence information, both prior to and during the mission. This involves beginning the analysis process at the homebase and continuing the process while at the NEO location. In country, the intelligence section operates in two places, the embassy and the operations center. The key mission for the intelligence officer is to collect sufficient information to identify the threats and challenges to the NEO posed by the operational environment and hostile or disruptive elements. Any steps he takes to increase the information flow or otherwise keep the intelligence efforts fully engaged helps him achieve this goal and improves the likelihood of success for the operation. (The mission of the intelligence personnel at the embassy is described in Chapter 3.)
The intelligence officer uses the intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) process to aid in analyzing the environment and the threat to assist in military decision making. The IPB is a continuous process which consists of four steps:
- Define the battlefield environment.
- Describe the battlefield's effects.
- Evaluate the threat.
- Determine threat courses of action (COAs).
Define the Battlefield Environment. The intelligence officer first determines the area of interest. Within the nation where noncombatants will be evacuated, he must--
- Identify the locations of groups that might influence operations.
- Determine which countries could be used as an ISB or a safehaven to shelter evacuees.
- Determine which countries might assist or hinder the operation.
- Identify the operational time sensitivity.
- Fully identify the scope of the demographic situation that has prompted the evacuation to include religious, economic, and legal situations.
- Give increased emphasis to the structure, disposition and effectiveness of the HN government and military, as well as of those groups that may try to disrupt the NEO.
- Population status overlay encompassing all areas included in the evacuation, the population broken down by political affinity or regional majority sentiment, such as progovernment, proinsurgent, anti-American, or neutral.
- Logistics sustainability overlay for the area of operations identifying available sources of food and potable water, and consolidation points that are defensible and equipped with power, water, heat, and restrooms.
- Lines of communication (LOC) overlay that identifies all routes into and out of the evacuation area, to include major streets, highways, railways, subways, waterways, and airfields.
- Key facilities and target overlay depicting all mission essential facilities to the operation and potential targets for the hostile factions.
- Standard terrain analysis using the military aspects of terrain-routes and areas that offer good observation for friendly security forces, and potential obstacles, choke points, and ambush sites.
- Standard weather analysis for the area of operations, considering effects of weather on hostile groups, trafficability, air operations, seaborne operations, communications, and choice of evacuation facilities.
- An activities matrix to connect individuals or groups with specific events or types of activity.
- A coordinate register to record activities in the vicinity of key facilities, such as embassies and consolidation and embarkation points. Detail will vary, but one square kilometer grid areas are normally used.
- A situation map to depict all relatively permanent information dealing with threat groups, such as headquarters and training bases.
- An incident map to provide historical cumulative information on trends and patterns of threat activity.
- Journals, order of battle workbook and order of battle files, tailored to the NEO mission, to record and maintain data pertaining to threat organizations.
- A permissive or uncertain NEO in which the host nation is either actively supporting or neutral towards the evacuation.
- An uncertain or hostile NEO with intentional interference by hostile groups. The intelligence officer considers areas where interference is likely, such as checkpoints, consolidation and embarkation points, and choke points. Additionally, he analyzes types of probable interference and tactics by group; for example, ambushes, car bombings, or riots. He develops alternative routes and COAs for these interference points and tactics.
- Any type NEO where threat groups maintain control or influence over HN support personnel or activities, such as police, dock or airport workers, transportation personnel, telephone or radio employees, and food or water suppliers.
- Any type NEO where unintentional interference by indigenous personnel or nongovernment organizations (NGOs) could affect the evacuation such as United Nations or CARE (Cooperative for American Relief for Everywhere) relief convoys, news media, and refugees.
The intelligence officer also controls the collection and dissemination of intelligence. As in any operation, the standard collection plan format is a valuable aid, but if PIR and intelligence requirements (IR) are many and varied, then the dispersed battlefield collection plan format may be more suitable for the operation. Regardless of format used, written collection plans help focus collection efforts toward answering mission essential PIR and IR.
Collection sources and agencies for the NEO include those used in conventional military operations as well as some that are not normally considered. The intelligence officer will make traditional use of all organic or attached collection assets, such as aerial platforms to photograph critical areas or patrols to conduct reconnaissance on key evacuation routes. Other sources and agencies not normally utilized, but potentially useful, include local news media, liaisons with HN police, government, and military; and questioning of the evacuees themselves.
The logistics officer provides supplies and services to the evacuation force and controls its transportation assets. His personnel operate the logistics and movement control sections.
The logistics section monitors the status of supplies and services needed by the force. The transportation available dictates how much of each class of supply the unit can bring on the operation. The logistics officer must arrange, at a minimum, for transporting from home base the supplies critical to the evacuation.
The logistics officer designates and supervises a purchasing officer (PO). The PO procures locally any items the evacuation force needs but did not bring, or any items designated for local purchase as an economy measure. The PO coordinates with the embassy GSO to determine how much currency to bring to cover the anticipated purchases. The GSO can help the PO in conducting local business or may perform these duties himself.
As with supplies, the services rendered by the logistics officer will depend on the way the commander conducts the operation. The evacuation force's success may depend on the transportation available to the marshaling forces to conduct marshaling operations. If the force cannot bring its own transportation, the logistics officer, through the PO, procures it locally. He also arranges for fuel and repairs to vehicles critical to the evacuation. The expected environment dictates the initial transportation requirements. The tasking headquarter will ensure that sufficient airlift assets are available for the operation if ground transportation is impractical.
The requirement for some supplies and services depends on the duration of the operation. Some services unnecessary for a two- or three-day operation become critical for longer periods. These include clothing, laundry, water purification, engineer support, and direct support maintenance.
The task force must plan for mortuary affairs duties for both military personnel and evacuees. Even in a permissive NEO environment, the evacuation force may encounter deaths among elderly, critically ill, or newborn evacuees. Mortuary affairs ensures proper and respectful treatment of human remains. The decision to transport remains is dependent on, but not limited to, the specifics of the situation, to include the tactical environment, weather, and capacity of receiving ships and or aircraft. In no case should civilian remains be transferred before all evacuees are safely embarked.
The logistics officer should have an EOD team to respond to bomb threats, sabotage attempts, mines, booby traps, or unexploded ordnance.
The logistics officer billets and feeds the deploying force and the evacuees. If the situation allows, he provides hot rations once daily for all personnel. If he cannot cook at the ECC, he may prepare food at the ISB and transport it to the ECC. He also may procure meals locally. If so, veterinary support must be available to inspect subsistence for wholesomeness and preventive medicine personnel to inspect local water for potability. The logistics officer must be prepared for special dietary requirements, as well as for baby food and formula for infants. The embassy may be able to provide the advance party information on special dietary requirements.
The logistics officer must always plan for a lengthy stay at the ECC. Billeting requirements are usually minimal; however, a lengthy operation, bad weather, or inadequate transportation can result in a long wait for the evacuees. The logistics officer needs to plan for sufficient food, blankets, cots, and sanitary supplies (including feminine hygiene and infant requirements) to make the evacuees comfortable. Sample pallet configurations for short- and long-term operations are at Appendix F.
The logistics officer is also responsible for the movement control element. This element coordinates the movement of marshaling teams to and from the assembly areas and the arrival and departure of evacuation transportation.
A movement control element should be attached to the evacuation force prior to deployment. The movement control element helps the marshaling teams complete their movement quickly with no incidents. The people making up this element need experience in coordinating convoy movement.
Coordinating evacuation transportation with evacuees is complex and demanding. Vehicles, ships, or aircraft waiting to pickup passengers are lucrative targets for hostile elements. They attract the attention of roaming mobs that may grow more hostile at such sights. Therefore, the commander should consider dispersing his transportation assets until they are needed at the embarkation site.
Movement control personnel should know the passenger capacities and characteristics of the transport. The ideal situation results when the TALCE can talk to pilots in dispersed aircraft, compute their flight time, and schedule them to ensure smooth flow while taking on passengers. Controllers for overland or sea movement strive for similar precision sequencing.
The communications available to the movement control element must be mobile, sophisticated, reliable, secure, and capable of long-range transmission and reception. There must be back-up and repair capability for all types of radios. The logistics officer, in coordination with the signal officer, must ensure that the radios used are compatible with those of the evacuation transport.
The movement control element should have a dedicated land line to coordinate with the embarkation station This ensures evacuation transportation and evacuees are ready at the same time.
The personnel staff has responsibility for the personnel actions attendant to the evacuation and for the morale and welfare of the evacuation force. Its primary responsibility is the processing center operation.
The personnel section is responsible for actions that normally fall under the adjutant's purview. Most personnel actions, however, can wait until the evacuating force returns to home base.
The personnel section is also responsible for the morale and welfare of the evacuees. A chaplain provides nondenominational services and comfort to the evacuees as they deal with the trauma of being so quickly uprooted.
The personnel staff also comprises the medical element. This includes combat health support (CHS) personnel with the troop units as well as with the medical station in the processing center.
The personnel officer ensures legal advice is provided to the commander. It is imperative that a trained legal officer join the evacuation force early in planning and deploy with it. The commander may need legal assistance when required to search third party nationals who may commit some crime against US property or personnel, to restrain an unruly US civilian who refuses to cooperate, to answer claims against US forces, or to interpret the rules of engagement.
Other legal problems may result when there is no status of forces agreement (SOFA) between the United States and the HN. Without this agreement, the HN has legal jurisdiction over all US citizens, military and civilian. The ambassador should therefore attempt to negotiate a waiver of criminal jurisdiction of US personnel. Because the ambassador may not have anyone on his staff with legal experience in this area a legal officer with overseas experience will be useful. Appendix G provides specific legal considerations.
Rumors will run rampant in a NEO unless the commander deals with them through an effective command information program. The PAO is responsible for this function and publishes a rudimentary information sheet that provides accurate, detailed, unclassified information to all units. He coordinates his efforts with the embassy PAO and USIS representatives. Timely information reduces the uncertainty characteristic of the uninformed. For short operations, the PAO may develop a less-cumbersome alternative. The ECC staff provides information about the operation while the liaison at the US embassy provides information about political developments in the HN.
Should the need arise, the PAO is also responsible for briefings and releases to the media. However, unless circumstances dictate otherwise, the military directs all media inquiries for information and assistance to the US embassy. The COM is responsible for media activities and NEO coverage. A sample public affairs plan is at Appendix H.
In addition to performing liaison functions with the embassy, the civil affairs officer prepares the civil affairs annex to the operations order (OPORD). He can be valuable in identifying and debriefing evacuees and advising the commander on how to minimize population interference with evacuation operations. His training in dealing with dislocated civilians makes this officer ideally suited for NEOs.
The SIGO is vitally important to the operation. He ensures all elements maintain communications with the ECC. He should have a communications platoon augmented with personnel and equipment to support other service communications systems. As part of the advance party, the SIGO makes communications arrangements and tests the suitability of the various sites for radio communications.
He prepares and issues the signal operating instructions (SOI) for the operation. He includes a high unusual mission requirements, including radio sets and special equipment required to interface with embassy and number of spares and changes the vocabulary in the SOI to fit the circumstances.
Once all the marshaling teams return, and no evidence exists that the force must evacuate other civilians, the evacuation force commander notifies the tasking headquarters that the evacuation phase is completed. The JTF commander asks the senior Department of State representative remaining in the HN if he may conclude the evacuation. Once permission is granted, he conducts his withdrawal.
The situation in the HN may be deteriorating and locals will know that the Americans are withdrawing. These two factors may combine to heighten the possibility of an armed attack on the remaining US forces. Once the civilians leave, the evacuation force adopts a defensive position until the last unit departs.
After receiving permission to withdraw, the evacuation force commander encourages all personnel other than members of the evacuation force to depart quickly. Although personages like the ambassador or the senior military attaché may wish to stay until the last man departs, soldiers should be the only persons remaining.
Support elements should depart first with all equipment not essential to the withdrawal. Once this is accomplished, the commander moves his force to the least exposed portion of the airfield or port. He deploys a mobile security team to protect aircraft on final approach from attempts to destroy the aircraft by hostile forces near the glide path. Pilots should be aware of the danger and use deception tactics as long as possible before landing and as soon as possible after taking off.
One useful technique for the security force is to evacuate all but one deployed rifle company, and to have sufficient aircraft or ships available at one time to extract this force in one lift. With this method, no unit remains on the ground without the capacity to temporarily withstand hostile action. Leaving a smaller force might tempt some unfriendly element to inflict casualties on the last group to leave.
If the situation deteriorates, the commander can decide to leave nonessential items of equipment on the ground and evacuate the force. He must recognize the propaganda value this precipitous action has for an observer who can then say the United States withdrew in disorder. Because such an action might have awkward repercussions, the commander takes this action only in dire circumstances.
Once the entire evacuation force has departed, the JTF commander notifies the CINC that the evacuation is complete. He gives similar notification when the last aircraft or ship leaves the airspace or territorial waters of the HN.
The tasking headquarters has determined the destination of the evacuation force in the initial planning process. If there is no reason why it must go to a safehaven, it returns to home base as soon as possible. If another mission exists for it, the commander adjusts accordingly.
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