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Combat Suport Versus Combat Services Support: The Combat Engineer Dilemma

Combat Suport Versus Combat Services Support: The Combat Engineer Dilemma

 

AUTHOR Major J. L. Sweeny, USMC

 

CSC 1988

 

SUBJECT AREA Logistics

 

 

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

TITLE: COMBAT SUPPORT VERSUS COMBAT SERVICE SUPPORT:

THE COMBAT ENGINEER DILEMMA

 

The combat engineer battalion of the Marine Division

provides combat support and combat service support to the Ground

Combat Element (GCE) to the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF).

Current division staff alignment places the engineer officer

under the cognizance of the G-4. This staff alignment is the

fundamental cause of the combat engineer dilemma. The dilemma is

magnified by doctrinal incongruences and the unique dual

missions assigned to the combat engineer battalion. As a result,

the viable combat multiplier of the combat engineer battalion

-combat support- is not exploited to its fullest extent.

A basic understanding of the combat engineer battalion's

combat support and combat service support missions will clearly

identify which staff officer can better exploit their

capabilities. The combat support mission is comprised of

mobility, countermobility and survivability tasks and provides

direct combat support to the maneuver forces of the GCE. The

combat service support mission is comprised of general

engineering tasks and provides sustainability to the GCE.

There are three reasons why the engineer dilemma must be

resolved. The first reason is that the combat engineer's combat

support mission plays a vital role in a wide range of military

operations. The first reason is that the combat engineers are

used throughout the spectrum of conflict. The final reason is

that the vital combat support mission is frequently overlooked

because the engineers do not directly engage enemy forces.

Doctrinal incongruences and the assignment of dual missions

magnify the engineer dilemma. Doctrinal inconsistencies cause

and the combat service support mission. The dual missions cause

a complication because the combat service support mission

assigned to the combat engineer battalion is duplicated by the

engineer support battalion. Both problems directly contribute to

the degradation of the combat engineer battalion's combat

support mission.

The U.S. Army and the Soviet Army provide an excellent

foundation for developing a solution to the engineer dilemma.

The doctrine for both forces is clear and consistent. The

engineer officer is not under the cognizance of the G-4. The

combat engineer unit's predominate mission is combat support.

Both forces clearly understand and address the vital

contribution the combat support mission makes to the maneuver

force.

To resolve the engineer dilemma the engineer officer must be

placed under the cognizance of the GCE's G-3. Doctrinal

inconsistencies must be resolved, and the combat service support

capabilities must be reassigned to the engineer support

battalion. The result to these changes will be a resurgence of

the combat support mission of the combat engineer battalion. The

maneuver force will receive the full combat support and combat

multiplying capabilities of the combat engineers. The combat

engineers will be back in combat.

 

COMBAT SUPPORT VERSUS COMBAT SERVICE SUPPORT:

THE COMBAT ENGINEER DILEMMA

 

OUTLINE

 

Thesis Statement. To correct the neglect of the combat

engineer's combat support mission caused by the G-4's

cognizance of the engineer officer, a realignment of the

division staff which places the engineer officer under the

G-3 will insure a resurgence and a fuller exploitation of the

combat engineer's combat support capabilities.

 

I. Dilimma definition

A. G-4 cognizance of the engineer officer

B. Factors compounding the dilemma

 

II. Combat support versus combat service support

A. Combat support

1. Mobility

2. Countermobility

3. Survivability

B. Combat service support (General engineering)

 

III. Role of the combat engineers

A. Range of military operations

B. Spectrum of conflict

C. Lack of combat power

 

IV. Detail review of compounding factors

A. Doctrinal incongruences

B. Dual mission role assignment

 

V. Solution to the dilemma used by other forces

A. U.S. Army

B. Soviet Army

 

VI. Solution to the engineer dilemma

A. G-3 cognizance of the engineer officer

B. Resolution of doctrinal incongruences

C. Reassignment of combat service support capabilities

 

COMBAT SUPPORT VERSUS COMBAT SERVICE SUPPORT:

THE COMBAT ENGINEER DILEMMA

 

 

Let's put the combat engineers back into combat! One of

 

the most effective combat multipliers available to the

 

Ground Combat Element (GCE) commander is his combat engineer

 

unit. The combat engineer battalion provides combat support

 

and combat service support to the GCE. The combat

 

engineer's combat support mission provides a viable and

 

significant combat multiplier to the GCE. It is this combat

 

support mission which is frequently neglected because of

 

the overemphasis placed ont he combat service support

 

mission. The dilemma facing the combat engineers is

 

balancing their combat support mission with their combat

 

service support mission. The rudimentary cause of this

 

dilemma rests directly on the division staff organization

 

which places the engineer officer under the cognizance of

 

the G-4. This staff alignment clearly emphasizes the combat

 

engineer battalion's combat service support mission rather

 

than its combat support mission. The overemphasis placed on

 

combat service support directly correlates to a degradation

 

in the combat support the combat engineers can provide to

 

the maneuver forces.

 

In addition, the G-4's cognizance of the engineer

 

officer at the division level is reflected at the regiment

 

and battalion level; the combat engineer officer is usually

 

under the cognizance of the S-4. This mirroring of the

 

division staff alignment at the regiment and battalion level

 

has the same result; the combat engineer's combat service

 

support mission is reinforced and overshadows its combat

 

support mission. This alignment further compounds the

 

degradation of the combat support mission because frequently

 

during exercise the engineer officer is usually assigned to

 

the "B" command group with the S-4. When the engineer

 

officer is located with the "B" command group, it precludes

 

him from being intimately involved in the planning process

 

or available to provide vital engineer combat support input

 

to the GCE commander necessary to influence the scheme of

 

maneuver.

 

Doctrinal incongruences covering the employment of the

 

combat engineer battalion and its dual missions of combat

 

support and combat service support compound the degrading

 

effects on the combat support mission caused by G-4

 

cognizance of the engineer officer. Doctrinal publications

 

are inconsistent and are not mutually supportive which

 

contributes to the engineer's dilemma. The dual missions

 

assigned to the combat engineer battalion cause mission

 

relationship confusion and directly reduces the impact of

 

their combat support capability.

 

The fundamental problem causing the engineer dilemma is

 

G-4 cognizance of the engineer officer. This problem is

 

compounded by doctrinal incongruences and the dual missions

 

of the combat engineer battalion. To correct the neglect of

 

the combat engineer's combat support capabilities. It is

 

the exceptional commander who can fully exploit the

 

tremendous combat support capabilities of the combat

 

engineers which is currently being overshadowed by their

 

combat service support capabilities.

 

A basic understanding of the concepts of combat support

 

and combat service support will clearly demonstrate the

 

uniqueness of each mission. More importantly the

 

understanding will develop an appreciation for combat

 

support's impact on the scheme of maneuver. And most

 

importantly, the understanding will highlight which staff

 

officer can most effectively control the combat engineers to

 

insure their combat support capabilities are fully utilized

 

to influence the scheme of maneuver. A more detailed

 

analysis of each mission in terms of the four major tasks

 

assigned to the combat engineer battalion and a closer

 

review of its combat service support capabilities will

 

assist to clear the fog of the engineer's dilemma and bring

 

into focus the critical combat support provided by the

 

combat engineers to the GCE.

 

Combat support is composed of those functions which

 

directly provide assistance to combat forces. The combat

 

support mission includes mobility, countermobility and

 

survivability tasks. These tasks provide direct assistance

 

to the maneuver forces and require close coordination

 

between the operation officer and the engineer officer. The

 

engineer officer must be involved in the development of an

 

operation from its inception to insure the combat

 

multiplying capabilities of the combat support mission are

 

maximized. The combat support tasks are critical to the

 

success of any operation; however, current staff alignment

 

can cause the combat support mission to be neglected.

 

Mobility tasks are those tasks which are designed to

 

improve the movement of friendly forces and critical

 

supplies. Mobility must be provided to insure the forward

 

momentum of the maneuver force of the GCE is unimpeded by

 

obstacles. This combat support task requires the engineer

 

officer to be intimately involved in the planning process

 

and execution of the operation. It is important to realize

 

that mobility provided to insure uninterrupted and rapid

 

logistic support of forces, such as MSR maintenance, is a

 

general engineer task and should not be confused with the

 

combat support task of mobility. Time and effort expended on

 

general engineering mobility tasks is time and effort not

 

available to support maneuver forces. Unimpeded movement of

 

maneuver forces is the mission of the combat engineer

 

battalion and should be their primary concern.

 

Countermobility is the most important combat engineer

 

combat support task becasue it is the best combat multiplier

 

provided to the GCE by the combat engineer battalion.

 

Countermobility tasks are those tasks which are designed to

 

delay, disrupt and destroy the enemy. The use of obstacles

 

such as minefields and tank ditches are designed to disrupt

 

the enemy's time table and force the enemy to maneuver into

 

positions that dramatically increase the effectiveness of

 

our weapon systems. This combat support task demands the

 

close coordination between the engineer officer and the GCE

 

to insure the combat multiplying capabilities are utilized

 

to their fullest extent. Additionally, doctrine dictates

 

that the G/S-3 has staff cognizance of the engineer officer

 

for barrier planning. This staff alignment for control of

 

the engineer's countermobility effort highlights and

 

correctly indentifies the proper staff relationship for

 

control of the engineers. This staff alignment should be the

 

rule for engineer combat support and not the exception. G-3

 

cognizance of the engineer officer should be utilized

 

throughout the spectrum of combat support tasks in support

 

of the GCE and not be limited to coutermobility tasks.

 

Survivability tasks are protective measures taken to

 

reduce the lethality of enemy weapons systems. Digging-in

 

weapon systems is designed to improve their survivability

 

while simultaneously providing unencumbered fields of fire.

 

Obviously, close coordination between the engineer officer

 

and the ground commander is imperative to insure the

 

survivability positions are integrated in the scheme of

 

defense. Once again, the combat support mission manifests

 

itself as a critical combat multiplier which would be better

 

controlled by the G-3.

 

Combat service support is composed of those functions

 

which are performed to sustain and maintain the combat

 

effectiveness of the MAGTF.Combat service support is not a

 

combat multiplier, and it does not directly enhance the

 

weapon systems of the combat forces. Combat service support

 

is logistic in nature and properly belongs under the purview

 

of the G/S-4. Combat service support functions provided by

 

the combat engineer battalion are predominately general

 

engineering tasks.

 

The final engineer task is general engineering, and it

 

is the only combat service support task assigned to the

 

engineering tasks.

 

The final engineer task is general engineering, and it

 

is the only combat service support task assigned to the

 

engineers. General engineering tasks are usually performed

 

in the rear area. The tasks include MSR repair, airfield

 

repair, camp construction, water supply, POL supply,

 

hygienic services and mobile electric power. All of these

 

tasks are important to sustain the MAGTF in the Amphibious

 

Objective Area and are logistic in nature. These tasks are

 

properly placed under the cognizance of the MAGTF G/S-4 and

 

can be provided by the Combat Service Support Element(CSSE).

 

The combat engineer battalion has a very limited capability

 

to perform general engineering tasks when compared to the

 

engineer support battalion's capability. The GCE does not

 

orient on the rear area but on the destruction of the enemy.

 

The combat engineer battalion must orient on supporting the

 

maneuver forces of the GCE and not on rear area general

 

engineering tasks. The combat support provided to the GCE

 

must not be encumbered by an overemphasis of the combat

 

service support mission. Any effort expended by the combat

 

engineer battalion on general engineering tasks directly

 

reduces the combat support it can provide to the GCE.

 

The combat engineers provide a key ingredient to the

 

success of any military action - combat support. For the

 

combat support mission to be fully exploited, the full

 

integration of the combat engineer officer at the inception

 

of an operation and under the cognizance of the staff

 

officer who can best employ the combat engineer battalion's

 

capabilities is required. There are three reasons that will

 

illustrate the requirement for the combat engineer officer

 

to be aligned under the proper staff officer.

 

The first reason is that combat engineers provide a wide

 

range of combat support over the entire range of operations

 

- amphibious, offensive, defensive, mountain, desert,

 

mechanized, MOUT, rivercrossing and so on. Regardless of the

 

operation, there is a role, a significant role, for the

 

engineer's combat support capabilities. As a result of the

 

pervasiveness of the combat support mission, the engineer

 

must be an integral part of the planning process and it is

 

imperative that the engineer officer be in the operation

 

planning process from the beginning. To be fully effective

 

the combat support missions cannot be an after thought once

 

the concept of operations is determined. The combat

 

engineers can have a positive effect on the scheme of

 

maneuver and its success if the commander or his operation

 

officer will fully exploit the combat support capabilities

 

of the combat engineers.

 

The second reason for aligning the combat engineers

 

under the proper staff officer is that the engineers

 

combat support missions throughout the spectrum of war, from

 

the low intensity conflict through war on the modern

 

battlefield. At the low end of the spectrum, even the combat

 

service support tasks such as road improvement, bridge

 

building, and vertical construction are a vital link in

 

winning the hearts and minds of the indigenous population.

 

Their efforts should be at the forefront of any

 

counterinsurgency operation. The combat service support

 

tasks along with the combat support tasks must be an

 

integral part of the scheme of maneuver. The role of the

 

combat engineers is positively correlated and proportional

 

to the increase in intensity of the conflict at the high

 

intensity end of the spectrum. Their role on the modern

 

battlefield cannot be overlooked in the scheme of maneuver

 

because of staff cognizance. The combat engineer's combat

 

support missions cannot be overshadowed by their limited

 

combat service support capabilities. The combat support

 

tasks are essential to the success in the high threat

 

environment and any neglect of their role will prove

 

catastrophic. Regardless of the intensity of the conflict,

 

the combat support and, if appropriate, the combat service

 

support capabilities of the combat engineers must be fully

 

understood and considered by the GCE commander when he is

 

developing the schemem of maneuver.

 

The third reason to address the area of staff cognizance

 

of the combat engineers is their lack of firepower. Combat

 

engineers can not bring firepower to bear on the enemy; they

 

do not have indirect weapons like artillery; they do not

 

have shock like tanks; they do not shoot and move like LAVs

 

and they do not haul troops like AAVs. It is easy for the

 

GCE commander to overlook the combat engineers as a result

 

of their lack of firepower. The combat support missions of

 

mobility, countermobility and survivability are tremedous

 

combat multipliers that cannot be ignored because they do

 

not shoot or move. This capability which is as critical to

 

success as any other combat support unit cannot be

 

overlooked because the combat engineers are not aligned

 

under the proper staff officer.

 

As previously discussed, there are two factors which

 

compound and contibute to the engineer's dilemma. They are

 

doctrinal incongruences and the assignment of dual missions

 

to the combat engineer battalion. These areas are

 

interrelated and each reflects and magnifies the fundamental

 

problem caused by G-4 cognizance of the engineer officer. An

 

examination of these secondary factors is warranted if the

 

engineer dilemma is going to be satisfactorily solved.

 

FMFM 3-1, Command and Staff Action, establishes doctrine

 

for divisional staff functioning to include which staff

 

officers are assigned to the principal staff officers for

 

guidance and control. In paragraph 1207.a(1), the G-3 is

 

tasked with "... planning, coordinating, and supervising the

 

tactical employment of units." Further in the paragraph,

 

tactical engineer operations are listed as one of the plans

 

the G-3 is tasked to prepare or review. The G-3 is assigned

 

supervision of specific engineer tasks but does not have

 

cognizance of the engineer officer. G-4 responsibilities are

 

described in paragraph 1208:

 

The G-4 is the principal staff assistant

in logistic matters and combat service

support functions of supply, maintenance,

transportation, medical/dental, passenger

and freight, engineer support, landing

support, material handling, and food

services.

 

 

Unlike the specific engineer responsibilities assigned to

 

the G-3, G-4 responsibilities do not include specific

 

engineer functions. It is evident because of staff

 

alignment that the engineer's combat support mission is not

 

a fully integrated part of the G-3, even though combat

 

support tasks are specifically addressed in paragraph 1207

 

as a G-3 tasks. Additionally, paragraph 1208, which when

 

looked at in detail, is a listing of the battalions located

 

in the FSSG. It appears as though the engineer officer is

 

placed under the G-4 because there is an engineer support

 

function listed as a function provided by the FSSG. FMFM

 

3-1 clearly illustrates that the G-3 has a specified and

 

substantiated requirement for cognizance of the engineer

 

officer. The end result of FMFM 3-1's lack of incisive

 

doctrinal perspective is an overemphasis placed on the

 

combat engineer's combat service support mission.

 

An analysis of FMFM 6-1, Marine Division, provides a

 

more revealing reason why doctrinal inconsistencies

 

contribute to the engineer's dilemma. In paragraph 401.a,

 

when listing the combat support elements organic to the

 

division, it does not inlude the combat engineer battalion.

 

Further, in paragraph 401.c the combat engineer battalion is

 

listed as an organic combat service support unit to the

 

division. Later, in paragraph 407.b the combat engineer

 

battalion is recognized as providing close combat engineer

 

support to division units, and in the next paragraph, 407.c,

 

states that it is the engineer support battalion which is

 

organized and equipped to provide general engineer support

 

to the MAGTF. Paragraphs 407.b and paragraph 401.a are not

 

mutually supporting and exemplifies the magnification of the

 

engineer's dilemma caused by doctrinal inconsistencies.

 

Paragraphs 407.b and 407.c clearly state the true mission of

 

each type of engineer battalion and illustrate the

 

inconsistency that exists in doctrine. The lack of

 

recognition of the combat engineer battalion as a combat

 

support unit unjustifiable enhances its combat service

 

support mission.

 

A review of FMFM 9-1, Tank Employment/ Countermechanized

 

Operations, reveals in the last paragraph of Section VII,

 

Offensive Operations, that engineer support in the offense

 

is described as:

 

The primary role of the engineers in

offensive operations is to perform such

construction and destruction operations as

necessary to facilitate movement of

freindly forces and to impede enemy

movement...

 

Although not specifically stated as engineer tasks of

 

mobility and countermobility, the doctrine clearly

 

indicates the primary mission of the combat engineer

 

battalion is combat support.

 

FMFM 4-4, Engineer Operations, in paragraph 302.b

 

states the mission of the combat engineer battalion is "to

 

increase the combat effectiveness of the Marine Division by

 

rendering close combat engineer support." Under the concept

 

of employment both missions of combat support and combat

 

service support are listed as capabilities of the combat

 

engineer battalion; but, combat support is identified as

 

the primary mission. OH 4-1, Combat Service Support

 

Operations, reinforces FMFM 4-4 and clearly indicates the

 

true relationship between the combat engineer battalion's

 

missions of combat support and combat service support.

 

Paragraph 10003.a states: "Support provided by the combat

 

engineer battalion is primarly of a combat support vice

 

combat service support nature." This succinct statement

 

correctly and accurately reflects the proper relationship

 

between the combat support mission and the combat service

 

support mission. It compliments FMFM 4-4 and 9-1; but it is

 

not supported consistently in FMFM 3-1.

 

In summarizing the doctrinal review, doctrinal

 

inconsistencies exist in the relationship between the

 

combat engineer battalion's missions of combat support

 

and combat service support. A majority of the doctrine

 

correctly states that the combat engineer's primary mission

 

is to provide combat support to the Marine Division and that

 

combat service support is a secondary mission. Current staff

 

alignment, as stated in FMFM 3-1, does not support this

 

prioritization of missions and thus magnifies the engineer

 

dilemma. The inaccurate listing of combat support units in

 

the Marine Division found in FMFM 3-1 and 6-1 is indicative

 

of the confusion caused because of doctrinal errors.

 

Intertwined with doctrinal problems, the dual missions

 

of combat support and combat service support are magnified

 

by G-4 cognizance of the engineer officer and compound the

 

degradation of the combat support mission of the combat

 

engineer battalion. The combat engineer battalion is unique

 

in this aspect; it is the only unit in the division which

 

provides combat support and combat service support. It maybe

 

difficult to successfully employ a unit with two missions

 

without one mission receiving undo emphasis. In the combat

 

engineer battalion's situation if an unbalance is going to

 

exist, the emphasis must be on its combat support mission.

 

In IP 4-4, Engineer Operations, the general engineering

 

task is the only one of four engineering tasks that even

 

mentions combat service support in any of the discussions.

 

General engineering tasks include: MSR repair/improvement,

 

camp construction, airfield repair, water supply, POL

 

supply, mobile electric power, bridge repair/replacement and

 

hygiene services. All of the tasks are combat service

 

support in nature and are well within the capabilities of

 

the engineer support battalion detachment of the CSSE of the

 

MAGTF. The preponderance of these tasks are the primary

 

mission of the engineer support battalion. The combat

 

engineer support battalion would require extensive augmentation by

 

engineer support battalion personnel and assets. The combat

 

engineer battalion is capable of accomplishing all of those

 

tasks, but their combat support capabilities will be

 

greatly degraded. The combat engineers can provide close,

 

timely combat support to the maneuver forces if they are not

 

being used to complete time, equipment and personnel

 

intensive general engineer tasks such as camp construction,

 

airfield repair, and bridge repair/replacement.

 

Returning to the analysis of FMFM 6-1, Appendix A,

 

paragraph 4.f.2.d, lists the fourteen specific functions

 

that are the responsibility of the combat engineer

 

battalion. A review of this list indicates eight of fourteen

 

specific functions are combat support tasks that directly

 

impact on the maneuver forces. Six of the fourteen functions

 

are general engineering combat service support functions.

 

Two of the functions are can be accomplished by the combat

 

engineers but are duplicated by the engineer support

 

battalion. Two of the functions require direct augmentation

 

of equipment and personnel from the engineer support

 

battalion in order for the combat engineer battalion to

 

complete them. The remaining two functions if of sufficient

 

magnitude would require significant augmentation from the

 

engineer support battalion.

 

It is plainly obvious from the review of FMFM 4-4, IP

 

4-4 and FMFM 6-1 that the dual missions cause confusion.

 

Additionally,there is a major redundancy of the limited

 

general engineering capabilities of the combat engineer

 

battalion by the engineer support battalion. The engineer

 

support battalion detachment of the CSSE of the MAGTF is

 

specifically task organized to provide general engineering

 

support to the MAGTF. The G/S-4 of the GCE can arrange for

 

general engineer support through the existing CSSE

 

structure, and this arrangement does not mandate the

 

requirement of an engineer officer assigned to the G-4's

 

staff.

 

In order to focus and lay the foundation to solve the

 

engineer dilemma, an analysis of how other services or

 

countries employ their engineer units provides a good basis

 

from which to resolve the engineer dilemma. The U.S. Army's

 

and the Soviet Army's employment of engineer units will

 

provide the framework from which to formulate a solution to

 

the problem of G-4 cognizance of the engineer officer. Their

 

approaches will also reveal the relationship between their

 

combat support mission and their combat service support

 

mission.

 

Army doctrine for engineers is located in FM 5-100,

 

Engineer Operations. On page 2-5, the fundamental principle

 

of Army engineer employment of the division engineer

 

battalion which is the Army's Marine Corps' combat engineer

 

battalion equivalent is summarized as follows: "The division

 

engineer battalion is organized to fight with the committed

 

maneuver brigade." That statement coupled with the mission

 

of general engineering assigned to corps engineer units, the

 

equivalent to the Marine Corps' engineer support battalion,

 

clearly indicates that the division engineer battalion's

 

primary mission is combat support and not combat service

 

support. The division engineers perform mobility,

 

countermobility and survivability tasks and leave general

 

engineering tasks to the corps engineers.

 

The assistant division engineer is associated with the

 

G-3 but is available to the whole staff. The assistant

 

division engineer relocates with the tactical command post

 

as required. G-3 cognizance of the assistant division

 

engineer clearly demonstrates the importance and the value

 

the U.S. Army places on the division engineer's combat

 

support mission. The assignment of the assistant division

 

engineer to the tactical command post also reinforces the

 

combat multiplying capabilities of the division engineers

 

and insures the engineers are an integral part of any

 

operational planning process.

 

The assignment of general engineering tasks to the corps

 

engineers alleviates the dual mission complication of the

 

division engineers. Coupled with the assignment of the

 

assistant division engineer to the G-3 staff section

 

stregthens the position of the combat support mission. The

 

net result is that the division engineer's combat support

 

mission has the emphasis necessary to insure the combat

 

engineers are utilized to their fullest extent. The U.S.

 

Army solves the engineer dilemma by assigning the engineer

 

officer to the G-3. Army doctrine is consistent and specific

 

when addressing the combat support and combat service

 

support missions of the division engineer battalion.

 

The Soviet Army's recognition of the engineer's impact

 

on the battlefield is best summarized in Chapter 14 of FM

 

100-2-1, The Soviet Army, as follows: "The Soviets recognize

 

that the execution of combined arms operations requires

 

extensive use of engineer support." The Soviets have two

 

types of engineers: sappers and the more skilled engineers.

 

The sapper units are the equivalent to the Marine Corps'

 

combat engineer company of the combat engineer battalion and

 

are assigned at the regimental level. The mission of the

 

engineer company located in the motorized rifle or tank

 

regiment is predominately the combat support mission which

 

includes mobility, countermobility and survivability tasks.

 

Most general engineering tasks are assigned to the engineer

 

untis at the army or front level. The unit commander is

 

advised on engineer matters by his chief of engineer troops.

 

The chief of engineer troops is a special staff officer who

 

works directly for the commander. There is no principal

 

staff officer that exercises control over the engineer

 

officer. The chief of engineer troops assigns engineer tasks

 

based on the commander's concept of operations.

 

It becomes quite apparent that the engineers of the

 

Soviet Army are a highly valued combat multiplier.The

 

problem of staff cognizance is resolved by the commander's

 

direct control of the chief of engineer troops. Their

 

doctrine is clear and consistent; the primary mission of

 

their sapper units is combat support. Their combat support

 

mission is recognized as critical to the succes of any

 

operation. The dual mission problem is significantly reduced

 

because the majority of combat service support tasks are

 

assigned to corps or front engineer units.

 

The solution to resolve the combat engineer dilemma is

 

to place the engineer officer under the cognizance of the

 

G-3. This solution will solve the problem caused by G-4

 

cognizance of the engineer officer. The realignment will

 

demphasize the combat service support mission and place it

 

in its proper perspective, and thus it will resolve the

 

dilemma of combat support versus combat service support. G-3

 

cognizance will provide the engineer officer better access

 

to the planning process. Additionally, the G-3 is

 

responsible for division training and the engineer's input

 

in training exercises can be used to highlight the combat

 

support's impact on operations. The visibility of combat

 

support mission will give the combat engineers the

 

opportunity to flex its combat support muscles and highlight

 

their capabilities which are recognized and fully exploited

 

by the U.S. Army and the Soviet Army.

 

A review of doctrine is also required to solve the

 

dilemma of the engineers. The review will be necessary to

 

reflect the changes in the division staff alignment. The

 

review must also resolve the incongruences that currently

 

exist concerning the combat engineer battalion. As evidenced

 

by previous discussion the combat support tasks of mobility,

 

countermobility and survivablity are critical to the

 

success of any operation and are an integral part of any

 

planning process. FMFM 9-1, FMFM 4-4, IP 4-4 and OH 4-1 are

 

all in agreement that the primary role of the combat

 

engineers is close combat support. The oversight of FMFM 3-1

 

and FMFM 6-1 to list the combat engineer battalion as a

 

combat support unit is central to the problem which creates

 

the engineer dilemma. Bringing FMFM 3-1 and FMFM 6-1 in

 

doctrinal agreement with the other three manuals will place

 

the proper emphasis on the relationship of the combat

 

engineer's combat support mission and their combat service

 

support mission. Assigning the engineer officer to the G-3,

 

combined with the correction of FMFM 3-1 and FMFM 6-1 will

 

provide the engineers the doctrinal support necessary to

 

develop the proper relationship between the combat support

 

mission and the combat service support mission.

 

The second contributing factor which magnifies the

 

fundamental problem of G-4 cognizance of the engineer

 

officer is the dual missions of combat support and combat

 

service support assigned to the combat engineer battalion.

 

The current deployment doctrine for the Marine Corps is to

 

deploy as a MAGTF. The MAGTF is comprised of four

 

components; the Command Element; the Ground Combat

 

Element(GCE); the Air Combat Element (ACE); and the Combat

 

Service Support Element(CSSE). The CSSE of the MAGTF is

 

tasked to provide combat service support to the GCE. The

 

engineer support battalion is specifically tasked, organized

 

and equipped to provide engineer combat service support to

 

the MAGTF. The CSSE of all MAGTF's include an engineer

 

support battalion detachment, and as a result the MAGTF has

 

two units capable of providing general engineering support.

 

This duplication of effort is unnecessary and contributes to

 

the degradation of the combat engineer battalion's combat

 

support mission.

 

A shift of the combat engineer's combat service support

 

capabilities to the engineer support battalion will decrease

 

their combat service support capabilities and will

 

accentuate its combat support mission. Currently, the G-4

 

uses the CSSE for sustained combat service support and the

 

addition of engineer related service support will not be a

 

major additional burden. As previously discussed any

 

significant engineer combat service support is augmented by

 

the engineer support detachment of the CSSE. The transfer of

 

equipment and personnel will have a synergistic effects by

 

having one unit supply the general engineering support

 

rather than the current duplication of effort. The doctrine

 

of the U.S. Army and the Soviet Army provides combat service

 

support from engineer units other than the combat engineer

 

unit. As with those two major forces, the combat support

 

mission will not be neglected because of the preoccupation

 

with or an overemphasis of the limited combat service

 

support mission. The result will be an enhanced recognition

 

of the combat engineer's tremendous combat support

 

capability.

 

The combat support versus combat service support dilemma

 

is caused by the GCE G-4's cognizance of the engineer

 

officer. Naturally, the G-4 is primarily concerned about

 

combat service support and current staff alignment directly

 

translates that orientation into an overemphasis of the

 

combat engineer battalion's combat service support mission.

 

The doctrinal incongruences and the dual missions assigned

 

to the combat engineer battalion magnify the G-4's control

 

of the engineer officer. The vital combat support tasks of

 

mobility, countermobility and survivability provide the GCE

 

commander with a combat multiplying capability that cannot

 

be neglected. The general engineering tasks that comprise

 

the combat service support mission can not be allowed to

 

maintain an inflated importance over the combat support

 

mission because of staff cognizance of the engineer officer.

 

Placing the engineer officer under the cognizance of the G-3

 

will solve the dilemma. The realignment of the division

 

staff; the reassignment of combat service support

 

responsibilities to the engineer support battalion; and

 

removing the doctrinal incongruences will resolve the

 

engineer dilemma. The importance of the combat support

 

mission is clearly understood and addressed by the U.S. Army

 

and the Soviet Army, and it is evidenced by their respective

 

staff alignment of the engineer officer. The engineer

 

dilemma can only by solved by placing the combat engineer

 

officer under the staff cognizance of the G-3 of the GCE.

 

Then, and only then, will the combat engineers be put back

 

into combat.

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

 

U.S. Army. Department of the Army. ENGINEER COMBAT

OPERATIONS, FMFM-100. Washington, D.C., 1979.

 

U.S. Army. Department of the Army. The SOVIET ARMY,

FM 100-2-1. Washington, D.C., 1984.

 

U.S. Marine Corps. Marine Corps Development and Education

Command. COMMAND and STAFF ACTION, FMFM 3-1. Quantico,

1979.

U.S. Marine Corps. Marine Corps Development and Education

Command. COMBAT SERVICE SUPPORT FMFM 4-1. Quantco,1981.

 

U.S. Marine Corps. Marine Corps Development and Education

Command. ENGINEER OPERATIONS, FMFM4-4, Quantico, 1979.

 

U.S. Marine Corps. Marine Corps Development and Education

Command. MARINE DIVISION, FMFM 6-1. Quantico, 1978.

 

U.S. Marine Corps. Marine Corps Development and Education

Command. TANK EMPLOYMENT/COUNTERMECHANIZED OPERATIONS,

FMFM 9-1. Quantico, 1981.

 

U.S. Marine Corps. Marine Corps Development and Education

Command. ENGINEER OPERATIONS, IP 4-4. Quantico, 1985.

 

U.S. Marine Corps. Marine Corps Development and Education

Command. COMBAT SERVICE SUPPORT OPERATIONS, OH 4-1.

QuantiXco,1987.



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