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DEEP OPERATIONS COORDINATION CELL (DOCC)

by MAJ Mark H. Segovis and CPT Robert M. Salvatore

"The DOCC plans, coordinates, synchronizes, and executes the division's deep operations. Deep operations require the commitment of several people (DIVARTY, G3 plans, G2, and aviation) and equipment. Other staff elements assist as required, to include the deputy fire support coordinator (DFSCOORD), electronic warfare officer (EWO), air defense artillery officer (ADAO), ALO, G3 air, PSYOP, G5, and ADE. The DOCC works directly for the chief of staff. The chief of staff and the division commander approve all deep operations. The DOCC plans, synchronizes, and identifies high-payoff targets to be tracked and attacked. It both monitors and supports the execution of deep operations, support for deep, close, and rear operations, integrates, coordinates, and synchronizes the division's organic and supporting ADA assets in support of the division's battle. The A2C2element works directly for the G3. It comprises representatives from the G3 air, an AD element, an aviation element, the Air Force TACP, and the supporting air traffic control platoon." --FM 71-100, Division Operations

The Task Force (TF) Hawk DOCC identified and overcame significant challenges to plan and coordinate deep fires in support of the TF Hawk mission. These challenges included: lack of a clearly defined organizational structure, lack of approved tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) detailing DOCC operations, and unique factors of mission, enemy, troops, terrain and time available and civilians (METT-TC).

Two doctrinal publications address DOCC personnel and functions: FM 71-100, Division Operations, and FM 6-20-10, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for the Targeting Process. Additionally, FM 6-20-30, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Fire Support for Corps and Division Operations, provides fire support considerations for deep operations. Although the TF Hawk DOCC was organized around the Corps DOCC, FM 71-100 still provided relevant doctrine for DOCC operations since the basic DOCC personnel and functions remain the same at division as at corps.

Adapting from doctrine, TF Hawk included the following personnel and staff sections in its DOCC:

  • The Fire Support Coordinator (FSCOORD) Fire Support Element (FSE)
  • Fire Control Element (FCE)
  • G2
  • G3
  • G3 Air
  • G5
  • Aviation Liaison Officers (LOs)
  • Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO)
  • Air Defense Artillery officer (ADAO)
  • Air Force Liaison Officer (ALO)
  • Engineer Officer
  • Army Airspace Command and Control (A2C2) element
  • Psychological Operations (PSYOP) Officer
  • Special Operations Coordinator (SOCOORD)

However, no permanent structure allows these sections to perform all of their deep operations functions for continuous operations.

Current doctrine outlines the major functions of the DOCC as:

  • Planning, coordinating, synchronizing, and executing deep operations.
  • Planning, synchronizing, and identifying high pay-off targets to be tracked and attacked.
  • Monitoring and supporting the execution of deep operations.

However, it does not give the TTPs necessary to help units accomplish these complicated functions. TF Hawk recognized this deficiency early in the operation, and through a process of trial and error, developed effective TTPs to support operations in this theater. This article will discuss TF Hawk TTPs and key lessons in the areas of DOCC organization, planning and targeting, preparation, and execution.

TF Hawk encountered some tough challenges as a result of some unique factors of METT-TC. The TF mission was focused solely on deep operations executed by attack aviation and artillery, with infantry and armor units providing force protection. In mounting its air campaign, NATO sought to use its superior air attack capabilities against Serb land targets in Kosovo, in an effort to oust the Serb Army from the region without engaging it in ground combat. This battle between dissimilar forces is classified by Joint Pub 1, Joint Warfare of the Armed Forces of the United States, as an asymmetric engagement. As a result, NATO and TF Hawk viewed the Serb Army as an asymmetric threat, characterized by Professor Steven Metz of the U.S. Army War College as one which avoids open, force-on-force battles and rely on hit-and-run tactics, deception, camouflage, dispersion, guerilla warfare or terrorism, and use complex terrain like cities, mountains, and jungles for the conduct of operations.1 In Kosovo, the enemy dispersed over large areas, both in the mountains and in cities, and used effective camouflage and human shields to avoid detection and attack from NATO air assets. This article provides TTPs for the engagement of asymmetric deep targets.

TF Hawk was organized from a mix of forces brought from several geographic areas that, in some cases, had no habitual relationship, and were not immediately interoperable. Additionally, the TF had to work closely with Air Force and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces, under the control of the Combined Force Air Component Commander (CFACC). Rugged, mountainous terrain, adverse weather conditions and an area of operations (AO) covering over 4,000 square kilometers resulted in significant challenges for deep operations. A need to return Internally Displaced Personnel (IDPs) to their homes before inclement weather set in put additional constraints on TF Hawk. A friendly paramilitary force operating independently in the AO, and a large number of IDPs, forced very restrictive Rules of Engagement on the TF. TF Hawk developed unique TTPs, provided throughout this article, to overcome these challenges and contributed greatly to the destruction of large numbers of enemy combat systems.

Part I: DOCC Organization

TF Hawk was task-organized to employ the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter and the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) as the primary weapons of engagement against targets based on its deep strike mission statement. Because of political considerations, the TF Hawk mission did not include a ground scheme of maneuver. Deployed armor and infantry assets provided protection for the force only. Consequently, task force operations centered on the DOCC.

Although doctrine lists the key personnel in, and the major functions of, the DOCC, it does not specify the DOCC task organization or the specific functions within each of its elements. The task force had to devise its own based on the cumulative experience of DOCC personnel, previous training experience and, on occasion, trial and error. Appendix C lists the separate TF Hawk DOCC elements, their personnel, equipment, and functions.

TF Hawk was a unique organization because it was organized solely for deep operations. Aviation and artillery units played key roles while most of the corps assets remained at home station. This posed two formidable challenges for the TF Hawk Commander: task organization and personnel requirements for split-based operations. Before deployment, the corps conducted numerous warfighter exercises (WFXs) that employed a doctrinal DOCC. During these WFXs, the DOCC supported only a portion of the corps' total fight. Since TF Hawk's mission centered on deep operations without having to support a close battle, corps had to tailor the DOCC to focus on task force combat operations. Filling task force personnel requirements was another challenge for the command. The corps staff had to conduct split-based operations in Albania and at home-station, where the Corps still had requirements to plan and execute other contingency operations. To ensure that forward and home station staffs were properly filled, corps maximized their organic personnel, while integrating Temporary Change of Stations (TCSs) soldiers from throughout the Army. All of this underscores the importance of having personnel and equipment permanently assigned to the DOCC, and augmenting it based on METT-TC. While the DOCC experienced no serious personnel shortfalls, the following issues did develop.

The Corps Army Airspace Command and Control (A2C2) Cell: Corps tasked the Air Traffic Services Battalion (ATS Bn) with the Corps A2C2mission approximately 120 days prior to the deployment of TF Hawk. The ATS Bn Table of Organization and Equipment (TO&E), however, did not authorize any more personnel to handle this additional mission-essential task. To run a 24-hour capable section, the cell needed approximately three officers, three NCOs, and two soldiers. The ATS Bn deployed its Bn S3, Bn Assistant S3, and numerous soldiers to fulfill task force requirements. Although this created a personnel challenge for the ATS Bn in fulfilling both its task force and home-station missions, it was able to accomplish both by prioritizing support for the task force and placing junior officers, NCOs, and soldiers in greater areas of responsibility.

Fire Support Officer (FSO) Authorization: The Attack Helicopter Regiment (ATKHR) was not authorized a FSO in its TO&E. Neither squadron assigned to the Regiment is authorized FSOs. However, both squadrons received TCS FSOs for the deployment while the regiment did not. The regiment was tied into the TF Hawk DOCC. Although the DOCC had artillery officers, none were available to fully support the regiment. During the first few weeks of the operation, the regiment would brief a squadron on an upcoming mission and would not have a qualified officer to brief concept of fires. To overcome this shortcoming, the DOCC provided an FSO to brief the concept of fires during the issue of regimental orders to the squadrons.

In an Aviation Regiment/Brigade, an FSO plays a critical role in assisting the Brigade Planner and S2 in developing the overall-targeting plan. Without his input, the mission planning phases suffer because the DOCC fire planning will not be coordinated with that of the ATKHR. The assigned field artillery officer also plays a critical role by serving as the voice for the regiment when dealing with fire support issues in the DOCC.

AH-64 Subject Matter Experts: Initially, the DOCC was not task-organized with a targeting and planning cell. The ATKHR's Tactical Operations Center (TOC) was collocated with the TF Hawk DOCC. Therefore, TF Hawk assigned the regiment with the responsibility for targeting and deep attacks planning. However, the regiment lacked experienced attack aviation planners because of liaison officer requirements and shortage of senior AH-64 pilots. Approximately two weeks into the deployment, four senior (warrant officers) AH-64 instructor pilots (IPs) were assigned on TCS orders to the regiment. These officers played an integral role in the TF Hawk targeting and planning process. The AH-64 knowledge brought to the planning process by these officers ensured proper AH-64 employment.

Counterfire Headquarters: As the force field artillery headquarters, Corps Artillery assigned responsibility to the Brigade Combat Team Fire Support Element (FSE) to serve as the counterfire headquarters. A Target Production Section (TPS) augmented the FSE with personnel and equipment. The TPS provided the training needed to ensure that the FSE personnel could perform all of the counterfire tasks required. The Brigade FSE's counterfire assets included: one AN/TPQ-37 (Q37) radar, one AN/TPQ-36 (Q36) radar, one battery of M109A6 howitzers, one battery of M119 howitzers, 6 x 120mm Mortars, and 6 x 81mm mortars. The introduction of a second Q36 radar allowed the task force the flexibility of providing counterfire protection for both the TF Hawk assembly area and the artillery team's Forward Operating Base (FOB), although not continuous 6400-mil coverage to either areas. Because of the relatively low enemy mortar threat level (varied from low to medium), the brigade FSE was able to satisfy the counterfire mission by orienting the radars on the most likely enemy firing locations and using various other reconnaissance and surveillance assets to watch Named Areas of Interest (NAIs). However, since the counterfire headquarters was not in the DOCC, it did not have visibility on the counter-fire battle drill rehearsal plan. As a result, the counterfire plan was not initially tied to the A2C2cell for airspace deconfliction.

Key Lessons:

  • The DOCC needs to be staffed properly, possibly with permanently assigned personnel and equipment and augmented based on METT-TC, in order to form a functional targeting and execution cell. The TF Hawk DOCC Organizational structure, to include personnel, equipment, and functions, is provided in Appendix C of this newsletter.

  • The next time TRADOC reviews the ATKHR BN TO&E, a FSO (MAJ/O4) should be added.

  • The ATS Bn needs to have an adjusted TO&E that allows for an additional officer and NCO to serve as the nucleus for the A2C2Cell. The remainder of the soldiers (two officers and four enlisted) can be temporarily assigned to the cell. The cell should be attached to the Corps G3 section.

  • The DOCC needs AH-64 SMEs to plan attack helicopter operations. Where TF Hawk positioned those SMEs in the DOCC is shown in Appendix C of this newsletter.

  • Deploying forces must have enough radars and counterfire assets to provide 6400-mil radar coverage and counterfire capability for the entire force. The number of radars and counterfire assets required is based on METT-TC.

  • The counterfire cell can effectively be employed out of a brigade FSE with the appropriate augmentation of personnel and equipment. See paragraph 4 of Appendix C for TF Hawk's recommendation for the staffing of the DOCC counterfire cell.

  • The counterfire headquarters must have sufficient tie in with the A2C2cell to deconflict airspace for counterfire.

Part II: Planning and Targeting

TF Hawk faced several challenges in planning and targeting for deep operations in Kosovo. All factors of METT-TC impacted directly on operations. To plan and target the enemy effectively, the task force had to overcome these factors and devise TTPs that maximized its planning and targeting tools such as the automated targeting systems and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Additionally, to conserve the task force fighting strength, force protection was a high priority. To accomplish its mission, the task force developed and rehearsed realistic combat scenarios and fratricide prevention measures. TF Hawk planned operations against an experienced enemy in a mountainous environment, maximizing the use of Air Force support. TF Hawk's combined arms training and joint planning set the task force up for success.

Targeting Meetings and the Targeting Process: During the conduct of operations, the DOCC developed a very effective targeting team that used the doctrinal targeting methodology of Decide, Detect, Deliver, Assess (D3A) to develop targets for attack by Air Force assets. Although the targeting process was doctrinally sound, the task force faced unique factors of METT-TC not covered in current targeting manuals. These factors were addressed in the following manner.

  • Mission: "On order, TF Hawk attacks (Military and Paramilitary) armored vehicles, artillery, ADA systems, C2nodes and troop concentrations to defeat enemy forces in and around (Kosovo)." This mission statement included a list of all high payoff targets. These targets were to be destroyed for every deep attack conducted; therefore, the basic requirement of the "Decide" function of the doctrinal decide, detect, deliver, assess (D3A) targeting methodology became irrelevant. Since the TF mission required the destruction of all enemy combat vehicles, the targeting process revolved around where rather than what the task force would attack. TF Hawk resolved this issue by dividing the Area of Operations (AO) into Engagement Areas (Eas) and focusing the targeting effort on all targets in an EA rather than identifying all High Payoff Targets (HPTs) in the AO. TF Hawk had a very effective method of surging acquisition and attack assets into the EA for the 0 to 24-hour fight, as well as maintaining acquisition assets to identify targets for the follow-on 24 to 48-hour and 48 to 72-hour deep attacks. During the targeting meeting, the chief of targeting verified the collection assets available to TF Hawk for the next 72 hours. Based on the attack plan and the acquisition requirements for future deep operations, he made decisions to surge the acquisition assets to support the next deep fight and to prioritize the collection requirements for the 48-and 72-hour fights. This allowed the task force to surge assets for the fight while maintaining the ability to meet critical collection requirements. Each of these targeting efforts was discussed in the daily targeting board meeting, adjustments were made and the commander issued his guidance and intent. The results of this meeting were then placed on the secure local area network for each member of the targeting board to work the next day.

  • Enemy: The TF Hawk intelligence section presented a detailed order of battle for both military and para-military police forces operating in the task force AO, a detailed report of enemy actions in the last 24 hours, and expected enemy actions for the next 24 to 72 hours. The enemy employed a variety of techniques to take advantage of our limitations. These techniques included: dispersion over a wide area, effective camouflage, limiting movements to periods of inclement weather, and the use of human shields created by large numbers of IDPs. TF Hawk's challenge was to find a sufficient number of enemy vehicles to justify the risk of sending Apache helicopters to destroy them. TF Hawk developed an effective method to overcome the enemy's ability to hide from Air Force targeting and attack assets. The intelligence section identified artillery systems as the enemy center of gravity. By protecting its artillery with air defense, armor and infantry, the enemy could remain hidden, fire several volleys, move and hide again while using its armor and infantry to protect its assets from the local insurgent threat. With this in mind, TF Hawk deployed one Q37 Firefinder radar system to a forward operating base to detect enemy indirect fires. Once it had an accurate grid to the enemy artillery or mortar location, the DOCC would dispatch a UAV to that location to put "eyes" on the enemy. By flying in widening circles around the enemy indirect fire location, the UAV would pick up armor, infantry and air defense systems in the same vicinity. The DOCC would then use air support requests to pass these targets to the Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) through the Battlefield Coordination Element (BCE) for immediate attack. This method of targeting, once it became standard practice, resulted in the suspected destruction of hundreds of enemy combat systems, especially artillery.

  • Troops: The DOCC had to overcome two significant troop-related issues. First, TF Hawk was operating in coordination with NATO forces. However, much of the intelligence required for targeting was classified SECRET-NOFORN. The NATO personnel in the Flex-cell, the part of the BCE that had the responsibility for convincing the air force to attack the target, did not have the required security clearance to access the actual imagery products. The DOCC intelligence personnel were reluctant to release these products based on the security access requirements, while the BCE was reluctant to recommend a target without giving the pilots access to all information available. TF Hawk overcame this difficulty through an exchange of liaison officers, which built trust between the two organizations and led to an effective exchange of targeting information. The second issue was the Rules of Engagement (ROE) requirement to ensure that no friendly forces were in the vicinity of a target before it could be attacked. A friendly insurgent force was working independently in close proximity to enemy forces. With no direct communication with these troops, extra precautions had to be taken by assigning targeting assets to locate friendly troops before attacking targets. TF Hawk overcame this challenge by tapping into U.S. Army special operation forces (SOF) working with theAlbanian military near the Kosovar-Albanian border. Albanian border units were able to keep track of the location of insurgent forces near the border. This allowed TF Hawk to position UAVs and request national imagery in relation to friendly ground troop actions. As insurgent forces began offensive action, targeting assets were positioned to identify the enemy reaction and bring immediate fires as they repositioned.

  • Terrain: Rugged, mountainous terrain presented some unique targeting difficulties for TF Hawk Sheer cliffs and deep valleys created turbulence at lower altitudes that presented difficulties for rotary-wing aircraft and UAVs. Intelligence analysts erroneously considered some of this rugged terrain to be no-go terrain for enemy vehicles. UAVs often encountered icing at higher altitudes while climbing over mountains and had to return to base before they could collect any intelligence. Steep cliffs provided caves and tunnels for the enemy to hide equipment, and dense trees provided excellent camouflage for armored vehicles and towed artillery. The staff weather officer was extremely valuable in negating these weather effects. He developed a method of identifying weather conditions along every flight route to be used by TF collection and rotary-wing assets. These weather reports were updated daily during the targeting meetings and periodically throughout the day, then posted on the TF secure web page for access by the targeting team. Using the Q37 radar also negated the effects of terrain and weather, since acquisitions were not weather dependent. When the enemy forces fired their artillery, the radar would acquire their positions and update these targets. The DOCC then passed these targets to the CAOC through the BCE for attack.

  • Time Available: The enemy's use of dispersion and camouflage and their technique of moving only during periods of inclement weather caused Reconnaissance, Intelligence, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (RISTA) assets to remain on station (target dwell time) longer than usual for this operation. In an effort to minimize harm to innocent civilians, TF Hawk and NATO leadership placed a restriction on the attack of enemy targets. Since IDP movement in the target area was often random, the leadership required that targets be clear for no more than 48 hours before time for desired attack.

  • Civilians: The ROE for air attack of targets were very restrictive because there were a large number of IDPs on the battlefield. Targets identified by human intelligence (HUMINT) could not be attacked without confirmation by another source. Targets identified by imagery intelligence (IMINT) could not be attacked unless the BCE could gain access to the actual imagery products, so that the attack pilots could have access to all the information available. This allowed them the greatest chance of successfully attacking the targets without exposing the Aerial Forward Air Controller (AFAC) or attack aircraft to unnecessary risk.

The DOCC Planning Process: Because of the initial force cap on TF Hawk and concurrent requirement for the Corps to be prepared to plan and execute other contingency operations (such as Kosovo peacekeeping), much of the G3 plans team could not deploy to the area of operations (AO). This caused the DOCC to perform planning functions that it was not trained or resourced to do. The TF developed a process to provide targeting products to the commander and obtain targeting decisions to execute deep operations. These targeting briefings were put together by individual staff sections on the Automated Deep Operations Coordination System (ADOCS) briefing slides prior to presenting them at the targeting board. Because the staff suffered from personnel shortage, it shortcut the doctrinal targeting meeting held to perform the full D3A targeting process. The staff relied on everyone to review the slides on ADOCS and recommend changes as required. This review process led to confusion over targeting priorities, since changes were made to targets all the way up to the time of mission execution. Once the TF brought in sufficient planners to conduct deep operations planning, the targeting process became more efficient, and targeting products improved greatly.

Target Effects: Every member of TF Hawk clearly understood that the task and purpose of fires were to kill enemy forces to bring stability to the country and allow the safe return of refugees. Engagement criteria for TF Hawk were to destroy known targets and suppress enemy air defense targets. However, mission rehearsal exercises only included one pod (rockets or ATACMS) on every target, with no reattacks on the planned schedule. The DOCC personnel recognized the need to focus on the D3A methodology, specifically the need to understand desired effects on high payoff targets. They brought in additional personnel to establish a planning cell in the DOCC to flesh out the targeting process prior to the targeting board meeting. This allowed the decisionmakers to focus more on desired effects for approved targets rather than on the targeting process itself.

Digital Targeting Tools: The DOCC used ADOCS to create targeting products for targeting meetings, briefings, plans, and A2C2. ADOCS also facilitated coordination between the DOCC and the BCE by providing a digital means to submit Air Support Requests, and receive Air Tasking Orders (ATOs) and Airspace Control Orders (ACOs). The TF leadership had confidence in ADOCS, and soldiers were able to learn to operate the system very quickly, achieving a moderate level of proficiency within a matter of hours. Other digital systems used by the DOCC included: the Interim Fire Support Automated System (IFSAS) for digital calls for fire, the Fire Direction System (FDS) for digital computation of the Position Area Hazard (PAH) and the Target Area Hazard (TAH) for the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), and the Air Mission Planning System (AMPS), which was used extensively by the aviation units. The task force did not routinely use Army Battle Command Systems (ABCSs). Reasons include an inadequate number of trained operators and insufficient number systems to achieve full horizontal and vertical connectivity. These systems included the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS), the Maneuver Control System (MCS), the All-Source Analysis System (ASAS), and the Global Command and Control System - Army (GCCS-A).

Targeting Products: TF Hawk developed and published a High Payoff Target List (HPTL), Attack Guidance Matrix (AGM) and Target Selection Standards (TSSs) for its mission of conducting deep attacks. However, the targeting team did not universally use these tools since the information was not displayed in the FSE, FCE, or DOCC operations elements. The DOCC did not update the paper targeting products after the targeting board meeting. Their technique was to use the ADOCS to distribute targeting products unique to TF Hawk. These products consisted of maps displaying enemy locations, color-coded targets scheduled for attack, acquisition assets and the routes and times they were available to the TF. The TF used ADOCS very effectively, and most members of the TF were proficient in its use. The ADOCS allowed members of the TF staff, who traditionally are left out of the targeting process (lawyers and civil affairs), to review targeting products and approve targets from a force protection standpoint. There were some initial difficulties between the DOCC and the BCE in coordinating these targeting products because of some incompatibility issues between the ADOCS, the AFATDS and the GCCS-A. The TF overcame these difficulties by providing the ADOCS to the BCE. Later in the deployment, a DOCC plans team was brought in to provide 72-hour planning and targeting. At this point, doctrinal targeting products were presented at targeting meetings and available for distribution via the ADOCS.

Non-lethal Targeting: The TF Hawk DOCC maintained close coordination with non-lethal targeting members through the use of the ADOCS. Although the TF did not form a non-lethal cell as part of the targeting team, Civil Affairs (CA), psychological operations (PSYOP), Staff Judge Advocate (SJA), and the Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO) reviewed targeting products in the ADOCS and provided input to the targeting team as necessary. The ALO and G2 planner were part of the targeting team and provided continuous non-lethal input into the targeting process. This was a unique operation, in which TF Hawk was not authorized to engage targets with their own assets, but provided targets to the CAOC. NATO air assets conducted all lethal and non-lethal attacks. TF Hawk nominations for non-lethal attack were sent to the CAOC through the BCE in the form of Engagement Zone package nominations. Input from the TF Hawk targeting team ensured that these non-lethal assets were positioned for maximum effectiveness because of its excellent situational awareness. This input from the ALO and G2 planners ensured the successful destruction of targets while providing maximum force protection to NATO aircraft.

Collection Assets for Target Assessment: The task force enjoyed immense success tracking targets using UAVs, and sending this targeting data to the CAOC for attack. However, because of a shortage of collection assets available, the task force was not always able to dedicate assets to conduct battle damage assessment (BDA) to ensure the appropriate effects had been achieved. The TF usually had three Hunter UAVs to detect targets for the 24-hour, 48-hour and 72-hour fight. This did not allow the task force to track targets for attack, keep the UAV on target to provide BDA, and collect targeting information for the current and future fights. The Hunter UAV also lacked the ability to laser designate targets for precision munitions, or to spot targets for attack aircraft. Although Predator UAVs operated in theater, they were used for other missions and were not available to the TF. Additionally, the TF lacked a dedicated UAV ground control station (GCS) in the DOCC but did have access to one located with the Analysis and Control Element (ACE). The DOCC needs a dedicated GCS so that it can issue instructions to the UAV operator to focus the asset on the appropriate target. Both cells need the GCS; the ACE can collect intelligence while the DOCC directs the destruction of HPTs.

Fratricide: When conducting deep attacks, aviation and field artillery units work closely in the execution of Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEADs). SEAD enhances the survivability of attack helicopters as they move into their attack-by-fire (ABF) positions. Originally, TF Hawk planned a separation of five minutes between last rounds impacting on SEAD targets and aircraft moving across the Forward Line of Own Troops (FLOT). The TF Hawk Commander adjusted the separation to 10 minutes since there were limited predeployment combined arms training opportunities and communication difficulties during rehearsals. The chain of command felt that a10-minute separation would have the desired effect required to protect aircraft as they crossed the FLOT, while minimizing the possibility of fratricide.

During the Mission Rehearsal Exercises (MRE), TF Hawk executed aggressive fire support plans. The chain of command was concerned with the possibility of a SEAD package not being fired. A missed SEAD package reduces the survivability of the attack aircraft as they cross the FLOT. The task force chain of command implemented a policy that would ensure targets were attacked. Any SEAD package not fired can be executed up to eight minutes prior to F-hour. With a maximum time of flight of four minutes, last round will impact no later than four minutes prior to attack aircraft crossing the FLOT. The task force's goal remained a 10-minute separation, but flexibility was incorporated to balance aircraft survivability and fratricide prevention measures.

Joint Suppression of Enemy Air Defense (JSEAD): JSEAD is a support activity that can significantly increase the effectiveness and tactical flexibility of aviation forces (all services). JSEAD is that activity that neutralizes, destroys, disrupts, or temporarily degrades enemy air defenses in a specific area by physical attack (lethal) and/or electronic warfare (non-lethal). Fixed-wing assets are tasked to suppress those enemy AD systems that are beyond Army artillery's capability and range or that are better suppressed by fixed-wing assets.

Through the ATO, TF Hawk requested and received dedicated EA-6B Prowlers to provide non-lethal SEAD and F-16CJs to provide lethal SEAD. The EA-6B aircraft provided electronic jamming against enemy radar sites. The F-16s carried anti-radar missiles to destroy active radar sites. The ATKHR ALO was responsible for coordinating these assets (locations and times) to support AH-64s in conducting FLOT operations.

Restricted Operations Zone/Restricted Operations Area (ROZ/ROA): The ROZ is a defined volume of airspace developed for a specific operational mission or requirement. TF Hawk habitually requested a ROZ for AH-64 deep operations. To ensure total task force coverage, a ROZ was requested for artillery firing points, UH-60 C2orbits (behind the FLOT), and AH-64 engagement areas. These ROZs ensured airspace deconfliction to prevent fratricide between TF Hawk and NATO assets. These ROZs were requested 72 hours before execution to be placed on the ATO. Once on the ATO, all NATO aircraft were alerted to helicopter operations in a particular area and were required to receive approval from the controlling unit to gain access.

Staff Weather Officer (SWO): The SWO is a critical planning element when conducting operations in a mountainous environment. The SWO provided updates on ceilings and visibility that determined whether a mission would be a go or no-go. In reference to AH-64 requirements, the SWO's information on Electro-Optical (EO) forecast and density altitude provided aircrews with valuable flight information. The EO forecast informed crews whether the Target Acquisition and Designations System (TADS) or goggles would be best suited for the front seat during the flight route. Additionally, the EO forecast helped predict expected range and clarity of targets (of the TADS) once the AH-64s were in the ABF positions.

Air Force Search and Rescue: Air Force Special Operations provided TF Hawk with two MH-53s and two HH-60s for search and rescue (SAR) operations. The regiment had two types of SAR missions: hasty and deliberate. The hasty SAR would be conducted by the two HH-60s that were linked directly into the flight of AH-64s going across FLOT. If an aircraft was downed, the MH-60s would attempt to conduct an immediate extraction. If immediate extraction was not possible, the SAR mission would be given to the MH-53s. The MH-53s would be in a laager area located behind the FLOT while the AH-64s conducted their cross-FLOT mission. The MH-53 aircraft would have Army Special Forces personnel aboard to provide security for the MH-53 while it conducted downed aircrew extraction.

Key Lessons:

  • Units should develop TTPs for operating in a restricted ROE environment, such as combat operations in an environment that includes large numbers of displaced civilians and an independently operating friendly military force.

  • Division and Corp headquarters should develop training plans that include interaction with Joint and Combined Headquarters.

  • Although the Corps had recently completed a Corps-level Warfighter exercise, it did not operate with the restricted ROE faced by TF Hawk. Future simulations should incorporate scenarios that portray a large number of civilians on the battlefield and force units to develop standing operating procedures (SOPs) for dealing with restrictive ROE. Warfighter exercises should further develop scenarios that address Joint and Combined force participation, military operations on urbanized terrain (MOUT) environment, and independently operating friendly forces.

  • A DOCC planning cell is essential for providing appropriate targeting and planning products for deep operations.

  • Delineate clear responsibilities for planning and ensure sufficient planning personnel are included in the deployment package.

  • The targeting process is part of the planning process, but neither planning nor targeting can stand alone for deep operations. Use the approved doctrinal targeting methodology.

  • The DOCC cannot operate independently of the rest of the planning staff; the entire planning staff must work together to ensure operational plans meet the commander's intent.

  • The entire targeting team must understand the task, purpose, and desired effects for each target.

  • The ADOCS, because it is easy to train on and can incorporate personnel not involved in the targeting process, is a useful digital force multiplier in ensuring non-lethal planning representatives are included in the targeting process.

  • Units must be well-trained on ABCS prior to deployment if they are to make full use of its capabilities.

  • Customize targeting products to address the same information provided by doctrinal products outlined in FM 6-20-10, Targeting. These products must be designed to take full advantage of the digital system used to facilitate the targeting process (ADOCS, AFATDS). Train the targeting staff to use these targeting products, and to be familiar with the fundamentals of how to build these products using the digital systems.

  • Non-lethal planning should be an integral part of the targeting process.

  • Non-lethal planning should include the ALO, intelligence representative, CA, PSYOP, JAG, and G6.

  • Simulations should include modules that factor in all non-lethal TTPs.

  • The DOCC should have a dedicated UAV GCS to identify targets, confirm the absence of friendly forces, displaced personnel, and other civilians, assess damage for decision to reattack, and rapidly acquire fire times for targets with short dwell times.

  • Aviation and Artillery must conduct combined arms training before conducting live-fire operations to reduce fratricide.

  • Ensure atmospheric conditions are integrated into the aviation mission planning process.

  • Request and integrate Air Force SAR assets when conducting deep operations.

  • Ensure Air Force and Navy lethal and non-lethal SEAD assets are incorporated into combat operations.

  • To deconflict airspace between Army assets and coalition aircraft, establish a ROZ in the areas in which artillery and aviation units are operating.

  • Through the BCE, ensure that the ROZs are listed on the ATO.

Part III: Preparation

TF Hawk units prepared extensively to ensure they were combat ready. The task force used multiple rehearsals at all echelons, with the MRE as the capstone event. These rehearsals ensured that all participants had 100-percent situational awareness. A secondary means of ensuring readiness was to verify that coordination checks were completed through the ATO. The ATO ensured deconfliction of all military assets operating in the area of responsibility. The final means of ensuring readiness was an exchange of liaison personnel between the DOCC and the BCE that was collocated with the CAOC. These combined checks and balances prepared the AH-64s for safe and successful deep operations.

Rehearsal/Rock Drills: TF Hawk conducted a minimum of three rehearsals before each mission. The first of these was a rock drill that involved all of the major players for the operation. The major TF Hawk players for a deep operation included attack, lift, and combat search and rescue (CSAR) pilots, downed aircraft recovery teams (DART), attack aviation unit chain of command, lift aviation unit chain of command, the firing battery and field artillery battalion commanders. Other personnel included in the rock drill were staff members for aviation, artillery, DOCC, and support units. After the rock drill and prior to the go/no-go decision brief, the TF conducted a radio fire support rehearsal that confirmed targets and timing for the deep attack. The participants for this exercise included the FCE and FSE in the DOCC and the firing unit FDC, commander, and guns. The final rehearsal was the MRE, and was a real-time, full-up rehearsal involving all participants, done in the actual equipment operating over distances and terrain as close to the actual operation as possible. This MRE was the most effective and desirable method for conducting rehearsals prior to combat operations. The disadvantages to conducting these rehearsals were their expense in terms of OPTEMPO, and their inherent danger. Simulations, when available, can also be an effective rehearsal tool. TOP SCENE, a simulator used to familiarize pilots with the terrain along their planned flight routes and in the objective area, was used to conduct collective training rehearsals in TF Hawk. Additionally, this simulator effectively trained terrain orientation tasks to individual aviators. However, it did not replicate the actual controls of the aircraft and was not the same as a flight simulator.

The TF learned that it had to determine all of the affected players and agencies with which it needed to coordinate live-fire rehearsals. The unit experienced a great deal of difficulty coordinating live-fire training in theater, including problems in receiving host-nation approval, and deconflicting airspace and terrain. This caused several live-fire rehearsals to be canceled.

During one mission, it was noted that CH-47 aircraft were operating with an outdated call sign and brevity code sheet. When the CH-47s conducted missions, they allowed a radio operator from the attack regiment to make all radio calls for the aircraft. The aircrews were at the rehearsal and received the updated checklist, but never ensured that the radio operators had the current checklist in their possession. This fact led to confusion in the DOCC, which almost led to mission abort. To remedy this situation, the task force DCG-Air required all individuals making radio calls to attend the rehearsals.

Target Discussion during Rehearsals: Every TF rock drill conducted prior to an MRE included a discussion of the fire plan to support the mission. During the portion of the rock drill in which the TF walked through the execution checklist, the artillery battalion S3 would walk through the fire plan. This included the number of targets, type of asset firing the target, timing of fires, and location of targets. (For example, "At F-2:00, we will fire the first group of artillery targets. There are 12 targets in this group: four will be fired by ATACMS from firing point four; six will be fired by rockets from firing point 223; and two will be fired by Paladins from firing point 242. The code word for this event is condor reported on the strike net via TACSAT (Tactical Satellite communication system) from the FSO to the Air Mission Commander (AMC). The last round for this group will impact at F-1:18." The S3 or his representative then placed 12 target symbols on the terrain board.) Targets of opportunity were not discussed during the rock drill, although they were incorporated into the MRE. Nevertheless, rock drill participants did discuss several fire planning issues: sufficient assets available to engage all of the targets in the time available; deconfliction of ROZ for attack aircraft, firing positions, ATACMS targets, and UAVs; and aviation task force FSO input into the fire plan. Rock drill rehearsal of the fire plan led to more effective fire support technical rehearsals, and MREs.

Air Tasking Order: The Air Force ATO is similar to the Army's operations orders (OPORDs). When published, it specifies which aircraft will attack which target and at what time. The ATO was produced at the CAOC by U.S. Air Force elements. The Air Force required the following information be submitted:

ATO - 48 hours:
Number and Type of Aircraft
ASR (Air Support Request), i.e., EC-130, EA-6Bs, F-16CJ.
Rotary-Wing Airspace Control Order (ACO)
ATACMS Airspace

ATO - 36 hours:
Concept Sketch
Mission Order
Communication Card

ATO - 21 hours:
Coordination Meeting

ME (Mission Execution) - 30 hours:
ATO/ACO Production

ATO was published based on an execution window.

The ATKHR sent an LO to the BCE, collocated with the CAOC, to coordinate AH-64 requirements. This LO was sent prior to deployment. All TF Hawk ATO requests went through the task force G3 Air. The G-3 Air sent the requests to the BCE for CAOC approval. A CAOC representative briefed ATO requirements to the ATKHR prior to deployment.

Airspace Deconfliction for ATACMS: During MREs, TF Hawk discovered that the doctrinal process for establishing a Position Area Hazard (PAH) and a Target Area Hazard (TAH) did not allow the flexibility needed to attack all of the targets necessary to support deep attacks. The CAOC would not approve ATACMS fires without an air corridor between the PAH and the TAH. This air corridor had to be established from the coordinating altitude to an indefinite altitude. A traditional, three-dimensional Airspace Coordination Area (ACA) was not acceptable. It also required a 20-kilometer buffer zone at the TAH along the gun-target line. Some missions required as many as 100 targets to be fired in a two-hour period to support a deep attack. The process of identifying the PAH and TAH, creating an air corridor and providing the 20-kilometer buffer zone proved to be too cumbersome to manage in a fluid battlefield environment. TF Hawk overcame this difficulty by creating a ROZ that covered all targets to be fired during each phase of the deep attack. This ROZ included all of the safety measures required by the CAOC and provided an umbrella that covered all of the targets for each phase of the deep attack, as well as sufficient space to attack targets of opportunity with ATACMS without requesting additional clearance from the CAOC.

DOCC and CAOC Liaison: The United States military destroyed significant numbers of enemy vehicles and equipment through the effective coordination of TF Hawk and the CAOC. This success occurred in spite of some initial confusion between the DOCC, BCE, and CAOC in identifying the requirements necessary to nominate targets for attack. These agencies overcame the initial confusion by exchanging LOs between the DOCC and the BCE. Although SOPs detailed the procedures for the nomination of targets from the DOCC to the BCE, TF Hawk still experienced some difficulty in getting target nominations approved for attack. Because of the large number of IDPs, the ROE for air attack of targets were very restrictive. Targets acquired by UAVs had to have a date-time group (DTG) to ensure the target met the time requirements specified in the ROE. Targets identified by HUMINT could not be attacked without confirmation by another source. Targets identified by IMINT could not be attacked unless the BCE could gain access to the actual imagery products so that pilots could have access to all the information available. This allowed them the greatest chance of success in attacking targets without exposing the AFAC or attack aircraft to unnecessary risk. However, the NATO personnel in the Flex Cell, the part of the BCE which had the responsibility for convincing the air force to attack the target, did not have the required security clearance to access the actual imagery products. Contributing to this problem was the fact that BCE and DOCC personnel had recently completed a Warfighter exercise in which differences in security clearances was not an issue. The DOCC intelligence personnel were reluctant to release these products based on the security access requirements, while the BCE was reluctant to recommend a target without giving the pilots access to all information available. The DOCC did not always receive timely feedback on its target nominations which led to multiple telephone calls between the DOCC and the BCE to confirm the disposition of their Air Support Requests. Once the BCE and DOCC personnel traveled to each other's location and worked through the requirement issues, the air request procedures improved dramatically and resulted in the suspected destruction of a great amount of enemy equipment.

Key Lessons:

  • Ensure that essential personnel attend rehearsals.

  • The scheme of fires must be fully integrated into all rehearsals to fully synchronize fires with maneuver.

  • Rehearsal of the fire plan must include all of the following: task, purpose, method and effects for each target or group; airspace deconfliction; timing and assets available against requirements to ensure feasibility of the plan; fires execution responsibilities for every echelon involved in the operation.

  • Training Aids Devices Simulators and Simulations (TADSS), including the full range of simulations (live, virtual and constructive), must support training in-theater for deployed units.

  • Units must coordinate host-nation support, airspace deconfliction, and terrain management to conduct live training.

  • Airspace deconfliction rules and procedures for ATACMS must be clearly established with the Air Operations Center before the start of combat operations.

  • ROZs are effective in facilitating the attack of all ATACMS targets and providing flexibility for engaging targets of opportunity.

  • The CAOC should send a representative to the aviation unit to brief ATO procedures when possible.

  • The communications link between Army aviation and the CAOC needs to be redundant and secure. TF Hawk accomplished this redundancy using SIPRNET and secure digital communications over ADOCS while passing routine traffic during secure video teleconferences.

  • DOCC and BCE personnel need to train together and conduct face-to-face meetings to ensure their SOPs are agreeable to all parties.

  • DOCC personnel need to have a clear understanding of CAOC targeting requirements for all intelligence collection means; BCE and DOCC personnel traveled to each other's location to work through the requirements not specified in existing SOPs.

Part IV: Execution (Battle Tracking)

Although the National Command Authority (NCA) never authorized the use of TF Hawk's lethal weapons systems, the task force, nevertheless, set itself up for success should it have been directed to execute. It employed targeting assets, such as the Q37 radar, Q36 radar, Hunter UAV, and ACE, to effectively track targets for destruction. Additionally, the task force DOCC developed exemplary battle tracking, synchronization, and C2techniques to support deep operations. These techniques are described in the following section of this article. Set-up, synchronization, and communications served as cornerstones of the DOCC's success in coordinating and tracking the deep attack.

Use of the AN/TPQ 37 Radar as a Joint Targeting Tool: TF Hawk provided targetable data for the Air Force to destroy significant amounts of enemy personnel and equipment through the use of the Q37 radar, and Hunter UAVs. Rugged terrain and a widely dispersed and camouflaged enemy caused significant targeting difficulties for the Air Force. TF Hawk positioned a Q37 Firefinder Radar to locate enemy artillery targets, used Hunter UAVs to verify locations, ensured the targets were clear of noncombatants, and nominated these targets to the CAOC through the BCE. The CAOC was initially hesitant to attack these targets because of its unfamiliarity with the capabilities and limitations of the radar. The BCE and DOCC briefed the CAOC on the capabilities of the Q37 radar and convinced the CAOC leadership to try attacking targets based on these radar acquisitions. As a result of great success and significant BDA resulting from the first few attacks using this technique, the CAOC adopted this method for attacking tactical targets in mountainous, rugged terrain.

Joint Coordination of Radar Technical Data: In employing the Q36 and Q37 radars for target acquisition, the DOCC had to develop an SOP to deconflict these radars with potentially dangerous friendly anti-radar missiles during the operation. During one MRE, the DOCC received an acquisition from the Q37 Radar operating in the FOB. When the DOCC sent the acquisition to the BCE and recommended an attack, the BCE expressed concern that the CAOC was not aware that the Q37 were actually radiating. The CAOC was concerned that without the proper coordination, a Homing Anti-Radar Missile (HARM) could miss its intended target, pick up the signal from and attack the Q37 instead. In response to this challenge, the TF passed the appropriate technical information to the CAOC to deconflict bandwidths and frequencies to prevent HARMs from locking onto a Q36 or Q37 Radar. Other NATO assets were advised that an American Firefinder Radar was operating in a specific area so that they could deconflict flight paths and trajectories without compromising sensitive technical data. In subsequent combat operations, the EA-6B Prowler inadvertently jammed the Q37 radar because of the proximity of the aircraft's flight path with the radar. This interference occurred despite prior frequency deconfliction due to unanticipated harmonic interference.

DOCC Battle Tracking: Battle tracking in the DOCC is normally a very complex process. TF Hawk had a very organized tracking method. Key players and key communication nets were set up around a single table. The DOCC Officer in Charge (OIC) sat at the end of the table and had representatives from attack aviation, lift aviation, field artillery, the Air Force LO, support aviation (Downed Aircraft Recovery Team, Medical Evacuation, CH-47), and a quick fire representative around the table.

Key communication nets included FM Aviation, TACSAT (Tactical Satellite), FM Artillery, UHF Air Force, and MSE to all elements. The audio/visual equipment was set up at the opposite end of the table from the DOCC OIC. A center screen showed either the synchronization matrix or ADOCS graphics. As each step in the synch matrix was executed, the DOCC representative for that action would announce completion of the corresponding task. Approximately 10 minutes prior to F-Hour (Cross FLOT), the DOCC OIC would receive one final go from all elements in the DOCC.

Figure 3. DOCC Battle Tracking Set-up

Synchronization Matrix: The synchronization matrix consisted of 100-series, 200-series, 300-series, and 400-series tasks. The 100-series tasks focused on required planning tasks (ATO, rehearsals, intelligence updates). The 200-series tasks dealt with mission execution. All planned events were listed with a corresponding time and brevity word. The announcement of a brevity word signified task/event completion. A brevity word in the 200-series tasks triggered the 300-series tasks. The 300-series tasks covered all events for immediate downed aircraft recovery and medical evacuation procedures. While 300-series tasks were being executed, 400-series tasks were initiated for possible execution. The 400-series task provided deliberate aircraft recovery procedures and a quick reaction force. If a downed aircraft was not immediately recoverable, due to unavailability of parts or damage, the 400-series tasks would be executed to provide a more robust maintenance package and security force.

After-Action Review (AAR): Upon completion of every mission, the DOCC conducted two types of AAR, immediate and deliberate.

  • Immediate: Conducted in the DOCC immediately after the return of the last aircraft. Focused on DOCC battle-tracking operations. Each member provided input and recommendations on improving their area of execution.

  • Deliberate: Conducted by the ATKHR approximately 90 minutes after the return of the last aircraft. Aircrews and DOCC personnel focused on aircrew operations and C2procedures between the DOCC, aviation units, and field artillery units.

Key Lessons:

  • CAOC personnel should be trained on the capabilities and limitations of Q36 and Q37 Firefinder radars, Hunter UAVs, and other Army assets.

  • Army, Air Force and Navy personnel should train together routinely, incorporating each other's acquisition and attack assets to develop TTP for finding and destroying targets.

  • Live-fire training scenarios need to include finding and attacking simulated targets in rugged terrain.

  • Target acquisition (TA) radar technical data must be coordinated with the CAOC, through the BCE when operating in a joint environment, to include deconflicting locations of friendly radar and electronic jamming aircraft.

  • A detailed synchronization matrix facilitates the tracking process.

  • During DOCC battle tracking, personnel and communications must be at a location that allows the DOCC OIC to follow the battle.

  • TF Hawk ensured that every element in the DOCC knew its role in the battle-tracking process by conducting vigorous training and rehearsals.

__________

1. Metz, Stevan K., "Asymmetry and American Strategy: Part 1-- Concepts and Context," U.S. Army War College Newsletter, 1999.


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One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias