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SUBJECT: Direct Fire Planning and Execution

Observation frequency:3-4QFY971-2QFY983-4QFY981-2QFY993-4QFY99


OBSERVATION 1: Task force (TF) staffs seldom apply direct fire control measures in the offense. (TA.1.2.1)


1. TF staffs and company commanders generally demonstrate a basic knowledge and understanding of how to apply direct fire control in the defense. However, terrain-based fire control measures such as target reference points (TRPs) and quadrants (well suited for defensive operations) are difficult to apply and utilize in the offense.

2. During offensive operations, direct fire control is rarely established at any level, and if done, is solely terrain-based. This is due to a lack of understanding of threat-based fire control measures, such as quadrant on the enemy and target array, which are best suited for offensive operations.

3. TF staffs seldom develop fire control measures during course of action (COA) development and wargaming. This results in an inability to distribute fires across the width and depth of enemy formations.

4. Weapons' effects for direct fire weapons (surface danger zones) are not taken into consideration during COA development or wargaming, and no force protection/risk reduction measures are put in place. These shortcomings increase the potential for fratricide.

OBSERVATION 2: Direct fire plans are often not developed. (TA.4.4.1)


1. Development of direct fire plans is often omitted during the planning process to save time. This is a result of poor time management and a lack of parallel planning.

2. When a direct fire plan is developed, it is a basic sketch that lacks real in-depth analysis and development.

3. Based on a belief that he will not receive indirect fires, the company commander seldom integrates indirect fires into his plan. As a result, fires are poor or are not properly concentrated or dispersed.

OBSERVATION 3: Company commanders often do not understand where direct fire planning should occur within the battalion engagement area (EA) development process. (TA.4.4.1)

DISCUSSION: Company commanders do not understand the importance of synchronizing the direct fire plans from the attack companies within a battalion EA. With large target arrays and multiple attack companies involved in the fight, synchronizing fire plans becomes even more critical due to potential multiple missiles on the same target.


OBSERVATION 1: Direct fire plans are often not developed or completed for all phases of an operation. (TA.4.4.1)

DISCUSSION: Units often plan direct fires on the objective for offensive missions but do not develop a direct fire plan throughout the maneuver space. Units normally do well controlling fires upon reaching the objective, but waste time trying to control fires if contact is made prior to the objective. Enemy vehicles are often bypassed altogether because no one was focused on likely locations.

OBSERVATION 2: During the planning process, units are not planning the detail required to effectively engage the enemy with direct fires. (TA.4.4.1)

DISCUSSION: The lack of direct fire planning results in the unit using multiple rounds from different vehicles to kill the same target. A lack of orientation results in subordinate units being unable to mass fires due to masking by friendly units or no established sectors of fire. This lack of mass allows the OPFOR to accomplish their mission and hampers the BLUFOR's ability to influence the battle.

OBSERVATION 3: Engineer leaders too often do not understand direct fire planning. (TA.4.4.1)


1. The only training an engineer officer receives on direct fire planning is from unit officer professional development (OPD) classes with the task force (TF). Few of these officers take the initiative to learn the concepts, doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs), and doctrinal terms to facilitate better understanding of the TF planning process.

2. More and more, engineer companies serve as the TF breach force as part of TF combined arms breach operations. Without a direct fire plan for the engineer company, engineers are nothing more than the reduction element and are not in the fight. With a direct fire plan in the defense, engineers can fight from a battle position using the organic weapons systems to protect the flank of the TF. NCOs and platoon leaders can better conduct obstacle siting with the maneuver company/teams if they have a solid foundation of direct fire planning doctrine and TTPs.


OBSERVATION 1: Units do not arrive with a clear concept of how to develop a direct fire plan. (TA.4.4.1)

DISCUSSION: Units are unable to clearly delineate where they desire to kill the enemy and then develop graphic control measures that will focus and distribute fires appropriately.

OBSERVATION 2: Direct fire plans are often not developed. (TA.4.4.1)

DISCUSSION: With no direct fire plan, company commanders do not understand where and how to kill the enemy. This results in incomplete control measures that do not focus and distribute fires appropriately.

OBSERVATION 3: Direct fire plans are often not developed for the entire maneuver area. (TA.4.4.1)

DISCUSSION: Units often plan direct fires on the objective (offensive missions) but do not develop a direct fire plan throughout the maneuver space. By not developing a direct fire plan for the approach, "double taps" result, or enemy vehicles are bypassed altogether because no one was focused on likely locations. Units normally do well controlling fires upon reaching the objective, but waste time trying to control fires if contact is made prior to the objective.

OBSERVATION 4: (Repeat of 1-2QFY99 Observation 2)

for Direct Fire Planning and Execution

1. The focus of offensive fires is to control and distribute fires while on the move against either a static or moving enemy. If the enemy is static, terrain-based fire control measures can be utilized; however, they must be flexible to shift to where the enemy is located. Chapters 2 and 3 of FM 71-1, Tank and Mechanized Infantry Company Team, outline the principles, techniques and procedures for applying fire control measures in the offense.

2. If the threat is a moving enemy, threat-based fire control measures will be more effective. Specific examples include:

  • Quadrant on the enemy
  • Fire Piratterns
  • Target Array
  • Engagement Priorities

3. Direct fire plans must be developed to mass fires and kill the enemy with maximum effectiveness.

4. Maneuver commanders must have some confidence that higher headquarters will support their plan. Indirect fires and engagement area development must be stressed during Home Station training.

5. When developing the direct fire plan, commanders should understand how to effectively integrate TOW fires and other weapons systems.

6. The battalion S3 or battalion commander should conduct a training exercise without troops (TEWT) for the purpose of working through the battalion engagement area development process. Participants should include the entire battalion staff and company commanders. The objectives of the training exercise should be to ensure company commanders know:

a. Where direct fire planning occurs in the process.

b. What battalion warning orders (WARNOs) will initiate company direct fire planning.

c. What products and resources each company should expect from battalion.

d. What products each company should produce for a complete direct fire plan.

7. Listed below are the battalion's eight steps for EA development. Listed inside the box are the specific planning roles for which the company is responsible. The arrow shows when company direct fire planning should occur within the battalion's EA development process.

Depiction of the eight steps for EA development

8. Develop direct fire plans for all phases of an operation, not just the objective. The direct fire plan, based on the IPB, will focus scanning and sectors of fire at all times.

9. The direct fire system is the number one killer on the NTC battlefield. Each unit must execute detailed planning as outlined in FM 71-2. Develop a checklist from this manual and add it to the unit SOP for use during planning.

10. Use engagement criteria, target criteria, target priority, destruction criteria, trigger lines, and target reference points to help focus all the direct fire systems in the task force, thereby achieving mass.

11. To fully understand and execute the doctrine and TTPs outlined in FM 90-7, Combined Arms Obstacle Integration, and FM 90-13-1, Combined Arms Breach Operations, engineers must understand direct fire planning concepts, doctrine, principles, TTPs, and terms. Engineers must understand and be able to develop a direct fire planning for the following reasons:

a. To employ the Bradley weapon systems as engineer units field the vehicle.

b. To employ current weapons systems in the fight as engineers.

c. To understand the terms and concepts during the TF planning process so engineers can effectively incorporate obstacle integration in the defense and actions at the breach in the offense.

d. To prevent fratricide during the combined arms breach.

12. Add direct fire planning classes from the infantry and/or armor centers' POIs to the EOBC, EOAC, BNCOC, and ANCOC POIs at the engineer center. During the tactics phase of the courses, require the engineer leaders to develop an OPORD and include direct fire planning.

a. Have a scenario where the engineer company is the breach force so leaders can plan direct fires for actions at the breach and during the movement from LD to the objective.

b. The direct fire planning in the company OPORD should include an execution matrix, concept sketch, and graphic control measures for safe and effective execution.

13. Consider the changes to FM 90-13-1 submitted by the engineers at NTC. NTC has recommended the additional graphic control measure of a release line (RL) to conduct battle hand-over between the breach force and assault force as they pass through the reduction area or breach lanes. This fire control measure is to prevent fratricide at the breach. A solid understanding of direct fire planning and having the direct fire planning of adjacent support force units will also help prevent fratricide at the breach.

14. When engineers commit to the point of breach during a combined arms breach operation, they must understand and know the TF direct fire plan and must have the graphic control measures posted on maps, so they can guarantee the safety of the soldiers at the breach.

15. Develop SOPs that include standard means for focusing fires while preventing fratricide based on FM 71-1, Tank and Mechanized Infantry Company Team, Chapter 2, Principles of Fire Control.

16. Battalion commanders must integrate company commanders with their entire staff when working through the engagement area development process. This ensures that company commanders know where direct fire planning occurs in the process and which battalion WARNOs will initiate the company direct fire planning.

17. When training at Home Station, the battalion should develop SOPs that promote the use of engagement area criteria, target criteria, target priority, destruction criteria, trigger lines, and target reference points (TRPs).

SUBJECT: Movement Formations and Techniques

Observation frequency:3-4QFY971-2QFY983-4QFY981-2QFY993-4QFY99


OBSERVATION 1: Movement of Paladin batteries is seldom adequately planned or executed. (TA.1.1.1)


1. Artillery movement is not adequately planned for, resulting in a lack of synchronization with the maneuver plan.

2. The battalion staff does not correlate the movement plan with the execution of the brigade's essential fire support tasks (EFSTs).

a. Clear movement triggers are not developed.

b. Most moves are "on order" or based on one unit being "set" prior to execution of another move.

3. The capabilities of the Paladin system present some unique movement challenges for the direct support (DS) FA battalion.

OBSERVATION 2: FA commanders often do not conduct proper preparation and planning for their tactical moves. (TA.1.1.1)


1. Commanders typically give little thought to control measures for ensuring timely, controlled tactical moves.

2. Most moves consist only of sending a move order to the guns with no thought of land deconfliction, boundaries, terrain, movement aids for limited visibility, reconnaissance, survey points, or movement control measures.

OBSERVATION 3: Engineer companies do not adequately control their maneuvers from crossing the line of departure (LD) to the breach site. (TA.


1. Engineer company commanders do not adequately address in Paragraph 3 (Execution) of the company OPORD how the company will maneuver from the LD to the breach site.

2. Engineer companies rarely rehearse maneuver while preparing for a mission or moving to a new tactical assembly area (TAA) after a mission.

3. Engineer company leaders do not give clear and concise fragmentary orders (FRAGOs) or use decision point tactics effectively.

4. Engineer companies are normally slow in reacting to contact and do not adequately report, which allows the enemy to kill critical breaching equipment before it reaches the point of breach.


OBSERVATION 1: Units often have no movement plan from the line of departure (LD) to the objective. (TA.1.1)


1. Rotational units often establish a time for crossing the LD time and then plan actions on the objective. When the plan is executed, commanders often race their units to reach the objective as quickly as possible, moving with haste rather than speed.

2. The result of hasty movement is often the destruction of the force.

OBSERVATION 2: (Repeat of 3-4QFY98 Observation 1)

OBSERVATION 3: (Repeat of 3-4QFY98 Observation 2)


OBSERVATION 1: (Repeat of 1-2QFY99 Observation 1)

OBSERVATION 2: (Repeat of 3-4QFY98 Observation 3)

OBSERVATION 3: Units frequently do not maneuver to engage the enemy from initial fire positions. (TA.

DISCUSSION: Attacking units may not see the enemy from their initial positions, but do not maneuver to maintain contact and destroy the enemy.

for Movement Formations and Techniques

1. The staff must properly plan and execute a maneuver scheme for Paladins to maximize the ability of the battalion to provide responsive fires while remaining survivable on the battlefield.

2. To provide the fire support that maneuver forces require, the FA battalion staff must plan for repositioning during the Military Decision-Making Process (MDMP).

a. Artillery movement must be planned for in detail as part of the brigade planning process so that it is synchronized with the brigade scheme of maneuver.

b. Conduct final coordination during the brigade's combined arms rehearsal (CAR).

c. The FA battalion refines the movement scheme during their internal planning process.

3. Some factors that must be considered as part of the FA battalion's planning process are:

a. How does the battalion fit into the brigade scheme of maneuver?

b. What are the range requirements?

c. Does the battalion have any ammunition limitations?

d. What are the critical targets in the scheme of fires?

e. What is the planned/acceptable out of action time understood by the brigade commander?

f. What adjacent unit coordination is required?

g. What is the trigger to execute?

  • Friendly events?
  • Enemy events?

h. Who triggers the movement?

  • Brigade commander/S3?
  • FA battalion S3?

4. Paladin battalions must understand and use maneuver graphical control measures. Using operational terms and symbols that are common to maneuver units will aid in an understanding of how Paladins maneuver.

5. The staff must provide firing batteries with clear guidance and triggers to conduct survivability moves and tactical moves. Tactical moves should be established using clear event triggers and Paladin axis (offensive operations) or zones (defensive operations) into which the batteries will move.

6. Because the Paladin can occupy places unsuitable for conventional artillery and has no requirement for sole use of terrain, the maneuver commander's land management concerns are simplified. Terrain management and coordination will be simplified once maneuver commanders understand Paladin movement techniques.

7. Paladin movement requires great detail in planning and flexibility in execution. Commanders should look early for potential problems, define specific control measures for the movement, and then position key leaders where they can see and influence the movement.

8. Movement planning must begin during the commander's mission analysis. Even if the battalion does not provide sufficient guidance for movement, this does not absolve the battery commander from planning movement in-depth to support his battery mission.

9. An initial examination of the scheme of maneuver, coupled with the Paladin zones provided from battalion, will give the commander a starting point for his maneuver plan.

10. The commander should look for obvious conflicts in the movement plan. By determining possible conflicts early, a commander can find solutions or work with the battalion staff to modify the plan.

a. Are several batteries taking the same route at the same time?

b. Does the route identified by the battalion violate unit boundaries?

c. Is there a specific route or is that left to the commander's discretion?

d. Does the movement guidance conflict with the maneuver force's plan?

11. The commander must then make specific decisions concerning his planned movement.

a. What type of formation will he use?

b. Move by platoons or by battery?

c. Move in a wedge or in column formation?

d. Give a specific route or specify an axis of advance?

12. It is here that the gunnery sergeants can best assist the commander. The gunnery sergeants can easily place survey control points along the route if they know to do so in advance. By conducting a route reconnaissance within limits of the tactical situation, the gunnery sergeants can advise the commander on the terrain, routes, and possible conflicts. If ground recon is not possible, then the commander must conduct a detailed map recon.

a. How far will each movement take the battery?

b. When will navigation updates be needed?

c. Who will provide survey support?

d. What are the specific triggers to initiate movement?

13. The commander then determines how best to pass his movement plan to his platoons. One successful method is to develop battery graphics and disseminate them while issuing the WARNO or OPORD.

a. Battery graphics need not be complicated. Some basic graphical control measures will help ease movement problems and add flexibility to the entire plan.

b. Graphics should include battery boundaries, routes, or axis of advance depending on how much movement control the commander needs, Paladin zones, survey control points and any start points, check points, or release points.

c. By getting these graphics down to the section chief level, the commander can ensure all leaders have an understanding of the scheme of maneuver and can allow him to issue FRAGOs based on the graphics should the situation change.

14. Control during the execution of the movement is no less critical than the planning phase. Commanders generally are good about using gunnery sergeants to link in with the rear elements of the maneuver forces. This gives the commanders eyes forward while positioning themselves forward to make their own assessment of the movement.

15. Commanders should plan for contingencies in their scheme of maneuver. By planning alternate Paladin zones and alternate routes of march, the commander can easily shift his unit when the situation changes.

a. The ability of the Paladin to conduct "hipshoots" means the commander can support maneuver from almost all points of his march.

b. Specific essential field artillery tasks (EFATs), such as Copperhead or FASCAM, may require specific range or angle-T positioning factors. Alternate Paladin zones, developed during his mission analysis, allow the commander to quickly shift his forces into areas where he knows he can meet range requirements necessary to accomplish his EFATs.

16. The company commander must address in Paragraph 3 of the company OPORD how the company will maneuver from the LD to the breach site, based on the operational risks he has determined from the enemy situational template (SITEMP).

17. The company leadership must take every opportunity to practice maneuvering the company. For example, instead of just convoying to the next TAA for the next mission, the company should practice maneuvering to the next TAA as if it was the next breach site.

18. Units need a plan to follow for moving from LD to the objective. The plan must take into account where enemy contact is likely.

19. The commander should conduct a time-space analysis and then try and stick to the expected times, allowing his subordinates to move with speed but maintaining local security. Slowing the pace may take longer but will enable a larger force to survive.

20. The speed used in movement should be METT-T dependent. Set the conditions for success slowly and deliberately and then execute with speed and violence.

21. Units must develop adequate maneuver graphics, including control measures, throughout the engagement area. Triggers must allow attack helicopters to maneuver throughout the engagement area if the enemy is not initially detected.

SUBJECT: Use of Dismounted Infantry

Observation frequency:3-4QFY971-2QFY983-4QFY981-2QFY993-4QFY99


OBSERVATION 1: Task forces (TFs) seldom plan for employment of infantry during offensive operations. (TA.1.1.1)


1. When infantry is employed, the initiative is normally at the platoon and company level.

2. Soldiers often dismount from Bradleys unprepared for the task and purpose they have been given.

a. They leave essential items on the Bradley such as radios, AT weapons, and breach/ marking kits.

b. They have little or no understanding of the tactical situation.

3. Infantry squads are untrained and unfamiliar with infantry drills such as:

a. Enter and clear a trench.

b. Knock out a bunker.

c. Breach a wire/mine obstacle.

4. TF staffs do not take ownership during the planning process to set the conditions for success on the battlefield.

a. TF staffs lack an appreciation for the time/distance factors that apply to dismounted operations.

b. The task and purpose for the infantry is not established, causing the infantry to be underutilized and not used in conjunction with their Bradley fighting vehicles.

c. TFs do not establish force protection measures such as critical friendly zones at dismount/remount points or breach sites, or during consolidation/reorganization.

for Use of Dismounted Infantry

1. Commanders and staffs must understand the capabilities and limitations of mechanized infantry. FM 71-1, Tank and Mechanized Infantry Company Team, pages 1-7 and 1-8, outlines capabilities and limitations for dismounted infantry. Each element with a mechanized infantry unit can employ that infantry if they have a clear and attainable task and purpose. Tasks that infantry squads can best support include:

a. Clear a defile.

b. Destroy AT-5/2A45M.

c. Establish an observation post (OP).

d. Seize key terrain.

e. Block a restricted avenue of approach.

2. During the Military Decision-Making Process (MDMP), commanders must determine what the most vulnerable target is for the infantry. In fact, early in the intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) process, look for targets that will be vulnerable to infantry and plan to support their employment against those targets.

3. TFs must take ownership to assist the infantry and ensure their success. TFs are best suited for planning and coordinating force protection measures such as:

a. Critical friendly zones around dismount/remount points.

b. No-fire zones around OPs or ambushes.

c. Any other fire control measures to protect the infantry from the effects of friendly and enemy fires.

4. The trend of infantry squads being unfamiliar with infantry drills indicates a lack of training at Home Station. Commanders need to include training exercises for infantry squads on the battle drills described in FM 7-7, The Mechanized Infantry Platoon and Squad, and 7-7J, Mechanized Infantry Platoon and Squad (Bradley).

SUBJECT: Actions on Contact

Observation frequency:3-4QFY971-2QFY983-4QFY981-2QFY993-4QFY99


OBSERVATION 1: Units often quickly become combat ineffective after initial contact with the enemy. (TA.1.2)

DISCUSSION: Companies and platoons are unable to execute maneuver in direct fire contact with the enemy. Units lose command and control, lose momentum, are rapidly attrited, and are unable to accomplish their mission. Contributing problems include:

1. Poor use of terrain or not using terrain to their advantage.

2. No integration or use of enemy combat multipliers such as smoke, indirect fires, and breach assets.

3. No preparation for contact. Units often do not plan for transitioning to maneuver; they use column formations and traveling techniques that do not facilitate rapid transition. When units are in the proper formation and technique, they are having problems rapidly transitioning from movement to maneuver.


OBSERVATION 1: Company/teams often make contact with the enemy while still in movement formation, and are unable to react. (TA.1.2)


1. Company/team commanders often have a strong understanding of the threat facing the company in upcoming missions. However, the company/team commanders are frequently not able to incorporate the seven forms of contact to terrain. This results in contact with the enemy while still in or transitioning from movement to maneuver.

2. The inability to visualize the enemy forms of contact IAW terrain prevents the company from executing a company/team reaction to contact drill or massing direct and indirect fires on the commander's decisive point and attaining mission accomplishment.


OBSERVATION 1: FA batteries do not react quickly to enemy direct and indirect fire. (TA.1.2)

DISCUSSION: FA batteries are demonstrating a weakness in battle drills when attacked by OPFOR direct and indirect systems. Batteries do not react to enemy aircraft.

OBSERVATION 2: Units too often do not know what action to take upon contact with the enemy. (TA.1.2)

DISCUSSION: Units tend to stop when first engaged. Units are not trained to react to or find dismounted weapons.

OBSERVATION 3: (Repeat of 1-2QFY99 Observation 1)

for Actions on Contact

1. During the planning process, the commander should identify a probable line of deployment based upon the enemy situation. At the line of deployment, the unit will conform to a movement formation and technique that will facilitate rapid transition to maneuver.

2. Units must train at Home Station on battle drills and unit SOPs that address actions on contact.

a. Training must be in a realistic environment that reflects the true nature of the battlefield.

b. Training must address all seven forms of contact.

c. As training progresses at Home Station, the conditions should change until they cause units to face multiple forms of contact at once.

3. Commanders must practice and gain further knowledge of how the enemy fights in accordance with terrain.

4. The commander must focus company/platoon movement and maneuver during the planning phase to counter the actions.

5. Work battery battle drills for reacting to enemy attack into future training events.

6. Conduct pre-combat checks and pre-combat inspections (PCCs/PCIs) to standard. PCCs/PCIs get the unit ready for an event and enable leaders to examine personnel, equipment, and capabilities and gauge the unit's ability to conduct a mission.

7. After the PCCs/PCIs, rehearse the actual event.

8. Include dismounted systems in Home Station training. Train for enemy fire from adjacent unit sector.

SUBJECT: Graphic Control Measures

Observation frequency:3-4QFY971-2QFY983-4QFY981-2QFY993-4QFY99


OBSERVATION 1: Units lack a formal effective system for the dissemination of graphic control measures. (TA.


1. Graphic control measures are not being disseminated in a usable form to the lowest level.

2. Technology has not yet advanced to the point that command and control documents can be electronically distributed in a usable form. In the interim, the Army continues to disseminate graphics using paper maps and acetate overlays.

3. Current unit SOPs do not meet the needs of the user at the lowest level.

a. Squad leaders and platoon leaders are often handed a brigade TOC-sized overlay, far too large and unwieldy to be managed in a tank commander's hatch or the passenger seat of a HMMWV.

b. Many soldiers do not understand the symbolism on the overlays and do not know how to properly use the overlays.

c. Units often do not copy graphics accurately, frequently resulting in a bad incident such as a unit driving into known obstacles and minefields.


OBSERVATION 1: Light engineer platoons do not adequately distribute usable maneuver, SITEMP, CSS, fire support, and obstacle overlays to the squad level in a timely manner. (TA.4.1.3)


1. The lack of graphics at the squad level leads to inadequate situational awareness and initiative along with an increased operational risk category at the squad level.

2. Most units run out of overlay material due to waste and the failure to erase old overlays and recycle.

3. Most units suffer from inaccurate overlays due to hasty reproduction methods.


OBSERVATION 1: (Repeat of 3-4QFY98 Observation 1)

for Graphic Control Measures

1. Units should use the same scale maps at all levels for the dissemination of graphics.

2. Establish a workable map size for the lowest-level user to handle in his work area; 24" x 18" has been shown to be a good size. Make mapboards from plexiglass or other suitable transparent material, and establish standardized reference points ("bolt holes" or "tic marks") so the maps may be placed on these mapboards in the same place, every time.

3. The engineer battalion TOC should evaluate the terrain of the operational area and pre-register all likely map subsections.

4. Prepare overlays from the higher headquarters' graphics to cover each map subsection. Sections should overlap, so that a leader need not refer to two separate overlays more than necessary.

5. Conduct training on graphical control measures until all involved leaders and soldiers are fully prepared to use them.

6. Take great care in the reproduction of graphics.

a. Train one or more soldiers to be experts at this task. Help them understand the importance of their work, and ensure they have the tools necessary to do a good job.

b. Many units neglect to plan for or provide sufficient office supplies to their subordinate units. Every platoon should have a field supply of acetate and alcohol pens available, including unit templates and rulers, to ensure accuracy in copying graphics.

7. Unit troop-leading procedures (TLPs) should include a pre-combat inspection (PCI) by the unit commander to ensure subordinates' graphics are correct. Graphics can be the difference between life and death or success and failure on the modern battlefield.

8. The light engineer platoon must develop and enforce a system that is a part of the platoon tactical SOP (TACSOP) that addresses who makes the overlays, the standard map scale, how the overlays are distributed, who gets each type of overlay, and who conducts quality control of the overlays for accuracy.

SUBJECT: Aviation Integration into the Scheme of Maneuver

Observation frequency:3-4QFY971-2QFY983-4QFY981-2QFY993-4QFY99


OBSERVATION 1: Aviation and ground maneuver elements do not have an integrated planning process. (TA.4.4.5)

DISCUSSION: Air/ground integration problems begin during the planning process and continue through preparation and execution phases.

1. During operational control (OPCON) relationships, ground and air planning processes are often conducted independent of each other. They usually see each other's plan for the first time at the combined arms rehearsal.

2. The problem is not confined to OPCON relationships. Aviation units often execute operations in the brigade combat team (BCT) battle space with minimal situational awareness of the ground scheme of maneuver. The geographical distances between the aviation tactical assembly area (TAA) and the ground maneuver tactical operations center/tactical air command (TOC/TAC) further compounds the problem.

3. Lack of air and ground integration results in:

a. Poor synchronization between air and ground forces.

b. No common maneuver graphics and control measures.

c. Poor air/ground communication plans.

d. Improperly assigned priority of fires.

e. Attack-by-fire positions and engagement areas that do not support the ground maneuver plan.


OBSERVATION 1: (Repeat of 3-4QFY98 Observation 1)

for Aviation Integration into the Scheme of Maneuver

1. In his guidance to the battle staff, the commander should identify the decisive point and the task and purpose of aviation assets.

2. Based upon the commander's guidance and the wargame results, the S2 should refine the collection plan to support the commitment of aviation assets.

3. A competent liaison officer (LNO), who has authority to speak for the aviation commander, should participate in the BCT battle staff's Military Decision-Making Process (MDMP) to ensure proper employment of aviation assets. The LNO should assist the ground maneuver element in planning all base orders and, on a case-by-case basis, specific follow-on missions. The LNO should have sufficient technical and tactical competence to be a productive force in the planning process. If possible, the LNO should remain with the ground maneuver TAC during mission execution. If a company or troop is in an OPCON relationship without its higher headquarters staff, it should provide an LNO as well.

4. Combined arms rehearsals between the ground and air maneuver elements are essential to mission success. Air routes, aviation decision points, assault-by-fire positions, holding areas, and Forward Arming and Refueling Points (FARPs) should be depicted on the sand table.

5. Prior to mission execution, the aviation TAC should be collocated with the BCT TOC/TAC to facilitate situational awareness and anticipate employment.

6. Aviation company/troop commanders should monitor the ground maneuver unit's command net to synchronize ground and air combat power and reduce the risk of fratricide.

SUBJECT: Actions on the Objective

Observation frequency:3-4QFY971-2QFY983-4QFY981-2QFY993-4QFY99


OBSERVATION 1: Battalions and companies frequently occupy their initial assault-by-fire positions at their primary engagement area (EA) and do not maneuver to engage the enemy. (TA.1.2)


1. When the enemy is not exactly where predicted, or if the timing is off, the attack units probably cannot see the enemy from their initial positions.

2. When the enemy is encountered where predicted, units typically do not maneuver to maintain contact and complete the destruction of the enemy.

3. Helicopters remain in their assault-by-fire position far too long, resulting in enemy indirect and/or direct fires on their position.

for Actions on the Objective

1. When the enemy is not where predicted.

a. During initial planning, the S2 should establish an intelligence handover line (IHL) where the executing unit becomes responsible for overwatch of NAIs that lead into the primary EA. The executing unit pushes reconnaissance assets forward, which provide final guidance to attack assets.

b. The S2 must determine early if sensor capability, availability, and down link provide the capability to perform a maximum destruction attack. If this capability does not exist, then the attack unit prepares to conduct movement to contact to find and destroy the enemy in a given zone.

c. The staff must establish triggers for execution of alternate engagement areas and alternate schemes of maneuver.

d. Regardless of the method used, battalions must plan to maneuver at the objective area. Even with perfect intelligence, planned assault-by-fire positions may not allow for destruction of the enemy. Battalions must be prepared to maneuver to subsequent assault-by-fire positions to initiate or continue the attack.

e. Conduct rehearsals.

2. When the attack unit begins the engagement but does not maneuver to destroy the enemy.

a. During integration of the EA, the staff must wargame the attack unit's actions and the OPFOR's reactions. This wargaming process ensures appropriate integration of indirect fire systems, direct fire systems, countermobility, and so forth.

b. The S2 must disseminate expected OPFOR actions to the company commanders.

c. Company commanders should attend the wargaming session to enhance their knowledge of the overall EA plan and visualize how the enemy is expected to react. Through this visualization, the S3, S2, FSO, and company commanders can jointly develop plans to maintain contact, shift fires, etc., to destroy the enemy.

d. The company commander and battalion S3 should leave the wargame session with a detailed EA maneuver plan.

SUBJECT: Engagement Area Development

Observation frequency:3-4QFY971-2QFY983-4QFY981-2QFY993-4QFY99


OBSERVATION 1: Task force (TF) fire support officers (FSOs) and fire support teams (FISTs) do not adequately complete engagement area development during defense in sector missions. (TA.2.1.1)


1. Not all triggers are emplaced.

2. Time/distance factors for some triggers are miscalculated.

3. Targets are not tied into obstacles.

4. All primary and alternate observers cannot see triggers.

5. The target area survey is usually inadequate.


OBSERVATION 1: Units do not fully understand or implement the eight-step engagement area development process. (TA.1.2)

DISCUSSION: The lack of properly developed engagement areas limits the unit's ability to plan in depth or to take advantage of combat multipliers.

for Engagement Area Development

1. The task force FSO should develop a scheme of fires to support the task force commander's decisive point. This includes:

a. Observer planning.

b. Target emplacement based on sighted obstacles.

c. Target refinement based on the actual obstacle emplacement.

d. Trigger emplacement--both tactical and execution (include limited visibility/ thermal).

e. An EA mounted rehearsal.

2. Tasks must be prioritized with an established timeline and the status of preparation reported. This must be a coordinated effort between the task force FSO/FSE and company/teams. Execution can be centralized or decentralized.

3. The task force fire support sergeant is the subject matter expert (SME) and should supervise and coordinate the overall effort.

4. Trigger kits must be standardized and resourced.

a. Time/distance factors are different for an enemy moving during day and night, and response and shift times for mortars and artillery are different.

b. Establish both tactical and execution triggers. Use procedures established in FM 6-30, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Observed Fire, to achieve effective moving target engagement. Emphasis must be focused on emplacing tactical and execution triggers based on precision time/distance factors IAW the moving target engagement procedures published in FM 6-30.

5. Refer to chapter 3 of FM 1-112, Attack Helicopter Operations.

6. Battalion commanders and XOs must involve everyone in the staff planning process.

7. After analysis of the enemy's courses of action (COAs), the staff must determine the best ground to kill the enemy while at the same time ensuring that the terrain selected is synchronized with the ground scheme of maneuver. The commander's intent on where he wants the enemy destroyed allows the staff to integrate artillery, engineers, close air support (CAS), and ground maneuver into shaping the engagement area for the attack helicopters.

SUBJECT: Integration of Light and Heavy Forces

Observation frequency:3-4QFY971-2QFY983-4QFY981-2QFY993-4QFY99


OBSERVATION 1: Brigade combat teams (BCTs) are having difficulty integrating the light battalion's planning cycle into their timeline. (TA.4.4.5)


1. The light battalion frequently does not get the BCT's intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) products early enough to support their Military Decision-Making Process (MDMP).

2. Brigade commanders are declaring themselves air assault task force commanders (AATFC) in according with doctrine. However, in reality, the light battalion's staff is doing the preponderance of the movement planning. This includes planning SEAD, CASEVAC, and producing the air movement table. All of this is time-consuming, considering the light battalion may be simultaneously developing a truck movement plan, an R&S plan, and a ground maneuver plan.

3. Another issue is the employment of the light battalion in the BCT scheme of maneuver. The BCT seldom maximizes the capabilities of the light battalion. Most light battalions have been employed close to the line of departure (LD) or to an intermediate objective. There is an apparent lack of understanding regarding the use of light infantry to minimize risk. The BCT does not fully realize how a light infantry battalion can enhance their R&S capability.

OBSERVATION 2: The light task force (TF) continues to have difficulty with planning for and employing OPCON'd heavy company teams. (TA.4.4.5)


1. As part of mission analysis, the heavy company teams' capabilities and limitations are not being discussed in detail.

2. During course of action (COA) development, the resulting graphics have insufficient control measures to effectively integrate the heavy company team into the fight.

3. During wargaming, the TF staff usually does not sufficiently synchronize the heavy force. This is largely due to a lack of a heavy force participation in the wargame.

4. The TF commander usually does not understand how to properly set the conditions (smoke, breaching, suppression, and so forth) and maneuver the heavy force.

for Integration of Light and Heavy Forces

1. New doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures (DTTP) should be developed on liaison packages for BCT operations to answer questions such as, "What does a BCT need as part of their staff to help with special MDMP requirements?" Just like a division main CP has a SOCCE to help with the integration and tracking of special operations, a standardized liaison package for the BCT should be developed when they have attached a light force. This package should consist of at least a captain and a SSG or SFC to assist in the MDMP and to help with movement planning for the light force.

2. The light battalion commander must make solid recommendations to the BCT on how his battalion should be employed. The light battalion commander needs to come face-to-face with the BCT commander at receipt of mission to understand his intent and talk about a course of action.

3. Include more tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) on light-heavy operations into the trend reversal classes and provide improved coaching of these considerations during MDMP.

SUBJECT: Integrating Direct Fire with Maneuver

Observation frequency:3-4QFY971-2QFY983-4QFY981-2QFY993-4QFY99


OBSERVATION 1: Mortar platoon split-section operations are not incorporated into the task force maneuver plan. (TA.1.4)


OBSERVATION 2: Combat multipliers are not adequately integrated into the scheme of maneuver. (TA.1.4)


1. Task forces (TFs) tend to focus on maneuver only and do not understand how to integrate other combat multipliers.

2. A lack of integrated fires, engineers, air defense artillery (ADA), dismounted infantry, and smoke results in a desynchronized plan.


OBSERVATION 1: Maneuver task forces have difficulty integrating combat multipliers into the scheme of maneuver. (TA.1.4)

DISCUSSION: Units are routinely not able to integrate fires and smoke into the scheme of maneuver, resulting in an unsynchronized plan.


OBSERVATION 1: (Repeat of 1-2QFY99 Observation 1)

for Integrating Direct Fire with Maneuver


1. References: FM 7-90, FM 23-91, and ARTEP 7-90 mission training plans (MTP).

2. Units should be aware of the advantages of employing mortars by section:

a. Covers a larger front.

b. Provides increased survivability against indirect fire.

3. Conduct situational training exercise (STX) lane training at Home Station.

a. Key leaders should incorporate their training into the battalion scheme of maneuver.

b. Integrate coordination exercises into the battalion movement plan. This will allow companies to observe the effects of mortar supporting fires in sector.

4. Consider all potential combat multipliers during wargaming to determine their most effective application.

5. Determine when each of the combat multipliers can be used during the next mission to bring about the desired effect. Timing the effects of combined arms and mass in the scheme of maneuver brings about the desired synchronization.

6. Refine the scheme of maneuver as needed during the TF rehearsal.

7. All combat multipliers must be integrated into the scheme of maneuver. Staff officers must familiarize themselves with weapons capabilities and their effects to successfully integrate them into the plan.

8. Determine the most effective application of the weapons systems during the wargame. Determine the best time for these multipliers to be used. This will help bring about the desired synchronization and effects of combined arms and mass.

9. The task force should establish a three-phase training plan for the staff on integration of combat multipliers.

a. Phase 1 - conduct OPD/NCODP to teach the staff the "How To."

b. Phase 2 - conduct planning drills/exercises that limit the time available.

c. Phase 3 - conclude with a tactical field exercise where the staff can incorporate the lessons they learned during the first two phases.

d. Conduct quarterly simulation exercises (JANUS/BBS) to sustain the staff's proficiency and effectiveness.
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One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias