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SECTION I

PREPARATION AND PLANNING OF TACTICAL COMMUNICATIONS

Chapter 2: PLANNING OF TACTICAL COMMUNICATIONS

Preparation of Tactical Communications
Table of Contents
Synchronizing and Integrating Communications Assets During the Wargaming Process

Part I
COMMUNICATIONS PLANNING

The best communications plan in the world will not do any good if the BSO is the only one who understands it. BSOs must remember that the supported unit is not focused on communications. The BSO serves as the bridge to bring the commander and staffs to a clear understanding of the unit's communications architecture and how they will communicate on the battlefield. BSOs influence communications using the signal annex and Combined Arms Rehearsals (CARs).

Part II
BSO SIGNAL ANNEX

BSOs must improve the quality of their signal annex. This step will assist units with the incorporation of signal planning. BSOs must work with other staff elements to improve their communications planning and execution while they work bottom-up refinements throughout the battlefield. Frequently NTC O/Cs report that units have a minimal understanding of the communications plan and no means to overcome communications challenges.

The signal annex is an essential element of a military operations order (OPORD). A number of styles of information presentation are effective: plain text, preformatted templates, and matrixes. The annex must incorporate all communications resources. Providing a signal concept sketch to the commander works best. The graphic presentation provides the commander with a clear and concise understanding of the communications plan. Several critical information elements are: Concept of communications; CP locations (primary and alternate); RETRANS locations (including RETRANS signal architecture); and RAU coverage. As with any OPORD, subordinate units must have their higher unit's signal annex.

Figures 4a and 4b provide a picture of the very details that should be included in the signal annex. Accurate portrayal of the communications architecture is very important.

Figure 4a. SIGNAL ANNEX "A WAY"

EVENT
R&
LD
CAV ENTERS
CAV EXITS
C2 NODE
VALLEY OF DEATH
VALLEY OF DEATH
TOCLOCATION
NV350090
NV350090
NV350090
NV350090
FREQUENCY USED FOR BDE CMD
400
400
400
400
FREQUENCY USED FOR DIV CMD
100
100
100
100
MOVEMENT TRIGGER
TACLOCATION
NV404129
NV404129
NV404129
NV404129
FREQUENCY USED FOR BDE CMD
400
400
400
400
FREQUENCY USED FOR DIV CMD
100
100
100
100
MOVEMENT TRIGGER
REARLOCATION
BSA
BSA
BSA
BSA
FREQUENCY USED FOR BDE CMD
400
400
400
400
RETRANS UTILIZED
RETRANS1LOCATION
ROZ1
ROZ1
ROZ1
(C2 BIRD)FREQUENCY/RTS FREQUENCY
400/401
400/401
400/401
MOVEMENT TRIGGER
RETRANS2LOCATIONLINK UP W/CAVFOLLOWS CAVFOLLOWS CAVFOLLOWS CAV
FREQUENCY/RTS FREQUENCY
407/408
407/408
407/408
MOVEMENT TRIGGER
RETRANS3LOCATION
NV483195
NV483195
NV483195
NV483195
FREQUENCY/RTS FREQUENCY
400/406
400/406
400/406
MOVEMENT TRIGGER
RETRANS4LOCATION
NV349012
NV349012
NV349012
FREQUENCY/RTS FREQUENCY
400/407
400/407
400/407
MOVEMENT TRIGGER

Part III
SIGNAL CROSS TALK AND PLANNING REFINEMENT

Cross talk and planning refinement from the brigade BSO to subordinate BSOs is often nonexistent throughout an NTC campaign. The results are an unsynchronized community of signal personnel who are often out of touch with signal plan revisions and frequently unaware of the location of other signal resources on the battlefield. Several procedures can be implemented to overcome this shortfall. BSOs should make every effort to conduct conference calls on MSE and FM. Standardized reporting times can work well, but require deconfliction. The following three techniques work well:

1. Maximize BSO participation at the BCT combined arms rehearsal (CAR). The CAR is the one time subordinate units are on the same timeline as the brigade. Unit commanders, S3s, XOs, and FSOs are held accountable for their presence at this critical event. The CAR is an excellent opportunity for the brigade BSO and other units BSOs to cross-talk and come to closure on changes and/or revisions to the signal plan. Often the maneuver plan is modified during the CAR. If the brigade and battalion BSOs are present, they can address the impact of these changes on communications. BSOs can and should coordinate with each other during this time. This is also a good time to link up RETRANS teams with their respective unit movement assignments.

2. At least twice daily, units track combat power, classes of supply, and sensitive items using reporting procedures established by their TACSOPs. These reports help the brigades maintain situational awareness and increase accountability. The BSOs must add a chart we've called the Orange Report to their SOP. This Orange Report accounts for each communication system in the unit. While formats can be very generic, they should be standard throughout the brigade and cover 100 percent of the systems. Each communications system should have their own line number. Reports can be sent via FM, TACSAT, MSE voice, or digitally through TACLAN, EPLRS, or tactical facsimile. Units submit the Orange Report to the brigade signal section twice daily or as required by the unit TACSOP. A sample Orange Report is shown at Figure 5 below.

Orange Report
TF INTF ARFA BNAVN BN
LINE NO.SYSTEMMCO/HMCO/HMCO/HMCO/H
1FM RETRANS
2S/C TACSAT
3EPLRS RADIO
4EPLRS SAT
5DNVT
6MSRT
7TACLAN
8MSE FACSIMILE

Figure 5. Communications Equipment Tracking Report (Orange Report)

3. Tracking communications resources across the battlefield is the BSO's primary challenge. Effective battle tracking starts during the planning and preparation process. Brigade BSOs must implement a process of bottom-up refinement of the signal plan working through their subordinate BSOs. How do you do that? Battalion BSOs get their initial copy of the brigade's RETRANS plan in the brigade OPORD. As subordinate BSOs go through their MDMP, a refined copy of the planning matrix is forwarded to the brigade BSO for consolidation. Once the data is refined and consolidated, a copy is sent back to the subordinate BSOs. The chart at Figure 6 on page I-15 can be used for bottom-up refinement or as an internal planning tool for your own signal section.

Figure 6. Communications Tracking and Refinement "A WAY"

Part IV
TIPS FOR THE MDMP

BSOs must fully understand the Military Decision-Making Process (MDMP) as outlined in FM 101-5. The remainder of this chapter highlights areas within the MDMP that BSOs typically overlook. When developing a communications plan, be sure to incorporate PACE (Primary, Alternate, Contingency and Emergency) into all levels of primary signal operations. The following considerations are shown in a checklist format:

Part V
GENERAL SIGNAL PLANNING CONSIDERATIONS

__ Pay attention to the details of the wargaming process.

__ Verify that the scheme of maneuver does not take supported units outside your communications coverage.

__ Develop contingencies for every possible COA. If division gave you a be-prepared, on-order, or a follow-on mission, the BSO must be prepared to execute the mission.

Part VI
GETTING STARTED IN THE PLANNING PROCESS

Before the MDMP process begins, the BSO needs to get into the wargaming fight. Follow the posted timeline and prepare yourself for wargaming. Bring everything to the table, including RETRANS icons, C2 node icons, and Remote RAU icons. Other tools required:

__ Map of brigade AO.

__ String to replicate 15km RAU footprint.

__ Permanent markers: blue, black, and red.

__ Straight-edged military ruler.

__ Terrabase LOS program.

__ Laptop PC for producing paragraph 5 and the signal annex of your brigade OPORD.

Part VII
MISSION ANALYSIS BRIEF

BSOs often struggle over their mission analysis brief. Brief the following to your commander, XO, S3, and staff:

__ Furnish a visual chart showing the brigade's current communications posture.

__ Provide the commander and staff an overview of the critical communication points in your area of operation. Examine the width and depth of the brigade's battlespace in detail.

__ Use Terrabase products to inform the commander of the communications dead spots in their battle space. Account for all brigade communication assets.

__ Clearly and emphatically identify constraints or limitations.

__ Portray potential signal sites for RETRANS and RAU coverage using Terrabase products.

__ Display the locations of your higher headquarters' C2 nodes. Identify dead spaces affecting higher to lower communications.

Preparation of Tactical Communications
Table of Contents
Synchronizing and Integrating Communications Assets During the Wargaming Process



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