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Fires in the Close Fight Newsletter

The Importance of Essential Fire Support Tasks (EFSTs) Translation at the JRTC…

Essential Field Artillery Tasks (EFATs) Production

by members of the Fire Support Division, JRTC Operations Group

Observation: Our doctrine currently lacks tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) for developing essential field artillery tasks (EFATs) from essential fire support tasks (EFSTs). EFATs are tasks that the field artillery must accomplish to achieve an EFST.

Discussion: EFSTs are derived during the Military Decision-Making Process (MDMP). The brigade fire support officer (FSO) recommends to the field artillery battalion commander/fire support coordinator (FSCOORD) those critical tasks he deems essential to the operation, or EFSTs. By doctrine, failure to achieve an EFST may require the commander to alter his tactical or operational plan. Therefore, EFST development is critical and paramount. If the FSO and the FSCOORD have a common understanding of the operation, the EFSTs will be approved and refined quickly as the MDMP continues. Full development of an EFST includes a task, purpose, method and effects (TPME). The EFSTs are disseminated to the force in the fire support annex of the base operations order (OPORD). This article discusses “how” EFSTs are translated by the field artillery battalion tactical operations center (TOC) (FA BN TOC) into EFATs at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC).

As stated up front, EFATs are tasks that the field artillery must accomplish to achieve an EFST. EFAT production is not complex. On the contrary, it is a rather simple process. An EFAT is generated from an EFST when the field artillery battalion has any embedded requirements in an EFST. Usually this can be determined quickly by reading the method portion of the EFST – if artillery fires are mentioned in the method portion of the EFST, usually an executor in the delivery of fires, that EFST forms the basis for an EFAT. Additionally, an EFAT helps accomplish an EFST. In other words, an EFAT is like a critical battle task whereas the EFST is a METL task. For the EFST to be successfully performed, the EFAT must be successfully executed. What does this EFST-EFAT translation require? The EFAT must first be artillerized for the direct support (DS) battalion assets. Here’s an example of an EFST, followed by an example of an EFAT derived from that EFST:

EFST No. 1

Task: Destroy Enemy Indirect Fire System’s ability to place effective fires on the Forward Operating Base (FOB).

Purpose: Allow unimpeded buildup of combat power.
Method: Priority: Field artillery priority of fires (POF) to 1st battalion, 2d battalion, aviation. Primary detection mechanism is Q-36 radar, alternate is MICO assets and Brigade reconnaissance, tertiary means is crater analysis. Allocation: Field artillery fires and division cavalry destroy identified mortars. One priority TGT, AF4000, will be allocated to 1st battalion. Restrictions: No cratering munitions within 50 meters of FLS.
Effects: All identified mortars destroyed.

Example of an EFST.

EFAT No. 1
Task: Destroy Enemy Indirect Fire System’s ability to place effective fires on the Forward Operating Base (FOB).
Purpose: Allow unimpeded buildup of combat power.
Method: Priority of 105mm fires is to 1st battalion, 2d battalion, aviation. Priority of survey support to A battery. Allocation: A Battery, the counter-fire battery, with Q-36, TLQ-17, and PADS Team No. 1 conducts road movement from PA 5 to PA 13 at 212100, IPRT NLT 212330 vicinity grid WQ 318456 on AOF and AOS of 4800, alternate AOF 3600. TLQ-17 occupies and commences ECM against C2/FS nets. Survey section establishes declination station at PA5. Alternate PA is PA 12. B Battery with fabricated Q-36 (WOODY) and battalion retrans conducts road movement to PA 19 vic grid WQ158456 on AOF of 1600, alternate 3000. Secure retrans. Alternate PA is PA 18. Trigger to move is A battery IPRTF. C Battery remains IPRTF vic grid WQ255555 on AOF 3200, alternate 2600. Alternate PA is PA 7. All three firing batteries IPRTF and Q-36 IPRTO prior to 1st battalion’s LD. Counterfire drill rehearsed. All counterfire missions fired within two minutes of acquisition. Fire Order: Battery two rounds HE/VT. Maneuver tied in with indirect fires as kill mechanisms, and enemy mortars destroyed using proactive and reactive counterfire. Assessment sensors include infantry, OH-58s and scouts. Sound predictive analysis using all acquisitions, crater analysis reports, and MICO intelligence feeds. BCT conducts aggressive crater analysis and sends SHELREPS via AFATDS to BDE FSE/FA BN TOC (Alt Voice FH 651) immediately. Quick fire net will be established between 1st battalion and A battery in support of combined arms mortar fight, and one priority TGT, AF4000, will be allocated to 1st battalion. Clearance of fires drill rehearsed in the FA TOC. Restrictions: No cratering munitions within 50 meters of FLS.
Effects: 2 x 81mm mortars destroyed. Assessment sensors include infantry, OH-58s and scouts.

An example of an EFAT derived from that EFST.

Here is a breakdown of the four elements of an EFAT.

1. Task describes the objectives that fires must achieve against a specific enemy capability. Like an EFST, it has three parts: targeting objective, enemy formation and function. Destroy, delay, disrupt or limit are all examples of objectives. Formation is the size of the threat, and function is the capability of this threat to achieve its task and purpose. Destroy is the targeting objective, all enemy indirect fire systems are clearly the enemy formation, and the enemy’s ability to place effective fires on the FOB is the function in EFAT No. 1 above.

2. Purpose describes the operational purpose for the task – how it will contribute to the friendly force’s mission and commander’s intent. As with an EFST, this should identify the decisive point that will leverage the targeting effect. Very similar, if not identical to the EFST, allowing unimpeded buildup of combat power is the purpose of EFAT No. 1.

3. Method describes how the task and purpose will be achieved. Like the EFST, the method of the EFAT is very detailed, and includes priorities, allocations and restrictions. The EFAT’s method may contain movement functions and priorities, critical tasks to subordinate firing units supporting the EFAT, and other critical mission-essential tasks required to achieve the task and purpose of the EFAT. In EFAT No. 1, the FA battalion TOC prescribed priority of fires, priority of survey support, concept of movement, and concept of fires to achieve the EFAT task and purpose. Additionally, EFAT No. 1 includes primary and alternate position areas, and triggers for movements.

4. Effects attempt to quantify the successful accomplishment of the task – is assessment-oriented and assists in our decision to re-attack or not. Two 81mm mortars destroyed. Assessment sensors include infantry, OH-58s and scouts. Effects are more than destroying the enemy mortar – they are quantifiable and observable. Accurate assessment and confirmation that the system has been destroyed are the end result of the task. Once the EFAT is developed, it should be disseminated in paragraph three of the operations order (OPORD)/FASP. Using the matrix technique seems to work well, but unit standing operating procedures (SOPs) will determine this.

Recommended TTP: Provide a liaison to the brigade tactical operations center (TOC); establish a menu of EFATs with a checklist of considerations for each type of possible mission; and continued parallel planning within the FA battalion TOC. Let us address these techniques in turn.

Providing a liaison to the brigade TOC. Before publication of the fire support annex, it is critical during the brigade MDMP that the FA battalion TOC has a liaison officer (LNO) other than the FSCOORD or FSO who participates in the MDMP in the brigade TOC. The LNO must understand EFST development as covered in FM 6-20-40 (FM 3-09.4), Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Fire Support for Brigade Operations, and the Ft. Sill White Paper, 16 September 1998. His task is to assist the FA battalion TOC in parallel planning by providing working knowledge of EFST development. Additionally, he is the link between the two TOCs. He is literally the eyes and ears of the FA battalion TOC S3 during the brigade MDMP. Questions the LNO must ask are: Which EFSTs identify field artillery assets that are required to provide fires in the EFFECTS portion of the EFST? How is the FA battalion TOC tied into this? How would the method portion of the EFST determine movement priorities? What ammunition or other special considerations are there? Is an air assault planned? The LNO invariably assists in giving the FA battalion TOC a jump-start on EFAT development by addressing these types of questions early in the process. He also must provide the brigade FSOs battle calculus information required for the FA battalion TOC mission analysis.

Establishing a menu of EFATs with a checklist of considerations for each type of possible mission is another critical technique for efficient and effective EFAT production. This menu is not a “cookie-cutter” technique for EFATs, but, instead, a memory jogger of the normal tasks associated with common missions. A matrix format works well. An example follows:

EFAT
Considerations
Destroy Mortars Ammunition, observer plan, positioning of FA assets and Q-36, azimuths of fire and cueing azimuths, proactive and reactive predictive analysis, sensor-to-shooter architecture, quick fire net(s), fire order destroy mortars, counterfire drill, clearance of fires procedures, maneuver tied into D3A methodology.
EFAT
Considerations
Suppress Enemy ADA Systems Ammunition; observer plan, positioning of FA assets and Q-36, azimuths of fire and cueing azimuths, sensor-to-shooter architecture, quick fire net(s), fire order destroy ADA systems, SEAD coverage/plan, clearance of fires procedures, maneuver tied into D3A methodology, GA/R assets tied into Bde concept.

Matrix Format

Continuous parallel planning is the third technique for assisting in EFAT production. FA battalion TOC personnel must be forward-thinking in their approach to MDMP. With timely and accurate feeds from the FA battalion TOC LNO, the FA battalion TOC can rapidly and effectively produce sound and relevant EFATs through use of the MDMP, which can then be published in paragraph 3 of the FASP/OPORD. As the FA battalion TOC establishes its MDMP-based battle rhythm, production of EFATs becomes rhythmic and more integrated with brigade functions.

Conclusion: EFAT production for the FA battalion TOC is a key and essential task in itself. Using proactive, forward-thinking planning, sound and continuous liaison with the brigade TOC, and EFAT menus incorporated into unit SOPs, EFAT production becomes a normal TOC function which is easily incorporated in the unit’s battle rhythm. EFATs translate the commander’s guidance to the firing unit level. When done effectively, EFATs greatly assist FA battalion TOC tasking to subordinate units. More importantly, though, they assist in accomplishing non-routine tasks to standard. Through continued training, units can bridge the gap between brigade EFSTs and battery-level execution, and EFAT production can be developed into a universally accepted TTP.



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