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Positive Performance

4.2 Assess Situation

* Risk assessment during planning and preparation: Units are conducting assessments for safety, fratricide prevention and tactical risk. While assessment of risk is improving, units must do better developing risk-reduction control measures and then communicating both risks and control measures to subordinate elements.

4.4.1 Prepare Plans or Orders

* Engineer battalion operations orders: OPORDS have sufficient detail to synchronize engineer operations across the brigade sector.

* Engineer company commander adherence to 1/3 - 2/3 planning rule: Engineers are proactive in seeking information from the TF staff. Then the engineers issue orders and task organize engineer assets quickly.


1. After the TF COA decision brief, engineers have sufficient information to issue orders to engineer platoons task organized to maneuver Co/TMs. This early task organization assists platoon leaders participation in the Co/TM planning process, orders issue and rehearsals.

2. After the TF OPORD is issued, the engineer commander then develops his refined IPB, scheme of maneuver/fires, and company CSS plan; he then issues his OPORD.

PROBLEM: Engineer commanders still need to improve the level of detail in scheme of maneuver/fires and actions on contact.

4.1 Acquire and Communicate Information and Maintain Status

* Artillery firing battery SOP adherence: Unfamiliarity or not following battery SOP has been a consistent problem this quarter. Listed below are specific problem areas.

1. Movement:

  • March order times and rates
  • Use of movement control measures, such as rally points and checkpoints
  • Use of convoy signal flags
  • Advance party equipment and load plans
  • Convoy communication

2. Pre-combat inspection/Pre-combat checks: SOPs have lengthy checklists, BUT units are not following them.

3. SurvivabilityUnits have detailed defensive preparation checklists, BUT units are not following them.

4. Communication

  • Burying commo wire across roads and as part of position improvement
  • Buying land-line between gun positions and the lay or safety circle

5. Air Defense

  • Air defense warning sound weapon control status
  • Firing battery small arms air defense systems and procedures

6. Combat Service Support

  • BOCs functioning as the logistical center for firing batteries
  • Tracking of supply classes
  • Resupply triggers

Technique: Units should evaluate their SOPs for completeness, and to determine if the standards listed are realistic. Those areas where OCs point out non-compliance should be evaluated to see why the unit is not doing what the SOP specifies. Is the standard realistic? Is the requirement necessary? Then, the SOP should be adjusted accordingly and used.

* TOC battle tracking:

PROBLEM: During battle, the information received in the TOC is not routinely integrated and then disseminated to all appropriate staff sections. The problem is worsened by poor reporting by maneuver units. Reports often fail to follow the "SALT" or "SALUTE" format. Subsequent reports do not report enemy battle damage assessment (BDA).

RESULT: The S2 has an unclear picture of the overall situation and therefore is unable to do any significant predictive analysis based on critical enemy events. Poor reporting also makes it difficult to do accurate battle tracking.

PROBLEM: S2s do not have developed section SOPs, covering:

  • Spot report logging procedures
  • SITEMP refinement procedures
  • Overall section responsibilities

RESULT: Section operating procedures during combat operations must be developed "on the fly."


1. Develop and exercise a section SOP.

2. Exercise TF SOP at Home Station to ensure information dissemination system functions properly, including a means of verifying receipt of information by various battle staff members.

4.1.3 Maintain Information and Force Status

* Information from field artillery HHQ to subordinate units:

PROBLEM: The untimely flow and exchange of information from HHQ to subordinate units negatively impacts the fire support planning process, especially at TF to Co/TM level.

RESULT: Critical information is either never received or received too late for use in planning at TF and Co/TM level, which negatively impacts mission planning, preparation and execution.


1. Develop a system for FSEs to track and monitor critical fire support information requirements, which must include:

  • Commander's concept for fire support
  • HHQ's scheme of fires/scheme of maneuver, and allocation of fires.
  • Commander's attack guidance, HPTs/HVTs, and engagement criteria by phase
  • Class V availability/constraints and allocations to TF (FASCAM, smoke illlumination, DPICM)
  • Task organization/attachments (COLTS, OH-58s, radar, IEW assets, additional artillery, CAS)

This information should be available to subordinate units once the wargaming session has been completed. In most cases, this information is not disseminated until the issue of the brigade OPORD.

2. The same information must also go from TF FSOs to Co/TM FSOs.

3. Develop a fire support checklist or a digital format to disseminate the information

4. Voice FM communication is the preferred means (saves travel time), but face-to-face with FSOs facilitates questions and answers.

* Obstacle plan materiels coordination, status tracking and reporting timeliness:

PROBLEM: The engineer battalion TOCs do not properly coordinate, track and report the status of obstacles in a timely and complete manner.

RESULT: Significant differences between what was planned and the actual status.

Technique: Obstacle plan management, from initial materiels estimate to completion should include:

  • Obstacle plan development to meet the brigade commander's intent and scheme of maneuver (to include brigade directed obstacles and brigade developed obstacle belts)

  • Obstacle materiels estimate

  • Initial obstacle and survivability timeline: constraints based on METT-T and anticipated delays/disruptions due to historically based equipment, personnel and materiel non-availability.

  • Coordination with the S4 (Bde/TF/Engr) for the early movement of obstacle materiels to expedite the transition to the defense and the establishment of the CL IV & V point.

  • Engineer technical representative at the CL IV & V point to ensure materiels are packaged and issued by priority.

  • Timely submission of obstacle plans (groups and directed obstacles) from the TF engineers.

  • Submission of obstacle and survivability status reports IAW TSOP on an established schedule.

  • Enforcement of the reports submission schedule by the engineer battalion XO and ABE section, using the engineer company net if required. Stress the negative results caused by delayed status reporting.

  • Brief the engineer battalion commander and the brigade commander at established time intervals throughout the defensive preparation.

  • Visits to the unit emplacing obstacles by engineer battalion leaders and staff members.

  • Recommendations for reallocation and/or reprioritization of assets and efforts.

* Task Force TOC tracking of tank plow status:

PROBLEM: Tank mine plow operational status is typically not known until just prior to an offensive operation.

RESULT: Tank mine plows are found to be mounted on deadlined tanks in the UMCP or the plows are operational only in the manual mode.


1. Tank mine plow status should be CCIR for offensive operations.
2. Commanders must report and track tank mine plow status.
3. Rehearsals should be conducted with operational tank mine plows to ensure correct depth settings.

4.2 Assess Situation

* Aviation FSO anticipation of artillery assets early enough in the planning process:

PROBLEM: Too many FSOs do not determine the need for additional fire support assets, such as smoke, until late in the planning process, when they are writing or rehearsing their plan. Then it is too late, because assets have already been allocated by the higher headquarters and planned for by ground maneuver units.

Technique: Aviation FSOs should determine the need for additional assets during mission analysis or while wargaming courses of action. FSOs should immediately request the additional assets from higher headquarters. Analyze Mission

* TF staff situation update briefs to commander during mission analysis brief: TF staffs do not give their commanders sufficient information about the TF's current and projected status, particularly information useful in planning.

Technique: In order to provide the commander the most useful information, ie. number and type of obstacles that can be built, rather than mine and wire quantities) units should follow a standard agenda for mission analysis briefs and situation updates.


  • Higher HQ situation
  • Enemy situation
  • Mission
  • Task organization/forces available
  • Operations/maneuver
    • tasks (specified, implied, essential)
    • significant events
    • scheme of maneuver
  • Other BOS
  • Commander's guidance

4.3 Determine Actions

* TF staff integration for wargaming and course of action development:


1. Staffs do not organize efficiently at the outset of wargaming
2. Staff use the belt technique, which takes a long time
3. COAs are not developed in sufficient detail
4. COAs are usually developed during the wargame process
5. Critical events and known decision points are not initially identified and briefed to the staff
6. The selected COA is never wargamed sufficiently to achieve effective synchronization

RESULT: The lack of sufficient detail resulting from the staff's integrated efforts results in subsequent refinement being done in relative isolation by individual staff members. This negatively impacts on synchronization during mission execution.


1. Use the box method, when time is limited, and when alternative courses of action are being compared.

2. Identify critical events and known decision points prior to the wargame.

3. Conduct a detailed "synchronization wargame" of the selected course of action as part of OPORD development.

4. Create wargaming kits (micro armor, or other items to replicated units; synchronization matrices; large scale maps, etc.) to expedite the set-up and conduct of wargames.

* Engineer battalion staff parallel planning process: Too many engineer battalion staffs do not begin their planning process until after the brigade issues its OPORD.

PROBLEM: TF engineers miss a window of opportunity to impact the maneuver TF planning process. By not having critical information, such as enemy and friendly engineer capabilities and terrain analysis, available before the TF commander issues his guidance and course of action development begins, the TF engineer is often too late to influence task organization, scheme of maneuver and the planning of combined arms rehearsals.

Technique: At Home Station, engineer battalion staffs must practice parallel planning with the maneuver brigade staff. This familiarity with the orders procedures and timelines will ensure better integration of engineer assets early enough in the process to prove significant.

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