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TREND 41: Engineer battalion headquarters and headquarters company (HHC) troop-leading procedures (TLPs).

PROBLEM: Headquarters and headquarters company commanders have not been conducting troop-leading procedures (TLPs) after receiving engineer battalion operations orders (OPORDS) or forward support battalion (FSB) OPORDS.


1. The HHC commander must use TLPs with the estimate of the situation, METT-T, IPB products, and risk assessment products to develop a systematic approach to formulating tactical plans. Without using TLPs, the commander will have great difficulty commanding and controlling his company.

2. The HHC commander must use TLPs and risk assessment worksheets, no matter how abbreviated, to plan, coordinate, prepare, direct, and control the execution of CSS missions for every battalion mission. It is particularly important to issue an OPORD, even if it is given vocally, to focus subordinate's efforts.

(TA.4.4 Direct and Lead Subordinate Forces)

TREND 42: (LTP) Task force tactical SOPs (TACSOPs).

PROBLEM: Most task forces arrive at LTP with some form of a TACSOP, but it is either:

- newly created specifically for the upcoming NTC rotation,

- or it has been in the task force for years, and has not been recently reviewed,

- or, most often, it is not disseminated and seldom used as a legitimate document that governs the tactical operations of a unit.

Technique: To be beneficial during the NTC rotation, TACSOPs must be disseminated, trained, and adhered to closely throughout the Home Station train-up. Critical characteristics a TACSOP must possess to be adopted by task force operators include:

- Simplicity. TACSOPs have to be created with the understanding that integration in the task force will be dependent on the ability of tank and Bradley commanders to extract information quickly and conveniently. TACSOPs that are not simple are routinely ignored.

- User Friendliness. Available information that cannot be extracted quickly and easily is not applicable information to soldiers attempting to execute operations in a combat environment.

- Strict Focus. Many of the TACSOPs that are reviewed at LTP deal with a variety of procedures that are not tactical and are better suited in a task force's unit SOP. The TACSOP is not meant to answer every issue that is remotely associated with tactical operations. Task force commanders and XOs must closely edit these documents to ensure they do not become overly burdensome.

- Strict Enforcement. Develop and administer a test on the TACSOP.

(TA.4.4 Direct and Lead Subordinate Forces)

TREND 43: (LTP) Company Team SOPs.

PROBLEM: Too many company commanders do not bring their tactical SOPs (TACSOPs) to LTP. Those that do bring incomplete SOPs and are unfamiliar with their content.


1. Company/team coaches cannot observe the efficient use of the unit's SOP and cannot make recommendations for improvements.

2. Commanders cannot review, test, and train with their SOPs while undergoing the unit's training.

Technique: Battalion commanders can maximize their subordinate's LTP training if company commanders bring a completed TACSOP.

(TA.4.4 Direct and Lead Subordinate Forces)

TREND 44: ADA platoon time management. ADA platoons, particularly the platoon leaders, are often not prepared to perform the air defense mission due to poor time management.


1. The platoon leader's timeline seldom includes key tasks (i.e., orders issue, rehearsals, resupply, maintenance, boresite, link-up times with company/teams) or other specified tasks to be accomplished prior to mission.

2. The timeline seldom includes who will be responsible for performing tasks and conducting the checks.

3. Platoon SOPs are inadequate; they do not address priorities of work at squad level.

4. The platoon TACSOP is not being utilized.


1. The platoon leader must understand his responsibilities as both platoon leader and task force ADO, and balance his time between both.

2. Information must be pushed to the platoon despite the physical separation when the platoon leader is at the task force TOC. Use a LNO, PSG, or driver to push the information to the platoons from the TOC.

3. When involved in the TDMP with the task force, the platoon leader must delegate to his subordinates and specify tasks to be accomplished and who will check.

4. Use backward planning to prioritize tasks and allow subordinates the ability to develop their own timeline with any additional tasks at crew level. Many of the tasks that need to be accomplished during the preparation phase should be identified in the platoon TSOP, eliminating confusion and wasted time.

5. References:

- FM 44-43, BSFV Platoon and Squad Operations

- FM 44-100, Air Defense Operations

(TA.4.4.1 Prepare Plans or Orders)

TREND 45: Task force tactical operations center (TOC) displacement planning.


1. Task forces seldom have an established standing operating procedure (SOP) for the echelonment of TOC equipment and personnel to provide an interim capability.

2. Task force TOC jump plans are not synchronized into the task force scheme of maneuver.

RESULT: The TOC loses situational awareness and the ability to conduct predictive analysis and timely recommendations to the commander.


1. The task force TOC should establish an SOP that addresses the organization of each echelon of the TOC as it displaces. The SOP should address:

- The equipment and personnel of each echelon.

- The duties and responsibilities of each individual.

2. Synchronize the TOC displacement into the task force scheme of maneuver.

- The staff should use backward planning to select locations throughout the task force's area of operations (AO) that facilitate command and control.

- Develop triggers and decision points that will determine when the TOC displaces to the next site.

- Determine all critical events that will require the main CP to remain stationary.

3. Reference: CALL Newsletter 95-07, Tactical Operations Center.

(TA.4.4.1 Prepare Plans or Orders)

TREND 46: (LTP) Company/team level time management.


1. Company commanders tend to possess inadequate time management and delegation skills (i.e., trying to do everything themselves), resulting in a significant amount of unfinished business by the LD time.

2. Inexperienced company/team commanders are often unfamiliar with planning and preparing time for combat operations. They are often surprised and sometimes overwhelmed when experiencing the limited time available for planning and preparing for combat operations.


1. Company/team commanders must practice procedures to make best use of their planning and preparation time. Use well-trained battle drills to give the commander the flexibility to save time through standardized reactions to routine situations. Whether actions on contact or preparation for combat operations, commanders must develop standardized procedures for their units.

2. While LTP does not afford commanders the chance or the opportunity to delegate preparation tasks to subordinates, company/team coaches can suggest where and when planning and preparation tasks can be delegated.

(TA.4.4.1 Prepare Plans or Orders)

TREND 47: CSS rehearsals. CSS rehearsals are often not done to standard.


1. Key leaders in the task force CSS leadership do not understand how to conduct an effective CSS rehearsal.

2. Unit SOPs do not address the conduct of the CSS rehearsal focusing on 35mm (Class III, Class V, medical and maintenance).

3. A participant list is not defined and attendance is not enforced.

4. Rehearsals generally take the form of a briefing of the brigade and task force CSS plan.

5. Products (sketch, terrain model, etc.) to assist in the understanding of the plan are not used, detailed enough, or are confusing to the participants.

6. Players show up without the CSS graphic or execution matrix.

7. Key CSS issues are not addressed (fuel, ammunition, medical, maintenance, etc.).

8. Players below the task force level are not actively involved in the rehearsal and do not integrate their plans with the task force or adjacent units.

Techniques: An effective CSS rehearsal can multiply the effectiveness of the task force CSS plan; however, a bad or nonexistent rehearsal can have the opposite effect.

1. Develop a page in the task force SOP to address the CSS rehearsal.

2. Define the attendee list and the outline for the rehearsal.

3. Ensure that key topics are covered: Overview of enemy COA and friendly maneuver plan, fuel, ammunition, medical, maintenance support at BCT and task force level, and subordinate unit CSS plans.

4. Capture any issues that are identified.

5. Allow enough time to make an accurate sketch or terrain model and use it.

6. Develop a SOP for a FM rehearsal (Refer to CALL Newsletter 98-5, Rehearsals).

(TA. Develop and Complete Plans or Orders)

TREND 48: FA battery level Pre-Combat Checks/Pre-Combat Inspections (PCCs/PCIs), and rehearsals.


1. Overall, FA batteries do not do an effective job of conducting PCCs/PCIs and rehearsals.

a. Battery commanders do not adequately identify their essential field artillery tasks (EFATs) and relate specific PCCs/PCIs and rehearsals to the completion of essential tasks.

b. The battery commanders often designate specific PCCs/PCIs and rehearsals to conduct, but because of the lack of an SOP or clear understanding of the desired outcome for their tasks, they led to incomplete or poor efforts.

2. Batteries normally focus on the FASCAM and do not consider the other PCCs/PCIs that allow them to survive and move on to their next essential task. They rarely add realism to their rehearsals to simulate the fog of war. Instead, they conduct a simple rehearsal in a static environment with tubes simply following along.

Techniques: Battery commanders should place more emphasis on conducting PCCs/PCIs and rehearsals as part of Home Station training. If the battery conducts quality PCCs/PCIs and completes rehearsals, they will validate their plan, prepare for an uncooperative enemy, and guarantee success on the battlefield.

1. PCCs/PCIs ensure the sections are prepared for their essential tasks.

a. PCCs are clearly laid out in a checklist fashion in FM 6-50, the battalion playbook, and the battery TACSOP. These checklists are very easy to follow and they ensure the sections will be able to execute the EFATs.

b. Once PCCs are complete, leaders must conduct PCIs. PCIs give the senior leader a chance to instill confidence in the section that it will accomplish its mission by making sure the section chiefs understand and meet the standard.

2. Rehearsals clarify the commander's intent, synchronize the plan, and ensure everyone understands their role.

a. A detailed plan for rehearsals at the battery level must be incorporated into battery-level SOPs.

b. Time is the most precious resource available to commanders and, as such, they can not afford to waste it. Rehearsals take time and can, at times, be very complex. Commanders must realize this and ensure they have a method for conducting a good detailed rehearsal so time will not be wasted.

c. Some critical rehearsal concepts to consider are:

- Prioritize tasks and events.

- Develop a detailed SOP.

- Determine the level of participation for each rehearsal.

- Tie essential tasks to a task, purpose, method, and end state which are clearly stated.

- Establish high standards and ensure that they are met.

- Use the most complete method possible given the time available.

- Make the rehearsal realistic.

EXAMPLE using the essential field artillery task (EFAT) of "firing FASCAM":

1. During mission analysis, the commander develops PCCs/PCIs that relate to the EFAT. In this case, the commander determines that PCCs/PCIs need to be conducted for FASCAM, react to indirect fire, and CASEVAC.

- Each section has critical tasks that must occur for the unit to be successful.

- Each section conducts PCCs based on the unit SOP.

- A senior leader follows up each PCC with a PCI to validate the standard. Inability to complete a good PCI will cause confusion at the section level and may result in the lack of success in the overall plan.

2. Here are some examples of typical questions that might be asked for the above PCIs:

FASCAM: How many RAAMs and ADAMs will you fire? Or for the FDC, how many aimpoints do you have, and how many RAAMs and ADAMs will you fire at each aimpoint?

React to Indirect Fire: What is our trigger to move? Where is your alternate position, or where is the rally point?

CASEVAC: Where is the unit CCP? Where are the current AXPs, FAS, and MAS? What is the travel time? Which vehicles will be used for CASEVAC, and what are the back-up vehicles?

3. Each one of these PCCs/PCIs requires a rehearsal to validate that the battery can perform the task. In this case, let us combine all three rehearsals and add realism the way events might occur once we are in battle.

- Begin by going through the FASCAM mission the way it will be fired.

- As the unit completes the mission, use your code word for indirect fire or simulate indirect fire and have the battery react and assess casualties as this is done. Make the number of casualties realistic, not 1 or 2, but 10 or 11 soldiers.

- Treat all of the casualties to standard and actually load them on the evacuation vehicles. (Be sure to validate the evacuation plan.) Once the soldiers are treated and loaded on the vehicles, unload them, but then drive to the point you plan to evacuate the soldiers. This type of rehearsal allows you to verify all three of your critical PCCs/PCIs and does it realistically, the way it might occur in battle.

- The battery SOP must lay down the details for each step of the rehearsal. As the unit improves, the rehearsal can be made gradually more difficult by causing a howitzer to go degraded in the middle of the mission, by calling a howitzer out of the mission, or conducting the incoming in the middle of the mission and seeing how the unit will react. If the unit prepares at Home Station and develops a detailed SOP for exactly how they will conduct rehearsals, they will become much more efficient at rehearsals and much more successful in battle.

(TA. Develop and Complete Plans or Orders)

TREND 49: Integration of engineer Class IV/V operations in brigade combat team (BCT) plan.

PROBLEM: While most engineer battalions understand the need for a combined arms approach to logistical support of the brigade's defense, they rarely execute an integrated Class IV/V plan. Combined arms responsibilities for packaging and moving Class IV/V barrier materials and for operating Class IV/V supply points are usually outlined in the Engineer Battalion tactical SOP (TACSOP), but are rarely addressed in the brigade's orders.

RESULT: Most engineer battalions end up being the sole executors of the planning, preparation, and execution phases of Class IV/V logistical operations. This lack of participation by other members of the BCT in the execution of Class IV/V operations detracts from the engineer battalion's primary missions of countermobility and survivability during the brigade's defense.


1. Engineer planners at all levels should campaign for the active support of other members of the combined arms team in support of Class IV/V operations.

2. This support must be addressed in the maneuver order. Class IV/V operations are so critical to the defense that these responsibilities should be addressed in the Scheme of Manuever and Sub-unit Mission subparagraphs, and not simply relegated to the Engineer Annex.

3. In addition to the engineer battalion TACSOP, the task force and BCT TACSOPs must also delineate responsibilities for Class IV/V operations.

(TA. Develop and Complete Plans or Orders)

TREND 50: Engineer battalion headquarters and headquarters company (HHC) commander role in the brigade rear area.

PROBLEM: Engineer HHC commanders tend to locate away from the Forward Support Battalion (FSB) tactical operations center (TOC) and the brigade S4 cell and are not maintaining a presence in the BSA command and control nodes or planning cells.


1. The Engineer Battalion HHC commander is responsible for coordinating and executing the mobility/survivability BOS in the brigade rear area. This includes:

a. Participating in the FSB Military Decision-Making Process (MDMP).

b. Assisting the FSB staff with terrain analysis.

c. Creating obstacle plans for the BSA.

d. Planning survivability work for critical CSS assets.

e. Ensuring CSS elements understand obstacle lane/bypass marking.

2. The HHC commander becomes the FSB commander's engineer expert just as line company commanders do for the maneuver battalions.

3. The commander should participate in the FSB orders process and publish an engineer annex with a survivability matrix.

4. A closer training association between the company and the FSB would increase the level of cooperation and synchronization on the battlefield.

(TA.4.4.3 Provide Command Presence)

TREND 51: Fire Support Team (FIST) Pre-Combat Checks and Pre-Combat Inspections (PCCs/PCIs).


1. Fire support teams (FISTs) too often do not conduct PCCs and PCIs prior to battle. Without proper PCCs and PCIs, leaders do not identify potential problems prior to execution, and have no time to react to correct them.

2. Many units deploy to NTC with adequate checklists in their SOPs, but units seldom follow what is published in their SOPs.

3. At prerotation inbriefings, task force FSOs often brief they have no visibility on the capability of the company/team FIST to execute PCC/PCIs because this was not emphasized during their Home Station training.

RESULT: Often during a rotation, company/team FISTs are plagued with discovering problems with their vehicle or equipment after the line of departure (LD). EXAMPLE: FISTs are unable to use the G/VLLD because of missing or broken power cables in the targeting head, or the lack of charged batteries when dismounting the laser.


1. The task force fire support element needs to have a standard set of mission-specific PCC/PCI checklists in the unit SOP. Once specific PCC/PCIs are identified, leaders must supervise and ensure they are conducted and conducted to standard.

2. Leaders must also ensure proper actions are taken to correct deficiencies identified.

3. Conduct of PCC/PCIs needs to be trained and supervised at Home Station and incorporated into FIST certification.

(TA.4.4.4 Maintain Unit Discipline)

TREND 52: Utilization of personnel at the Combat Trains Command Post (CTCP). Combat Trains Command Posts (CTCPs) do not effectively utilize their personnel.


1. Staff officers do not delegate or assign priorities of work.

2. Staff officers (S1/S4) are observed with two to three hand mikes along with map board markers, which is evidence of not using their people to their fullest.

3. Standard job descriptions are not defined, so soldiers do not know what their function is.

4. Initial dissemination of information is poor. Soldiers are not told what is going on.


1. Officers end up running the command post operation with minimal support provided by NCOs and junior soldiers.

2. Battle preparation is ineffective and inefficient at CTCP/combat trains because subordinates do not know what needs to get done.

3. Drivers do not rehearse proper battle drills and do not know what their mission is or for whom they work.

4. Functions normally not accomplished:

- Radio logs (DA 1594) not maintained.

- Logistics tracking charts not updated.

- Information not disseminated.

- Attached elements of the combat trains not integrated.

- Rest plan for the officers not followed.


1. Develop a SOP that clearly defines the responsibilities of each member of the CTCP, both in the CP proper and outside of the CP in the combat trains.

2. Train and authorize NCOs and junior soldiers to operate the CP without the officers and to make appropriate logistics decisions in the absence of the officer in charge (OIC).

3. Get the OIC off of the radio and map so he can look at the big picture.

4. Assign enlisted soldiers as radio telephone operators (RTOs) and make them responsible for logs and updating information on charts and disseminating it to the rest of the CP personnel.

5. Put a NCO in charge of external operations for the purpose of integrating, briefing, and ensuring security to attached elements (See CALL Newsletter 95-07, Tactical Operations Center).

(TA.4.4.4 Maintain Unit Discipline)

TREND 53: Combat Engineer battalion headquarters and headquarters company (HHC) common skills.

PROBLEM: Engineer battalion HHC soldier execution of common skills such as construction of fighting positions, operation and maintenance of crew-served weapons, chemical detection with M8/M9 paper and M256 kits, and reaction to enemy indirect fire are not to standard.

Technique: Units should reassess their individual soldier skill training plan and ensure training is conducted to standard.

(TA.4.4.4 Maintain Unit Discipline)

TREND 54: Integrating aviation planning into the scheme of maneuver.


1. There is a lack of an integrated planning between the aviation and ground maneuver elements.

a. The aviation and ground maneuver elements plan in a vacuum from one another.

b. Aviation is usually assigned tasks after wargaming is completed.

2. The geographical distances between the aviation TAAs and the ground maneuver TOC/TACs add to the problem.


1. Poor synchronization between air and ground forces.

2. Uncommon maneuver graphics.

3. Uncommon control measures.

4. Poor air/ground communication plans.

5. Improperly assigned priority of fires.

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


1. Assign an air LNO to the ground maneuver element for the planning of all base orders and on a case-by-case basis for specific follow-on missions.

a. The air LNO must have sufficient technical and tactical competence to be a productive force in the planning process.

b. If possible, the air LNO can remain with the ground maneuver TAC during mission execution.

2. Combined arms rehearsals between the ground and air maneuver elements are also essential to mission success.

(TA.4.4.5 Synchronize Tactical Operations)

TREND 55: Use of triggers to synchronize CSS with the maneuver plan.

PROBLEM: CSS triggers are not adequately being developed and synchronized in the maneuver plan.


1. Triggers should be developed during the wargaming process and should support the execution of CSS specified and implied tasks drawn from mission analysis and the CSS estimates.

2. Use Home Station training opportunities to train CSS planners on the development and integration of triggers to synchronize the CSS plan with the scheme of maneuver.

- Integrate triggers into the CSS execution matrix.

- Verify understanding of these triggers at the CSS rehearsal.

(TA.4.4.5 Synchronize Tactical Operations)

TREND 56: Synchronization of combat multipliers.

PROBLEM: Staffs do not fully integrate destructive fires, such as CAS, indirect fires, and air Volcano, to limit enemy reaction to the fire and maneuver plan.

a. Higher headquarters push these resources to the executing unit with little or no planning guidance. This lack of guidance and coordination/refinement often desynchronizes the unit's maneuver plan.

b. Brigade staffs normally select air Volcano targets with no consideration of the supported unit's maneuver plan. Consequently, air Volcano planning is not to standard.


1. The commander must clearly state his intent/concept for fire support. To be useful, the commander's intent/concept for fire support must be both understood and feasible. The commander's intent/concept must articulate:

a. Commander's battlespace: his vision of lethality projection. It should answer the question, "What do I want to do to the enemy?" and articulate more than just, "Defeat him." It should not refer to a specific scheme of maneuver or to specific organizations.

b. What must be accomplished, when, and why.

c. How he intends to shape the battle to his advantage in terms of time and space.

d. The critical enemy vulnerability (center of gravity) he believes will lead most directly to mission accomplishment.

e. Places and times in the fight which are critical.

f. Desired end state in terms of time, force, enemy, and terrain.

g. Which units have priority of fires.

h. Preliminary guidance on high-value targets/high-payoff targets (HVTs/HPTs).

i. His special concerns.

2. The FSO and battalion commander should mutually articulate and understand what fire support can and is expected to accomplish during an operation.

3. The commander's requirements must be within the capabilities of the resources available.

4. The FSO must know and communicate fire support capabilities, limitations, and risks during the process of developing the commander's intent/concept for fire support.

5. The fire support plan outlines the way artillery, CAS, and other fire support systems will be used to complement the scheme of maneuver and provides instruction for executing those fires. It is used to rank targets in priority order, match them with available fire support systems, eliminate duplication with the targets of the echelon that the attack helicopter battalion (ATKHB) is supporting, and allow fires to be executed quickly without specific direction from the commander once the battle starts.

6. CAS is normally planned through FSO channels to the Air Force tactical air control party (TACP) located at a ground maneuver brigade, division, or corps headquarters. Because each member retains his own C2 system, mission planning must be a coordinated effort. Constant coordination is required between the ground maneuver commander, aviation commander, TACAIR flight leader/ALO, and FSO. As elements of the mission change, all members must be informed so that they can adjust their plans accordingly. Success depends on proper synchronization of assets and how well each member understands the operation.

(TA.4.4.5 Synchronize Tactical Operations)

TREND 57: Field artillery unit building of combat power during Reception, Staging, Onward movement and Integration (RSOI).


1. FA units too often do not integrate their battalions into the brigade's plan to build combat power.

2. FA units are not identifying their own glide path to incrementally build platoons, batteries, and the battalion.

3. FA battalions are not including radar, survey, metro, command and control headquarters, and CSS assets.

RESULT: Without an integrated brigade plan, field artillery units find themselves with no priority to draw classes of supply or receive maintenance support.


1. Plan early with the brigade. Remember that RSOI is an operation heavy with logistical implications. Battalion XOs and S3s need to take an early interest in the plan and not totally depend on the battalion S4 to "make it happen."

2. Organize requirements in a logical sequence and assign responsibilities.

3. Establish priority vehicles and units, manage and supervise the plan, and adjust as necessary.

4. A recommended force package 1 to be ready NLT RSOI 02 would consist of:

a. Firing battery platoon

b. Firing battery platoon with battery trains

c. Ammunition section

d. Survey team

e. Recovery team

f. Retrans

g. POL tanker

h. Battalion TOC

i. Metro section

(TA.4.4.5 Synchronize Tactical Operations)

TREND 58: Synchronization of fires and maneuver.

PROBLEM: Fire support is rarely integrated into the task force wargaming process. During the wargame, the battle staff frequently does not effectively arrange activities in time and space.

RESULT: The task forces frequently do not develop a scheme of fires with adequate triggers or with an observation plan that is synchronized with the scheme of maneuver.


1. The task force S3 and FSO ensure the complete integration of fire support into the wargaming process of the Military Decision-Making Process (MDMP) in accordance with ST 100-9, FM 6-20-10, and FM 6-20-20.

2. The FSO advises the task force commander and S3 when they have asked fire support to execute unrealistic tasks.

3. Fire support tasks and events are arranged in time and space in relation to terrain, the enemy, and the TF scheme of maneuver in order to develop adequate triggers.

4. The end state should be a complete scheme of fires, an observation plan, and refinement submitted to brigade. This end state produces a plan that provides all targeting functions (decide, detect, deliver, and assess) per FM 6-20-10.

(TA.4.4.5 Synchronize Tactical Operations)

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