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(Trends are numbered sequentially for cross-reference and are not in any priority order.)

Positive Performance

TREND 1: Tactical communications installation. Task forces at the National Training Center consistently and adequately install tactical communications in the frequency hopping and single channel modes.

(TA.4.1.2 Manage Means of Communicating Information)

TREND 2: Retransmission operations. The retrans teams are usually technically and tactically proficient at VHF-FM communications.

(TA.4.1.2 Manage Means of Communicating Information)

TREND 3: Task force identification of Essential Fire Support Tasks (EFTs). Units adequately identify Essential Fire Support Tasks (EFSTs). Task force commanders and their Fire Support Officers (FSOs) understand the need for EFST, and task force commanders continue to improve on issuing their guidance for fires in terms of the specific task and purpose (i.e., EFST).

Technique: The NTC and the field artillery/fire support school have written TTPs that are a good reference for units to use in Home Station to help understand the specifics of EFST development. This document (White Paper: "Fire Support Planning For The Brigade And Below," Draft #3, 17 Dec 97) is available from the Fire Support And Combined Arms Operations Department, United States Army Field Artillery School, Fort Sill, OK.

(TA. Develop and Complete Plans or Orders)

Needs Emphasis

TREND 1: Reporting requirements and procedures. Reporting within the units too often does not facilitate the commander's situational awareness and enhance battle command.


1. SPOT Reports, Contact Reports, Commander's Sit Reps, FARP Sit Reps, and BDA lack format, contain vague information, and are not submitted in a timely fashion.

2. Unit C2 reporting architectures cause confusion with the company commanders. Typically, company commanders do not know if they are to report to the battalion commander (in an AH-64) or the S-3.

Technique: The commander should identify reporting requirements and include these requirements in the unit SOP. Considerations for report requirements should include:

a. Change in combat power.

b. Crossing phase lines.

c. Occupation of holding areas and FARPs.

d. SP/RP of air routes.

e. Set in attack-by-fire (ABF) (cold and hot).

f. Remaining (50% expenditure) and winchester calls.

g. FARM reports.

h. Battle damage assessments (BDAs) for tanks, ADA, artillery, personnel carriers, personnel, C2 (TAAPP-C).

i. Commander's SITREP (enemy situation, units situation-combat power/fuel/ammo/current position, ability to accomplish assigned mission, and recommendations).

(TA. Receive and Transmit Friendly Troop Information)

TREND 2: Fire support team (FIST) reporting standards.

PROBLEM: Fire support teams (FISTs) frequently do not report information in accordance with doctrinal report formats.


1. FISTs should report information and call for fire IAW the formats in FM 6-20-20 and FM 6-30.

2. The FIST forward observer's primary mission is to call for fires for their maneuver element. But when fires are unavailable, their next responsibility is to report. The task force needs to enforce reporting standards (i.e., call for fire, SALUTE reports, and SALT reports).

a. It is imperative that forward observers (FOs) report exactly what they see, without bias or subjectivity.

b. FOs must be precise, objective, and not attempt to analyze what they are seeing. Let the FSO, S2, and FSE conduct the analysis.

(TA. Receive and Transmit Friendly Troop Information)

TREND 3: Armor and cavalry signal officer (SIGO) employment of FM retrans systems.

Armor and cavalry SIGOs lack the ability to effectively employ FM retrans systems in support of the commander's scheme of maneuver.

PROBLEM: Trends show that signal officers are inadequately trained in basic tactics. Throughout mission analysis and wargaming, SIGOs are too often unable to identify critical implied tasks that are crucial for successful communications and survivability on the NTC battlefield.


1. SIGOs can be successful if they apply some of the following rules:

- Brigade signal officer (BSO) understands maneuver and can deduce implied tasks: DATK/HATK, MTC, DIS, POL, R&S and screen/guard.

- Develops a flexible retrans plan:

-- Considers various schemes of maneuver

-- Supports various COAs

-- Pre-plans retrans repositioning

-- Deploys back-up retrans

-- Conducts thorough PCC/PCI

-- Battle tracks retrans system

-- Conducts troop-leading procedures

- Integrated with the planning process:

-- Backward planning

-- Establish triggers for hot time and LD time

-- Mission brief


-- Conduct rehearsals

2. FM 11-43, The Signal Leader's Guide, is an excellent guide for the SIGO.

(TA.4.1.2 Manage Means of Communicating Information)

TREND 4: Battalion/brigade signal officer (BSO/SIGO) role.

PROBLEM: Battalion/brigade signal officers (BSO/SIGOs) are often improperly utilized to only place retransmission nodes.

Techniques: A good BSO/SIGO plans communications for the unit's success.

1. The BSO/SIGO should be assigned to plan and synchronize an approved command and control system. The BSO/SIGO operates in the unit to ensure the commander has command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) for his warriors.

2. This BSO/SIGO plans and synchronizes the communication nodes with the flow of the battle and recommends places for the TOC, J-TOC, combat trains command post (CTCP), and MSE assets.

(TA.4.1.2 Manage Means of Communicating Information)

TREND 5: Engineer battalion communication planning.

PROBLEM: Poor communications continue to impact engineer combat operations. Often the decision to settle for various forms of relay, no redundancy in systems/procedures, and unclear or unenforced frequency management plans results in poor communication architectures.


1. Communication planning requires the focused attention of the battalion's senior leadership. It is a top-down responsibility and requires proactive staff supervision.

2. The battalion signal NCO should develop mission-specific communications plans that support maneuver plans. To do this requires detailed knowledge of terrain (use available terrain visualization products) and the scheme of maneuver.

3. Use Terrabase (or equivalent) line-of-sight (LOS) shots to support triggers for repositioning the retrans.

4. Include a clear, enforced communications annex in each OPORD.

(TA.4.1.2 Manage Means of Communicating Information)

TREND 6: Task force TOC battle tracking and information management.

PROBLEM: Task force TOCs too often do not have established procedures for information display, message handling, and battle tracking.

- There is a lack of training on information management.

- Most units do not know what information to track. They often track information that is not critical, are unable to identify information that is critical, or attempt to track an overabundance of information that makes it unmanageable.


1. Decide what standard information the TOC expects from subordinate units.

2. Ensure subordinates understand what information is expected and when it should be provided. Units must ensure that a satisfactory number of individuals other than and including the battle captain understand the system for information management. Information is lost when only a few individuals understand the system.

3. When a task force commander decides additional tracking information is required for a specific mission, these new requirements must be disseminated to subordinate units.

4. The task force XO must monitor his staff sections to ensure that the information management system is to standard.

5. The task force commander and staff should be able to quickly visualize the accurate status of the task force from one source in the TOC.

(TA.4.1.3 Maintain Information and Force Status)

TREND 7: Engineer battalion battle tracking.

PROBLEM: The engineer battalion tactical operations center (TOC) staff has difficulty with clearly and accurately tracking mobility, countermobility, and survivability data.


1. A clear, visible tracking system that combines map and wing board data is the most effective. If you do not use it, you do not need it (See CALL Newsletter 95-07, Tactical Operations Center).

2. Information must be accurate, and organized so it is easy to read. Key graphics and charts required in the engineer battalion TOC to sustain combat operations are:

a. Modified Combined Obstacle Overlay (MCOO).

b. Situation Template (SITEMP).

c. Priority intelligence requirements (PIR).

d. Maneuver graphics.

e. Execution matrix.

f. Situational obstacle matrix.

g. Obstacle overlay.

h. Fire support plan.

i. Combat power status.

j. CSS graphics.

k. Subordinate unit locations, tracked two levels down.

(TA.4.1.3 Maintain Information and Force Status)

TREND 8: (LTP) Light infantry task force situational awareness.

PROBLEM: Light infantry task force staffs do not have good situational awareness from mission analysis to execution.

- Tactical operations centers (TOCs) do not have or are not updating the adjacent task force's mission, disposition, and task and purpose.

- Task forces plan their operation in a vacuum, not considering the impact of the heavy task force operations on their actions.

Technique: Position a disciplined liaison officer at the brigade main.

(TA.4.1.3 Maintain Information and Force Status)

TREND 9: Casualty Feeder Reports (DA1156).

PROBLEM: A Casualty Feeder Report (DA Form 1156) is not being filled out and collected for each and every casualty assessed on the simulated battlefield. Common reasons are:

- Units use non-doctrinal methods of collection, usually at the Battalion Aid Station, instead of using the chain of command.

- Soldiers and leaders do not know what the DA Form 1156 is for, what it does, or how to properly fill the form out.

- Responsibility is not clearly assigned to someone to ensure that 100% of DA Forms 1156 are collected, or the person with the responsibility is not in a position to accurately or effectively execute that responsibility.

- Soldiers do not have the form available to fill out.

RESULT: Improper completion, verification, or submission of DA Form 1156 results in:

- Soldiers and their families not taken care of.

- Next of kin not notified.

- SGLI not distributed.

- Purple Hearts not awarded.

- Letters of sympathy/condolence not written.


1. Use the chain of command to fill out, collect, verify, and pass on the DA Form 1156. This starts from the team leader/tank commander level.

2. Assign somebody in the company with the primary responsibility (i.e., 1SG, XO, or commander) to ensure that 100% accountability is achieved and that the form is completed accurately.

3. Conduct training in the use of the DA Form 1156 at NCODP/SGT's time, and execute the use of the form whenever conducting force-on-force field operations.

4. Ensure that an adequate supply of forms is available and that each soldier carries one pre-filled out with his information plus two blanks to use for other casualties.

(TA. Store Information)

TREND 10: Engineer battalion risk management. Engineer battalions are typically conducting a form of risk management on a mission-by-mission basis, generally following the Force XXI model.


1. The process is not organic to the Military Decision-Making Process (MDMP) but often an afterthought.

2. Critical operational risks like conducting night tactical road marches and mitigating controls are not identified.

3. Subunits are not forced to continue the process at their level.


1. Risk management is applicable to everything an organization does. All units should conduct a Force XXI-type risk management process for every mission.

a. Conduct risk management at all levels, from battalion to squad.

b. Each echelon refines the analysis for what they will execute at their level.

2. Make the risk management process organic to the MDMP, with the risk management product issued not later than the higher echelon's OPORD.

3. Higher echelon commanders should add risk management to their pre-combat check/pre-combat inspection (PCC/PCI) checklist and actually check it.

(TA.4.2 Assess Situation)

TREND 11: Brigade engineer force task organization, command and control.


1. Brigade engineers routinely allow habitual associations, not the engineer battlefield analysis (EBA) and mission analysis, to drive task organization.

2. Brigade engineers do not perform a detailed analysis of engineer actions throughout the depth of the brigade's battle space using any type of standard methodology. Reverse breach planning for offensive operations is an example of the missing methodology.

3. Engineer battalions do not fully analyze the "why" when deciding upon the command/ support relationship, nor do they clearly specify this relationship in orders once decided upon (attached, OPCN DS, etc).

4. In many cases, units significantly deviate from doctrinal command/support relationships by performing nonstandard CSS roles during execution. Engineer battalions routinely "attach" SAPPER companies to habitually associated TFs without regard to mission analysis. This appears to provide the "easy" answer by shifting command and control and CSS responsibility to the supported TF.


1. Engineers do not identify all engineer tasks required to accomplish the mission and are unable to adequately allocate forces, establish effective command/support relationships, weight the main effort, or maximize the impact of the engineer force at the decisive point on the battlefield.

2. Engineer battalions typically assume a very detached relationship with task-organized SAPPER companies for planning and support requirements, displaying a distinct lack of ownership.

3. Engineer battalion commanders direct the shifting of engineer assets not under their control, without regard for the published command/support relationship.

4. Task forces, engineer battalions, and SAPPER companies are confused with the nonstandard CSS requirements, degrading CSS responsiveness, logistics reporting, and accountability. In fact, the engineer battalion is best suited with expertise and resources to provide support in Class III, V, IX, and maintenance.

Procedures: Engineer commanders, who also support maneuver commanders and have special staff responsibility, should heed doctrinal guidance of Chapter 2, FM 5-100, Engineer Operations, with regard to organizing engineer forces and recommending command and support relationships. Engineer leaders should check themselves by asking:

- Why was a particular engineer force task-organized to a maneuver commander?

- How did the maneuver commander wargame employment and what were the results?

- Is the command and support relationship, in fact, proper for the envisioned employment?

(TA.4.2.1 Review Current Situation)

TREND 12: (LTP) Casualty assessments and battle damage assessments (BDAs).

PROBLEM: During the brigade planning process, most units do not report realistic casualty or battle damage assessments. Some units do not complete these assessments at all.


1. Poor assessments contribute to commander's inaccurate delineation of available combat power.

2. Medical assets cannot be arrayed to support medical evacuation.


1. At each phase or critical event in the planning process, the S1 should give a realistic casualty assessment and the S4 should provide the BDA.

2. The S2 should provide the BDA on the OPFOR. This will give the brigade commander an accurate picture of the available combat power vs. enemy's combat power.

3. Medical planners who train at NTC must understand that casualty assessments and BDA are skewed. We often do not stop operations when units are rendered combat ineffective and are not capable of sustaining further combat operations. As a general rule, they should plan for mass casualty situations.

4. See CALL Quarterly Bulletin 95-11, "Brigade Rear Operations: A Force Protection Dilemma" and CALL Newsletter 97-14, NTC Goldminer's TTPs for CSS.

(TA.4.2.1 Review Current Situation)

TREND 13: Battle staff mission analysis. Mission analysis is rarely conducted as an integrated battle staff function.


1. The staff is seldom briefed on the mission analysis prior to the initial brief to the commander.

2. The battle staff does not:

a. Meet at the main CP.

b. Receive an overall brief of the upcoming operation by the task force XO or assistant S3.

c. Conduct a mission analysis of their proponent BOS while the task force commander, S3, and FSO are at the brigade receiving the brigade order.

3. Frequently, the ADO and logisticians and other attached staff officers are not informed that the main CP has received the order and that the mission analysis is going to be conducted.


1. The battle staff should conduct mission analysis, integrating all the key players as outlined in ST 100-9 and several other field manuals. This initial step in the decision-making process focuses the staff on the upcoming operation and provides information on tasks they must accomplish according to the brigade OPORD.

2. Refer to CALL Newsletter 95-12 Update, Military Decision Making: "Abbreviated Planning."

(TA. Analyze Mission)

TREND 14: Signal officer (SIGO) mission analysis. Battalion/brigade SIGOs too often do not conduct a thorough mission analysis prior to the execution phase of some missions. They do fix problems that develop, but many of those problems could have been avoided had they anticipated them (e.g., developing a back-up retrans, ensuring MSRT coverage in the TOC, and moving personnel to best support the mission).

Technique: The SIGO should thoroughly analyze the unit's mission, determine the elements critical for success, and assign resources to ensure achievement of the commander's intent.

(TA. Analyze Mission)

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