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

Needs Emphasis

TREND 1: Development of situational obstacle plans.

PROBLEM: Brigade planning staffs often focus their planning only on where they most likely expect to make direct fire contact with the enemy. Most assistant battalion engineers (ABEs) develop their situational obstacle plan addressing the same narrow band within the brigade's battle space in which it expects to make contact.

RESULT: The brigade and ABE are caught without a plan if the enemy exposes a weakness elsewhere, is moving slowly and does not enter the band, or the brigade makes contact with the enemy before the brigade arrives at the band.

Technique: ABEs should consider the following three areas when developing their situational obstacle plans for the BCT scheme of maneuver:

- Shaping the battle space to the brigade's front in order for the BCT to gain the advantage through the depth and width of the brigade zone.

- Protecting the brigade's flanks through the depth and width of the zone.

- Initial plans for follow-on hasty defense prior to resumption of offensive operations.

(TA.6.2.1 Secure/Select Location of Obstacles)

TREND 2: Design and integration of obstacles.


1. Obstacle groups typically lack density and integration with direct and indirect fires.

2. During the defense, many assistant task force engineers (A/TFE) do not develop a complete Engineer Battlefield Assessment (EBA). The EBA usually focuses on friendly engineer capabilities, often omitting the impact of terrain or the enemy breaching capability.

3. While the task force commander's intent is understood, the A/TFE does not develop an obstacle group design based on the resource planning factors and the width of the avenue of approach (AA).

4. Obstacles are not designed to defeat enemy breaching assets. Designs do not use combinations of "more-visible" and "unseen" obstacles in each group to manipulate the enemy's maneuver in the desired direction.

5. The A/TFE's countermobility timeline does not consider emplacing obstacles during the day versus night based on enemy recon in sector.

6. Many task forces do not array obstacles with sufficient depth.

7. The company/team fire plans do not effectively integrate direct and indirect fires to support the obstacle group design.


1. Obstacles are rapidly bypassed or reduced by enemy engineers.

2. The task force does not achieve the intended obstacle effect of DISRUPT, FIX, TURN, or BLOCK on the enemy formation.


1. Tactical obstacle design should be based on the formation of the attacking enemy and intended obstacle effect.

2. Initial design and array of each obstacle group should incorporate the commander's intent, the resource planning factor (RF), and the total width of the AA.

3. Determine the total quantity of standard minefields required to achieve the intended effect using the obstacle group design calculation shown below. Other anti-vehicular obstacles such as AT ditch or 11-row concertina roadblock can substitute for up to 20% of the standard minefields in a group. Situational obstacles such as VOLCANO, MOPMS, or ADAMS-RAAMS can be planned as part of the groups or used to reinforce an AA based on a new threat. By understanding the task and purpose of fires for each obstacle group design, all units can achieve the intended obstacle effect of DISRUPT, TURN, FIX, or BLOCK on the enemy's formation.

(TA.6.2.2 Emplace Obstacles)

TREND 3: CSS unit protection.


1. Task force CSS elements, particularly the CTCP, UMCP, and medical platoon, often do not take measures to protect themselves from enemy ground, artillery, air, or chemical attacks.

2. CSS assets very rarely have effective security or defense plans with sectors of fire, rehearsed or understood save plans, or adequate coordination with adjacent units for security.

3. Often CSS soldiers do not have ammunition for their personal weapons.


1. CSS units are highly vulnerable and an easy target for enemy attacks.

2. CSS assets are unprepared for enemy contact, resulting in disrupted support and unnecessary casualties.


1. CSS elements should address security plans in their SOPs.

2. They should conduct troop-leading procedures (TLPs) just as they would for any other unit.

3. Units should plan for and rehearse actions under each of the seven forms of contact. Train the battle drills in FM 7-8, FM 17-15, or FM 7-7J to provide the basis for this reaction.

4. CSS elements should stress terrain selection for trains locations.

5. Give additional attention to basic soldier skills and NCO supervision of security efforts.

(TA. Protect Individuals and Systems)

TREND 4: Engineer battalion HHC defense of the brigade support area (BSA).

PROBLEM: The engineer battalion headquarters and headquarters companies (HHCs) are not trained to standard on defending their portion of the BSA perimeter against Levels 1 and 2 threats.


1. There are three key factors to successful defense of the BSA:

a. The company commander clearly establishes the priorities of work with standards and a not later than (NLT) completion time in his company OPORD.

b. The unit leadership tracks and inspects the priorities of work and adjusts timelines IAW METT-T.

c. Subordinate leaders are:

- Trained on the various essential tasks (i.e., construction of fighting positions and reaction to contact drills).

- Given time to train their soldiers on individual and collective tasks.

- Held accountable for the execution of the priorities of work IAW the commander's OPORD.

2. HHCs should develop SOPs for company defense operations.

3. HHCs should use "sergeant's time" to train basic skills such as construction of fighting positions with range cards and rehearsing reaction to contact drills.

4. HHCs should execute a Home Station FTX to train the collective tasks such as displacing to a new BSA site and executing the priorities of work.

(TA. Protect Individuals and Systems)

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