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TREND 20: (LTP) Armor task force (TF) understanding of the Military Decision-Making Process (MDMP).

PROBLEM: Armor task forces (TFs) are consistently unable to plan following the Military Decision-Making Process (MDMP).

  1. TF staffs are unfamiliar with the MDMP-- the sequence, the events constituting the planning process, and what products are generated.

  2. Failure to understand and be able to apply the MDMP makes transitioning to an abbreviated format nearly impossible for the staff, given the limited level of experience the staff members have in planning combat operations.

Procedure: The MDMP is thoroughly decribed in FM 101-5. Units should practice the process during Home Station exercises so that they are familiar with the sequence, events, and products before deploying to NTC.

Technique: Total familiarity with the MDMP before arriving at NTC gives brigade and TF staffs the foundation needed for transition to an abbreviated process when time is limited. When staffs are unfamiliar with the MDMP upon arrival at NTC, they must be trained on each event of the process, followed immediately by a "hot-wash" AAR. Unfortunately, this is a time-consuming technique that the LTP schedule seldom permits. On those occasions when we can afford these "hot-wash" AARs, they prove extremely profitable to the unprepared unit.

(TA.4.3 Determine Actions)

TREND 21: (LTP) Integration of Special Staff into the Military Decision-Making Process (MDMP).

PROBLEM The forward support battalion (FSB) commander and XO often fail to ensure integration of the special staff into the Military Decision-Making process (MDMP) and orders drill.

Technique: Integration of the FSB staff and special staff can be accomplished if participation is required at all levels, from brigade order drills through NTC rotations. By enforcing the integration of special staff at Home Station until it is habitual, the proper mix of players will be present for advanced training at NTC.

(TA.4.3 Determine Actions)

TREND 22: (LTP) Rear battle planning.


1. The brigade seldom plans for the rear battle.

2. The S2's reconnaissance and surveillance (R&S) plan does not cover the rear battle space.

3. The brigade communication officer's plan does not include retrans to the rear.

4. The forward support battalion (FSB) commander does not have the resources to execute a rear battle plan.

Technique: The brigade S4 and FSB support operations officer (SPO), as the brigade logistics planners, should request R&S information from the brigade S2, thus compelling the S2 to look at the rear battle space area. They should also coordinate with the brigade communications officer to see what the brigade can provide. This information should then be provided to the FSB commander and S3 for planning purposes.

(TA.4.3 Determine Actions)

TREND 23: (LTP) Task force wargaming. Most task forces use poor wargaming techniques and procedures.


1. Critical events, such as results of the deep operations and the current R&S plan, are not posted/set on the wargaming board.

2. Battalion staffs are often unaware of the most current situation.

3. S2s are usually dominated by S3s.

4. The staff begins the wargame before the course of action is fully developed.


1. Lack of S2 input results in wargaming a more "cooperative OPFOR" and an unrealistic arbitration of losses by the XO.

2. The staff wastes time trying to understand and develop the course of action during the wargame.


1. Fully develop the course of action before the wargame.

2. Post critical events on the wargaming board.

3. Give the S2 sufficient time to present a complete picture of the enemy.

4. Stay informed--maintain situation awarness.

(TA.4.3.4 Compare Courses of Action)

TREND 24: (LTP) Task force (TF) synchronization of tactical operations.

PROBLEM: Synchronization is a problem at every level.

  1. Synchronization problems are seldom addressed because task force (TF) staffs do not understand the mechanisms of the planning process that provide synchronization.

  2. Most TF staffs are not effective at wargaming and avoid wargaming in depth because of a lack of experienced personnel on the staff who understand how to wargame properly.

RESULT: Critical operational issues are not surfaced, the wargame fails, and synchronization is not achieved.

Technique: Wargaming should be added as an elective class to the Leader Training Program (LTP) at NTC. The significance of TF staff misunderstandings of wargaming precludes them from correcting synchronization problems at Home Station.

(TA.4.3.4 Compare Courses of Action)

TREND 25: (LTP) Brigade targeting team. During the planning process, the brigade targeting team does not properly focus the commander on high-payoff targets to assist in the development of essential fire support tasks during various phases of the fight.


1. Normally, the targeting team does not convene during the planning process.

2. High-value targets (HVTs) are not selected or are only briefly discussed but not defined sufficiently to allow an observer to know when and where to attack a target.

RESULT: Observers cannot focus on what the commander wants to kill by priority/by phase. This has a direct impact on the maneuver brigade's ability to execute the battle.


1. The brigade should convene the targeting team during the planning process as well as the preparation and execution phases.

  1. The targeting team, at a minimum, should consist of the brigade XO, brigade fire support officer (FSO), targeting officer, and the brigade S2.

  2. The targeting team must identify high-value targets (HVTs) and then develop high- payoff targets (HPTs) during various phases of the fight.

  3. The S2 must discuss the element (potential HVT) required by the enemy to achieve each critical event of a given COA. With this start point the commander can focus the staff with clearer guidance on interdicting key enemy critical events by attacking some of critical enemy elements to achieve a specific effect. Our friendly COAs can then be built focused on how we will effectively find and attack these HPTs with fire and maneuver to accomplish the mission.

2. The bulk of the targeting process occurs during the wargaming session and must follow the decide, detect, and deliver methodology. Here the FSO is most effective if he is an active participant.

  1. The FSO must come to the table with all of the necessary tools and information required to wargame, such as:

- The current and projected status of all fire support assets and systems.

- All the necessary planning factors that relate to fire support.

- All of the products produced during mission analysis.

- A complete understanding of the COAs.

- Knowledge of the commander's guidance.

- A method to record the results and to develop a scheme of fire support.

  1. The FSO must be prepared throughout the wargaming process to make recommendations for addition or deletion of high-payoff targets to the HPT list.

- The FSO, along with the rest of the targeting team, must determine effects necessary on HPTs to achieve the commander's intent.

- The FSO, with his fire support staff (ALO, targeting officer, AVN LNO, S3 air, etc.), will be the driving force in recommending engagement means for HPTs if the targeting team has decided that fire support should engage the target.

  1. The FSO needs to be prepared to wargame each fire support event thoroughly. The FSO will then take the results of each fire support event occurring during the wargame and translate them into targets IAW commander's guidance and commander's intent.

(TA.4.3.4 Compare Courses of Action)

TREND 26: Battalion maintenance officer (BMO) troop leading procedures.

PROBLEM: The BMO does not use troop leading procedures effectively or establish priorities of work at the Unit Maintenance Collection Point (UMCP).

  1. Inadequate timelines.

  2. Inadequate WARNOs and OPORDs.

  3. Inadequate rehearsals.

  4. Junior leaders are frequently prevented from conducting their own pre-combat checks (PCCs) and pre-combat inspections (PCIs) prior to each mission.


1. The BMO and the UMCP establish a timeline that can support the upcoming missions.

2. The BMO must ensure that the maintenance platoon understands the mission requirements.

3. Maintenance platoons need to stay aware of the tactical situation. The main focus is to get combat power back into the battle, and maintenance leaders must ensure mission accomplishment.

(TA.4.4 Direct and Lead Subordinate Forces)

TREND 27: Engineer company time management and tactical assembly area (TAA) discipline.


1. Engineer companies routinely do a poor job of time management. Critical pre-battle activities such as pre-combat checks/pre-combat inspections (PCC/PCIs), rehearsals, and graphics dissemination frequently suffer.

2. Many engineer companies are not prepared to defend themselves prior to crossing the lines of departure (LD).

  1. During the mission's combat preparation phase, the engineer companies usually accomplish such things as personal hygiene, LOGPAC, and their sleep plan.

  2. Time is wasted due to poor planning and lack of leader discipline at the company and platoon level.

3. Commanders usually include critical activities in their company OPORDs but do not monitor their accomplishment.

4. Most engineer companies arrive at the NTC with a good tactical SOP (TACSOP) that clearly addresses TAA procedures, but they do not follow it.

  1. Companies frequently occupy TAAs with no advance party activities or recon.

  2. Few, if any, priorities of work are accomplished.

  3. Direct fire plans and adjacent unit coordination are not accomplished.


1. Companies are not prepared to defend against any type of attack in their TAA.

2. Companies experience loss of battle tempo and poor mission accomplishment.


1. Engineer company commanders must conduct aggressive time management. They must be immediately informed of any problems in order to reprioritize in tempo.

2. Platoon leaders, platoon sergeants, and junior NCOs must apply the discipline to make it happen. Unit discipline must be maintained during TAA occupation, including adherence to their TACSOP.

3. Critical pre-battle activities must be accomplished to ensure mission success. These activities should be integrated with:

  1. TAA procedures.

  2. TF-directed events.

  3. A timeline that specifically addresses who will do what and when.

4. Timelines must be passed to subordinate units as soon as possible. Company leaders must ruthlessly enforce the completion of these activities IAW the timeline.

(TA.4.4 Direct and Lead Subordinate Forces)

TREND 28: (LTP) Brigade S2 section use of standard operating procedures (SOPs).

PROBLEM: Brigade S2 sections often lack standard operating procedures (SOPs).

  1. S2 sections are often not sure of the intelligence requirements for the different phases of the staff planning process.

  2. When a comprehensive SOP exists, it is often not followed.

  3. Some existing SOPs do not not specifically address the requirements for the brigade S2 section.

RESULT: Each staff planning session is fraught with discovery learning to determine what is required to support the staff planning process, rather than an improvement to the requirements that are already defined.

Procedure: At Home Station, each S2 section should develop and use an SOP that provides a checklist and formatted charts.

  1. The SOP should address the products that will be routinely required of the S2 section for each phase of the staff planning process.

  2. These products would be based on standard requirements as well as staff and commander driven requirements.

(TA.4.4 Direct and Lead Subordinate Forces)

TREND 29: (LTP) Company/team development and use of Tactical SOPs (TACSOPs).

PROBLEM: Company/teamTactical SOPs are incomplete or non-existent.

  1. In almost every instance, company commanders come to their LTP without a viable, workable TACSOP. The standard reply when asked about their TACSOPs is, "We are refining it out here." With 120 days remaining before their NTC rotation (fewer training days for NG/USAR units), there is no time for the refinement, development, and implementation of an effective TACSOP.

  2. For a TACSOP to be effective, all members of a unit must be knowledgeable of and thoroughly trained in its contents. This includes all elements that are/can be cross attached to a commander's unit.

Technique: Continually stress the importance of TACSOPs and the need for company/team commanders to come to LTP with a complete and workable TACSOP.

(TA.4.4 Direct and Lead Subordinate Forces)

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