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TREND 30: Integration of the medical platoon into the planning process.


1. Units typically do not have a method to integrate the medical plan into the CSS plan and the maneuver plan.

2. The medical platoon does not know the plan until the CSS rehearsal.


1. No troop leading procedures or adjacent unit coordination prior to the CSS rehearsal.

2. Questions brought up at the CSS rehearsal are not answered.

3. When the battle starts, needed information is not properly disseminated to the unit.


1. The S4 should develop an SOP for dissemination of information during the planning process. Include a process for receiving input from all CSS operators to synchronize the CSS plan.

2. Develop and disseminate information early to permit the CSS operators to conduct adjacent unit coordination and have answers to all questions at the CSS rehearsal.

3. When the CSS battle is rehearsed, all participants at the CSS rehearsal must leave with a true understanding of how all aspects of the CSS battle will flow.

(TA.4.4.1 Prepare Plans or Orders)

TREND 31: Task force (TF) timeline management.


1. TF staffs/CPs do not effectively manage a TF timeline.

2. Staff sections do not complete required products in a timely manner.


1. Critical events fail to take place.

2. Troop leading procedures at subordinate levels are hindered.

3. Ultimately, the TF is prevented from seeing itself in preparation for combat.

4. The staff does not have enough time to adequately wargame the selected COA.

5. Orders lack focus on killing the enemy at the decisive point and often lead to unclear tasks and purpose to subordinate leaders.


1. The TF timeline should be developed early in the planning process and then continually updated throughout the process.

2. The initial timeline should include the staff's planning cycle, critical R&S activities, and company/team troop leading procedures (e.g., boresighting, initial movement times, etc.).

3. As the planning process continues, additional operational critical events are also added to the timeline and continued throughout the wargame process.

4. Key events from the synchronization matrix should also be incorporated into the timeline. This allows critical tasks to be tracked throughout the battle and provides a valuable tool in battle tracking.

5. Upon completion of the planning process, the staff should collate the data onto a butcher board and brief it as part of the TF OPORD.

6. In the timeline, include critical troop leading procedures (TLPs) to be conducted at the company/team level. These should include company/team OPORD times, rehearsals, boresight, and LOGPAC.

7. These requirements are not intended to micro-manage company/teams but rather to provide them a common base to begin their planning and preparation. If changes are required at the TF level, the TF commander can then make an informed decision on what events he will impact.

(TA.4.4.1 Prepare Plans or Orders)

TREND 32: Engineer company planning process.


1. At Home Station, during TF level engineer NTC training and preparation computer exercises, engineer company commanders conduct their own EBA and write both the TF engineer annex and engineer company OPORD. Company commanders expect to personally produce these products during the NTC campaign.

2. Engineer company executive officers (XOs) are not trained to conduct an Engineer Battlefield Analysis (EBA).

3. Engineer company XOs are not trained to write the TF engineer annex and the company OPORD.


1. After arrival at the NTC, one of two things occurs. Either:

  1. the company commander tries to do everything as he did at Home Station and is reduced to a frazzle by Training Day 3; or

  2. the commander recognizes battle rhythm demands and passes the planning and order preparation tasks to the company XO, who then struggles with a steep learning curve during the campaign.

2. Both company and TF suffer incomplete engineer planning.


1. Engineer company commanders must train their XOs at Home Station to conduct EBA and to prepare both the TF engineer annex and engineer company OPORD.

2. Company commanders should be able to give the XO clear guidance on the mission, intent, and end-state, and then make the XO responsible for producing the three products.

RESULT: The engineer company commander can focus on troop leading procedures (TLPs) and pre-combat checks/pre-combat inspections (PCCs/PCIs).

(TA.4.4.1 Prepare Plans or Orders)

TREND 33: Integration of engineer units into the planning process.


1. Task forces (TFs) are typically placing the engineer plan in an annex of the OPORD. The maneuver elements seldom read that portion of the OPORD and do not understand the scheme of engineer operations (SOEO). This can be disastrous when it includes specified tasks to non-engineer subordinate units.

2. TFs are not allowing the engineer planner to brief during mission analysis and the COA presentations, omitting critical mobility and survivability information.

3. Engineer command posts (CPs) are not fully integrated in the TF tactical operations centers (TOCs), causing a breakdown of the brigade engineer's intent at TF level.

4. Mobility, countermobility, survivability tasks are seen as engineer-unit specific.


1. The TF engineer must ensure that required engineer missions, instructions, constraints, and limitations are included in the TF OPORD (not buried in the engineer annex).

2. The TF must allow the engineer planner to brief during both the mission analysis and the COA presentations so that critical mobility and survivability information is communicated to all elements of the TF.

3. The SOEO is refined during wargaming and is the basis for the engineer company order.

(TA.4.4.1 Prepare Plans or Orders)

TREND 34: (LTP) Essential fire support (FS) tasks and concept of fires development.

PROBLEM: Fire support coordinators (FISCOORDs) and brigade fire support officers (FSOs) try to identify and define critical fire support tasks ( CFSTs) (task, purpose, method, and end state) based in the commander's guidance and friendly course of actions; however, their stated purpose(s) do not always provide sufficient information to set the parameters of when, where, and how long.

RESULT: The FS system cannot easily or realistically quantify the required end state in terms of volume and duration or amount of destruction, suppression, or obscuration.


1. When defining CFSTs, the task should specify:

  1. The enemy's attack formation we want to affect.

  2. The functions of the enemy's attack formation we want to influence.

  3. The target effect we want to have on the enemy's formation's function.

2. Doctrinal terms, such as, delay, limit, disrupt, and destroy can be useful, but what is essential is that fire supporters and maneuver understand each other clearly.

  1. Delay is not allowing the enemy to do something when he wants to.

  2. Limit -- where he wants to.

  3. Disrupt -- what he wants to.

  4. Destroy -- requires us to quantify a specific amount to be killed.

3. The task is focused on the enemy. The purpose, on the other hand, is focused on friendly maneuver and sets the parameters on how long we must delay, where we must limit, and when we must disrupt or destroy in terms of friendly maneuver events. The clearer the effects of fires are tied to a maneuver purpose, the more likely that we can integrate fires and maneuver to achieve a unified effect.

4. The end state should be quantifiable in terms that allow the field artillery to determine the volume of fires, munitions, duration and/or other technical parameters and that will achieve the stated task and purpose.


COMMANDER'S GUIDANCE: (effect) Delay the (formation) AGMB's (function) ability to support the FSE until (purpose) our direct fires can destroy the FSE.

CONCEPT OF FIRES: (method) Use ARTY-delivered FASCAM in the passes in conjunction with CAS and massed ARTY fires to delay the AGMB until our AG company can destroy the FSE with direct fires.

FIRE SUPPORT ELEMENT ACTIONS: Determine good locations to emplace FASCAM based on enemy, terrain, and weapons capabilities. Determine possible OPs that could observe. Determine how CAS could be used for each COA (CAS target box data). Consider how IEW, smoke or obstacles might contribute to the desired effect. Determine the possible HPTs in the AGMB that would DELAY. List data needed from Wargame, for example:

How long does the AG company need to destroy FSE?

What number and type of vehicles = delay required?

END STATE: (From Wargame) AGMB delayed 15 minutes at FASCAM. MSD destroyed at FASCAM. Two T-80s and six BMPs destroyed west of PL DALLAS. MRB CMD net jumps < 5 times between PL OHIO and PL DALLAS.

(TA.4.4.1 Prepare Plans or Orders)

TREND 35: (LTP) Task force (TF) executive officer (XO) management of timelines.


1. Task force (TF) executive officers (XOs) are not successfully managing planning time. During the conduct of LTP, this responsibility is continually delegated to junior Battle Captains.

2. Routinely, staff members lack the experience and understanding of how long each phase of the planning process should take.

RESULT: The process quickly looses structure, focus, and productivity.

Technique: Time management will improve only when it becomes an absolute priority of brigade and task force commanders. Emphasis must be placed on the application of time management techniques at all levels.

(TA.4.4.1 Prepare Plans or Orders)

TREND 36: (LTP) Time management.

PROBLEM: Time management at brigade and task force (TF) level remains a notable weakness. Commanders have dismissed the one-third/two-third planning philosophy and routinely disregard subordinate elements' need to plan.

Procedure: Adopt a structured schedule that requires brigades and TFs to issue their operations orders on directed timelines, thus forcing one-third/two-third planning times on to the respective staffs.

(TA.4.4.1 Prepare Plans or Orders)

TREND 37: Task force (TF) fire support rehearsals. TF fire support rehearsals are frequently not conducted. When they are conducted, they lack a standard format, a clear task and a purpose.


1. The types of fire support rehearsals available are:

  1. Sand table/terrain model.

  2. Map rehearsal.

  3. FM (radio) rehearsals.

2. Regardless of the type of rehearsal conducted, the following must be verified:

  1. Target list.

  2. Observation plan.

  3. Scheme of fires.

  4. Execution triggers.

  5. Timing of events.

  6. Both primary and alternate communications nets.

  7. Fire support coordinating measures.

3. The fire support officer (FSO) must coordinate with the TF XO/S3 to ensure that the fire support rehearsal is included in the TF timeline. Schedule the TF fire support rehearsal as early as possible after the company FISTs have rehearsed their plans. Preferably, this will occur before the TF maneuver rehearsal.

4. References: FM 6-20-40; CALL Newsletter #91-1, Rehearsals.

(TA. Develop and Complete Plans or Orders)

TREND 38: Direct fire plan rehearsals.


1. Companies often fail to conduct rehearsals, and when they are conducted, they do not focus on the direct fire plan or critical actions at the objective.

2. Commanders do not conduct rehearsals with a clear end state or ensure that all crews understand the direct fire plan.

3. Commanders too often fail to discuss contingencies and clearly articulate how the direct fire plan will be adjusted as the situation changes.

4. Battalion commanders and S3s fail to conduct adequate rehearsals to ensure that the attack company's direct fire plans are synchronized and that they support the commander's intent.


1. Commanders at all levels must set the standard for rehearsals.

  1. They must have a clear vision of the end state for the rehearsal.

  2. They must rehearse until all members of the team understand how the operation will be conducted.

2. A standardized terrain model kit is a useful tool and cuts down on set-up time.

3. Commanders must properly allocate time for rehearsals and closely guard this time to ensure that rehearsals are not bypassed.

4. Companies and battalions should routinely conduct rehearsals at Home Station to allow subordinates to see the standards to which rehearsals should be conducted and work out the TTP that best facilitates every member of the team in understanding the mission.

5. Once the unit has established and validated their TTP for rehearsals, they should incorporate them into the unit tactical SOP (TACSOP).

(TA. Develop and Complete Plans or Orders)

TREND 39: Maintenance personnel crew-served and individual weapons cleaning.

PROBLEM: Maintenance personnel are not maintaining their crew-served and individual weapons to standard.

  1. The weapons are not being cleaned or serviced.

  2. Most of the weapons observed have no ammunition.

RESULT: Weapons failure is catastrophic when rear areas are attacked.


1. The battalion maintenance officer (BMO) absolutely must ensure that his subordinates enforce weapons cleaning and service.

2. The BMO must coordinate with the S4 for ammunition supply.

(TA.4.4.4 Maintain Unit Discipline)

TREND 40: Unit discipline on the battlefield.


1. Unit leaders do not routinely monitor or emphasize troop discipline in the following areas:

  1. Load plans.

  2. Tactical Assembly Area (TAA) procedures.

  3. Uniform.

  4. Weapon security.

  5. Maintenance and personnel accountability.

2. Clear standards are not identified or enforced while at the NTC.

3. Leaders are reluctant to make corrections, assume responsibility, or be held accountable.

4. Unit leaders generally fail to assign responsibility for key actions and do not hold personnel accountable.


1. NCOs must be the backbone of unit standards; however, all leaders play a key role in setting and enforcing standards.

2. Senior leaders must assign responsibility for actions and hold personnel accountable.

(TA.4.4.4 Maintain Unit Discipline)

TREND 41: Breach tenets in mission analysis and course of action (COA) development.


1. There is a misunderstanding and, therefore, an incorrect application of the "breach tenets" at the TF level. The breach tenets (intelligence, breaching fundamentals, breaching organization, mass, and synchronization) are overlooked during mission analysis and COA development.

2. Generally, units do not reverse plan actions on the objective. There is no specified, clearly defined end state of what the TF should look like on the objective.

RESULT: The TF fails to synchronize breaching operations as part of the overall scheme of maneuver.


1. TF commanders must ensure synchronization through proper planning and force preparation. The keys are:

  1. detailed reverse planning

  2. clear sub-unit instructions

  3. effective command and control

  4. a well-rehearsed force

2. Actions on the objective should define the point of penetration and the size and type of assault force.

3. The location of the planned point of penetration and the size and type of assault force then determines the point of breach, number of lanes required, and the size and type of security forces (both near and far side).

4. The ability of the enemy's infantry to interfere with the breach determines whether the breaching site is to be secured by fires or by force.

5. Lane requirements and the type of obstacles then drive the allocation of mobility assets.

6. Finally, the enemy's fires at the obstacle determines the amount of suppression and size of the support force.

7. Reverse planning defines the maneuver formation to ensure that forces are in the correct relative positions to accomplish their breaching roles and actions on the objective.

8. The most effective breaching tool available to the commander is the rehearsal. TF rehearsals should focus on synchronizing the maneuver of support, breach, and assault forces to achieve the suppress, obscure, secure and reduce (SOSR) breaching fundamentals and highlight key events that must be coordinated during breach execution.

9. The commander's intent must be carefully considered during breach planning.

10. The TF main effort must be clear and must be supported by the scheme of engineer operations (SOEO). The engineer must understand the scheme of maneuver and must plan to shift engineer forces and equipment consistent with the commander's main effort. This shifting of forces is even more critical in successive breach operations. The engineer planner ensures that the SOEO serves as a combat multiplier and not just a force provider.

(TA.4.4.5 Synchronize Tactical Operations)

TREND 42: Integrating aviation planning into the scheme of maneuver.


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

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

  2. 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.

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

  2. 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 43: (LTP) Synchronization of Tactical Operations.

PROBLEM: Task force (TF) staffs continue to have difficulty achieving synchronization.

  1. Most staffs believe that there is a single planning event that results in a fully synchronized operation.

  2. No TF staff attending LTP this quarter created a synchronization matrix.

  3. Most staffs discount the effort of synchronizing the plan as being too time-consuming and difficult for what they perceive as a limited benefit.

  4. During after-action reviews (AARs), commanders assert their desire to produce synchronization, but staffs are unwilling to dedicate the time needed to lay the framework for it to occur.


1. TF commanders must focus their planning process input (initial staff guidance and course of action (COA) analysis) toward the battlefield operating systems (BOS).

2. Commanders must become more involved in teaching synchronization to their staffs during Home Station planning exercises.

(TA.4.4.5 Synchronize Tactical Operations)

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One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias