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Chapter II


Key personnel responsibilities are arranged by the Planning, Preparation, and Execution phases for the rehearsal. For the sake of brevity, this chapter is developed around the combined arms rehearsal. The responsibilities do not change for support rehearsals, only some of the position titles.


Commander - Provide the following information as part of the commander's guidance (during the initial mission analysis) and re-evaluate after course-of-action selection.

  • Type of rehearsal
  • Rehearsal technique
  • Location
  • Attendees
  • Enemy COAs to be portrayed

XO - Ensure all rehearsals are imbedded in the unit's time management schedule. Responsible for:

  • Publishing the rehearsal time/location in the OPORD or in a WARNORD.
  • Completing any rehearsals with the staff.
  • Determining rehearsal products based on type, technique, and METT-T.
  • Designating personnel to prepare rehearsal sites.
  • Coordinating LO attendance from adjacent units.


Commander - Ideally the mission is rehearsed with events phased in proper order from start to finish. When time is short, this is not always possible.

  • Identify and prioritize key events to be rehearsed.

  • Allocate time for the events being rehearsed.

  • Conduct personal preparation to include reviews of:

    • Completeness of task organization.

    • Readiness of personnel and material.

    • Unit level of preparation for the assigned mission.

XO - Through wargaming and coordination with the commander:

  • Coordinates and allocates time for the key events requiring rehearsal.

  • Establish rehearsal time limits IAW the Commander's guidance and METT-T.

  • Verifies rehearsal site preparation; a separate rehearsal site may be required for key rehearsal events such as an enlarged objective area or possible obstacle site. The rehearsal site must be accurate and complete with:

    • Appropriate markings and associated training aids.

    • Parking areas

    • Local security

    • Determine method for controlling the rehearsal and ensuring its logical flow. A technique for controlling the rehearsal is discussed in Chapter III.

Subordinate Leaders - Complete their planning process to include:

  • Completing unit order/plans.

  • Identify issues derived from the parent unit order.

  • Provide copy of their unit order with graphics to the parent unit.

  • Conduct personal preparation like that of the senior commander.

Battlestaff - The parent headquarters must deconflict all subordinate unit graphics. These composite overlays are the first step for leaders to visualize the whole unit's plan. Publish composite overlays at the rehearsal to include at a minimum:

  • Maneuver

  • Fire Support

  • M/S

  • CSS

Technique: Have the units send a representative to the rehearsal site early with the unit graphics. The unit representative can place the unit graphics onto the rehearsal product to ensure accuracy. This early arrival of the subordinate graphics facilitates the consolidation of unit graphics, allowing them to be distributed to commanders prior to the rehearsal. Early distribution of consolidated graphics allows commanders to focus on the rehearsal without worrying about copying graphics. Minor changes directed during the rehearsal can be quickly posted by each commander onto his individual maps.


Commander - The commander must command the rehearsal, just as he commands the fight. He must maintain the focus and level of intensity, allowing absolutely no potential for subordinate confusion. Although the staff refined the plan, it belongs to the commander; he must use it to fight. The rehearsal cannot become his brief to commanders. The purpose is to validate synchronization -- the what, when, and where of subordinate units' task to execute the commander's intent.

Before the rehearsal begins, the commander should state the key decisions he must make for each fight and the conditions that will cause him to make those decisions. The XO will highlight these decision points during the rehearsal (see page III-3).

XO - The director should be the XO. If the director is the S3, the XO will not sense the intricacies necessary to synchronize the Combined Arms Team. The TOC then becomes a mere site for situation maps, not the proactive agent that molds the force's effects to achieve the commander's vision for success. The OPORD, Decision Support Template/Matrix and Synchronization Matrix are the guides the XO uses to control the rehearsal. The XO must:

  • Conduct a formal role call and ensure everyone brings the necessary equipment to include unit graphics and previously issued orders to facilitate any adjustments to the plan.

  • Validate task organization for the mission. Linkups must be complete, or on schedule and required material and personnel must be on hand. The importance of this simple check cannot be overemphasized.

  • Personally rehearse the synchronization of combat power from flank, parent, and subordinate units that are often beyond the communications reach of the Commander and the S3.

  • Synchronize the timing and contribution of each BOS by ensuring the rehearsal of the indicators, by time or event, that are connected to a decision. For example, what are the conditions required to:

    • Commit the reserve, move a unit.

    • Close/emplace obstacle, fire a specific target.

    • Move a medical station, change a supply route, alert specific OP, etc.

  • Discipline leader activities, enforce brevity and ensure completeness at the rehearsal.

  • Keep within established time constraints.

  • Ensure that key events receive appropriate attention.

  • Ensure that absentees receive changes. Changes must be transmitted by courier or radio immediately to absentee and flank units.

S3 - The S3 assists the commander in the fight forward; he should rehearse that task. He should:

  • Portray his actions during the fight.

  • Ensure subordinate compliance with the plan.

S2 - During the planning phase, the commander determined which enemy COAs the plan should be developed to defeat. The S2 must:

  • Portray the best assessment of the enemy COAs. (Be a tough, uncooperative, but not invincible enemy.)

  • Communicate the enemy commander's presumed concept of operation, desired effects, and intended end state. See Appendix A.

Subordinate Unit Leaders - Using an established format:

  • Effectively articulate their unit's actions and responsibilities.

  • Record changes on their copies of the graphics or OPORD.

Recorder - After the rehearsal is complete, the recorder:

  • Restates any changes, coordinations or clarifications directed by the commander.

  • Estimates the time that a written FRAGO to codify the changes will follow.

Battle Staff - Updates the OPORD, DST and Synchronization Matrix. If done properly, leader participation in the rehearsal should validate each leader's role as part of the whole force--

  • what is done

  • when (relative to time and event)

  • by whom and

  • why (the desired effects).

A good rehearsal ensures a common visualization of the enemy and your own forces with the terrain and relationships between them. It will identify specific actions requiring immediate staff resolution and highlight to the parent commander critical events or activities requiring supervision by himself, the CSM, XO, or S3.

"It was then that the weeks of work with the commander's intent and rehearsals gave us invaluable dividends. I know exactly what my boss wanted me to accomplish in OBJ BOSTON. We didn't need communication to seize our initial assault objectives. Our common understanding of intent and mission drew us to success."
-- LTC Henry L. Kinnision III, CDR, 1-187 IN,
101st ABN (AASLT), Operation DESERT STORM

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