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Chapter III


DEVELOPMENT OF THE SCRIPT: An effective technique for controlling the rehearsals is to use a script. The script keeps the rehearsal on track and serves as the checklist to ensure all the BOSs are represented and all outstanding issues are addressed during the rehearsal. The script has four major parts:

1. The Agenda

2. The Response Sequence

3. Unit Actions Checklist (Friendly and Enemy)

4. Sequence of Events

1. THE AGENDA: Rehearse using the tools you will use when fighting the battle: the OPORD, Synchronization Matrix, and the Decision Support Template (DST). Use these tools to drive the rehearsal and to also help keep the rehearsal focused. During Fire Support or CSS rehearsals, use the Fire Support Execution Matrix and the Log Synchronization Matrix.

These products can be used as a rehearsal agenda from company through brigade. If time is short, use the agenda as the menu to select events to be rehearsed. Since these items are issued to the subordinates during the OPORD, subordinates are more prepared for the rehearsal because they know which events will be rehearsed.

2. THE RESPONSE SEQUENCE: Ensure the players respond in a logical sequence. This sequence must be determined prior to the rehearsal. One sequence might be by BOS; another might be by unit as the organization is deployed from front to rear. Whatever sequence you use, it must be determined before the rehearsal. Posting the response sequence at the rehearsal site is helpful.


Friendly: Each player uses a standard format to describe his unit or staff action. Use of this type of checklist ensures that all significant points are covered quickly. This also helps increase the understanding of the other players because they are able to key on a common sequence of information. Properly used, the checklist allows the rehearsal to move quickly and improves comprehension.

Enemy: The enemy force must be portrayed effectively and quickly without distracting from the rehearsal. A technique is to establish a unit action checklist like that of the friendly units, but from the enemy perspective.

4. SEQUENCE OF EVENTS: The following paragraphs provide a generic sequence of events for a rehearsal. Although developed for a combined arms rehearsal, this sequence can be used for FS and CSS rehearsals with a few modifications discussed in later chapters. This example can be used for BDE-, BN/TF-, or CO/TM-level rehearsals and will support any rehearsal technique.

Step 1. Ground Rules

  • Call roll; START ON TIME.

  • Quickly review your SOP to see if you have new players at the rehearsal.

  • Ensure a recorder is ready.

  • State the agenda being used (OPORD, Synchronization Matrix or DST) and the rehearsal type.

  • Provide an orientation to the rehearsal tools (terrain model or visible key terrain, unit icons, etc.) and important graphic control measures.

    Technique: Use a logical sequence when explaining the product, north to south or from enemy side to friendly side. Ensure everyone understands the product. Having a set of graphics posted on a map displayed nearby is very helpful but normally hard to see. Use a cartoon sketch instead.

  • Designate the point in the operation that the rehearsal will start. One event prior to the first event being rehearsed allows for proper deployment of forces.

  • Ensure everyone understands the parts of the plan to be rehearsed.

  • An update of both friendly and enemy activities may be necessary to review parts of the plan not being rehearsed.

In the predetermined sequence, the players, using an established format, verbalize and act out their unit's actions at that point in time. If no action is taken, then the "unit" states, "No change," meaning the unit's status has not changed since the previous event. This "acting out" continues in sequence until all the players have spoken once. The players must pay attention. When one player finishes, the next player immediately begins without being prompted. This facilitates a focused, timely rehearsal.

Step 2. Deploy the Enemy

Deploy the enemy on the rehearsal product as they would look at the rehearsal start point. Restating the enemy equipment should not be required.

Step 3. Deploy the Friendly

Deploy the friendly forces (including adjacent units) at the rehearsal start point. As friendly units are initially posted to the rehearsal product, they should state their:

  • Task and purpose, task organization and strength.

  • Some units may need to brief their subordinate unit positions at the start time, as well as any particular points of emphasis to include FARPs, ROM, or CCPs.

Step 4. Advance the Enemy

Begin advancing the enemy on his Most Likely Course of Action (Situational Template) as it pertains to the point on the execution matrix. Since in Step 2 the enemy was deployed up to the point the rehearsal will start, the enemy continues to maneuver from there. Depiction must be definitive, tying enemy actions to specific terrain or friendly units' actions. An accurate portrayal of the situational template developed for the staff wargaming process must be communicated. The enemy is uncooperative, but not invincible.

Step 5. Decision Point

Upon completion of the enemy action, conditions must be assessed to determine if a decision point has been reached. These are the decision points taken directly from the DST.

At a Decision Point: As decision points are reached, the XO states the conditions for success. The commander states his decision to continue on the current course or select a branch.

  • If the commander decides to continue the current course of action, the next event from the matrix is stated and the friendly units are advanced (Step 2).

  • If a branch is selected, the commander states why he has selected that branch. The first event of that branch is stated, and the rehearsal continues from that point until all events of the branch are rehearsed.

Not at a Decision Point: If the unit is not at a decision point and not at the desired end state, then the rehearsal continues with the XO stating the next event on the synchronization matrix, and friendly units are advanced (Step 2). Use the predetermined sequence as units continue to act out and verbalize their actions.

Step 6. End State of the Branch is Reached

End the initial phase of the rehearsal after the desired end state of the COA or the branch is achieved. In an attack this will usually be on the objective after consolidation and casualty evacuation are complete. In the defense, this will usually be after the decisive action such as the commitment of the reserve and the final destruction or withdrawal of the enemy and casualty evacuation are complete.

Step 7. Recock

After the initial phase, "recock" to the situation at the first decision point. The XO should state the criteria for a decision to change the plan. Assume these criteria have been met and then re-fight the fight from that point forward, all the way until the desired end state is attained. Complete any coordination to ensure understanding and requirements are met; record any changes. Go to the next decision point and assume that the criteria have been met. Repeat the previous steps until all decision points and branches have been rehearsed.

Step 8. Follow-up and Coordination

As small issues arise during the rehearsal, they are recorded. At the end of the rehearsal, the recorder states these issues for review and final decision. This ensures the flow of the rehearsal is not interrupted. "War stopping" issues raised anytime during the rehearsal must be immediately addressed. This coordination is one of the key points of the rehearsals. If it is not done immediately, it will be difficult to get the word to all the players later.

Combined Arms Integration: In a complete combined arms rehearsal, key CS/CSS items must be included. These include plans for casualty evacuation routes, ambulance exchange points, refuel on the move, Class IV/V resupply points, logistics release points, displacement times/locations/triggers for the BSA, EPW collection points, aviation support, and military police actions. These items should be injected into the rehearsal at the appropriate times by the unit commander or the coordinating staff officer. Summarizing these actions at the end of the rehearsal lessens the value of the rehearsal as a coordination tool.

Staff Support Actions: The staff updates the DSM/DST and provides it to each leader prior to departure. An option is to provide it prior to the rehearsal and rely on individual pen/ink changes for each update. This is the final opportunity for subordinates to identify and resolve dangling issues. Make sure all coordination done at the rehearsal is clearly understood by all players and captured by the recorder. All changes to the published order are, in effect, verbal FRAGOs. As soon as possible, the battle staff should collect the verbal FRAGOs into a written change to the order.

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