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TREND 8: Battle Tracking


1. Inexperienced operators.

2. Lack of unit SOP knowledge.

3. CTCP unaware of combat power of TF critical weapons systems.

4. CTCP unaware of/did not post locations of enemy and friendly units.

5. Graphics either missing or not updated.

6. Unnecessary equipment cluttering the CTCP.

7. Lack of logging system for A/L and command nets.

8. No filing system.


1. Establish roles and responsibilities for each member of the CTCP. Document them in the SOP.

2. Ensure that each member of the CTCP reads, understands, and complies with the SOP.

3. Develop a logging system and a file for daily information.

4. Standardize tracking boards throughout the TF. Assign an individual to update them.

5. Make sure that tracking/logging systems, battle boards, and maps/overlays match among the TOC, CTCP and FTCP.

(TA.4.1.3 Maintain Information and Force Status)

TREND 9: Situation paragraph of OPORD not briefed in stability and support operations (SASO).

PROBLEM: Because there is not a clearly defined enemy in SASO, the situation paragraph is often briefed as "no change."


1. Units patrolling villages in their area of operations are not aware of the demographics.

2. Patrol leaders do not know what to expect from the local population.

3. Unnecessary casualties.


1. Company commanders must analyze their area of operations and include this analysis in the situation paragraph of the company OPORD.

2. Reference: FM 34-100, Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield, pages 6-6 to 6-7.

(TA.4.2.1 Review Current Situation)

TREND 10: Situational Awareness - Tracking CTCP

PROBLEM: Difficulty tracking CTCP operations.

Technique: Develop an SOP that:

  • Establishes standard logging system for A/L and command nets.

  • Provides a filing system for historical data.

  • Defines standard methodology for TOCs, CTCPs, and FTPs to use for battle tracking, battle boards, and map overlays.

(TA.4.2.1 Review Current Situation)

TREND 11: The trend within fire support planning is top-down planning and bottom-up refinement.


1. Units frequently do not allow the executor to refine the targets after conducting their missions.

2. The TF FSO develops a plan that often incorporates the TF checkpoints as the TF targets.


1. Positive -- keeps the plan simple and easy to follow.

2. Negative -- the rigidity that the TF FSOs stick to their plan.

Technique: The FOs/FIST teams who conducted the route reconnaissance missions or weapons storage sites inspections should:

  • Debrief the TF staff.

  • Make adjustments to the targets based on the changing situation and the adjusted locations of the real threat at that location.

(TA.4.3 Determine Actions)

TREND 12: The TF staff did not use the doctrinal TDMP model at any time during the rotation.

PROBLEM: Orders based on a single COA.


1. Minimal planning responsibility for staff.

2. Fails to validate staff's ability to function as a planning entity.

Techniques: The commander should train his staff through practical exercises which visibly validate the staff's capability to plan completely and independently.

1. Conduct staff training using doctrinal models.

2. Practice developing several COAs.

3. Commander should limit his input during these drills.

(TA.4.3 Determine Actions)

TREND 13: FIST Team Copperhead Planning


1. Difficulty in planning observation points for Copperhead engagement.

2. Difficulty in conducting terrain analysis.

3. TF FSO unable to determine location of firing unit.

4. FIST team unable to find a suitable OP to support commander's intent.

5. Lack of essential materials to adequately plan an OP.

RESULT: FIST team forced to change their planned OP during mission execution.


1. TF FSO should determine what information is essential for the mission.

2. FIST team should produce a terrain profile as outlined in FM 21-26.

3. Use Copperhead footprint template, M172, NSN 1220-01-224-2588, to determine if the target falls within the Copperhead footprint.

4. Doctrinal references:

  • FM 21-26, for terrain profile.

  • FM 6-20-40, Annex I, for the Copperhead coverage template to determine whether a planned OP will cover planned Copperhead employment.

  • FM 6-20-40, Annex M, includes a ready-to-use Copperhead coverage template.

(TA.4.3 Determine Actions)

TREND 14: Smoke to Obscure Friendly Forces

PROBLEM: "911" calls for smoke.

RESULT: TF combat power significantly attrited at chokepoints before smoke becomes effective.

Technique: Ensure that smoke missions are planned and executed as part of the scheme of maneuver.

(TA.4.3 Determine Actions)

TREND 15: CSS Staff Planning

PROBLEM: Consistent lack of CSS staff participation in MDMP.

RESULT: Reactive support to TF.


1. Ensure key CSS players participate in MDMP.

2. Train CSS planning during Home-Station orders drills.

3. The XO, as chief of staff, should enforce the standard to ensure a well-synchronized plan.

(TA.4.3 Determine Actions)

TREND 16: Ineffective TF Communications Planning


1. TF communications planning often inadequate.

2. Frequent failure to enforce detailed planning.

3. SIGO's planning experience minimal.

4. Lack of staff knowledge of available assets.

5. Frequent neglect of wargaming and rehearsals.

RESULT: Operational efficiency of unit FM net is frequently degraded.


1. Leadership must enforce a system of solid communications planning to support operations.

2. Devote more time to planning redundancy and rehearsing communications (especially the moving pieces) before the start of an operation.

3. Make the staff aware of the tactical communications they control and equipment available at the next higher HQ.

(TA.4.3 Determine Actions)

TREND 17: Nonstandard Tactical Decision-Making Process

PROBLEM: XO not a proponent of TDMP process models and is reluctant to adopt it for TF use.


1. Frequent lack of focus.

2. Poor time management.

3. Inability to provide sanity check.

4. Poor synchronization.


1. Train and drill the staff on a complete and doctrinal orders process.

2. Use a select library of manuals during the process.

3. Use planning checklists.

4. Develop preparation checklists for each type of operation the TOC tracks (offense, defense, SASO, etc.) and use them ruthlessly during the preparation phase.

(TA.4.3 Determine Actions)

TREND 18: Lack of Familiarity with TDMP


1. Inexperienced TF planning section.

2. Personnel unfamiliar with TDMP.

3. Identification of combat operations (e.g., defend) as a critical implied task was inadequately addressed.

4. Late production and incomplete distribution of graphics.


1. Incomplete and unsynchronized orders.

2. Combat operations considered only when a specified task.

3. Impedes ability to conduct orderly and decisive repositioning to destroy the enemy.


1. Emphasize TDMP process during Home-Station training.

2. References:

  • FM 101-5.

  • ST 100-9.

  • CALL Newsletter No. 95-12, Dec 95, Tactical Decision Making: "Abbreviated Planning."

(TA.4.3 Determine Actions)

TREND 19: Fire Support Planning


1. Lack of maneuver graphics.

2. Observation plan inadequate to support the operation.

3. Failure to adequately plan lethal fires.

Technique: Revise FS plan to comply with doctrine.

  • Accurately communicates commander's intent.

  • Facilitates synchronization.

(TA.4.3 Determine Actions)

TREND 20: Contingency Planning

PROBLEM: Inadequate contingency for last minute-mission changes.

EXAMPLE: Unit was given two missions with 24 hours' notice. In both cases the unit waited to begin planning until told to execute, which was earlier than originally planned.

Technique: Initiate planning and rehearsal immediately after receipt. If mission is delayed, unit can stand down.

(TA.4.3 Determine Actions)

TREND 21: Tactical Decision-Making Process. TF did not use TDMP for the orders process.


1. No staff coordination.

2. Entire plan written by plans cell.

3. More like WARNO than FARGO.

4. Inadequate graphics.

5. Task and purpose unclear to company commanders.


1. Involve entire staff in plans development.

2. Follow the steps in TDMP.

3. XO is in charge.

(TA.4.3 Determine Actions)

TREND 22: Focus planning on the worst possible contingency that can happen on any given day of operations.

PROBLEM: Units frequently anticipate a myriad of events, yet are not able to adequately plan, rehearse, or allocate resources towards them.


1. Identify and wargame contingencies, branches, and sequels to critical events that may occur on any day or phase of an operation.

2. Ask the question, "What is the worst thing that can happen to us today, tomorrow, or the next day?"

  • Focus the question to specific, critical events.

  • Plan on how they can be overcome.

  • Allocate resources.

  • Rehearse the plan.

(TA.4.3.2 Determine Courses of Action)

TREND 23: Link analysis is weak.

PROBLEM: Units are frequently slow to piece together and formulate possible enemy courses of action based upon a series of events that occur among the separate formerly warring factions (FWFs).

(TA.4.3.2 Determine Courses of Action)

TREND 24: The TF staff does not effectively wargame.


1. Unit does not practice wargaming combat operations and assess cumulative TF and enemy losses throughout the operation.

2. Does not use a mathematical process to calculate combat losses.


1. Inability to validate or reject COAs based on comparative combat ratios at critical points.

2. Makes identifying critical points difficult.

3. Poor time management.


1. Wargame religiously.

2. Ensure the highest degree of fidelity that time allows.

(TA.4.3.3 Analyze Courses of Action)

TREND 25: Precombat inspection (PCI) lacks critical items needed for stability and support operations. Most units have standing operating procedures (SOPs) that cover the conduct of PCI.

PROBLEM: Unit SOPs frequently lack a method for checking soldiers' knowledge of stability and support operations, especially soldiers' comprehension of the rules of engagement (ROE), weapons arming status, and critical information about local factions.

RESULT: Soldiers are unprepared to accomplish missions in a complex and difficult environment.

Technique: All units, from squads through battalions, should revise their SOPs to include PCI checks for ROE, weapons arming status, and soldiers' knowledge of critical stability and support operations information.

(TA.4.4 Direct and Lead Subordinates)

TREND 26: Air defense units fail to conduct predeployment inspections. Air defense units regularly deploy without the equipment needed to conduct realistic training.

PROBLEM: FAAD batteries and platoons regularly deploy without their IFF programmers, M-8 chemical alarms, or Home Station Stinger/MILES equipment.

RESULT: Units are not able to conduct realistic training or train to the standard when they deploy without all of the equipment listed on their MTOE.

Technique: Conduct thorough predeployment checks to ensure that the unit has the required equipment to complete all specified and implied tasks.

(TA.4.4 Direct and Lead Subordinates)

TREND 27: Shift change briefings do not include all key players, and not all important information is included.


1. Units frequently ignore this requirement altogether.

2. Frequently fail to ensure all key personnel attend.

3. Often neglect to make sure that all important information is put out to the oncoming shift.

RESULT: Important pieces of information are missed.


1. Use a simple briefing format.

2. Enforce mandatory attendance.

(TA.4.4 Direct and Lead Subordinates)

TREND 28: Changes in scout task organization prior to mission.


1. Sections are often split up just before LD.

2. Lack of ad hoc battle drills.


1. Confusion and loss of continuity during actions on contact.

2. Increased risk to survivability.

Technique: Strive to maintain unit integrity. Divide the unit only as last recourse.

(TA.4.4 Direct and Lead Subordinates)

TREND 29: LOGPAC and CASEVAC Execution


1. Failure to execute LOGPAC and CASEVAC.

2. Frequent lack of dedicated assets available from HHC.


1. Assign scout platoon sergeant the responsibility for supply and CASEVAC. Should have flexibility to detach himself from orders process to facilitate supply and CASEVAC.

2. Must be aggressive to extract scarce resources from HHC.

(TA.4.4 Direct and Lead Subordinates)

TREND 30: Lack of Familiarity with JMC Handbook


1. Many junior leaders are unfamiliar with JMC handbook.

2. Limited number of handbooks available.

RESULT: Sharing handbooks makes studying difficult.


1. Stress the importance of knowing the JMC handbook to junior leaders.

2. Conduct OPD/NCOPD using experienced members of the unit.

3. Use a written test of JMC handbook as part of the SASO leader certification process.

4. Conduct practical exercises.

5. Acquire a copy of the handbook for each junior leader.

(TA.4.4 Direct and Lead Subordinates)

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