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TREND 50: Rehearsals - CSS


1. Poor time management.

2. Lack of communication.

RESULT: Poor planning and coordination.


1. Conduct rehearsals to ensure synchronization.

2. Make sure XO, S-1, S-4, medical platoon leader, support platoon leader, CSM, BMO chaplain, FAST, OIC, and 1SGs attend.

(TA. Develop and Complete Plans or Orders)

TREND 51: Mine Strike QRF Team

PROBLEM: Lack of QRF rehearsals.


1. No security for ambulances.

2. No forward focal point.

3. Convoy rehearsals not conducted to standard.

Technique: Move out all log elements as one piece.

  • Provides security.

  • Focal point.

  • LRP can be moved with mission.

(TA. Develop and Complete Plans or Orders)

TREND 52: Issue FRAGOs

PROBLEM: Issuing a formal FRAGO for a tactical road march wastes time.


1. Issue the FRAGO via radio.

2. Use checkpoints or TIRs to define operational, CSS, and fire support graphics.

(TA.4.4.2 Issue Orders)

TREND 53: Staff Integration of the TDMP


1. TF staff unfamiliar with process.

2. Inexperienced TF plans staff.


1. Mission analysis and subsequent planning incomplete.

2. Combat operations included only when specified task.


1. Focus on the roles of each BOS in the TDMP during Home-Station training.

2. References:

  • FM 101-5.

  • ST 100-9.

  • CALL Newsletter 95-12, Dec 95, Tactical Decision Making: "Abbreviated Planning."

(TA.4.4.5 Synchronize Tactical Operations)

TREND 54: Poor coordination between battery/platoon elements and maneuver/lodgment area HQ during stability and support operations.


1. Firing batteries or platoons are often not collocated with their parent battalion HQ.

2. Battery/platoon draws much of its support from the lodgment area HQ.

3. Battery/platoon inherits responsibilities such as perimeter security within the lodgment area.

4. Many FA elements, especially platoons, fail to keep a constant flow of information and intelligence between the lodgment area HQ and parent unit HQ.


1. FA platoons moving along recently-mined routes.

2. Unexpectedly stumbling into areas where civil unrest is expected or imminent.

3. The FA battalion is not aware of the recent changes to the local tactical situation.


1. Each FA element down to platoon level should establish coordination procedures for use when the element is positioned inside a lodgment area away from its parent FA battalion headquarters.

2. Designate a liaison to serve as point of contact (ideally, battery commander/first sergeant or platoon leader/platoon sergeant.)

(TA.4.4.5 Synchronize Tactical Operations)

TREND 55: ADOs fail to link up with the supported task force before deploying to the CMTC. The ADO continues to be the only special staff officer who does not link up and train with the rest of the task force staff before deployment.


1. ADO is behind the "power curve" in building relationships with each of the staff agencies.

2. ADO is handicapped in working with the established staff members for all of the task force's critical resources.

3. Unfamiliarity with how the task force commander fights the battle.


1. Inability to make sound recommendations on air defense priorities.

2. Support requirements for the air defense platoon are not known in advance.

3. Inability to support the task force commander's plan.

Technique: Ensure ADOs participate in all task force CPXs, TEWTs, and other staff training events conducted in preparation for each deployment.

(TA.4.4.5 Synchronize Tactical Operations)

TREND 56: The medical platoon leader is not involved in the planning and writing of the health service support (HSS) plan.


1. HSS is frequently unresponsive to the battalion.

2. Failure of medical platoon leader or medical operations officer to attend all operational briefings and planning sessions.


1. Ensure that either the medical platoon leader or the medical operations officer attend all operational briefings and planning sessions.

2. They must play an active role in the decision-making process to properly synchronize HSS which is responsive and supports the maneuver commander's intent.

3. The HSS plan must be responsive and support the maneuver commander's intent.


  • The medical platoon leader and the medical operations officer are responsible for providing the HSS portion of battalion SOPs, OPLANs and OPORDs.

  • HSS plan for tactical operations is addressed in the administrative and logistics annex of the battalion OPORD. It should include:

    • Location of forward treatment sites.

    • Ground and air medical evacuation routes, ambulance exchange points, and far-forward patient collection point.

    • Location of the supporting medical company.

4. Doctrinal reference: FM 8-10-4.

(TA.4.4.5 Synchronize Tactical Operations)

TREND 57: Aviation task forces do not have standardized SOPs.

PROBLEM: Glaring procedural differences appear when TFs are formed with AH-64 battalions and UH-60 companies that have never worked together.


1. Get the right people together to discuss standardization issues before and after each mission.

2. Establish common SOPs to cover:

  • Briefing formats.

  • IMC break-up procedures.

  • Communication checks.

  • Formations.

  • Lighting.

  • In-flight communications.


(TA.4.4.5 Synchronize Tactical Operations)

TREND 58: Aviation units are called into the fight using "911." Attack aviation assets are frequently an afterthought.

PROBLEM: Attack aviation assets are seldom properly integrated into the original scheme of maneuver.


1. Integrate aviation assets into the commander's decision support template to ensure proper employment.

2. Make sure air LO attends wargaming and rehearsals.

(TA.4.4.5 Synchronize Tactical Operations)

TREND 59: Close air support (CAS) is not well synchronized.


1. Units seldom integrate CAS into their plans.

2. Units typically do not know how to call for CAS if required.

3. CAS availability is usually not briefed prior to missions.

(TA.4.4.5 Synchronize Tactical Operations)

TREND 60: LOs placed with ground TFs are not properly utilized. LOs are not properly trained or prepared.


1. Ground TFs initially resist the need for an aviation LO.

2. Aviation LOs not properly utilized.

3. LOs are not integrated into the planning process.

4. Most LOs are inexperienced and need to be more proactive with the ground TF.

(TA.4.4.5 Synchronize Tactical Operations)

TREND 61: Command and control becomes ambiguous when flying missions in different sectors. There are no clear-cut command relationships.

PROBLEM: Constant confusion over whether the aviation unit is OPCON, attached, or in general support of the ground commander, especially when flying in and through different sectors.


1. Spot reports are not sent to the right place.

2. Long lead times in clearance of fires/weapons release authority.

(TA.4.4.5 Synchronize Tactical Operations)

TREND 62: TF R&S not always synchronized.


1. No coverage for PIR added by commander after approval of R&S plan despite excellent initial effort.

2. R&S plan not rehearsed.

3. Company leadership spent too much time planning.

RESULT: Lack of time for TLP prior to mission execution.


1. Treat R&S as a distinct phase of each operation.

2. Determine TF PIR at the conclusion of mission analysis brief.

3. Use wargaming and the synchronization process to refine NAIs and R&S plan.

4. Issue a well-coordinated product with the TF order.

5. Rehearse the R&S plan.

6. Use an overlay with R&S matrix to direct the TF plan.

7. Ensure that coordination details are included.

  • NAI numbers, patrol and scout routes, tentative GSR positions.


  • Use a preformatted R&S matrix that can be easily filled out when time is short.

8. Review TF METL to determine generic PIR for the various missions the TF might conduct.

  • Provides training focus.

  • Eliminates debate during planning process.

9. Allow ample time for scouts, patrols, and other assets to plan for success.

(TA.4.4.5 Synchronize Tactical Operations)

TREND 63: Limited success in integrating engineer into TF maneuver plan.


1. Failure to determine trigger event to commit battalion breach assets.

2. Limited success with mortars and artillery smoke.

3. Engineer breach assets task-organized to maneuver units.


1. Breach assets not committed.

2. Inability to mass breach assets at decisive time and location.

3. Failure to achieve conditions to execute a successful breach (i.e., suppression, obscuration, security, and reduction--SASR).


1. Emphasize integration of each BOS into staff order drills.

2. Consider adding detail to the maneuver plan--identify events and conditions to commit engineer assets forward.

3. Task-organize engineer assets based on the requirements of the main effort.

(TA.4.4.5 Synchronize Tactical Operations)

TREND 64: Unit and Staff Integration

PROBLEM: Chaplain is new to the unit.

Technique: Chaplain must make integration with the unit a high priority.

(TA.4.4.5 Synchronize Tactical Operations)

TREND 65: Engineer integration is inadequate.


1. Lack of dedicated engineer support.

2. Inexperienced engineer staff officer.

3. Unclear lines of coordination.

RESULT: Limited integration of engineer support.

Technique: Establish a direct link to engineer battalion S-3 and commander.

(TA.4.4.5 Synchronize Tactical Operations)

TREND 66: Advance Coordination - Maintenance

PROBLEM: Lack of advance coordination.


1. Poor response time for essential maintenance information.

2. Unclear maintenance status.

Technique: Develop an SOP which covers what maintenance-related information is needed, when it is needed, and how it will be collected.

(TA.4.4.5 Synchronize Tactical Operations)

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