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FIRE SUPPORT BOS


Positive Performance

TREND 1: Company FIST Team Performance

SUSTAIN:

1. Company FSOs eager to learn.

2. Quickly applied lessons learned.

3. Excellent relationship between FSOs and company commanders.

Techniques:

1. Retain present FIST teams.

2. Do not change team composition for upcoming missions.

3. Encourage team members to mentor and coach new personnel.

(TA.2.0 Fire Support)


TREND 2: Company FIST Team Performance

SUSTAIN:

1. The FSO understands how the commander sees a mission and can refine the fire support plan to support it.

2. Developed all required fire support products for each mission.

3. FSO briefings clearly articulated and comprehensive.

4. FSO made sure that all key leaders understood purpose and trigger of assigned targets.

Techniques:

1. Maintain the cohesiveness of the FIST. Do not separate for upcoming missions.

2. Continue work on a standard fire support execution matrix and target list.

3. Continue to refine the FIST's ability to employ precision-guided munitions.

(TA.2.0 Fire Support)


TREND 3: TF FSE Performance

SUSTAIN:

1. TF FSE continually commendable, doctrinally correct performance.

2. FSO and FSNCO flexible, determined, and innovative.

3. Above-average situational awareness.

4. Comprehend basic force protection measures.

(TA.2.0 Fire Support)


Needs Emphasis

TREND 1: The trend within fire support planning is top-down planning and bottom-up refinement. See TA.4.3, Determine Actions.

(TA.2.0 Fire Support)


TREND 2: By far the largest gap in the fire support community is a standardized fire support rehearsal. See TA. 4.4.1.1, Develop and Complete Plans or Orders.

(TA.2.0 Fire Support)


TREND 3: During stability and support operations, the task force fire support officer takes on added responsibility and has many more assets at his disposal.

PROBLEMS:

1. The TF FSO has many assets available (e.g., aviation LNO, ETAC, mortars, FIST-Vs, COLTs, and ADA).

2. These assets take up much needed space in the TF TOC.

Techniques:

1. Designate TF FSO to manage all assets.

2. Allow the TF FSE to become a TF level A2C2.

  • Centralize all assets under one title and in the same location.

  • Fire support assets will all be within close proximity and available to share information from each of their separate arenas.

  • Reduces clutter in an already crowded command and control operations center.

(TA.2.0 Fire Support)


TREND 4: Fire support products are not completed to standard.

PROBLEMS:

1. Many crews routinely fly without target lists.

2. Crews unaware of who to call for indirect fire support.

3. Units routinely do not incorporate fire support planning into mission briefs.

(TA.2.1 Process Ground Targets)


TREND 5: Target file management at brigade FSE and DS field artillery FDC is inadequate.

PROBLEMS:

1. Units often produce long, unmanageable target lists.

2. Obsolete fire plans remained in the interim fire support automated system (IFSAS) active buffer for two and three days causing confusion when planning future missions.

3. Battalion fire direction centers were disseminating entire battalion target lists to platoon fire direction centers.

4. Platoons, already overwhelmed with unnecessary information, were assigned targets outside of their maximum range fan and targets 500 meters from their locations.

5. There was little attempt to scrub the target list at battalion and disseminate only the pertinent fire plans or targets to the appropriate firing platoons.

6. Battalion FDCs were reactive instead of proactive when executing platoon "presence missions."

7. Unit locations were seldom updated in a timely manner causing changes in target responsibilities due to range constraints.

Techniques:

1. Use the IFSAS modification files to establish specific target criteria for managing files. This allows units to resolve duplication and combine targets.

2. Assign most targets to a specific fire plan.

  • The battalion FDC IFSAS is capable of storing 22 fire plans with 6 active plans at any one time.

  • Units activate necessary fire plans based on mission requirements.

  • Once the missions are completed, inactivate or purge the fire plans.

3. If the plan is purged, file a hard copy for historical purposes.

(TA.2.1.1 Select Target to Attack)


TREND 6: Unit SOPs fail to adequately define procedures for investigating suspicious Q36 radar acquisitions during stability and support operations.

PROBLEMS:

1. False radar acquisitions are common during stability and support operations. Q36 radar inaccurately portrays small arms fires, moving ground vehicles, and helicopters as artillery, mortar, and rocket acquisitions.

2. Analysis frequently produces inconclusive results.

3. Unit SOPs rarely address in detail how to respond to inconclusive, suspicious acquisitions.

  • Units that lack clearly defined criteria for deploying quick reaction force (QRF) to confirm/deny.

  • Usually rely upon a "no harm-no foul" approach to investigating suspected false radar acquisitions.

RESULTS:

1. If the former warring factions (FWFs) do not complain at joint military commissions about incoming artillery, no action is taken.

2. This approach fails to defuse potentially volatile situations in their early stages.

EXAMPLE: Celebratory fires across the zone of separation (ZOS) is potentially a volatile situation between the former warring factions. The presence of a QRF could potentially prevent a re-occurrence of celebratory firing before it becomes an incident.

3. The no harm-no foul approach also ignores such other acquisitions as those along main supply routes (MSRs) and discernible acquisition patterns.

Techniques:

1. Incorporate procedures for confirming or denying suspected false radar acquisitions in SOPs. An active approach facilitates treaty compliance and force protection.

2. Rehearse QRFs and SOPs.

(TA.2.1.1 Select Target to Attack)


TREND 7: Field artillery units conducting stability operations do not consider all Firefinder radar positioning requirements when selecting the radar positions in a lodgment area. Positioning factors for Firefinder radars include communications requirements, cover, security, survey, slope, site to crest, and radiation danger.

PROBLEMS:

1. The Q36 radar poses a significant radiation hazard to personnel forward of the radar antenna.

2. Personnel, vehicles, and electrically activated or detonated munitions should not be positioned inside the danger zone.

Techniques:

1. Do not position personnel or vehicles inside the radar's electromagnetic radiation danger zone.

2. If the radar is expected to provide 6,400-mil coverage, position the radar on the highest terrain in the position area, thus elevating the radar above other vehicles and personnel.

3. If higher terrain is not available, task engineers to build a mound to elevate the radar dish.

4. If 6,400-mil coverage is not required and engineer assets are not available, position the radar near the edge of the perimeter along the radar's radiation azimuth.

5. References:

  • FM 6-161, Field Artillery Target Acquisition, with Change 1.

  • TM 11-5840-354-10-1, Operators Manual for Radar Set AN/TPQ36.

  • TB 43-0133, Hazard Criteria for CECOM Radio frequency and Radiation-Producing Equipment.

(TA.2.1.2.1 Determine System Capabilities)


TREND 8: Applicability of Firefinder radar zones during stability operations is not well understood.

PROBLEM: Fire support personnel automatically employ critical friendly zones (CFZ) based on lessons taught and learned during high-intensity operations.

RESULTS:

1. The location of the weapon firing the round is immediately targeted for counterfire and entered into the fire support system as a Priority I call for fire.

2. The chance of a radar unintentionally acquiring a friendly weapon system as a target is increased.

Techniques:

1. Do not automatically use critical friendly zones during stability operations since all acquisitions will already be a priority for action.

2. Place censor zones (CZs) over all friendly indirect fire weapon system locations.

3. Battle-track radar zones to ensure they are updated as the situation changes.

4. Hold the brigade targeting officer responsible for establishing, moving, confirming, and canceling radar zones. Implement a system to ensure proper entry and recording of zones.

5. Discuss current and planned radar zones at all targeting meetings and fire support rehearsals.

6. Reference: FM 6-121, Field Artillery Target Acquisition.

(TA.2.1.2.1 Determine System Capabilities)


TREND 9: The brigade commander authorized the use of indirect fires, but did not specify the type or amount of ammunition to be fired.

PROBLEM: When the brigade commander authorized the use of indirect fire, it was not clear whether he had approved the use of one round, one volley, or one indirect fire mission.

RESULT: When called upon to fire, batteries often responded with maximum lethality without regard to a previously defined matrix established in the fire support annex or the field artillery support plan.

Techniques:

1. Define and control the conditions for escalating or terminating the use of indirect fires as explicitly as when defining the conditions for their initial use.

2. Avoid possible escalation and unnecessary collateral damage by explicitly defining what is authorized for indirect fire in terms of type and number of rounds to be used.

3. Consider the use of response matrices to facilitate rapid engagements, but also emplace procedures for requesting additional fires in excess of a response matrix.

4. Do not exceed the established response without first informing the brigade commander and receiving his explicit approval.

(TA.2.1.2.3 Select System)


TREND 10: Artillery units often fired indirect fires without the benefit of a trained observer to positively observe and identify the target. Units relied on a graduated response matrix that allowed the use of indirect fire without an observer if the threat was in a nonpopulated area. A factional mortar could be engaged with indirect fire if it was in a nonpopulated area. Radar was used to determine the effectiveness of the fires.

PROBLEMS:

1. Determination of population was made based on a map spot. There may be many populated areas that do not show on a map.

2. Radar can determine the origination grid of mortar fire.

  • Cannot determine if the grid is located in a populated area or in the vicinity of other restricted areas.

  • The radar cannot tell if fires are sufficient or effective.

RESULT: The decision to consider radar as eyes on target accepts considerable risk and complicates accountability.

Techniques:

1. Avoid using radar as the sole method of confirming the accuracy and effectiveness of indirect fires. Use a qualified observer who positively and accurately determines target location, controls fires, assesses effects, and establishes positive accountability.

2. Consider using a quick reaction force (QRF) to engage a target with direct fires before automatically responding with unobserved or radar-only observed indirect fires.

(TA.2.2 Engage Ground Targets)


TREND 11: Synchronize Fires with Maneuver

PROBLEMS:

1. Maneuver planning is conducted "pure." Fire support BOS is brought in later.

2. BDA results from fires are not addressed.

RESULTS:

1. Lack of synchronization.

2. Uncertainty over whether or not to continue, change, or cease mission.

Techniques:

1. Adhere to a doctrinal orders development process.

2. Rehearse in a format that emphasizes BOS synchronization.

3. Have subordinate commanders brief their maneuver, fires, and mobility/countermobility responsibilities.

(TA.2.3 Integrate Fire Support)


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