Brigade Engineer (ABE) Proficiency
CPT Shawn McGinley
be proficient in their duties, assistant brigade engineers (ABEs) must accomplish
the following tasks for each mission:
battlefield assessment (EBA)
input to the brigade combat team (BCT) order
many ABEs and ABE sections, though working hard and accomplishing some great
things during National Training Center (NTC) rotations, do not demonstrate
proficiency in providing continuous mobility and survivability support.
of the problem is the lack of a mission training plan (MTP) that specifically
addresses the tasks an ABE must accomplish. (The best training plan currently
available is the 1989 version of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company,
Engineer Battalion, Heavy Division MTP.) This article discusses the tasks an
ABE must accomplish, and provides some associated training techniques to implement
at Home Station.
Battlefield Assessment (EBA)
Most ABEs are proficient in the elements that make up the EBA, but seldom complete
them due to poor time management skills. 2.
Many units train using computer simulations. As a result, they are unprepared
for the battlefield friction that the NTC imposes on them.
ABE sections and engineer battalion plans sections must incorporate the time
constraints, battlefield friction, and stresses of continuous operations into
their Home Station training. 2.
Units should prepare detailed SOPs to include distribution of labor within
the ABE and engineer battalion plans sections. 3.
Units should cross-train all members of the ABE and engineer battalion plans
sections to increase their flexibility.
The brigade staff does not appreciate the significant impact that terrain may
have on their units' operations. Many ABEs brief terrain only in general terms
(mountain high, valley low) and do not discuss OCOKA or effects on trafficability.
Mission-specific terrain products are produced too late to assist BCT and task
force level planning.
The brigade staff must allow sufficient time during the military decision-making
process (MDMP) for the ABE to brief the impact of terrain in detail. 2.
The ABE section must anticipate mission-specific requirements and produce terrain
products early in the planning process. 3.
Everyone in the ABE section must be proficient in using Terrabase software.
The brigade staff plans situational obstacles only where the BCT expects to
make decisive contact with the enemy. 2.
ABE and brigade staffs do not synchronize the observer and trigger plan for
employing situational obstacle employment. As a result, the ABE section assigns
engineer companies "mission impossible" situational obstacle tasks.
Situational obstacles must be planned through the depth and width of the brigade's
zone. Without them, the enemy may not do what we want him to do. 2.
The observer must see the trigger (Terrabase helps with this). If he cannot,
the observer must move to another location, or another observer must be put
into a new position. If neither of these solutions is possible, the brigade
should forget about that planned situational obstacle. 3.
All planned, brigade-level situational obstacles should be wargamed during
the MDMP. The brigade staff must address the feasibility of employing situational
obstacles based on the enemy situation and the employment system.
Related Input to the BCT Order
Brigade S3s often do not allow ABEs to include critical engineer-related tasks
(such as sub-unit and coordinating instructions) in the base order. As a result,
brigade orders lack engineer-specific details to assist with executing missions.
Many brigade sub-units receive the brigade order but do not read the engineer
annex. As a result, the sub-units do not accomplish critical engineer-related
brigade tasks listed in the engineer annex. 3.
Brigade orders rarely include survivability and countermobility timelines.
Engineer battalion leaders must ensure that Home Station training for brigade
staffs includes the requirement to incorporate critical engineer-related tasks
in the base order. 2.
The brigade order must include survivability and countermobility timelines
to facilitate task force level planning.
information presented in this article is intended to assist assistant brigade
engineers as they plan Home Station training strategies. It is not an all-inclusive
list of the many tasks ABE sections must accomplish. While the ABE position
may be deleted in future engineer battalion tables of organization and equipment,
the mobility and survivability tasks discussed above will remain. Therefore,
engineer battalions must plan to "do more with less." Using the techniques
in this article will help ensure that engineers provide quality mobility and
survivability support and remain an integral part of the brigade combined arms
Duties and Responsibilities of HHC Key Leaders
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