The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


Area Damage Control
"Hey FSB S1/S4! Do you know what ADC is?
If not, you're missing the boat!"

by MAJ James Fly

Shouts of "INCOMING!" rang across the perimeter as the first of fifteen 82mm mortar rounds impacted the BSA right near the Supply Company. A fuel fire broke out as one of the 5,000-gallon fuel tankers was hit. A wave of fire moved rapidly downhill from the burning tanker. It ignited two sleeping tents and threatened to consume an additional tanker in its path.

As the soldiers of A Company frantically moved to combat the fire with whatever tools they could find, things got even worse. Small arms fire erupted from the enemy side of the company's protective wire. It was directed at those soldiers attempting to fight the fire. Two soldiers were immediately wounded. A few more stray rounds flew across the perimeter. Soon it was over. The enemy completed its mission of disrupting CSS activities for the day. It departed the perimeter without a scratch.

Shortly before the attack began, SPC Jones from B Company departed the CP to deliver the morning report to the Battalion TOC and then go on a shower run. She now lies wounded and unconscious in the dense brush where she attempted to seek cover from the indirect fire.


  • Each BSA tenant unit conducted sweeps of its area without finding any additional casualties.

  • Despite the best efforts of A Company soldiers, the fuel fire continued to burn for the remainder of the day. By 1600 the fire had claimed five of the battalion's eleven 5,000-gallon fuel tankers, two day's supply of class I rations for the brigade combat team, and more than $1 million worth of Class IX parts.

  • Additionally, 5 soldiers from A Company had to be evacuated for third degree burns, and 30 soldiers suffered from smoke inhalation.

  • At 2300 that day, as the exhausted soldiers from A Company moved to HHD to pick up a well-deserved evening meal, they discovered SPC Jones's lifeless body.

The unnecessary loss of soldiers, mission support time, and key support equipment invariably pay the bill for failing to implement effective area damage control (ADC) procedures in the BSA. If the BSA had incorporated proper ADC procedures in their planning, the loss of SPC Jones's life, and lost mission support time, fuel tankers, and supplies could have been avoided.

Area Damage Control (ADC) is measures taken before, during, and after hostile action, or natural or man-made disasters, to reduce the probability of damage and minimize its effects (FM 101-5-1, Operational Terms and Graphics). Effective implementation of ADC procedures will prevent loss of equipment and lives in a combat environment. This article will briefly discuss ADC as it relates to the BSA and will suggest tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) for use by an FSB.


During and just prior to the Battle of the Bulge, the U.S. Army experienced an enemy's first use of weapons of mass destruction on rear area facilities. The Germans attempted to destroy the port of Antwerp with V-1 and V-2 rockets.1Since then, threats to the rear area have increased with the development of weapons of increased lethality. In the late 1950's, for example, the Army expected to face a potential nuclear threat. This resulted in increased dispersion of CSS assets across the Army's rear areas.

Increased dispersion reduced the threat from weapons of mass destruction, but it increased rear area vulnerability to the threat posed by small guerrilla units (such as what the Army experienced in Vietnam).2The enemy quickly learned that it could efficiently disrupt tactical operations by cutting off the maneuver unit's source of supplies. Force XXI and LCDXXI initiatives, such as inventory in motion and the increased frontage prescribed in the new heavy division concepts,3suggest even further increased dispersion of CSS assets within the division's area of operations.


  • The FSB battalion commander is responsible for everything within the BSA. As the brigade commander's designated commander for the BSA (FM 71-123, Appendix D), the FSB commander is responsible for providing effective ADC after an attack.

  • The FSB battalion executive officer (XO) is responsible for synchronizing staff planning for all BSA missions as part of the military decision-making process IAW FM 101-5 (see ARTEP 63-005-MTP, Collective Task 63-1-0025, Plan Rear Operations). The XO should ensure that ADC considerations are incorporated into every BSA planning process.

  • The FSB S4 is responsible for planning, coordination, and command and control (C2) during execution of ADC (see ARTEP 63-005-MTP, Collective Task 63-1-0025, Plan Rear Operations, and Collective Task 63-1-0028, Direct ADC Operations).

  • The FSB S1 is responsible for planning and coordinating BSA casualty reporting and evacuation (see ARTEP 63-005-MTP, Collective Task 63-1-0021, Provide Personnel Service Support).

  • The FSB S2/S3 is responsible for creating the Rear Operations Annex to all battalion orders (see ARTEP 63-005-MTP, Collective Task 63-1-0025, Plan Rear Operations).

TECHNIQUE: Coordinate!

1. The S4 must coordinate with the S2/S3 to ensure all BSA missions and plans incorporate ADC considerations.

2. Tenant unit company commanders must coordinate to successfully plan and execute ADC within their assigned areas or base clusters (see Collective Tasks Plan Area Damage Control and Perform Area Damage Control in ARTEP 43-009-30-MTP, ARTEP 8-058-30-MTP, and ARTEP 63-146-30-MTP).

3. First-line leaders and soldiers must coordinate their efforts to execute ADC functions at their level to minimize the effects of an attack on the BSA.

NOTE: Even though the FSB mission training plan (MTP) designates the S4 as the point man, all leaders and soldiers in the BSA are responsible for ADC at their level.


Actions Before

According to ARTEP 63-005-MTP (and appropriate company level MTPs), the S4 and company commanders plan ADC functions for each assigned mission. The purpose is to preserve CSS assets and personnel following an attack or natural disaster.

TECHNIQUES: Proper ADC planning should consider the following steps:

1. Identify key ADC tasks -- Casualty evacuation (CASEVAC), operational decontamination, patient decontamination, fire fighting, hardening of critical facilities and activities, command and control of ADC assets, movement and crowd control.

2. Designate individuals and units to perform specific ADC tasks -- nonstandard evacuation assets, details, control and assessment teams.

3. Organize, equip, and train personnel and units -- incorporate into FSB SOP, precombat inspections of ADC equipment, train prior to deployment, rehearse once deployed.

4. Establish ADC priorities -- S4 coordinates with SPO to determine critical assets, FSB commander's guidance.

5. Prepare, coordinate and rehearse -- See Appendix G, FM 101-5, for a doctrinal standard on conducting rehearsals.

6. Designate alternate operating sites and alert areas -- casualty collection points, rally points for ADC assets and teams, alternate locations for movement of critical assets (5,000-gallon fuel tankers).

7. Continually reassess plan and make improvements -- S4 walks the ground to ensure compliance and reassesses current plan; adjusts plan to accommodate new units, equipment, or activities in BSA.

8. Coordinate with Civil Affairs (CA) to gain and maintain civilian support -- fire fighting assets, civilian hospitals, earth-moving equipment, refugee crowd and traffic control.

The results of this analysis are the ADC requirements for the mission. The S4 must coordinate with the S2/S3 to ensure that the ADC is incorporated into the rear operations plan. Staff products could include an ADC appendix to the Rear Operations Annex of the battalion Operations Order (OPORD) and updates to the battalion tactical SOP.

Actions During And After

The FSB's control and assessment command post (CACP) guides the S4's deployment of ADC assets in response to a catastrophic event in the BSA. No doctrinal reference currently details how this command post should be configured; however, FM 71-123, Armored Brigade, "Tactics and Techniques for Combined Arms Heavy Forces: Armored Brigade, Battalion/Task force, and Company/Team," provides a doctrinal reference for the layout of the battalion field trains command post (FTCP). This document is a good example of how the CACP should be configured.

TECHNIQUE: Configure the CACP to provide C2 to ADC assets so that they can effectively perform the following functions during and after a catastrophic event occurs in the BSA (see ARTEP 63-005-MTP, Collective Task 63-1-0028, Direct ADC Operations).

1. Assess and isolate damage -- Control and assessment teams (CATs) conduct sweeps of the entire BSA to assess and isolate damage and identify and treat and evacuate casualties. (Tenant units conduct sweeps of their assigned areas and report equipment damage and casualties to the CACP.)

2. Prevent fires (bunkering, isolation) -- S4 dispatches additional fire-fighting teams and earth-moving equipment to fight and control fires.

3. Administer first aid and evacuate casualties -- S4/S1 dispatches additional litter teams and evacuation assets to assist in the evacuation of casualties to appropriate treatment facilities.

4. Use MPs to assist in controlling flow of ADC assets -- S4/S2/S3 directs deployment of Military Police to provide traffic control (to include controlling access of "dirty" MSRs/ASRs and movement of contaminated personnel and equipment to decontamination points).

5. Request assistance from higher as required (EOD, host nation, DECON) -- S1/S4 reports losses of equipment and personnel to brigade and DISCOM and requests support for damage in excess of the BSA's capabilities to control.

Communications for the CACP will normally be by land line and digital nonsecure voice telephone. The FSB TOC usually requires the FM communications for command and control of the perimeter defense during and after an attack. A suggested layout for a CACP is detailed in the figure below:

TECHNIQUE: Incorporate control measures into the battalion CSS and maneuver overlays to improve the CACP's ability to provide C2 during execution. Typical BSA graphics detail the location of tenant units in a BSA as battle positions. Unfortunately, battle positions do not define the depth of the area of responsibility for each tenant unit in the BSA (see below):

Tenant units often conduct sweeps during the execution of ADC operations. They report their areas clear of damage to personnel and equipment, but often do not actually know the depth of their AOR.

TECHNIQUE: Units should use unit boundaries to better define the area of responsibility for BSA tenant units as shown below:

One of the more complex ADC missions that a BSA may face is in response to a persistent chemical strike. During the attack the BSA will not only be faced with finding and reporting casualties and equipment losses, but it will also coordinate steps to minimize the spread of toxic agents to otherwise non-contaminated personnel and equipment.

Typically, graphical control measures used to facilitate ADC C2 in response to a persistent chemical attack are ineffective. CSS graphics in the FSB TOC usually include a decontamination point and MSRs/ASRs, which could be designated as "dirty" in the event of a persistent agent attack. These graphics alone do not describe how to move soldiers from a contaminated portion of the perimeter to an area that is out of both the impact and the downwind hazard areas and on to the designated "dirty" MSR that leads to the operational decontamination point.

TECHNIQUE: The S4 should coordinate with the S2/S3 and FSB NBC NCO to add graphic control measures for tentative NBC clean and dirty rally points with corresponding routes to the brigade's MSRs and ASRs. This would improve the FSB's plan for response following a persistent agent attack (see above).


As with all military operations, rehearsals are also key to successful execution of the ADC plan. BSA tenant units must practice ADC tasks prior to actual execution.

Staff drills or checklists which standardize actions in response to an enemy attack or natural disaster will aid the CACP in executing its ADC role. Drills or checklists provide redundancy for any staff section or command post. If key leaders are not present when a situation occurs, the command post can still execute its mission by following a checklist or drill. The example of a staff drill on page 21 could be used by the CACP in response to an enemy persistent agent attack. The drill is based on operations within a CACP with five assigned soldiers -- S1, S4, S1 NCO, S4 NCO, and one RTO/Recorder.

This staff drill is not all inclusive; it is a model. You can add or delete steps or procedures based on your unit's tactical SOP. It illustrates the complexity of the steps involved in ADC planning and execution. A well-drilled CACP staff section with a set of staff drills like those in the example will have a plan that can be rapidly executed when "bad things" happen in the BSA.


Area damage control remains an important function for all CSS units. FSBs and habitual tenant units must standardize and rehearse their ADC responses to reduce the probability of damage and minimize the effects of hostile actions or natural or man-made disasters. The FSB S4 must use better graphical control measures and develop a standardized set-up for the BSA CACP to improve the BSA's ADC response. A unit's ability to support its customers and redeploy with all assigned soldiers depends on it.

CACP Battle Drill #XX - React to Chemical Attack with Persistent Agents (Provide area damage control to the BSA)
1. Monitor/observe chemical alarm or report of chemical attack in or near BSA perimeter.All CACP Personnel
2. Alert CACP to take appropriate actions (mask, MOPP IV, and close doors/flaps to CACP) if CACP is threatened.S1/S4 or NCOIC
3. If NBC1 report is sent, plot attack location and downwind hazard.S1/S4
Report taken over FM by Recorder
4. Receive casualty and damaged/destroyed equipment reports from BSA tenant units (primary DNVT, alt FM).S1/S4
5. Alert operational decon and patient decon teams to assemble at designated rally points.S1/S4
6. Recalculate CSS capabilities of BSA based on critical CSS assets and personnel identified in coordination with the SPO.S1/S4
7. Provide unit effectiveness and ADC operations updates to the CDR and SPO.S1/S4
8. Obtain locations for approved operational decon and patient decon sites and dirty/clean routes from the S2/S3 and dispatch teams.S1/S4
9. Release tenant units to move to contaminated assets decon sites based on CDR's priority of decon.S1/S4
10. Consolidate salvage and recovery team at designated rally point in preparation of support for BSA move.S4
11. Supervise decon and salvage operations.S1/S4
12. Coordinate with DISCOM for additional ADC requirements to include a thorough decon.S4
13. Supervise execution contingency movement plan as part of BSA scatter plan.S4
14. Maintain accountability of BSA personnel and equipment at new operating site based on unit closure reports.S1/S4
15. Account for personnel and equipment as they return from operational and thorough decon.S1/S4
16. Request resupply of NBC supplies and equipment expended during decon.S4


1. Owens, Military Review, May 1959.
2. Heiser, A Soldier Supporting Soldiers, Center of Military History, U.S. Army, 1991, pp.127-167.
3. FORCE XXI Division Concept for Combat Service Support Operations, 15 May 1998.

btn_tabl.gif 1.21 K
btn_prev.gif 1.18 KAsset Tracking: The SPO Needs to Know
btn_next.gif 1.18 KMedical Evacuation: Clearing the Mechanized Battlefield

Join the mailing list

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