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SUBJECT: Battle Tracking and Predictive Analysis

Observation frequency:1-2QFY963-4QFY961-2QFY973-4QFY971-2QFY98


OBSERVATION 1: Mechanized and armor company/teams do not adequately control information flow and conduct battle tracking. (TA.4.1.3)


1. Mechanized and armor company/teams often do not control the flow of information, process the information, and then apply the information to their upcoming fight.

2. The company/teams do not manage information received from higher headquarters and subordinate units. They frequently do not succeed when trying to use a "company command post (CP)":

a. No single individual or shift coordinates actions in the CP.

b. Communications with the task force (TF) are not maintained or rehearsed.

c. Vital information is not processed.

d. The commander does not identify his critical information requirements (CCIR) to enable collection of important information.

e. The situation map (SITMAP) is not plotted and maintained with all pertinent data.

f. The company preparation timeline is not tracked for adherence.

g. Unit status of supply, personnel, and readiness (e.g., boresighting) are not tracked.

OBSERVATION 2: Task force (TF) fire support elements (FSEs) do not adequately maintain situational awareness. (TA.4.1.3)

DISCUSSION: Units do not closely coordinate with adjacent units to exchange information on clearance of fires, transition of priority of fires (POF), or security/control measures. As a result, TF FSEs repeatedly experience difficulty maintaining situational awareness and conducting battle handover.

OBSERVATION 3: Battle tracking in the unit maintenance collection point (UMCP) command post (CP) is not to standard. (TA.4.1.3)


1. UMCP CP personnel do not maintain current company/team positions on the tracking boards.

2. UMCP CP personnel do not update situation templates (SITEMPs) on their maps.

OBSERVATION 4: Battle tracking in the field trains command post (FTCP) is not to standard. (TA.4.1.3)


1. There is generally no accurate and up-to-date picture of the task force (TF) mission and tactical situation in the FTCP. As a result, the HHC commander is unable to anticipate logistical requirements based on the tactical situation.

2. Unit positions and status are not tracked in the FTCP during the battle.

3. FTCP personnel are unable to monitor the TF command net.

OBSERVATION 5: Task force (TF) staffs do not effectively battle track during the planning and preparation phases of an operation. (TA.4.1.3)


1. TF tactical operations centers (TOCs) set up during planning and preparation for combat do not have a central nerve cell or an established tracking system to ensure critical tasks, events, or information are tracked.

2. Information is not shared, disseminated, and tracked by all the BOS elements.

3. Critical information concerning the R&S effort and "hard-intel" passed from brigade often never reach the S3, Battle Captain, or other BOS elements.

4. The commander's critical information requirements (CCIR) are not proactively tracked, inhibiting the staff's ability to accurately depict the status of the TF to the commander in their preparation.

OBSERVATION 6: Battalion tactical operation centers (TOCs) often do not disseminate the current enemy situation to subordinate units. (TA.4.1.3)

DISCUSSION: S2s are tracking the battle at the battalion TOC; however, the current situation is not being disseminated down to the TAC command post (CP) and companies.

OBSERVATION 7: Company/team commanders are often unable to develop the situation when they make contact with the enemy. (TA.4.2)


1. Inadequate reporting by subordinates negatively affects the company/team commander's situational awareness.

2. Common results of a commander's lack of situation awareness:

a. The company/team is unable to move in and out of contact.

b. The company/team cannot react to contact.

c. The company/team cannot clearly report to higher headquarters what is happening.


OBSERVATION 1: Task force tactical operations centers (TOCs) do not adequately track the battle and manage information. (TA.4.1.3)


1. Task force TOCs frequently do not have established procedures for information display, message handling, and battle tracking.

2. There appears to be a lack of training on information management; most units do not know what information to track. They often track information that is not critical, are unable to identify information that is critical, or attempt to track an overabundance of information that makes it unmanageable.

OBSERVATION 2: The engineer battalion tactical operations center (TOC) staff has difficulty with clearly and accurately tracking mobility, countermobility, and survivability data. (TA.4.1.3)


OBSERVATION 3: Light infantry task force staffs do not have good situational awareness from mission analysis to execution. (TA.4.1.3)


1. Tactical operations centers (TOCs) do not have or are not updating the adjacent task force's mission, disposition, and task and purpose.

2. Task forces plan their operation in a vacuum, not considering the impact of the heavy task force operations on their actions.

OBSERVATION 4: The main command post (CP) is rarely able to provide the task force commander with a predictive analysis during the fight. (TA.4.2.2)

DISCUSSION: The main CP is not able to analyze information that they receive, provide the commander with a picture of what the enemy will do, or make recommendations.

for Battle Tracking and Predictive Analysis


1. Information on the company CP is now found in FM 71-1, Tank and Mechanized Infantry Company Team, pages 2-53 and 2-54 (January 1998). Additional TTP for a company level CP or operations center are found in FM 17-97, Armored Cavalry Troop.

2. Company/teams can establish a CP of any configuration, but clear designation of what information needs to be tracked, and for what purpose, is critical.

3. Commanders should establish a timeline with their first WARNO. They must ensure that the TF timeline is adhered to and incorporated into the company timeline.

4. Unit SOPs should ensure that:

a. All required steps to preparing for combat are listed.

b. Completion times are assigned.

c. Persons responsible for ensuring that each action is complete are identified.

5. CP personnel must maintain contact with subordinate elements and track progress of task completion.

6. The CP must track vital reports such as:

a. Enemy contact.

b. Current and proposed friendly locations of both adjacent units and subordinate elements.

c. Indirect fire requests and reports.

d. Strength reporting.

7. A tracking routine should be established.

a. Shift supervisors must be able to routinely check the progress of battle tracking.

b. The commander, XO, or 1SG must receive periodic updates on a situation map.


1. Close coordination between adjacent units is mandatory. This ensures that each unit fully understands how the other intends to operate. Coordination includes:

a. Exchanging unit SOPs, target lists, and fire support plans.

b. Exchanging front line trace and any control measures in effect.

c. Coordinating recognition signals, security measures, and resolving any communications differences.

2. References:

a. FM 6-20-20, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Fire Support for Battalion, Task Force, and Below.

b. FM 6-20-40, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Fire Support for Brigade Operations.

c. FM 71-3, The Armored and Mechanized Infantry Brigade.


1. The UMCP CPs post current graphics/company positions and enemy situation on their map.

2. The CP NCOIC ensures that all recovery assets and personnel leaving the UMCP have the current graphic posted on a "take along" map.


1. The FTCP must receive and post TF operational and enemy situational overlays.

2. A method to track unit positions and status must be developed, posted, and updated as the battle progresses.

3. The FTCP must be able to monitor the TF command net through a retransmission or relay element.

4. The HHC commander must anticipate logistical requirements (specifically Class III and V) and be prepared to provide these to the TF.


1. The chief of staff must identify what information he wants to track, establish how it will be tracked, and monitor his staff sections to ensure that it is tracked. End state: The commander can go to one source inside the TOC and quickly visualize the status of the TF in preparation for combat operations.

2. During planning and preparation, TF TOCs should establish a central node similar to the one in place during the fight and track it with the same aggressiveness. This will enable the unit to prepare for combat and re-prioritize efforts.

3. Effective battle tracking begins with:

a. The establishment of the TF timeline prior to mission analysis.

b. The development of CCIR that must be tracked.

4. Units should develop SOPs for standardized missions at Home Station and implement or modify these tracking requirements based on METT-T.

5. CALL Newsletter 95-7, Tactical Operations Center, provides some examples of standardized tracking methods and techniques.

BATTALION TACTICAL OPERATION CENTER (TOC): Place command emphasis in dissemination of current enemy situation to TAC CPs and line companies.


1. For the company/team commanders to make timely decisions on the battlefield, the subordinates must know how to completely and adequately report what is developing and make recommendations for the appropriate actions/reactions.

2. All members of a unit, including elements that are or can be attached, must be knowledgeable of and thoroughly trained in the proper reporting format (by SOP) and its contents, and have a basic understanding of the appropriate Army doctrine and how this is applied to the current situation.

3. The company/team commanders must train their platoons at Home Station on SOP reporting formats. At a minimum the platoons should know how to:

a. Move tactically in and out of contact.

b. React to contact.

c. Assess the situation quickly.

d. Make clearly understood recommendations to the commander in order to maintain the initiative and preserve freedom of action on the battlefield.


1. Decide what standard information the TOC expects from subordinate units.

2. Ensure subordinates understand what information is expected and when it should be provided. Units must ensure that a satisfactory number of individuals, other than and including the battle captain, understand the system for information management. Information is lost when only a few individuals understand the system.

3. When a task force commander decides additional tracking information is required for a specific mission, these new requirements must be disseminated to subordinate units.

4. The task force XO must monitor his staff sections to ensure that the information management system is to standard.

5. The task force commander and staff should be able to quickly visualize the accurate status of the task force from one source in the TOC.


1. A clear, visible tracking system that combines map and wing board data is the most effective. If you do not use it, you do not need it (see CALL Newsletter No. 95-7, Tactical Operations Center).

2. Information must be accurate, and organized so it is easy to read. Key graphics and charts required in the engineer battalion TOC to sustain combat operations are:

a. Modified Combined Obstacle Overlay (MCOO).

b. Situation Template (SITEMP).

c. Priority intelligence requirements (PIR).

d. Maneuver graphics.

e. Execution matrix.

f. Situational obstacle matrix.

g. Obstacle overlay.

h. Fire support plan.

i. Combat power status.

j. CSS graphics.

k. Subordinate unit locations, tracked two levels down.

LIGHT INFANTRY TASK FORCE SITUATIONAL AWARENESS: Position a disciplined liaison officer at the brigade main.


1. The battle staff should provide the commander with a clear picture of current and future events and COAs to assist him in the fight. The event matrix, SITEMP, and decision support matrix are tools for tracking events and making recommendations.

2. The task force XO, S2, assistant, and FSE need to track the battle at the map board or table and think one step ahead of friendly/enemy forces. *******************************************************


SUBJECT: Military Decision-Making Process (MDMP)

Observation frequency:1-2QFY963-4QFY961-2QFY973-4QFY971-2QFY98


OBSERVATION 1: The battalion maintenance officer (BMO) is seldom integrated into the task force (TF) military decision-making process (MDMP). (TA.4.3)


1. The battalion maintenance officer (BMO) is frequently left out of TF planning, OPORD preparation, and the rehearsal process.

2. The BMO, unit maintenance collection point (UMCP) personnel, and forward recovery teams are not aware of the enemy situation or the TF mission.

OBSERVATION 2: Brigade staffs demonstrate a lack of understanding of the military decision-making process (MDMP). (TA.4.3)


1. Most brigade staffers report little recent exposure to the MDMP.

a. Many brigade staffs have not collectively practiced staff planning prior to LTP and have no planning SOP.

b. Brigade staffs attending LTP have three to five month's time in position.

c. Most brigade staff officer roles and responsibilities have not been clearly identified or defined, and most brigade XOs spend their LTP time focusing on staff roles, responsibilities, and procedures.

d. Many staff members have not previously held a staff position, and most S3 planners and assistant BOS representatives reported no staff experience at all.

2. Untrained staffs seek TTP as a method to facilitate planning shortcuts. However, most LTP brigade staffs lack doctrinal and practical staff experience required to apply TTP. In fact, planning TTP confuse, complicate, and frustrate untrained staffs.

3. While at LTP, XOs and staff members are normally unsuccessfully at applying planning TTP to the staff MDMP.

OBSERVATION 3: Aviation liaison officers (ALOs) are rarely integrated into the military decision-making process (MDMP). (TA.4.3)


1. New ALOs, especially those assigned to recently formed staffs, are not always integrated into the staff.

2. Many ALOs are unfamiliar with the Army's decision-making process, especially wargaming.

3. Close air support (CAS) continues to be cited at NTC as the largest killer during brigade force-on-force engagements.

OBSERVATION 4: Armor task force (TF) staffs are consistently unable to plan following the military decision-making process (MDMP). (TA.4.3)


1. TF staffs are unfamiliar with the MDMP-the sequence, the events constituting the planning process, and what products are generated.

2. Failure to understand and be able to apply the MDMP makes transitioning to an abbreviated format nearly impossible for the staff, given the limited level of experience the staff members have in planning combat operations.

OBSERVATION 5: The special staff is seldom integrated into the military decision-making process (MDMP). (TA.4.3)

DISCUSSION: The forward support battalion (FSB) commander and XO rarely ensure integration of the special staff into the MDMP and orders drill.


OBSERVATION 1: Task forces (TFs) do not adequately integrate CSS into the military decision-making process (MDMP). (TA.4.3)


1. Task force planning cells and chain of command display an indifference to CSS integration and do not supervise the BOS, resulting in a lack of integration among the CSS staff and their products.

2. The S4 is not fully integrated into the planning process at the task force level. While the S4 is present at times for mission analysis, he is not fully integrated into any formal process and in effect is not part of the battle staff. Lack of integration results in an obvious disconnect between the battle staff and the CSS side of the planning process. Ultimately, this disconnect results in a CSS plan that does not effectively support the task force scheme of maneuver.

a. The S4 often conducts his own CSS mission analysis at a separate location (CTCP) and includes only some key CSS players in this process.

b. The S4 and other CSS players are not included in COA development or the wargaming process.

3. The S4 writes an OPORD Paragraph 4 and issues this in the task force orders process; however, there is no identification of who has ownership for the CSS players (support platoon, medical platoon, BMO, chaplain, S1) and who is responsible for delivering these key players an OPORD. The trend is that the S4 does not take ownership of these players and does not give an OPORD to the CSS players.

4. CSS rehearsals are "hit or miss" and not an institutional part of task force operations. When they are conducted, they are not to standard.

5. CSS annexes are not produced.

6. CSS graphics continue to be inadequate and are incomplete. Graphics do not include main and alternate routes (MSRs and ASRs), dirty routes, decontamination points, aid stations, maintenance collection points, graves registration points, casualty collection points, etc.

7. CSS sub-elements are left to fend for themselves, are not read in on the plan, and do not have adequate situational awareness to be effective.

OBSERVATION 2: The signal officer (SIGO) does not participate early enough in the military decision-making process (MDMP). (TA.4.3)

DISCUSSION: Task forces seldom integrate the SIGO into the planning process early enough to develop a plan and make recommendations for command and control assets.

OBSERVATION 3: The fire direction officer's (FDO's) responsibilities during the military decision-making process (MDMP) are not well defined. (TA.4.3)

DISCUSSION: The staff does not analyze the essential fire support tasks (EFSTs) further than broad statements such as suppress lead MRBs, attrit the lead MRB, and provide smoke, FASCAM, Copperhead, etc.

OBSERVATION 4: Combat Service Support (CSS) is not adequately integrated into the battalion military decision-making process (MDMP). (TA.4.3)


1. Most battalions demonstrate the ability to plan, prepare, execute, and reconstitute logistics. However, CSS operations are seldom integrated into the battalion's battle rhythm and do not facilitate the battalion's tactical posture.

2. The S4, S1, and XO are not primary players during the orders process. CSS is often an afterthought and seldom addressed.

3. The S4 often leaves the wargame to gather information or solve problems that should be handled by the administrative/logistics operations center (ALOC).

4. CSS is briefed but rarely rehearsed during battalion rehearsals. Who, what, when, where, and how should be briefed during the battalion rock drill for R3SP, LRPs, medical support plan, MSRs, resupply triggers, and reconstitution of battalion assets.

5. The S4s are not using a CSS execution matrix and their CSS plan is rarely rehearsed.

6. The S4s are not using a checklist during the battalion orders process, hindering their ability to both validate and synchronize the plan and ensure it supports the essential field artillery tasks (EFATs).

7. The S3 does not provide timely ammunition guidance or establish future requirements, thus hindering the S4's ability to develop an adequate resupply plan.

8. Battlefield calculus is rarely conducted, and ammunition requirements/triggers are not clearly identified (155-mm).

OBSERVATION 5: An engineer battlefield assessment (EBA) is rarely completed as part of the military decision-making process (MDMP). (TA.4.3)

DISCUSSION: Most assistant battalion engineers (ABEs) are proficient in completing an engineer battlefield assessment (EBA) in accordance with FM 5-71-3 prior to arriving at the NTC. However, due to battlefield friction, reduced planning timelines, and simultaneous monitoring of current operations, EBAs are generally not conducted to standard during the MDMP.

OBSERVATION 6: Engineer staffs are prepared to conduct horizontal planning to a degree, but the vertical planning process remains unstructured. (TA.4.3)


1. Engineer staffs do not conduct planning in accordance with FM 5-71-3.

2. The engineer battalion XO does not closely coordinate with the battalion S3 and is seldom able to establish any type of battalion planning timeline.

3. Although the battalion S3, S2, and the assistant battalion engineer (ABE) participate together in brigade mission analysis and the brigade wargaming process, critical steps in the development of the engineer estimate are missing, as the engineer battalion is not planning concurrently.

4. The brigade engineer (battalion commander), with his staff, is not developing a detailed scheme of engineer operations (SOEO) to support each maneuver course of action (COA) and then integrating the SOEO for the selected COA into brigade wargaming. Key engineer tasks are left out of both the brigade's SOEO and the engineer battalion's plan as each works through his respective processes.

5. The engineer battalion conducts its own separate wargame and identifies critical vertical tasks after the brigade plan is completed, so the tasks are not integrated or coordinated.

6. Published engineer orders lack sufficient detail and specificity to conduct successful operations. Since the engineer battalion did not conduct a structured planning process, the battalion order is merely a plagiarized version of the engineer annex. It does not provide the detailed sub-unit orders and service support instructions to units remaining under battalion control.

7. The brigade engineer annex is incomplete. The annex does not include all information critical to the brigade engineer plan or required for subordinate engineer planning.

OBSERVATION 7: Brigade staffs do not possess an understanding of the military decision-making process (MDMP). (TA.4.3)


1. Prior to LTP, active component (AC) brigade staff members have only approximately three to five months in position.

2. During unit in-briefs, staffs report that their Home Station training had not focused on "staff planning procedures." In fact, most AC brigade staffs state that they have had little recent exposure to the MDMP.

a. Planning at the staff level is slow and inefficient due to individual staff inexperience.

b. The commander's staffs have not yet had the time or opportunity to define their roles, responsibilities, and procedures in MDMP.

c. The XO's and staff's first MDMP attempts results in a trial and error approach. Their time is consumed in refining staff procedural issues and not the tactical issues.

3. Reserve component (RC) staffs have a tough time applying planning TTP to doctrine to be successful in a time constrained, planning environment.

4. All brigades attending LTP come without a working or validated planning standard operating procedure (SOP) or tactical SOP (TACSOP). Staff officers cannot reference their unit's SOP to understand how to accomplish their individual and collective tasks.

OBSERVATION 8: Task forces have difficulty completing the military decision-making process (MDMP) in a time-constrained environment. (TA.4.3)


1. Task forces are well aware of the necessity to perform MDMP in a time-constrained environment during their NTC rotation. However, far too many task force staffs arrive for their LTP experience without first making an assessment of their ability to perform the MDMP; they then attempt to force their staffs toward a performance standard that they are unable to achieve.

2. The frustration of identifying training weaknesses in the midst of the LTP planning process does little to aid the task force staff in becoming more proficient with the MDMP in a time-constrained environment. When a task force staff has difficulty performing the MDMP, attempting to conduct it rapidly often leaves the task force with a plan that lacks both detail and synchronization.

for the Military Decision-Making Process


1. The BMO should be included in the planning process. At a minimum, there must be a maintenance representative for the TF commander or TOC.

2. At the end of each battle, the TF must focus on the combat power that could be developed over the next 2, 6, and 12-hour periods using sound maintenance practices.


1. Brigade commanders and staffs must collectively practice and gain full understanding of the MDMP before their LTP session. Regardless how well the staff understands doctrinal planning procedures, they must collectively experience the process before they become efficient and proficient planners. LTP provides time away from Home Station training detractors for the XO and staff to work on those staff planning skills.

2. Brigade commanders cannot maximize their unit's LTP experience when their staffs are struggling with fundamental doctrine and unit planning procedures. Commanders should accomplish the following prior to their LTP session:

a. Develop a unit planning SOP defining commander and staff roles, responsibilities, and procedures.

- Submit planning SOP to LTP 60-90 days prior to the LTP session.

- LTP coaches will review the unit's planning SOP and provide the unit feedback prior to the unit's LTP rotation.

b. Ensure staffs are trained and understand MDMP IAW FM 101-5.

- Units with successful LTP experiences have conducted staff planning drills in the weeks and months prior to their LTP training period.

- Work out problems associated with commander/staff planning procedures and responsibilities at Home Station.

3. When brigade commanders receive the NTC CG's 120-day LTP letter, they have an opportunity to input their training objectives and schedule training for their brigade.

a. If the staff has had little experience with planning, use the "crawl, walk, run" training approach.

b. Schedule time for the battalion/brigade XOs and staff members to review unit planning procedures.

c. Focus on the AAR process. The lessons learned from the individual and collective analysis of what happened, why it happened, and solutions found in that process is the single most effective way the staff will improve its ability to function.

4. Center the reconnaissances on the terrain that the unit is planning to fight in the LTP order. With sufficient time, Operations Group can deconflict the rotational and LTP schedule and develop the order on terrain available on days of the reconnaissance. Unit commanders and staffs can focus their reconnaissances on the terrain as it relates to the order and make better use of their reconnaissance time. If there is specific terrain that the brigade commander wants his units to see, then he should schedule it at another time during the training.

5. In an effort to save time, brigades have tasked subordinate units to see specific terrain in their AOI. In the LTP, brigade reconnaissance days are generally centralized at brigade level, offering the brigade commander time to address issues and concerns to the entire brigade. Once the commander has completed his reconnaissance objectives, the LTP will decentralize the reconnaissance to task force and company level. Assigning specific reconnaissance objectives to subordinate commanders will prevent an unfocused reconnaissance. Again, there is time in the schedule to reconnaissance other maneuver areas if the brigade commander plans wisely.

6. The best use of staff AARs is afforded to units who elect to conduct two orders during their LTP session. Here is why. The first order allows the XO and staff to work on the process and staff procedures. The AAR, followed by another planning exercise, allows the staff to immediately train the lessons learned instead of weeks after the staff returns to home station. Units electing the two-order option usually plan both orders and fight only the second one on the JANUS system. Unit staffs that exercise the two-order option have had tremendous improvements. Once again, scheduling the two-order option must be carefully planned and scheduled well before to the unit's LTP arrival date.

7. All units conduct at least one brigade staff AAR and one brigade execution AAR while at LTP. While the LTP theater is fairly hi-tech, it does not provide units with recorded AARs to take home. Appoint someone as scribe during the AAR to record the valuable lessons learned.

8. Plan and schedule early.


1. The brigade's ALO is responsible for employing CAS IAW the commander's intent. He is the ground commander's senior Air Force advisor and often controls a brigade asset with the equivalent destructive combat power of a mechanized task force.

2. When ALOs fully participate in staff planning sessions, the potential for enormous target effect exists. Training time with the units, Air Force/Army doctrinal expertise by ALO and Army staffs, and everyday Army "lingo" contribute to the ALO's ability to do his job.

3. Successful employment of CAS is dependent on the ALO's ability to fully understand his role, responsibilities, and contributions during MDMP.

a. ALOs need to understand the Army's MDMP.

b. The ALO's CAS planning is accomplished concurrently with the development of the ground scheme of maneuver. Concurrent CAS planning will help prevent CAS from becoming an "add-on" after completion of the plan.

c. Coordinate collective training events with S3 air, ALO, FSO, and FSCOORDs.

- Incorporate the brigade's CAS METL battle tasks into brigade staff training.

- Focus on tasks assessed as training weaknesses.

- Coordinate in advance for ALO/BALOs/ETACs participation.

4. As a doctrinal self-help tool, staffs can use the Integrated Task List for the Air-Ground Training Feedback System available from the CALL Web Site, URL


1. The MDMP is thoroughly described in FM 101-5, Staff Organization and Operations. Units should practice the process during Home Station exercises so that they are familiar with the sequence, events, and products before deploying to NTC.

2. Total familiarity with the MDMP before arriving at NTC gives brigade and TF staffs the foundation needed for transition to an abbreviated process when time is limited. When staffs are unfamiliar with the MDMP upon arrival at NTC, they must be trained on each event of the process, followed immediately by a "hot-wash" AAR. Unfortunately, this is a time-consuming technique that the LTP schedule seldom permits. On those occasions when we can afford these "hot-wash" AARs, they prove extremely profitable to the unprepared unit.

INTEGRATION OF SPECIAL STAFF INTO THE MDMP: Integration of the FSB staff and special staff can be accomplished if participation is required at all levels, from brigade order drills through NTC rotations. By enforcing the integration of special staff at Home Station until it is routine, the proper mix of players will be present for advanced training at NTC.


1. Mirror the task force maneuver format for the orders process and state the task and purpose of each CSS asset.

2. Clarify which unit is responsible for supporting another and when that support begins and ends.

3. Ensure that the CSS BOS is integrated into the task force orders process and that the S4 issues an order to subordinate leaders and soldiers. He must issue a five-paragraph order to the CSS operators to address how the CSS plan will happen.

a. At the task force orders process, the S4's target audience is the company commanders, to whom he tells when and where assets will be. The "how" of the operation is not addressed.

b. If the key CSS players are not integrated fully into the task force orders process, they will not know the plan. An OPORD delivered by the S4 to the CSS players will fill this void.

4. Once all the players know the plan, conduct a CSS rehearsal. Do not wait until the rehearsal to develop the plan.

5. The problem with inadequate graphics can be fixed by implementing a checklist and following it. Develop the checklist during a properly conducted mission analysis, identifying all required CSS control measures and graphic symbols. Make sure the S4 has the checklist for reference.


1. The task force should integrate the signal officer into the planning process at the early stages.

2. The SIGO and NCOs can make a tentative plan as long as they have a general idea of the enemy situation, the friendly situation, and the commander's intent.

a. The executive officer or the operations officer should review this tentative command and control plan.

b. The signal officer, at the operations order and at the rehearsal, should brief the revised and final plan, including the locations of the TOC, TAC, Jump TOC, Retrans Systems, MSE Systems, the commander, the operations officer, and special emitters like EPLRS, TAC SAT, TAC LAN, etc.

FIRE DIRECTION OFFICER (FDO) INTEGRATION INTO THE MDMP: All members of the battalion staff must have a good understanding of the staff planning process and all members must contribute to the process in varying degrees. The information and tools each member should bring to the planning table must be defined.

1. The FDO can contribute significantly to the planning process by reviewing the following information from the maneuver order:

a. The commander's intent or concept of fires: This answers when and where the commander wants fire support, why he wants fire support, and what he desires in the way of effects, duration, and timing.

b. Commander's criteria (compilation of the following):

- Attack guidance matrix: identifies desired effects and when to attack a target type.

- HPTs: identifies the priority to attack a target type by FS means.

c. Target list: Identifies where the unit plans to attack target types.

d. FS execution matrix (FSEM): Identifies how the scheme of fires will achieve the commander's intent.

2. By front loading the planning process with an understanding of these areas, the FDO can determine:

a. The number of rounds or volleys necessary to achieve the commander's intent. For example, if the commander wants to destroy an MRC west of PL EXCALIBUR with artillery, the S2 can provide the number and types of vehicles that an MRC would consist of, and the FDO can determine the volume of fire necessary to achieve the effect.

b. Where the commander wants to use artillery to achieve his intent. Based on the target list and the FSEM, the FDO can determine when the commander plans to achieve his effect. This can impact on the artillery's requirement to position units forward to mass or offset guns for special missions. It can also contribute to identification of constraints and limitations during the mission analysis that the FSCOORD may have to resolve or consider.

3. After COA analysis and comparison and the decision brief, the staff begins a deliberate wargame of the selected COA. During this phase, the FDO focuses on the entire scheme of fires, to include the specifics of the EFST (i.e., FASCAM aimpoints and number and type of rounds per aimpoint, Copperhead EAs and artillery positions, smoke aimpoints and number of rounds, mass missions, and munitions and volume required to fire).

a. The FS matrix is a systematic approach to understanding the scheme of fires. Used during the wargame, it focuses the staff on keeping elements that must be thoroughly understood. This includes triggers, FS event, observers, intent of the event, effects, and units/munitions to fire.

b. By the end of the wargame, all munitions, ammo resupply, artillery, and maneuver schemes of movement are synchronized with each other and against enemy COAs. The FDO should point out critical areas within the scheme of fires where any deviation from the plan would be difficult to execute.


1. A battalion logistician (S4/S1 or battalion XO) should be present at all battalion orders drills, aggressively representing the CSS arena, and ensuring integration and synchronization of CSS operations. Better integration of CSS operations provides necessary time to reconstitute Class III (B) and V and reconfigure ammunition, thus posturing the battalion's CSS for the future battle.

2. The battalion XO orchestrates the orders process by acting as the chief of staff, ensuring all necessary players are present and participating.

3. The S4 must know the battalion's current logistical status before conducting mission analysis.

4. Develop a battalion OPORD CSS checklist that lists critical CSS functions which must occur before, during, and post battle, including grid locations of CSS entities. The list should be completed by phases of the battle and should include:

a. Logistics essential support tasks (method, purpose, end state).

b. Specific CSS triggers (Class III [B], V, CASEVAC, recovery, and CAT movement),

c. MSR and ASR.

d. Location of CAT, BAS, AXPs, R3SP, UMCP, chemical CCPs, and patient decon sites.

5. At a minimum, answer the essential field artillery tasks (EFATs) before leaving the battalion wargaming process and include them in any rehearsals.

6. Clear, timely ammunition guidance from the S3, better battlefield calculus, and ammunition positioning improves ammunition operations.

7. Focus on integrating resupply operations with the battalion operation whether it be centralized or decentralized. This facilitates resupply operations in a more stable environment with less distraction and economizes the use of battalion logistical assets.

8. The S4 should maintain situational awareness and status of logistical assets and provide the S3 advice on the execution of the logistics operations.


1. ABE sections and engineer battalion plans sections should incorporate the time constraints, battlefield friction, and stresses of continuous operations into Home Station training.

2. Detailed SOPs, to include distribution of labor within the sections, are a useful tool as well as cross-training among the sections to allow leaders more flexibility in who completes/assists in the completion of the EBA.


1. Based upon the unique relationship of having an engineer battalion whose assets are usually task organized under maneuver battalion control, the engineer battalion must conduct parallel planning with the supported maneuver brigade. Engineer parallel planning requires a focus on both vertical planning (identification, integration, synchronization of tasks to support the engineer mission) and horizontal planning (integration, synchronization of tasks to support the maneuver brigade).

2. The engineer battalion, with the assistant battalion engineer (ABE), should study and know the planning process as outlined in FM 5-71-3, Brigade Engineer Combat Operations (Armored). The battalion XO should take ownership of how planning is structured within the engineer battalion.

3. The XO and S3 must coordinate critical junctures when the engineer staff is required to supplement S3/ABE efforts in the brigade planning process. This will drive development of the battalion planning timeline.

4. Once the timeline is set, the S3/XO must determine what products will result from each part of the process and whether the products come from the battalion staff or the S3/S2/ABE. There should be a continuous exchange of products/information between these two cells to facilitate effective engineer planning for both the maneuver brigade and the engineer battalion.

COMPLETION OF THE MDMP IN A TIME-CONSTRAINED ENVIRONMENT: Task force XOs should have a solid understanding of where their staffs are in terms of the ability to perform the MDMP before they arrive at LTP. By doing so, they can then accurately structure the pace of planning they wish to perform for their single tactical mission at LTP and enhance their rotation training preparation. ********************************************


SUBJECT: Course of Action Development and Wargaming

Observation frequency:1-2QFY963-4QFY961-2QFY973-4QFY971-2QFY98


OBSERVATION 1: Most task forces use poor wargaming techniques and procedures. (TA.4.3.4)


1. Critical events, such as results of the deep operations and the current R&S plan, are not posted/set on the wargaming board.

2. Battalion staffs are often unaware of the most current situation.

3. S2s are usually dominated by S3s. A lack of S2 input results in wargaming a more "cooperative OPFOR" and an unrealistic arbitration of losses by the XO.

4. The staff begins the wargame before the course of action is fully developed. The staff then wastes time trying to understand and develop the course of action during the wargame.

OBSERVATION 2: Task force (TF) synchronization is a problem at every level. (TA.4.3.4)


1. Synchronization problems are seldom addressed because task force (TF) staffs do not understand the mechanisms of the planning process that provide synchronization.

2. Most TF staffs are not effective at wargaming and avoid wargaming in depth because of a lack of experienced personnel on the staff who understand how to wargame properly. As a result, critical operational issues are not surfaced, the wargame fails, and synchronization is not achieved.

OBSERVATION 3: The brigade targeting team does not properly focus the commander on high-payoff targets during the wargaming process to assist in the development of essential fire support tasks (EFST) during various phases of the fight. (TA.4.3.4)


1. Normally, the targeting team does not convene during the planning process and does not participate in wargaming.

2. High-value targets (HVTs) are not selected or are only briefly discussed but not defined sufficiently to allow an observer to know when and where to attack a target.

3. Observers cannot focus on what the commander wants to kill by priority/by phase. This has a direct impact on the maneuver brigade's ability to execute the battle.

OBSERVATION 4: The breach tenets are overlooked during mission analysis and COA development. (TA.4.4.5)


1. Task force (TF) planners tend to misunderstand and incorrectly apply the breach tenets (intelligence, breaching fundamentals, breaching organization, mass, and synchronization).

2. Generally, units do not reverse plan actions on the objective. There is no specified, clearly defined end-state of what the TF should look like on the objective. As a result, the TF does not synchronize breaching operations as part of the overall scheme of maneuver.

OBSERVATION 5: Task force (TF) staffs continue to have difficulty achieving synchronization. (TA.4.4.5)


1. Most staffs believe that there is a single planning event that results in a fully synchronized operation.

2. No TF staff attending LTP this quarter created a synchronization matrix.

3. Most staffs discount the effort of synchronizing the plan as being too time-consuming and difficult for what they perceive as a limited benefit.

4. During after-action reviews (AARs), commanders assert their desire to produce synchronization, but staffs are unwilling to dedicate the time needed to lay the framework for it to occur.


OBSERVATION 1: Task force S3s do not understand how to develop COAs based on the commander's decisive point. (TA.4.3.2)


1. TF S3s are not able to define in doctrinal terms what they want the company/teams to do.

2. COAs are frequently not developed with the S2's SITEMP or on a map where the terrain can be visualized.

OBSERVATION 2: Units at all levels have the most difficulty with the wargaming phase of the military decision-making process (MDMP). (TA.4.3.3)


1. Units have limited time training as a complete staff on the MDMP. During their rotation, most units improve their performance with the various phases of the process, with wargaming being the one exception.

2. Units attempt to wargame before fully developing a complete COA. Units develop a COA from a vague concept directed by the task force commander.

3. Units seldom wargame against several enemy COAs.

4. Wargaming methods detailed in FM 101-5 are seldom incorporated into the process because the incomplete COA will not allow the unit to select a method outlined in the manual.

5. Units have difficulty recording wargame results. Units have not trained adequately on the methods outlined in FM 101-5 or developed SOPs to record and display the results.

OBSERVATION 3: Wargaming is not focused and rarely synchronizes the task force plan. (TA.4.3.3)


1. The task force XO does not facilitate the process. The battle staff loses its focus on the critical events to be wargamed and the relationship between events and the decisive point.

2. The timeline is not managed effectively, and the wargame ends up using more than half of the available time.

OBSERVATION 4: The wargaming phase of the military decision-making process (MDMP) is habitually a weakness for the task force staff. (TA.4.3.3)

DISCUSSION: Most task force XOs and task force S3s have had little experience wargaming, and few have had experience wargaming in their current duty positions. This lack of experience results in an inability to organize an effective task force wargaming effort.

OBSERVATION 5: Wargaming continues to be the most difficult step in the military decision-making process (MDMP) for units to complete successfully. (TA.4.3.4)

DISCUSSION: Units have struggled with wargaming as a training issue for the past 10 years.

for Course of Action Development and Wargaming


1. Successful wargaming depends on the staff's ability to complete a course of action (COA). If the staff is spending a lot of wargaming time developing BOS task/purpose issues to support the COA, then they are not wargaming. Rather, they are still in the COA development step. The staff must support the COA with the BOS "how, what and where" before it can determine the "when" in wargaming.

2. Answer the following questions prior to wargaming to dramatically improve overall wargaming efficiency:

a. Have all the BOS been integrated into the COA? If not, has the BOS been overlooked?

b. Did the commander forget to address a BOS in his guidance? If so, find out why the staff member responsible for the BOS has not provided support for the COA.

c. Does each BOS have a clear task and purpose for each critical event of the operation? If not, either the S3 or the BOS representative must define the task and purpose for the critical event.

3. Post critical events on the wargaming board.

4. Give the S2 sufficient time to present a complete picture of the enemy.

5. Stay informed--maintain situation awareness.

6. Determine what wargaming method/technique best accommodates the planning requirements of the unit.

7. Determine:

a. Which staff members will attend.

b. What products the staff must have to participate effectively in the wargaming effort.

c. How the staff's input will be managed throughout the conduct of the wargame.

d. How information developed from the wargame will be recorded.

e. How the recorded information is applied to enhance the OPORD.

8. Consider how time will be managed as the wargame is conducted. Staffs have shown that they are most effective during the first 50 to 60 minutes of intensive wargaming, and beyond that, a significant degradation occurs in quality.

9. References:

a. FM 101-5, Staff Organization and Operations, dated 31 May 97, pages 5-16 to 5-24.

b. CALL Publications No. 97-9, No. 97-16, No. 97-17, and No. 98-4, CTC Trends for NTC, with TTPs.

c. CALL Newsletter No. 95-12 Update, Military Decision Making: "Abbreviated Planning."

d. NTC "How To" video, "Wargaming."

TASK FORCE SYNCHRONIZATION OF TACTICAL OPERATIONS: Wargaming should be added as an elective class to the Leader Training Program (LTP) at NTC. The significance of TF staff misunderstandings of wargaming prevents them from correcting synchronization problems at Home Station.


1. The brigade should convene the targeting team during the planning process as well as during the preparation and execution phases.

a. The targeting team, at a minimum, should consist of the brigade XO, brigade fire support officer (FSO), targeting officer, and the brigade S2.

b. The targeting team must identify high-value targets (HVTs) and then develop high- payoff targets (HPTs) during various phases of the fight.

c. The S2 must discuss the element (potential HVT) required by the enemy to achieve each critical event of a given COA. With this start point, the commander can focus the staff with clearer guidance on interdicting key enemy critical events by attacking some of critical enemy elements to achieve a specific effect. Friendly COAs can then be built focusing on how to effectively find and attack these HPTs with fire and maneuver to accomplish the mission.

2. The bulk of the targeting process occurs during the wargaming session and must follow the decide, detect, and deliver methodology. Here the FSO is most effective if he is an active participant.

a. The FSO must come to the table with all of the necessary tools and information required to wargame, such as:

- The current and projected status of all fire support assets and systems.

- All the necessary planning factors that relate to fire support.

- All of the products produced during mission analysis.

- A complete understanding of the COAs.

- Knowledge of the commander's guidance.

- A method to record the results and to develop a scheme of fire support.

b. The FSO must be prepared throughout the wargaming process to make recommendations for addition or deletion of high-payoff targets to the HPT list.

- The FSO, along with the rest of the targeting team, must determine effects necessary on HPTs to achieve the commander's intent.

- The FSO, with his fire support staff (ALO, targeting officer, AVN LNO, S3 air, etc.), will be the driving force in recommending engagement means for HPTs if the targeting team has decided that fire support should engage the target.

c. The FSO needs to be prepared to wargame each fire support event thoroughly. The FSO will then take the results of each fire support event occurring during the wargame and translate them into targets IAW the commander's guidance and the commander's intent.


1. TF commanders must ensure synchronization through proper planning and force preparation. The keys are:

a. Detailed reverse planning.

b. Clear sub-unit instructions.

c. Effective command and control.

d. A well-rehearsed force.

2. Actions on the objective should define the point of penetration and the size and type of assault force.


1. TF commanders must focus their planning process input (initial staff guidance and course of action [COA] analysis) toward the battlefield operating systems (BOS).

2. Commanders must become more involved in teaching synchronization to their staffs during Home Station planning exercises.

COURSE OF ACTION (COA) DEVELOPMENT: Doctrinal references are FM 7-20, The Infantry Battalion, and FM 101-5-1, Operational Terms and Graphics.

a. Chapter 2 of FM 7-20 provides guidance to commanders and staffs on the development of COAs.

b. FM 101-5-1 provides the correct doctrinal definitions that should be used when assigning company/team tasks and purposes.


1. Units must train on the MDMP with emphasis on wargaming. The wargame is a disciplined process with rules and steps that attempt to visualize the flow of the battle.

2. Units must become familiar with the wargaming techniques and recording methods outlined in FM 101-5, Staff Organization and Operations. A unit SOP can be developed to enhance the process.

3. A complete COA must be developed prior to wargaming. If one friendly COA is developed in an effort to save time, the unit should wargame against several enemy COAs in order to develop branches to the base plan.

4. Adhering to the established timeline allows the staff to remain focused during the process and forces the staff to prioritize the amount of detail given to the effort.

5. The wargame should result in refining or modifying the COA, to include identifying branches and sequels that become on-order or be-prepared missions. It should refine location and timing of the decision point.

6. A synchronization matrix and decision support template (DST) should also be a result of the process. It should project the percentage of total enemy forces defeated in each critical event.

7. The task force XO or S3 should take charge of the wargaming process to ensure that the battle staff stays focused on the critical events and the decisive point.

8. Use a synchronization matrix to help facilitate and record events that are being wargamed by phase and synchronized by BOS.

9. Staffs should take a few minutes prior to initiating the wargame (while "plans CPTs" are gathering tools for the wargame) to ensure each BOS representative understands the concept for his piece of the fight. *******************************************************


SUBJECT: Troop-Leading and Discipline

Observation frequency:1-2QFY963-4QFY961-2QFY973-4QFY971-2QFY98


OBSERVATION 1: The battalion maintenance officer (BMO) does not use troop-leading procedures (TLP) effectively or establish priorities of work at the unit maintenance collection point (UMCP). (TA.4.4)


1. Timelines are inadequate.

2. Warning orders (WARNOs) and operation orders (OPORDs) are inadequate.

3. Rehearsals are inadequate.

4. Junior leaders are frequently prevented from conducting their own pre-combat checks (PCCs) and pre-combat inspections (PCIs) prior to each mission.

OBSERVATION 2: Maintenance personnel are not maintaining their crew-served and individual weapons to standard. (TA.4.4.4)

DISCUSSION: The weapons are not being cleaned or serviced and most of the weapons observed have no ammunition. Weapons failure is catastrophic when rear areas are attacked.

OBSERVATION 3: Unit discipline is not to standard on the battlefield. (TA.4.4.4)


1. Unit leaders do not routinely monitor or emphasize troop discipline in the following areas:

a. Load plans.

b. Tactical Assembly Area (TAA) procedures.

c. Uniform.

d. Weapon security.

e. Maintenance and personnel accountability.

2. Clear standards are not identified or enforced while at the NTC.

3. Leaders are reluctant to make corrections, assume responsibility, or be held accountable.

4. Unit leaders generally fail to assign responsibility for key actions and do not hold personnel accountable.


OBSERVATION 1: (Repeat of Observation 1, 3-4QFY97)

OBSERVATION 2: Bradley Stinger Fighting Vehicle (BSFV) platoon leaders do not use troop-leading procedures (TLP) or establish timelines effectively. (TA.4.4)


1. Situational awareness is lacking.

2. Operation orders (OPORDs) are hasty and inadequate, and do not include five paragraphs or a risk assessment.

3. Rehearsals are ineffective or nonexistent.

4. Graphics are inadequate or missing.

5. Link-ups with company/teams are frequently late.

6. There is little or no face-to-face cross-talk between air defense artillery (ADA) section leaders and the element for which they are providing coverage.

OBSERVATION 3: Task force signal officer and NCOIC troop-leading procedures (TLP) are inadequate. (TA.4.4)


1. Many times the soldiers do not fully understand their mission, their reporting procedures, or their route. This creates confusion during mission execution phases.

2. There is poor situation awareness without TLP at every level. Placing the retransmission system on the wrong slope of a hill will put the lives of the retransmission team at great risk, as well as the lives of the soldiers the commander can no longer reach.

OBSERVATION 4: Troop-leading procedures (TLP) at both company and platoon level are often inadequate and lack the required substance to properly allow the company, platoon, and squad to succeed. (TA.4.4)


1. TLP are often overlooked or are completed so quickly they have no effect on the mission.

2. Engineer units often develop timelines (from already late maneuver timelines) that do not identify key engineer essential planning and execution tasks.

3. Development of a tentative plan usually falls short because of incomplete application or a misunderstanding by the company XO during the tactical planning process.

4. Generally, engineer company XOs do not identify essential, specified, and implied tasks that are critically important to mission accomplishment.

5. Unit orders lack clarity regarding the unit commander's intent, scheme of engineer operations, and sub-unit tasks.

6. Unit commanders misunderstand the importance of time management.

7. Rehearsals and backbriefs are executed poorly.

a. Most units conduct confirmation briefs and backbriefs at maneuver, TF, and engineer company levels, but engineer company commanders very seldom backbrief the engineer battalion commander or staff.

b. When engineer company commanders conduct a backbrief, it is usually without established formats that prescribe what is to be included.

OBSERVATION 5: Engineer battalion headquarters and headquarters company (HHC) commanders rarely conduct troop-leading procedures (TLP) after receiving engineer battalion or forward support battalion (FSB) operation orders (OPORDs). (TA.4.4)


OBSERVATION 6: FA battery level pre-combat checks/pre-combat inspections (PCCs/PCIs), and rehearsals are not conducted to standard. (TA.


1. FA batteries generally do not effectively conduct PCCs/PCIs and rehearsals.

a. Battery commanders do not adequately identify their essential field artillery tasks (EFATs) and relate specific PCCs/PCIs and rehearsals to the completion of essential tasks.

b. The battery commanders often designate specific PCCs/PCIs and rehearsals to conduct, but because of the lack of SOP or clear understanding of the desired outcome for their tasks, they lead to incomplete or poor efforts.

2. Batteries normally focus on the FASCAM and do not consider the other PCCs/PCIs that allow them to survive and move on to their next essential task. They rarely add realism to their rehearsals to simulate the fog of war. Instead, they conduct a simple rehearsal in a static environment with tubes simply following along.

OBSERVATION 7: Fire support teams (FISTs) often do not conduct pre-combat checks and pre-combat inspections (PCCs/PCIs) before a combat mission. (TA.4.4.4)


1. Unless PCCs/PCIs are properly conducted, leaders do not identify potential problems prior to execution, and have no time to react to correct them.

2. Many units deploy to NTC with adequate checklists in their SOPs, but units seldom follow what is published in their SOPs.

3. At pre-rotation inbriefings, task force FSOs often brief they have no knowledge of the capability of the company/team FIST to execute PCC/PCIs because this was not emphasized during Home Station training.

4. Often during a rotation, company/team FISTs are plagued with discovering problems with their vehicle or equipment after the line of departure (LD). EXAMPLE: FISTs are unable to use the G/VLLD because of missing or broken power cables in the targeting head, or because they have no charged batteries.

OBSERVATION 8: Personnel at the combat trains command post (CTCP) are not effectively utilized. (TA.4.4.4)


1. Staff officers seldom delegate or assign priorities of work. As a result, they often run the command post operation with minimal support provided by NCOs and junior soldiers. For example, S1s and S4s are often observed with two to three hand mikes and a fist full of map board markers.

2. Standard job descriptions are not defined; soldiers do not know what their function is.

a. Battle preparation is ineffective and inefficient at CTCP/combat trains because subordinates do not know what is required.

b. Drivers do not rehearse proper battle drills and do not know what their mission is or for whom they work.

3. Functions normally not accomplished include:

a. Radio logs (DA 1594) are not maintained.

b. Logistics tracking charts are not updated.

c. Information is not disseminated.

d. Attached elements of the combat trains are not integrated.

e. The rest plan for the officers is not followed.

for Troop Leading and Discipline


1. The BMO and the UMCP establish a timeline that can support the upcoming missions.

2. The BMO must ensure that the maintenance platoon understands the mission requirements.

3. Maintenance platoons must stay aware of the tactical situation. The main focus is to return combat power to the battle, and maintenance leaders must ensure mission accomplishment.


1. The battalion maintenance officer (BMO) must ensure that his subordinates enforce weapons cleaning and service.

2. The BMO must coordinate with the S4 for ammunition supply.


1. NCOs must be the backbone of unit standards; however, all leaders play a key role in setting and enforcing standards.

2. Senior leaders must assign responsibility for actions and hold personnel accountable.


1. Platoon leaders should follow troop-leading procedures, establish a timeline, and be persistent in application.

2. Delegate some tasks to NCOs within the platoon (i.e., graphics).

3. Develop portions of the platoon OPORD parallel with the planning process (i.e., paragraph 3 can be developed during the wargame process and paragraph 2 can be developed during mission analysis while cross-talk is being done with the S2).

4. The key is to find ways to save time and facilitate the 1/3 - 2/3 rule.

TASK FORCE SIGNAL OFFICER AND NCOIC TLP: The SIGO, commo chief, and all the NCOs must exercise the TLP steps. They should be clear and concise when conducting a platoon or section OPORD. Signalers must fully understand the scheme of maneuver or the commander's intent in order to support the mission.


1. Two elements are absolutely critical to the successful execution of superbly executed TLP--operational guidance and specific timelines. Commanders must command their company. Their focus should be on:

a. Troop-leading procedures.

b. Pre-combat checks/pre-combat inspections (PCCs/PCIs).

c. Rehearsals.

d. Development of realistic timelines that promote unity, clarity, and synchronization within the company on the battlefield.

2. Commanders should train their XOs in the tactical planning process. This does not happen overnight, but rather with months of coaching, mentoring, and repeated, multiple warfighting experiences, coupled with focused candid feedback. The company XO needs to understand that he is a critical member of the combined arms team. He must also understand all aspects of tactical planning in order to effectively integrate and synchronize the mobility and survivability battlefield operating system (BOS).

3. FM 5-100, Engineer Operations, pg. 7-1 to 7-11, and FM 71-123, Tactics and Techniques for Combined Arms Heavy Forces: Armored Brigade, Battalion Task Force, and Company Team, provide excellent cookbook approaches to tactical planning.


1. The HHC commander must use TLP with the estimate of the situation, METT-T, IPB products, and risk assessment products to develop a systematic approach to formulating tactical plans. Without using TLP, the commander will have great difficulty commanding and controlling the company.

2. The HHC commander must use TLP and risk assessment worksheets, no matter how abbreviated, to plan, coordinate, prepare, direct, and control the execution of CSS missions for every battalion mission. It is particularly important to issue an OPORD, even if it is given vocally, to focus subordinate's efforts.

FA BATTERY LEVEL PCC/PCI AND REHEARSALS: Battery commanders should place more emphasis on conducting PCCs/PCIs and rehearsals as part of Home Station training. If the battery conducts quality PCCs/PCIs and completes rehearsals, they will validate their plan, prepare for an uncooperative enemy, and be positioned for success on the battlefield.

1. PCCs/PCIs ensure the sections are prepared for their essential tasks.

a. PCCs are clearly laid out in a checklist fashion in FM 6-50, the battalion playbook, and the battery TACSOP. These checklists are very easy to follow and they ensure the sections will be able to execute the EFATs.

b. Once PCCs are complete, leaders must conduct PCIs. PCIs give the senior leader a chance to instill confidence in the section that it will accomplish its mission by making sure the section chiefs understand and meet the standard.

2. Rehearsals clarify the commander's intent, synchronize the plan, and ensure everyone understands their role.

a. A detailed plan for rehearsals at the battery level must be incorporated into battery-level SOPs.

b. Time is the most precious resource available to commanders and, as such, they cannot afford to waste it. Rehearsals take time and can frequently be very complex. Commanders must realize this and ensure they have a method for conducting a good detailed rehearsal in the time available.

c. Some critical rehearsal concepts to consider are:

- Prioritize tasks and events.

- Develop a detailed SOP.

- Determine the level of participation for each rehearsal.

- Tie essential tasks to a task, purpose, method, and end state which are clearly stated.

- Establish high standards and ensure that they are met.

- Use the most complete method possible given the time available.

- Make the rehearsal realistic.

EXAMPLE using the essential field artillery task (EFAT) of "firing FASCAM":

  • During mission analysis, the commander develops PCCs/PCIs that relate to the EFAT. In this case, the commander determines that PCCs/PCIs need to be conducted for FASCAM, react to indirect fire, and CASEVAC.

    • Each section has critical tasks that must occur for the unit to be successful.

    • Each section conducts PCCs based on the unit SOP.

    • A senior leader follows up each PCC with a PCI to validate the standard. Inability to complete a good PCI causes confusion at the section level and may result in the lack of success in the overall plan.

  • Here are some examples of typical questions that might be asked for the above PCIs:

    • FASCAM: How many RAAMs and ADAMs will you fire? Or for the FDC, how many aimpoints do you have, and how many RAAMs and ADAMs will you fire at each aimpoint?

    • React to Indirect Fire: What is our trigger to move? Where is your alternate position, or where is the rally point?

    • CASEVAC: Where is the unit CCP? Where are the current AXPs, FAS, and MAS? What is the travel time? Which vehicles will be used for CASEVAC, and what are the back-up vehicles?

  • Each one of these PCCs/PCIs requires a rehearsal to validate that the battery can perform the task. In this case, let us combine all three rehearsals and add realism the way events might occur once we are in battle.

    • Begin by going through the FASCAM mission the way it will be fired.

    • As the unit completes the mission, use your code word for indirect fire or simulate indirect fire and have the battery react and assess casualties as this is done. Make the number of casualties realistic, not 1 or 2, but 10 or 11 soldiers.

    • Treat all of the casualties to standard and actually load them on the evacuation vehicles. (Be sure to validate the evacuation plan.) Once the soldiers are treated and loaded on the vehicles, unload them, but then drive to the point you plan to evacuate the soldiers. This type of rehearsal allows you to verify all three of your critical PCCs/PCIs and does it realistically, the way it might occur in battle.

    • The battery SOP must present the details for each step of the rehearsal. As the unit improves, the rehearsal can be made gradually more difficult by causing a howitzer to go "degraded" in the middle of the mission, by calling a howitzer out of the mission, or conducting the incoming in the middle of the mission and seeing how the unit will react. By preparing at Home Station and developing a detailed SOP for exactly how they will conduct rehearsals, a unit becomes much more efficient at rehearsals and much more successful in battle.


1. The task force fire support element needs to have a standard set of mission-specific PCC/PCI checklists in the unit SOP. Once specific PCC/PCIs are identified, leaders must supervise and ensure they are conducted, and that they are conducted to standard.

2. Leaders must also ensure proper actions are taken to correct identified deficiencies.

3. Conduct of PCC/PCIs needs to be trained and supervised at Home Station and incorporated into FIST certification.


1. Develop a SOP that clearly defines the responsibilities of each member of the CTCP, both in the CP proper and outside of the CP in the combat trains.

2. Train and authorize NCOs and junior soldiers to operate the CP without the officers and to make appropriate logistics decisions in the absence of the officer in charge (OIC).

3. Get the OIC off the radio and the map so he can look at the big picture.

4. Assign enlisted soldiers as radio telephone operators (RTOs) and make them responsible for logs and updating information on charts and disseminating it to the rest of the CP personnel.

5. Put a NCO in charge of external operations for the purpose of integrating, briefing, and ensuring security to attached elements (See CALL Newsletter No. 95-07, Tactical Operations Center). **************************************************


SUBJECT: Task Force Rehearsals

Observation frequency:1-2QFY963-4QFY961-2QFY973-4QFY971-2QFY98


OBSERVATION 1: Task force (TF) fire support rehearsals are frequently not conducted. (TA.

DISCUSSION: When TF fire support rehearsals are conducted, they lack a standard format and a clear task and purpose.

OBSERVATION 2: Companies seldom conduct direct fire plan rehearsals. (TA. )


1. Maneuver companies often omit rehearsals, and when rehearsals are conducted, they do not focus on the direct fire plan or critical actions at the objective.

2. Commanders do not conduct rehearsals with a clear end-state or ensure that all crews understand the direct fire plan.

3. Commanders often do not discuss contingencies and clearly articulate how the direct fire plan will be adjusted as the situation changes.

4. Battalion commanders and S3s rarely conduct adequate rehearsals to ensure that the attack company's direct fire plans are synchronized and that they support the commander's intent.


OBSERVATION 1: CSS rehearsals are often not conducted to standard. (TA.


1. Key leaders in the task force CSS leadership do not understand how to conduct an effective CSS rehearsal.

2. Unit SOPs do not address the conduct of the CSS rehearsal (Class III, Class V, medical, and maintenance).

3. A participant list is not defined and attendance is not enforced.

4. Rehearsals generally take the form of a briefing of the brigade and task force CSS plan.

5. Products to assist in the understanding of the plan (sketch, terrain model, etc.) are not used, do not contain sufficient detail, or are confusing to the participants.

6. Players show up without the CSS graphic or execution matrix.

7. Key CSS issues are not addressed (fuel, ammunition, medical, maintenance, etc.).

8. Players below the task force level are not actively involved in the rehearsal and do not integrate their plans with the task force or adjacent units.

for Task Force Rehearsals


1. The types of fire support rehearsals available are:

a. Sand table/terrain model.

b. Map rehearsal.

c. FM (radio) rehearsals.

2. Regardless of the type of rehearsal conducted, the following must be verified:

a. Target list.

b. Observation plan.

c. Scheme of fires.

d. Execution triggers.

e. Timing of events.

f. Both primary and alternate communications nets.

g. Fire support coordinating measures.

3. The fire support officer (FSO) must coordinate with the TF XO/S3 to ensure that the fire support rehearsal is included in the TF timeline. Schedule the TF fire support rehearsal as early as possible after the company FISTs have rehearsed their plans. Preferably, this will occur before the TF maneuver rehearsal.

4. References: FM 6-20-40, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Fire Support for Brigade Operations (Heavy), and CALL Newsletter No. 91-1, Rehearsals.


1. Commanders at all levels must set the standard for rehearsals.

a. They must have a clear vision of the end-state for the rehearsal.

b. They must rehearse until all members of the team understand how the operation will be conducted.

2. Commanders should use a standardized terrain model kit, which is a useful tool and cuts down on set-up time.

3. Commanders must properly allocate time for rehearsals and closely guard this time to ensure that rehearsals are not bypassed.

4. Companies and battalions should routinely conduct rehearsals at Home Station to allow subordinates to understand the standards to which rehearsals should be conducted and work out the TTPs that best facilitate every member of the team in understanding the mission.

5. Once the unit has established and validated their TTP for rehearsals, they should incorporate them into the unit tactical SOP (TACSOP).

CSS REHEARSALS: An effective CSS rehearsal can multiply the effectiveness of the task force CSS plan; however, a bad or nonexistent rehearsal can have the opposite effect.

1. Develop a page in the task force SOP to address the CSS rehearsal.

2. Define the attendee list and the outline for the rehearsal.

3. Ensure that key topics are covered: For example: Give an overview of enemy COA and the friendly maneuver plan, fuel, ammunition, medical, maintenance support at BCT and task force level, and subordinate unit CSS plans.

4. Capture any issues that are identified.

5. Allow enough time to make an accurate sketch or terrain model and use it.

6. Develop a SOP for a radio rehearsal (Refer to CALL Newsletter No. 98-5, Rehearsals).


SUBJECT: Communication and Signal Operations

Observation frequency:1-2QFY963-4QFY961-2QFY973-4QFY971-2QFY98


OBSERVATION 1: Armor and cavalry signal officers (SIGOs) are not able to effectively employ FM radio retransmission (retrans) systems in support of the commander's scheme of maneuver. (TA.4.1.2)

DISCUSSION: Trends show that signal officers are inadequately trained in basic tactics. Throughout mission analysis and wargaming, SIGOs are too often unable to identify critical implied tasks that are crucial for successful communications and survivability on the battlefield.

OBSERVATION 2: Battalion/brigade signal officers (BSO/SIGOs) are often improperly utilized to only place retransmission nodes. (TA.4.1.2)


OBSERVATION 3: Poor communications continue to impact engineer combat operations. (TA.4.1.2)

DISCUSSION: Engineer battalion commanders often settle for various forms of relay, have no redundancy in systems/procedures, and do not clarify or enforce frequency management plans. These circumstances often result in poor communication architectures.

for Communication and Signal Operations


1. SIGOs can be successful if they apply some of the following rules:

a. The brigade signal officer (BSO) understands maneuver and can deduce implied tasks, such as DATK/HATK, MTC, DIS, POL, R&S and screen/guard.

b. The SIGO develops a flexible retrans plan:

- Considers various schemes of maneuver.

- Supports various COAs.

- Pre-plans retrans repositioning.

- Deploys back-up retrans.

- Conducts thorough PCC/PCI.

- Battle tracks retrans system.

- Conducts troop-leading procedures.

c. The SIGO is integrated into the planning process:

- Backward planning.

- Establish triggers for hot time and LD time.

- Mission brief.


- Conduct rehearsals.

2. FM 11-43, The Signal Leader's Guide, is an excellent guide for the SIGO.


1. The BSO/SIGO should be assigned to plan and synchronize an approved command and control system. The BSO/SIGO operates in the unit to ensure the commander has command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) for his warriors.

2. The BSO/SIGO plans and synchronizes the communication nodes with the flow of the battle and recommends places for the tactical operations center (TOC), Joint-TOC, combat trains command post (CTCP), and mobile subscriber equipment (MSE) assets.


1. Communication planning requires the focused attention of the battalion's senior leadership. It is a top-down responsibility and requires proactive staff supervision.

2. The battalion signal NCO should develop mission-specific communications plans that support maneuver plans. To do this requires the NCO to have detailed knowledge of terrain (use available terrain visualization products) and the scheme of maneuver.

3. Use Terrabase (or equivalent) line-of-sight (LOS) shots to support triggers for repositioning the retrans team.

4. Include a clear, enforced communications annex in each OPORD.


SUBJECT: Operation Order (OPORD) and Fragmentary Order (FRAGO) Preparation

Observation frequency:1-2QFY963-4QFY961-2QFY973-4QFY971-2QFY98


OBSERVATION 1: The engineer battlefield assessment (EBA) and operation order (OPORD) preparation processes of many engineer companies need improvement. (TA.4.4.1)


1. Engineer company commanders often conduct their own engineer battlefield analysis (EBA) and write both the task force (TF) engineer annex and engineer company OPORD at Home Station, during TF level engineer NTC training and during preparation computer exercises. These company commanders expect to personally produce these products during the NTC campaign as well.

2. Engineer company executive officers (XOs) are not trained to conduct an EBA or write the TF engineer annex and the company OPORD.

3. After arrival at the NTC, one of two things occurs. Either:

a. the company commander tries to do everything as he did at Home Station and is reduced to a frazzle by training day three; or

b. the commander recognizes battle rhythm demands and passes the planning and order preparation tasks to the company XO, who then struggles with a steep learning curve during the campaign.

4. As a result, both company and TF suffer incomplete engineer planning.

OBSERVATION 2: Engineer plans are seldom read or understood by task force (TF) maneuver elements. (TA.4.4.1)


1. Task forces (TFs) typically place the engineer plan in an annex of the OPORD. The maneuver elements seldom read that portion of the OPORD and do not understand the scheme of engineer operations (SOEO). This can be disastrous when it includes specified tasks to non-engineer subordinate units.

2. TFs are not allowing the engineer planner to brief during mission analysis and the COA presentations, omitting critical mobility and survivability information.

3. Engineer command posts (CPs) are not fully integrated in the TF tactical operations centers (TOCs), causing a breakdown of the brigade engineer's intent at TF level.

4. Mobility, countermobility, survivability tasks are seen as engineer-unit specific.

OBSERVATION 3: Critical fire support tasks (CFSTs) and concept of fires are seldom developed to standard. (TA.4.4.1)

DISCUSSION: Fire support coordinators (FISCOORDs) and brigade fire support officers (FSOs) make attempts to identify and define critical fire support tasks (CFSTs) (task, purpose, method, and end state) based on the commander's guidance and friendly course of actions. Their stated purpose(s), however, do not always provide sufficient information to set the parameters of when, where, and how long. As a result, the FS system cannot easily or realistically quantify the required end-state in terms of volume and duration or amount of destruction, suppression, or obscuration.

for OPORD and FRAGO Preparation


1. Engineer company commanders must train their XOs at Home Station to conduct EBA and to prepare both the TF engineer annex and engineer company OPORD.

2. Company commanders should be able to give the XO clear guidance on the mission, intent, and end-state, and then make the XO responsible for producing the three products. The engineer company commander can then focus on troop-leading procedures (TLP) and pre-combat checks/pre-combat inspections (PCCs/PCIs).


1. The TF engineer must ensure that required engineer missions, instructions, constraints, and limitations are included in the TF OPORD (not buried in the engineer annex).

2. The TF must allow the engineer planner to brief during both the mission analysis and the COA presentations so that critical mobility and survivability information is communicated to all elements of the TF.

3. The scheme of engineer operations (SOEO) should be refined during wargaming and is the basis for the engineer company order.


1. When defining CFSTs, the task should specify:

a. The enemy's attack formation we want to affect.

b. The functions of the enemy's attack formation we want to influence.

c. The target effect we want to have on the enemy's formation function.

2. Doctrinal terms, such as, delay, limit, disrupt, and destroy can be useful, but what is essential is that fire supporters and maneuver understand each other clearly.

a. Delay is not allowing the enemy to do something when he wants to.

b. Limit -- where he wants to.

c. Disrupt -- what he wants to.

d. Destroy -- requires us to quantify a specific amount to be killed.

3. The task is focused on the enemy. The purpose, on the other hand, is focused on friendly maneuver and sets the parameters on how long we must delay, where we must limit, and when we must disrupt or destroy in terms of friendly maneuver events. The clearer the effects of fires are tied to a maneuver purpose, the more likely that we can integrate fires and maneuver to achieve a unified effect.

4. The end-state should be quantifiable in terms that allow the field artillery to determine the volume of fires, munitions, duration and other technical parameters, and that will achieve the stated task and purpose.


COMMANDER'S GUIDANCE: (effect) Delay the (formation) AGMB's (function) ability to support the FSE until (purpose) our direct fires can destroy the FSE.

CONCEPT OF FIRES: (method) Use ARTY-delivered FASCAM in the passes in conjunction with CAS and massed ARTY fires to delay the AGMB until our AG company can destroy the FSE with direct fires.

FIRE SUPPORT ELEMENT ACTIONS: Determine good locations to emplace FASCAM based on enemy, terrain, and weapons capabilities. Determine possible OPs that could observe. Determine how CAS could be used for each COA (CAS target box data). Consider how IEW, smoke or obstacles might contribute to the desired effect. Determine the possible HPTs in the AGMB that would DELAY. List data needed from Wargame, for example:

- How long does the AG company need to destroy the FSE?

- What number and type of vehicles = delay required?

END-STATE: (Example from wargame) AGMB delayed 15 minutes at FASCAM. MSD destroyed at FASCAM. Two T-80s and six BMPs destroyed west of PL DALLAS. MRB CMD net jumps less than five times between PL OHIO and PL DALLAS.


SUBJECT: Development and Use of Tactical SOPs

Observation frequency:1-2QFY963-4QFY961-2QFY973-4QFY971-2QFY98


OBSERVATION 1: Brigade S2 sections often do not have or use standard operating procedures (SOPs). (TA.4.4)


1. S2 sections are often not sure of the intelligence requirements for the different phases of the staff planning process.

2. When a comprehensive SOP exists, it is seldom followed.

3. Some existing SOPs do not specifically address the requirements for the brigade S2 section. Each staff planning session is fraught with discovery learning to determine what is required to support the staff planning process, rather than improving requirements that are already defined.

OBSERVATION 2: Company/team tactical SOPs (TACSOPs) are incomplete or non-existent. (TA.4.4)


1. In almost every instance, company commanders come to their LTP without a viable, workable TACSOP. The standard reply when asked about their TACSOPs is, "We are refining it out here." With 120 days remaining before their NTC rotation (fewer training days for NG/USAR units), there is no time to refine, develop, and implement an effective TACSOP.

2. For a TACSOP to be effective, all members of a unit must be knowledgeable and thoroughly trained in its contents. This includes all elements that are cross-attached to a commander's unit.


OBSERVATION 1: Most task force's tactical SOPs (TACSOPs) are not adequate or are not used. (TA.4.4)


1. Many task forces (TFs) arrive at LTP with a TACSOP that was newly created specifically for their upcoming NTC rotation.

2. Some TFs have had the same TACSOP for years, and have not reviewed it for needed refinements.

3. Most often, the TF TACSOP is not disseminated to the lowest levels, and is seldom used as a legitimate document that governs the tactical operations of a unit.

OBSERVATION 2: Many company commanders do not have tactical SOPs (TACSOPs) or do not use them. (TA.4.4)


1. Company commanders seldom bring a TACSOP to LTP. Those who do are unfamiliar with their content.

2. Without a unit SOP, company/team coaches cannot observe the efficient use of the unit's SOP and cannot make recommendations for improvements.

3. Commanders cannot review, test, and train with their SOPs while undergoing the unit's training.

for Develop and Use of Tactical SOPs

1. At Home Station, each S2 section should develop and use an SOP that provides a checklist and formatted charts.

a. The SOP should address the products that are routinely required of the S2 section for each phase of the staff planning process.

b. These products would be based on standard requirements as well as staff and commander driven requirements.

2. Continually stress the importance of TACSOPs and the need for company/team commanders to come to LTP with a complete and workable TACSOP.

3. To be beneficial during the NTC rotation, TACSOPs must be disseminated, trained, and adhered to closely throughout the Home Station train-up. Some of the critical characteristics a TACSOP must possess to be adopted by task force operators include:

a. Simplicity. TACSOPs have to be created with the understanding that integration in the task force will be dependent on the ability of tank and Bradley commanders to extract information quickly and conveniently. TACSOPs that are not simple are routinely ignored.

b. User Friendliness. Available information that cannot be extracted quickly and easily is not applicable information to soldiers attempting to execute operations in a combat environment.

c. Strict Focus. Many of the TACSOPs that are reviewed at LTP deal with a variety of procedures that are not tactical and are better suited in a task force's unit SOP. The TACSOP is not meant to answer every issue that is remotely associated with tactical operations. Task force commanders and XOs must closely edit these documents to ensure they do not become overly burdensome.

d. Strict Enforcement. Develop and administer a test on the TACSOP.

4. Battalion commanders can maximize their subordinate's LTP training if company commanders bring a completed TACSOP.


SUBJECT: Battle Staff Mission Analysis

Observation frequency:1-2QFY963-4QFY961-2QFY973-4QFY971-2QFY98


OBSERVATION 1: Mission analysis is rarely conducted as an integrated battle staff function. (TA.


1. The staff is seldom briefed on the mission analysis prior to the initial brief to the commander.

2. The battle staff does not:

a. Meet at the main CP.

b. Receive a brief of the upcoming operation by the task force XO or assistant S3.

c. Conduct a mission analysis of their proponent BOS while the task force commander, S3, and FSO are at the brigade receiving the brigade order.

3. Frequently, the ADO and logisticians and other attached staff officers are not informed when the main CP receives the order; they are not aware that the mission analysis is about to be conducted.

OBSERVATION 2: Battalion/brigade signal officer (SIGO) mission analysis is inadequate. (TA.

DISCUSSION: Battalion/brigade SIGOs too often do not conduct a thorough mission analysis prior to the execution phase of some missions. They do fix problems that develop, but many of those problems could have been avoided had they anticipated them (e.g., developing a back-up retransmission, ensuring mobile subscriber radio telephone (MSRT) coverage in the TOC, and moving personnel to best support the mission).

for Battle Staff Mission Analysis

1. The battle staff should conduct mission analysis, integrating all the key players. This initial step in the decision-making process focuses the staff on the upcoming operation and provides information on tasks they must accomplish according to the brigade OPORD.

2. Refer to CALL Newsletter No. 95-12 Update, Military Decision Making: "Abbreviated Planning."

3. The SIGO should thoroughly analyze the unit's mission, determine the elements critical for success, and assign resources to ensure achievement of the commander's intent. *************************************************


SUBJECT: Timelines and Time Management

Observation frequency:1-2QFY963-4QFY961-2QFY973-4QFY971-2QFY98


OBSERVATION 1:Time management within engineer companies is routinely inadequate. (TA.4.4)


1. Critical pre-battle activities such as pre-combat checks/pre-combat inspections (PCC/PCIs), rehearsals, and graphics dissemination frequently suffer because of poor time management.

2. Many engineer companies are not prepared to defend themselves prior to crossing the line of departure (LD).

a. During the mission's combat preparation phase, the engineer companies usually accomplish only such things as personal hygiene, LOGPAC, and their sleep plan.

b. Time is wasted due to poor planning and lack of leader discipline at the company and platoon levels.

c. Companies experience loss of battle tempo, often resulting in unsuccessful mission accomplishment.

3. Commanders usually include critical activities in their company OPORDs but do not monitor their accomplishment.

4. Most engineer companies arrive at the NTC with a good tactical SOP (TACSOP) that clearly addresses TAA procedures, but they do not follow it.

a. Companies frequently occupy tactical assembly areas (TAAs) with no advance party activities or reconnaissance. They are seldom prepared to defend against any type of attack in their TAA.

b. Few, if any, priorities of work are accomplished.

c. Direct fire plans and adjacent unit coordination are not accomplished.

OBSERVATION 2: Task force (TF) staffs do not effectively manage a TF timeline. (TA.4.4.1)


1. Staff sections do not complete required products in a timely manner.

2. Results of poor time management include:

a. Critical events fail to take place.

b. Troop-leading procedures at subordinate levels are hindered.

c. Ultimately, the TF is unable to effectively prepare for combat.

d. The staff does not have enough time to adequately wargame the selected COA.

e. Orders lack focus on killing the enemy at the decisive point and often lead to unclear tasks and purpose to subordinate leaders.

OBSERVATION 3: Task force (TF) executive officers (XOs) do not effectively manage timelines. (TA.4.4.1)


1. TF XOs do not successfully manage planning time. During the conduct of LTP, this responsibility is continually delegated to junior battle captains.

2. Routinely, staff members lack the experience and understanding of how long each phase of the planning process should take. As a result, the process quickly looses structure, focus, and productivity.

OBSERVATION 4: Time management at brigade and task force (TF) level remains a notable weakness. (TA.4.4.1)

DISCUSSION: Commanders have dismissed the one-third/two-third planning philosophy and routinely disregard subordinate elements' need to plan.


OBSERVATION 1: ADA platoons, particularly the platoon leaders, are often not prepared to perform the air defense mission due to poor time management. (TA.4.4.1)


1. The platoon leader's timeline seldom includes key tasks (i.e., orders issue, rehearsals, resupply, maintenance, boresight, link-up times with company/teams) or other specified tasks to be accomplished prior to the mission.

2. The timeline seldom includes who will be responsible for performing tasks and conducting the checks.

3. Platoon SOPs are inadequate; they do not address priorities of work at squad level.

4. The platoon tactical SOP (TACSOP) is not used.

OBSERVATION 2: Company/team level time management skills are poor. (TA.4.4.1)


1. Company commanders tend to possess inadequate time management and delegation skills (i.e., trying to do everything themselves), resulting in a significant amount of unfinished business by the LD time.

2. Inexperienced company/team commanders are often unfamiliar with planning and preparing time for combat operations. They are often surprised and sometimes overwhelmed when experiencing the limited time available for planning and preparing for combat operations.

for Timelines and Time Management


1. Engineer company commanders must conduct aggressive time management. They must be immediately informed of any problems in order to adjust priorities in tempo.

2. Platoon leaders, platoon sergeants, and junior NCOs must apply the discipline to make it happen. Unit discipline must be maintained during TAA occupation, including adherence to their tactical SOP (TACSOP).

3. Critical pre-battle activities must be accomplished to ensure mission success. These activities should be integrated with:

a. TAA procedures.

b. Task force-directed events.

c. A timeline that specifically addresses who will do what and when.

4. Timelines must be passed to subordinate units as soon as possible. Company leaders must ruthlessly enforce the completion of these activities in accordance with the timeline.


1. The TF timeline should be developed early in the planning process and then continually updated throughout the process.

2. The initial timeline should include the staff's planning cycle, critical R&S activities, and company/team troop-leading procedures (e.g., boresighting, initial movement times, etc.).

3. As the planning process continues, additional operational critical events should be added to the timeline and continued throughout the wargame process.

4. Key events from the synchronization matrix should be incorporated into the timeline. This is a valuable tool for tracking critical tasks throughout the battle.

5. Upon completion of the planning process, the staff should collate the data onto a butcher board and brief it as part of the TF operations order (OPORD).

6. In the timeline, include critical troop-leading procedures (TLP) to be conducted at the company/team level. These should include company/team OPORD times, rehearsals, boresight, and logistics package (LOGPAC) schedules. These requirements are not intended to micro-manage company/teams, but rather to provide them a common base to begin their planning and preparation. If changes are required at the TF level, the TF commander can then make an informed decision on what events he will impact.

7. Time management will improve only when it becomes an absolute priority of brigade and task force commanders. Emphasis must be placed on the application of time management techniques at all levels.

8. Adopt a structured schedule that requires brigades and TFs to issue their OPORDs on directed timelines, thus forcing one-third/two-third planning times on to the respective staffs.


1. The platoon leader must understand his responsibilities as both platoon leader and task force ADO, and balance his time between both.

2. Information must be pushed to the platoon despite the physical separation when the platoon leader is at the task force TOC. Use a LNO, PSG, or driver to push the information to the platoons from the TOC.

3. When involved in the military decision-making process (MDMP) with the task force, the platoon leader must delegate to his subordinates, specify tasks to be accomplished, and appoint individuals to confirm task completion.

4. Use backward planning to prioritize tasks and allow subordinates the ability to develop their own timeline with any additional tasks at crew level. Many of the tasks that need to be accomplished during the preparation phase should be identified in the platoon tactical SOP (TACSOP), eliminating confusion and wasted time.

5. References:

a. FM 44-43, BSFV Platoon and Squad Operations

b. FM 44-100, Air Defense Operations


1. Company/team commanders must practice procedures to make best use of their planning and preparation time. Use well-trained battle drills to give the commander the flexibility to save time through standardized reactions to routine situations. Whether the subject matter is actions on contact or preparation for combat operations, commanders must develop standardized procedures for their units.

2. While LTP does not afford commanders the chance or the opportunity to delegate preparation tasks to subordinates, company/team coaches can suggest where and when planning and preparation tasks can be delegated.


SUBJECT: Decision-Point Development

Observation frequency:1-2QFY963-4QFY961-2QFY973-4QFY971-2QFY98


OBSERVATION 1: Engineer commanders and staffs rarely develop decision points with supporting criteria that will ensure continued support to the brigade throughout fluid combat operations. (TA.4.2.3)

DISCUSSION: Because brigade combat missions are dynamic, the engineer unit's task and purpose change constantly. Corresponding changes to task organization and priorities are often required. Commanders and staffs cannot anticipate all possible situations, but are often issuing incomplete and inadequately synchronized fragmentary orders (FRAGOs) as a means of adapting their units to the changing combat situations. The FRAGO method usually results in a loss of momentum at the brigade level and creates difficulties in command, control, and support for the executing unit.

for Decision-Point Development

1. Commanders and staffs should develop clear decision points with pre-established plans to accomplish the identified task as part of the brigade decision making process to allow subordinate units to plan, prepare, and execute the mission to standard.

2. Refer to CALL CTC Quarterly Bulletin No. 97-4, Jan 97, Decision-Point Tactics (Fighting the Enemy, Not the Plan!).


SUBJECT: Planning for Combat Observation Lasing Team (COLT) Operations

Observation frequency:1-2QFY963-4QFY961-2QFY973-4QFY971-2QFY98


OBSERVATION 1: Brigade planning and preparation for Combat Observation Lasing Team (COLT) operations are rarely integrated into the scheme of fires. (TA.4.3)


1. COLT insertions are normally planned fairly well, but detailed tasks and purpose for each COLT are not delineated during the brigade wargame.

2. Brigades often do not plan the attack function for the COLT, thus degrading the COLT's ability to trigger fires.

3. The brigade often does not perform battlefield calculus and analysis of where the enemy is in relation to COLT observation posts (OPs). This negates the brigade's ability to use the COLT to employ Copperhead munitions; all conditions necessary to execute the Copperhead missions cannot be met. As a result, COLTs become another source for reporting enemy movement rather than the more desirable killer source.

for Planning for COLT Operations

1. The entire staff should plan for COLT employment.

2. The fire support officer (FSO) and S2 need to fully understand the capabilities and limitations of COLTs. Specifically, they must understand the ranges at which the COLT can actually acquire a particular target and under different conditions.

3. The following is a good outline to follow for the employment of COLTs:

STEP 1- Determine the need for an observation post (OP). Once an NAI or TAI is established, an "observer" must be identified. Understanding what is to be done at the NAI or TAI is critical to assigning the proper observer, determining its position, and ensuring required resolution.

STEP 2- Conduct terrain analysis. Analyze the terrain to identify possible OPs. Terrabase is an effective tool but is time intensive. A good technique is to input the NAI or TAI as OPs and select your OPs from where converging lines of sight (LOS) exist.

STEP 3- Allocate the asset. The asset assigned to an OP is based on the mission to be conducted and the capabilities of the asset. If Copperhead is to be designated from the OP, then a laser-equipped observer must be assigned. If obstacle reconnaissance is the mission, then a SAPPER scout may be a better choice.

STEP 4- Select the OP. The OP should be selected from the possible OPs identified in the terrain analysis. Again, the mission and capabilities must be considered, including the factors of the Copperhead coverage template, effects of terrain and weather, survivability, and the enemy situation. Alternate OPs should be identified as back-up if the primary is untenable.

STEP 5- Plan for the insertion/infiltration. Plan it like any maneuver operation. Determine the method: air, mounted, or dismounted. The OP's mission and the enemy situation drive this decision. Plan routes, check points, PZs, LZs, false insertions, air corridors, extraction, resupply, etc. Issue a detailed WARNO to the selected asset(s).

STEP 6- make coordination. Forward passage, aircraft, retrans, and terrain: all must be coordinated.

STEP 7- Support the insertion/infiltration

- Indirect fires: SEAD, deception fires, defensive fires to support the OP and force protection zones.

- IEW support: Monitor reconnaissance nets to determine if insertion is detected; jam enemy counter-reconnaissance nets or ADA nets as appropriate.

- Logistics support: The resupply and medical plan must be established. Consider the use of caches. Coordinate with and task maneuver units to recover compromised assets.

STEP 8- Prepare. COLT orders, backbriefs, and rehearsal. Conduct PCCs/PCIs.

STEP 9- Execute. COLTs must have the skills to execute air insertions and infiltration and to stay alive. Brigades must oversee this insertion/infiltration and track it like any maneuver operation.


SUBJECT: Command Post (CP) Locations/Displacement

Observation frequency:1-2QFY963-4QFY961-2QFY973-4QFY971-2QFY98


OBSERVATION 1: Command post (CP) site location and displacement planning are not effectively integrated into the TF planning process. (TA.4.1)


1. The tactical operations center (TOC) is seldom able to effectively command and control during critical points of the battle.

2. Command and control nodes are not able to support the TF, maintain situational awareness, effectively conduct predictive analysis or make timely recommendations to the commander.

for Command Post Locations/Displacement

1. During the planning process, the staff must first identify the location of critical points on the battlefield. The staff then conducts backward planning to determine where the tactical operations center (TOC) must be located at that point to facilitate command and control.

2. Triggers/decision points must be developed to determine when the TOC moves to ensure that they are set during these critical points.

3. The TOC movement/displacement plan is not necessarily tied to the maneuver of the TF. For example, the TOC does not have to move in the center of the TF formation; it may travel initially behind the lead company/team or along a route that was previously cleared by the scouts or other TF assets. The imperative is that it is set and ready to fight at these anticipated critical points.


SUBJECT: Reporting Requirements/Procedures

Observation frequency:1-2QFY963-4QFY961-2QFY973-4QFY971-2QFY98


OBSERVATION 1: Reporting within the units too often does not facilitate the commander's situational awareness and enhance battle command. (TA.


1. SPOT reports, contact reports, commander's situation reports (SITREPs), forward area rearm/refuel point (FARP) SITREPs, and battle damage assessments (BDA) lack format, contain vague information, and are not submitted in a timely fashion.

2. Unit C2 reporting architectures cause confusion with the company commanders. Typically, company commanders do not know if they are to report to the battalion commander (in an AH-64) or the S3.

OBSERVATION 2: Fire support teams (FISTs) frequently do not report information in accordance with doctrinal report formats. (TA.


OBSERVATION 3: Casualty assessments and battle damage assessments (BDAs) are seldom to standard. (TA.4.2.1)


1. During the brigade planning process, most units do not report realistic casualty or battle damage assessments. Some units do not complete these assessments at all.

2. Poor assessments contribute to commander's inaccurate delineation of available combat power.

3. Medical assets cannot be arrayed to support medical evacuation.

for Reporting Requirements/Procedures

UNIT REPORTING: The commander should identify reporting requirements and include these requirements in the unit SOP. Considerations for report requirements should include:

a. Change in combat power.

b. Crossing phase lines.

c. Occupation of holding areas and forward area rearm/refuel points (FARPs).

d. Start point/release point (SP/RP) of air routes.

e. Set in attack-by-fire (ABF) (cold and hot).

f. Remaining ammunition.

g. 50 percent expenditure reports.

h. Battle damage assessments (BDAs) for tanks, ADA, artillery, personnel carriers, personnel, C2 (TAAPP-C).

i. Commander's situation report (SITREP) (enemy situation, units situation-combat power/fuel/ammo/current position, ability to accomplish assigned mission, and recommendations).


1. FISTs should report information and call for fire in accordance with the formats in FM 6-20-20, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Fire Support for Battalion, Task Force, and Below, and FM 6-30, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Observed Fire.

2. The FIST forward observer's primary mission is to call for fires for their maneuver element. But when fires are unavailable, their next responsibility is to report. The task force needs to enforce reporting standards (i.e., call for fire, SALUTE reports, and SALT reports).

a. It is imperative that forward observers (FOs) report exactly what they see, without bias or subjectivity.

b. FOs must be precise, objective, and not attempt to analyze what they are seeing. Let the FSO, S2, and FSE conduct the analysis.


1. At each phase or critical event in the planning process, the S1 should give a realistic casualty assessment and the S4 should provide the BDA.

2. The S2 should provide the BDA on the OPFOR. This will give the brigade commander an accurate picture of the available friendly combat power versus the enemy's combat power.

3. Medical planners who train at NTC must understand that casualty assessments and BDA are skewed. We often do not stop operations when units are rendered combat ineffective and are not capable of sustaining further combat operations. As a general rule, they should plan for mass casualty situations.

4. See CALL Quarterly Bulletin No. 95-11, "Brigade Rear Operations: A Force Protection Dilemma" and CALL Newsletter No. 97-14, NTC Goldminer's TTPs for CSS.

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