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Chapter 4

Force-Projection Operations

This chapter summarizes the force-projection process and describes Patriot activities during force-projection operations. Patriot may be deployed to support operations anywhere in the world to protect forces and selected geopolitical assets.


4-1. The force-projection process, depicted in Figure 4-1, involves mobilization. These elements are summarized below—

  • Mobilization involves assembling and organizing personnel, supplies, and materiel to prepare for war or national emergencies. It is the process through which reserve component units are brought to a state of readiness, activated, and prepared for deployment.

  • Deployment involves moving military forces and materiel from their point of origin into a theater of operations. These forces and equipment typically leave the port of origin via air or seaports of embarkation (APOEs or SPOEs) and arrive in theater at air-or seaports of debarkation (APODs or SPODs). From there, they proceed to marshaling areas, where they are prepared and configured for later movement into staging and to tactical assembly areas (TAAs).

  • Employment involves conducting military operations to support the objectives of the joint-force commander. Employment encompasses a variety of operations including entry operations (opposed or unopposed), shaping operations (lethal and non-lethal), decisive operations, and post-conflict operations.

  • Redeployment involves re-posturing units and materiel to prepare for demobilization or force reconstitution. Units that do not participate in post-conflict operations are sent to one or more staging areas within a redeployment assembly area, then via air or sea to APODs or SPODs to new mobilization stations or theaters.

  • Sustainment involves providing and maintaining levels of personnel and materiel needed to sustain an operation throughout its duration.

Figure 4-1. Force-Projection Process

Figure 4-1. Force-Projection Process


4-2. The mobilization process applies to reserve component (RC) units; some phases also apply to active components. Figure 4-2 shows a diagram of these phases. This process is divided into five phases—

  • Planning and preparation.

  • Alert.

  • Home station.

  • Mobilization station.

  • Port of embarkation.

Figure 4-2. Mobilization Phase

Figure 4-2. Mobilization Phase

4-3. The planning and preparation phase includes the normal day-to-day efforts of RC units at their home stations. During this phase, Patriot battalion's plan, train, and prepare to accomplish assigned mobilization missions. This includes preparing mobilization plans, conducting mobilization training, and developing post-mobilization training plans. Units must provide unit personnel, logistics, and training data electronically to their respective power projection platforms and power support platforms and must develop plans for movement to the mobilization station (MS). This phase ends when units receive official alert notification.

4-4. The alert phase includes those actions taken by units following receipt of an alert. Units take specific actions to prepare for transition from RC to active status including screening and cross leveling of personnel. Patriot unit commanders must contact the receiving unit commander to determine mission requirements in order to modify the units' mission essential task list. The unit should review the mission, conduct as thorough a predeployment IPB as possible, assess how the force should be packaged for deployment, and develop deployment plans.

4-5. The home station phase begins on the effective date of unit mobilization. Actions during this phase include the inventory and loading of unit property and disposition of an advance party to the MS. Specific tasks and standards are listed in FORSCOM Regulation 500-3-3, and unit movement planning requirements in FORSCOM Regulation 55-1. The units must coordinate directly with the MS prior to departing their home stations. This phase ends with the arrival of the units at the MS.

4-6. The mobilization station phase encompasses all actions necessary to meet deployment requirements. Unit command passes from the CONUS to the MS. Actions at the MS include the processing of personnel and equipment and the actual accessioning of the unit into the active structure. This phase also includes any necessary individual or collective training as well as appropriate cross-leveling actions, soldier readiness processing (SRP)/preparation for overseas movement (POM), and validation for deployment. Patriot system training may include readiness training conducted with training simulators capable of simulating the theater air and missile threat. This phase ends with the arrival of the unit at the port of embarkation.

4-7. The port of embarkation phase includes both manifesting and loading of personnel and equipment and ends with the departure of personnel and equipment from the POE.


4-8. The deployment process applies to both reserve and active component units and is divided into five phases—

  • Predeployment Activities.

  • Movement to Port of Embarkation.

  • Strategic Lift.

  • Theater-base Reception.

  • Theater Onward Movement.

4-9. The predeployment activities phase takes place during normal peacetime operations. Based on operational requirements of the supported CINC, Patriot units are designated, equipped, and trained with force-projection capabilities in mind. During this phase, Patriot units conduct routine collective deployment training to ensure forces, manpower, and materiel are sufficient to meet the combatant commander's missions. The units also revise their movement plans to reflect the exact equipment being deployed, and conduct the necessary training to attain the desired mission capability. This training may include mission rehearsal exercises conducted with training simulators capable of simulating the theater air missile threat. Patriot units also conduct soldier readiness checks, prepare for overseas movement, and undergo validation checks to ensure readiness for deployment. Predeployment activities for RC units include those listed in mobilization phases I through IV.

4-10. Within the first few hours of an operation or conflict, it may be necessary to put a Patriot minimum engagement capability on the ground. The purpose of the minimum engagement package (MEP) is to provide a strategic responsiveness, using a quick reaction force that would protect units using the required lethality to accomplish the mission. Basic MEPs should be used as a starting point for planning considerations and mobilization. A MEP can be tailorable to fit the mission and tactical situation as needed. The MEP should have an established timeline designated to when the unit should be in place and operational. Specific guidance and checklists should be included in the units' standard operating procedures. The basic MEP consists of an ECS, radar, two launchers, SRPT, HMMWV's with trailers, EPP, fuel tanker, GMT, PAC-2/PAC-3 missiles or both, and sufficient supporting equipment, supplies, rations and personnel to sustain 24-hour operations for 15 days METT-TC dependent. (See Appendix F, Transportability, for detailed MEP description). Note: The basic MEP is deployed into the theater using five C-5A or seven C-17 aircraft and can be employed to defend critical lodgment assets. The number of PAC-2/PAC-3 missiles deployed with the MEP will vary according to the threat; each launcher will have a full load of missiles plus one reload.

4-11. The movement to port of embarkation phase involves moving Patriot units from their home installations to the port of embarkation. Unit activities include updating automated unit equipment lists to deployment equipment lists (DELs) and submitting them to appropriate authorities. Units receive movement instructions from transportation component commands and are advised via movement directives when their equipment is required to be at the POE. Accordingly, units must back plan installation departure and POE processing to ensure equipment arrives at the POE when required. This phase ends when the units and their equipment depart the POE.

4-12. The strategic lift phase involves transporting the units and equipment from the POE via air or sea to the POD in the theater of operations. Units develop movement plans to reflect personnel and equipment being deployed and ensure equipment and validation checks are completed. After plans have been made and double checked for weight limits and types of equipment being loaded, Patriot units are then loaded aboard aircraft or sea-going vessels and transported to the port of debarkation.

4-13. The theater-base reception phase begins with the arrival of forces in theater. Upon arrival, unit commanders work with the combatant commander's designated representatives in completing the required documents for moving and sustaining forces. This phase ends with departure of the units from the POD.

4-14. The theater onward movement phase begins with the personnel and equipment linkup, reconfiguration of forces, sustainment and receipt of pre-positioned war reserve stock at designated marshaling areas. This phase concludes with arrival at the staging areas where combat preparation occurs.


4-15. Patriot units may be employed in a variety of operations including entry operations, shaping and decisive operations, post conflict operations, and stability and support operations. Usually, Patriot units will be employed as part of an ADA brigade at EAC or corps, and can be part of an AMD task force along with a THAAD battery. Patriot units may also be employed with other air defense units as part of a multinational AMD task force.


4-16. Entry operations are designed to establish and secure a lodgment through which US forces and materiel can enter a theater of operations. If the theater threat includes TMs and/or aircraft, Patriot units or an AMD task force may be deployed early to protect entering forces and critical assets, including airfields and seaports, transportation centers, C3I activities, and geopolitical assets.

4-17. If the objectives of the deployed forces are not accomplished quickly, the theater will normally transition into a mature theater of operations. The lodgment will thus expand and additional forces with their support and command, control, and communications elements will enter the theater. Additional Patriot units will also enter the theater and be deployed to defend the massing forces and expanding lodgment. Depending on the type and magnitude of the threat, a robust AMD task force comprised of Patriot, THAAD and SHORAD units may be required to defend forces and critical assets. AMD task force operations are described in Chapter 5, Operations.


4-18. As our maneuver forces advance and move into corps areas, Patriot units may be required to support shaping and decisive operations. Shaping operations are designed to create and preserve conditions for decisive operations. Decisive operations are those that accomplish the task assigned by the higher headquarters. Within a theater, shaping operations may precede, follow, or occur simultaneously with decisive operations. Patriot units support both types of operations by protecting our maneuver forces, thereby reducing their vulnerability, and allowing them to proactively engage and destroy the enemy.

4-19. To support shaping and decisive operations in corps and maneuver areas, Patriot units may employ an alternating "bounding overwatch" maneuver scheme to provide air coverage for maneuver force elements. This scheme involves the use of Patriot remote launch capability, specifically, "bounding overwatch" (leapfrogging) remote launcher groups to extend air coverage into the maneuver areas while minimizing the number of unit moves. Remote launch operations are described in Chapter 5, Operations. TTPs for remote launch operations are discussed in FM 3-01.87 and ST 44-85-3.


4-20. Post-conflict operations include all operations conducted after the conflict has been terminated. In some theaters, residual enemy forces or terrorist factions may still be capable of launching TM or air attacks from isolated enclaves or areas outside of the theater. In these circumstances, Patriot units may be retained in theater to protect populated areas and to discourage attacks on redeploying forces, materiel, or geopolitical assets.


4-21. Stability operations are undertaken to promote and sustain regional and global stability, influence political, civil, and military environments, and disrupt specific illegal activities. Some examples of stability operations include peacekeeping operations, humanitarian and civil assistance, counter-drug operations, and counter-terrorism operations.

4-22. Support operations are undertaken to provide essential support, services, assets, or specialized resources to help civil authorities deal with situations beyond their capabilities. Some examples include disaster relief, humanitarian relief, support to civil law enforcement, and community assistance.

4-23. In some of these situations, terrorists or other rogue elements may use TMs or aircraft to disrupt normal civil and political activities or threaten stability. When appropriate, Patriot units may be employed to protect the civilian populous or geopolitical assets from terrorist attack. Patriot units also protect the force from enemy aerial RSTA, thereby promoting stability and discouraging threat factions.


4-24. After the cessation of conflict, some Patriot units may be redeployed along with other forces to home stations or to new theaters. The redeployment process consists of six phases—

  • Reconstitution for strategic movement.

  • Movement to redeployment assembly areas.

  • Movement to port of embarkation.

  • Strategic lift.

  • Reception at port of debarkation.

  • Onward movement from port of debarkation.


4-25. Reconstitution normally takes place in TAAs, where Patriot units initiate cross-leveling, repack and load containers, and reconcile unit movement dates through documentation, accountability of inventory, perform maintenance, and coordination of movement instructions.


4-26. Upon receipt of movement instructions, Patriot units move to the RAAs. At the RAAs, units complete activities that were not accomplished at the TAAs. These activities may include washing major end items, labeling equipment, performing needed maintenance, obtaining US Customs and Department of Agriculture inspections, and finalizing unit movement data and property books. Units also initiate personnel actions including processing decorations and awards, processing OERs and NCOERs, completing records and finance updates, etcetera.


4-27. In this phase, Patriot units move to the POE where they are processed for strategic movement. This processing includes configuring and inspecting cargo and passenger loads and verifying the final manifest and documentation.


4-28. Force projection and sustainment success is based on the strategic mobility (airlift, sealift,) of getting equipment where it needs to be. Deploying forces can improve the impact of these types of mobility by preparing unitized loads of ammunition, supplies, and equipment.


4-29. Upon arrival, Patriot units must coordinate the onward movement to their follow-on destination. Unit personnel must work with the military traffic management command, supporting installation transportation officers or theater army movement control agencies in completing the required documents for moving forces, sustaining equipment and supplies to the final destination.


4-30. This phase begins with the reconfiguration of forces and sustainment equipment and supplies at a designated marshaling area. It concludes with their arrival at their destination. Units should deploy in increments-advance party, main body, and rear detachment. The size of the unit, the requirement to support sustainment operations and the transportation assets impact on the number of increments needed. As units prepare for and actually move during redeployment, installation commanders should plan and prepare for reunions. This planning helps prepare the soldiers and their families to reunite.

4-31. The supporting installation's commander is responsible for the health, welfare, and support of arriving forces and for assisting with their movement back to their home stations or to new stations in accordance with movement plans. In this capacity, he sustains the forces and individuals until they arrive at their prescribed destination. This may require assisting them in airlift, commercial and military highway, military convoy, rail or other modes for moving forces and individuals to their proper destination, or follow on locations. These locations may be either former (home stations) or other locations for deployment.

4-32. Other considerations needed during redeployment are support, cargo, supplies and materiels, custom regulations, and logistics requisitions. All of these factors must be considered by the chain of command to ensure a smooth transition back to their home station. Types of support needed for the redeployment may include medical care, life support, and everyday use supplies.


4-33. Sustainment operations involve providing and maintaining adequate levels of personnel and materiel for the duration of a campaign. Primarily the Patriot battalion S1 and S4 staffs perform sustainment activities. They focus on how, when and where to accomplish the sustainment functions of manning, arming, fueling, fixing, moving, securing, and sustaining soldiers and equipment:

  • Manning ensures Patriot battalions and batteries are staffed with the right numbers and types of personnel to accomplish the mission.

  • Arming ensures Patriot batteries have the right mix and quantities of missiles at the time and place needed.

  • Fueling ensures sufficient quantities of petroleum; oils, and lubricants are available to support current and planned operations.

  • Fixing ensures that critical Patriot equipment is operational and that failed systems are quickly returned to operational status.

  • Moving ensures adequate transportation resources (vehicles, control procedures, movement planning and terrain deconfliction) are available to support operations. With Patriot units dispersed throughout an AO, moving missiles and equipment, and delivering repair parts become critical sustainment functions.

  • Securing ensures the sustainment area is adequately defended and secured against hostile activities.

  • Sustaining soldiers ensure personnel services, health services, field services, quality of life, and that general supply support is adequate.

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