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Targeting in the SBCT: taking advantage of 1-14 Cav's RSTA capabilities.

The 3d Brigade, 2d Infantry Division, Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT), Fort Lewis, Washington, participated in Millennium Challenge 2002 last summer at the National Training Center (NTC), Fort Irwin, California. The exercise explored joint concepts that may be applied to future operations throughout the Department of Defense.

The three-week experiment began on 24 July and involved more than 13,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines at the NTC; Suffolk, Virginia; Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada; and various other locations. The event featured both live field forces and computer simulations. For the SBCT at the NTC, it was the first time it had tested its operational organization as a brigade outside of Fort Lewis and Yakima Training Center in Washington. The brigade employed its tactical operations centers (TOCs), including the FA TOC, as well as one company of Strykers: A Company, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry. The brigade learned many lessons from Millennium Challenge, lessons that are being incorporated into the brigade's tactical standing operating procedures (TACSOP) and doctrine in preparation for certification at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC), Fort Polk, Louisiana, in May.

One of most important lessons learned in this experiment was the "transformation" of targeting, given the increased capabilities of the 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry (1-14 Cav), the brigade's reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition (RSTA) squadron. These capabilities give the SBCT information superiority, enhancing its lethality as a combat force.

The main conduit for this information superiority--which leads to situational understanding--is the 1-14 Cav's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations. Importantly, the brigade's targeting must be flexible enough to take advantage of the increased situational understanding to employ lethal and nonlethal means to defeat an enemy force in a rapidly changing scenario.

In this article, we describe the SBCT's 1-14 Cav organization and how it conducts ISR operations to increase the brigade's situational awareness. Then we examine the traditional targeting process and the impact of the "ISR Push" on that process. Finally, we discuss the changes to the targeting process implemented during Millennium Challenge to take better advantage of the RSTA capabilities.

1-14 Cav and ISR Operations. The RSTA brings a wide variety of assets to the SBCT. These include up to 18 sections of scouts (known as recce sections) that observe areas and collect combat information; each section has counterintelligence agents and tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (TUAVs) that report over-the-horizon real-time imagery intelligence and gain and maintain contact with the enemy. 1-14 Cav includes a ground surveillance radar (GSR)--not to be confused with the Q-36 and Q-37 Firefinder counterbattery radars in the FA battalion. The RSTA has remote battlefield sensors that locate, measure and report enemy signal signatures and the Prophet signals intelligence and electronic warfare (EW) system that locates and identifies enemy signal intelligence. In addition, the squadron has the Fox nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) reconnaissance vehicle that detects the presence of NBC in the battlespace.

According to the SBCT's organizational and operational concept (O&O), the RSTA enables the brigade to achieve situational understanding to set the conditions for the brigade's success, allowing it to maneuver out of contact with the enemy and then engage the enemy at the time and place of its choosing. With the RSTA, the brigade can better meet the O&O's vision of this conditions-based organization.

All RSTA assets are interconnected through the Army battle command svstern (ABCS) and the Force XXI battle command brigade and below ([FBCB.sup.2]). Working together, these systems provide constant enemy and friendly information as well as allow the brigade to transmit orders to lower echelons rapidly. The addition of Trojan Spirit (intelligence dissemination satellite terminals) throughout the brigade allows collaborative planning and video teleconferencing among staffs and, with the terminals' increased bandwidth, gives reach-back capability.

The doctrinal term the I-14 Cav uses for its reconnaissance operations is "ISR Push." This stresses "pushing" recce forces into the battles pace early in the planning process. The brigade staff, in turn, develops its plan from the information the recce forces provide.

But ISR push goes beyond traditional reconnaissance push operations by leveraging the connectivity provided by the ABCS. With increased connectivity with the RSTA, the brigade staff can adjust its plan during or after the military decision-making process (MDMP) to take advantage of the most current information. In some cases, a completely new plan may be required.

The goal is to target and attack the enemy at a time and place of the brigade's choosing with complete situation awareness--a voiding his strengths and attacking his weaknesses. The fires and effects coordination cell (FECC) at the brigade main command post employs lethal and nonlethal effects to attack the enemy's weaknesses. Clearly, the SBCT staff must be versatile enough to adjust to ever-changing conditions--must not become "wed" to the plan.

SBCT Targeting. The brigade targeting process focuses all collection and delivery assets to attack enemy targets critical to the success of the operation. The targeting process gives the commander a way to visualize the enemy's intent and capabilities 24, 48 and 72 hours in advance. This allows the commander to anticipate requirements, prepare orders, marshal additional resources and position assets for upcoming operations.

During Millennium Challenge, the brigade staff used the traditional daily targeting working group and targeting board to accomplish its targeting objectives via the decide, detect, deliver, and assess ([D.sup.2]-A) methodology. The working group meetings took place at night at 2100 and prepared products for the brigade commander's s or executive officer's (XO) briefing at 0900 in the morning.

The brigade followed the traditional targeting process in FM 6 -20-10 Tactics, Techniques and Procedures for the Targeting Process. The FA battalion commander, the effects coordinator (ECOORD), or the deputy effects coordinator (DECOORD) chaired the nightly targeting meeting. Attendees included the brigade operations officer (53). brigade intelligence officer (S2), air liaison officer (ALO), information operations officer (IO) and civil affairs (CA) officer (the 10 and CA officers from the FECC) and the brigade engineer.

To set the stage, the brigade S3 provided an operations update by reviewing the commander's s intent, assets available, friendly situation and operations in the next 24 hours. The S2 briefed the current enemy situation, high-value targets (HVTs) in zone, priority intelligence requirements (PIRs). and future HVTs and courses of action (COAs). The DECOORD reviewed the current target synchronization matrix (TSM), proposed high-payoff targets (HPTs) and gave the status of fire support assets. The IO officer explained the synchronization and integration of elements of IO and other nonlethal targeting, proposed brigade 10 objectives and established the nonlethal collection plan. The CA officer advised on the effects of friendly operations on the civilian populace. The brigade engineer, EW officer, psychological operations (PS YOP) NCO and others also recommended targets or asset utilization during the meeting.

Immediately after the meeting, the brigade S3 issued a fragmentary order (FRAGO). The FRAGO outlined the changes in the next day's tasking. The targeting officer in the FECC updated the advanced FA tactical data system (AFATDS) with the changes to the TSM and target list and submitted requests for Air Force support following the air tasking order (ATO) process. Each staff section updated its ABCS with the information gleaned from the meeting, as applicable. The targeting decisions made at the nightly meeting and any changes were briefed to the brigade commander or XO the next morning.

Shifting the Paradigm. The challenge for the brigade staff during Millennium Challenge was to adapt the targeting process to respond to the rapidly changing tactical situation as RSTA intelligence indicated. The problem normally was not 48 to 72 hours out but close-in targeting--48 hours or less. The question became not whether or not the brigade should conduct the meetings at set times, such as 0900 or 2100, but if the brigade needed additional targeting sessions.

In many cases, important information obtained from RSTA through ABCS came at night--during the time the recce troops were operating in the battlespace. In other cases, the TUAVs provided important information during the day as their prime hours of flying were late afternoon to end of evening nautical twilight. Direct feeds from the UAVs though the ground control station to the brigade TOC could change the enemy target set well after the targeting meeting. In the recce troop case, the target set would be completely different at 0300 than it was a few hours before.

The argument for keeping the targeting meeting at set times was that it ensured a well-thought-out product to begin adapting--all players would come to the meeting prepared with their input and a productive meeting would ensue. There also continued to be a need for a set daily meeting to look 72 hours out so the brigade could submit air support requests in accordance with the 72-hour ATO cycle. The disadvantages of not having an additional ad hoc meeting were obvious--12 hours could pass between targeting meetings, and the RSTA could identify a lot of changes in that time. The enemy may have repositioned its assets in response to RSTA contact or TUAV detection.

Clearly, we needed targeting "huddles" with key players. The brigade XO, S3, S2, ECOORD and FECC huddled; often the RSTA S3, XO and FSO, who may have the most current combat information, were involved in the huddles via Trojan Spirit. In this way, the targeting team took advantage of increased situational awareness to retask assets and resources immediately. As necessary, the targeting huddle discussed the retasking of recce or UAV assets with the RSTA staff.

Another issue was adapting targeting to the proactive nature of the RSTA reconnaissance effort for future operations while the rest of the brigade was involved in "current" operations. By its nature, the RSTA was out front, performing route and area reconnaissance of the objective, while the rest of the brigade's maneuverbattalions were preparing for decisive and shaping operations. In other cases, such as during decisive operations, the RSTA often was performing reconnaissance on the brigade's next objective while the rest of the brigade was executing the current fight. In short, a new operation required a new fire and targeting plan.

The question became "How do we integrate the fire planning and targeting process to support RSTA during 1-14 Cav's mission even while the brigade's attention was primarily focused elsewhere?"

One targeting technique the brigade employed during Millennium Challenge was to have a recon/targeting huddle with the brigade commander, RSTA commander, ECOORD, brigade S2 and RSTA S3 before 1-14 Cay crossed the line of departure. During this huddle, the brigade commander reviewed the RSTA reconnaissance plan and, along with the ECOORD, approved the RSTA's fire support plan that normally was developed by the RSTA FSO.

Once the RSTA began its operations, the RSTA targeting and fire plan became the de facto brigade fire plan for the operation, at least initially. The fire plan was changed once the brigade completed its current operations or if the RSTA recon effort refined the target set.

With ABCS, the brigade disseminated changes to the fire plan fairly easily. Normally, the brigade S3 wrote the FRAGO to instruct subordinate units to retask their assets. The S3 sent this plan via the maneuver control system(MCS)-light to all subordinate elements and posted it on the brigade tactical website. Subordinate units could pull the FRAGO off the website moments after it was posted. The FECC simultaneously posted the changes to subordinate fire support elements (FSEs) via AFATDS.

What proved more problematic was working within the joint task force ATO. The brigade had to submit ATO nominations 72 hours in advance. Based on the RSTA's continual intelligence updates, the brigade targets previously submitted to the ATO often needed to be refined or deleted altogether--needed to be changed quickly after receiving new intelligence. The ATO was not flexible enough to accommodate the rapidly changing targeting situation.

The brigade is only starting to develop tactics and techniques to address its increased capabilities. With the continued fielding of equipment in FY03, the brigade will aggressively tackle the targeting challenges as it prepares for initial operational capability (IOC) in the middle of 2003.

It is an exciting time for the SBCT and transformation. The imperative of tailoring the targeting process to take advantage of transformation technologies and doctrine has never been greater.

Figure 1: The intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Capabilities of the Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (RSTA) Squadron, Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT), 2d Infantry Division

* 18 x Reconnaissance Section (Scouts)

* 1 x Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (TUAV)

* Remote Battlefield Sensors

* 1 Prophel Signals/Electronic Warfare Intelligence System

* 1 x Fox Nuclear, Biological and Chamical Detection Vehicle

Figure 2: Attendees of the SBCT Nightly Targeting Meeting. The effects coordinator (ECOORD) or his deputy (DECOORD) chair these meetings.



Brigade S3

Brigade S2

Air Liaison Officer (ALO)

Information Operations (IO) Officer

Civil Affairs (CA) Officer

Brigade Engineer

Electronic Attack Officer

Psychological Operations (PSYOP) NCO

Lieutenant Colonel Steven A. Sliwa commands the 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery, part of the Army's first Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT), 3d Brigade, 2d Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington. He is also the SBCT's Effects Coordinator (ECOORD). In his previous assignment, he was a Strategic Planner in the Directorate for Strategy and Policy, J5, Joint Staff at the Pentagon. Among other assignments, he was the Brigade Fire Support Officer (FSO) for 1st Brigade and Battalion Executive Officer (XO) of 3d Battalion, 6th Field Artillery, both in the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) at Fort Drum, New York. He participated in Operation Desert Storm in the Gulf with the 3d Armored Division and in Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti with the 25th Infantry Division (Light).

Major Robert O. Kirkland is the Deputy ECOORD (DECOORD) for the 3d Brigade, 2d Infantry Division (SBCT) at Fort Lewis. In he previous assignment, he was the Chief of the Individual Training Branch, G3, I Corps, also at Fort Lewis. He also served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the US Military Academy at West Point. He commanded B Battery, 3d Battalion, 321st Field Artillery, part of the 18th Field Artillery Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. During Operation Desert Storm, he was the Assistant G3 Plans Officer for VII Corps. He holds an MA and PhD in History from the University of Pittsburgh.
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Author:Kirkland, Robert O.
Publication:FA Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2003
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