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Best Practices for Communications, Common Operational Pictures, and Command Post Jumps.


At all echelons, the intelligence warfighting function serves to contribute to the commander's visualization and understanding. In fixed facilites, this can be challenging--even with unhampered access to high-bandwidth internet and permanently emplaced systems on all classification levels of networks, radios, and phones. However, when taking the intelligence warfighting function into a tactical environment, the challenges increase, and they compound further when jumping the command post.

Knowing the options of the tactical environment and carefully considering them allows informed and deliberate planning. As a result, decision makers will have a better understanding of whether and when to jump the command post and can combine shared ownership of their actions before, during, and aftrer jumping command posts. This will facilitate near-seamless transitions and provide the contnuity of intelligence support to commanders during large-scale combat operations.

As a means of informing deliberate planning, let us examine the tactics, techniques, and procedures identfed as best practices through the lens of the Joint Multnational Readiness Center (JMRC). We will highlight the coordination necessary in order to provide contnuous intelligence support during transitions between main command posts and tactical command posts. A similar transition occurs when intelligence responsibilites pass to other capable enttes, such as the brigade intelligence support element (BISE).

Notable impacts exist when jumping the command post ranging from incomplete access to information to diminished communication capabilities with which to disseminate assessments. While intelligence should always be concise, there is no need to be frugal with bandwidth requirements when systems are fring on all cylinders and a robust architecture is enabling a high-volume throughput.

Command Posts' Roles and Responsibilities

Established and clearly understood roles and responsibilites is a theme that will be developed at length throughout this article, but it starts with understanding the purpose and function of a command post. According to FM 6-0, Commander and Staff Organization and Operation, "A command post is a unit headquarters where the commander and staff perform their activites," essentially a hub for mission command that enables the staff to work in support of the commander's visualization and situational understanding. "Each [command post] CP performs specific functions by design as well as tasks the commander assigns," which include but are not limited to maintaining the common operational picture (COP); running estimates; managing the fight; coordinating with higher, lower, and adjacent units; and otherwise functioning as a one-stop-shop for commander visualization and situational understanding. (1) (Note: For the duration of this article, "COP" refers to common graphics and position location information, including common intelligence pictures.)

Afer a unit establishes its command post, many available units enable different types of connectivity. These include network access at different classification levels, detailed and nested digital COPs, supported Distributed Common Ground System-Army (DCGS--A) Brains, and fully connected intelligence elements at echelon, such as the company intelligence support team, BISE, or analysis and control element. The ability to create this kind of intelligence architecture does not in itself limit the ability to move quickly, but atention and care must be put into planning, preparing, and executing deliberate transitions, which in this context are "intelligence handovers" between assorted command posts to provide contnuity untl the architecture is reestablished.

Main command posts and tactical command posts have different doctrinal functions, aside from the commander-directed dutes. The staff should steep themselves in doctrine, which should include FM 6-0. The field manual identfies key differences among the dutes and responsibilites of the varying command posts. "The main command post is a facility containing the majority of the staff designed to control current operations, conduct detailed analysis, and plan future operations." (2) Meanwhile, "the tactical command post is a facility containing a tailored portion of a unit headquarters designed to control portions of an operation for a limited time." (3) The tactical command post relies on the main command post for planning, detailed analysis, and coordination. The field manual then transitions to identfy that "when organizing the CP, commanders must consider effectiveness and survivability. However, effectiveness considerations may compete with survivability considerations, making it difficult to optmize either. Commanders balance survivability and effectiveness considerations when organizing CPs." (4)

Many factors affect the commander's decision; the more commanders can decide and codify through previous exercises and repettions, the less they need to consider anew. They can defer to the deliberate planning conducted before the high-intensity conflict. That leaves them free to make only subtle changes during the fight based on the operational variables of mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available--time available and civil considerations (METT--TC). Deliberate planning, whether conducted before or as time allows during the conflict, includes consideration of the factors of effectiveness and survivability. The U.S. Army identfies the subcategories of effectiveness as design and layout, standardization, contnuity and deployability, capacity, connectivity, and range. The Army similarly divides survivability into dispersion, size, redundancy, and mobility.

Combat training center observations suggest that deliberate planning should also include the following criteria when cobbling together the set of systems that will comprise the primary, alternate, contingency, and emergency (PACE) means of communication. Units can address them diferently but should not overlook even one.

According to the JMRC's senior intelligence officer and the fve-paragraph operation order structure, units must operationalize paragraph 5 (command and signal) to address paragraph 3 (execution) in order to defeat paragraph 1 (situation) and achieve paragraph 2 (mission) (all with the help of paragraph 4 [sustainment]). One would be hard-pressed to say that any warfighting function operates in a vacuum. In fact, each warfighting function relies heavily on the others to enhance commander visualization and situational understanding, ultmately informing the commander's application of combat power.

Intelligence Architecture: More Than One Way

Intelligence architecture is not a fixed, rigid flowchart. It describes how data, information, and knowledge flow across the enterprise, and there are a number of ways to make that happen. Within the intelligence community, the term "intelligence architecture" is often met with consternation; any follow-on topics are assumed too complex and therefore are summarily dismissed. A simplified frame of reference for intelligence architecture is a PACE plan for intelligence communication--the means to share processing, exploitation, and dissemination; data; analysis; assessments; and other intelligence production.

According to doctrine and the modifed table of organization and equipment, different units and echelons have specific organic assets for establishing network architectures. But who owns the architecture? Intelligence architecture typically rides on a network architecture backbone; therefore, it is necessary to gain an understanding of the options that the S-6/G-6/J-6 and signal community have available. We will examine what those options look like and each option's pros and cons with respect to the tactical fight.

When a unit differentates its PACE plan by end-user system, it clarifes what communications platorms to use. For example, regardless of military occupational specialty, a radio-telephone operator in the main command post can look at the PACE plan, look at the systems in front of him or her, and know what to use. The downside of Setting a PACE plan by end-user system is that the unit ofen fails to consider the method of transport. Voice over Secure Internet Protocol (SVoIP) phones and SECRET Internet Protocol Router (SIPR) email rely on the same backbone; if the PACE means of communication is SIPR chat, SVoIP, SIPR email, and frequency modulation, the unit may immediately find itself on its emergency communications platorm the moment the satellite transportable terminal goes down. That would be true regardless of whether it is self-imposed or due to enemy activity, and three of the four PACE means would immediately be non-mission capable.

Mulitple pieces of equipment can work on different waveforms. This has the potential to confuse the end user because the PACE plan may not specify which mode should be used. To successfully plan PACE by platorm, S-6 personnel must know each of the warfighting functions' desired PACE plan in order to deconflict the potential overreliance on any one waveform.

The electromagnetc spectrum is the range of all possible frequencies of electromagnetc radiation. The term waveform refers to the shape and form of a signal, such as the wave, moving in a physical medium or an abstract representation. It is important to understand that the electromagnetc spectrum is divided into waveforms: high frequency, very high frequency, ultrahigh frequency, and L, S, C, X, Ku, K, and Ka bands.

Setting the PACE means of communication by waveform eliminates the potential single point of failure between different communication platorms. Units then have a primary means of waveform connectivity, such as a satellite transportable terminal, and potentially an alternate, such as Tampa equipment. Both of these can enable SIPR connectivity. The S-6 feeds operation order development, specifically Annex H (Priority of Establishment of Mission Command Systems), which dictates the primary system to provide the given waveform capability.

The downside of a PACE plan by waveform is that end users and non-signal Soldiers might not know which systems operate on each waveform. To use waveform-PACE successfully, a shared understanding must exist within the organization about which end-user devices operate on which waveforms.

When talking in terms of waveform, it is common to use the electromagnetc spectrum. When specificity is needed, it is best to use the modulation within the spectrum. Modulation can be thought of as a subcategory. Generally, lower tactical internet communication platorms provide their own transport or backbone. Upper tactical internet communication platorms tend to "piggyback" on transport systems such as the Secure Mobile Ant-Jam Reliable Tactical Terminal and Joint Network Nodes. The unit modifed table of organization and equipment dictates which transport systems are assigned per unit.

Also worth mentioning are the intelligencespecific systems and capabilities, such as those that the TROJAN equipment provides or those that reside on the military intelligence domain. The TROJAN series of equipment provides an organic intelligence asset in the form of a satellite antenna mounted on a high-mobility mulitpurpose wheeled vehicle and shelter-housed racks of networking equipment. This allows a portable, self-contained means of establishing not only the upper tactical internet but also access to the military intelligence domain on SIPR and the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System, with national-level intelligence access as well, to support signals intelligence. Furthermore, the TROJAN serves to eliminate a command post's network architecture as a single point of failure for military intelligence systems.

Using the TROJAN, intelligence sections establish an intelligence architecture riding on a backbone of the TROJAN Data Network, as opposed to the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN--T) typically fielded within a brigade combat team. Modernization efforts intend to accommodate all warfighting function requirements via ubiquitous and redundant WIN--T systems; however, current capabilites fall short of providing on-the-move network connectvity or the ant-jamming and ant-scintllation capabilities desired of future network architectures.

Anytime a unit relies on tactical SIPR for connectivity within national to tactical intelligence, it needs to request frewall exemptions to access strategic SIPR. This applies across exercises and real-world operations, allowing support from higher echelons, theater intelligence brigades, and others within the intelligence community working on the strategic SIPR.

Within the WIN--T suite of communication technologies, the Global Broadcast Service enables intelligence cells to have a stand-alone capacity for receiving high-bandwidth data. When the S-2 section is trained and ready to implement its Global Broadcast Service capability, the section can support full motion video downlinks, high-resolution graphics, and the receipt of additional data sources (as well as the all-time favorites--MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN!). Although the Global Broadcast Service provides critical capabilities in the absence of other shared resources, these capabilities notably provide only one-way communication. They are not a means to transmit.

If the PACE plan uses different equipment with an array of vulnerabilites and resiliency, redundant communication capabilities enable coordination despite any number of enemy actions targeting command and control nodes. The unit should choose an assortment of capabilities. These can include mulitple radio networks, trailer-mounted satellite antennas, small satellite antennas, mounted and/or dismounted position location information systems like the Joint Capabilities Release, Blue Force Tracking, Force XXI Batle Command Brigade and Below, Integrated Tactical Network, or Net Warrior, and physical means like the ever-reliable

"runner." Along with the myriad categories of primary systems, units should also maintain their supporting and enhancing antennas and related devices in order to maximize the range and effective use of the available systems.

The system of systems that a unit chooses affects the tmelines for setup and teardown. This timeline, combined with the distance and duration of moving the command post, affects how long the command post will be out of the fight and unable to provide intelligence support. This relates to some of the requirements for before, during, and aftrer jumping command posts, which will be discussed later in the article.

Units must invest in time and resources to ensure Soldiers can set up and maintain the upper tactical internet. A unit's dedication to communication enables it to quickly set up, tear down, move, and re-establish using any number of systems. Because intelligence sections ofen rely on the network backbone, it is imperative that intelligence Soldiers know the network architecture and equipment. The extent of that knowledge affects how robust the intelligence architecture will be and how the available bandwidth affects its overall data throughput. The signal section bears the burden of establishing the network, but the onus of the other components of intelligence architecture falls on the intelligence warfighting function, specifically the intelligence and electronic warfare sections. One of the means to account for this knowledge is institutional learning like that provided in the noncommissioned officer and officer education systems and additional schools like the Batle Staff Course.

Intelligence personnel can set up military intelligence systems at the same time the signal Soldiers establish the network. Within that framework, DCGS--A is the program of record and the heart of a robust intelligence architecture. There tends to be overreliance on the limited population of 35Ts (Military Intelligence Systems Maintainers/Integrators) within units as many military intelligence Soldiers may be unable or unwilling to take responsibility for their own primary weapons systems.

Before discussing other pieces of intelligence architecture, let us examine some tactics, techniques, and procedures and practices that maximize a unit's flexibility and mobility while maintaining DCGS--A in the tactical fight. The BISE provides some unique capabilities that complement the intelligence and communications architecture within a brigade. There is also an extensive communication capability within the multfunction platoon. However, the limiting factor for these capabilities is ofen the lack of knowledge or overreliance on national to tactical intelligence. A recurring trend during JMRC rotations is that brigade S-2s do not know the totality of functions, equipment, capabilities, personnel, and resources they have at their disposal.

Furthermore, some legacy mindsets carry over from counterinsurgency operations, such as partcular uses of national technical means of collection, and the types of national to tactical intelligence used in the U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility over the past decade. It would be better to internalize the nuances of decisive action fights with peer threats and use assets within the span of control of the brigade combat team, or at least the supporting division.

At the outset of any mission set or rotation, the S-2 section and military intelligence company must conduct a detailed mission analysis that specifically addresses a communication infrastructure for national to tactical intelligence. The S-2s and S-6s should address three areas in this portion of mission analysis:

* First, determine the sort of communication platorms suitable for every form of trafc. Digital platorms are obviously better for passing graphics, compared to voice platorms, which are better for synchronizing.

* Second, establish a robust, redundant, and resilient PACE plan. Units need digital and analog PACE plans. Relying on one or the other ofen leads to failure. Additionally, atempting to force information over an unsuitable medium will result in frustration and missed opportunities. All too ofen, units post time-sensitve information in accordance with their digital PACE plan but fail to confirm receipt of the targetable information by the proposed action-arm. Analog development of similar information may find its mark but conflicts with issues of timely dissemination.

* Third, address priorities of work. Which communications platorm must be operational first, and which should be second? Although many systems can be established simultaneously, several require the expertse of a limited population. This must be clearly defned, lest the 35Ts be ineffective.

Many brigades have experimented with different configurations of their BISE and S-2 sections with varying degrees of success. One common theme is a split-BISE. This option has some advantages with respect to survivability but also has shortcomings regarding troops to task and redundancy of capability. To be effective, both elements must have a similar communications capability and enough Soldiers from each discipline to perform BISE functions at each location. Lastly, each section must have a clear mission and intent, detailed standard operating procedures for production, and a checklist to enable batle handovers.

Within the pool of military intelligence talent and capabilites, Digital Intelligence Systems Master Gunners (DISMGs) can help bridge gaps and generate options. DISMGs maximize the intelligence architecture and provide both situational awareness and know-how to the S-2 because they are specifically trained on managing digital systems. They have additional training and skills that allow them to advise how to create and maximize intelligence architectures. Their insights are paramount when planning to adjust the architecture and critical when forced into unplanned adjustments to the architecture (whether imposed by adversaries, adverse conditions, maintenance, or user errors). DISMGs also receive training on DCGS--A, which is useful when 35Ts are already stretched so thin.

Because there are many ways to establish the upper tactcal internet, almost no bounds exist as to the detail, size, or scope of digital products that can be shared. Real-time integration via Command Post of the Future and similarly synched systems becomes possible. Intelligence sections can send and receive ultrahigh defnition images; stream video for processing, exploitation, and dissemination; and use other high-bandwidth means of furthering commander visualization and situational understanding. Units do not plan to fail--they fail to plan, at least with respect to an informed and deliberate PACE means of communication.

Common Operational Pictures, Common Intelligence Pictures, and the Not-So-Common

Related to the capabilities inherent within the different command nodes, the primacy of analog or digital affects what is required to maintain the COP and/or common intelligence picture, and it plays a significant role in sustained and uninterrupted intelligence support.

Commanders have many reasons to prioritze digital or analog production, but they are virtually all infuenced by the speed, consistency, and ease of establishing the upper tactical internet. Digital COPs have the ability to layer data and incorporate graphics more seamlessly than do analog products, but they require the systems on which they reside. Another substantal consideration is how fast they can be updated; few COP updates are quicker than the S-2 grabbing a red marker, taking a few steps, and annotating updated enemy batle positions in response to an important incoming report.

Bearing in mind the difficulty in establishing the means to maintain a digital COP, many commanders opt for both analog and digital COPs; nevertheless, one of them typically has primacy. The tactical operations center's standard operating procedure should specify which is to be updated first. There is necessarily a cost comparison between the speed, ease, and dependability of an analog COP, and the detail and depth of a digital COP. Assorted best practices for each become salient while observing combat training center rotations.

Time and resource constraints relegate or enable one to create a hasty or deliberate COP. Although nondoctrinal, this is a relevant framework for considering the detail that goes into the COP; if time is available, it is benefcial to develop the best and most concise picture to maximize commander visualization and understanding. All too ofen, S-2s and G-2s are initally pressed for time but neglect to go back and add detail and depth whenever they have an opportunity.

Some aspects of COPs apply to both analog and digital. Standard operating procedures should address the templates, formats, and PACE plans for sending updates and accounting for differences in available systems among subordinate, adjacent, and higher units. Additionally, developing the information early enough so that it may be useful to recipients requires intentional, early investment in product refinement during the military decision-making process and rapid decision-making and synchronization process, and when the information is available to update running estimates. Situational templates and event templates need to be available early enough to inform and shape the development of operational graphics and the unit's plan. It is necessary to communicate substantal changes to the assessments clearly, so that graphics can remain common across the formation.

Considerations unique to using analog COPs include whether additional stafers are available to make copies of overlays. In the alternatve, the subordinate units may need to generate their own copies using "runners."

Another consideration unique to analog products is whether to maintain enemy information as an overlay to the main COP or within a separate Red COP. The tactical operations center's ergonomics necessarily infuence some of the aspects bearing on this decision. Depending on the accessibility of the main COP, availability becomes a concern. Because the S-2 has direct control of the Red COP, he or she has immediate access to annotate known and assessed locations and other enemy data, which ultmately allows the staff to multitask. The downside of a separate Red COP is the difficulty in comparing operational plans with assessed enemy courses of action. For this reason, finding a means to use the Red COP as an overlay, or generating overlay copies of the Red COP, enables both the plans cell and additional military decision-making process/rapid decision-making and synchronization process.

To the credit of digital COPs, and something that must be mitgated when using analog COPs, is the extent to which reporting may be an update to an already ploted element, and the need to deconflict this otherwise duplicatve information. DCGS--A functions to correlate new collection against known enttes within the Tactical Enttes Database, and it provides updated geolocation data. Decisions about whether to add enemy graphics to the Red COP, or to erase or move existing enemy information, must be deliberate.

While analog production has the greatest potential for expedient adjustments to the main COP, a significant number of opportunities for human error and "fat-fingering" also exist with respect to unit locations and logging all reports. Digital COPs offer the potential for automation from collection to depiction and, at the very least, allow copy-andpaste functions, which mitgates some of the opportunities for human error that are present in analog COPs.

By their very nature, digital COPs depend on the architecture that supports them. Because they te into data streams and can access large amounts of information, a different degree of knowledge management is required. Beyond determinations about the Five Ws for recording information, knowledge managers must take additional care regarding the access and rights to manipulate the COP. Whether using assorted sofware packages like the DCGS--A suite, Command Post of the Future, or Joint Capabilities Release, it may be necessary to limit rights and access to prevent others from deleting, corrupting, or confusing the COP, thereby making it inefficient.

Knowledge management needs to be deliberate and unitspecific at echelon. Units can gain power and efficiency when everyone in the unit has write-privileges and can contribute. For example, if the frontline units observe enemy activity across 10 different locations simultaneously, and all have the access and training required to update the digital COP, knowledge management can be done without any middlemen or delay. Conversely, if everyone has rights but not sufcient training, those same individuals, in an attempt to help, might cause confusion or add significant delays to information and knowledge communicated via the COP. Furthermore, if the unit fails to control access, the COP could fall into enemy hands, and they might use deception operations or delete it wholesale.

There is something to be said for consolidating control of the COP within the staff sections best suited to bring the information together and make assessments. Whether, and to what extent, COP management difuses across the staf, or whether only the batle captain and the S-2 have privileges, is up to the unit. Given the task organization, time constraints, and levels of risk deemed acceptable after other considerations discussed, a best practice for a primary and alternate for each of the Red and Blue COPs is to have extensive training in managing the COP, with as many additional personnel as feasible.

Determinations of primacy between analog and digital COPs significantly affect the ability to transition intelligence support responsibilites between nodes because analog updates must be made at each node. A single node can maintain a digital COP and update the information available to all outstations in near real time. For this reason, digital COPs have a greater tendency to be "common," while reliance on analog COPs is prone to every command post having a different, "non-common" operational picture. Command posts and intelligence elements potentially prioritze information disparately, leading them to record, depict, and analyze different information.

Intelligence Before, During, and After Command Post Jumps

Deliberate consideration within the military decision-making process and wargaming provides insights to the communications and mission command capabilities that a main command post provides, while also identflying likely enemy activity associated with potential, preplanned locations. This leads to a commander's assessment of risk and decisions regarding when and where to jump the main command post.

Before the Jump. The first step leading up to jumping the command post is determining whether the command post ought to be jumped. This begins early in the planning phase and is clarifed during the military decision-making process. When considering various factors of effectiveness and survivability, the staff should include recommended criteria and/or times indicated in the concept of operations to determine whether the main command post should jump--all of which is incorporated in the decision support matrix. If the commander does not use formal decision support matrixes, or decides main command post jumps do not warrant additions to the decision support matrix, the staff should develop a separate, internal main command post decision support matrix or similar product. This triggers staff discussion about jumping the command post, provides forewarning about likely upcoming main command post jumps, and otherwise increases readiness by reducing the main command post's need to react to jumping the command post.

Combat Training Center Best Practice

Preplan command post jumps and identify the criteria that drive them.

The staff should conduct thorough coordination before the command post jump, and they should arm the commander to make an informed decision whether and when to jump. The earlier discussion regarding network architecture plays a large role in the feasibility of jumping the command post, and each consideration in determining the architecture also becomes a consideration for whether, when, and where to jump the command post. The transition plan should clearly delineate the roles and responsibilites of each command post, including the extent to which intelligence support responsibilites shif to alternatve nodes during the command post jump. Units should use clear standard operating procedures to establish redundant capabilities across difering nodes.

Intelligence personnel should coordinate with the operations command sergeant major and signal officer regarding the reasons and triggers for jumping the command post. Early planning can allow time to generate potential command post locations and allow the S-2 and S-6 to vet the locations for suitability and survivability, determining whether they are viable and vulnerable. The S-2 should consider the threat situation affecting the command post in the current location and set of conditions, and the threat during the transition. Transition assessments should include route security and vulnerability to all forms of contact, not the least of which is visual observation, which ofen precedes other forms of contact on the command post during or aftrer the jump. The signature of the command post with respect to its size, concealability, and emissions, such as noise, light, and electronic warfare, also plays a large role in the overall vulnerability.

Meanwhile, the S-6 should conduct a line of sight analysis to confirm or deny whether the PACE means of communication can be established and the longevity of the communications structure in the new location. The commander should consider how long the proposed command post location would enable good communications with which to manage the fight before having to jump again.

Part of having defned roles and responsibilites includes specific actions in support of command post jumps. Sections must conduct intelligence handovers to allow contnuous support and they should be codifed. This requires the respectve nodes of intelligence support to notfy and acknowledge the shif in responsibilites, pass the running estimates, if not already communicated, and relay additional updates and considerations not accounted for within the standard operating procedure.

During the Jump. Even aftrer the intelligence element with the jumping command post transitions its general intelligence support requirements, it needs to maintain as much situational awareness as possible in order to inform the convoy of any threats in the area and provide input to the command post untl it can reestablish and resume control of the fight. Contemporaneous with the command post reacquiring the reins, the intelligence section similarly resumes the position to provide primary intelligence support. The jumping intelligence element strives to receive information and assess the enemy situation, but doing so may require a separate PACE plan for the duration of the jump, or at least moving to a different part of the PACE plan untl the command post is reestablished. Lastly, the quicker the command post jumps, the more it mitgates the effects of degraded communications on intelligence support to the unit.

Depending on talent management, development within the section, and capacity of other intelligence professionals across the organization, the transitions among command posts and intelligence nodes may have minimal effect on the overall intelligence support; however, a potential for degraded support exists and should be considered when making manning determinations, both at the outset and as changes are required.

Every element of intelligence personnel has some capacity to contribute to plans, future operations, current operations, and/or batle tracking. Depending on the available manpower and individual skills, commanders or S-2s may make different decisions to determine which nodes to use, how many personnel are at each node, and who is at each node to ensure the right mix of personalites, capabilities, and command post operations.

Afer the Jump. Similar to the considerations that necessitate alacrity when moving the command post, the unit needs to set up their systems swiftly. For the command post personnel to be quick and efcient, they should regularly practice at home station and in exercises. If the organization develops profciency, it can resume primary roles and responsibilites within the command post in a fraction of the time it takes unpracticed units to jump the command post.

Afer gaining access to current information channels, another intelligence handover should happen--the reverse of what was done when the primary passed the responsibilites to the alternate. The S-2 should then reassess the situation and incorporate information and assessments from the intelligence handover. Once this is completed, the S-2 can reassume primacy for intelligence functions.


Across the Army, leaders are high-caliber, smart individuals, but command post transitions tend not to be part of their schema for important, pre-operation planning. Deliberate and informed preparation facilitates reliable and resilient communications to maximize capacity throughout the fight. Using this connectivity allows greater use of digital COPs and wargaming. The use of analog production better enables the staff to contribute to commander visualization and situational understanding. Command post jumps, while largely affected by communications and COPs, require consideration of other factors as well. Jumping the command post should not be taken lightly, and a deliberate and informed staff is best able to support the commander's decision on whether and when to jump. When that decision is made in the afrmatve, knowing the options and conducting thoughtul planning lets the unit minimize negatve impact, expedite the process, and bring about near-seamless transitions.


(1.) Department of the Army, Field Manual 6-0, Commander and Staf Organization and Operations (Washingtion, DC: U.S. Government Publishing Ofce, 5 May 2014), 1-1. Change 1 was issued on 11 May 2015. Change 2 was issued on 22 April 2016.

(2.) Ibid.

(3.) Ibid., 1-2.

(4.) Ibid., 1-3.

by Major Jared N. Ferguson, Captain Jef W. Linzey, and Captain Casey L. Coyle

MAJ Jared N. Ferguson is the brigade intelligence trainer for the Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) at U.S. Army Garrison, Hohenfels, Germany. He has observed, coached, and trained ten U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization brigades and three division intelligence sections. He commissioned as an infantry officer in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in history, later completed a master's degree in international relations, and received a graduate certfcate in security assistance. Positions that MAJ Ferguson held while in the infantry include platoon leader, executive officer, and commanding officer. After transitioning to military intelligence, he served as a brigade S-2X, battalion S-2, brigade assistant S-2, and brigade S-2. His deployments include Afghanistan and Iraq.

CPT Jeff W. Linzey is the battalion intelligence trainer for the Timberwolves Team at JMRC, Hohenfels, Germany. He commissioned in 2008 through the Reserve Officers Training Corps, California State University at Fullertion. His prior assignments include Task Force Deputy J-2 (AFG), unmanned aircraft system platoon leader, battalion S-2, Army Service component command analyst and team chief, Deputy J-2 (TCD), and commanding officer. CPT Linzey has a bachelor's degree in English and a juris doctorate.

CPT Casey L Coyle is the signal and mission command observer, coach, and trainer for the Timberwolves Team at JMRC, Hohenfels, Germany. Before his assignment to JMRC, he participated in five combat training center rotations divided between the National Training Center and the Joint Readiness Training Center. Additionally, CPT Coyle is Mission Command Digital Master Gunner certfed. He served as the 6th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment S-6 for 18 months in 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, TX. While deployed in Afghanistan, CPT Coyle was the G-6 for the Train Advise Assist Command Southeast in Gardez province.

Combat Training Center Best Practice

Commanders determine the roles and responsibilities of mission command nodes and identify intelligence requirements. Then they man, train, and equip them and practice before the fight.

Combat Training Center Best Practice

Establish, vet, practice, and actively use a tactical operations center standard operating procedure. (1) Do periodicity and conditions-based reporting (every hour, upon contact, and upon observation); (2) Format and have a PACE plan for each type of report: "Given [XYZ] condition, send with format [ABC]."

Combat Training Center Best Practice

Consider the following additional criteria when determining the command post and architecture composition and PACE plan:

* Availability (includes maintenance status).

* Reliability (consistency of setup or occurrence of issues).

* Cost (and to whom: unit, headquarters and headquarters company, urgent operational needs, "Big Army," and others).

* Size.

* Weight.

* Ease (expertise or training required to set up).

* Speed of setup.

* External requirements (i.e., who else has to help?).

* Redundancy.

* Throughput (bandwidth-enabled).

* Signature and emissions (noise, light, and electronic warfare).

* Vulnerability and security (hackable or destroyable).

Combat Training Center Best Practice

Preplan transitions that link the PACE means of communication with phases of the operation. This nests and enables the concept of operations while accounting for the threat environment.
Combat Training Center Best Practice
Equipment for PACE Plan Comprising One From Each Column

                        PACE by Platform Options
Primary                 Alternate             Contingency

SINGARS (20K w/pa)      AN/PRC-154            154A (2K)
AN/PRC-117 (20K w/pa)   AN/PRC-117 (LOS SAT)  DTCS (LOS SAT)
AN/PRC-148 (7K)         AN/PRC-152 (LOS SAT)  GRRIPs (LOS SAT)
AN/PRC-152 (7K)         JCR/FBCB2
SVoIP (Upper T/I)       CPOF (Upper T/I)
SIPR Email (Upper T/I)
DCGS-A (Upper T/I)

                        PACE by Platform Options
Primary                 Emergency

SINGARS (20K w/pa)      Runner
AN/PRC-117 (20K w/pa)   Flags
AN/PRC-148 (7K)         Cellphone
AN/PRC-152 (7K)
SVoIP (Upper T/I)
SIPR Email (Upper T/I)
DCGS-A (Upper T/I)

Combat Training Center Best Practice
Waveform PACE Comprising One From Each Column

         PACE by Waveform Options
Primary  Alternate     Contingency  Emergency

VHF      UHF (Band I)  HF           UHF (Band III)

Combat Training Center Best Practice

Brigade combat teams use organic collection assets with particular emphasis on scouts, cavalry elements, and other ground-based collection assets.

Combat Training Center Best Practice

Clearly define roles, responsibilities, and deliberate placement of intelligence elements akin to considerations of command posts.

Combat Training Center Best Practice

Identify DISMGs as intelligence section master trainers.

Combat Training Center Best Practice

Use night shift staff and drivers of key personnel to make analog copies; this minimizes the impact on current operations and others during high operating tempo.

Combat Training Center Best Practice

Where should command posts be located?

* Close enough to have communications until the next preplanned move.

* Somewhere safe and secure (defensible terrain and active security plan).

# Away from natural lines of drift and observation.

# Away from other unit locations that might give away their position.

Combat Training Center Best Practice

Deliberate intelligence handovers are codified in the standard operating procedure. Conditions are met before breaking down the main command post, to include sharing current assessment, control of ongoing collection management, and anticipated enemy contact.
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Author:Ferguson, Jared N.; Linzey, Jef W.; Coyle, Casey L.
Publication:Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin
Date:Jan 1, 2019
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