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Posted on Jul 14, 2008 in Tactics101, War College

Tactics 101:028 – Commander’s Guidance

By Rick Baillergeon and John Sutherland

Force Application:

We must take every opportunity to legitimism the Kolastan Authority. We’re partners in deterring Chipstan aggression. (We’re here by Kolastan request). Put a Kolastan face on all operations. Exchange of LNOs is essential.

We have to keep the refugees from interfering with the division’s movement. We need to leverage the Azerbaijani authority and NGOs.

We need to destroy LURA’s Mortars and ADA systems before they fire. Counter-battery will not be effective..

Secure all choke points and likely ambush locations, but I want forces to take the fight to LURA.

We must have aggressive counter-IED/V-IED operations.

Ensure we have adequate forces available (based on sound analysis) for reaction along the route. Our success is the unimpeded movement of the Division.


Don’t forget non-lethal targeting of LURA and how we deal with the civilian populace (IO plan).

I would like a reserve but not sure on the composition, size and location. Help me out!

Force Protection:

We can’t secure everything. Sound analysis is key!

Plan for and take necessary measures for safe traffic control and de-confliction with civilian traffic. We can’t allow march units to bunch up and become vulnerable.

Develop flexibility in routes to quickly adapt to changing METT-TC considerations.

Continuously plan on ‘proofing’ routes for IEDs.

Consider our main operating base well outside Brown City to reduce footprint and minimize security forces.

Consider the use of obscurants in support of the passage of division near Brown City. Are there METT-TC considerations?

Don’t forget Kolastan’s airpower. If the “balloon” goes up ensure we have likely air avenues covered within our capability.

We have to carefully control fires inside the city (if we are forced to go inside), collateral damage and civilian causalities will work against our informational effects.

OPSEC is critical in the next few days. What is our plan for BLOGs, Cell-phones etc.


We should plan on being self-sustaining for a week or more.

Determine what capabilities the local business can support (Contracting), especially CL IV, CL III, CL VI without burdening the populace.

Figure out what we can do to support local authority/NGOs without hurting us.

Develop a robust vehicle recovery plan. If any Divisional vehicle breaks down in our AO consider it our problem.

We must have early and continuous coordination with the Division movement control.

Causalities are my biggest concern. We need a solid evacuation plan- besides Air!

Must plan on logistically supporting the Division around Brown City.

Must plan on conducting humanitarian assistance operations around Brown City and along Route X-RAY.

We must accomplish this task logistically, but with a view for future offensive operations.


We’ll need our C2 systems up and operational early.

Plan three C2 nodes; one to control operations in the decisive operations area, one to control the entire route, and one to interface with 4th Division units preparing to move from their Tactical Assembly Area through Brown City into their respective areas of operation.

Plan a safe location for the Main, I want to reduce security and put more boots on the ground.

MISSION: 291800MAR2013, 3 Brigade secures terrain vicinity Brown City to provide freedom of maneuver for the 4th Division in support of offensive operations into Area of Operation 5.


The decisions I will need to make are involved with the following:

  1. Committing a reserve.
  2. Reacting to a conventional attack.
  3. A synchronized attack in numerous locations by LURA forces.
  4. Unable to open maneuver corridor around Brown City due to METT-TC considerations.
  5. During operation, we begin using significant assets that hinder our ability to go on offensive operations in Area of Operation 5.
  6. The trafficability of route X-RAY.

I would like you to craft CCIR as part of COA development

  1. A COA offensively oriented on the LURA. It emphasizes searching and attacking LURA before they attack particularly SW of Brown City, Maintaining the initiative!!
  2. A COA defensively oriented on key terrain. It emphasizes securing critical points along the route and Brown City to prevent enemy attacks.

Commander’s guidance is a powerful tool if utilized properly. It will set the conditions to develop a plan which the commander is comfortable fighting with. It gives a staff its’ left and right limits and greatly diminishes the amount of wasted time by the staff. Early guidance sets the wheels in motion for the movement of key assets and resources. A commander who does not provide effective guidance has made it even tougher for his unit to accomplish its’ mission.

Next Month
Although we have certainly discussed it numerous times in the series; we have not sufficiently dissected the subject of defensive operations. Beginning next month, we will begin a series of articles focused on the defense. We will start with a general overview and then move into more specific detail. This detail will include developing an engagement area, utilizing your assets and resources to their optimum, and decision-making in the defense.

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