U.S. ARMY WAR COLLEGE
Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania
"NOT TO PROMOTE WAR, BUT TO PRESERVE PEACE"
The views expressed in this handbook are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Defense or any of its agencies. This document may not be released for open publication until it has been cleared by the appropriate military service or government agency. Permission for reproduction of any part of this document within the Armed Forces must be obtained from the Commandant, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, 17013.
The Battalion Commander's Handbook, 1996, was complied, written and edited by former Army battalion commanders of the United States Army War College, Class of 1996. The purpose of this handbook is to help newly-designated and present battalion commanders command effectively. This document does not express official Army doctrine, nor is it a complete checklist for how to command a battalion. It is, however, a synthesis of the combined wisdom and distilled experience of 62 successful former battalion commanders. Therefore, it may prove a valuable resource for commanders seeking guidance, information, and the counsel of peers.
The battalion commander faces many challenges in today's uncertain world. Some in our society question the need for an Army, while others question its proper role. At the same time, our Army units deploy more frequently than in the past, to missions more varied and more ambiguous. What has not changed, and will never change, is the commander's requirement to lead his or her soldiers with vision, caring and competence. Each commander in our Army must strive to be this kind of leader; our great American soldiers will follow him or her, and deserve no less.
RICHARD A. CHILCOAT
Major General, USA
The editor and authors gratefully acknowledge the participation of the 62 members of the U.S Army War College Class of 1996 who provided the raw material for this handbook. We extend special thanks to Colonel Elizabeth L. Gibson, project advisor, and Colonel (Ret) John J. Madigan, III, editor of Parameters, both of whom provided invaluable assistance and support.
This book was written by:
Thomas P. Gannon
Alfred H. Gross
Harold E. Cooney
Lieutenant Colonel (P), Field Artillery
Richard J. Flood
Lieutenant Colonel, Transportation
Walter L. Holton
Lieutenant Colonel (P), Infantry
Wayne R. Kniskern
Lieutenant Colonel (P), Field Artillery
James V. Mudd
Lieutenant Colonel (P), Engineers
Ronnie R. Roberts
Lieutenant Colonel, Quartermaster
Richard B. Waterhouse
Lieutenant Colonel, Infantry
The Battalion Commander's Handbook, 1996 is the fifth of a series of similar books published by the U.S. Army War College since 1977. The purpose of the book is to provide useful tips, ideas, information, philosophy, and guidance to newly designated and incumbent battalion commanders.
The instrument used to gather this information was a comprehensive survey that asked open-ended questions of former Army battalion commanders, who were students at the United States Army War College Class of 1996. The survey response rate was 50%. The raw responses were collated and typed into a searchable data base maintained by Parameters. All survey responses were carefully considered and categorized by subject matter experts who have considerable experience in that area of command. For inclusion in this book, the survey responses had to meet the criteria of clarity, insight, and common sense. Rather than posit a single solution to a particular problem or subject area, multiple recommendations were included whenever possible.
This book owes much to previous editions of the Battalion Commander's Handbook, but also has several new features. Media relations, community relations, deployments, and inactivation are given separate chapters, reflecting their increased importance. In addition to the usual chapters on specific type battalions, the garrison/base support battalion is featured for the first time. Conversely, there is no separate chapter on Reserve component battalions, because we did not want to imply an artificial distinction in commandership of battalions among components of our Total Army. And, although this book is not intended to cover operational missions, we included a chapter on commanding and deploying a peacekeeping task force, in recognition of the increased likelihood of this mission.
The handbook does not provide a recipe for command success; no book can fulfill that expectation. The commander's ultimate success will be determined by how well he or she leads, inspires, and cares for soldiers entrusted to him or her. For those fortunate officers who are beginning their commands, we, the authors of this book, envy you your opportunity and wish you every success.
THOMAS P. GANNON
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER 1: PREPARING FOR COMMAND.......................... 1
Pre-Command Courses................................... 2
Final Preparations.................................... 2
After Arrival on Post................................. 3
Tips for Success...................................... 5
CHAPTER 2: COMMANDING..................................... 7
The Change of Command................................. 7
Taking Command/Transition............................. 8
Getting to Know Your Soldiers......................... 10
NTC Lessons Learned................................... 18
Relationships with Key Members of the Team............ 22
Sensitive Items....................................... 31
Inspection Programs................................... 35
Battalion Social Life................................. 37
What Former Battalion Commanders Would Do Differently. 38
CHAPTER 3: COMBAT ARMS BATTALIONS......................... 40
Training Philosophy................................... 40
Planning Training..................................... 40
Operational Considerations............................ 42
Battle Staff.......................................... 43
Tactical Operations Center (TOC) Operations........... 44
Live Fire Exercises................................... 45
Light Infantry Operations............................. 47
Air Assault Battalions................................ 48
Field Artillery and Air Defense Battalions............ 49
Airborne Battalions................................... 50
Ranger/Special Forces Battalions...................... 52
Armor Battalions and Mechanized Battalions............ 52
Aviation Battalions................................... 54
CHAPTER 4: COMBAT SUPPORT BATTALIONS...................... 57
Personnel Issues...................................... 60
CHAPTER 5: COMBAT SERVICE SUPPORT BATTALIONS.............. 63
Management and Decision-making........................ 64
Operations and Support Missions....................... 65
Deployment and Supporting Deployment.................. 66
Physical Training..................................... 68
MOS Training.......................................... 68
Personnel Considerations.............................. 69
Unique Logistics Problems............................. 70
Community Impact...................................... 70
CHAPTER 6: TRAINING BATTALIONS............................ 72
Preparation for Command............................... 72
Drill Sergeant Characteristics........................ 73
Tips for Working With Drill Sergeants................. 74
Reception of New Soldiers at the Training Battalion... 75
Assessing Command Climate and Training Effectiveness.. 75
Gender-Integrated Training............................ 76
Entry Level Separations............................... 77
New Starts and Reclassifications...................... 77
Congressional Inquiries............................... 78
Preventing Fraternization and Soldier Abuse........... 79
Support Channels...................................... 80
Cycle Breaks.......................................... 80
Your Commanders and Staff............................. 80
CHAPTER 7: RECRUITING BATTALIONS.......................... 82
Taking Charge......................................... 82
The First 90 Days..................................... 83
Taking Care of Soldiers............................... 86
Annual Training Conference............................ 87
Public Relations...................................... 87
Relationships with peers.............................. 87
CHAPTER 8: GARRISON/BASE SUPPORT BATTALIONS............... 89
Self Esteem........................................... 89
Getting Started....................................... 89
Directorate of Personnel and Community Activities..... 92
Directorate of Public Works/Directorate of Engineering and Housing.......................................... 92
Training and Training Support......................... 94
Logistics and Transportation Management............... 95
Quality of Life....................................... 95
Labor Relations....................................... 96
The Civilian Workforce................................ 96
Bottom Line........................................... 97
CHAPTER 9: COMMANDING AND DEPLOYING A PEACEKEEPING TASK FORCE 98
Environmental Assessment.............................. 99
Mission Analysis...................................... 100
Task Organization..................................... 100
Pre-deployment Training............................... 101
Rules of Engagement................................... 101
Equipping the Force................................... 102
Force Protection...................................... 102
Employment Operations................................. 104
Linguist Support...................................... 105
Media In Deployment Area of Operations................ 106
Postal Service........................................ 110
Chaplain/Unit Ministry Team .......................... 111
Field Sanitation...................................... 114
Command Relationships................................. 115
Command Policy Letters................................ 116
Unit Rotation......................................... 118
CHAPTER 10: FAMILY SUPPORT................................ 120
Family Support Groups................................. 120
Tips for Spouses of Battalion Commanders.............. 122
CHAPTER 11: INACTIVATION.................................. 124
CHAPTER 12: DEPLOYMENTS................................... 129
CHAPTER 13: COMMUNITY RELATIONS........................... 133
Local Organizations................................... 133
Community Support..................................... 133
Charitable Activities................................. 134
Information Forums.................................... 134
Bottom Line........................................... 135
CHAPTER 14: MEDIA RELATIONS............................... 136
Basic Rules of Engagement............................. 136
Establishing a Media Policy........................... 137
Conducting Interviews................................. 138
Maximize Your Media Opportunities..................... 139
Media In Deployment Area of Operations................ 140
RECOMMENDED READINGS...................................... 142
PREPARING FOR COMMAND
This chapter contains information which can assist you in preparing for command. The following list is a compilation of techniques and considerations which have been used successfully by other commanders. The period between your notification of command selection and your assumption of command, if utilized properly, will contribute significantly to your success. Once in command, time will become your most constrained resource. Consider the following now, as you prepare to assume command.
Prior to the Pre-Command Course
o The current battalion commander may make initial contact with you. If he or she doesn't, no sooner than 6 months prior to the change of command, call to introduce yourself, and ask for his or her ideas on what you should do to prepare. Keep in mind that he or she is still the commander, so don't appear anxious to take the command from him or her.
o Following the initial contact, ask the current commander to send copies of the unit's MTOE/TDA, long range training plan, and tactical, maintenance, and garrison SOPs, and current policy letters. This will help you understand how your unit operates.
o Become familiar with your battalion's mission and Mission Essential Task List.
o Contact your battalion's higher headquarters and ask for their current policy and guidance letters.
o Become familiar with the geographical area where you will be serving. If a foreign language is involved, study it.
o Read your battalion's ARTEP and applicable "How to Fight Manuals."
o Review your senior rater profile. Consider restarting it if necessary. Discuss senior rater philosophy with your branch chief.
o Begin to get yourself into top physical condition. Physical training will be the first event the soldiers will see you do, so don't embarrass yourself. The ability to score 300 on the Army Physical Fitness Test will do wonders for your credibility.
o Review individual soldier skills. Soldiers will evaluate you on your competence. Don't ask them to do something you can't.
o Be computer proficient when you arrive. Understand current programs such as SATS and ARCIS.
o Read Perry M. Smith's book, Taking Charge: A Practical Guide for Leaders.
o Read John G. Meyer's book, Company Command: The Bottom Line.
o Study to become technically proficient, particularly focusing on maintenance, supply, and physical security.
o Don't neglect your current job. It is the most important thing you have to do right now.
o These courses are conducted at Fort Leavenworth and at your branch school. They provide refresher training to assist you in preparation for command. The courses are well-structured and provide an excellent opportunity to focus on your professional competencies and interests.
o Take advantage of this opportunity to share ideas and information with others in the class. Seek out leaders who have recently served in your future battalion and ask for their insights and recommendations.
o Maximize the opportunity for hands-on weapons and equipment training.
o Make a notebook of key POCs at all PCCs for future use.
o Encourage your spouse to participate in the Leavenworth PCC. It is an excellent opportunity for the two of you to discuss expectations and agree on his or her role in battalion activities.
o Take advantage of the flexibility in each of these courses. Do not hesitate to ask for additional instruction in an area of interest or concern to you.
o Attendance at the "SOLO" (Senior Officer Legal Orientation) course in Charlottesville, Virginia is a tremendous opportunity to become current in UCMJ, court martial process, standards of conduct, and involvement with commercial activities.
o Respond quickly to any welcome letters you receive. Write your official biography, because it will be needed for the change of command program.
o Brush up on personnel management, especially leader development. Know UCMJ, promotions, administrative discharge procedures, drug and alcohol programs, family advocacy procedures, and officer, enlisted and civilian rating procedures.
o Learn the battalion's unit history.
o Take the time to write your philosophy of command in your own words. Address those things that you value and are important to you. Consider addressing some of the following topics: vision, values, ethics, objectives, integrity, priorities, standards of discipline, expectations, training, safety, maintaining, leadership, and soldier and family care.
o Your philosophy sets the tone for the command. Keep it short, but make sure it says what you mean. You will be judged by what is important to you and your ability to live up to it.
o If possible, prior to assuming command, take leave with your family. Pre-arrange billeting for your family at your new duty station. Try to get your family settled into quarters prior to your assumption of command.
o Prepare yourself financially. Command is expensive. An average monthly expenditure of $100-$200 is not uncommon for a two-year command.
o Ensure that all uniforms are serviceable with your new organizational patches sewed on. Have sufficient sets of daily uniforms, and a complete set of class As and service dress (blues), including brass and medals. Strongly consider purchasing the Army blue (mess dress) uniform.
After Arrival on Post
o Minimize your presence in the unit until you assume command. You may need to play this by ear; in some cases the outgoing commander will be glad to fully orient you, in other cases he or she may not have the time or the inclination.
o Be absolutely certain you do not express any negative opinion about conditions in the unit, or give any directions to your future subordinates.
o If time allows, and the outgoing commander is willing, discuss the following:
- The current key personnel situation.
- The unit's strengths and weaknesses.
- The overall command climate.
- Thoughts on upcoming training and operational events.
- Goals and priorities already established for the unit.
- Policies and programs the outgoing commander recommends be kept or changed.
- Status of nondeployable personnel.
- Disciplinary situations and investigations currently in progress.
- Battalion members who are HIV positive.
- What skeletons are in the closet.
- Finally, ask what should be changed, if he or she had it all to do over again.
o Conduct office calls with your boss and his or her boss. Arrange a conference with the higher headquarters staff. Ask to be briefed on what they do and their interface and relationship with your unit.
o Discuss your unit's mission and priorities with your boss. Make sure that you fully understand his or her mission and priorities.
o Familiarize yourself with the installation, training areas, post facilities and the services available for your soldiers and their families.
o Visit other battalion commanders and ask questions. Discuss different ideas and programs. Don't be afraid to borrow good ideas.
o Sit down with your boss' Command Sergeant Major and discuss unit strengths and weaknesses. Ask about the command climate and your noncommissioned officers.
o Understand the unit's long-term missions. Review Division/Bde/Bn long-range plans.
o Visit in/out-processing, finance and personnel. Complete your own inprocessing to gain a first-hand appreciation of how your soldiers are treated.
o If the commander makes them available, review last year's status reports, command inspection reports, EXEVAL report, Combined Training Center results, etc. However, be careful about asking for these if they're not readily offered.
o Thoughtfully prepare and rehearse what you will say the first time you talk to your key personnel. Be prepared to cover your philosophy of command, and those things you consider non-negotiable.
o Observe junior officers, NCOs, and soldiers every chance you get.
o Participate in the change of command rehearsals IAW the MOI.
Tips for Success
o Get your personal life in order. Take care of any family, health or physical problems prior to assuming command.
o Throughout your preparation be confident in your ability. Study, listen, and evaluate. Remember, command is a two-year growing process.
o Take your time, organize and prepare your thoughts and comments. Everything you say will be critiqued by someone.
o Be prepared to be "sized up" by the battalion officers and NCOs. Set the standard with a personal philosophy of "6 Be's":
- Be on time.
- Be dependable.
- Be sharp in appearance.
- Be courteous and respectful.
- Be careful.
- Be prepared.
o You are the role model for the ethical and moral climate of the battalion. Your example speaks for what is acceptable and what is not.
o Empower your soldiers to do what's right both legally and morally.
o Keep an open mind, never become complacent, and always look for better ways to do things.
o Create a professionally rewarding and enjoyable environment.
o Time management is critical to your success. Prioritize, delegate, and don't let crisis management monopolize your time.
o Take time to reflect and enjoy your command. Two years pass very quickly.
o Don't be too proud to ask for assistance.
o Think before you act or react.
o Make everyone feel important--they are.
o Above all else, be yourself.
With the battalion colors comes the responsibility for the command. Following the change of command, your efforts will be devoted to command transition. While minimizing disruption, you must learn about your battalion, take a good look at your facilities, and focus on those things essential to running an effective and motivated battalion.
The Change of Command
o Rehearse your comments, then try to relax before the ceremony.
o When you address the command, keep your remarks brief. Remember the day belongs to the outgoing commander.
o Know who is in the audience and recognize VIPs in your remarks.
o Recognize the outgoing commander and his or her spouse, and thank those who assisted you and your family in getting settled.
o Commend the soldiers for their part in the ceremony, and commit yourself to their well-being.
o Understand and comply with Post/Division Change of Command protocol.
o Schedule your reception for nearby, but separate from the change of command site. Don't go overboard; stay within accepted norms.
o Depart immediately for your reception to let the outgoing commander say his or her good-byes without your presence.
o Try not to change command on a Monday. Friday's rehearsal will have been forgotten.
o Don't schedule too much for the first day. Remember that the staff and soldiers have put in long hours preparing for the change of command. Take some time to set up your office, and enjoy the day.
o Meet with CSM, XO, S3, company commanders, and staff. Open communications early.
- Review your command philosophy. Let them know your expectations for them and what they can expect from you and your spouse.
- Ask for input on existing programs.
- Have the key leaders explain their jobs, how they see their roles, and their expectations and standards.
- Ensure that the staff understands their support role, and that only the Battalion Commander can say no to the commanders.
o Task the XO to set up and orchestrate the transition. Ensure that he or she knows exactly what you want in the way of briefings and meetings. Some useful tools follow:
- The Adjutants Handbook, published by the AG school, has an excellent guide for transition.
- Some use a goal-setting session with key leaders early on. This involves everyone in setting goals and objectives.
- Some have used an organizational effectiveness transition model. You might consider a day away from the unit, followed by a social with spouses.
- Consider providing separate letters outlining your expectations for your Command Sergeant Major, subordinate commanders, and staff. Use the letter as the basis for their initial counseling sessions during which you discuss philosophy and goals.
o A very powerful transition method, useful for quickly gauging the command climate and getting information from different levels of the battalion, is for you and your CSM to hold several separate meetings with officers, senior NCOs, soldiers, and civilians, in turn. At each meeting, you should ask the group to help "bring you on board" as the new battalion commander by answering three questions:
- What do you believe this battalion does well? What do you believe this battalion does poorly? What would you change if you could?
- Next hold a follow-up IPR during the following quarter to review your cadre's perception of the battalion's status, using the same three questions.
- The strength of this technique is that it allows the new commander to see the battalion through the eyes of each personnel layer of the organization. The commander can build a sense of participation, and demonstrate the significance he or she places in the opinion of each member of the team.
o Establish your relationship with the CSM early. Your CSM deserves your unconditional trust right from the start. Tell him or her that you expect complete frankness and openness in your dealings with each other. Listen to how he or she sees the CSM's role, then discuss your vision of his or her role. This process may require some negotiation.
o Visit all battalion facilities and activities as soon as feasible.
o Meet with the chaplain and Inspector General early on. They are great sources to gauge the status of your battalion's command climate.
o Immediately publish and distribute your command philosophy. Within the first sixty days reduce your most important policies to writing. Keep them brief, few in number, and enforce them. Rescind them when no longer needed.
o Don't change things for the sake of change. Immediate changes should be made only for situations that involve safety or troop welfare, or because they are incompatible with your philosophy of command.
o Discuss proposed changes with your Command Sergeant Major, commanders, and staff prior to their implementation.
o Don't change policies before checking to see if they were dictated by higher authority.
o Never make negative comments about your predecessor. You did not walk in his or her shoes.
o Don't publish unenforceable orders or policies. Before you publish them have the IG and Staff Judge Advocate review them to ensure their enforceability and legality.
o Define the battalion priorities. Review upcoming events, commitments and taskings. Focus on the critical tasks. Develop clear, concise, attainable goals for the battalion. Spend the majority of your time in these areas.
o Review ORBs/support forms/Personnel Qualification Records on key people (CSM, XO, commanders, First Sergeants, and Staff).
o Quickly learn the names of your officers, senior NCOs and their spouses.
o Review the prior year's status reports, all inspection reports, and Combined Training Center "take home" executive summary. Study the command inspection program results.
o Do not make promises you can't keep.
o Be resolved that you will never implement all your good ideas. Address as many as you can and be satisfied with what you achieve.
o Remember first impressions are the ones that last.
o Avoid referring to the battalion as "my battalion;" you have not been given ownership, this is a partnership experience.
o Think through problems and pay attention to detail.
o Tell your leaders to do their jobs and not to worry about Officer Efficiency Reports and Non-Commissioned Officer Efficiency Reports (NCOERs). Be committed to getting OER support forms and conducting initial counseling within required time-frames.
o Observe junior officers, NCOs, and soldiers every chance you get to determine their state of discipline, standards, and morale.
o Remember that consistency and a good sense of humor make it easier for people to approach you.
o Watch your own attitude as you begin command. A few hard-charging new battalion commanders come in with a "holier than thou" attitude, awed by their own importance.
Getting to Know Your Soldiers
o Talk to the soldiers as soon as possible after the change of command. Talk to the entire battalion at one time, then address them in groups: officers, NCOs, enlisted soldiers, and civilians (if applicable). Share some of the following:
- Your background.
- Your command philosophy.
- Your expectations and standards.
- Your commitment to soldier and family welfare.
- Your commitment to safety.
o Be visible: Get out of your office and walk around. Spend time in the motor pool, at training sites and in the field talking to soldiers and leaders doing their jobs. Never be too busy to stop and share thoughts and ideas with members of the battalion.
o Always consider the view from the soldiers' perspective, especially before you make a decision. Ask yourself: Would I like to live in these billets? Eat in this dining facility? Work in this motor pool? How would I feel about doing that?
o Ask your leaders what they like or dislike about the unit, training, and maintenance.
o Soldiers will respect a leader who is technically and tactically competent, willing to listen to their ideas and leads from out front.
o Visit your unit billets during duty hours, at night, and on weekends. Talk to CQs, SDNCOs and visit with soldiers.
o Eat in the Dining Facility frequently, both on weekdays and weekends. Consider a weekly breakfast or lunch staff call.
o Consider lunch once a week with your company or battery commanders, either in the dining facility or the officers'/community club.
o Consider asking the Inspector General to conduct a Command Climate Survey.
o Make maximum use of positive motivation. Give plenty of praise to those who are deserving.
o Spend time with your soldiers and their families. Learn their names. It is important to them. If they sense you have a genuine concern for their well-being, they will be more open and less likely to become a future problem.
o Take an active interest in Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) meetings. Consider having a small soldiers' council which meets with the Command Sergeant Major regularly.
o Attend training. Meet your troops at ranges, on guard duty, and during squad and crew training. Do physical training with different groups regularly.
o Always visit soldiers or family members who are in the hospital. Carry calling cards to write a personal note if the soldier/family member is either unavailable or asleep when you stop by.
o Get out, observe, and even participate in athletic events, particularly those scheduled after duty hours.
o Be prompt on all actions involving your soldiers. Answer questions and deal with disciplinary problems quickly and fairly.
o Remember, everyone wants to do a good job. Your goal is to lead your soldiers to success.
o No one can take your integrity--you have to give it away.
o Soldiers want to know how much you care before they care how much you know.
o What you do is more important than anything you say.
o Never give anyone reason to question your integrity.
o Accept responsibility for the shortcomings of the unit; pass credit for success on to your subordinates.
o Never allow yourself to be perceived as self-serving. If subordinates believe you're trying to get ahead at their expense, all you'll get is minimum effort and little initiative. Be selfless, always.
o Be compassionate.
o Never violate or be perceived to violate your own rules or policies.
o Be willing to admit when you are wrong.
o Reward soldiers and publicly recognize those that make the tough decisions--those who choose the harder right over the easier wrong.
o Use the chain of command to pass on new information and policies. Avoid making too many "public announcements."
o Let your leaders know that mistakes are OK as long as we learn from them. Explain to them the difference between mistakes and mission failure, versus doing something illegal or immoral.
o Allow subordinates to "change your mind" now and then.
o Identify your lane and stay in it.
o Share hardships; be visible. Do what your soldiers do, eat what they eat, sleep where they sleep. Ensure your subordinate leaders do the same. There is no substitute for personal example.
o Give young officers and NCOs a chance to grow. Spend time with them, listen to them and let them talk to you one-on-one.
o Mentorship takes time. Ensure you take the time with your lieutenants and captains.
o Be consistent with rewards, awards and punishment. Formulate your philosophy before you deal with the first case. Be just.
o Praise in public, criticize in private. Recognize good soldiers at every possible opportunity.
o Be technically and tactically proficient. If there is something you don't know, say so and ask a soldier or NCO to teach you--they'll love it.
o Let your leaders lead. Give them mission-type orders. Don't micromanage.
o Foster teamwork and camaraderie among your commanders and staff. Discourage too much competition, except at sports events.
o Have a sense of humor.
o Be open and accessible. Make yourself available to soldiers by getting out into their work areas.
o Perceptions are reality.
o Prepare your unit to function without you.
o Sexual harassment--ensure your leaders know what it is, how to identify it, and how to deal with it quickly and justly. Ensure you do the same.
o Establish a good relationship with your fellow battalion commanders.
o Insist on leaders giving orders in their own names.
o If you don't understand an order, talk to your boss and ask for clarification.
o Never walk past something that is not right; if you do you have set a new and lower standard.
o Bad news never improves with age. Insist that your leaders make timely reports, even if all information is not immediately available. Then give them time to get follow-up information. If necessary, assist them in confronting challenges.
o Lead from the front. Your personal example counts more than you will ever know. Your behavior in a variety of situations will shape and guide the actions of others.
o Don't let superior performance go unrewarded. Don't allow continued poor performance to go unpunished.
o Know how budgeting and financial management works within your unit and your installation. Need to learn this very early on.
o Train leaders on responsible stewardship of resources.
o You have the responsibility to provide resources to your subordinate commanders and leaders. They must have the means to execute the training and missions that you have assigned them.
o Get smart on environmental and hazardous materials policies in
your geographical area quickly--this is hot stuff.
o Demand honest and timely reporting.
o Insist on "indispensable" people taking leaves and passes.
o Use bars to reenlistment liberally. Review them periodically and recommend their removal if appropriate.
o Maintenance is not just the motor pool. It is weapons, NBC equipment, commo, work areas, barracks and soldiers. Set high standards and get involved.
o Look at systems, not just statistics.
o Take the time to counsel the folks you rate and senior rate. Talk to them about their potential and their future. Never surprise someone on his or her efficiency report.
o Maintain stability in your key staff officer and NCO positions. Analyze the turmoil before you direct key personnel changes.
o Periodically check on "other-than-appropriated-funds" (cup & flower, family support group, etc.) to ensure that they are being handled properly.
o Your time is very precious. Save some for your family.
o The battalion commander is the training manager in the battalion, not the S3.
o Don't overpack your training schedule.
o Don't let anything stand in the way of professional development and schooling for your NCOs (PLDC, BNCOC, ANCOC, Master Gunners School, Operations NCO course, etc.).
o Immediately after taking command, conduct a detailed Mission Essential Task List cross-walk from battalion level tasks down to individual tasks. Relate all training to this crosswalk. This is a very efficient way to train in a decreasing resource environment. Use FM 25-100/101 no matter how "non-standard" your battalion is.
o Use quarterly training briefings (QTBs) to your advantage. They force commanders and NCOs to think in terms of tasks, conditions, and standards, and lock in resources. They require your commander to buy into your training plan and resource it adequately. Ensure that your company QTBs are briefed to the brigade commander. This is required per FM 25-100.
o Following the QTB, conduct quarterly leader training by taking the training missions for the quarter, providing the associated MTPs for the training to each leader, and allowing them to plan the training at their level.
o Train to standard. Always have a standard to measure success. Evaluate every training event against the standard set by tactical and training doctrine and your guidance. Ensure your leaders know these standards.
o Personally train your officers and NCOs on FM 25-100/25-101. Make this part of leader integration.
o Design training on maintenance, physical training, NBC, and supply operations around your go-to-war mission.
o Conduct training meetings IAW FM 25-100. You can also use the meetings to teach your company or battery commanders about training. This is probably the most important session of the week. Ensure the right people attend and that they are prepared to talk details for the next three weeks, and, more broadly, out to six weeks.
o Ensure everyone in your battalion participates during prime time training, especially on command maintenance days. This will ensure maximum participation and eliminate excuses!
o After you set the standard and provide guidance and direction, make NCOs responsible for individual training and hold your Command Sergeant Major accountable for a well-planned and executed program.
o Concentrate on about five common task training (CTT) tasks per quarter at company level. Centralize testing at the end of the quarter at battalion. Continue to train on weak areas the next quarter. By the end of the year all tasks will have been trained to standard.
o One of the biggest problems your soldiers will have in PLDC
is map reading and land navigation. Train these skills well in advance of PLDC attendance.
o Focus training to culminate with live fire night exercises at squad and platoon level.
o Conduct "sergeant's time" training in the field, not in the motor pool. This training is great for Combat Service Support units. Five uninterrupted hours of individual training will pay big dividends.
o Make an extra effort to train your staff. Operations Order (OPORD) drills in a time constrained environment, (e.g., 4 hours for all troop leading procedures) is an example. Train in your Tactical Operations Center as much as possible.
o Ensure all your officers know how to prepare an OPORD. You can create a certification requirement to check this skill.
o Battalion training should be "combined arms." This means all functional elements of your battalion should train together. An example is in a medical unit where "combined arms" means formal treatment, tactical evacuation, medical resupply, blood acquisition, hospitalization, strategic evaluation, tactical movement, etc.
o Go out on other supported units' Field Training Exercises (FTXs) to learn their operations. Integrate counter-intelligence and Interrogation of Prisoners of War (IPW) into your Battle Command Training Program preparations. Take advantage of FTXs to train intelligence operations.
o A suggestion for running lane training is to have each company run one lane for the other units in the battalion. Each company will become a subject matter expert for the particular lane they run.
o If a training accident occurs, conduct a full chain of command "after action review" at the accident site. This should be led by the battalion safety officer and monitored by you.
o Maintenance is training. Create a command maintenance program consisting of dedicated training objectives to teach soldiers and leaders how to do unit level maintenance properly. Include on training schedules. Annotate services due (by vehicle bumper number) on training schedules also.
o Train and move at night as much as possible.
o Ensure junior officers and NCOs are involved in planning training at the company level. This will develop them professionally and make training more meaningful.
o Train with other units as much as possible, especially combined arms, to include Combat Support and Combat Service Support units.
o Involve leaders in simulations/wargaming at higher levels.
o Seek overseas deployments and major training center rotations. The training value is well worth the hardship and challenges.
o Get soldiers to live fire and demolition training at least quarterly. Integrate into a company or battalion Field Training Exercise.
o Visit training often, preferably unannounced. Require your Command Sergeant Major, S3, and company/battery commanders to do the same.
o Do formal after action reviews after every major training event. Incorporate lessons learned in future training plans.
o Rehearse all training. Nothing is worse than ill-conceived and poorly-conducted training. Successful training is linked to standards, not time; thus, a 14-day exercise may be terminated in 12 days if all objectives are met. This also becomes a good morale booster.
o Task your battalion experts to conduct technical training in areas such as NBC, signal, and maintenance.
o Drivers' training must be, by regulation, a consolidated battalion program.
o Require your leaders to complete a mounted land navigation course. This will teach them how to navigate, and also familiarize your leaders with large training areas.
o Conduct evaluated NBC battle runs, making them the training focus for a specific quarter. Allow subordinate units to prepare for these battle runs by focusing on individual and team training. Have unit competition.
o Create a leader integration program which will bring new officers and NCOs up to speed quickly. Include PMCS certification, driver's certification, a reading list, etc.
o The crawl-walk-run method is an extremely effective way to train on unit missions. The crawl phase is a step-by-step talk through, explaining each person's job and relationship to others. The walk phase is a slightly faster progression, focusing on decision points, cues, signals, etc. The run phase is a full speed execution. This method usually gets you to proficiency quickly, and greatly reduces frustration among the soldiers.
o Conduct officer staff rides if possible. They are excellent team building tools and professionally rewarding.
o Take advantage of every opportunity to train. Turn taskings into training events. All training should be hands-on as much as possible. Do it right.
o Have your medical personnel prepare for EFMB competition. Rotate them through your local hospital/medical treatment facility in the emergency room and on the surgical wards. Encourage combat lifesaver course participation for your nonmedical personnel.
o Training schedules are real and should be protected from changes. You must protect company training schedules.
o Cross-train people. This builds depth in positions and creates greater appreciation for the other soldier.
o Schedule small arms ranges for several days each month. Your turnover rate will demand this. Conduct pre-marksmanship training prior to every range date. Have your Command Sergeant Major manage this program.
NTC Lessons Learned
o Focus your annual training calendar on the National Training Center rotation.
o Be ruthless on the 1/3--2/3 rule of allocating planning time. Once the plan is made, don't change it. Pay close attention to logistics. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
o Constantly stress safety. This is more important than NTC performance.
o At least six months out, you must have a detailed plan to cover individual and collective training as well as gunnery skills. Train your Mission Essential Task List at all levels. A positive command climate will take you a long way. The NTC rotation is training, not job validation.
o Train as a slice, and build habitual support relationships with supported units prior to the rotation.
o The most helpful tool for any commander is a detailed, workable SOP.
o Combined Training Center is the best place, short of actual combat, to test one's personal mettle.
o Stress force protection techniques. Sandbag vehicles and wear flak vests. Dig fighting positions with 48" of overhead cover. Learn everything you can about countermine warfare techniques and practice them.
o In the eight weeks before the rotation, the brigade S2 will receive tons of information about the OPFOR. Read the OPFOR intelligence and put out weekly summaries to your soldiers.
o Platoon and squad battle drills are absolutely essential.
o Enforce sleep plans for leaders. Conduct rehearsals whenever possible for each mission. If time does not allow a rehearsal ensure that a backbrief (as a minimum) is conducted. Include your entire staff in planning and execution cycles.
o Have a playback; everyone must know it. Make sure your attached units can execute troop leading procedures. Expect the unexpected. Train in MOPP4, and train on actions against FASCAM. Have a backup commo plan if your secure nets don't work.
o Start getting equipment ready months out. Front-load vehicle services.
o Plan to go to war during your watch. Don't overlook any supply or maintenance problem that could stop you.
o Be personally involved in your battalion unit status report (USR). Tell it like it is; senior-level commanders cannot help you if they do not know what is broken. Have each company/battery commander brief his DA 2715 input for his company.
o Manage your Class IX (repair parts) account. Monitor what parts are being ordered, and when or if they are being put on the vehicle. This will cut down on excess accumulation and waste.
o Be ruthless on accumulating excess Class IX; you cannot take it with you when you deploy.
o Emphasize readiness in your command inspection program. Check maintenance, supply, basic loads, POM packets, medical, etc. Each commander, including you, should have at least two command inspections during his or her command tenure.
o Be ready at the end of the FY to use funds other units do not expend. Prepare a priority list of unfinanced requirements (UFRs).
o Clearly state your standards (>90% mission capable). NCOs should be in charge; officers ensure standards are being met. Make the use of -10 manuals mandatory.
o Your presence in motor pools, arms rooms, supply rooms and commo rooms is essential. Command maintenance means just that; the commander is there. The same holds true for all leaders.
o The best way to test readiness is to conduct unannounced alerts, marshall, and deploy your units. Do this often. Do an Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise as part of every Field Training Exercise/Command Post Exercise.
o Require a DA 2406 backside at least weekly. The XO, in coordination with your maintenance warrant/NCO, should be prepared to answer questions on equipment down-time.
o Determine if a local MAIT team exists. If so, get them in to review NBC, motor pool ops, PLL/TAMMS, arms rooms, etc.
o Look five years out for needed facilities and work with the installation Directorate of Public Works (DPW) to obtain them.
o Keep a close eye on equipment on hand (EOH) status, especially sets, kits, and outfits.
o Take a personal interest in personnel placement. Look a year out when making decisions (with your Command Sergeant Major) on enlisted and officer placement. Low density MOSs are usually critical and require continual attention.
o Check POM packages monthly. This is squad leader's business.
Personnel readiness is as important as equipment readiness.
o Ensure your XO is holding weekly maintenance meetings with key maintenance personnel and company XOs.
o ULLS and ULLS S4 are critical in terms of readiness. Keep your people trained and managers familiar with the automated systems available.
o Most installations are moving more and more to credit cards to buy parts and other items your battalion needs. Get familiar with the system; it really streamlines local purchases.
o Conduct periodic tool inventories and tool laydowns. Tools have a way of walking off and their replacement is expensive. Ensure tool shortage annexes are prepared and kept current.
o Establish a program to monitor logistical expenditures.
o Work your budget hard. Like it or not, this is critical at the company/bn level in today's environment. TUFMIS is usually two weeks behind so you must keep a checkbook of obligations.
o Get familiar with the stock funded depot level repair (SFDLR) program, especially in aviation or missile units. This can make or break your budget.
o Supply discipline is a key readiness indicator. Be ruthless on 10% monthly inventories and reports of survey. This may be a weakness to improve upon with your young officers and NCOs.
o Know what your basic loads are and ensure they are available in case of a no-notice deployment.
o Audit trails must be maintained for all accountable items. Tools are the biggest headache in this category.
o Ensure all equipment is hand-receipted to the user.
o Use the Army Maintenance Management System (TAMMS); don't create your own.
o Prohibit cannibalization of equipment. However, controlled substitution authorized by the battalion commander can be a smart way to enhance readiness.
o Platoon leaders must be able to reconcile ULLS-generated 2404s with the document register to ensure their needed parts are being ordered.
o Keep unit integrity. Periodic services should be scheduled (reflected on company training schedules) and conducted by platoon.
o Get to know your DS maintenance shop officer. Be part of the solution, not the problem, in terms of unit versus DS maintenance responsibilities.
o Never check training without checking maintenance. Spot check vehicles, masks, weapons, and related equipment.
Relationships with Key Members of the Team
o Consider having each staff section publish a "terms of reference" document, which describes duties and responsibilities of key members. This document should include points of contact and phone numbers.
o Encourage, recognize, and reward teamwork. Divisive relation-ships among your subordinate organizational elements will be detrimental to your battalion's productivity. Define success in terms of the team.
o You and the XO must have a clear understanding of the role he or she will play. The DA 67-8-1 is the initial contract.
o He or she should be the Chief of Staff and Deputy Commander, who runs the battalion while you command it, and must understand your philosophy, intent, and focus.
o Your XO replaces you in command during your absence. This is the prime individual for you to coach, train, and mentor.
o Use the XO as a sounding board, and get his or her opinion before major decisions are made.
o He or she trains and runs the staff, focusing on administration and logistics.
o The XO may run the Tactical Operations Center in the field.
o He or she is the principal interface with Brigade staff.
o The XO can be a great friend to company/battery commanders, but must also understand his or her advisory role to them.
o Put him or her in command often. Train for future battalion command. Explaining why you are doing what you are doing demonstrates your trust in his or her judgment and abilities.
o Use your XO to mentor and develop company XOs.
o Use your XO to develop and manage the budget.
o Use your XO to run and set the agenda for command and staff meetings.
o The XO should be responsible for all internal and external inspections.
o Get him or her "facetime" with your boss (brief the brigade commander, represent you at meetings, etc.).
S3 Operations Officer
o Focuses on operational issues and training. Plans and runs training meetings, Quarterly Training Briefings, etc.
o Encourage aggressiveness and reward initiative. Groom for future battalion command.
o Must be capable and comfortable operating on mission-type orders.
o Organizes, trains, and rehearses the Tactical Operations Center.
o Should work with the company/battery commanders.
o Talk to him or her daily. Get backbriefs. Don't let your S3 go too far down the road on a plan you haven't approved or provided guidance to execute.
o Resource the S3 shop properly. The job is too big to run short-handed.
o Let him or her be the S3, no matter how much you would like to do it!
o Encourage the S3 to establish and maintain good relationships with brigade and sister battalions.
Command Sergeant Major
o The Command Sergeant Major deserves your complete trust and confidence immediately. You should proceed from that understanding, and you will very rarely be disappointed.
o He or she must be best soldier and role model in the battalion, and provide the moral and ethical compass for NCOs.
o The CSM is the key advisor to the commander, and the sounding board for all decisions affecting the unit. The CSM provides the soldiers' perspective.
o The battalion commander and CSM must share the same philosophy; the unit cannot be pulled in different directions. It's the CSM's job to adapt or move on.
o Never disagree in public.
o The Command Sergeant Major is responsible for NCO career management and development, health, welfare, and quality of life issues for the battalion's soldiers.
o Never make an important disciplinary or enlisted management decision without consulting your CSM.
o The CSM can be a great friend to the companies. Encourage that relationship. He or she must be a non-threatening advisor to young commanders and junior officers.
o The CSM provides additional coverage at training, physical training, and in the field.
o Effective CSMs cultivate good relationships with sister units, brigade staff, and post agencies.
o The CSM is the primary architect of NCO professional development training, sergeant's time, EIB, EFMB training plans, etc.
o Develop a relationship where the CSM will come in and tell you what you need to hear, not necessarily what you want to hear.
o Your CSM should keep the Brigade CSM informed, as appropriate.
o Develop special relationship with company/battery commanders. You are their key to successful professional maturation.
o Your goal should be to provide broad mission guidance and let them command. Keep the door open to clarify intent or provide advice in private. There are many possible courses of action to resolve problems--give them the freedom to find workable solutions to a problem that you may have solved differently. This is a means to develop initiative, creativity, and innovation in your commanders. Accept their "B or C" solutions to problems whenever possible.
o Give as much freedom as they demonstrate they can handle. It won't be the same for each of them.
o Understand the difference of experience between you and them. Sometimes they just don't know what is obvious to you. Coach, mentor, and demonstrate.
o Competition between companies/batteries is inevitable and serves a useful purpose, but don't tolerate unhealthy, self-serving tactics or mentality among your units. Be absolutely clear on the battalion team orientation.
o Do not underwrite ethical deficiencies by ignoring such behavior by your commanders. Take corrective action immediately.
o Do all you can to develop your weak commanders. Don't keep them too long when you know that they will not succeed; the unit and the soldiers suffer from incompetent leadership.
o Showcase your company/battery commanders to their senior rater.
o Company command efficiency reports are critical to your commanders' future careers. Write them so your vote counts.
o Essential members of the command team, they must be tactically and technically competent, and totally committed to their soldiers, their mission, and the Army.
o They are the key to quality training each day.
o Do not allow "field firsts." Ensure the actual First Sergeant is at training each day.
o Good First Sergeants do not allow fraternization or abuse of soldiers in their companies.
o Capitalize on their experience. Seek their opinions. If you are receptive, they will come to you.
o In addition to being the spiritual adviser, the chaplain can be another barometer for command climate, personal problems, and morale problems for the commander.
o The chaplain needs to be where the soldiers are: on road marches, at physical training, and in the field. The chaplain should eat in the dining facility a couple of times a week.
o Chaplains may be inexperienced in staff procedures or the way the Army operates. However, they will learn fast if you invest the time to teach them.
o Be careful not to take the chaplain away from his or her primary chaplain functions.
o Recognize and accommodate the chaplain's requirements to the brigade, division, or post chaplain's office.
o Chaplains can generally coordinate and instruct special classes or workshops on marital relations, coping with anger, crisis and stress management, time management, etc.
o Help the chaplain develop an annual unit ministry plan. The chaplain must be in sync with you, the S3, XO, Command Sergeant Major, and company/battery commanders. This coordination can be difficult, and may overwhelm some chaplains.
o The chaplain should attend (but does not run) Family Support Group steering committee meetings.
o The chaplain must be well-versed and well-connected with every support agency in the area.
o The chaplain must truly love and be responsive to the needs of soldiers. Work with the brigade chaplain to replace him/her if this isn't happening.
o If possible, get the chaplain a duty vehicle. It's worth the cost.
o If possible, give the chaplain an office in your battalion area, rather than in the chapel.
o Fellow battalion commanders should be your teammates. Share information, ideas, and support. Refuse to compete against them. Work with them to solve a problem or achieve a standard.
o Keep your brigade commander informed. Deliver bad news immediately.
o Know your brigade commander's command philosophy.
o Frequently invite your brigade commander to social events.
o Work with the Inspector General. He or she is a good source of information about command climate and potential problems. A good IG can provide "disinterested party" factual advice. A positive relationship with the IG is to your benefit.
o The Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) can be your best friend if you use him or her before doing something dumb. When in doubt, get a legal opinion. Have the SJA help write or screen your Article 15 specifications, memoranda of reprimand, command policy letters, etc.
o Treat everyone fairly and professionally. If necessary, go the extra mile. Over the long haul, everyone benefits.
o Give your XO responsibility for managing the battalion headquarters administration, and for supervising the battalion staff.
o You need to keep on top of things by acting early to get your standards out to the battalion and to set the battalion's azimuth. Deal with the present, but focus on the future, at least 90 to 120 days out, and for some events, even further out.
o A mature, literate clerk/secretary is a necessity in the command section. If available, a civilian secretary will provide added continuity for the section. If you don't have a secretary, a smart E4, who is computer literate, intelligent, and an independent worker, will serve you well.
o Ensure that YOU do not contribute to any delay in processing administrative actions within your battalion. Make time before, during and after the normal duty day to deal with your in-box. Empty it every day or you will be part of your battalion administration problem.
o Your command section needs a system to handle the volume of paperwork and information that passes through it. Make the XO responsible for monitoring the system as to: what actions go through the Command Sergeant Major before coming to you and what you need to see immediately, and for removing those items that do not require your personal attention.
o A "hot" box and a series of folders for "do today", "signature/approval", and "info/low priority" are proven methods to prioritize your administrative workload.
o Be sensitive to your staff and their work load. Help them set priorities as to "must do's", "need to's", "like to's" and "if I have time to's." Tell them to stop work and go home at a decent hour for the sake of sanity and family. Good officers and NCOs will work themselves to distraction if you consider everything a "must do."
o Reduce meetings by number, length and frequency. Make them short, to the point, with a specific order of issues to be discussed.
o Define who is responsible for additional administrative duties and hold them accountable. Your officers should list these additional duties on their Officer Efficiency Report support forms. Your NCOs should include them on their performance counseling forms.
o Use computers and the automated tools that are available in dealing with administrative data. Swap disks to transfer information and utilize "Forms Engine" as much as possible.
o Make all administrative programs systematic. Reduce paperwork as much as possible throughout the battalion and be particularly concerned about the volume of paper going to company/battery commanders.
o Control and limit short suspenses from battalion staff to company/battery commanders.
o The development of a good administration SOP solves a lot of problems, but only if it is detailed and ruthlessly enforced. This SOP is also a very good tool for ensuring job continuity.
o Tracking systems for reports and suspenses will actually ease your battalion's administration headache. Have the routine suspenses briefed on a chart at the battalion command and staff meetings. This is a visual reminder to you, the staff, and the company/battery commanders/First Sergeants where the team stands in administrative processes and what needs improvement. No excuses, no alibis, just facts.
o Be aware of shortage MOSs. Subordinate commanders and the S1 need to keep you abreast of the MOS situation for readiness purposes. You need to lobby with higher headquarters for help. Brief the shortages on the Quarterly Training Briefing and forecast the problem in your USR before the shortage actually occurs.
o Make sure your PAC is soldier-oriented, and not a 0900-1700 operation. The battalion S1 and PAC NCOIC are key people who can make or break the morale of your soldiers. Theirs is often a thankless job; pick good individuals for these key positions and take care of them.
o A strong sponsorship program is important, especially if your unit is OCONUS. A positive and helpful sponsor will get the new soldier off to a good start. ACS will train good sponsors.
o Make the Command Sergeant Major responsible for the enlisted reception and sponsorship program. Get him/her to brief weekly, at staff call, to update company/battery commanders and First Sergeants.
o Ensure that each company has a plan to react immediately when a soldier arrives unannounced. If possible, have a barracks room set aside for this. The worst thing you can do is give a new soldier the feeling that he/she is not a key addition to your organization.
o Make time to welcome and orient all new leaders (officers and senior NCOs). Have the CSM do the same for the junior NCOs and troops.
o The re-enlistment program belongs to you and your Command Sergeant Major. Talk to the soldiers about re-enlistment regularly. The CSM, First Sergeants, and the battalion re-up NCO should be technical experts on re-enlistment.
o Ensure that your battalion re-enlistment NCO is visible and accessible. For a number of soldiers, the decision to re-up is not an easy one, and they have a lot of questions and concerns. Information must be available, helpful, and timely.
o Establish a goal of zero missed OER/NCOER/award suspenses. These are key to taking care of soldiers. Be ruthless on the timeliness of their submission.
o Know what you are doing when writing NCOERs and OERs. Make them accurate, honest, and do them justice. You are helping to decide someone's career, life and livelihood; you are affecting the Army of the future.
o Be open with your philosophy on NCOERs and OERs. The box check spread and your senior rater profile are things that your junior leaders should know up front. Knowing how you rate, and your specific priorities and standards, will reduce their concern for what is expected and diminish potential surprises on their performance evaluations.
o Counsel the people in your rating chain on their performance and progress every 90 days. This counseling should be formal, in writing, and face to face.
o Have the CSM review all NCOERs prior to submission. The CSM should feel free to advise any supervisor who writes an NCOER if he/she sees inconsistencies or other problems. Don't hesitate to get involved in the process if the CSM asks you.
o Check the end date of the last NCOER of soldiers coming in to the battalion. You may be surprised to learn that they need an annual just a few months after their arrival.
o Decide early how liberal or conservative you will be with awards. Find out from your boss what his or her position is.
o Set understandable, achievable standards for awards. Develop a systematic awards monitoring system. For example, have the S1 annotate what award is working for every departing soldier on your gain/loss roster. Have him/her brief 90 to 180 day losses, along with the award information, at command and staff meetings.
o AAMs and battalion certificates are inexpensive and timely ways to say thanks to a soldier for a great job. However, be more selective with ARCOMS and MSMs.
o Have an awards ceremony at company or battalion level to show off your honorees. Take photos. Keep your ceremonies scheduled regularly and don't let awards stack up in the PAC.
o Impact awards lose their impact if not written and awarded shortly after the act. Have the write-up submitted within 24 hours of the act and establish a system to ensure compliance.
o Develop an awards board. Have the S1 route award recommendations and a voting sheet to the appropriate staff principal, then to the Command Sergeant Major and the XO prior to submission to you.
o Don't let field exercises and missions be an excuse for late awards, promotions, and other recognition.
o Be careful with the use of a quota system. Although apportionment between companies has negative aspects, the real problems arise with commanders or section leaders who reward or promote everyone, or, equally bad, those who do not reward anyone.
o Be sure to acknowledge and/or give awards to post, community and family support members for their good work. There are a number of people outside of the battalion's direct chain-of-command who assist your soldiers and your battalion directly or indirectly. Don't forget these other valuable members of your team.
o Recognize all soldiers when they depart. This is not an awards ceremony. Whether you do it in company formations, a battalion formation, or a separate gathering, the important thing is to just say thanks for their work, their loyalty and their accomplishments.
o Mission accomplishment and safety are of equal importance. Develop a safety program, and make it your personal program. Have a meaningful safety motto like: "If it's not safe, don't do it." Reward safety!
o Emphasize safety by putting a safety paragraph in all orders. Insist on the accomplishment of a risk analysis prior to every mission. You, more than anyone in your battalion, need to champion safety and talk about it at every logical opportunity.
o Use the battalion maintenance technician in managing your safety program. Due to his/her hands-on experience and position he/she is very knowledgeable about safety issues.
o Capitalize on lessons learned from the unfortunate accidents that your battalion does have. Analyze and brief the soldiers on how the accident occurred and what could have been done to prevent it.
o Have a comprehensive drug prevention program. Strict enforcement of a continuous urinalysis program is essential. There should be no one, including yourself, exempt from testing.
o Deal with all abuse cases personally. These include alcohol, drugs, spouses, and family.
o It is important to use existing counselling programs when dealing with abuse cases. The community is normally well-equipped to assist you with abuse cases; take advantage of it.
o Promote healthy families in your battalion. Family advocacy is a commander's program, designed to protect those who traditionally can't protect themselves. If you can get a soldier and his/her family the help they need to fix a family problem, you have improved the readiness of your battalion.
o Enforce a "don't lose leave" policy. Early in the FY have the companies and staff sections calculate who is going to lose leave if they don't take it. Make all soldiers who are subject to lose leave develop a plan how they are going to take leave which will not conflict with major unit events.
o Require the chaplain to get involved in all soldier and family problems. He/she is a trained counselor.
o Ensure that the chaplain is used as an important part of your staff. He or she can be a good conduit of information up and down the chain of command, one who can give you a feel for what the soldiers think on a non-attribution basis.
o Deal with UCMJ swiftly, fairly and dispassionately. Although legal actions can take up a great amount of time, you must give them your undivided attention. Get to know your Staff Judge Advocate and always utilize him or her prior to initiating any UCMJ action.
o Be sure you understand what UCMJ actions your boss has reserved for his/her resolution. Decide what action you want to reserve for your level, and inform your commanders. Give your commanders as much authority as possible.
o Accountability of weapons and sensitive items can be a challenge for some commanders. This is a commander's program and is considered a "zero defect" aspect of command.
o Make company/battery commanders personally responsible for their unit's sensitive items accountability. Do not cut them any slack.
o Company/battery commanders, supply officers, and other sensitive item custodians need to be on orders designating their responsibility.
o All leaders (officers and NCOs) need to know the basics of sensitive item security and accountability. Most installations can conduct a one or two-day special course on what is sensitive and what are the rules of safeguarding and accountability.
o The S2 is your primary staff member responsible to ensure that your sensitive items accountability is up to standard. Don't hesitate to bring in the Inspector General or the PMO to verify that your program is what it should be. Prevention of loss is the name of the game.
o Soldier knowledge and understanding of the importance of sensitive item accountability will only be as good as the emphasis you put on it. Articulate and stress it often.
Sensitive items checks should be a part of your routine.
o Insist on responsibility and accountability. All soldiers are responsible for sensitive items when in their possession. They need to be made to understand that.
o The frequency and inspection of sensitive item inventories are dictated by regulation. Do not confuse these inventories with the supply accountability 10% inventory. Do not allow any of your battalion members to reduce this inspection to a "paper drill."
o The inspection of sensitive items must include their physical presence, their documentation on property book, and inventory history by serial number record. Equally important is whether they are being physically secured in accordance with the appropriate regulations.
o Inventory of sensitive items in the field must be accomplished frequently (at least twice a day). Inventories must be by serial number and physically accomplished by supervisors.
o In the field, the initial sensitive items inventory must be compared with the inventory of items not issued (remaining in garrison) in order to ensure total accountability. Upon return to garrison each company is required to do a closure inventory of ALL sensitive items and then file that final closure report with the battalion HQ.
o Report discrepancies in accountability immediately. Bad news doesn't get better with age, and you are more apt to recover the item the sooner you discover the loss.
o Develop an SOP for the disposition of sensitive items that are in the possession of soldiers required to depart the field prior to the termination of the exercise. Consider consolidating items that are not in use at the company/battalion headquarters or a field arms room.
o Give special attention to PLL for sensitive items. If you keep it on hand make sure that it is secured and accounted for.
o Ensure that all facilities used by your soldiers are operated efficiently and effectively for their benefit and well-being.
o Prioritize the use of your resources for the upkeep of facilities. This is critical to the morale of your soldiers.
o Normally the battalion S4 (or person in a similar position) is signed for the battalion real property (buildings). Ensure that property is sub-hand-receipted down through the chain-of-command to the on-site user level.
o Hold company/battery commanders responsible for billets, motor pools and dining facilities (if not consolidated). Hold the battalion XO or S4 is responsible for the HQ building and the consolidated dining facility.
o Have the S4 track facilities repair work for battalion buildings. Manage repairs systematically and document work orders by number and maintain a status log.
o Develop a battalion belief that your facilities are something to be proud of. Act on the belief that while it is your place of work, it is also your soldiers' home. The entire chain of command must stress the importance of the proper maintenance and care of facilities.
o Ensure that each facility manager knows that he or she is responsible and accountable for the facility and that you expect them to maintain it at a specified standard.
o The lower the responsibility for accountability can be fixed, the greater the interest, pride, and sense of ownership soldiers will feel. At the same time, ensure that the chain-of-command understands that they still have supervisory responsibility.
o Get personally involved when a work order affects the health of your soldiers; otherwise, let the system work. You or the XO should visit the Directorate of Public Works regularly with lists of items that have been awaiting repair. Find out why things aren't getting done and put emphasis where required.
o Develop a short range plan (1-2 years) and a long range plan (2-10 years) for improvements, and then go after the budget necessary.
o Repairs or upgrades to facilities come either from the Directorate of Public Works or from the unit R&U and self-help projects. The process works best if all three avenues are fully utilized.
o Find out what services and repairs the DPW is capable of doing and what kind of response time to expect. The DPW has become very limited in resources but can still provide specific services and repair functions.
o Keep your higher chain of command informed of the status of your facilities. A picture is worth a thousand words. Invite your brigade commander, garrison commander, or Commanding General, as appropriate, to see your problems. By doing this you will find that the DPW resource problems may be eased.
o Your emphasis on self-help programs and R&U teams can eliminate many facility shortcomings if properly supervised.
o Include facilities as an item in your battalion command inspection program.
o Visit your battalion buildings (to include day rooms, arms rooms, supply rooms, billets, administration areas and motor pools), on a regular basis.
o Visit support facilities that your soldiers use outside of the battalion area, to see if they are being maintained as they should be.
o Encourage your junior leaders to be aware of where the troops go, and periodically visit those facilities to find out if the troops are being taken care of. But remember, these are the troops' areas (hangouts) and they should have max freedom in their areas.
o There are numerous philosophies on how to manage troop billets. No matter how you do it, good order and discipline and a healthy, clean environment must be maintained. Remember this is not just a building, it is home to the majority of your single soldiers.
o If you have to inspect billets for health and welfare reasons, ensure that you are attacking the problem and not being viewed as harassing the soldiers.
o Get the soldiers involved. A Single Soldier Council (SSC) and the Better Opportunities For Single Soldiers (BOSS) Program gives the soldiers the responsibility to police themselves by helping the chain-of-command develop the SOP to do so.
o Visit the billets periodically to look at the facility and talk to the troops. They will tell you if there are problems with their rooms, but be sensitive to when you visit and how long you stay.
o Develop a program where a more senior soldier (E7 or up) visits young soldier's quarters off-post. Junior soldiers (E5 and below) who live off post often have problems with their rental housing. Ensure they are not being taken advantage of.
o Eat at your dining facility on a regular basis. A meal in the dining facility two or three times a week and a positive critique to your cooks on the facility and meal will do wonders for their support to the rest of your soldiers.
o Push the dining facilities to participate in the Connelly Award program. There is a lot of pride in this and the post commander will normally have the Directorate of Public Works support you with anything you need to make your facility competitive. The soldiers come out the real winners.
o Instruct your chain of command to be sensitive to how soldiers are being treated at supporting facilities (hospital, finance, etc.). If problems are being raised which don't pass the common sense test, there is probably something wrong with the support. Get personally involved.
o Facility key control is always a problem. Ensure that there is an assigned and responsible key control custodian for each building and that an SOP is written and enforced.
o Make sure that supporting facility managers know that they are doing a good job of support, and that you appreciate them. They will continue great support, and it will even get better.
o Inspections are vital to any unit. The purpose of a Command Inspection Program (CIP) is to assess what is working well and what needs fixing. Tailor it to your organization's needs.
o Learn what higher level inspection programs exist. Find out how they are operated, what they focus on, and how they are scheduled. Ensure that your CIP is in compliance with, and prepares your units for these inspections.
o Fight to eliminate pointless overlapping and redundant inspections. MACOM, division, brigade and battalion inspections can overlap greatly.
o Have one person in charge and responsible for your Command Inspection Program management. The most logical and widely used person is the battalion XO. It is your program, but the XO should administer it.
o The battalion commander and the Command Sergeant Major play a vital role in the CIP. Your direct involvement should increase if there were many unsatisfactory areas in the last inspection.
o If a company/battery fails a command inspection, the battalion staff fails. The battalion staff should have the philosophy that they are there to support the battalion units and their success is dictated by the success of those they support.
o Ensure, by inspection, that the battalion staff is doing all that is required to support your subordinate units. In most cases, the expertise on required staff functions is available at brigade, division and post level.
o Include sensing sessions in your CIP program. Sensing sessions are key to identifying possible leadership problems in a unit. A company/battery should have a sensing session administered by someone outside of the organization shortly after a new commander takes command and periodically thereafter.
o A good CIP should consist of a combination of formal inspections (requiring as much as 2 to 4 days down-time), informal inspections (requiring little down-time), spot checks, and follow-up procedures to verify the correction of faults.
o A basic rule of thumb: the higher a unit's personnel turnover, the more frequently the CIP needs to be used.
o A "freebie" (non-threatening) inspection for a new company/battery commander is very useful.
o Put regularly scheduled inspections on the long-range training calendar. Spot inspections/checks and follow-up inspections should be scheduled as required.
o Conduct follow-up inspections on unsatisfactory areas as soon as practical.
o Company/battery commanders should be able to request assistance in any area whenever they want it. The only problem occurs when the commander's philosophy is "the staff should fix it for me." The staff is there to assist, but not do the job for the companies.
o Use valid and up-to-date inspection checklists. Update checklists on a routine basis, highlighting changes, and ensuring that distribution is complete. Inspect changed criteria after a reasonable time, in order to allow implementation.
o Use technically competent inspectors. If you do not have a technically competent inspector, find one.
o After an inspection, have an appropriate outbrief geared to getting the results of the inspection to all of the people involved. Tell the good, the bad, and what is required next. In no way should the results be used as a "hammer" over a commander.
o All key players should be at inspection outbriefs. The attendance of the actual inspector and the responsible (inspected) person are paramount. As much as possible, problems with interpretations of requirements and standards should be addressed and resolved at this time.
o Provide a written copy of the inspection results to the unit commander at the outbrief or shortly thereafter. In addition to specifying the results, it should state what further action is required and when it should be completed.
o Consider not requiring a reply by endorsement (RBE) as part of your Command Inspection Program. Since inspectors have to reinspect to verify corrections anyway, the utility of the RBE and such paper drills is questionable.
Battalion Social Life
o Plan and publicize social events well in advance. Put them on the calendar.
o A cookout at your home is a good initial team builder.
o Schedule hail-and-farewells monthly. Rotate responsibility to sponsor them and require a briefing for each planned event.
o A formal social event for officers and NCOs, conducted about once a year, is well-received. Again, use the event as an opportunity to mentor and train your subordinates.
o Know what social events your companies are running.
o Try to keep expenses down. Consider the impact of the costs of sitters, dinners, etc., to your subordinates.
o Regarding alcohol consumption, treat your subordinates as adults. Above all, set the proper example yourself. Ensure everyone is educated about the consequences of DUI. Have a post-event transportation plan.
o Consider sponsoring periodic activities which involve families. Roll some Family Support Group activities into the battalion social activities, and vice versa. Possibilities include Christmas parties, Easter egg hunts, picnics, organization days, and sports days.
o At family events, try to add low or no cost attractions for the children. Look into getting fire trucks, police dog or horse units, or a static display. Get children's videos, a clown, or "easy-to-make-things" to keep them entertained.
o Active social events discourage excessive drinking. Look at bowling, skiing, line-dancing instruction, etc.
o Don't pressure attendance; a good command climate will foster it.
o Give your officers, Command Sergeant Major, and NCOs the opportunity to select and orchestrate social events--a sure-fire guarantee of attendance.
What Former Battalion Commanders Would Do Differently
o Spend more time with lieutenants.
o Took too long to fire an ineffective leader.
o Was too patient with senior leaders; should have been less tolerant of their mistakes.
o Should have been tougher with my subordinate commanders. They were never challenged to peak performance. Might have avoided relieving one.
o Should not have let my BOSS program lapse due to pressure of training events. Sent bad signal to soldiers in the billets.
o Get familiar with how the units that we support "fight."
o Allowed too many people to have a hand in decision-making.
o Place more emphasis on maintenance.
o Should have paid more attention to my captains and majors.
o Give my company/battery commanders more freedom/latitude to command.
o Spend more time listening and talking to soldiers.
o Should not have believed Branch and Pre-Command Course concerning Officer Efficiency Reports and senior rater profiles. Screwed up some great officers.
COMBAT ARMS BATTALIONS
With the recent end of the Cold War, the global environment presents many new challenges that may involve U.S. military intervention. As a maneuver commander, you must be prepared to respond to these evolving contingencies with highly-trained, combat-ready forces. You must therefore think and train as a fully-integrated combined arms combat force. You must take full advantage of available resources in order to achieve your objectives and training goals. The comments listed here have proven beneficial to previous maneuver commanders, and are provided for your consideration and use as you journey along the command trail.
o Train your unit as you intend to fight it in combat.
o Design your training guidance in accordance with doctrinal material published by Service Schools.
o Make your soldiers the best-trained in your service branch by conducting demanding, realistic, and professionally-administered training.
o Train as a team.
o Don't feel sorry for requiring your soldiers to train to standard. Avoid making training decisions based on your emotions--do what is right for mission accomplishment.
o Keep your soldiers informed.
o Review and understand your mission essential task list (METL) prior to or immediately after assuming command.
o Review and discuss your brigade or other higher headquarters METL before developing your training plan.
o Focus your initial training plan on the most recent gunnery, ARTEP, or maneuver training center evaluation results.
o Plan and train as a combined arms team with your habitually associated "slice" elements (e.g., artillery, engineers, air defense, logistics, aviation).
o Integrate and synchronize training plans with associated "slice" elements.
o Develop, publish, and sustain a six-week training plan.
o Be proactive and consider resource requirements (munitions, maneuver areas, medical support, transportation, etc.) during development of your training plan.
o Schedule and conduct weekly training meetings that:
- Are protected from unimportant interruptions.
- Are attended by you and conducted by your S3.
- Are attended by primary staff, subordinate commanders, and "slice" representatives.
- Are attended by Command Sergeant Major and First Sergeants. As these are the leaders with primary responsibility for overseeing training, they should be included in the training planning process.
- Require that resource needs and logistics supportability be addressed by commanders and staff.
- Begin with a sequential review of the next six weeks of training (starting with Week #6).
- Are targeted for approximately four hours in duration.
o Plan training to allow maximum participation by soldiers and units. Depending on the geographic separation of supporting units, combined arms training opportunities with your organization may be limited.
o Never develop unit training in a vacuum. Remember that the higher headquarters of "slice" elements are responsible for providing trained and ready forces to your unit. Therefore, advanced coordination with these headquarters will go a long way in avoiding training conflicts.
o Consider programming one week per month for field training that focuses on selective METL weaknesses.
o When developing training plans, remember to allocate sufficient time for subordinate commanders to train and develop their soldiers.
o Remember that training resources are precious. Do not waste them on repetitive training that has already been mastered. Work on areas that need improvement.
o Enforce strict adherence to "prime time" training directives.
o Begin every garrison and field mission/task with a mission analysis. You may then produce oral or written directives for your subordinates to follow. By routinely following this approach, your subordinates will quickly become accustomed to the orders process.
o Issue clear and concise commander's intent. You and your commanders must have the agility to act faster than the enemy, with a willingness to act on incomplete orders and make rapid decisions which concentrate your strengths against enemy weaknesses.
o Become familiar with your brigade and battalion TAC SOPs.
o If your unit does not have a TAC SOP, consider developing one that is:
- Concise and brief.
- Effective in reducing size of Operations Orders.
- Consistent with higher headquarters SOPs.
- A reliable source of procedures for reporting and reacting to reports of lost weapons and sensitive equipment.
- Applicable to all soldiers within the command.
- Complete, but avoids extensive philosophy.
- A reliable source for appropriate formats for all reports required of subordinate and higher headquarters.
o Stress the importance of integrating tactical intelligence in all operations.
- A unit that cannot see the battlefield is a liability.
- Luck favors the soldier with better tactical intelligence.
- Surveillance plans are developed by the S2 but must be approved by the S3.
- Incorporate "informational dissemination" in all intelligence training and operations.
- Require your S2 to design an OPFOR plan for all training opportunities.
- Assign S2 staff responsibility for drafting a recommended policy for security and accountability of weapons and sensitive equipment.
o Encourage all officers and non-commissioned officers to learn as much about their enemy as time and events allow.
o Use your Executive Officer (XO) as your Second-in-Command (2IC) and Chief of Staff for garrison and field operations. His/her duties should include:
- Representing the commander during his/her absence.
- Integration of garrison activities among the unit's primary staff.
- Orchestration of battle staff functions (including "slice" elements) during field operations.
- Supervision of all logistics operations.
- Coordination and deconfliction of resources among subordinate units.
- Interaction with the XOs of adjacent units and higher headquarters XOs and with community support agencies
- OIC for advanced party deployments to maneuver training centers.
- Commander's assistant instructor for training the battle staff.
o Conduct staff battle drill at least monthly. You cannot achieve and maintain battle staff proficiency by doing it every six months.
o Require each staff member to become expert in his/her assigned area of responsibility. Maximize use of doctrinal material from TRADOC and Service Schools.
o Require all staff briefings (garrison and field) to be done in an established format.
o Require garrison tasking orders to be published in five paragraph Operations Order format. This will reinforce speed and accuracy of preparation during field operations.
o Conduct full battle staff exercises during monthly field deployments.
o Require each staff member and subordinate unit commander to visit, tour, and establish rapport with your supporting Battle Simulation Center (BSC) personnel.
o In coordination with your BSC director, develop and conduct battle staff exercises at least bi-monthly.
o Seek opportunities to work with and evaluate adjacent units during their training exercises. Your ultimate goal is to enhance your proficiency to train and operate as a synchronized team. It's smart to share information between units.
o Rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse some more.
o Set up and enforce a command sleep plan. This is particularly important for commanders and staff principals. Soldiers will invariably get sleep but commanders and leaders tend to forsake this vital nourishment for themselves. An unrested commander or other leader will experience decreased mental acuity.
o Rehearse battle staff functions in various Tactical Operations Center configurations (e.g., stationary, displacing/jump, and partial).
o Periodically present on-the-spot awards to soldiers for exceptional performance. This may include presentation of unit coin, unit commander's coin/certificate for excellence, Army Achievement Medal (AAM), etc.
Tactical Operations Center (TOC) Operations
o Your TOC represents the heart of your unit during field operations. It is a place of business and must be treated as such 100% of the time!
o Charge your Headquarters Commandant or Commander with responsibility for:
- Development and setup of the TOC security plan.
- Publication and adherence to vehicle dismount and parking plan.
- Development and adherence to a prioritized list of events when occupying a new TOC site (e.g., security, communications, defensive barriers, tents, camouflage, etc.).
- Setup of NBC defense systems.
- Setup of mess, sleeping, and latrine facilities in the vicinity of TOC.
- Procedures for daily preventative maintenance checks and services of TOC vehicles.
o Your TOC should be streamlined to meet your operational requirements, yet also be survivable.
o Establish and maintain light and noise discipline around the TOC.
o Keep TOC small, light, and organized for 24-hour operations.
o Setup and conduct TOC displacement drills on a monthly basis, even in the garrison environment. The skills and knowledge required to implement this task are highly perishable and must not be allowed to degrade.
o Ensure that procedures are established for battle tracking during displacement operations.
o Ensure that all TOC personnel are cross-trained in other areas to ensure continuous operations.
o Consider METT-T when selecting TOC sites.
o Displace TOC frequently during daylight and at night.
o When developing tactical orders, keep them simple and maximize the use of Matrix Operations Orders with graphics.
o Issue orders as far forward in your operational area as practical.
o Discipline yourself and your staff to adhere to the 1/3 - 2/3 rule of allocating time when planning and producing orders.
o Always select and recon alternate TOC sites during the planning process.
o Ensure that directional antennas are positioned to focus emissions to the intended forces and not the enemy.
o When using standard FM radios, remote radios to cut down on emission signals. MSE and SINCGARS radios emit approximately 1/2 the power of AN/VRC-12 Series Radios.
o Make a habit of using speech secure equipment. Do not accept excuses from subordinates for not complying with this guidance.
o Require use of proper radio/telephone procedures at all times, even when speech secure equipment is used.
o Make it SOP to sandbag generators after set-up, even when quiet reliable systems are used.
o Make a habit of using tactical switchboards (wire) to subordinate units and remote sites during defensive operations.
o Always construct a sand‑table to aid in rehearsal of new OPORDs.
Live Fire Exercises
o Personally conduct a risk assessment before each live fire maneuver exercise.
o Physically attend all live fire maneuver exercises and require your battle staff to participate.
o Ensure that qualified medics and medical assets are available in the vicinity of live fire facilities.
o Adhere to all regulations and SOPs from post and higher headquarters that govern conduct of live fire exercises.
o Design training exercises to be as realistic and challenging as possible.
o Always conduct leaders' TEWTs and dry walk through rehearsals
before actual live fire training exercises. This should be done for both daylight and night operations.
o Always enforce troop leading procedures. Require backbriefs to ensure that everyone understands their roles/duties.
o Maximize use of sand table, mark-ups, and graphic aids.
o Assign sectors of fire/responsibility.
o Always conduct a detailed, full-up gunner's skills test prior to each live fire. Accept no shortcuts.
o Don't assume how soldiers shoot in simulations will equal range firing results.
o Ensure that soldiers and crews are proficient on their assigned weapon systems before letting them engage in live fire operations.
o When warranted, don't hesitate to pull soldiers from the exercise to undergo refresher training.
o Ensure that you have sound procedures for controlling the safe operation of weapon systems in tank and mech platoons.
o Ensure that a field grade officer is present at the range at all times; two would be better if you can afford it.
o Use safety assistant instructors at all demolition sites. Think safety at all times.
o Discipline soldiers to conserve their resources (ammunition and water). They are hard to replenish during fire fights.
o Insist on crew drill and standardization at section level. Certify crews quarterly to ensure that they are trained, ready, and disciplined.
o Take extensive measures to avoid fratricide.
o Don't rush live fire training. Use the crawl, walk, run technique with MILES before the actual live fire exercise.
o Whenever possible, make simulation equipment available for soldiers to practice after duty hours, especially the Weaponeer.
o Incorporate as many weapons as possible from your combined arms team during live fire exercises. Remember to integrate mortars.
Light Infantry Operations
o Train and challenge your unit during training as you expect them to operate during combat.
o Never feel sorry for making your soldiers perform those tasks that will save their lives (e.g., requiring soldiers to prepare defensive positions before sleeping).
o Require subordinate commanders to personally inspect and approve their units' security plans and defensive positions.
o Remain alert and prepared to relocate your unit on short notice.
o Ensure that you and everyone within your command remain in top physical condition.
o Leaders must exercise with their soldiers, set the example, and, as a minimum, meet the standards. Their goal always should be to always exceed those performance levels expected of their soldiers.
o Never ask your soldiers to do what you are not capable of doing.
o Develop a basic load plan for your soldiers. Periodically examine this load and ensure that it is modified based on METT-T.
o Do not overload your soldiers.
- Ensure that load plans are designed to accommodate ammunition basic loads and TOE equipment.
- Eliminate non-essential items and equipment.
- Be absolutely brutal about unauthorized equipment being carried by your troops.
- Remember that water and food must be carried which will increase the carrying weight of their loads.
o Ensure road marches are frequent events in your physical training schedule.
o Squad and platoon level drills are essential, and require frequent rehearsal.
o Ensure that every operation has a transportation plan whereby soldiers can ground equipment, attack light, and link up with their rucks at the objective.
o Encourage off-duty physical fitness training activities and organized sports to keep soldiers motivated to maintain appropriate levels of physical fitness.
o For OPSEC reasons, consider establishing a policy that prohibits the deployment of personal telephones and communications devices.
o Consider seeking opportunities to work with mechanized and armor units during tactical operations.
o Train for squad and platoon decentralized operations to breach obstacles, infiltrate, and attack strong points.
o Attempt to train and maintain a soldier qualified as a combat lifesaver in each squad.
o Conduct live fire training exercises on a monthly basis or as dictated by resource constraints.
o Incorporate marksmanship training and dismounted road marches in weekly training events. Maximize the use of Weaponeers and other marksmanship simulations as available.
o Conduct command post exercises (CPX) and tactical exercises without troops (TEWT) with subordinate leaders before all major exercises.
o Rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse again as time permits.
Air Assault Battalions
o Review all tips and recommendations outlined in other sections of this Chapter, "Combat Arms."
o Review and adhere to air assault doctrine and SOPs (TOC, TAC, FSOP, etc.) published by your higher headquarters.
o Ensure that all officers and non-commissioned officers are air assault qualified and current.
o Conduct air assault refresher training for all soldiers prior to assuming division ready status (DRF/DRB).
o Establish and adhere to a leader cross-load plan for all air assault operations.
o Schedule and conduct equipment sling load training on a monthly basis, or as often as resources will allow.
o Always establish and rehearse aircraft bump plans.
o Integrate your "slice" elements into all planning. This is most appropriate for your aviation support unit.
o Become intimately familiar with aviation capabilities, terminology, and unique safety requirements.
o Develop a close personal relationship with your supporting aviation battalion commander and his/her staff.
o Develop a backup transportation movement plan for all air operations.
o Ensure that all battlefield operating systems (BOS) are integrated when developing operational plans.
o Ensure that troop leading procedures are conducted down to the lowest level of your command.
o Conduct full-scale rehearsals of operations during daylight and at night.
o Always expect the unexpected to occur. "Murphy" is alive and will always create problems when least expected.
o Seek opportunities to work with mechanized and armored forces whenever possible.
o Never let your soldiers forget that they are Infantry! Aviation lift is simply a mode of transportation.
Field Artillery and Air Defense Battalions
o Review and consider recommendations offered for both Combat Arms and Combat Support (Chapters 3 and 4).
o Be aggressive in planning, coordinating, integrating, and supervising indirect fire support for the all maneuver operations conducted by the supported maneuver unit.
o Establish a weekly dialogue with your supported maneuver commander and subordinate commanders. Understand their support requirements and ensure that indirect fire weapon systems are appropriately integrated into the plans.
o Establish an inseparable bond with the supported brigade's operations officer, tactical air liaison officer (TALO), air liaison officer (ALO), and intelligence officer.
o As the chief fire support coordinator (FSCOORD), attempt to stay within arms reach of the supported maneuver commander during maneuver operations.
o Ensure that fire support elements (FSE) are properly trained and prepared to provide the supported commander the benefits of your indirect fire support knowledge and experience.
o Require FSEs to co-locate and operate as part of the supported commanders' staff in garrison and field operations.
o Conduct routine professional development training with all FSEs.
o Attempt to reduce turbulence in FSE assignments.
o Take the initiative in avoiding/deconflicting training initiatives generated by the higher artillery headquarters.
o Seek opportunities to conduct live fire training exercises whenever resources permit.
o Ensure that mortars are integrated into the overall indirect fire support training when training with maneuver units.
o Conduct routine visits to indirect firing sites, to include mortars, during field operations.
o Conduct simulations and tactical exercises without troops (TEWT) on a monthly basis.
o Review all tips and recommendations outlined in this Chapter.
o Ensure that all subordinate leaders are well-versed in airborne readiness requirements and SOPs.
o Require all leaders down to platoon sergeant to become jumpmaster qualified.
o Setup and conduct unit-level training programs to prepare soldiers for enrollment in jumpmaster, air movement, and other skill-related courses.
o Conduct routine classes on the rigging of individual equipment, CDS, and heavy drop equipment.
o Ensure that safety is an integral part of all activities conducted by your soldiers.
o Require strict accountability of all air items, personal, and individual equipment from your soldiers.
o Require all leaders to adopt a sense of urgency in all operations.
o Always assume that you will lose key personnel (scattered or injured jumpers) on arrival at the drop zone. Plan and rehearse accordingly.
o Always cross-load key leaders and equipment during airborne operations.
o Always expect the unexpected. "Murphy" is alive and well.
o Encourage initiative from all leaders but remember the "KISS" (keep it short and simple) concept.
o Ensure that everyone meets the standards for rigging, jumping, and lowering individual equipment.
o Try to train and maintain at least one soldier qualified as a combat lifesaver in each squad.
o Consider soldier loads in your risk analysis. Do not allow soldiers to jump with equipment that is not required to accomplish your initial mission. Pack in A-Bags for follow-on deployment.
o For OPSEC reasons, consider prohibiting the deployment of personal telephones and communications devices on tactical and airborne operations.
o Designate and cross-load alternate individuals to jump drop zone assembly markers in the event the primary jumper gets injured or bumped.
o Ensure that training is tough, demanding, and realistic.
o You should always conduct a personal risk analysis when live fire maneuvers are employed.
o Conduct frequent live fire operations with all supporting arms to build confidence of soldiers in themselves, their equipment, and their leaders.
o Always consider and incorporate logistics in your operational planning.
Ranger/Special Forces Battalions
o Review all tips and recommendations outlined in other sections of this Chapter.
o Think surprise, speed, precision, and audacity when planning and conducting operations.
o Understand, live, and enforce the standards and creed of your branch.
o Conduct stressful but realistic training at every opportunity.
o Lead the way and set the example for all soldiers to follow. Accept nothing less than top physical fitness.
o Prior to assigning new leaders, interview all officers and senior NCOs with an eye toward their level of physical fitness.
o Require soldiers to conduct daily calisthenics, daily 5-10 mile runs, and weekly road marches.
o Rehearse all tactical operations at night and under conditions duplicating those expected in the objective area.
o Conduct live fire exercises whenever possible.
o Ensure that procedures are established to monitor the training status of all key leaders--jumpmaster, air movement, language, demolition, SCUBA, HALO/HAHO, etc.
o Require all personnel to maintain their equipment in a ready-to-go status at all times.
o Establish and rehearse personnel recall procedures on a monthly basis.
o Encourage soldiers to take full advantage of block leave and to attend schools (military and civilian) when your unit is in off-cycle status.
Armor Battalions and Mechanized Battalions
o Review all tips and recommendations outlined in other sections of this Chapter, "Combat Arms."
o Seek gunnery opportunities as often as possible.
o Shoot, move, and communicate with vigor and aggressiveness.
o Ensure that your "slice" elements are fully integrated into your unit and are treated as one of your own.
o Establish a professional dialogue with your sister units and share information. Encourage your staff officers and non-commissioned officers to do the same.
o Do not take short cuts with gunnery. Check and recheck boresight by the manual. Stress safety and do not allow systems to be fired if crews are not ready.
o Operate as far forward as practical without interfering with your subordinate commanders.
o Be visible among your soldiers, especially during performance of less desirable tasks--dismounted road marches, maintenance, KP, guard/perimeter duty, etc.
o Maximize use of UCOFT and other simulation systems.
o Get personally involved in your unit's maintenance program. Get smart on maintenance procedures before discussing them with your soldiers.
o Don't be afraid to get dirty crawling under vehicles or into the maintenance pits with soldiers and maintenance personnel. You'll make big bucks by doing so, especially when you're knowledgeable of what they're doing.
o Treat maintenance as you would a live fire exercise--plan it, coordinate it, and execute it with precision.
o Do not allow shortcuts to be taken in your maintenance program. Those who do will have a higher probability of not reaching the objective.
o Establish and adhere to a rigorous maintenance recovery program following all deployments.
o Do not allow soldiers to go home until weapons, communications equipment, vehicles, etc., are cleaned and after-operation preventative maintenance checks and services (PMCS) are performed.
o Discourage family members from hanging around the unit area waiting for post-deployment maintenance functions and accountability of sensitive equipment to be completed.
o Design, maintain, and rehearse personnel recall and equipment upload procedures at least monthly.
o Seek opportunities to work with light infantry units.
o Review all tips and recommendations outlined in Chapter 3 and Chapter 4.
o Visit supported unit commanders and staff early. Ask them about the perceptions held of your unit. Don't be thin-skinned or defensive; solicit their recommendations for improved support.
o Fight to be included in all maneuver training conducted by your supported command.
o Ensure that all training is METL-related. Resources are limited and must not be wasted on unnecessary or repetitive events.
o Educate supported ground units on your capabilities, limitations, and "how to fight" your assets.
o Task organize for success regardless of MTOE.
o During operations, always send the best officer possible as your LNO. It pays dividends even if you have to pull him from your primary or special staff.
o You are not expected to be the best aviator in the brigade, battalion, or squadron, but you should strive to be as proficient as time and circumstances allow.
o Personally fly with each company on training missions and exercises.
o Fly whenever possible, especially on the tough missions--marginal weather, night, etc.
o Be aircraft qualified and current when you take command. After taking command, you will be too busy to try to catch up.
o Develop scenario-driven battle drills and train as you intend to fight in combat.
o Exercise ground vehicles and surrogate targets moving on likely avenues of approach. This gets the soldiers involved.
o Ensure that Aviator Readiness Level (ARL) training is linked to unit tactical training and METL.
o Pilot-in-command achievement is a big deal. It should also be the goal for all aviators within a reasonable period of time.
o Emphasize that no waivers will be issued without a written request or office visit to the battalion commander for approval/justification. This will cut down workload.
o Take control of overall aviator training program or else the IP and SIP bureaucracy will take over, and you may not achieve METL training.
o Aviation warrant officers are trainers and leaders, not just technicians. They should be evaluated accordingly.
o Be unmerciful, uncompromising, unwavering, and involved in aviation safety at all times.
o Consider having all aviators make a list of the "three dumbest things I (the individual pilot) did while flying during the last year." Publish the consolidated list as a monthly safety meeting topic of discussion.
o Establish and conduct a good "no-notice" evaluation program. It will pay big dividends.
o Crew discipline and adherence to procedures are the underpinnings of aviation safety.
o Aviator overconfidence, shortcuts, "get-home-itis", and lack of supervision are the prime contributors to most pilot error accidents.
o Crew rest policy should not be an inviolate, inflexible rule. Remember that risk assessment is the commander's responsibility.
o Safety must permeate everything your unit does. Your unit can train realistically and still remain within acceptable risks.
o Personally conduct aviation maintenance meetings in AVUM at least two times a week, with all commanders and maintenance officers present.
o Emphasize fully mission capable (FMC) rates or you may not be able to go to war.
o Ensure platoon leaders are involved in the details of aircraft maintenance, e.g., dailies, log books, phases, etc.
o Deployment of aviation maintenance to the field can be a two-edged sword depending on maintenance backlog, weather, support activities, etc. However, it should be done at least semi-annually.
o Pull phased maintenance inspections in the field to ensure your soldiers have confidence in their abilities and equipment.
o Run a "pit stop" maintenance program in the field to eliminate all deferred maintenance deficiencies, if possible.
o Get to know maintenance support personnel at AVIM. Solicit their assistance in helping your units. Include them in your recreational and training activities.
o Visit your AVIM early; walk through their shops often, and discuss how you can help each other.
o Crew chiefs working on aircraft while undergoing AVUM level maintenance reinforce a team attitude.
o Centrally manage the aircraft flow chart at battalion level.
o Crawl around your aircraft with your mechanics and ask questions. Troops love it.
o Get rid of excess aircraft parts properly. It is dangerous to maintain excess repair parts when they are not controlled for serviceability. Establish accountability and document excess repair parts and equipment if required for aviation operations.
o Set time standards for phases, then recognize phase team success with rewards, days off, and duty exemptions.
o Be tough on pre-phase maintenance, and order phase parts early.
o Periodically review a selection of aircraft log books at command maintenance meetings.
o Don't forget ground vehicle maintenance; only you can provide appropriate priority by your presence.
COMBAT SUPPORT BATTALIONS
The commander of a combat support battalion faces challenges similar to those of a maneuver battalion commander. The commander's priorities, and the climate in which he or she commands, are determined by the supported senior maneuver commander and/or by the combat support brigade commander, as appropriate. As a combat support battalion commander, you will have numerous responsibilities. In addition to commanding the battalion, you may be a special staff officer to the division commander. Depending on location, you may be an installation commander. This dual-hat, two-boss relationship presents some atypical aspects of command, with corresponding challenges for the combat support battalion commander.
o Keep the chain of command informed of your every move, and about developments in your battalion. Remember the old adage: unlike wine, bad news does NOT get better with age!
o You have to work hard to get to know the maneuver commanders and what they need and want. You also have to underwrite your company/battery commanders' efforts to meet the maneuver commanders' needs.
o Teach your captains to think about priority of effort. There will be a host of outside influences/bosses that try to give them missions (i.e., installation requirements, maneuver unit taskings, higher headquarters concerns, etc.). Make sure they get their priorities from you.
o You will have to sell your services and effectiveness to at least two brigade or higher commanders. Be a salesperson and your organization will benefit both in reputation and budget. Be a team player. Publish a booklet on your battalion's capabilities and "how it fights." Keep it up-to-date.
o If in a separate divisional battalion, you will have an assistant who works full-time at Division headquarters. Choose this officer carefully. He or she is instrumental in integrating your unit into Division plans.
o Invite your boss to your battalion area occasionally to see training and attend awards ceremonies. Do this without creating extra work for your soldiers.
o You are going to be very busy, and so is your battalion. Try always to be a team player with everyone who interacts with your battalion. Avoid being adversarial.
o Focus downward; take care of the troops. Remember the basics: be selfless and caring, consistent, fair, flexible, and loyal (up and down). Integrity must be non-negotiable. Make excellence a habit.
o Teamwork with the supported commander is key--you need to establish the relationship and keep up a dialogue. Power down leadership. If you have a slice unit, that company commander is going to be an independent operator; you must empower him/her. Train him/her and his/her leaders.
o If you are a separate battalion commander in a Division, you will have infrequent contact with your boss, an Assistant Division Commander. Keep the ADC informed but realize he hasn't got the time to talk, guide, or mentor you like a brigade commander would. Get your company commanders time with their senior rater, the ADC. Set them up for success.
o Integrate automation throughout the battalion, but do not allow leaders to lead from behind their computers.
o Properly train and educate your young officers. Ensure your Command Sergeant Major works closely with the NCOs to do their part in leader development of young soldiers and officers.
o Know what your unit can do and do not commit it beyond its capabilities.
o Mentor and teach every day. Get yourself and your leaders out from behind their desks. This is the only way a unit accomplishes its mission to standard and in a safe environment.
o Use payday formations to tell your soldiers where they have been over the last month and what's upcoming in the next three months. An informed soldier is a better soldier.
o Key on maneuver commander training events most of the time, but fight for battalion and branch specific training when resources are there--this is always an area of conflict.
o Coordinate your Mission Essential Task List with supported units.
o Send the S3 to all major training meetings of the supported unit. He or she will make sure your training objectives are integrated into the exercise planning process.
o Deconflict and integrate your SOPs with those of your supported units.
o Fight for collective training time. Lock and load your training calendar and then get it blessed during your quarterly training briefing to the Commanding General. Coordinate the planning calendar with your boss and applicable staffs prior to the brief. Do not blind-side the boss or the staff.
o Make sure your officers read FMs 71-1, 71-2, and 71-3. This way they will know what the maneuver commander expects from his combat support elements. Try to get habitual relationships established.
o Follow FM 25-100/101. Review and use your METL as the focus for all training. Always conduct hot washes/After Action Review/backbriefs. Make training realistic, safe and METL-based.
o Have a plan (by year, quarter). Undoubtedly, it will change, but it gives you a framework within which you can work any changes. You will never get ahead if you are solely in a reactive mode.
o Visit training. Soldiers want to see the boss. Talk with them, provide advice, guidance, and find something positive to say. Get your S3 and Command Sergeant Major to do the same. Ensure that scheduled training is being conducted to standard.
o Train hard and focus on realistic training. Understand the maneuver commanders' priorities so you can train the battalion to do what is needed. Insist on integrating your soldiers with the supported commander's training. You'll enjoy a lot more success if they've got a habitual relationship.
o If in a division or brigade as a separate or one-of-a-kind battalion, the higher headquarters will not and cannot focus on your organization. If you want an external evaluation, work out a deal with a sister battalion in another division/brigade and then inform your boss' staff.
o Post support taskings are inevitable. Pull your fair share. Maintain unit integrity whenever possible. Seek taskings that use your unit's particular skills.
o Time is a scarce training resource. Plan and use it well.
o Training with the supported maneuver commander, and the training required to hone combat support skills, will require an increased amount of time away from home station. Try to make home station time quality time (give maximum leave time, plan block leave, liberal pass policy, etc.)
o Closely manage your key personnel issues (e.g., NCO and officer assignments, key staff positions, shortage MOSs) Use your Command Sergeant Major and Executive Officer to assist.
o Monitor and deconflict planned company commander changes with your supported maneuver commander. Work key personnel changes around major training events or deployment missions.
o 90% of your time is spent on 2% of your soldiers. Figure out when to cut your losses and give up on rehabilitating a sub-performing soldier. You have a whole unit which needs you.
o Work the MOS shortage issue; it may require your personal action. Know how the system works and make sure your S1 is well-versed. Monitor those standard reports which track your key areas of concern.
o Set standards for performance evaluations and awards.
o Provide good folks for missions; set up your slice soldiers for success.
o Work with the Brigade S1 and CSM or the Division G1 and CSM on your personnel issues. Don't sit back and assume somebody is looking out for your battalion. Nobody will until it is a problem that gets your boss' attention.
o Check the installation, division, corps, and theater distribution of personnel in MOSs for which you are a proponent. You will be surprised at the misaligned personnel situation in some very key MOSs. Use this knowledge to fill personnel shortages.
o Integrate your battalion into the maneuver commander's logistics system. It is more efficient and quicker.
o Order the training aids and Class II, IV and V needed to support combined arms training with "your" maneuver brigade.
o Insist on property accountability and responsibility. 10% commander inventories are important. If you're "broken" in property accountability, establish milestones for improvement. Shortage annexes are important and they will help you decide what you can afford to requisition over time. Property accountability takes on new dimensions because of your unit's diverse and somewhat fragmented operations.
o Send your S4 to Combined Training Center rotations to handle logistics issues and facilitate push packages.
o Be prepared to educate your maneuver boss (brigade commanders, or the Division's Commanding General, Assistant Division Commander, and Chief of Staff) on the differences of logistics and maintenance capabilities in your combat support battalion. Their increased knowledge will help you solve a lot of your organization's problems in these areas.
o Find out if your log/maintenance tracking systems are automated. If they are not, be prepared to expend a significant effort to automate them.
o The distances between units in Europe and Korea are normally larger/longer than they are in the United States. Be prepared when commanding OCONUS to have your logistics personnel always on the road. Make sure your battalion has a central way of managing and controlling this activity.
o In all probability old equipment will be a challenge. Ensure that maintenance is properly conducted. Make sure your XO is totally involved in the maintenance effort.
o Your increased training OPTEMPO could have an adverse impact on the maintenance status of your battalion. Parts might not get ordered and services have a tendency not to be performed. Work major services around field time. Do them earlier rather than later. Make sure maintenance is a planned part of your field training.
o Enforce Army standards. Know your equipment and inspect it daily. Be visible in the Motor Pool. Hold your leaders responsible. Make sure when maintenance is being pulled, leaders are there not only inspecting but teaching proper maintenance while stressing safety.
o A tough scheduled services policy, and a dispatch policy that confirms PMCS, are cornerstones of a solid maintenance program.
o Operator maintenance training is key. Teaching your operators troubleshooting techniques will save your mechanics many hours.
o Set up a habitual relationship linking your mechanics to a certain company. They will get to know the systems and operators and form a more effective team. This is a contact team approach.
o Know your high demand and low density items. This will help you make effective decisions.
o Get to know the supported command's maintenance personnel. Establishing a habitual relationship in this area will pay big dividends during training exercises and during deployments.
o Set high standards and do inspections yourself. The division or your brigade won't be there to "help" until the annual command inspection.
o Personally know the maintenance POCs and Army Material Command representatives that have an impact on and can help your unit. Use them!
o As the senior branch specific commander in the maneuver brigade or division, you owe something to all of your branch officers in that organization, not just the ones assigned to your battalion. Look after them for career and leader development as well as social enrichment.
o Keep your rater and senior rater informed on a timely basis of how you are pleasing your customers, or have failed to take care of their applicable needs. Have a plan to correct identified problems and to educate customers about unrealistic expectations.
o Seldom will your battalion be in one place or training area; take advantage when those rare opportunities occur.
o Expect to have more social and community obligations than the average battalion commander.
o When your maneuver commander refers to your battalion as "my engineers or my communicators"--you will know you have got it right.
COMBAT SERVICE SUPPORT BATTALIONS
Service support battalions, whether they are DS, GS, or functionally specific at echelons above Corps, possess unique attributes and accompanying challenges. The base element in support battalions is the mission to support the combat arms and combat support units so that they are able to fight and win. Service support units are invaluable enablers. Missions are accomplished in diverse settings and at a very demanding tempo. Support soldiers must be technical support experts, and because of the nonlinear battlefield, must be trained and competent in soldier skills.
o Support is your unit's mission, but maintaining a trained and professional organization is just as important. Providing the best support possible while also training good soldiers will be a real challenge.
o Internal and external image can be a great concern. Credibility of the unit and its commander must be earned and continuously demonstrated to maintain a high soldier self-image and a positive image in the community of activities you support.
o Delegate authority to the maximum; give your company commanders the authority and responsibility to accomplish their missions.
o Stress individual soldier self-discipline and responsibility.
o Congratulate good work. When an individual or a unit receives an "at-a-boy", even if it is just a compliment from a supported unit's commander, make a big deal of it. Troops respond positively to compliments.
o Be straightforward about formations, duty hours, disciplinary actions, and other troop related actions so they are understood.
o Make yourself available to talk to your soldiers who may have problems. A one-hour, one day a week, "open door" policy may not help that soldier who routinely has duty at a remote location at the same time as your "open door."
o It is imperative that the battalion staff work as a team and have the ingrained philosophy that they are there to support the companies.
o 24-hour operations, performed at different, and often remote locations, may cause soldiers to feel discarded and forgotten by their leaders. Visit remote duty locations often.
o Watch for weak NCO crossover points; the transition from a technician and peer to a leadership position can be a difficult one. Transfer soldiers being promoted to sergeant out of their section or company to another part of the battalion if at all possible.
o Be sensitive that family problems increase in direct proportion to the number of deployments and the amount of mission time away from home.
o As with other leadership aspects, communication requirements of the service support commander are vitally important to credibility, image building, and mission accomplishment.
o Talk To The Troops (4 Ts). Keep the soldiers informed on what they have done well, and what still needs some work. Tell the soldiers what the battalion is forecasted to do for the next 90 days and what impact that will have on them.
o Visit customers (the units you support) often. Ask: "how are we doing?" Use their responses in a constructive fashion; do not become defensive.
o Educate your boss and supported unit commanders about your unit's limitations and capabilities. They would rather find out that you are having problems accomplishing some aspect of your mission from you than from a mission failure.
o Communicate with your staff and subordinate commanders often and by the best means that you have. Whether you use daily staff meetings and weekly command and staff meetings, command and staff visits, telephone, video teleconference, electronic mail (E-mail), fax, liaison team visits, or face-to-face contact, do whatever it takes to communicate.
Management and Decision-making
o Know yourself. In order to do your best, you as the commander must have a firm grasp of your own strengths and weaknesses. Be honest with yourself.
o Learn about what you don't know and how to deal with it. You also need to learn all you can about your unit, its strengths and its weaknesses.
o Talk to your predecessor about recurring problems and situations. He/she will probably be able to save you time and give you a headstart in dealing with or defusing a situation before it becomes a problem.
o Study those areas on which you are not up to date. Pay particular attention to the key areas of maintenance management, supply accountability, reenlistment, military justice, administrative actions, drug/alcohol programs, and equal opportunity.
o Ensure that you and your leaders remain familiar with (and in conformance with) Army policy concerning the assignment of female soldiers in garrison and during deployments. Establish up front your intolerance for discrimination against any minority soldier.
o Talk to the brigade staff principals in the context of a team effort. How much are they in the business of supporting?
o Gain the brigade staff's perspective of your battalion's strengths and weaknesses.
o Help your battalion staff understand the importance of routine coordination with the companies. Widely diverse company missions and possible geographic dispersion make it even more difficult for the battalion staff to perform their mission. Have each of your battalion staff primaries visit each of the company commanders on the commander's turf on a regular basis.
o When the battalion staff visits a company commander, the position of the staff should be: what can I do for you and what problems have you been having with my section? This surfaces existing perceptions of staff nonsupport which should ultimately be eliminated due to the staff-command interaction.
Operations and Support Missions
o Decide what is the smartest and most productive way to communicate with your supported units and then do it. All support relationships are different due to geography, distance, personalities, OPTEMPO and other factors. Use E-mail, telephone, attend their weekly staff meetings or do one-on-one visits, face-to-face. The important thing is to maintain a strong communications link.
o Your staff must embrace the same attitude toward your customers that you and the supported commanders outline. Your supported customer's view of how you are doing is more often than not going to be your boss' view.
o Get the right people involved in "marketing" your battalion. Make it the business of your S3, S4, shop foreman, or a special liaison officer or NCO.
o Contact your customer immediately if a special problem exists. Demonstrate the attitude that their problems are your business and you are there to serve. Be especially sensitive to items that the customer thinks are critical to his or her mission (readiness items). An all-out support attitude is required.
Deployment and Supporting Deployment
o Learn what agencies there are to support deployments. Learn what these agencies need to better support you. Your higher headquarters staff, the post support staff (supply, maintenance and transportation), and MTMC all have key roles in supporting your deployment. Know who does what and how it works.
o Train and prepare to deploy or to support another unit's deployment. Unit movement officers, air and rail load plan certification personnel and pallet building teams, among others, are essential to facilitate deployment. Get them trained and keep them trained.
o If your mission is not to deploy yourself but to support another unit's deployment, offer to provide all of the assistance that you would like to have if you were deploying.
o Know the status of your deployment equipment. Do you have enough air load pallets (463L) with serviceable straps; what about your 20-foot containers? Ensure they are inspected and certified for movement. Is all of your equipment included in your TPFDD data and is the data accurate? Get ITO support.
o Refer to the deployment section of this handbook for more information on deployment.
o Your involvement with training is critical to success. What makes the Combat Service Support commander's job more challenging is that, unlike the combat arms, the service support soldier cannot hone his technical and tactical skills at the same time. It will seem that your soldiers have to train twice as much to meet standards in each area.
o Get people back to doing MOS specific tasks as much and as soon as possible. The biggest challenge that you will often deal with is borrowed military manpower and other non-MOS related missions. Have your leaders concentrate on spreading the wealth when dealing with borrowed military manpower.
o Be ruthless in the performance of training in support of your Mission Essential Task List. In the Combat Service Support unit, time is of the essence, so do not accept training that is just going through the motions.
o Keep your METL on track (review it as often as you deem necessary) and train toward it. If your unit goes through a change in mission, reevaluate your METL and submit changes to your approving authority as appropriate.
o Ensure that quarterly training briefs specifically define how training events support the METL.
o If your unit does not have a specific wartime alignment and mission, develop a generic METL. Your METL should be based on critical mission tasks, by type unit.
o Individual soldier training is an individual soldier's responsibility. If the NCOs are not evaluating their soldiers' training, with the Command Sergeant Major serving as the overseer of the program, you need to reorient the program. A winning philosophy is that this training is a soldier's responsibility and the NCO is responsible to verify that it is accomplished to standard.
o Every task (e.g., grass cutting detail) should be given as a mission order. It must have someone in charge and be goal-oriented. This builds junior leaders and drives mission accomplishment.
o Insist on the use of concurrent and hip pocket training when companies or sections are performing missions. Training soldiers concurrently while not fully employed on missions will keep the commander from extending the duty day to accomplish training.
o If your units have field TOE equipment, insist that the equipment be set up and put into use as often as you feel necessary. You need to keep soldiers proficient with their field equipment and ensure that the equipment is functional.
o Gain access to required TOE equipment you need to train on for your wartime mission. If necessary, borrow it from sister battalions or customers. When your unit is selected to go to war you will receive priority for issue of the equipment.
o Schedule field training as often as possible and insist that support missions be run from a field location. This will build proficiency and credibility.
o Volunteer to send your soldiers to the field with supported units. This will establish an understanding on the part of your soldiers of what is and will be required if there is a real world mission.
o Cover and concealment along with light and noise discipline are difficult for a service support unit. Practice them frequently.
o Practice unit relocation while in the field. Relocation of a Combat Service Support unit is difficult. At night it is an even greater challenge, and often dangerous. Practice it frequently but do it in a controlled fashion while emphasizing safety.
o Unit PT can be challenging in a support unit, especially when the unit is running 24 hour operations and split-shifts. Whether you have multiple formations or just let the NCOs handle it, concentrate on those soldiers who fail or barely meet the standard. If a soldier cannot demonstrate a reasonable standard in PT, put a leader in charge and give the soldier additional opportunities to improve his/her fitness.
o Push positive incentive PT programs; e.g., permit all soldiers who score over 270 on their PT test to do PT on their own. Another alternative would be a 3-day pass for each platoon in which all members pass the PT test, and the platoon average score is above 230.
o A successful PT program is a lead-by-example program and instills spirit and pride. You and your subordinate leaders should set the standard by example. Join your soldiers often in their separate company formations and have battalion PT formations regularly.
o Be ruthless about having an active PT program that focuses on increasing performance on the Army Physical Fitness Test. Be aware of those special groups (e.g., cooks) who frequently miss PT due to work requirements and ensure that they have a suitable PT program.
o Focus your MOS training. It is critical to the survival of the technical expertise in CSS battalions. Develop a systematic approach in dealing with it.
o Decide on the frequency of low density MOS training needed in your battalion. The more technical and perishable the skill the more frequently training will be required. The most important aspect is to have established standards and have the training performed to those standards.
o Find the expertise you need to ensure your low density MOSs receive quality skill training. If this expertise does not exist in the battalion, request assistance from a neighboring unit, your higher headquarters staff, or post/community.
o Perhaps the best approach to low-density MOS training is to put the senior soldier with that MOS in charge of the training agenda (he/she does not have to be the primary trainer). Have him/her present a POI through battalion training to the CSM prior to the event. Ensure that required training equipment is available and visit the training regularly.
o Ensure that your civilians as well as your soldiers are trained to the appropriate standard. A friendly technical competition between individuals and/or sections will work wonders in honing required skills.
o Cross-train soldiers who have recently been subjected to an MOS consolidation (e.g., 76 series to 92). The cross-training will improve mission capability and soldier experience and retainability.
o Get to know your civilians and/or contracted personnel, and make them part of the team. Build an atmosphere of respect, trust and teamwork. Your battalion's mission may depend heavily on civilians.
o Recognize the civilian portion of your organization for their accomplishments and contributions on an equal basis with the military.
o Treat your Department of the Army and foreign national civilian leaders as leaders. Have them educate and advise your military leaders on the civilian programs of work schedules, unions, overtime, performance standards, awards and appraisals.
o Educate soldiers who work alongside civilians that there is a difference in work schedule requirement between civilians and military. An understanding will combat the biases in the military work force about the "civilian" 9-to-5 job, while the soldier is a soldier 24 hours a day.
o Assign the right soldier to the right job to accomplish the mission. The S1 is your technical expert on which unit needs what MOS, but when it comes to the people aspect of the decision, the CSM and the unit First Sergeants should work the problem with the S1 for enlisted issues. The battalion XO and S1 should deal with officer issues.
o Ensure that you see your soldiers as often as practical. Visit shift workers at off-hours and require your junior leaders to do the same.
o Use your chaplain in a positive role and give him/her access to the work areas. This becomes more important in dispersed organizations. Your chaplain is a good, nonthreatening information conduit from the boss down and the troops up.
Unique Logistics Problems
o For even the most outstanding support unit, internal logistics and support are sometimes problem areas that get commanders in trouble. Use inspections and spot checks to keep your internal support business fixed.
o Test your readiness. A support unit often cannot afford the time to go through a complete deployment test; evaluate parts of the unit at a time. Specific items of equipment that were reported ready yesterday, roll out today.
o Require your commanders who have separate mess sections to pull their cooks and operate a field mess.
o Adequate work space is often a limitation to accomplishing jobs (missions) safely and on time. Ensure that space is allocated appropriate to the requirements of the jobs.
o Allocate adequate resources to take care of your facilities and your soldiers. Support troops are often not provided the best facilities on post.
o Develop a division of labor with your civilian/contract labor force to ensure that the entire work week is covered.
o Insist on comprehensive property accountability. The more diverse your subordinate units' mission, the more sets, kits, and outfits there are, and the harder they are to keep track of. Insist on inventories, supervision, and sub-hand-receipts to hold your people responsible and accountable.
o Be cautious of requests for more than your unit's fair share in support of the community. Support to the community is a morale builder for the soldier and reputation builder for the unit, but don't let it have a negative effect on mission performance.
o Encourage junior officers and NCOs to support the community and the associated activities as much as possible. You as well as your soldiers are part of the community. Set the example.
o Encourage volunteer representatives to commissary, PX, clubs, and other community support activities' councils. This is the only way the soldiers will have a voice in what is going on.
o Be aware of the cost in time and money to your subordinates when you plan social events. Social events should be voluntary fun for your battalion personnel (soldiers/civilians) and their families. Absentees will generally increase in direct proportion to frequency and cost.
o Social and professional interaction with allied units will not only benefit your unit, but will also be culturally rewarding for the participating soldiers and their families.
The purpose of this chapter is to provide some insight into commanding a training battalion. Most of us come from TOE backgrounds and are apprehensive about commanding in the TRADOC world. The first thing to recognize is that you are well qualified for the job. The experience and schooling that you have gained during your career have provided you with all of the necessary tools. The pointers contained in this chapter may not be new to you, but something found here may help you during your transition.
A training battalion is filled with challenge and reward. The hours and the stress level inherent in the job are great, but the satisfaction is also great. You will receive feedback every day and every cycle, and you will be making a difference to our Army and the nation. Above all else, be yourself, have fun, and trust your instincts and experience.
Preparation for Command
o Attend the TRADOC Pre-Command Course. The insight gained is invaluable.
o Study FMs 25-100 and 25-101 again. This is the purest training environment that you will ever be in.
o Train hard, get in great physical condition. Treat old injuries or medical conditions before you go into command.
o Know the TRADOC training regulations before you take command.
o Write your command philosophy. Bounce it off your bosses. Resolve differences or adapt before taking command.
o Learn the basics of the civilian personnel system. Visit the Civilian Personnel Office.
o Make an appointment with the Inspector General, to gain his or her insights into your job.
o Talk to the Brigade Command Sergeant Major about your battalion.
o Establish relationships with key people and agencies across post. An important part of your job will consist of solving problems and running interference at the post level.
o Save $250-$300 for change of command expenses.
o Talk with the Director, Plans, Training and Mobilization (DPTM) to get his or her perspective on what the "glass balls" are and how to avoid dropping them.
o Discuss roles, responsibilities, and expectations with your spouse.
o Fight to be at training. While there will be many competing demands for your time, there is no substitute for your experience or example of your commitment. You will see a lot of things that your young subordinates just won't recognize.
o Be at the most physically demanding events and be out front. Let your soldiers see you early, late, and on the weekends.
o Be the moral, ethical leader in the battalion. You can't delegate that role. If you live by high standards, you have the right to demand them of your subordinates.
o Your relationship with your Command Sergeant Major will be critical. He or she likely has extensive experience in the Initial Entry Training (IET) environment. If you discuss every important decision with him or her before you make it, you'll be making much better decisions.
Drill Sergeant Characteristics
o Drill sergeants are all strong performers within their MOS, but that MOS may not be the same as your own. Your expectations may have to be adjusted.
o All drill sergeants have been well trained in the basics at the Drill Sergeant Academy, but they may not share your command philosophy or intent. And while they may know how to execute required soldier tasks, they may not be good trainers yet.
o All drill sergeants are concerned about allegations of abuse or fraternization. Many feel that they are "guilty until proven innocent." You will have to assure them that while they are free to do their job properly, you will never tolerate abuse of trainees.
o Drill sergeant duty may be the first actual leadership job for some of your NCOs. The power that reposes in a drill sergeant may cause problems for those not accustomed to a leadership role.
o Drill sergeants operate within their platoon. They often view their company and battalion as tertiary organizations.
o Drill sergeants will deliver what you ask for, so be careful what you ask for.
o Drill sergeants are very protective of each other. Most often, this is good.
o Like all of us, drill sergeants will often fall back on their earlier training experiences.
o Most drill sergeants will perform until they drop, trying to get the job done. Always be alert to cadre burnout due to the extraordinary job stress which they experience.
Tips for Working With Drill Sergeants
o Solicit and incorporate their training ideas whenever possible and appropriate.
o Protect them. Establish hard rules which keep them out of situations that could be dangerous. Some critical examples are rules for counseling, early or late visits to the barracks, and Sunday training.
o Set them up for success. Praise often, and publicly. Make their efficiency reports count.
o Have Drill Sergeant of the Cycle and Year awards. Avoid meaningless, cyclical awards which everyone gets in turn. Be clear on the criteria for these awards.
o Promote and reward your cadre in front of their soldiers and their families. Everyone (including the soldier in training) gains something.
o Drill sergeants will have a strong tendency to avoid training situations in which they feel weak. Capitalize on individual strengths but ensure everyone pulls his or her weight.
o Conduct formal "School of the New Drill Sergeant" instruction during cycle breaks to provide them a solid understanding of unit training policies and authorized methods for conducting soldier training. It provides the new drill sergeant the opportunity to learn while not in front of troops, and it reinforces unit SOPs for the instructors. It helps you get everyone on the same sheet.
o Personally welcome and brief all new cadre. Include families if possible. Don't bring your new cadre to work until they and their families are settled into their quarters.
o Guard against burnout. Command presence is key. Command Sergeant Major, chaplain, and other drill sergeants are great help in the detection and cure. Stress is high; look for the symptoms.
o Resist a third year on the trail for most drill sergeants. The risks are high, the pressures many, and it may not be a good career move. Involve the opinions of the soldier's family in your decision whether or not to extend a drill sergeant.
Reception of New Soldiers at the Training Battalion
o Make it a positive, professional event. Rehearsals and backbriefs are necessary for new command teams.
o Take special care with the new soldier's property during this time.
o Cadre should wear Class A or Class B uniform with decorations. Consider having military music in the unit area.
o Include unit history, a company and battalion area orientation, and outline of the next few days' events in the reception plan.
o Jack Webb's DI was wrong--you don't need to terrorize the new soldier. They will respond better to strong, effective, positive leadership.
o The new soldier's reception experience should show him or her a unit that is totally organized, professional, and poised for success.
o Standards of performance and professional expectations are set in the first hour of the first day after the soldier arrives in your battalion.
o Personally brief new soldiers within the first two days of their arrival. Talk about success, personal responsibility, safety, buddy responsibility, personal conduct, cadre conduct, and communications with family.
Assessing Command Climate and Training Effectiveness
o Be at training.
o Seek out opportunities to dialogue with soldiers and cadre. It's the difference between speaking with them and listening, versus talking at them.
o Eat in the dining facility with your cadre.
o Sit in the back of a soldier chapel service. Talk to soldiers, cadre, and family members after service.
o Use non-attribution during end-of-course critiques for your soldiers in training. Ensure drill sergeants understand how these critiques will be used.
o Meet with First Sergeants and platoon sergeants frequently.
o Use your chaplain as a source of information.
o Sample Physical Training (PT) throughout your battalion. Go with different units on different days. Use your Command Sergeant Major and Executive Officer to look at more units.
o Should not be questioned. It is Army policy.
o Resist any effort within your battalion to avoid complete integration of training.
o Rely on approved Army training techniques that have always made sense, i.e., PT conducted according to ability groups, shortest soldier setting the pace when marching, etc.
o Soldierization is the key process in IET. It is that transformation that takes place within young persons which makes them think of themselves as soldiers instead of civilians. It is at least as important as the individual skills taught. Focus on it.
o Approach every activity as a training event to better prepare the soldier-in-training to join his/her new unit.
o Develop the heart and soul of the soldier. Concentrate on the ethos, habits, and fundamentals that make soldiers special.
o Many company/battery commanders do not know how to set up or run training meetings. Make it the subject of a leader's professional development training session.
o A high-quality training meeting is the most important factor in presenting quality training. Give it appropriate attention. Battalion Commander and Command Sergeant Major should attend as many as possible.
o Everyone likes to say that they are training to standard, not time. Ask the commander or drill sergeant to describe the training standard. If he or she cannot tell you, he or she is not training to standard.
o A misconception about training in the IET environment is that it is routine. This isn't necessarily true. Personnel turnover, differences between cycles, variations in weather, and other factors will always require detailed planning and execution.
o Protect the new soldier from training injuries. Check for water at training sites, use of sunscreen, protection against hot and cold weather injuries, etc. Take nothing for granted.
o Watch the training committees carefully. They sometimes tend to rush through training to get home early. You and your cadre are responsible for training the soldiers. Do not delegate that responsibility.
o Posts are under pressure to reduce personnel and resources that support your training. Watch this carefully and influence it as best you can.
Entry Level Separations
o Require the CSM to chop on each one. He or she should interview every questionable case and make a recommendation before you see it.
o Personally review each chapter action. Do not delegate it.
o Develop a strong relationship with your Staff Judge Advocate and Inspector General. Know the rules, but always get advice on difficult or unusual cases.
o Involve drill sergeants. Support their recommendations in most cases; they know the soldier best. Once in a while you will want to take a chance on a kid--tell the drill sergeant why.
New Starts and Reclassifications
o Use the new start system as much as you can. A tremendous amount of time, effort, and money went into enlisting the soldier and getting him or her to training. It is ludicrous to "fire" them because they take a bit longer to adjust to a new situation. On the other hand, do not keep problem soldiers if your gut instinct is that they will never make it.
o Keep soldiers in training until the final decision is made.
o Command Sergeant Major should counsel soldiers coming in and going out to other units. The S3 should review all packets for completeness.
o Convince soldiers and cadre that new starts are not failures. Orientation and reception should be positive. New starts offer the soldier another chance to succeed.
o Expect them--they are part of the IET business! Investigate and respond dispassionately and promptly.
o Be courteous, helpful, but follow the rules. Don't be intimidated.
o Coordinate the action if appropriate. Get expert input. Provide interim response while you are waiting for the SJA, medical, etc., input if necessary.
o Keep your boss informed.
o Log them in and out. Respond in writing.
o Respect confidentiality.
o Let responsible subordinates do the initial work. Review personally before each response goes out.
o Statistics are useful to determine trends but should not be the basis for determining the value of an individual or unit.
o Do not breed statistical competition between units.
o When you must compare, be careful to account for differences in the data base. Demographics of the training base vary depending on time of year and other external factors.
o Shield your subordinates if your boss uses statistics to evaluate units.
o Graduate every soldier who deserves it. Eliminate those who don't. Statistics do not always measure the quality of that effort.
Preventing Fraternization and Soldier Abuse
o Command presence is the key to detecting and preventing fraternization and soldier abuse.
o Educate cadre on the consequences. Demonstrate that you have zero tolerance for soldier abuse. Advertise the consequences without personalizing.
o Make cadre responsible for policing their own.
o Recognize where and when it is likely to happen and be there. Events like ranges, end-of-cycle testing, and inspections are high stress experiences for drill sergeants as well as soldiers.
o Review the status of holdovers every day. Have CSM check billeting and detail locations.
o Get the chaplain involved. Visibility is usually enough.
o Investigate all complaints. Document everything, even if you don't have enough to take to trial. If a soldier is bad, it will come up again.
o Educate drill sergeants that investigation does not equal guilt. This will be a hard sell, but it must be done.
o Keep in mind that there can be no such thing as a truly consensual relationship between a drill sergeant and a soldier-in-training.
o Watch for rude treatment by soldiers and civilians on post. No one is allowed to be unprofessional to your new soldiers. Confront it when you find it.
o Make it a Capstone event for soldiers, their families, and your cadre.
o Perhaps the most important aspect about a successful graduation is getting all applicable information out early to the families. Your letters to them must be friendly, helpful, and 100 percent accurate. Plan on red carpet treatment for the families.
o Make weather decisions early and get the word out to the family and the command group. Grandpa from Idaho should not miss the key event.
o Check cadre uniforms.
o Praise soldiers, cadre, and families.
o Have a special meal for families, either in your dining facility or in one of the post clubs.
o Open one soldier's living area for an organized tour. Families love it.
o Establish a command climate that encourages participation in the Family Support Group (FSG).
o Train/educate subordinates as to the need for the FSG. TDA units do not normally have deployments, but there are long hours and high stress. Additionally, some form of tragedy or adversity will happen during your tour.
o Decentralize FSG organization activities. Encourage innovation. You may have to train some subordinates how to care for their people.
o Balance your training needs with the required training.
o Prepare and organize well in advance so that resources are available to accomplish the missions you direct.
o Consider encouraging cadre take leave during cycle breaks.
o Have your units execute a 1-year calendar that shows each cadre member's scheduled leaves. Stick to this calendar as much as possible.
Your Commanders and Staff
o Recognize and accommodate different levels of experience. Your staff may be very small and very young. Coach, mentor, and train.
o Ensure that your "commander's intent" is clearly understood by them. Require them to backbrief you on their plans to execute their mission taskings.
o Make the staff and company/battery commanders work as a team and not as adversaries. Reward cooperation.
o Counsel often. Require all leaders to do formal counseling each cycle or quarter. You also need to conduct informal counseling at every opportunity.
A recruiting battalion is a unique leadership challenge. It will stress and stretch you in different ways than other Army units you've commanded. Few other environments in the Army are subject to the equivalent of an ARTEP EXEVAL every month. Unless you've had recent recruiting experience, you are likely to be in a much greater "knowledge deficit" than you would be in a command in your branch or specialty. So, be prepared to listen and learn quickly!
o Get uniforms in good shape. You will be doing a lot of public appearances, so have well-tailored uniforms (As and Bs mostly).
o Immediately upon notification, have your battalion order your recruiting business cards.
o Get all of your medical and personal business taken care of prior to reporting to your new duty station. This will save you time and distraction, especially if the needed facilities are not available at your new duty station.
o You will definitely need a government travel card.
o USAREC conducts a good pre-command course; make sure you attend. Try to schedule some overlap with the outgoing commander.
o If you haven't already done so, write your official biography. You'll need it for the change of command, and numerous other events during your command tour.
o Your first meeting after your change of command should be with your Sergeant Major (CSMs are authorized in the bigger battalions). Tell him/her that you are a team. Your success will be largely predicated on how well the team works together.
o Get your staff to believe that their sole function is to support the field recruiter in every way possible.
The First 90 Days
o Discuss everything you're thinking and planning to do with your Sergeant Major!
o Quickly start getting out to the field to visit the stations. On your first trips, take your SGM along. Have each company commander take you to each of his/her stations.
o Consider having each station provide you a small block of training on a recruiting subject/form. After you have shaken hands, etc., and received the standard briefing, a recruiter will present you the training. Then inspect that area you've just been trained on.
o Plan on being on the road doing this at least 3/4 days a week, initially. You need to be able to "see" your market.
o Ask to see the status of TAPES (the new civilian staff efficiency ratings) to ensure this system is on track.
o Start getting your battalion ready for the Command Inspection Program (CIP) and Inspector General inspections to come. Have your XO break out pre-inspection responsibilities by handing out the appropriate checklists. Each staff section chief should brief you on his/her responsibilities and compliance status. Show a sharp interest in deficiencies, and plan follow-up action.
o If it's not already present, insist that there is a personnel board in your office with all stations and personnel laid out clearly, and updated regularly. The board should show rank, position, and projected gains/losses. You need to look at this daily.
o How's your internal CIP program? Ask for the schedule early, or you'll get behind!
o Be careful about regulations that you don't understand! The qualifications for entry into the service (especially waivers) are fairly complex and technical, and your "off-the-top-of-your-head" reaction to a problem might actually be a recruiting impropriety!
o At every opportunity, preach and practice making mission with integrity. The temptation to cut ethical corners will always be present. Never succumb to it.
o You should ensure that the considerable assets of your battalion staff, brigade staff, and USAREC staff are all behind your soldiers, helping them do their jobs. Some examples: Cinema Van, Cinema Pod, Educator Tours and Visits, High School Newspaper Editor's Tours, Home Town Recruiter Assistance Program, special public relations events, training assistance visits, and the like. Demand support!
o Recognize that command of a geographically dispersed unit requires adjustments in your style of command. You must make your presence felt through phone calls and visits. You must decide what is the critical place for you to be at a particular time.
o The amount of time you should spend visiting stations, and how often each station should see you, is a matter of opinion. In general, you should be in some stations each week, and in every station at least each quarter. Each visit should be for a purpose, and with value added by your visit/inspection. Be careful about visiting so often that you are a distraction.
o There is a tremendous need for information flow in recruiting. Consider establishing an informal weekly newsletter, sent out by fax, mail, or distribution, to each station, to provide official information, reminders, congratulations, etc. Make it upbeat!
o Give careful consideration to ways in which your personality and leadership style "works" in the recruiting environment. Are there any adjustments necessary?
o Weight control and physical fitness are problem areas in USAREC. Set the standards, and enforce Army policies.
o A recruiting battalion has a large military and civilian staff that is crucial to the battalion's success.
o Consider having the XO hold a weekly staff meeting, and produce a weekly Significant Activities (SIGACTS) Report. Monitor the SIGACTS and occasionally sit in on the meeting to see what your staff is doing.
o Ensure you are familiar with civilian personnel policies. For many officers, USAREC will be the first time you have numerous civilians working directly for you. There is usually an expert at brigade who can help you.
o Many battalions have civilians in key positions, such as Advertising & Public Affairs (APA), Education Services Specialist (ESS), Automation Specialist, Budget Specialist, Awards clerk, Family Services Coordinator (FSC), etc. Most are very experienced; a few may be too set in their ways! The commander must challenge them and stretch them for the good of the battalion.
o Recognize that a recruiting company has a depth of two--the commander, the First Sergeant, and, if lucky, a part-time clerk. The Company Leadership Team's (CLT) paperwork requirements for required production reports are extensive. Therefore, anything that can be done by battalion headquarters, as opposed to company headquarters, should be!
o Make your staff (S1 especially) keep track of as many administrative details as possible for the companies. These areas might include leaves, awards, NCOER suspenses, etc. Include these in your SIGACTS, and distribute to the companies.
o Your key military staff may or may not have recruiting experience. Your XO and S3 are usually assigned on a PCS directly to you. You can sometimes "grow" a company commander to be your S3, but be careful that you don't take him/her out of his or her branch mainstream for too long.
o Your purpose for being in command is to provide the fighting strength of the Army by leading your soldiers to accomplish their recruiting mission, and by taking care of your soldiers.
o As battalion commander, you will influence production through every aspect of your leadership. Instill in your soldiers a winning attitude and the desire to succeed.
o Perhaps the most important position in USAREC is the station commander. He or she is the person who leads the station to success or failure. All of your policies, and company policies, must support the station commander's critical role.
o The biggest factor in a station's success is the willingness to prospect (called "work ethic" in USAREC) for potential recruits. When one talks about enforcing standards in USAREC, one means ensuring sufficient prospecting by phone, face-to-face, school visits, etc. Your station commanders must lead their soldiers to ask enough people to join the Army!
o Train and inspire your station commanders to succeed. Reliefs are a last resort, and require a lengthy procedure, spelled out in USAREC regulations.
o Delayed Entry Program (DEP) losses are one of the most difficult and frustrating aspects of recruiting. DEP losses are largely a function of the personal leadership of the recruiter and station commander. To minimize DEP losses, the DEPper must be sold properly on the Army (not "slam-dunked"), and must receive the continued guidance and interest of the recruiter until he or she ships to basic training.
o It is important that you manage your soldiers' leaves. If you are not careful, you'll have half your battalion in a "use or lose" situation at the end of the summer, and you will fail due to lack of manpower. Insist that leaves are planned throughout the year to avoid this.
o Assign specific responsibilities, and provide incentives, for accomplishing your special recruiting missions.
Taking Care of Soldiers
o Sponsorship is critically important in USAREC, in part because military support facilities are often lacking. The commander must get personally involved in the proper reception, welcoming, and training of new soldiers. Do not let them go to work until their families are settled!
o Non-Commissioned Officer Efficiency Reports (NCOERs) for detailed recruiters are a very sensitive issue in the Army. Do not allow your soldiers to rate subordinates solely on production! Consider making yourself reviewer on all NCOERs that you don't rate or senior rate.
o Lack of adequate medical support is a serious problem in many areas of the country. Screen your incoming soldiers carefully for Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) problems. Have your Family Service Coordinator aggressively seek out CHAMPUS/Tri-care facilities.
o You and your Sergeant Major must be looking ahead at soldiers' career development needs and the needs of the battalion, etc. Have your SGM plan NCO moves, and brief you on them. Keep in mind that when you assign a soldier from one station to another, it is frequently a PCS move, which incurs a three-year tour.
o Your battalion awards program can be a powerful motivator, if used correctly. Carefully review your awards criteria, or you'll have arguments and hurt feelings at awards time.
o Your Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) recruiters tend to stay in your unit a long time. Therefore, they don't come up for PCS awards often, and are frequently overlooked for appropriate DA awards. Have your S1 compile a list of top awards and date last award was received for all your recruiters. The chain of command can then review the list for fairness.
o Use your budget to get T-shirts, hats, jackets, watches, etc., with unit logos, for incentive awards.
Annual Training Conference
o Each Battalion conducts an Annual Training Conference in the fall. This requires detailed planning and execution focused on the soldier and his family to ensure a successful event. Provide interesting training that's useful to both the spouse and the soldier.
o You will be inviting a general officer or distinguished command sergeant major to be guest speaker at your Annual Training Conference. Plan ahead.
o You should be personally involved with the community and the public relations efforts in your battalion. Your rank and position will sometimes open doors for your recruiters. Be ready and able to speak to various groups on several subjects. Your APA chief can assist you.
o Your soldiers and your recruiting stations are the only representation of the Army in many areas of the country. Insist that your stations are neat and orderly, and that your soldiers are sharp and fit.
o Your recruiting stations will sometimes get calls from family members requesting a burial detail for a deceased veteran. This is not their job! To avoid bad feelings, ensure your recruiters can refer the family members to the correct phone number and agency.
o Everything your soldiers do will affect their ability to recruit. Ensure they are involved in community and school activities as much as possible. Their presence and acceptance in the community are recruiting "force multipliers."
Relationships with peers
o Your Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) commander is an extremely important person to know. He or she has an important job to do, which is to ensure that no unqualified person joins the US Armed Forces. Develop a relationship based on trust and respect, so that when you need help he or she will be more likely to provide it. You should likewise be available to help the MEPS when asked.
o Know the regulations that govern MEPS operations.
o Your recruiters will complain to you about other service recruiters, and you will get complaints about your recruiters from the Air Force, Navy, and Marines, and bordering Army battalion commanders! Show your peers that you take complaints seriously. Check them out, and do the right thing if your people crossed the line. Insist on professional behavior from all.
GARRISON/BASE SUPPORT BATTALIONS
The CONUS garrison or OCONUS base support battalion commands are no longer new animals. They are the power projection platforms for our power projection Army. Most new commanders of other type battalions have been exposed to the concept either at Pre-Command Course or through this handbook. That doesn't mean they fully understand the scope of responsibility that accompanies the position. This chapter will offer tips you can use, not only to do your job, but also to raise the awareness level of those with whom you serve. It is a compilation of thoughts from a group of the first former garrison and base support battalion (BSB) commanders attending the USAWC. We hope it will serve as a guide in your search for installation excellence.
o Congratulations. You have been selected to command an organization that will give you more responsibility than most division commanders in terms of budget and number of people affected by each decision you make. In the words of a former CINC, United States Army Europe, "Not a woof job."
o You may have to sell yourself and your responsibilities to your colleagues. You know what they do for a living; they may have no idea about your job. They are your customers. You are now in charge of providing all those services you have been receiving during your entire career.
o You are a battalion commander. You have reached a pinnacle not attained by the majority of your year group. Don't lose sight of this fact.
o You will attend the same pre-command courses as other battalion commanders. Use this time to learn what they are learning in order to be able to relate to the force you're serving.
o You will also attend the Garrison Pre-command Course at Ft. Belvoir. Use your time wisely to learn as much as you can about the base operations business. Typically, these courses are CONUS-oriented, requiring you to dig a little harder to apply the blocks of instruction to an OCONUS situation.
o Visit the facilities and garrison staffs of your current post, as well as those where you attend PCC. There is no copyright on good ideas.
o If you are going overseas, the Army will send you to language school. Make time to attend. A large portion of your daily activities will require an interface with local civic organizations and city leadership.
o Read the pre-command chapter of this handbook. Most of the information there applies to you as well.
o Your staff, military or civilian, is no different from that of a tactical unit. They are dedicated individuals who know their jobs, who occasionally need your guidance and training, and who will support you as well as you support them.
o The sergeant major is your senior enlisted advisor. He or she should be your eyes and ears around the community. Single soldier issues are a major portion of his/her responsibility. He or she should chair the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) council. You should attend meetings when requested by the sergeant major or when you feel it appropriate.
o You will normally have only one company commander. You are his/her mentor and role model. This will probably be his/her only chance at command due to our current system. Pay particular attention to his/her personal and professional development.
o Read the chapter on commanding in this handbook as it relates to using your staff. These principles apply to the garrison/BSB staff as well.
o Information flow is critical to your business. Whether it's a decision to delay school opening due to weather, or changes in a service being provided to the community, word of mouth won't suffice.
o You will find the numbers of meetings you should attend to seem overwhelming. Don't underestimate their usefulness. Combine meetings having similar agencies or similar subjects being discussed. Keep your meetings short and focused. A couple of one-hour meetings are usually more productive than one three-hour meeting.
o Most communities have a command information channel on the local cable system. This is a great vehicle to disseminate information to spouses, as well as the military members.
o Town Hall meetings are invaluable tools. You should set the agenda for the initial portion, sharing information with the community. Try to address the issues that are hot. This will answer many questions before they're asked. Structure the question and answer portion to maximize the benefit to everyone. These sessions can get out of hand if there isn't some structure. Some good rules are:
- Have your staff principals and other community service organizations (PX/Commissary officers) present. They are best equipped to answer most questions.
- Ask the unit commanders to attend. The installation or senior tactical commander may require this. The chain of command can address 50% of the issues you get at a town hall meeting. It is much easier for you to answer calls from nine or ten commanders than several hundred citizens. This also puts the chain of command in the loop helping their soldiers.
- "Power down" is a Total Quality Management (TQM) concept. Urge the citizens of the community to raise issues to the manager on duty at a facility at the time of the incident. Deal with any recent events during the town hall meeting, but you may not be able to reconstruct the circumstances concerning a rude employee three or four weeks after the incident.
- Don't let one or two individuals dominate the session. There will be that individual who has made a list of things that have occurred for the past six months and wants to address each one now. Refer them to the appropriate director after the meeting.
- No character assassination is allowed, i.e., no DEH/DPW or PX manager bashing. Address a specific point or issue.
- Family and single soldier housing, building, and area coordinators are also important contributors. They should be addressing housing issues to the DEH/DPW before they are ever raised in a town hall meeting.
- Hold town hall meetings every four to six months, as the situation dictates. Consider having two a year with the teens to assist your staff in providing the activities the teens want to have, versus those events which no one attends.
o E-mail is rapidly becoming a commander's information channel. Put all the unit commanders in a special addressee list and provide them with regular (weekly or so) updates on what's going on outside the motor pool and local training areas where they spend most of their time.
o Deployment briefings and family support group training are essential elements of your readiness program. Ask commanders to invite the community agencies to present 5-10 minute briefings at their pre-deployment briefings to the families. Schedule Family Support Group and rear detachment commander training before each deployment. This helps them help themselves and gives them points of contact should an issue arise while the unit is deployed.
Directorate of Personnel and Community Activities (DPCA)
o This is the most unconventional of all areas of base operations. The DPCA is responsible for everything from child care to sports programs, clubs to Army Community Service (ACS), and private organizations to family support groups. Your past experience should give you some idea of how varied these responsibilities are.
o Learn the difference between appropriated funds (APF) and non-appropriated funds (NAF). They can be mixed in only a limited number of situations.
o Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) activities fall into three categories: A, B, and C. The way these are funded is very important. Learn to read a financial statement. Category C activities are business/money generating operations. These funds underwrite the other programs in the community.
o Army Family Team Building (AFTB) and Family Support Groups are crucial to your support of deployment operations. Ensure these two programs are active, and that training is regular and closely-coordinated.
o ACS is normally overworked and under-funded. They have a multitude of different programs that provide direct assistance to the commanders in the community. They also have become an organization of generalists versus specialists, requiring a good ACS officer to maximize the services from each program.
Directorate of Public Works/Directorate of Engineering and Housing
o Most CONUS installations have combined the duties of the DEH and the Director of Logistics under the Directorate of Public Works. OCONUS installations have kept the two separate directorates.
o Facility and housing management and maintenance are two of your biggest headaches. The best staff in the world won't offset the fact that the Army is just now placing the installation infrastructure high enough on the funding priority list to get attention. Do your best to ensure you listen to the problems and use the resources at your disposal to maximize their benefit to the community.
o Have the DPW/DEH brief you on the 5-year construction/renovation plans and the funding situation. Ask to see the installation design guide. These two documents, with the DPCA's CPMC and NAF Major Construction plans, should be the documents which drive the most efficient use of funds. The DPW/DEH should be intimately familiar with the NAF plans as well as his/her own.
o Walk through each facility with the DPW/DEH and the facility tenant, whether that is a unit commander or community agency. Get their perspective of what they need from the DPW/DEH and the facility. Have the DPW/DEH bring the latest service order printout. Commanders should have a similar log with which to compare notes. DON'T MAKE ANY PROMISES YOU CAN'T KEEP!
o Ask to see the minutes of the last master planning board meeting. Commanders and community staff directors should have attended or been represented. They'll give you insight concerning the current direction of the program.
o Provide a copy of the work order printout to each facility manager every month or six weeks. No system is perfect. Some work orders do fall through the cracks. This allows the manager/commander to conduct a reconciliation and prevent recurrence of these errors.
o Publish a list of what are considered emergency situations. For example, one of two toilets stopped up in a set of quarters isn't an emergency requiring a plumber to be called in after-hours; but the only toilet in the house being stopped-up is an emergency. You will have a limited overtime budget, and you must have service standards and clarify what the expectation should be.
o Assign coordinators for every building on the installation. Group them into areas and assign area coordinators. These are your primary POCs for facility maintenance and management. These are important additional duties. Encourage them to be placed on the individual's OER/NCOER Support Form. Consider assigning commanders as area coordinators. You may be responsible for the facilities, but they are responsible, as the chain of command, for the occupants. It gives them an understanding of your problems.
o Environmental protection is important. It is probably the only area in which violations of regulations and statutes have literally sent people to jail. You cannot execute this mission without the help of unit commanders. Motor pools and the activities in them are commanders' business. Don't neglect this area.
Training and Training Support
o The Directorate of Plans, Training and Mobilization (DPTM) is organized differently in each MACOM. In some MACOMs, the agency also controls the security function (DPTMS). In USAREUR, the BSB S3 has these responsibilities.
o The local training areas are your responsibility. These are critical to unit training programs. Scheduling will be a challenge as there are never enough facilities to meet local unit training needs.
o Attend the Quarterly Training Briefings (QTB) of the units on your installation. Their training plans will drive other community activities and events on the community calendar. Don't have a community event when everyone is in the field or deployed unless it is specifically directed to the families remaining behind. You will also be able to assist units in their use of facilities and resources.
o Conduct your own version of a QTB with unit commanders. It may not be beans, track pads, and bullets, but it can be the financial status of programs and facilities, renovation and construction plans, program adjustments or improvements that you want their support of or comments on, or other garrison/BSB related subjects. It helps you keep them informed.
o FM 25-101--Don't throw it away. You will have soldiers assigned via MTOE or TDA. They need training, too. Use FM 25-101 as your guide for scheduling training. These soldiers work in facilities that provide services. Keep this in mind when you schedule training. It may be easier to do mandatory training by section, or piggy-back with another unit to conduct weapons qualification, for example. If you have to close a facility or reduce services to conduct soldier training, schedule it well in advance and ensure the public is informed.
o The S3/DPTMS and DPCA will share the responsibility for the installation central processing or in/out-processing facility. First and last impressions are important. These facilities are the first and last places a soldier visits. Place them high on your priority list.
o Taskings are an S3 responsibility. Ensure an equitable system for assigning support taskings is in place. This is particularly important for borrowed military manpower (BMM). The Command Sergeant Major should be your broker for BMM.
o Civilian employees need training as well. The same considerations should be made when coordinating civilian training with the Civilian Personnel Office.
Logistics and Transportation Management
o The DPW/Director of Logistics (DOL) or BSB S4 is responsible for familiar services such as shuttle buses, commissary oversight, the TISA, the SSSC store, dining facilities (KP management), and movement of household goods.
o Transportation Motor Pools (TMP) have been drastically reduced. Many of the fleets have contract maintenance. This is another precious resource that must be carefully managed. Training support to offset OPTEMPO costs and unit non-tactical vehicles will be among the larger issues you'll have to address.
o Household goods and hold baggage management are critical quality of life issues, and warrant your oversight.
Quality of Life
o Quality of Life (QOL) has been brought to the forefront in recent months. The Marsh Commission highlighted the importance of QOL and its direct link to readiness.
o Establish QOL guidelines if they don't already exist. USAREUR has established them for most areas. They cover the types of facilities, operating hours, and services provided in a community. It is better to have one service or facility being provided/staffed in a first-class manner, than two services or facilities inadequately resourced.
o Soldiers and their families deserve the very best. Funding will never be available to do everything. If a program isn't being used, replace it with one the community will support.
o Customer service and quality of service are key. A smile or friendly disposition doesn't cost much. Impress this point on all service providers from the clerks to the directors.
o Several programs exist to help in your efforts to improve QOL.
- Total Quality Management (TQM) is an important program. It has many facets, but, as stated earlier, the customer service training is particularly valuable.
- The Army Communities of Excellence program has been revised to better serve the Army. It is more program-oriented (rather than facility-oriented) than in the past. It requires extensive preparation, but can pay great monetary dividends.
- The Recycling/Energy Conservation program can provide money directly, or indirectly through savings that can be used to improve community facilities, fund programs, or provide incentive awards.
o Labor unions at some installations in CONUS, and the Works Council at OCONUS communities, are facts of life. Establish a good working relationship early in your command tour.
o You both have the same goal--protecting civilian employees from improper employee/supervisor situations. Be accessible and straightforward in your dealings with the council.
o You will not always make decisions that will be please them. The important thing is that your decision is legal, you explain why you made the decision, and you have made every effort to compromise or consider their position.
o Make them part of the solution to required reductions or other actions which may have a negative impact on the work force.
The Civilian Workforce
o Attend the civilian supervisor's course at your current station or as soon as you arrive at your new post. Civilian employees are no different from soldiers. Their performance is governed by a set of rules and regulations that are similar to the rules and regulations governing a soldier's conduct.
o Civilians are the continuity in the organization. Many have been in their line of work for many years while military leaders have come and gone. Seek and listen to their advice. They will be honest with you if you extend them the same courtesy.
o Learn their employment rules. "You can't fire a civilian employee" is a myth. Unlike soldiers, we can't just move a bad apple to another unit or wait till he/she ETSs. Document your issues, counsel poor performance and actively seek improvement in job performance. Work with your Civilian Personnel Office (CPO).
o Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) is the civilian equivalent of EO in the military. Work to create an environment free of discrimination. Take a personal interest in each EEO complaint.
o You don't have time to become an expert in every aspect of your job. Use your civilians as the experts they are in their respective fields.
o Remember they are contracted for a certain work period, normally 40 hours a week. If you expect them to exceed that, you must compensate them.
o Their rating system (TAPES) has recently been changed to resemble the military NCOER/OER. Ensure the mandatory counseling program is on track.
Yours is a great responsibility. You have 16-plus years of experience in this business. Use the abilities, values, and common sense for which you were selected for command to approach your daily challenges. Regulations are guidelines. Most were written before the "right-sizing" of the Army began. Look for efficiencies. Apply your judgment and make the right decision, then follow up with the required paperwork to implement changes. Every decision you make will effect every member of your community. You have the opportunity to make a difference in their lives. Good luck!!
COMMANDING AND DEPLOYING A PEACEKEEPING TASK FORCE
During the past five years, America's elected leadership has expanded the Army's missions to include deployments in support of peacekeeping operations (Somalia, Croatia, Rwanda, Haiti, Macedonia, and Bosnia). As a result, the likelihood of US forces being deployed for combat operations as executed during the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War diminished significantly. Considering these changes and the continued downsizing of our military, you will face a high probability of deploying your unit to conduct peacekeeping operations in support of US interests. Although certain sections of this chapter may apply to other types of military operations (peace enforcement, disaster relief, and humanitarian assistance), this chapter is specifically designed to provide tips on commanding, planning, deploying, and employing a US task force in peacekeeping operations.
o Begin planning for the peacekeeping deployment with a detailed analysis of the mission planning guidance provided by your higher headquarters.
o If possible, deploy a command and staff planning team to conduct on-site reconnaissance and pre-deployment preparation. As a minimum, the team should include the commander, S2, S3, S4, a contracting official, and a medical representative. The task force XO and subordinate unit commanders should also be included if permitted by higher headquarters.
o Inquire early-on about the operational command structure for your task force. The answer to this inquiry is extremely important and will determine which higher headquarters has responsibility for:
- Personnel replacement.
- Logistics support.
- Tactical control (TACON).
- Operation control (OPCON).
o Unless prohibited for security reasons, incorporate the entire battle staff in the pre‑deployment planning process as early as practical.
o Identify and work closely with all members of the higher headquarters staff who have been designated to participate in the mission planning process.
o Ensure that all task force personnel undergo pre-deployment screening in the following areas: DNA sampling, wills/powers of attorney, immunizations, dental examinations, family care plans, emergency notification documents.
o Ensure that the complete list of pre-deployment activities is current and readily available throughout the battalion.
o As soon as the prospective area of operations has been identified, request that your higher headquarters provide formal briefings on all available data.
o Analyze and disseminate environmental data to subordinate leaders for consideration during their planning process.
o Require the intelligence staff to conduct a detailed intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) analysis of the projected area of operations.
o Conduct a detailed analysis of the terrain in which your unit is projected to operate, including adjacent areas. The results of this assessment will aid in determining overall map requirements, training for task force members, and considerations for special resources (climbing equipment, communications, tactical vehicles, helicopters, water, rations, etc.).
o A review of historical climatic data on the region may identify factors that will affect mission execution unless special measures are taken.
o Seek to gain an understanding of the culture of the indigenous people. Seek information on:
- Population size.
- Cultural background.
- Religious diversity.
- Ethnic diversity.
- Political parties.
- Governing parties.
- Military forces and disposition.
- Foreign governments operating in the region.
- History of terrorist activity in the area.
- Extremist organizations in the area.
- Transportation network.
- Embassies within the region.
- Refugee situation.
o Upon receipt of a deployment warning order, conduct daily command and staff update briefings on the projected area of operations.
o In coordination with higher headquarters and Department of State representatives, identify governmental and non-governmental agencies that favor or will be affected by the introduction of US forces in the region.
o Begin your mission planning by reviewing and analyzing the mission planning guidance provided by your higher headquarters.
o Identify the mission essential task(s) and purpose(s). Pay particular attention to the who, what, when, where, and why of all guidance.
o Identify specified, implied, and essential tasks that are critical to mission success. Determine if there are limitations or constraints that require special pre- or post-deployment considerations by the commander.
o Determine if any pre-employment criteria exist for the task force. For example, will the operational force commander require the task force to undergo a validation exercise before being employed?
o In conjunction with your higher headquarters, determine the forces required to execute the peacekeeping mission.
o When developing the force list, consider each of the battlefield operating systems (BOS) and decide if additional capabilities are required that are not organic to your organization. Consider the requirements for:
- Public affairs representatives.
- Liaison personnel (officers and NCOs) to interact between the task force and the supported headquarters.
- Reefer mechanics for tactical refrigeration vans.
- Direct support maintenance personnel.
- Preventive medicine, doctors, and dental personnel.
- Postal personnel.
- Contracting representatives.
- Finance personnel.
- Language specialists.
- Civil affairs personnel.
- Legal personnel.
- Military police (law enforcement, VIP security, etc.).
- Engineer support (construction/combat).
- Mini-DISE (deployable information support element).
o After completing a thorough mission analysis, develop a mission essential task list (METL) that will facilitate successful execution of your peacekeeping mission.
o When conducting pre-deployment and employment training, ensure that all task force members are integrated and trained to the established standards.
o If time permits, ensure that all soldiers are revalidated on the following common tasks: first aid, map reading and land navigation, NBC, marksmanship, and radio/telephone procedures.
o Based on the unit's most recent gunnery, ARTEP, or maneuver training center evaluation results, design a training plan that focuses on the following tasks that are common to most peace operations:
- Application of rules of engagement.
- Setup and operation of a patrol base (temporary and permanent).
- Reporting procedures (observe and report all activities).
- Conduct of dismounted and mounted land navigation.
- Conduct of dismounted and mounted patrols.
- Recognition of vehicles and uniforms of allied and other parties within the operational area.
- Negotiation with other parties.
- Identification and marking of minefields
- Interaction with media representatives.
- Construction and employment of directional antennas.
- How to quell disturbances without the use of force.
- Operation and maintenance of generators and small engineer equipment.
o Set up and conduct a drivers' training program that will produce qualified and licensed drivers for all vehicles assigned to the task force. The course should include training on both commercial and tactical vehicles.
Rules of Engagement (ROE)
o Remember that the commander is responsible for implementing ROE for his or her soldiers.
o Review the ROE published by the supported headquarters before finalizing task force ROE.
o In coordination with your supporting legal representative, design a series of scenario-driven training events to train and evaluate soldiers on their understanding and implementation of the ROE.
o Remain alert and be prepared to modify the ROE as the situation changes.
o Consider publishing established ROEs on pocket-sized cards and issue to each member of the task force.
Equipping the Force
o Unless prohibited by international agreements and guidance from the US chain of command, plan to deploy all MTOE equipment that is organic to the task force.
o In coordination with the supported headquarters, determine what equipment is required and projected to be available to your task force in the operational area.
o Based on the projected availability of resources in the operational area, identify and request that higher US headquarters provide additional equipment necessary for conduct of the peacekeeping mission.
o When developing the equipment list, consider procuring the following items in sufficient quantity to cover all vehicles in the task force:
- Emergency signal and marking devices (flares, VS-17 panels).
- Navigational devices (GPS, Sluggers, etc.).
- Extra water storage devices (5 gallon cans, collapsible bags, etc.).
- Extra tactical radios (vehicular and portable).
- United Nations flags.
o Force protection must be the number one priority throughout the deployment.
o If available, review the official report on the 23 October 1983 bombing of the Beirut Marine Corps Barracks. (Although more recent examples can be cited where insufficient actions were taken to protect small task forces, the lessons learned pertaining to force protection contained within this report remain valid for today's deployed task force commander.)
o Ensure that force protection is a priority topic of discussion when meeting with the supported commander before and after deployment of task force.
o Begin development of a force protection plan prior to arrival in the operational area.
o In coordination with the US intelligence community and the supported headquarters, learn as much as possible about hostile organizations and activities located in the operational area.
o Remain alert at all times. While US personnel forces should be neutral, certain parties in the operational area may target American forces to further their political agenda.
o Establish a base defense plan immediately upon arrival and occupation of facilities in the operational area.
o Consider tasking a subordinate leader (scout platoon or infantry company commander) to plan an offensive assault against the task force base camp. Issue guidance to identify these vulnerabilities (troop concentrations, munitions storage points, blind spots which prevent or limit observation, command and control facilities, etc.). Upon completion of the assault plan, take appropriate measures to modify your base defense plan accordingly.
o Within resource constraints, include the following options in your base camp defense plan:
- Triple strand concertina and barbed wire around the inner and outer perimeters.
- Roving dismounted guard force.
- Vehicular mounted patrols outside the base camp.
- Dragon Teeth (reinforced concrete or metal as a minimum).
- Barriers constructed of reinforced concrete and sand-filled or concrete-filled 55 gallon drums.
- Guard towers that provide interlocking visibility with adjacent towers on the left and right.
- Pre-positioned ammunition (uploaded in magazines) and stored in locked containers near each guard tower (this is in addition to ammunition pre-positioned for the active guard force).
- Barricades to block entry and high speed approaches into the base camp. Tracked vehicles may be used in addition to reinforced concrete barriers.
- Guard dogs, if available.
- Prepared defensive positions with overhead protection on the outer and inner perimeters.
- Ground sensors, listening devices, and motion-activated lighting devices.
- Civil defense alarm or a similar device that can be heard throughout the base camp if the base defensive plan is activated.
- Perimeter lighting that is connected to a commercial power source and backed up with stand-alone generators.
o Designate a specific area for assembly of visitors and non-essential personnel during execution of the base defense plan.
o Be prepared to receive and accommodate a special security assessment team visit to your task force. The team will probably be sanctioned by your higher US headquarters and will provide invaluable feedback on ways to improve the protection of your force. If one is not offered within a reasonable time after your arrival, ask for it.
o Unless specifically approved by the US higher headquarters, never subordinate task force personnel to foreign command and control.
o If possible, allow task force soldiers to become acclimated to the area of operations before being employed.
o Conduct of peace operations requires a high state of physical readiness. Require all task force personnel to participate in physical fitness training whenever possible.
o In coordination with the supported headquarters, conduct a leader reconnaissance of the task force sector.
o When assigning sub-unit sectors of operation, attempt to retain unit integrity.
o Ensure that sub-unit commanders are provided adequate copies of peacekeeping SOPs.
o Ensure that sub-unit command posts are established and manned continuously.
o Ensure that operational reporting procedures are established and rehearsed. The procedures should cover every echelon between the forward area of operation and the task force headquarters.
o In coordination with the supported headquarters, establish requirements for size, composition, and frequency of patrols to be conducted within the area of operations.
o For dismounted operations, require that a minimum of four soldiers (patrol leader, radio operator, automatic rifleman/rifleman, and medic) accompany each patrol.
o Resources permitting, mounted patrols should consist of at least two wheeled vehicles and at least four personnel. Vehicles should be equipped with standard equipment of radio, navigational devices, extra rations/water, tow bar, signaling devices, and other capabilities in accordance with unit standing operating procedures (SOP) and special instructions for the operational area.
o During the pre-deployment mission analysis and environmental assessment, consider requirements for linguist support based on the ethnic diversity of people located in the operational area.
o Once linguist requirements are known, request your higher US headquarters assign or attach military linguists to your task force for the duration of the deployment operation.
o If operating under UN command, determine if linguist or translator support will be provided to your task force. If no linguist support is provided by the higher headquarters, inquire from your higher US headquarters about the option of contracting linguist or translator support for the local area.
o Do not solicit linguists or translators from the local populace for employment until you have consulted with your supported higher headquarters and validated established procedures for employment; e.g., security and background check, health and medical assessment, language proficiency, or other specific requirements.
o If a civil affairs team is assigned or attached to your task force, consider subordinating all translators to this team for routine supervision.
o Although linguistic requirements will vary from mission to mission, recommend you:
- Consider dedicating a linguist to the task force commander and each company commander located forward in the operational area.
- Retain three or more translators in the task force headquarters for "as needed" employment by other members of the task force; e.g., by the legal advisor, military police, contracting officer, logistics officer, etc.
- Be sensitive to the local cultural practices when hiring local translators support (e.g., the role of women in a Muslim society), as well as potential risks to minority translators placed within forward operational area (females, regional ethnic minorities, etc.).
o When requesting civilian linguists, stipulate responsibility for their support (food, lodging, transportation, etc.).
Media In Deployment Area of Operations (AO)
o Develop a close professional staff relationship with your Public Affairs Office (PAO) representative upon arrival in your deployment AO.
o Use your supporting PAO representative to interact with local media agencies (television, radio, newspaper, etc.).
o Obtain specific guidance from your higher headquarters concerning your responsibility for providing support to media representatives operating within your area of operation (e.g., logistical support for housing, messing, transportation).
o Encourage your supporting PAO to attend routine or periodic command and staff meetings in order to remain updated on ongoing operations.
o In coordination with your PAO representative, develop a discreet but effective communications signal to let you know when you should curtail or avoid comments on risky or sensitive questions during interviews.
o Consider inviting local media representatives to visit your installation/AO (dependent upon mission and operational restrictions) for an inside look at your mission. Such an action may contribute to your unit's establishment of a solid community relationship.
o Maintenance of OPSEC is essential to mission accomplishment. Allow media access to operational plans only after official release authority has been granted by your higher headquarters commander. Even with such approval, you should ask the media representatives to not compromise any unexecuted operational plans when they broadcast or publish their reports.
o If your unit is deployed or projected to be deployed for an extended period, consider scheduling periodic visits by local media agencies in order to keep the local populace informed of your activities.
o In coordination with your supporting PAO representative, coordinate occasional radio and/or television appearances to address issues of concern with the local populace or to allow the local populace to call and express their concerns.
o Always alert your subordinate leaders and soldiers when media representatives are projected to be in your AO.
o Consider establishing a policy of not allowing media representatives to enter private troop areas (sleeping, latrines, recreational, etc.) without being escorted by a company commander or unit first sergeant.
o To assist in controlling civilian vehicular traffic within your operational area, consider providing military transportation for media representatives within your AO (when resources permit).
o Notify your higher headquarters and supporting PAO representative as soon as possible after incurring casualties within your unit. Ensure that details surrounding the injury(s) and personnel data on the casualty(s) are guarded against public release until next-of-kin notification procedures have been completed and verified through military personnel channels.
o Although you cannot censor media products, you can ask these media representatives to be sensitive to the Army's responsibility for notifying the next-of-kin when US casualties occur.
o Peacekeeping operations are politically sensitive and will result in numerous visits to your task force by high-level civilian and military leadership.
o While most visitors will be scheduled well in advance, be prepared to receive and accommodate (secure, escort, brief, transport, tour facilities, etc.) visitors on short notice.
o Depending on the size of your AO and time available to the visitors, consider requesting helicopter support to transport high-ranking visitors throughout the operational area. Ensure that:
- Authority is granted by your higher in-country headquarters before US visitors are granted clearance for in-country travel.
- All US visitors (ranked higher than the task force commander) conduct a protocol office call to the supported headquarters commander, if he or she is located within the geographical area being visited.
- An armed security escort service is provided for all general officers and civilian-equivalent visitors.
- The local US State Department representative is advised of all requests by US visitors to visit local governmental organizations.
- Visits outside the US task force AO are coordinated with the affected area commander.
o Safety. Develop procedures and ensure that all personnel, regardless of rank, receive a safety briefing upon arrival in the task force area of operations. As a minimum, cover the following topics:
- Force protection response plan.
- Command policies on alcohol, drugs, sexual harassment, etc.
- Unexploded munitions, mines, etc., in the AO.
- Control/handling of firearms.
- Vehicle speed limits.
- Environmental factors (weather, insects, rodents, snakes, animals, etc.).
- Emergency action procedures.
- Interaction with local populace.
o Establish procedures to capture lessons learned following all serious incidents or injuries involving task force personnel.
o Personnel Accountability
- Establish procedures to ensure that all replacement personnel undergo POR screening before deployment to the operational area.
- Establish procedures that require a task force personnel representative to be present at the air/sea port of debarkation (A/SPOD) to account for all personnel entering/departing the AO. - Ensure that:
-- Soldiers are 100% accounted for throughout the deployment.
-- Personnel accountability records are updated and balanced with the supported headquarters (and organic US headquarters) whenever changes occur.
-- Routine administrative actions (promotions, awards, boards actions, etc.) are processed and forwarded to the supporting personnel center in accordance with established US procedures.
o Leave and Passes
- Remember that during the deployment period, your soldiers will eventually need to be provided the opportunity for a period of rest and relaxation.
- Before establishing your task force's leave and pass policy, first ascertain the supported headquarters' policy within your AO.
- When implementing your leave and pass policy, ensure that scheduled soldier absences will cause no degradation in your mission execution capability.
- Ensure that each member of the task force is provided the same opportunity to participate in your leave and pass program. For example, if your policy is to allow each soldier to take two three-day passes within a six-month period, do not allow soldiers to take their second pass before all soldiers have taken their first pass.
- Consider restricting the distance that your soldiers are authorized to travel while on leave or pass. The intent of the program is lost if soldiers spend more time in transit than at their leave destination.
- If personal travel from the employment area requires soldiers to have passports, you must establish a system to get them issued.
- Do not allow soldiers to travel on local transit systems which have not yet been assessed for safety and security. Consider using members of your task force military police and maintenance section to assess the safety and security of local transit systems.
- Establish and enforce a task force policy that articulates the appropriate dress standard for non-duty soldiers' travel beyond the task force's compound.
- For safety reasons, require soldiers to travel in groups of two or more whenever they depart the task force's compound.
- Resources permitting, consider establishing weekend soldier tours of the local area.
o Emergency Leave
- Prior to deploying the task force, establish and disseminate the criteria for emergency leave to all members of the task force, rear detachment command, and family members.
- Obtain your higher headquarters' approval of your emergency leave policy before you implement it.
- Ensure that sound procedures are established within the task force for soldier notification of emergency Red Cross messages.
- Coordinate detailed travel arrangements (round trip) and brief them to your soldiers before allowing them to depart on emergency leave.
o Morale and Welfare. Soldier boredom during deployments can be prevented. To this end, recommend the following actions be taken on behalf of your task force:
- Have the supporting DPCA provide soldier support packets containing: fitness, sports, entertainment equipment, and reading material.
- Ask about the availability of a recreation specialist to accompany the task force.
- Designate, train, and certify a subordinate leader as the task force education officer. This individual should be responsible for processing correspondence course material and self-paced educational material available to task force personnel.
- Organize and operate guided tours of local cultural sites and other places of interest in the AO.
- Coordinate and arrange group trips to recreational, scenic, or historical locations within the region.
- Periodically conduct picnics and competitive sports involving both subordinate units in your task force as well as other contingents within your organization's AO.
- Coordinate with the supported headquarters to schedule USO shows to entertain the task force.
- If adequate commercial facilities exist within your AO, allow soldiers (in small supervised groups) to use the local phone system to call home.
- Request higher headquarters coordinate the procurement and installation of satellite down-links to AFN radio and television signals, and defense switching network (DSN) telephone service.
o Family Support. Review Chapter 10 of this document.
o With no other link to their family or familiar personal lifestyle support systems, access to efficient postal service becomes a critical morale issue for task force personnel.
o You must ensure that your postal operation is professionally organized and operated to guarantee that unimpeded postal service will be sustained for your task force:
- Secure a facility large enough to allow for storage, sorting, and disbursement of mail. MILVANs are not suitable for use as permanent mail‑rooms but may be used on a temporary basis upon arrival.
- Access to dedicated vehicle is critical for transport of mail to and from the air port of debarkation (APOD). This requirement will become increasingly important to effectively process mail surges that occur for all US holidays.
- Exempt postal personnel from guard and other detail rosters. They will process all inbound and outbound mail throughout each 24 hour period. You will expect them to establish accessibility to postal service on a daily basis which will accommodate your task force's work schedules.
o If possible ensure that at least two experienced mail clerks, in addition to a senior postal representative, are deployed with the task force.
o Ensure that your task force soldiers and their families and friends are familiar with what can and cannot be shipped through the postal system to and from your deployment AO.
o Push to have a lawyer assigned and deployed with your task force. Do not accept the argument that "legal advice by phone is good enough."
o As a minimum, the task force commander (as well as senior US leadership) will need legal advice on the following topics:
- Will the task force soldiers be governed by a status of forces agreement? How will changes to this agreement be implemented?
- What are the legal rights for non-task force visitors (military leadership, congressional representatives, civilians)?
- What is the US legal responsibility for law suits filed against US military personnel currently located within your AO?
o Recommend memoranda of agreement (MOA) be established between your headquarters and other peacekeeping contingents on matters of related interests, e.g., military police cooperation.
Chaplain/Unit Ministry Team (UMT)
o Determine the religious makeup of the task force before deployment and coordinate your religious support plan accordingly. As a minimum, this plan must address religious support for each denomination represented in the task force.
o Avoid committing the task force UMT to duties that are not religious in nature (e.g., don't appoint your chaplain as the tour and travel officer).
o Ensure that the UMT is provided transportation to visit task force soldiers located at forward observation sites in the AO.
o Ensure that the UMT is familiar with local religious holidays and observances in your operational area.
o A logistics representative must be included in the pre-deployment reconnaissance of the projected area of operations.
o With the exception of US-specific items, logistics support to the task force should be provided by the supported headquarters.
o To enhance the task force's pre-deployment preparation, you must obtain from the supported headquarters copies of all logistics directives and procedures currently being enforced in the operational area.
o If the task force is to operate under UN control, request a copy of its Aide Memoir (which stipulates what resources the task force must deploy to the operational area).
o If the task force is to operate under non UN/US control, determine if an Aide Memoir exists for that organization and how it relates to the your task force.
o Prior to deployment, all logistics personnel must have received training (or refresher training) on how to correctly palletize equipment and supplies for movement via both aircraft and ground transportation.
o To facilitate logistics operations, portable aircraft scales and slings must be deployed with the task force.
o Verify that aircraft slings are tested and certified for safe use before departing home station.
o Based on aircraft availability, consider resupplying hard-to- reach and distant observation posts by helicopter.
o If not already available in sufficient quantities, requisition the following equipment to support helicopter operations within the task force AO:
- VS-17 panels (three per landing site).
- Beanbag lights (at least five per landing site).
- Disposable chemical safety lights.
- Wind-socks (one per landing site).
- Portable fire extinguisher (one per landing site).
o Construct and manage trash and garbage refuse facilities to prevent the spread of disease and pilferage by local personnel.
o In order to maintain accountability of resources, a logistics representative must be present at the A/SPOD to meet and accept control of all resupply shipments.
o To facilitate US financial reimbursement from the UN for your task force's participation in the peacekeeping operations, ensure that a detailed inventory of US equipment and resources is completed in accordance with the "In-survey" as stipulated in the Aide Memoir.
o Your S4 must maintain an appropriate stockage of mission essential supplies.
- During pre-deployment planning, ensure that the maintenance support team includes sufficient personnel from organizational and direct support levels to repair all equipment assigned to the task force (wheeled, tracked, generator, and engineer equipment).
- Ensure that the unit's organizational prescribed load list (PLL) and assorted direct support maintenance authorized stockage list (ASL) items are deployed to sustain the task force during the first 30 days on the operation. (Because of the uniqueness of US equipment, a 30 day on-hand stockage will generally allow adequate time for the US logistics system to route resupply orders directly to your AO.)
- Depending on mission duration, request that an Army Material Command Logistics Assistance Representative (AMC-LAR) be attached to the task force. This individual will provide invaluable support and assistance to maintenance operations.
- Require your task force to conduct dedicated maintenance (motor stables) on a weekly basis and incorporate it in the task force operational schedule.
- Direct exchange and recoverable repair parts must be controlled, accounted for, and back-hauled to the supporting maintenance facility after usage.
- Depending on terrain in the operational area, special emphasis must be placed on the inspection of wheel vehicle suspension systems. (Although not a preventative maintenance checks and services (PMCS) checklist item for HMMWVs, it must still be done.)
- Except for essential operations, consider denying routine dispatch of vehicles during motor stables.
- To facilitate vehicle recovery operations, require all maintenance support personnel to reconnoiter established routes to forward operation bases, observation posts, and logistics transfer points.
- Consider dispatching a maintenance contact team with all logistics resupply convoys to inspect vehicles and generators located at forward bases and observation posts.
- To achieve flexibility in maintenance operations, cross-train maintenance personnel to repair systems other than those within their primary specialty.
- Require subordinate units to report not-mission-capable equipment to the task force maintenance section on a daily basis.
o Contracting Services and Support.
- Depending on the availability of Class A-rations in the operational area, consider supplementing Class B/Tray-rations with fresh products (bread and fruits) purchased within the local area.
- If not provided by the supported headquarters, recommend local contracts be established for laundry and barber services.
- Before entering into any contractual agreement, recommend the following actions be taken:
-- All requests for support be validated by the task force's supporting contracting official and legal advisor.
-- Prospective ration support facilities be inspected for acceptability by task force medical personnel.
-- Establish procedures to redress soldier grievances for damaged or lost laundry.
o A thorough medical assessment of the operational area is critical to determine both the availability and capabilities of local medical facilities.
o Establish medical evacuation procedures and disseminate this information throughout the task force.
o Sufficient medical personnel must be deployed with the task force to provide medical coverage at the forward observation posts as well as in the task force base camp.
o Consider including a preventive medicine specialist in your task force.
o If the capability does not already exist within your organic unit, inquire about the availability of tele-medicine support for your task force.
o Ensure that field sanitation kits are deployed with each of the subordinate task force units and that adequate personnel are trained on their employment.
o Consider deploying pre-fabricated collapsible latrines with the task force. As a minimum, pre-cut 55 gallon drums should be used as receptacles for human waste.
o Unless prohibited by local laws and regulations, ensure that latrines are cleaned, inspected, and that a responsible individual supervises the daily burning of human waste.
o Local water and food sources require periodic inspections and testing by qualified medical personnel.
o For sanitation and health reasons, consider prohibiting the ownership of pets by task force personnel while in the operational area.
o Do not assume that your unit will operate under a US chain-of-command in the area of operations.
o If operating under foreign command and control, approach the chain of command as you would your US leadership.
o Assume that the supported commander has not worked with US forces before.
o On occasion, you may differ with guidance provided by the supported commander which will result in your non-compliance with his or her instructions. Before you say "no" to this supported commander, ensure that you have discussed the matter first with your supporting US leadership. When time-sensitive decisions preclude your consultation with your higher US headquarters to obtain guidance, you must ensure that you back-brief them on your decision and obtain their concurrence on your action taken.
o When talking with the supported commander (non-US), be tactful but firm when discussing matters of safety, force protection, and violations of established US procedures which impact upon your task force.
o In coordination with your organic US leadership, ensure that procedures are in place to allow you direct access (Help Line) to the US chain of command.
o Chain of command authority pertaining to your task force must be clearly delineated (especially for UCMJ actions) and published to inform your soldiers.
o Command relationships are important and you must understand who has what authority over your task force. Address such issues as:
- Will your task force be under the operational control (OPCON) or tactical control (TACON) of the supported peacekeeping headquarters?
- Which headquarters has UCMJ authority over your task force?
- Who is responsible for adjudicating UCMJ over non-task force soldiers in your AO or when your soldiers are outside your AO?
o Depending on geographical proximity, try to schedule an office call with the commander of your operational headquarters within 72 hours after your arrival in the area of operations.
o Invite the operational force commander to visit your headquarters within 30 days after arrival in country and periodically thereafter. These visits will allow the commander to:
- Interact with the soldiers.
- Review operational plans.
- Tour facilities and operational areas.
- Validate training and operational guidance.
- Listen to and address concerns of task force members.
o Visit and get to know the commanders of other coalition units.
o Require that task force staff principals meet with their higher headquarters staff counterparts at least weekly.
o Daily Situation Report (SITREP):
- Understand and adhere to the policies and procedures established by your higher headquarters.
- If practical, send a daily commander's report to your organic US Army headquarters.
- Require subordinate commanders to submit a daily SITREP to your task force headquarters.
Command Policy Letters
o Ensure that all personnel are familiar with task force operational policies and procedures. Because of sensitivity and potential for international repercussions, you should immediately contact both your parent headquarters and involve your supporting legal advisor concerning any incidents which may have violated any of your command policy letters.
o Recommend written documents be developed on the following subjects and coordinated with your supporting legal advisor and Inspector General (IG) prior to publication:
- Alcohol and Drug Use. Consider prohibiting the consumption of alcohol for the first 45 to 60 days of the operation. If alcohol is subsequently approved, establish limits to prevent over-consumption.
- Sexual Harassment. Enforce your policy of zero toleration! Investigate all reported or rumored violations and take appropriate action immediately. Failure to respond will eventually erode morale and seriously impair good order and discipline within the task force. Be vigilant concerning acceptable behavior of coalition members who interact with your own soldiers.
- Leaves and Passes. Discussed earlier in this chapter, the policy should cover the duration of the deployment. To enhance your task force's focus during the initial transition period, consider denying leave and passes during the first 30 days after each soldier's arrival in the AO.
- Open Door Policy. Be visible and available to task force soldiers.
- Uniform and Civilian Clothing. Consider prohibiting the wear of civilian clothing (on or off base camp) during the first 30 to 45 days of the deployment. Once wear of civilian clothes is permitted, specify what constitutes acceptable clothing and require the soldiers' chain of command to inspect and enforce compliance with the dress policy.
- Each member of the task force must understand task force policy for security of weapons and sensitive equipment and the procedures stipulated to be followed if these items are lost or misplaced.
- Cultural awareness training should be provided to all task force personnel to include an explanation of the appropriate rules of behavior that apply when visiting cultural and historical sites.
- Strict adherence to vehicle dispatch procedures are critical to tracking all task force vehicles.
o Ensure that all organic communications resources are deployed with the task force.
o To facilitate flexibility in C3I operations, request the higher US headquarters provide International Maritime Satellite Telephone (INMARSAT) and tactical satellite (TACSAT) radios with power supply (single or multi-channel) to support the task force.
o If provided with TACSAT resources, ensure that a sufficient quantity of batteries are deployed to back-up the power supply, as well as for use in the portable configuration.
o To avoid incurring costly expenses for commercial telephone services, request the higher US headquarters provide DSN telephone service as soon as practical.
o In coordination with the task force logistics officer, ensure that extra radios (float), PLL, and Authorized Stockage List (ASL) repair parts are deployed with the task force.
o If available, deploy a Military Affiliated Radio System (MARS) to allow task force personnel to make morale and welfare calls from the operational area.
o Request procurement of a force tracking system to support the task force. If available, recommend priority of use be given to logistics resupply operations.
o Coordinate with the supported headquarters to ensure that task force computer programs are compatible with those of the higher headquarters.
o Develop a computer architectural plan prior to deployment to ensure that adequate and compatible systems are available to support your operations.
o If practical, establish land-line communications between the subordinate units and the task force headquarters.
o Ensure radio frequencies used by the task force do not conflict with frequencies used by local parties (governmental organizations, airport, radio and TV stations, etc.).
o If non-tactical radios are employed by the supported command, ensure that the task force is provided an equal share in accordance with the Aide Memoir.
o Although not one of your highest initial priorities, you should start planning for your future rotation as your task force begins its deployment.
o Require your subordinate leaders to capture lessons learned as your task force completes each phase of its peacekeeping operation.
o Develop and update continuity folders for all functional staff areas.
o Consolidate and provide copies of operational policies, procedures, regulations, and any special pre-deployment training and preparation requirements to your task force's designated replacement unit as far in advance as possible.
o Ensure that a 100% inventory is conducted of all task force property and that hand receipts are updated at least 30 days prior to mission termination and rotation.
o Develop an operational transition calendar that outlines the systematic transfer of mission responsibility. The plan should include dates for:
- Site survey by the transitional task force command team.
- Phased arrival of transitional forces (pre-advance party, advance party, and main body) and retrograde of the incumbent force.
- Property inventory and transfer.
- Joint training at observation posts.
- Transfer of interior guard and base camp security responsibility.
- Transfer of overall mission responsibility.
- Specific details for the mission change-over ceremony.
The Family Support Program may be one of the most important aspects of your command. A quality, functioning and caring program, combined with dedicated and experienced rear detachment personnel, will be one of your biggest "combat multipliers" during a deployment. Because it is a command program, you--the commander--determine its success or failure.
Family Support Groups
o Determine the best level to organize Family Support Groups (FSGs) in your unit. Some commanders recommend not organizing FSGs at battalion/squadron; they may work best at company/battery/troop level. You provide overall direction and coordinate with unit representatives.
o Determine the state of your FSGs after assuming command. What things are working for the unit and what things are not?
o Appoint a rear detachment commander who can handle the job. This should be one of your best officers. Although leaving him/her behind from a deployment will be hard, remember that the selected officer is your personal representative at your home station.
o Encourage spouses of enlisted soldiers to be FSG volunteers and leaders. Officer spouses can assist; your own spouse can advise the FSG. Discourage the appearance of your FSG as an "officer's wives club."
o Ensure that the Unit Ministry Team plays an active role in the FSG. Their background and training will be big assets.
o Conduct a monthly newcomers briefing for all arriving soldiers and their spouses. Stress the merits of the FSG and participation. Include a robust family support section in unit welcome packets.
o Schedule quarterly briefings during non-deployment periods and bi-weekly meetings during deployments to keep spouses informed. Hold these at battalion level for information and then break into company FSGs.
- Encourage attendance by using incentives (e.g., half-day off for soldiers).
- Evening sessions may work best.
- Provide free childcare when possible. (Be careful here--most posts have very specific requirements for providing temporary child care. Get someone from the post child development services office to advise you.)
- Invite experts to address FSG--ACS, JAG, Finance, Red Cross, MEDDAC, etc.
- Encourage parents of single soldiers and designated family care providers to attend.
- Introduce Rear Detachment Commander and FSG chains at each meeting.
- Provide news/videos from the deployment area.
- End meetings on a positive note, especially during deployments.
o Get the FSG leadership trained. Most installations have a structured program run by Army Community Services or the garrison staff. The Army Family Team Building (AFTB) program will also help greatly.
o An up-to-date chain of concern roster is as important as an accurate recall roster. Demand it be current. Have it periodically tested. Spouses often decide to visit relatives during deployments--they must be encouraged to leave a phone number for emergencies.
o Publish quarterly or monthly newsletters.
- Mail it to spouses. Soldiers don't always remember to bring them home. Don't forget your single soldiers.
- Include a calendar of unit events, key telephone numbers, notes from each company and a personal message from you.
- Ask single soldiers if their parents or fiancees would like to be on the mailing list. Many times it's their only link with the military, especially during deployments.
- Initiate the newsletter from the deployment area. Publish it more frequently and send it to the rear detachment for reproduction and distribution.
o Establish a FSG room in the battalion area. Stock it with a TV and VCR to watch videos from deployed soldiers. Set up a large bulletin board to display photos, current events info, maps, messages and FSG info. This location should not also serve as a meeting room.
o Have one or two battalion FSG functions during the year; let the companies have the rest. Help them with resources--facilities, administrative support, and your time when requested.
o Fundraisers are a normal function of a FSG. They provide the means to support single soldier dinners, holiday parties, loan closets and other important unit activities. Ensure that you or the appropriate authority approve every one of them. Check with the Staff Judge Advocate. Car washes and food sales usually work well.
o Treat volunteers with respect. Recognize and reward the ones that truly contribute. Award them a certificate, coin or other token in front of a battalion or company formation.
o Read DA Pam 608-47, A Guide to Establishing Family Support Groups.
o Read Center for Army Lessons Learned, Special Bulletin No. 91-2, The Yellow Ribbon.
o Read Chapter 6, Training Circular No. 12-17, Adjutant's Call, The S-1 Handbook.
o Read Who Cares? We Do!!, Experiences in Family Support, U.S. Army War College Class of 1992 Spouses and Students.
o Read Choices and Challenges, A Guide for the Battalion Commanders Wife, published by spouses of former battalion commanders in the USAWC 1991.
o Contact the Army Family Liaison Officer (DSN 225-7714 or 1-800-833-6622), or the Community and Family Support Center (DSN 221-6112) for additional assistance and information.
Tips for Spouses of Battalion Commanders
The following tips are provided by spouses of former battalion commanders in the USAWC Class of 1996.
o Never wear or appear to wear your spouse's rank. Encourage everyone to address you by your first name.
o Understand your spouse's position and challenges. Be patient. Form a team.
o Become involved and be supportive of battalion and company functions. Ask to attend and contribute, but don't try to do everything.
o Don't over-volunteer. Remember your own family.
o You can never make everyone happy. Be yourself and have fun.
o Be generous with thanks and praise. Don't try to control every aspect of all events.
o Don't get involved in crisis situations, such as domestic violence. You are not trained or equipped for this.
o Make social activities fun. When scheduling activities be sensitive to working spouses with small children.
o You are a model for younger spouses. Be positive, caring and enthusiastic.
o Form friendships with other battalion commanders' spouses; they can be an invaluable support system.
o Don't give up on spouses who choose not to actively participate in the FSG. These are the people who seem to have the most problems when a unit deploys.
o Call on newcomers to welcome them into the battalion family.
o Ensure you don't circumvent the chain of command by making promises because you are the battalion commander's spouse. Keep spouses informed of problems but don't violate confidentiality.
o Welcome all volunteers with open arms--each will bring something unique to the group. Listen to all their ideas.
Being told to inactivate a battalion, or one of its units, puts the battalion commander in a less-than-enviable position. It seems as if the rug has just been pulled out from under his or her feet. The glue, collective training, that kept the unit together will start to dissolve about six months before the actual casing of the colors and/or guidons. The battalion commander has the challenge to keep the team focused and working together to accomplish this final mission. Leadership, mentorship, individual training, caring, maintenance, supply/turn-in, and outprocessing take on new and heightened significance.
o Inactivation is a chain of command mission. Try to maintain unit integrity during the inactivation process.
o Yours is not the first unit that has inactivated, and there is no need for you to reinvent the process. Ask higher headquarters to get existing inactivation SOPs, regulations, etc. The Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) at Fort Leavenworth also has material on inactivation.
o Upon notification of inactivation, a unit must task-organize the staff for mission accomplishment. A unit inactivation is admin/log intensive, while the training requirements diminish considerably.
o Keep the unit informed. Early and continued information on the status of the inactivation must be passed to all personnel in the unit in a timely manner. Effective communication to your soldiers will help keep morale and unit cohesion intact. Maintaining your soldiers' trust in their leaders is critical to the success of your inactivation mission.
o Get more personal with your troops. You need to be seen more now than ever before. Your leadership and that of your commanders will be the glue that holds the unit together.
o Inspire your battalion to perform at their best during this trying time. Reinforce your soldiers' pride in themselves and their unit. No one wants their legacy to be a sloppy or bad job.
o Keep up a "can-do" attitude. Focus on the challenge of the mission rather than the finality of inactivation.
o Keep leaders involved. Review/revise Mission Essential Task List to accommodate drawdown requirements. Commanders must not downplay the inactivation as being unimportant. A commander's positive or negative attitude is exactly what will be adapted by his or her soldiers.
o Keep training, but focus on those things that will support inactivation.
o Must shift from collective training to individual training (weapons qualification, pre-deployment processing, physical training, NBC, etc.).
o Some collective training is possible, but it needs to be done early, and must be inexpensive. Use simulations, wargames, Command Post Exercises, dismounted company training, and platoon training.
o Continue physical training programs to enhance cohesion and reduce stress.
o Keep personnel informed, including family members. Hold battalion meetings that include spouses.
o Try to get housing arranged for your soldiers at their new units/installations within theater. This will enable soldiers to do door-to-door moves and ultimately save the government money.
o Issue a battalion newsletter about every six weeks and mail them so that soldiers and spouses know what is going on.
o Take a personal interest in the welfare of all soldiers. Design programs to monitor drawdown initiatives. Follow-on assignments are important to each soldier, as is the shipment of his/her HHG.
o Do everything you can for transition training of civilians who are terminated. Help with their reassignments.
o Once notified to inactivate, start working to get your vehicles to 10/20 standards so that you can turn in or laterally transfer your equipment. A large volume of PLL items is required to meet transfer or turn-in standards.
o Watch budget and maintenance very closely. Equipment maintenance and ultimate turn-in are very labor intensive, costly, and time consuming--all things that are in short supply during the inactivation process.
o Set up maintenance inspection teams consisting of members from each company to inspect and repair equipment. Establish and enforce strict standards.
o Focus on the key equipment for mission accomplishment. You will need HMMWVs, HEMTTS, and cargo trucks running right up until inactivation.
o Make sure the property book officer starts early to make proper deposition of equipment/property and that he/she is working with the proper personnel to make it happen.
o Get your shortages of tools and other shortages in sets, kits and outfits ordered. This will make turn-in much easier.
o Set up a team to manage the turn-in of equipment. Put the S4 in charge of the team, which should be closely supervised by the Battalion XO.
o Carefully consider how to stage equipment out of the unit to maximize equipment turn-in with organic assets.
o Keep the pressure on! Keep pushing stuff out, and don't let people drag their feet. Don't forget that your work force is leaving as fast or faster than are your equipment/property.
o Enforce supply discipline. There is a difference between excess equipment, parts, or supplies, and garbage. Make sure your soldiers and leaders know the difference and that they dispose of property properly.
o Set up a team of consolidated clerks from each company in concert with the PAC to manage the transition of personnel out of the organization. Put the S1 in charge of the team. One of your majors should supervise. Ensure that all awards, Officer Efficiency Reports, and NCOERs are finished and processed prior to movement of personnel from the unit.
o Set up your own central outprocessing center, if one doesn't exist on your installation. In any event, telephonically pre-clear your soldiers from non-used facilities. This will get your soldiers out faster.
o Do PCS briefings within the unit. Keep soldiers out of community and installation offices by moving paper, not soldiers.
o Break your battalion personnel down into approximately 10 departure increments. Move your soldiers and family members with special circumstances first. Your last to leave will be your key soldiers and leaders (to include supply, maintenance, and PAC personnel) who are necessary to complete your inactivation requirements.
o Manage the "hard" personnel cases personally. Get action early-on for all identified and potential chapter cases. Get your UCMJ actions done expeditiously. If you do not manage these cases correctly, your problem soldiers will be residuals and your boss will have to contend with them; this will inevitably leave a bad lasting impression of you and your unit.
o Hand-massaging personnel assignments in a timely manner, while still maintaining the capability to close out your organization, is a time-consuming venture, but very critical. Try to get all officers and NCOs into a new assignment that furthers their professional development.
o Assignments for enlisted personnel is a key issue. Let your Command Sergeant Major run this. Get it worked hard and done early. Such action is critical to eliminate uncertainty and distrust among your soldiers.
o Identify and work passport and visa requirements early.
o Take care of your people--all the way out the door.
o Extensive installation support is required to inactivate part or all of your organization. Early identification of support requirements is critical.
o Develop a plan, publish it, and follow it. Set up a 180-day milestone inactivation schedule for your battalion. It can't slip.
o Carefully watch the turn-in of every building and safe in your organization. Check each one personally for classified documents.
o Ensure that your battalion is released from all operational missions prior to the start of inactivation activities. This is usually 6 months prior to the inactivation date. Ensure that your higher headquarters agrees with your inactivation plan.
o Task organize for mission accomplishment and have frequent IPRs to review milestones, issues, synchronization, and coordination problems which arise.
o Plan early to expend and make best use of unit funds. Avoid the tendency to exhaust all funds early--save some for the soldiers left at the end.
o Track your soldiers' POVs and their final disposition. This will alleviate the problem of abandoned POVs.
Your battalion's ability to respond rapidly to a crisis anywhere in the world is fundamental to our current "force projection" strategy. In today's environment, it is not a question of "if" you will deploy, it is a question of "when." This is true for all types of units. You must prepare your soldiers, their equipment, and their families, to respond when called. You will likely move by air, rail, and sea, so your soldiers must know ahead of time how to successfully deploy.
o Read Chapters 9 and 10 in this handbook.
o Immediately familiarize yourself with the local readiness SOP (RSOP). It will outline responsibilities and who will help you deploy and how.
o Keep alert rosters current. Update at least weekly and test them often.
o Train for air, rail and sea movement. Vast differences exist in the requirements. The Installation Transportation Officer (ITO) can help. Your movement control officer (MCO) should be on a first name basis with the ITO.
o Most installations will have designated outload support units. However, train your unit to self-deploy if need be. This includes training your own arrival/departure airfield control groups (ADACG). Be able to inspect your own vehicles for proper loads and maintenance standards, and also center of balance computations.
o MCOs are absolutely crucial and require extraordinary attention to detail. Send them to school now. Have at least two trained MCOs and two trained hazardous materials (HAZMAT) soldiers in each company and at least four in your battalion headquarters. Both schools are difficult and require sharp soldiers with longevity.
o Get COMP 5 (air movement planner) software and require your MCOs to be trained on it. This is critical to movement planning at the highest level. It links in to the JOPES system.
o Buy rachet straps to use as tie downs. Hemp rope doesn't work well. Make them part of vehicle BII (5 per HMMWV and 5 per HMMWV trailer worked well).
o Load plans are absolutely critical. Air Force loadmasters really check them. If they are not accurate (e.g., identifying locations of fire extinguishers, fuel cans, oil containers, etc.) the vehicle will not get on the aircraft. Oil leaks are a no-go.
o Blocking and bracing are always problems. Your NCOs must be trained on how to do this correctly.
o Maximum vehicle height requirements differ by type aircraft. Your MCO and NCOs must know these requirements by type of vehicle. There are also maximum size requirements for sea movement; however, these are less stringent.
o Plan to move all TOE/TDA equipment, even if it requires external support. Train your people on building 463L pallets and loading containers. If you forget something, you will have to do without. Do not shortchange yourself on repair parts and administration supplies.
o Your people must be ready to deploy prior to being alerted. There is no time once the balloon goes up. The POM process is very important in this regard. It is difficult to keep everyone up-to-date with all the medical and personal requirements. It will require your personal involvement every week to make it happen. Require updates by company at command and staff meetings.
o Insist spouses get drivers licenses. Work through the Family Support Group.
o SIDPERS is a big problem, especially in Combat Service Support units where numbered companies usually deploy without their normal headquarters. Your S1 must plan ahead on how the companies "plug in" to their new higher headquarters in the AO.
o Establish and rehearse a rear detachment. The OIC and NCOIC must be quality soldiers who have longevity in the unit. Someone must inventory and sign for equipment left behind. Plan this in advance.
o Stress property accountability throughout the deployment. Young commanders will put this on the back burner if you let them, and will pay for it on their change of command inventories.
o Your unit will receive priority when preparing for operational deployments. Take advantage of it. Weapons qualification, MTOE shortages, intelligence briefings, training areas, will all be easier to get. Establish a solid pre-deployment training plan once you know how much time you have.
o Lock rooms, band wall lockers, and inventory high dollar items.
o Have a solid POV security plan and rehearse it on every Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise.
o It is critical to have religious leadership available to the deploying soldiers and rear detachment personnel. Provide both.
o Ensure spouses are included in pre-deployment briefings. Keep them informed at all costs, especially after the unit deploys. Installation agencies can help you with this (e.g., ACS, MPs). Briefings to soldiers on the country, customs, courtesies, and rules of engagement are essential.
o Avoid repeated goodbyes. This is hard on families. Realize that air flow will change and departure times will fluctuate. Keep soldiers at air point of debarkation (APOD) once they have said their goodbyes if there is not a prolonged wait for departure.
o Do not forget the rear detachment once you have deployed. Keep them informed daily on what is going on.
o The rear detachment commander will face myriad problems in your absence; he or she should be one of your most resourceful officers
o Insist company commanders do 100% inventories upon redeployment.
o Make your arrival back home a big deal. The rear detachment and Family Support Group can plan this. A ceremony with families present is very appropriate and does a lot for the morale of the soldiers and families. Yellow ribbons everywhere--a very emotional event.
o Once you get back it is easy to forget about the lessons learned. You must have a home station After Action Review. Incorporate the lessons learned into professional development for all leaders. Develop your training program around strengths and weaknesses.
o Provide a copy of your After Action Reviews to higher headquarters so they can use them to develop focus for the next EXEVAL.
o Personnel turnover is a training distractor and is getting worse as time on station is being reduced in today's environment. It may require starting a new training cycle each year.
o While deployed, add at least an additional thirty days to the normal suspenses for efficiency reports. To ensure they arrive on time, it may be necessary to mail them directly to PERSCOM with a copy forwarded to your home station G1. Also, ensure reports are completed on stay-behind personnel prior to deployment.
o Family emergencies will occur during deployments. The question of whether to allow a person to return for a particular emergency is a tough call. Set a reasonable policy and stick to it, or you will be inundated with such requests, especially on long deployments.
o Being able to contact family members during deployments is a critical morale factor. Make telephone service a high priority.
o Ensure family members are left with the essentials: transportation, access to checking accounts, powers of attorney, ability to get messages to their soldiers, and other necessities (see the Chapter 10 for a more complete list). Also ensure they have a point of contact for emergency messages available 24 hours a day.
o Rumors pertaining to redeployment can wreck morale. Keep your soldiers informed as much as possible.
o Ensure your rear detachment commander has UCMJ authority over stay-behind personnel. He or she will need it to close out any actions that you may have initiated, or commence any new actions while you are gone.
Relationships with local civilian and military communities play an important part in the life of today's battalion commander. There will be varying demands from the community depending upon the type of unit and capabilities you command. The key point to remember is to not become obligated to provide or receive unauthorized services from community agencies or businesses. Each installation and garrison has a private organization coordinator, normally in the Directorate of Personnel and Community Activities. Always contact your legal advisor prior to asking for or accepting anything from community agencies or businesses.
o Local chapters of AUSA, NCOA, VFW and American Legion can provide incentives for your awards programs (e.g., soldier/NCO of the month/quarter/year).
o Accept the opportunity to speak at the local Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary, or similar clubs. These opportunities enhance the good neighbor image, tell the Army story, and increase community awareness. They can be culturally rewarding.
o Be prepared to support local ceremonies for Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Veteran's Day.
o The installation or garrison staff normally coordinates formal community support requirements, and tasks them on a rotational basis. Accept your fair share.
o Community Sponsorship Programs are very important to the quality of life on an installation. You may be required to adopt a school, child care facility, or other activity. Support may include cutting grass, moving equipment, or providing a parent for career week or story time.
o Local law enforcement organizations are capable of offering safe ride programs similar to the military police.
o City partnerships are becoming a norm, particularly overseas.
o Participation in the local DARE, Big Brother/Big Sister, or Scouting programs provide soldiers a chance to return something to the community and enhance their own self-esteem.
o In some instances, the population of the military community may be larger than the local civilian community. Community interaction is crucial in these situations.
o Borrowed military manpower (BMM) is a fact of life in today's fiscal environment. Again, take your fair share. Challenge unreasonable taskings and propose workable compromises.
o These activities vary from purely charitable (Toys for Tots, Special Olympics, blood drives) to training opportunities (disaster relief, traffic control, equipment displays, setup for local events, or small construction projects).
o The installation staff should control these types of events. Units are usually tasked as a function of special capability or based on training cycles.
o Holiday events at local orphanages and retirement homes are rewarding for all involved.
o The town hall meetings conducted by community, installation, or garrison are very important events. You should attend each one to represent your soldiers.
o The post newspaper and weekly bulletin are sources of information on current community activities. Use them to highlight your battalion's achievements. Invite a reporter to observe your training, or have your S1 write a story with accompanying photo and send both to the paper for publication.
o Most installations now operate a command information channel on the post cable system. Use it.
o Encourage soldier participation on the various community councils, e.g., the AAFES/Commissary Council, club councils, etc. This is where issues should be addressed that affect unit morale and quality of life.
o Put your Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) Council representative on orders and ensure he/she is released to attend meetings. This will pay amazing dividends.
o Family Support Groups (FSGs) are essential. The installation can provide training to key members of your groups on how to handle crisis situations, who to call for assistance when the unit is deployed, and organizational skills. Ask for assistance if a program isn't already established. This will greatly reduce family problems whether you are deployed or at home station.
o The pre-deployment briefing is your forum for getting information to your families. Invite community agencies to attend and provide 5-10 minute presentations on services available and activities planned during deployments.
o Include your rear detachment commanders in your Family Support Group training and deployment briefings.
Set the proper parameters for community relations support. Local organizations and the installation are capable of planning five to six weeks in advance for your support. This enables you to plan your training appropriately. This may not be possible in some cases, but ask for that consideration. The installation staff should be your POC for all such support. There will be many opportunities for you to provide support to and receive support from community organizations. Look at them as quality of life enhancers, not training distractors.
Military leaders today are confronted with challenges brought on by changes in technology. Telecommunications is one such challenge and, while neither friend nor foe, it can contribute toward your success or failure as a commander. This chapter on Media Relations is intended to offer some basic tips, advice, and recommendations you should consider before and during interactions with media representatives.
While most media encounters will differ in their details, the outcome of these encounters will depend largely on how prepared you are before the exchange begins. As you review these comments, keep in mind that they were offered by former leaders based on their success and, in some cases, failure with the media. It is recommended that you commit to memory the "Basic Rules of Engagement" or at least keep them in your hip pocket for immediate use/review.
Basic Rules of Engagement
o The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of press. In this regard, you must remember that the media's primary mission is to gather and report information. Although you may not agree with their reports, you are not at liberty to alter or censor media reports, or prevent media representatives from performing their tasks.
o Never lie to the media. If the requested information is not available or not cleared for public release, be honest and tell them the data is not available or that you are not authorized to discuss that data. There is nothing wrong with saying "I don't know."
o Never discuss classified material with media representatives unless formally cleared to do so by the commander of your higher headquarters.
o Never assume your comments are off the record. As a commander and/or leader, everything you say and do is subject to public consumption. Unless discussed in a closed environment, your comments are subject to being repeated in a variety of ways.
o Never stereotype by considering all media agencies as the enemy. Occasionally, commanders may be confronted with unethical behavior by certain media agencies. It is imperative that commanders/leaders apply judgment, common sense, and professional tact when confronted with such situations.
o The power of the pen is mightier than the sword! Avoid verbal confrontation with media representatives unless your position can be supported with empirical data. The media will generally have the last word.
o "Stay in your lane" when discussing issues. The media is not an appropriate forum to publicly state your opposition to Army and federal policies. Discuss these concerns with your chain of command first!
o Understand how and when to provide "off the record" comments to the media.
Establishing a Media Policy
o Media relations are commanders' business. You may delegate the function to a subordinate staff individual, but responsibility for conveying appropriate and correct information rests squarely with the commander.
o Before establishing your own policy, review the media policy of your higher headquarters first. You should also solicit input and comments from your local Pubic Affairs Office (PAO).
o Before accommodating media visits or responding to their inquires (written or telephonic), ensure that your supporting PAO and/or higher headquarters are aware of such requests.
o Whenever possible, request that the supporting PAO provide a read-ahead fact sheet to visiting media representatives. Determine what is their emerging story line and if there are special precautions to consider when dealing with that particular agency.
o Determine what the command position is on certain topics and issues before offering information or personal opinions on them to the media.
o Develop an outline or crib notes on anticipated topics to be discussed with the media.
o If the interview topic is known in advance, formulate and rehearse your responses prior to the media visit. Have your staff, as the subject matter experts, ask you hard ball questions--if you dread it, you'll get asked it by the media.
o If possible, invite PAO representatives to accompany any media visits to your unit.
o Know who you're talking to. Accredited media will normally be escorted by a PAO escort or will have been authorized in writing by the command to operate in the area. Never "wing it" or "shoot from the hip" during interviews.
o Know the "party line." If you don't know the Army's or your higher command's position on issues to be discussed, ask your boss or his/her boss before stating your opinion to the media.
o Think OPSEC. When in doubt about whether it's okay to discuss the requested subject matter, contact your higher command and/or supporting PAO.
o Be accessible and positive. As a leader, you represent more than yourself and your unit, you represent the leadership of the U.S. Army and, on occasion, the U.S. Government. Regardless of the media's questions, attempt to be positive when responding to inquiries.
o Remain calm and in control of your emotions. How you respond to questions may be equally important as what you say. In most situations, extensive footage (video/audio) or text (written) will be captured during coverage of you/your unit in order to generate 3-5 second sound bites (short succinct statements) in their finished product(s).
o Be professional. What you say is important and is subject to being rebroadcast by various sources (soldiers, newspapers, radio, television, etc.) Avoid use of profanity, slang remarks, offensive gestures, and improper grammar.
o Avoid sitting behind your desk during televised interviews. To do so may appear defensive or make it look as though you have something to hide. In most cases, media representatives will propose a background setting appropriate for the interview. If not, recommend you stand or sit in the vicinity of your unit colors, TOE/TDA equipment, or a suitable monument in the vicinity of your unit. Bottom line: do what is most comfortable to you.
o Whenever possible, avoid saying "no comment." Although this statement is preferred over violating the basic rules discussed above, repeated use may appear that you have something to hide.
o Don't be pressured. Take your time to think about the questions and formulate your response before attempting to answer. Unless your interview is being broadcast live, the interview comments will normally be edited before airing for public consumption.
o Don't talk simply because the microphone and/or camera is in your face. Speak when you are prepared to talk and stop talking when you have adequately answered the question.
o Before starting interviews, take a few minutes to adjust to the media team. If available, offer the media representative a beverage (coffee, tea, etc.).
o Ask media representatives to go over the questions they intend to ask before the formal interview starts. This will allow you time to formulate your responses.
o Stay within your area of responsibility and avoid hypothetical situations. If you command it, own it, or did it, then you can talk about it. Don't overstep your boundaries.
o Remain alert. Whenever possible, be cooperative and supportive with media representatives, but do not become lulled into a false sense of security that the media representative is on your team. His or her primary goal is to capture newsworthy data which may differ from your views.
o Ensure that all published statements and articles are pre-screened by your supporting PAO representative before releasing them to the media. It is often too late to retract statements once they are provided to the media.
Maximize Your Media Opportunities
o Take the initiative when coordinating media coverage.
- Volunteer your unit for hosting media visits whenever possible.
- Encourage members of your command to write and submit articles in command/community newspapers and professional journals.
- Invite local media agencies to attend special ceremonies (changes of command, family support group events, promotions, community service projects, etc.) and key training events.
o Anticipate issues and keep soldiers informed. There will be the usual 5% that won't get the word, but you must deal with that.
o Encourage your soldiers and leaders to talk to media representatives about their unit and its accomplishments. However, their comments should be confined to areas that they are responsible for.
o Never pass up an opportunity to say positive things about your soldiers, their equipment, and the military leadership. Consider preparing several positive vignettes about them that you can recite without delay.
o Ensure that all members of your command understand when they should refer media questions to their leadership for a formal response, regardless of when and where the questions are presented to them.
Media In Deployment Area of Operations (AO)
o Develop a close professional staff relationship with your Public Affairs Office (PAO) representative upon arrival in your deployment AO.
o Use your supporting PAO representative to interact with local media agencies (television, radio, newspaper, etc.).
o Obtain specific guidance from your higher headquarters about your responsibility for providing support to media representatives operating within your area of operation (e.g., logistical support for housing, messing, transportation).
o Encourage your supporting PAO to attend routine or periodic command and staff meetings in order to remain updated on ongoing operations.
o In coordination with your PAO representative, develop a discreet but effective communications signal to let you know when you should curtail or avoid comments on risky or sensitive questions during interviews.
o Consider inviting local media representatives to visit your installation/AO (dependent upon mission and operational restrictions) for an inside look at your mission. Such an action may contribute to your unit's establishment of a solid community relationship.
o Maintenance of OPSEC is essential to mission accomplishment. Allow media access to operational plans only after official release authority has been granted by your higher headquarters commander. Even with such approval, you should ask the media representatives to not compromise any unexecuted operational plans when they broadcast or publish their reports.
o If your unit is deployed or projected to be deployed for an extended period, consider scheduling periodic visits by local media agencies in order to keep the local populace informed of your unit activities.
o In coordination with your supporting PAO representative, propose occasional radio and/or television appearances to address issues of concern with the local populace or to allow the local populace to call and express their concerns.
o Always alert your subordinate leaders and soldiers when media representatives are projected to be in your AO.
o Consider establishing a policy of not allowing media representatives to enter private troop areas (sleeping, latrines, recreational, etc.) without being escorted by a company commander or unit first sergeant.
o To assist in controlling civilian vehicular traffic within your operational area, consider providing military transportation for media representatives within your AO (when resources permit).
o Notify your higher headquarters and supporting PAO representative as soon as possible after incurring casualties within your unit. Ensure that details surrounding the injury(s) and personnel data on the casualty(s) are guarded against public release until next-of-kin notification procedures have been completed and verified through military personnel channels.
o Although you cannot censor media products, you can ask these media representatives to be sensitive to the Army's responsibility for notifying the next-of-kin when US casualties occur.
Collins, Arthur S., Jr. Common Sense Training. Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1978.
Fehrenback, T.R. This Kind of War: A Study in Unpreparedness. New York: The McMillan Company, 1963.
Malone, Dandridge M. Small Unit Leadership: A Common Sense Approach. Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1983.
Meyer, John G. Company Command: The Bottom Line. Washington, D.C.: National University Press, 1990.
Newman, Aubrey. Follow Me: The Human Element in Leadership. Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1981.
Smith, Perry. Taking Charge: A Practical Guide for Leadership. Washington, D.C.: National University Press, 1986.
Accidents 31, 55
Administration....................... 22, 27, 28, 34, 108, 130
After Action Review............................... 16, 59, 131
Air assault................................................ 48
Air defense............................................ 40, 49
Air Liaison Officer.................................... 49, 50
Air movement...................................... 50, 52, 129
Airborne 50, 51
Alcohol 3, 31, 38, 65, 108, 116
Alert rosters............................................. 129
Appropriated funds......................................... 92
Armor 48, 52
Arms rooms............................................. 20, 34
Army Community Service..................................... 92
Army Family Team Building............................. 92, 121
Army Material Command................................. 62, 113
Assistant Division Commander........................... 58, 61
Athletic events............................................ 11
Authorized Stockage List............................. 113, 117
Automation............................................. 58, 84
Aviation 21, 40, 49, 54‑56
Awards 13, 29, 30, 44, 57, 60, 69, 74, 84‑87, 95, 108, 126, 133
Base support battalion.................................... 89
Battle drill............................................... 43
Battlefield Operating Systems......................... 49, 100
Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers...... 11, 35, 90, 134
Billets 10, 11, 33‑35, 38
Biography 2, 82
Borrowed Military Manpower.................... 66, 67, 94, 134
Brigade Commander...................... 15, 23, 26, 34, 57, 58
Budget 21, 22, 34, 57, 84, 87, 89, 93, 126
Center for Army Lessons Learned...................... 122, 124
Chain of command. 12, 16, 31, 33‑35, 57, 86, 91, 93, 102, 115,
117, 123, 124, 137
Chain of concern.......................................... 121
Change of command................. 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 72, 82, 130
Chaplain 9, 25, 26, 31, 70, 75, 76, 79, 111
Chief of Staff..................................... 22, 43, 61
Civil Affairs........................................ 100, 105
Civilian personnel............................. 72, 84, 94, 96
Civilian Personnel Office.......................... 72, 94, 96
Class II 60
Class IX 19
Classified material....................................... 136
Clerks 95, 110, 126
Cohesion 124, 125
Collective training.......................... 18, 59, 124, 125
Combat lifesaver................................... 18, 48, 51
Combat Service Support................. 16, 17, 63, 66‑68, 130
Combat Support.......................... 17, 49, 57, 59‑61, 63
Combat support battalion............................... 57, 61
Combined arms training................................. 41, 60
Command climate........... 4, 8, 9, 11, 18, 25, 26, 38, 75, 80
Command Climate survey..................................... 11
Command Inspection Program................... 9, 19, 34‑37, 83
Command Post Exercise...................................... 20
Command presence....................................... 75, 79
Command relationships..................................... 115
Command Sergeant Major... 4, 8, 9, 11, 15, 17, 18, 20, 23, 24,
26‑30, 36, 38, 41, 58‑60, 67, 72, 73, 75‑78, 87, 94, 127
Commander's intent..................................... 42, 80
Commanding General................................. 34, 59, 61
Common Task Training....................................... 15
Communications 8, 44, 48, 51, 53, 64, 65, 75, 90, 99, 106, 117,
Community relations................................. 133, 135
Company/battery commanders. 17, 22‑26, 28, 32, 33, 36, 38, 57,
Congressional inquiries.................................... 78
Contact team.......................................... 62, 113
Contracting representatives............................... 100
Controlled substitution.................................... 21
Counsel 14, 29, 78, 80, 96
Counseling...................... 8, 10, 27, 29, 74, 80, 81, 96
Credit cards............................................... 20
Crew chiefs................................................ 56
Crew rest 55
Daily Situation Report.................................... 116
Dental 99, 100
Deployment 20, 21, 48, 51, 53, 55, 60, 66, 70, 91, 92, 98‑103,
105, 106, 108, 111‑113, 116‑118, 120, 121, 125,
130‑132, 135, 140
Dining facility.................... 10, 11, 25, 33, 35, 76, 80
Director of Logistics.................................. 92, 95
Directorate of Personnel and Community Activities..... 92, 133
Directorate of Plans, Training and Mobilization............ 94
Directorate of Public Works.................... 20, 34, 35, 92
Dispatch policy............................................ 61
Document register.......................................... 21
Drill Sergeant Academy..................................... 73
Drill sergeants..................................... 73‑77, 79
Drills 16, 19, 37, 44, 54
Drivers' training..................................... 17, 101
Drug prevention............................................ 31
Emergency leave........................................... 109
Emergency notification..................................... 99
Entry Level Separations.................................... 77
Equal Employment Opportunity............................... 96
Executive Officer 8, 9, 20, 26, 27, 30, 33, 36, 61, 83, 84, 98,
Facilities. 4, 7, 9, 20, 33‑35, 44, 45, 70, 82, 86, 90, 93‑95,
103, 107, 110, 112, 114, 116, 121, 126
Family Advocacy......................................... 3, 31
Family care plans.......................................... 99
Family support 14, 26, 30, 38, 80, 91, 92, 110, 120, 122, 130,
131, 134, 135, 139
Family Support Group 14, 26, 38, 80, 91, 92, 130, 131, 135, 139
Field artillery........................................... 49
Field sanitation.......................................... 114
Force protection....................... 19, 102, 103, 108, 115
Fraternization..................................... 25, 73, 79
Gender‑integrated training................................. 76
Government travel card..................................... 82
Hazardous materials................................... 14, 129
Headquarters Commandant.................................... 44
Health 5, 24, 33, 34, 105, 114
Housing 35, 91, 92, 106, 125, 140
Initial Entry Training..................................... 73
Injuries 72, 77, 108
Inspections........... 19, 22, 35, 36, 55, 62, 70, 79, 83, 114
Inspector General.............. 9, 11, 26, 32, 72, 77, 83, 116
Installation 4, 14, 20, 57, 60, 89, 91‑94, 106, 110, 126, 127,
129, 131, 133, 134, 135, 140
Integrity 3, 12, 21, 58, 59, 83, 104, 124
Intelligence..................... 16, 19, 42, 50, 99, 103, 130
Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield................ 99
Inventories.......................... 21, 32, 60, 70, 130, 131
Jumpmaster............................................. 50, 52
Labor unions............................................... 96
Land navigation................................... 16, 17, 101
Latrines 107, 114, 141
Laundry 113, 114
Leader development.................................. 3, 58, 62
Leadership. 3, 12, 25, 36, 57, 58, 63, 64, 73, 75, 82, 84, 85,
90, 98, 107, 111, 115, 121, 124, 131, 138‑140, 142
Leaves 14, 80, 85, 86, 116
Legal advice.............................................. 111
Lessons learned...... 17, 18, 31, 102, 108, 118, 122, 124, 131
Linguist 105, 106
Live fire 16, 17, 45‑48, 50‑53
Load plans............................................ 47, 130
Local training areas................................... 91, 94
Logistics 18, 22, 40, 41, 43, 51, 60, 61, 70, 92, 95, 98, 105,
Low density items.......................................... 62
Low density MOS training................................... 68
Maintenance 1, 2, 11, 14‑17, 19‑21, 30, 33, 38, 44, 53, 55, 56,
61, 62, 65, 66, 92, 93, 95, 100, 101, 106, 109, 113,
124‑127, 129, 140
MAIT Team 20
Management........ 3, 5, 14, 21, 24, 26, 36, 64, 65, 91‑93, 95
Maneuver training center.............................. 40, 101
Media 101, 106, 107, 136‑141
Medical evacuation........................................ 114
Medical facilities........................................ 114
medical support........................................ 41, 86
Meetings 8, 11, 15, 20, 22, 23, 26‑29, 41, 55, 56, 58, 64, 65,
76, 90, 91, 106, 120, 121, 125, 130, 134, 140
Mentorship............................................ 12, 124
METT‑T 45, 47
Military Police....................... 101, 105, 109, 111, 133
Mission analysis............................ 42, 100, 101, 105
Mission Essential Task List... 1, 15, 18, 40, 58, 67, 101, 125
Moral climate............................................... 5
Morale 10, 17, 25, 28, 33, 70, 92, 109, 110, 116, 117, 124, 131,
Mortars 47, 50
Motor pool............................. 10, 14, 16, 20, 61, 91
National Training Center................................... 18
New starts............................................. 77, 78
Newsletter....................................... 84, 121, 125
Next‑of‑kin notification............................. 107, 141
Non‑appropriated funds..................................... 92
Office call.......................................... 107, 115
Officer Efficiency Report.................................. 27
Open door 63, 117
Operational Control....................................... 115
Operations order....................................... 16, 43
Operator Maintenance....................................... 61
OPSEC 48, 51, 106, 138, 140
OPTEMPO 61, 65, 95
Peacekeeping....... 98, 100‑102, 104, 107, 111, 112, 115, 118
Philosophy.... 1, 3, 5, 8‑10, 13, 22, 23, 26, 29, 36, 37, 40,
42, 63, 67, 72, 73
Physical fitness....................... 1, 48, 52, 68, 84, 104
Physical training.............. 1, 11, 15, 24, 25, 68, 76, 125
Platoon sergeants.......................................... 76
Policy letters..................................... 1, 26, 116
Postal service............................................ 110
Powers of Attorney.................................... 99, 132
Pre‑command course.......................... 1, 39, 72, 82, 89
Prime time training........................................ 15
Professional development......... 14, 24, 50, 76, 90, 127, 131
Property accountability....................... 60, 61, 70, 130
Protocol 7, 107
Public relations....................................... 84, 87
Quality of life............................... 24, 95, 133‑135
Quarterly Training Briefing............................ 28, 59
Ranges 11, 18, 79
Readiness 19‑21, 28, 31, 50, 54, 66, 70, 91, 95, 104, 129, 131
Rear detachment............... 92, 109, 120, 121, 130‑132, 135
Recovery operations....................................... 113
Rehearsals.................................. 5, 19, 46, 49, 75
Reply by Endorsement....................................... 37
Risk analysis.......................................... 30, 51
Rules of Engagement............................. 101, 131, 136
S1 28‑30, 60, 69, 70, 85, 86, 126, 130, 134
S2 19, 32, 42, 98
S3 8, 14, 17, 23, 26, 41, 42, 58, 59, 66, 78, 85, 94, 98
S4 20, 33, 61, 66, 95, 98, 112, 126
Safety 3, 9, 10, 16, 18, 30, 46, 49, 50, 53, 55, 61, 68, 75,
108, 109, 112, 115
Senior Officer Legal Orientation............................ 2
Senior rater............................ 1, 25, 29, 39, 58, 62
Sensitive items......................................... 31‑33
Separate Divisional battalion.............................. 57
Sergeant Major 4, 8, 9, 11, 15, 17, 18, 20, 23, 24, 26‑30, 36,
38, 41, 58‑60, 67, 72, 73, 75‑78, 82, 83, 86, 87, 90,
Sexual harassment................................ 13, 108, 116
Shop officer............................................... 21
Significant Activities (SIGACTS) Report.................... 84
SINCGARS Radios............................................ 45
Sleep plan................................................. 44
Social events.................................. 26, 37, 38, 71
Soldier abuse.............................................. 79
Special Forces............................................. 52
Speech secure equipment.................................... 45
Sponsorship....................................... 28, 86, 133
Spouses 8, 9, 31, 91, 120‑123, 125, 130, 131
Staff 4, 7‑9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 19, 22, 24‑32, 36, 37, 41‑45,
49, 50, 53, 54, 57, 59‑61, 63‑66, 69, 77, 80, 82‑85, 90‑93,
98‑100, 106, 116, 118, 121, 124, 130, 133‑135, 137,140Staff Judge Advocate............................. 9, 26, 31, 77, 121
Standards2, 3, 8, 10, 14, 15, 17, 20, 27, 29, 37, 47, 51, 52,
56, 60‑62, 66, 69, 73, 75, 84, 85, 93, 101, 125, 126, 129
Statistics............................................. 14, 78
Status reports........................................... 4, 9
Stock funded depot level repair............................ 21
Stress 18, 19, 26, 32, 33, 42, 53, 63, 72, 74, 75, 79, 80, 82,
120, 125, 130
Supply 2, 15, 19‑21, 32, 34, 65, 66, 117, 124, 126, 127
Suspenses 28, 29, 85, 132
Tactical Control...................................... 98, 115
Tactical Operations Center..................... 16, 22, 23, 44
Task organization......................................... 100
Taskings 9, 18, 57, 59, 80, 94, 134
Teamwork 13, 22, 58, 69
Time management......................................... 5, 26
Tools 8, 18, 21, 27, 72, 91, 126
Total Quality Management............................... 91, 95
Town Hall 91, 134
Training 1‑4, 9‑11, 14‑21, 23‑25, 28, 36, 38, 40‑43, 46‑52,
54‑63, 66‑69, 72‑80, 83, 84, 86, 87, 90‑92, 94, 95,
99, 101, 102, 104, 112, 116‑118, 120, 122, 124, 125,
129‑131, 134, 135, 139, 142
Transition................... 7, 8, 64, 72, 116, 118, 125, 126
Troop leading procedures....................... 16, 19, 46, 49
UCMJ 2, 3, 31, 98, 111, 115, 127, 132
Unfinanced requirements.................................... 20
Uniforms 3, 79, 82, 101
Unit Ministry Plan......................................... 26
Unit Status Report......................................... 19
Vehicles 19, 21, 44, 53, 54, 95, 99, 101‑103, 105, 113, 117,
Volunteers...................................... 120, 122, 123
Warrant officers........................................... 55
Weight control............................................. 84
Work Order............................................. 33, 93