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5-2 SBCT Company Operations Article (INF Mag)

5-2 SBCT Company Operations Article (INF Mag)

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Published by: pkryan on Jan 15, 2010
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he requirement for a company (CO) battle staff type of organization has been validated by thousands of companies during the conduct of Operation Iraqi Freedom.However, U.S. Army doctrine has not caught up to current operations:
“The company CP (command post) normally consists of thecompany commander, his radio operators, the fire support team(FIST) consisting of the fire support officer (FSO), fire support  sergeant, and forward observer; and the CBRN (chemical,biological, radiological, nuclear) sergeant along with possiblyother personnel and attachments (XO, 1SG, or a security element).The company CP locates where it best supports the companycommander and maintains communications with higher and  subordinate units.”
— FM 3-21.10,
The Infantry Rifle Company 
, July 2006
, T
, E
January-February 2009
While nothing in FM 3-21.10 could be considered incorrect, thedoctrine does not go into any functional detail. Reading the doctrinea commander could draw the conclusion that his command postexists ONLY to maintain communications and to perform battletracking. We know this is not true.In order to close this gap in doctrine, the 5th Brigade, 2nd InfantryDivision (Stryker Brigade Combat Team) developed an SOP for CO battle staffs and a plan to train them. This article will focus on the
 A language-enabled Soldier (right) with the 5th Brigade, 2nd  Infantry Division, translates for a platoon leader during a training exercise at Fort Lewis, Wash., in February 2008.
Jason Kaye
January-February 2009
manning, equipping, and training of thecompany battle staff in preparation for adeployment to the Iraq theater of operations.The concept of creating timely, specific,reliable intelligence from raw data at the CO battle staff level has been the primaryobjective of 5/2 ID (SBCT) in defining theroles and functions of personnel in the battlestaff. The challenge exists in identifyingthose personnel capable of accomplishingthe requisite tasks of the CO battle staff,training those Soldiers (individual andcollective, digital, etc.), and ensuring theyhave enough stability to benefit from thetraining
serve on the battle staff duringthe unit’s combat deployment. Because therifle company (Stryker or otherwise) doesnot enjoy the luxury of a diverse MOS-base,intelligence analysts and linguists must beselected from the ranks, trained, andgroomed. While a fact that will require thediversion of important resources from other key tasks to realize, countless after actionreports (AARs) and lessons learned reportsstate that CO battle staffs will pay dividendsin unit efficiency and effectiveness.In principle, the CO battle staff’s primaryfunction is to use digital and analytical toolsto update the company-level intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB), to provide updated and useful intelligence tothe commander, and to help commandersdevelop courses of action. A keycomponent of this is the requirement for comparative analysis; the CO battle staff should mine, organize and utilize historicaldata in order to make rapid, accurateassessments of the current area of operations and recommend logical coursesof action to the commander. By maintainingsituational awareness via radio traffic,FBCB2 communication (and now LandWarrior messaging), the CO battle staff istasked to update a myriad of digital systems,redundant analog systems, and reportinformation and intelligence to higher,adjacent, and subordinate elements.The challenge commanders at every levelface is how and where to compromise in order to best meet mission requirements. For 5/2ID (SBCT) the SOP prescribes roles in order to train the members of the battle staff. Themajority of the personnel 5/2 ID (SBCT) hasidentified as minimum force for a CO battlestaff are consistent with current doctrine — the company commander, companyexecutive officer, company first sergeant,company fire support officer, companyCBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological,nuclear, explosive) NCO, and the companycommunications chief (commander’s RTO).The 5/2 ID (SBCT)’s SOP has specified therole of the CO battle staff and has broadenedthe minimum force requirement to includethe senior language-enabled Soldier (LES),Stryker Battle Staff NCO (SBSNCO), tacticalsite exploitation (TSE) technician, and equalopportunity leader (EOL). Of the membersof the battle staff mentioned above, theCBRNE NCO, LES, and SBSNCO have beenrecapitalized, or in other words, speciallytrained to execute a mission not consistentwith the CO modified table of organizationand equipment (MTOE).In the 5/2 ID (SBCT) model the company battle staff is organized into three functionalgroups. The command group consists of the CO CDR, 1SG, and CO XO, similar to a battalion or brigade command group. Thecompany intel support team (IST) consistsof the CBRNE NCO, senior LES, and TSEtechnician. The CO IST maintains the COIPB. The negotiation team consists of theCO CDR, senior LES, and the EOL. The COXO gives directions to the battle staff andsupervises. When he is not present in thecommand post, the SBSNCO is in charge.The CO FSO and communications sergeant perform their traditional roles and assist thecommander in developing a course of actionand executing those COAs as applicable.The 5/2 ID (SBCT) commander made thetraining of the LES (118 Arabic linguists atthe platoon level; 101 complete, 17 intraining) a top priority. In the LES programselected Soldiers (Infantry, Artillery, Cavalry,Logistics) receive training on Arabiclanguage skills four days a week for 10months at the Fort Lewis Language Center.The program provides an invaluable assetto the rifle squads who serve as collectorsevery day. The brigade sustains this trainingthrough constant practical application andscenario training. The program has trainedas many as three conversationally fluentArabic linguists in each of the riflecompanies in fewer than the 18 months the brigade has existed.The 5/2 ID (SBCT) also educated at leastone NCO in each company on basic staff functioning via the Maneuver Center of Excellence’s Stryker Battle Staff NCOCourse, which is taught at Fort Benning,Ga. Graduates are armed with a broadexposure to intelligence collection, datamanagement, pattern analysis, and tacticaloperations center (TOC) function examples.The requirement is that the Stryker BattleStaff NCO manages the operations of theCO battle staff and takes ownership of thedigital and analytical systems that arecurrently being fielded to the companies(FBCB2, DARPA and
 Ascend Intel’s
TacticalGround Reporting System [TIGR], Palantir,Land Warrior).The TSE technician has specializedtraining that combines evidence collectionand intelligence support. In addition to theCO technician, the brigade will have morethan 30 specialized teams with specialequipment to conduct TSE once fullyequipped.In the 5/2 ID (SBCT) model, the SBSNCOworks closely with the CBRNE NCO. TheCBRNE NCO serves as the chief of theintelligence support team. The brigade SOPdirects that the companies’ 74-series NCOs be retrained as intel analysts and run thecompany intel support team. All CBRNE NCOs attended an intelligence coursefrom the Military Intelligence schoolhouseat Fort Huachuca, Ariz. Armed with afundamental course in general analysisoperations, the CBRNE NCO briefs theenemy situation, route status, manages products such as pattern analysis, link diagrams, significant actions (SIGACTs),and the company’s ISR synchronizationmatrix. He is also the individual who debriefs patrols after conducting operations andmanages the initial analysis and subsequenttransport or exploitation of materialsgathered during the unit’s tactical siteexploitation. This task is accomplished by working closely with the companies’TSE technician and senior LES (whoseunderstanding of culture and language provides initial and immediate insight to
In principle, the CO battle staff’sprimary function is to use digital andanalytical tools to update thecompany-level intelligencepreparation of the battlefield (IPB), toprovide updated and usefulintelligence to the commander, and tohelp commanders develop coursesof action.
what is, without LES input, raw data).CO battle staffs will continue to differ aslong as their structure remains unspecifiedin the MTOE. This omission will result invast differences in infrastructure, forceutilization, and some specific functioning.The basic operational requirements willremain unchanged: company battle staffsmust be capable of providing intelligencefrom unrefined information regardless of howit is received. The possibilities are finite butnot universal. Information may arrive to theCO battle staff through human intelligence(HUMINT), imagery intelligence (IMINT),signal intelligence (SIGINT), radiotransmission, FBCB2 messaging, LandWarrior icon manipulation, TIGR dataupdates, or Palantir information renewal — and that’s just in 5/2 ID (SBCT). Theunderlying message is that developing andimplementing a plan as early as possible inthe life cycle of a BCT is critical to thesuccess of its company battle staffs.The company battle staff must be prepared to operate from a fixed or mobileconfiguration. Below we outlinerequirements to run a battle staff from a fixedsite. The mobile battle staff works from theCO CDR and XO’s Strykers. The CO CDR normally has the CO FSO and senior LESwhile the XO has the SBSNCO and IST NCO(CBRNE). The systems for SA are FM radionets, FBCB2, and stand alone computers.The FBCB2 is the primary tool for “seeingfirst.” The physical presence of the keymembers of the battle staff forward with theCO CDR assist him in “understanding first.”The battle staff uses the FBCB2 as the primary reporting tool to keep their higher headquarters informed. By establishing preset buttons and preformatted messages,the battle staff ensures that all addressesare set correctly and no importantinformation is neglected.As with anything that the Army does,the first step of training is individualtraining. Soldiers who man the CO battlestaff must understand how to operatetactically as a battle staff as well as betechnically proficient at their jobs. Wecontinue to identify requirements as wetrain; so the individual training requirementsevolve as well. Below is training that wehave validated in training CO battle staffs:
1. Military Intelligence Mobile TrainingTeam (MI MTT).
The CO battle staff requiresSoldiers trained in rudimentary intelligenceanalysis. The U.S. Army Intelligence Center offers a nine-week MTT to train companyintel analysts. All company CBRNE NCOswere required to attend the training and thusform the backbone of the company intelsupport team. This enables the companycommander to turn information into a targetand a target into a mission. The CO IST canalso package the information for analysis by the battalion S2. This increases thelikelihood that a time sensitive target can beexecuted successfully. Identification of theCBRNE NCO has been contentious with brigade leaders and others outside of the brigade. Due to the unique trainingrequirement and the fact that so many arerequired, the brigade commander felt it wasnecessary to identify an MOS for theseduties. Training resources were placedagainst them in a deliberate fashionregardless of where the Soldier workedwithin the brigade or when the Soldier arrived. This ensures that as replacementsarrived at Fort Lewis, the rear detachmentknows to train all 74-series Soldiers in intelanalysis before they are sent forward to Iraq.
2. Stryker Battle Staff NCO Course.
Developed and taught at Fort Benning atthe request of the 5/2 ID (SBCT) commander,the SBSNCO Course is a five-week course.Week 1 focuses on the Stryker and itssystems. Weeks 2 and 3 focus on battle staff functions. Week 4 covers developingStryker-focused training plans, conductingStryker Gunnery, and conducting Stryker Gunnery Skills Tests. Week 5 covers short-range training plans, and students conductan exercise. Once complete these NCOs areexpected to run the day-to-day operationsof the CO battle staff much like a BNoperations sergeant does the BN TOC. TheSBSNCO is able to assist the companycommander with planning and executingStryker-focused training. Additionally, theSBSNCO can help the company commander refine weapon systems employment COAsduring maneuver operations (much like theinformal role of the Bradley and Abramsmaster gunners).
3. TIGR.
This is a patrol brief/debrief tool(database) designed for use at the companylevel. TIGR allows the company commander to build a historical database of events inhis area of operations. If required it alsoallows a commander to access the historicalevents within another area. The graphicaluser interface is very similar to Google Earth,and the system is quickly mastered. Eachcompany is connected to the larger network so information is shared throughout the brigade. This training is focused towards theSBSNCO. We expect that patrol leaders willalso use this system extensively.
4. BATS/HIIDE (Biometrics AutomatedToolset/Handheld Interagency IdentityDetection Equipment).
This is a system thatgathers biometrics information onindividuals and stores it for future use.This course is taught by the MilitaryIntelligence School and is available as anMTT. Units in Iraq have used this system
January-February 2009
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
The Tactical Ground Reporting System allows users to collect and share information to improve situational awareness and facilitate collaboration and information analysis among junior officers.

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