To The Editor:Major David G. Puppolo's article, "Caution: Most Likely Enemy COA May Become Least Likely," in the July-September 1997 issue of MIPB hits the mark and is an obvious S2 shortcoming at the National Training Center (NTC). However, the bottom line is that the majority of S2s simply do not understand that the tactics and techniques of the opposing force (OPFOR) enable them to present multiple enemy courses of action (ECOAs). During the wargame, this leads to failure to present all enemy options and fight the OPFOR as he will fight on the battlefield. Secondly, too often S2s fail to modify ECOAs based on the current enemy reconnaissance situation. Both failings lead to S3s and commanders "fighting the plan," not the enemy. If the S2 is to stay focused on fighting the enemy, he must know how the OPFOR uses reconnaissance and deception based on "Blue" forces (BLUFOR) dispositions.
The OPFOR executes deception by reaffirming the BLUFOR S2's most likely template during the reconnaissance and main battle fight. During offensive operations, the OPFOR reconnaissance confirms or denies the BLUFOR dispositions and determines what the BLUFOR thinks is the most likely ECOA. The OPFOR fights its enemy, not the plan.
During mission analysis, the task force S2 is usually given two to three hours to develop multiple ECOAs. These are finished prior to the completion of the BLUFOR plan, the counter-reconnaissance battle, and 12 to 18 hours prior to the main battle fight. It is important to note that these COAs are a general idea of OPFOR options. During this stage of the planning process, there simply is not enough information to portray an adequate representation of the OPFOR. During the wargame, the OPFOR COAs are more thoroughly developed based on reactions to BLUFOR dispositions. The COAs are further refined after enemy reconnaissance activity is developed and current intelligence is added to the template.
Major Puppolo does not address why S2s are failing the most important part of the planning process. I believe this is a professional development issue that can only be alleviated by studying all relevant material addressing the OPFOR. S2s must take it upon themselves to read Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) issues addressing the NTC; Red Thrust Star magazine; historical OPFOR trends; OPFOR TTP (tactics, techniques, and procedures); and other documents and publications. It is the responsibility of brigade S2s and division G2s to establish officer professional development programs and intelligence exercises, and to provide funding for the right-seat and observer/controller ride-along programs that truly prepare S2s for the NTC.
We must never forget that it is our responsibility as MI professionals to ensure our soldiers perform well at all the combat training centers. It is the S2's responsibility to ensure the commander knows and understands all enemy offensive and defensive options. If he fails to do this, he not only has failed in his job but he also will have sacrificed soldiers' lives in combat.
Captain Tom J. Meyer
Fort Knox, Kentucky
To the Editor:It is a pleasure to respond to First Lieutenant Zeytoonian's suggestion in the April-June 1997 issue of MIPB. Comments from the field like these make the task of designing and equipping units easier.
We put 1LT Zeytoonian's recommendation for the addition of a high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle (HMMWV) to the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Tactical Wheeled Vehicle Requirements Management Office at Fort Eustis, Virginia. Their response: U.S. Army policy was that there would be only one command and control vehicle per platoon. That vehicle is already on the Table of Organization and Equipment (TO&E). We have raised this issue several times over recent years with TRADOC and Department of the Army (DA), but to no avail. We need your commanders to raise this issue formally at the Commander in Chief and DA levels.
The AN/PRD-12 is a component of the AN/TRQ-32A(V)2. It is not intended to be used separately, although the Commander has the latitude to do so. In previous TRQ-32 configurations, the AN/TRQ-30/PRD-10 and 11 were used as a temporary short-range direction-finding system for special situations and to give a surge capability. They were not given separate crews. This was an agreed upon position by field units, TRADOC, and DA.
1LT Zeytoonian's comments on site security are right on the mark. The platoon leader and/or commander has the responsibility to coordinate with the supported unit to integrate defense plans. The supported commander will select the best and most effective way to defend his area of responsibility.
Each AN/TLQ-17 team is authorized an AN/VRC-47 (which modernizes to a VRC-89A). Our belief is that this configuration provides sufficient communications for the electronic attack team.
We welcome added comments on this subject. Our bottom line is always on providing the best support possible to our fielded units. This, however, is often a constant trade-off between available resources and an optimum organization. We are doing the best we can within constraints imposed by DA. We desperately need our Division and Corps commanders to come on-line with official correspondence to your major Army commands and DA if we are to be successful in the changes highlighted in this article.
Michael W. Powell
(Technical Director, Combat Developments)
Fort Huachuca, Arizona
To the Editor:What a pleasure it was to read Captain Courtney's "The Successful Lieutenant" in the April-June 1997 issue of MIPB.
I found that CPT Courtney's article hit the nail squarely on the head on each point he made. As an old retired First Sergeant (U.S. Army Security Agency, 1947-1967), I appreciated the real substance of each of his discussions. To use an old cliche, "he is wise beyond his years." This was the best read for me since I read Colin Powell's biography, a fine book.
I soldiered under some exceptional commanders, and the Captain measures up to them all. I would bet that the NCOs who serve or have served in his command assignments having nothing but the utmost respect for him.
This article is a ready-made lesson plan for any leadership course, be it for officers or NCOs.
I would like to make a suggestion on the MPIB format: it is a bit too tight. A little white space would make reading somewhat easier.
First Sergeant Jim Clinton
Old Bethpage, New York