101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Gold Book

Chapter 5

Integrated Supporting Operations

1. By their nature, air assault operations require combined arms integration. There are sub-operations considered in every air assault, in addition to the five major plans of an air assault (Ground Tactical Plan, Landing Plan, Air Movement Plan, Loading Plan, and Staging Plan). These ten sub-operations are:

    1. Setting the conditions.

b. Fighter management.

c. MEDEVAC/CASEVAC operations.

d. Attack aviation operations.

e. Air cavalry operations.

f. Air assault artillery operations.

g. Pathfinder operations.

h. Scout operations

i. Mission planning

j. Command and control operations.

k. Logpad operations.

l. Aviation refuel operations.

SECTION A: SETTING THE CONDITIONS.

1. Before committing forces deep, we must do our best to ensure that they will succeed. We set the conditions for success.

2. Condition setting is about situational awareness in the broadest terms. It is about confirming or denying information about ourselves, the terrain and weather, and the enemy. We have good certainty (but not perfect) about ourselves, some certainty about terrain and weather, and a varying degree of certainty about the enemy. Once we know what we know (and donít know), we then apply combined arms forces to recon terrain, check weather, and find and attack the enemy. All along, we must check and see what we know and how weíre affecting those conditions by our actions.

3. Condition setting is an iterative process that spans echelons from joint theater intelligence assets to an Apache team. All levels of command are involved in setting conditions. It follows the targeting process of deciding, detecting, delivering, and assessing. In this iterative process of setting conditions, unacceptable risks can be negated until finally conditions are acceptable to launch an air assault.

4. The exact conditions to be set are determined by METT-TC, as is the degree of risk the commander is willing to accept with regard to each condition. We start with a standard checklist as we plan and apply forces to determine what we know and how our actions are affecting the equation. When setting conditions, here are three ideas to keep in mind:

a. This is an art, not a science. Donít mistake the orderly process of calculations and routes for certainty. Professional judgment must be applied.

b. Doing the checklist does not equal setting conditions. Once you know what you know and donít know, you have to do something about it. Use the checklist as a periodic evaluation tool, not as a one-time "GO/NO GO" drill.

c. Remember, each mission into hostile airspace must be planned and resourced as a combined arms combat operation.

5. Conditions checks.

a. As we set the conditions, we must check progress periodically. Here is where the checklist comes in. Itís a tool to organize thought and action.

b. For a brigade air assault, there will be a series of division conditions checks as the preliminary operations continue, and a supporting series of brigade conditions checks. These are held in command posts. All BOS staff principals participate. Brigade and division LNOs attend each otherís conditions checks, when possible in person, but by VTC or conference call when necessary.

c. The final conditions check is held near the assault echelon brigadeís PZ control CP. It always includes a review of the latest friendly, terrain and weather, and enemy situations.

d. The standard conditions check slide set depicts the minimum conditions that must be evaluated in order to launch a brigade air assault. Based on METT-TC, other conditions can and will be added.