Reception, Staging, Onward Movement, and Integration





The following information is from a "working draft" manual, FM 100-17-3, Sep 96, the US Army Transportation Center and School is developing on RSOI. While this directorate normally only teaches approved doctrine, this emerging doctrine (RSOI) needs to be discussed in this teaching environment. The joint community is currently conducting in-process reviews in the interest of improving COCOM and service component capabilities to plan and execute RSOI operations. Their current focus from a joint perspective is doctrine, organization, planning tools, and reporting systems.


RSOI is the acronym that identifies the longstanding operational problem of receiving and integrating forces into a theater. Most of the available doctrine today on RSOI functions is based on using an established, in-place, physical infrastructure along with established Army logistics units to employ it.


RSOI in a force-projection operation implies an immature theater and joint forces. Joint Pub 4-0, Doctrine for Logistics Support of Joint Operations, 27 January 1995, provides the highest level of doctrine that governs logistics in joint operations. Viewed in total, joint doctrine is evolving to reflect military planning environment changes, logistics technology improvements, and lessons from recent military and humanitarian operations. In particular, it recognizes the growing importance of logistics. Where joint doctrine addresses RSOI, it does so in terms of broad concepts and categories, although it suggests quite clearly that a joint organization manages RSOI tasks. Nonetheless, joint doctrine also recognizes that the Army will provide most of the personnel and equipment to support RSOI in major contingencies and is, therefore, the logical service to manage it on behalf of the theater combatant commander.




RSOI is an integral part of the total origin-to-destination transportation and logistics infrastructure. The Army is the executive agent for planning and providing common logistics support for all joint forces in theater as well as its own support. Complicating the mission even further is coordinating the support of HN resources and other nations' forces. The process begins with identifiying actual movements early, including personnel, equipment, and sustainment into the PODs, and ends with deprocessing and linking these resources in the theater of operations. Within the theater, it includes moving deploying forces from the PODs to the pre-positioned materiel storage sites (if present), holding areas, marshaling areas, staging areas, and tactical assembly areas (TAAs).




The RSOI environment, which can be both combined and joint, must be able to project forces into a theater of operations and sustain them during the operation. The proper environment must¾


· Receive forces and materiel, prepare them for combat, and move them to designated destinations.

· Reinforce and reposition forces within theater.

· Manage the nonunit-related personnel and materiel flow from arrival to destinations within the theater.

· Simultaneously transfer retrograde flows from the theater to strategic transportation.

· Redeploy the forces and materiel from the theater to home stations or other contingency areas.


The RSOI mission planning environment is comprised of the following principal elements:


· US military unit flow, personnel, and materiel deployed into and out of the theater.

· The organizations that manage and support the flows, including US military and civilian organiza-tions, HN resources, allied nationsí military organizations, UN agencies, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and private volunteer organizations. US military organization C2 and coordination between them and the other organizations are critical elements of the process.

· The facilities at the nodes of the theater LOC where these flows are supported, the transportation links that connect the nodes, and their capabilities in the combined environment.

· The planning capability for RSOI operations before the beginning of the flow and replanning during execution, including using automated planning tools already in existence or under development.

· Flow visibility during execution, including detailed knowledge of unit and nonunit personnel and materiel shipments. Also included is the capability to divert shipments and to project the status of deploying units to conduct operations after reception.

· The joint doctrine to guide RSOI planning and execution in combined environments in any regional CINC's area.




The Army currently is developing a theater support command (TSC) concept and structure for force projection in a theater of war or theater of operations (see paragraph 2-10). This structure would be augmented with other service and agency participation, HN resources, and other nation support as required. This joint and combined structure is required to efficiently plan for and provide common logistics support to joint forces. It would also allow the CINC to easily tailor the logistics to the mission. According to the Office of the DCSLOG, the support organization has wartime executive agent respon-sibilities such as the following:


· Conventional ammunition.

· Chemical munitions.

· Transportation engineering for highway movements.

· Common-user land transportation in theater.

· Intermodal container movement.

· MTMC: OCONUS port clearance and discharge.

· Land-based water resources and inland POL distribution.

· Military customs inspections.

· Wartime mortuary affairs.


· Wartime class I in-theater receipt, storage, and issue.

· Inland logistics support to the Marine Corps.


Army logistics executive agent responsibilities follow:


· Inland logistics support (Marine Corps).

· Supply support of UN peacekeeping forces.

· Common-user ocean terminal operation.

· Intermodal container management.

· Logistics applications of automated marking and symbols.

· Military customs inspection program.

· Military troop construction (USAF overseas).

· Airdrop equipment and supplies.

· Power-generation equipment and systems.

· Land-based water resources to support contingency operations.

· Overland POL support.

· Military postal service.

· DOD EPW and detainee program.

· Blood support (USAF).

· Military veterinary support.

· Medical evacuation on the battlefield.

· Mortuary services.

· Graves registration operations.

· Single manager for conventional ammunition.

· Controlled waste explosives and munitions disposal.

· Locomotive management.


The TSC's mission would be to command and control assigned and attached forces, plan for and provide CSS to Army forces, and provide common support to other US services and coalition forces as appropriate. The command is also responsible for COMMZ base development, space management and for security within the COMMZ in coordination with the joint rear area coordinator. The TSCís essential characteristics follow:


· Army command with other service participation.

· Select TDA augmentation positions¾ battle rostered.

· Early-entry module from Active forces.

· Key positions from Active forces.

· RC heavy.

· Uses DOD civilians.

· Uses split-based operations.

· Modular, expandable, and deployable.

· Enhances strategic/operational interfaces.

· Enhances training and transition to war.

· Supports war and MOOTW.

· Can be exercised annually.

· Executable within the existing force structure constraints.




RSOIís optimum result is to allow deploying units the fastest and most efficient process for person-nel to link up with their equipment and integrate into theater operations. The process unfolds through a sequence of taskings that support each unitsí deployment and is applicable to any type of unit deploying within a theater.




Reception is defined as off-loading personnel and materiel from strategic or operational transport at a POD for relocation to designated areas within a theater of operations. This process is RSOIís first and most critical stage. It marks the end of the strategic leg of deployment and the beginning of the operational employment of forces. Reception takes place at or near the designated APODs and SPODs under the control of the operational-level commander in theater.


Few decisions are as important to an operationís success as selecting the SPODs and APODs. Their capacities will determine the speed with which forces can be deployed, the kinds of forces that must first be deployed, and to a large extent, the type of units that can be employed. Every operational commander must seriously analyze the ports available in his area and the transportation networks between them so he can decide what forces to deploy first. Diplomatic and military contacts should be made at the earliest possible opportunity with any countries that control of key facilities and rights of way.


a. Entry. Depending on METT-T considerations, port facilities are secured and prepared for basic reception operations. The operational commander will sequence the early arriving forces to establish most critical capabilities such as security, transportation, engineer, communications, and life support. Introducing CSS units in the early-entry phase may actually speed the arrival of combat and CS units. If possible, priority of effort should be to expanding port reception capability, establishing secure LOCs between key logistics nodes, and establishing reliable communications. To improve reception and reduce ready-to-operate time at the POD, theater opening modules have been developed for the CINCs. Tailored to each missionís requirements, the theater opening force module is the initial-entry C2 element for RSOI.


b. Buildup. During this phase, rapid force expansion will depend on the personnel and equipmentís well-synchronized arrival. Communication between supporting and supported commanders is key to success. APODs and SPODs should, in most cases, be considered parts of a single reception complex unless they are widely separated and do not mutually support each other. Reception capacity will depend on a number of factors, including harbor, port, and airfield characteristics; labor and port service availability; marshaling and staging areas; exit route condition and capacity; and movement control system efficiency. These factors determine the port complexís port clearance capacity. The rate of recep-tion will be determined by how quickly the port complex can be cleared to make room for more

personnel or cargo. Two important functions that contribute to efficient port clearance are documentation and movement control. Proper documentation gives the commander timely and accurate visibility of the forces, equipment, and sustaining supplies arriving in theater. Efficient movement control systems assure a smooth force and supply flow IAW the operational commander's priorities.


c. Sustainment. Reception activities will shift from their focus on arriving unit sets of personnel and equipment to sustainment supplies, replacement personnel, medical and noncombatant evacuation, and equipment retrograde. Documentation and movement control will continue to provide the commander with the ability to shift priorities and maintain in transit and total asset visibility. Container management and centralized control of transportation assets will be essential. Additional efficiencies might be possible through more predictable scheduling. Some functions may be transitioned from military units to civilian organizations.




Staging is organizing and preparing to move personnel and materials in designated areas to incremen-tally build forces capable of meeting the operational commandersí requirements. Staging reassembles units that have been reconfigured to facilitate transporting them. In a perfect world, units, their unit equipment, and supplies would all be transported as a package. The staging operation would then be limited to acclimating units to their new environment. The reality of different transportation modes (air, sea, rail, and truck) and the different speeds at which they can travel cause staging to become much more dynamic. Further, concentrating these transportation flows into a limited geographic area raises stagingís intensity level.


Staging is that part of the RSOI operation in which several key activities take place in controlled areas called in-theater staging bases. These activities follow:


· Units are reassembled and united with their equipment and scheduled for movement toward the TAA.

· Materiel is segregated, prioritized, and prepared for transport.

· Basic loads are uploaded.

· Life support is provided to personnel.


The force is vulnerable during staging, but vulnerability can be reduced by taking steps to ensure soldiers and materiel pass smoothly and quickly through this RSOI phase. Notwithstanding how short the stay in the staging area, there will always be a requirement for support. Thus, the TPFDL must also contain, sequenced early in the flow, the units and supplies required to support the troops and equipment in the staging area. The commander must ensure that common items such as meals, billeting, showers, toilets, medical care, etc. are available as well as MHE.


Deploying these units early may reduce the number of combat units arriving early in theater, but this decision will pay dividends in speeding the entire forceís flow and may allow the CINC more flexibility in responding to unforeseen events. Conversely, front-loading the TPFDL with combat forces may hurt the CINCís ability to build up his capabilities as rapidly as he needs them and may take away his flexibility.


While the CINCís choice of the TAA location plays a role in selecting the in-theater staging base(s), geography and terrain effects, organic and HN asset availability, the transportation infrastructure, and POD location are also key factors. Moreover, these factors, along with the requirement for space for a large deploying force, will often necessitate more than one in-theater staging base.


Using multiple staging bases will compound the need for resources to operate at multiple locations. The resources, in terms of supporting soldiers and equipment, must be sequenced into the TPFDL to arrive in theater before the staging need. In an immature theater, the forward staging bases would be under the COSCOMís C2 but would be transitioning to the TSCís early-entry module upon its arrival. In a mature theater, the TSC would be the RSOI command. Battlefield distribution, as a sustainment operation, would be required to be operational concurrently with the large number of forces arriving. Establishing battlefield distribution operations will compete directly with RSOI in terms of port operations, real estate, MHE and container handling equipment, surface transportation assets, movement control, and communications.




Onward movement is relocating forces that can meet the commandersí operational requirements to the initial point of their mission execution. As soon as units are united with their equipment, it is important that they quickly move to the TAA as combat-ready units for the operational commander to employ. This is accomplished through onward movement. As in all RSOI activities, onward movement is prioritized according to the operational commanderís needs. The operational commanderís primary concerns in onward movement are speed of movement and information. Specifically, as a minimum, the commander needs to know forcesí locations; the forcesí capabilities; arrival time at the TAA; and his ability to affect the movement.


Quickly building combat power and the commanderís need for information necessitate compre-hensive, but flexible, planning. In particular, five areas require particular attention in onward movement planning.


· Transportation infrastructure.

· Reporting procedures.

· Movement control.

· Enemy capability for interdiction.

· C2 organization.


The total transportation infrastructure¾ modes, routes, control factors, HN assistance, and specialized handling requirements¾ must be coordinated to maximize movement speed. It is essential that transpor-tation network capacities and capabilities are balanced against the movement requirements so that modes and routes are neither saturated nor underused.


To control the operationís tempo, the commander must know the forceís location and its capability. Intransit visibility is his source of information on future force availability. Force tracking monitors the unitís status (personnel, equipment, and training) as the force moves through the RSOI process. As the unitís personnel and equipment begin to incrementally arrive in theater and are married together, the unitís mission capability (combat power) builds. Reporting, collecting, and processing systems and procedures must be established before onward movement begins. Movement control organizations provide the supported CINC a communications network capable of meeting early force tracking reporting requirements and C2 requirements for the entire RSOI operation.


Movement control is planning, routing, scheduling, controlling personnel (units), and moving cargo over LOCs while maintaining intransit visibility and force tracking. This is not a passive activity; it requires analyzing requirements, capabilities, shortfalls, alternatives, and enhancements to satisfy the operational commanderís requirements. One of movement controlís biggest challenges is rapidly adjusting to battlefield condition changes and the commanderís priorities. Creating a movement control system that can anticipate and improvise can meet this challenge. Efficient movement control enables the commander to redirect forces and rapidly overcome disruptions in the LOC.


The threat of enemy interdiction or weapons of mass destruction to onward movement present special challenges to the commander. A major operation or campaign should never depend on one LOC. Consequently, alternatives such as rerouting or mode substitution must be planned for; e.g., ALOCs and SLOCs may supplement ground LOCs. When possible, protecting LOCs should be at a minimum cost to committed combat units. Using geographic features, friendly civil security forces, and uncommitted combat units as well as coordinating with the other services may be some measures available to the operational commander.




Integration is the synchronized handoff of units into the operational commanderís force. It is transfer-ring functioning and combat-capable forcesí authority to the tactical commander. To be able to synch-ronize and to act decisively, the commander must know on a real-time basis how, when, where, and in what condition the deploying forces will integrate. Consequently, integration planning and coordination must occur early in the force-projection process and continue throughout. Integration is complete when the receiving commander establishes positive C2 over the arriving unit in the TAA. There are two principal elements in the integration process:


· The unit must become operational and be able to perform its generic mission; it must communi-cate, move, and fight to its authorized capability. Internal C2 must be established, and the unit must determine whether it meets the readiness standard the tactical commander has formulated.

· The unit must be absorbed into the joint force. It must communicate and receive C2 from its higher HQ.


Integration may take hours or days. The time required for integration depends on the total forceís size, contingency conditions, and the amount of predeployment and ongoing planning and coordination con-ducted. Rapid integration, however, is critical to combat operationsí success, and coordination and planning reduce integration time.


The RSOI process requirements, in particular the integration element requirements, are best defined through end-state analysis. The theater commanderís requirement for forces is the foundation for the analysis. It illustrates the difficulties and challenges deploying units can expect to encounter during the integration process. Units may arrive in theater, achieve combat readiness, and be prepared to integrate before their higher HQ arrives (e.g., units assigned AWR-3 and land-based pre-positioned equipment) and their direct support communication. Standardized reporting formats and using movement control communications assets for reporting can diminish the challenges encountered in integration.

The theater CINCís integration information requirements are resourced primarily from deployment information management systems such as the Global Command and Control System (GCCS) and the Joint Operations Planning and Execution System (JOPES). The information available comes from the GCCS through the Global Transportation Network. The availability of GCCS and access to JOPES is critical to the movement planner and to the operator. Initially, the joint task forceís link through GCCS gives the theater CINC the "eyes" to see what is inbound to the theater. This is the only information portal available to achieve any level of intransit visibility. This access is also critical to the movement controller. Through JOPES the movement controller can assemble unit line numbers into unit identity codes and translate the unit identity code into a standard unit name.


Predicting combat power is important for planning when a specific unit capability is available to the theater. The theater commander has to establish a quantitative measure of when he considers a unit mission capable. Deployment operations are time sensitive. Commanders need timely, accurate information to execute or modify initial plans because compressed planning timelines and furious activity during deployment are the norm. Confusion (stemming from unavailable, inaccurate, and conflicting information) is inherent to the deployment process. This confusion causes conflicting guidance, frequent planning changes, and inefficient task execution. Liaison officers must guard their "commanderís intent" and focus on integrating the force. The liaison must be established immediately and be part of the planning process and remain in the information loop throughout the RSOI process.