White Papers

Posted By: Joe Ocallaghan Professional Content,


Various authors : G3 FIRES

Issue: The use of Fire Support Coordination Measures within the Corps Battlespace construct.

Discussion: As the Army refocuses efforts on Large Scale Combat Operations (LSCO), the Corps echelon is postured to serve as either land component commander or tactical headquarters.  With the emergence of Joint All Domain and Army Multi-Domain Operations, the emphasis falls onto the Army to actively engage in competition to defend U.S interests, deter conflict, and when the time arises, enable the most favorable conditions for the rapid transition to armed conflict (TRADOC, 27).  This requires an enemy centric approach across all phases of warfare the sums all means and methodologies available to the joint force to defeat an enemy. 

The current methodology of the employment of the Fire Support Coordination Line (FSCL) is routinely seen as the separation of components and a risk reduction mechanism for the employment of fires that effectively inhibits the dynamic and full execution of fire support in responsive to a rapidly moving non-contiguous force that is enemy centric in its defeat mechanism. At echelon the Corps is the Army proponent for converging joint fires against enemy mid-range systems or in support of division and brigade movement that will seek to rapidly and decisively engage opposing forces often in a non-contiguous manner. 

Recommendation.  Alternatives to the current FSCL concept must be examined in order to enable the application of Joint All Domain Fires across the breadth and scope of BCT Near fights through the Corps Deep.  The alternatives must further enable air space utilization by surface based fires and electronic warfare assets. While attention must be paid to ensure the safety of flight for the air component, all efforts to enable the land component and support of the land component must be enabled. Concepts could include the employment of the kill box strategy to become inclusive of land ownership with the addition of a “Green killbox” and subordinate quadrants and keypads opposed to an overall JFC sponsored land component FSCL. 

POC:  MAJ DANIEL J. SELF, G3 FIRES, Daniel.j.self4.mil@mail.mil

Issue: Ineffectiveness of the Air Tasking Order process as the metric for development and employment of shaping targets and capabilities in support of an Army Corps. 

Discussion: In the emerging multi-domain environment Army Corps HQs are locked into the 72 hrs ATO cycle as the means by which to plan and execute targeting with a focus on the employment of the air components.  This has been institutionalized by training venues that bifurcate tactical targeting and joint targeting opposed to institutionalizing a continuum of targeting and employment that enables enemy based dynamic targeting with all domain capabilities arrayed as a defeat mechanism with a permissive architecture.

While the ATO process serves to enable the development and employment of synchronized combat power, a dialog must occur that unlocks modern maneuver forces from a lock step terrain based approach that separates components and also generates the combat power and capabilities necessary for servicing of targets.

Recommendation: Rather than focus on the ATO as the metric and means for the employment of Joint All Domain Fires, seek to utilize the ATO as the means to develop and submit requirements to the air component and examine removing the Joint Targeting Authority from the JFACC and place it with the JFLCC who would establish a permissive land focus framework to provide an enemy centric defeat approach. This would enable the combat management and synchronization of capability while unlocking other components operational approaches when tied to the permissive non-component centric application of shaping capabilities. 

POC:  MAJ DANIEL J. SELF, G3 FIRES, Daniel.j.self4.mil@mail.mil


Issue:   As a result of modularity, Army Corps divested of their Corps Artillery formation. The result was the Corps FSEs were divested of significant capability inclusive C2 mechanisms for FA BDEs, execute fires in the immediate and dynamic timelines within the Corps near and deep fights, counter fire coordination, air space planning, and fire control.  This was paralleled by the Air Force restructuring of moving the ASOS capability to the Divisions and using the ASOGs as bill payer to fill slots within the ASOSs serving to fill JAGIC formations within Divisions. The combination of both events resulted in Divisions able to conduct both air and surface fires as well as control air space while the Corps elements were effectively scaled back to planning and coordination cells focused at the aligning resources and targeting in support of Divisions. With the return to LSCO operations and enhancement in Long Range Precision Fires, Corps are both required to shape in the deep, and are empowered to do so with the exception of a Joint Air Ground Integrations Cell like entity. 

Discussion:  While Corps have aligned FA BDEs and Corps Fire Support Elements, both together lack the ability to provide a JAGIC like capability with the inclusive of executing duties of a Force Field Artillery HQ over multiple Brigades, execute Corps wide fire control in support of counter fire operations and deep fights as well as control airspace. The current alignment of JAGIC capabilities to Divisions requires Corps to reach down to a subordinate Division to enable Corps to conduct deep fires which challenges both tempo and scale of Corps fights in the near and deep.

A JAGIC “like” entity would differ from the standing JAGIC concept in that it would also include a Fire Control Element to enable the utilization of FA BDEs and coordinate the counter fire fight, a C2 element to position and employ increasingly long range fires, an intelligence section to enable stream lining the development of deep deliberate targets, and a focus of the air space function on the Corps’ deep fight.   Failure to enable this capability will continue to limit the Corps’ ability to conduct a current deep fight and challenge the Army to proactively drive the employment of long range fires at the Corps’ level or in support of a CJFLCC as a tasked unit.  Furthermore, counter fire fights will continue to be challenged and remain with the Division as the principal effector due to their ability to rapidly clear airspace. 

Recommendation: Immediately seek to enable the creation of Corps Operational Fires Cells as a roadmap to a return to a Corps artillery like capability inclusive of JAGIC functions in order to enable Corps deep fights. This would serve to allow Corps Commander’s to set conditions with Joint All Domain fires. Establish a prioritized build in capability and understanding the limits of current ASOG manning, seek to cross train Army personnel to fulfill those functions. Provide a demand signature to FORSCOM of the necessity to realign capability to support the Corps understanding that this will result in a restricting that will tax the AFs ability to support Division JAGICs. 


Topic: Maven Smart System

Discussion:  In the effort to leverage AI, XVIII ABC has put the focus on 12 objects of interest with an emphasis on the development and employment of the Space based EO targeting capability known as the Board Area Search for Targeting (BAS-T). BAS-T algorithms collect data from multiple sensors and fuse multi-int data (such as ELINT and GEOINT) with computer vision based detections of enemy systems and capabilities. These detections are then displayed as BAS-T detection on the Maven Smart System for the Field Artillery Intelligence Officer (FAIO) and targeting team to conduct target vetting and validation. These fusion algorithms allow for the FAIO to determine if the entity is valid or a decoy with a higher percentage of accuracy and confidence level. Once determined as an actionable target, information is sent to AFATDS for execution by kinetic and non-kinetic fires.  Given the AI enabled BAS-T’s capability to digest thousands of square kilometers at once, it enables the Corps to hold enemy forces at risk constantly.  

During WFX 21-01 in October of 2020, XVIII Airborne Corps tested the BAS-T system in a simulated environment. The Mission Command Training Program (MCTP) staff was able to provide information into the WARSIM such as enemy data, locations and equipment type. This information was then released to the Corps through their Tactical Nodes and BAS-T enabling the FAIO to analyze and prefer targets to the Fire Support Element. The volume of target development reached by the FAIO far surpassed any capability seen in the past and necessitated the slowing down of processing of target development due to the human element in the Fire Support Element unable to keep pace with BAS-T and the FAIO.  

Recommendation:  BAS-T must continue to be worked into all Division and Corps collective training environments in order to build a common capability to routinely employ this tool in either a target development capability or in the role of battle space awareness. Furthermore, while BAS-T is not a program of record, it should be used to lay the ground work of bare minimum requirements for TITAN, the Joint Targeting Command and Control System, DCGS and AFATDS. 


Issue: Organic Rocket/Missile Fires at Division 

Discussion: During WFX 21-1, cannon artillery organically assigned to the Division level primarily served to support BCT movement and maneuver operations with close supporting fires while unable to support Division deep fights. Currently, Divisions abilities to support deep shaping fires is limited to 3 x batteries of 155mm howitzers assigned to the BCTs.  When dedicated to the Division, they are utilized in the counter-fire fight reducing BCTs capabilities to support maneuver formations and unable to support a Division deep fight due to range. The incorporation of rocket and missile fires supporting division counter-fires and shaping operations in the deep provides the division commander with the ability to weigh the division main effort with additional supporting fires controlled by the DIVARTY Commander while leaving the full complement of cannon systems available to the BCT commander to employ all munitions including precision fires (Excalibur and PGK).

Recommendation: For LSCO operations, Divisions must have task organized organic rocket and missile capabilities to compliment BCT centric organic cannon artillery. Understanding the FCoEs cannon modernization strategy, the Corps supports the shift to 155mm pure fleeting across Divisions while retaining an “arms room” like strategy to maintain niche capability (air assault / airborne). However, pure fleeting the BCTs does not fulfill the ability to close the Division General Support Fires deep fight fires gap requiring this to be filled with a HIMARS (light) or MLRS (heavy) Division preferably assigned to DIVARTY. 


Issue: Organic Rocket/Missile Fires and Expanded Capability at Corps

Discussion: At the Corps level, rocket and missile fires were primarily focused on the employment of long-range munitions and ATACMS support to the Corps’ and CJFLCC shaping efforts.  As observed during WFX 21-1, two FA brigades, was sufficient to the task but suffered from a lack of senior FA C2. The absence of a senior FA headquarters responsible for the employment and synchronization of long-range rocket and missile fires, management of critical assets and a Corps level Fire Control element was apparent. While FA Brigade commanders and their staff are capable of providing mission command for organic battalions, fissures quickly develop when the same headquarters must additionally serve the role of a Force Field Artillery Headquarters (FFAHQ) for multiple brigades and manage multiple FA missions.   

Recommendation: With a shift from COIN to LSCO, Corps have a critical capability gap in the ability to command and control multiple fires elements that prosecute both near and deep shaping fight without powering down missions to a subordinate Brigade challenging synergy of efforts between both maneuver and fires. The Corps planning and target staffs lack the manning and equipment necessary to both plan out beyond 72 hrs, execute Fire Control with multiple BDE and execute joint all domain fires within the Corps deep while concurrently responding to JFLCC level missions. Recommend the immediate establishment of a Corps level combined operational fires command lead by a FA Brigadier General to provide the oversight of Corps kinetic and non-kinetic organic and joint capabilities, and structure and staff capability to plan, synchronize and execute Corps shaping operations and counter fire fights. This organization would further seek to provide oversight of both active and reserve component FA Brigades aligned with Corps and also oversight of the Space Domain with the ingestion of the Corps Space Support Element enabling the Corps Commander the ability to plan and organize forces in support of the Precision Navigation and Timing fight along with planning overhead sensor management necessary for D3SOE environments expected in LSCO.