Infantry Drills

2-152: Fives Steps of Actions on Contact

Previous: 2-151: Forms of Contact

2-152. The Infantry unit should execute actions on contact using a logical, wellorganized process of decisionmaking and action entailing these five steps:

  • Deploy and report.
  • Evaluate and develop the situation.
  • Choose a course of action.
  • Execute the selected course of action.
  • Recommend a course of action to the higher commander.

2-153. This five-step process is not intended to generate a rigid, lockstep response to the enemy. Rather, the goal is to provide an orderly framework enabling the company and its platoons and squads to survive the initial contact, and apply sound decisionmaking and timely actions to complete the operation. Ideally, the unit sees the enemy (visual contact) before being seen by the enemy; it then can initiate direct contact on its own terms by executing the designated COA.

2-154. Once the lead elements of a force conducting movement to contact encounter the enemy, they conduct actions on contact. The unit treats obstacles like enemy contact, assuming the obstacles are covered by fire. The unit’s security force gains tactical advantage over an enemy by using tempo and initiative to conduct these actions, allowing it to gain and maintain contact without becoming decisively engaged. How quickly the unit develops the situation is directly related to its security, and the tempo is directly related
to the unit’s use of well-rehearsed SOP and drills.

2-155. Leaders understand properly executed actions on contact require time at the squad and platoon levels. To develop the situation, a platoon or company may have to execute flanking movements, conduct reconnaissance by fire, or call for and adjust indirect fires. Each of these activities requires time, and the leader balances the time required for subordinate elements to conduct actions on contact with the need for the company or battalion to maintain momentum. (Refer to FM 3-90-1 for more information.)

Next: 2-156: Deploy and Report

Go Back To: U.S. Army FM 3-21.8: The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad