Infantry Drills

2-234: Security Element

Previous: 2-230: Command Element

2-234. The primary task of the security element is total isolation of the target area, either physically or by fire. The security element limits enemy or civilian influence in the objective area and prevents targets from escaping the cordon. It may have to use multiple avenues of approach and operate decentralized to accomplish its mission. It also may have to establish multiple blocking positions and observation posts and conduct patrols in order to isolate the target area. The security element may include the—

  • Vehicle-mounted sections or platoons.
  • Interpreters.
  • Detainee teams.
  • Crowd control teams.
  • Observation posts.
  • Traffic control post or blocking positions.
  • Host-nation security force (military or police).
  • Integrated aviation assets.
  • Dismounted squads or platoons.
  • Female search teams.

2-235. The execution of outer cordon missions is an integral part of the security element in all cordon and search missions. The outer cordon isolates the objective area and prevents enemy or civilian influence. This requires detailed planning, coordination, integration, and synchronization to achieve the lethal and nonlethal combined arms effects required for mission execution. Some considerations for outer cordon include—

  • Vehicles for traffic control post and blocking positions.
  • Operational environment fire planning and coordination.
  • Overwatch positions.
  • Aviation assets to observe the target area and inform the outer cordon if vehicles or persons leave the target area. Constant communication between the aviation element and outer cordon better facilitates the isolation of the target area.
  • An initial detainee collection point for receipt and temporary holding of detainees.
  • An initial materiel collection point for consolidation of captured materiel.

2-236. Each outer cordon element traffic control point blocking position has a designated leader, and a clear task and purpose. Weapon systems to consider for outer cordon positions are wheeled or tracked vehicles with weapons systems, crew-served weapons, Javelin with the command launch unit (CLU), and snipers or designated marksman.

2-237. The leader of the outer cordon element develops and maintains situational awareness of his area of responsibility and the areas of inner cordon and search elements. This enables him to anticipate threat activity, control direct and indirect fires, and facilitate the achievement of the outer cordon’s task and purpose. Aviation assets, communications systems, and reporting procedures are implemented to facilitate situational awareness for the entire element.

Next: 2-238: Search Element

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