Infantry Drills

2-240: Support Element

Previous: 2-238: Search Element

2-240. The support element reinforces, and is capable of accomplishing, the task and purpose of the unit’s main effort. In addition, the leader may direct the support element to accomplish priority-planning tasks. This means the support element leader is intimately familiar with all aspects of cordon and search missions from planning through its completion.

2-241. The leader identifies the tasks the support element may be required to execute. These tasks are prioritized and given to the support element leader to plan and rehearse these actions according to the commander’s plan. Probable tasks assigned to the support element during a cordon and search operation are (but are not limited to)—

  • Reinforce outer/inner cordon.
  • Clear buildings.
  • Search buildings.
  • Biometric and forensic enabled collections. (Refer to ATP 2-22.85 for more information.)
  • Document and media exploitation. (Refer to ATP 2-91.8 for more information.)
  • Secure, safeguard, and escort civilians or detainees.
  • Secure and safeguard captured materiel or equipment.

2-242. Commitment criteria is a guide to assist the leader on when to commit the support element, but is not intended to be a trigger for employment. (See figure 2-36, page 2-80.) Possible commitment criteria can be—

  • A hostile crowd forming around the inner cordon.
  • Loss of main effort.
  • Numerous rooms in the building being searched.
  • More than a specified number of detainees.
  • The enemy engages the inner cordon.
Figure 2-36. Establishment of a cordon

Next: 2-243: Control Measures For A Cordon And Search

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