Infantry Drills

2-243: Control Measures for a Cordon and Search

Previous: 2-240: Support Element

2-243. The use of standard tactical control measures is essential to mission command over forces approaching and conducting cordon and search operations. This includes—

  • Assembly areas. Due to the relative safety, size, and location, base camp or combat outposts are the most convenient areas for staging a cordon and search operation. However, leaders assume all friendly positions are under constant observation. If possible, position AA in remote or separate areas, or use multiple AA in order to minimize all enemy surveillance efforts.
  • Checkpoints. Checkpoints leading to the target and in the objective area are essential for ensuring all units arrive at the target in the proper order and on time.
  • Rally points. Rally points to and from the objective area allow for cordon and search elements to reorganize if units become engaged, lost, have vehicle trouble, or lose communications during ingress and egress from the target.
  • Phase lines. Phase lines are helpful in controlling cordon and search elements approaching the target from different directions or at different times.
  • Restrictive fire lines (RFLs). RFL prohibit fires and their effects between converging friendly forces.

2-244. Vital tips for cordon and search success includes—

  • Positioning vital leaders so they can see and control all subordinate elements.
  • Positioning essential assets such as crew-served weapons and interpreters at the critical locations.
  • Being prepared to move leadership and support assets from one location to another during mission execution or as necessary.
  • Positioning vehicles and personnel to be searched so the security element’s sectors of fire face to the outside of the friendly element and away from noncombatants when executing searches.
  • Keeping the bulk of forces within the perimeter so if the situation escalates they are essentially in a battle or support-by-fire position.
  • Ensuring all personnel understand direct fire and contingency plans. For example:
    • What actions to take in the event a vehicle penetrates a traffic control point from outside the established perimeter?
    • Who engages and with what weapons systems?
    • Engage crew-served weapons or should they use only M4?
    • When to cease fire, and what signal to use for cease-fire?

Next: 2-245: Planning A Cordon And Search

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