Infantry Drills

4-32: Movement and Maneuver

Previous: 4-31: Lines of Effort

4-32. Movement and maneuver stability tasks are similar to the offense and defense with extensive emphasis on security and engagement skills (negotiation, rapport building, cultural awareness, and critical language phrases). The intent is to create a stable environment allowing peace to take hold while ensuring the force is protected.

4-33. Movement and maneuver often is decentralized to the small unit level. At company level, the commander works stability problems collectively with subordinate platoon leaders who own the ground in the area of operation, sharing understanding and exploring possible solutions. Once leaders understand the situation, seeking consensus helps subordinates understand the commander’s intent. Subordinates exercise initiative and act based on the commander’s intent informed by whatever situational awareness they have

4-34. Leaders must be prepared to rely on direct and indirect fire support, protection, and sustainment elements to assist movement and maneuver. When new requirements develop, these same elements must be ready to shift priorities.

4-35. Establishing the force’s presence in the area of operation is often the first
requirement of the platoon’s stability mission. Being on the ground establishes links with the local populace. Through Soldier engagement, the populace begins to trust and relate to friendly forces. Driving around in an armored convoy may degrade situational awareness. It can make Soldiers targets and often is more dangerous than moving on foot and remaining close to the populace.

4-36. Upon arrival in the area of operation, it may not be advisable to go straight for the main aggressor stronghold or to try to take on villages that support criminals and criminal networks or other hostile actors. Start from secure areas and work gradually outward. Extend influence through local networks. First, win the confidence of a few villages, and then work with those with whom they trade, intermarry, or do business. This tactic develops local allies, a mobilized populace, and trusted networks.

4-37. Seek a victory early during stability to demonstrate dominance of the area of operation. This does not require a combat victory. Often victories can be attained by building relationships rather than by combat. Early combat without accurate situational understanding may create unnecessary collateral damage and ill will. Instead, victories may involve using leader engagement to resolve a long-standing issue or co-opt a key local leader. Achieving even a small early victory can set the tone for the mission and help commanders seize the initiative.

4-38. The platoon may be tasked to establish a quick reaction force for the security of checkpoints, outposts, observation post, and work sites, and to support patrols, meetings, and convoys in the area of operation. Planning should provide a force of the appropriate size for a quick reaction force to separate local hostile parties before potential violent situations grow out of control. The force must have the ability to respond anywhere in the area of operation, and be rapidly reinforced by augmentation and maneuver elements.

4-39. Mobility, countermobility, survivability, and general engineering capabilities
support critical tasks applied through the movement and maneuver warfighting function. These capabilities provide a major role in protecting positions, headquarters, support facilities, base camps, and highly vulnerable assets.

Next: 4-40: Intelligence

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