Infantry Drills

4-47: Protection

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4-47. Protection of the force during stability is essential for success at all levels. Infantry leaders continually balance protection needs between military forces and civil populations. Frequent interaction between U.S. forces and local population make protection planning difficult and essential. Threats often blend in with the local populace during stability and are difficult to identify, making heightened levels of awareness the norm. The close proximity of civilians and Soldiers also can promote health issues (such as communicable disease) through close contact with local civilians, detainees, or local foods.

4-48. The protection of civil institutions, processes, and systems required to reach the end state conditions of stability strategy often can be the most decisive factor in stability because its accomplishment is essential for long-term success. Civil areas typically contain structured and prepared routes, roadways, and avenues canalizing traffic. This can lead to predictable friendly movement patterns that maybe exploited by the enemy. An additional planning consideration during stability tasks is to protect the force while using the minimum force consistent with the approved ROE. Additional protection considerations during stability include:

  • Reducing the unexploded ordnance and mine threat in the area of operations.
  • Fratricide and friendly fire prevention and minimizing escalation of force (EOF) incidents through combat, civilian, and coalition identification measures.
  • Developing rapid and efficient personnel recovery techniques and drills.
  • Clear operations security procedures account for close proximity of civilians, nongovernmental organizations, and contractors.
  • Disciplined information management techniques to preserve access to computer networks.
  • Containment of toxic industrial materiel is present in the civilian environment.
  • Survivability requirements for static facilities, positions, or outposts.

4-49. Small unit leaders must implement appropriate security measures to protect the force. Establishment of checkpoints, base camp security procedures, and aggressive patrolling are examples of protecting the force. Protecting the force requires special considerations in stability tasks. This is because threats may be different and, in some cases, opposing forces seek to kill or wound U.S. Soldiers, or destroy or damage property for political purposes.

4-50. Leaders must always consider the aspects of protection and how they relate to the ROE. Some examples of protective measures are—

  • Secure the inside perimeter if the host nation secures the outside perimeter.
  • Avoid becoming an easy target and do not become predictable.
  • Include security in each plan, SOP, operations order, and movement order.
  • Develop specific security programs such as threat awareness and operational security.
  • Restrict access of unassigned personnel to the unit’s location.
  • Constantly maintain an image of professionalism and readiness.
  • Base the degree of security established on a continuous threat assessment.

4-51. The Army protects human and automated decision making in peacetime and in conflict using OPSEC. It’s a leader’s responsibility supported by Soldiers, supporting civilian staff members and operators. OPSEC enhances mission success by preserving advantages of secrecy and surprise. OPSEC is a force multiplier. It includes reducing predictability and eliminating indicators of operations. Leaders use OPSEC countermeasures to deny adversaries knowledge of friendly operations. This requires adversaries to expend more resources to obtain critical information needed to make decisions. (Refer to ADRP 3-37 for more information on OPSEC.)

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