Training for the Future:

Operations Other Than War

by First Lieutenant Carolyn F. Belveal

The possibility of a massive ground war in Europe declined significantly with the collapse of communism in Europe and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. This change did not, however, reduce the potential for conflict in the region. New threats and missions continue to challenge the soldiers of the U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Now, USAREUR is not only training its units to perform conventional ground combat operations for war but also to conduct operations other than war (OOTW). This article describes how the Combat Maneuver Training Center (CMTC) trains commanders and military intelligence (MI) professionals to adapt to the new missions and dynamic situations of OOTW.

Combat Maneuver Training Center

OOTW is now a significant part of training at the CMTC near Hohenfels, Germany. The CMTC has designed new scenarios that replicate the real-world experiences and missions of USAREUR. A battalion task force now spends the first four days of its ten-day exercise in an OOTW environment. On the fourth day, the battalion task force transitions to conventional combat operations. The CMTC training prepares the task force for many of the situations it could face in Macedonia or Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Task Force Operations

In the CMTC OOTW scenario, a battalion task force must clear and occupy a zone of separation between two hostile countries. It must--
OOTW consists of small unit actions that depend upon company grade officers and noncommissioned officers to accomplish the mission. OOTW puts first-line supervisors in the spotlight because they must understand how to handle searches, random encounters with military factions, and deal with the press. The soldiers on the ground are responsible for reporting information while the S2 and his intelligence analysts summarize the information and look for emerging patterns. The task force uses this information in area assessments for the United Nations. (See Figure 1.)
The battalion task force commander assigns each subordinate company an area of operations within the zone of separation. The company commanders establish checkpoints and observation posts within the zone. They use checkpoints along the major routes to stop and question anyone traveling across the zone. Often soldiers at the checkpoints must detain vehicles carrying contraband and decide how to deal with the smugglers. Observation posts allow the commanders to monitor and record the activity within the sector. Even if the activity seems routine, the soldier must record the event and report the information to the next higher echelon--change in routine is sometimes more important than new activity.
The task force commander is responsible for liaison with the villagers within his area of the zone. Each village usually includes a leader or mayor and a religious figure. Common complaints from the villages include lack of food and potable water, military vehicles speeding through villages, and threats from faction groups. How the task force and company commanders deal with a village's requests directly relates to how the village views U.S. military intervention. The task force commander may direct that a platoon or squad escort food and supply convoys to the population centers to ensure they arrive safely.
In addition to coping with the population, the task force deals with incidents instigated by one of the many factions operating within the zone of separation. Car bombings, mine fields, weapons caches, distribution of propaganda, sniping, ambushes on convoys, and mortar fire are some of the incidents that occur. Determining which faction is responsible for the incident enables the commander to warn his soldiers about hostile groups and actions.

Coordinating Civil-Military Operations

The brigade staff synchronizes daily events through a nightly civil-military humanitarian assistance and operational support (CHAOS) meeting. Held in the brigade tactical operations center, the CHAOS meeting brings together key brigade staff personnel and task force representatives to discuss issues and concerns. The brigade S2, S3, and chaplain are members of CHAOS. Representatives from civil affairs, judge advocate general, military police, and the direct support MI company are also present at the CHAOS meeting.
On the final day of the OOTW scenario, a Civil-Military Working Group meets to discuss pressing issues. The working group's meeting is the culmination point of the OOTW phase of the CMTC exercise. Similar to the brigade CHAOS meeting, this meeting includes brigade and task force commanders, village mayors, and faction leaders. Chaired by the battalion task force commander, the working group's agenda covers U.S. military operations, faction activity, and civilian humanitarian needs within the zone of separation. The task force commander listens to everyone's concerns and acts as the mediator. The Civil-Military Working Group meeting is a success if all parties agree to abide by the rules for the zone of separation.

Brigade Intelligence Support

The brigade S2 compiles incident reports, faction recognition guides, and capabilities assessments. These products help the task force soldiers understand the threat and the area of operations. The S2 also publishes various checklists that standardize reporting procedures. (See Figure 2.) These assist the soldier in providing complete and accurate reports. From these reports, the S2 more easily pieces together emerging patterns. In OOTW, accuracy is often more critical then the timeliness of reports.
By implementing a sound collection and dissemination plan, the brigade S2 can help the task force succeed in OOTW. The S2 can employ a number of organic and supporting assets to collect information. The counterintelligence and interrogation teams from the direct support MI company are collectors that can visit the villages, talk with the local civilians, and gather information. Monitoring activity in the villages and the mood of the local populace allows the S2 to piece together single events that alone may seem insignificant but together may reveal a threat to the task force. The CHAOS meetings also provide an excellent forum for revealing emerging patterns and tasking assets to answer the commander's priority intelligence requirements. Observation posts, checkpoints, and patrol reports, particularly those following checklist formats, are another source of valuable information.

Tailored Intelligence Products

OOTW requires the S2 to apply standard techniques and processes to produce tailored intelligence products. For example, the S2 should still develop a modified combined obstacles overlay (MCOO). The S2 must, however, tailor the observation and fields of fire, cover and concealment, obstacles, key terrain, and avenues of approach factors to the OOTW situation. One product taken from the basic MCOO is a lines of communication overlay. This overlay helps the commander visualize the network of trails within the zone of separation that refugees may travel or smugglers may use to infiltrate the zone. It also helps the commander determine where to establish his checkpoints and observation posts to cover the most traveled routes.
The All-Source Analysis System (ASAS) remote workstation is an extremely helpful tool for developing tailored products. The workstation enables the analyst to automate the daily journal, correlate information to find patterns, perform terrain analysis, and disseminate intelligence. The S2 analyst can sort the system's database by factions to determine which faction has a history of repeated smuggling activity. Lastly, the analyst can program the workstation to alert upon the arrival of reports containing critical intelligence or specific information.
One of the most useful ASAS remote workstation products is the line-of-sight overlay. Figure 3 is an example of a line-of-sight overlay. The overlay helps the S2 develop his reconnaissance and surveillance plans by identifying potential observation post locations and deadspace. This helps the S2 determine which observation posts and checkpoints must be relocated or replaced by patrols. Since the workstation software takes into account only elevation, not vegetation. It is important that the commander controlling that checkpoint or observation post verifies the line-of-sight overlay.


Training soldiers in OOTW is critical and more relevant in today's world. Exposing our soldiers to nontraditional operations in training better prepares them for future OOTW missions. The CMTC at Hohenfels, Germany, is working diligently with USAREUR units like the 3d Infantry Division and our NATO partners to develop realistic training that ensures U.S. Forces are prepared to meet the new challenges of OOTW.
First Lieutenant Belveal is currently the Assistant S2, 3d Brigade, 3d Infantry Division, Vilseck, Germany. She is a 1993 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.