1. Characteristics of Early Entry
a. Early entry forces, the Army's "first to fight" forces, must be lethal, survivable, and deployable. Early entry operations will require deployment and employment of tailored armored, light, and special operations forces which can deploy rapidly, enter into the operational area, secure the lodgment, and have immediate decisive effect, or create conditions for the arrival of follow on forces which conduct decisive operations.
b. Operations of the early entry forces are intrinsically joint operations. Army forces must be able to use and integrate national intelligence systems linked to joint command, control, and communication systems. Joint force capabilities may be required to initially compensate for ground combat power shortfalls.
c. Combined and coalition operations with allies of friendly nations are the expected norm. U.S. early entry forces must be interoperable with these forces. Combined or coalition interoperability should retain the strengths and minimize the weaknesses of all combined or coalition members.
d. Interagency operations may require support from the Army's early entry forces. Army forces may operate under civilian control and authority in achieving objectives associated with the economic, political, and informational elements of national power.
e. Logistical support for the early entry forces will probably be bare based and may lack required infrastructure. Ports, roads, rails, water, and power grids may be nonfunctional or nonexistent.
Early entry is highly situational dependent and may occur across the continuum of military operations. Early entry can be categorized into three types. Unopposed entry when no combat is taking place, such as deterrent presence, disaster relief or humanitarian assistance. Unopposed entry under combat conditions where combat is underway, or imminent, but where the ports and airfields are under friendly control. In this case, early entry forces may be required to control terrain and prevent the enemy from seizing ports of debarkation. Forcible entry aimed at immediate decisive effect or to secure a lodgment for the subsequent arrival of larger forces that conduct decisive operations.
Five phases of force projection are predeployment activities, mobilization, deployment, entry and decisive operations.
a. Predeployment Activities: Commanders conduct mission analysis and preparations of the force. Must determine command structure, correct mix, and sequence of forces to deploy. Timely theater specific intelligence as well as predictive data on operations and logistics must be immediately available.
b. Mobilization: Active Army forces will comprise the preponderance of the early entry force; however, Mission, Enemy, Troops, Terrain, and Time (METT-T) factors are unique in every operation and may require mobilization of Reserve Component forces for unique situations or capabilities.
c. Deployment: Commanders tailor the early entry force sequence of deployment based upon factors of METT-T, available strategic lift, and the capabilities of joint, combined, and host nation forces. Continuous and rapid build up of friendly combat power is critical to early entry operations. Objective is to achieve overwhelming superiority and to set the preconditions necessary to win decisively. Early entry forces require enroute communications for mission refinement, change, and continuous intelligence update. Interconnection into the command, control, and communications of joint, coalition, and host forces must be quick and certain.
d. Entry: Early entry forces require the capabilities to seize, control, and hold lodgment areas in conditions including forcible entry. Entry forces may initially be outnumbered. To the extent possible, must establish the conditions for decisive operations. Must achieve air superiority around airfields and port. As the operation progresses early entry forces must introduce and integrate systems to kill deep. Early entry forces must also be capable of protecting themselves from enemy small arms, mines, direct fire, biological/chemical attack, artillery, tactical ballistic missiles, air attack, terrorism, a potentially unfriendly populace, and friendly fire.
e. Decisive Operations: Early entry force may be required to accomplish decisive operations immediately via a coup de main. In such cases, early entry forces seek to rapidly collapse the enemy's center of gravity (national command and control, vital infrastructure, forces' C3I, and/or main combat capabilities).