Corps as a Warfighting Headquarters
DRAFT 23 June, 1999
Go back to: Corps Tasks, Manning and Functions
The 18 November Corps XXI Operations and Organization concept paper addresses the corps as an operational and tactical level of war capable headquarters. It further specifies all Corps XXI operations are at the joint level with its organization along current joint lines and its command and control operations based on the Universal Joint Task List (UJTL) functional areas. To this end this section of the web site depicts how the corps will organize itself to fulfill its role as a tactical and an operational level of war joint organized command and control headquarters.
The USA Corps is optimized for tactical land warfighting capable of offense, defense, stability and support actions. It is unique amongst our army organizations as the corps has the staffing and organization to fight tactical and employ joint and multinational assets. This characteristic serves to create the linkage between tactical and operational warfare while resourcing the tactical fight without subordinate units having to split their focus from tactical warfare. This division of the levels of war and army units lends concentration of effort, unity of command and overall efficiency to the conduct of warfare.
Corps are also very flexible being able to draw from the entire army inventory of subordinate base brigade's and divisional units to tailor the corps' response to any contingency. With the base brigades the corps has the assets to exploit the deep fight to shape the divisional decisive operations. The corps current and future planning capability to maneuver several large subordinate units then can capitalize on the corps deep fight efforts synchronizing engagements into battles. This combination of capabilities and employment of any divisional unit makes the corps capable of conducting any operation in any environment. This combined with the C2 staff organic to the corps allows for 96+ hour planning concurrent with on going operations that can be controlled over a large AO all in terms of linking the tactical and operational level of war.
This section provides a model of how the corps will conduct operations and transition from a corps as a tactical warfighting headquarters to any of the three EAC operational level warfighting headquarters.
Within the three levels of war, i.e., tactical, operational, strategic, corps may conduct tactical warfighting as a subordinate unit to a theater numbered army or conduct operational level warfare as an EAC, i.e., ARFOR, JFLCC or JTF, subordinate to a theater numbered army or a combatant command (CINC). As a tactical warfighter the corps would command and control engagements and possibly battles. As an operational headquarters the corps objective is to link the tactical engagements with the strategic objective by conducting operational level battle actions. This linkage is best described as resourcing the tactical fight to fight engagements that cumulatively contribute to accomplish a battle objective that directly contributes toward a campaign. Resourcing the tactical fight includes providing subordinate divisions with the combat power and synchronization to fight engagements with the corps concurrently planning and executing battles that develop into major operations contributing toward the theater strategic objective. With one or more corps conducting operational level warfighting to accomplish campaign objective(s) the theater strategic objective is achieved.
Corps are unique in our army structure with their ability to transition from the tactical to operational level warfighting C2 headquarters. The significant advantages of the corps structure are listed below:
Transitioning the corps from a tactical warfighting headquarters into any of the EAC operational warfighting C2 structures begins with a manning and training process before any contingency arises. The fundamental first step is identification of "core" corps MTOE billets. Core billets are those billets on the MTOE that would always form the initial staff from that corps whenever an EAC headquarters is activated. These are essentially the key personnel that have the responsibility of standing up, organizing and "jump start" that staff section. Billets identified as "core" will have additional peacetime responsibilities of joint training and maintenance of habitual relationships with sister service peer staff core billet personnel. The latter being of especial importance as all EAC structures are for operational level warfare the necessity of working well in a joint environment is essential for success. These core billets would also become the personnel from the army that would fill JPG plug in cells during the initial stages of the contingency.
Not all core billets will deploy with all EAC headquarters. An illustrative example would be the Joint Fires Element (JFE) may be organized under a JFLCC with corps G3 Fire Support Element core billets working in the JFE during offensive or defensive actions. The same corps G3 Fire Support Element billets may not deploy when the corps forms a JTF for support actions such as Hurricane Andrew.
Finally, corps core billets in the tactical corps would form the army staff of the joint staff cell plug-ins
The next step in the transition process is identification of those operational tasks (see the UJTL for a complete listing of all operational tasks) the JPG has identified the corps as having or has the potential to perform. Once the actual and potential operational tasks have been identified the EAC C2 design can be developed. The type of headquarters design largely rests with the EAC having to perform offensive and defensive combat or is the mission a stability or support operation. The corps standing up an EAC C2 structure would vary greatly from combat to humanitarian operations.
As the JPG further develops the plan and identifies tasks to be accomplished the concurrent effort of establishing the HQs would activate those staff sections, centers, cells or element necessary to support those tasks and the accompanying core billets would be similarly notified to deploy with the EAC headquarters. The remainder of the staff would be filled by base brigades and sister service units.
The final step has been occurring throughout the above process and it is the JPG system of joint planning and initial formation of the EAC headquarters. As the corps will conduct operational level of war tasks and all operational level of war is a joint service fight the corps must adapt to previous sister service agreements modeled in JP 5-00.2 and comply with agreed to terms, staffs and organizations to achieve the efficiencies necessary during the initial phase of contingency operations. The very purpose of this document is to assist the corps making this transition from Army organizations and procedures to that of the joint world. From this final step of forming and responding to the JPG the EAC organization would employ as it deploys and begin to conduct operations within the AO.
The corps as an EAC headquarters conducting operational warfighting actions is able to do so as either an ARFOR, JFLCC or JTF and further has the ability to transition from one type of EAC structure to another. A model for when the corps servers as any particular EAC command and control headquarters is found below.
This model demonstrates the corps will serve as the lesser complexity headquarters the more sever the contingency and conversely the more complex C2 structure for the smaller scale contingencies. On the right is a major theater of war environment equal to Desert Storm as a minimum and World War II as a maximum. The scale declines in contingency severity to the left with the corps acting as a JTF for small scale contingencies. A small scale contingency example would be Hurricane Andrew as a minimum and Intrinsic Action at the Maximum. This model does not suggest or rule out a corps must plug in or out at any particular headquarters structure as it is likely the corps may transition from one structure to another as a theater matures or operations close out from the AO. If the corps must transition from one C2 headquarters to another any time spent concurrently as two types of headquarters it should be of the minimal length of time required to execute the transition. Having any corps serve concurrently as two types of headquarters for any longer than a quick transition period would over extend the staffs' collective ability to control operations. This transition period should not extend any longer than the time to deploy/redeploy forces in/out of the AO.
Serving concurrently as two types of headquarters under transitional conditions is further complicated by ASCC functions. Only under small scale contingencies can the corps serving concurrently as two transitioning headquarters also perform force provider functions. This includes RSOI. These ASCC functions would best be controlled by a separate ASCC headquarters that would be the force provider leaving the corps to its warfighting and transition tasks. For a further discussion on this see the ARFOR single headquarters section.
Corps as a Tactical Warfighter
The army corps is unique amongst army units as it is the army's largest tactical unit and it also fights with joint assets. This unique characteristic of merging the tactical and operational level of war makes the corps itself the link between the tactical and operational level of war. At the tactical level the corps will resource the divisions fighting engagements augmenting their capability from corps base brigade units (ACRs, FABs, Engineer Brigades, Aviation Brigades) to weight the decisive fight. This C2 of divisions fighting engagements synchronizes the engagements to win battles that contribute toward major operations and campaigns. At the operational level of war with these same base brigades, and through coordination with sister services, the corps fight deep both in terms of terrain and time. This deep shaping fight sets the conditions for the later divisional decisive fight. The essential dynamic is the corps focus is both the current and the future fight and being the C2 headquarters that merges the army tactical success with joint operational level warfare.
Tactical operations unique to the corps are: Deception, Special Operations, Forcible Entry, Mobile Defense, Exploitation and Pursuit. What makes the corps unique in its application of these missions is the corps C2 capacity for integrating joint assets, employment of corps base brigades with the inherent capability to observe deeper and engage targets beyond the ability of divisional forces. This characteristic is repeatedly illustrated in the discussions below.
Deception operations planning, preparation, execution and assessment occur no lower than corps level for the reasons of: deception is an operational level of war operation, corps have Information Operations Staff, base brigade contributions, integration of joint assets and large subordinate maneuver unit control. Deception means more than concealing the location of a division's attack location between the decisive and shaping effort. It is the altering of the opposing force commander's decision cycle that affects operations at the engagement through campaign level. This attacks the decisive point for the theater strategic objective that wins the war, not just the battle. Corps are capable of this first at the planning level with the inclusion of the Information Operations Staff cell. This is a dedicated body of staff officers that specifically perform the staff process for all offensive and defensive information operations. This process results in the integration of corps base brigade assets such as intelligence, signal, psychological, public affairs and civil affairs units. This integration continues without he inclusion of joint assets of deep intelligence acquistioning, insertion and targeting. Rounding out this integration is the corps ability to C2 large subordinate units to complete the deception picture. In this manner corps are the lowest level C2 headquarters to conduct deception operations that contribute toward the operational level of war objective.
Special Operations Forces are theater assets with the purpose to extend corps' operations to theater objectives beyond the capability of corps tactical assets. Subsequently these missions are frequently well distant from divisional or routine corps base brigade support, require specific and detailed intelligence (theater or national) and frequently indigenous support. Whenever the corps becomes the C2 headquarters for special operations it is to accomplish a specific mission, objective or purpose nested in an overall theater special operation. As special operations serve to merge the operational and tactical level of war and operate independent (this includes special operations conducted within subordinate unit AOs) of conventional corps subordinate forces the corps is the appropriate headquarters level for the C2 of special operations. Furthermore, special operations can be single service, but are more effective as joint operations and must be joint the deeper the operation is to occur. (The corps primary single service special operations forces are Special Forces or Rangers, psychological and civil affairs units.) Single service special operations are more likely at the small scale contingency level and more likely to become joint the closer the AO develops into a major theater of war. This combination of special operations linking to theater objectives, their joint nature and transcendence across unit boundaries makes the corps by default the C2 headquarters for special operations more likely at the JTF end of the EAC spectrum and a theater issue under MTW conditions.
Forcible entry requires the integration of joint assets while employing deploying forces. Forcible entry operations require initial overwhelming combat power while applying or threatening the application of force that diverts the opposing force's from the entry force. To achieve this combination of C2 and combat power requires division strength combat power for deployment, C2 integration of joint and tactical assets as well as control of other subordinate large subordinate units conducting near term operations and future planning. Joint assets are often required to deploy the forcible entry units. Even in the simplest terms of the 101st AA Division conducting cross FLOT operations the integration of CAS and inclusion of deception operations requires both the air force and the corps base brigades. Under more extreme conditions of an amphibious landing, deep Airborne operation and the threat of force elsewhere makes the corps the lowest tactical level headquarters to execute forcible entry operation C2.
Mobile Defense is defined in terms of force size compared to that of the attacking enemy. In a Mobile Defense the decisive operation is conducted well behind the FEBA with a defending force capable of only short term delay of the enemy. The enemy is allowed to penetrate deep into the defending battle area until the lead echelons have extended themselves beyond immediate reinforcement by subsequent forces. Once this is achieved a friendly attacking force of overwhelming combat power attacks the enemy destroying it before subsequent enemy forces can reinforce their perceived success. This type of defense covers a large area and is intended to achieve operational level success. To trade this amount of battle area and time will require the C2 of divisions with the capability to integrate joint assets of intelligence collection and targeting. Having deep observation of enemy second echelon forces, controlling the attack of large subordinate forces and having sufficient reserve (base brigades) reduces the risk and provides the assets to fight this kind of defense. Keys to success in this operation include the separation of enemy attacking echelons and the capability of quickly destroying the lead echelon and set a defense before the subsequent echelon arrives on the battlefield. Divisions are capable of conducting a part of a Mobile Defense, but not of the C2 required to control the defending force, strike force, deep observation and delay of subsequent forces and setting a defense or attack between the enemy echelons. Corps are considered the lowest echelon with the C2 assets to control this type of fight.
Exploitation and pursuit operations contain similar elements of large subordinate unit C2 capability, base brigade weighting of the battlefield and integration of joint assets. In the case of pursuit the capability of deep detection of supporting forces dis-engagement, the ability to continue applying sustained direct pressure to the retreating forces with the ability to quickly apply additional combat power (ACR, Attack Helicopter Brigades, AA, JAAT) requires the criteria detailed in the above paragraphs. Integration of joint intelligence and air support for the detection of enemy supporting elements disengaging then use the same joint assets to target this deep enemy. This continues with the application of a pursuit force where the force applying the direct pressure may exhaust itself and the ACR may assume the attack while CAS covers the the time between hand off to sustain continued pressure on the enemy. Exploitation uses these same assets to initiate the success and then quickly apply more combat power to continue the attack deep into the enemy area.
A more compete discussion of the corps fighting at the tactical level can be found in FM 100-15.
Corps as an ARFOR
The term ARFOR is a generic term meaning the highest army only headquarters within the AO, command or theater. ARFOR does not specifically define warfighter or service provider headquarters. ARFORs are not restricted to any unit size. A corps acting as an ARFOR C2 headquarters may be subordinate to a JFLCC or JTF. The possible permutations of an ARFOR are:
Selecting between the above ARFOR possible structures is METT-TC dependent. The significant influencing factors of the choice of ARFOR design include:
The simple case of a corps acting as either a force provider or warfighter needs little explanation, the two headquarters ARFOR model.
The desirable distinction is simply as an ASCC headquarters the corps provides the manning, supply, health, financial services etc. as well as conduct RSOI at the operational level. The corps acting as a warfighter does so either at the operational and/or tactical level and is focused entirely on combatant tasks receiving its sustainment from an ASCC or TSC organizations. This is the two headquarters ARFOR model, or described as one headquarters is a force provider and a separate headquarters is a warfighter.
During small scale contingencies the corps can combine with its employ as it deploys capability a small scale ASCC force provider role that may also include ASOS and RSOI on a limited scale. Under this model those minimal TSC units required to receive and sustain the force would deploy with the corps. The ASCC functions would be split based with not more than early entry modules deployed under the corps. Any effort required beyond that provided by ASCC/TSC early entry modules will require a separate, from the corps, ASCC C2 headquarters to act as force provider. This model is only feasible when the duration of the mission is short, the AO small and the number of subordinate units minimal.
When the corps does act as a single headquarters and performs both the force provider operational level tasks and warfighter tactical and operational level tasks it is titled a single headquarters ARFOR model as shown in the diagram below.
It is a single C2 headquarters that is expected to perform operational ASCC tasks concurrent with operational and/or tactical warfighting tasks will be heavily staff augmented, a large organization, with significant sub unit manning, staff and AO span of responsibility. The order of magnitude for a small scale force provider has been estimated in excess of a 5,000 soldier organization. For these reasons it should be clear this condition is strictly limited to small scale contingencies of limited duration. In a small scale contingency there would be no expectations of concurrent actions (offense, defense, stability, support), very limited concurrent future planning with current operations (Hurricane Andrew did not require a follow-on stability action once basic services were restored), no ASOS, non-contiguous or large AO. If any of these conditions exist the staff augmentation required to adequately control operations would exceed any manageable number at the corps level.
Side note: The Korean ASCC model does not apply to our earlier discussion. The Korean model reflects what is now and expected to be the anomaly for our military of an extremely mature and permanent multinational/United Nations Command structure. The recent history of our European and CONUS based corps deployment models is representative of what has been repetitively world wide employed and expected to be employed by theaters and corps into the 2010 era.
The area of responsibility dividing line between a force provider and a warfighting headquarters under the two headquarters ARFOR model is based not on geography, but best described as a separation of the three basic operational level tasks i.e., sustainment, coordinating, warfighting. The corps that is the combatant C2 ARFOR will conduct coordinating and warfighting operational tasks. The force provider (ASCC) C2 headquarters the operational level sustainment tasks. The key word in both cases is operational. As an ARFOR warfighting headquarters the corps would conduct operational level warfare, the linkage between tactical and strategic levels of war. This does not mean the corps is completely divorced from the Army Universal Tactical Task list. As a director and resourcer of the tactical fight the corps would retain some tactical tasks in addition to all pass backed functions determined from the Division Advanced Warfighter Exercise (DAWE). However, the focus as to what size unit fights at what level of war remains clear as originally drafted. If a geographical hand-off line is to be drawn from where operational sustainment tasks begin and end and where coordinating and warfighting tasks start it would be the ASCC would operate from the POE, through RSOI to the staging area outside of the RSOI. The coordinating, warfighting headquarters would then assume C2 of the forces as they depart from RSOI and arrive in the staging area.
Corps as a JFLCC
CJTFs and above have the authority to establish functional component commands to control military operations. Functional component commands may be appropriate when forces from two or more Military Departments must operate in the same dimension or medium or there is a need to accomplish a distinct aspect of the assigned mission. Functional component commanders have authority over forces or military capabilities made available to them. They may be established across the range of military operations to perform operational missions that may be of short or extended duration. CJTFs establishing a functional component command have the authority to designate its commander. Normally, the service component commander with the preponderance of forces to be tasked will be designated as the functional component commander; however, the CJTF will always consider the mission, nature, and duration of the operation, force capabilities, and the C2 capabilities in selecting a commander. The CJTF must designate the military capability that will be made available for tasking by the functional component commander and the appropriate command relationship(s) the functional component commander will exercise (e.g., a joint force special operations component commander [JFSOCC] normally has OPCON of assigned forces, and a JFACC normally is delegated tactical control [TACON] of the sorties or other military capability made available). The responsibilities and authority of a functional component command must be assigned by the CJTF. Establishment of a functional component commander must not affect the command relationships between service component commanders and the CJTF. The commander of a functional component command is responsible for making recommendations to the CJTF on the proper employment of the military capability made available to accomplish the assigned responsibilities.
The functional component commander normally will be a service component commander. As a service component commander, the functional component commander also has the responsibilities associated with service component command for those assigned forces. When a functional component command is composed of forces of two or more services, the functional component commander must be cognizant of the constraints imposed by logistics factors on the capability of the assigned forces and the responsibilities retained by the services. When a functional component command will employ forces from more than one service, the functional component commanders staff must be joint in order to provide the commander with the expertise needed to effectively employ the forces made available.
Joint staff billets for needed expertise and individuals to fill these billets should be identified, and those individuals should be used when the functional component command is formed for exercises or actual operations. The number of personnel on this staff should be kept to a minimum and should be consistent with the task performed. The structure of the staff should be flexible enough to expand or contract under changing conditions without loss in coordination or capability. The staff should generally reflect the composition of the functional component command. See JP 0-2, "Unified Action Armed Forces (UNAAF)," and JP 3-0, "Doctrine for Joint Operations," for more details on functional components. Examples of Functional Component Commanders.
The Army version of the functional command is the Joint Force Land Component Commander (JFLCC) When required, the CJTF designates a JFLCC and establishes this commanders authority and responsibilities. The designation of a JFLCC may occur when major land forces of more than one service component will participate in a major land operation and the CJTF ascertains that this will assist in achieving unity of command and maintaining unity of effort among land forces. The availability of ports of debarkation; amount of mutual support possible between land forces; duration of the mission; requirement for land force simultaneous or sequential operations; likelihood of land forces operating adjacent to one another; requirements for special capabilities resident in one land force being required for use by the other and amount, level of intensity, and requirement for coordination of other component support to land forces are those planning requirements inherent in a JFLCC.
Advantages of JFLCC organization are enhanced when the:
JFLCC Staff Organization should be representative of the total land force that comprises the joint force land component command. The "core" of the staff may be provided by the service component commander who has been designated as the JFLCC. Augmentees from the other services comprising the joint force land component command add the necessary expertise to ensure the proper conduct of operations. If multinational ground forces are involved in the joint force land component, individuals from the various multinational services also should be members of this staff. Personnel to fill the JFLCC billets should be identified and trained during peacetime and used when this type of staff is formed for exercises and actual operations to ensure an effective transition to combat operations. For further details, see JP 3-56, "Command and Control Doctrine for Joint Operations."
Corps as a JTF
Put here figure II-1, page II-3 from JP 5-00.2.
A JTF is an organization of more than one federal department assigned to a single headquarters to accomplish a specific, limited duration objective. A JTF may be formed by the SECDEF, CINC, or JFC commander. The headquarters that establishes the JTF assigns the resources and determines the organizational structure with input from the JTF commander.
A caveat to this definition has occurred with several JTFs transitioning from a limited objective, short duration operation into "semi-permanent" JTF. This is defined in joint doctrine as a JTF with a follow-on mission on a continuing timeline in a specific AO. This transitioning from the original JTF mission and objective onto an evolving mission is planned for in the same manner as any other mission. (See JPG for more details.)
Characteristics of this transition from a temporary to near permanent organization frequently include increased uncertainty as the military - political situation may itself be evolving into a new, yet to be determine condition making the exit strategy a fluid target. This condition alone greatly increases the planning responsibility of the corps staff as sequels for a multitude of possibilities are worked through. Essential to leadership during these conditions is stability of the organization until the transition from a temporary to near permanent organization is completed. Subordinate units may in/out flow from the AO, but the staff should remain in-tact until the military-political situation with an exit strategy is settled and staff process moved from planning into execution. Inclusive of this is the corps left to its warfighting and coordinating tasks with a separate headquarters continuing sustainment operations. The overall concept to to simplify unit responsibility during conditions of increased(ing) uncertainty rather than complicate C2.
The current corps design is based on a 1986 TOE that has been repeatedly modified into one of several MTOEs. These MTOEs have further been augmented to support the corps as an operational level of war warfighter. Below is the 1986 corps TOE shown graphically.
Currently, a corps redesign effort is underway to bring the corps C2 structure to the point it is aligned with joint organizations based on the UJTL. The objective is a corps C2 structure capable of tactical warfare without further army augmentation concurrent with a corps capable of operational warfare with only sister service augmentation to transition the corps from a tactical warfighter to an operational warfighter. An illustrative example of this current situation is found below. This diagram is drawn from current deployed corps organizations and operational plug-ins agreed to in JP 5-00.2. Green blocks indicate the cells the corps billets would occupy either in part or total to be a tactical warfighter and the purple the cells requiring corps core billets as well as other augmentation to fight at the operational level.
Previous discussions have presented the new Corps XXI structure as wire diagrams of subordinate staff sections, cells and boards. How this staff will appear on the ground is entirely another matter. The traditional TAC, Main, Rear concept of command post deployment does not always have reasonable application on the current and developing battlefield that has far greater observation and communications capability than the systems that drove the TAC, Main Rear command post system. Additionally, the greater likelihood of a non-contiguous battlefield may more frequently render separated command posts a vulnerability rather than an enhancement of command and control. The Army three command post systems is also not in coordination with existing sister service command and control organization and not what always has been practiced during recent corps level contingency deployments at the tactical and operational level. To this end of determining the correct command post configuration to fully support command and control for a corps headquarters that will continually straddle the line between being a tactical or an operational warfighter a new command post concept may be required. An alternative is the the two nodel Combat Information Center (CIC) and Sustainment Center (SUS). These two centers are just that, centers of like staff processes. They do not represent specific placement on the battlefield nor are they fixed in composition. They are centers that group required staff functions along combat or sustainment lines configured to meet any variety of contingency. The centers may be co-located in the same facility or separate as with the SUS at the POE and the CIC in a non-contiguous AO. A graphic representation of this concept is found below.
This example is based on joint staff and UJTL operations tasks. The same organization would apply to the corps as a tactical warfighter.
All staff processes are in fact located within each center with the difference being the intensity and the actual overall purpose of that center. An illustrative example would be the operations staff in the SUS. This rear operations staff may not be conducting offensive combat operations, although it would be capable of doing so, it is running rear operations actions that include offensive capabilities required to maintain an uninterrupted sustainment of the total force. This SUS operations staff would in effect control all sustainment operations to insure integration of the sustainment assets with the fighting force. The second integration staff would be the CIC JOC. The JOC would do the same for all combat operations as the rear operations center staff does for sustainment operations. With the rear operations staff a subordinated and integrated staff of the CIC JOC the effect should be a seamless operation from the POE to the most forward deployed force.
This entire CIC/SUS command post concept is designed to be flexible and adaptable to any contingency to allow for the commander to tailor the C2 structure to the needs of the force without the restraints of a three command post configurations.