Army Doctrine Publication ADP 3-90 Offense and Defense August 2012


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The defender maneuvers to place the enemy in a position of disadvantage and attacks at every opportunity, using fires, electronic warfare, and joint assets.


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The static and mobile elements of the defense combine to deprive the enemy of the initiative. The defender contains the enemy while seeking every opportunity to transition to the offense. The defending commander uses the characteristics of the defense—disruption, flexibility, maneuver, mass and concentration, operations in depth, preparation, and security—to help accomplish that task.

These apply to both the tactical and operational levels of war, although the mobile defense is more often associated with the operational level. These three tasks have significantly different concepts and pose significantly different problems. Therefore, each defensive task must be dealt with differently when planning and executing the defense. Although the names of these defensive tasks convey the overall aim of a selected defense, each typically contains elements of the other and combines static and mobile elements.

Although on the defense, the commander remains alert for opportunities to attack the enemy whenever resources permit. The area defense is a defensive task that concentrates on denying enemy forces access to designated terrain for a specific time rather than destroying the enemy outright. The mobile defense is a defensive task that concentrates on the destruction or defeat of the enemy through a decisive attack by a striking force. The retrograde is a defensive task that involves organized movement away from the enemy. In addition to the control measures introduced in the previous chapter on the offense, control measures that a commander conducting a defense employs include designating the security area, the main battle area MBA with its associated forward edge of the battle area, and the echelon support area.

The commander can use battle positions and additional direct fire control and fire support coordination measures FSCMs in addition to other control measures found in ADRP to further synchronize the employment of combat power.


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The commander designates disengagement lines to trigger the displacement of subordinate forces. These common defensive control measures are discussed in alphabetical order. The Army recognizes three forms of the defense— Defense of a linear obstacle. Perimeter defense. Reverse slope defense. Text refers the reader to FM , volume 1 for a discussion of the forms of the defense.

All units must be capable of mounting a defense with minimal preparation, but a strong defense takes time to organize and prepare. If the enemy attack does not take place at the predicted time, commanders use the additional time to continue to improve their defensive positions. The commander can increase the effectiveness of the security area, establish additional alternate and supplementary positions, refine the defensive plan to include branches and sequels, conduct defensive rehearsals, and conduct maintenance activities for vehicles and personnel.

To gain time to organize a defense, the commander may order a security force to conduct a delay while the main body disengages and moves to more advantageous positions. The security force must know how long it needs to delay the enemy for the main body to prepare its defense and be task organized with enough combat power to provide that time.

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The common defensive planning considerations addressed in this section by warfighting function apply to all defensive tasks. These considerations are in addition to those common offensive planning considerations introduced in the previous chapter. If the defense is unsuccessful, the commander transitions from a defensive posture into retrograde operations. Transition from one type of operation or task to another requires mental as well as physical agility on the part of involved commanders, staffs, and units as well as an accurate understanding of the situation. The commander deliberately plans for sequential operations, assisting the transition process and allowing the setting of the conditions necessary for a successful transition.

Such planning addresses the need to control the tempo of operations, maintain contact with both enemy and friendly forces, and keep the enemy off balance. It establishes the procedures and priorities by which a unit prepares for the next mission. Prior contingency planning decreases the time needed to adjust the tempo of combat operations when a unit transitions from defensive to offensive actions. It does this by allowing subordinate units to simultaneously plan and prepare for subsequent operations. Preparations typically include resupplying unit basic loads and repositioning or reallocating supporting systems.

This section addresses transition to an emphasis on the conduct of offensive tasks. It also addresses transition to retrograde operations and an emphasis on the conduct of stability tasks. A commander conducts tactical enabling tasks to assist in the conduct of decisive action. Commanders direct tactical enabling tasks to support the conduct of offensive, defensive, stability, and defense support of civil authorities tasks.

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Tactical enabling tasks are usually employed by commanders as shaping or supporting operations within those operational frameworks. This chapter introduces those tactical enabling tasks that are not the subject of their own field manual or Army techniques publication. This means that inform and influence activities and mobility operations are not discussed since those two items are the subject of their own Doctrine publications.

Additional information on reconnaissance, security, and other tactical enabling tasks are found in FM , volume 2. The topic of operations in an urban environment is included in this chapter even though it is an environment for which special adjustments need to be made and not a tactical enabling task.

A discussion of the fundamentals of operations in an urban environment will be included in a futher revision of FM , volume 2. That discussion is not in the version of FM , volume 2 scheduled for publication in late CY Do not keep reconnaissance assets in reserve. Orient on the reconnaissance objective. Report information rapidly and accurately. Retain freedom of maneuver. Gain and maintain enemy contact.

Develop the situation rapidly. Reconnaissance primarily relies on the human dynamic rather than technical means.

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Reconnaissance is a focused collection effort. It is performed before, during, and after other operations to provide information used in the intelligence preparation of the battlefield process, as well as by the commander in order to formulate, confirm, or modify a course of action. There are seven fundamentals of successful reconnaissance operations.

Every unit has an implied mission to report information about the terrain, civilian activities, and friendly and enemy dispositions. This is regardless of its location and primary function.

Unified Land Operations and the Defense

However, brigade combat team BCT , division, and corps commanders primarily use their organic or attached reconnaissance—ground or air—and intelligence elements to conduct reconnaissance operations. Zone reconnaissance is a form of reconnaissance that involves a directed effort to obtain detailed information on all routes, obstacles, terrain, and enemy forces within a zone defined by boundaries.

Army Doctrine Publication ADP 3-90 Offense and Defense August 2012

Area reconnaissance is a form of reconnaissance that focuses on obtaining detailed information about the terrain or enemy activity within a prescribed area. Special Reconnaissance includes reconnaissance and surveillance actions conducted as a special operation in hostile, denied, or politically sensitive environments to collect or verify information of strategic or operational significance, employing military capabilities not normally found in conventional forces JP The main difference between security operations and reconnaissance operations is that security operations orient on the force or facility being protected, while reconnaissance is enemy and terrain oriented.

Security operations encompass five tasks— Screen is a security task that primarily provides early warning to the protected force. Guard is a security task to protect the main body by fighting to gain time while also observing and reporting information and preventing enemy ground observation of and direct fire against the main body.

Units conducting a guard mission cannot operate independently because they rely upon fires and functional and multifunctional support assets of the main body. Cover is a security task to protect the main body by fighting to gain time while also observing and reporting information and preventing enemy ground observation of and direct fire against the main body.

Area security is a security task conducted to protect friendly forces, installations, routes, and actions within a specific area. However, more combat power in the security force means less for the main body. Local security provides immediate protection to the friendly force. All maneuver forces are capable of conducting security operations. A commander should ensure that subordinate units perform those specific security tasks required by the situation. Habitual support relationships with attachments and standard operating procedures SOPs are required to obtain proficiency in the conduct of these tasks.

Successful security operations depend on properly applying the five fundamentals depicted here. The essence of battlefield agility is the capability to conduct rapid and orderly movement to concentrate combat power at decisive points and times. Successful movement places troops and equipment at their destination at the proper time, ready for combat. The three methods of troop movement are administrative movement, tactical road march, and approach march.

A tactical road march is a rapid movement used to relocate units within an area of operations to prepare for combat operations. An approach march is the advance of a combat unit when direct contact with the enemy is intended. The commander uses the combat formations described in FM , volume 2 in conjunction with three movement techniques: traveling, traveling overwatch, and bounding overwatch when conducting troop movement at the low tactical levels battalion and below.

The responsibilities of the replaced elements for the mission and the assigned area of operations are transferred to the incoming unit. The incoming unit continues the operation as ordered. A commander conducts a relief in place as part of a larger operation. The higher headquarters directs when and where to conduct the relief and establishes the appropriate control measures. Normally, during the conduct of major combat operations, the unit relieved is defending. However, a relief may set the stage for resuming offensive operations.

A relief may also serve to free the relieved unit for other tasks. There are three techniques for conducting a relief: sequentially, simultaneously, or staggered. These three relief techniques can occur regardless of the mission and operational environment in which the unit is participating.

The conduct of a passage of lines potentially involves close combat. It involves transferring the responsibility for an area of operations between two commanders. If not directed by higher authority, the unit commanders determine—by mutual agreement—the time to pass command. They disseminate this information to the lowest levels of both organizations.

Maintain the viability of the defense by transferring responsibility from one unit to another. Transition from a delay or security operation by one force to a defense. Free a unit for another mission or task. The headquarters directing the passage of lines is responsible for determining when the passage starts and finishes. A passage of lines occurs under two basic conditions. Encirclement operations occur because combat operations involving modernized forces are likely to be chaotic, intense, and highly destructive, extending across large areas containing relatively few units as each side maneuvers against the other to obtain positional advantage.

The commander conducts offensive encirclements to isolate an enemy force. The doctrinal discussion of encirclement operations also requires a discussion of linkups. A linkup is a meeting of friendly ground forces, which occurs in a variety of circumstances. It happens when an advancing force reaches an objective area previously seized by an airborne or air assault. It occurs when an encircled element breaks out to rejoin friendly forces or a force comes to the relief of an encircled force.

It also occurs when converging maneuver forces meet. Both forces may be moving toward each other, or one may be stationary. Whenever possible, joining forces exchange as much information as possible before starting an operation. This is because there are some fundamental considerations that deserve inclusion in a discussion of the offense and defense. The impact of the urban operations environment often differs from one operation to the next. However, some fundamentals apply to urban operations regardless of the mission, geographical location, or level of command. Some of these fundamentals are not exclusive to urban environments.

Yet, they are particularly relevant to an environment dominated by man-made structures and a dense noncombatant population. Vitally, these fundamentals help to ensure that every action taken by a commander operating in an urban environment contributes to the desired end-state of the major operation. The edition of FM was in the process of being updated when the decision to implement Doctrine was made.

This slide shows how the tactical content of the version will be split into two Doctrine compliant manuals. The decision to publish FM , volume 2 resulted from the need to publish updated doctrine on the tactical enabling tasks so that the other Centers of Excellence would be able to reference volume 2 as they developed their own subordinate manuals and techniques publications. Work on updating FM , volume 2 will begin as soon as the final electronic file of the current volume 2 is sent to the Army Publications Agency for authentication and posting in the September-October time period.

Sirmon, M. Operational Terms and Military Symbols. Unified Land Operations. Special Operations. Defense Support of Civil Authorities. Offense and Defense. The Operations Process. Mission Command. Army Leadership. Training Units and Developing Leaders. ADRP 1. The Army Profession. ADRP AR Procedures for Investigating Officers and Boards of Officers.

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Product Details. Average Review. Write a Review. Related Searches. Alex and Cookie and the Creeper Army. Someone is sending out a Creeper Army into the Overworld. Alex and her ocelot, Cookie, must Alex and her ocelot, Cookie, must journey to The End to find out who or what is responsible. Find out the answer in Book 2 of the Adventures of Alex and Cookie. View Product. ADP guides Army professionals both Soldiers and Army civilians in their understanding of the entire body of professional knowledge and beliefs that shape the art and science of their profession.

It addresses what doctrine is, why it is important, This publication supersedes and combines ADP , dated 31 August , and ADRP , dated 16 November into a single modernized, updated, document for the next generation of warfare. This capstone doctrine publication, Army Doctrine Publication ADP 1 The Army, frames how we, as the Soldiers and Civilians of the United States Army, think about the strategic environment, develop and refine doctrine, and chart a course into the future. Army Doctrine Publication ADP , Special Operations, provides a broad understanding of Army special operations by describing how executing the two mutually supporting critical capabilities of special warfare and surgical strike contribute to unified land operations figure 1, page iii.

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Army Doctrine Publication ADP 3-90      Offense and Defense      August 2012 Army Doctrine Publication ADP 3-90 Offense and Defense August 2012
Army Doctrine Publication ADP 3-90      Offense and Defense      August 2012 Army Doctrine Publication ADP 3-90 Offense and Defense August 2012
Army Doctrine Publication ADP 3-90      Offense and Defense      August 2012 Army Doctrine Publication ADP 3-90 Offense and Defense August 2012
Army Doctrine Publication ADP 3-90      Offense and Defense      August 2012 Army Doctrine Publication ADP 3-90 Offense and Defense August 2012
Army Doctrine Publication ADP 3-90      Offense and Defense      August 2012 Army Doctrine Publication ADP 3-90 Offense and Defense August 2012
Army Doctrine Publication ADP 3-90      Offense and Defense      August 2012 Army Doctrine Publication ADP 3-90 Offense and Defense August 2012
Army Doctrine Publication ADP 3-90      Offense and Defense      August 2012 Army Doctrine Publication ADP 3-90 Offense and Defense August 2012

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