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Synchronizing the Response to Civil Disturbances
(Task Force Eagle's Staff Coordination)

by CPT Fred Johnson, CALL OPSO, Bosnia

The Division staff coordinated resources to be employed by the brigades prior to potential civil disturbances in a process called the "Counter-Demonstration Workgroup." The Counter-Demonstration Workgroup consisted of the following staff and special staff personnel:

G2PAODIV Surgeon

A close look at the organization of the Counter-Demonstration Workgroup reveals the emergence of some nontraditional staff proponencies. The Public Affairs Office (under the umbrella of Informations Operations), Provost Marshall's Office, Joint Military Commission, and the Political Advisor all played key, if not decisive, roles in counter-demonstration operations.

Public Affairs Office and Information Operations:

The Public Affairs Office and Information Operations ensured that Task Force Eagle beat the factions to the media with the correct information before the factions could launch a propaganda campaign of biased or erroneous press reports.

This lesson was learned after an incident at Doboj where helicopters were used to separate two hostile crowds and over 100 warning shots were fired. The next day the Bosnian Serb press incorrectly printed that two people were shot and over a dozen people were hospitalized from the debris sprayed by the helicopter rotor wash.

TTP: Through the Counter-Demonstration Workgroup, the actions of both Public Affairs Office and Information Operations were coordinated well before a scheduled event. A spokesperson was identified, and a news release was drafted. Several days before the event, the news release would be issued, radio broadcasts would be played on the Armed Forces Network, and a press advisory would be issued to legitimate local, national, and international media agencies about the upcoming event. Brigade Commanders also had talk shows on local radio stations where they would discuss the event and the roles and responsibilities of the civil authorities and civilians. During the execution phase, the key to gaining an accurate account of the event was single-source reporting. The units on the ground would render their reports to their higher headquarters. Reports would be passed up the chain ultimately reaching the Task Force Eagle battle captain. The battle capatain would then pass the information to the Public Affairs representative in the Divison tactical operation center. The PAO representative would then draft a news release which would be submitted to the Joint Information Bureau for approval. The news release would then be disseminated to the local, national, and international media. After the event, the spokesperson would be available to answer questions.

Joint Military Commission:

The mission of the Joint Military Commission at Division level and below included disseminating policy, issuing instructions to factions on policies and procedures, coordinating the General Framework Agreement for Peace required actions, resolving military complaints, questions and problems, coordinating civil/military actions where appropriate, and developing confidence-building measures between parties.

TTP: The Joint Military Commission coordinated with the former warring factions prior to a scheduled event. In addition, input was provided for fragmentary orders directing brigades to conduct joint military commissions and bilateral meetings with the former warring factions. Division-level joint military commissions and bilateral meetings were conducted and letters, outlining Task Force Eagle's intentions and expectations signed by the Division Commander, were sent to corps-level commanders of the former warring factions. Finally, during the last few days before the event, joint commission officers ensured communications were established between the Division Headquarters and the headquarters of the former warring factions.

Political Advisor:

The influence of the political advisor on Task Force Eagle counter-demonstration operations was significant.

TTP: Several weeks prior to a scheduled event, the political advisor would conduct an assessment and disseminate his findings throughout the staff. He would orchestrate civil military seminars and bilateral meetings and coordinate with national authorities. Several days prior to the event, he would visit the local authorities.

Provost Marshall's Office:

TTP: The Provost Marshall's Office was the initial link of Task Force Eagle to the International Police Task Force. During the planning phase, the Provost Marshall's Office would provide a formal letter to the Tuzla Regional Headquarters of the International Police Task Force notifying them of the event. The PMO would request that the International Police Task Force coordinate with the Brigades and the local police. From this coordination, the type of assistance required from Task Force Eagle would be identified. It must be underscored that the International Police Task Force's charter does not include actual intervention - - their primary role is to monitor, observe, and inspect law enforcement agencies and to advise the agencies of threats to peace. During the preparation and execution phase, the Provost Marshall's Office would continue the coordination, ensuring that good communications were maintained with the International Police Task Force. Finally, the International Police Task Force was requested to submit a report to the Provost Marshall's Office 72 hours after the event.

The collective efforts of the nontraditional staff and traditional staff agencies were coordinated during the Counter-Demonstration Workgroup meeting which was usually held weekly.

TTP: The G3 chaired the meeting and began with the G2 representative briefing and update on the future Inter-Entity Boundary Line crossings and potential demonstration sites. The G2 used a briefing slide of the area of responsibility with the location of the Inter-Entity Boundary Line crossings and demonstration sites. It was color-coded to display the likelihood of the event occurring: Red - - highly likely; Yellow - - unconfirmed; Green - - not likely/canceled. The slide described the event, the faction, the organizer of the event, and the route of movement.

The G3 followed the G2 in the briefing sequence. The G3 briefed the subordinate brigade's concept of operation and scheme of maneuver as it pertained to each event. The G3 then tasked each member of the group to complete his portion of a synchronization matrix that had to be finalized the night before the event.

TTP: The synchronization matrix was complimented by a contingency plan. The contingency plan outlined the specific responsibilities of each member of the group starting two weeks before the planned event. The following is an example of a portion of the contingency plan for PSYOP.


D-14 D-13 D-12 D-11 D-10 D-9 D-8 D-7
Coordinate PSYOP assessments in BDE AOR. Begin assessments. ID accessibility and susceptibility of target audience. Develop products concepts based on I/O and BDE input. Present products to battle update. Adjust products. Fwd approved products to ARRC (Corps) for final approval and production.
ID PSYOP teams for QRF

D-6 D-5 D-4 D-3 D-2 D-1 D-Day D+3

Begin high visibility PSYOP appearance. PSYOP dissemination window opens.
Update PSYOP assessment. Pre-position TPTs in BDE areas. Preposition GS tactical assets (TPT). Preposition tactical PSYOP assets (TPT). Deploy additional GS TPTs as required by the BDE CDR. Prep Aerial Loudspeaker (ALS) for potential msn. Deploy ALS as required. Submit info for articles. Conduct post test.

TTP: The conditions for the rapid buildup of forces and resources were set through the efforts of the Counter-Demonstration Workgroup. Nevertheless, when those assets were needed, a system had to be in place to ensure effective command and control. The "Battle Captain's Incident Drill" facilitated this process. For civil disturbances, the drill would be initiated when the brigade at the site reported that a confrontation between the groups has occurred or is likely to occur (e.g., shots fired, rock-throwing, etc.). The battle captain then would alert the tactical operations center and the command group (CG and Assistant Division Commanders for Maneuver and Support). The respective staff agencies would assemble and the battle captain would conduct a "huddle" where information was compiled in the following format: (Battle Captain's Incident Drill)

TTP: The priority information requirements (PIR) compiled by the G2 and disseminated at the Counter Demonstration Workgroup meeting were answered by the staff proponency during the incident drill. An example of the PIRs for PSYOP included the following:

Psychological Operations (PSYOP)

  1. How many people are present in the group or groups?

  2. What is the gender makeup (male/female), age range; are there children present?

  3. How are they moving (foot or vehicle)?

  4. What is the general attitude of the people (violent or peaceful)?

  5. Is there a key speaker, instigator or group representative, and if so, what is his message (anti-IFOR, anti/pro Gov)?

  6. Are signs or banners present, and if so, what is the message?

  7. Is the media on site?; if so, identify who they represent.

  8. Are there weapons present?

  9. Who else is present at the location (local police, IPTF, IFOR, Mayor, etc.)?

  10. Are the demonstrators or rally participants from that location or from some where else?

  11. How did the people know or hear about the gathering, rally or demonstration?

  12. What are the peoples' stated objectives for the event?

TTP: The battle captain would collate the information provided by the staff and the brigades (through direct communications and the brigade liaison officer (LO)) in the following manner: (Priority Information Requirements)

TTP: The TFE staff weighted the brigades with divisional assets to ensure adequate combat power was available to support the units on the ground. The aviation brigade was tasked to provide a AH-64 scout weapons team on a one-hour alert as the divisional reserve. The mission of the aircraft was force presence in areas of potential flashpoints, to provide gun-tape footage of the confrontation/demonstration and aerial escort of UH-60s. The AH-64s had to be equipped with the capability for transmittal of photos to the division main command post. In addition, one aircraft was required for transport of divisional or brigade command and control elements, combat camera crew, and military police elements; one UH-60 had to be configured with an aerial loudspeaker (ALS) from PSYOP; and two OH-58 aircraft were tasked to be prepared to conduct reconnaissance, provide an additional command and control capability, and conduct courier missions.

The authority to commit the aircraft rested with the Division Commander. Units would request the aircraft through the Division battle captain, for a decision by the command group. Requests had to provide sufficient detail to enable mission planning: to include pickup zones, location of the demonstration and landing zones, number of passengers, combat camera or aerial loud speaker requirements, time required on station, frequencies and callsigns, and location of friendly forces and International Police Task Force. The unit had to be prepared to provide an intelligence and operational update upon arrival of the aircraft. Upon arrival into the brigade airspace, the aircraft became under the operational control of the maneuver brigade that sent the request.

The Predator and other unmanned aerial vehicle assets were tasked to perform surveillance of the area. The Predator was particularly useful in documenting the event for use in Joint Commissions to demonstrate violations of the peace accord. In addition, the film could be analyzed to identify instigators of hostilities.

The Task Force Eagle staff set the conditions for the subordinate brigades by synchronizing resources available to the Division prior to, during, and after civil disturbances. These tactics, techniques, and procedures can be applied in any operation - - peace or war, but proved to be exceptional for the operational environment in the former Yugoslavia.