This installment will talk about staffing and operating the TOC. Sorry for the delay, I was OBE.
So, for our notional TOC, let’s put forward the following scenario:
The United Sates has developed into a Without Rule of Law (WROL) situation for various political situations. Smith County, Free Republic of Pineland (pop. 18,000) is in rural Pineland. The county is heavily conservative and Republican with an average family income of $31,000. The county is approximately 680 sq mi of mixed terrain. The Smith County officials have decided to secure the county and called out the militia to support the Sherriff’s office with only 24 deputies. The county has one small community hospital that is staffed, and three standalone medical clinics. The county has four Advanced Life Support Ambulances scatted around the county owned by the county. There are numerous small construction companies scattered around the county owned by families. After the callout of the militia, approximately 400 people have reported for duty, with various levels of training, equipment, and fitness. The majority (75% +) are veterans, with more than half having combat arms experience and deployments.
The county has activated an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in the basement of the County Administration Building. The EOC is staffed by an elected official, scribes, radio operators, and representatives/liaison officers from all county departments and major entities such as the hospital, consolidated fire district, construction companies and other major businesses and the Chamber of Commerce. The elected officials and residents of the county have established the policy of ensuring the rule of law in the county and the security of the residents and properties in the county. Since there is much turmoil, the county will attempt to conduct as many activities of daily living without outside support as possible. Since this is a rural county, many of those measures are inherently in place.12
The militia, under the Sheriff, is organized into small battalion with three companies plus a support company, each approximately 100 people.
Setting an Operational Period
The first item is to set an operational period or shift. While you need to staff you TOC, there are also other requirements like available staff, rest periods (CRITICAL ITEM) and other duties. At a minimum, you need a shift leader (CO/XO/IC, etc.) and a radio operator/scribe. If you have multiple nets, or multiple duties, that could increase. Do you need Intel or a Planning Team? Are Logistics too complicated for one person to manage while doing other things? That will increase your staffing requirements. It is completely based on needs.
For our notional battalion TOC, we will have 12-hour work periods from 1200-2400 and 2400-1200. I like that schedule as opposed to a day/night schedule because it lets your people still see daylight and have some time to deal with personal issues. Each shift has the following:
Shift Leader (Battle Captain/IC) from the Sherriff’s Department
ACE Element (Intelligence)
Radio operators and scribes
We use the Planning P to run our operations.
This gives us our structure for ongoing operations. Our companies will be responsible for manning vehicle checkpoints (VCP), security patrols and having a reaction force to respond to any incidents that occur within the county. The Sherriff’s deputies provide manpower for vehicle patrols, arrests, and other regular duties. At least one deputy is at each VCP to support the rule of law, while a deputy is stationed with each company TOC to support operations of each company. The 12-hour operational period allows us predictive staffing and to set a schedule for the troops.
The Operations Section is responsible for development and conduct of operations and the Incident Action Plan, and training for the unit. In the realm of NIMS/ICS, the Operations Section makes stuff happen NOW.
The Plans Section is responsible for the development of the Incident Action Plan for the Operations Section and subordinate elements to execute. They plan for what happens Next.
Analysis and Control Element (ACE)
The ACE is section or subsection that gathers information, like SALUTE/SPOT reports and other information from field elements, evaluates it and turns it into actionable intelligence for the commander to base his decisions and objectives on.
The Logistics Section collects requests for:
- all categories of supply
- Class I Food, rations, water
- Class II Clothing, uniforms, footwear
- Class III Petroleum products, fuel, oil, lubricants
- Class IV Fortification and barrier materials
- Class V Ammunition
- Class VI Personal items
- Class VII Major end items
- Class VIII Medical supplies
- Class IX Repair parts
- Class X Miscellaneous supplies
So how does the Planning P schedule work?
- The shift commander sets objectives and benchmarks for the work period and the following work period during the planning meeting.
- During the tactics meeting, the nuts and bolts of how to execute the plan based on Commander’s Intent are worked out.
- The Plans Section develops a plan (an ACTION PLAN of ACTIONABLE ITEMS, see what I did there?) for the following shift based on:
- Resources available
- Resources needed
- Previous actions and AARs, Lessons Learned
- The Plan should be developed according to the PACE concept
- Primary (what we’re going to do)
- Alternate (what we do if something doesn’t work)
- Contingency (if the first two plans don’t work, or something goes wrong)
- Emergency (GO-To-Hell plan)
- Meanwhile, the Operations Section is briefing the plan, developed by the previous shift, coordinating, and executing that plan. This is happening concurrently with plan development by the Plans Section.
- There is constant assessment of the operational period and tasks underway/completed, to see if there is room for improvement or need for adjustment.
Planning is ongoing and honestly exhausting. This method operation works at any level of organization despite its size. The methods used are the same whether it’s a BN TOC, a company TOC, or a county EOC. The next addition is specific mission planning, such as a security patrol, recon, VCP, or whatever else. The leadership involved in the mission will use the Military Decision Making Process and Troop Leading Procedures once assigned the mission by Command.
Military Decision-Making Process
- Receive the mission – Who? What? Where? When? How?
- Issue the Warning Order to subordinates
- Mission Analysis – What do we exactly need to do? How?
- Update/add more details to the Warning Order
- Course of Action Development – Most likely/Least Likely/Best COA, for the enemy and us
- Course of Action Analysis – Are these accurate? Likely? Effective? Doable?
- Course of Action Comparison – Which is the best COA for the mission?
- Course of Action Approval – Which one are we going with?
- Update Warning order
- Orders Production – Write the Operations Order and Annexes
- Issue the Operations Order and brief back
- Rehearsal – Map rehearsal, walk through, full scale rehearsal
- Execution and Assessment – Conduct the mission and conduct a debrief/hotwash post mission
- What worked? What didn’t? What can improve? Lessons learned?
Troop Leading Procedures
- Receive the mission
- Issue a Warning order
- Make a tentative plan
- Start necessary movement
- Complete the plan
- Issue the complete order
This process occurs simultaneously with the Planning P cycle for the unit headquarters but is specific to the individual missions. The teams and sections that execute missions will not necessarily be on the 12-hour duty cycle other elements are on. A recon team or liaison team may be out in the field away from home for days at a time, so that is also something to consider in the planning process regarding logistics, family support, security, and communications.
I want to reinforce the point that the TOC’s main reason for being is coordination. Lots of moving parts in an operation demand someone ensure they are not stepping on each other or conducting counterproductive operations, are supporting the Commander’s Intent, and are properly supported to be able to carry out their missions.
The next article will be about supporting the logistics needs of missions.
If you have a direct question, email at [email protected] and I will answer it as I can.