Infantry Drills

FM 3-21.8 – Appendix H – Security

Appendix H


Security is the measures taken by the platoon to protect it against all acts designed to impair its effectiveness. Security measures are an inherent aspect of all military operations and can be moving or stationary.


Section I — security Fundamentals

H-1.      Infantry platoons conduct local security measures. They may also be tasked to provide security measures for larger units (called the main body). Measures include screen, guard, cover, and area security. These tasks are executed in the larger unit’s security zone (front, flank, or rear of the main body). The application of these security measures is founded on the enduring doctrine found in FM 22-6, Guard Duty. Leaders given these tasks or participating in the task of a larger unit must, at a minimum, understand their engagement criteria and whether or not to become decisively engaged.

– Local security consists of low-level security operations conducted near a unit to prevent surprise by the enemy (FM 1-02).  Local security measures are the same as those outlined for exterior guards in FM 22-6.

– Screen is a form of security operations that primarily provides early warning to the protected force. (FM 1-02)  A screen consists of a combination of observation posts and security patrols.

– Guard is a term with a dual meaning; the difference is the size element referred to. When used to refer to individuals, a guard is the individual responsible to keep watch over, protect, shield, defend, warn, or any duties prescribed by general orders and/or special orders. Guards are also referred to as a sentinels, sentries, or lookouts (FM 22-6). When used in reference to units, a guardis a tactical mission task where the guard force protects the main body by fighting to gain time while observing and preventing the enemy’s observation and direct fire against the main body. (FM 1-02)  Units conducting a guard mission cannot operate independently because they rely upon the fires and warfighting functions of the main body. Guards consist of a combination of OPs, battle positions, combat patrols, reconnaissance patrols, and movement to contact for force protection.

– Cover is a form of security operations with the primary task is to protect the main body. This is executed by fighting to gain time while also observing and preventing the enemy’s ground observation and direct fire against the main body. (FM 1-02)  Ordinarily only battalion -sized element and larger have the assets necessary to conduct this type of security operation.

– Area security is a form of security operations conducted to protect friendly forces, installations, routes, and actions within a specific area. (FM 1-02)  During conventional operations (major theater of war scenarios) area security refers the security measures used in friendly controlled areas. Many of the tasks traditionally associated with stability operations and small scale contingencies fall within the scope of area security. These include road blocks, traffic control points, route security, convoy security, and searches.

H-2.      The screen, guard, and cover are the security measures used primarily by battalion-sized units to secure themselves from conventional enemy units. These measures, respectively, contain increasing levels of combat power and provide increasing levels of security for the main body. Along with the increase of combat power, there is an increase in the unit’s requirement to fight for time, space, and information on the enemy. Conceptually, the measures serve the same purpose as the local security measures by smaller units. For example, a battalion will employ a screen for early warning while a platoon will emplace an OP. The purpose is the same—early warning—only the degree and scale of the measures are different.

H-3.      Local and area security are related in that they both focus on the enemy threat within a specified area. Again, the difference is one of degree and scale. Local security is concerned with protecting the unit from enemy in the immediate area, whereas area security is concerned with enemy anywhere in the leader’s area of operation (AO).

security fundamentals

H-4.      The techniques employed to secure a larger unit are generally the same as those of traditional offensive and defensive operations. It is the application of those techniques that differ. Table H-1 lists the most common techniques used, information required to execute the operation, and the principles used to employ them.

Table H-1. Security fundamentals.

Principles of Security Operations

Techniques Used to Perform Security Operations

Information Required from
Controlling Headquarters

·          Three General Orders

·          Provide early and accurate warning

·          Provide reaction time and maneuver space

·          Orient on the force / facility being secured

·          Perform continuous reconnaissance

·          Maintain enemy contact


·          Observation post

·          Combat outpost

·          Battle position

·          Patrols

·          Combat formations

·          Movement techniques

·          Infiltration

·          Movement to contact

·          Dismounted, mounted,
and air insertion

·          Roadblocks

·          Checkpoints

·          Convoy and route security

·          Searches

·          Trace of the security area (front, sides,
and rear boundaries), and initial

position within the area

·          Time security is to be established

·          Main body size and location

·          Mission, purpose and commander’s
intent of the controlling headquarters

·          Counterreconnaissance and
engagement criteria

·          Method of movement to occupy the
area (zone reconnaissance,
infiltration, tactical  road march,
movement to contact;  mounted,
dismounted, or air insertion)

·          Trigger for displacement and method
of control when displacing.

·          Possible follow-on missions



Local Security


A unit must be protected at all times from surprise. Exterior guards are utilized to protect a unit from surprise and to give the unit time to prepare to counter any threat.  Guards must be alert for surprise by ground, airborne, and air attacks; to provide early warning of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) attack or contamination; and to protect supplies and supply installations. If the unit is moving, security may vary from observation to the use of security patrols. During short halts, guards, small security detachments, and forward patrols are used to provide all-round security. For stationary positions in combat or hostile areas, unit commanders use exterior guards to establish a surveillance system to operate day and night throughout the unit area. The commander may use guards, listening posts, observation posts, patrols, aerial observers, and any other available means. The guards may have any number of special devices to assist them in performing their duties. These may include CBRN detection devices, electronic detection devices, infrared or other night vision devices, trip flares and antipersonnel mines, noisemaking devices, or any other device to provide early warning to the guard and unit.

Local Security—FM 22-6, Guard Duty. 17 September 1971.

H-5.      Local security prevents a unit from being surprised and is an important part of maintaining the initiative. Local security includes any local measure taken by units against enemy actions. It involves avoiding detection by the enemy or deceiving the enemy about friendly positions and intentions. It also includes finding any enemy forces in the immediate vicinity and knowing as much about their positions and intentions as possible. The requirement for maintaining local security is an inherent part of all operations. Table H-2 lists a sample of active and passive local security measures.


Table H-2. Active and passive security measures.

Active and Passive Security Measures

Active Measures (moving)

 -Combat formations, movement techniques, movement to contact, spoiling


– Moving as fast as conditions allow to prevent enemy detection and adaptation

– Skillful use of terrain

Active Measures (stationary)


Outside the perimeter

– Observation posts, security patrols

– Battle positions, combat patrols, reconnaissance patrols

– Employing early warning devices

– Establishing roadblocks / checkpoints


Inside the perimeter

– Establishing access points (entrance and exits)

– Establishing the number and types of positions to be manned

– Establishing readiness control (REDCON) levels

– Designating a reserve / response force

– Establishing stand-to measures

Passive measures -Camouflage, cover and concealment, and deception measures

(see appendix X)

– Signal security

– Noise and light discipline


H-6.      A screen primarily provides early warning to the main body. A unit performing a screen observes, identifies, and reports enemy actions. Screen is defensive in nature but not passive in execution. It is employed to cover gaps between forces, exposed flanks, or the rear of stationary or moving forces. Generally, a screening force fights only in self-defense. However, it may engage enemy reconnaissance elements within its capability (counterreconnaissance). A screen provides the least amount of protection of any security mission. It does not have the combat power to develop the situation. It is used when the likelihood of enemy contact is remote, the expected enemy force is small, or the friendly main body needs only a minimum amount of time once it is warned to react effectively

H-7.      Screen tasks are to—

– Provide early warning of threat approach.

– Provide real-time information, reaction time, and maneuver space to the protected force.

– Maintain contact with the main body and any security forces operating on its flanks.

– Maintain continuous surveillance of all avenues of approach larger than a designated size
into the area under all visibility conditions.

– Allow no enemy ground element to pass through the screen undetected and unreported.

– Maintain contact with enemy forces and report any activity in the AO.

– Destroy or repel all enemy reconnaissance patrols within its capabilities.

– Impede and harass the enemy within its capabilities while displacing.

– Locate the lead elements of each enemy advance guard and determine its disposition, composition and strength, and capabilities.

Stationary Screen

H-8.      When tasked to conduct a stationary screen (Figure H-1), the leader first determines likely avenues of approach into the main body’s perimeter. The leader determines the location of potential OPs along these avenues of approach. Ideally, the leader assigns OPs in depth if he has the assets available. If necessary, he identifies additional control measures (such as threat named areas of interest [NAIs], phase lines, TRPs, or checkpoints) to assist in controlling observation, tracking of the enemy, and movement of his own forces. The unit conducts mounted and foot patrols to cover ground between OP that cannot be observed from OPs. Once the enemy is detected from an OP, the screening force may engage him with indirect fires. This prevents the enemy from penetrating the screen line and does not compromise the location of the OP. If enemy pressure threatens the security of the screening force, the unit reports the situation to the controlling headquarters and requests permission to displace to a subsequent screen line or follow-on mission.

Figure H-1. Squad-sized stationary screen.

Moving Screen

H-9.      Infantry platoons may conduct a moving screen to the flanks or rear of the main body force. The movement of the screen is tied to time and distance factors associated with the movement of the friendly main body.

H-10.   Responsibilities for a moving flank screen begin at the front of the main body’s lead combat element and end at the rear of the protected force. In conducting a moving flank screen, the unit either occupies a series of temporary OPs along a designated screen line to overwatch the main body, or if the main body is moving too fast, continues to move while maintaining surveillance. The screening force uses one or more of the three basic movement techniques to control movement along the screened flank (traveling, traveling overwatch, and bounding overwatch).


H-11.   A guard differs from a screen in that a guard force contains sufficient combat power to defeat, cause the withdrawal of, or fix the lead elements of an enemy ground force before it can engage the main body with direct fires. A guard force uses all means at its disposal, including decisive engagement, to prevent the enemy from penetrating the security zone. It operates within the range of the main body’s indirect fire weapons, deploying over a narrower front than a comparable-size screening force to permit concentrating combat power. The three types of guard operations are: advance; flank; and rear guard.

H-12.   Infantry platoons as part of a company can be assigned a guard mission conduct all of the measures associated with a screen. Additionally, they —

– Destroy the enemy advance guard.

– Cause the enemy main body to deploy, and then report its disposition, composition and strength, and capabilities.

Area Security

H-13.   Area security is used by battalion-sized units and above to secure their area of operations (AO) from smaller enemy units (special purpose forces, guerrillas).

H-14.   During area security operations civilians will be present. Therefore, commanders must ensure Soldiers understand the current ROE. However, leaders are always responsible for protecting their forces and consider this responsibility when applying the rules of engagement. Restrictions on conducting operations and using force must be clearly explained and understood by everyone. Soldiers must understand that their actions, no matter how minor, may have far-reaching positive or negative effects. They must realize that both friendly or hostile media and psychological operations organizations can quickly exploit their actions, especially the manner in which they treat the civilian population.

H-15.   Leaders executing area security measures in a densely populated area must carefully assess the effect of imposing a degree of control on both traffic and pedestrians. For instance, during the rush hour period, however efficient the traffic control point (TCP), a crowd of impatient civilians or cars and trucks can quickly build-up and precipitate the very situation that the TCP leader is trying to avoid.

H-16.   Population and resource control operations will cause inconvenience and disruption to all aspects of community life. Therefore, it is important that members of the civil community appreciate the purpose of such operations. In particular, they must understand that the control measures are protective and not punitive. All personnel involved in operations designed to ensure security must be thoroughly conversant with their duties and responsibilities. They must be able to work quickly and methodically to prevent delay and disruption to legitimate activities. They must also work to avoid unnecessary damage to personnel, vehicles, and property. To achieve their purpose they must be thorough. Leaders, at all levels, must ensure that adequate security is in place to counter all assessed risks.


Section IiI — observation posts

H-17.   The OP, the primary means of maintaining surveillance of an assigned avenue or NAI, is a position from where units observe the enemy and direct and adjust indirect fires against him. From the OP, Infantry platoons send SALUTE reports to their controlling headquarters when observing enemy activity.

Types of OPs

H-18.   OPs can be executed either mounted or dismounted. As they are complementary, if possible they should be used in combination.

H-19.   The main advantage of a dismounted OP is that it provides maximum stealth hopefully preventing the enemy from detecting it. The two main disadvantages are that it has limited flexibility, taking time to displace and limited firepower to protect itself if detected.

H-20.   The main advantages of a mounted OP are the flexibility that comes from vehicle mobility as well as the additional combat power resident in the vehicle’s optics, communications, weapons, and protection. The main disadvantage is that vehicles are inherently easier to detect and can prevent the unit from accomplishing its mission.

Positioning of OPs

H-21.   Based on the specific METT-TC, leaders may array OPs linearly or in depth (Figures H-2 and H-3). Depth is the preferred technique for maintaining contact with a moving enemy along a particular avenue of approach. Linear placement is optimal when there is no clear avenue of approach or the enemy is not moving.

Figure H-2. Linear positioning of OPs.

Figure H-3. In-depth positioning of OPs.

Selecting and Securing the OP

H-22.   Based on guidance from the controlling headquarters, the leader selects the general location for the unit’s OPs after conducting METT-TC analysis. From his analysis, he determines how many OPs he must establish. He also decides where they must be positioned to allow long-range observation along the avenues of approach assigned and to provide depth through the sector. Leaders assigned a specific OP select its exact position when they get on the actual ground. See Figure H-4 for example of OP selection in urban terrain. OPs should have the following characteristics:

– Covered and concealed routes to and from the OP. Soldiers must be able to enter and leave their OP without being seen by the enemy.

– Unobstructed observation of the assigned area or sector. Ideally, the fields of observation of adjacent OPs overlap to ensure full coverage of the sector.

– Effective cover and concealment. Leaders select positions with cover and concealment to reduce their vulnerability on the battlefield. Leaders may need to pass up a position with favorable observation capability but with no cover and concealment to select a position that affords better survivability. This position should not attract any attention or skyline the observer.


Figure H-4. Selection of OP location.

OP security

H-23.   Small teams are extremely vulnerable in an OP. Their best self-defense is not to be seen, heard, or otherwise detected by the enemy. They employ active and passive local security measures.

Occupying the OP

H-24.   The leader selects an appropriate technique to move to the observation post or screen line based on his analysis of METT-TC. (Infiltration, zone reconnaissance, movement to contact [mounted, dismounted, or air insertion], using traveling, traveling overwatch, or bounding overwatch.)

Manning and Equipment at the OP

H-25.   At least two Soldiers are required to operate an OP. One man establishing security, recording information, and reporting to higher while the other observes. These men switch jobs every 20-30 minutes because the efficiency of the observer decreases with time. Three or more Soldiers are required to increase security. For extended periods of time (12 hours or more), the unit occupies long-duration OPs by squad-sized units. Essential equipment for the OP includes the following:

– Map of the area.

– Compass / GPS.

– Communications equipment.

– Observation devices (binoculars, observation telescope, thermal sights, and/or night vision devices).

– SOI extract.

– Report formats contained in the SOP.

– Weapons.

– Protective obstacles and early warning devices.

– Camouflage, cover and concealment, and deception equipment as required.

Drawing a OP Sector Sketch

H-26.   Once the leader has established the OP he prepares a sector sketch. This sketch is similar to a fighting position sketch but with some important differences. Figure H-5 shows an example OP sector sketch. At a minimum, the sketch should include:

– A rough sketch of key and significant terrain.

– The location of the OP.

– The location of the hide position.

– The location of vehicle fighting and observation positions.

– Alternate positions (hide, fighting, observation).

– Routes to the OP and fighting positions.

– Sectors of observation.

– Direct and indirect fire control measures.

Figure H-5. Example OP sector sketch.

Section iv — Traffic control points (checkpoints)

H-27.   Checkpoint (CP): As defined by FM 1-02 is a place where military police check vehicular or pedestrian traffic in order to enforce circulation control measures and other laws, orders, and regulations. The CP is primarily a military police task; however, while conducting area security, Infantry platoons are frequently employed to establish and operate CPs (Figure H-6).

H-28.   Although similar, the CP should not to be confused with a roadblock or blocking position. Roadblocks are designed to prevent all access to a certain area by both wheeled and pedestrian traffic for a variety of purposes. The CP should also not be confused with an OP which is established to collect information.

H-29.   When conducting checkpoint operations, Soldiers need the following support:

– Linguists that are familiar with the local language and understand English.

– HN police or a civil affairs officer.

– Wire / Sandbags.

– Signs to reduce misunderstandings and confusion on the part of the local populace

– Lighting.

– Communications equipment.

– Handheld translation devices.


Figure H-6. Example check-point sketch.

types of cps

H-30.   There are two types of CPs: deliberate; and hasty.

Deliberate CP

H-31.   A deliberate CP is permanent or semi-permanent. It is established to control the movement of vehicles and pedestrians, and to help maintain law and order. They are typically constructed and employed to protect an operating base or well-established roads. Like defensive positions, deliberate CPs should be continuously improved. Deliberate CPs—

– Control all vehicles and pedestrian traffic so crowds cannot assemble, known offenders or suspected enemy personnel can be arrested, curfews can be enforced, deter illegal movement, prevent the movement of supplies to the enemy, and deny the enemy contact with the local inhabitants.

– Dominate the area of responsibility around the CP. This includes maintaining law and order by local patrolling to prevent damage to property or injury to persons.

– Collect information.

Hasty CP

H-32.   A hasty CP differs from a deliberate CP in that they are not, in most cases, pre-planned. A hasty CP will usually be activated as part of a larger tactical plan or in reaction to hostile activities (for example, bomb, mine incident, or sniper attack), and can be lifted on the command of the controlling headquarters. A hasty CP will always have a specific task and purpose.  Most often used to avoid predictability and targeting by the enemy. It should be set up to last from five minutes to up to two hours using an ambush mentality. The short duration reduces the risk of the enemy organizing an attack against the checkpoint. The maximum time suggested for the CP to remain in place would be approximately eight hours, as this may be considered to be the limit of endurance of the units conducting the CP and may invite the CP to enemy attacks.

H-33.   Characteristics of a hasty checkpoint (Figure H-7) include:

– Located along likely enemy avenues of approach.

– Achieve surprise.

– Temporary.

– Unit is able to carry and erect construction materials without additional assistance.

– Uses vehicles as an obstacle between the vehicles and personnel, and reinforces them with concertina wire.

– Soldiers are positioned at each end of the checkpoint.

– Soldiers are covered by mounted or dismounted automatic weapons.

– Assault force/response force is concealed nearby to attack or assault in case the site is attacked.

H-34.   The hasty CPs success is brought about by swift and decisive actions. In many cases, there may be no clear orders before the CP is set up. Leaders must rely on common sense and instinct to determine which vehicles or pedestrians to stop for questioning or searching. They are moved quickly into position, thoroughly conducted, and just as swiftly withdrawn when lifted or once the threat has passed.

Figure H-7. Hasty check point example.

Physical Layout

H-35.   A checkpoint should consist of four areas: canalization zone, turning or deceleration zone, search zone, and safe zone (Figure H-8).

Figure H-8. Four zones of a CP.

H-36.   The CP should be sited in such a position as to prevent persons approaching the site from bypassing it or turning away from the CP without arousing suspicion. Ideal sites are where vehicles have already had to slow down. It should be remembered that on country roads vehicles will need extra room to slow down and halt, (particularly large heavy vehicles). The sighting of the CP must take into consideration the type and number of vehicles expected to be using that part of the road where the CP will be sited. Areas where there are few road networks enhance the CP effectiveness.

H-37.   The site should allow for a vehicle escape route and include plans to destroy a hostile element that uses such a route. If the checkpoint is completely sealed off, enemy forces may attempt to penetrate it by attempting to run over obstacles or personnel.

H-38.   Location should make it difficult for a person to turn around or reverse without being detected. Soldiers establish hasty checkpoints where they cannot be seen by approaching traffic until it is too late for approaching traffic to unobtrusively withdraw. Effective locations on which to set up hasty checkpoints include—

– Bridges (near either or both ends, but not in the middle).

– Defiles, culvert, or deep cuts (either end is better than in the middle).

– Highway intersections (these must be well organized to reduce the inherent danger).

– The reverse slope of a hill (hidden from the direction of the main flow of traffic).

– Just beyond a sharp curve.

Canalization Zone

H-39.   The canalization zone uses natural obstacles and/or artificial obstacles to canalize the vehicles into the checkpoint.

– Place warning signs out forward of the checkpoint to advise drivers of the checkpoint ahead (at least 100 meters).

– Canalize the vehicles so they have no way out until they have the consent of personnel controlling the checkpoint.

– This zone encompasses the area from maximum range to maximum effective range of your weapon systems. It usually consists of disrupting and/or turning obstacles.

Turning or Deceleration Zone

H-40.   The search element establishes obstacles and an overwatch force to control each road or traffic lane being blocked. The turning or deceleration zone forces vehicles into making a rapid decision. The vehicle can decelerate, make slow hard turns, or maintain speed and crash into a series of obstacles. The road or traffic lanes should be blocked by means of obstacles positioned at either end of the CP. See Appendix F for a discussion of obstacles. These obstacles should be such as to be quickly and easily moved in case of emergencies. They should be sited so as to extend the full width of a traffic lane and staggered to force vehicles to slow to negotiate an ‘S’ turn (Figure H-9). Stop signs should also be erected ahead of the obstacles and at night illuminated by means of a light or lantern.

H-41.   Ensure that vehicles are stopped facing an obstacle (berm, tank, or wall) that is capable of stopping a slow moving truck. Some obstacles will have to be improvised. Examples of these include:

– Downed trees.

– Beirut toothpick – nails driven through lumber.

– Caltrops placed across the road.

– Debris, rubble, large rocks.

– Abatis.

– Road cratering.

– Dragon’s teeth, tetrahedrons, concrete blocks.

– Mines.

– Prepared demolitions.

– Concertina wire.


Figure H-9. Controlling vehicle speed through obstacle placement and serpentine placement.

Search Zone

H-42.   The search zone is a relatively secure area where personnel and vehicles are positively identified and searched. A decision is made to confiscate weapons and contraband, detain a vehicle, or allow it to pass. The area is set up with a blocking obstacle that denies entry/exit without loss of life or equipment. When searching:

– Isolate the vehicle being checked from other cars by an obstacle of some type, which is controlled by a Soldier.

– Emplace an overwatch position with a crew-served weapon in an elevated position to cover the vehicle, particularly the driver. The crew-served weapon should be mounted on a T/E and tripod.

H-43.   The search zone is further subdivided into three subordinate areas:

– Personnel search zone – where personnel are positively identified, searched, and/or detained. This may include partitioned or screened areas to provide privacy, especially when searching women and children.  Use female Soldiers to search women, if available.

– Vehicle search zone – where vehicles are positively identified, and searched.

– Reaction force zone – where a reaction force is located to reinforce the checkpoint and immediately provide assistance using lethal and non-lethal force. Additionally, engineers, and EOD personnel may be co-located here to assist in analyzing and diffusing/destroying ammunition, demolitions, and/or booby traps. This element is organized and equipped to conduct close combat. This element engages in accordance with the established engagement criteria and ROE. This element has a position which allows it to overwatch the CP as well as block or detain vehicles that try to avoid the CP.

H-44.   When establishing these zones, consider the following:

– Weapons’ surface danger zones (SDZs), geometry.

– 360 degree security.

– Rapid removal of detainees and vehicles.

– Capabilities and skill level of all attachments.

– Potential suicide

H-45.   Placing the search area to the side of the road permits two-way traffic. If a vehicle is rejected, it is turned back. If vehicle is accepted for transit, it is permitted to travel through the position. If the vehicle is a threat, the CP leader determines whether to attack or apprehend.

H-46.   When confronted by a potentially threatening vehicle:

– The search element alerts the CP leader, moves to a safe/fortified position, and may engage or allow the vehicle to pass based on leader instructions and ROE.

–  If the vehicle passes through the escape lane, the leader may direct the assault element to engage the vehicle based on ROE.

Safe Zone

H-47.   The safe zone is the assembly area for the checkpoint that allows personnel to eat, sleep, and recover in relative security.

Task organization

H-48.    The basic organization of a CP includes a security element, a search element, an assault element, and a C2 element. The actual strength and composition of the force is determined by the nature of the threat, road layout, type of checkpoint required, and the anticipated number of vehicles to be processed. Table H-3 details typical duties of these elements as well as a general list of Do’s and Don’ts.



Table H-3. Task organization.


Overall Responsibility

 – Exercises C2

 – Maintains communications with controlling HQ

 – Maintains a log of all activities

 – Coordinates RIP as required

 – Coordinates linkups as required

 – Coordinates the role of civil authorities

 – Coordinates local patrols.

 – Integrates reserve / QRF

  – If available, the C2 element should have a vehicle for patrolling, for moving elements, or administrative actions

Security Element

– Provides early warning to the CP through local security measures

– Prevent ambush

– Able to reinforce position is necessary

– Observes and reports suspicious activity

– Monitors traffic flow up to and through the checkpoint

Search Element

 -Halts vehicles at the checkpoint.

– Guides vehicles to search area

– Conducts vehicle searches: passenger, cargo

– Conducts personnel searches: male, female

– Directs cleared vehicles out of the CP

– Detains personnel as directed

Assault Element

 – Destroys escaping vehicles and personnel

 – Able to reinforce position as necessary

(Soldiers occupy support by fire positions beyond the actual CP)


 – Speak to driver – driver speaks to occupants

–  Have the driver open all doors and compartments before Soldier conducts search of vehicle

 – Ask politely to follow your instructions

 –  Speak naturally and no louder than necessary

 – Allow driver to observe the search

 – All vehicle occupants are required to exit the vehicle

–  Be courteous when searching

–  Use scanners and metal detectors when possible

–  Stay calm and make a special effort to be polite

– Maintain a high standard of dress, military bearing, and stay in uniform


– Be disrespectful or give any hint of dislike

– Put your head or arm in vehicle or open the door without permission

– Shout or show impatience

– Frisk women or tell them to put their hands up

– Become involved in a heated argument

– Use force as directed by unit ROE

– Become careless or sloppy in appearance


C2 Element

H-49.   The C2 element controls the operation. The C2 element normally consists of a leader, his RTO and runner.

H-50.   The leader normally establishes a headquarters / administrative area to synchronize the efforts of the subordinate activities. The headquarters and security element should be sited centrally and in a position which facilitates control of the obstacles. The headquarters area should be secure and sufficiently large to incorporate an administrative area and vehicle search area. Depending on the threat, this area should have sufficient cover or survivability positions should be built.

H-51.   The CP should have communication to their controlling headquarters by radio. A spare radio and batteries should be supplied to the CP. Radio and telephone checks are carried out as per the unit’s SOP using signal security measures. Communications within the site should be undertaken using whatever means are available.

Civil Authority Assistance

H-52.   The closest liaison must be maintained between the CP leader and the senior policeman. Policemen at a CP are employed to assist in the checking and searching of vehicles and personnel, to make arrests when necessary. Police are ideally employed on the scale of one officer for each lane of traffic. These civil authorities should attend rehearsals. As the degree of threat increases, police officers should be on stand by to move with the patrol to the CP site. Wherever possible, it should be the responsibility of the military to command and control the CP while the police control the search aspects.

H-53.   The leader must understand the guidance from his chain of command on contingencies that occur outside of the CP area that might require forces from the CP. The CP, unless otherwise ordered, is the primary task. If an incident occurs in the vicinity of the checkpoint that is likely to require manpower and affect the efficient operation of the CP, the leader should seek guidance from his higher headquarters.

H-54.   Sequence of events for establishing the CP include:

– Leader’s reconnaissance.

– Establish support by fire positions (and fighting positions as required).

– Establish blocking positions (entrance and exit).

– Establish search area for personnel and vehicles.

– Establish holding area (if required).

– Establish an area for C2 and admin.

Security Element

H-55.   The nature of the CP makes it particularly vulnerable to enemy attack. Protection should therefore be provided for overall position as well as those of subordinate positions. Concealed sentries should also be positioned on the approaches to the CP to observe and report approaching traffic, and to prevent persons or vehicles from evading the CP. When available, early warning devices or radar may be used to aid guards on the approaches to the CP.

H-56.   The security element stays alert for any change of scenery around the checkpoint. Crowds gathering for no apparent reason or media representatives waiting for an event are all indicators that something may happen.

Escalation Of Force

H-57.   Escalation of Force (EOF) is a sequential action that begins with non-lethal force measures that could escalate to lethal force measures to protect the force. Infantrymen at the CP must ensure they follow ROE and EOF guidance when reacting to situations.

Search Element

Vehicle Searches

H-58.   Two members of the search team position themselves at both rear flanks of the vehicle undergoing a search, putting the occupants at a disadvantage. These Soldiers maintain eye contact with the occupants once they exit the vehicle and react to any threat attempts by the occupants during the vehicle search.

H-59.   The actual search is conducted by two Soldiers. One Soldier conducts interior searches; the other performs exterior searches. They instruct the occupants (with interpreters if available) to exit the vehicle during the interior search and instruct the driver to watch the vehicle search. Once the interior search is complete, they escort the driver to the hood of the vehicle and instruct him to open it. After the engine compartment has been examined, they instruct the driver to open the other outside compartments (tool boxes, gas caps, trunks). The driver removes any loose items that are not attached to the vehicle for inspection. Members of the search team rotate positions to allow for mental breaks.

H-60.   Soldiers use mirrors and metal detectors to thoroughly search each vehicle for weapons, explosives, ammunition, and other contraband. Depending on the threat level, the vehicle search area provides blast protection for the surrounding area.

Personnel Searches

H-61.   Soldiers may be required to conduct personnel searches at the checkpoints. Every attempt should be made for host nation authorities to conduct, or at least observe, searches of local nationals. Additionally, leaders must plan for same-gender searches. Personnel searches are conducted only when proper authorization has been obtained, usually from higher HQ, according to the ROE, Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), or host nation agreements. This does not preclude units from searching individuals that pose a threat to U.S. or other friendly forces.

H-62.   Units may have to detain local nationals who become belligerent or uncooperative at checkpoints. The OPORD and the ROE must address the handling of such personnel. In any case, self-protection measures should be planned and implemented according to the orders from higher HQ.

H-63.   Searches of local nationals should be performed in a manner that preserves the respect and dignity of the individual. Special consideration must be given to local customs and national cultural differences. In many cultures it is offensive for men to touch or even talk to women in public. Searchers must be polite, considerate, patient, and tactful. Leaders must make every effort not to unnecessarily offend the local population. Such situations can have a very negative impact on peace operations and can quickly change popular opinion toward U.S. and other friendly forces.

H-64.   Each captive is searched for weapons and ammunition, items of intelligence value, and other inappropriate items.  Use of digital cameras will record any evidence of contraband.

H-65.   When possible, conduct same gender searches. However, this may not always be possible due to speed and security considerations. If females are not available, use medics or NCOs with witnesses. Perform mixed gender searches in a respectful manner using all possible measures to prevent any action that could be interpreted as sexual molestation or assault. The on-site supervisor carefully controls Soldiers doing mixed-gender searches to prevent allegations of sexual misconduct.

H-66.   Soldiers conduct individual searches in search teams that consist of the following:

– Searcher: A searcher is the Soldier that actually conducts the search. He is in the highest-risk position.

– Security: Security includes at least one Soldier to provide security. He maintains eye contact with the individual being searched.

– Observer: The observer is a leader that has supervisory control of the search operation. He also provides early warning for the other members of the team.

H-67.   The two most common methods that are used to conduct individual searches are the frisk search, and the wall search.

– Frisk search: This method is quick and adequate to detect weapons, evidence, or contraband. However, it is more dangerous because the searcher has less control of the individual being searched.

– Wall search: This method affords more safety for the searcher because the individual is searched in a strained, awkward position. Any upright surface, such as a wall, vehicle, tree, or fence may be used.

H-68.   If more control is needed to search an uncooperative individual, the search team places the subject in the kneeling or prone position.


Section v — convoy and route security

H-69.   Convoy security missions are conducted when insufficient friendly forces are available to continuously secure lines of communication in an AO. They may also be conducted in conjunction with route security missions. A convoy security force operates to the front, flanks, and rear of a convoy element moving along a designated route. Convoy security missions are offensive in nature and orient on the force being protected.

H-70.   To protect a convoy, the security force must accomplish the following critical tasks:

– Reconnoiter and determine the trafficability of the route the convoy will travel.

– Clear the route of obstacles or positions from where the threat could influence movement along the route.

– Provide early warning and prevent the threat from impeding, harassing, containing, seizing, or destroying the convoy.

– Protect the escorted force from enemy contact

– React decisively to enemy contact

H-71.   Company-sized units and larger organizations usually perform convoy or route security missions. Convoy security provides protection for a specific convoy. Route security aims at securing a specific route for a designated period of time, during which multiple convoys may use the route. These missions include numerous tasks such as reconnaissance, security, escorting, and establishing a combat reaction force. These tasks become missions for subordinate units. The size of the unit performing the convoy or route security operation depends on many factors, including the size of the convoy, the terrain, and the length of the route. For example, an Infantry platoon can escort convoys, perform route reconnaissance, and establish traffic control points along main supply routes.

organization of forces

H-72.   During convoy security operations, the convoy security commander and Infantry leader must establish and maintain security in all directions and throughout the platoon. As noted, several factors, including convoy size affect this disposition. The key consideration is whether the unit is operating as part of a larger escort force or is executing the escort mission independently. Additional METT-TC considerations include the employment of rifle squads during the mission (fire teams ride in escorted vehicles).

H-73.   The unit should also be reinforced with engineers to reduce obstacles along the route. The higher headquarters should coordinate additional ISR assets to support the security mission. Unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) or aerial reconnaissance should reconnoiter the route in advance of the unit’s lead elements.

H-74.   When the platoon executes a convoy escort mission independently, the convoy commander and platoon leader disperse Infantry in vehicles throughout the convoy formation to provide forward, flank, and rear security. Engineer assets, if available, should be located near the front to respond to obstacles. At times, engineer assets may be required to move ahead of the convoy with scouts to proof the convoy route. In some independent escort missions, variations in terrain along the route may require the unit to operate using a modified traveling overwatch technique. In it, one section leads the convoy while the other trails the convoy. Dispersion between vehicles in each section is sufficient to provide flank security. The terrain may not allow the trail section to overwatch the movement of the lead section.

H-75.   When sufficient forces are available, the convoy security should be organized into four elements: reconnaissance element; screen element; escort element; and a reaction element (Figure H-10). The Infantry platoon may be assigned any one of the four tasks, but as a general rule, probably cannot be assigned all four.

Figure H-10. Convoy escort organization.

Advanced Guard

H-76.   The advance guard reconnoiters and proofs the convoy route. The advanced guard element performs tasks associated with movement to contact and zone / route reconnaissance forward of the convoy. It searches for signs of enemy activity such as ambushes and obstacles. This element focuses on identifying enemy forces able to influence the route, route trafficability, or refugees or civilian traffic that may disrupt movement. Engineers are attached to the unit to assist reconnoitering and classifying bridges, fords, and obstacles along the route. The advanced guard normally operates from 3 to 4 kilometers ahead of the main body of the convoy. If available, UASs or aerial reconnaissance should precede the reconnaissance element by 5 to 8 kilometers dependent on the terrain and visibility conditions.

H-77.   Within its capabilities, the advanced guard attempts to clear the route and provides the convoy commander with early warning before the arrival of the vehicle column. In some cases, an individual vehicle, a squad, or a platoon-sized element may be designated as part of the advanced guard and may receive additional combat vehicle support (tank with a mine plow, or mine roller). The leader plans for integrating engineer assets to aid in breaching point-type obstacles. Command-detonated devices and other improvised explosive devises (IEDs) pose a major threat during route reconnaissance.

Flank and Rear Guard/Screen

H-78.   This element performs a guard or screen, depending on the amount of combat power allocated, providing early warning and security to the convoy’s flanks and rear (unit may utilize outposts). The leader must develop graphic control measures to enable a moving flank screen centered on the convoy. The guard / screen’s purpose is to prevent observation for employment of effective indirect fires and identify combat elements prior to a direct fire engagement against the convoy. These elements gain and maintain contact with threat reconnaissance and combat elements, employing fires (direct and indirect) to suppress and guiding reaction or escort elements to defeat or destroy the threat force. Units use a combination of OPs or battle positions on terrain along the route.

H-79.   The rear guard follows the convoy (Figure H-11). It provides security in the area behind the main body of the vehicle column, often moving with medical and recovery assets. Again, an individual vehicle or the entire unit may make up this element.

Figure H-11. Rear guard.

Escort Element

H-80.   The escort element provides close-in protection to the convoy. The convoy may be made of many types of vehicles, including military sustainment and C2 as well as civilian trucks and buses. The escort element may also provide a reaction force to assist in repelling or destroying threat contact. The unit assigned the escort mission to provide local security throughout the length of the convoy. The escort element defeats close ambushes and marks bypasses or breaches obstacles identified by reconnaissance as necessary. If the reaction force is not available in sufficient time, the escort element may be required to provide a reaction force to defeat far ambushes or block attacking threat forces. The Infantry platoon or squad may perform a convoy escort mission either independently or as part of a larger unit’s convoy security mission. Aviation units may also be a part of the escort force and the leaders of both ground and air must be able to quickly contact each other.

Reaction Force

H-81.   The reaction force provides firepower and support to the elements above in order to assist in developing the situation or conducting a hasty attack. It may also perform duties of the escort element. The reserve will move with the convoy or be located at a staging area close enough to provide immediate interdiction against the enemy.

Command and Control

H-82.   Because of the task organization of the convoy escort mission, C2 is especially critical. The relationship between the Infantry platoon or squad and the convoy commander must provide unity of command and effort if combat operations are required during the course of the mission. In most cases, the unit will execute the escort mission under the control of the security force commander, who is usually under OPCON or attached to the convoy commander.

H-83.   The leader should coordinate with the security force commander or the escorted unit to obtain or exchange the following information:

– Time and place of linkup and orders brief.

– Number and type of vehicles to be escorted.

– High value assets within the convoy.

– Available weapon systems, ammunition, and ordnance (crew served, squad, and individual).

– Vehicle maintenance status and operating speeds.

– Convoy personnel roster.

– Unit’s or escorted unit SOP, as necessary.

– Rehearsal time / location.

H-84.   It is vital that the convoy commander issues a complete OPORD to all convoy vehicle commanders before executing the mission. This is important because the convoy may itself be task-organized from a variety of units, and some vehicles may not have tactical radios. The order should follow the standard five-paragraph OPORD format (Table H-4), but special emphasis should be placed —

– Route of march (including a strip map for each vehicle commander).

– Order of march.

– Actions at halts.

– Actions in case of vehicle breakdown.

– Actions on contact.

– Chain of command.

– Communication and signal information.

Table H-4. Convoy OPORD example.

Task Organization



·      Activity in the last 48 hours

·      Threats

·      Capabilities


·       Units in the area or along the route

·       ROE

Light and Weather Data:

·       Effects of light and weather on the enemy

      and on friendly forces

·       BMNT, sunrise, high temp, winds, sunset,

      EENT, moonrise, % illumination, low temp


MEDEVAC procedures:

·      9-line MEDEVAC request

·      Location of medical support/combat


·      Potential PZ/LZ locations

Maintenance procedures:

·      Location of maintenance personnel

·      Location and number of tow bars

·      Recovery criteria

·      Stranded vehicle procedures


Task and purpose of the movement

mission statement


Convoy commander

Sequence of command

Location of convoy commander

Call signs of every vehicle/unit in the convoy

Convoy frequency

MEDEVAC frequency

Alternate frequencies


Commander’s intent


Concept of the operation (concept sketch or terrain model)

Task to maneuver units



Coordinating instructions:

·      Timeline

o     Marshal

o     Rehearsals

o     Convoy briefing

o     Inspections

o     Initiate movement

o     Rest halts

o     Arrival time

·      Order of movement/bumper numbers and individual manifest

·      Movement formation

·      Speed/catch-up speed

·      Interval (open areas and in built-up areas)

·      Weapons orientation, location of key weapons systems

·      Route

·      Checkpoints

·      Actions on contact

·      Actions on breakdowns

·      Actions at the halt (short halt and long halt)

reacting to enemy contact

H-85.   As the convoy moves to its new location, the enemy may attempt to harass or destroy it. This contact will usually occur in the form of an ambush, often with the use of a hastily-prepared obstacle. The safety of the convoy rests on the speed and effectiveness with which escort elements can execute appropriate actions on contact. Based on the factors of METT-TC, portions of the convoy security force such as the unit may be designated as a reaction force. The reaction force performs its escort duties, conducts tactical movement, or occupies an AA (as required) until enemy contact occurs and the convoy commander gives it a reaction mission.

Actions at an Ambush

H-86.   An ambush is one of the more effective ways to interdict a convoy. Reaction to an ambush must be immediate, overwhelming, and decisive. Actions on contact must be planned for and rehearsed so they can be executed quickly.

H-87.   In almost all situations, the unit will take several specific, instantaneous actions when it reacts to an ambush (Figures H-12 and H-13). However, if the convoy is moving fuel and other logistics, the best method might be to suppress the enemy, continue to move and report. These steps, illustrated in  include the following:

– As soon as they encounter an enemy force, the escort vehicles take action toward the enemy. They seek covered positions between the convoy and the enemy and suppress the enemy with the highest volume of fire permitted by the ROE. Contact reports are submitted to higher headquarters as quickly as possible.

– The convoy commander retains control of the convoy vehicles and continues to move them along the route at the highest possible speed.

– Convoy vehicles, if armed, may return fire only if the escort has not positioned itself between the convoy and the enemy force.

– Leaders may request that any damaged or disabled vehicles be abandoned and pushed off the route.

– The escort leader uses SPOTREPs to keep the convoy security commander informed. If necessary, the escort leader or the convoy commander requests support from the reaction force and or calls for and adjusts indirect fires.


NOTE:  Fire support for areas behind the forward line of troops is planned and coordinated on an area basis (such as a base operations center, base cluster operations center, or rear area operations center). This planning may provide fire support to main supply routes (MSRs) or other routes. Convoy commanders are responsible for the fire support plans for their convoy and for ensuring escort security leaders are familiar with the plan.


Figure H-12. Convoy escort actions toward ambush.

Figure H-13. Convoy continues to move.


H-88.   Once the convoy is clear of the kill zone, the escort element executes one of the following COAs:

– Continues to suppress the enemy as combat reaction forces move to support (Figure H-14).

– Uses the Infantry to assault the enemy (Figure H-15).

– Breaks contact and moves out of the kill zone.

– Request immediate air support to cut-off escape routes.

H-89.   In most situations, Infantry platoons or squads will continue to suppress the enemy or execute an assault. Contact should be broken only with the approval of the controlling commander.

Figure H-14. Escort suppresses ambush for reaction force attack.


Figure H-15. Escort assaults ambush.

Actions at an Obstacle

H-90.   Obstacles are a major impediment to convoys. The purpose of reconnaissance ahead of a convoy is to identify obstacles and either breach them or find bypasses. In some cases the enemy or its obstacles may avoid detection by the reconnaissance element.

H-91.   Obstacles can be used to harass the convoy by delaying it. If the terrain is favorable, the obstacle may stop the convoy altogether. Obstacles may also be used to canalize the convoy to set up an enemy ambush. When an obstacle is identified, the convoy escort faces two problems: reducing or bypassing the obstacle, and maintaining protection for the convoy. Security becomes critical, and actions at the obstacle must be accomplished very quickly. The convoy commander must assume that the enemy is covering the obstacle with direct- and indirect-fire weapons systems.

H-92.   To reduce any time the convoy is halted and to reduce its vulnerability, the following actions should occur when the convoy escort encounters a point-type obstacle:

– The lead element identifies the obstacle and directs the convoy to make a short halt to establish security. The convoy escort overwatches the obstacle and requests the breach element force to move forward (Figure H-16).

– The convoy escort maintains 360-degree security of the convoy and provides overwatch as the breach force reconnoiters the obstacle in search of a bypass.

H-93.   Once all reconnaissance is complete, the convoy commander determines which of the following COAs he will take:

– Bypass the obstacle.

– Breach the obstacle with assets on hand.

– Breach the obstacle with reinforcing assets.

H-94.   The convoy security commander relays a SPOTREP and requests support by combat reaction forces, engineer assets (if they are not part of the convoy), and aerial reconnaissance elements. Artillery units are alerted to prepare to provide fire support.

Figure H-16. Convoy escort overwatches an obstacle.

H-95.   Obstacles may be in the form of unexploded ordnance (UXO), or uncharted minefields. If the convoy encounters UXO or mines, the convoy security commander should identify, mark, report, and bypass.

Actions During Halts

H-96.   During a short halt, the convoy escort remains alert for possible enemy activity. If the halt is for any reason other than an obstacle, the following actions should be taken.

H-97.   The convoy commander signals the short halt and transmits the order via tactical radio. All vehicles in the convoy initially assume a herringbone formation.

H-98.   If possible, escort vehicles are positioned up to 100 meters beyond the convoy vehicles that are just clear of the route. Escort vehicles remain at the ready, dismount the rifles teams or squads as required, and establish local security. Infantry security elements or escort vehicles must occupy terrain within small arms range that dominates the convoy route during halts.

H-99.   When the order is given to move out, convoy vehicles reestablish movement formation, leaving space for escort vehicles. Once the convoy is in column, local security elements (if used) return to their vehicles, and the escort vehicles rejoin the column.

H-100.The convoy resumes movement.

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