Infantry Drills

FM 7-8 – Chapter 6 – Urban Operations – Section III – Stability and Support


As part of a brigade or joint task force, the infantry platoon may be required to conduct stability and support operations in environments that are not traditional combat missions. In this situation, the platoon must be prepared to conduct stability or support operations and then transition into a conventional offensive or defensive mission. The platoon may also be called on to conduct stability or support operations following the successful completion of a combat mission. A well-trained unit will be able to transition from war fighting to stability and support operations, or from stability and support operations to war fighting quickly and effectively. During stability or support operations, the platoon can expect to conduct a wide range of combat or noncombat tasks. Essentially, the unit accomplishes these tasks through the execution of tactical tasks such as security patrols, road blocks, check points, convoy escort, and food distribution.


Stability operations apply military power to influence the political environment, facilitate diplomacy, and interrupt specified illegal activities. They include both developmental and coercive actions. Developmental actions enhance a government’s willingness and ability to care for its people. Coercive actions apply carefully prescribed limited force and the threat of force to achieve objectives. Units conduct stability actions to accomplish one or more of the following:

  • Deny or hinder aggression.
  • Reassure allies, friendly governments, and agencies.
  • Support a weak or failing government.
  • Stabilize a restless population.
  • Maintain and restore order.
  • Insure agreements and policies are maintained.

Platoons will normally employ TTP similar to combat actions in order to facilitate the unit’s ability to accomplish the above. The major distinguishing characteristic will be the ROE. (Table 6-1 shows examples of tactical tasks.)


Table 6-1. Example of tactical tasks.
Peace Operations Move tactically; Conduct a route reconnaissance; Conduct an area reconnaissance; Establish roadblocks and checkpoints; Enter and clear a building/room; Conduct offensive and defensive subterranean operations; Defend a building; Establish static security positions in an urban area; Perform surveillance from an OP; Employ force protection measures; Conduct convoy security; Maintain communications in an urban area; Conduct resupply operations; treat and evacuate casualties; Handle noncombatants and detained personnel; Conduct platoon riot control formations. Employ quick reaction force.
Antiterrorism Move tactically in urban area; Conduct an area reconnaissance; Conduct a route reconnaissance; Establish a static security position in an urban area; Perform surveillance from an OP; Enter and clear a building/room; Establish roadblocks and checkpoints; Employ force protection measures; Maintain communications in an urban area; Handle noncombatants and detained personnel. Employ quick reaction force.
Noncombatant Extraction Operations Infiltrate an urban area, Move tactically in urban area, Establish roadblocks and checkpoints; Protect the force; Defend a convoy; Defend; Maintain communications in an urban area; Perform delay. Employ quick reaction force.
Arms Control Establish roadblocks and checkpoints; convoy escort; Assist and monitor inspection of arms; Maintain communications in an urban area; and conduct surveillance. Employ quick reaction force.
Support to Counterinsurgencies Defend, Protect the force; Conduct area and route reconnaissance; Conduct combat patrols; Conduct an assault; Maintain communications in an urban area; Handle noncombatants and detained personnel. Employ quick reaction force.
Show Of Force Move tactically; Demonstrate capabilities; Prepare a defense; Maintain communications in an urban area; Conduct training exercises. Employ quick reaction force.
Civil Disturbance Operations Maintain communications in an urban area; Conduct patrols; Handle noncombatants and detained personnel. Employ quick reaction force.



The purpose of support operations is to provide essential supplies and services to aid designated groups. These activities are conducted to assist foreign and domestic civil authorities responding to crises. Platoons will conduct support actions as part of a company support operation in order to save or protect lives, reduce suffering, recover essential infrastructure, improve the quality of life, and restore situations to normal. Because of the nature of humanitarian and environmental assistance, the platoon can expect to interact with other units and agencies such as engineers, MPs, and NGOs. Support actions rely on a partnership with other government and nongovernment agencies. Liaison with these agencies and between local governments is critical. Regardless of the positive relationships built, force protection always remains a top priority. (Table 6-2 shows typical tasks associated with each type of support operation.)


Table 6-2. Example of tasks.
Humanitarian Assistance Provide manpower for relief efforts, Conduct search and rescue actions, Conduct security patrols.
Environmental Assistance Provide manpower for relief efforts, Establish communications, Provide water distribution, debris removal, and Conduct security patrols.



Stability and, to a lesser extent, support operations are missions that begin with humanitarian goals and objectives and can escalate to combat. Whenever the peace process fails, the mission of the platoon can change quickly. The platoon leader must ensure his unit is prepared to make this transition. The unit must retain the ability to conduct offensive and defensive operations by reinforcing humanitarian tasks with training that is realistic, challenging, and meaningful.

a.   Contingencies are events that may occur but are not likely or intended. Contingencies are planned for as an “on order” or “be prepared” mission. When conducting stability and support operations the platoon leader makes plans to shift his effort as the situation develops. He must ensure his platoon can shift from peace operations to a combat mission as required.

b.  The platoon leaders are responsible for the training and discipline of their soldiers and how they will respond when confronted with a variety of situations during full spectrum operations. A balanced mindset must be achieved between peace operations and the conduct of war fighting. Soldiers cannot become so complacent during peace operations that they lose their warrior spirit, nor must they be so aggressive that they use unnecessary force to resolve conflict. This balance is the essence of peace operations and the fundamental aspect that will enable the unit to perform its mission successfully and avoid an escalation to combat. Proactive leaders that are communicating and enforcing the ROE are instrumental to achieving this mindset.

c.  In the event that the stability or support operation is extended over a prolonged period, training will need to be conducted that focuses on individual and collective combat tasks. This training should include transitioning from peace operations to combat operations. Leaders can incorporate some of the training in the stability or support actions they are conducting.

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