Figure 9-A.



Training for war is the Army's top priority. With the exception of the training required in OPLAN GARDEN PLOT, the Army does not normally do specific training for domestic support missions until after a mission is assigned. Most domestic support missions can be accomplished by a disciplined force, proficient in its warfighting tasks, as described in its mission-essential task list (METL). However, in some cases unique training may be required to successfully complete an assigned domestic support mission. This chapter provides a guide to leaders on training for essentially non-METL-supported missions.


The basis of the Army's capability to provide domestic support is wartime mission training.

Commanders should be familiar with the requirements and limitations peculiar to domestic support operations. They must ensure that leaders and staffs are trained in the organization and processes of supporting civilian agencies. Units should be selected to perform specific domestic support missions consistent with known levels of training and military skills. The Army could be tasked to provide domestic support under a variety of missions and circumstances. The Army will seldom be tasked to provide such support independent of other services or civil agencies. All personnel require mission orientation and introduction to civil assistance techniques specific to the mission. Figure 9-1 provides insight into the factors that affect training for assigned domestic support missions.

Training required for domestic support is conducted within the tenets of current Army training doctrine. Many tasks common to warfighting and domestic support exist at all levels. Senior commanders should make every effort to use domestic support missions as skill enhancers for subordinate units. They accomplish this by assigning domestic support missions to units whose combat skills and capabilities match the mission's requirements. Also, execution of domestic missions should mirror, as closely as possible, the execution of the same or similar tasks in combat. Such assignments will often favor selecting combat support and combat service support units. As an example, medical units may find little difference in the type of medical support required after a natural disaster from that required following a battlefield engagement. Commanders can exploit the relationship between METL and domestic missions to save time and training resources while maintaining combat readiness.

A unit's METL is the focus of the commander's training plan. While using unit METLs to focus training toward combat readiness, a number of factors, as seen in Figure 9-2, impact on readiness.

Commanders able to emphasize the positive aspects of these impacts when training for an assigned domestic support mission are able to improve readiness while supporting domestic needs. In many cases, specialized mission-oriented training will have to be accomplished prior to committing forces. The lead federal, state, or municipal agency may provide training information and requirements to Army forces. Training may be provided through cadre instructional programs or to entire units. The FEMA operates an Emergency Management Institute in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Courses that are Or interest to Army planners include Integrated Emergency Management, Multihazard Planning, and Hazardous Material Spill Response. The National Guard operates the National Interagency Counterdrug Institute in San Louis Obispo, California. It offers training to federal, state, and local agencies in counterdrug operations and techniques. An example of training provided to entire units is the three-day course in firefighting skills that the US Forest Service provides to units tasked to assist their efforts each summer. Interagency government training may be available in a variety of areas, such as counterdrug operations.

Figure 9-1. Dealing with a Variety of Missions in Domestic Support Operations


Unit training is integrated into existing individual and collective events. Many conventional training exercises provide the opportunity to include interaction with federal, state, or municipal agencies. Exercises such as HURRICANE POLLY and RESPONSE 93 were developed and conducted to improve the coordination needed to respond to hurricanes and earthquakes. These exercises were developed by non-DOD agencies, but they can provide an opportunity to improve military capabilities for domestic support with minimal resources. These exercises emphasize interoperability requirements and stress staff coordination. A number of exercises are supported by Army organizations, such as the Louisiana Maneuvers Task Force.

The recent development of distributed simulation provides training technology that permits multiple organizations or agencies to participate in the same simulation exercise without having to be at the same location. It offers the potential for selected leaders to develop effective interagency communication and mutual understanding without having to be physically present at a specific exercise site.

Figure 9-2. Impacts on Training Readiness

The tiny Eskimo village on Diamede Island had not received any supplies for more than four months. Personnel from the 558th QM Company (Aerial Resupply), operating from the Alaskan General Depot, devised hasty rigging procedures. They rigged 25,000 pounds of food and fuel and air-dropped it to villagers in February 1956.


Combat readiness is the primary focus of all military forces. Execution of domestic support missions should have minimal impact on unit readiness or mission essential task list proficiency, but it may adversely impact readiness of units given extended domestic support operations. Units committed to long-term domestic support may require significant resources, beyond that which the unit would normally be allocated, to regain warfighting standards after completion of their domestic support mission.


Commanders realize that protecting soldiers and equipment is an implied aspect of any mission. Normal METL training will satisfy most protection requirements. Domestic support missions, however, could require the employment of personnel and equipment in roles other than those for which they were trained or designed. Consequently, leaders at all levels must make risk assessments. Commanders must ask four questions prior to and during any operation:

Commanders and staffs must do everything possible to protect the force, regardless of the mission. In many cases it may be challenging to do so during some domestic support missions.

Elements of the 391st Engineer Battalion, 120th US Army Reserve Command, assisted in the construction of a new training area for the County Sheriff's Department in Greenville, South Carolina.


Personnel in units conducting domestic support operations must become familiar with public affairs principles and procedures. Their activity will be of great interest to the news media. Commanders may capitalize on this interest by assisting the media in telling the Army story.

Commanders must be trained to accomplish their mission under the close scrutiny of the media. They will have to satisfy the media appetite for information. They will have to react rapidly to developing issues and changing perceptions while simultaneously fulfilling the information needs of their soldiers.

Public affairs training should be of a dual nature. PA staff elements must train themselves to identify the information expectations and requirements of internal and external audiences, evaluate the potential impact of information, develop information communication strategies, assess the effectiveness of information communication, and serve as the interface between the military and the media. They must also train commanders, staff, and soldiers to deal with the media. This includes providing information on First Amendment rights of the media lo have access to and report news, soldier rights concerning media interviews, and OPSEC considerations.

Assistance to local communities by Army units can provide training opportunities to soldiers of supporting units.


Environmental awareness instruction has been developed for inclusion in all leadership courses. The intent is to counter environmental apathy and integrate environmental awareness into operations and training. Training focuses on the four pillars of the Army Environmental Awareness Program, which are compliance, restoration, prevention, and conservation. This training will sensitize leaders to environmental considerations during domestic support operations. It will further enhance the image of the Army's stewardship of the environment.

Training soldiers and civilians to provide environmental assistance to domestic authorities generally requires no special efforts except the training needed to perform their Army jobs.


The Corps of Engineers has DOD-designated responsibilities for disaster assistance operations. It routinely conducts disaster response and recovery missions. Engineers, both military and Army civilian, must be educated and trained to accomplish unique responsibilities directed by the Federal Response Plan. All committed engineer units must be prepared to perform general engineering tasks necessary to establish temporary life-support facilities or to restore basic municipal services.

Commanders may encounter a variety of radiological and chemical hazardous materials (HAZMAT) during the conduct of domestic support operations. Trained Chemical Corps HAZMAT specialists are available to advise commanders on the identification, avoidance, containment, and neutralization of these substances. Training can be provided by Chemical Corps personnel to emergency response personnel at the federal, state, or local level in several NBC areas. These areas include monitoring, surveying, detecting, identifying, and decontaminating chemical and nuclear hazards. Also, technical expertise is available to provide training to determine the type and extent of toxic contamination, to determine downwind contamination hazard, and to assess vulnerability.

Training for disaster assistance will primarily focus on light urban search and rescue. Selected units may achieve some degree of proficiency while conducting normal METL training. The urgency of response rarely affords commanders the ability to train after the alert notification is issued. Although CS and CSS units will routinely be expected to execute this mission, combat units could also be tasked. In all cases, unit METLs incorporate tasks which prepare personnel to perform this operation. For example, a supply company may have the METL task to receive, store, and distribute supplies. This same task could apply to disaster assistance operations, even though the supplies may be donated food and clothing and not military supplies. Figure 9-3 provides some additional examples of normal METL training that support disaster assistance.

The senior commanders involved must understand the DOD role in the Federal Response Plan. They then ensure subordinate leaders are familiarized with civil and municipal operations. For units to be quickly and smoothly deployed for domestic support they must know the specific rules for their employment. They must know the reporting channels, have a clear understanding of who is in charge, and know how the unit will receive necessary supplies. All leaders receive introductory contracting and ordering procedures training in professional development courses. However, they may require additional or refresher training in order to obtain supplies when operating outside the normal military logistics support arena. Some leaders may need to be trained as contracting and ordering officers.

Mass immigration emergency support is another form of humanitarian assistance. Again, routine conduct of common skills training will prepare units to execute this operation. Any specialized training requirements will have to be identified by tasked commanders in conjunction with The Department of Justice and the Immigration and Naturalization Service.


The three distinct missions grouped under law enforcement support are counterdrug, civil disturbance, and combatting terrorism. Many tasks on which units train to meet wartime mission requirements are directly applicable. In cases where requirements are unrelated to the wartime METL, commanders must employ mission focus to define new training needs. Civilian law enforcement agencies must understand that very specific laws govern the use of the military to support civilian law enforcement activities.

The National Guard conducts a great deal of training and maintains a viable force to support law enforcement in counterdrug, civil disturbance, combatting terrorism, and key asset protection. The National Guard Bureau provides funding to the states to develop key asset security plans and to train leaders in civil disturbance operations. Hurricane Andrew is an excellent example where the Florida National Guard was on the street within hours after passage, providing security support with trained personnel to law enforcement agencies.

Counterdrug missions present unique training opportunities. Units formulate plans to conduct training in high-intensity drug trafficking areas. If appropriate, units will be integrated into federal or state Drug Enforcement Agency operations.

Elements of the 854th Engineer Battalion, 77th US Army Reserve Command, provided the manpower and equipment to clear and grade 20 acres for construction of a new softball and Little League fields in Hyde Park, New York.

Commanders are responsible for civil disturbance operations training. As an exception to most domestic support operations, OPLAN GARDEN PLOT requires that Army units conduct civil disturbance training. Assigned missions and command guidance determine the frequency of training. Specific training for commanders and staffs should address legal and psychological considerations. Training for soldiers should address legal and psychological considerations, rules of engagement, search and seizure, use of special equipment, and crowd control techniques.

Commanders are responsible for civil disturbance operations training.

Combatting terrorism includes defensive measures against terrorist attack. All soldiers must train on the fundamentals necessary to defend installations, units, and individuals against terrorist attack. Combatting terrorism is a force protection measure and the responsibility of commanders at every level. Military police have the capability to conduct specialized training for combatting terrorism for both the Army and civil authorities. The use of explosives and booby traps is a common tool employed by terrorists. EOD personnel can provide training and planning assistance for combatting terrorism operations.

Figure 9-3. Disaster Assistance Supporting Tasks


Wartime mission training is the basis of the Army's capability to provide domestic support. Specialized training, when directed by the respective CINC or MACOM commander, will be conducted for selected operations. Leader training for domestic support operations is vital to provide unit responsiveness to the community without reducing proficiency in warfighting tasks.