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The Brigade Combat
Service Support Rehearsal

The brigade combat service support (CSS) rehearsal is a vital part of every brigade mission. Without conducting a CSS rehearsal, the brigade cannot effectively link all of its CSS assets for the fight. According to Field Manual (FM) 6–0, Mission Command: Command and Control of Army Forces, “Rehearsals allow staff officers, subordinate commanders, and other leaders to practice executing the course of action (COA) the commander chose at the end of the military decisionmaking process (MDMP).”

Each of the five types of rehearsals—confirmation brief, back brief, combined arms rehearsal, support rehearsal, and battle drill or standing operating procedure rehearsal—achieves a different result and should be conducted at a specific time. The brigade CSS rehearsal—a support rehearsal—brings together all pertinent individuals and all units to discuss the upcoming brigade combat team (BCT) mission. The CSS rehearsal should ensure that the CSS units can support the operation order and accomplish all of their missions. It also should ensure that the CSS elements are synchronized with the overall operation.

A rehearsal is a session
in which a staff or unit practices expected actions to improve performance during execution.
—FM 6–0

The brigade executive officer must ensure that enough time is allotted for the brigade to conduct the CSS rehearsal (during daylight if possible). CSS rehearsal requirements include participants; a recorder to take notes; an agenda and script; and a rehearsal area, terrain board, or map.


For a rehearsal to be effective, it should follow a prescribed agenda that everyone knows and understands. An effective rehearsal includes—


• Roll call.
• Participant orientation to the terrain.
• Enemy situation brief.
• Friendly situation brief.
• Description of expected enemy advancement.
• Discussion of friendly unit actions.
• Review of notes made by the recorder.

An agenda for making this seven-step process an effective rehearsal is shown on the chart at right.

For units to be effective
and efficient in combat, rehearsals need to become habitual in training.
—FM 6–0

 

The recorder’s role is vital to an effective rehearsal. The recorder must capture all issues that arise during the CSS rehearsal. The rehearsal does not slow or stop unless an issue arises that is considered a “war stopper.” If this happens, the participants must stop the rehearsal and resolve the issue before continuing the rehearsal.


The brigade CSS rehearsal is the final opportunity for subordinates to identify and resolve issues. It is critical that all subordinate units participate and come to the rehearsal prepared to discuss their units’ actions and the location of CSS assets. ALOG

Major Darren S. Holbrook is the maneuver brigade S–1 and brigade S–4 observer-controller at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. He has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Morehead State University in Kentucky and a master’s degree in counseling from Carson-Newman College in Tennessee. He is a graduate of the Armor Officer Basic and Advanced Courses and the Army Command and General Staff College.