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Battle Drill Resources

Center for Army Lessons Learned

Main idea of the Web site.
This site is maintained by the Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. CALL is the Army’s foremost authority on lessons learned, so this site offers the best convoy operations lessons learned on the continually changing battlefield.

Login.
Go to http://call.army.mil and click on “DoD Users Login Here” on the upper left-hand column of the window. Then log in by one of four ways: “AKO [Army Knowledge Online] LOGIN,” “Login using my CAC [Common Access Card],” “DEERS [Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System] LOGIN,” or “CALL SUPPLIED LOGIN.”

Basic information available.

  • “Warfighting” contains information from the front, including after-action reports and information on such subjects as improvised explosive devices (IEDs), urban operations, and cultural awareness.
  • “Training for War” provides information on training and mission readiness, including combat training packages; mobile training teams; the Officer and Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) Education Systems; tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP); and training videos.
  • “Transformation” includes links to Army Transformation, Modular Force, and Stryker Brigade Combat Team sites.
  • “New Stuff at CALL” has a chronological list of new items on the CALL Web site.
  • “CALL Products” offers handbooks, newsletters, initial impressions reports (IIRs), and other products produced by CALL.
  • “Focus Areas” contains information sorted by battlefield operating system, region, conflict, or deployment. It also offers documents and training packages from sources other than CALL.

Currency of information.
The CALL Web site has no designated timeframe for updating or posting items. Basically, when an item is approved and formatted, it is posted. This ensures that the CALL Web site has the most recent data at any given time.

Completeness of information.
Besides unit-specific SIPRNet (Secure Internet Protocol Router Network) sites, this is the most comprehensive Web site available to those of all ranks, as long as they have a Department of Defense login. CALL has a SIPRNet access at http://call.army.smil.mil. It mirrors the NIPRNet (Unclassified but Sensitive Internet Protocol Router Network) restricted site by offering all documents, plus a SIPRNet search capability and links to various other sites.

User-friendliness.
First-time users will have to spend some time to get acquainted with the Web site. The site offers a lot of information, and you may be confused if you do not know exactly what you are looking for.

Useful links.
Under “CALL Resources,” which is found on the far left-hand corner of every CALL window, you can click “Links” to go to several hundred links, including links to schools and training centers, news services, and rear detachment operations sites.

Relevance.
You can search this site for days and then find newer information the very next day. Since this is an Army Web site, much more is available than convoy operations, and sifting through the extraneous information can be time-consuming.

Best feature.
By far, this site’s best feature is having all lessons learned for every facet of Army operations in one place.

Most challenging feature.
Navigating through all of the available information to find information on convoy operations is difficult. The simplest way to start researching is to click on the “Warfighting” link, then the “Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)” link, then conduct a keyword search in the search window for “convoy operations.”

Army Training and Doctrine Digital Library

Main idea of the Web site.
This site is operated by the Army Training Support Center at Fort Eustis, Virginia. It provides access to a wide array of Army documents.

Login.
Go to www.train.army.mil and use your AKO login to access this site.

Basic information available.

  • “What’s Hot!” on the upper right-hand side of the window gives you access to articles and documents, such as “A Military Guide to Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century” and “Convoy Survivability Training Support Packages.”
  • “Library Search” on the lower right-hand side of the window leads to a search page, where you can conduct a keyword search for “convoy operations” and find sources of information like Field Manual (FM) 4­01.45, Multi-Service Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Tactical Convoy Operations.
  • “My Tasks.” By clicking on this tab at the top left side of the window, pulling down the “Type” menu, and then clicking on “MOS/Keyword,” you can enter the word “convoy” and get many hits that lead to specific task and condition standards for various branches.

Currency of information.
The Web site is updated several times a year. However, most convoy operations hits currently on the site are from the spring and summer of 2005.

Completeness of information.
If you take the time to do a variety of keyword searches, you will find much information on convoy operations, including specific task and condition standards. Complete information is available for a training NCO or a lieutenant in a support operations shop who is putting together a battalion consolidated tactical convoy operations handbook or standing operating procedures (SOPs). This site is an alternative to CALL, but it is not as current or as complete

User-friendliness.
This is not an easy Web site to navigate. Some creative surfing is required to find specific convoy-related articles. A good way to start is to follow the steps listed above under “Basic information available.” Once you get started, surfing and experimenting will take you further.

Useful links.
The site has links to other resources, but it is difficult to find them. This is not a useful site for finding convoy-related links.

Relevance.
This site is great for finding specific training guidance for any area. However, the articles tend to be older than those found on the CALL Web site, and fewer are on convoy operations.

Best feature.
Once you perform a keyword search, you can check the box beside any interesting finding and that finding will be kept in a place called “My Rucksack” found on the Web site‘s home page. This is a great feature because you will not have to do a new search every time you open the page.

Most challenging feature.
This Web site can be confusing the first few times it is used. You may become frustrated when trying to find convoy-specific guidance. Many of the findings are not particularly useful for a combat logistician. However, the more information you can obtain before deploying, the better prepared you will be.

Convoy Survivability Training Support Package

Main idea of the Web site.
This site is maintained by the Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) at Fort Lee, Virginia. It was designed for training convoy commanders at the institutional level, although deploying units have used it extensively since its creation. It provides the Training Support Package (TSP) for Convoy Survivability, Course Number 55–Z–0001, Version 1.51, dated 14 November 2005. Prerequisite instructions for using this site include “Plan Convoy Operations” (55188A9013) and “Conduct Convoy Operations” (55188A9015).

Login.
This TSP is available through the CASCOM Web site. Go to https://www.cascom.army.mil/private/TD/Transportation/training_products
/Convoy%20Survivability/convoy_surv.htm
and log in with AKO login to access this site.

Basic information available.

  • Click on “CONVOY SURV TSP.doc” to open the Word document, “TRAINING SUPPORT PACKAGE FOR: CONVOY SURVIVABILITY, Version 1.51, 14 November 2005.”
  • Convoy survivability PowerPoint presentations. These presentations consist of a set of introductory slides and seven sets of slides for each of the course’s enabling learning objectives (ELOs).
  • “CONVOY SMART CARD.” This opens a handy “LOGISTICS CONVOY OPERATIONS Smart Card” (GTA 90­01­004, dated September 2004).
  • “Convoy Leader Handbook Vol. II.” This link opens CALL Handbook 04­27, Convoy Leader Training, Volume II, dated November 2004. (The CALL Web site has a more recent version of the CALL handbook, dated February 2005.)

Currency of information.
This TSP is updated every several months. TSP for Convoy Survivability, Course Number 55–Z–0001, Version 1.51, dated 14 November 2005, supersedes Version 1.1, dated 27 August 2004.

Completeness of information.
This TSP includes updated information for the commander of a deploying convoy. New topics have been added, and new TTP are discussed in detail.

User-friendliness.
This is the easiest Web site to use that I have reviewed. You just need to point and click on the document you want to open, and it is there for you to use.

Useful links.
The TSP includes hyperlinks for ease of navigation through the lesson plans and the many resources listed throughout.

Relevance.
This site is extremely relevant to all commanders getting ready to deploy. It is updated regularly, it is easy to use, and it is easy to download already created presentations and documents.

Best feature.
The best features of this Web site are the already created presentations and the most recent information available to CASCOM.

Most challenging feature.
The section covering electronic countermeasures (ECMs)—ELO H, Section 6—was removed from this version of the TSP so the TSP could be released to foreign students. Instructors who desire access to this section may contact shawa@lee.army.mil or buck.shaw@us.army.mil for a copy. However, be advised that this section contains only a general description of various ECM systems.

CompanyCommand.com

Main idea of the Web site.
This Web site was originally set up by company commanders for other company commanders—past, present, and future. As their informational page states, the site creates an online forum for commanders to engage in an “ongoing professional conversation about leading soldiers and building combat-ready units.”  This site captures conversations taking place on front porches, around vehicle hoods, and in command posts, mess halls, and forward operating bases around the world.  The creators of this site believe that, by engaging in this ongoing conversation centered on leading Soldiers, participants become more effective leaders and develop units that are more effective. Their mantra is, “Amazing things happen when committed leaders in a profession connect, share what they are learning, and spur each other on to become better and better.”

Login.
Go to http://companycommand.army.mil/ and register with CompanyCommand.com to access the site. You will have to list where you are currently in command or where you previously had a command as well as your current unit and assignment, past duty assignments, and contact information. If this is your first time on this site, click on the red “How to Start?!?” button in the upper left-hand side of the home page after you have logged in. This will take you through a nine-step orientation process that maps out the site and lists what it has to offer in very easy to understand terms.

Basic information available.

  • “Navigation.” Once you have registered and are logged on, click on the “Company Command” link at the bottom of the homepage. Once there, the best place to start searching for convoy operations information is on the left-hand side of the “Navigation” window. You can pull down topics such as “Leadership,” “Warfighting,” “Training,” “Fitness,” “Force Protection,” “Maintenance,” “Supply,” “Soldiers & Families,” “Pro Reading,” “Rally Points,” “Cdrs’ Log,” and—the most recent addition—“MBCT [medium brigade combat team]” CDR (HBCTs & IN BCTs) [commander (heavy BCT and infantry BCTs)].” Nearly anything that interests you can be found under these tabs, which are cross-referenced with additional links, articles, and personal experiences (especially from commanders on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • “Warfighting.” Once you open the “Warfighting” window, additional pull-down topics appear: “Afghan Commander,” “Deploy,” “TLPs” [troop-leading procedures], “Realities of War,” “SASO” [stability and support operations], and “COIN [Counterinsurgency].” All these topics have further subcategories that you can examine as well. However, once you are on the “Warfighting” home page, many useful links to convoy operations information will jump out at you.
  • “Featured in Warfighting.” This window on the left side of the “Warfighting” window is an excellent starting point for looking through “Warfighting.” It lists current commanders (in all branches) deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as well as topics essential to convoy operations, such as “Hindsight is 20/20: Four Principles for a Commander in Combat,” “Killing, PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder], and Talking about it,” “Twenty-Eight Articles: Fundamentals of COIN,” “Convoy Operations Smart Card,” “Joint Convoy Handbook,” “OIF SOP Topics,” and “Negotiation TTPs.” It also has a link to the CASCOM Convoy Survivability Training site.
  • Warfighting “Announcement.” In the center “Announcement” tab on the “Warfighting” page, you can click on a topic titled “Tactical Convoys.” It was posted by Major Dean Dominique on 23 September 2004. This may seem a bit outdated, but the date is only when this topic was first posted.
  • “Tactical Convoys.” After clicking on this topic from the Warfighting “Announcement” tab, scroll down the page to find the “Tactical Convoys Topic” discussion window. Here you will find great insights and questions from commanders and staff officers who are deployed or have just redeployed. These officers share their knowledge, experiences, and questions on topics such as “Box Method at Rally Points,” “T&Eos [training and evaluation outlines] for Convoy Training,” “Company Convoy SOP,” “MTTP [multiservice TTP] for Tactical Convoy Operations,” and “OIF Convoy Ops [operations] References.” Each of these topics is open for further discussion through additional postings.
  • “Idea, Story, TTP, or Lesson Learned” tab. This tab also can be accessed through the “Tactical Convoys” topic. Listed here, and changing from time to time, are vignettes that make very interesting reading, such as “Attack on the 507th Maint Co [maintenance company]” and “Convoy Operations Lessons Learned and TTPs.” These are older articles, posted in 2003, but this site is consistently updated and contains recent comments about those topics.
  • “Tools/OPDs [officer professional development].” This tab also can be accessed under the “Tactical Convoys” topic. Found here are already created documents and presentations entitled “Logistical Convoy Operations,” “Convoy TACSOP [tactical SOP],” several “Convoy Trip Tickets,” “Convoy Operations Smart Card,” several “Joint/CALL Convoy Handbooks,” “Convoy SITREP [situation report]/incident report,” “Convoy Operations Checklists,” and “Mounted React to Contact LFX [live fire exercise].”
  • “Featured Challenge.” Under the “Featured Challenge” window on the upper right-hand side of the “Tactical Convoys” home page is a leadership challenge scenario specifically for convoy operations. This is excellent officer professional development for the lieutenants and future convoy commanders in your area of operations.

Currency of information.
This site is updated as soon as new information hits the postings. While it is not an “official” military Web site, the fact that you have to log in with your current command credentials keeps this site honest.

Completeness of information.
You can find almost anything you want about any aspect of company command, from family readiness groups to combat logistics convoy training. Some articles are older, having been posted in 2003 and 2004. However, they are kept around by the authors of the site because they remain pertinent and useful; recent postings about these articles produce very interesting dialog by commanders now in the field.

User-friendliness.
This is a very user-friendly Web site. If you are completely new to the Internet, a very helpful red button on the top left of the homepage titled “How to Start?!?” walks you through the process of navigating the site.

Useful links.
On both sides of the home page, you will find very useful links to other Web sites, regardless of the category or subcategory you are checking. These links change to fit the category or subcategory you are searching. For example, if you are looking at tactical convoys, you will find links to tactical convoy training and information sites. This is an extremely helpful tool for those wanting more information on any topic found on this site.

Relevance.
This site is the site for company commanders and company-grade officers. It talks at the commanding officers’ level, no matter where they are deployed throughout the world. You will find a core element that is helpful, no matter who you are or what you are searching. This site is relevant for convoy operations because it allows you to actually hear and learn from convoy commanders on the ground, in real time. You learn from the best: our peers out there executing convoys day in and day out.

Best feature.
The amount of information available is staggering, and the opportunity to get information from peers is unmatched.

Most challenging feature.
So much information is available that you can lose yourself on this site for days. However, there is nothing wrong with that because you will be better off and more educated at your journey’s end.

PlatoonLeader.com

Main idea of the Web site.
As the creators of this site state, PlatoonLeader is “the professional forum for U.S. Army platoon leaders—current, past, and future.” Participants in dialogs on the site “speak candidly, but always with respect for each other and our commission. We tackle our leadership challenges with a positive voice, focused solely on building and leading combat-ready teams. We welcome mulitiple, diverse perspectives on how we can achieve this common purpose.”

Login.
Go to http://platoonleader.army.mil to access this site. After signing in with your AKO credentials, you will need to create an account to access most of the pages and communities and not just be a “guest” on the site. To do this, you need to click on “Create an Account” at the bottom left-hand side of the home page. You also will have to complete another form to become a “member” of this site. Being a member will allow you to participate more fully and search on the site.

Basic information available.

  • “Navigate.” As on CompanyCommand.com, this is the best place to start. Topics in this window include the following: “Platoon Leader,” “BOLC [Basic Officer Leader Course]-Unit Arrival,” “Warfighting,” “Leadership,” “Maint/Logistics/XO [executive officer],” “Professional Reading,” “Branch-specific,” “Additional Duties,” “Fitness,” “Reserve/NG [National Guard] Affairs,” “Hall of Honor,” “Help/Feedback,” and “Archive.” Once you click on a topic, you will find the pages organized into several tabs: “Leaders,” “Participate,” “My Bookmarks,” “Recent Activity,” and “Live Commo Options.” “Leaders” and “Recent Activity” are the two tabs that will be most useful to you on every page. The “Leaders” tab shows you a list with all the topic leaders under your specific navigation subject. If you click on someone’s name or picture, it will take you to his profile as well as to topics he has posted recently under his “User Participation” tab. Under the “Recent Activity” tab, you will find knowledge and postings current to the topic you are studying. The most helpful topic for convoy operations is “Warfighting.”
  • Warfighting.” Here you will find “Topic Leaders” and what they have posted on the subject of warfighting. You can search through the “Topic Leaders” links or go to “Recent Activity” to find what is currently being posted and discussed about warfighting by the members on this site. You will find convoy operations as a common topic of discussion here.

Currency of information.
The site is updated as new information is gathered. The information seems to be up to the minute. You can subscribe to different topics and have an email alert sent to you when your topic is updated with new information. The best part of the site is the recent postings from platoon leaders on many interesting topics.

Completeness of information.
The site is a very good resource for junior lieutenants. It allows them to network with others of the same grade on any topic a lieutenant would find useful. The site has almost too much information; it is very easy to get bogged down in profiles and discussion pages when you only want to find information on one topic like convoy operations.

User-friendliness.
This site is moderately easy to navigate. It does not have all of the resources and links on one consolidated home page that CompanyCommand.com offers, but using it is generally self-explanatory. You will find this site confusing if you are not familiar with subscribing to bulletin board topics or participating in community-wide discussions.

Useful links.
There is no general “LINKS” tab. You have to search through different topics to find links that pertain to your topic.

Relevance.
This site is relevant to the junior lieutenant just starting his career. It helps lieutenants with little experience to network with those who are, or recently have been, in Iraq. It also is a great source for new SOPs and presentations that can be very useful to new officers.

Best feature.
The best feature of this Web site is that allows you to get up-to-date information and TTP from lieutenants who have boots-on-the-ground experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. You can have real-time discussions and ask specific questions on how they handled different issues dealing with convoy operations.

Most challenging feature.
The most challenging feature is navigating through bulletin boards and profiles trying to find stand-alone presentations and documents on convoy operations. This site is more useful as a forum for lieutenants to gather and post real-world experiences than it is as a source of links to ready-made convoy operations products.

NCO Battle Command Knowledge Center

Main idea of the Web site.
This site is a link from the “www.NCOTEAM.org” Web site, which is designed to develop ready and relevant leaders in the NCO corps. However, both of these sites are useful to warriors of all ranks.

Login.
You can enter this site at www.squad-leader.com/cybrarian/convoy.htm. You may be required to log in with your AKO login to access this site.

Basic information available.

  • “Tactics, Techniques, Procedures.” This tab leads to a list of easily accessible and downloadable sites such as “Convoy Leader Training Handbook” (a field guide prepared by the 32d Transportation Group in Kuwait for convoy leaders conducting long-haul operations); “Vehicle Load Card” (a vehicle load plan can be prepared right on this handy card); “Convoy Checklist” (a checklist from the U.S. Army Europe and 7th Army Safety Office); “OPERATIONAL HAZARD ANALYSIS AND RISK ASSESSMENT PHASE OF OPERATION:  CONVOY OPERATIONS” (a convoy checklist from the 2–6 Cavalry Battalion); “Convoy Commanders Checklist” (from the Army Transportation School at Fort Eustis, Virginia); and “Vehicle Hardening” (a checklist from the Center for Army Lessons Learned Web site.)
  • “Training.” This tab contains a list of easily accessible and downloadable sites, such as a “Convoy Safety” PowerPoint presentation from V Corps and the following word documents: “Direct Convoy Defense Operations,” “Implement Defensive Procedures when Under Enemy Attack (Convoy),” “Perform Duties as Convoy Commander,” “Drive Vehicle in a Convoy,” and “Perform Duties as Serial-March Unit Commander.”
  • “Doctrinal References.” Here can be found easily accessible and downloadable sites in PDF and html formats: FM 55­30, Army Motor Transport Units and Operations, and its Annex B, Convoy Checklist; Army Regulation 385­55, Prevention of Motor Vehicle Accidents; Training Circular (TC) 7­98­1, Convoy Operations, Chapter 7; and CALL Handbook 03­6, Tactical Convoy Operations.
  • “Web Links.” Links are provided to many articles, such as “Company-Level Convoy Operations In Today’s Smaller Army,” “Convoy Operations in a Peace Support Environment,” and “Convoy Live Fire Exercise: Training Soldiers.”
  • “Unofficial” sites. Found here are links to a list of various unofficial Web sites, many maintained at GeoCities, such as an article about Vietnam convoy operations by James Rose; the Marine Corps Convoy Operations Handbook; a PowerPoint presentation from Task Force 2­69 Armor, “Operation Iraqi Freedom Convoy Lessons Learned”; and a tactical convoy Web site maintained at GeoCities by former Joint Readiness Training Center observer/controller and Transportation School tactical convoy expert Major Dean J. Dominique.

Currency of information.
Many links are outdated by several years. However, once you follow the links, you can find a plethora of current information.

Completeness of information.
This site is very broad. It covers everything from training to Web links that can be useful for convoy operations.

User-friendliness.
This is a very easy site to navigate. Just point and click on the presentation, document, or Web site that you find interesting. They are all convoy related.

Useful links.
The entire site consists of links to useful sites.

Relevance.
This site is a simplified clearinghouse with links to some outdated material but mostly to very relevant sites. No original documents are contained on this site.

Best feature.
For the user, everything is available in one place, from training to unofficial Web sites.

Most challenging feature.
The site offers some outdated information, and several links go to sites that no longer exist.

Army Toolbag

Main idea of the Web site.
This site is self-described as a one-stop, get-what-you-need site for military leaders.

Login.
Go to www.armytoolbag.com/index.html. Login and registration are not required. However, to access most files, including those on convoy operations and warrior tasks and drills, you must log in with your AKO account. Then you must minimize the AKO window once you are logged in to access files.

Basic information available.

  • The home page contains the following tabs: “Home,” “Additional Duties,” “Admin,” “Classes,” “Maint,” “Operations,” “Software,” “SOPs,” “Supply,” “Videos,” “Warrior Training,” “Search,” and “More . . .” Each tab takes you to a Web page that is divided into three sections: the left window displays the categories of files that the tab has to offer; the middle window says if you have to log in to AKO to view the files; and the right window displays links to Web sites that offer additional information on your chosen topic. The tabs “Classes,” “Videos,” and “Warrior Training” are specifically useful for convoy operations.
  • “Classes.” Click the “Warrior Classes” link in the left window. The middle window will fill up with class topics, from “Armored Security Vehicle” to “Warrior Tasks.” Click on the “Deployment Tng (TSIRT [theater-specific individual readiness training])” link. The middle window reveals over 40 presentations containing many documents related to convoy operations, such as “Convoy Safety,” “Convoy Movement,” “Convoy Safety,” “React to IED,” “Combat Stress,” “Gun Truck Duties,” and other related subjects. Click on the “Leader Tng (TSIRT)” link. The middle window contains presentations such as “Convoy Leader Tng,” “Dealing with the Media,” and “EPW [enemy prisoners of war] Point of Capture.”
  • “Videos.” Click the “Training Videos” link in the left window. The middle window then will list video clips that have some training value. Many of these clips concern convoy operations and would be a great aid to anyone preparing a presentation, briefing, or class dealing with convoy operations.
  • “Warrior Training.” This is the most useful tab on the site. The left window lists “Battle Drills,” “Combatives,” “Communications,” “Convoys,” “Crowd Control,” “Culture,” “EPW,” “Field,” “First Aid,” “Fratricide,” “IEDs,” “Land Navigation,” “Movement Tech,” “Reports,” “SASO,” “Urban Ops (MOUT [military operations on urban terrain]),” “Vehicle Operator,” “Warrior Ethos,” “Warrior Skills (CTT [common task training]),” and “Weapons.” Several of these topics contain critical information on convoy operations that is extremely useful; in particular, click on “Convoys” and “IEDs.” The “Covoys” folder contains over 25 convoy operations-specific documents such as CALL handbooks, convoy TTPs, convoy movement formations, logistics convoy cards, and convoy battle drills. The “IEDs” folder contains some extremely significant documents, from smartcards to handouts dealing with IEDs in association with convoy operations.

Currency of information.
This site says that it is updated constantly. You also can subscribe to a weekly newsletter that will keep you up to date on changes.

Completeness of information.
This site is particularly complete. Although not as current as the CALL Web site, it is much easier to use and contains everything from video clips to handbooks to aid in any warrior task or battle drill, especially convoy operations.

User-friendliness.
This site is extremely easy to navigate. It is structured in tabs, topics, and subcategories that will keep you busy for hours.

Useful links.
Links are probably the best feature of the site. Under each tab, the right-hand window is completely dedicated to links directly related to the topic of choice. This alleviates the problem users experience on most Web sites, where one tab lists many sites that they have to surf through trying to find what they want. This site lists links to sites specifically tailored to your topic.

Relevance.
This site is incredibly relevant. Although it is not dedicated solely to convoy operations, you can find a wealth of information on this topic as well as relevant warrior tasks, drills, and other information related to being out on the road and under fire.

Best feature.
The best features are the Web site’s organization into tabs for easy use and the separate links to other Web sites under those tabs.

Most challenging feature.
Some of the files do not open, even after you log in with your AKO credentials. However, the Web site seems to constantly monitor itself; if a file does not download or open, you are prompted to send an email identifying the specific link that does not work.