Fires | Standardized Training for <abbr rel="tooltip" title="Air Defense Airspace Management">ADAM</abbr>/<abbr rel="tooltip" title="Brigade Aviation Element">BAE</abbr>

Standardized Training for ADAM and BAE

by CPT Chance Smith


Airspace management is becoming more and more critical to the success of the brigade combat team (BCT) shaping operations. Aerial capabilities are continuing to develop especially in the area of remotely piloted platforms, which increases the amount of airspace users and the need for a management, Air Defense airspace management / brigade Aviation element (ADAM/BAE), cell at the BCT level. In the past and in some cases the present, the ADAM/BAE cells are not fully manned. The brigade leaders constantly pull officers from the cell for other staff responsibilities, which leave the cell undermanned and the non commissioned officers and warrants to manage operations. The brigade staff often minimized the ADAM/BAE cell in their efforts and their capabilities misunderstood until it was too late. More often than not, we find that ADAM/BAE cells have these staffing issues prior to deployment and seldom have the opportunity to implement processes for successful planning and current operations. Many units have not established a battle rhythm, running estimates, shift change procedures, or SOPs. Units are developing and implementing these products at National Training Center (NTC),Fort Irwin, Calif., rather than refining products and processes. There is a need for the Air Defense and Aviation communities to produce a training circular that provides ADAM/BAE cells a road map that clearly outlines the standard of how to train for ADAM/BAE operations. This article will outline major challenges for ADAM/BAE cells at the NTC, why a training circular is valuable, and recommended training strategy to integrate into any training program.

Units often arrive at NTC, with an ADAM/BAE cell challenged with integrating Aviation and Air Defense Artillery into BCT operations. The top four challenges that are consistent among rotational units are communication, information management, mission command, and personnel recovery. Communication is a challenge because cells under utilize Army Battle Command Systems (ABCS), communication systems, and other appropriate workstations. The Air and Missile Defense Work Station (AMDWS) and Tactical Airspace Integration System (TAIS) are the link into the aerial situational awareness for the BCT’s common operating picture. If the section does not maximize its capability, it directly affects how successful the unit mass effects across the operational environment. Next, information management is a challenge for the section because the unit has not trained on analog and digital tracking, maintaining a running estimate, or executing a battle rhythm and shift changeover. Third, cells usually do not have experience in writing and implementing a mission command through the airspace control appendix that, at a minimum, should cover:

Checklist to Success
Figure 1. The Checklist to Success was developed by Mr. Mark Bryant, ADAM/BAE Trainer, from the intelligence surveillance reconnaissance (ISR) TOPOFF Team that supports combat training center rotations. The areas of focus were based off of trends from units that have conducted the training over six years. Communications, information management, command and control, and personnel recovery continue to challenge the ADAM/BAE cells, and this document helps focus the cell in these areas. Illustration courtesy of CPT Chance Smith.

Lastly, the section is often tasked to lead personnel recovery operations, and is challenged with producing a personnel recovery appendix, rehearsing personnel recovery operations at the BCT level, and completing the appropriate training (See Figure 1: ADAM/BAE `checklist to success' for details on each challenge identified). Each rotational unit receives a brief on these challenges at the beginning, during, and after the training event. ADAM/BAE cells are not able to make major improvements to these areas because they arrive at the `crawl' stage of training. In order to have major improvements, the cell has to arrive with the basic understanding of how to employ their ABCS, execute mission command and information management. There should be a standard across all ADAM/BAE cells. The Aviation and Air Defense communities are very standardize branches and provide highly proficient units for worldwide missions. However, the branches do not bring the same structure to the ADAM/BAE cell. ADAM/BAE cells attempt to integrate assets without doctrinal guidance to provide the BCT Commander aerial capabilities in the ground scheme of maneuver. The recommendation is to standardize the training of the ADAM/BAE through a training circular that guides the cell to prepare for airspace management operations. The document should guide the cell from individual training requirements to crew and collective training. It should also provide standards to assess personnel and team proficiency in the ADAM/BAE tasks. The document should also relate ADAM/BAE operations to Army tactical tasks outline in the Combined Arms Training Strategy (CATS) tables for Aviation and Air Defense operations. The method of gunnery tables is a good way to organize basic, intermediate, and advance training and articulate the proficiency of the cell to senior leaders. It should cover individual tasks, systems and external integration, airspace plan contributions, airspace control/air ground operations, and crew qualification. Lastly, the training circular development should involve personnel from Aviation and air defense, collaborating on the necessary tasks and skills important for the cell to provide the commander aerial recommendations to make decisions. TC 3-01.50, provides the structure and processes described above, but it is currently is in the final draft stages of publication. In the interim, what do ADAM/BAE cells have, as a standard, to prepare for a decisive action environment?

Example Training Plan
Figure 2. ADAM/BAE Training Snapshot is an example of how to utilize the brigade's mission essential task to shape the training strategy for the ADAM/BAE cell. This document is a leader's view of training progression, and information that feed this document come from the cell's evaluation matrix planned and executed through the training schedule. Illustration courtesy of CPT Chance Smith.

A recommendation for ADAM/BAE cells to prepare for a decisive action environment is to create a training plan based of their brigade’s METL. The ADAM/BAE is responsible for the MET 71-TS-6232, Conduct Air Defense and Airspace Management Operations. The MET has up to 23 collective tasks that prepare the unit for Air Defense and Aviation operations. Too often cells have limited time to prepare for a Combat Training Center (CTC) rotation, and need a guide to help focus training. Figure 2 is an example-training plan based on observations from rotations at the National Training Center. ADAM/BAE training should involve classroom and hands-on exercises. Recommended personnel in the cell should instruct classes to build confidence in oneself and the team. Hand-on training should involve setting up equipment and integrating with maneuver and Air Defense units, brigade Fires cell, and higher headquarters, learning the ADAM/BAE cell’s equipment as well as the interoperability with ABCS and external units.

The ADAM/BAE cell is a valuable capability to the BCT. It provides aerial situational awareness, early warning, and airspace coordination. The ADAM/BAE conducts continuous planning to determine Air Defense and Aviation requirements for unified land operations. If the cell is not prepared to execute its mission, the BCT will struggle at integrating aerial assets into the ground scheme of maneuver, and massing effects to shape the brigade fight. Successful cells understand how to contribute to BCT operations. The leaders integrate into the planning process, and coordinate with other warfighting functions to incorporate airspace management. The Soldiers are proficient creditable members of current operations providing near real-time aerial updates to the staff to help the commander make decisions. To have an ADAM/BAE with this type of reputation take time, dedication, and standardized training strategy nested with the brigade’s METL.


Captain Chance L. Smith is currently an ADAM observer controller/trainer with Bronco Team, Operations Group at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif. Smith has a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Morgan State University, Baltimore, Md. He has served a variety of positions from battery commander, Air Defense Artillery fire control officer and platoon leader. Smith has completed the Aviation Captains Career Course, the Air Defense Artillery Fire Control Officer Course, the Multi-TADIL Advanced Joint Interoperability Course and the Air Defense Artillery Officer Basic Course.