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Army August 28, 2014
Rapidly deployable HQ ready
Combat brigades validate HQ concept for command and control in conflicts, Cpl Mark Doran reports.
ARMY’S new rapidly
deployable brigade HQ
was validated during
Exercise Hamel 2014.
Over the past 18 months, Army’s
three combat brigades, assisted by 6
CS Bde, have sought to design, deploy
and validate a HQ concept that is able
to command and control an enabled
combat brigade conducting tactical
tasks across the spectrum of conflicts.
The mobile and flexible concept
consists of three nodes – HQ tactical,
forward and main – and an enduring
rear command and control node, which
supports the deployed combat brigade
from its mounting base.
All three HQ nodes can deploy
rapidly by air or sea to any theatre
of operations and can operate from
Base-X folding frame shelters, fixed
infrastructure or underground shelters.
Brigade Major Maj Ben McLennan,
of 3 Bde, said the innovative construct
of the brigade HQ was designed to meet
the command and control requirements
of Plan Beersheba.
“It can command a combat brigade
or a joint interagency task force fighting
in austere conditions over an extended
period of time,” he said.
“The HQ construct was conceived
by representatives from all brigades
as well as the Defence Science and
Technology Organisation and the
Combat Training Centre. It has been
a real team effort and we believe the
The three deployable nodes provide
complementary characteristics and
capacities, which enable effective,
efficient and flexible control of the
HQ main is directed by the deputy
commander and is the hub of the
deployed formation’s joint interagency
task force. Owing to its size, it is kept
as far from the forward edge of the
battlefield as possible.
Its functions include deep planning,
intelligence analysis, key leadership
engagements, personnel and logistics
support, and replicating the joint
operations room maintained in
The HQ forward element projects
itself closer to the area of fighting
in order to command the immediate
Maj McLennan said aside from
performing the command and control
functions described in combat
brigade procedures, HQ forward must
implement a variety of passive and
active measures to survive.
“It would likely be one of the most
attractive targets for the adversary to
neutralise, so it must be able to step
up regularly and maintain a low visual
and electronic signature to defeat
enemy attempts to locate it,” Maj
HQ tactical is led by the brigade
commander and includes the brigade
RSM, the commander’s liaison officer
acting as the platoon commander, and
the COs of the artillery and engineer
“The tactical HQ pushes even
closer to the forward line of troops,”
Maj McLennan said.
“This allows the commander to
command the battle, or key events
in the battlespace, and the junior
commanders and soldiers executing
“The commander can gain a better
appreciation for what is actually
happening in the battlespace.”
As a high-value target for enemy
forces, survivability is high on the list
of priorities for the combat brigade
Irrespective of the node, command
posts present a significant electronic,
thermal, acoustic, visual and moving
The HQ needs to deny
adversary attempts to locate and
neutralise its command, control and
Maj McLennan said these risks
were treated by exhibiting superior
field and battle craft, vehicle craft,
mobility and redundancy.
“Our step-up procedures are now
well-practised and our visual signature
on the ground or from the air is
minimal,” he said.
“Our redundancy procedures are
also well developed.
“If the HQ forward or tactical are
neutralised, control of the brigade
passes automatically to the replicated
joint operations room in HQ main.”
Maj McLennan said HQ
forward’s infrastructure could be
readily abandoned, while the node
moved to an emergency rendezvous,
reconstituted, then re-established
control of the formation.
“Even HQ main can step up,” he
said. “If any of the separated nodes
were neutralised, the other two, or
even one, could take control.
“Given where and how we position
the nodes within the battlespace,
it is unlikely all three nodes would
Commander 3 Bde Brig Roger Noble briefs troops at
the rehearsal of concept drill for a brigade live-fire
activity during Exercise Hamel. The rapidly deployable
brigade HQ was validated during the exercise.
Photo by Cpl David Cotton
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