Soldiers tactical movement across terrain


The glossary lists acronyms and terms with Army, multi-Service, or joint definitions, and other selected terms. Where Army and joint definitions are different, (Army) follows the term. Terms for which FM 3-90 is the proponent publication (the authority) are marked with an asterisk (*). The proponent publication for other terms is listed in parentheses after the definition.


AA assembly area

AAMDC Army air and missile defense command

ABCT armored brigade combat team

ACM airspace coordinating measure

ADAM air defense airspace management

ADP Army doctrine publication

ADRP Army doctrine reference publication

ALO air liaison officer

AMD air and missile defense


AO area of operations

ARFOR Army forces

ASCC Army Service component command

ASCOPE areas, structures, capabilities, organizations, people, and events

ATTP Army tactics, techniques, and procedures

BCT brigade combat team

BFSB battlefield surveillance brigade

BHL battle handover line

BP battle position

BSB brigade support battalion


C2 command and control

CAB combined arms battalion

CAS close air support

CBRN chemical, biological radiological, and nuclear

CBRNE chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosives

CFL coordinated fire line

CFZ critical friendly zone

CI counterintelligence

COA course of action

COLT combat observation and lasing team


COP common operational picture

CP command post

CREW counter-radio controlled improvised explosive device electronic warfare systems

DLIC detachment left in contact

DOD Department of Defense

EA engagement area

EOD explosive ordnance disposal

ENY enemy

EW electronic warfare

FARP forward arming and refuel point

FCL final coordination line

FEBA forward edge of the battle area

FFA free-fire area

FLOT forward line of own troops

FM field manual

FOB forward operating base

FPF final protective fire

FRAGORD fragmentary order

FSCL fire support coordination line

FSCM fire support coordination measure

FSCOORD fire support coordinator

    1. assistant chief of staff, personnel
    2. assistant chief of staff, intelligence
    3. assistant chief of staff, operations
    4. assistant chief of staff, logistics

    G-6 assistant chief of staff, signal

    G-8 assistant chief of staff, resource management

    GEOINT geospatial intelligence

    GPS global positioning system

    IBCT infantry brigade combat team

    IED improvised explosive device

    IPB intelligence preparation of the battlefield

    ISB intermediate staging base

    JAAT joint air attack team

    JFACC joint force air component commander

    JP joint publication

    LC line of contact

    LD line of departure

    LOA limit of advance

    LOC line of communication

    LOGPAC logistics package

    LZ landing zone

    MBA main battle area

    MEB maneuver enhancement brigade

    METT-TC mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available, time available, and civil considerations

    MISO military information support operations

    MLRS Multiple Launch Rocket System

    MOPP mission-oriented protective posture

    MSR main supply route

    NAI named area of interest

    NFA no-fire area

    OAKOC observation and fields of fire, avenues of approach, key terrain, obstacles, and cover and concealment

    OP observation post

    OPCON operational control

    OPORD operations order

    OPSEC operations security

    ORA obstacle restricted area

    ORSA operations research/systems analysis

    OSINT open-source intelligence

    PAA position area for artillery

    PD point of departure

    PL phase line

    PLD probable line of deployment

    PMESII-PT political, military, economic, social, information, infrastructure, physical environment, and time

    POL petroleum, oils, and lubricants

    PZ pickup zone

    QRF quick response force

    RFA restrictive fire area

    RFL restrictive fire line

    RIP relief in place

    RP release point

      1. personnel staff officer
      2. intelligence staff officer
      3. operations staff officer
      4. logistics staff officer

      S-6 signal staff officer

      S-9 civil-military operations officer

      SBCT Stryker brigade combat team

      SOF special operations forces

      SOP standard operating procedure

      SP start point

      TACP tactical air control party

      TAI target area of interest

      TCF tactical combat force

      TRP target reference point

      UAS unmanned aircraft system

      U.S. United States

      USAF U.S. Air Force

      UXO unexploded ordnance

      WMD weapons of mass destruction


      actions on contact

      A series of combat actions often conducted simultaneously taken on contact with the enemy to develop the situation. (ADRP 3-90)

      active air defense

      Direct defensive action taken to destroy, nullify, or reduce the effectiveness of hostile air and missile threats against friendly forces and assets. (JP 3-01)

      air assault

      The movement of friendly assault forces (combat, combat support, and combat service support) by rotary-wing aircraft to engage and destroy enemy forces or to seize and hold key terrain. (JP 3-18)

      airspace control

      A process used to increase operational effectiveness by promoting the safe, efficient, and flexible use of airspace. (JP 3-52)

      alternate position

      A defensive position that the commander assigns to a unit or weapon for occupation when the primary position becomes untenable or unsuitable for carrying out the assigned task. (ADRP 3-90)


      An attack by fire or other destructive means from concealed positions on a moving or temporarily halted enemy.

      area defense

      A defensive task that concentrates on denying enemy forces access to designated terrain for a specific time rather than destroying the enemy outright. (ADRP 3-90)

      area of influence

      A geographical area wherein a commander is directly capable of influencing operations by maneuver or fire support systems normally under the commander’s command or control. (JP 3-0)

      area of interest

      That area of concern to the commander, including the area of influence, areas adjacent thereto, and extending into enemy territory. This area also includes areas occupied by enemy forces who could jeopardize the accomplishment of the mission. (JP 3-0)

      area of operations

      An operational area defined by the joint force commander for land and maritime forces that should be large enough to accomplish their missions and protect their forces. (JP 3-0)

      assault position

      A covered and concealed position short of the objective from which final preparations are made to assault the objective. (ADRP 3-90)

      assault time

      The moment to attack the initial objectives throughout the geographical scope of the operation. (ADRP 3-90)

      *assembly area

      An area a unit occupies to prepare for an operation.


      An offensive task that destroys or defeats enemy forces, seizes and secures terrain, or both. (ADRP 3-90)

      *attack by fire

      A tactical mission task in which a commander uses direct fires, supported by indirect fires, to engage an enemy force without closing with the enemy to destroy, suppress, fix, or deceive that enemy.

      attack by fire position

      The general position from which a unit conducts the tactical task of attack by fire. (ADRP 3-90)

      attack position

      (Army) The last position an attacking force occupies or passes through before crossing the line of departure. (ADRP 3-90)

      axis of advance

      (Army) The general area through which the bulk of a unit’s combat power must move. (ADRP 3-90)

      battle handover line

      A designated phase line on the ground where responsibility transitions from the stationary force to the moving force and vice versa. (ADRP 3-90)

      battle position

      A defensive location oriented on a likely enemy avenue of approach. (ADRP 3-90)


      A tactical mission task that denies the enemy access to an area or prevents the enemy’s advance in a direction or along an avenue of approach. Block is also an obstacle effect that integrates fire planning and obstacle efforts to stop an attacker along a specific avenue of approach or prevent the attacking force from passing through an engagement area.


      A line that delineates surface areas for the purpose of facilitating coordination and deconfliction of operations between adjacent units, formations, or areas. (JP 3-0)

      *box formation

      A unit formation with subordinate elements arranged in a box or square, or two elements up and two elements back. It is a flexible formation that provides equal firepower in all directions. It is generally used when the enemy location is known. This formation can cause 50 percent of the force to be decisively engaged at the same time, therefore limiting the combat power available to maneuver against an enemy.


      A tactical mission task in which the unit employs all available means to break through or establish a passage through an enemy defense, obstacle, minefield, or fortification.


      A rupturing of the enemy’s forward defenses that occurs as a result of a penetration. A breakthrough permits the passage of an exploitation force.


      A tactical mission task in which the commander directs the unit to maneuver around an obstacle, position, or enemy force to maintain the momentum of the operation while deliberately avoiding combat with an enemy force.

      bypass criteria

      Measures during the conduct of an offensive operation established by higher headquarters that specify the conditions and size under which enemy units and contact may be avoided. (ADRP 3-90)


      (Army) A tactical mission task in which the commander restricts enemy movement to a narrow zone by exploiting terrain coupled with the use of obstacles, fires, or friendly maneuver.


      A predetermined point on the ground used to control movement, tactical maneuver, and orientation. (ADRP 1-02)


      A tactical mission task that requires the commander to remove all enemy forces and eliminate organized resistance within an assigned area.

      close combat

      Warfare carried out on land in a direct-fire fight, supported by direct and indirect fires and other assets. (ADRP 3-0)

      *column formation

      The column formation is a combat formation in which elements are placed one behind the other.

      combat formation

      A combat formation is an ordered arrangement of forces for a specific purpose and describes the general configuration of a unit on the ground. (ADRP 3-90)

      combined arms

      The synchronized and simultaneous application of arms to achieve an effect greater than if each arm was used separately or sequentially. (ADRP 3-0)

      concept of operations

      A verbal or graphic statement that clearly and concisely expresses what the joint force commander intends to accomplish and how it will be done using available resources. (JP 5-0)


      Organizing and strengthening a newly captured position so that it can be used against the enemy.

      contact point

      In land warfare, a point on the terrain, easily identifiable, where two or more ground units are required to make physical contact. (JP 3-50)


      (Army) A tactical mission task that requires the commander to stop, hold, or surround enemy forces or to cause them to center their activity on a given front and prevent them from withdrawing any part of their forces for use elsewhere.

      *contiguous area of operations

      Where all of a commander’s subordinate forces’ areas of operations share one or more common boundaries.


      (Army) A tactical mission task that requires the commander to maintain physical influence over a specified area to prevent its use by an enemy or to create conditions necessary for successful friendly operations.

      coordinated fire line

      A line beyond which conventional and indirect surface fire support means may fire at any time within the boundaries of the establishing headquarters without additional coordination. The purpose of the coordinated fire line is to expedite the surface-to-surface attack of targets beyond the coordinated fire line without coordination with the ground commander in whose area the targets are located. (JP 3-09)

      *cordon and search

      A technique of conducting a movement to contact that involves isolating a target area and searching suspected locations within that target area to capture or destroy possible enemy forces and contraband.


      Attack by part or all of a defending force against an enemy attacking force, for such specific purposes as regaining ground lost, or cutting off or destroying enemy advance units, and with the general objective of denying to the enemy the attainment of the enemy’s purpose in attacking. In sustained defensive operations, it is undertaken to restore the battle position and is directed at limited objectives. (ADRP 1-02)


      Fire intended to destroy or neutralize enemy weapons. Includes counterbattery and countermortar fire. (JP 3-09)

      countermobility operations

      Those combined arms activities that use or enhance the effects of natural and man-made obstacles to deny an adversary freedom of movement and maneuver. (FM 3-34)


      (Army) A tactical mission task that encompasses all measures taken by a commander to counter enemy reconnaissance and surveillance efforts. Counterreconnaissance is not a distinct mission, but a component of all forms of security operations.

      critical friendly zone

      An area, usually a friendly unit or location, which the maneuver commander designates as critical to the protection of an asset whose loss would seriously jeopardize the mission. (ADRP 1-02)

      decisive operation

      The operation that directly accomplishes the mission. (ADRP 3-0)

      *decisive terrain

      Key terrain whose seizure and retention is mandatory for successful mission acomplishment.


      A tactical mission task that occurs when an enemy force has temporarily or permanently lost the physical means or the will to fight. The defeated force’s commander is unwilling or unable to pursue that individual’s adopted course of action, thereby yielding to the friendly commander’s will and can no longer interfere to a significant degree with the actions of friendly forces. Defeat can result from the use of force or the threat of its use.

      defensive task

      A task conducted to defeat an enemy attack, gain time, economize forces, and develop conditions favorable for offensive or stability tasks. (ADRP 3-0)

      *delay line

      A phase line where the date and time before which the enemy is not allowed to cross the phase line is depicted as part of the graphic control measure.

      delaying operation

      An operation in which a force under pressure trades space for time by slowing down the enemy’s momentum and inflicting maximum damage on the enemy without, in principle, becoming decisively engaged. (JP 3-04)


      In military decption, a show of force in an area where a decision is not sought that is made to deceive an adversary. It is similar to a feint but no actual contact with the adversary is intended. (JP 3-13.4)

      *denial operations

      Actions to hinder or deny the enemy the use of space, personnel, supplies, or facilities.


      A tactical mission task that occurs when an enemy force has temporarily or permanently lost the physical means or the will to fight. The defeated force’s commander is unwilling or unable to pursue that individual’s adopted course of action, thereby yielding to the friendly commander’s will and can no longer interfere to a significant degree with the actions of friendly forces. Defeat can result from the use of force or the threat of its use.

      *detachment left in contact

      An element left in contact as part of the previously designated (usually rear) security force while the main body conducts its withdrawal.

      *diamond formation

      A diamond formation is a variation of the box combat formation with one maneuver unit leading, maneuver units positioned on each flank, and the remaining maneuver unit to the rear.

      *direct pressure force

      A force employed in a pursuit operation that orients on the enemy main body to prevent enemy disengagement or defensive reconstitution prior to envelopment by the encircling force. It normally conducts a series of attacks to slow the enemy’s retirement by forcing the enemy to stand and fight.

      direction of attack

      A specific direction or assigned route a force uses and does not deviate from when attacking. (ADRP 3-90)


      A tactical mission task where a commander has the unit break contact with the enemy to allow the conduct of another mission or to avoid decisive engagement.

      disengagement line

      A phase line located on identifiable terrain that, when crossed by the enemy, signals to defending elements that it is time to displace to their next positions. (ADRP 3-90)


      A tactical mission task in which a commander integrates direct and indirect fires, terrain, and obstacles to upset an enemy’s formation or tempo, interrupt the enemy’s timetable, or cause enemy forces to commit prematurely or attack in a piecemeal fashion. 2. An obstacle effect that focuses fire planning and obstacle effort to cause the enemy force to break up its formation and tempo, interrupt its timetable, commit breaching assets prematurely, and attack in a piecemeal effort. (FM 90-7)

      *double envelopment

      This results from simultaneous maneuvering around both flanks of a designated enemy force.

      *echelon formation

      A unit formation with subordinate elements arranged on an angle to the left or to the right of the direction of attack (echelon left, echelon right). This formation provides for firepower forward and to the flank of the direction of the echelon. It facilitates control in open areas. It provides minimal security to the opposite flank of the direction of the echeloning.

      encirclement operations

      Operations where one force loses its freedom of maneuver because an opposing force is able to isolate it by controlling all ground lines of communication and reinforcement. (ADRP 3-90)

      *encircling force

      In pursuit operations, the force which maneuvers to the rear or flank of the enemy to block the enemy’s escape so that the enemy can be destroyed between the direct pressure force and encircling force. This force advances or flies along routes parallel to the enemy’s line of retreat. If the encircling force cannot outdistance the enemy to cut the enemy off, the encircling force may also attack the flank of a retreating enemy.

      *engagement area

      Where the commander intends to contain and destroy an enemy force with the massed effects of all available weapons and supporting systems.

      *engagement criteria

      Protocols that specify those circumstances for initiating engagement with an enemy force.

      *engagement priority

      The order in which the unit engages enemy systems or functions.


      A form of maneuver in which an attacking force seeks to avoid the principal enemy defenses by seizing objectives behind those defenses that allow the targeted enemy force to be destroyed in their current positions.


      A tactical mission task where a commander removes Soldiers or units from areas under enemy control by stealth, deception, surprise, or clandestine means.


      An offensive task that usually follows a successful attack and is designed to disorganize the enemy in depth. (ADRP 3-90)


      In military deception, an offensive action involving contact with the adversary conducted for the purpose of deceiving the adversary as to the location and/or time of the actual main offensive action. (JP 3-13.4)

      *field of fire

      The area that a weapon or group of weapons may cover effectively from a given position.

      final coordination line

      A phase line close to the enemy position used to coordinate the lifting or shifting of supporting fires with the final deployment of maneuver elements. (ADRP 3-90)

      final protective fire

      An immediately available preplanned barrier of fires designed to impede enemy movement across defensive lines or areas. (JP 1-02)

      *fire superiority

      That degree of dominance in the fires of one force over another that permits that force to conduct maneuver at a given time and place without prohibitive interference by the enemy.

      fire support coordination line

      A fire support coordination measure that is established and adjusted by appropriate land or amphibious force commanders within their boundaries in consultation with superior, subordinate, supporting, and affected commanders. Fire support coordination lines facilitate the expeditious attack of surface targets of opportunity beyond the coordinating measure. A fire support coordination line does not divide an area of operations by defining a boundary between close and deep operations or a zone for close air support. The fire support coordination line applies to all fires of air, land, and sea- based weapon systems using any type of ammunition. Forces attacking targets beyond a fire support coordination line must inform all affected commanders in sufficient time to allow necessary reaction to avoid fratricide. Supporting elements attacking targets beyond the fire support coordination line must


      ensure that the attack will not produce adverse effects on, or to the rear of, the line. Short of a fire support coordination line, all air-to-ground and surface-to-surface attack operations are controlled by the appropriate land or amphibious force commander. The fire support coordination line should follow well-defined terrain features. Coordination of attacks beyond the fire support coordination line is especially critical to commanders of air, land, and special operations forces. In exceptional circumstances, the inability to conduct this coordination will not preclude the attack of targets beyond the fire support coordination line. However, failure to do so may increase the risk of fratricide and could waste limited resources. (JP 3-09)

      A tactical mission task where a commander prevents the enemy force from moving any part of that force from a specific location for a specific period. Fix is also an obstacle effect that focuses fire planning and obstacle effort to slow an attacker’s movement within a specified area, normally an engagement area.

      *flank attack

      A form of offensive maneuver directed at the flank of an enemy.

      *follow and assume

      A tactical mission task in which a second committed force follows a force conducting an offensive task and is prepared to continue the mission if the lead force is fixed, attrited, or unable to continue.

      *follow and support

      A tactical mission task in which a committed force follows and supports a lead force conducting an offensive task.

      forms of maneuver

      Distinct tactical combinations of fire and movement with a unique set of doctrinal characteristics that differ primarily in the relationship between the maneuvering force and the enemy. (ADRP 3-90)

      *forward boundary

      A boundary of an echelon that is primarily designated to divide responsibilities between it and its next higher echelon.

      forward edge of the battle area

      The foremost limit of a series of areas in which ground combat units are deployed, excluding the areas in which the covering or screening forces are operating, designated to coordinate fire support, the positioning of forces, or the maneuver of units. (JP 3-09.3)

      forward line of own troops

      A line which indicates the most forward positions of friendly forces in any kind of military operation at a specific time. (JP 3-03)

      free-fire area

      A specific area into which any weapon system may fire without additional coordination with the establishing headquarters. (JP 3-09)

      *frontal attack

      A form of maneuver in which an attacking force seeks to destroy a weaker enemy force or fix a larger enemy force in place over a broad front.


      (Army) A form of maneuver in which an attacking force conducts undetected movement through or into an area occupied by enemy forces to occupy a position of advantage behind those enemy positions while exposing only small elements to enemy defensive fires.

      *infiltration lane

      A control measure that coordinates forward and lateral movement of infiltrating units and fixes fire planning responsibilities.


      A tactical mission task where the commander prevents, disrupts, or delays the enemy’s use of an area or route.


      A tactical mission task that requires a unit to seal off—both physically and psychologically—an enemy from sources of support, deny the enemy freedom of movement, and prevent the isolated enemy force from having contact with other enemy forces.

      key terrain

      Any locality, or area, the seizure or retention of which affords a marked advantage to either combatant. (JP 2-01.3)

      *kill zone

      That part of an ambush site where fires are concentrated to isolate, fix, and destroy the enemy.

      *lateral boundary

      A boundary that extends from the rear boundary to the unit’s forward boundary.

      limit of advance

      A phase line used to control forward progress of the attack. The attacking unit does not advance any of its elements or assets beyond the limit of advance, but the attacking unit can push its security forces to that limit. (ADRP 3-90)

      line formation

      When the unit’s subordinate ground maneuver elements move abreast of each other.

      line of communications

      A route, either land, water, and/or air, that connects an operating military force with a base of operations and along which supplies and military forces move. (JP 2-01.3)

      *line of contact

      A general trace delineating the location where friendly and enemy forces are engaged.

      line of departure

      (Army) A phase line crossed at a prescribed time by troops initiating an offensive operation. (ADRP 3-90)

      *linkup point

      A point where two infiltrating elements in the same or different infiltration lanes are scheduled to meet to consolidate before proceeding on with their missions.

      *logistics package

      A grouping of multiple classes of supply and supply vehicles under the control of a single convoy commander.

      main effort

      A designated subordinate unit whose mission at a given point in time is most critical to overall mission success. (ADRP 3-0)

      main battle area

      The area where the commander intends to deploy the bulk of the unit’s combat power and conduct decisive operations to defeat an attacking enemy. (ADRP-3-90)

      *meeting engagement

      A combat action that occurs when a moving force, incompletely deployed for battle, engages an enemy at an unexpected time and place.

      mobile defense

      A defensive task that concentrates on the destruction or defeat of the enemy through a decisive attack by a striking force. (ADRP 3-90)


      A quality or capability of military forces which permits them to move from place to place while retaining the ability to fulfill their primary mission. (JP 3-17)

      mobility operations

      Those combined arms activities that mitigate the effects of natural and man-made obstacles to enable freedom of movement and maneuver. (ATTP 3-90.4)

      movement corridor

      A designated area established to protect and enable ground movement along a route. (FM 3-90.31)

      movement to contact

      (Army) An offensive task designed to develop the situation and establish or regain contact. (ADRP 3-90)

      named area of interest

      (Army) The geographical area where information that will satisfy a specific information requirement can be collected. (ADRP 1-02)


      (Army) A tactical mission task that results in rendering enemy personnel or materiel incapable of interfering with a particular operation.

      *noncontiguous area of operations

      Where one or more of the commander’s subordinate force’s areas of operation do not share a common boundary.

      no-fire area

      An area designated by the appropriate commander into which fires or their effects are prohibited. (JP 3-09.3)


      (Army) A location on the ground used to orient operations, phase operations, facilitate changes of direction, and provide for unity of effort. (ADRP 3-90)

      objective rally point

      A rally point established on an easily identifiable point on the ground where all elements of the infiltrating unit assemble and prepare to attack the objective. (ADRP 3-90)


      Any natural or man-made obstruction designed or employed to disrupt, fix, turn, or block the movement of an opposing force, and to impose additional losses in personnel, time, and equipment on the opposing force. (JP 3-15)

      obstacle belt

      A brigade-level command and control measure, normally given graphically, to show where within an obstacle zone the ground tactical commander plans to limit friendly obstacle employment and focus the defense. (JP 3-15)

      *obstacle control measures

      Specific measures that simplify the granting of obstacle-emplacing authority while providing obstacle control.

      *obstacle groups

      One or more individual obstacles grouped to provide a specific obstacle effect.

      obstacle restricted areas

      A command and control measure used to limit the type or number of obstacles within an area. (JP 3-15)

      obstacle zone

      A division-level command and control measure, normally done graphically, to designate specific land areas where lower echelons are allowed to employ tactical obstacles. (JP 3-15)


      A tactical mission task that involves moving a friendly force into an area so that it can control that area. Both the force’s movement to and occupation of the area occur without enemy opposition.

      offensive tasks

      Tasks conducted to defeat and destroy enemy forces and seize terrain, resources, and population centers. (ADRP 3-0)

      passive air defense

      All measures, other than active air defense, taken to minimize the effectiveness of hostile air and missile threats against friendly forces and assets. (JP 3-01)


      (Army) A form of maneuver in which an attacking force seeks to rupture enemy defenses on a narrow front to disrupt the defensive system.

      phase line

      A line utilized for control and coordination of military operations, usually an easily identified feature in the operational area. (JP 3-09)

      point of departure

      The point where the unit crosses the line of departure and begins moving along a direction of attack. (ADRP 3-90)

      *position area for artillery

      An area assigned to an artillery unit where individual artillery systems can maneuver to increase their survivability. A position area for artillery is not an area of operations for the artillery unit occupying it.

      primary position

      The position that covers the enemy’s most likely avenue of approach into the area of operations. (ADRP 3-90)

      probable line of deployment

      A phase line that designates the location where the commander intends to deploy the unit into assault formation before beginning the assault. (ADRP 3-90)



      An offensive task designed to catch or cut off a hostile force attempting to escape, with the aim of destroying it. (ADRP 3-90)

      An operation to temporarily seize an area in order to secure information, confuse an adversary, capture personnel or equipment, or to destroy a capability culminating with a planned withdrawal. (JP 3-0)

      rally point

        1. An easily identifiable point on the ground at which aircrews and passengers can assemble and reorganize following an incident requiring a forced landing. 2. An easily identifiable point on the ground at which units can reassemble and reorganize if they become dispersed. (ADRP 1-02)

      *rear boundary

      A boundary that defines the rearward limits of a unit’s area. It usually also defines the start of the next echelon’s support area.


      1. A tactical mission task that involves the destruction of an encircled or bypassed enemy force. 2. A mobility task to create and mark lanes through, over, or around an obstacle to allow the attacking force to accomplish its mission. (ATTP 3-90.4)


      All measures taken by the commander to maintain unit combat effectiveness or return it to a specified level of combat capability.

      restrictive fire area

      An area in which specific restrictions are imposed and into which fires that exceed those restrictions will not be delivered without coordination with the establishing headquarters. (JP 3-09)

      restrictive fire line

      A line established between converging friendly surface forces that prohibits fires or their effects across that line. (JP 3-09)


      A tactical mission task in which the commander ensures that a terrain feature controlled by a friendly force remains free of enemy occupation or use.


      An operation in which a force out of contact moves away from the enemy. (ADRP 3-90)


      (Army) A defensive task that involves organized movement away from the enemy. (ADRP 3-90)

      *retrograde movement

      Any movement of a command to the rear, or away from the enemy. It may be forced by the enemy or may be made voluntarily. Such movements may be classified as withdrawal, retirement, or delaying actions.


      The prescribed course to be traveled from a specific point of origin to a specific destination.

      *search and attack

      A technique for conducting a movement to contact that shares many of the characteristics of an area security mission.

      *sector of fire

      That area assigned to a unit, a crew-served weapon, or an individual weapon within which it will engage targets as they appear in accordance with established engagement priorities.


      A tactical mission task that involves preventing a unit, facility, or geographical location from being damaged or destroyed as a result of enemy action.

      security area

      That area that begins at the forward area of the battlefield and extends as far to the front and flanks as security forces are deployed. Forces in the security area furnish information on the enemy and delay, deceive, and disrupt the enemy and conduct counterreconnaissance. (ADRP 3-90)


      (Army) A tactical mission task that involves taking possession of a designated area by using overwhelming force.

      shaping operation

      An operation at any echelon that creates and preserves conditions for success of the decisive operation through effects on the enemy, other actors, and the terrain. (ADRP 3-0)

      *single envelopment

      A form of maneuver that results from maneuvering around one assailable flank of a designated enemy force.

      *spoiling attack

      A tactical maneuver employed to seriously impair a hostile attack while the enemy is in the process of forming or assembling for an attack.

      *stay-behind operation

      An operation in which the commander leaves a unit in position to conduct a specified mission while the remainder of the forces withdraw or retire from an area.

      striking force

      A dedicated counterattack force in a mobile defense constituted with the bulk of available combat power. (ADRP 3-90)

      strong point

      A heavily fortified battle position tied to a natural or reinforcing obstacle to create an anchor for the defense or to deny the enemy decisive or key terrain. (ADRP 3-90)

      subsequent position

      A position that a unit expects to move to during the course of battle. (ADRP 3-90)

      supplementary position

      A defensive position located within a unit’s assigned area of operations that provides the best sectors of fire and defensive terrain along an avenue of approach that is not the primary avenue where the enemy is expected to attack. (ADRP 3-90)

      *support by fire

      A tactical mission task in which a maneuver force moves to a position where it can engage the enemy by direct fire in support of another maneuvering force.

      support by fire position

      The general position from which a unit conducts the tactical mission task of support by fire. (ADRP 3-90)


      (Army) A tactical mission task that results in the temporary degradation of the performance of a force or weapon system below the level needed to accomplish its mission.


      All aspects of protecting personnel, weapons, and supplies while simultaneously deceiving the enemy. (JP 3-34)

      survivability move

      A move that involves rapidly displacing a unit, command post, or facility in response to direct and indirect fires, the approach of an enemy unit, a natural phenomenon, or as a proactive measure based on intelligence, meteorological data, and risk analysis of enemy capabilities and intentions (including weapons of mass destruction). (ADRP 3-90)

      sustaining operation

      An operation at any echelon that enables the decisive operation or shaping operation by generating or maintaining combat power. (ADRP 3-0)

      *tactical mission task

      The specific activity performed by a unit while executing a form of tactical operation or form of maneuver. It may be expressed in terms of either actions by a friendly force or effects on an enemy force.


      An area designated and numbered for future firing. (JP 3-60)

      target area of interest

      The geographical area where high-value targets can be acquired and engaged by friendly forces. Not all target areas of interest will form part of the friendly course of action; only target areas of interest associated with high priority targets are of interest to the staff. These are identified during staff planning and wargaming. Target areas of interest differ from engagement areas in degree. Engagement areas plan for the use of all available weapons; target areas of interest might be engaged by a single weapon. (JP 2-01.3)

      target reference point

      An easily recognizable point on the ground (either natural or man-made) used to initiate, distribute, and control fires. (ADRP 1-02)

      targeted area of interest

      The geographical area or point along a mobility corridor where successful interdiction will cause the enemy to abandon a particular course of action or requires the enemy to use specialized engineer support to continue. It is where the enemy force can be acquired and engaged by friendly forces. (ADRP 1-02)

      time of attack

      The moment the leading elements of the main body cross the line of departure, or in a night attack, the point of departure. (ADRP 3-90)

      time-sensitive target

      A joint force commander designated target requiring immediate response because it is a highly lucrative, fleeting target of opportunity or it poses (or will soon pose) a danger to friendly forces. (JP 3-60)

      trigger line

      A phase line located on identifiable terrain that crosses the engagement area—used to initiate and mass fires into an engagement area at a predetermined range for all or like weapon systems. (ADRP 1-02)


      1. A tactical mission task that involves forcing an enemy element from one avenue of approach or mobility corridor to another. 2. A tactical obstacle effect that integrates fire planning and obstacle effort to divert an enemy formation from one avenue of approach to an adjacent avenue of approach or into an engagement area.

      *turning movement

      (Army) A form of maneuver in which the attacking force seeks to avoid the enemy’s principle defensive positions by seizing objectives behind the enemy’s current positions thereby causing the enemy force to move out of their current positions or divert major forces to meet the threat.

      vertical envelopment

      A tactical maneuver in which troops, either air-dropped or airlanded, attack the rear and flanks of a force, in effect cutting off or encircling the force. (JP 3-18)

      withdrawal operation

      A planned retrograde operation in which a force in contact disengages from an enemy force and moves in a direction away from the enemy. (JP 1-02)