The U.S. Army's Battlefield Coordination Detachments

Thursday March 15, 2012

What is it?

As the Army's only Battlefield Coordination Detachment (BCD) in Europe, the 19th BCD, located at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, supports two combatant commands. It serves as liaison to two Army Service Component Commands and their Air Force counterparts: the U.S. Army Europe and U.S. Air Force Europe; and, U.S. Army Africa's liaison to U.S. Air Force Africa. The BCD is comprised of approximately 40 Soldiers, mostly field grade officers and senior NCOs, who synchronize air and ground operations within the 603rd Air & Space Operations Center (AOC). They process requests for preplanned and immediate tactical air support, monitor and interpret the land battle situation in the AOC, and provide the necessary interface for the exchange of current intelligence, operational information, and theater airlift data. The 19th is one of only five geographically aligned BCDs in the Army structure.

What has the Army done?

The Army's first BCD was activated as a Table of Organization and Equipment (MTOE) unit in 1997, and designated as the 19th BCD. In 2007, it deployed to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar serving as Central Command's (CENTCOM's) BCD, supporting operations Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Recently, it supported Operation Odyssey Dawn, as part of the joint task force that protected the Libyan people. In this mission, the 19th BCD facilitated cross-component information sharing, performed liaison duty for the Marine Expeditionary Unit, and facilitated Army responses.

What continued efforts are planned for the BCD in the future?

BCDs will continue to be a strategic enabler for combatant commands, synchronizing the efforts of Army and Air Force headquarters as well as any other designated mission command headquarters.

Why are BCDs important to the Army?

Synchronization between the Army and the Air Force is essential in today's complex environment. BCDs ensure that the Army commanders' intent is understood by the Air Force and is incorporated into the joint targeting cycle. While it also routinely liaises between theater Army and Air Force components on non-tactical issues, the BCD's ultimate purpose is to ensure that required air support is there where and when Army forces require.

Resources:

U.S. Army Europe

More information on 19th BCD's actions during Operation Odyssey Dawn (PDF)

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