(2) Synchronization includes, but is not limited to, the actual concentration of forces and
fires at the point of decision. Some of the activities which must be synchronized in an operation
(interdiction with maneuver, for example, or the shifting of reserves with the rearrangement of air
defense) must occur before the decisive movement, and may take place at locations far distant from each
other. While themselves separated in time and space, however, these activities are synchronized if their
combined consequences are felt at the decisive time and place.
(3) Thus, if in a attack, supporting fires are synchronized with maneuver, as attacking forces
break out of defilade, supporting fires are shifted from counterfire against enemy artillery to suppression
of enemy direct fire systems. Or on a larger scale, main and supporting attacks are synchronized if the
latter takes place at precisely the right time and place to divert enemy forces and fires from the main
effort as it strikes the enemy. At the operational level, two major operations are synchronized if the
first, by attracting the bulk of enemy forces, uncovers a key objective for decisive attack by the other.
(4) So defined, synchronization may and usually will require explicit coordination among the
various units and activities participating in any operation. By itself, however, such coordination is no
guarantee of synchronization, unless the commander first visualizes the consequences to be produced
and how activities must be sequenced to produce them. Synchronization thus takes place first in the
mind of the commander and then in the actual planning and coordination of movements, fires, and
(5) Synchronization need not depend on explicit coordination if all forces involved fully
understand the intent of the commander, and if they have developed and rehearsed well-conceived
standard responses to anticipated contingencies. In the chaos of battle, when communications fail and
face-to-face coordination is impossible, such implicit coordination may make the difference between
victory and defeat. The enemy, for his part, will do everything in his power to disrupt the
synchronization of friendly operations. The less that synchronization depends on active communication,
the less vulnerable it will be.
(6) In the end, the product of effective synchronization is maximum economy of force.
Every resource is used where and when it will make the greatest contribution to success, and nothing is
wasted or overlooked. To achieve this requires anticipation, mastery of time-space relationships, and a
complete understanding of the ways in which friendly and enemy capabilities interact. Most of all, it
requires unambiguous unity of purpose throughout the force.
2. Desert Storm Application.
To better conceptualize and appreciate the concept of ALB, we can view the U.S. Army as it performed
in Operation Desert Storm. This was a high intensity war, characterized by combat operations
conducted at a high tempo, over a large battlefield in a chemical threat