but focuses on operational maneuver, attacking selected elements of the enemy. ALE, with its large
forward-deployed heavy armored, infantry, and mechanized (AIM) divisions, is giving way to the ALO
concept of smaller CONUS-based forces that blend a mix of armored, light, and special operations units.
A smaller active force will require a more prepared reserve component to augment its ranks.
c. ALO focuses on a joint and combined/coalition force. The force will engage in nonlinear
maneuver; aerial and indirect fires; intelligence, electronic warfare, and deception: airborne and air
assault; and armored and/or infantry force movements to destroy the enemy.
d. The operational cycle. Operations are conducted through four interrelated functions, or
stages of the operational cycle, which focus activities of all elements of the force. TRADOC Pam 525-5
details the operational cycle:
(1) Stage 1: The first stage is preparation for the operation by obtaining information,
movement planning, assessment of intelligence, intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB), and
staging capabilities. Joint sensors and intelligence systems are employed to clearly see the battlefield
(where the enemy is and is not), locate major enemy forces, and target selected critical portions of
enemy forces. Gaining the initiative early and maintaining control of the battle through the decisive
surveillance, and target acquisition (RISTA), and air power provide the means. Security is maintained
by employment of deception and psychological operations, robust cavalry, other counter-RISTA forces,
and agile attack systems to hedge against sensor failures or deception and to focus combat power.
(2) Stage 2: The second stage is using all means necessary to set the conditions for the best
use of Army capabilities to achieve decisive results. Battlefield conditioning and shaping isolates
selected enemy forces in time and space to create favorable conditions for employment of U.S. and
allied air and ground maneuver forces. Conditions for decisive maneuver are established by
synchronizing joint fires such as long-range artillery cannons, missiles and rockets, attack aviation, and
tactical air assets, while concurrently positioning maneuver forces. Employment of operational fires and
maneuver disadvantages and defeats enemy forces and minimizes the enemy threat to our dispersal and
logistics areas. Early location, tracking, targeting, and attack of critical, deep enemy capabilities
enhances operational flexibility. Advanced (more capable and responsive) RISTA is critical to
operational success. A rigorous battle damage assessment (BDA) program must be used for the efficient
employment of critical assets.