--Priority of Work

3-83. Priority of work is a set method of controlling the preparation and conduct of a defense. Tactical SOPs should describe priority of work including individual duties. The platoon leader changes priorities based on the situation. All leaders in the platoon should have a specific priority of work for their duty position. Although listed in sequence, several tasks are performed at the same time. An example priority of work sequence is as follows ─

  • Post local security.
  • Position and assign sectors of fire for each BFV or ICV.
  • Establish the platoons reconnaissance and surveillance.
  • Position Javelins, machine guns, and Soldiers; assign sectors of fire.
  • Position other assets (platoon command post).
  • Designate final protective lines and final protective fires.
  • Clear fields of fire and prepare range cards and area of operations sketches.
  • Adjust indirect fire final protective fires. The firing unit fire direction center should provide a safety box clearing of all friendly units before firing adjusting rounds.
  • Prepare fighting positions.
  • Install wire communications, if applicable.
  • Emplace obstacles and mines.
  • Mark (or improve marking for) target reference points and direct fire-control measures.
  • Improve primary fighting positions such as overhead cover.
  • Prepare alternate and supplementary positions.
  • Establish sleep and rest plan.
  • Reconnoiter movements.
  • Rehearse engagements and disengagements or displacements.
  • Adjust positions and control measures as required.
  • Stockpile ammunition, food, and water.
  • Dig trenches between positions.
  • Reconnoiter routes.
  • Continue to improve positions.


3-84. Many duties can be delegated to subordinates, but the platoon leader ensures they are done. This includes -

  • Ensuring local security and assigning observation post responsibility.
  • Conducting a leader's reconnaissance with the platoon sergeant and selected personnel.
  • Confirming or denying significant deductions or assumptions from the mission analysis.
  • Confirming the direct fire plan, to include engagement area, sectors of fire, position essential weapons, and fire control measures.
  • Designating primary, alternate, supplementary, and subsequent positions supporting the direct fire plan, for platoons, sections, and supporting elements.
  • Requiring squads to conduct coordination. Integrating indirect fire plan and obstacles to support the direct fire plan.
  • Designating the general platoon command post location, and positioning essential weapons.
  • Checking the platoon command post and briefing the platoon sergeant on the situation and logistics requirements.
  • Upon receipt of the squads’ area of operations sketches, makes two copies of the platoon defensive area of operations sketch and fire plan, retaining one copy and forwarding the other copy to the company. (See figure 3-9.)
  • Confirming the direct fire plan and squad positions before digging starts. Coordinating with the left and right units.
  • Checking with the company commander for all changes or updates in the orders.
  • Finishing the security, deception, counterattack, and obstacle plans.
  • Walking the platoon positions after they are dug.
  • Confirming clear fields of fire and complete coverage of the platoon’s entire area of operations by all essential weapons.
  • Looking at the defensive plan from an enemy point of view, conceptually and physically.
  • Checking dissemination of information, interlocking fires, and dead space.
  • Ensuring immediate correction of deficiencies.
  • Ensuring rehearsals are conducted and obstacle locations reported.
Platoon defensive area of operation sketch

Figure 3-9. Platoon defensive area of operation sketch


3-85. Duties and responsibilities include —

  • Establishing the platoon command post and ensures wire communications link the platoon, squads, and attached elements, if applicable.
  • Establishing casualty collection points, platoon logistics release points, and detainee collection points, and locating company level points.
  • Briefing squad leaders on the platoon command post location, logistics plan, and routes between positions.
  • Assisting the platoon leader with the sector of fire and area of operations sketch.
  • Requesting and allocating pioneer tools, barrier materiel, rations, water, and ammunition.
  • Walking the positions with the platoon leader. Supervising emplacement of squads, essential weapons, check range cards, and area of operations sketches.
  • Establishing routine security or alert plans, radio watch, and rest plans and briefing the platoon leader.
  • Supervising continuously and assisting the platoon leader with other duties as assigned.
  • Selecting slit trench location and ensuring it is properly marked.


3-86. The squad leader —

  • Emplaces local security.
  • Confirms positioning and assigned sectors of fire for his squad.
  • Confirms positioning and assigned sectors of fire for the CCMS and medium machine gun teams.
  • Positions and assigns sectors of fire for automatic rifleman, grenadiers, and riflemen.
  • Establishes command post and wire communications.
  • Confirms designate FPL and final protective fires.
  • Clears fields of fire and prepares range cards.
  • Prepares squad range card and area of operations sketches.
  • Digs fighting positions.
  • Establishes communication and coordination within the platoon, and adjacent units.
  • Coordinates with adjacent units. Reviews sector of fire and area of operations sketches.
  • Emplaces antitank and Claymores, then wire and other obstacles.
  • Marks or improves marking for target reference points and other fire control measures.
  • Improves primary fighting positions and adds overhead cover (stage 2).
  • Prepares supplementary and alternate positions (same procedure as the primary position).
  • Establishes sleep and rest plans.
  • Distributes and stockpiles ammunition, food, and water.
  • Digs trenches to connect positions.
  • Continues to improve positions, construct revetments, replace camouflage, and add to overhead cover.


3-87. The FO 

  • Assists the platoon leader in planning the indirect fires to support defensive missions.
  • Advises the platoon leader on the status of all firing units, and on the use of obscurants or illumination.
  • Coordinates with the Infantry company fire support officer, firing units, and squad leaders to ensure the fire plan is synchronized and fully understood.
  • Ensures the indirect fire plan is rehearsed and understood by all.
  • Ensures all final protective fires are adjusted as soon as possible.
  • Develops an observation plan.
  • Coordinates and rehearses all repositioning of observers within the platoon area of operations to ensure they can observe targets or areas of responsibility.
  • Develops triggers.
  • Reports information collection activities.
  • Ensures redundancy in communications.


3-88. The ultimate goal of adjacent unit coordination is to ensure unity of effort in accomplishment of the Infantry mission. Items adjacent units coordinate include —

  • Unit positions, including locations of vital leaders’ call signs and frequencies.
  • Locations of observation posts and patrols.
  • Overlapping fires (to ensure direct fire responsibility is clearly defined).
  • Target reference points).
  • Alternate, supplementary, and subsequent battle positions.
  • Indirect fire information.
  • Obstacles (location and type).
  • Air defense considerations, if applicable.
  • Routes to be used during occupation and repositioning.
  • Sustainment considerations.