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KFOR  /  Media Center  /  Archive  /  Chronicles  /  Chronicle 2022  /  April  /  Maneuver Units – Role, Form and Function

Maneuver Units – Role, Form and Function

The role of a maneuver unit during stability operations is to restore and/or maintain a safe, stable and secure environment in the AOR, which is defined on the basis of capability and operational objectives. The maneuver unit must ensure Protection of Civilians (POC), as well as freedom of movement (FOM) for KFOR personnel, and security of property, facilities and installations throughout its AOR. Maneuver unit's must also be capable of planning and executing all stability tasks as directed.

A unit, operating either as part of a traditional or a multidimensional stability operation, is central to mandate implementation and maneuver forces, normally assigned to Infantry is the key capability for the military component and, as such, it is important that it has the training, organization and equipment required to deliver its mission and mandate. In today's complex operating environments, the POC, the safety and security of supporting personnel and installations are priority tasks. Host nation (HN) governments have the primary responsibility for protecting civilians inside their borders, consistent with their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law. However, when host governments are unable or unwilling to do so, military peacekeepers are authorized, and duty bound to undertake actions to protect civilians and carry out mandated tasks in accordance with the Rules of Engagement (ROE). 

To function effectively in complex, dangerous, and rapidly evolving operating environments, maneuver forces needs to have well-resourced, and practiced operational capabilities, comprising the appropriate mix of personnel and equipment. The most common operational tasks required to support stability mandates are outlined below, complete with planning considerations and guidance on their conduct and execution. Some of these sixteen tasks are best planned and executed at the maneuver unit-level, due to their complexity and/or resource requirements, while others are typically delegated to the company or even platoon-level. 

However, almost all tasks require combat support and/or combat service support, and maneuver unit staff must plan to facilitate this. For example, the establishment of a Temporary Operating Base (TOB) will require engineering and medical support, together with incorporation into the maneuver unit-level indirect fire plan. Similarly, some tasks, listed here as company or platoon tasks, may also have to be executed at the maneuver unit level. For example, the maneuver unit will also have to establish an Operating Base and may have to conduct Relief in Place. 

Examples of Battalion-level tasks: 

• Conduct Protection of Civilians.
• Support Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration.
• Conduct Cordon and Search.
• Conduct Offensive operations.
• Conduct Extraction.
• Conduct Withdrawal.
• Casualty Evacuation 

Examples of Company or Platoon-level tasks: 

• Establish an Operating Base
• Establish a Checkpoint.
• Establish an Observation Post.
• Conduct Defensive operations (for a Temporary Operating Base (TOB)).
• Conduct Convoy Escort/Tactical Move.
• Conduct a Patrol.
• Conduct a Relief in Place.
• Conduct Reinforcement.
• Conduct Civil Disturbance Control or Crowd Control.

Maneuver units can deploy in many forms, sizes or shapes, orientated around the threat and operating environment, these forms can include a standard Battalions, a Quick Reaction Force, or as a Reserve. Individual companies can be designated as Light, Motorized or Mechanized. 

Due to the complexity of stability operations, specific platoons in each Coy can also be trained and equipped for crowd riot control (CRC) tasks or some have the ability to act as Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) functional units. Regardless its role, the maneuver unit is required to plan according to the planning principles outlined above and to conduct tasks, according to the guidelines below. To understand how the planning principles and tasks combine to enable mission completion, consider the following example. A maneuver unit deploys to uphold the POC aspect of its mandate, in line with international humanitarian and human rights law (IHL/IHRL). While deployed, the maneuver unit will be required to execute several tasks, either concurrently or sequentially, involving units of different sizes. 

To assure POC the maneuver unit will have to set up Check Points, Observation Posts, and conduct patrols. These tasks may have to be completed safely (Force Protection), while working with other contingents (interoperability) and may require the maneuver unit to use force (employment of firepower). The maneuver unit may also have to deploy non-kinetic units (Liaison Monitoring Teams) to interact with community leaders (engagement). To function effectively in a complex and multidimensional mission environment, maneuver unit's needs to have multifaceted operational capability, resourced by the correct combination of specialized personnel and equipment. KFOR maneuver unit's are configured with a specific focus on integrated employment in accordance with peacekeeping mission requirements. 

Building on conventional infantry capabilities, maneuver unit are trained and deployed to execute a wide range of stability tasks. In the stability and peacekeeping context, "capability" is defined as the ability and readiness to deliver against a reasonable standard. It encompasses the combination of capacities (personnel and equipment), preparedness (organization, process and training) and logistics sustainment required to achieve the mission and implement the mandate.

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