PACE Planning Part 3: Who Establishes the PACE Plan?

At the beginning of this series, I outlined what I believe to be the 3 key points of PACE planning and set up an example operation to better facilitate understanding of PACE planning (read HERE). Then, I broke down the example operation and applied key point number one to it: “PACE planning is phase specific and every mission will have multiple PACE plans” (read HERE). In this article, we are going to apply key point number 2 to our example operation, layout the communication methods MSOT 82XX has, environmental concerns, and the enemy’s electronic warfare (EW) capabilities.

Applying Key Point 2

Key Point 2: You establish PACE plans for partners or other friendly forces to reach you and for team internal communications.

What does this mean exactly? Simply stated, this point highlights who should be determining the PACE plan for each phase of a mission. Remember the first key point; every PACE plan will have multiple PACE plans. Your complete PACE plan will have a PACE plan to reach everyone involved in the operation. Before we explain how we apply key point number 2, we need to define a couple of terms.

Main Effort: This is the unit that is leading the operation. In our example operation, MSOT 82XX is the main effort.

General Support: These units are in support of your operation but are also supporting other unit’s operations at the same time. This includes higher-in-command units as well. For our example operation, our general support teams are MEDEVAC, Air Support, and the MSOC.

Direct Support: These are units that are involved in the operation solely to support the main effort. In our example operation, TRIDENT 25XX, PNF, and each separated element from MSOT 82XX is considered direct support.

In most cases, the main effort of the operation establishes how other people will talk to them. Generally, there is only one exception to this rule: general support units. This is because these units are usually supporting multiple units simultaneously and they are unable to adjust their communication methods for multiple different units at the same time.

How do we apply key point number 2 to our example operation? It’s quite simple. We are going to identify who is the main effort, who is direct support, and who is a general support unit. From there, we will know who we need to establish a PACE plan for, and who we need to get a PACE plan from. Let’s look at the PACE plan from our last article and identify everyone according to their role:

Main Effort (Blue): As we are already aware, MSOT 82XX is the main effort. They will be creating the collective PACE plan.

General Support (Green): The MSOC, MEDEVAC, and Air Support teams will be supporting any operation that is being conducted, this makes them a general support unit. We will need to use their established PACE plan.

Direct Support (Orange): Our PNF and TRIDENT 25XX are our direct support elements, so they will need a PACE plan from us.

Team Internal (Orange): MSOT 82XX MSS/ LOS-OP/ Mortars are MSOT 82XX’s team internal elements. So obviously we will need to make the PACE plan for each element. As I mentioned earlier, we consider these elements as direct support as well.

LFP (Grey): Lost friendly plan is a little unique. Usually, this PACE plan is set by the higher-in-command unit so any search and rescue party can attempt to get in contact with a lost friendly. In this case, we will need to get the LFP from the MSOC. It is not a bad idea to also establish a team internal LFP, however.

There we have it, key point number 2 is now applied. This point is a simple concept, but it is vitally important to distinguish who is responsible for establishing a PACE plan during each phase of a mission. Otherwise, you may be expecting certain general support units to be using your communication methods when they are also supporting other operations being conducted.

Comms Capabilities, EW Threats, & Terrain

Before we can talk about key point number 3 in our next PACE planning article, we need to lay out what communication capabilities MSOT 82XX has, what EW threat is present to them, and we need to understand what terrain they are working in. I am going to try and simplify the communication capabilities as best as possible to avoid speaking about any technical specifics in this article series.


Radio Nets:
– 25K dedicated satellite communication. (theatre shared net; voice & data communication capability)
– 5K dedicated satellite communication. (theatre shared net; voice & data communication capability)
– DAMA satellite communication. (theatre shared net; voice & data communication capability)
– 3x LOS VHF nets. (team internal nets; voice communications only)
– 3x LOS UHF nets. (team internal nets; voice communications only)
– 2x LOS HF nets. (team internal nets; voice & data communication capability)

SOF Deployable Nodes:
– SOF Deployable Node – Medium (static satellite networking system)
– SOF Deployable Node – Light (static and mobile satellite networking system)

Emergency Comms: (unencrypted forms of communication)
– Iridium satellite phone
– Local cell phone


– Friendlies have reported hearing enemy chatter over their team internal VHF and UHF nets.
– Friendlies have reported GPS jamming in enemy controlled territories.


– MSOT 82XX will be moving from their team house in an urban environment to their known observation point in a mountainous environment. They will be traveling through an open desert to get to and from their objective.

I understand some of this information, especially MSOT 82XX’s communication capabilities, may be a little confusing right now. In the next article, I will explain further what each communication capability is and what it can do before we begin establishing a PACE plan with them.

In this article, we learned who MSOT 82XX will be getting a PACE plan from, and who will be using MSOT 82XX’s PACE plan during our example operation. In summary, key point number 2 explains that the main effort of any operation will be establishing the PACE plan for their operation, except for general support units involved. In the next article on PACE planning, we will get a better understanding of the available communication capabilities MSOT 82XX has, apply our last key point in preparing our PACE plan, and we then have a completed PACE plan for our example operation.

If you have any questions or comments about PACE planning, send them over to us at [email protected]