Protecting the Force? A Historical Perspective on the Operational Effect of the Division Protection Cell   [open pdf - 329KB]

"Because the protection cell is such a recent creation and is still being developed in many corps and divisions, there is little literature regarding the operational effects of these operational planning units. The resultant lack of understanding of the key operational changes that have occurred in the organization of the staff hinders effective operational planning and mission command. Because of the myriad complex tasks compiled under the protection cell, the research is limited to three primary areas of survivability, CBRN [Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear] operations, and operational area security. These areas highlight the greater issues encompassed by protection cell however, addressing the question of what the operational effect of the division protection cell has been. Through a better understanding of the functions of the protection cell, divisions will be better able to conduct operations with effective, integrative protection efforts. Cynics and opponents of the current division staff structure may balk at its size and dismiss it as ineffective compared to earlier, smaller staffs. They mistake the organization's robust numbers as bloated, and excessive when compared with requirements that the staff should be able to handle. On the contrary, today's operational environment requires a vast number of distinct but supportive and interdependent specialists working in concert toward operational objectives. The division protection cell is a perfect example of just such an organization. Through the lenses of survivability, CBRN operations, and area security, the operational effect of the division protection cell has been an increased efficiency with regard to the flow of information, training, and planning integration across seemingly disparate specialties; inefficient internal staff organization and a lack of professional development programs for protection officers, however, prevent the division protection cell from reaching its full operational potential."

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