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Combat support (CS)

Definition Combat support (CS) refers to the various units, organizations, and services that provide essential assistance and resources to front-line combat elements in a military operation. This support typically includes functions such as intelligence, communications, logistics, and medical assistance. CS enhances the effectiveness and sustainability of fighting forces, enabling them to carry out their missions […]


Combat support (CS) refers to the various units, organizations, and services that provide essential assistance and resources to front-line combat elements in a military operation. This support typically includes functions such as intelligence, communications, logistics, and medical assistance. CS enhances the effectiveness and sustainability of fighting forces, enabling them to carry out their missions successfully.

Key Takeaways

  1. Combat support (CS) refers to a wide range of units, functions, and capabilities that primarily assist and enhance the effectiveness of combat arms, such as infantry, armor, and artillery, in achieving their mission objectives.
  2. The primary goal of CS is to ensure the readiness and sustainability of fighting forces by providing critical logistics, intelligence, medical, engineering, and communication services, among others, to enhance their overall combat effectiveness.
  3. As a crucial component of military operations, CS units work in close coordination with other elements of a force, including combat and combat service support units, to provide a seamless and integrated effort in planning and executing missions across diverse operational environments and scenarios.


Combat support (CS) holds significant importance in military operations as it contributes to the overall effectiveness, efficiency, and success of combat missions.

CS encompasses a wide range of essential services and capabilities, including engineering, logistics, intelligence, communications, and medical support.

These services enable combat forces to carry out their operations seamlessly and help sustain their fighting capabilities.

By providing the necessary backing to the frontline troops, Combat support ensures that soldiers can focus on their core mission objectives while having access to on-time assistance and resources.

Furthermore, CS plays a vital role in enhancing the operational endurance, adaptability, and readiness of the military forces, which ultimately results in a more coordinated and powerful response to any given threat or situation.


Combat support (CS) plays a crucial role in modern military operations by providing essential capabilities and services to directly aid forces engaged in combat situations. The primary purpose of combat support is to extend and enhance the overall operational effectiveness of armed forces, contributing to mission success and the accomplishment of strategic objectives. CS is fundamental in reinforcing frontline combat units, ensuring seamless and uninterrupted execution of a wide range of combat and peacekeeping missions.

Various elements within the military contribute to combat support. It encompasses specific functions such as intelligence gathering, communications, logistics, engineering, medical support, and transportation. For example, military intelligence provides vital information of enemy forces and their capabilities, strengthening the situational awareness of combat troops in the field.

Furthermore, CS encompasses logistical functions involved in the continuous supply of ammunition, fuel, food, and other necessities to facilitate the smooth execution of operations. Engineering assets play a significant role, enabling the construction and maintenance of infrastructure and defenses in a conflict zone, while medical personnel ensure the health and welfare of the forces. In the increasingly interconnected battlefield environment, combat support is essential for maintaining the morale and fighting capabilities of the front-line units, ultimately enabling the successful accomplishment of the mission.

Examples of Combat support (CS)

Artillery and Close Air Support: In the 2003 Iraq War, combat support units played a crucial role in assisting ground troops in their advances. The U.S. Army’s field artillery units worked closely with the Air Force to provide coordinated firing and aerial support, which led to more precise targeting and increased effectiveness in neutralizing enemy positions. This support enabled infantry and armored units to move forward with less resistance, ultimately helping to capture key cities and strategic locations.

Logistics and Supply: During the 1991 Gulf War, Operation Desert Shield was a critical combat support operation providing equipment, supplies, and additional forces to the region. This support included thousands of personnel from the U.S. and other coalition countries organizing and transporting food, water, fuel, ammunition, and other necessary resources for the war effort. The success of this extensive logistical operation ensured that troops had the necessary resources to conduct combat operations during Operation Desert Storm.

Military Intelligence and Reconnaissance: The role of combat support in intelligence gathering and reconnaissance is crucial for modern military operations. During the 2011 operation to find and eliminate Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, various combat support units played an essential role. These included the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA), and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which provided accurate intelligence on bin Laden’s location and the compound’s layout. Additionally, support from reconnaissance units, such as aerial and satellite surveillance teams, were critical in planning and executing the operation by the U.S. Navy SEALs.

FAQ: Combat Support (CS)

What is Combat Support (CS)?

Combat Support (CS) refers to a variety of military functions that support combat operations and enhance the effectiveness of combat arms. These support functions often involve operations like intelligence, communication, engineering, and logistics.

What are the primary roles of Combat Support (CS)?

The primary roles of Combat Support (CS) are to provide essential support to combat units on the battlefield, enhance their fighting capabilities, and assist in achieving their tactical and strategic objectives. This supports combat units by coordinating tasks like supply, maintenance, transportation, medical services, and military intelligence.

How does Combat Support (CS) differ from Combat Service Support (CSS)?

Combat Support (CS) is focused on directly supporting combat operations by providing capabilities that enhance the effectiveness of combat arms, while Combat Service Support (CSS) deals with the administrative and logistic functions that maintain and sustain combat operations. However, both CS and CSS are essential components of a fully functional fighting force.

What are some examples of Combat Support (CS) units?

Examples of Combat Support (CS) units include military intelligence units, signal (communication) units, military police, engineer units, and air defense artillery. These units work together to provide functions like surveillance, reconnaissance, and communication support to the combat forces.

Why is Combat Support (CS) important in military operations?

Combat Support (CS) is crucial in military operations as it enhances the efficiency, effectiveness, and survivability of combat forces. It provides essential capabilities that allow combat units to plan, coordinate, and execute their operations more successfully. With improved situational awareness, communication, and logistical support, CS can directly contribute to the success of military missions.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Post-9/11 GI Bill
  • Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC)
  • Service-Connected Disability Compensation
  • Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP)
  • Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Services

Sources for More Information

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