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Control point

Definition A control point in military operations is a designated position on the ground marked by coordinates which is used to control movement, provide a reference for reporting, or synchronize tactics. These points may be physical or geospatial in nature. They are critical for coordination, planning and execution of operations. Key Takeaways A Control Point […]


A control point in military operations is a designated position on the ground marked by coordinates which is used to control movement, provide a reference for reporting, or synchronize tactics. These points may be physical or geospatial in nature. They are critical for coordination, planning and execution of operations.

Key Takeaways

  1. A Control Point is a significant point in the military operational landscape that is often associated with operational planning and tactical manoeuvring tasks. It is essentially a physical identifier on the battlefield that plays a pivotal role in controlling troop movements.
  2. Control Points assist commanders, navigators, and troops in maneuvering and directing forces, providing a clear reference for military mission planning, tactical decision-making and communication, thus improving the effectiveness and efficiency in the operation process.
  3. Control Points range from human-constructed elements such as bridges or roads to more naturally occurring features like hills or rivers. This essentially makes them both strategic targets and focal points for defensive measures as their capture, destruction, or defense can significantly impact the outcome of military operations.


The military operations term “Control Point” is indeed important because it allows for efficient communication and coordination during operations. A control point is defined as any designated location on the landscape, marked physically or electronically, which functions as a navigational reference or a point for controlling movement.

These points may include intersections, bridges, hills, or other identifiable features. They help militaries manage not only the movements of their own forces but also to monitor and control the movement of enemy forces.

This can facilitate strategic planning, tactical execution, and even logistics and resupplying efforts. Thus, the use of control points can significantly enhance the efficiency, effectiveness and overall success of a military operation.


The purpose of a Control Point (CP) in military operations is to enable command and control over ongoing activities during a mission. It works as a designated location from which particular commands are issued, and an area is monitored or regulated. Control points are incredibly crucial for the regulation of troop movement, coordination of units, and monitoring of ongoing operations.

Whether it’s managing a convoy, issuing orders to platoons, or handling the movement of an entire battalion, the control point acts as a focal point for all these activities. Moreover, control points are used for establishing order and system in military operations. They are essential in maintaining the precise execution of strategies and ensuring that all units are precisely where they are needed at the right times.

This allows the overseeing of timely response to threats and the proper execution of mission objectives. For tactical efficiency and safety of the troops on the ground, the existence of control points is indispensable. They also facilitate communication and enable the smooth transition of orders from the command to units on the ground.

Examples of Control point

Operation Neptune (D-Day): This was the military operation that marked the beginning of the end of World War II. The Allied forces planned to land on the beaches of Normandy in France. The beaches (Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, Sword) served as control points for the operation. Each beach needed to be secured by the incoming forces to ensure the successful movement and further coordination of the troops.

Operation Desert Storm: During the Gulf War in the 1991, one of the most important control points for the Allied forces was the city of Kuwait, particularly Kuwait International Airport. The airport was a key location from which the coalition could launch further offensives against Iraq. Hence, controlling the airport was crucial for the success of the operation.

Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan (2002): The operation aimed at defeating the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces in the Shahi-Kot Valley and Arma Mountains. The U.S. forces identified potential control points like hilltops and ridges that they needed to occupy to control the enemy’s movements and to provide the U.S forces a tactical advantage.

FAQ Section for Control Point Operations

1. What is a Control Point in Military Operations?

A Control Point in military operations is a designated position marked by coordinates (latitude and longitude) which is used as a reference point for tactical operations and navigational support.

2. Why are Control Points important in Military Operations?

Control Points are crucial in military operations as they help in coordinating troop movements, establishing deployment areas, and planning maneuvers. They also provide a point of reference for reports and communication during operations.

3. How are Control Points established?

Control Points are usually established by a commanding officer based on strategic requirements. They are typically visible on both physical and digital maps, and they can be any identifiable point in the operational environment.

4. What are some examples of Control Points?

Examples of Control Points could include a distinctive terrain feature, a bridge, a building, or any other identifiable point in the area of operations.

5. Who manages Control Points in Military Operations?

In military operations, control points are often managed by a command post, which is responsible for coordinating actions at the control point and maintaining communication with all elements of the operational force.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Appropriation Account
  • Fiscal Officer
  • Expenditure Transfer
  • Sub-Allotment
  • Commitment Accounting

Sources for More Information

  • Joint Chiefs of Staff: This is an official website that gives insight into the official military operations. They will have official glossaries and documents defining terms like ‘control point’.
  • U.S. Government Accountability Office: The GAO often produces reports related to military operations and may use the term “control point” in its context, providing a reliable source of information.
  • U.S. Army: The official website of the United States Army operates a substantial glossary of common military terminologies and their applications.
  • GlobalSecurity.org: This is a resource for security and defense information, including military tactics and procedures such as control points.

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