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Fire support coordination measure (FSCM)

Definition A Fire Support Coordination Measure (FSCM) refers to specific measures aimed at facilitating the efficient, rapid, and safe use of various fire support resources in an environment of shared airspace. These methods help in avoiding conflicts among different weaponry and support systems used in military combat. They also ensure the safety of friendly ground […]


A Fire Support Coordination Measure (FSCM) refers to specific measures aimed at facilitating the efficient, rapid, and safe use of various fire support resources in an environment of shared airspace. These methods help in avoiding conflicts among different weaponry and support systems used in military combat. They also ensure the safety of friendly ground forces by coordinating the application of firepower in a specific area.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Fire Support Coordination Measure (FSCM) is a vital tool used mainly in military operations. It aims to synchronize fire support within the battlefield, to maximize its effectiveness while minimizing the risk of friendly fire.
  2. Various methods can be used as FSCM, including boundary lines that define where certain units can fire, and specific points or areas where fire coordination is essential. Some principal types are Coordinated Fire Lines, Free Fire Areas, and Restricted Fire Areas.
  3. The proper use of FSCM results in minimized casualties and maximised target destruction. Rapid response, communication, and coordination between different military units are essential for this task.


Fire Support Coordination Measure (FSCM) holds paramount importance in military operations as it facilitates the synchronization and integration of fire support, thereby minimizing potential conflicts or fratricide among different friendly units.

FSCM provides clear guidelines that help determine when, where, and how fires can be employed across different levels of command, ensuring the effective utilization of all available fire resources to maximize combat power.

Furthermore, it enhances communication and coordination between various forces, such as air, land, and naval units, ensuring a unified and harmonious approach towards achieving the operational objectives.

Hence, the implementation of FSCM greatly impacts the efficiency, effectiveness, and overall success of military operations.


The purpose of the Fire Support Coordination Measure (FSCM) is essentially to facilitate the efficient and effective application of fire support resources within the operational area while minimizing the risk of friendly fire incidents. The measure defines spatial boundaries that help to avoid the overlapping of directs fires and indirects fires from units on the front line or adjacent units.

This way, commanders can synchronize the use of different fire support assets and supplement them in a manner that complements their ground maneuver strategy. FSCM assists in the organization and coordination of various fire support elements such as field artillery, naval surface fires, air strikes, and other available assets.

It promotes an organized approach to managing these formidable resources in relation to the troop’s operations. By delineating specific zones of fire, coordinating attacks, and setting timing measures, commanders are able to maximize the impact of their firepower, while simultaneously keeping their own forces safe.

The establishment of FSCM thus creates a seamless integration of combat efforts, ultimately enhancing the effectiveness and safety of military operations.

Examples of Fire support coordination measure (FSCM)

Operation Desert Storm: During the 1991 Gulf War, the U.S. Army implemented several Fire Support Coordination Measures (FSCMs) to streamline the joint actions of the different army units, and coordinate their fire support effectively. FSCMs were critical to prevent blue on blue (friendly fire) incidents and to identify the battle’s stress points.

The Battle of Marjah in Afghanistan (2010): In a NATO-led offensive against Taliban insurgents, various nations’ armed forces used FSCMs to synchronize their artillery, air support, and on-ground fire. Proper use of FSCMs ensured efficient execution of the mission with minimal friendly casualties.

Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan (2002): In one of the early operations of the Afghan War, FSCMs were critical for coordinating the fire support from various airborne and land-based assets. The operation involved simultaneous operations from different allied forces, requiring careful coordination to prevent mishaps resulting from friendly fire.

Frequently Asked Questions about Fire Support Coordination Measure (FSCM)

What is Fire Support Coordination Measure (FSCM)?

Fire Support Coordination Measure (FSCM) is a method used in the military operations to ease the fast and efficient execution of fire support. It helps in preventing friendly fire and ensures the effective use of firepower.

Who uses the Fire Support Coordination Measure (FSCM)?

The Fire Support Coordination Measure (FSCM) is mainly used by the military, specifically by land, air and maritime forces that incorporate direct and indirect fire, including air interdiction and surveillance.

What are the benefits of Fire Support Coordination Measure (FSCM)?

The FSCM ensures safety and enhances effectiveness in firepower usage. It helps coordinate attacks to avoid friendly fire, facilitates effective communication among forces, and enables forces to employ firepower efficiently with minimized risk of fratricide.

Can Fire Support Coordination Measure (FSCM) be used in all types of military operations?

Yes, the FSCM can be applied to all types of operations involving fire support. It is particularly useful in joint operations where there is a need for coordination among different forces for effective firepower usage.

What are the key components of Fire Support Coordination Measure (FSCM)?

The key components of FSCM include restrictive measures, such as no-fire area (NFA), restrictive fire area (RFA), and airspace coordination area (ACA), and permissive measures, such as free-fire area (FFA) and fire support coordination line (FSCL).

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Artillery Support: As a part of fire support coordination measure, it involves using artillery and similar weapons to assist combat endeavors such as suppression or disruption of enemy forces.
  • Close Air Support (CAS): CAS is a type of air combat mission that supports ground forces by targeting enemy ground units in close proximity to friendly forces. CAS is often integrated into FSCMs.
  • No Fire Area (NFA): A specified area into which fires or their effects are prohibited, unless explicitly requested/permitted by the appropriate authorities. NFAs are considered a subtype of FSCMs.
  • Fire Support Planning: A methodical process to determine objectives, targets, fire support means, and techniques to integrate and coordinate fire support. This planning is an essential aspect of FSCMs.
  • Target Acquisition: The process of identifying the location of a target so it can be effectively engaged. It’s a vital component of FSCMs, enabling precise and efficient use of fire support.

Sources for More Information

  • US Army Official Site: Visit the official site of the United States Army. They offer a robust glossary of military terms and informative articles.
  • Joint Chiefs of Staff Official Site: This is the official website of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a body of senior uniformed leaders in the United States Department of Defense.
  • Federation of American Scientists (FAS): The FAS publishes well-researched documents and reports related to military science and defense strategy, including FSCM.
  • GlobalSecurity.Org: A leading source of military, strategic, and security-related information, including topics like FSCM.

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