The Base Defense Operations Center (BDOC)

Posted: 12/10/2014 in Communications

The Base Defense Operations Center or BDOC (pronounced “b-doc”)is defined by the Army as “A command and control facility established by the base commander to serve as the focal point for base security and defense. It plans, directs, integrates, coordinates, and controls all base defense efforts and coordinates and integrates into area security operations with the rear area operations center/rear tactical operations center”.

In layman’s terms, the BDOC is the central area you designate to run all aspects of your retreat defense. From the BDOC you will command and control (with your communications devices) your perimeter guards, your LP/OPs, your QRF (Quick Reaction Force), your R&S teams and any patrols in your AO/AI. The definition above stated that you would coordinate and integrate with the Tactical Operations Center TOC (pronounced “tawk”). Our BDOC and TOC will be fully integrated in one room. The ACE is also part of the BDOC in our situation.

I will chiefly address the communications aspect of the BDOC.

We will have a dedicated person designated to run our retreat BDOC communications. He is the old guy (or could be a gal) that has the bum knee and can’t hump a ruck but is sharp as a tack. He’s the fellow that got his amateur radio license back before SHTF. In our case the BDOC facility is pretty high-speed; an old table, overloaded with radios, scanners, fieldphones, a couple of twelve volt batteries hooked to solar panels, with maps of the AO on a nearby wall, set up in a backroom in our retreat. It’s away from the sleeping areas because it’s manned 24/7. There the old guy writes our SOIs, guard duty rosters for the perimeter bunkers, LP/OP, radio watch roster, and mans the SITMAP. SITMAP, what’s a SITMAP you say? To which I say “Get you happy ass over to Sam’s guerrillamerica site and study up”. The SITMAP is usually in the TOC, but again, ours is combined. The old guy is also responsible to train our other folks on the use of the comms equipment. Remember, the BDOC is manned 24/7 and he can’t do it alone.

On those radios (yes I said “radios”, as in plural) we monitor the following: deployed R&S team nets and the QRF net if either has been deployed, the communications receivers (scanners) for “Bubba” on the CB, Marine, GMRS/FRS bands, emergency services freqs. and the HF net with other like-minded groups in our area. We also man a field phone network running to each of two manned bunkers. One bunker covers the high-speed avenue of approach (road) into the area of our retreat. The other covers a rear, less accessible foot path. A few yards in advance of our bunkers and at various other areas around our retreat perimeter we will have established hide sites for two-man LP/OP positions.


As listed in the SOI, our retreat has two bunkers and two LP/OPs (Listening Posts/Observation Posts – the LP/OP’s are not heavily fortified positions, they are instead well camouflaged positions that provide early warning of approaching forces. Listening at night, observation in the day.

The primary comms to our bunkers from the BDOC consists of two sets of field phones. One set to each occupied bunker. The same for each occupied LP/OP. The east LP/OP phone is connected directly to the BDOC. The other LP/OP is about 100 yards north of the north bunker and that LP/OP phone is connected directly to another north bunker phone.

So we have a total of 3 phones at the BDOC. One to each of 2 bunkers and one to the east LP/OP. The north bunker has 2 phones, 1 to the BDOC and another to the North LP/OP. For a grand total of 7 phones. You could eliminate 3 phones at the BDOC is you could manage to scrape up an old SB-22 switch board.The SB-22 has its own headset and mic in place of a phone.

We use one spool of standard army WD-1 wire on a 1/4 mile DR-8 spool for each circuit. When running each circuit, a stake is driven into the ground to loosely tie the wire to. Enough slack is left at the stake to run the free end of the wire into the BDOC. The wire is then spooled out from the BDOC to each position, where it is again wrapped around a stake. The extra wire and the spool is left at the position to allow personnel manning the position to quickly spool the wire back up toward the BDOC.  If the position is not manned the phones are disconnected and returned to the BDOC while the wire is left in place. I have used tied down comms wire to find my way to a position at night with no illumination. It’s probably a good idea to call and give the guards on duty in the position a heads up prior to using that trick. Once a day the wire is physically checked for taps, cut wire and attached booby traps.  Each time a phone is attached to the wire a test call is made to the BDOC. A unique colored plastic wire tag is attached to each set of wires running from the comms room to the individual positions. While tags can be attached to each end of the wire if you have multiple phones at each position, in our example we will only tag the BDOC room end. The tags are colored as per the SOI below.

SOI 1 in effect 0500Z26OCT13 until 0500Z27OCT13

1. Organization call signs:
C/S Suffix
Retreat BDOC R5T
Cdr 6
R&S 1 – 1
R&S 2 – 2
1SL 11, 21 or 31
2SL 21, 22 or 32
3SL 31, 32 or 33

HF Net
Primary Freq 40 M 7.615.5Mhz USB data
Secondary Freq 80 M 3.136Mhz USB data
HF Net C/S
Us  B2P
Group 1 R2B
Group 2 U6M

2. R&S to Base communications:
Primary: Radio 1 primary 144.250MHz alternate 223.750MHz
Alternate: Radio 2 primary 151.820 MHz alternate 154.600Mhz
Contingency: Pin Flares IAW SOP
Emergency: Visual Signal-17 Panel IAW SOP
R&S will contact Base at route waypoints 1 through 4 on mapsheet XXXXXXXXXX or at 6 hour intervals from 0500Z26OCT13.

3. Inter patrol communications:
Pri: Hand and arm signals per SOP
Alt: Radio 2 primary 151.880MHz alternate 154.600MHz
Con: Voice commands
Emr: Whistle per SOP

4. Telephone Circuit:
Location C/S Wire Tag
Base Base
North Bunker 1 Blue
West Bunker 2 Red
North LP/OP LP1 Green
East LP/OP LP2 Yellow
Base shall make a net call with all occupied positions every half hour. Net call failure by any occupied position will initiate the QRF to that location.

5. Visual signals: as indicated

6. Recognition signals:
Pri: VS-17 Panels – 1 Orange 1 Magenta
Alt: Blue Smoke
Con: 2 red pin flares 30 seconds apart
Emg: sign / countersign

Pri: Red lens flashlight – 3 flashes.
Alt: 2 red pin flares
Con: 2 whistle blasts
Emg: letter number combination

QRF response to occupied positions:
Primary: Field Phone
Alternate: Radio on guard frequency
Contingency: 3 blasts on air horn
Emergency: Runner

7. Challenge and password: Linebacker/Screwdriver
Running password: Indian
Number combination: 13

8. Authentication word:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

As you can see, I took the SOI from a previous post and modified it. The SOI is a tool to ensure that everyone concerned is on the same sheet of music. You might be surprised by the amount of people involved in our retreat. If you think you are going to get by with just you and the missus, you might want to re-evaluate your situation. Something to consider that’s been said here before; when you pick up nearby scanner traffic of “Bubba” in your AO and he intends to do you harm, you only have four three options:

1.  Call in an airstrike and drop a 2000 lb JDAMS on his position to be followed up by a few passes from an AC-130 Gunship.

2.  Un-ass your AO to your secondary retreat (if you’ve planned one) and hope he doesn’t follow you.

3.  Call in a FRAGO to the deployed R&S team and change their mission into a combat patrol, whereupon they spring a well-rehearsed ambush and eliminate “Bubba. This requires proper tactical training on your part before the event.

4.  Do nothing and die-in-place.

  1. Gary says:

    Thanks Dan, Glad to see your back at it.

  2. tfAt says:

    Excellent information MSG. Thanks.

  3. Badger says:

    Good to see this article. For those that may seek sources of old-school field phone stuff, having the real-estate to drive its need, I’ve dealt with Pete before and his website is accurate as of last month. He also has knowledge of what he sells.

    One little aside, if there are situations where noise-discipline at an outlying post is more important than light-discipline the old field-phone (e.g., TA-312) can have its ringer turned down and a U-184 glow lamp wired to the terminals instead. They also double as the interconnects on a home-brew switchboard inside an opns ctr.

  4. Grenadier1 says:

    Excellent info Mr Morgan Excellent info.

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