DEFENSIVE TASKS - The sniper team can perform the following tasks during defensive operations.
• Cover obstacles, minefields, roadblocks, and demolitions.
• Perform counterreconnaissance, that is, identify or destroy enemy reconnaissance elements.
• Engage enemy OPs, armored vehicle commanders exposed in turrets, and ATGM teams.
• Damage enemy vehicles' optics to degrade their movement.
• Suppress enemy crew-served weapons.
• Disrupt follow-on units with long-range small-arms fire.
The following are key considerations for sniper defensive employment.
1. PRIMARY POSITIONS - Snipers generally position themselves where they can observe or control one or more avenues of approach into the defensive position. Sniper employment can increase all-round security and allow the commander to concentrate his combat power against the most likely enemy avenue of approach. Snipers may support the battalion by providing extra optics for target acquisition and precise long-range fires to complement the fires of other weapon systems. This arrangement takes advantage of the effectiveness of all of the unit's weapon systems. Snipers in an economy-of-force role may cover dismounted enemy avenues of approach into task force positions.
2. ALTERNATE AND SUPPLEMENTARY POSITIONS - Snipers establish alternate and supplementary positions for all-round security. Positions near the Forward Edge of Battle area (FEBA) are vulnerable to concentrated attacks, enemy artillery, and obscurants. Multiple sniper teams, if used, can be positioned for surveillance and mutual fire support. If possible, they should establish positions in depth for continuous support during the fight. The sniper's rate of fire neither increases nor decreases as the enemy approaches. Instead, sniper teams systematically and deliberately shoot specific targets, never sacrificing accuracy for speed.
3. KEY TERRAIN - The commander can position snipers to overwatch key obstacles or terrain such as river-crossing sites, bridges, minefields, or anything that canalizes the enemy directly into engagement areas. Snipers are mainly used where weapon systems are less effective due to security requirements or terrain. Even though he commander has weapon systems with greater ranges and optical capability than the snipers' weapons, the commander might be unable to use them for any of several reasons. They might present too large a firing signature, be difficult to conceal well, create too much noise, or be needed more in other areas. Sniper team members provide the commander with better observation and greater killing ranges than do other Soldiers.
4. FORCE SECURITY - Snipers can be used as an integral part of the security effort. They can help acquire and destroy targets, augment the security element by occupying concealed positions for long periods, observe and direct indirect fires (to maintain their security), and engage targets. Selective long-range sniper fires are difficult for the enemy to detect. A few well-placed shots can disrupt enemy reconnaissance efforts, force him to deploy into combat formations, and deceive him as to the location of the MBA. The sniper's stealth skills counter the skills of enemy reconnaissance elements. Snipers can be used where scout or rifle platoon mobility is unnecessary, freeing the scouts and riflemen to cover other sectors. Snipers can also be used to direct ground maneuver elements toward detected targets. This also helps maintain security so ground maneuver elements can be used against successive echelons of attacking enemy.
5. STRONGPOINT EMPLOYMENT - Snipers should be tasked to support any unit defending a strongpoint. The sniper team’s characteristics enable it to perform independent harassing and observation tasks in support of the force in the strongpoint, from either inside or outside the strongpoint.
6. REVERSE SLOPE DEFENSE - If the unit is occupying a reverse slope defense, snipers can provide effective long-range fires from positions forward of the topographical crest or on the front slope.