Definition/Scope: (FM 6-0) A liaison officer (LNO) represents the commander or a staff officer. The task and its complexity determine the required qualifications. At higher echelons, the complexity of operations often requires an increase in the rank required for LNOs. Commanders use LNOs to transmit information directly, bypassing headquarters and staff layers. A trained, competent, trusted, and informed LNO (either a commissioned or noncommissioned officer) is the key to effective liaison. LNOs must have the commander’s full confidence and the necessary rank and experience for the mission. Using one officer to perform a liaison mission conserves manpower while guaranteeing the consistent, accurate flow of information. However, continuous operations require a liaison team. The LNO, normally a special staff officer, is the personal representative of the commander and has access to him consistent with his duties. However, for routine matters, LNOs work for and receive direction from the chief of staff (COS) or (at lower echelons) the executive officer (XO). The LNO’s parent unit is the sending unit; the unit to which the LNO is sent is the receiving unit. An LNO normally remains at the receiving unit until recalled. Because LNOs represent the commander, they must be able to: understand how their commander thinks and be able to interpret the commander’s messages; convey their commander’s intent and guidance, mission, and concept of operations; and represent their commander’s position. The professional capabilities and personal characteristics of an effective LNO encourage confidence and cooperation with the commander and staff of the receiving unit. LNOs: know the sending unit’s mission; tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP); organization; capabilities; and communications equipment; appreciate and understand the receiving unit’s TTP, organization, capabilities, mission, doctrine, staff procedures, and customs; are familiar with (the requirements for and purpose of liaison, the liaison system and its reports, documents, and records, liaison team training); observe the established channels of command and staff functions; are of sufficient rank to represent their commander effectively to the receiving unit’s commander and staff. (FM 3-28) The liaison officer is the incident command?s point of contact for representatives of governmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and private sector organizations. The liaison officer provides information on the incident command’s policies, resource availability, and other incident-related matters. In either a single or unified command structure, representatives from cooperating organizations coordinate through the liaison officer.
Broader Terms:National Incident Management System
Narrower Terms:Air Liaison Officer
Related Terms:air component coordination element