It's the company commander or platoon leader who determines how these decentralized sniper teams are employed in his operations; the battalion doesn't take snipers or sniping into account while planning.
Tie downside of such a configuration is that sniping emphasis may decline and snipers cannot train to as high a standard as when they're in a single platoon. But this is usually remedied by a battalion commander's oversight and directives.
Not to be forgotten is the reality that any military organization can be dramatically changed to fit the circumstances of combat, as has happened in every American war. During peacetime it seemingly takes an act of Congress to change a unit's table of organization even slightly, but in wartime, your unit leaders have tremendous latitude for adjusting to the situation. When the bullets start flying, what matters is only what works.
We've seen exactly that recently in the War on Terror. Before the attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. Army authorized three two-man sniper teams per battalion in Airborne and Light Infantry divisions and four teams in Mechanized Infantry battalions. Based on combat experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, many units added a third man and a Barrett .50 caliber to each sniper team, plus a fourth non-sniper to improve security and add another pair of eyes for observation. The 7th Infantry Division tripled its sniper complement in 2004, fielding 18 sniper teams per battalion. Each 12-man U.S. Army Special Forces A-Team now seeks to cross-train at least two men as snipers. The U.S. Marine Corps, too, has boosted its reliance on snipers, adding to its traditional 17-man, battalion-level STA platoons. But the greatest precision shooting growth in both the Army and Marine Corps has been the dramatic increase in Designated Marksmen.
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