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The SALUTE Report: A Technique that Works!

by CPT Robert Murphy, Collection Officer,
Center for Army Lessons Learned

Problem: The SALUTE report is a great guide to report intelligence information. This format works great in many instances, but it does not work well in others. An example of this is trying to use a SALUTE report to describe an objective such as a strong point.

Discussion: Many scout platoons work very hard to gather intelligence for their commanders. In most cases, the scout platoon has all of the intelligence information necessary to support the maneuver mission. However, in many cases, this information does not get to the tactical operations center as intended. Some of the critical information is lost due to the techniques that are used to report intelligence information.

In most cases, the information that the scouts pass the S2 takes the form of a SALUTE report. Usually the scout platoon gathers information and develops a sketch of the objective. Many times the scouts can conduct a linkup with the unit and provide an intelligence "dump" of the current sketch. Other times, the scouts cannot and try to pass the information via FM. However, there is a problem when the scout platoon leader tries to describe this graphic image using the SALUTE report.

Technique: A technique that has been used at the combat training centers by some units is a simple grid-reference system. This grid-reference system consists of a piece of graph paper that had been overlayed with acetate. This graph has letters across the top and numbers down the side. In this way, the scout platoon leader and the S2 can talk about the objective from a common grid reference system. See Figure 1.(3k)

The way the system works is that an identical piece of graph paper is given to all scout teams and the S2. The scout platoon leader or any scout team could call via FM and describe the objective by using this grid reference system.

An example of how this graph system works is as follows. The mission that the scout platoon has been given is to conduct a reconnaissance of a possible platoon strong point. Once the scout platoon leader locates the strong point, he calls back with the following information:

*GH 432186 (hilltop) corresponds to H7 on graph. (Used to orient the graph paper to the current map. The point should be a dominant feature such as a hilltop, ridge line, road intersection, etc. The grid location does not necessarily have to be the center of the graph paper. A possible example might be that a road intersection is located 75 meters from the objective. This is an excellent identification feature to help orient the drawing; however, the actual sketch of the objective should be centered on the graph.)
*One block (square) equals 10 meters. (Helps determine overall size of the objective. The size of the squares can change based on the type of objective. An example might be one block equals 50 meters if the grid reference system is used to describe a battalion defense.)
*Describe the relationship of "north," i.e., North is to the 1200 hour position.
* The next portion should contain specific information about the objective.
* Triple strand concertina wire running C5, D10, F13, J15, L11, M6, K6, I4, H2, F2, C5.
* Two-man LP/OPs at B2, B15, and N15.
* Three-man fighting position oriented NW with light machine gun at G3.
* Three-man fighting position oriented SW with light machine gun at G12.
* Two-man fighting positions located at: E4 (NW), D6 (W), D8 (W), E10 (SW), H13 (S), J12 (SE), K10 (E), L8 (E), K7 (NE), I6 (NE), H4 (NE), and F5 (W).

A report format can be developed to describe certain aspects of the report. An example would be:
Line 1: GH 432186 = grid location
Line 2: Hilltop = dominant feature
Line 3: H7 = where it corresponds to on the drawing
Line 4: 10 meters = distance of one square block
Line 5: 1200 hours = North-seeking arrow
Line 6: Obstacles

a. Concertina wire - type of obstacle
b. C5, D10, F13, J15, L11, M6, K6, I4, H2, F2, C5. = Lay or direction of obstacle
Line 7: Fighting positions
a. Three-man position = Type of position
b. G3 and G12 = Location
c. NW and SW = primary orientation

The format can contain any number of different lines that help better describe the objective. The format listed above is not complete and units should tailor their own formats for the type of missions that they are expected to execute.

The corresponding drawing might look like Figure 2.(6k)

The key idea of this reporting technique is to get information back to the TOC in a timely manner so it can be used by the unit that needs it. The unit can make enlarged sketches of the objective on butcher charts and use them for backbriefs. The unit can also make a sand table of the objective and use it for rehearsals at levels from the squad to the battalion.

This technique of reporting can be very accurate and easily updated as new reports become available. However, if you look at the drawing, you do not get a picture of the activity or small details that are associated with the drawing. Therefore, there is a need for some type of chart associated with the grid reference drawing that summarizes the details of the sketch. This chart describes the drawing and provides detailed information about activity, equipment, peculiarities and weaknesses with each fighting position, etc. An example of an associated chart is listed at Figure 3.



Figure 3
LocationDescriptionTime
E102X men occupying fighting position with overhead cover. One soldier has an unk rifle. One soldier has a RPG-7.8 SEP 95, 1305L
J122 X men occupying fighting position. No overhead cover, but soldiers still fortifying position. Position is approximately 2 feet deep. One soldier has unk rifle. One soldier is eating.8 SEP 95, 1610L
G33 X men occupying fighting position with overhead cover. 1 X light machine gun. 2 X unk rifles.8 SEP 95, 1236L
B152 X men occupying LP/OP. Both soldiers have unk rifles. One soldier has binos. One soldier has NVG. Position has land line communication with the objective.8 SEP 95, 1418L

This chart is incomplete but serves as an example of the types of information that should be contained in the chart. The actual chart should be more detailed, providing a better "picture" of the objective.

Many units have used this method of reporting with great success. Some practice will be required to ensure that this method is understood. However, once everyone has mastered the system, it should be a very effective reporting method to describe objective type targets.

Table of Contents
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