UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


FM 90-2: Battlefield Deception



This manual sets forth the principles associated with battlefield deception operations and explains how to plan and execute such operations at the operational and tactical levels of war. It is designed for use by commanders and staffs who plan, direct, and conduct combat operations at echelons above corps (EAC) and echelons corps and below (ECB).

The US Army's initial efforts to revitalize a battlefield deception capability will manifest itself in terms of doctrine, training, force structure, and materiel during fiscal year 1988. The information presented in this manual is evolutionary in nature and is subject to substantial field experimentation and verification during the fiscal year 1988-1990 time period.


Historically, military deception has proven to be of considerable value in the attainment of national security objectives, and a fundamental consideration in the development and implementation of military strategy and tactics. Deception has been used to enhance, exaggerate, minimize, or distort capabilities and intentions; to mask deficiencies; and to otherwise cause desired appreciations where conventional military activities and security measures were unable to achieve the desired result. The development of a deception organization and the exploitation of deception opportunities are considered to be vital to national security. To develop deception capabilities, including procedures and techniques for deception staff components, it is essential that deception receive continuous command emphasis in military exercises, command post exercises, and in training operations.

- -JCS Memorandum of Policy (MOP) 116

The proponent of this publication is Headquarters TRADOC. Submit changes for improving this publication on DA Form 2028 (Recommended Changes to Publications and Blank Forms) and forward it to Commander, US Army Intelligence Center and School, ATTN: ATSI-TD-PAL, Fort Huachuca, Arizona 85613-7000.


Robert Jervis, "Hypotheses on Misperception," World Politics 20, no. 3 (APR 68). Copyright (c) 1968 by Princeton University Press. Reprinted by permission of Princeton University Press.

A. Tversky and D. Kahneman, "The Belief in the Law of Small Numbers," Psychological Bulletin 76 (1971). Reprinted by permission of the American Psychological Association.

Eric Ambler, "Send No More Roses." George Weidenfeld & Nicolson Limited (1977). Reprinted by permission of George Weidenfeld & Nicolson Limited, London.

Charles Cruickshank, "Deception in World War II." New York: Oxford University Press, 1979. Reprinted by permission of Charles Cruickshank.

Robert Axelrod, "The Rational Timing of Surprise," World Politics 31, no. 2 (JAN 79). New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1979. Copyright (c) 1979 by Princeton University Press. Reprinted with permission of Princeton University Press.

Ronald Lewin, "ULTRA Goes to War: The First Account of World War II's Greatest Secret Based on Official Documents." New York: McGraw-Hill 1978. Reprinted by permission of McGraw-Hill Book Company

R. V. Jones, "Irony as a Phenomenon in Natural Science and Human Affairs," Chemistry and Industry (1968). Reprinted by permission of the Society of Chemical Industry, London..

David Mure, "Master of Deception." London: William Kimber & Co. (1980). Reprinted by permission of Mrs. David Mure.

Dr. Alan F. Wilt, "'SHARK' and 'HARPOON': German Cover Operations Against Great Britain in 1941." Reprinted from MILITARY AFFAIRS, Vol. 38, No. 1, pp 1, 2, with permission. Copyright by the American Military Institute. No additional copies may be made without the express permission of the author and of the editor of MILITARY AFFAIRS.

Brigadier C. J. C. Molony, et al, "The Mediterranean and Middle East," vol. V, The Campaign in Sicily 1943 and The Campaign in Italy 3 September 1943 to 31 March 1944. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1966. Reprinted by permission of Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London.

Unless otherwise stated, whenever the masculine gender is used, both men and women are included.

This publication contains copyrighted material.

*This publication supersedes FM 902 (HTF) 2 August 1978.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list