UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


FM 90-24
Chapter 3 - Operations


C3CM planning parallels and complements the normal sequence of command and staff planning actions (see Figure3-1). When mission analysis begins, the commander and his staff must treat C3CM as a support requirement necessary to accomplish joint force operations and objectives. The J3 normally integrates C3CM planning into the proposed courses of action (COA) and deception operations and then incorporates them into the final plan. To conduct effective C3CM, the commander should consider the initial mission analysis, joint and component staff input, and enemy capabilities.

Following mission analysis, the JFC must give his staff enough initial guidance to begin working on the COAs to achieve the joint force mission objectives. Further, the JFC may provide specific C3CM guidance and objectives within the COAs. The joint force staff uses the commander's guidance as a starting point for preparing staff estimates.

The J3 develops multiple COAs, with supporting C3CM concepts, to accomplish the JFC's mission objectives. The J3 incorporates C3CM concepts into the operations estimate before presenting the COAs to the JFC for final selection. Weighing all known factors against mission objectives, the JFC selects the COA for planning and execution. The J3 then writes the basic concept of operations and the operations annexes,

The J3 should coordinate and refine the C3CM requirements and objectives with the JFC. The JFC develops the C3CM plan to use in the joint force concept of operations. The concept of operations should optimize the capabilities of the joint force and component C3CM.


Targeting, as defined by JCS Publication 1-02, is "The process of selecting targets and matching the appropriate response to them taking account of operational requirements and capabilities." This definition applies to any target regardless of size, characteristic, or value. The targeting methodology can be characterized as the decide-detect-deliver approach. This methodology facilitates the attack of the correct target at the critical time. A target is an enemy function, formation, equipment facility, terrain, or commander planned for capture, destruction, neutralization, or degradation in order to disrupt, delay, or limit the enemy.

Target requirement is based on the combat situation. The vast array of anticipated C3CM targets will generate competing demands for fire support and other counter-C3 means that could exceed the capabilities of the system. Using the decide-detect-deliver methodology, the commander establishes priorities on how and when to use counter-C3 measures to meet critical demands.


The three-phase approach enables the commander to take the initiative in selecting, locating, and attacking high-payoff targets.

Phase I - Decide

The decision phase provides the focus and priorities for the collection management and suppression planning processes. This phase is developed from the following:

  • The intelligence estimate of the situation.

  • The commander's mission analysis.
  • The battlefield planning (which projects future friendly operations).
  • A detailed estimate of the most probable enemy response to a projected friendly operation.
  • A decision regarding options to deny the enemy means of interference.
This phase enables the commander to decide the high-payoff targets to locate, how to locate and attack them, and when to perform these actions in relation to the battle plan.

IPB and electronic preparation of the battlefield (EPB) provide much of the information for the intelligence estimate which influences the target development process. The IPB\EPB effort produces enemy order of battle formations and electronic emitters. IPB/EPB also helps identify high-value targets. The JCEWS produces the EPB which identifies lucrative C3CM targets that are important to the enemy's command and control.

When making C3CM decisions, planners should include the following elements of enemy deception capabilities:

  • Dummy positions.
  • Corner (radar) reflectors.
  • Camouflage.
  • Deceptive and imitative communications.
Finally, the decision must include the attack options that will give the desired results. A primary consideration is what the field commander wants: to disrupt, to limit, or to destroy enemy activity. The final decision for attack guidance rests with the commander.

Phase II - Detect

After targets are detected, they should be continuously monitored. The resources to detect potential C3CM targets are SIGINT, IMINT, HUMINT, and MASINT.

  • SIGINT assets detect and locate enemy units, facilities, and battlefield functional systems based on the enemy's use of radios, radars, and beacons.
  • IMINT assets [aerial exploitation] include imagery intelligence platforms (photographic/ IR) and side-looking airborne radar (SLAR).
  • HUMINT is collected from enemy and friendly personnel by intelligence agents. Sources include prisoners of war, documents, and communications-electronic operating instructions (CEOIs).
  • MASINT is collected from instruments.
Close coordination between the joint staff J2 and the component intelligence staffs enhances detection.

Phase III - Deliver

Timely, accurate delivery is necessary for synchronizing the fire support system. The two key elements of this phase are attack of targets and battle damage assessment.

Attack of targets. The attack of targets requires time for attack, an attack system, and the desired effects. Using these requirements, components attack, using lethal and nonlethal means. The two types of targets are planned targets and targets of opportunity.

Battle damage assessment. The assessment of target damage is critical feedback. Was the desired effect obtained? Is there a need to reattack? The answer to these questions will focus the remainder of the delivery phase.


The ability to execute a C3CM plan depends on accurate and timely intelligence. The transitory nature of most aspects of C2 (connectivity, subordination, criticality, vulnerability, location, frequency) requires tailored collection, immediate analysis, and rapid dissemination and intelligence fusion. The potential exists for friendly collection capabilities to be overwhelmed by a surplus of enemy targets. Identification methods must allow planners to concentrate on specific characteristics of high-value targets. Finally, the analysis process must be timely enough that the resulting intelligence still has value to the tactical planner.

Prioritization and Development for Counter-C3

Planners must build a plan that maximizes limited assets. Since lucrative targets far outnumber available counter-C3 assets, planners must prioritize potential targets according to their relative importance (from the commander's intent). Criteria include probability of damage, disruption or deception, and the cost of attacking the target. Prehostility analysis involves interpreting the enemy's C3 structure and projecting possible quantifiable results of friendly C3 actions against enemy C3 elements. This analysis should provide established high payoff target lists for the initial stages of war.

Priority is given to those targets whose attack or disruption provides the greatest advantage as outlined by the JFC and component commander's guidance or to those targets which pose the greatest threat. Prioritized targets are mated to a weapon system/EW platform and nominated for attack or disruption. A detailed rationale and estimate of the force required to succeed must support target nominations. For complex targets, planners should spell out the intent of the attack and specific elements of the complex to target.

Counter-C3 operations require a target data base, apply command guidance and current intelligence to it, and identify targets that satisfy combat missions and objectives. Analysis of counter-C3 operations is conducted to identify enemy target systems (air defense, C3, etcetera), facilities, and components. Critical nodes are identified for attack, disruption, deception, or exploitation. Each target is also analyzed to determine both its criticality to enemy and friendly operations and its vulnerability to specific lethal or nonlethal employment means.

The objective of counter-C3 is to identify targets or target groups for C3CM operations which prevent the accomplishment of enemy objectives and allow the accomplishment of our own. The critical question is which targets need to be engaged inorder to accomplish the mission and, at the same time, keep the enemy from doing what it wants. Counter-C3 goes beyond identifying targets through simple analysis. It requires information concerning enemy doctrine, tactics, organization, strengths, weaknesses, command relationships, intentions, and its C2 process. In fact, counter-C3 is typically concerned more with the command relationships between targets than the targets themselves. Additionally, target development pertains more to what a target does than what it is. The J2 uses all sources of information to produce the required intelligence to determine these activities and relationships.

Target Integration

C3 targets must be integrated into a commander's battle plan. For instance, C3 nodes can be targeted or exploited at any time but are more valuable when they are essential to enemy operations. Both preplanned and immediate targeting, therefore, depend on the timing and integration of air, land, naval, and special operations resources in support of the JFC's C3CM guidance.


Once the JTCB establishes a comprehensive target list, the C3CM planner begins the process by selecting appropriate assets to accomplish the C3CM mission. The planner does this by comparing capabilities and selecting forces.

Capability Comparison

One method of comparing friendly capabilities against targets is the threat-event-analysis approach. This approach is based upon the premise that any weapon or weapon support system goes through an identifiable sequence to function successfully. By templating the relationships between components of enemy C2 structures, planners can reduce a complex problem set to manageable terms.

Intelligence identifies the elements (nodes, links, and so forth) that makeup the C2 process of a targeted function, focusing on critical and vulnerable components. The J2 can depict the results of this analysis on charts or templates. Planners then use the annotated templates to compare the capabilities of available assets and determine the best means to counter the threat. For example, planners annotate and extract critical nodes that are highly susceptible to radar jamming for possible targeting by EW assets. The same is true for nodes that are vulnerable to field artillery or conventional air-to-ground ordnance and links that are susceptible to communications jamming.

Threat-event-analysis templates need not mirror the physical layout of the threat C2 structures. In some systems, distinct echelons may perform identical functions; in others, multiple functions may occur at one site. When the physical attributes of a C2 system are important, as for destructive planning, they can be easily portrayed in the template.

Synergistic effects of employing multiple C3CM assets against a target can also be inferred from the event-analysis templates. Shortfalls and gaps in coverage are easily identified and conflicts and redundancies avoided. The modified event-analysis approach can show the C3 structure of such C2 systems as --

  • Air defense.
  • Radio-electronic combat.
  • Maneuver and fire support.
  • Reconnaissance, intelligence, surveillance, and target acquisition.
This approach lends itself to automation and greatly speeds up threat analysis and the C3CM target development process.

Force Selection

Planners complete the comparison of C3CM capabilities. The commander considers all available employment options when selecting forces. He then decides whether to use disruption, destruction, or deception assets. He begins by identifying assets required, assets available, missions not supported, and secondary asset considerations. He concludes with force selection and recommended weapons loading. Functional tasks used to select forces involve the following planning areas:

  • Vulnerability analysis.
  • Destruction force planning.
  • Disruption force planning.
  • Deception systems planning.
  • Intelligence collection management.
  • Fratricide prevention.
Each task requires a variety of information for successful completion. Vulnerability analysis requires details on the supported operations or missions, relevant threats, and available self-protection systems. In planning for destruction, disruption, deception, or exploitation, planners need --
  • Intelligence collected on nominated targets.
  • The operational status of forces (equipment availability, munitions, and so forth).
  • Weather in the operational area.
  • Enemy order of battle.
  • Friendly signal operation instructions. C3 protect requires an in-depth knowledge of friendly operations to prevent fratricide.
Target Analysis

Target analysis should be an extension of the analysis done during the threat-event-analysis process. Enemy vulnerabilities determine the number of assets and level of effort needed. Effective postmission analysis is ensured by close coordination between operational planners and operational intelligence analysts. In addition, intelligence should provide constant feedback on enemy reactions to friendly C3CM.

Integrated Approach

C3CM planners must work closely with general target planners to follow an integrated approach to lethal targeting. Planners should keep in mind the long-term effects of hard-kill and must not ignore C3 targets during conventional target planning. Destruction of a key C3 facility can delay the start of an enemy attack or degrade the effectiveness of an enemy operation. Disruption of an air surveillance net can increase the use of threat acquisition radar, thereby making that threat more vulnerable to detection and destruction. Degradation of a ground control intercept function removes control and warning from an interceptor aircraft, thereby making it less threatening for friendly air. A thorough understanding of all targets on the target list is critical to devising the most effective approach.

Disruption Force Planning

Jamming of enemy C2 systems can provide big payoffs, but integrated support to disruption force planning is critical to avoid unintentional redundancy, costly fratricide, or loss of a lucrative intelligence source. In a world of limited resources, the tactical commander cannot afford to waste any assets. Minimizing unintentional disruption of friendly communications should be a major goal, since C3CM operations can be as detrimental to friendly operations as enemy jamming. Finally, jamming must be weighed against exploitation opportunities.

Deception Systems Planning

Deception includes physical deception (decoys, camouflage, or sound equipment) and electronic deception. Other means include administrative deception using oral, pictorial, documentary, or other physical evidence to support the deception effort. Since deception may confuse friendly as well as hostile forces, planners should take care in planning its use. In order to integrate deception plans with operations, deception planners should work closely with all other planning functions. Since deception planning can cover a wide variety of operations, deception planners should remain flexible. Any and all assets can contribute to deception operations.

Effective Management

C3CM planning is one of the most intelligence-dependent functions within the battlefield management arena. Consequently, effective management of collection requirements, sources, and targets is the surest means of ensuring quality counter-C3 operations. Planners should exploit all-source data to determine enemy locations, capabilities, and intentions. Planners should resolve ambiguities and uncertainties if possible.


Access to and use of the electromagnetic spectrum is necessary for effective military operations. C3CM planners play an important role in devising communications-electronics plans that allow for friendly use while denying the enemy a similar capability. In concert with the communications-electronics and operation staffs, the C3CM planner works to prevent fratricide while ensuring operational security and countermeasures effectiveness.


The purpose of C3CM mission analysis is to determine the impact of C3CM operations on enemy facilities, forces, capabilities, and activities. Combat assessments should be conducted for lethal and nonlethal applications. Assessment of lethal targeting is, by nature of its destructive characteristics, far easier to achieve. Combat assessment of lethal attacks includes three components --

  • Bomb damage assessment.
  • Munitions effects assessment (MEA).
  • Mission assessment (MA).
Bomb damage assessment considers the effects of attacks on individual targets and provides feedback on the degree to which current operations achieve assigned objectives. MEA provides an analysis of the effectiveness of munitions and their employment and is used to select the most effective munitions and fuzing. MA provides an assessment of the effects of lethal attacks on entire target systems rather than individual targets. MA adds a number of considerations to combat assessment, such as the availability of repair materials, use of reserves, reconstitution, and recuperation times. Planners should ask the following questions when conducting combat assessments.
  • Did the attack achieve the stated objective or predicted results?
  • What was the impact on the enemy?
  • Should other targets be selected?
  • Are additional attacks required and, if so, when?
  • Did the weapons systems operate as expected?
  • Were there any unanticipated operational limitations?
  • Should tactics and operational plans be adjusted?
No standard measure of success exists for C3CM nonlethal operations. Planners can conduct combat assessments using many sources of information. These assessments represent several types of intelligence, including IMINT, SIGINT, and HUMINT. All intelligence disciplines are essential to effective combat analysis and assessment. No single source of intelligence provides enough information to conduct an assessment. All-source intelligence must be used. Some of these sources include --
  • Mission report.
  • Reconnaissance exploitation report (RECCEXREP).
  • Signals intelligence report.
  • Initial photographic interpretation report (IPIR).
  • Tactical report.
  • Electronic intelligence.
Information obtained from combat assessment is very useful. This information is forwarded to the joint staffs, component commands, and operational units as needed. Feedback should flow to everyone associated with C3CM operations, which includes targeteers, operations planners, joint staffs, EC planners, and execution elements. Joint and component staffs should establish these formal feedback loops with standardized reporting procedures and formats.


The C3CM conduct of operations is normally a subparagraph in the operation order. This sub-paragraph establishes necessary procedures to integrate supporting disciplines and to ensure maximum effectiveness of C3CM operations against enemy C2 weapon control and surveillance systems. At a minimum, the operation order should address C3 protect and counter-C3.

Procedures for joint planning are dependent on time available. When time is not a critical factor, planners use deliberate planning. When time is a factor, planners use crisis action planning. Both procedures use the following steps:

  • Step 1. Receive and analyze the task to be accomplished.
  • Step 2. Review the enemy situation and begin to collect the necessary intelligence.
  • Step3. Develop and compare alternate courses of action.
  • Step 4. Select the best alternative.
  • Step 5. Develop and get approval of the concept.
  • Step 6. Prepare a plan.
  • Step 7. Document the plan.
C3CM planning parallels the normal sequence of military planning. When mission analysis begins, the commander and his staff must treat C3CM as a requirement to accomplish joint force operations. The commander will integrate CWM planning into the proposed COA and incorporate each component of C3CM into the final plan.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list