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A systematic intelligence preparation of the battlefield is vital to commanders' conduct of operations. In the rear area it helps commanders determine when, where, and how to employ, dispose, and emplace rear area assets to ensure success. It helps define friendly vulnerabilities. And it helps show enemy vulnerabilities and likely opportunities. Conducting an IPB helps friendly forces reduce the uncertainties of future Threat action by projecting the enemy's probable courses of action.


Information you collect and report through MP channels contributes to and helps verify information in the rear area IPB.

The rear area IPB analyzes enemy capabilities and doctrine for rear area operations in relation to local weather and terrain, the mission, and the battlefield situation. It helps us predict high-value and high-payoff targets from the enemy's perspective. It helps us predict what effect enemy actions and other factors may have n our own ability to operate. The overall nature of the friendly and enemy forces is considered in light of the operating environment. Information is added, adjusted, or deleted as the situation changes. The results help friendly forces forecast events and allocate resources.

IPB is undertaken at all levels. MI personnel produce the rear area IPB. Corps and divisions include the rear area in their IPB, but their focus is on the maneuver elements and on the events and situations likely to affect combat operations. It is the rear area commander who expands the IPB's focus on the rear area and on particular specialty concerns.

MP contribute to the initial building of the rear area IPB. Later in the cyclical process, MP area and zone recon patrols provide information to fill in gaps or update information on critical areas. For example, after G3/G4 planners assign MSRs from the corps/division support area to the combat trains, the terrain must be checked for the presence of high value targets (HVTs). Then critical bridges or other targets that the enemy will want to interdictor destroy can be surveilled or replacements can be planned.


When time and resources allow, MP brigades and battalions, drawing on the rear area IPB, develop a separate MP IPB for their AOs. A local IPB help you note critical locations, vantage sites, and probable enemy avenues of approach. It can help you plan patrol areas and courses of action. (Using aggressive recon patrolling, teams can identify the DZs/LZs most likely to be used.) To develop information for an IPB, you must be able to--

  • Analyze terrain and weather.
  • Evaluate the threat.
  • Anticipate rear area events.


Because the weather greatly affects terrain, terrain and weather analysis are inseparable factors of intelligence.


Terrain analysis focuses on the influence of terrain on the ability to move, shoot, and communicate. You must consider the influence of terrain on rear area combat support, combat service support, and security operations. Combat support and service support units will have extended LOC with limited assets. Terrain analysis is done using OCOKA. See Setting Up Local Security in Chapter 3. Key terrain is determined by the mission, the echelon, the enemy, and the situation. Key terrain in the rear area is that which--

  • Helps or hinders your combat support ability (presence of a water supply for a chemical decontamination point).
  • Can be critical to the rear area security mission (presence of potential DZs or LZs, communication sites, depot sites).
  • Affects civil-military or PSYOP considerations (presence of built-up areas, refugee evacuation routes, populated areas sympathetic to the friendly or enemy cause).

Look for--

  • Ground and air avenues of approach that can aid rapid movement of support elements into the rear area and in support of combat operations.
  • Potential mobility corridors into the rear area that could be used by aerially-inserted irregular forces or ground forces.

Consider observation and fields of fire for rear area defense, security, and the protection of critical assets. Remember-

  • Agents and special operations forces must see their targets.
  • Airborne and air assault troops must have visual approach to their targets or LZs.
  • Rear area air defense assets need line-of-sight to effectively protect the rear operations area.

Is there concealment and/or cover--

  • To protect friendly elements from Threat air and ground observation?
  • For Threat forces operating in the AO, or for Threat agents or guerrilla operations?
  • For OPSEC, counterintelligence, and deception operations?
  • To protect friendly elements from long-range weapons and direct fires? Do obstacles--

--Permit rapid entry or exit to the rear area?

--Impede the rear area support mission?

--Impede placement of elements within the rear operations area?


Various weather effects have a telling effect on tactical operations. Low-level cloud cover affects attack helicopters, CAS, aerial observation, and some aerial surveillance systems. Fog may conceal friendly traffic on MSRs that pass through likely target areas. But fog also may conceal Threat forces operating in the rear area.

Consider the effects of weather on--

  • Trafficability of terrain.
  • Observation, fields of fire, camouflage, concealment, radio and radar equipment, logistics operations, morale and equipment operations.
  • Fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft operations.
  • Visibility and illumination that supports agent, special operations forces or guerrilla operations.
  • Mobility and soil stability. Mobility is critical to the continued movement of support elements, refugees, and EPWs through the rear area. It also affects the ability of agents and special operations forces to operate. Soil stability is needed to provide semipermanent positions for support elements. For example, an area that seems fairly stable might be a good site for a POL supply point. But, this same area may become boggy after minimal precipitation due to the heavy traffic at a POL facility.
  • Agents, special operations forces, and air assault forces rely heavily on bad weather, limited visibility, and darkness to mask their operations. These conditions hinder friendly observation, direct fire, and physical security.
  • Rear area civil affairs, PSYOP, refugee, and EPW movement operations that are normally degraded by bad weather.
  • The potential for civil disorder, which increases as the weather improves. Groups or individuals sympathetic to the enemy will usually try to create disturbances when people are out and active.


You must integrate the Threat into your IPB. Consider Threat organization, tactical doctrine, weapons, and support systems. Consider these in light of their ability to operate effectively in the rear area. Consider what the Threat will target. Consider the effects of the terrain and weather on enemy rates of movement and on HVTs. In the rear area, the Threat will do certain things at certain times and places dictated by terrain, weather, and tactics. A successful interdiction of a particular route can cause problems for the enemy. They might have to abandon a particular course of action or request Engineer support to continue on that route.

Consider how Threat forces might deviate from doctrinal deposition, frontages, depths, and echelon spacing due to the effects of weather and terrain. Most often you focus on the enemy's air assault, airborne, and special-purpose forces employment doctrine. Consider--

  • Potential HVTs in the rear area.
  • Threat doctrine for determining airborne DZs and helicopter LZs.
  • Special-purpose forces team employment.
  • Constraints imposed on doctrine by terrain and weather in the rear area.
  • Emerging Threat doctrine of special-purpose forces, air assault, and operational maneuver group concepts.

Relate Threat doctrine to the terrain and weather. How will the enemy tight given conditions in the rear area? Focus on--

  • Enemy air and small unit avenues of approach into the rear operations area.
  • Locations of DZs and LZs.
  • Mobility corridors leading from DZs/LZs to friendly unit locations and positions.
  • Small-unit mobility corridors that can be used by agents and special-purpose forces to determine physical security and counterintelligence requirements.
  • Identification and analysis of significant battlefield events that indicate the Threat's course of action.
  • Rear area named areas of enemy interest.
  • Specific sequences of events indicating the enemy is preparing to, or is employing air, airborne, air assault, special-purpose, agent, or guerrilla forces.
  • Likelihood of civil disorder or populace uprising.
  • The potential for refugees or EPW movement to affect friendly operations.

To influence enemy actions rather than just react to them, you must try to predict likely operations against specific units/activities.

Threat special-purpose forces are extremely difficult to detect. They avoid direct confrontation and usually move at night. They have great potential for sneaking onto air bases. They also can disrupt air operations in the rear area.

Threat airborne forces can strike deep into the rear area assaulting airfields. Air bases that have special weapons are especially high-risk targets. Airborne assaults can land directly on air bases. Or they can land on as many as three nearby drop zones and converge on an air base.

Threat doctrine calls for company-sized and smaller unit DZs and LZs (a company-sized DZ is 1 kilometer square; a regimental-sized DZ is 3 by 4 kilometers) to be 5 kilo-meters or less from the objective. And the DZs/Zs are supposed to be screened from the objective area by terrain or vegetation. Routes from projected DZs to the objective are likely to be the most direct available and avoid, if possible, built-up areas. Threat doctrine calls for routes to the objective to be off-road as much as possible.

Threat doctrine normally calls for a one-hour consolidation on the initial DZ before the entire element moves to the objective. But recon elements are dispatched as soon as possible to check the previously selected routes to the objective. The recon also obtains intelligence on the objective.

Rendezvous points for company-sized and smaller units can be expected to be about 1 kilometer from the opposite side of the objective from which the assault was launched. But assembly areas for larger unit and multiple drops may be up to 10 kilometers from an objective.

Note likely areas for airdrops for friendly units and for rendezvous points. Consider the Threat's choice of routes to friendly activities to allow decision points (DPs) to be selected. If incorporated into a patrolling plan, DPs can help you provide early warning. (When a Threat force reaches or passes a DP, some options that had existed for the commander disappear.) DPs also can help you project movement of airborne and air assault forces from a DZ/LZ to their objective.


The rear area commander wants to know where he can delay, disrupt, destroy, or manipulate the enemy. He wants the enemy to abandon a particular course of action or take unusual measures to continue operations. Rear operations commanders have a limited number of options against identified enemy target areas of interest. These options include--

  • Defensive posturing of rear area units.
  • Effective placement of elements.
  • Aggressive employment of security units.
  • An active counterintelligence effort.
  • Expedient use of civil affairs and PSYOP assets.

To help anticipate rear area operations events you need to be able to project where--

  • Significant Threat activity or events will probably occur.
  • To deploy assets to influence the effect of the Threat on rear operations.
  • To place support elements for the greatest degree of security consistent with mission accomplishment.

Develop your projections by considering--

  • Target areas of interest like--


--Road junctions.

--Forest paths and trails.

--Small groups of individuals (especially in civilian clothes) trying to move through or evade detection in rear area.

--Areas with groups or individuals sympathetic to the Threat.

  • DPs.
  • Enemy objectives.
  • Friendly HVTs (nuclear depots and missile sites).
  • Mobility corridors and time phase lines if applicable.
  • Current enemy situation, if Threat forces are operating in the rear area.

For more detail on the IPB process, see FM 34-130.

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