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Chapter 3


To remain a viable force on the battlefield, units must understand CCD fundamentals because they are essential to survivability. To design and place effective CCD, soldiers must constantly consider an enemy's point of view. (What will it see? What characteristics will its sensors detect?) Placing a low priority on CCD because of time constraints, minimal resources, or inconvenience could result in mission failure and unnecessary loss of life. (Appendix D contains more information on individual CCD.)


3-1. The primary goal of CCD is to avoid enemy detection; however, this is not always feasible. In some cases, CCD may succeed by merely preventing an enemy from identifying a target. Simply avoiding identification is often sufficient to increase survivability. The following seven rules are critical when considering how to avoid detection or identification:

  • Identify the enemy's detection capabilities.
  • Avoid detection by the enemy's routine surveillance.
  • Take countermeasures against the enemy's sensors.
  • Employ realistic, CCD countermeasures.
  • Minimize movement.
  • Use decoys properly.
  • Avoid predictable operational patterns.


3-2. Obtain as much information as possible about an enemy's surveillance capability. Intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) should—

  • Include the sensors that an enemy may use in a particular AO.
  • Include information on the enemy's tactical employment of the sensors, if possible.
  • Assess the impact of the enemy's surveillance potential on the target under consideration. This assessment varies with the relative positions of the sensor and the target on the battlefield, the role of the target, and the physical characteristics of the sensor and the target.


3-3. Sophisticated sensors often have narrow fields of view. Furthermore, sensors can be very expensive and are unlikely to be deployed in such numbers as to enable coverage of the entire battlefield at all times. Sophisticated sensors are most likely to be deployed in those areas where an enemy suspects that friendly targets are deployed. The enemy may suspect that an area contains targets because of detection by less sophisticated, wider-coverage sensors or because of tactical analysis. Therefore, an important aspect of remaining undetected is to avoid detection by routine enemy surveillance.

3-4. Many sensors operate as well at night as they do during the day. Therefore, darkness does not provide effective protection from surveillance. Passive sensors are very difficult to detect, so assume that they are being used at night. Do not allow antidetection efforts to lapse during the hours of darkness. For example, conceal spoil while excavating a fighting position, even at night. Certain types of smoke will also defeat NVDs.


3-5. In some cases, it might be appropriate to take action against identified enemy sensors. The ability to deploy countermeasures depends on a number of factors—the effective range of friendly weapons, the distance to enemy sensors, and the relative cost in resources versus the benefits of preventing the enemy's use of the sensor. An additional factor to consider is that the countermeasure itself may provide an enemy with an indication of friendly intentions.


3-6. The more closely a target resembles its background, the more difficult it is for an enemy to distinguish between the two. Adhering to this fundamental CCD principle requires awareness of the surroundings, proper CCD skills, and the ability to identify target EM signatures that enemy sensors will detect.


3-7. The most plentiful, reliable, and timely enemy sensors are visual. Therefore, CCD techniques effective in the visual portion of the EM spectrum are extremely important. Something that cannot be seen is often difficult to detect, identify, and target. BDUs, standard camouflage screening paint patterns (SCSPPs), LCSS, and battlefield obscurants are effective CCD techniques against visual sensors. Full-coverage CCD helps avoid visual detection by the enemy. When time is short, apply CCD first to protect the target from the most likely direction of attack and then treat the remainder of the target as time allows.


3-8. NIR sights are effective at shorter ranges (typically 900 meters) than enemy main guns. While red filters help preserve night vision, they cannot prevent NIR from detecting light from long distances. Therefore, careful light discipline is an important countermeasure to NIR sensors and visual sensors (such as image intensifiers). BDUs, LCSS, battlefield obscurants, and SCSPPs are designed to help defeat NIR sensors.


3-9. Natural materials and terrain shield heat sources from IR sensors and break up the shape of cold and warm military targets viewed on IR sensors. Do not raise vehicle hoods to break windshield glare because this exposes a hot spot for IR detection. Even if the IR system is capable of locating a target, the target's actual identity can still be disguised. Avoid building unnecessary fires. Use vehicle heaters only when necessary. BDU dyes, LCSSs, IR-defeating obscurants, and chemical-resistant paints help break up IR signatures; but they will not defeat IR sensors.


3-10. UV sensors are a significant threat in snow-covered areas. Winter paint patterns, the arctic LCSS, and terrain masking are critical means for defending against these sensors. Any kind of smoke will defeat UV sensors. Field-expedient countermeasures, such as constructing snow walls, also provide a means of defeating UV sensors.


3-11. An enemy uses MTI, imaging, CM, and CB radars. Mission dictates the appropriate defense, while techniques depend on the equipment available.

Moving-Target Indicator

3-12. MTI radar is a threat to ground forces near a battle area. Radar-reflecting metal on uniforms has been reduced, and Kevlar helmets and body armor are now radar-transparent. Plastic canteens are standard issue, and buttons and other nonmetal fasteners have replaced metal snaps on most field uniforms. A soldier wearing only the BDU cannot be detected until he is very close to MTI radar.

3-13. Soldiers still carry metal objects (ammunition, magazines, weapons) to accomplish their mission, and most radar can detect these items. Therefore, movement discipline is very important. Moving by covered routes (terrain masking) prevents radar detection. Slow, deliberate movements across areas exposed to radar coverage helps avoid detection by MTI radar.

3-14. Vehicles are large radar-reflecting targets, and a skilled MTI operator can even identify the type of vehicle. Moving vehicles can be detected by MTI radar from 20 kilometers, but travelling by covered routes helps protect against surveillance.


3-15. Imaging radar is not a threat to individual soldiers. Concealing vehicles behind earth, masonry walls, or dense foliage effectively screens them from imaging radar. Light foliage may provide complete visual concealment; however, it is sometimes totally transparent to imaging radar. When properly deployed, the LCSS effectively scatters the beam of imaging radar. (See Appendix C for more information.)

Countermortar and Counterbattery

3-16. Radar is subject to overload. It is very effective and accurate when tracking single rounds; however, it cannot accurately process data on multiple rounds (four or more) that are fired simultaneously. Chaff is also effective against CM and CB radar if it is placed near the radar.


3-17. Noise discipline defeats detection by the human ear. Pyrotechnics or loudspeakers can screen noise, cover inherently noisy activities, and confuse sound interpretation.

3-18. It is possible to confuse an enemy by screening flashes or sounds. Explosives or pyrotechnics, fired a few hundred meters from a battery's position within a second of firing artillery, will effectively confuse sound-ranging teams. Coordinating fire with adjacent batteries (within two seconds) can also confuse enemy sound-ranging teams.


3-19. The best way to prevent an enemy from locating radio transmitters is to minimize transmissions, protect transmissions from enemy interception, and practice good radiotelephone-operator (RATELO) procedures. Preplanning message traffic, transmitting as quickly as possible, and using alternate communication means whenever possible ensure that transmissions are minimized. To prevent the enemy from intercepting radio communications, change the radio frequencies and use low-power transmissions, terrain masking, or directional or short-range antennas. (FM 24-33 provides an in-depth review of reducing the threat to friendly communications.)


3-20. Movement attracts the enemy's attention and produces a number of signatures (tracks, noise, hot spots, dust). In operations that inherently involve movement (such as offensive operations), plan, discipline, and manage movement so that signatures are reduced as much as possible. (See Chapter 4 for information on disciplined movement techniques.)


3-21. Use decoys to confuse an enemy. The goal is to divert enemy resources into reporting or engaging false targets. An enemy who has mistakenly identified decoys as real targets is less inclined to search harder for the actual, well-hidden targets. The keys to convincing an enemy that it has found the real target are—

  • Decoy fidelity (realism), which refers to how closely the multispectral decoy signature represents the target signature.
  • Deployment location, which refers to whether or not a decoy is deployed so that the enemy will recognize it as typical for that target type. For example, a decoy tank is not properly located if it is placed in the middle of a lake.

3-22. A high-fidelity decoy in a plausible location often fools an enemy into believing that it has acquired the real target. Deploying low-fidelity decoys, however, carries an associated risk. If an enemy observes a decoy and immediately recognizes it as such, it will search harder for the real target since decoys are generally deployed in the same vicinity as the real targets. Plausible, high-fidelity decoys specifically designed to draw enemy fire away from real targets should be deployed to closely represent the multispectral signatures of the real targets. Properly deployed decoys have been proven in operational employment and experimental field tests to be among the most effective of all CCD techniques.


3-23. An enemy can often detect and identify different types of units or operations by analyzing the signature patterns that accompany their activities. For example, an offensive operation is usually preceded by the forward movement of engineer obstacle-reduction assets; petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL); and ammunition. Such movements are very difficult to conceal; therefore, an alternative is to modify the pattern of resupply. An enemy will recognize repetitive use of the same CCD techniques.


3-24. To camouflage effectively, continually consider the threat's viewpoint. Prevent patterns in antidetection countermeasures by applying the following recognition factors to tactical situations. These factors describe a target's contrast with its background. If possible, collect multispectral imagery to determine which friendly target signatures are detectable to enemy sensors.


3-25. Reflectance is the amount of energy returned from a target's surface as compared to the energy striking the surface. Reflectance is generally described in terms of the part of the EM spectrum in which the reflection occurs:

  • Visual reflectance is characterized by the color of a target. Color contrast can be important, particularly at close ranges and in homogeneous background environments such as snow or desert terrain. The longer the range, the less important color becomes. At very long ranges, all colors tend to merge into a uniform tone. Also, the human eye cannot discriminate color in poor light.
  • Temperature reflectance is the thermal energy reflected by a target (except when the thermal energy of a target is self-generated, as in the case of a hot engine). IR imaging sensors measure and detect differences in temperature-reflectance levels (known as thermal contrast).
  • Radar-signal reflectance is the part of the incoming radio waves that is reflected by a target. Radar sensors detect differences in a target's reflected radar return and that of the background. Since metal is an efficient radio-wave reflector and metals are still an integral part of military equipment, radar return is an important reflectance factor.


3-26. Natural background is random, and most military equipment has regular features with hard, angular lines. Even an erected camouflage net takes on a shape with straight-line edges or smooth curves between support points. An enemy can easily see silhouetted targets, and its sensors can detect targets against any background unless their shape is disguised or disrupted. Size, which is implicitly related to shape, can also distinguish a target from its background.


3-27. Shadow can be divided into two types:

  • A cast shadow is a silhouette of an object projected against its background. It is the more familiar type and can be highly conspicuous. In desert environments, a shadow cast by a target can be more conspicuous than the target itself.
  • A contained shadow is the dark pool that forms in a permanently shaded area. Examples are the shadows under the track guards of an armored fighting vehicle (AFV), inside a slit trench, inside an open cupola, or under a vehicle. Contained shadows show up much darker than their surroundings and are easily detected by an enemy.


3-28. Movement always attracts attention against a stationary background. Slow, regular movement is usually less obvious than fast, erratic movement.


3-29. Noise and acoustic signatures produced by military activities and equipment are recognizable to the enemy.


3-30. A rough surface appears darker than a smooth surface, even if both surfaces are the same color. For example, vehicle tracks change the texture of the ground by leaving clearly visible track marks. This is particularly true in undisturbed or homogeneous environments, such as a desert or virgin snow, where vehicle tracks are highly detectable. In extreme cases, the texture of glass or other very smooth surfaces causes a shine that acts as a beacon. Under normal conditions, very smooth surfaces stand out from the background. Therefore, eliminating shine must be a high priority in CCD.


3-31. Rows of vehicles and stacks of war materiel create equipment patterns that are easier to detect than random patterns of dispersed equipment. Equipment patterns should be managed to use the surroundings for vehicle and equipment dispersal. Equipment dispersal should not be implemented in such a way that it reduces a unit's ability to accomplish its mission.

3-32. Equipment paint patterns often differ considerably from background patterns. The critical relationships that determine the contrast between a piece of equipment and its background are the distance between the observer and the equipment and the distance between the equipment and its background. Since these distances usually vary, it is difficult to paint equipment with a pattern that always allows it to blend with its background. As such, no single pattern is prescribed for all situations. Field observations provide the best match between equipment and background.

3-33. The overall terrain pattern and the signatures produced by military activity on the terrain are important recognition factors. If a unit's presence is to remain unnoticed, it must match the signatures produced by stationary equipment, trucks, and other activities with the terrain pattern. Careful attention must also be given to vehicle tracks and their affect on the local terrain during unit ingress, occupation, and egress.


3-34. Site selection is extremely important because the location of personnel and equipment can eliminate or reduce recognition factors. If a tank is positioned so that it faces probable enemy sensor locations, the thermal signature from its hot engine compartment is minimized. If a vehicle is positioned under foliage, the exhaust will disperse and cool as it rises, reducing its thermal signature and blending it more closely with the background. Placing equipment in defilade (dug-in) positions prevents detection by ground-mounted radar. The following factors govern site selection:


3-35. The mission is the most important factor in site selection. A particular site may be excellent from a CCD standpoint, but the site is useful only if the mission is accomplished. If a site is so obvious that the enemy will acquire and engage a target before mission accomplishment, the site was poorly selected to begin with. Survivability is usually a part of most missions, so commanders must first evaluate the worthiness of a site with respect to mission accomplishment and then consider CCD.


3-36. Dispersion requirements dictate the size of a site. A site has limited usefulness if it will not permit enough dispersal for survivability and effective operations.


3-37. Every type of terrain, even a flat desert, has a discernible pattern. Terrain features can blur or conceal the signatures of military activity. By using terrain features, CCD effectiveness can be enhanced without relying on additional materials. The primary factor to consider is whether using the site will disturb the terrain pattern enough to attract an enemy's attention. The goal is not to disturb the terrain pattern at all. Any change in an existing terrain pattern will indicate the presence of activity. Terrain patterns have distinctive characteristics that are necessary to preserve. The five general terrain patterns are—

  • Agricultural. Agricultural terrain has a checkerboard pattern when viewed from aircraft. This is a result of the different types of crops and vegetation found on most farms.
  • Urban. Urban terrain is characterized by uniform rows of housing with interwoven streets and interspersed trees and shrubs.
  • Wooded. Woodlands are characterized by natural, irregular features, unlike the geometric patterns of agricultural and urban terrains.
  • Barren. Barren terrain presents an uneven, irregular work of nature without the defined patterns of agricultural and urban areas. Desert environments are examples of barren terrain.
  • Arctic. Arctic terrain is characterized by snow and ice coverage.


3-38. CCD discipline is avoiding an activity that changes the appearance of an area or reveals the presence of military equipment. CCD discipline is a continuous necessity that applies to every soldier. If the prescribed visual and audio routines of CCD discipline are not observed, the entire CCD effort may fail. Vehicle tracks, spoil, and debris are the most common signs of military activity. Their presence can negate all efforts of proper placement and concealment.

3-39. CCD discipline denies an enemy the indications of a unit's location or activities by minimizing disturbances to a target area. To help maintain unit viability, a unit must integrate all available CCD means into a cohesive plan. CCD discipline involves regulating light, heat, noise, spoil, trash, and movement. Successful CCD discipline depends largely on the actions of individual soldiers. Some of these actions may not be easy on a soldier, but his failure to observe CCD discipline could defeat an entire unit's CCD efforts and possibly impact the unit's survivability and mission success.

3-40. TACSOPs prescribing CCD procedures aid in enforcing CCD discipline, and they should—

  • List specific responsibilities for enforcing established CCD countermeasures and discipline.
  • Detail procedures for individual and unit conduct in assembly areas (AAs) or other situations that may apply to the specific unit.

3-41. Units should have frequent CCD battle drills. CCD discipline is a continuous requirement that calls for strong leadership, which produces a disciplined CCD consciousness throughout the entire unit. Appendix B contains additional guidance for incorporating CCD into a unit TACSOP.


3-42. Light and heat discipline, though important at all times, is crucial at night. As long as visual observation remains a primary recon method, concealing light signatures remains an important CCD countermeasure. Lights that are not blacked out at night can be observed at great distances. For example, the human eye can detect camp fires from 8 kilometers and vehicle lights from 20 kilometers. Threat surveillance can also detect heat from engines, stoves, and heaters from great distances. When moving at night, vehicles in the forward combat area should use ground guides and blackout lights. When using heat sources is unavoidable, use terrain masking, exhaust baffling, and other techniques to minimize thermal signatures of fires and stoves.


3-43. Individuals should avoid or minimize actions that produce noise. For example, muffle generators by using shields or terrain masking or place them in defilade positions. Communications personnel should operate their equipment at the lowest possible level that allows them to be heard and understood. Depending on the terrain and atmospheric conditions, noise can travel great distances and reveal a unit's position to an enemy.


3-44. The prompt and complete policing of debris and spoil is an essential CCD consideration. Proper spoil discipline removes a key signature of a unit's current or past presence in an area.


3-45. Vehicle tracks are clearly visible from the air, particularly in selected terrain. Therefore, track and movement discipline is essential. Use existing roads and tracks as much as possible. When using new paths, ensure that they fit into the existing terrain's pattern. Minimize, plan, and coordinate all movement; and take full advantage of cover and dead space.



3-46. CCD is an essential part of tactical operations. It must be integrated into METT-TC analyses and the IPB process at all echelons. CCD is a primary consideration when planning OPSEC. The skillful use of CCD techniques is necessary if a unit is to conceal itself and survive. A general knowledge of CCD methods and techniques also allows friendly troops to recognize CCD better when the enemy uses it. Table 3-1 lists the five general techniques of employing CCD—hiding, blending, disguising, disrupting, and decoying.

Table 3-1. CCD techniques

Sensor Systems
Optical Thermal Radar
Hiding Earth cover
Earth embankments
Earth cover
Earth embankments
Earth cover
Earth embankments
Blending Paint
Textured mats
Thermal paint
Air conditioning/heating
Textured mats
Textured mats
Disguising Reshaping
Corner reflectors
Disrupting Camouflage sails
Smudge pots
Strobe lights
Tracer simulators
Corner reflectors
Decoying Decoy target (pneumatic or rigid structures)
Decoy target
Air conditioning/heating
Decoy target
Corner reflectors
Signal generators


3-47. Hiding is screening a target from an enemy's sensors. The target is undetected because a barrier hides it from a sensor's view. Every effort should be made to hide all operations; this includes using conditions of limited visibility for movement and terrain masking. Examples of hiding include—

  • Burying mines.
  • Placing vehicles beneath tree canopies.
  • Placing equipment in defilade positions.
  • Covering vehicles and equipment with nets.
  • Hiding roads and obstacles with linear screens.
  • Using battlefield obscurants, such as smoke.


3-48. Blending is trying to alter a target's appearance so that it becomes a part of the background. Generally, it is arranging or applying camouflage material on, over, and/or around a target to reduce its contrast with the background. Characteristics to consider when blending include the terrain patterns in the vicinity and the target's size, shape, texture, color, EM signature, and background.


3-49. Disguising is applying materials on a target to mislead the enemy as to its true identity. Disguising changes a target's appearance so that it resembles something of lesser or greater significance. For example, a missile launcher might be disguised to resemble a cargo truck or a large building might be disguised to resemble two small buildings.


3-50. Disrupting is altering or eliminating regular patterns and target characteristics. Disrupting techniques include pattern painting, deploying camouflage nets over selected portions of a target, and using shape disrupters (such as camouflage sails) to eliminate regular target patterns.


3-51. Decoying is deploying a false or simulated target(s) within a target's scene or in a position where the enemy might conclude that it has found the correct target(s). Decoys generally draw fire away from real targets. Depending on their fidelity and deployment, decoys will greatly enhance survivability.


3-52. Until recently, the effectiveness of CCD techniques had not been scientifically quantified. As such, CCD was not widely accepted in the US military as an effective means of increasing survivability. However, the Joint Camouflage, Concealment, and Deception (JCCD) Joint Test and Evaluation (JT&E) completed in 1995 measured the effectiveness of CCD against manned aerial attacks. It provided military services the basis for guidance on CCD-related issues. JCCD field tests were conducted in multiple target environments using a broad cross section of US attack aircraft flying against different classes of military targets. In controlled attack sorties, targets were attacked before and after employing CCD techniques.

3-53. The presence of CCD greatly reduced correct target attacks, particularly when decoys were employed as part of the CCD plan. Other JCCD findings included the following:

  • CCD significantly increased aircrew aim-point error.
  • CCD increased the target's probability of survival.
  • Each CCD technique (hiding, blending, disguising, disrupting, and decoying) was effective to some degree in increasing the probability of survival.
  • CCD was effective in all tested environments (desert, temperate, and subarctic).


3-54. Properly using terrain and weather is a first priority when employing CCD. Cover provided by the terrain and by conditions of limited visibility is often enough to conceal units. The effective use of natural conditions minimizes the resources and the time devoted to CCD. The terrain's concealment properties are determined by the number and quality of natural screens, terrain patterns, and the type and size of targets.


3-55. Forests generally provide the best type of natural screen against optical recon, especially if the crowns of the trees are wide enough to prevent aerial observation of the ground. Forests with undergrowth also hinder ground observation. Deciduous (leafing) forests are not as effective during the months when trees are bare, while coniferous (evergreen) forests preserve their concealment properties all year. When possible, unit movements should be made along roads and gaps that are covered by tree crowns. Shade should be used to conceal vehicles, equipment, and personnel from aerial observation.


3-56. Limited visibility is an especially important concealment tool when conducting operations in open terrain. The threat, however, will conduct recon with a combination of night-surveillance devices, radar, IR sensors, and terrain illumination. When crossing open terrain during limited visibility, supplement concealment with smoke.


3-57. Units should not locate or move along the topographic crests of hills or other locations where they are silhouetted against the sky. They should use reverse slopes of hills, ravines, embankments, and other terrain features as screens to avoid detection by ground-mounted sensors. IPB concealment and terrain overlays should identify areas of dead space. If overlays are not available, use the line-of-sight (LOS) method to identify areas of dead space. (See FM 21-26 for more details.)


3-58. Conditions of limited visibility (fog, rain, snowfall) hamper recon by optical sensors. Dense fog is impervious to visible sensors and some thermal sensors, making many threat night-surveillance devices unusable. Dense fog and clouds are impenetrable to thermal sensors (IR). Rain, snow, and other types of precipitation hinder optical, thermal, and radar sensors.


3-59. Smoke is an effective CCD tool when used by itself or with other CCD techniques. It can change the dynamics of a battle by blocking or degrading the spectral bands that an enemy's target-acquisition and weapons systems use, including optical and thermal bands. (See FM 3-50, for more information on planning smoke operations.)


3-60. Commanders must be able to evaluate natural conditions in their area to effectively direct unit concealment. They must know the terrain and weather conditions before mission execution. In addition to IPB terrain overlays, weather reports, and topographic maps, commanders should use aerial photographs, recon, and information gathered from local inhabitants to determine the terrain's natural concealment properties.


3-61. Using natural conditions and materials is the first CCD priority, but using man-made materials can greatly enhance CCD efforts. Available materials include pattern-painted equipment, camouflage nets (LCSS), radar-absorbing paint (RAP), radar-absorbing material (RAM), false operating surfaces (FOSs), vegetation, expedient paint, decoys, and battlefield by-products (construction materials, dirt). (Appendix E lists man-made CCD materials that are available through the supply system.)


3-62. Pattern-painted vehicles blend well with the background and can hide from optical sensors better than those painted a solid, subdued color. Pattern-painted equipment enhances antidetection by reducing shape, shadow, and color signatures. Improved paints also help avoid detection by reducing a target's reflectance levels in the visible and IR portions of the EM spectrum. The result is a vehicle or an item of equipment that blends better with its background when viewed by threat sensors. While a patterned paint scheme is most effective in static positions, it also tends to disrupt aim points on a moving target. (See Appendix E for a list of available paints.)


3-63. The LCSS is the standard Army camouflage net currently available, and it can be ordered through normal unit supply channels (see Appendix E). The LCSS reduces a vehicle's visual and radar signatures. Stainless steel fibers in the LCSS material absorb some of the radar signal and reflect most of the remaining signal in all directions. The result is a small percentage of signal return to the radar for detection. The radar-scattering capabilities of the LCSS are effective only if there is at least 2 feet of space between the LCSS and the camouflaged equipment and if the LCSS completely covers the equipment. Do not place a radar-scattering net over a radar antenna because it interferes with transmission. The LCSS is also available in a radar-transparent model.

3-64. The three different LCSS color patterns are desert, woodland, and arctic. Each side of each LCSS has a slightly different pattern to allow for seasonal variations. The LCSS uses modular construction that allows the coverage of various sizes of equipment. (Appendix C discusses the required components and the instructions for assembling LCSS structures for different sizes of equipment.)


3-65. Use branches and vines to temporarily conceal vehicles, equipment, and personnel. Attach vegetation to equipment with camouflage foliage brackets, spring clips, or expedient means (such as plastic tie-wraps). Use other foliage to complete the camouflage or to supplement natural-growing vegetation. Also use cut foliage to augment other artificial CCD materials, such as branches placed on an LCSS to break up its outline. Be careful when placing green vegetation since the underside of leaves presents a lighter tone in photographs. Replace cut foliage often because it wilts and changes color rapidly. During training exercises, ensure that cutting vegetation and foliage does not adversely effect the natural environment (coordinate with local authorities).

Living Vegetation

3-66. Living vegetation can be obtained in most environments, and its color and texture make it a good blending agent. However, foliage requires careful maintenance to keep the material fresh and in good condition. If branches are not placed in their proper growing positions, they may reveal friendly positions to enemy observers. Cutting large amounts of branches can also reveal friendly positions, so cut all vegetation away from target areas.

3-67. Living vegetation presents a chlorophyll response at certain NIR wavelengths. As cut vegetation wilts, it loses color and its NIR-blending properties, which are related to the chlorophyll response. Replace cut vegetation regularly because over time it becomes a detection cue rather than an effective concealment technique.

Dead Vegetation

3-68. Use dead vegetation (dried grass, hay, straw, branches) for texturing. It provides good blending qualities if the surrounding background vegetation is also dead. Dead vegetation is usually readily available and requires little maintenance; however, it is flammable. Due to the absence of chlorophyll response, dead vegetation offers little CCD against NIR sensors and hyperspectral sensors operating in the IR regions.

Foliage Selection

3-69. When selecting foliage for CCD, consider the following:

  • Coniferous vegetation is preferred to deciduous vegetation since it maintains a valid chlorophyll response longer after being cut.
  • Foliage cut during periods of high humidity (at night, during a rainstorm, or when there is fog or heavy dew) will wilt more slowly.
  • Foliage with leaves that feel tough to the fingers and branches with large leaves are preferred because they stay fresher longer.
  • Branches that grow in direct sunlight are tougher and will stay fresher longer.
  • Branches that are free of disease and insects will not wilt as rapidly.


3-70. Standard-issue camouflage materials (LCSS) are designed to exhibit an artificial chlorophyll response at selected NIR wavelengths. Nonstandard materials (sheets, tarps) are not likely to exhibit a chlorophyll response and will not blend well with standard CCD material or natural vegetation. Use nonstandard materials only as CCD treatments against visual threat sensors, not against NIR or hyperspectral threat sensors.



Expedient paint containing motor oil should be used with extreme caution.

3-71. Use earth, sand, and gravel to change or add color, provide a coarse texture, simulate cleared spots or blast marks, and create shapes and shadows. Mud makes an excellent field expedient for toning down bright, shiny objects (glass, bayonets, watches). Add clay (in mud form) of various colors to crankcase oil to produce a field-expedient paint. Table 3-2 provides instructions on how to mix soil-based expedient paints. Use surface soils to mimic natural surface color and reflectivity.

Table 3-2. Expedient paints

Paint Materials Mixing Color Finish
Earth, GI soap, water, soot, paraffin Mix soot with paraffin, add to solution of 8 gal water and 2 bars soap, and stir in earth. Dark gray Flat, lusterless
Oil, clay, water, gasoline, earth Mix 2 gal water with 1 gal oil and to gal clay, add earth, and thin with gasoline or water. Depends on earth colors Glossy on metal, otherwise dull
Oil, clay, GI soap, water, earth Mix 1 bars soap with 3 gal water, add 1 gal oil, stir in 1 gal clay, and add earth for color. Depends on earth colors Glossy on metal, otherwise dull
NOTE: Use canned milk or powdered eggs to increase the binding properties of field-expedient paints.


3-72. RAM was designed for placement on valuable military equipment. It absorbs radar signals that are transmitted in selected threat wave bands and reduces the perceived radar cross section (RCS) of the treated equipment. RAM is expensive relative to other CCD equipment and is not yet widely available. RAP offers the same RCS reduction benefits as RAM, and it is also expensive.


3-73. Battlefield by-products (construction materials, dirt) can be used to formulate expedient CCD countermeasures. For example, use plywood and two-by-fours to erect expedient target decoys or use dirt to construct concealment berms.


3-74. Decoys are among the most effective of all CCD tools. The proper use of decoys provides alternate targets against which an enemy will expend ammunition, possibly revealing its position in the process. Decoys also enhance friendly survivability and deceive an enemy about the number and location of friendly weapons, troops, and equipment.

Employment Rationale

3-75. Decoys are used to attract an enemy's attention for a variety of tactical purposes. Their main use is to draw enemy fire away from high-value targets (HVTs). Decoys are generally expendable, and they—

  • Can be elaborate or simple. Their design depends on several factors, such as the target to be decoyed, a unit's tactical situation, available resources, and the time available to a unit for CCD employment.
  • Can be preconstructed or made from field-expedient materials. Except for selected types, preconstructed decoys are not widely available (see Appendix E). A typical Army unit can construct effective, realistic decoys to replicate its key equipment and features through imaginative planning and a working knowledge of the EM signatures emitted by the unit.

3-76. Proper decoy employment serves a number of tactical purposes, to include—

  • Increasing the survivability of key unit equipment and personnel.
  • Deceiving the enemy about the strength, disposition, and intentions of friendly forces.
  • Replacing friendly equipment removed from the forward line of own troops (FLOT).
  • Drawing enemy fire, which reveals its positions.
  • Encouraging the enemy to expend munitions on relatively low-value targets (decoys).

Employment Considerations

3-77. The two most important factors regarding decoy employment are location and fidelity (realism):

  • Location. Logically placing decoys will greatly enhance their plausibility. Decoys are usually placed near enough to the real target to convince an enemy that it has found the target. However, a decoy must be far enough away to prevent collateral damage to the real target when the decoy draws enemy fire. Proper spacing between a decoy and a target depends on the size of the target, the expected enemy target-acquisition sensors, and the type of munitions directed against the target.
  • Fidelity. Decoys must be constructed according to a friendly unit's SOP and must include target features that an enemy recognizes. The most effective decoys are those that closely resemble the real target in terms of EM signatures. Completely replicating the signatures of some targets, particularly large and complex targets, can be very difficult. Therefore, decoy construction should address the EM spectral region in which the real target is most vulnerable. The seven recognition factors that allow enemy sensors to detect a target are conversely important for decoys. When evaluating a decoy's fidelity, it should be recognizable in the same ways as the real target, only more so. Try to make the decoy slightly more conspicuous than the real target.

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