Find a Security Clearance Job!


Chapter 6

High-Value Targets

The purpose of threat doctrine is for enemy forces to locate, target, and destroy deep targets, thereby degrading friendly capabilities while adding offensive momentum to attacking enemy forces. Enemy commanders focus their most sophisticated sensors in search of HVTs. By attacking these targets, enemy forces hope to deny adequate C2, combat support, or resupply operations to forward friendly forces throughout the battlespace. Therefore, properly employing CCD at key fixed installations, such as command posts (CPs) and Army aviation sites (AASs), is essential to survival on a battlefield. HVTs fall into two general classifications—fixed installations (Section II) and relocatable units (Section III). For information on camouflaging medical facilities, see Appendix F.


6-1. No single solution exists for enhancing the survivability of HVTs with CCD (except for large-area smoke screens). The characteristics of many such targets are unique and require the creative application of CCD principles and techniques. Therefore, the CCD planning process presented in this section is not intended to impose a regimen that must be followed at all costs. Rather, it suggests a logical sequence that has proven successful over time. In fact, the steps outlined below often lead to creative CCD solutions simply because they allow designers to consider the many options, benefits, and pitfalls of CCD employment. No CCD plan is wrong if it achieves the intended signature-management goals and does not impair mission accomplishment.

6-2. Each commander should develop his unit's CCD plan based on an awareness, if not a comprehensive assessment, of the detectable EM signatures emitted by HVTs under his command. He should evaluate these signatures by considering the enemy's expected RSTA capabilities (airborne and ground-based), knowledge of the target area, and weapons-on-target capability.


6-3. A CCD plan increases target survivability within the limits of available resources. The design procedure must systematically determine which features of a given target are conspicuous, why those features are conspicuous, and how CCD principles and techniques can best eliminate or reduce target signatures. CCD should decrease the effectiveness of enemy attacks by interfering with its target-acquisition process, which in turn increases target survivability.


6-4. The steps outlined below provide guidance for designing CCD plans for HVTs. The detailed planning approach is applicable in any situation where CCD employment is necessary, but more so when the plans include HVTs.

Step 1. Identify the threat. Identify the principal threat sensors, weapon-delivery platforms, and likely directions of attack.

Step 2. Identify critical facilities. Identify critical HVTs. Include those that are critical from an operational standpoint and those that may provide reference points (cues) for an attack on more lucrative targets.

Step 3. Evaluate facilities. Once the critical HVTs are identified, focus efforts on identifying the target features that might be conspicuous to an enemy RSTA. Consider multispectral (visual, thermal, NIR, radar) signatures in this assessment. The seven recognition factors (Chapter 3) are an excellent framework for conducting this assessment. Include a review of area maps, site plans, photographs, and aerial images of the target area.

Step 4. Quantify signatures. Quantify the multispectral signatures that are emitted by high-value facilities. Base the quantification on actual surveys of critical facilities, using facsimiles of threat sensors when possible. Specify the EM wavelengths in which targets are most vulnerable, and develop signature-management priorities.

Step 5. Establish CCD goals. Establish specific CCD goals for HVTs. These goals should indicate the signature reduction (or increase) desired and the resources available for CCD implementation. Base these goals on the results of steps 1 through 4. Change the CCD goals as the planning process develops and reiterate them accordingly.

Step 6. Select materials and techniques. Select CCD materials and techniques that best accomplish signature-management goals within logistical, maintenance, and resource constraints. Expedient, off-the-shelf materials and battlefield by-products are not identified in this manual, but they are always optional CCD materials.

Step 7. Organize the plan. Develop a CCD plan that matches goals with available materials, time and manpower constraints, and operational considerations. If the goals are unobtainable, repeat steps 5 and 6 until a manageable plan is developed.

Step 8. Execute the plan. Once a feasible CCD plan is developed, execute it. Store temporary or expedient materials inconspicuously. Conduct deployment training on a schedule that denies enemy intelligence teams the opportunity to identify the countermeasures or develop methods to defeat the CCD.

Step 9. Evaluate the CCD. The final step in the CCD planning process is to evaluate the deployed CCD materials and techniques. Important questions to ask in this evaluation include the following:

  • Does CCD increase the survivability of HVTs?
  • Does deployed CCD meet the signature-management goals outlined in the plan?
  • Is deployed CCD operationally compatible with the treated target(s)?
  • Are CCD materials and techniques maintainable within manpower and resource constraints?


6-5. Fixed installations (base camps, AASs, CPs, warehouses, roadways, pipelines, railways, and other lines-of-communication [LOC] facilities) provide scarce, nearly irreplaceable functional support to ground maneuver forces. The threat to these facilities is both ground-based and aerial. The CCD techniques for the two attack types do not necessarily change, but the defender must be aware of the overall implications of his CCD plan.


6-6. Ground attacks against fixed installations (enemy offensives, terrorist attacks, and enemy special-force incursions) require constant operational awareness by the defenders. While most CCD techniques are conceptually designed to defend against an aerial attack, these same techniques can affect the target-acquisition capabilities of an enemy's ground forces to the benefit of the defender. SCSPP, LCSS, and natural vegetation provide CCD against a ground attack.

6-7. CCD discipline (light, noise, spoil) involves prudent operational procedures that friendly troops should observe in any tactical situation, particularly in the presence of hostile ground forces. (See Chapter 5 for more information.)


6-8. Fixed installations are susceptible to aerial attacks because of their long residence time and immobility. However, fighter-bomber and helicopter aircrews face unique target-acquisition problems due to the relatively short time available to locate, identify, and lock onto targets. Fighter-bombers typically travel at high speeds, even during weapons delivery. This means attacking aircrews have limited search time once they reach the target area. Helicopters travel at slower speeds but generally encounter similar time-on-target limitations. Because of lower flying altitudes and slower speeds, helicopters are more vulnerable to ground defenses. In either case, proper CCD can increase aircrew search time, thereby reducing available time to identify, designate, and attack an HVT. The longer an aircrew is forced to search for a target in a defended area, the more vulnerable the aircraft becomes to counterattack.


6-9. The location and configuration of most fixed installations are usually well known. CCD techniques that protect against sophisticated surveillance sensor systems, particularly satellite-based systems, can be costly in terms of manpower, materials, and time. Steps can be taken to reduce an enemy's detection of relocatable targets. Fixed installations are difficult to conceal from RSTA sensors due to the relatively long residence time of fixed installations versus relocatable targets. Unless the construction process for a given fixed installation was conducted secretly, defenders can safely assume that enemy RSTA sensors have previously detected and catalogued its location. Defenders can further assume that attacking forces have intelligence data leading them to the general area of the fixed installation. CCD design efforts, therefore, should focus on the multispectral defeat or impairment of the enemy's local target-acquisition process.


6-10. Selected CCD techniques should capitalize on terrain features that are favorable to the defender and on the short time available to attacking aircrews for target acquisition. Use artificial and natural means to camouflage the installation. Where time and resources allow, deploy alternative targets (decoys) to draw the attention of the attacking aircrews away from the fixed installation.

6-11. Comprehensive CCD designs and techniques for fixed installations can be costly, yet field tests have shown that simple, expedient techniques can be effective. HVTs are usually supplied with artificial CCD materials. If they are not, soldiers increase the survivability of an installation by using CCD principles.


6-12. While standard CCD materials are designed to enhance fixed-installation survivability, they have practical limitations that are not easily overcome. Materials applied directly to a fixed installation may achieve the signature-management goals stated in the CCD plan. However, if other features of the target scene are not treated accordingly, the target may be well hidden but remain completely vulnerable.

6-13. For example, three weapons-storage-area (WSA) igloos are in a row. The middle igloo is treated with CCD materials while the other two are not. The middle igloo will still be vulnerable. The enemy knows that three igloos exist and will probably locate the middle one no matter how well the CCD plan is designed. However, if all three igloos are treated with CCD materials and three decoy igloos are placed away from them, the treated igloos' survivability will increase.

6-14. Furthermore, if a man-made object (traffic surface) or a natural feature (tree line) is close to the igloos, attacking forces will use these cues to proceed to the target area even if all three igloos are treated with CCD materials. Remember, an HVT is part of an overall target scene and an attacker must interpret the scene. Do not make his task easy. CCD plans that treat only the target and ignore other cues (man-made or natural) within the target scene are insufficient.


6-15. C2 systems provide military leaders with the capability to make timely decisions, communicate the decisions to subordinate units, and monitor the execution of the decisions. CPs contain vital C2 systems.


6-16. Since World War II, the size and complexity of CPs have increased dramatically. Their signatures have correspondingly increased from a physical and communications perspective (more types of antennas and transmission modes at a wider range of frequencies). As a result, the enemy can use several conspicuous signatures to detect and target CPs for attack. Therefore, CPs require excellent CCD to survive on the battlefield.

Lines of Communication

6-17. CPs are usually located near converging LOC, such as road or rail junctions, and often require new access and egress routes. Consider the following regarding CCD and CPs:

  • Vehicle traffic. When evaluating EM signatures that CPs emit, consider concentrations of vehicles, signs of heavy traffic (characteristic wear and track marks), and air traffic. Park vehicles and aircraft a significant distance from CPs.
  • Antennas. Antennas and their electronic emissions and numerous support towers are common to most CPs. Paint antennas and support equipment with nonconductive green, black, or brown paint if the surfaces are shiny. If tactically feasible, use remote antennas to reduce the vulnerability of the radio system to collateral damage.
  • Security emplacements. Security measures (barbwire, barriers, security and dismount points, and other types of emplacements) can indicate CP operations. Barbwire exhibits a measurable RCS at radar frequencies. Ensure that barbwire and concertina wire follow natural terrain lines and are concealed as much as possible.


6-18. Power generators and other heat sources produce signatures that an enemy's surveillance and target-acquisition sensors can detect. Place heat-producing equipment and other thermal sources in defilade positions, within structures, or under natural cover. Heat diffusers, which tone down and vent vehicle exhaust away from threat direction, are an expedient means of thermal-signature reduction.

Defensive Positions

6-19. Defensive positions (berms, revetments, fighting positions) for protection against direct- and indirect-fire attackers typically create scarred earth signatures and detectable patterns due to earth excavation.


6-20. CCD improves OPSEC and increases survivability by minimizing the observable size and EM signatures of CPs. CP CCD requires recon, planning, discipline, security, and maintenance. Carefully controlled traffic plans decrease the possibility of disturbing natural cover and creating new, observable paths. Decoys are a highly effective means of confusing the enemy's target-acquisition process, particularly against airborne sensors. Against ground threats, the same general rules of CCD discipline apply; however, recon and heightened security patrols enhance CCD efforts against ground attack.


6-21. CP sites, which could move every 24 hours, are still occupied for a longer period than AAs. CP site selection is crucial, therefore units should—

  • Consider the needs of supporting an extended occupation while minimizing changes to natural terrain patterns. When constructing defensive positions, minimize earth scarring as much as possible. If scarred earth is unavoidable, cut vegetation, toned-down agents (paint), and camouflage nets help conceal scarred areas.
  • Use existing LOC (roads, trails, streams). If a site requires construction of roads or paths, make maximum use of natural concealment and existing terrain. The fewer new lines required, the better the CP blends, leaving natural features relatively unchanged.
  • Never locate a CP at a road junction. Road junctions are high-priority targets for enemy forces and are easily detectable.
  • Locate a CP in an existing civilian structure, if possible, which simplifies hiding military activity. However, choose a structure in an area where a sufficient number of buildings with similar EM signatures can mask its location.


6-22. By strictly complying with proper radio, telephone, and digital communications procedures, the opportunities for an enemy to detect friendly telecommunications activities are minimized. Consider the following:

  • Place antennas in locations using natural supports when possible (trees for dipoles). As a rule of thumb, place antennas a minimum of one wavelength away from surrounding structures or other antennas. NOTE: One wavelength is 40 meters (typically) for low frequencies and 1 meter for very high frequencies (VHFs).
  • Move antennas as often as possible within operational constraints.
  • Use directional antennas when possible. If using nondirectional antennas, employ proper terrain-masking techniques to defeat the threat's radio direction-finding efforts.
  • Use existing telephone lines as much as possible. Newly laid wire is a readily observable signature that can reveal a CP's location. Communications wire and cable should follow natural terrain lines and be concealed in the best way possible.


6-23. Maintain CCD discipline after occupying a site. Establish and use designated foot paths to, from, and within a CP's area. If a unit occupies a site for more than 24 hours, consider periodically rerouting foot paths to avoid detectable patterns. Conceal security and dismount points and other individual emplacements, and make paths to the CP inconspicuous. Enforce proper disposal procedures for trash and spoil. Rigidly enforce light and noise discipline. Enhance the realism of a decoy CP by making it appear operational. Allow CCD discipline to be lax in the decoy CP, thus making it a more conspicuous target than the real CP.


6-24. Supply and water points provide logistical support—the backbone of sustained combat operations. As these targets are relatively immobile and the object of an enemy's most sophisticated sensors, using CCD is one of the most effective means to improve their survivability.


6-25. Many CCD methods associated with AAs and CPs also apply to supply and water points, but with additional requirements. Large amounts of equipment and supplies are quickly brought into tactical areas and delivered to supply points located as close to the FLOT as possible. Supplies must be unloaded and concealed quickly, while supply points remain open and accessible for distribution. Under these conditions, multiple supply points are generally easier to camouflage than single, large ones. Decoy supply and water points can also confuse a threat's targeting efforts.


6-26. Take maximum advantage of natural cover and concealment. Configure logistics layouts to conform with the local ground pattern. Creativity can play a role in this effort. The following guidance enhances concealment of these operations:

  • Avoid establishing regular (square or rectangular) perimeter shapes for an area.
  • Select locations where concealed access and egress routes are already established and easily controlled.
  • Use roads with existing overhead concealment if you need new access roads. Conceal access over short, open areas with overhead nets.
  • Control movement into and out of the supply area.
  • Mix and disperse supply-point stocks to the maximum extent possible. This not only avoids a pattern of stockpile shapes but also avoids easy destruction of one entire commodity.
  • Space stocks irregularly (in length and depth) to avoid recognizable patterns. Stack supplies as low as possible to avoid shadows. Dig supplies in if resources allow. In digging operations, disperse the spoil so as not to produce large piles of earth.
  • Cover stocks with nets and other materials that blend with background patterns and signatures. Flattops (large, horizontal CCD nets) are effective for concealing supply-point activities when resources allow their construction and when supply points are not too large. Dunnage from supply points provides excellent material for expedient decoys.


6-27. Ensure that vehicles cause minimal changes to the natural terrain as a result of movement into, within, and out of the area. Provide concealment and control of vehicles waiting to draw supplies. Rigidly practice and enforce CCD discipline and OPSEC. Debris control could be a problem and requires constant attention.


6-28. CCD for water points include the following additional considerations:

  • Spillage. Water spillage can have positive and negative effects on a unit's CCD posture. Standing pools of water reflect light that is visible to observers. Pools can also act as forward scatterers of radar waves, resulting in conspicuous black-hole returns on radar screens. Therefore, minimize water spillage and provide adequate drainage for runoff. On the other hand, dispersed water can be used to reduce the thermal signatures of large, horizontal surfaces. However, use this technique sparingly and in such a way that pools do not form.
  • Equipment. Use adequate natural and artificial concealment for personnel, storage tanks, and specialized pumping and purification equipment. Conceal water-point equipment to eliminate shine from damp surfaces. Conceal shine by placing canvas covers on bladders, using camouflage nets, and placing foliage on and around bladders. This also distorts the normal shape of the bladders.
  • Scheduling. Enhance CCD discipline at water points by establishing and strictly enforcing a supply schedule for units. The lack of or violation of a supply schedule produces a concentration of waiting vehicles that is difficult to conceal.


6-29. AASs are among the most important of all battlefield HVTs. AASs are typically comprised of several parts that make up the whole, including tactical assembly areas (TAAs), aviation maintenance areas (AMAs), forward operating bases (FOBs), and forward arming and refueling points (FARPs). The positioning of AAS elements with respect to each other is dynamic and often depends on the existing tactical situation. In the following discussion, an AAS will be defined as a TAA, an AMA, and a FARP collocated in the same area. While these elements are not always collocated, the CCD techniques for individual elements will not greatly differ based on positioning. Untreated AASs are detectable in most threat sensor wavelengths.

  • TAA. A TAA is typically a parking area for helicopters. Helicopters are highly conspicuous targets because of their awkward shape, distinctive thermal signatures, and large RCS. An enemy expends a lot of time and energy attempting to locate TAAs. Once it finds them, the enemy aggressively directs offensive operations against them.
  • AMA. The most conspicuous features of an AMA are the large transportable maintenance shelters. These shelters are highly visible and indicate the presence of helicopters to an enemy. AMAs occupy large areas to allow for ground handling of aircraft. Traffic patterns around AMAs are also strong visual cues to the enemy. Maintenance assets, including aviation shop sets, have characteristically distinct multispectral cues.
  • FARP. A FARP provides POL and ammunition support to AASs and other tactical units. A FARP consists of fuel bladders, heavy expanded mobility tactical trucks (HEMTTs), fueling apparatus, and bulk ammunition. Due to safety requirements, FARP elements are dispersed as much as possible within terrain and operational constraints. Each element is detectable with multispectral radar. In a FARP—
    • Fuel bladders contain petroleum liquids whose thermal mass is a strong IR cue relative to the background. Bladders are often bermed, which means that visible earth scarring is necessary to construct the berm.
    • Large HEMTTs are conspicuous in all wavelengths.
    • Fueling areas are generally arranged in such a way that the fueling apparatus (hoses, pumps) are arranged linearly in an open area for safe and easy access. The linear deployment of these hoses is a strong visual cue, and their dark color usually contrasts with the background. The dark hoses experience solar loading, and the POL liquids within the hoses can provide a thermal cue.
  • Equipment. Palletized ammunition and support equipment accompany AASs. Such equipment is often stacked in regular, detectable patterns.
  • Aircraft. Aircraft create large dust plumes when deployed to unpaved areas. Such plumes are distinct visual cues and indicate the presence of rotary aircraft to an enemy.
    • Parked aircraft. Camouflage nets, berms, stacked equipment, and revetments can effectively conceal parked aircraft. Vertical screens constructed from camouflage nets help conceal parked aircraft, particularly against ground-based threats. However, CCD techniques for rapid-response aircraft must not impair operational requirements, meaning that obtrusive, permanent CCD techniques are generally not an option. Also, foreign object damage (FOD) is a critical concern for all aviation assets. CCD for parked aircraft depends on the expected ground time between flights. The commanding officer must approve all aircraft CCD techniques before implementation.
    • Aircraft refueling. Aircraft refueling positions, particularly fuel hoses, should be dispersed and arrayed in a nonlinear configuration. The hoses can be concealed at periodic locations with cut vegetation or a light earth/sod covering to reduce visual and thermal signatures.
  • Defensive positions. Constructing defensive positions can create detectable areas of scarred earth.
  • CCD. AASs are extremely valuable targets; therefore, try to prevent their initial detection by an enemy.
  • Vehicles. Large vehicles can be effectively concealed with camouflage nets. Also, properly placing these vehicles to use terrain features and indigenous vegetation increases their survivability. Expedient vehicle decoys provide an enemy with alternate targets, and proper CCD discipline is essential.
  • Dunnage. Quickly conceal all dunnage (packing materials) to minimize the evidence of AASs.
  • Dust. To avoid dust, park aircraft in grassy areas or where the earth is hard-packed. If such areas are unavailable, disperse water on the area to minimize dust plumes. However, water-soaked earth can also be an IR detection cue so use this option sparingly and, if possible, at night. Several chemical dust palliatives are available that provide excellent dust control for aviation areas.
  • Construction. When constructing defensive positions, minimize disturbances to the surrounding area. Cover scarred earth with cut vegetation, camouflage nets, or toned-down agents.



6-30. Examples of valuable relocatable units include TOCs, tactical-missile-defense (TMD) units (Patriot batteries), refuel-on-the-move (ROM) sites, and FARPs. These units are critical to offensive and defensive operations, and their protection should receive a high priority.

6-31. Mobility and CCD enhance the survivability of relocatable units. A CCD plan must include the techniques for units to deploy rapidly and conduct mobile operations continuously. The CCD techniques available to mobile units are basically the same as for fixed installations, and the principles of CCD still apply. However, the mission of relocatable units differs from that of fixed installations so CCD execution also differs.

6-32. Relocatable units spend from a few hours to several weeks in the same location, depending on their tactical situation. CCD techniques must be planned accordingly. If a unit is at a location for a few hours, it should employ expedient CCD techniques. If a unit is at a location for several days, it should employ robust CCD plans. The resources a unit expends on CCD execution must be weighed against the length of time that it remains in the same location. As CCD plans increase in complexity, subsequent assembly and teardown times also increase. Commanders must ensure that the unit's manpower and resources dedicated to CCD execution are equal to the tactical mobility requirements.


6-33. CCD should be built into systems to the maximum extent possible. Supplemental CCD is usually necessary and should be designed to enhance the built-in CCD. Apply the same rules for avoiding detection and the same considerations regarding the seven recognition factors that are discussed in Chapter 3. The CCD planning process outlined at the beginning of this chapter also applies.

Join the mailing list