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Chapter 1

Targeting, Target Acquisition, and the Military Decision Making Process

This chapter provides an overview of targeting fundamentals, field artillery target acquisition processes, and target acquisition integration into the military decision making process (MDMP). Target acquisition, by nature, is an integral part of the targeting process and requires the interaction among many groups within a given organization. Field artillery target acquisition plays a key role in the targeting process. Without accurate targeting data, indirect fire systems are of limited value. Targeting is a command responsibility that requires the participation of key members of maneuver and field artillery coordinating and special staffs. It is a critical component of the MDMP that focuses battlefield operating systems to achieve the commander's intent. As such, the targeting process focuses on mission requirements. The mission, commander's intent and guidance drive the targeting process. These inputs allow unit personnel to determine the targets to be engaged, how to locate and track the targets, when and how to engage the targets, along with determining if, when, and how target assessment will be accomplished. The methodology used to drive the targeting process is Decide, Detect, Deliver and Assess (D3A). This chapter discusses D3A, the role of field artillery target acquisition (TA) and how TA fits into the MDMP process.


Targeting is the part of the military decision making process used to focus battlefield operating systems (BOSs) to achieve the commanders intent. The methodology used to translate the commander's intent into a plan is decide, detect, deliver, and assess. The functions associated with this methodology help the commander decide what to attack, how to acquire those targets, and when those targets are acquired, how to attack them in a way that disrupts, delays or limits the enemy's ability to achieve his objectives. Simply stated, targeting is the process of selecting targets and matching the appropriate response to them, taking account of operational requirements and capabilities.


Targeting is a combination of intelligence functions, planning, battle command, weaponeering, operational execution and combat assessment (CA). The D3A methodology facilitates the attack of the right target at the right time with the most appropriate asset. Integral to this process is target tracking. Tracking is essential to the detect and deliver functions. Tracking also impacts the ability to assess a target and implement subsequent reattack decisions. Targeting is a continuous process that maintains pace with the dynamics of an ever-changing battlefield situation. In addition to the enemy situation, the inputs that drive this process come from higher headquarters' plans and orders. Specifically, they are the mission, intent, and specified/implied tasks.


The first and most important step in the targeting process is the decide function. Deciding the targets to be attacked provides the overall focus and sets priorities for intelligence collection and attack planning. Targeting priorities must be set for each phase or critical event of an operation. Successful targeting is directly related to the commander's battle plan. Therefore, the targeting team must understand the unit's mission. This understanding starts with mission analysis. Once the commander and staff complete the mission analysis, the commander issues the restated mission. The restated mission is the starting point for the targeting process.

Key to the decide function is the intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB). During this process, situational templates and event templates are developed and used to ascertain suspected enemy locations and movements for targeting purposes. IPB identifies the enemy courses of action (COA) and subsequent high value targets (HVT) are identified from a target value analysis (TVA). HVTs are those targets or assets believed to be essential for the enemy commander to accomplish his mission. As the MDMP continues friendly COAs are developed and wargamed. As a result of wargaming, HVTs whose loss to the enemy will contribute to the success of the friendly plan are identified. These targets are high payoff targets (HPT). Effective engagement of HPTs is essential to the successful execution of the friendly COAs. The inability to acquire or achieve the specified effects against a HPT always requires a reassessment of the friendly COA to make adjustments based on a changed enemy situation.

Several products are developed during the decide phase of targeting. These products are:

  • High-payoff target list (HPTL) - a prioritized list of HPTs.

  • Intelligence collection plan (ICP) - answers the commander's priority intelligence requirements (PIR) and intelligence requirements (IR). This includes HPT designated as PIR.

  • Target selection standards (TSS) - designated target location accuracy, target posture and time requirements that must be met before attacking a target. Targets not meeting TSS requirements are considered target indicators and aren't attacked.

  • Attack guidance matrix (AGM) - document addressing which targets will be attacked, how when and the desired effects. The commander approves this product.

In addition, other products are developed or refined during the decide phase. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Decision support template (DST).

  • Targeting synchronization matrix (TSM).

  • Combat assessment (CA) requirements.

  • Target nominations - air interdiction (AI), Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), electronic warfare (EW) etc.

As a result of the decide function, the targeting team will determine which targets will be acquired and attacked to meet the commander's intent; when and where (time and space) they may be found and by whom; how the targets will be acquired and attacked; assessment requirements; and the synchronization of sensors and attack systems with the scheme of maneuver. This results in the tasking of TA assets. The targeting synchronization matrix identifies targets designated for acquisition by field artillery TA assets.


Detect is the next critical function in the targeting process. The detect function translates target priorities developed during the decide function into the ICP and TA tasking contained in the operations order (OPORD). The G2 or S2 is the primary staff section directing the effort to locate and identify HPTs. The collection manager oversees this effort and directs the tasking of acquisition assets against appropriate targets. Since there aren't enough assets to detect all targets, prioritization is essential. Therefore, radar schedules and zones are established to support the detection effort with focus on PIR and HPTs. It is essential that all acquisition assets be used effectively and efficiently. Duplication of effort must be avoided unless it is required to confirm a target. At the division, the analysis and control element (ACE) manages the collection plan to avoid duplication. The analysis and control team (ACT) manages the collection plan at the brigade.

HPTs must be detected in sufficient time to synchronize their attack with the commander's battle plan. Precise taskings must be given to acquisition systems designated to detect a specific target. Mobile targets must be detected and tracked until they are attacked. Further, tracking of mobile targets must be planned in sufficient detail to allow the handoff of a target from one collection asset to another when required. Tracking priorities are based on the commander's concept of the operation and targeting priorities.

Once detected, targets are passed to the fire support element (FSE) for engagement. The FSE passes the target to the appropriate command or asset for execution. HPTs may be passed directly from a sensor to a firing unit when authorized by the maneuver commander. This is accomplished by establishing a sensor-to-shooter link. This is a useful technique for engaging critical targets with a short dwell or target decay time.

Targets and suspected targets may be passed to the targeting team by a number of means. It is essential that the proper information be passed to facilitate analysis and attack. As a minimum, target reports should include:

  • Reporting agency.

  • Date-time group (DTG) of the sensor acquiring the target.

  • Description of the activity.

  • Size and orientation of the target.

  • Target location and altitude.

  • Target location error (TLE).

  • Dwell time.

  • Target posture (stationary or rate and direction of movement).

The information from the target report is compared with the TSS. If the TSS requirements are met, the target is attacked.


The deliver function of the targeting process executes the target attack guidance supporting the commander's battle plan. The attack of targets must satisfy the attack guidance developed during the decide function.

Successful target attack implements tactical and technical delivery decisions and supporting actions. The attack of a target starts with the review of the attack guidance. Initially, the target to be attacked is validated. Validation includes reviewing the acquisition system and its associated accuracy, time of acquisition, and target posture. The validated target is passed to a designated delivery unit/system for attack. Depending upon the delivery system, other factors warrant consideration. These include weather, Class III and V availability, planning time, SEAD capability, risk, coordination requirements, fire support coordinating measures (FSCM), and notification of unit/system conducting battle damage assessment (BDA).


Physically assessing effects resulting from the application of military force is a necessary task. Assessment is conducted either by direct observation or estimating damage based on the munitions delivered, target characteristics and target location error (TLE). Damage assessments provide the commander with information that expresses target damage on the basis of overall mission accomplishment. CA is used to determine the success of force employment during military operations. The requirements for CA are identified during course of action development and wargamed to ensure they can be executed. CA consists of three elements:

  • BDA.

  • Munitions effects assessment (MEA).

  • Re-attack recommendation.

BDA is the timely and accurate estimate of damage resulting from the application of military force, either lethal or non-lethal, against a target. BDA is further analyzed to provide an objective assessment of effects against the enemy in relation to the friendly COA. The commander uses CA, to obtain a snapshot of his effects on the enemy. It provides an estimate of the enemy's remaining combat capabilities and intentions after attack. This helps the commander determine if the targeting effort is accomplishing his objectives. As part of the CA process, BDA helps determine if target re-strike is necessary. BDA requirements are identified during the decide phase and are included in the intelligence collection plan. BDA has three components:

  • Physical damage assessment.

  • Functional damage assessment.

  • Target system assessment.

Physical damage assessment estimates the quantitative effects of physical damage from blast, fire or fragmentation expressed as a percentage of the target damaged. Often, a unit's focus for BDA stops here. Information from physical damage assessment is sometimes displayed using a kill-board or other type of scorecard. BDA should include all three of its components to provide the commander with useful information.

Functional damage assessment estimates the effect of attack on a targets ability to perform its intended mission, when compared to operational objectives established against the target. This assessment uses multiple intelligence sources to determine the amount of time required for the enemy to replace capabilities lost during the attack.

Target system assessment is an overall assessment of targeting effectiveness against an entire target system such as enemy fire support. The same assessment can be applied to a specific unit. Unlike the functional damage assessment, target system assessment is a relatively permanent assessment.

MEA is conducted concurrently with BDA. MEA is used to determine if adjustments are needed to attack recommendations. MEA may result in a modification of the weapon system, attack methodology, munitions and/or delivery parameters used to attack a target.

The re-attack decision is the final step in CA. Based on BDA and MEA, the targeting team considers the level to which operational objectives have been achieved through the targeting process. Recommendations for re-attack are presented to the commander based on this analysis.

Results from the assess function often require changes to plans and decisions. This may result in the update of several products from the decide phase. These include:

  • IPB products.

  • HPTL.

  • TSS.

  • AGM.

  • Intelligence collection plan (ICP).

  • Operations plans and orders.


The targeting meeting is a critical event in a unit's battle rhythm, the timing of which serves to nest the unit's battle rhythm into the higher headquarters' targeting process. It should be the minimum length required to present targeting information, situation updates, provide recommendations and obtain decisions. The purpose of targeting meetings is the same regardless of the level at which they are conducted. The major differences are the time focus, the number of targeting team members, and the available assets. The basic procedures for conducting targeting meetings are the same. This discussion focuses on the maneuver brigade since it has the widest applicability to FA target acquisition personnel.

The targeting meeting brings the targeting team together to synchronize the targeting process and obtain approval for and/or changes to the targeting products. It focuses and synchronizes the unit's combat power and resources toward finding, tracking, attacking and assessing HPTs. Purposes of a targeting meeting include:

  • Verifying and updating the HPTL.

  • Verifying, updating and re-tasking available collection assets for each HPT.

  • Allocating delivery systems to engage each target.

  • Confirming the assets tasked to assess the target once attacked.

  • Identifying target nominations for attack by division or joint assets.

  • Synchronizing lethal and non-lethal assets to include information operations (IO).

The timing of the targeting meeting is crucial. It must be effectively integrated into the unit's battle rhythm and nested into the higher headquarters' targeting cycle to ensure that the results of the targeting process can be implemented. Thus task organization changes, modifications to the reconnaissance, surveillance and security (RS&S) plan, air tasking order (ATO) nominations, changes to the HPTL and essential fire support tasks (EFST) all must be made with the awareness of the time available to prepare and execute.

Preparation and focus are keys to successful targeting meetings. Each representative must come to the meeting prepared to discuss available assets, capabilities, limitations and assessment requirements related to their staff area. This means participants must conduct detailed prior coordination and be prepared to bring inputs and/or information with them. This preparation must be focused around the commander's intent and a solid understanding of the current situation. At the maneuver brigade, the following are typical inputs by targeting team members:

  • S2:

    – Current enemy situation.

    – BDA for targets engaged since last meeting.

    – Current RS&S plan.

    – Planned enemy courses of action (situation template).

    – Collection assets available and those that must be requested from higher.

  • S3:

    – Current friendly situation.

    – Maneuver assets available.

    – Current combat power.

    – Requirements from higher headquarters.

    – Changes to commander's intent.

    – Changes to task organization.

    – Planned operations.

  • FSO:

    – HPTL, TSS, AGM or a consolidated matrix.

    – Changes to the EFST.

    – Fire support assets available.

    – Proposed HPTL, TSS, AGM, EFST for time period discussed.

    – Recommended changes to FSCM for period being discussed.

  • Targeting Officer:

    – HPTs that have been attacked and associated BDA.

    – Radar status.

    – Active radar zones.

    – Counterfire acquisitions.

  • Other Staff Products: The specific situation dictates the extent of the remaining targeting team members' participation. They must be prepared to discuss in detail their own BOS assets and capabilities, the integration of their assets into targeting decisions, and the capabilities and limitations of enemy assets within their BOS.

The XO is responsible for keeping the meeting focused. He describes the agenda and specifies the time period to be addressed. He is the arbitrator of any disagreements that may arise and ensures the meeting stays on track with the stated purpose and agenda. Table 1-1 shows an agenda with the information covered by core targeting team members.

Table 1-1. Targeting Meeting Agenda




S2 Representative

- Weather

- Enemy situation and decision points (event template)

- BDA for targets engaged since last meeting

- Analysis of enemy most likely and dangerous COAs for next 24-36 hrs

- Recommended changes to PIR

- Briefs RS&S plan

S3 Representative

- New requirements from higher HQ

- Summarizes current situation

- Provides status of combat power

- CDRs guidance and intent

- Planned OPS during the focus period



- Briefs current TGT products: HPTL, AGM, TSS, EFST etc.

- Status of fire support (FS) assets

- Approved preplanned air requests and TGTs planned for next 2 ATO cycles

- Proposed HPTL with TGT locations for concurrence and approval

- Recommend, in conjunction with (ICW) the ALO, changes to working preplanned air requests

Targeting Officer

- Briefs HPTs that have been attacked and associated BDA

- Provided radar status and active radar zones

- Briefs counterfire situation

EW Officer

- Brigade EW plan

Brigade XO

- Approve/modify proposed CCIR, force protection priorities, RS&S plan, HPTs, CAS/AI nominations

Once everyone understands the enemy's most likely COA for the next 24-36 hours, the state of current operations in relation to the plan, and the targets recommended as HPT, the XO leads the team through the D3A process for that time period. This includes:

  • Deciding and prioritizing which collection asset will detect and trigger the target attack.

  • Determining where the target will be found.

  • Determining which system will attack the target and the effects to be achieved.

  • Deciding when and where the target will be attacked.

  • Determining assessment requirements to include the system to assess effects and when the assessment must be provided.

  • Determining re-attack criteria.

Once all targeting decisions are made and the commander's approval is obtained, new fragmentary orders (FRAGO) and taskings are prepared and disseminated.


Field Artillery (FA) target acquisition plays a key role in the targeting process. Without accurate targeting data, indirect fire systems are of limited value.

Weapons locating radars (WLR) are one of the primary means of locating enemy indirect fire systems. Tasks for WLRs are integrated into the ICP developed during the decide phase of the targeting process. These tasks often support EFSTs. Radar taskings are identified in the TA Tab of the field artillery support plan (FASP) in the radar execution matrix. When appropriate, tasks are noted on the DST for special actions at specific points in the battle. Specific functions of WLRs include:

  • Locating enemy indirect systems and generating artillery target intelligence.

  • Locating enemy indirect fire systems and generating fire missions.

  • Registering and adjusting friendly artillery and mortars.

  • Validating the location of friendly fires.

  • Providing target intelligence and information to allow friendly forces to take force protection measures while generating fire missions to attack enemy indirect fire systems.


Targeting is a commander-driven process and starts with the receipt of the mission. As the targeting process develops, each targeting function occurs simultaneously and sequentially.

Initially, the decide function coincides with the MDMP from the mission analysis through the issuing of the approved plan or order. The detect function starts with the commander's approval of the plan or order and is accomplished during execution of the plan or order. Once detected, targets are attacked and assessed as required. After an operation commences, the targeting process becomes cyclic with all the functions happening simultaneously. Targeting meetings are used as a vehicle to focus the targeting process within specified time periods. Figure 1-1 shows the relationship between the D3A methodology and the MDMP along with products generated during the targeting process.

Figure 1-1. Relationship of Targeting to the MDMP

Figure 1-1. Relationship of Targeting to the MDMP


The target acquisition planning process must be integrated into the fires planning process and the MDMP if TA assets are to be effectively employed. TA planning starts when the mission is received and continues throughout the entire D3A process. The targeting officer must be focused on the requirements for TA systems throughout this process.


The targeting officer starts his mission analysis as soon as the initial warning order is received. The targeting officer gathers all the information pertinent to TA assets for incorporation into the fire support estimate. This happens concurrently with the mission analysis. TA information contained in the fire support estimate includes a detailed status of all radars, strikers, reconnaissance and surveillance assets. Pertinent information about radars should include:

  • Status of all assigned and attached radars.

  • Current radar locations.

  • Anticipated support requirements including:

    – Position areas.

    – Personnel.

    – Survey.

    – MET.

    – Communications.

    – Maintenance.

    – Security.

    – Classes of supply.

This information is updated throughout the fires planning and MDMP process.

During mission analysis the targeting officer reviews the order based on the commander's intent, concept of operation, areas of operations and interest, tasks, limitations, constraints, and anticipated enemy actions that may require special consideration. This identifies the amount of available time and the specified, implied and essential tasks. Time considerations are important because time dictates when STRIKERs and radar need to deploy to support the mission. The essential tasks become the foundation for EFST and essential field artillery tasks (EFAT) that will ultimately specify how TA assets will be employed.


The targeting officer participates in COA development at the maneuver unit TOC with the FSO and the FSCOORD. This ensures that FS planning, and ultimately TA planning, is fully integrated into the maneuver MDMP. As a result of the COA development process, EFST and EFAT are developed to support each COA developed. These determine the requirements for radar coverage, zones, triggers, radar position areas, movement requirements, cueing agents and risks to the radars. This information is incorporated into the COA sketch and statement, and the RS&S plan. The COA analysis culminates with a COA brief to the commander. The commander issues his guidance and adjustments are made to each COA.


During wargaming, each COA is analyzed independently to determine if they are executable. Every individual EFST and EFAT is analyzed and decision points determined. Wargaming often results in adjustments to the COA and changes to TA requirements. During the wargame, every task assigned to a TA asset is analyzed for feasibility. TA tasks and actions are modified, if required, and recorded on the appropriate DST or synchronization matrix.


After completion of COA analysis, each COA is compared against a predetermined set of criteria designed to identify which COA best accomplishes the mission. The COA that best accomplishes the mission becomes the basis for recommending a COA to the commander during the COA decision brief. Once the commander makes his decision and issues his guidance, the staff makes any adjustments to the COA that might be required. The targeting officer then makes any required adjustments to TA coverage and employment requirements. A final warning order is sent to subordinates and the information (TA plan) from the MDMP process is used in the development in the operations order or plan. The TA plan developed during the MDMP becomes part of the fire support annex and TA Tab. The positioning and activities of strikers become part of the finalized RS&S and observation plans. The publishing of plans and orders completes the initial MDMP. TA planning and coverage is continually updated and refined throughout the operation as part of the D3A process.


TA personnel must have an understanding of the different types of rehearsals, rehearsal techniques, and the role that they play during rehearsals. The radar section leader and targeting officer regularly participate in combined arms rehearsals and support rehearsals. The specific rehearsals are the combined arms rehearsal, fire support rehearsal, and FA unit and technical rehearsals. The fire support rehearsal should always be conducted prior to the combined arms rehearsal. Further, the FA and FA technical rehearsals should be conducted prior to the fire support rehearsal if possible. A detailed discussion of rehearsals is at Appendix J.


Guidances contain information used in the decision making processes of AFATDS. These guidances affect the manner in which AFATDS processes information received from radar and other observers. They can be used to supply information, impose restrictions, filter and select data, and make decisions concerning data and assets. The targeting officer and the radar section leader must understand how guidances affect targeting decisions, fire mission processing and radar acquisition processing.

When a call for fire (CFF) is sent from Firefinder to AFATDS, it is processed using AFATDS guidances at the receiving AFATDS. If the CFF fails AFATDS guidances, the mission is denied. In AFATDS, the target contained in the failed CFF would be entered into the suspect target list for comparison with other targets already on file. If no solution or combination occurs, the target will remain on file and be compared with incoming suspect targets until the target decay time is reached.

When an Artillery Target Intelligence (ATI) report is sent to AFATDS from a Firefinder it may become a CFF. Based on guidances, an ATI target may generate a fire mission by combining with a target already in the suspect target list. If the target type meets the criteria for combination and the target type is in the High Payoff Target (HPT) list, it will generate a CFF. Even without combination, if the target sent by Firefinder is in the HPT list and meets the accuracy and reliability guidances, it may become a fire mission.

Guidances are used to determine if raw target data can be used to develop a fire mission. They determine fire mission precedence and mission value. Some guidances are merely record keeping tools. Others allow the information to be placed into a written plan (e.g., an OPORD, or FS Annex). Some guidances are used to determine how or when to shoot a target and the associated munitions, effects, and fire support systems. Commanders specify guidances to insure the successful engagement of targets. During fire mission processing, guidances play a vital role in determining the best attack solution for a given target.

The types of guidances are not organized by category. They are spread across six different categories. Example, under the category Target you will find Target Selection Standards (TSS). This is a filter guidance. Also under Target you will find High Value Target List. This is a screening guidance.

The six guidance categories are:

  • Target.

  • FS attack.

  • Unit and sensor systems.

  • FA attack.

  • C3 (command control and communications).

  • Miscellaneous.

Guidance information is normally supplied by higher echelon units and is distributed to other units in the command and support chain. There are four types of guidances:

  • Filter guidance. Determines if a target should be shot.

  • Screening guidance. Determines how and when to shoot a target.

  • Target analysis guidance. Determines the optimum munition and fire unit to achieve the desired effects on the target.

  • Information guidance. Are information only guidances and have no affect on fire mission processing.

This section provides an explanation of the guidances that are used in mission processing and how they affect Firefinder missions. These are primarily Filter and Screening guidances. Guidances that do not affect Firefinder mission processing are not discussed.

Before guidances are applied, AFATDS classifies targets by their description. AFATDS calls these descriptions target categories. Within each target category there are Target Types. Firefinder calls these Target Type and Subtype. Many of the guidances in AFATDS allow one to specify guidance for each individual target type. When a call for fire is received at AFATDS, the target type of the mission is used to determine the specific guidance that has been established for that target type.

Some of the guidances used in fire mission processing are called FILTERS. Filter guidances determine if a target should be shot. For example, if a target is a duplicate of another target, the second call for fire is eliminated; the Target Duplication guidance filters out duplicate targets.

Other guidances determine HOW or WHEN to shoot the target. These are called screening guidances. They prioritize targets relative to one another and provide information about the munitions type, volume of fire and required effects.

Other guidances are considered preferences. These are attack analysis guidances. For these guidances, any entry specified on the CFF may not result in the exact solution provided since other information may be taken into account. For instance, when shooting a certain target type, the preference may be to shoot DPICM, TIME, 2 PLT volleys. But if no units have DPICM, other shell/fuze combinations will be chosen. If available, alternatives will be given. Nonetheless, specified preference may be ranked higher than other alternatives and may be the suggested option. Preference guidances allow blank entries to be made; for these guidances, blank entries just mean no preference.

The first guidances applied are filters. Target duplication is a filter guidance. If AFATDS receives a target that duplicates an active fire mission and the target received is the duplicate of this target, the computer will recommend denying the second target.

Target Selection Standards (TSS) are the primary filter guidance considered when an ATI or CFF is processed by AFATDS. ATIs are always checked against TSS. If the ATI fails the TSS guidance it will be considered a "Suspect" target and be sent to the target generation function for further processing. CFFs may be checked against TSS if the operator elects to do so (simply by selecting the "Check CFFs against TSS" option on the TSS guidance window). CFFs failing TSS will likewise be sent to target generation as a suspect target. If the "Check CFFs against TSS" option is not selected, all CFFs will pass TSS. TSS consists of three primary checks:

  • Accuracy. Is the TLE of the target less than or equal to the "Max TLE" in the TSS guidance.

  • Report Age. Is the time difference from the "DTG Acquired" of the target to the current time less than or equal to the "Max Report Age" in the TSS guidance?

  • Reliability. Is the observer reliable in reporting this type of target (if not the target will fail TSS)?

When checking TSS, AFATDS checks the Target Location Error (TLE) and "time acquired/sensed" for the target. The observer's unit data is also checked to determine if the observer is "reliable" for the specific target type. AFATDS determines these three critical elements of information as follows:

  • The TLE used on the mission will be based on:

    – The TLE submitted with the target data.

    – A calculation considering the sensor's range to target (for targets sent by Q36 or Q37 Radars only).

    – The TLE value for the observer in the AFATDS database (when an ATI is received directly from the observer).

    – A default value considering the unit type that sent the ATI.

  • The "DTG Acquired" used on the mission will be based on:

    – The "Time Acquired" or "Time Sensed" submitted with the target data.

    – If a time is not provided, AFATDS will use the time the target was received at the first AFATDS computer as the "DTG Acquired".

  • The observer's reliability used during the TSS check is based on:

    – The reliability indicator (Reliable vs. Non Reliable by individual target type) in the observer or radar's unit data.

    – If the reporting sensor is not an observer or radar unit type, it is assumed to be reliable and will pass the "Observer Reliability" aspect of TSS. This situation occurs when a target is entered at an AFATDS.

Screening guidances are applied after filter guidance. The first screening guidance is the High Value Target List (HVTL). The HVTL specifies when to attack the target (Planned, As Acquired, Immediate or Excluded), the effects on the target (Suppress, Neutralize, Destroy or allows an operator entered effects percentage) and a weight of each target category relative to one another (each category can be given a value between 0 and 100). This information is established for each target category. The HVTL is used in two ways:

  • As a starting point for creating the target management matrix (TMM).

  • To provide priorities for target categories.

The TMM is also a screening guidance. For each target type, this guidance allows the target type to be placed in a High Payoff Target List (HPTL), an Excluded Target list or a non-HPT List. For HPTs and non-HPTs, it allows entry of when to attack the target and the effects on the target. For HPTs it establishes weights to be set to rank HPTs relative to one another. Weights are established as follows:

  • For non-HPT targets, the HVTL weighting for a target's target category is the same as the weighting for the target type.

  • For HPTs, it allows an additional weighting of a target type above the highest weighting in the HVTL. The new weighting is the highest HVTL weighting plus the assigned weighting for the HPT. For example, if the highest weighting of all categories set in the HVTL is 95 and the HPT is given a weighting of 20, the real weighting of the target type is 115.

  • For all target types, the TMM specifies whether to route the target to IEW (Intel/Electronic Warfare) for coordination and/or perform TDA on the target.

  • When the TMM is cleared and the window is closed without re-assigning any or all of the target types, all remaining unassigned target types will be assigned to the non-HPT or excluded list. If the target type's category is set to excluded in the HVTL, the target type will be put into the excluded list, otherwise it will be put into the non-HPT list. The "When" values (e.g., As Acquired, Immediate) and the effects values (e.g., Suppress, Neutralize) will be taken from the HVTL for the target type's category as well.

Mission Prioritization is the final screening guidance. This guidance determines the ranking of fire units and Target Areas of Interest (TAI) and determines if On Call targets have higher priority than non On Call targets. It also allows the weighting of the four basic components that determine a mission's value. Target Type weighting (from TMM), TAI ranking, Priority of Fires ranking and On Call Targets. Finally, this window allows entry of Fire Mission Cutoff Values that a mission must meet or exceed in order to be considered by a given system.

After all screening guidances are checked and total mission value is assigned to the target, the target is sent back to filter guidances to check the mission cutoff value. The Mission Cutoff Value is a "filter" guidance that determines which systems (FA, Mortar, Naval Surface Fire System (NSFS) or Air) are allowed to shoot the mission. The mission's total value is compared with this and if the value is not GREATER than that of a certain system then the mission will not be shot by that system. For example, if the mission's value is 34 and FA is set to 30, FA will be considered if any FA assets are capable. If NSFS is set to 50, NSFS will not be recommended to shoot it.

After all filter and screening guidances have been checked and passed, the mission is sent to the attack analysis guidances. These determine the optimum munition and fire unit to achieve the desired effects on the target.

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