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The primary objective of risk management and fratricide avoidance is to help units protect their combat power through risk reduction, enabling them to win the battle quickly and decisively with minimum losses. This appendix focuses on two topics: risk management and the avoidance of fratricide. Risk is the chance of injury or death for individuals and of damage to or loss of vehicles and equipment. Risk, or the potential for risk, is always present across the full- spectrum of operations. Risk management must take place at all levels of the chain of command during each phase of every operation; it is an integral part of planning. The SBCT commander, battalion commanders, staffs, company commanders, and all soldiers must know how to use risk management, coupled with fratricide avoidance measures, to ensure the battalion executes the mission in the safest possible environment within mission constraints. (For additional information on risk management, refer to FM 100-14.)


Risk management is the process of identifying and controlling hazards to conserve combat power and resources. Leaders (to include the staff) must always remember that the effectiveness of the process depends on their understanding of the situation. They should never approach risk management with "one size fits all" solutions to the risks their unit faces. They must consider the essential tactical and operational factors that make each situation unique. There are five steps of the risk management process. This five-step process is integrated into the military decision-making process (Table C-1).

Table C-1.  Risk management steps correlated with MDMP tasks.

Table C-1. Risk management steps correlated with MDMP tasks.


A hazard is a source of danger. It is any existing or potential condition that could result in injury, illness, or death of personnel; damage to or loss of equipment and property; or some other form of mission degradation. Hazards arise in both tactical and training operations. Leaders must identify the hazards associated with all aspects and phases of the mission, paying particular attention to the factors of METT-TC. Risk management must never be an afterthought; leaders must begin the process during MDMP (troop-leading procedures for company and below) and continue it throughout the operation. Table C-2 lists possible sources of risk the battalion might face during a typical tactical operation. The list is organized according to the factors of METT-TC.

Table C-2.  Examples of potential hazards.

Table C-2. Examples of potential hazards.


Hazard assessment is the process of determining the direct impact of each hazard on an operation (in the form of hazardous incidents). Use the following steps:

a.   Determine which hazards can be eliminated or avoided.

b.   Assess each hazard that cannot be eliminated or avoided to determine the probability that the hazard will occur.

c.   Assess the severity of hazards that cannot be eliminated or avoided. Severity, defined as the result or outcome of a hazardous incident, is expressed by the degree of injury or illness (including death), loss of or damage to equipment or property, environmental damage, or other mission-impairing factors (such as unfavorable publicity or loss of combat power).

d.   Taking into account both the probability and severity of a hazard, determine the associated risk level (extremely high, high, moderate, or low). Table C-3 summarizes the four risk levels.

e.   Based on the factors of hazard assessment (probability, severity, and risk level, as well as the operational factors unique to the situation), complete risk management worksheet. (Figure C-1 shows an example of a completed risk management worksheet.)

Table C-3.  Risk levels and impact on mission execution.

Table C-3. Risk levels and impact on mission execution.

DRAFT Figure C-1.  Example of completed risk management worksheet.

DRAFT Figure C-1. Example of completed risk management worksheet.


Step 3 consists of two substeps: develop controls and make risk decisions. This step is done during the COA development, COA analysis, COA comparison, and COA approval of the military decision-making processMDMP.

a.   Develop Controls. Controls are the procedures and considerations the unit uses to eliminate hazards or reduce their risk. After assessing each hazard, develop one or more controls that will either eliminate the hazard or reduce the risk (probability, severity, or both) of potential hazardous incidents. When developing controls, consider the reason for the hazard, not just the hazard itself.

b.   Make Risk Decisions. A key element in the process of making a risk decision is determining whether accepting the risk is justified or, conversely, is unnecessary. The decision-maker must compare and balance the risk against mission expectations, then decide if the controls are sufficient and acceptable and whether to accept the resulting residual risk. If the risk is determined unnecessary, the decision-maker directs the development of additional controls or alternative controls; as another option, he can modify, change, or reject the selected COA for the operation.


Implementing controls is the most important part of the risk management process. It is the chain of command's contribution to the safety of the unit. Implementing controls includes coordination and communication with appropriate superior, adjacent, and subordinate units and with individuals executing the mission. The commander must ensure that specific controls are integrated into OPLANs, OPORDs, SOPs, and rehearsals. The critical check for this step is to ensure that controls are converted into clear, simple execution orders understood by all levels. If the leaders have conducted a thoughtful risk assessment, the controls will be easy to implement, enforce, and follow. Examples of risk management controls include the following:

  • Thoroughly brief all aspects of the mission, including related hazards and controls, and ensure that subordinates know the plan.
  • Allow adequate time for rehearsals at all levels.
  • Drink plenty of water, eat well, and get as much sleep as possible (at least 4 hours in any 24-hour period).
  • Enforce movement safety procedures.
  • Establish recognizable visual signals and markers to distinguish maneuvering units.
  • Enforce the use of ground guides in assembly areas and on dangerous terrain.
  • Limit single-vehicle movement.
  • Establish SOPs for the integration of new personnel.


During mission execution, leaders must ensure their subordinates properly understand and execute risk management controls. Leaders must continuously evaluate the unit's effectiveness in managing risks to gain insight into areas that need improvement.

a.   Supervision. Leadership and unit discipline are the keys to ensuring implementation of effective risk management controls. All leaders are responsible for supervising mission rehearsals and execution to ensure standards and controls are enforced. In particular, NCOs must enforce established safety policies as well as controls developed for a specific operation or task. Techniques include spot checks, inspections, situation reports (SITREPs), confirmation briefs, and supervision. During mission execution, leaders must continuously monitor risk management controls to determine whether they are effective and to modify them as necessary. Leaders must also anticipate, identify, and assess new hazards. They ensure that imminent danger issues are addressed on the spot and that ongoing planning and execution reflect changes in hazard conditions.

b.   Evaluation. Whenever possible, the risk management process should also include an after-action review to assess unit performance in identifying risks and preventing hazardous situations. Leaders should then incorporate lessons learned from the process into unit SOPs and plans for future missions.

c.   Commander's Guidance. The SBCT commander gives the company battalion commanders and staff direction, sets priorities, and establishes the command climate (values, attitudes, and beliefs). Successful preservation of combat power requires him to imbed risk management into individual behavior. To fulfill this commitment, the commander must exercise creative leadership, innovative planning, and careful management. Most importantly, he must demonstrate support for the risk management process. The commander and others in the chain of command can establish a command climate favorable to risk management integration by—

  • Demonstrating consistent and sustained risk management behavior through leading by example and stressing active participation throughout the risk management process.
  • Providing adequate resources for risk management. Every leader is responsible for obtaining the assets necessary to mitigate risk and for providing them to subordinate leaders.
  • Understanding their own and their soldier's limitations, as well as their unit's capabilities.
  • Allowing subordinates to make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Preventing a "zero defects" mindset from creeping into the unit's culture.
  • Demonstrating full confidence in subordinates' mastery of their trades and their ability to execute a chosen COA.
  • Keeping subordinates informed.
  • Listening to subordinates.

d.   Leader Responsibility. For the commander, his subordinate leaders, and individual soldiers alike, responsibilities in managing risk include the following:

  • Make informed risk decisions; establish and then clearly communicate risk decision criteria and guidance.
  • Establish clear, feasible risk management policies and goals.
  • Train the risk management process. Ensure that subordinates understand the who, what, when, where, and why of managing risk and how these factors apply to their situation and assigned responsibilities.
  • Accurately evaluate the unit's effectiveness, as well as subordinates' execution of risk controls during the mission.
  • Inform higher headquarters when risk levels exceed established limits.


Fratricide avoidance is a complex problem defying simple solutions. Fratricide can be defined broadly as employing friendly weapons and munitions with the intent of killing the enemy or destroying his equipment or facilities but resulting in unforeseen and unintentional death or injury to friendly personnel. This section focuses on actions leaders can take to reduce the risk and occurrence of fratricide using current resources.


The modern battlefield is more lethal than any in history. The tempo of operations is rapid, and the nonlinear nature of the battlefield creates command and control challenges for unit leaders. The accuracy and lethality of modern weapons make it possible to engage and destroy targets at extended ranges. However, the ability of US forces to acquire targets using thermal imagery and other sophisticated sighting systems exceeds its capability to identify these targets accurately. Consequently, friendly elements can be engaged unintentionally and destroyed in a matter of seconds. Added to this is battlefield obscuration, which becomes a critical consideration whenever thermal sights are the primary source of target identification. Rain, dust, fog, smoke, and snow degrade identification capability by reducing the intensity and clarity of thermal images. On the battlefield, positive visual identification cannot be the sole engagement criteria at ranges beyond 1,000 meters. An accurate COP is essential and must be maintained throughout any operation.


Reduction of fratricide risk begins during the planning phase of an operation and continues through preparation and execution. Risk identification must be conducted at all levels during each phase. The results must be clearly communicated up and down the chain of command so risk assessment can begin. The following paragraphs cover considerations influencing risk identification and focus on measures the leader can implement to make the identification process more effective and help prevent friendly fire incidents from occurring.

a.   Leaders must consciously identify specific fratricide risk for any mission. Using this structured approach, commanders can predict the most likely causes of fratricide and take action to protect their soldiers. Whether used for an actual combat operation or a training event, this thought process complements the troop-leading procedures and analysis of METT-TC factors in planning.

b.   The fratricide risk assessment matrix (Figure C-2) shows an approach to assess the relative risk of fratricide for combat maneuver. To assign a risk value to each direct cause of fratricide, pair the most critical METT-TC contributing factors associated with each cause. For each primary cause, favorable conditions lead to a lesser risk value, found in the cell on the left side of the corresponding sub-matrix. As a contributing factor becomes unfavorable, risk increases. The worst precondition for each kind of fratricide is represented by the risk value in the cell on the right side of the sub-matrix. Figure C-2 is an example of a fratricide risk assessment matrix that should be used in assessing every mission. For a detailed explanation of how to use this matrix, refer to Handbook No. 92-3, Fratricide Risk Assessment for Company Leadership, Section II, Fratricide Risk Assessment.

c.   Risk identification must be conducted at all levels during each phase. The results must be clearly communicated up and down the chain of command so risk assessment can begin. The following paragraphs cover considerations influencing risk identification and focus on measures the leader can implement to make the identification process more effective and help prevent friendly fire incidents from occurring.

DRAFT Figure C-2.  Sample format, fratricide risk assessment matrix.

DRAFT Figure C-2. Sample format, fratricide risk assessment matrix.


A thoroughly developed, clearly communicated, and completely understood plan helps minimize fratricide risk. The following factors affect the potential for fratricide in a given operation:

  • Clarity of the enemy situation.
  • Clarity of the friendly situation.
  • Clarity of the commander's intent.
  • Complexity of the operation.
  • Planning time available at each level.

Graphics are a basic tool commanders at all levels use to clarify their intent, add precision to their concept, and communicate their plan to subordinates. Graphics can be a very useful tool in reducing the risk of fratricide. Each commander must understand the definitions and purposes of operational graphics and the techniques of their employment. (See FM 101-5-1 for the definitions of each type of graphic control measure.)


Confirmation briefs and rehearsals are primary tools for identifying and reducing fratricide risk during the preparation phase. The following are considerations for their use:

a.   Confirmation briefs and rehearsals ensure subordinates know where fratricide risks exist and what to do to reduce or eliminate them.

b.   Briefbacks ensure subordinates understand the commander's intent. They often highlight areas of confusion or complexity or planning errors.

c.   The type of rehearsal conducted determines the types of risks identified.

d.   Rehearsals should extend to all levels of command and involve all key players.

e.   The following factors may reveal fratricide risks during rehearsals:

  • Number and type of rehearsals.
  • Training and proficiency levels of units and individuals.
  • The habitual relationships between units conducting the operation.
  • The physical readiness (endurance) of the troops conducting the operation.


During execution, in-stride risk assessment and reaction can overcome unforeseen fratricide risk situations.

a.   The following are factors to consider when assessing fratricide risks:

  • Intervisibility between adjacent units.
  • Amount of battlefield obscuration.
  • Ability or inability to identify targets positively.
  • Similarities and differences in equipment, vehicles, and uniforms between friendly and enemy forces.
  • Vehicle density on the battlefield.
  • The tempo of the battle.

b.   Maintaining an awareness of the COP at all levels and at all times is another key to fratricide reduction as an operation progresses. Units develop and employ effective techniques and SOPs to aid leaders and soldiers in this process, including—

  • Monitoring the next higher radio net.
  • Radio cross-talk between units.
  • COP updates.
  • Accurate position reporting and navigation.
  • Training, use, and exchange of liaison officers.


The following measures provide a guide to actions that can reduce fratricide risk. Use of these measures is not required, nor are they intended to restrict initiative. Apply them as appropriate based on the specific situation and METT-TC factors:.

a.   Identify and assess potential fratricide risks in the estimate of the situation. Express these risks in the OPORD or FRAGO.

b.   Maintain awareness of the current situation, focusing on areas such as current intelligence, unit locations and dispositions, denial areas (minefields and scatterable munitions), contaminated areas such as improved conventional munitions (ICM) and NBC, SITREPs, and METT-TC factors.

c.   Ensure positive target identification. Review vehicle and weapon ID identification cards. Know at what ranges and under what conditions positive identification of friendly vehicles and weapons is possible.

d.   Establish a command climate that stresses fratricide prevention. Enforce fratricide prevention measures and emphasize the use of doctrinally sound tactics, techniques, and procedures. Ensure constant supervision in the execution of orders and the performance of all tasks and missions to standard.

e.   Recognize the signs of battlefield stress. Maintain unit cohesion by taking quick, effective action to alleviate it.

f.   Conduct individual, leader, and collective (unit) training covering fratricide awareness, target identification and recognition, and fire discipline.

g.   Develop a simple, decisive plan.

h.   Give complete and concise mission orders.

i.   Use SOPs that are consistent with doctrine to simplify mission orders. Periodically review and change SOPs as needed.

j.   Strive for maximum planning time for you and your subordinates.

k.   Use common language and vocabulary and doctrinally correct standard terminology and control measures, such as fire support coordination line, zone of engagement, and restrictive fire lines.

l.   Ensure thorough coordination is conducted.

m.   Plan for and establish effective communications (to include visual).

n.   Plan for collocation of command posts whenever it is appropriate to the mission, such as during a passage of lines.

o.   Designate and employ LNOs as appropriate.

p.   Ensure rules of engagement are clear.

q.   Include fratricide risk as a key factor in terrain analysis (observation, avenues of approach, key terrain, observation and fields of fire, cover and concealment [OAKOC]).

r.   Conduct rehearsals whenever the situation allows time to do so.

s.   Be in the right place at the right time. Use position location and navigation devices (GPS and position navigation [POSNAV]); know your location and the locations of adjacent units (left, right, leading, and follow-on) through use of FBCB2 and other means. Synchronize tactical movement.

t.   Plan and brief OPSEC, especially when utilizing dismounted operations (challenge and password, sign and countersign).

u.   Include discussion of fratricide incidents in after-action reports.

v.   Ensure fire commands are accurate, concise, and clearly stated. Make it mandatory for soldiers to ask for clarification of any portion of the fire command that they do not completely understand.

w.   Stress the importance of the chain of command in the fire control process; ensure soldiers get in the habit of obtaining target confirmation and permission to fire from their leaders before engaging targets they assume are enemy elements.

x.   Know who will be in and around the area of operations.


Figure C-3, parallels the five-paragraph OPORD and contains key factors and considerations in fratricide prevention. This is not a change to the OPORD format, but is a guide for use during OPORD development to ensure fratricide prevention measures are included. It is not a strict directive. The factors and considerations are listed where they would likely appear in the OPORD, but they may warrant evaluation during preparation of other paragraphs.

DRAFT Figure C-3.  Fratricide prevention checklist.

DRAFT Figure C-3. Fratricide prevention checklist.

DRAFT Figure C-3.  Fratricide prevention checklist (continued).

DRAFT Figure C-3. Fratricide prevention checklist (continued).

DRAFT Figure C-3.  Fratricide prevention checklist (continued).

DRAFT Figure C-3. Fratricide prevention checklist (continued).

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