Section V


Decide-detect(track)-deliver(assess) characterizes the targeting methodology. First, the commander decides what parts of the enemy force to attack, to what effect, and generally where, when and by what means. Second, the S2 uses the IPB process to assist in determining where to place assets to detect and track these targets so they can be engaged. Third, the commander selects the combat power to deliver that will achieve the desired effects on the target.


IPB provides information which influences the target development process. During mission analysis, the IPB effort produces doctrinal templates and threat models that identify potential high value targets (HVTs). High value targets are those assets that the enemy commander requires for the successful completion of his mission. The S2 develops an initial HVT list as he mentally wargames through the operation of how the threat will use his assets to support threat actions. The S2 identifies the key assets required in executing the primary threat mission. There are 13 categories used to develop target sets. They are:

  • Command, control, and communications (C3) - These are targets that affect maneuver or combined arms C3. Examples include regimental, divisional, and army command posts and traffic control points.

  • Fire support - This covers the entire threat fire support system. Subsets include fire support command and control, weapons, target acquisition, and ammunition. Weapons include cannons, guns, missiles, and fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft.

  • Maneuver - These are maneuver tactical subunits in various postures. They are motorized rifle and tank companies, assembly areas, march columns, and advanced guard units.

  • Air Defense - This category covers the threat's air defense system. It includes missile unit headquarters and processing centers, radar sites and short-range air defense platoons.

  • Engineer - All engineer-type targets. Examples include bridging, ferry units, crossing sites, snorkeling sites, and movement support elements.

  • NBC - This category covers NBC support elements and major weapon firing positions.

  • Reconnaissance, intelligence, surveillance, and target acquisition.(RISTA) - Targets in this category include ground surveillance radars, reconnaissance patrols, and airborne sensor systems.

  • Radio electronic combat (REC) - Some target acquisition assets are listed here instead of the RISTA category. REC targets include jammers and radio and radar direction-finding stations.

  • Bulk fuels (Class III POL) - This can be a critical category because of the level of mechanization of some threat forces and the projected rates of advance for second-echelon forces. Targets include transport and pipeline units and POL points.

  • Ammunition storage sites and distribution points (Class V Ammo) - Refers to ammunition support targets.

  • Maintenance and repair units (Class IX Maintenance) - Targets include regimental maintenance units, vehicle collection points, and mobile repair facilities.

  • Lift - This category refers to general transport units. Special consideration should be given to heliborne transport.

  • Lines of communication (LOCs) - No special target types are designated in this category. However, any target that would interfere with ground or air LOC can be a target. Examples include bridges, airfields and railheads.

Figure 5-1. Target Relative Value Matrix

The S2 then rank-orders the HVTs regarding their relative worth to the threat's operation and records them as part of the threat model. When fully developed, HVT evaluations take the form of a target relative value matrix (Figure 5-1). The first three columns (disrupt, delay, and limit) should not be confused with attack guidance terms. An "X" in the Disrupt column indicates that considerable benefit can be gained by attacking a target with a goal of disrupting its function. An "X" in the Delay column indicates that a benefit can be gained by attacking a target to delay its arrival on the battlefield. An "X" in the Limit column indicates that a benefit can be gained if the target approach is limited.

OBSERVATION: During mission analysis, S2s are not identifying possible locations of High Value Targets (HVTs) when they develop situational templates.

DISCUSSION: S2s are not identifying all HVTs associated with an enemy COA and producing a situation template that reflects the locations of these HVTs as they would appear on the battlefield. As a result, S2s are struggling to provide nominations for High Payoff Targets (HPTs). S2s need to evaluate each HVT to decide if they should nominate it as a potential HPT. This will allow the staff to determine if the targets are in range of friendly fire systems and what is the priority to interdict those targets. The S2 should list each HVT, by category on each SITEMP, and discuss them during course of action wargaming. The driving factor that forces S2s to forget about HVTs is time. S2s frequently fail to produce good threat doctrinal templates with HVTs listed back at home station. As a result, the HVTs are overlooked. The S2 should work very closely with the FSO when the FSO develops target sheets for the threat. There are currently 128 target sheets developed for Warsaw Pact forces. These sheets should be used as a base when developing target sheets for the unit's threat. These 128 sheets are located in Chapter 3 of the Fire Support Mission Area Analysis (FSMAA). These target sheets should also be developed at home station prior to deployment.

LESSON(S): A technique that S2s can use is to develop doctrinal templates with HVTs listed at home station. Once the unit receives a mission, the S2 can extract the doctrinal templates with a list of associated HVTs. The S2 can then easily develop situation templates with associated HVTs. An example of a HVT list for a MRR is located at figure 5-2. Again, S2s should not be the primary source of these doctrinal templates. Typically, a battalion or brigade S2 is an inexperienced analyst, with a limited understanding of the sources available from which to derive these templates. As mentioned earlier, the time required to produce these products probably is more than S2s have available.

Category High Value Target
Command, Control and Communications MRR Main CP
MRR Forward CP
Tank Bn Main CP/COP
Retrans Site
Fire Support RAG COP
Battlefield Surveillance Radar Site (Small Fred)
Artillery Battery Firing Positions
Mortar Battery Firing Positions
Maneuver Advance Guard Battalion
Advance Detachment
Accompanying Artillery
Motorized Rifle Company (Reinforced)
Tank Company (Reinforced)
Tactical March Column
Bn Assembly Area
ADA SA 9/13 Plt.
ZSU 23-4/2S6 Plt.
SA-14 Team
Engineer Bridge Plt.
Mine Warfare Plt.
RISTA Battlefield Surveillance Radar (Tall Mike)
Regimental Recon Patrol, Recon Company
NBC Chem Recon Sqd.
Vehicle Decon Sqd.
Bulk Fuels POL Plt.
Ammo Ammo and Cargo Plt
Maintenance Supply and Maintenance Section
LOC Radio Plt
Wire and Telephone Plt
Figure 5-2. High Value Target List (MRR)

As part of COA analysis and comparison, or immediately after, the staff generally starts the targeting process with a targeting conference. Using the results of staff wargaming (situation, event, and decision support templates) and IPB as a guide, the staff decides which HVT will become a HPT. The key to HPTs is that they are based on the friendly concept of the operation and support the friendly force commander's scheme of maneuver. In addition, the targeting group decides:

  • What targets to acquire and attack HPTs.
  • What target selection standards (accuracy and timeliness) to use.
  • Where and when these targets will likely be found (named area of interest (NAI) and targeted area of interest (TAI)).
  • How to attack the targets, based on the commander's targeting concept.
  • Whether battle damage assessment (BDA) on each target is required to support the commander's intent or the command's COA, and how detailed it must be.
  • What collection asset will be used to detect and track the target.

OBSERVATION: Frequently, targeting is not included as a part of either wargaming or building a synchronization matrix.

DISCUSSION: There appears to be a problem with the targeting process in that there is no doctrine published for when targeting is supposed to be conducted or where it fits into the tactical decisionmaking process (TDMP). The doctrine for the planning process, formally addressed in FM 101-5, Command and Control for Commanders and Staff, and informally addressed in CGSC ST 100-9, does not show how targeting fits into the sequence of producing an order or controlling combat operations. However, FM 6-20-10, Tactics, Techniques and Procedures for the Targeting Process, states that "targeting is an integral part of the planning process." Targeting doctrine states that "Targeting is the process of identifying enemy targets for possible engagement and determining the appropriate attack system too be used to capture, destroy, degrade or neutralize the target in question." In essence, this sounds like the commander's intent. For this reason, it would appear that the TDMP is appropriate for targeting.

LESSON(S): There are two ideal locations for a targeting meeting in the TDMP process. First, a targeting meeting can be held after the mission analysis and before the COA development. This will ensure that the COAs that are developed are focused on the critical HPTs. Secondly, targeting meetings can be conducted after the formal wargaming; although targeting is discussed in wargaming as part of the action-reaction-counteraction drill, the wargaming will become too bogged down if the staff addresses all the specifics that will be discussed in a targeting meeting. However, the targeting information discussed in wargaming should not be lost. Every effort should be made to record this information to save time during the targeting meeting.

Approximately 90 percent of targeting is addressed during the wargaming process. Examples of targeting information addressed during wargaming include:

  • What targets that should be acquired and attacked.
  • Where and when the targets will likely be found on the battlefield.
  • Who can locate the targets.
  • How the targets should be attacked.
  • The required amount of damage to inflict on each target.
  • Whether battle damage assessment is required on a target.

Units could do a better job of capturing targeting information. The S2 along with the FSO should have a separate recorder available at the wargaming session with the specific mission to capture targeting information. However, this may not be practical at the battalion level because of the staff manning of these two sections. If the S2 and FSO do a good job during the wargaming process, the following products should be completed at the end of this process:

  • High-payoff target list (See figure 5-3, HPTL). For the HPTL the S2 needs to concentrate the R&S plan to locate and track these targets. PIRs along with the HPTL should focus the R&S effort. If the HPTL and the commander's PIRs are not complimentary, the S2 should focus the limited collection assets on answering the PIRs.

  • Target selection standards. The S2 should be concerned with target selection standards, because the S2 must understand how accurate the intelligence needs are in order to engage the target. Example: If the S2 is using SIGINT methods to locate a target, the target may not be engaged with some systems due to fire restrictions and a need to have human "eyes on the target."

  • Collection plan (This was discussed earlier in the Collection Management Chapter.

  • Attack guidance matrix (See figure 5-4). The S2 should concentrate on Electronic Warfare (EW) support and battle damage assessment in the attack guidance matrix.

Priority Category Sheet Number Description
1 1 C3(Time sensitive) FSO TGT SHT # REG main CP
2 2 FS (Time sensitive) RAG CP/COP
3 1 C3(Time sensitive) MRR FWD CP
4 2 FS Artillery Battery
5 3 MAN Bn assembly area
6 3 MAN MR/Tank Company
7 4 ADA
SA 9/13 Platoon
ZSU 23-4/2S6 Platoon
REG Recon Patrol
8 9 POL POL Platoon
9 10 Ammo Ammo and Cargo Platoon
Figure 5-3. High-Payoff Target List (HPTL)

Figure 5-4. Attack Guidance Matrix


During this step, the S2 executes the collection plan that will satisfy specific information requirements that support the targeting process. The S2 focuses collection assets on NAIs at the appropriate time to detect the HPT. The event and decision support templates (DSTs) play a critical role in the detection process. The collection and dissemination of combat information is critical to the "detect" function. The desired HPTs must be detected in a timely accurate manner. Therefore, the clear and concise taskings must be given to all intelligence collection assets. (See collection management chapter for tasking TTPs.)

OBSERVATION: Often, S2s do not know the target acquisition capabilities of all division collection assets.

DISCUSSION: S2s should know all the capabilities of collection assets within the division. Often, S2s know the capabilities of battalion asset capabilities but do not know the capabilities of the collection assets within the aviation brigade and division artillery units. These are critical collection assets that can assist the S2 with the collection plan and "detecting" the threat. Many S2s fail to consider these assets as they focus their collection plan.

Figure 5-5. Division Acquisition Assets

LESSON(S): S2s should coordinate with the FSO and Aviation LO to learn more about the capabilities and deployment of artillery and aviation collection assets within the division. Many of these assets are available down to the battalion level. Figures 5-5 and 5-6 show division acquisition assets and planning ranges for these assets.

Figure 5-6. Planning Ranges for Division Acquisition Assets

OBSERVATION: The dissemination of targeting information is not timely in many units.

DISCUSSION: Frequently in units, targeting information arrives at the TOC in sufficient time for the target to be engaged. Therefore, units do not disseminate the time-sensitive information to the weapon systems that will engage the targets resulting in a lost opportunity most collection assets cannot track targets for an extended period of time). In most cases, this can be attributed to inadequate information management and SOPs. Often, critical messages are delayed due to a backup in logging messages in the various TOC journals or RTOs not understanding the critical nature of the information that they are receiving.

LESSON(S): The collection management chapter of this newsletter provides some TTPs for information management. CALL Newsletter 95-7, Tactial Operations Center (TOC), also provides additional techniques.

SOPs for information management may also have to be altered to allow an officer or senior NCO to screen messages as they come in over the radio. Another technique would be to train all RTOs in the TOC on targeting, explaining the time-sensitive nature of the reports. Various charts or butcher block paper should be used to show the HPTL and PIR. These charts should be in plain view of the RTOs. The RTOs should also know how to read the charts and their purpose.


After the S2 identifies an HPT, the S2 quickly disseminates the information to the targeting cell to interdict the target at the appropriate TAI. Again, the DST plays a critical role in the third step of the targeting process. The attack of targets must satisfy the attack guidance that is developed in the "decide" function of the targeting process. The S2 can continue to track a target throughout an engagement to give a battle damage assessment (BDA). The achievement of desired results is why the BDA is critical. If not, continued tracking supports immediate re-engagement.

OBSERVATION: Often, S2s locate targets but do not have collection assets in place to determine battle damage of the engaged target.

DISCUSSION: Battle damage assessment is always desirable, but not always necessary. Battle damage assessment for specific targets is based on the commander's guidance and recommendations from the S2 and the fire support targeting officer. Infrequently, the same collection asset that acquired the target can provide BDA on the effectiveness of the attack. The decision on which targets that require damage assessment must be made in the "decide" function of the targeting process. Some collection assets that are used for damage assessment may not be available for collection of PIR information. Therefore, a balanced mix must be reached on which targets BDA is required. BDA is more than just determining the number of casualties and equipment destroyed. It also includes:

  • Whether targets are moving or hardening in response to the attack.
  • Changes in deception efforts and techniques.
  • Increased communication efforts as the result of jamming.
  • Whether the damage achieved is having the expected effect on the threat combat effectiveness.

LESSON(S): The S2 often underestimates the time required to engage a target. The S2 may depend on the same collection asset to provide BDA. In many instances, the collection asset is not in a position to observe the target due to a time lapse. S2s should make every effort to validate their event templates and time phase lines. This may require a ground reconnaissance. In addition S2s should understand how long it takes to situate the designated weapon system on line to fire the target. The S2 can improve his knowledge of these delivery systems by speaking to those subject matter experts (FSO, Air Liaison Officer, Tactical Air Controller) and retrieve the information. It is too late to do this once a mission is received. This knowledge should be acquired by the S2 at home station prior to deployment.

Section IV: IPB and Collection Management
Section VI: Staff Integration and Intelligence Training

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