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Posted on Mar 4, 2007 in Front Page Features, Tactics101

Tactics 101: 013. Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (Pt. 2)

By Rick Baillergeon and John Sutherland

After we finish these steps, we need to put it together in a format we can use in step 4 of the IPB and later in our decision-making process. As in anything, the simpler the better and if we try to place it all on one slide if possible. With that in mind, below you will find a slide that contains a doctrinal template, a description of his preferred tactics and options, and a graphic showing his high value targets for that particular operation.

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SUB STEP – Identify His Capabilities

Once we created or updated the threat model, the second sub-step of Evaluating the Threat is to identify his capabilities. As you can imagine, this is critical and takes analysis. A good technique to utilize is to first list the sub-categories we used in identifying the high value targets (maneuver, fire support, etc.). Then, under each category begin listing statements that relate to his capabilities in that area. For example, you make these statements:

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  • The 4th Tank Army can attack within 72 hours with 3 Mechanized and 2 Armor Divisions. (Maneuver)
  • The 4th Tank Army can utilize 200 daily sorties of fixed wing air in support of its attack. (Fire Support)
  • Each division within the 4th Tank Army has sufficient bridging assets to cross Big River in 8 different locations. (Engineer)

As you can see, these statements are important and assist you in determining what your enemy can and can’t do. Below you will find another technique to utilize in listing capabilities:

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STEP 4 – DETERMINE THREAT COURSES OF ACTION (COAs)

"What design would I be forming if I were the enemy?" Frederick the Great.

"That general is wise who before entering into war carefully studies the enemy, and can guard against his strong points and take advantage of his weaknesses." The Emperor Maurice.

In the final step of IPB, we take everyone we have done earlier and put it all together to develop feasible courses of action the enemy may execute. We do not tie ourselves down to one or two courses of action. We look at the realm of feasible possibilities that exist. The key is to identify and develop likely enemy courses of action that will influence the accomplishment of our mission. We then take these courses of action and utilize them to develop our own courses of action and wargame our actions against them.

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