[D.sup.3]A in an urban environment: 1st Cav counterstrike operations in Iraq.
Counterstrike in an urban area is difficult at best, especially in a city the size of Baghdad, which has a population of about six million people. Living in an unforgiving desert environment, Baghdad's population clusters close to the shores of the Tigris River. Thousands of years of civilization make the city a warren of alleyways, side streets and dead ends. Patrolling and indirect fires are difficult in an area with such dense population, buildings and streets.
We had to adapt tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) traditionally used to fight in a high-intensity conflict for counterinsurgency in urban terrain. In Task Force (TF) Baghdad, for example, reactive counterstrike raises the possibility of excessive collateral damage, and with continuous media coverage in theater, the anti-Iraqi forces (AIF) routinely exploit unintended consequences for their propaganda value.
75th FA Brigade counterstrike operations were modified in theater to accommodate the changing AIF's use of indirect fires against Coalition Forces. "Counterstrike" for counterinsurgency operations, as opposed to "counterfire" for high-intensity conflict, requires more synchronization of combined and joint fires and other effects--including nonlethal and maneuver--and the employment of a wider range of sensors and responders. Traditional proactive counterfire procedures have given us the experience to defeat a seemingly random and unpredictable enemy. As fire supporters counter the insurgents, they adapt counterstrike TTPs to the contemporary operating environment (COE).
Counterstrike doctrine, as it is being written and coming into maturity, is the joint fires answer to the insurgency.
Fire supporters conducting counter-strike operations not only use radars, but also a host of other sensor assets. Civil affairs (CA) teams, the persistent threat detection system (PTDS), tactical human intelligence (HUMINT) teams (THTs), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), combat air patrols, snipers, quick-reaction forces (QRFs) and Special Operations Forces (SOF) all are synchronized and focused into a cohesive whole to achieve effects on the insurgents.
Our employing indirect fire weapons--mortars, cannons or rockets/missiles--has created a branch in which precision and planning are everything--are part of who we are. Using a variety of lethal and nonlethal platforms to achieve effects, Artillerymen have trained to be precise and timely in every operation. From massing fires on an enemy to providing logistical support, fire supporters understand synchronizing and integrating combined arms assets and operations. This unique expertise is what makes Field Artillerymen so vital in fighting an insurgent enemy.
Fire supporters plan and coordinate counterstrike operations using the Decide, Detect, Deliver and Assess ([D.sup.3]A) targeting process. This process is applied against an enemy who doesn't mass indirect fires but fires rockets and mortars to harass Coalition Forces and achieve psychological as well as destructive effects.
Decide: Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (IPB) and S2 Analysis. To evaluate the enemy threat and potential courses of action (COAs), artillery S2s first must understand each of the five requirements for accurate predicted fire and how AIF mortar or rocket teams attempt to meet them. The S2 considers the characteristics of each type of munition used by the enemy, the trajectories, ranges, improvised launch systems, training required to calculate the firing data, hasty survey techniques, mortar/rocket crew training, observed emplacement and displacement times, locations of found caches and the sophistication of observed enemy TTPs. These all indicate the ability of a particular insurgent cell or group of cells to achieve their desired effects. The S2 analyzes past enemy operations of an insurgent team to determine future enemy COAs of the team or one of its cells.
Assess the Situation. The IPB process is useful to determine the COAs for multiple AIF rocket and mortar teams. By looking at the battlefield through the eyes of an enemy rocket or mortar team, the S2 assesses the enemy situation and helps manage resources to detect them. The S2 determines areas to which the enemy repeatedly returns by analyzing historical points of origin (POOs) in space and time. In TF Baghdad, we did this using five steps.
1. Conduct a historical analysis. The S2 plots the last 30 days of historical POOs and points of impact (POIs) with back azimuths. POIs help only in confirming the S2's assessment of a potential enemy area of operations (AO). The S2 also distinguishes between rocket and mortar POOs.
2. Assess indirect fire attacks in space and time. The S2 identifies clusters of POOs, the size of which depends on the terrain. In urban terrain, the clusters may be more concentrated than in rural areas, which tend to be more loosely packed.
The S2 identifies areas of interest, which represent the enemy AO. He references HUMINT, Tip Hotlines, CA, information operations (IO) and local authority reports to link areas with each other, Although it is not always possible to get the information he needs, the S2 gathers whatever information he can to help determine the disruptive effects that might ensue if the wrong person is targeted.
The named areas of interest (NAIs) at the division level may be as large as six kilometers in length, width and height. The collective size of the NAIs is not important as long as it represents what the enemy thinks is his AO, and the S2 is judicious in justifying the size. The S2 also assesses whether the insurgents live within the area or use ingress/egress routes to execute fires.
3. Assess trends and enemy operational tempo (OPTEMPO), After the NAIs are marked, the S2 assesses the trends for each. The most effective method is by time-of-day versus day-of-the-week. This helps the S2 determine likely times for fires, surges in fires, likely days for fires, the impact of key events, the enemy's impact on friendly operations, which types of mortar/rocket fires occur on which days and logistical constraints for the enemy to rearm and plan between attacks.
Developing a time-versus-day chart is a critical step in predictive analysis. The S2 assesses adjacent NAIs to build a case for linking two or more of them to one particular group. S2s also use the chart to assess enemy resupply times, based on fires and found ammunition caches.
4. Conduct predictive analysis. The S2 uses Steps 1 through 3 to provide the data for predictive analysis. He sorts through all the data and provides the best analysis on where and when the enemy is likely to fire.
The purpose of predicting enemy actions is to help the commander focus the right sensors on the right area for the right responders.
Develop the High-Payoff Target List (HPTL) and the Intelligence Collection Plan (ICP). Targeting insurgent personnel has changed the HPTL significantly. Using HUMINT and other intelligence-gathering assets, the counterstrike team targets different facets of the enemy's rocket and mortar cells, including financiers, cell leaders or planners, logistics personnel and recruiters. Fire supporters coordinate sensors and responders to observe, capture or kill enemy personnel meeting the commander's target selection standards (TSS).
The TSS and attack guidance matrix (AGM) are based on the reliability of sources and assessments. (See Figure 1 on Page 9 for an example of an AGM in counterinsurgency operations.) HUMINT reports are especially important as local nationals move in and out of social circles with ease and minimum risk.
The AGM must be flexible because insurgent personnel are less easily detected and tracked than more traditional targets, such as military units.
After the commander approves the AGM, this document is synchronized with the IO campaign. IO is critical because, in many instances, a targeted "bad guy," if captured or killed, would have an overall negative effect on the Iraqi people--you might "win" the skirmish by taking an insurgent out but lose the IO battle.
Detect: Synchronization. The division fire support element (FSE) helps the analysis and control element (ACE) synchronize assets. By noting when and where the enemy has fired and assessing how the attack was performed, the FSE helps the ACE assess the capabilities of the enemy and predict future actions. The FSE also helps staffs focus on achieving the effects necessary to fulfill the commander's intent.
The counterstrike cell of the FSE constantly manages radar acquisitions to determine their validity. False acquisitions are a normal occurrence in urban terrain. Acquisition verification is essential to provide data for conducting predictive analysis and managing responders. The counterstrike cell must be certain that an acquisition is truly a target to send responders to that location, thereby making the most of limited resources.
During OIF II, the 75th FA Brigade augmented the 1st Cav FSE with an intelligence section focused on analyzing enemy fires and providing predictive analysis. This allowed the FSE to augment counterfire teams sent to conduct crater analysis or investigate POOs at crime scenes in Baghdad. AIF launcher systems were compared to identify emerging enemy TTPs across the division AO.
The division effects coordinator, called the ECOORD, who in this case is the 75th FA Brigade Commander, institutes a secure electronic counterstrike targeting meeting via the command post of the future (CPOF) on the division fires net. The 75th Brigade held the meetings on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, allowing the division and its BCTs to coordinate and synchronize counterstrike missions.
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Input from the BCTs is invaluable because they have a clearer picture of the division's counterstrike priorities in their areas and the required resource allocation across the division. The division FSE intelligence section disseminates the predictive analysis, allowing for greater intelligence input and crosstalk from the BCTs.
The counterstrike targeting meeting helps to synchronize collection assets across the division. At this meeting, the fire support officers (FSOs) and S2s discuss their covert collection needs with the division collection manager. This prevents collection assets from operating in the same area for the same purpose. It also allows static collection assets to be employed within their ranges. For example, UAVs are allocated to areas beyond the limits of the joint land cruise missile defense elevated netted sensor system (JLENS) and the PTDS. See Figure 2 for the 1st Cavalry Division counterstrike daily synchronization matrix.
UAVs also collect data over areas not covered by patrols as insurgent indirect fire teams prefer to execute fires in areas with no Coalition Force presence. Conversely, where there are friendly patrols, the patrols can shape the enemy into target areas of interest (TAIs) in which the coalition can position covert collection assets and make responders available. The key concept is for the BCTs to identify TAIs in their AOs.
A good example of BCT counterstrike operations was in the 39th BCT AO in the Adhimiya neighborhood in northern Baghdad. Operation Mortar Man Adhimiya was designed to destroy AIF mortar teams firing onto coalition forward operating bases (FOBs).
Using all sources and predictive analysis, the 39th BCT emplaced a sniper team in the vicinity of historical mortar POOs. During the setup phase, the sniper team wounded one and killed seven insurgent mortar crewmembers.
Deliver: Methods of Delivery. The collateral damage risk with artillery munitions in urban terrain requires a detailed collateral damage estimate (CDE) before firing artillery to assess the potential infrastructure damage and the risk of unintended civilian casualties. Counterstrike operations use other than artillery and mortar responders, such as patrols, snipers, fixed- and rotary-wing assets, and QRFs. The Iraqi Army and Police also are integrated into the responding packages to defeat the enemy. UAVs, such as the armed Predator, provide a platform for direct-action upon the enemy.
The capabilities, availability and response times of every responder are factored into the ICP. Every sensor is linked directly to a responder. For example, radars are linked via the advanced FA tactical data system (AFATDS) to PTDS or UAVs (sensors) to direct BCT patrols, snipers or other attack assets. The placement, orientation and operation of radars are crucial to accomplish the mission.
IO is another method of delivering effects. IO officers are instrumental in communicating to the enemy the dangers of fighting US forces. Whether through direct or indirect contact, the information campaign gains the support of the local populace and is another deterrent to enemy actions. Engaging local leaders to stop indirect fires and inform MultiNational Forces (MNF) of outsiders in their areas is essential in preventing those fires. The 1st Cav also had a Tips Hotline for locals to call and report enemy activities and locations.
Assess: Munitions Delivered and Battle Damage Assessment (BDA). The requirement to have eyes on a target allows S2s to determine the BDA immediately. This allows the effectiveness of one round of artillery fired on an enemy mortar or rocket position to be analyzed and assessed instantly. The BDA is verified by nearby patrols, QRFs or UAVs and helps the S2 assess the effects upon the cell associated with that insurgent team. This assessment is critical to determine if the sensors and responders still are needed for that area or can be focused on another area.
S2s also assess the IO campaign impact through trend analysis in the AO. Changes in the frequency and locations of fires, movement of enemy mortar and rocket teams from one area to another and HUMINT reports may indicate the effects of the IO campaign and other operations.
Interrogating captured team members may yield further clues about the task organization of cells in the AO. A chemical known as X-spray (used to detect a subject's exposure to explosive materials) is helpful in determining if captured personnel are involved in an attack.
UAV footage proves the guilt of targeted insurgents and helps ensure the cooperation of the Iraqi general populace. Shortly before the Iraqi elections, an AIF rocket team operating from within the 5th BCT AO launched a rocket toward the International Zone. The UAV had footage of the team setting up the rocket launch system, firing and exfiltrating the area. The UAV followed the team to a nearby village and provided the location to the QRF, which subsequently captured seven members of the rocket team.
Counterstrike Operations Developments Ongoing. The principles and procedures for counterstrike operations for an insurgency being developed by units in Iraq are emerging as doctrine and TTP. Fighting ongoing in urban areas poses different challenges and solutions and requires a flexible, adaptive Field Artillery.
Given the nature of the enemy's indirect fire TTPs in OIF, it is imperative that fire supporters embrace the challenge of synchronizing the variety of sensors and responders at the disposal of the maneuver commander. As such, the Field Artillery always will evolve and provide fires and effects. With the assistance of the Counterstrike Task Force at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and the development and rapid fielding of new sensor and responder technology, we will see even greater effects on the AIF in the future.
Colonel Thomas S. Vandal commanded the 75th Field Artillery Brigade, III Corps Artillery, at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and deployed with the brigade headquarters (minus) to Baghdad to serve as the Counterstrike Headquarters for the 1st Cavalry Division in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) II. While in Iraq, he served as the Effects Coordinator (ECOORD) for the 1st Cavalry Division. Currently, he is the Commander of the Operations Group in the Joint Multi-National Readiness Group (JMRG), formerly known as the Combat Maneuver Training Center (CMTC), at Hohenfels, Germany. He also was the Commander of the 1st Battalion 37th Field Artillery (1-37 FA), 2d Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Washington; S3 and Executive Officer of the 1st Cavalry Division Artillery, Fort Hood, Texas; S3 and Brigade Fire Support Officer (FSO) in 2-82 FA, also in the 1st Cav; and B Battery Commander, 4-29 FA, 8th Infantry Division (Mechanized) in Germany.
Captain William L. Gettig, until recently, was the S2 of the 75th FA Brigade at Fort Sill and deployed with the brigade headquarters to Iraq to conduct counterstrike operations for the 1st Cavalry Division during OIF II. Currently, he is a student in the Military Intelligence Captains Career Course at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Also in the 75th FA Brigade, he was the S2 for 1-17 FA (Paladin) during OIF I; Fire Direction Officer in B Battery, 1-17 FA; and Battalion Reconnaissance and Survey Officer, also in 1-17 FA. He is a graduate of Cameron University, Lawton, Oklahoma.
By Colonel Thomas S. Vandal and Captain William L. Gettig
HPTL When How Effects Remarks Cell Leader As Acquired Patrol Capture/Kill Verify through Planned Raid Capture/Kill multiple source reporting. Financier As Acquired Patrol Capture/Kill Verify through Planned Raid Capture/Kill multiple source reporting. Rocket/Mortar As Acquired Patrol Capture/Kill Verify with Team Members As Acquired QRF Capture/Kill radar by Radar Fire Support Destroy acquisition and forward observation. Weapons/Ammo As Acquired Patrol Neutralize Exploit site to Caches Planned Raid Neutralize identify owners. Legend: HPTL=High-Payoff Target List QRF=Quick-Reaction Force Figure 1: Example of an Attack Guidance Matrix (AGM). The AGM must be flexible because in surgents are harder to detect and target than, say, an enemy military unit.
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|Author:||Gettig, William L.|
|Date:||Sep 1, 2005|
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