An adaptive methodology for developing enemy courses of action.The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.
One of the key responsibilities of intelligence staff officers is the development of enemy courses of action (ECOAs) as part of the military decisionmaking process (MDMP MDMP Military Decision-Making Process
MDMP Million Dollar Mouthpiece
MDMP Mediterranean Dialogue Military Program ). As part of the wargaming process, it is essential that S2s develop at least two different ECOAs: the most likely ECOA and the most dangerous ECOA. These two products provide the realistic enemy for the wargaming process; however, the problem is that we have no standard methodology for developing ECOAs that is adaptable and assists in maintaining a "running estimate" of the enemy once operations begin.
Methodology for Developing an ECOA
I propose a simple methodology for developing ECOAs. The MDMP is essentially the process for problem-solving, keying on three essential elements:
* Definition of the problem (mission analysis).
* Creating a solution to the problem (course of action [COA] development and selection).
* Testing the solution (wargaming).
This second step--creating a solution to the problem--is the key step for developing not only friendly COAs, but also ECOAs.
Developing a COA consists of three components:
* Determining the ends (the purpose for the COA).
* Determining the ways (the methods, or how you will achieve the ends).
* Determining the means (the resources available to achieve the ways).
This ends-ways-means methodology helps to provide coherent COAs for both friendly and enemy forces. Figure 1 provides a graphic depiction of this process.
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
The best way to develop ECOAs is to adjust the steps in the ends-ways-means approach. The first step is to develop the ends--the task and purpose for the ECOAs. Then it follows to determine the actual resources available to achieve that purpose, or to determine the means. Finally, the analyst should then "package" these resources in coherent ways to achieve the means. This adjustment for developing the ECOAs is ends-means-means. Figure 2 presents a graphic depiction of this adjusted methodology.
[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]
Figure 2 depicts a quiver of arrows for a good reason. The different means and resources available to the enemy should be thought of as a quiver full of arrows--different resources and capabilities to package into a coherent COA. For this reason, one of the important steps that the analyst must complete before determining an ECOA is the "enumeration 1. (mathematics) enumeration - A bijection with the natural numbers; a counted set.
2. (programming) enumeration - enumerated type. of enemy capabilities" paragraph in the intelligence estimate. This should include all the possible combinations of capabilities that the enemy can achieve with his resources.
Looking at it simplistically, if I have a dollar bill, I can buy a 20-ounce soda or two candy bars, or I can make four telephone calls at a phone booth. With my resource of $1, I can do one of the following combinations:
* Buy one 20-ounce soda
* Buy two candy bars.
* Make four telephone calls.
* Make two phone calls and buy one candy bar.
In this example, I have enumerated all of the possibilities that I can think of for my dollar bill. Of course, there are other options that I have available to me for a dollar, but I have not thought of them yet. The same applies for the enemy capabilities. Think of all of the possible combinations for the resources you know the enemy has and list ("enumerate To count or list one by one. For example, an enumerated data type defines a list of all possible values for a variable, and no other value can then be placed into it. See device enumeration and ENUM. ") them in the intelligence estimate. Keep in mind that you are not aware of other possible options. This is a key part of the homework in the estimate process that is essential for developing an ECOA.
This also provides a methodology to know what the enemy cannot do once he has "expended" his resources. For example, if I have already bought one candy bar, I can no longer buy that 20-ounce soda. If I now buy a soda, then you know that I had resources of which you were not initially aware--this becomes a way to keep a rolling estimate and allows the analyst to update the resources available to the enemy based upon enemy actions.
Of course, you do not expect me to throw away my precious dollar bill, you would expect me to spend that dollar for some purpose that meets my needs. The same applies to the enemy--you would expect him to use his means and resources in a way that meets his purpose. Since you have already done your homework by developing the "enumeration of enemy capabilities" as part of the intelligence estimate process, you are now ready to do the first step in developing the ECOA by determining the ends--the purpose for the enemy actions.
The clearest methodology for determining ends is to determine the end state that the enemy wants to achieve. To achieve that end state, the enemy will normally have a COG that he will attack, and attacking that COG will require key decisive points. Figure 3 graphically shows an example of how an enemy might approach the construct of the end state, COG, and decisive points.
[FIGURE 3 OMITTED]
In this "hypothetical" example, the end state is a clear description of the goals that the enemy wants to achieve. The COG is the "belly button belly button Medtalk Umbilicus, navel " that the enemy wants to push to achieve that objective. Each of the decisive points listed can lead to the COG.
When developing an ECOA, it is useful to visually lay out the end state, COG, and decisive points as shown in Figure 3. This again is an aid to the "running estimate" because it is likely that the enemy may change his desired end state based on his success or failure, may decide that the COG should be adapted, and will change decisive points. It is also critical to ensure (as much as possible) that the end state, COG, and decisive points are from the enemy's perspective. Explicitly showing these concepts and continually asking "is this right" is one way to mitigate "mirror imaging" on the part of the analyst.
Once you have determined the "ends," it is time to examine the resources. It may be apparent at this time that the "enumeration of enemy capabilities" is incomplete. This would be particularly true if the analyst based the enumeration of enemy capabilities on offensive operations but the reality is stability operations or a counterinsurgency coun·ter·in·sur·gen·cy
Political and military strategy or action intended to oppose and forcefully suppress insurgency.
coun . Other resources may become readily apparent when matched with the decisive points, such as affiliated forces and asymmetric means available to the enemy. Take this extra step to update the enumeration of enemy forces, you can be sure that a thinking enemy will closely scrutinize all of the resources available, even if you do not.
Most Likely ECOA
Once you have determined the ends (purpose) and updated the means (resources), it is time to put it together as a package. The first package to assemble should be the most likely ECOA. (I like to describe this package as the way that the enemy prefers to fight or his comfort zone.) It is time to think again of the resources ("enumeration of enemy capabilities") as the arrows in the quiver--pull out each of the arrows and apply them to the decisive points in the way that you feel the enemy wants to fight. This becomes the most likely ECOA, as shown in Figure 4.
[FIGURE 4 OMITTED]
This process also helps with the running estimate. When the enemy fights in a way that this COA did not lead you to expect, it is time to reassess--either the enemy is not fighting as expected or the enemy is using the resources (or not using resources) that were assessed. You can be sure that a thinking enemy will not fight the way you expect, but when it is different than expected, the reason for the change is due to the enemy's ends, ways, or means being different than assessed. You do not have to start from scratch to start (again) from the very beginning; also, to start without resources.
See also: Scratch (unless you have really blown it); you can adjust on the fly when the enemy adjusts. If you have done your homework on the enumeration of enemy capabilities, you will also know when the enemy has eliminated some of his options (when he has spent his dollar on a soda, so it is no longer available for the telephone calls).
Most Dangerous ECOA
Developing the most dangerous ECOA is much the same process as the most likely ECOA. Put all of the arrows back in the quiver and then apply the resources the enemy has in the way that would cause friendly forces the biggest problems. Be creative in this step ... how could the enemy apply his resources in such a way to really confound con·found
tr.v. con·found·ed, con·found·ing, con·founds
1. To cause to become confused or perplexed. See Synonyms at puzzle.
2. friendly forces? It may not have made sense to rational people to fly airplanes into the World Trade Center, but it certainly worked to get our attention. The more creative you are in developing the most dangerous COA, the less lustrates the development of the most dangerous COA.
The following are the steps to use in developing ECOAs:
* Complete a detailed "enumeration of enemy capabilities" paragraph in the intelligence estimate.
* Develop the "ends": the end state, the COG, and the decisive points from the enemy's perspective.
* Develop the "ways"--reassess the enemy capabilities and resources available.
* Develop the "means" for the most likely ECOA, fighting the way the enemy prefers to fight.
* Develop the "means" for the most dangerous ECOA, fighting the way that causes friendly forces the most problems.
* Continually reassess. Ask, "Did I get that right?"
Using this methodology, it should not matter if you are in the offense, the defense, or in a stability operation. If the enemy changes his ends, ways, or means, you should be in step with him as long as you are continually looking at the ends, ways, and means the enemy has available to him.
Jack Kem (Colonel, U.S. Army, Retired) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Joint and Multinational Operations at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College The Command and General Staff College (C&GSC) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas is a United States Army facility that functions as a graduate school for U.S. military leaders. It was originally established in 1881 as a school for infantry and cavalry. (CGSC CGSC Coli Genetic Stock Center (Yale University, New Haven, CT)
CGSC Command & General Staff College (US Army)
CGSC Coconut Grove Sailing Club (Miami, Florida) ) at Fort Leavenworth Fort Leavenworth (lĕv`ənwûrth'), U.S. military post, 6,000 acres (2,430 hectares), on the Missouri River, NE Kans., NW of Leavenworth; est. 1827 by Col. Henry Leavenworth to protect travelers on the Santa Fe Trail. The oldest U.S. , Kansas. During his military career, he served as a Battalion S2, G2 Plans Officer, Division Tactical Operations Center A physical groupment of those elements of a general and special staff concerned with the current tactical operations and the tactical support thereof. Also called TOC. See also command post. (DTOC DTOC Delayed Transfer of Care
DTOC Division Tactical Operations Center
DTOC Distributed Training Operations Center
DTOC Deployable Tactical Operations Centers (USACE)
DTOC Dark Tools of Camelot (gaming) ) Support Element Chief, and Battalion Executive Officer in the 82d Airborne Division; Brigade S2 in the 3d Infantry Division; Company Commander and Battalion S3 in the 3d Armor Division; and Battalion Commander In the United States Army and United States Marine Corps, the commanding officer of a battalion is a Battalion Commander. The position is usually held by a lieutenant colonel, although a major can be selected for battalion command in lieu of an available lieutenant colonel. of the 319th MI Battalion, XVIII Airborne Corps. He graduated from the Military Intelligence Officer Advanced Course, Army CGSC, Air Command and Staff College The Air Command and Staff College (ACSC) is located at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama and is the United States Air Force's intermediate professional military education (PME) school. , Joint Forces Staff College, and the Army War College. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Western Kentucky University Student Body Profile
WKU had a total enrollment in the Fall Semester of 2002 (the latest published figures) of 17,818 students. Out of this total, 73% were full-time and 85% were undergraduates. Ethnic and racial minority enrollment was just under 13% at 2,097. , a Master of Public Administration degree from Auburn University Auburn University, main campus at Auburn, Ala.; land-grant and state supported; opened 1859 as East Alabama Male College, reorganized 1872 as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama; became coeducational 1892; renamed Alabama Polytechnic Institute 1899, at Montgomery, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Public Administration from North Carolina State University History