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IPB and Defensive Fire Planning.

In the movie "Gettysburg," actor Sam Elliott plays Brigadier General John Buford, Jr., the first Union general to arrive on the famous battlefield. His cavalry division has just encountered skirmishers belonging to Confederate General Harry Heth's infantry, who were on their way into town to look for shoes. Buford's staff assumes he will withdraw, but he stops them, relating a dream he had about another opportunity lost by ceding the good ground (and the initiative) to the Confederates. One of the events contributing to General Buford's bad dream was the previous winter's disastrous assault on Fredericksburg, Virginia, by Major General Ambrose E. Burnside. General Bumside faced General Robert E. Lee with a numerically superior force, well supported by artillery, but was decisively defeated. The reason was that General Lee, General James Longstreet, and Lieutenant General Thomas J. Jackson had conducted intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB). They seized the best terrain for their defense, enhanced their positions, and made maximum use of existing obstacles (like the Rappahannock River) to increase the effectiveness of synchronized artillery fires. The synchronization of their collection activities within their defensive plan also gave them a distinct advantage. An example of this is the Confederate generals ensuring their skirmishers and pickets could observe the potential Union fording and bridging sites. General Buford was tired of losing and wanted to enable General George G. Meade to do what General Lee had accomplished at Fredericksburg. He ordered his units to hold Seminary Ridge.

The quality and detail of an S2's IPB can be decisive in ensuring the commander has the opportunity to imitate Lee at Fredericksburg. To be more effective in a defensive operation, an S2 needs to do three things proficiently:

* Recognize the importance of the interaction between the S2, fire support officer (FSO), and senior engineer officer (as opposed to the interaction with the commander and S3) in order to maximize the effects of the defensive fire plan. Become an active member of an effective "triad."

* Employ resourceful and innovative techniques to tailor IPB for defensive fire planning.

* Translate the intelligence requirements of the defensive plan into a viable collection strategy.

The Targeting Triad

When it comes to fire support planning--arguably the most important part of the operations plan in the defense--the S2 needs to shift some of the focus from supporting the commander and S3 to directly supporting the FSO and the senior officer from the attached engineer unit. Each of these individuals has an inherent interest in synchronizing his planning efforts with the S2. The FSO wants to maximize the effects of organic fire support capabilities. Since the Army does not have fire support available in quantity, quality becomes even more essential. He expects the S2 to maintain the threat portion of the common operating picture (COP) that facilitates accurate and timely targeting of enemy forces. The FSO is also responsible for minimizing the degree to which the unit must rely on its direct fire weapons to achieve victory. The FSO uses quality intelligence products to gain greater external fire support. The U.S. Air Force and other external support agencies are ready and willing to support the defense; howev er, there will be ferocious competition for employment of external assets. An S2 can help the FSO acquire support by giving him a detailed picture and the confidence that a target will appear at the predicted time and place.

Attached engineers often act as consultants. They are spread throughout the battlefield to provide limited countermobility and survivability support to many units. The effort expended on each of their projects must be worthwhile. An S2 ties the engineer's needs to those of the FSO by employing the proper tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP). In many cases, an obstacle not covered by fire is not an obstacle, so the engineers must thoroughly integrate their countermobility efforts with the overall defensive plan. Engineers also rely on a definitive picture of the enemy force to ensure the obstacles and minefields are of the right type and composition to provide the maximum delaying effect. An S2 can help them maximize the effects of a limited obstacle and minefield capability by providing quality IPB products.

The first step is to start with the commander's intent and guidance. An S2's initial intelligence support, including IPB products (which clearly spell out the enemy center of gravity and critical vulnerabilities), help the commander formulate his intent. The S2 must use the commander's intent as a guide to performing his role as a member of the targeting triad. The scheme of maneuver contains the commander's intent, but his additional guidance often addresses the targeting priorities. The fire support plan needs to satisfy the defensive scheme of maneuver and targeting guidance. The FSO should also base his plan on a valid wargame with S2 support. When the S2, FSO, and senior engineer have reached a common understanding of the fire support role in the battle plan, the S2 should examine the resources available.

Fire Support. At this point, the FSO has a solid feel for what he can use in the way of organic fire support, and formulates plans for employing a greater degree of external support based on the quality of the intelligence. For example, he can expect to gain a greater share of general support (GS) artillery to fire at confirmed targets, rather than suspected targets. He can also discuss with the S2 and the senior engineer any limitations that he may face, particularly in the area of specific ammunition availability (such as the allocation of family of scatterable mines [FASCAM] throughout the area of operations [AO]). He will work with representatives of aviation elements to determine the types of aircraft and weapons already distributed for planning purposes, and the nature of on-call support.

Engineer Support. There is never enough engineer support to satisfy everyone; therefore, the S2 may have to operate with minimal assets. Again, the quality of the S2's intelligence concerning the enemy may enable the engineers to solicit higher echelons for specific support. Brigade-sized units often receive generic engineer support, rather than specifically requested support, to perform a known task. For example, the task of driving engineer stakes in certain soil types may be impossible without mechanical support. The S2 must understand the engineer's capabilities and limitations in order to assist the engineers in requesting a more suitable mix of materials.

Tailoring IPB

The next process is to tailor the completed S2 products to the needs of the triad. The S2 must review and explain the products, in detail, with the engineers and the FSO. The FSO and engineers will usually ask questions that cause the S2 to investigate more thoroughly. As they further analyze the details of their fire and obstacle planning, the S2 should be able to give them more detail on the specific areas in which they are interested. For example, the S2 does not show soil composition on the initial modified combined obstacle overlay (MCOO), but he may need to provide it to improve the evaluation of certain areas for minefields and obstacles.

Using thorough IPB helps the S2 create a collection plan flexible enough to focus on maneuver decisions and fire support decisions. Priority intelligence requirements (PIR) focus on decision points, but not necessarily maneuver decision points. After the commander and S3 decide how to defend against an enemy, they have veryfew maneuver decisions to make. The majority of decisions left are fire support decisions, and the collection plan should reflect that fact.

Use of Intervals and Timelines

Throughout the planning process, the Army doctrinally describes enemy speed in terms of kilometers (kin) per minute. An FSO or air liaison officer has a requirement to think in terms of minutes per km, in order to back-plan from a desired time on target. The Army also tends to describe unit intervals in terms of distance; for example, the forward security element is 12 to 15 km in front of the advance guard. The preferred method is to track unit intervals in terms of unit separations by time.

S2s should adjust timelines for units with limited nighttime battlefield experience and inferior night-vision capability--such as the Iraqi forces during Operation DESERT STORM. S2s must find a method that is effective in producing easily understandable graphic timelines, and they must adapt these timelines accordingly.

Operational Norms

As we all know, the U.S. Army is not required to adhere to doctrine; similarly, the enemy forces will often stray from their doctrine. Enemy doctrine is merely a starting point for the S2's analysis of the enemy. The S2's analytical performance depends on his ability to establish operational norms. Operational norm" is a term analysts use to describe the result of insightful fusion of all known factors that affect the actions of an enemy unit. Here are some thoughts in five areas that may help an S2 with his analysis.

Equipment. It is important for the S2 to analyze the enemy elements to determine their actual movement rates, instead of relying on doctrinal movement rates. Numerous factors will alter the standard doctrinal movement rates of the enemy; for instance, different combinations of wheeled and tracked vehicles and combinations of vehicles from different nations could change the movement rates significantly.

Training. In Operation DESERT STORM, Iraqi officers were poorly trained in open desert navigation. U.S. units, like the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR), achieved outstanding success against Republican Guard units set in potentially lethal defenses (oriented 90 degrees off heading) based on an assumption, that the U.S. forces were traveling similarly. Syrians have marked significant tactical failure because they do not effectively train officers in passing effective tactical intelligence back and adjusting rates of march accordingly.

Patterns of Previous Activity. S2s do not always have to conduct this analysis alone. Commanders who have fought enemy units that are similar to the one you are facing often have ample information concerning the enemy that one cannot find in doctrinal manuals. They may know how the enemy operates at night, or how the units react to indirect fire. Also, S2s must not disregard any information prematurely. Intelligence summaries (INTSUMs), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) video, and Joint Intelligence Center threat guides may contain important information concerning a particular situation.

Effects of Weather, Terrain, and Friendly Action. S2s must analyze how environmental factors will affect enemy actions. They must anticipate how the enemy will react to neutral factors like dust and heavy rains. S2s must also foresee the enemy's reaction to heavy direct or indirect fires.

Command and Control ([C.sup.2]). The enemy's [C.sup.2] assets will play a significant role in the unit's decision-making process. The enemy may be using visual signals, like flags, instead of radios for communicating during movement. This will certainly decrease their unit intervals.

Analyzing the above factors, with numerous other unmentioned factors, will ensure the S2 produces a thorough analysis of the enemy. The S2 and the staff can then use this analysis to produce a comprehensive collection strategy.

Collection Strategy

The first step to creating a viable collection strategy is to understand the reconnaissance and surveillance (R&S) assets of the unit. There are never enough organic R&S assets to investigate every named area of interest (NAI) and target area of interest (TAI); therefore, the S2 must remember that every soldier is a potential collector. Combat observation lasing teams (COLTs), for example, are often a superb source of information, and certain combat engineers have ample experience in reconnaissance. The S2 must also justify requests for division, corps, echelons above corps (EAC), and joint assets supporting the collection plan. Units should not use systems like the UAV for random search missions; instead, they should employ them to confirm the data from other sensors or collectors. The S2 must be fully aware of the strengths and weaknesses of every available R&S asset For instance, ground surveillance radar (GSR) can provide superb cueing for other systems, but it cannot identify the target as friendly or en emy.

TAI placement is critical in creating a useful collection plan. TAIs are often an afterthought in the IPB process because the S2 and the FSO do not know their locations until the final stages of the staff planning process. The S2 must support the FSO's decisions concerning TAI placement by supplying him movement rates and unit intervals as discussed above. The FSO is an essential contributor in adjusting the locations and times of TAIs as the situation develops.

The collection plan is a living document. The S2 can facilitate its flexibility by dynamically updating the plan as the battle unfolds. The locations of NAIs and TAIs will often change drastically during the course of the battle; therefore, the S2 must maintain close and constant communication with the FSO to be successful.

Final Comments

The job of an S2 is not easy. It is extremely difficult to analyze an enemy that is 100 km away moving toward you at 20 km per hour while actively engaging the friendly unit to your front. That is why S2s must not try to do it by themselves. There must be a cohesive relationship between the S2, the FSO, and the senior engineer officer for the unit to achieve success. The S2 must also realize that doctrinal publications will not provide a complete analysis of the enemy. One must use innovative techniques to conduct a proper analysis. Do not be afraid to use your own individual thought. Lastly, S2s must not waste this analysis by creating a static and predictable collection strategy. They must produce a plan that correctly prioritizes enemy information and uses R&S assets to their full Potential.

Major Ray Leach, USMC, is currently serving as the S2, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. Previously he served as the Tactics Branch Chief for the Officer Advanced Course and Officer Transition Course with the 326th MI Battalion at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, and as the Commanding Officer, Marine Corps Detachment-Fort Huachuca. He also served as Chief Analyst at the Fleet Ocean Surveillance Information Facility (FOSIF), Rota, Spain. Before attending the Amphibious Warfare School, he served as a tank battalion S2 and as the Assistant S2 of the 24th MEU Special Operations Command (SOC). He attended the U.S. Army Armor Officer Basic Course and the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Intelligence Officer Course at Dam Neck, Virginia, and completed the nonresident Marine Corps Command and Staff College. MAJ Leach graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Middle East Studies, and earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Troy State University. Readers may contact Major Leach via E-mail at or telephonically at (910) 451-3199.


In addition to knowing the capabilities and limitations of the unit's organic R&S assets and justifying requests to higher echelons, the S2 may be able to use intelligence reach operations to satisfy specific information requirements. FM 2-33.5(ST), Intelligence Reach Operations, 1 June 2001, defines "intelligence reach" as a process by which deployed military forces rapidly access information from, receive support from, and conduct collaboration and information sharing with other units (deployed in theater and from outside the theater) unconstrained by geographic proximity, echelon, or command. The U.S. Army Intelligence Center (USAIC) published the intelligence reach manual under the "Emerging Doctrine" series of special texts. It contains discussions on each of the subcomponents of reach as well as the various Department of Defense Intelligence production centers and the types of databases and information for which they are responsible. Readers may access FM 2-33.5(ST) on-line at the USAIC website at: http :// (password required).
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:intelligence preparation of the battlefield
Author:Leach, Major R. J.
Publication:Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2001
Previous Article:Named Areas of Interest (NAIs): Knowing When Too Many Is Too Much.
Next Article:TTP for the Special Forces Battalion S2 at JRTC and NTC.

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