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Watchdogs return to the land of the morning calm and ULO: lessons learned in targeting.

In the fall of 2011, the 8th Military Police Brigade, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, returned to the Republic of Korea, where it was attached to the 2d Infantry Division for the annual Warpath Exercise. This was a nondoctrinal command relationship. Military police brigades are typically assigned to corps or higher levels and serve in support roles at the theater level; however, the Warpath Exercise presented the best opportunity for the brigade to be validated as a contingency expeditionary force by the Mission Command Training Program (MCTP).

Although the 8th Military Police Brigade was required to adjust its concept of command relationships, the Warpath Exercise provided a realistic and valuable opportunity for the brigade to exercise command and control over three military police battalions. The full spectrum operations (now referred to as unified land operations [ULO]) exercise enabled the brigade staff to familiarize themselves with internal processes --specifically, the processes of targeting and planning--and to refamiliarize themselves with the brigade mission in Korea. This article contains a discussion of the experiences of the 8th Military Police Brigade in Korea, with a focus on brigade targeting and planning processes in a ULO environment.

The Road to ULO

About 6 months before the Warpath Exercise began, the 8th Military Police Brigade initiated a staff training plan and identified shortcomings in brigade structure and capability. The identified deficiencies led to a request for augmentation in two areas--targeting and information operations (IO). Through coordination with the 25th Infantry Division, the brigade acquired a targeting cell and an Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System. In addition, the brigade also acquired an IO officer. Although these personnel and equipment are not authorized under military police brigade headquarters modified tables of organization and equipment, their capabilities proved indispensable to brigade operations in Korea. Despite excellent analytical and military decisionmaking process training, the staff did not fully realize the importance of the targeting and planning processes before participating in the full spectrum exercise, nor did the brigade properly integrate additional capabilities into planning and training for operations in Korea.

Background of Targeting

Although an overview of ULO targeting and planning processes was provided in the unit mission command seminar, the brigade staff was ill-prepared to tackle the complexities of these processes. Most officers and noncommissioned officers (NCOs) thought of targeting as an isolated process used solely for calling in lethal ires on the enemy, rather than as "the process of selecting and prioritizing targets and matching the appropriate response to them, taking account of command objectives, operational requirements, and capabilities." (1)

Adding to the woes, many of the sectional officers in charge were new and most of the staff had never previously participated in the targeting process. Most Intermediate-Level Education graduates could not recall any discussion of the subject during their professional military education. And those who were familiar with targeting understood the process when dealing with a longer (1-week) targeting cycle, such as that of recent counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq--but not when dealing with a 24-hour daily cycle, as is the case with ULO. This faster-paced cycle was something that most senior officers and NCOs had forgotten about and few junior officers and NCOs understood.

Despite its importance to supported units, targeting has not been stressed in the military police world. Army Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (ATTP) 3-39.20, Police Intelligence Operations--the sole military police doctrine eventually referred to by the staff--discusses police intelligence operations and devotes a portion of the discussion to targeting. However, the discussion focuses primarily on criminal intelligence and does not include enough detail to assist with understanding and implementing the targeting process in a military police brigade.

If asked, most military police leaders would indicate that targeting applies to lethal fires and the destruction of enemy targets--not to the way in which military police plan or operate on the battlefield. They would continue by saying that targeting is only for those units that own an area of operations and have assigned targeting officers--primarily brigade combat teams.

However, within days of the start of the Warpath Exercise, the brigade staff began to understand that the focus of targeting is not simply on brigade combat teams planning or calling in fires; rather, targeting is an integrated, problem-solving process where problems and solutions (lethal or nonlethal, organic or outside the unit) are identified. The brigade then incorporated targeting as a cyclic planning and decision process to integrate operations within the brigade and to fall in line with the air tasking order (ATO) cycle. (See Figure 1, page 30.) The identification of problems and solutions within a 120-hour time frame and the ability to provide the brigade commander with recommended solutions for decisions and subsequent operations required an important mental leap from the brigade staff.

Execution of the Targeting Process in ULO

With the help of officers from Operations Group Foxtrot (the MCTP multifunctional brigade headquarters training team), the staff of the 8th Military Police Brigade jump-started the brigade's cyclic targeting, planning, and decision processes. This was necessary for the integration and synchronization of the brigade plans, intelligence, and operations staffs. (See Figure 2.)

First, the staff needed to understand the battle rhythm of the division--specifically, the division targeting cycle. Key division components included a targeting working group and an IO working group. Because working group meetings were conducted on a daily basis, the unit needed to be constantly aware of the ATO cycle for 24 to 120 hours out. Although it was a struggle to stay ahead of the fight, the staff addressed this issue by simultaneously conducting daily targeting working group and targeting and operations working group (TOWG) (a combination of a targeting working group and operations synchronization group) meetings before conducting a targeting and operations decision board (TODB) for the brigade commander.

Overall, the planning and targeting cycle (Figure 3) incorporated the division targeting and IO working groups, the brigade TOWG, and a TODB. In the future, a pretargeting meeting will be incorporated as allowed by the battle rhythm.

The division's 48- to 120-hour operational plan, which was disseminated by the Long-Range Planning (LRP) Section, and the daily support of the brigade were critical to targeting and planning. Without these resources, staff sections would have been unable to develop courses of action (COAs) for future missions or anticipate decisions required of the brigade commander.

Working Groups

The purpose of the TOWG is to identify and target enemy formations and capabilities according to the commander's intent and targeting guidance and to synchronize and match sensors and delivery systems to selected targets. The brigade developed quad charts for TOWG members so that they would be aware of the inputs and outputs required and they would know who should attend working group meetings and other working group constructs.

The key to the TOWG was to start looking 120 hours out according to the ATO cycle (Figure 1), with the appropriate sections (LRP; fires; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; IO; and public affairs office) identifying division priorities and the brigade COA plan in support of division operations. As an example, if the TOWG for problem "X" were to be conducted on 8 December, the working group involved in the 96- to 120-hour-out period (annotated as ATO YE) would be the first to address the mission or problem and to begin the planning and problem-solving processes. During the 9 December TOWG, the ATO YE would be reviewed at the 72- to 96-hour-out period and a final concept regarding the solution to problem X would be required. The solution to problem X would continue to be revised and reined until the 0- to 24-hour-out "execute" phase was reached on 12 December. The situation would then be assessed on or about 13 December to determine whether the solution to problem X was effective.

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

Other key TOWG outputs include an updated higher-priority task list, updated fires and nonlethal target nominations, recommended changes to the brigade mission and commander's critical information requirements, and a list of other required decisions (with recommended decision points).

The purpose of the TODB is to provide daily reviews, obtain the approval of brigade targeting efforts, and synchronize operational forecast and targeting guidance. The brigade developed quad charts similar to those developed for the TOWG. Beginning 120 hours out on the ATO cycle, the staff presented target nominations or other items that required a command decision (ranging from when to jump the tactical command post to modifying the task organization to support future operations). A map that incorporated decide, detect, deliver, and assess criteria was used for target nominations. The decision brief template followed the basic military decisionmaking process model, which outlines facts, assumptions, COAs, COA criteria, COA comparisons, and COA recommendations condensed on one slide. Using the ATO cycle, the commander was briefed on the big picture (division operations, intelligence) 96 to 120 hours out and then the brigade-recommended target nominations and required decision briefs were outlined.

[FIGURE 3 OMITTED]

Target nominations were approved and sent to the division targeting working group, and any operational decisions were sent to units via fragmentary orders (FRAGOs). Upon completion of the division targeting working group, the targeting officer returned to the brigade targeting working group to determine how the unit should readdress those target nominations that were not accepted by the division.

The final critical area involved the assessment of decide, detect, deliver, and assess criteria to determine whether the desired results were achieved.

Conclusion

By using the described planning and targeting process, the brigade staff managed to stay ahead of the ULO fight, improve integration into the division planning and targeting cycle, and provide the commander with the information required to make accurate and timely decisions. While this article is not intended to serve as the definitive answer regarding how to conduct targeting and planning in a military police brigade, it should provide battalion and brigade headquarters with ideas that can be reined and incorporated into their targeting and planning cycles.

The question of the identity of the targeting officer is a inal key aspect for consideration. While augmentees from the 25th Infantry Division assisted the 8th Military Police Brigade during the Warpath Exercise, they will not be available to help during deployment. The criminal intelligence officer (311AO) or NCO (31D40) assigned to the headquarters and headquarters military police brigade intelligence (S-2) section may be a possible candidate. These personnel are familiar with analyzing crime (identifying the problem), targeting crime (outlining solutions), and assessing the results. Although they would require additional training in lethal and nonlethal ire platforms and capabilities, they are well prepared to adopt the targeting responsibility.

Numerous units routinely conduct targeting, which is a key element of ULO. Military police would beneit from the ability to contribute to the brigade combat team and division ATO planning cycle. Military police should talk with brigade combat teams, divisions, or the MCTP. They should also examine Field Manual (FM) 3-60, The Targeting Process, and other military publications.

Acknowledgement: Special thanks to MCTP Operations Group Foxtrot for their contributions to this article.

References:

ATTP 3-39.20, Police Intelligence Operations, 29 July 2010.

FM 3-60, The Targeting Process, 26 November 2010.

Tommy S. Green, "Targeting: A Process for Wizards or Methodology for Patriarchs? Counterinsurgency vs. Full Spectrum Operations: The Fight Within the Fight," Fires, September-October 2011.

Mission Command Seminar Slides, MCTP, July 2011.

Warpath Exercise III After Action Review (unclassified portions), MCTP, November 2011.

Endnote:

(1) JP 3 -0, Joint Operations, 11 August 2011.

At the time this article was written, Lieutenant Colonel Medina was the executive officer, 8th Military Police Brigade. He is now the deputy provost marshal, III Corps, Fort Hood, Texas. He holds a bachelor's degree in public justice from Saint Mary's University, San Antonio, Texas, and a master's degree in business and organizational security from Webster University.
Figure 1. Sample ATO tracker

Action 24-0 hr 0-24 hr 24-48 hr
\Date Assessment Execution Refinement
 of last
 cycle

8 Dec ATO XZ ATO YA ATO YB
9 Dec ATO YA ATO YB ATO YC
10 Dec ATO YB ATO YC ATO YD
11 Dec ATO YC ATO YD ATO YE
12 Dec ATO YD ATO YE ATO YF
13 Dec ATO YE ATO YF ATO YG
14 Dec ATO YF ATO YG ATO YH
15 Dec ATO YG ATO YH ATO YL
16 Dec ATO YH ATO YL ATO YJ

Action 48-72 72-96 96-120
\Date hr Final hr Final Concept
 revisions concept hr sketch

8 Dec ATO YC ATO YD ATO YE
9 Dec ATO YD ATO YE ATO YF
10 Dec ATO YE ATO YF ATO YG
11 Dec ATO YF ATO YG ATO YH
12 Dec ATO YG ATO YH ATO YL
13 Dec ATO YH ATO YL ATO YJ
14 Dec ATO YL ATO YJ ATO YK
15 Dec ATO YJ ATO YK ATO YL
16 Dec ATO YK ATO YL ATO YM
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Author:Medina, Christopher
Publication:Military Police
Geographic Code:9SOUT
Date:Sep 22, 2012
Words:2139
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