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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

If you don’t have time to compare, another technique is to use your personal judgment and select the COA the enemy is most likely to execute and the one that is most dangerous to you. Many defer to this method from the get-go. We believe, however, if you simply decide to develop the most likely and most dangerous COA; you are then discarding his complete realm of options. Take a little more time and conduct the analysis.


STEP 4 – Develop each COA in the amount of detail time allows. Here is when we really begin to start thinking like our opponent. So how do we get there? The first thing to remember is that there is no difference between developing an enemy COA and a friendly COA. Many people think you go through two entirely different processes –not true. They are essentially the same thing.


Perhaps, the one thing you may do differently is create a situational template (SITTEMP) for each potential COA you will develop. A situational template is essentially a snapshot in time depicting the enemy at a particular point in their operation. Most times, we will use his decisive point of the operation. It is created by taking your threat model and overlaying it on the MCOO. Then using your knowledge and judgment of the threat, adjust the forces to account for the battlefield effects. Ensure you conduct this from the point of view of the threat commander. Many times we see people think as themselves (Blue) and not as their opponent (Red). In most cases, these people are in for a rude awakening! The SITTEMP is a good tool to frame your COA and is useful later when you begin wargaming. Below is the process graphically:


Below we will show you a simple process to develop a COA (friendly or enemy). We will not delve into the meaning of specific terms such as decisive point, main effort, purpose/task, supporting efforts etc, since we went into great detail on these topics earlier in the series (please go back to earlier articles for clarification).

**Remember you are thinking as the opponent so the first thing you need to do is develop a quick scheme of maneuver to how you believe the enemy thinks you will fight. After all, you can’t develop any COA without considering the other side. So the first thing we will do is develop purpose/task for our foe.


Next we will conduct a quick comparison of combat power between each side. Don’t get into the weeds. Just enough to ensure you are doing things smartly.


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