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"Your mission should you decide to accept it, build a IPB/Area Study!"

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  • #4132
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    The following will help take you step by step to building your first product “Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (IPB) / Area Study.”

    This is one of those things much like PT, the best things in life are free! :yes:

    Everyone needs one of these studies for their AO, now is the time to build it with all of our normal resources available.

    Many of the people on this Forum have already put action ahead of talk, in preparing for what may come.

    Will you‽

    At one time the following were links to articles discussing the various named topics, these articles are no longer available. The majority of “Anonymous wrote:” are highlights from original Samuel Culper articles used with permission.

    Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield and the Community (Overview)

    IPB: Defining the Battlefield Environment

    IPB: Describe the Battlefield’s Effects

    IPB: Evaluate the Threat

    IPB: Determine Threat Courses of Action


    Overview of Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield

    Intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) is a method for collecting, organizing, and processing intelligence. It is a framework for organizing information to help provide timely, accurate, and relevant intelligence to your group’s decision makers.

    The intent of IPB is to give the group information on the conditions within a area of operations, area of interest, and beyond that could affect the outcome of the group’s goal.

    Conditions to be identified include the relevant characteristics of the weather, terrain, population groups and subgroups, media, and infrastructure. IPB also provides a method of gathering information to describe how each of these relevant characteristics influences the friendly group, enemy groups (if applicable), and the other players in the operational area.

    IPB is critical to timely, accurate decision making.

    A key component of IPB is identifying, evaluating, and describing the threats to a group’s mission. Although the definition of threat is often goal dependent (e.g., the threat to a flood relief group may be the lack of helicopter landing sites, in a WROL the threat to the group goals is the criminal force), threat analysis includes identification and description of how each relevant characteristic of the operational area could hamper friendly goals accomplishment.

    The group’s decision makers use this information along with the descriptions of the relevant features of the operational area to shape the environment and choose the appropriate course of action for successful completion of the group goals.

    IPB is an ongoing cyclical process composed of four steps. The first three steps are designed to compile information about specific features of the operational area. The fourth step consolidates this information to help predict threat courses of action (COAs).

    The four steps of the IPB process are:

    1. Define the Battlefield Environment
    2. Describe the Battlefield’s Effects
    3. Evaluate the Threat
    4. Determine Threat Courses of Action

    The questions asked and answered by each of the four steps help to
    coordinate reconnaissance and surveillance, manage intelligence collection efforts, supply location and asset information for the targeting process, and integrate battle damage assessment (BDA) into the execution of follow-on goals.

    Continuing the IPB process is essential for further situation development and COA assessment, as well as changes “Pre-Event.”

    (Edited for Update)

    #4155
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator


    Define the Battlefield Environment.

    This includes identifying for further analysis specific features of the environment or activities within it, and the physical space where they exist, that may influence available [friendly and enemy] COAs or the Group’s decisions.

    The area of operations (AO) is a geographical area, including the airspace above, usually defined by lateral, forward and rear boundaries, relevant to a Group in which they have an ability to project influence and control.

    The size area? You could start with your retreat property. I am starting with my town (small rural). Then once that is completed my county, then surrounding counties, and finally an overview of the State.

    Well we need a map, I am going to use a topo map from “The USGS Store,” specifically Map Locator & Downloader, because it’s free!

    It downloads as a PDF zip, you can select many features you want displayed including aerial photo.

    Obviously you can print small sections yourself, however unless you have commercial size printer you will need to either buy or have them printed. Consider lamination or user applied waterproofing.

    (Edited for Update)

    #4177
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    OK you got a map, now what?

    The Group’s S2 begins to collect data on the relevant aspects of his area of responsibility (AOR), which consists of the AO, AI, and the Battlefield Environment combined. This material includes geological surveys, demographic information, threat order of battle, personality profiles, and historical accounts of activities in the area. By collecting and reviewing these products, the analyst is able to identify critical information gaps and begin to work with the commander to develop a list of relevant questions, referred to as the Group’s critical information requirements (CIR), that will drive intelligence collection for the operation.

    Identify key terrain features. Of particular importance is how terrain will influence both OPFOR and FREEFOR movement. How can these features be used to isolate areas.

    Demographics, what is the population make up of this area? Good and bad areas? Criminal activity? Local, State, and Federal LEO’s? NG/ANG units? Military both Active and Reserve?

    Are there cell towers, transfer stations, garbage dumps, electrical plants, etc? Are there railroads, subways, or bus lines? Are there plenty of roads or just a few?

    Rails to Trails?

    Some knowledge of criminals in your area, a variety of methods might be of use, “ride along program,” some areas have a local mini-newspaper with latest arrests, many jails have bookings online, and “Sex Offender” lists maybe of use.

    Any of these questions you cannot answer, write down as an “intelligence gap” and we’ll cover it later.

    Aerial photos of key installations.

    Well this step is pretty basic, however just because you are currently an “Army of One!” doesn’t mean you have to stop there.

    I recommend expanding Area Study to cover future contingencies, since there is no better time than now while things are easy and info plentiful.

    Home, town, county, surrounding counties, and overview of state should help if the need arises.

    Identify the limits of the command’s AO and battle space.

    Your Area of Operations (AO) is going to be where you’re willing or able to travel in order to defend your home or community.


    Establish the limits of the AI.

    Your Area of Interest (AI) is going to be larger than your AO.

    Area of interest (AI) is an example of the difference between FM 2-01.3/MCRP 2-3A Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield and the needs of a Armed Citizen.

    Until the Armed Citizen has established themselves as part of a larger group or Resistance capable of truly projecting power the standard FM just doesn’t apply.

    We can look at the AI as area to keep as informed as possible given our Likely Information Sources: “Post-Event”

    Ideally we have gathered as much data “Pre-Event” as possible to aid in this effort.

    For most of us our “Pre-Event” IPB is not only a study in possibilities, but a data base of information/intelligence for use “Post-Event” that we will update through Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations as required.

    Identify the amount of detail required and feasible within the time available for IPB.

    Build now so there won’t be any time pressures.

    Evaluate existing data bases and identify intelligence gaps.

    Not all the intelligence required to evaluate the effects of each characteristic of the battlefield and each threat force will be available. Identifying the gaps early allows you to collect the information required to fill them.

    Identify and prioritize the gaps, using your initial intelligence requirements to set the priorities.

    Collect the material and intelligence required to conduct the remainder of IPB.

    Here we take the questions we couldn’t answer from the previous step and answer them.

    Get out and walk around. View your home or retreat location from multiple angles. What do you see? For other intelligence gaps, utilize some of those intelligence databases discussed during the last step. Use good OPSEC but talk to people.

    Continuously update the IPB information as you receive additional intelligence.

    FM 34-130
    Ideally, intelligence operations enable you to develop the perception of the battlefield and the threat to completely match the actual situation on the battlefield.

    In reality, intelligence will never eliminate all of the unknown aspects or uncertainties which concern a commander and his staff. Be prepared to fill gaps with reasonable assumptions.

    As the Group’s S2 ensure to differentiate between assumptions and fact, if asked about information you do not have the answer to, it is acceptable to say you don’t know, but will get back to them.

    Never lie, permanent damage to credibility will result.

    (Edited for Update)

    #4194
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    Great Collection! Thanks!
    Stickied! :yes:

    #4385
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    Describe the Battlefield’s Effects.

    First, let’s start with the desired end effect, per FM 34-130:

    Identify how the battlefield environment influences the operations and COAs of threat and friendly forces.

    The consequences of failure are:

    The commander will fail to exploit the opportunities that the environment provides. The threat will find and exploit opportunities in a manner the command did not anticipate.

    Our goals are to take the terrain features and human factors we identified in the last step into consideration with our mission statement. For the purposes of this series, our mission statement is the larger Community Defense Framework. Describing the battlefield’s effects is purely an analytical step so we should have a complete picture of our operating environment before we describe the battlefield’s effects.

    Analyze the battlefield environment.

    Terrain analysis.

    In an exercise or real world scenario, we’d calculate grades of slopes and delve into some charts to see which tracked and wheeled vehicles would be able to traverse the terrain in question. For instance, not even four wheeled drive vehicles would be able to drive up the hills shown on our map. I know this because I know the terrain personally and you would make the same distinction in terrain of your own community.

    We can therefore rule out that vehicles would be able to catch us by surprise by driving over those hills – they’re too steep to traverse. Similarly, we know that vehicles won’t be driving through a dense forest without a road. Be sure to do an eyes-on reconnaissance of these areas and find both man-made and natural obstacles. Man-made obstacles would include fences and walls, irrigation and drainage ditches, small ponds not shown on maps, or buildings not shown on maps. Be sure to plot obstacles on your map if they aren’t shown. By ruling out these types of areas for mounted travel, we can focus on identifying most likely avenues of approach (AA) – typically roads. Be sure to mark roads, both paved and unpaved, on your map. We assess likely AAs based on what are called, ‘mobility corridors’. We find mobility corridors by identifying areas where a mounted (vehicle) adversary cannot advance…

    …Maps of your community could be more difficult for conducting the IPB process. If at any point you have questions or need clarifications, I’m just an email or comment away.

    Weather analysis.

    FM 34-130 also calls for a weather analysis to be done. With the exception of how winter snow could affect AAs, I don’t feel that weather is a great factor in IPB for the Community Defense Framework.

    This is very AO dependent, weather in some locations is both extreme and can greatly effect COA’s. Remembering that bad weather can be a great force multiplier for the underdog.

    I personally love bad weather, embrace the suck, it can provide opportunities that can’t be duplicated against OPFOR.

    #4387
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    Additional thoughts on Weather and Terrain:

    Avalanche areas make great defenses, with some appropriate study avalanche areas can be groomed to increase effect.

    Areas prone to mudslides when supersaturated can be manipulated, water doesn’t compress.

    Flash flood zones can be historically predicted.

    Wind and rain mask sound, hooded OPFOR reduce sight and hearing even more.

    Weather considerations UAS (FMI 3-04.155):

    Weather conditions must be at or above those minimums prescribed for specific AOR‘s. The appropriate authority can waive these requirements.

    Weather/ UAS/ UAS Sensors
    Icing/ No deicing/anti-icing capability/ N/A
    Crosswinds greater than 15 kts/ Exceeds operational capabilities/ N/A
    High winds at altitude greater than 50 kts/ Creates dangerous flying conditions/ N/A
    Light rain/ UAS can operate/ N/A
    Heavy rain 2 inches or more per hour/ UAS cannot operate/ Poor, unusable imagery
    Fog and low clouds/ UAS can operate, but increases the risk to the UA during takeoffs/landings/ Cannot Penetrate heavy fog/clouds

    #4650
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    Development of Friendly Courses of Action.

    FM 34-130
    Combine the evaluation of the effects of terrain, weather, and the other characteristics of the battlefield into one integrated product. Do not focus on the factors that lead to your conclusions. Instead, focus on the total environment’s effects on COAs available to both friendly and threat forces.

    FM 34-130
    Prior to the development of friendly COAs—

    Provide the evaluated and prioritized set of Avenues of Approach (AA) to the S3 so he can develop COAs by designating an axis of advance, direction of attack, or zone of attack for each subordinate unit (offense).

    Provide the sets of defensible terrain along threat AAs to the S3 so he can develop strongpoints, battle positions, or sectors for each subordinate unit (defense and retrograde).

    Identify the periods when weather conditions will optimize the use of friendly sighting and target acquisition systems so the S3 can make recommendations on the timing of operations.


    Determine Threat Courses of Action.

    FM 34-130
    You must address the battlefield’s effects on threat as well as friendly COAs. A good technique for accomplishing this is to completely place yourself in the perspective of the threat’s S2 and S3 who must recommend a set of COAs to their commander.

    Let’s start with the end state of the adversary’s will. What are they trying to achieve? Is the local gang knocking off houses or is there a full-scale Golden Horde ‘zombie’ invasion? They may not have defined their objectives beyond the next three steps but we still need to identify and define their likely goal. When we don’t know for a fact their end goal, then we must identify all their possible goals.

    Identify the full set of COAs available to the threat and prioritize each COA.

    In the previous post in this series, we discussed doctrine, or the set of a defined game plan or strategies. Foreign forces have doctrine, our own military has doctrine, law enforcement has doctrine, and so will mobs, thugs, looters, and other criminals. Mobs, thugs, looters, and other criminals have doctrine because we’ve recorded numerous instances of the same actions in the same or similar event. Whereas, with a military commander or insurgent cell, we might say that he is willing or unwilling to do ‘x’ (where ‘x’ is a specific tactic, target, or other action) because of what we’ve observed him do in this instance in the past – doctrine.

    Ideally, we want to satisfy five criteria when discussing COAs: suitability, feasibility, acceptability, uniqueness, and consistency with doctrine.

    Suitability – does it suit the adversary’s goals?

    Feasibility – is it within the adversary’s resources and capabilities?

    Acceptability – are the risks, losses, or rewards acceptable to the adversary?

    Uniqueness
    – is the COA clearly unique and different than every other COA?

    Consistency – have we known the adversary to do this before; is it consistent with the adversary’s overall intent?

    Additional considerations.

    FM 34-130
    Identify the full set of COAs available to the threat. History repeatedly demonstrates that those who predict only one COA are often surprised by the enemy.

    Do not overlook the less likely but still viable COAs. Do not risk surprise by failing to take the time to consider all feasible COAs. Identify alternative methods by which the threat can achieve his objective or desired end state.

    Think outside the box but be careful not to include too many off-the-wall COAs.

    Develop each COA in the amount of detail time allows.

    This is a factor in my encouragement to get these under you belt now. You do not want to be building you first IPB with a looming threat over your shoulder!

    MLCOA & MDCOA.

    At this point, wrapping up the IPB process, we want to take time to consider the Most Likely Course of Action (MLCOA) and the Most Dangerous Course of Action (MDCOA). Identifying these are useful for commanders or community leaders to help assess the consequences of enemy action.

    Use your best judgement and cover all the bases. After conducting IPB on your community, you will be in a much better position to understand how the battlespace will affect enemy choices and the dynamics of their attacks.

    Much of this information comes from Samuel Culper’s previously available articles at the former Guerrillamerica Blog and the FM 34-130, combined with my point view as it relates to a FREEFOR Group. I can only assume that it is providing decent coverage of this material without any feedback.

    Final Thoughts

    Ultimately there are two points of consideration that cover deaths in combat.

    Lives that were spent on the battlefield and lives that were wasted on the battlefield!

    The spending of lives is a costly but necessary part of armed conflict.

    The wasting of lives due to incompetence, lack of planning, and arrogance to name a few. This is an unnecessary part of armed conflict that unfortunately happens far too often.

    Ignoring the role of Intelligence, the concepts behind it, and the products it provides will directly lead to Lives Wasted!

    Do not learn this lesson the hard way.

    Questions regarding any of the information presented in this Thread should be addressed as a separate Thread within the “Information & Intelligence” Sub-Forum.

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