Posts Tagged ‘analysis’

Thoughts on Deception Operations

American Mercenary had “a criminally brief introduction to the shaping operation known as military deception” the other day, and it reminded me of an old show on the Discovery Network’s Military Channel called Battleplan. In each episode they describe two battles in modern military history that employed the topic of the episode. Naturally, one of the topics is deception. For each episode, the battle plan is described as an ordered set of (mostly) sequential steps, and as the hour passes each step is described in detail. As a complement to AmMerc’s post, consider this summary of the Deception episode, which examined Operation Bodyguard (the deception around D-Day) and Desert Storm (where Gen. Schwartzkopf wanted to draw Iraqi forces towards the east while he attacked in the west).

Each Deception operation consists of five components:

  • Objective
  • Enemy Assumptions
  • Method Selection and Operational Options
  • Execution
  • Exploitation

As with actual military operations, false military operations must have a clear objective. What are you trying to get the enemy to believe? What do you want him to not believe? Do you intend to draw his forces away? The more detail that goes into planning and understanding the objective, the easier the implementation will be.

Enemy Assumptions
People are hungry for information, especially war planners. Feed them a careful diet. You must be careful to understand what they already believe and feed those prejudices. If, for example, your enemy believes you will conduct a blitzkrieg assault across the narrowest part of the English Channel, create a force located in Dover and make its commander your general best known for that tactic: George S. Patton, III. For extra flair points, the Allies could have made the First US Army Group a real force with real men, instead of an entirely fictional force, and used that as the reserve force for Normandy. Let the enemy believe what they want to believe.

Method Selection and Operational Options
AmMerc does a quick job of covering the basics of this, and I won’t repeat those here. Instead I’ll make two observations. First, a deception operation is generally more successful if there is more evidence (read: more methods utilized) to convince the enemy of what you want him to believe. To that end, don’t focus on using just one method; instead use several. Second, whatever method you choose must be accessible to the enemy. The cadaver loaded with false plans would have done the allies no good if the Germans hadn’t found it. Likewise, the press reports in 1991 detailing Marine rehearsals for an amphibious landing would have done no good if Saddam Hussein had no TV tuned to CNN.

This is where the rubber hits the road, or the metal meets the meat. Execution of the deception operation must be believable in order to be believed. For example, suppose your enemy sees your deception force assembling to his right. If he observes that there is no logistics train supporting it, he could correctly conclude that you’re trying to deceive him. Likewise, if a deception force is too obviously exposed, with no effort at camouflage, it is not likely to be believed.

The ne plus ultra of deception operations is to get the enemy to continue believing in the deception even after you’ve launched your actual operation. This is difficult, since it requires everything to break your way, including the enemy’s stupidity. But if it can be achieved, it becomes a force multiplier for you, since you now have two things working on the enemy’s OODA loop – your actual operation and your deception operation.

The difficult trick in running a deception operation is detecting the enemy’s own deception operations. If you can’t tell when the enemy is deceiving you, you can’t really tell if your deception operation is working or not, because you can’t tell if he sees your deception and is playing along or is actually being deceived.

Walter Scott was right: “Oh, what a tangled web we weave When first we practise to deceive!” The right metaphor from nature for a deception operation is a web, but it is the web of a black widow – tangled, without order, confusing, with no definite center, as contrasted with the orderly spirals most people think of. You must remember that deceptions are equal parts psychology and salesmanship: know your customer and know what will make him come around to your point of view. A deception is only a supporting operation, but a critical one, for it plays to the fears the enemy manifests while the actual operation works towards his vulnerabilities. Neglect neither and you will master both.

Now back to the massive task of raising a child.


OPFOR Analysis: Attack Trees and UAV Drones

An attack tree
There was a discussion over at Sipsey Street yesterday about methods to take down various Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Various thoughts were put forth, but there wasn’t a real organization to it – not that there needs to be one, given the open source nature of our infant insurgency.

However, a little organization goes a long way, and here is a case where organizing thoughts can be very fruitful for achieving the stated goal. So let’s take this tool from the world of Computer Security and run with it: Attack trees.

To construct one, set the end goal as the root of a tree. Send out branches to other nodes, with each child node being a condition necessary to accomplish the parent node. Repeat until you arrive at a set of nodes that represent actions that you can take. As a practical exercise, let’s apply this to the UAV question.

Goal: Prevent a UAV from operating (for the exercise we’ll assume a UAV similar to the Honeywell T-Hawk)
First level nodes: shoot it down, prevent it from taking off, prevent it from collecting data, prevent it from reporting the data it collects

Note that the goal is sufficiently ambiguous as to allow several first level nodes, depending on how you define “operate”. Also note that not all child nodes are necessary to achieve the root condition – the UAV fails to operate if you prevent it from collecting data, OR if you prevent it from reporting data (In computer-ese, this is an or statement, as opposed to an and statement).

Second level, shoot it down node: rifle, shotgun, potato cannon loaded with ribbons (tangles the vertically mounted engines)
Third level, shotgun node: identify the target and engage with shotgun
Fourth level: Have one or more shotguns ready
Fifth level: Detect the UAV
Sixth level: See it, hear it, detect it with radar

Iterate as necessary.

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OAKOC – a method of terrain analysis

27 January 2011 2 comments

OAKOC is an acronym used in terrain analysis. It is used for describing the military aspects of a piece of land in a way that clearly identifies the locations necessary to defend or seize a particular area.

O = Observations and Fields of Fire – Where would you place your troops to gain the maximum visibility and fire cover? How would you overlap them?
A = Avenues of Approach – Where would troops normally come from when approaching the position? Where would they expect resistance?
K = Key Terrain – What must be held and what can be given up?
O = Obstacles – What natural or artificial barriers to movement exist, and what can be constructed?
C = Cover and Concealment – What can be used for cover, and what for concealment? What caliber would be necessary to defeat each? If no natural cover exists, what can be improvised?

When using the OAKOC method, you analyze a piece of land in terms of each aspect for both sides – what are your observation posts, what are your enemy’s observation posts, etc. etc. These points of analysis will have an effect on each side, which can be used to determine what action and counter-action to take.

This week’s homework: from the map you developed in the past two weeks, pick a point near one of the military crests/reverse slopes and examine it, evaluating the OAKOC aspects of the position.

See also: FM 3-21.91, Tactical Employment Of Antiarmor Platoons And Companies

Beginner terrain analysis: the reverse slope

reverse slope – Any slope which descends away from the enemy. – FM 101-5-1, Operational Terms and Graphics
Illustrations of the military terms for various parts of a hill
An exercise in local terrain analysis, using the map generated in last week’s exercise, where you drew lines through the topographical crests of local hills and identified the miltary crests along those lines. Pick the most prominent of those crests, or the one closest to your residence, and do the following:

  1. Identify the reverse slope that lies on or closest to the line through the crest, and calculate the distance from the middle of the reverse slope to the topographical crest from the map. Verify your answer in the field.
  2. Identify any local elements (such as rocks, trees, or buildings) that could be used for concealment, and those that could be used for cover*. Specify what caliber weapon would be necessary to defeat whatever you identify.
  3. Identify the following paths from your residence to the reverse slope: fastest, stealthiest (defined as the one where you are least likely to be observed), and the one passing by the nearest residence belonging to a member of your regular training group.
  4. Identify the most likely avenues of approach to the reverse slope along the line set at 90 degrees from the line you drew through the crest (that is, the flanks of a position on the reverse slope whose fire is directed towards the crest).

* There is a difference between the two.

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Beginner terrain analysis: the military crest

12 January 2011 1 comment

military crest – An area on the forward or reverse slope of a hill or ridge just below the topographical crest from which maximum observation and direct fire covering the slope down to the base of the hill or ridge can be obtained. (See also topographical crest.) See FM 21-26. – FM 101-5-1, Operational Terms and Graphics
A military crest, source:Wikipedia
An exercise in local terrain analysis:

  1. Obtain the 7.5 minute quadrangle USGS map that includes your residence.
  2. Identify all the elevated areas of significance on the map.
  3. Using your residence as the center of a circle, draw lines radiating out from your residence that intersect the topographical crests of these elevated areas.
  4. Identify the military crests that lie on those lines, if they exist.
  5. Conduct a field reconnaissance of these crests to determine if your map analysis matches reality.
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