TARGETING IN COIN
Keshav Mazumdar ATO CMAS
Kinetic Targeting is a process by which physical action is taken to kill/capture insurgents or for that matter any enemy in the area of operations in order to negate their activities/operations in the AO.For example HUMINT reports bring in information about an insurgent facilitator of IEDs supply.Kinteic Targeting , that is killing this element severely affects the IED supply thus limiting the usage of IEDs by the insurgents.Here it is very important to choose carefully the targets.They should be critical nodes in the network , destruction of which will hamper the overall operations of the network , not just cut off one single line of operation.Thus targeting C2 nodes , critical lines of communication and logistics , important couriers and informers of the enemy , prime facilitators from among the local populace , HUMINT agents from among the local populace and anything or anyone close to the or collocated with the perceived centrer of gravity of the network will in effect disrupt enemy operations as well as planning severely.For example we have identified and located a high profile insurgent and a drone attack results in his elimination.Thus we have successfully removed a node in the network.Now if we study the second and third order effects of this attack , that is the resultant action on his colleagues or men under his command and the effect on the local population(our HUMINT and CI people keeping a tab on enemy movements, enemy suspects and activities of local suspected sympathizers , facilitators) we get further leads for further targeting actions.It couls be , for instance , that after removing this critical node there is a flurry of activity in the local community among a select group of people , or maybe demoinstrations are held thus pinpointing the actual sympathizers(these can now be included in non-kinetic operations) or the activity of insurgents themselves which become observable and thus amenable for intelligence action.
Conventional war sees both adversarys attempting to utilize the entire spectrum of combined arms warfare to:
· Annihilate the others forces
· Cause severe attrition to erode the overall enemy strength and projecting capability so as to penetrate our defences or mount a piercing attack or in intelligence terms , be deprived of projecting interim intelligence enabled combat troops. same time attritting the adversary’s strength and their ability to project force.
Coming to asymmetric warfare like guerillas , insurgents and terrorists here attrition is not a solution as most of them , going by Maos principle , are intent on conserving their forces—that is strength , capabilities as they are far outnumbered in and they cannot afford to take in more casualties by foraying enmasse into enemy territory like conventional forces or for that matter projecting their force is not an option for them.They carefully choose their targets and the location where they will deliver the attack.All this done by small line squads while the majority of the insurgents stay safe at the bases.
Here is where we can arrive at a very important inference.If the insurgent must conserve his forces which means as his primary objective is to cause harm to the security forces without exposing himself unnecessarily , attacking from deep cover , or ambush , he needs pewrfect information about the nature , identity and location of his target/s.To this end intelligence capability ios critical.If he employs his own intelligence assets , which are very very limited , his own men who can keep an eye on troops movements from afar or from a top vantage point—and that is quite risky some times , the insurgent leadership then turn to their main resource base , the local populace.The limited HUMINT agents of the insurgent group now recruit sympathizers and others who support their ideology , or those who bear a grudge against the local administration , police and the security forces themselves and now these very innocuous looking people of the local community in the AO become the eyes and ears of the enemy.As per Mao’s principle , we can infer the insurgents should conserve this HUMINT capability in order to conserve their forces.This further leads to the fact that they will also protect their informers and sources and like a professional intelligence organization will surely conduct secret meetings to indoctrinate them on security principles , how to handle their captors if caught by the security forces and other psychological instructions.
Whatever be the case the local populace is and should be the main target of the Army intelligence apparatus—detect , identify and locate the HUMINT elements. History , Malaya , Philippines , Iraq , etc ..has proved time and again that a successful insurgency emerges only with the support of the local population.
Hence comes into the picture –non-kinetic targeting.Now it is clear that the insurgents will do everything possible to keep the population on their side.If not the entire local populace , well all those who sympathize or believe in its ideology or others.As for those elements of the population who are some way or the other disinterested in the insurgency movement or even averse to it , these people are kept in leash by the insurgent leadership.Intimidation , fear , torture and even killing—these tactics are resorted to.But generally the elements of the population who are so labeled as averse to the insurgents ideology prefer to keep quiet.These people must be identified by our intelligence personnel.As they are part and parcel of the community they can offer valuable intelligence on the elements of the population who work for the enemy.They are the best ones suitable for surveillance , static observation of the neighbourhood , getting good access and placement to suspects (after transmittal of the idea that they are pro-insurgency) , reporting on strangers in the village , attending propaganda meetings and hate-seminars , and knowing the entire terrain very well so as to advise the security forces during intelligence preparation of the Area of Operations.
That said , the Army should and must wage a full scale parallel war with the insurgents in controlling and influencing the minds of the population in their favour.This love/hate triangle is in fact the most important mission objective.You control the population , you know the local informers and logistical supporters of the enemy.Also the safe houses , staging areas and all clandestine meetings in the area.Going a step further , detaining such individuals and interrogating them , or more the better keeping them under tight surveillance using those friendly elements of the population you can now detect and identify their enemy HUMINT contacts.Further surveillance or arrest and detention followed by interrogation can lead to weapon caches , staging areas , other enemy personnel concentration points , transit camps , bases—in short you get nearer and nearewr to the insurgent center of gravity.
This parallel war is in effect information operations.Information operations , such as periodic or random announcements by the loudspeaker and other media enabled platoon , PSYOPS platoon , coupled with community development programmes such as road repairs , distribution of food and sweets to children at regular intervals in primary schools , helpinmg in the digging of wells , improving sanitary conditions , supplying ‘kambals’ in winter , supply of free educational books and materials , informing the community of social service programmes and financial schemes for the poor taken up by the elected Government , highlightinmg the insurgents atocrities elsewhere , impressing upon them the insurgents concept that he has to influence the population in order to survive , and many other steps/activities which can easily be undertaken by the Army as resources for such activities are not expensive , easily available and can also be supplemented by the local administration.The main point which should be driven home is the population must feel more secure and happy with the presence of the Army and other security forces and should understand that the only objective of the movement is violence and target is the Government , and that they are least bothered about the local community , but consider it therir safe haven where they can hide during the day , where they can get food , shelter and where they can brainwash and recruit people to serve their ends.
1. MISSION PRIMARY OBJECTIVE: THE POPULATION SHOULD CEASE THEIR SUPPORT FOR THE INSURGENTS TOTALLY.
2. MISSION SECONDARY OBJECTIVE: FULL SCALE NON KINETIC OPERATIONS TO SUPPORT PRIMARY OBJECTIVE.
One of the oft-overlooked consequences of just about anything are what we call second- and third-order effects. Once we have targeted someone or something we must know how this has influenced the local population , the insurgent network and even other criminal enterprises in the AO. Second and third order effects which might emerge are:
· We might lose local cooperation.
· We might gain local cooperation.
· More enemies may result if the kinetic attack results in vengeance. Going a step further , the removal of the insurgent/s may effect certain civilians (apparent by antagonistic actions , disappearance from their residence apparently to join the insurgents).Which means we can now zero in on them as suspects.
Another difference exists between conventional battles and COIN ops.In conventional battles we detect , identify , get the precise location and then nominate as a target , be it a high value target or a high payoff target.Now Counterintelligence activities ofcourse happen during conventional warfare but not as offensively as in a limited war against insurgents in a limited AO.What I mean to say is it can be one or several of our agents have infiltrated the network or trhat we have penetrated trhe network by turning one or few insurgents to work for us.Now in the same AO it could well be that a company platoon is engaged in ops against the enemy in the Eastern part of the AO.Now if this platoon is not aware of the agents (infiltratrors) in the enemy who might be selected for targeting by our platoon intelligence section , then this is a grave error.Or say we could be using a rouge insurgent unit (turned) who are up against the insurgents and they could equally well do the same thing—target our agents.Hence the number one priority is deconfliction. The targeting cell generates intelligence requirements which the HUMINT collection cell satisfies by its collection operations.Now the two cases cited above or even in a case where our soldiers are fighting behind enemy lines (in the case of COIN we can roughly define that as deep into their territory , say the insurgents dominated Assam jungles) , the platoon may not be able to access the HUMINT cell for information or the current targeting list and then it will autonomously choose and finish off the target—who can very well be one of our own agents. So how do our units avoid targeting our own agents that have been infiltrated within adversarial organizations? WE NEED TO HAVE A CENTRAL AUTHORITY , AN INTELLIGENCE UNIT , WHOSE SOLE RESPONSIBILITY WILL BE TO DECONFLICT TARGETING CELL AND HUMINT CELL ASSETS.This is very important as in most insurgencies , we have to resort to infiltration.We must remember an agent placed in the network is worth 50 machine guns.We cannot afford to lose him due to lack of deconfliction.We then suffer a counterintelligence defeat in the hands of our very own units.
There is a great difference between intelligence driven targeting and targeting based on surveillance and reconnaissance.Intelligence is crucial.If it is not present integrally in the targeting process , you can not remove the targets efficiently.The success rate will be incredibly low.Intelligence drives the fight.It is required to detect , identify , locate the target precisely , gauge beforehand what can be the second and third order effects , aid in creating target folders as per category , aid in target reduction – in short it is CRUCIALLY IMPORTANT.And Mind you , counterintelligence should go hand in hand as it protects this very same intelligence cycle , vetting the sources , determining if they are genuine , or planted.It helps in knowing and locating important targets of the enemy.It is crucial in in telligence planning.It generates positive intelligence.It is not exactly an intelligence discipline but it is more than that—it is an intelligence and force enabler.In COIN it is indispensable.Its offensive techniques like penetration or infiltration can literraly destroy the center of gravity of the enemy.
In any COIN mission , or operation , just launching an attack (kinetic that is) on the enemy using military commonsense or standard combat tactics and techniques/procedures will not be sufficient.Yes here also you are targeting , but this targeting is the usual destruction/removal of adversial elements in the course of combat as per standard doctrine.You ned to have ‘’targeting ability’’ , not just manage a team of trigger pullers.And the management of these ‘’trigger pullers’’ , the Company or Bn must have the ‘’intelligence element’’ as its brain.Then only you have the required targeting ability so critical for success in COIN.Be it kinetic or personality targeting or non-kinetic or psychological targeting.
The parallel war –that is the control of the local population by both the insurgents and the Army is essentially Information Warfare.That includes propaganda and PSYOPS.I must drive home the most important point in COIN—THE LOCAL COMMUNITY /POPULATION IS THE BEST ASSET OF THE INSURGENTS AND OUR GREATEST THREAT IN TERMS OF COUNTERINTELLIGENCE.This is the ‘human terrain’ distinct from the physical terrain (or developed infrastructure terrain , that is the security forces configure existing buildings etc so as to provide force protection and also building attack resistant/delaying structures ) which is usually scanned /surveilled and reconnoitered for intelligence preparation of the battlefield.Ignoring this human terrain , not developing it and utilizing it to our advantage places all gains from intelligence preparation of the battlefield considering the physical terrain , the enemy , the weather and environment to a minimum.We must consider non-kinetic targeting with the same importance like kinetic targeting.We need to maniupulate the minds of the population.They are the ones who can provide us hard much needed information.If we lose their support , the insurgents get their support.
Take a case in point.An army platoon is engaged in a combat action with a group of insurgents and things go wrong.The platoon was initially firmly emplaced in a built up area , protected and hardened against enemy fires.But a prolonged combat resulted in rapid depletion of ammunition and now the soldiers must flee as reinforcements will take long to reach the area.Fine—they did just that.The Company Commander had always recognized the need to influence the human terrain and today this platoon got saved just because of their Commanders foresight.How? On escaping they took refuge among the local population who gave them shelter , hiding them from the enemy , and also intelligence about enemy movements ( they are nbow on the lookout for the platoon) both to the soldiers and team leader and also to the headquarters by dispatching a couple of villagers.So they are now the teams cover , intelligence collectors and also supply points.Thats the benefit of information operations in COIN. If you can win the battle for CONTROL , then you’ll make the battle of attrition much more difficult FOR THE ENEMY.Period.
Intelligence Support to Targeting
COIN Specific Intelligence Preparation of the Battle space (IPB) – the systematic,
continuous process of analyzing the threat and environment in a specific area with the
NETWORK in perspective.
The commander uses IPB to understand the battle space and the options it presents to friendly
and threat forces.
By applying the IPB process, the commander gains the information necessary to selectively
apply and maximize his combat power at critical points in time and space on the battle space.
Irregular Warfare IPB
The principal difference between IPB for a conventional warfare environment and that of
irregular warfare is the focus on people and the accompanying high demand for detailed
information (e.g. – census data and demographic analysis) required to support the commander’s
Force protection in a COIN environment is dependent on several factors. These factors can be
studied and detailed by compiling all data, demographic, human terrain, enemy, environment and
census. The intelligence preparation of the COIN battlefield is very different than that of
conventional battlefield. Here we are concerned with specific physical data so as to be aware of
ambush points, egress and ingress routes,corridors,avenues of approach for the enemy, areas or
profiles which can serve as cover for our troops if the enemy launches a surprise attack, areas
which can provide a good cover for the enemy and which can serve as good concentration zones
for their personnel etc.Hence intelligence preparation of the battlefield is of prime importance to
avoid mishaps like Dantewada and the Kashmir cases. In case of jungle warfare this is more
important and severe constraints are imposed due to very thick foliage, canopy, water areas,
darkness etc.HUMINT is something which might be the only intelligence discipline which can
work, other assets being degraded in performance/capability due to the jungle environment.CI
support is to HUMINT of prime importance, particularly in inhabited areas belonging to the local
community as the insurgents HUMINT source is the same local population. This will be detailed
later as to how to employ CI techniques in a COIN environment.
While preparing the intelligence assessment of the battlefield in a COIN environment we need to
consider the geospatial aspects in its entirety. To achieve this we must put on paper a mapping of
all explosive hazards attributes and movement patterns of the people and insurgents. Detailed
tracking information should be mapped out on map and imagery templates. This tracking g
information can be the event and movement patterns of the community people and insurgents
prior to, during and after an explosive hazard detonation and the emplacement of explosive
hazards, types, composition, method of emplacement etc.Thereafter pattern analysis coupled
with terrain analysis can be executed on these information.
To enable mapping consider the following:
1. All EH detonations, arrest of people with EH devices over time need to be tracked and
displayed graphically on a map template.
2. The technology used ,whether the EH was buried or thrown at the security forces ,
whether it is of blast fragmentation type or shaped etc need to be documented. This will
yield the operational characteristics of the enemy. Again every EH needs to be
tracked...keeping a time frame in perspective.
3. Every IED explosion or seizure translates to information about the bomb maker –his
signature. Examine the IED to ascertain the nature of ingredients, technology used,
tactics etc.Again map out this signature profile for every IED.
4. Map the IED events density over the area. Locations, dates and frequency need to be used
as reference points.
5. Considering only the type of EH used if mapping is done then we can get a good idea of
sources of particular types of IED or any other interpretation.
6. Keep in mind that one should track all EH events with respect to adjoining structural,
organizational, religious entities. For example there can be a local village near frequent
IED explosions that is hostile to our security forces. Or say a religious unit is nearby
which is pro-insurgent. These entities can be processed for more intelligence.
7. Map out those areas of the physical terrain that can act as good ingress and egress
points/routes/corridors to potential sites for EH emplacement.
8. Recorded information about the flow of enemy personnel, weapons, etc need to be
considered in its entirety.
9. From all these EH events based mapping identify/locate areas which may be used for
deployment of Ordnance/EOD /Engineers personnel and equipment preferably under
cover to assist in rapid response to IED blasts or attempts for emplacement.
10. Map out all the routes usually taken by the security forces , especially in friendly areas
and study the corresponding terrain in detail so as to ascertain any area/s /points worthy
of IED emplacement /vulnerable to IED and post IED attacks..Identify those movement
patterns of the security forces which are very frequent and hence liable for IED’ing.
11. Identify those areas where emplacement of an IED can potentially cause harm to security
forces but not to the local community shelters. Of particular note are those communities
who are pro-insurgency.
12. Of all the possible emplacement areas on the map identify those areas that can serve both
as emplacement and also offer terrain advantages for immediate secondary gunfire attack
by hidden enemy personnel.
13. Map out those areas of the physical terrain which can multiply the IED explosion severity
by virtue of natural structures and profiles.
14. Locate and map all areas that can offer good concealment for ammunition and weaponry
caches and IEDs.
15. Map HUMINT.For example an insurgent operative was arrested in a certain area away
from his place of residence, another defined area.
16. (6) From all the EH points on the map identify those that are of low damage capacity than
those that inflict mass casualties. The former takes less time for emplacement and
difficult to prevent compared to the latter. Color code these two type—thus a geospatial
of such ‘’White-noise’’EH devices and ‘’Mass-casualty; EH devices help the
Commander to get a better understanding, his situational awareness is heightened.
COIN targeting necessitates overwhelming intelligence from ‘’bottom-up’ for successful
kinetic/non-kinetic operations. Hence ground level units need to be trained and tasked with
intelligence collection. It is near impossible to dedicate the very few specialized intelligence
assets to all the operating forces in the area of operations. Here are the key challenges of bottomup
1. Determining what is important information. Leaders need to determine PIRs for each
2. Determining where to start – in terms of information or geography. Based upon key
terrain (human and/or geographic).
Conventional operations and COIN/Antiterrorist operations (This can be termed operations
against networked criminal enterprises) are different in that the intelligence preparation of the
battle space takes into consideration not only threat elements but also the human terrain—that is
the local population. Unlike kinetic attack priority in conventional operations (kill/capture) in
COIN operations non-kinetic attack modes are often the desired outcome – non-kinetic attacks
taking into account civilian community heads, population psychological operations, insurgent
targets social network, targeting his social contacts to judge his resultant movements and
tracking him to finally locate his cell members or leadership, exploitation of targets other
community traits—in effect besides personality targeting we are also concerned with the fact
(non-kinetic fires) that units must project the second and third order of effects after they mount
any operation. Operations on a population, with which the targeted individual interacts, may
have second and third order effects on that targeted individual (e.g. – he may increase
communications or flee the area—in the former case SIGINT intercepts can yield a lot of
information about his immediate network , if his communications are verbal and physical
meetups surveillance will be the preferred tool whereas in the latter case if he flees the area he
can be tracked to know his sanctuary—he is bound to contact his team members , move in their
hideouts.).All in all kinetic attack fires can yield much more intelligence than just by acquiring
battle order intelligence. Only resorting to kinetic fires of kill/capture can never solve an
insurgency problem., As the soldiers on the ground are those who are frequently in direct contact
with community members (and hence those of them who are affiliates/sympathizers/facilitators
of the insurgents) they have the best opportunity to gain intelligence information by conducting
tactical questioning (patrols, checkpoints, choke points) or by casual elicitation methods in
Later it will be shown that setting up a company level intelligence cell and enabling tactical
teams with intelligence assets gives a major thrust in intelligence collection and also
There needs to be a change in focus of effort between command levels.
1. Stress should be given to the fact that tactical company and platoon level units conduct
operations with a high degree of success and hence higher levels of command must push
intelligence staff and information down to lowest points of collection (initial points) , that
is the company/battalion levels.
2. At the same time low density high demand ISR assets need to be stretched and spread
across the area of operations to gain a better situational understanding.
With these two initiatives the Command Headquarters will not lose control over its intelligence
assets and will neither lose the privilege of gaining situational understanding exclusively. On the
contrary it will be able to gain more accurate intelligence inputs. Till so far the intelligence needs
of individual ground units or any feedback from them was generally ignored what with the
Battalion intelligence officer forwarding the intelligence summary report to higher headquarters
with the overall intelligence picture of the area of operations falling under the Battalions
REQUIREMENT FOR INTELLIGENCE COLLECTION AT UNIT/PLATOON LEVEL:
It is near impossible to allocate specialized intelligence assets to every operating force in the
Area of Ops, as such assets are few in number and the fact that majority of the information
required for targeting flows ‘’bottom-up’ (that is the lowest level troops) necessitates the creation
of intelligence collection units at troop level either organic to the tactical combat ground unit or
as a modular unit capable of plugging into any company or unit as per requirements. This fact
should be taken seriously into Staff consideration for targeting, particularly in asymmetric type
warfare where the network must be targeted and where delivery of fire-power is dependent on
very specific intelligence.
Building the Intelligence Picture
a. Insurgency has its HUMINT base among the ‘’people’’, hence it becomes very important
to know the human terrain, that is physical description, name, location, relationships,
biometrics, job, etc. All these information are more rapidly accessible by the lower levels units
like the company and platoons/sections. Lieutenants and NCOs can utilize their leadership
appropriately in this regard by detailing their men to extract information about the human terrain.
The lowest level that is the sepoys/soldiers can be trained to use tactical questioning to get this
information. The CLIC is ideally suited for this purpose as a unit. We must incorporate female
soldiers took to handle the feminine component of the local population—they are averse to be
questioned by male soldiers, and the traditional conservative approach of rural/semi urban
families prevents access to womenfolk by male soldiers. We must remember we are operating in
an irregular environment, not in a conventional warfare setup; hence we require very specific
information. After collection by the lower level echelons the information is evaluated and
transformed into intelligence products and then exploited via the targeting process.
What exactly is targeting? Targeting is just not kill/capture—the kinetic component of warfare.
We have both kinetic and non-kinetic fires, selected as the case may be. Particularly in an
asymmetric environment like COIN operations, we are more concerned with the population. We
need to create conditions among the population which will act as enablers for the COIN
operation. Hence targeting is not just concerned with degrading the enemy’s capabilities. In the
past we have had our special forces go out on missions with a specific objective in mind, as
against our conventional warfare setup where targeting is distributed, not personality based and
aimed at the enemy’s command and control nodes, logistics and weaponry systems. But here in
case of COIN target engagement is like those of our special forces in the past where conventional
forces act like special forces with ‘’personalities’’ in the objective window. The targets are
‘’individuals’’ and ‘’populations’’, where we are concerned with ‘’second-order’’ and ‘’thirdorder’’
effects on the ‘’population’’ of our actions against the targeted’’ individual’’.(For
example we can conduct certain operations among the community population which will either
make the targeted individual flee the area or prompt him to contact his connections amongst the
population or he may resort to communicating with his men outside the community periphery—
in all these cases we can have a surveillance and signals \intercept setup on him and track these
movements/communication intercepts).Hence commanders must understand this very important
concept—We must not limit COIN operations only to kinetic targeting, we must consider the
second and third order effects of our delivering effects on an individual; we must take a holistic
view—a system comprising our forces and activities, the insurgent/s and the population. Even if
we successfully identify and track a individual and have the capability to kill/capture him at any
time according to our wish ,sometimes it’s better not to and let him loose and keeping him under
surveillance , we further carry out non-kinetic targeting operations (psychological for example
on the community leaders who we have reason to believe sympathize with the insurgents) on the
community population to ascertain the second and third order effects to know more about the
targeted individual and his network.
Kinetic and non-kinetic Personality targeting: Intensive intelligence activity is required in a
COIN environment to single out ‘’personalities’ either for kinetic or non-kinetic targeting.
Personality targeting is not always killing or capturing the insurgent. It can be the manipulation
of the target, exploiting him, reaching out to him (also community leaders and individuals of
influence, power) through meetings, negotiations—in short exerting influence on him so as to
determine members of the larger network, plans, foreign influence and anything of
counterintelligence interest. Compare this with warrant based targeting where the prosecution of
the insurgent by the Law instills a confidence in the population and lends a semblance of
credibility to the operation in that ‘’look these guys are following the Law instead of killing
them’’.The idea of kill is never the solution, an insurgency can never be put to an end by killing
alone. The forces need to positively influence the population and also carry out psychological
ops and exploit the enemy to its advantage by resorting to non-kinetic personality targeting. True
we also have to resort to kinetic targeting, either to remove the target completely from the
insurgent network thus putting an end to his influence on the network or to remove him
temporarily so as to reach certain counterintelligence objectives, say leading to apprehension
among the members, forcing them to make contacts or any other action that can, if placed under
surveillance, lead to important information about the enemy. Whether it is kinetic personality
targeting or non-kinetic, we need to determine the best course of engagement after collecting
sufficient intelligence on the targets influence in the insurgent group and how much that
influence can be removed by which method of engagement and our influence imposed both on
the target and the group.
Targeting the entire network and targeting the individual have each a difficulty rating. In the case
of the former the task is of much greater magnitude than that of the latter where the
counterintelligence operative is facing the least opposition force—the single individual.
Collecting information on the network as a whole is difficult but targeting an individual after
accessing him in whatever way possible results in much detailed information after execution of a
series of influence-based personality attacks.
It is much easier to categorize targets, as then particular targeting effort can be applied to each
category leading to manageable chunks of information—a quantum approach to intelligence
collection. Targets can be classified by function in the group, to what degree that function
influences group decisions and activities and how much is the accessibility of the individual.
Another category from the local population perspective can be those insurgent individuals who
are in close liaison with community members. Categorizing and grouping such individuals is a
must so that operations can be conducted on each separately without any confliction.
It is very important to consciously use targeting techniques rather than as a consequence for
which the Commander was not prepared for. This can have an adverse reaction on the
population. Hence it’s very very important to execute continuous intelligence collection and
management with clearly defined intelligence priorities. It should be understood that often
choosing to target an entity may jeopardize the targeting objective on another. COIN targeting
operations are never linear like in conventional warfare.
Right from the Command headquarters down to platoon/section level as well as adjacent
companies/Bn – all of these need to be part and parcel of the target management process. It can
so happen a target in one Area of operations being tended to by a Bn also influences the
insurgent operations in another Area of operations. Or there could be an area far from the
geographical boundary of the disturbed area but under the Command where insurgency is at its
nascent stage (or insurgents have flee’d from this disturbed area and are preparing to secure that
area for their operations and projecting the latter into the disturbed area with that area as base)
and the insurgent HVT and HPT directly or indirectly affect the insurgents decision making
processes in that new area.
To create such a targeting management system we must identify all players from a holistic point
of view , not only the enemy but its sympathizers in the local population , its direct supporters ,
the material flow circuit in terms of money , weapons , fooding and the sources of availability of
these , and all hostile and benign aspects of the enemy. Thus we are not preparing to attack only
the enemy but the ENTIRE NETWORK.
The Command headquarters should lay down SOP for identifying and nomenclature of Targets
so that uniformity is maintained at every level, vertical and horizontal throughout the Command.
This will also facilitate the systematic management of the Target folders database. It could be
that the standard method of nomenclature may not apply to all targets as some may overlap in
terms of capability, position, multiple lines of operation or categories. Certain disciplines such as
SIGINT and IMINT will use their own methods of nomenclature and categorizing, different from
HUMINT methods. Here it should be seen that although we cannot change their methods of
nomenclature, the manner they feed into the ‘’targeting process’’ should translate to the standard
laid down by the Command headquarters. Still the standard should attempt to introduce
uniformity as far as practicable across all echelons of Command.
With the company level intelligence cells, the Bn intelligence platoons providing intelligence up
the chain and the ‘’top-down’’ standard mentioned above will foster cross-leveling and
coordination of targeting information provided by those units/cells.
Kill/Capture: The most common category. The equation that a kill is a kill is not valid in
COIN. Killing one insurgent can create 3 out of feelings of vengeance. It’s very important to
have a holistic view of the entire COIN campaign including the local population and target
centers of influence (for and against the campaign) with appropriate techniques, finally isolating
the enemy from its support base and then going in for the kill.
Detaining for prosecution: Strategic communications, key leader engagement, and civil affairs
fall in this category. Here we need even more intelligence so as to obtain a conviction in the
Court of law apart from identifying and apprehending the convict. Getting him convicted rather
than killing him won’t raise the issue of vengeance that much and the local population too will
appreciate this element of legality in the operations as everyone is opposed to killing. Sometimes
with the process of engaging targets and external influences, it might be justified to convert a
target with the kill/capture tag to that of warrant based targeting.
Influence Targeting: Key community leaders, those elements of the population who are proinsurgency
and lend direct/indirect t support, enemy couriers/prisoners who may be “turned” by
CI agents to get inside information, those who are anti-insurgency and those that facilitate the
enemy’s TTPs but project a clean image.
NOTE: Other details on how to create an organic intelligence unit at boot-level , establishing
target folders , merging HUMINT and CI capabilities to assume a tactical HUMINT capability ,
source operations , force protection (VERY IMPORTANT TO AVERT DANTEWADA
AND KASHMIR CAMP FIASCOS) , unit protection , personnel-physical-information security
, Counterintelligence tactics , techniques and procedures , HUMINT tactics , techniques and
procedures , intelligence requirements and collection management , intelligence cum force
projection capability(interim-combat team with organic ISR assets) , company support
intelligence team creation , ES2 concept (every soldier is a sensor) , military police intelligence
operations , HUMINT/CI doctrinal deficiencies and recommendations, need for professional
military intelligence education and recommendations and other topics are detailed in 4 available
books by the same author.