Small Wars Journal

The Targeting Process: D3A and F3EAD

Sat, 07/16/2011 - 9:50am
The Targeting Process: D3A and F3EAD

by Jimmy A. Gomez

Download the Full Article: The Targeting Process: D3A and F3EAD

Since October 2001, combat operations in the Afghanistan Theater of Operations have presented the U.S. Army with constant evolution of complex situations that have routinely highlighted shortfalls in current doctrinal solutions. At every echelon, the Army has adapted to the complex situations within the Operational Environment (OE) by revising doctrine to reflect the adaptive responses to the ever-evolving spectrum of threats. The spectrum of threats within the operational environment range from smaller, lower-technology opponents using more adaptive, asymmetric methods to larger, modernized forces able to engage deployed U.S. forces in more conventional, symmetrical ways. In some possible conflicts (or in multiple, concurrent conflicts), a combination of these types of threats could be especially problematic to a one-dimensional, all inclusive Targeting Process.

The Operational D3A framework emphasizes full spectrum operations throughout the conduct of operations. It takes the entire staff to identify the sources of instability that interdict the Shaping Operations that were designed to set the conditions to decisively achieve the Strategic Objectives outlined in the Campaign Plan. In contrast, F3EAD enables the dynamic tasking process required at Tactical targeting level in support of Full Spectrum Operations. Currently, F3EAD has emerged as the methodology of choice to address certain sources of instability such as Personality and Network Based Targeting.

D3A is a great planning tool but it lacks in agility to execute the dynamic tasking process in the full spectrum operations environment. F3EAD is a great execution tool in the full spectrum environment but it lacks in depth and fidelity during the planning process! Simply put, D3A is a great planning tool and F3EAD is a great execution tool for short suspense targets!

Download the Full Article: The Targeting Process: D3A and F3EAD

CW4 Jimmy Gomez is currently the Course Manager and Senior Instructor for the Field Artillery Warrant Officer Instruction Branch at Fires Center of Excellence, Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He served with the 25th Infantry Division Staff in Afghanistan 2004-2005 and in Iraq 2006-2007.

About the Author(s)


Jimmy A. Gomez

Wed, 12/21/2011 - 11:54am

In reply to by Outlaw 09

A couple of months ago I read an article on Root Cause Analysis (RCA) which neatly peels back the layers of the issues; by definition RCA is a rigorous identification of failure mechanisms. By conducting a thorough RCA (which is just a civilian synonym for Nodal Analysis), the goal is to identify the target or target set that initiate a failure. Just like the Assessments Process (FM 5-0), Nodal Analysis is methodical, measurement-dependent, persistent, graphical, logical and inquisitive. Nodal Analysis can help you determine cause-and-effect relationships within a system and isolate one subsystem or component at a time, repeating the nodal analysis for each subsystem or component until you uncover the source or root-cause of the problem.

If we conduct a Nodal Analysis to analyze the break-down between targeting and ISR, it points directly at our collective lack of conducting MDMP due to the complex adaptive systems (the mission, the terrain, the populace and the enemy) within the COE. When the staff conducts MDMP, everyone is aware of “the Why” we are doing certain things. Part of this comes from the “action, reaction and counter action” drill during the Wargame. We (as a staff) would then understand who nominates targets based on the criteria established in the Target Selection Standards (TSS) which does not belong just to the FIRES guys but to the entire staff. It is the FIRES section responsibility to develop and revise the TSS (as needed). By participating in MDMP, every staff officer would intuitively understand who conducts bottom up refinement, ommit/skip a step during MDMP and the seams in knowledge begin to grow into gaps. The answer here is simple, conduct MDMP and force every staff member to take an active part during the entire process.

Assigning the most junior officer to the CM billet is similar to giving an Infantry Company guide-on to a 2LT. It just doesn’t make sense! Although there’s a chance that one out of 100 2LTs would succeed, the five-step risk management process deems it an unnecessary gamble.

On your comment, “Why do Commanders feel more comfortable with slides that show upward trends, red coded items moving to green, and “progress” in more jackpots, more IED sites discovered, more ANSF recruited, or some other descriptive measure that is WHAT-centric but never approaching the WHY of a complex system?" I firmly believe that it is due to the large amounts of slides with large amounts of “chunk data” briefed to the commander to make decisions on. These issues and solutions are complex because it goes beyond just targeting and ISR. The reason for flawed decisions could be as simple as inaccurate/outdated PIR due to lack of conducting IPB and updating the Intel Running Estimate …which goes back to not conducting/participating in MDMP.

More alarming is that the BCTs seem to be adopting Infantry Company TTPs and approach to replicate their success. As example, if the commander is told that ‘in Nuristan Province during the month of NOV, extrajudicial killings (Sunni/Shi’a) have increased by 70% due to a steep shortage of ANSF’; the answer seems simple, an Infantry Company commander would report that we need to recruit more ANSF! However, the answer/report from the BCT should be just a bit more comprehensive... i.e., Nuristan needs police stations, police officers with the right equipment, patrol cars, etc. along with ISAF MTTs and PTTs teams to partner up and work closely with the ANSF and Police respectively. Additionally, the response must include an increased combined presence by ISAF/ANSF outside the cities/villages and the Police/PTTs in the villages/cities. Most importantly, our collection efforts must be expanded beyond just ISR and must include platforms from all Intel disciplines to gather information on the root-cause of the increase of extrajudicial killings so that BN commander can request for specific assistance from the RC commander, who in turn can request the appropriate assistance from ISAF, the embassy, an NGO, State Dept., or any other applicable agency in coordination with the appropriate Afghan agency/institution.

The answer is glaringly simple. We need to hit the reset button and go back to the fundamentals of staff work --conducting MDMP would be a great start. Honestly, after 10 years of fighting a one year conflict ten times, it’s time to take off the training wheels.

Outlaw 09

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 7:10pm

In reply to by Jimmy A. Gomez

Jimmy-without invoking the CoEs--if one really analyzes the break down between targeting and ISR it seems to break down at least currently in the area of doctrine ie MDMP especially when one trys to tie MDMP/targeting to complex adaptive systems.

Right now many battle staffs simply do not know what the "right" way is anymore per doctrine---ie where/how does the MDMP process layer over the B2C2WG processes or does it layer?---what are those peskie input products I needed today for the AWG and I am to have what kind of decision at the end of the AWG or what can I expect as outputs from the targeting WG, do I need to do bottom up refinement, what is nesting, if I am getting NAIs from the BCT do I develop my own, running estimates---we do them and how many times?, why is it necessary to build a TSM when I am already doing the development of an ISM, what do I need the TSS for does't it belong to the FIRES guys?---battle staffs seem far more into What is going on and the How to do it than answering the far deeper WHY am I doing what I am doing.

For years the "old" Army had a defined by MTOE Collection Manager handling ISR and fully understanding his doctrinal role --right now it is the last officer through the door that is assigned the position or the most junior officer and we have "forgotten" that there is still a very valid FM even though from 1996 which strangely if followed is exactly what now countless MTTs, and countless hand holding sessions still emphasize. Now the answer is rumored to be a whole new MOS field for Officers, Warrants and NCOs---that would really be recreating the wheel.

This comment from one of the bloggers at SWJ really does point to the core problem.

"If a leader is a synthesist, they will drive their staff to learn MDMP and apply it, but through critical and creative thinking that transforms tiger beetles into synthesists. Why are we doing this? Why does our organization prefer information categorized, and what are the limitations to doing that versus a holistic appreciation? Why do we disregard outlier statistics and label them ‘anomalies’ instead of looking at the process critically? Why do humans love to “chunk” data? Why do Commanders feel more comfortable with slides that show upward trends, red coded items moving to green, and “progress” in more jackpots, more IED sites discovered, more ANSF recruited, or some other descriptive measure that is WHAT-centric but never approaching the WHY of a complex system?"

Doctrine and design are interwined---and if doctrine is not working not so sure design can work, if the target planning cycle is not working not sure ISR is working and vice versa, and if I do not understand my OE then how do I know the answer to why are the complex problem sets adapting faster than I am.

It all circles around the triangle of IPB/IPOE, targeting, and ISR and amazingly the WHY things are not working is never asked---or if asked the messenger definitely gets shot.

Jimmy A. Gomez

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 5:26pm

In reply to by Outlaw 09


Thanks for your comments. Without invoking any new paradigm shifts or inciting a doctrinal holy war between the CoE's, I concur with your analysis and assessment of the issues at hand in regard to the ever widening gap between targeting and ISR planning and synchronization in support of Combat Operations. It has been my experience while working at the SCIF that some of the problems persist because the Intel staff is often told "don't worry about it, we have civilian contractors in theater that will take care of those problems (planning and synching ISR)".

Naturally, the focus of the staff shifts to making sure that our equipment and soldiers get to theater. The problem with the planning and efficient integration of ISR assets to collect, analyze and disseminate information exists due to a lack of holding anyone accountable. It is always someone else's fault or someone else's lane. Until we have accountability at every level the status quo remains.

You rightly note that no one wants to be the 'bearer of bad news' so keeping the boss in the dark has evolved into an artform. In my opinion, budget cuts will expedite all the required solutions, because in the words of Sir Winston Churchill, “We’ve run out of money, it's time to start thinking."

Outlaw 09

Tue, 12/20/2011 - 10:25am


Jimmy---key takeaways from the article are as follows; targeting is a doctrinal staff driven decision making process at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels managed by the Operations Officer (Movement and Maneuver War Fighting Function) and is facilitated, synchronized and implemented by the Targeting Officer and the Fire Support Coordinator and that D3A is a great target planning tool at the operational level with F3EAD being a great target planning tool for the tactical level and underlying everything IPB/IPOE is a critical element with all of the above coupled with an intensive assessment cycle.

Assumption is that doctrinal means MDMP and doctrinal targeting is a total staff driven process.

Assumption is that doctrinally there are five integrated processes; IPB, targeting, ISR, composite risk assessment, and knowledge management.

Assumption is that the IPB/IPOE cycle is driven by the S2/G2 and supported by the Collective Manager and it is continuous and unending.

Assumption is that the Intel WFFs ISR supports the target planning cycle and ISR planning is the responsibility of the Collection Manager under the supervision of the S2/G2 who manages the ISR plan and it is the S3/G3 who “owns” the ISR plan.

Assumption is that based on doctrine the CM is tightly integrated into the B2C2WG process especially in the Targeting WGs and the Assessment WG.

If the above assumptions are roughly correct when WHY after six years of massive amounts of money being thrown at the ISR/targeting problem, countless IPB/targeting/ISR MTTs, with countless defense contractors holding the hands of CMs and battle staffs at all levels of unit training, massive amounts of new ISR assets with tens of new capabilities WHY are we still having unit problems with ISR support to targeting during MRX/MCTPs, CTC rotations, and even into theater deployments?

It seems many “know” the problem exists, but no one wants a frank and direct discussion. In some aspects the answer is relatively straight forward and relatively easy to solve---but right now everyone seems to think that with more defense contractors, more hand holding, more money, and with more ISR assets the problem will be “solved”. The problem is not being "solved" a true solution is simply being pushed to a later date.

No one asks WHAT if the toys are not available-- can I as a tactical unit function/drive my target planning cycle effectively with my own organic ISR assets.

In some aspects you are right it all does goes back to doctrine and if we do not know doctrine then even design fails.

Anonymous (not verified)

Wed, 08/03/2011 - 5:52pm

slapout---in a side comment---regardless of how great or not great CRAVER is---as long as the BCT battle staff does not understand the targeting process ie even the use of nodal analysis as part of the targeting process everything else is doomed to fail.

Jimmy Gomez (not verified)

Sat, 07/30/2011 - 3:53pm


Fascinating information; it gives credibility to the old saying "the more things change, the more they remain the same". You're absolutely correct on CARVER, cell phones, networks, 2-3 man-cells, etc. being around for a long time. Although the dynamics of the problem set, the geographical area (AOI/AOR), the culture, language, politics, etc. may differ or vary, the problem solving process must involve everyone and must be judiciously guided by the commander.

Anything else results in a colossal waste of time!

slapout9 (not verified)

Fri, 07/29/2011 - 2:53am

I gave up going through the digital swamp and went to my own collection. Here is a link to the SOE(Special Operation Executive)book of actual training syllabuses used.

On page 133 Syllabus A.23 Septemeber 1943.
Title: Selection and Appreciation of Targets.
6 questions are listed which form CIVRET which I believe was later changed to CARVER by the OSS.CARVER is probably(don't know for sure)in the 2 Volume OSS book on Sabotage,which has not been released yet as far as I know.
The 6 questions are.
1-Conformity with general directives?
2-Importance to Enemy
4-Resources Available
5-Effect on local Population

I did find a National Park Service paper (OSS camps were hidden in our National Park System, paper is about 700pages)that leads me to believe that is when the change took place. All the original OSS people went through the British system first but the OSS was not satisfied and complelty revamped the whole program right down to the physical training program. One really interesting point was the OSS was tired of fooling with local populations and was going to go to two and three man "cells" deployed all over the world and would strike targets when orderd to with or without the knowledge or cooperation of the local populace.....sounds kind of familiar.

Another thing this twitter-facebook revolution stuff ain't new by any means, they would have understood exactly what is happening today, they just didn't have cell phones back then. The SOE book has an extensive section on propaganda and an exstensive section on "cell" organization and management. And yes it was Cops that helped them figure all this out! So there you go, you guys should be ready to Target a path to victory for others to follow.

slapout9 (not verified)

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 4:05pm

Bill M., what is really creepy is attacks in Norway are sighted in the trining syllabus as spontaneous uprisings, these attacks happened in the 1940's. Seem to be similar to the recent attack that just happened in Norway. Later

Jimmy, we have obviously shared the same frustrations, so as brother President Clinton once famously said, "I feel your pain" :-).

Slap, sounds like a great find. I'm envious of your research skills and look forward to seeing what you found.

slapout9 (not verified)

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 1:54pm

Still doing some reading(I have found the actual trainig syllabus from WW2) but I can tell you this. When CIVRET/CARVER was created there was no scoring matrix connected to it. It was a series of interrogative questions to be asked by the commander to help determine if he should attack the target(the Decide step) methods of attack ranged from passive resistance,minor sabotage,major sabotage,or Air or Naval stike depending upon location and means available. HVI attacks fell under "subversion of troop morale". More later.

Jimmy Gomez (not verified)

Wed, 07/27/2011 - 10:03am

Bill M. --I completely agree with you. Less is always better. Pre-Afghan elections (2004), our CARVER Target Selection Stadards process was measured using "Y" or "N"; some of the green-tab staff officers found that to be overly simplistic so a 10 point scale was put in place. Needless to say, it became a nightmare to keep track of all the values for thousands of targets across 24 Provinces and it led to many wasted hours arguing over 'the process' rather than focusing on the mission at hand.

slapout9 (not verified)

Tue, 07/26/2011 - 2:01pm

"Accessibilty" believe it or not they had the same problem in WW2 which led the strange liason between Airpower and Guerrilla warfare. Same targeting methods by differant means to strike them.

slapout9 (not verified)

Tue, 07/26/2011 - 1:52pm

Jimmy Gomez, don't leave town yet. I am wading through the digital swamp. In the mean time here is link to a paper that was up on the targeting thread but the link has died. It is by special Forces Major who so frustrated about the lack of tools to identify an Insurgent Infrstructure that he turned to LE techniques from the 1980's, especially flowcharting and it did not have anything to do with computers back then. On page 39 it talks about how CARVER is used aginst an Insurgent Infrastructure. Here is the link.…

It's starting to appear that CIVERT came before CARVER in WW2. Which is why I believe CARVER should be in the Decide step. But here is the kicker it has to be intergrated into a KNOWN Strategy to defeat the enemy or it will probably will devolve into Target Fixation. Later Slap.

Jimmy, I strongly disagree that we need "approved" values for CARVER. In fact I don't think we need any values for CARVER. This is the military's attempt to eliminate thinking and let the doctrine/process provide the answers. I rewrote a targeting manual for SOF in the early 90s, and when I addressed CARVER I recommended using no values, but simply a Y for Yes or N for No for each variable. If there was a N in any column then the target wasn't doable, either we couldn't access it, recognize it, recuperability took too long or they could recover too quick etc. The targets that had all Y's were then debated to see which one or ones we wanted to hit and why. The discussion was more valuable then subjectively assigning numbers. The senior NCOs loved it, our non-thinking officers couldn't stand it, because it actually required thinking and not relying a process and a pseudo math process to identify your target (effectively taking personal responsibility out of the equation).

Having used and briefed CARVER numerous times for actual and training missions, we always had to tweak the numbers to get the answer we knew was right. It was an exercise in B.S. to prepare for the briefback, and everyone knew it. Targeting should be a process that involves logic and intuition.

The force will continue to use numbers, because despite our claims of being adaptive we're very much regimented, both the conventional army and SF.

Jimmy Gomez (not verified)

Tue, 07/26/2011 - 9:28am

Unarguably CARVER has been in use across SOF and conventional units for many years. Thunder BCT, 25ID and 3IBCT, 25ID used it extensively across RC East and RC South respectively during OEF 2004-2005. The biggest hurdle every unit must overcome is having a standardized value which is understood by every warfighting function and staff functional area, as well as the USMC, USAF and each agency in the AOR. Having a Commander's approved value for each variable within the CARVER acronym saves time and prevents each Targeting Working Group or the weekly High Side Targeting Update from becoming another class on the BCT's Targeting Process. Add a Joint standardization of values and you have the premise for interagency-collaboration.

Often times, SOF, the Task Force and the agency's LNOs walked out in frustration during the weekely high side update when the discussion turned into a regurgitation of what the differences in "accessibility" value of a particular individual between staff sections or between agencies, namely the PRT's.

The second frustration point is that none of this is discussed or rehearsed at the BCT CTC rotation or at the DIV MRX prior to deployment. It simply becomes discovery learning once in theater. By the time a functional process is in place, the replacement unit's torch party arrives.

Slapout and BillM ...thanks for the discussion and the mental gymnastics!

Tracker86 (not verified)

Sun, 07/24/2011 - 4:15pm

Bill M. Is right. CARVER has always been used by SOF to assess the value of targeting specific facilities. This debate really boils down to some fairly basic principles: If your adversary is an insurgent/terrorist network, use F3EA as your targeting methodology. If it 's a conventional military formation, use D3A. Either way, your staff had better understand the process - the targeting cycle drives a collection management plan and the CM plan drives an ISR allocation process. If you can't collect the necessary intel, neither targeting method will work well. These latest conflicts has taught us that a single commander should "own" all of the enablers that support the trgeting cycle and that rather than intel driving ops, many ops must be undertaken simply to generate intel. Interrogations and SSE are particularly critical for F3EA.

Anonymous (not verified)

Thu, 07/21/2011 - 11:23am

BillM--are you sure the current miltiary tageting as a staff process really works?

slapout9 (not verified)

Thu, 07/21/2011 - 3:43am

"Our Special Operations teams are very good at targeting HVIs, which is similar to Federal Marshals going after specific very bad guys. Targeting HVIs alone has been proven to be ineffective (at least the way we're doing it, which is a result of using (as Slap stated), "satisfy some abstract rule system". As for the book killing Pablo, our guys are doing that and much more, but the problem set now is much more complicated than killing Pablo." posted by BillM

Hi's me again. I know you are busy and probably didn't get a chance to read Killing Pablo. Because I recommended it people think it's about how Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs go to Columbia and beat up Pablo... it has nothing to do with that! That's why I keep bringing it up....the whole story of the book is how HVI targeting FAILED!!!! we have known it wouldn't work since that time. The DEA tried and failed,the CIA tried and failed,DELTA force tried and failed despite the fact they all had their respective shining moments. Nothing worked until they went back to plain old basic counter guerrilla warfare and created Los Pepes, who literally killed there way through his organization all the way to getting Pablo. Los Pepes had 2 Targeting rules. Rule 1 there are no rules. Rule number 2 was don't forget rule number 1. Later

PS. In some Older Air Force Targeting and Intelligence manuals CARVER is referred to CRAVER and I actually think the 1962 or 63 Special Forces advisor handbook called it CRAVER instead of CARVER (could be wrong)but it all means the same thing.

Bill M.

Wed, 07/20/2011 - 11:35pm


Final comment on CARVER/CRAVER for this forum. I have no idea when the conventional Army adapted it and for what purpose, but SF used it for years to identify targets for sabotage/direct action. It WAS not designed for COIN, rather it has been adapted to support COIN. Also agree that GEN McCrystal did a great job pushing SOF knowledge to the conventional forces, largely through the Asymmetric Warfare Group.

Back to our current targeting approach (regardless of tool/acronym used). While it serves a purpose, relying on this methodology soley to support both lethal and non-lethal targeting has and will continue to result in failure if every action we take is determined and prioritized by the targeting board. We need a strategy, not just list of individual names and physical nodes. You can more effectively disrupt and degrade organizations and some systems by taking certain actions, while targeting individuals (unless you can use enterprise targeting) doesn't accomplish much. This methodology is very short sighted and largely ineffective for COIN and law enforcement. Taking out the Cartels in Columbia resulted in more effective decentralized open system drug flow from Columbia(glad it was done from a justice perspective). Killing or capturing hundreds of HVI insurgents in Afghanistan has not substantially weakened the insurgency. This type of targeting doesn't work, yet we continue to cling to it because we're enamored with staff processes, just as we're enamered with non-lethal targeting regardless of its failure to produce results. In sum, staffs are more focused on the staff process of targeting than they are determining what works.

We know how the Army really works (sadly) and it is all about the presentation at Bn and above, and I have to admitt our targeting process looks good on power point, and you can wow VIPs with your targeting logic, just don't show him or her the areas that the Taliban still fully control or partially influence, because it wil rightfully call all that process generated logic into serious doubt.

Anonymous (not verified)

Wed, 07/20/2011 - 4:16pm

slapout9---you would be surprised just how many wars I have participated in since 1966 and am still in the fight trying to get BCTs to get it right but you are right there is a ever smaller group of us grey beards.

What I was referring to is yes LE does target---even DEA uses the D3A model---but what the LE side does not get into is the extensive non lethal side that we are asking a BCT Cmdr to conduct on a daily basis ---almost like "armed" governance---something that no US LE organization is currently being asked to do--maybe Mexico as an exception.

Targeting methodology using F3 should not have occurred as we had ample capabilities in using F2T2--but methodology went left and the BCTs went right and we are still trying to recover.

Targeting in full spectrum is far different than COIN---and I do not know of any LE that has to handle in major combat operation scenarios 30-50 targets per hour 24 X 7.

Where the LE has assisted in the Army side targeting has been getting the Army units to understand criminal procedures when Warrant based targeting is in play or how to handle indicators where criminal activities are involved but as they have developed their own expertise many BCTs are now capable to handling even that on their own.


slapout9 (not verified)

Wed, 07/20/2011 - 3:45pm

For Anon@5:50PM,

Anon, I was responding to Move Forwords LE questions so my post was meant to be restricted to that area of Targeting. I have been talking about Targeting for some years now, so I have posted a link to the Thread I started back in December of 2007 at the SWC. You might be interested in Post#32 where I post a link to a PDF file called CARVER+SHOCK and how it was adapted from LE by the FDA(Food and Drug Administration).

Also I have LE friends and Relatives who have been overthere,come back and gone again and probably will go another time, so I have some idea of how horrible/difficult it is. I suspect I am a great deal older than you(ask Ken White) are so my only intention is to pass on some of things I have learned as they may be of some help.....but I may very well be wrong. "All The Way,Sir"

Here is the link to the SWC thread. Pretty good discussion if I do say so myself!

Ken White (not verified)

Wed, 07/20/2011 - 2:38pm

<b>Anonymous at 11:56 AM:</b>

You just made my case.

I had retired from the Army but worked for them as a senior training manager DAC in both TRADOC and FORSCOM during the period, thus I'm well aware of what we did -- and it was dumb. Dumber than a box of hammers.

Trust me, the Army <u>did</u> dumb down training in the 80s and 90s -- BTMS was a step backward and the Task, Condition and Standard routine was and is a deeply flawed concept. It has very slight merit in some applications for a rapidly mobilizing and expanding Army (which we have not been since 1966). It is a disservice to a professional force that it is still in use. Given it, the fact that this really marginally trained Army is a good as it is is a compliment to the good trainers who transcend that foolishness.

As for CARVER / CRAVER being COIN focused, true but it also has broad applicability (as do most COIN centric things) and any competent Leader or Commander <i>should</i> have possessed some knowledge of the concept and of targeting (all types) in general. If it wasn't being used by BCTs until 2008 when most of the senior staff had been around since 2002-3, then that was about five years late -- and that's due to the fact that basic infantry missions were wrongly subsumed by SOCOM during those same 80s and 90s -- with the full agreement of most big Army senior leaders 'cause it made their life easier. McChrystal derves a big Attaboy for migrating much stuff from JSOC to the GPF in spite of MacDill's ultra parochialism and resistance to doing that.

Battle books were extremely stupid also -- not to mention being an insult to any decent Soldier or Commanders intelligence...

However, I suppose that's to be expected in an Army that placed all its Tanks on one side of a large river with no Ammo aboard while said Ammo was on the other side because a Reg said that an Armed SFC or higher had to accompany all ammunition in vehicles (no matter how briefly that foolishness was allowed to continue). :<

Anonymous (not verified)

Wed, 07/20/2011 - 12:56pm

Ken---the Army did not dumb down training in the 80/90s as CRAVER is really a COIN focused concept and in the 80/90s we were a Air/Land Battle focused Army which did linear targeting and used the D3A/F2T2EA model as it was tank on tank OE and they was no need for tactical patience since we were not attempting to find a needle in the hay stack among thousand of people ie as in COIN.

As a senior intel trainer during that period--CRAVER was never taught to Regt's or Divisions as the OB side looked for and reacted to indicators---and they were stright forward and taken out of the battle books---there are no battle books for COIN.

Ken White (not verified)

Wed, 07/20/2011 - 12:20pm

<b>Anonymous at 7:39 AM:</b><blockquote>"CRAVER as a methodology did not come into the standard Army BCT until late 2008 and it came on the backs of JSOC via the COIC from experience gained in Iraq."</blockquote>If that's true (and I have no reason to doubt that it is), then the US Army dumbed down training during the 80s and 90s even more than I thought. Bde and Bn S2s were applying that acronym in Viet Nam in the mid 1960s as they had in training during the 1950s...

Anonymous (not verified)

Wed, 07/20/2011 - 8:39am

Bill M---CRAVER as a methodology did not come into the standard Army BCT until late 2008 and it came on the backs of JSOC via the COIC from experience gained in Iraq.

As I indicated it is "a way" of setting a value to the reporting on individuals thus you gain the ability to "see" the value of that individual inside a network in order to gain a little more clarity on who is and or is not of value in that network---some Army orgs have moved on to using ORA as a social networking tool to do the same process but you must almost have a math degree to use it and some are now challenging it's effectiveness whereas CRAVER seems to have survived as a steady state tool that at least get's you into the dance.

JTT (not verified)

Wed, 07/20/2011 - 12:14am

Bill M. -- As someone who has done this work, I agree with both of your posts.


CRAVER was the original acronym used to teach CARVER to the French underground. CRAVER is a French verb, probably means to make love, to drink wine, or to surrender, or something long those lines. It was changed to CARVER for U.S. forces long, long, long before JSOC was even conceived as a good idea and put into practice. I'm sure they adapted it also to fit their needs.

Move Forward, your thinking is not incorrect, and Slapout is making assumptions instead of stating facts. Our Special Operations teams are very good at targeting HVIs, which is similiar to Federal Marshals going after specific very bad guys. Targeting HVIs alone has been proven to be ineffective (at least the way we're doing it, which is a result of using (as Slap stated), "satisfy some abstract rule system". As for the book killing Pablo, our guys are doing that and much more, but the problem set now is much more complicated than killing Pablo. Killing Pablo doesn't get you to the end game now, you killed Pablo, now you have to kill Pablo the 2d, the 3d, and so forth into infinity unless we change our strategy. These operations are useful, very useful, but they won't defeat an insurgency that is not personality based. We have to kill more insurgents, just not leaders, and we have to disrupt their freedom of movement and eventually break their will. Targeting is a small piece of the overall collective, an important piece, but not the whole. Weak staffs try to put all the eggs in one staff process, and well you get what you get.

Anonymous (not verified)

Tue, 07/19/2011 - 6:50pm

slapout9---part of the discussion you do not focus on is an area that the LE does not focus on---namely the non lethal side which at the moment far out ways the lethal kill/catch side.

A second area is that normally the LE side of the house does not have is 4, 5 or 6 Lines of Engagement that goes from local population security to governance, to economical developments, to developing a functioning local police and army all at the same time the enemy is bombing and shooting at you---demonstrate to me what police force anywhere here in the US has the same lines of effort that a BCT has. What police force also has to deal with PRTs, USAID, USDA, DoS, DoJ, ATFE, DEA, CIA, multiple NGOs/IGO, IRC, HTS and the list goes on all on a weekly basis---with the BCt operating in a country that does not speak English as the main language.

All having to some degree a hand on the targeting trigger so to speak-both lethal and non-lethal.

When a police force has a Collateral Damage incident it usually disappears from the press after a number of days and no member of the police gets killed or wounded going forward--if a BCT gets it wrong--troops have IEDs going off around there ears for weeks and months as tribal payback---there cannot be any comparison between the two types of targeting other than the name targeting.

slapout9 (not verified)

Tue, 07/19/2011 - 2:48pm

I forgot to explain what VBD is. It's a Very Bad Dude.

Several of MG Flynn's statements caught my eye and seem to conflict with the SOF/Night raids/counterterror approach that seems to exemplify the F3EAD approach:

"If I read you right, you are a strong advocate of examining the entire environment and not solely focusing on the capture/kill component. That is where I am at."

I'm assuming MG Flynn is saying he favors the whole of the OE approach. My earlier quote was not from Chief's article but from FM 3-60 in the F3EAD Appendix. It sounded suspiciously like a Counterterror/Night Raids approach rather than a whole of the OE approach. Unless all BCTs have access to scarce ISR and RSTA assets, we won't be able to properly secure and understand the population and terrain. That leads to incidents like COP Keating, Wanat, Ganjgal, and attacks along the highways that all would have benefited from earlier ISR/RSTA.

Those assets may or may not have been available due to either shortages, or a Counterterror/Night Raids approach that masses those scarce assets. Don't know if that is the case but do see a tendency for scarce assets to be tasked more through the CAOC ISR cell/J-2/G-2 staff rather than BCT operations/intel/fires staff that may lose key assets mid-mission.

MG Flynn also said we should ask:

"1. What do we know?" Isn't this METT-TC/PMESSII-PT and IPB analysis that is part of the Decide portion of D3A?

"2. What don't we know?" Isn't this what leads to CCIR, IRs, RFIs, targeting meeting and fusion, MDMP COAs, and ISR synchronization/integration?

"3. What do we believe (or at least think)?" Isn't this what leads to commander's intent and the general direction of longer operations and campaigns?

"4. What does it all mean (SO What)?" How can we learn this through solely night raids/counterterror if it hogs all the ISR/RSTA assets? Certainly we learn more about specific HVI and their network. But that may or may not have influence on what the general population believes and their security.

"With F3EA, the "main effort" is not with the F3 (like D3) components, it is with the EA (exploitation and analysis). This is where the commander and staff should (and will most likely) spend the majority of their time."

But I fear if the initial Decide and F3 is sidelined, that J-2/G-2 will control the agenda when other staff to include operations tasking should be involved.

Sorry, if this is disjointed. Gotta run.

slapout9 (not verified)

Tue, 07/19/2011 - 1:55pm

Move Forward,

Answer to Question #1:
LE doesn't work that way. What we would do is this. What you call an HVI I would call a VBD(Very Bad Dude) the Detective assigned to the case would request a Plain Clothes Detail. That means uniformed police officers would be pulled from the patrol division and told to leave their uniforms at home and wear civilianian clothes and drive unmarked cars. Then they would sit the on VBD 24/7 until the end.

Answer to Question #2:
Sometimes you will know ahead of time, sometimes you may have nothing but a tip like "Something is going on at address !@#$." I am old school so I never had access to a helicopter for surveillance(did have access during chase(s) in order to arrest some one) but I did have access to and helped develop ground level surveillance techniques that the military would not be able to use becuase you are operating in a combat zone. Some could be used and probably are.

General Comments:
From the outside looking in. The Military targeting process is way to compartmentalized and has to many steps IMO. In LE Target selection,analysis,development and neutralization are part of the same process and would generally be done by the same people until the case is solved(of course there are exceptions). The article that MG Flynn wrote on SOF best practices(that F3 what' ya ma call it stuff) that was published awhile back is EXACTLY would I did In LE, especially when he talks about developing the physical infrastructure and the activties that are associated with those locations, but it was done on the ground with people. You guys have way to many acronyms.....pardon my police language but this shi@@ at that complicated man, it is just hard work. Anymore questions?

Anonymous (not verified)

Tue, 07/19/2011 - 8:48am

Move Forward---now you are getting into the area of ISR and it's support to targeting. Again go back to my previous comments--if you see failures in targeting you will see failures in the use of ISR as they are both inherently interwined and it is definitely not a case of the chicken vs egg mindset as targeting is the first step in any operation---many have forgotten what the JP defintion of targeting is.

Secondly---what the Chief was referring to is the current style of use of ISR that a BCT/Div uses--many BCT Cmdrs are risk adverse and feel that what limited non organic assets they can get should be "fair-shared" across the BCT unless there is a TIC---what the Chief is referring to and is what JSOS/SOF does in that it identifies the target and in their F3EA model then they mass the assets against that single priority target/targets and then shift into CONOPS--something else that a BCT or regular Army unit does not do with their available EAB assets is to simply park them---no SOF ISR mission is flown until it is specifically needed far different than how our current RC Divisions operate.

Again this goes into an aspect to what MG Flynn previously mentioned -- do we AtN or do we target the OE---do agree with the Chief that currently BCTs tend to underestimate their OEs as they simply never get a handle on the WHY piece---they have tended to forgot what Kilcullen wrote in 2004/2005 about insurgencies. Begs the question was Kiclullen actually correct in his early writings about the ecology of insurgencies--goes to what MG Flynn is alluding to.

Lastly--what is not mentioned by the Chief is the BCTs in general fail to fully understand what they organically have available to them for ISR in the targeting process--they fight for the "toys" all the while having internal assets that can to a degree delivery what it is they need--but that is a whole new article.

Will throw out the idea that really the targeting model F3EAD is in fact an actual TTP developed out of D3A and really the dynamic targeting model F2T2EA used in standard dynamic targeting or at least should be used in dynamic targeting is the correct targeting model for what MG Flynn refers to as the WHY and it is capable of handling HVIs in a fast paced targeting cycle and really SOF developed their F3EA model out of F2T2EA as it gets to the core of say Pattern of Life that many units use to develop target sets-Find, Fix, Track, Target, Evaluate and Assess. The Track phase can be quick or long depending on how much tactical patience one is willing to use.

Slap, as a police officer would you consider it effective law enforcement employment to assign all your police/detectives to surveillance of one bad opposed to broader patrols and wide area coverage that can mass at one radio call?

Don't you decide ahead of time which bad guy to surveil and his relative worth versus the safety of a broader group of citizens? Would you advocate using a police helicopter to surveil a single bad guy 24/7 for days at a time?

slapout9 (not verified)

Tue, 07/19/2011 - 12:10am

"Part of the problem in the targeting area is that regardless of what methodology is used and CRAVER thrown in on the side---targeting is a doctrinal decision making process and the problem lies in the fact that many Staffs' do not even know the process side to effectively deliver targeting." posted by anaon@9:51

I agree 100% we Target to satisfy some abstract rule system. The enemy Targets to win. The paper mentions the book "Killing Pableo" which I have brought up a hundred times glad somebody finally read it. Now those guys new how to Target! We need an Afghan "Los Pepes" to go after the bad guys. Thats what Special Warfare used to be about but we appear to have National Alzheimer's disease. We cain't remeber how to do stuff anymore.

Speaking of forgetting, CW4 Gomez did a great job with the article, there is a lot of really good stuff in the article.

One concern about F3EAD is this passage under "Find:"

<i>Inherent in massing is rejecting the commonly held practice of "fair sharing" intelligence among multiple units. Massing implies focus and priority. Selected parts of the enemy's network receive focus, which should be unwavering for a specified time. This is counterintuitive to those who feel the need to fair share assets as a way to cover more space and service more priorities.</i>

Excessive massing/redundancy/layering is consistent with waste.

This sounds like a great strategic mission for USAF Gorgon Stare in an urban area. But other Army tactical Intel/RSTA systems should not be similarly limited to long duration surveillance of single HVI and single local areas.

Many assets are multi-purpose and should be supporting BCT tactical/security pursuits not subject to solely G-2/S-2/BfSB and Fires Brigade/BCT FSO...or CAOC taskings. The G-3/S-3/BAE should be involved and do the tasking to balance operational/tactical requirements with resources.

Believe it is possible to stagger and rotate coverage with other assets while working route reconnaissance, area reconnaissance/security, and NAI/TAI observation into a repetitive pattern that does not focus exclusively on one dull area. If planned correctly, revisit rates can occur with sufficient rapidity to avoid missing anything and a varied mission will enhance attention and preclude boredom/complacency.

The advantage is more attentive coverage of more "space and priorities" (nothing wrong with that). If one area reaches critical mass requiring additional surveillance, the airspace and SA about that area is already present and no dynamic re-tasking is required.

Use Shadow and other more plentiful ground scout and wide area joint assets to cue relocation of scarcer tactical RSTA assets. Pure speculation is that the MI community could consider using some kind of RFID, techological ground tracking tools using the COP, LRSD, LRAS3, and other signature-recording devices integrated into ground patrols to do the long-term HVI surveillance.

I've mentioned smart barriers before. We should be able to integrate cameras into every vehicle checkpoint slowing/shielding barrier. That would create a pattern and get license plates, vehicle signatures etc. while protecting Soldiers at that checkpoint. Mount it on a PLS flatrack or incorporate it as a 3-man hydraulically-emplaced armored pod on the tail of a GCV/MRAP/Bradley...

Anonymous (not verified)

Mon, 07/18/2011 - 10:51pm

Part of the problem in the targeting area is that regardless of what methodology is used and CRAVER thrown in on the side---targeting is a doctrinal decision making process and the problem lies in the fact that many Staffs' do not even know the process side to effectively deliver targeting.

slapout9 (not verified)

Mon, 07/18/2011 - 5:45pm

Anonymous@12:35. My point is this... protecting the population is the wrong can't be done by a foreign power on any type of a long term basis....Time is always the real enemy. The point I was taught at the one minute guerrilla warfare course is a foreign power may be able to Target(recruit)indigenous Guerrilla force leaders and teach them to protect their own populations!!!! CARVER can aid in that "Critical" selection process and if that doesn't work you can also use it to blow stuff up.

Jimmy A. Gomez

Mon, 12/19/2011 - 4:24pm

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Au contraire mon ami. AWG got that from me!

Anonymous (not verified)

Mon, 07/18/2011 - 4:26pm

I didnt see any mention of Asymmetric warfare groups 3 part paper on this, where I assume this was taken (plagiarized) from to include graphics.

slapout9 (not verified)

Mon, 07/18/2011 - 4:10pm

Anonymous @12:35 I am off today so I am doing my D3A chores, but I will respond later.

Anonymous (not verified)

Mon, 07/18/2011 - 1:35pm

slapout9---CRAVER is failing and attacking networks is struggling because it goes to what MG Flynn is referring to---namely to kill/capture is far easier than practicing "tactical patience" by a BCT Cmdr when he is losing personnel.

The second thing is that the failure to use "tactical patience" is directly related to "risk aversion" on the part of Cmdrs in not wanting to lose personnel.

MG Flynn---is totally correct when it comes to Bdes having a hard time in understanding the WHY---in the HUMINT world one of the most critical pieces in writing your reports is the ability to answer the WHY---if that is not answered then you know you have a hole somewhere in your IR---the same thing occurrs with the OE---look at the way BCTs handle Assessments of their operations while in the OE---BCT Cmdrs are now starting to not even trust that their Staffs can even do the assessment piece correctly so they are using a software tool to replace the Staff inputs.

Hubba Bubba (not verified)

Mon, 07/18/2011 - 1:21pm

Well, they say when you cannot back up your position with logic, insult the other position. Well played. Clearly, I have never been on a targeting team, probably never been in the military either. It is a fitting tribute to groupthink and institutionalism that some folks are so close-minded that they cannot see any perspective beyond what they "know" is right.

Good luck to you Sir- I worry and lament for your colleagues, however.

Hubba Bubba- certainly not in the "know" on anything about targeting, doctrine, or planning.

slapout9 (not verified)

Mon, 07/18/2011 - 12:53pm

Hi BillM, You know what I am going to say. Targeting is the Holy Grail of SBW. CARVER is a Soldier's Strategic Prayer. It helps to answer the Strategic question of "WHY" I should attack or protect a target. It is a tool for developing military judgement, it answers the primary "DECIDE" question. It keeps your "mind on the Mission" while your boots are on the ground and your eyes are on the people, and it helps to avoid target fixation. And just because it is old dosen't mean it shouldn't be applied. We won WW2....there is a lesson there I think.

The reason it sometimes fails when applied to Network Organizations is.....frankly we don't apply it as it was intended to be used. Just my opinion.

Ed Lee (not verified)

Mon, 07/18/2011 - 11:35am

Dave, your description of AWG involvement with F3EAD is accurate. Ed

Anonymous (not verified)

Mon, 07/18/2011 - 8:55am

Hubba Bubba---think and read before you respond---if you really have read most of the newer FMs and their Changes you would have noticed that the Cmdr has alot of leeway even in doctrine on how he wants to set his Staff in motion---goes to the core of your comments---ask any number of Captains who have not been to the Captains Career Course "do you kbnow any single step in the MDMP process"---you will be waiting for months to get a single step named---this has nothing to do with doctrine and everything to do with the way we currently trained ourselves.

Secondly refer to the JP 3-60 and you will celarly see that it is cyclical---it appears that you have never been on a targeting team. What many do not realize is that targeting is composed of four different processes moving in different speeds and places that have to be synch'd correctly or everything gets out of line---1) targeting process, 2) IPB/IPOE process, 3) operations process and as a sub set 4) ISR---if it were as you indicate linear then where do they synch. We use to up through late 99 early 2000 do a linear targeting process but that has changed since 2003.

Move Forward---in reality JSOC in Iraq started using the F3EA model in 2005/2006 as it allows for a trigger puller team to fuse in the collection/intel cell and have their input prior to hitting the target or in their case the HVI---F3EA (D was defintiely not used by SOF) was designed for speed in hitting targets once the intel was tracking--BCTs many who were stationed near JSOC units looked over their shoulders and thought there was something to it and copied basically.

A far better targeting methodology for HVI/COIN was in fact the F2T2EA model which is for dynamic targeting during say major combat operations---it could have been adapted easily for COIN--it is quicker on the response side and can be tailored to a single HVI just as it was tailored in MCO for quick responses on the battlefield for emerging targets.

CRAVER---is not a targeting methodolgy but again it was developed out of the JSOC environment as a way of putting a "weight" to incoming reporting on the target and a way for prioritizing the info flow to gain a better understanding of the individual's position in say a cell or network.

D3A--while I agree with the author is a great planning tool but many people seem to forget that it actually fits in your daily life---it can even be used to "pcikup" someone in a local bar---try using F3EAD or F3EA.

To all---try taking a group of staff officers and senior NCOs into a room and ask them "can you define targeting"---you will as many different answers as there are people in the room---there is where the problem really lies.

At a recent Corp exercise---the targeting working group did not start until two days into the actual exercise-basically they did not know who was to be on it---next example try seeing if a staff can do nodal analysis---not done at that same Corp event and not often done during BCT CTC rotations.

We have basically gotten away even the simplest core staff processes and that has nothing to do with doctrine and everything on how we have conducted COIN for the last 10 years.


CARVER is a useful methodology to employ to assist targeteers identify what targets they want to strike to achieve the desired ends. It is especially useful for what it was designed for and that was to give them a simple method of analysis/planning for resistance movements during WWII for determining how to sabotage factories, power plants, lines of communication, etc. It can also be some use for targeting insurgent and terrorist organizations, but here is where one is required to think. If I cut a power line or blow a bridge and have a good understanding of the system I'm targeting I can develop a reasonably accurate assessment as to the outcome/end or effect that attack will have. Time has proven again and again that targeting HVIs has not always (or even most of the time) had the anticipated impact on enemy operations. This is where you have to accept complexity (open and dynamic system that can adapt multiple ways), and constantly readjust your assessment and your subsequent actions. There are other ways to influence and degrade terrorists and insurgents beyond targeting HVIs that also need to be (and generally are) considered, ranging from fiance, PSYOP, presence to deny freedom of movement (effectiveness) etc.

slapout9 (not verified)

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 2:12pm

The missing part to me is CARVER.
5-Effect on the populace(this is a big one)
6-Recoverability (this is abig one to. How long will the Effect last)

CARVER helps provide the judgement needed to decide on which target to hit and how to hit it.

But the below excerpt is new to me.  I had not known the acronym was COINed back in the 1980's in Latin America (though I believe the process described existed - I just do not recall the name being applied back then - I do not think we were as "acronym fixated" back then as we are today!) I wonder how JSOC will feel about this since I believe  JSOC really pioneered the F3EAD process (or at least that is how I recall the Army's Asymmetric Warfare Group briefing it once out at Leavenworth - I recall the AWG briefer telling the combat training center conference how the AWG was asked by then-LTG McCrystal to share the F3EAD concept that JSOC had developed with the rest of the Army)


F3EAD was designed and adapted for Foreign Internal Defense (FID) missions in Latin America in the 1980¸s to counter the growing Communist threat. The FID mission requires U.S. SOF units to train and advise Host Nation (HN) forces. During the  Find and Fix  phases of this TTP, U.S. forces assist with analytical support to HN forces. SOF units may establish the outer security perimeter of the objective area (outer cordon), but HN security forces conduct actions on the objective (inner cordon). During the  Finish  phase HN forces execute the operation (actions on the objective) and U.S. forces remain in the advisory role, or establish blocking positions to  seal escape routes. During Exploitation, U.S. forces remain in an assist role and might work with HN forces during Sensitive Site Exploitation (SSE) of the target within minutes after actions on the objective have been completed. U.S. forces in an advisory role may assist HN forces to conduct any pursuit operations based on information ascertained during SSE of the target. U.S. military intelligence analysts may assist HN forces with analytical support during the Assess phase. Both HN and U.S. forces participate in the Disseminate phase, using informational "tear-lines¸ to limit target information only to those who truly need to know. (Bowden, Killing Pablo. 2001)  
In support of Full Spectrum Operations, F3EAD has emerged as the methodology of choice to address certain sources of instability and has proven exceptionally efficient to kill or capture High Value Individuals (HVI¸s) which have been determined as High Pay-Off Targets. F3EAD effectively translates the execution of the D3A process via Personality/Network targeting.  

But I think this thesis is right:

"Simply put, D3A is a great planning tool and F3EAD is a great execution tool for short suspense targets!  "

There is rarely any one size fits all tactic, technique, or procedure and the right tool needs to be used for the right job.

Ken White (not verified)

Sun, 07/17/2011 - 1:00pm

Quoth <b>Hubba Bubba:</b><blockquote>"Doctrine is a guide, and often a poor one at that; it empowers the intellectually lazy and those fearful of looking outside their comfort zone- and it gives them all the credibility they need in our top-down organization to say..."</blockquote>Totally true. Thus the complaint is not or should not be with Doctrine -- but with the people who fail to or are (often) incapable of adapting those very basic guidelines to their current situation.

The fact that much doctrine has lost its way and has gotten entirely too detailed and prescriptive, as <b>Move Forward</b> elaborates, due to the desire of too many to have detailed guidance instead of thinking (or being responsible for thinking poorly...) is a minor excuse -- but it's still just an excuse.

Doctrine is not the problem.

The issue will never be eliminated as a concern but simple, cheap and effective steps can be taken to reduce the adverse impacts.

Accession, training, selection and education of people are the real problems. Fix training, fix the personnel system and the failings will be significantly reduced. Recast much recent doctrine to remove excessively detailed 'guidance' and thus, <i>force</i> people to think and further problems will be eliminated.