Note: This post represents the synthesis of the thoughts, procedures and experiences of others as represented in the articles read in advance (see previous posts) and the discussion among the students and instructor during the Advanced Analytic Techniques class at Mercyhurst University, in September 2018 regarding IPB as an Analytic Method, specifically. This technique was evaluated based on its overall validity, simplicity, flexibility and its ability to effectively use unstructured data.
Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (IPB) is an analytic method for understanding the threat and environment in a specific geographic area. The military has applied IPB to analyzing the mission variables of enemy, terrain, weather, and civil considerations in an area of interest to determine their effect on operations. As a result of this process, unit leaders are able to: describe the unit’s operating environment as well as the effects the environment has on the unit, and determine likely courses of action (COA) by the adversary.
- Provides base to assess intelligence gaps in the environment
- Helps prioritize requirements
- Increases awareness of the battlespace
- Structure allows analysts to identify extraneous information
- Flexible based on terrain,
- Does not take 2nd and 3rd order effects of battle into consideration when planning
- Assumes adversary is fighting “the same battle”; Conventional-on-Conventional warfare vs. Conventional-on-Guerrilla warfare (i.e. Vietnam)
- Depends on analyst experience level
- Requires understanding of tactics and maneuvers
- Is dependent on leader guidance and direction in requirements
- Requires knowledge of adversary commander and forces
- Define the battlefield environment
- Describe the battlefield effects
- Evaluate the threat
- Determine threat courses of
Application of Technique:
Analysts constructed a terrain model from a topographical map of Gettysburg. Sand was used to create the terrain and depict changes in elevation. Roads were identified with black yarn and water was identified using blue yarn. After completion of the terrain model, key terrain within the area of operations were identified.
|Topographical Map of Gettysburg (1863)|
|Application of Technique using a Sand Table |
to create a Terrain Model of the map shown above.
For Further Information:
- FM 34-130: Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield
- Street Smart: Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield for Urban Operations