Small Wars Journal

Grey Targeting at the Troop/Company Level: Using the CoIST to Understand the Human Terrain

Thu, 07/25/2013 - 2:26am

Grey Targeting at the Troop/Company Level: Using the CoIST to Understand the Human Terrain

1LT Karl K. Schoch and 1LT Kevin A. Pavnica


Based on the authors’ experience during their deployment, the Company Intelligence Support Team (CoIST) can provide great value to their organization by developing refined geographic targets (eight to ten digit grids) that are important logistical, political and social nodes in insurgent networks (mosques, schools, shops, etc), a process we call Grey Targeting.  This focus allows it to complement personality based targeting capabilities, and since this approach only depends on HUMINT it is a model that is appropriate for Host Nation forces without SIGINT capabilities.

Learning Curve: Contextualizing Process Development

In June of 2012, 1st Squadron (Airborne), 91st Cavalry Regiment, part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, deployed to one of the most challenging and kinetic environments in Afghanistan: Logar Province. Disposed across the major districts of this area in combat outposts and forward operating bases in company-plus-sized teams, and operating both alongside Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) partners and unilaterally, the Squadron as a whole found itself in an environment almost wholly different from the one that had been projected prior to the deployment. Rather than training and enabling ANSF partner units as they took an increasingly greater role in the fight for their country—Anvil Troop, 1-91 CAV found itself fighting a robust and dynamic insurgency that threatened legitimate Afghan government influence in Logar.

Throughout this fight, which lasted from June 2012 to March of 2013, a number of newly established systems in 1-91 CAV became critically important to the unit’s success. One of the most effective of these was the distillation of the targeting process into a Troop/Company-level tool. The targeting process is not new. However, the targeting procedure that was developed during this deployment provides unique insight into how collation and analysis at low levels can greatly enhance situational awareness and operational effectiveness.

To contextualize the development of this Troop targeting process, it is important to briefly examine the Company Intelligence Support Team (CoIST) concept in the 173rd ABCT; particularly within A Troop, 1-91 CAV. CoIST formation for A Troop and 1-91 CAV occurred in three phases: initial fielding, pre-deployment development, and in-theater refinement. During initial fielding prior to deployment, the CoIST took pre-platoon leadership lieutenants and line soldiers and turned them into organic Troop/Company-level intelligence cells. Integration of these teams into the Troop/Company framework was emphasized by command from the Brigade level on down. They were first tested significantly at the 173rd’s mission readiness exercise (MRE) in March 2012, at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center at Hohenfels, Germany. Training for CoIST prior to the beginning of the exercise focused almost completely on utilizing the cells to act as relays between operational elements and the Squadron’s S-2 shop to outsource patrol briefing and debriefing tasks previously concentrated at Squadron level. During the exercise itself, the CoIST’s role was limited to the utilization of the District Stability Framework concept to enhance stability operations through analysis of conditions in the area of operations (AOs).[i] There was little emphasis on intelligence and targeting in a kinetic environment. The major kinetic scenarios posited were incongruous to the rest of the training scenario and conducted in pseudo-isolation from the rest of the simulation. Benefits from the exercise were the opportunity to test and refine physical configurations, develop product formats, and explore models for information flow laterally (to other units), upward (to Squadron staff), and downward (to the line platoons in the Troops).  Despite a well thought out training program, significant Command support and robust resourcing, the training did not fully prepare the CoISTs for the environment they faced during the deployment.

The interim between the mission readiness exercise and the teams’ departure for Afghanistan with the Squadron advance party contained the second developmental phase for CoISTs. In A Troop, the major highlight was the establishment of the team’s final configuration going into deployment. It consisted of two lieutenants and one specialist (MOS 19D, with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice). The civilian educations coupled with training in the maneuver arms of the United States Army--rather than any formal military intelligence training--provided the foundation for the development of functional processes for analysis and targeting in Afghanistan at the Troop level.

Roles and responsibilities of the CoIST during the second phase congealed into three major areas. First, the need to provide the Squadron leadership with an accurate and insightful running assessment of the Troop battle space, and input into the larger Task Force Saber targeting process. Second, direct support provided to platoons in the form of threat briefs, intelligence updates, and target development. Finally, administrative support in processing, preserving, and forwarding evidence for exploitation, managing and tracking biometric collection, and liaising with various enablers available to the Troop and the intelligence apparatuses of other units.

Superficially, the CoIST’s inexperience with Intelligence operations would appear to be a setback, and was indeed initially an obstacle to be overcome. However, the lack of formalized training actually helped to provide a degree of fluidity and creativity to the CoIST’s approach to intelligence after an initial learning period. This blank slate enabled the CoIST to tailor intelligence and targeting processes to fit the situation on the ground, rather than attempting to implement familiar solutions that did not necessarily suit the situation. This agility was perhaps the CoIST’s most important asset during the third, and most important, phase of its evolution, deployment.

The deployment was the most critical part of the CoIST’s growth into an effective institution.  Arriving at FOB Shank in June of 2012, A Troop immediately found itself often operating unilaterally against insurgents conducting IDF, DF and IED attacks and had to adapt quickly.   This period, and the challenges it presented, saw the development of a Troop targeting process that stemmed from the CoIST’s need not only to support Troop operations, but also to provide situational awareness to the Squadron.

In addition to the challenges presented by the enemy, local ANSF force alignment left the Troop without an Afghan partner to partner with and greatly limited the kinetic options available to it.   This required the development of indirect methods to affect insurgents, which framed all of the cell’s work during the deployment and led to a series of principles that an effective CoIST should follow.

The first of these principles is that a CoIST needs to digest unprocessed and unabridged information from numerous intelligence sources and organize this information into usable formats. To gain an accurate picture of the state of the Troop’s AO, there was no substitute for meticulously and tediously pouring over interrogation reports, signals intelligence logs, human intelligence reports and other products. Often, in products aimed at Squadron and Brigade level audiences, information critical to the fight in A Troop’s sector was omitted as unimportant. That is not to say that this should not have occurred, only that the access to raw information, rather than simply relaying reports found in an INTSUM, allowed CoISTs to create products filtered only through the lens of the Troop fight. This complemented and enhanced the intelligence available to the Troop commander, as well as filled critical gaps in Squadron situational awareness.

The second principle was the importance of rigorously and constantly organizing information. Perhaps the largest developmental boost for A Troop CoIST came from visits to the intelligence shop of a Special Operations unit on FOB Shank. Through these, extremely valuable insight was gained into a data infrastructure that had found ways to minimize information attrition while still remaining simple and accessible.  This showed the CoIST that to be effective, it was necessary to create a database construct (Maptracks) that allowed both graphic and narrative information to be communicated cleanly.

Constant communication became the final principle of effective CoIST operations.  This is demonstrated in the Troop’s targeting process, which is effectively viewed through the lens of the F3EAD (Find, Fix, Finish, Exploit, Analyze, Disseminate) method —traditionally used in personality targeting -- to illustrate how Troop level targeting manifests itself (See the figure below).

Grey Targeting: The Troop/Company Level Targeting Process


The F3EAD model must be adjusted slightly from what is put forth doctrinally in FM 3-60 to adapt it for the resources available to the CoIST.  The modification stem from the fact that targeting at the CoIST level should not be primarily personality-based,[ii] as the SIGINT resources required to conduct effective personality-centric targeting are not available at the Company or Troop level.  Additionally, there are other units that are specifically designed to conduct this type of targeting, and do it very well.  The framework put forth in this article instead focuses on targeting insurgent networks on a geographical point basis.  The moniker “Grey Targeting” derives from the fact that the concept combines black, or lethal, targeting and white, or non-lethal, targeting. Grey Targeting is necessary for an organization that does not necessarily possess the capability and mission set to allow it to operate exclusively as either a black or white targeting force.  This is precisely the situation in which A Troop, 1-91 CAV found itself, and the utilization of “Grey Targeting” created a flexible model for affecting the battle space.

In addition to moving away from the personality based targeting paradigm, utilizing F3EAD at the CoIST level also requires understanding that dissemination is inherent in every stage of the targeting process.  There are two primary reasons for this, the first of which is derived from focusing on geographic rather than personality targeting.  When utilizing F3EAD for targeting personalities, there is a fairly established path through which operations and intelligence flow, but no such path exists for a company level unit targeting on a geographic basis.  It is nearly impossible to predict when a certain piece of information will be valuable on a patrol. This means that a CoIST must work constantly to provide patrols with an understanding of a broad range of issues such as the personalities, locations and connections that are important in an AO. Continuous dissemination allows patrols to realize when they come across an important location, person or piece of intelligence during their daily patrols.

The second reason why dissemination is inherent in every stage of the CoIST’s F3EAD targeting process is due to the fact that the intelligence the CoIST gathers helps to drive the Squadron-level targeting process.  In addition to continually feeding information to the Troop Commander, the CoIST must also provide information to leadership at the Squadron level to improve their situational awareness.  This is especially important for asset employment, as there are many stake holders in the targeting process at the Squadron level that bring unique capabilities to the fight, especially on the non-lethal side.  In order to effectively target issues in a school, mosque or government official, these enablers must be informed of how these institutions or individuals contribute to instability.  Without dissemination to Squadron, the CoIST will not only have failed in its responsibility to inform decision makers but also might adversely affect their unit’s ability to access vital non-organic assets.


The find portion of targeting for the CoIST requires sorting through a tremendous mass of information to produce target locations for patrols.  While too much data is better than the alternative, it still causes problems.  To sort it, priorities from the Commander are vitally important. These will often come in terms of an insurgent effect (IDF, IEDs, weapons facilitation, etc.) he/she wants to target. From these priorities, a system of data triage can be established.

Once priorities are set, the first step a CoIST must take is to determine which INS networks are behind the targeted effect.  Determining this information allows a CoIST to hone in on reporting from specific areas or cells and helps to ensure that time and resources are spent effectively. The starting point for this step is often Squadron and Brigade INTSUMs, as they provide important macro-level information on the enemy.

HUMINT information can then be used to develop knowledge on the cells behind the targeted effect. The most valuable reports for the CoIST in this respect are Human Collection Team reports and Tactical Interrogation Reports.  Reading these reports allows the CoIST to begin to develop an understanding of the major and minor players in each cell, as well as determining locations that are important to these individuals (bed down locations, where they work, what mosque they go to, etc.).  It is important to begin entering these individuals into link diagrams and these locations into maptracks,[iii] as these tools allow the CoIST to visualize nodes in the networks. At this point in the targeting process, putting marks on the wall is more important than absolute accuracy.  The CoIST will not necessarily know what is important and what is extraneous, so it is essential to keep as much information in play as possible, provided the information does not become impossible to process.  A certain amount of overload at this phase, however, is acceptable and in many ways a sign of being on the right track.

On the SIGINT side, the CoIST’s most effective resource for developing the INS network is information tying people and geography together.  By looking at locations where targeted individuals have been, important locations in an individual’s networks and patterns of life become apparent, which should become patrol targets.  This information can become especially useful when it is layered over Maptracks, as the CoIST may find that these SI tracks correspond with locations on the maptracks; thus providing some additional context for why and to whom a specific cluster is important (e.g. a mosque, village elder’s house, etc).

At this point, the locations developed through the creation of map and SI tracks must be disseminated to Platoons.  They need to know the grid they are going to, why it is important, and any Information Requirements (IRs) for that location (who is the mullah at this mosque, what is his phone number, etc.).  Additionally, there are many occasions when the CoIST receives named locations of general areas (i.e. a neighborhood) that are related to enemy activity. The patrol can then refine these down to ten-digit grids based on information obtained from locals.  This information needs to be captured in debriefs, then added to the maptracks and link diagrams to allow for further analysis and dissemination.


The Fix phase of the CoIST targeting process focuses on refining the information gathered during the find phase.  In that initial phase, the CoIST produces a great deal of raw data that has only been slightly refined.  In the Fix phase then, it becomes important to sort through that information to find indicators for which locations are actually important nodes in the insurgent network.[iv]  .  These nodes could take the form of mosques, schools, neighborhoods, villages or even individual personalities that are important figures in one of these locations.

Looking for these nodes allows the CoIST to develop a conceptual understanding of how the network operates, and to develop patterns of life on the network.  As an example, there may be a great deal of SI tracks at a particular mosque. Therefore, the CoIST can reasonably assume that insurgents attend that mosque, and so that mosque, and it’s mullah by extension, are a node in the INS network.  Mullahs, just like teachers at schools or madrassas, are useful because they are tied to that location, and by virtue of this lack of mobility become a reasonable personality target due to the high likelihood that they are regularly at that location.  Additionally, people around the location and the local populace will be able to guide collectors to the mullah due to the relatively innocuous nature of asking to speak to a local leader.[v]

It is extremely important to disseminate this information about the larger composition of the INS network to Troop and Squadron leadership, especially in Squadron targeting meetings.  Institutional issues like recruitment at a school are extremely hard for a Platoon Leader to deal with on their daily patrols, but higher echelons have the resources necessary to effectively combat these problems (IO platforms, access to government officials, etc.).  Feeding this information to decision makers is important not only for gaining assets, but also because it provides give them a full understanding of the insurgency in the AO.  If decision makers are not aware of the truly important insurgent nodes in their AO, they may devote resources to other, less important, areas.


The Finish phase of the CoIST targeting process is where creativity becomes extremely important.  There are an almost infinite number of options available during this phase, but this article will merely focus on a few options, and the scenarios in which they might be appropriate.

The most direct finish option is patrolling to locations where SI tracks or Maptracks have indicated that insurgents are located.  These patrols, if provided with sufficient detail on the locations and personalities that they are looking for, could result in detainees being taken or caches being found.  If the patrols do not result in caches or detentions, they are still serving an important purpose in spiking the signature of personality targets for direct action forces.

Locations that appear to be entrenched in an insurgent group’s patterns of life, such as a mosque, school, or businesses, are excellent locations for focused biometrics, the collection of which, in an Afghan context, helps to feed local criminal prosecution efforts. The times when insurgents will be at these locations are fairly predictable, as prayer happens at certain times every day, school starts and ends at the same time every day and bazaars have business hours.  It is likely beyond the CoIST’s capabilities to know exactly when and where someone will be, but focusing on locations like these at high traffic times can greatly increase the effectiveness of biometric collection.

Additionally, the information developed by the CoIST can be an important tool for driving non-lethal targeting.  As the socioeconomic latticework of the insurgency becomes apparent, it is important that people acting in the non-lethal sphere know which mosques, bazaars, schools and village elders support the insurgency.  Instead of painting with a broad brush and setting vague targeting goals—i.e. “the educational system” or “the mosques and madrassas”—the CoIST can provide specific names and locations to target, and exactly how these nodes facilitate insurgent operations.  This type of information helps ensure that non-lethal targeting resources are properly appropriated, and that assets are not squandered on vaguely targeted projects.  By firing a principal or not providing government resources to a mullah whose school or madrassa is utilized for recruiting, a highly cost-effective blow can be struck against the insurgency.


The exploit phase of the CoIST targeting process is primarily concerned with collecting and collating the data that Troop operations produce.  This requires performing a great deal of administrative functions, and in and of itself will not provide any great insights into or effects against the insurgency.  This work, however, is vitally important, as it produces the information necessary to drive future operations.

Perhaps the most important CoIST function in this phase is ensuring that any evidence collected or detainees taken by the Troop/Company is done properly.  Ensuring that platoons have the training to properly conduct tactical site exploitation, collect evidence and DNA samples, and fill out arrest warrants AO will drive prosecutions in the judicial system and also expand targeting to other parts of the network.  Providing ammunition for a prosecutor’s case will make it more likely that suspected insurgents are prosecuted and taken off the street.[vi]

Another important function for the CoIST that is covered in all of the current literature on the position is debriefing patrols.  Patrols are an extremely valuable source of intelligence, and are the only collection asset organic to a Troop.  If the information that they are gathering is not being collected and integrated into a unit’s knowledge management systems, this information will not be passed up to higher level leadership.  These debriefs should include information on the basic gist of what happened on the patrol, any population engagement that occurred, IRs that were answered, important locations visited and pictures which help to highlight important information.

Another important administrative function that the CoIST cell needs to perform is processing biometric enrollments. If proper attention is paid to ensuring that DNA samples are connected to individuals enrolled in biometric systems, it will help to ensure that biometric evidence resulting from hostile acts is connected to information in databases. This, in turn, facilitates the discovery of insurgent personalities, who become targets for Host Nation forces.


The Analyze phase of the CoIST targeting process is very similar to the Find phase, in that the CoIST will sort through the new information arising from their operations (HUMINT reports from sources their patrols generated, TIRs from SOF raids, etc.). The major difference between these two phases, however, is that the CoIST needs to look for reflections resulting from operations.  This essentially means combing through the Battalion and Brigade INTSUMs to look for any mention of the Troop’s patrols.  It also means looking for reports of ambushes and IEDs in given AOs and then comparing these for positive correlation with previous patrol routes.  Looking for these reports of kinetic activity is important for force protection reasons. Additionally, planned insurgent ambushes or IED emplacements may indicate an insurgent desire to deny coalition forces access to a location vital to their operations, or the presence of a population center that provides insurgents with information about coalition force movement.

Reflections also allow the CoIST to develop some idea about the effectiveness of their patrols.  Patrols producing reflections are ones that drew the attention of insurgents. They caused the desirable effect of disrupting insurgent operations and spiking network and individual signatures for future targeting. Detailed information regarding this is critical for dissemination to Commanders. It allows them to develop operations in a way that most effectively impacts the enemy.[vii]


This is the most important part of the targeting process, as it does very little good if gathered information is not disseminated to patrols, commanders, and Squadron leadership. This step, however, is also extremely difficult, especially in terms of disseminating information in a way that is easily understood and builds upon itself.  This disseminate phase of the targeting process is also important for continuity, as much important information is lost as units enter and leave AOs.  FM 3-24 emphasizes the primacy of this transference in its discussion about the importance of databases[viii] and analytic continuity in CoIN operations.[ix] While a CoIST may not have access to sophisticated database technology, there are still ways to accomplish the dissemination/knowledge management process.

Perhaps the best way to disseminate information is to create Troop-level Maptracks.  When creating these Maptracks, it is important that they not only help to give specific, ten-digit grids to locations like INS caches or bed down locations, but that they show how these locations are linked together.  This product has to demonstrate, standing on its own, an understanding of the AO, and show how a store in the bazaar close to a mosque fits into the larger picture of the insurgency in the Troop’s AO.  If one entry talks about how a mosque has many SI hits around it and HUMINT reports of INS meetings within it, this gives a reader a sense of the background information on that location, along with the layers of intelligence that contributed into making that one place significant.  Providing this context helps to illuminate the insurgent network to the consumer. The individual person who lives in the house or owns that store might have been detained, but the location will likely maintain its importance in the insurgent network due to other factors.[x]

Maptracks must absolutely be Geo-rectified—i.e. put on a map—to make them useful, and the best way to do this is to make a Google Earth .kmz file from your spreadsheet by using Datatracker. A maptrack entry should ideally contain five categories: Name, Grid, Date Modified, Description and Associated Reporting.  It is fairly simple to understand why most of these columns are significant, but it is important to explain further the on the Date Modified, Description and Associated Reporting columns.  The Date Modified allows readers to sift through different time periods to avoid overcrowding on the map, as some information that is important in 2010 might not be as important in 2012.  This issue of relevance feeds into the importance of the Description column, and how to ensure that the items on the Maptracks are relevant and help to pass along the knowledge that has been gained on the insurgent network.  Maptracks are not about tracking SIGACTs within the AO, as systems exist that do this very well.  As such, only items illuminating the INS network should be on these map tracks, and any description should be written to provide the consumer of the product with an understanding for why that location is important.[xi]  Providing this context is important because it shows the analysis conducted to develop these locations as places of interest, so that readers, whether they are superiors, incoming units or patrol leaders, have a quick understanding of why that place is important.  Placing the associated reporting (IIR number, Capture tag, etc) is also important, as it allows people to gain access to historical reporting so that they can confirm the analysis.  There also needs to be a folder that contains this associated reporting in the map tracks folder, as this makes it easy to access this information.

Link diagrams are also an important way of maintaining and disseminating information about insurgent relationships, and can supplement the geographical information in the maptracks with more insight into the personal relationships between insurgents.  Fortunately, software already exists to create link diagrams, and it can easily capture all necessary information about familial ties, physical descriptions, etc.  This link diagram can also tie in geographical locations as well, which is a valuable tool because there is no better way to show a location’s importance in an INS network than to have a lot of links emanating from a location to important insurgent figures.

These knowledge management systems also provide the raw material for slides and briefings in the Squadron/Battalion targeting process and intelligence summaries.  Looking at these tools while preparing for these briefings makes it easier to translate knowledge of the AO into digestible pieces of information that are suitable for briefings.    When writing intelligence summaries, the Associated Reporting column is extremely useful as a quick reference for IIR numbers that will bolster the credibility of any analysis.  Being able to quickly reference this information is something that is lacking in almost all intelligence organizations, so it is important to take a stab at this knowledge management issue at the lowest level, where the amount of information is more manageable than at higher levels.

The biggest reason for creating map tracks in both geo-rectified and spreadsheet form, however, is for continuity.  Units spend one full year developing their knowledge of an AO. Then, without an efficient data management and presentation tool, they are tempted to provide their relief with a series of PowerPoint presentations that speak in generalities, and thus is not terribly useful for Platoon Leaders and Company Commanders looking for information to aid their planning during the vulnerable initial period of deployment.  Maptracks provide an easily transferrable warehouse of information to form a solid foundation for incoming relief units to use in developing targets as they build on the accomplishments of their predecessors.


There are a number of reasons why adopting the targeting process and techniques that this article has laid out for Company and Troop-sized elements will benefit units (magnifying SOF effects, improved Biometric targeting, increasing values of detainees taken, providing purpose and direction to soldiers, etc.).  The most important reason specific to the current conflict in Afghanistan is because it is a template for a type of targeting that can be conducted by ANSF units at the Kandak level and below. The goal of any COIN operation is to hand off security operations to capable Host Nation forces, and intelligence operations are an important part of this handoff.  Most of the intelligence tools mentioned in this Troop level targeting process (HUMINT reports and TIR’s) are available to Host Nation Forces and do not require huge investments in technological resources and expertise.  All intelligence personnel are easily capable of reading reports, annotating places that are associated with insurgent activity, and then noting which places (high schools, shops, etc) appear to be nodes in the insurgent networks.

Analysis can then be passed along to—and ideally eventually produced by—Host Nation Intelligence Agencies, who then can utilize this knowledge to target specific homes or shops within an area that have known INS connections. Even if these do not result in detainees or dead hostile actors, it will still bolster the perception of local security forces in the eyes of the civilian population. If the Army and Police are seen targeting specific compounds associated with insurgent personalities in a given village on a daily basis, people will be more likely to step forward and contribute information on the insurgents operating in a locality, especially if this targeting reduces collateral damage.  While expecting a Kandak to have the capability to conduct time-sensitive, personality-based targeting might be unrealistic, developing their targeting towards a geographic focus might be a more reasonable goal, leaving the personality-centric targeting to the organizations in mentored local formations where a large crop of reliable HUMINT sources can very closely approximate CF SIGINT capabilities.

This article represents an attempt to understand what a CoIST can and should do, in the hope that others in the same position continue to build on our experiences.  While the phase of Operation Enduring Freedom in which CF drives operations is at a close, the lessons learned over the course of a nine-month deployment to Logar Province, Afghanistan are valuable beyond the immediate circumstances faced.  Perhaps the most important contribution that this article may make is to provide a conceptual framework for how the CoIST can and should be used.  Training and the manuals examined prior to the deployment focused on the technological resources that the CoIST has at their disposal and on providing soldiers unfamiliar with intelligence an idea of its role on the battlefield.[xii] They do not adequately address the end state brought by successful integration of these tools and information.  By attempting to focus on geographical targeting of insurgent networks, an attempt is made to provide the framework for what a CoIST’s efforts should ultimately result in.

The role of US forces in the war in Afghanistan has transitioned into a limited advisory role—a role which will likely be reprised in military involvements in other regions as part of a future that senior defense leaders predict will be characterized by persistent conflict.  It will be important to determine how to advise other forces with capabilities far more technologically limited than our own, and intelligence will be an important area for us to focus mentorship on. Additionally, developing targeting tools at the lowest levels may ultimately increase the effectiveness of the forces that will be inserted into future conflicts. This article posits a method that, despite a steep learning curve, can help to accomplish this by combining established doctrine with the collation and analysis tools available to maneuver Troops and Companies that spare the manpower to enthusiastically specialize in their use. “Grey Targeting,” it is hoped by the authors, can be a valuable contribution to the ongoing discussion on Foreign Internal Defense and clarify the role of a potentially effective institution, CoIST, in solving a problem set that likely will not be unique to experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.


United States (2007).  Counterinsurgency Field Manual: FM 3-24, Washinton, DC: Headquarters, Dept. of the Army.

United States (2006). Company Intelligence Cell in Stability and Support Operations Tactics, Techniques and Procedures: X-file 2-1.1, Quantico, Virginia: Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (C 52), Marine Corps Combat Development Command.

United States (2010). Company Intelligence Support Team (CoIST) SmartCard: GTA 90-01-022, Fort Meade, Maryland: Asymmetric Warfare Group.

End Notes

[i] For more information regarding the District Stability Framework, see Army Field Manual 3-07 Stability Operations. 

[ii] F3EAD is presented in FM 3-60 is primarily designed for this approach.

[iii] This article will go into more detail about creating maptracks in the Disseminate phase of the targeting process.  In addition to developing their own maptracks, the CoIST should also look into finding if there are any maptracks and link diagrams that have been developed by other units.  SOF elements and HCTs are especially useful for these resources, as they can provide a great deal of information to the CoIST without having to read through reams of post-mission reports.

[iv] Examples of indicators are when there are multiple known bed down locations in the same area on the maptracks or multiple people who work, study or pray at the same bazaar, school/madrassa or mosque on the link diagram.

[v] It is also adviseable at this point to perform at least a minimal cost benefit assessment that compares possible courses of action against possible outcomes viewed through the lens of established objectives, political considerations, and larger mission parameters

[vi] Perhaps as importantly as taking insurgents out of the fight, facilitating the prosecutors to make an excellent case can be important for exposing corruption in a judicial system.  If judges are not able to throw cases against suspected insurgents for legitimate, but politically convenient, reasons like improper evidence collection or questionable witness statements, it will help to expose corrupt judges and hopefully facilitate their eventual removal from positions of influence within the Host Nation government. 

[vii] Reflections are also important to disseminate to the Platoons. Knowing that patrols are having an influence on the enemy is important for morale and allows platoons to tailor operations to enhance desired effects.

[viii] FM 3-24, page 128.

[ix] FM 3-24, page 131.

[x] The lack of this focus on analysis is one of the shortcomings of the current Tactical Integrated Ground Reporting System. This program geo-locates SIGACTs and intelligence reports, but not in a way that synchronizes information presented due to the universal user ability to add to the database, resulting in debilitating inconsistencies in quality and utility of contributions. 

[xi] Good map tracks description: “This is a reported bed down location for Maulawi Abdullah, a summer IED cell leader in Istanbul village.  His brothers Kalam and Kam are mechanics at the tractor shop in the district center (grid), and use that shop to recruit people to emplace IEDs.  We did a number of missions at that tractor shop, and were informed that Named OBJ X was active in that area during our time and commenting on a detention that we took.  This shop was also indicated in TIRs of OBJ Loose Lips and OBJ Sinks Ships.”  This gives a sense of the larger network, both in terms of people involved in it and the locations that are important to it.  A poor description would just say, “This is a reported bed down location for Maulawi Abdullah.” 

[xii] Marine Manual and CoIST Smart Card


About the Author(s)

1LT Kevin A. Pavnica: 1LT Pavnica is a platoon leader with the 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry, 173rd ABCT.  He served as both a Company Intelligence Support Team (CoIST) officer and Platoon Leader during a deployment to Logar Province, Afghanistan from June 2012 to March 2013.  He received his Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University in Political Science and Middle Eastern Languages.

1LT Karl K. Schoch: 1 LT Schoch is a platoon leader with the 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry, 173rd ABCT.  He also served as a Company Intelligence Support Team (CoIST) officer and Platoon Leader during the same deployment to Afghanistan.  He received his Bachelor’s degree from the United States Military Academy, where he majored in International History.