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BATTLEFIELD DECEPTION OPERATIONS


A continuing challenge facing today's Army, in terms of planning, directing, and conducting combat operations, is how to achieve operational advantage over the enemy. Battlefield deception, employed as an integral part of the overall operation, is essential to achieving this goal.

PURPOSE OF THIS BULLETIN

The Army recognizes that deception is an integral element of operations. New doctrine (FM 90-2, Battlefield Deception) and fielding of organizations (Battlefield Deception Elements at Corps and Division) began in late 1987, but these actions alone will not make deception happen. Training and awareness are needed to make deception an integral part of operations. While focused at Corps, this bulletin depicts the importance of battlefield deception at all echelons. It suggests training that can be done now to teach units to use deception effectively on the battlefield (Ref. FM 100-5, Operations,
p. 111).

C3CM

Battlefield deceptions are an essential facet of the command, control, and communications countermeasures (C3CM) strategy for AirLand Battle. Our potential adversaries' dependence on seeing the battlefield with clarity before acting accents the importance of planning and integrating a C3CM strategy into our combat operations. Battlefield deception employed in concert with the three other components of C3CM -- jamming, operations security (OPSEC), and physical destruction -- will influence, degrade, or destroy enemy command, control, and communications capabilities while protecting us from similar enemy efforts. The successful attack of enemy command and control systems requires an integrated application of all available assets.

This bulletin addresses battlefield deception principles applicable to all echelons of command during any conflict.

PURPOSE OF BATTLEFIELD DECEPTION

The purpose of battlefield deception is to mislead or confuse the enemy decisionmaker by distorting, concealing, or falsifying indicators of friendly intentions, capabilities, or dispositions.

The Objective

The objective of battlefield deception is to induce enemy decisionmakers to take operational or tactical actions which are favorable to, and exploitable by, friendly combat operations.

The Risk

The risk, if we don't successfully conduct battlefield deception operations, is that we permit the enemy to see the battlefield clearly, thereby allowing him to gain and retain the initiative. OPSEC alone won't adversely influence enemy capabilities to perceive friendly mission intent or dispositions. He will either commit more assets to gather information or will become dangerously unpredictable.

The Tactics

The tactics of deception are to:

Responsibility

Clearly, the responsibility for deception is a command/operations function. FM 101-5, Staff Organizations and Operations, states the G3 exercises staff supervision over deception activities. Due to deception being an integral part of an operation, most Corps and higher level warfighting headquarters have made deception a responsibility of the G3 Plans element. Additionally, emerging doctrine in draft FM 100-15, Corps Operations, places the deception element in the plans cell. To quote100-5 (p. 40): ". . . commanders at both operational and tactical levels must coordinate . . . deception as they do all other aspects of an operation."

COMPONENTS OF BATTLEFIELD DECEPTION OPERATIONS

The planning for combat operations and battlefield deception is similar. Each component of the deception plan varies in scope, but is applicable at operational and tactical levels. The following doctrinal components of deception, contained in the new FM 90-2, Battlefield Deception, are listed in order of development.

Objective

The deception objective is the ultimate purpose of the deception operation and is presented as a mission statement. The objective specifies what action or lack of action the enemy must be made to take at a specific place or time on the battlefield.

Target

The target of battlefield deception operations is the enemy decisionmaker who exercises the authority to make the decision that will achieve the deception objective desired by the friendly commander.

Story

The deception story is the friendly intention, capability, or disposition which the enemy is to be made to believe is true.

Plan

The deception plan outlines what specific operations, displays, or concealments must be taken to convey the deception story to the target.

Events

Deception events are friendly indicators/actions that present specific parts of the total deception story to the enemy's intelligence gathering sources.

ARMY PERCEPTIONS (MYTHS) VERSUS REALITIES

The fact that battlefield deception is not more widely used, trained, and understood is partly attributable to four perceptions.

Perception

SURPRISE COMES FROM LUCK.

Reality

Studies of military operations since 1914 show that if deception is not used, surprise is achieved only about 50 percent of the time.

Perception

DECEPTION PLAYS A TRIVIAL PART IN WARFARE.

Reality

GEN George S. Patton, Jr. wrote in October 1945, "I feel that deception and cover plans or operations are fully justified and that the employment of cover and deception should . . . be an accepted and organized procedure for any campaign."

Sun Tzu, 400-320 B.C., wrote, "All warfare is based on deception."

Perception

TREMENDOUS GROWTH IN INTELLIGENCE COLLECTION CAPABILITIES HAS ELIMINATED THE POSSIBILITY OF DECEIVING A SOPHISTICATED OPPONENT.

Reality

The truth is, the more collection capabilities an opponent has, the greater the opportunities to feed him specifically designed false information. In about 78 percent of all military encounters studied since 1914, tactical warning of attack was present. If deception was successful, the enemy ignored the warning and was surprised by the attack (e.g., the invasion at Normandy; the German winter offensive of 1944 [the Bulge]; the '73 Middle East War attack across the Suez; the invasion at San Carlos in the Falklands).

Perception

DECEPTION IS ONLY FOR COMBATANTS.

Reality

In the 1973 Middle East War, the Egyptians stunned the Israelis for five days. The Egyptian attack employed 150 economic, political, and military deceptions. A 40-man team began working in February 1973 on the plan for the 6 October attack. Construction projects, false reports, and other non-combatant activities preceded combat operations.