|USAF INTELLIGENCE TARGETING GUIDE
AIR FORCE PAMPHLET 14- 210 Intelligence
1 FEBRUARY 1998
Those who have written about or employed aerospace power have long recognized the importance of tar-geting and understood the successful application of airpower depends on targeting. This section traces the evolution of Air Force targeting.
The choice of enemy targets is the most delicate operation of aerial warfareThe key to air power is targeting and the key to targeting is intelligence
Giulio Douhet 1921
Col John Warden 1990
The greatest criticism to be brought against aerial bombardment as carried out in the war of 1914- 1918 is the lack of a predetermined program carefully calculated to destroy... those industries most vital in main-taining Germany's fighting force.
It recommended that: 130
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Another lesson from the war was that dedicated, trained individuals, knowledgeable of airpower, were needed to undertake this careful study. The Intelligence Section of the General Staff (G- 2) created an Air Intelligence (A- 7) subsection. 1st Lt Alfred T. Bellinger, a G- 2/ A- 7 staff officer, reported that there were some who believed that the "work of air intelligence belonged properly to the Air Service. ... Supporters of this theory [believed] it was necessary for an Intelligence Officer to have technical knowledge of aviation for the proper performance of his duties." Immediately following WW I Gen Mitchell identified the need for [target] intelligence officers at the staff and unit level. He saw the need for these officers "to compile and maintain all information of value in the preparation of bombing missions, an indexed file of photo-graphs, and a stock of maps and charts showing bombing targets and intelligence concerning them."
WW I showed that successful application of airpower requires a predetermined plan calculated to destroy the enemy's will and war sustaining capability. Achieving this goal requires systematic analysis to deter-mine which targets, if destroyed, would do the greatest damage to the enemy. An organization with a con-stant focus on air targeting is needed to undertake this kind of systematic study. This organization needs to maintain files of information about potential targets, as well as requisite target materials. From the beginning, the Air Service took the lead in air targeting. It developed the first concepts, not only for the offensive use of air forces, but also for the intelligence support required.
Proper selection of vital targets in the industrial/ economic/ social structure of a modern industrialized nation, and their subsequent destruction by air attack, can lead to fatal weakening of an industrialized enemy nation and to victory through airpower. 131
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Destroying organic industrial systems in the enemy interior that provided for the enemy's armed forces in the field; and paralyzing the organic industrial, economic, and civic systems that maintained the life of the enemy nation itself.
Although this concentration on strategic bombing to the exclusion of development of escort fighters was to later prove disastrous, the doctrine led to an even greater need for target intelligence. Maj. Gen Hansell, in his memoirs, stated that ACTS believed strategic intelligence was: "vital to the planning and conduct of strategic air warfare." He continues:
Much of the value of the bombing offensive, should there be one, would of necessity rest on intelligence data and the conclusions planners gleaned from it. In truth these specific questions were beyond the com-petence of the Tactical School. Strategic air intelligence on the major world powers would demand an intelligence organization and analytical competence of considerable scope an intelligence and complex-ity.
Yet during the lean years of the "all- pilot Air Corps," when the Air Corps was struggling for its survival, there was no time or inclination to train officers in combat intelligence. Despite the clear lessons of WW I, the Air Corps entered the Second World War without an intelligence organization capable of conduct-ing systematic studies of potential enemies and recommending vital targets whose subsequent destruction would lead to victory. The Air Corps still relied on Army G- 2 to maintain sufficient data and target mate-rials to support both the planning and conduct of air operations.
The American airman entered the war with a rather well- developed body of doctrine on how the airplane should be employed... but it was evident from an early date that the [Army Air Force] AAF was poorly prepared for waging a strategic campaign against Germany, or any other enemy, because of the paucity of organized intelligence on the target itself.
In 1940, Gen Arnold recognized the Air Corps was not receiving the intelligence it needed to establish requirements or plan operations. He requested and received permission to establish an air intelligence organization under the Chief of the Air Corps. Then Maj. Hansell was the first Chief of the Strategic Air 132
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However, when war began, the AAF still had inadequate intelligence to plan and conduct combat opera-tions and lacked a systematic method for selecting targets. The Air Corps had made no provision for air intelligence training. General Eaker, Commander Eighth Air Force, reported in March 1942: "Intelligence represents the section of activity in which we are weakest." Colonel McDonald, Chief of Eighth Air Force Intelligence, recalled that no one provided intelligence "in any useful form at the beginning of the war-- we went into the field empty handed in this respect." While there was an Air Intelligence Section, there was still no organization capable of performing the systematic analysis required for proper targeting and no trained target intelligence officers. There was also no database of potential targets or target mate-rials to support the air forces.
During the fall of 1942, the air requirements plan (AWPD- 42) against Germany was under discussion at the highest level, and as the discussion progressed, its limitations in the field of target analysis became readily apparent. The AAF had accumulated a vast amount of data on Germany, but no rational system for target selection existed. Gen Arnold established the Committee of Operations Analysts (COA) in December 1942 to overcome this shortfall. For the first time the United States had a single organization responsible for the collection and analysis of intelligence for the purpose of air target selection. Air plan-ners used the COA's target selection as the basis for the Combined Bomber Offensive against Germany and the strategic campaign against Japan. This group eventually evolved into the first Joint Target Group, with the Deputy Assistant Chief of Air Staff for Targeting as its head. Also in 1942, the AAF created a school to train air intelligence officers. Another outgrowth of the attempt to find a systematic approach to target selection was the creation of a database of potential targets. It was called the Bombing Encyclope-dia, (the Bombing Encyclopedia was the first effort to automate the handling of the vast amount of infor-mation needed to provide target recommendation for every country in the world) the forerunner of today's Basic Encyclopedia.
By 1944, most in the AAF recognized the importance of intelligence to air operations. Gen Hansell stated:
I believed foreign industrial analysis and targeting was the sine qua non of strategic air warfare. Without such intelligence and analysis there could be no rational planning for the application of airpower. Dou-het's statement to effect that the selection of objectives and targets was the essence of air strategy was patently true.
Maj. General McDonald, USAF Director of Intelligence, was even more specific when he said: "target intelligence was the basic requirement, because: A Strategic Air Force is nothing more than a large collec- 133
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The importance of careful selection of targets for air attack is emphasized by [our] experience. Our stra-tegic intelligence... at the outset of the war was highly inadequate. ...[ I] f a comparable lack of intelligence should exist at the start of a future national emergency, it might prove disastrous. The present shortage of trained and competent intelligence personnel give cause for alarm and requires correction.
Two World Wars showed that the proper selection of vital targets is critical to the successful application of airpower and is dependent on a systematic study of available intelligence. Without such intelligence and its systematic analysis there can be no rational planning for the application of airpower. An organiza-tion with a high degree of analytical competence is required to perform this targeting function. It requires competent, trained personnel who understand the capabilities and limitations of intelligence, as well as aerospace forces. These individuals must have access to a current database and the knowledge to use it.
The probability of fighting in Korea largely had been overlooked in the years following WW II. As a result, we had practically no ready target intelligence. ...[ We] found [ourselves] without a targeting sys-tem capable of fulfilling the requirements. ... However, an even more serious deficiency was the small amount of Korean targeting which had been accomplished. ... The latter stemmed from several basic causes, the most obvious of which was the small number of intelligence personnel who had been assigned to FEAF. 134
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The problem of inadequate numbers of trained intelligence personnel to support the targeting function continued throughout the war. Two separate studies (Barcus and Stearn) were conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the Air Force in Korea. Both indicated that the outbreak of the war had created an imme-diate shortage of intel personnel and pointed out that inadequate training made these shortages more acute. The shortage was so acute that the FEAF had to draft flying officers to perform intelligence func-tions. As late as July 1952, the FEAF Bomber Command "lacked sufficient personnel to handle any large day- to- day quantity of targets." The FEAF Report states:
The Korean campaign provided more than enough evidence to bolster the contention that neglect of intel-ligence training during peacetime is a serious mistake, if that point had not already been made powerfully clear at the outset of WW II. The FEAF was woefully lacking in competent Combat Intelligence Officers.
General Headquarters Far East Command (GHQ FEC) assumed responsibility for targeting. The chief of staff established the GHQ Target Group on 14 July 1950 and made it responsible for target nominations. However, the GHQ Target Group was not capable of performing this task. The work of this group was neither systematic nor thorough and resulted in information of questionable value. Of the 220 primary and secondary targets the group nominated, twenty percent did not even exist. The remainder were often unsuitable for attack by aircraft. Finally, of the targets that did exist and that were suitable for attack by aircraft, many were not supported with adequate imagery or information. Eventually, the FEAF took on a greater portion of the target nomination process and gradually became the theater targeting body, responsible for nominating targets that were the basis for air campaigns meeting the needs of the FEC. However, it was two years before there was a fully integrated joint targeting effort.
The lack of trained analysts affected two additional areas: combat assessment and weapon recommenda-tions. The FEAF Report on the Korean War indicates that there were few studies conducted on the results obtained from our bombing. It states: "If a more extensive effort had been devoted to [combat assess-ment], a more accurate appraisal of the value of [our] target plans would have resulted." The report also indicates there was little effort to make weapon recommendations. Just ten days before Armistice the FEAF Director of Intelligence was finally able to establish a Vulnerability Division to provide effective and economical weapon recommendations. If this Division had been established earlier it undoubtedly would have contributed to a more efficient accomplishment of FEAF's mission in the Korean War.
FEAF lessons learned stated: 135
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It went on to say that: Good target research must include physical vulnerability studies and weapons selection recommenda-tions. [And that] a truly effective targeting program must... be initiated before fighting starts.
Experiences gained during the Korean Conflict reinforced the lessons learned in both World Wars-- the proper selection of vital targets is critical to the successful application of airpower. Selecting these targets requires trained, experienced personnel familiar with both the operations and intelligence worlds. In an effort to correct deficiencies existing at the start of the Korean Conflict, the Air Force created the targets officer career field in 1954. It enlarged the scope of the database of potential targets to include many more potential enemies. Also, at the request of the JCS, the Air Force became the executive agency for the DoD Air Target Materials (ATM) Program (ATMP) in 1953 in order to ensure the adequacy of air tar-geting materials.
Some believed the centralization of the targeting functions within a national agency was imprudent. Gen Keegan, the Seventh Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence 1968- 1969, said: "Years ago, the mission of targeting was taken away from the Department of the Air Force and passed to DIA, where it simply died." At the beginning of our involvement in Vietnam the Air Force did not have an adequate tar-geting organization to support our combat operations. As one lesson learned states: 136
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The situation was very similar to that of the Korean Conflict. The BE provided targeteers and planners with basic infrastructure and industrial installations. Pacific Command planners were able to identify ninety- four targets in North Vietnam, which were arranged into four attack options in an OPlan. Each option provided for escalation of the conflict. But the objectives of the war were constrained, and the US was forced to attack "in- country" targets. Because the Air Force did not have a targeting organization capable of supporting this:
[Military Assistance Command Vietnam] MACV J- 2 developed its own organization, the Target Research and Analysis Center (later renamed the Combined Intelligence Center, Vietnam (CICV)), to accomplish the in- country targeting task."
During the battle for Khe Sanh (Operation NIAGARA), MACV relinquished control of targeting, and the Air Force created an ad hoc targeting organization to effectively use air assets. Seventh Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence (DCS/ I), augmented by TDY personnel, established an intelligence control center. This center represented the first major Air Force contribution to the in- country targeting effort. In March 1968 the Air Force recalled the TDY personnel and terminated the operation of the intelligence control center, effectively conceding de facto control of targeting back to MACV. This again limited the Air Force to providing on call fire support to the ground forces in Vietnam, just as in Korea. "The Air Force quickly found itself woefully short of targeting personnel. By 1969 [the] Air Force had just about exhausted its cadre of experienced targeteers fighting the war. The void was filled with "CBPO" targe-teers with little or no experience."
The war effort was negatively impacted by a shortage of intelligence personnel and their lack of training: Although the Air Force had been in [South East Asia] SEA since late 1961, adequate intelligence person-nel resources were still unavailable when the rapid buildup began. ... The buildup began at a time when the Air Force was actually reducing manpower resources in response to budgetary and gold flow constraints. ...[ T] he lack of adequate formal and technical training for intelligence personnel adversely affected intel-ligence in SEA.
There were many positive lessons from Vietnam. Air Force doctrine recognized that target intelligence is essential to aerospace operations:
The role of intelligence support in the effective employment of tactical air forces is of critical importance. Targeting is the key function and includes exploitation of all intelligence sources for target development, material production, target analysis, recommendations for strike and strike assessment. 137
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In 1990, an Air Force targeting element supported each Unified Command. In February 1990 USCENT-COM directed its Air Force component (9th Air Force/ CENTAF) to update the air plan for OPLAN 1002- 90. In support of this request the 9th Tactical Intelligence Squadron (TIS) Target Intelligence Divi-sion (now the 609 AIS) began target development for the draft OPLAN. Air Force targeting officers took the objectives the air planners provided and identified target systems to meet them. They researched known installations and developed lists of potential targets and used these lists to produce the Iraqi Target Study published on 15 June 1990.
Two recurring problems hampered these efforts. First was the inadequacy of the installation database. DIA maintained a worldwide installation database known as the Automated Installation File (AIF) to store, manipulate and retrieve target intelligence. Ideally, it would contain information on every installa-tion or place of potential military significance. However, 40% of the targets struck during the Gulf War were not in the database in July 90. In addition to listing installations, the AIF could contain vital target-ing information such as construction data and identification of critical components. Unfortunately, many of its records fell far short of providing the information necessary for accurate targeting.
The second problem the 9TIS targeting staff encountered was a lack of necessary imagery and supporting target materials. Only 90 of the 218 targets the 9TIS identified had imagery. Of these, only 30 had target materials. Of the targets actually struck during the war, only eleven percent had target materials on 2 Aug 90. In a 29 Aug 90 DIA memo to the Deputy Director for Foreign Intelligence, the DIA Chief of Targets acknowledged that DIA had "issues to resolve and problems to fix [with availability of target materials] after the crisis." In addition to the basic shortage of target materials at the beginning of the crisis, many were of questionable utility due to their currency. The ATTG was the basic target material at this time. Figures taken from CENTAF (15 Jun 1990) and CENTCOM (27 Jun 1990) target list and the Consoli- 138
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Despite these problems, the contributions of Air Force targeteers were significant. Ninety- seven percent of the targets in the 9TIS Iraqi Target Study (produced a month and a half prior to the Iraqi invasion) were struck during DESERT STORM. By comparison, only thirty percent of the targets in the July 1990 CEN-TCOM Joint Target List and ninety- three percent of the 12 Aug 90 Air Staff target list (the well- known list produced by CHECKMATE) were struck during the war. Looking at the issue from the stand point of what percentage of the total targets struck were identified in various list prior to the war, one finds that the percentages for the 9TIS, CENTCOM and the Air Staff are forty- three, twenty- two, and nineteen respec-tively. More than four months prior to the invasion, the 9TIS identified information and imagery short-falls that would impact combat operations if not satisfied.
Air Force targeting officers were also available to support planners in the area of weapon recommenda-tions and critical element analysis. They recommended the optimum mix and number of weapons, fuzing, and critical elements throughout the war, but in some cases planners chose to disregard this information. The planners often thought the recommendations were too conservative.
Three examples should illustrate this point. In Aug 90 CENTAF targeting personnel recommended that bridges only be attacked by aircraft using PGMs. Initially, this advice was ignored, but based on unac-ceptable results, planners shifted to using PGMs. Also in August, targeting officers estimated a particular target would require more PGMs than planners thought it should. This target was struck but never pene-trated during the war. At the end of the war it was fully functional. In Jan 93, as part of Operation South-ern Watch, this same target was struck using the number of weapons recommended by the targeting staff, resulting in the functional destruction of the facility. Finally, on 19 Jan 91, a targeting officer recom-mended using CBU- 89s and CBU- 87s against mobile SCUDs. Following the recommended strike, there was a break of sixty hours before the Iraqis launched another SCUD against Israel and more than five days before there another mass launch. However, planners switched back to PGMs in an effort to achieve physical destruction instead of using an area denial strategy to achieve a functional kill. There is still no evidence that the "SCUD hunting" mission with PGM's achieved a single kill. All examples are based on the experiences of the author. The second example is collaborated by Col Deptula in an interview con-ducted by Dr. Berry Watts, the third is recounted in the Department of Defense, Final Report to Congress on the Conduct of the Persian Gulf War (Washington, D. C.: GPO, 1992), 166.
Targeting officers were not as successful in providing essential combat assessment information. One rea-son for this was a lack of training. The former Armed Forces Targeting Course provided only five hours of instruction on combat assessment. Exercises also provided little training.
DESERT STORM raised fundamental questions about the effectiveness of targeting. Targeting planners were not always correct and did not provide the best support possible. 139
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Since the end of the Gulf War many have written about the war's lessons. Most authors have addressed how precision weapons and stealth platforms have altered the nature of warfare. This masks another more critical lesson -- the importance of targeting. Greater precision requires even greater and more detailed target analysis. In each conflict weapon accuracy has improved. An enduring lesson learned about deliv-ery accuracy during the last eight decades is that the greater the weapons' accuracy the more accurate tar-geting must be.
In 1992 Congress "encourage SECDEF, heads of military services, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Director of DIA to make resources available for a Joint Target Training Program." (Congress, Senate, Select Committee for Intelligence, July 1992.) For the first time since 1918, the Air Force has not taken the lead in a targeting program. Although the Air Force has the greatest experience in joint air targeting and the preponderance of air assets, it has taken a back seat in the future of joint targeting.
|USAF INTELLIGENCE TARGETING GUIDE
AIR FORCE PAMPHLET 14- 210 Intelligence
1 FEBRUARY 1998