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D

Debriefing

A moderated discussion focused on gaining understanding and insight regarding a specific operation or exercise and involving those people who were personally involved.  Debriefings can occur with all echelons of an organization but are predominately done at the lowest levels and include only those persons specifically involved in a given operation or exercise. (See also After Action Review)

Decentralized Distribution

A logistical strategy where equipment is issued directly to an individual and/or a deployed unit. (See also Centralized Distribution)

Decision Point

A technique that is incorporated into a tactical plan to call attention to the need to make a decision. It identifies an event, time or sequence at which further guidance is necessary to proceed. (See also Trip Wire)

Decision

A conclusion reached through deduction or inference.  Decisions involve three separate, but interrelated, factors

  • Reason or Judgment involves an objective and rational comparison and selection between alternatives.
  • Emotions are subjective feelings and influences that occur without conscious effort and are affected by such things as anxiety, fatigue, hunger and pain.  Emotions also influence decisions from personal dispositions, biases, and prejudices.
  • Perceptions refers to how the mind interprets a sensory stimulus.  How humans interpret information and determine its importance is a complex and interrelated process of culture, values and experience, embedded in context.

Deconfliction

A term used to identify those steps taken to reconcile potential conflicts.  Deconfliction measures encompass everything designed to reduce friction and increase cooperation and collaboration.

Defilade Terrain

Any terrain that is used so that it provides increased protection from observation or hazard.  No terrain feature is inherently defilade and the protection exists only because of a temporary position of personnel or equipment relative to the terrain. (See also Enfilade Terrain)

Deliberate Plan

A comprehensive and detailed method for accomplishing an objective.  A deliberate plan is the preferred course of action and is as comprehensive as time will permit.  It is frequently referred to as the “master plan,” since it serves as a baseline for all related plans and operations and describes the preferred course of action. (See also Contingency Plan and Hasty Plan)

Demand-Pull System

A logistical strategy that places responsibility on the supported unit for requesting logistical support.  This means that all resupplies, maintenance, calibration, reliefs, and so forth, are “pulled” by requesting them as needed.  It is sometimes referred to as a logistical pull system. (See also Supply Push System)

Density

The quantity of activities per unit of time.  In space, density refers to the quantity of objects in a given region. (See also Initiative and Tempo)

Devil’s Advocate

A person who is called upon to adopt and defend opposing views, as well as identifying weaknesses and attacking those being presented.

Dimension

An environment, realm or domain which defines the state and conditions of the predominate influences.  The rules that govern one dimension are completely irrelevant for another.

Direct Order

An order that is precisely and clearly expressed directly from a superior to a subordinate.  Direct orders may be verbal or written and are the norm when supervisors and subordinates are collocated or connected directly through some type of communications device. (See also Indirect Order)

Direct Support

The command relationship for a unit whose actions support a specific component of the overall operation.  Reinforcing units are assigned direct support missions by the command authority of the entire operation. (See also General Support)

Dispersed Swarm

A swarming tactic that involves maneuver elements that are already dispersed and converge on a target from many directions.  It is also called a “vapor swarm.” (See also Massed Swarm)

Distribution

Identifies the logistical need to disperse equipment and personnel to where they are most needed and when.  Distribution is one of the four principal roles in the logistical process. (See also Logistical Process, Procurement, Recovery, and Sustainment)

Division of Labor

Refers to the categorization of specific knowledge and skills in the performance of roles within an organization.  For example, police agencies have specialists in patrol, investigations, custody, and so forth

Drifting standards

A condition that results from a lack of enforcement of minimum standards.  Drifting standards nearly always begins with an exception of some kind that sets a precedent for future exceptions. (See also Creeping Missions)

Dynamic information

A subset of current information that is in a near constant state of change. (See also Four Types of Information and Current Information)

E

Echelon of Command

The term used to describe a layer of an organization of which all members have equal decision making authority.  Generally, the higher the echelon the greater the responsibility, and understandably, greater authority.  While an echelon is usually composed of equal ranks, the definitive criterion is not rank but authority. (See also Table of Organization)

Economy of Force

One of the nine principles of war that refers to the preservation of personnel and/or equipment at a given time and place to ensure readiness for both sustainment and achieve superiority at a decisive place and time.  It is the reciprocal of mass. (See also Nine Principles of War and Mass)

Emerging Multi-Organizational Network (EMON)

A self-evolving organization that is specifically designed for resolving a crisis.  Because EMONs evolve in response to situations that are always somewhat unique they take on different forms, sizes, and configurations depending on the circumstances presented.  They are also referred to as Emergent Multi-Organizational Networks.

EMON (Splitting)

All events requiring a tactical intervention tend to evolve from a simpler form to one that is more complex.  When it becomes necessary to divide a tactical organization to make it more manageable there are five common methods.

  • Time—the most common method of splitting a response organization is with time and is almost always according to shifts and/or “operational periods.”
  • Geographical Area—this division groups people by where they are physically located and working. This allows closer coordination and supervision.
  • Purpose—when EMONs are separated by purpose they are almost always by functions, such as traffic control, containment, communications, evacuations, and so forth.
  • Process—this division occurs according to the methodology or ongoing series of actions to accomplish some activity.  Separating an EMON by process is useful when knowledge of a process is a major contributing factor in accomplishing a similar, but not identical activity.
  • Clientele—division by clientele refers to a grouping of people, regardless of how they are identified or assembled, and for whom some service is required

EMON

An acronym commonly used as a substitute for the longer term, “Emerging Multi-Organizational Network.”  An EMON is a self-evolving organization that is specifically designed for handling a crisis. (See also Emerging Multi-Organizational Network)

Enclosure

An extension to a written plan that contains specific information on a single subject that is used for reference.  An enclosure is often a separate document prepared for a different purpose but that provides clarity and understanding in the new context.  Common examples of enclosures include photographs, maps, sketches, and the like. (See also Appendix and Annex)

Encyclopedic information

Any information that is durable, but not everlasting.  Examples include such things as home telephone numbers, work assignments, or special skills.  The third type is current information. (See also Four Types of Information)

End State

Those required conditions that define achievement of the commander’s objectives.  In the simplest terms, the end state describes the desired result, or final outcome, of a tactical operation. (See also Objective)

Enfilade Terrain

Any terrain that increases the vulnerability of personnel and equipment because it exposes them to observation or hazard.  No terrain feature is inherently enfilade and the vulnerability exists only because of a temporary position of personnel or equipment relative to the terrain. (See also Defilade Terrain)

Envelopment

A tactic that works by attempting to fix an adversary’s attention on one area while the main force exploits a weakness in another.  It avoids the “front,” which is usually more heavily guarded, and strikes from one of the flanks.  Thus, envelopments are more easily understood as flanking maneuvers. (See also Pincer)

Environmental Scanning

A systematic examination that attempts to detect and identify potential threats by detecting factors and influences in a particular social setting.

Essential Elements of Information (EEI)

Essential elements of information are those critical facts that a decision maker must have to reach a conclusion. (See also Assumptions and Other Intelligence Requirements)

Event Horizon

That portion of the future in which decision makers can reasonably anticipate the consequences of their actions.  It is the far threshold of a range in time called the foreseeable future. (See also Foreseeable Future and.Manageable Future)

Event Matrix

A chart designed to identify what units have been assigned to which tasks. This ensures that valuable resources are appropriately assigned and that critical functions are not overlooked.

Event

A single, discrete, one-time occurrence that has an effect on a given issue.  When two or more events can be identified as being related to an issue a prediction can be made as to another. (See also Trends)

Excessive Force

Any force that is deemed to be more severe than is necessary in either kind or duration.  Excessive force by kind is that which inflicts more pain, suffering or injury than is deemed proper to accomplish the tactical objective.  This almost always entails choosing the wrong weapon.  Excessive force by duration is when force is applied longer than is necessary. (See also Unreasonable Force)

Execute Order

An order that is used to implement or carry out some action in accordance with a plan. (See also Four Types of Orders)

Experience

Practical wisdom comprised of knowledge and skills attained through personal participation or observation.

Expertise

The advanced skills and knowledge people use for decisions and actions.  All expertise is contextual in that it is limited to a specific discipline, subject or field of study.

Exploitation Window

A period of time in which an individual or unit is at some sort of disadvantage as a result of an intentional action by their opponent. (See also Opportunity)

Expressed Threat

A threat where the consequences of defiance are made known. (See also Implied Threat)

F

 

Fast Transient

The capability of rapidly changing from one maneuver state to another. The four most common methods are changing speed, direction, location or attitude.

Field of Fire

The area that a weapon can cover effectively from a given position. (See also Sector of FireA designated zone to be protected by an individual, team, or unit. Any target within a sector of fire is the responsibility of the person or unit assigned, and conversely, no individual is allowed to shoot outside their assigned sector of fire.)

First Common Senior Rule

A rule that establishes the authority to decide (resolve conflicts) with the first superior in charge of all disputants. (See also Command Channel)

Fixed Time

A method of dividing time that is definitively and unequivocally set and not dependent upon external factors.  Examples include deadlines and curfews. (See also Periodic Time and Relative Time)

Focus of Effort (FOE)

The predominant activity or assignment that a commander identifies that must be accomplished to achieve a successful resolution.  All other assignments and missions are subordinate.  Focus of effort answers the questions of what is to be done? (See also Main Effort)

Fog

The condition that prohibits a tactical commander from obtaining accurate information in a timely manner.

Follow-on Actions

Those intended procedures and activities that follow others.  Follow-on actions are often contributory to a desirable end state but are not necessarily prerequisites. They are typically preparatory in nature in that they anticipate and prepare for additional requirements.

Force

The exercise of strength, energy or power in order to impose one’s will.  It can be focused on a person or a thing, as in using force to push a car. In resolving a conflict, however, it is always focused on one or more people.

Force Continuum

A tool used to describe a succession of force options from minimal to maximum.

Force Multiplier

Any capability or advantage that, when added to and appropriately employed, significantly increases the potential of an individual or group.  Force multipliers are very diverse and can be as complex as a superior weapon or as simple as a better idea.

Forecast

A calculation based upon the identification, observation and analysis of pertinent data coupled with an assessment of the likelihood of consequences.  While a forecast is not precise, it does limit the possibilities to a range of likely outcomes.

Foreseeable Future

That portion of the future in which the consequences of actions can be reliably inferred and estimated. (See also Event Horizon)

Four Types of Information (See also Arranging Information)

  • Archival information is that which seldom, if ever, changes.  For example, all historical data is archival in nature.
  • Encyclopedic information is durable, but not everlasting.  Home addresses,
  • Current information is that which is time sensitive and pertains to details, events or actions occurring in the present or very near past.
  • Dynamic information is a subset of current information that is in a near constant state of change.
  • Future information is that information that can be confidently derived by forecast or projection.

Four Types of Orders

  • Alert Order is an order used to initiate a heightened state of vigilance or preparation for some action.  It signals individuals or units that they may be assigned a mission concerning a developing situation.
  • Warning Orderis an  order used when it appears certain that an individual or unit will be required, but is not immediately needed.  It can also be used to advise that some type of action may be required.  This is particularly valuable if the action requires unusual resources or extraordinary preparation.
  • Execute Order is an order that is used to implement or carry out some action in accordance with a plan.
  • Fragmentary (frag) Order is an order that is used to modify any existing order by providing additional details to a situation or by adding to, changing or countermanding a previous order.  Because it is only used for changing an existing order, nothing except essential information is provided.  Thus, it is incomplete, or “fragmentary,” without the preexisting order.

Fragmentary (frag) Order

An order that is used to modify any existing order by providing additional details to a situation or by adding to, changing or countermanding a previous order.  Because it is only used for changing an existing order, nothing except essential information is provided.  Thus, it is incomplete, or “fragmentary,” without the preexisting order. (See also Four Types of Orders)

Free Play Exercises

Any exercise in which two or more opponents face off on a given assignment and compete against each other.  To the maximum extent possible, this adversary relationship simulates real life operations and creativity and ingenuity are encouraged. (See also OpFor Gaming)

Friction

The force that resists all action. It makes the simple difficult and the difficult seemingly impossible.  It may be psychological, self-induced or physical.

Future information

Any information that can be confidently derived by forecast or projection. (See also Four Types of Information)

G

General Support

The command relationship for a unit whose actions support the organization as a whole rather than any particular component.  When in general support, lines of command and control are essentially the same, with the exception that the portion of the unit actually deployed is under the authority of the Incident Commander. (See also Direct Support)

Graphics

A means of communication which includes images of all types.  Images can be actual representations of objects or scenes or, just as useful, abstract expressions and ideas. (See also Communication Forms – Language, Numbers and Signal)

Grid System

A navigation system that utilizes a map, diagram or aerial photograph superimposed with straight lines intersecting at right angles over it.  The squares formed by the lines are called “grid squares” and the lines are assigned either numbers or letters to identify a particular square. (See also Navigation Methods)

H

Hammer and Anvil

A tactic that works by using two forces, one stationary and one mobile.  The stationary force “fixes” the adversary and prevents escape while the mobile force moves toward it with the adversary caught between.

Hasty Plan

A plan that is used to provide an organized response for spontaneous or unintentional events and which are so impromptu that detailed planning is not possible or so remote that comprehensive planning is not justified.  In simpler terms, hasty plans provide an organized response to surprise. (See also Contingency Plan and Deliberate Plan)

Heuristic

A procedure or technique that increases the probability of finding solutions with less time and effort than that required by a random or exhaustive search. (See also Rule of Thumb)

Human Sensing Dimensional Barrier

A barrier that separates humanspace from cyberspace beyond which a lack of knowledge prevents adversaries from being acquired and engaged because of an inability to determine their identity and/or location.  This barrier is a dynamic and contested frontier between opposing forces because terrorists and criminals will take steps to avoid detection and thus remain in the safety of cyberspace. (See also Humanspace and Cyberspace)

Humanspace

That aspect of battlespace composed of the traditional dimensions of space and time in which humans, and their machines, move and fight. (See also Cyberspace, SpaceA and Time)

I

IDR format

An acronym describing a simple, three-step process for identifying and recording lessons learned.  The acronym that takes its name from the three components, Item (or Issue or Idea), Discussion and Recommendations. (See also After Action Review and Debriefing)

Implied Threat

A threat where the consequences of defiance are left to the imagination of the adversary.  Because even absurd and bizarre options are possible in our imaginations, the implied threat is far more powerful than an expressed threat. (See also Expressed Threat)

Incremental Decision

A decision that offers a partial solution and involves little risk but with the expectation that subsequent decisions will progressively promote a satisfactory resolution

Indirect Order

An order that is issued through an intermediary.  While it is not uncommon for an indirect order to be issued verbally, they are most commonly written, especially in the form of a plan, policy or instruction.  Indirect orders are the norm when a commander issues an order to an entire unit and require the same degree of compliance as a direct order. (See also Direct Order)

Individual Planning

A planning process that involves the efforts of only one person, or in some instances, a very few.  Because individual planning is faster than collective planning it is used when speed is more important than precision. (See also Collective Planning)

Information

The knowledge or news of an event or situation gained through collection of facts or data.  Information is best understood “raw data” while intelligence is “processed data.” (See also Intelligence)

Initiative

The power or ability to begin and follow through with some plan or task.  Initiative lies entirely in the dimension of time.  It is not action, per se, but rather the freedom of action; the ability to choose when and how to act, or in some cases, not to act. (See also Density and Tempo)

Intelligence Axiom

An intelligence principle that manifests itself in tactical environments because the value of the information necessary for effective tactical decisions is often proportionate to the difficulty in obtaining and evaluating it.  Consequently, the faster and easier relevant information can be incorporated into the decision making process, the more value, and the greater impact it will have on the ultimate resolution. Thus an axiom is revealed which states that anything that decreases the effort in obtaining information automatically increases its value. (See also Intelligence Paradox)

Intelligence Function

The function in a tactical organization responsible for the gathering, recording, evaluating and disseminating of all pertinent information relating to an incident.  An implied responsibility with this component requires the continual assessment of all information to determine its relevance, accuracy and timeliness in forecasting the impact on the overall operation. (See also Command Element, Logistics Function, and Operations Function)

Intelligence Paradox

A concept that describes a paradox in that the better the intelligence predicting an undesirable event, the less likely it is to occur if properly acted upon.  Thus, good intelligence appears flawed. (See also Intelligence Axiom)

Intelligence Process

  • Direction stems straight from the operational mission and identifies both the nature of the intelligence sought and the means to attain it.
  • Collection refers to those efforts made at obtaining the information and making it available.
  • Processing and productionis the step where loose data is analyzed and organized into a usable form.
  • Dissemination ensures that the varying organizational components get the needed intelligence in an appropriate form and in a timely manner.

Intelligence

The specific information related to a situation at hand.  Information is best understood “raw data” while intelligence is “processed data.” (See also InformationThe knowledge or news of an event or situation gained through collection of facts or data. Information is best understood “raw data” while intelligence is “processed data.”)

Intentions

Refers to the actual or potential activities of an opposing force.  Intentions answer the question, “What is likely to happen?”  When applied to an adversary, they generally identify their aims and likely courses of action and when applied to natural or technological disasters, intentions identify probable behaviors and consequences. (See also Trends, Potentials, and Capabilities)

Intuition

The thoughts and preferences that come to mind quickly and without much reflection.  Intuition allows a decision maker to quickly grasp the essence of a situation, sort through a vast amount of ambiguous and uncertain information and find an acceptable solution.

Isolation Effect

A human mental trait describing the fact that the more information stands out the more likely it is to be remembered.  It is also called the “Von Restorff Effect” after the German psychologist who first reported it.

Issue Owner

The person most accountable for performing a specific function or solving a particular problem.  The closer a person is to a problem the more likely they are to be familiar with the specific factors and influences in play.

J

Joint Command

A command relationship between two or more agencies working together in which all internal command channels remain the same with the senior commander of the supporting unit subordinate to the original incident commander.  Generally, the supporting (reinforcing) unit or agency reports to the incident commander of the supported (reinforced) unit and is attached to the existing tactical organization as a separate component. (See also Unified CommandA command relationship between two or more agencies working together which incorporates the senior commanders from supporting units into a single command module where command is shared. Unified command is commonly used when the reinforcing unit is larger than the one reinforced.)

K

KOCOA

An acronym used to identify the five most commonly used steps in conducting a terrain analysis.  These are “Key terrain features,” “Observation and fields of fire,” “Cover and concealment,” “Obstacles,” and “Avenues of approach and escape.”  The first component identified as “Critical terrain features.” (See also Terrain Analysis and Terrain Analysis Steps)

L

Language

A means of communication which includes all its forms but primarily expressions provided either as text or verbally. (See also Communication Forms, Language, Graphics,, Numbers and Signal)

Legitimacy

A principle of war that is often called the “10th Principle of War.”  It identifies the absolute necessity of maintaining the confidence of the community of the lawfulness and morality of actions. (See also Nine Principles of War)

Leverage Point

A place or step in a system or sequence where force can be applied to make a change. (See also Decision Point and Trip Wire)

Logistical Process

  • Procurement identifies the need to obtain the essential equipment, weapons, supplies, consumables and personnel.
  • Distribution involves the dispersing of equipment and personnel to where they are most needed and when.
  • Sustainment is the third logistical role and ensures that the maintenance, replenishment and/or replacement of equipment, consumables and personnel are accomplished to ensure uninterrupted operations.
  • Recovery and identifies those efforts focusing on the return of all equipment and personnel to their proper place and condition at the conclusion of the operation.

Logistical Pull System

A logistical strategy that places responsibility on the supported unit for requesting logistical support.  This means that all resupplies, maintenance, calibration, reliefs, and so forth, are “pulled” by requesting them as needed.  It is sometimes referred to as a “demand-pull system.” (See also Logistical Push System)

Logistical Push System

A logistical strategy that places responsibility on the logistics section for providing all necessary support to a deployed unit.  Supplies and personnel reliefs are usually assigned, moved and distributed according to a schedule based upon an estimate of need by the logistics component.  It is sometimes called a “supply push system.” (See also Logistical Pull System)

Logistical Tasks

  • Manning is directly supportive of activities involved with personnel.  In the simplest terms, manning refers to the posting of people at the right place and time with the right equipment.
  • Arming refers to providing appropriate weapons, ammunition and related equipment.
  • Fueling is necessary for all engines and is often referred to in the military as P-O-L, which stands for Petroleum, Oils and Lubricants.
  • Fixing is necessary to ensure that all equipment remains operational.  Besides repairs, some types of equipment need calibration and maintenance to ensure continued operations.
  • Moving is a logistics task that refers to the necessity of moving personnel and equipment to where they are needed.
  • Protectingis a comprehensive logistical task that refers to safeguarding, shielding and preserving all materiel and personnel.

Logistics Function

The function in a tactical organization responsible for the acquisition, identification, tracking, staging and recovery of all personnel, assets and resources.  An implied responsibility is sustaining operations. (See also Command Element, Intelligence Function, and Operations Function)

Loosely Coupled Plan

Plans in which the interactions between the various components do not require close coordination.  Loosely coupled plans tend to be more flexible but less efficient that tightly coupled plans. (See also Tightly Coupled Plan)

M

Main Effort (ME)

The agency, unit or component which has been assigned as the primary means to accomplish the interest or activity defined by the focus of effort.  Main effort answers questions of who is to do something? (See also Focus of Effort)

Manageable Future

That portion of the future that lies between the best and worst case scenarios, with the highest confidence nearest the most likely scenario and oriented closest to the present.  The manageable future identifies that portion of the future in which efforts are focused in order to achieve a more favorable outcome. (See also Event Horizon and Foreseeable Future)

Maneuver Element

A component of a tactical formation capable of changing position in order to gain a position of advantage.

Maneuver

One of the nine principles of war that refers to the movement of troops and equipment to gain an advantage. (See also Nine Principles of War)

Map Reconnaissance

An inspection of one or more maps of an area in question to gain a general perspective.

Mass

One of the nine principles of war that identifies the importance of the concentration of personnel and/or equipment at a decisive time and place.  It is the reciprocal of economy of force. (See also Nine Principles of War and Economy of Force)

Massed Swarm

A swarming tactic that forms after the maneuver elements have massed at a staging area or from another formation and then disperse to simultaneously attack from multiple directions.  It is also called a “cloud swarm.” (See also Dispersed Swarm)

Materiel

A term used to describe the aggregate of all things needed in a venture, especially tactical and military operations. (See also Logistics Function)

Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

An understanding between agencies that assigns responsibility and/or allocates resources according to an agreement.  MOUs identify potential resources not ordinarily or readily available and greatly simplify and expedite the means to make them available.

METT-T

An acronym that identifies the five most commonly used steps in conducting an operational analysis.  These are “Mission,” “Enemy,” “Terrain and weather,” “Troops and support available,” and “Time available.”  In domestic law enforcement applications the second component is more often adapted by substituting “Obstacle” for enemy. (See also Operational Analysis and Operational Analysis Steps)

Micro-terrain

Terrain that is tactically significant because it will have an impact on an operation but is too small or insignificant to be depicted on a map.

Misplaced Confidence

A failure that occurs when those involved underestimate the abilities of the adversary or overestimate their own capabilities.  In natural and mechanical disasters, this occurs when the magnitude or scope of the consequences are underestimated. (See also Overconfidence)

Mission Creep

A gradual and barely noticeable change or expansion of missions without a conscious decision.  Because of the lack of intent mission creep fails to compensate for the shortcomings of equipment or capabilities necessary for the new mission.  This is sometimes referred to as a “creeping mission.” (See also Drifting Standards)

Mission Tasking

A method of assigning tasks and missions that works by recognizing that each mission actually consists of two parts; the task to be accomplished and the reason or intent it is necessary.

Mitigation

The phase in emergency management that involves those activities designed to prevent and/or reduce losses from disaster.  Mitigation efforts almost always involve long-term actions such as reinforcing structures, installing backup power sources for critical installations, educating the community and sanctioning strict building codes and zoning ordinances. (See also Phases of Emergency Management)

Mnemonic

Any technique that aids memory.  Mnemonics often take the form of verses, acronyms, stories, and anecdotes.  They work by linking the information with other information so that is easier to retain.

MOOSEMUSS

The acronym used to remember the nine principles of war.  Each of the letters identifies a principle and keeps them mentally available for review.  While no particular order is implied, the letters generally stand for “Maneuver,” “Objective,” “Offense,” “Simplicity,” “Economy of Force,” “Mass,” “Unity of command,” “Surprise” and “Security.” (See also Nine Principles of War)

MOU and MOA

An acronym that is used to identify a formal understanding between agencies.  They stand for, “Memorandum Of Understanding,” and “Memorandum Of Agreement.”  While there may be subtle legal differences that distinguish them from one another, they are most commonly used in law enforcement applications as synonyms. (See also Memorandum of Understanding (MOU))

Mutual Aid

The reciprocal support that different agencies, disciplines and jurisdictions provide each other in times of need. (See also Reinforcement)

N

Narrowcast

Any means of communicating that is sent to specific users who have a need for it.  Narrowcasting has the advantage of focusing communications to a particular person or group. (See also Broadcast)

Nature of Knowledge

  • Data refers to facts, statistics or codes that exist without context.  Data, in and of itself, is not information because it provides no ability to inform.
  • Information may be best understood as a collection of facts or data from which conclusions may be drawn. Information is the first step toward understanding and where meaning is attached.
  • Knowledge refers to a state of awareness of facts and circumstances accompanied with a personal assessment. Consequently, all knowledge is based on interpreted information.
  • Understanding identifies a person’s thorough comprehension of the nature of something.  It surpasses simply knowing something and provides insight for probabilities, expectations, opportunities, creativity and resourcefulness.  True understanding enables intuition and so subtle factors and influences are more easily detected and reliable inferences can be formed.

Navigation Methods

  • Cardinal directions is a system of navigation that uses the cardinal points of a compass for steering.  Directions are given with one of the four cardinal points of a compass; north, south, east and west.  When more precision is necessary the intermediate points of northwest, northeast, southwest and southeast are provided.
  • Shift from a Known Point is a navigation system that calls attention to an easily identifiable terrain feature or man-made object and then provides a direction and distance from it.
  • Grid System consists of a map, diagram or aerial photograph superimposed with straight lines intersecting at right angles over it. The squares formed by the lines are called “grid squares” and the lines are assigned either numbers or letters to identify a particular square. The grids can be mentally divided into even small grids for more precision.
  • Numbering System assigns a number or letter to each side of a building to enable clear and precise directions with a minimum of confusion or conversation.

Nine Principles of War

refers to nine tried and true principles that provide guidance, understanding and insight for developing plans, determining courses of action and making decisions in tactical operations and disaster responses.  While originally identified and described for military operations, they have equal applicability in crises, especially conflicts.

  • Maneuver refers to the movement of troops and equipment to gain an advantage.
  • Objective is called the master or controlling principle.  This is because it is the basis for which all planning must necessarily follow. In the simplest terms, objective means purpose.
  • Offense refers to active attempts to gain an advantage and force a favorable outcome.  While defense is valuable, it cannot, in and of itself, be decisive because the initiative cannot be gained or maintained and so the best that can be hoped for is a stalemate.
  • Simplicity refers to the freedom of complexity, intricacy or pretentiousness.  A plan that cannot be understood cannot be implemented.
  • Economy of Force is the preservation of personnel and/or equipment at a given time and place to ensure readiness for both sustainment and achieve superiority at a decisive place and time. It is the reciprocal of mass.
  • Mass is a concentration of personnel and/or equipment at a decisive time and place.  It is the reciprocal of economy of force.
  • Unity of Command ensures that all efforts are focused on a common goal.  Unity of command is achieved by vesting a single commander with the requisite authority to direct, coordinate and control the actions of all forces employed in reaching the objective.
  • Surprise results from striking an adversary at an unexpected time or place, or in an unanticipated manner. It is not necessary that an adversary be taken completely unaware, only that he becomes aware too late to effectively react.
  • Security refers to the precautions necessary to deny an adversary any unexpected advantage.  The principle of security encompasses far more than just secrecy, however, and may be better described as protectiveness.
  • Legitimacy is often called the “10th Principle of War.”  It identifies the absolute necessity of maintaining the confidence of the community of the lawfulness and morality of actions.

Noncollaborative System

A communications system that allows communication without requiring compatible equipment. Noncollaborative systems are especially useful when impromptu communications are required. (See also Communication Systems and Collaborative System)

Norm

A set of factors or influences that provide a model or pattern regarded as typical.  Even when precision is not possible, norms provide an ability to make reliable estimates and approximations for planning and decision making. (See also Trends)

Numbering System

A navigation and/or orientation system that assigns a number or letter to each side of a building to enable clear and precise directions with a minimum of confusion or conversation. (See also Navigation Methods)

Numbers

A means of communication which refers to the concept of quantity.  Numbers have the advantage of conveying precision more than any other method or combination of methods because they impart a precise value. (See also Communication Forms, Graphics, Language and Signal)

O

Objective

One of the nine principles of war that identifies the goal to be attained.  It is often identified as the master or controlling principle because it provides the basis for which all planning must necessarily follow.  In the simplest terms, objective means purpose. (See also Nine Principles of War)

Offense

One of the nine principles of war that refers to the active attempts to gain an advantage and force a favorable outcome.  While defense is valuable, it cannot, in and of itself, be decisive because the initiative cannot be gained or maintained and so the best that can be hoped for is a stalemate. (See also Nine Principles of War)

On Order

One of the three ways of implementing a plan.  A plan that is implemented in this manner is upon receipt of a command.  Plans that are implemented in this manner have been prepared but not yet carried out and await only the order to put them into action. (See also Four Types of Orders, Contemporaneously and Time or Sequence)

OODA

An acronym that identifies the four steps in the Boyd Cycle.  These are, “Observation,” “Orientation,” “Decision,” and “Action.”  This acronym is so popular that it is just as often used as a substitute for the concept. (See also Boyd’s Cycle or the OODA Loop)

Operational Analysis

A method for developing a plan. It is a fundamental, but sometimes complex, prerequisite for any commander to gain the necessary understanding to formulate an effective strategy.  Accordingly, it is a first step in gaining true situational awareness and is a valuable tool for translating operational requirements into tactical guidance. (See also METT-T and Operational Analysis Steps)

Operational Analysis Steps

A most useful method for conducting an operational analysis is outlined with a mnemonic called METT-T that identifies the five essential factors of Mission, Enemy (or obstacle), Terrain and weather, Troops and support available, and Time available.

  • Mission refers the absolute necessity of developing and providing a clear, concise statement of what is to be done and for what purpose. It provides the basis for all future planning.
  • Enemy (or obstacle) is the second factor and identifies the threat, which is whatever needs to be defeated, removed, circumvented or surmounted to achieve a satisfactory resolution to the problem.
  • Terrain and Weather identifies the environmental factors involved in an operation. Both terrain and weather will impact operations, most commonly in the form of trafficability and visibility.

Trafficability refers to the condition of the soil or terrain with regard to being travelled over and is both terrain and weather dependent.  Trafficability will impact everything from suitable modes of transportation to where they can go.  While visibility can be terrain dependent, as with terrain shielding, it is most often affected by weather and lighting conditions.

  • Troops and Support identifies the personnel and equipment available for estimating the effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of operations.
  • Time is always a factor in tactical operations and disaster responses and imposes prioritization requirements, especially when the time available and the time required may be irreconcilable.

Operational Analysis

A fundamental, but sometimes complex, prerequisite for any commander to gain the necessary understanding to formulate an effective strategy.  In the simplest terms, an operational analysis is a method for developing a plan. (See also Operational Analysis Steps and METT-T)

Operational Control

A command relationship that gives a commander authority to assign tasks, organize and employ the supporting unit’s assets and give direction throughout the accomplishment of the mission.  Sometimes referred to by the acronym OPCON. (See also Administrative Control. and Tactical Control)

Operations Function

The function in a tactical organization responsible for the actions focused on reducing the immediate hazard and safeguarding life and property.  Accordingly, this is where actions are organized, staffed, coordinated and directed toward a common objective.  In the simplest terms, this function is responsible for ensuring that the end state, as defined by the command element, is efficiently and effectively accomplished. (See also Command Element, Intelligence Function and Logistics Function)

OpFor Gaming

An exercise that involves two or more opposing forces are competing in which involves all relevant factors, such as knowledge, strategy, skills, endurance, timing, and even chance.  Most OpFor exercises are “free play,” in that constraints are kept to an absolute minimum to encourage ingenuity and creativity.  It is often referred to as “red teaming.” (See also Free Play Exercises)

Opportunity

A brief interval in time in which circumstances are temporarily favorable.  Opportunities are the maneuver objective when maneuvering in time.  In tactical settings, opportunities tend to be elusive, sporadic and fleeting. (See also Exploitation Window)

Order

A command given by a superior requiring the immediate and full obedience in the execution of some task.  Orders differ from similar terms, such as “instructions” or “directives,” because they require immediate and strict compliance.

Other Intelligence Requirements (OIR)

Information that is not absolutely essential but is “nice to have.”  OIRs complement the more critical EEIs by “filling in the blanks” and providing a more complete picture of the situation. (See also Assumptions and Essential Elements of Information)

Overcome By Events (OBE)

A condition in which decision makers lose the ability to efficiently prioritize between competing interests when they become overwhelmed with their magnitude and complexity.  It is also referred to as “Overwhelmed by Events.” (See also Tempo)

Overconfidence

A failure that occurs when those involved underestimate the abilities of the adversary or overestimate their own capabilities.  In natural and mechanical disasters, this occurs when the magnitude or scope of the consequences are underestimated. (See also Misplaced Confidence)

Overwhelmed By Events (OBE)

A condition in which decision makers lose the ability to efficiently prioritize between competing interests when they become overwhelmed with their magnitude and complexity.  It is also referred to as “Overcome By Events.” (See also Tempo)

P

Passive Intelligence

An intelligence strategy which advocates methods that rely on deployed personnel with the belief that, because they are already in the field, and in many cases personally involved with the incident, they are the most able to provide the necessary information.  In the law enforcement community, this strategy is sometimes referred to as a “windshield survey.” (See also Active Intelligence)

Periodic Time

A method of dividing time that refers to a specified division, portion or interval identified by a distinctive characteristic.  Examples include hours, days and weeks or daytime, nighttime, afternoon, evening, etc. (See also Fixed Time and Relative Time)

Phases of Emergency Management

  • Mitigation refers to those activities designed to prevent and/or reduce losses from disaster.  Mitigation efforts almost always involve long-term actions such as reinforcing structures, installing backup power sources for critical installations, educating the community and sanctioning strict building codes and zoning ordinances.
  • Preparedness is focused on planning and preparing for an effective response.  Of necessity, this includes establishing priorities and organizing, equipping and training personnel for their expected roles when they are needed.
  • Response involves the mobilization and deployment of personnel and equipment to respond to an anticipated or unfolding situation. Actions in the response phase are tightly focused on preserving life and property.
  • Recovery refers to activities focused on quickly restoring an affected area and people to their former state.  This phase often overlaps the response phase and begins as soon as the threat to human life has subsided.

Physical Force

Any force that is perceptible to the senses and subject to the laws of physics.  Physical force is tangible and can be measured. (See also Psychological Force)

Pincer

A tactic that works by employing two moving forces closing toward each other with the adversary caught between them; hence it is sometimes referred to as a “double envelopment.” (See also Envelopment)

Plan Implementation

  • On Order is one method of implementing a plan that is executed upon receipt of a command.  Plans that are implemented in this manner have been prepared but not yet carried out and await only the order to put them into action.
  • Time or Sequence is a method of implementing plan that awaits a scheduled event or when one event is a precursor for another.
  • Contemporaneously is a method of implementing a plan when reacting to a developing situation.  This method is the most common for both fire and law enforcement in that they are the two most common disciplines called upon to intervene in deteriorating circumstances.

Plan

A structured configuration of actions in time and space envisioned for the future.  The focus of every plan is as a design to change the future to something better than anticipated.

Planning

The art and science of envisioning a desired future and laying out effective ways of bringing it about.

Potentials

Describes the ability or capacity of something.  Potentials set limits on possibilities. (See also Trends, Capabilities and Intentions)

Preparedness

The phase in emergency management that is focused on planning and preparing for an effective response.  Of necessity, this includes establishing priorities and organizing, equipping and training personnel for their expected roles when they are needed. (See also Phases of Emergency Management)

Procurement

Identifies the logistical need to obtain the essential equipment, weapons, supplies, consumables and personnel.  Procurement is one of the four principal roles in the logistical process. (See also Logistical Process, Distribution, Recovery, and Sustainment)

Prominent Terrain

Any terrain feature that can be easily identified and is displayed on a map. Prominent terrain is especially useful for orientation and navigation.

Proximate Cause

A factor or influence that appears clearly apparent and directly connected.  Proximate causes tend to be conspicuous, especially in failure, because they are so closely connected to the actual problem. (See also Root Cause)

Psychological Force

Any force that is focused on the mind or will of a person.  The effects of psychological force are imperceptible and unable to be measured. (See also Physical Force)

Pull Strategy

An intelligence strategy that places information in a central repository where it is available for subordinate units to access as desired.  In this manner, local commanders are provided an ability to build their own intelligence picture (OIR) by augmenting what they have been given with whatever else they want to know. (See also Push Strategy)

Push Strategy

An intelligence strategy that uses higher headquarters to decide who needs to know what, and then “push” it to subordinate units in the form of intelligence updates and summaries. (See also Pull Strategy)

R

Ramp-Up Strategy

A deployment strategy in which the size and type of units needed to adequately handle a situation are estimated and dispatched. (See also Surge Strategy)

Reachback

A term used to describe the process of obtaining products, services, forces and equipment from organizations that are not deployed and may not even be otherwise involved in the operation or response.

Reactions

Responses to some treatment, situation, or stimulus.  Unlike decisions, reactions are processed in a more primitive portion of the brain that is incapable of conscious thought.

Reconstitution

A logistical term that describes the necessity to reconstitute tactical units when degraded by injuries, fatigue, and the like.

Recovery

Identifies those logistical efforts focused on the return of all equipment and personnel to their proper place and condition at the conclusion of the operation.  Recovery is one of the four principal roles in the logistical process. (See also Logistical Process, Distribution, Procurement and Sustainment)

Recovery

The phase in emergency management that involves those activities focused on quickly restoring an affected area and people to their former state.  This phase often overlaps the response phase and begins as soon as the threat to human life has subsided. (See also Phases of Emergency Management and Response)

Reinforcement

The augmentation of a tactical organization with additional troops or equipment.  Reinforcements are commonly required to counter unforeseen threats, or to prolong or renew some action and are provided in either general support or direct support. (See also Mutual Aid)

Relative Superiority

That temporary advantage gained by a smaller force over a larger one or a well-defended opponent.

Relative Time

A method of dividing time that is a point or period of time having significance only in relation to something else.  Examples include “now,” “before,” “again,” as well as consecutive, continual, temporary, subsequent, and so forth. (See also Fixed Time and Periodic Time)

Repetition

Describes any series of drills, exercises or practices intended to increase proficiency in preparation for an actual event.  Repetition is critical in special operations missions because it increases confidence, reduces unfamiliarity and enhances the speed necessary for surprise.

Replacement

A logistical term that refers to providing substitutes for damaged or destroyed equipment, vehicles and so forth.

Replenishment

A logistical term which refers to refilling or resupplying what is lacking.

Reserve

Designated personnel or equipment retained or set aside for future use or a special purpose.

Resource Driven Tasks

Tasks that are largely dependent upon the amount and type of resources that can be dedicated to them are called resource driven.  A resource driven task can be expedited by adding resources. (See also Time Driven Tasks)

Resources

A term used to describe the equipment, tools, weapons, personnel and so forth, that are available but not owned by the organization. (See also Assets)

Response

The phase in emergency management that involves the mobilization and deployment of personnel and equipment to respond to an anticipated or unfolding situation.  Actions in the response phase are tightly focused on preserving life and property. (See also Phases of Emergency Management and Recovery)

Restraints

Controls which prohibit some action.  Restraints may be imposed by law, policy or a plan. (See also Constraints)

Reverse Engineering

A process in which an assembled device, often a competitor’s, is taken apart to learn how it works and identify parts and processes that can be improved.

Root Cause

A causal chain that eventually leads to an outcome.  Root causes are not as apparent as proximate causes and require more effort to identify and correct.  Root causes have wider reaching effects than proximate causes and they tend to be more difficult to correct. (See also Proximate Cause)

Rule of Thumb

A mental principle with broad application that gets a decision maker close to a solution.  It is not precise enough to identify a solution but it helps provide a focus to avoid pitfalls and unproductive efforts. (See also Heuristic)

Rules of Engagement (ROE)

Controls that describe the circumstances, and set forth the conditions, under which law enforcement officers may initiate and/or continue actions against adversaries.  They are crafted to address the specific situation for a particular operation, and are usually, but not always, more restrictive than existing policies generally permit.

S

SALUTE Report

is a field intelligence report that provides information about a specific occurrence in a standardized format.  There are six steps that describe the observation and are always given and recorded in the exact order.

  • Size refers to the size, extent or magnitude of the event.
  • Activity provides a description of the particular observation.
  • Location refers to the precise location where the activity is occurring.  If the incident is dynamic, the direction and approximate speed it is moving is also be provided.
  • Unit or uniform describes who or what is involved and what they look like.  Whenever possible, precise identification is preferred but when that is not possible a detailed description is substituted.
  • Time and duration identifies the time that an observer first noticed the event, or if it is concluded, the time that it was observed.  When an event is ongoing or continued for a period of time, the time it first was first noticed is provided with the duration of the observation.
  • Equipment or weapons describes any equipment or weapons involved. For example, an observer might note that a bunch of demonstrators were carrying placards, banners or flags during a protest.

Sanctuary of Anonymity

A refuge provided by an inability to determine the identity of an adversary.  Unknown adversaries not only present a threat but are able to move and act with impunity.

Satisficing

A method for making decisions that opts for a prompt search for adequacy over a prolonged one for the optimal.

Scenario Review

A method that identifies likely probabilities from boundless possibilities.  It identifies realistic probabilities with a best and worst case scenario, as well as the presumptive with a most likely scenario.

Sector of Fire

A designated zone to be protected by an individual, team, or unit.  Any target within a sector of fire is the responsibility of the person or unit assigned, and conversely, no individual is allowed to shoot outside their assigned sector of fire. (See also Field of Fire)

Security

One of the nine principles of war that identifies the importance of taking precautions to deny an adversary any unexpected advantage.  The principle of security encompasses far more than just secrecy, however, and may be better described as protectiveness. (See also Nine Principles of War)

Sequels

Courses of actions that follow other actions.  Sequels answer questions of “what next?” (See also Branches)

Shaping Operation

Any series of actions taken in anticipation of an engagement or tactical operation designed to promote accomplishment of strategic objectives.  Shaping operations enhance success by negating or mitigating potentially adverse effects while strengthening or increasing potentially favorable factors.

Shift from a Known Point

A navigation system that calls attention to an easily identifiable terrain feature or man-made object and then provides a direction and distance from it. (See also Navigation Methods)

Signal to Noise Ratio

A metric used to compare the amount of useful information with the amount of useless information. The higher the ratio the more difficult it is to comprehend.

Signal

A means of communication which includes anything that serves to indicate, warn or direct some event or action.  Signals come in all forms but the most common include sounds, lights and gestures. (See also Communication Forms)

Similarity Heuristic

A procedure or technique that provides clues to solutions based upon what has worked in the past in similar situations.  Similarity heuristics rely on pattern recognition in that the decision maker is able to classify the current problem as fundamentally the same as one in memory, either from training and education or from personal experience.

Simplicity

One of the nine principles of war that identifies the freedom from unnecessary complexity, intricacy or pretentiousness.  A plan that cannot be understood cannot be implemented. (See also Nine Principles of War)

Situation Assessment

Any analysis that attempts to identify the various elements and dynamics at play in an unfolding situation, especially those that may influence a favorable outcome. (See also AnalysisA mental process that breaks a problem into its component parts to determine the essential features and relationships. and Synthesis)

Situational Awareness

A concept that describes a person’s knowledge and understanding of the circumstances, surroundings, and influences with regard to an unfolding situation.  It also includes everything that is known about the situation leading up to the current episode, as well as the impact it might have on other incidents. (See also Common Operational Picture)

Six Principles of Special Operations

refers to six principles which are crucial to the success of special operations.  These are simplicity, security, repetition, surprise, speed and purpose. (See also Nine Principles of War)

Six Principles of Special Operations

refers to six principles which are crucial to the success of special operations.  These are simplicity, security, repetition, surprise, speed and purpose. (See also Nine Principles of War)

SMEAC—Five Paragraph Planning and Briefing Format

  • Situation is the first component and provides a brief summary of all that has transpired and any mitigating or aggravating circumstances that can affect the operation.
  • Mission is the second component and precisely identifies the objective to be accomplished.  This is the most important component because it provides the basis for which all planning must eventually follow.
  • Execution is the component is that is usually the most voluminous and time consuming because it not only assigns missions to each unit, but also describes how they are expected to be achieved.
  • Administrative and Logisticsis the fourth component and is often referred to as the “beans, bandages and bullets” section. This component provides instructions for logistical support, such as how personnel are to be fed, equipped, transported and relieved. (also referred to as the Service and Support or Service and Supply component)
  • Command and Signal. This component identifies and describes the critical command and control personnel and facilities and provides information on how the various units will communicate.
  •  

Social Forecast

An estimation of the potential, location, scope and volatility for social events.  While a social forecast is more than a guess, it stops short of a prediction.

Space

A three-dimensional realm in which matter exists.  Space is comprised of length, width and height and maneuver can be in any direction. (See also Cyberspace, Humanspace, and Time)

Span of Control

refers to the number of subordinates that are under the direct supervision of a single superior. (See also Table of Organization)

Speed

Refers to the rapidity and quickness of actions.  It includes all functions and operations involved in a tactical operation, but is especially critical in a conflict. (See also Tempo)

Standing Operating Procedures (SOP)

A formal policy that standardizes methods and routines within an agency according to established procedures.  This provides an ability to quickly and easily incorporate units with complex functions without extensive elaboration.  They are also referred to as standard operating procedures and may be written or unwritten.

Steering Mark

Any well-defined object on the ground that can be used for orientation. (See also Prominent Terrain)

Stockholm Syndrome

An emotional attachment between hostages and hostage-takers that develops when a hostage is threatened with death and unable to escape.

Strategy

The planning and development of large-scale and/or long-range operations to ensure a satisfactory end state.  Strategies employ a broad perspective and look at the problem as a whole. They treat problems in a holistic manner rather than simply a collection of the component parts. (See also Tactics and Techniques)

Supply Push System

A logistical strategy that places responsibility on the logistics section for providing all necessary support to a deployed unit.  Supplies and personnel reliefs are usually assigned, moved and distributed according to a schedule based upon an estimate of need by the logistics component.  It is sometimes called a “logistical push system.” (See also Demand-Pull System)

Surge Strategy

A deployment strategy that intentionally overestimates the immediate need and attempts to quickly provide a decisive intervention to avoid potentially devastating consequences. (See also Ramp-up Strategy)

Surprise

One of the nine principles of war that emphasizes the advantages that result from striking an adversary at an unexpected time or place, or in an unanticipated manner.  It is not necessary that an adversary be taken completely unaware, only that he becomes aware too late to effectively react. (See also Nine Principles of War)

Sustainability

An ability to maintain or endure.  Sustainability is heavily influenced by environmental conditions. (See also Trafficability and Visibility)

Sustainment

Identifies the need to maintain or endure.  While sustainability includes many aspects it is especially susceptible to weather conditions.  Weather effects like extreme heat or cold, sleet, dust, or humidity will all affect how well and how long both equipment and personnel can operate effectively.  Sustainment is one of the four principal roles in the logistical process. (See also Logistical Process, Procurement, Distribution and Recovery)

Swarming Tactic

A tactic in which the scheme of maneuver involves multiple semi-autonomous units that converge on a single target from many directions.

SWOT Technique

A method of analysis that integrates four factors that make up the acronym; strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.  Strengths and weaknesses are inward looking and normally focused on the response organization itself.  Opportunities and threats are outward looking and attempt to identify factors, influences and opportunities that result from environmental factors and adversary errors. (See also Situation AssessmentAny analysis that attempts to identify the various elements and dynamics at play in an unfolding situation, especially those that may influence a favorable outcome.)

Symmetric Strategy

A strategy in which one force attempts to match—or rather, to overmatch—an adversary’s strengths. (See also Asymmetric Strategy)

Synchronous System

refers to a method of communicating that requires all participants to communicate at the same time. (See also Asynchronous System)

Synthesis

A mental process that involves integrating the various components and activities of an intervention into a cohesive whole so that the plan is both effective and efficient.  It is of great value for estimating the impact of the various dynamics and identifying intermediate objectives. (See also Analysis)

T

Table of Organization

design or system to provide for the interaction of the essential components and assures that all efforts are directed toward achieving a common goal.  It is necessary to effectively define lines of authority, distribute power and allocate resources and is also called the command and control architecture. (See also Command and Control Architecture, Chain of Command, and Command Channel)

Tactical Control

A command relationship that gives a commander authority for assignments limited to objectives necessary to accomplish specific missions.  Sometimes referred to by the acronym TACON. (See also Administrative Control and Operational Control)

Tactical Science

The systematized body of knowledge covering the principles and doctrines associated with tactical operations and emergency responses.  It reconciles scientific knowledge with practical ends.

Tactics

The methods and concepts used to accomplish particular missions. (See also Strategy and Techniques)

Technique

A procedure or process for performing a specific task or function.  Techniques almost always involve the employment or utilization of a weapon or piece of equipment. (See also Strategy)

Tempo

The speed, rhythm or rate of movement of something.  In a tactical operation it describes the rapidity at which events are unfolding. (See also Density and Initiative)

Terrain Analysis Steps

  • Key Terrainis any locality or area, the control of which affords a marked advantage to either the suspect or police.  A subset of key terrain is commanding terrain, which is any terrain that offers a decisive advantage.
  • Observation refers to the ability to view an area or other feature. Field of fire refers to the area that a weapon can cover effectively from a given position.
  • (See also Sectors of Fire A designated zone to be protected by an individual, team, or unit. Any target within a sector of fire is the responsibility of the person or unit assigned, and conversely, no individual is allowed to shoot outside their assigned sector of fire.)
  • Cover is anything that protects against weapons fire and their effects.  In order for something to be considered as cover it must not only protect from projectiles but any of their effects.
  • Concealmentrefers to anything that prevents observation.
  • Obstacle is any object that stops, impedes or diverts the movement of forces.  When an obstacle is so formidable that it completely prevents movement it is called a barrier, and is a subset of this component.
  • Avenue of Approach is simply a route by which friendly forces can reach an objective.
  • Avenue of Escape is simply a route by which a suspect can maneuver to a better position or evade attempts to capture him.

Terrain Analysis

The process by which important terrain features are identified and evaluated for their impact on a tactical operation.  A terrain analysis may be as simple as a mental survey of the likely influence of various terrain features or as sophisticated as a written, comprehensive and detailed analysis that includes the effects of lighting and weather. (See also Weather Analysis)

Terrain Appreciation

The process used to glean insight from how terrain will affect an operation.  Because the use of terrain is also heavily influenced by weather conditions, weather and lighting factors are also part of the process.

Terrain Shielding

The utilization of terrain, including the vegetation and structures on it, as protection from a threat.

Tightly Coupled Plans

A plan that requires close coordination and have more time-dependent processes.  While no plan is exclusively tightly coupled, those that rely on scarce resources or resources not controlled by the Incident Commander benefit from tight couplings.  Tightly coupled plans tend to be more efficient than loosely coupled plans but are not very flexible and are easily damaged. (See also Loosely Coupled Plans)

Time Divisions (See also Time)

  • Fixed Time is definitively and unequivocally set and not dependent upon external factors.
  • Periodic Time refers to a specified division, portion or interval identified by a distinctive characteristic
  • Relative Time is a point or period of time having significance only in relation to something else.

Time Driven Tasks

Task that have fixed durations are time dependent.  A time dependent task cannot be expedited by adding resources. (See also Resource Driven Tasks)

Time or Sequence

One of the three ways of implementing a plan.  This method awaits a scheduled or anticipated event or when one event is a precursor for another. (See also Four Types of Orders)

Time

A non-space continuum where events occur in an irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future.  Because time is a succession, maneuver is always linear and moves only forward in time. (See also Cyberspace, Humanspace and Space)

Trafficability

The ability of moving something from one place to another, especially in a conveyance of some sort.  Trafficability depends on a combination of the conditions and the mode of transportation. (See also Sustainability and Visibility)

Trends

A trend is a combination of measurement and prediction used to identify a general tendency, inclination or predisposition.  Trends are identified by measuring events. (See also Potentials, Capabilities, and Intentions)

Trip Wire

A technique used to automatically implement a plan, procedure or series of actions.  Trip wires afford instant action within predetermined guidelines without burdening a busy commander with needless concern over decisions which will be better and more effective when made later in the operation. (See also Decision Point)

U

Unfit for Command

A common cause of failure of tactical operations and disaster responses which, generally, can be attributed to one or more of three factors.

  • Failure to Learn can usually be attributed to either ignoring or not recognizing contributory factors and influences, often because of failing to objectively critique and correct past mistakes.
  • Failure to Adapt occurs when a commander fails to adjust to changing circumstances.
  • Failure to Anticipate occurs when a commander fails to plan and prepare for those factors and influences that can be reasonably expected.

Unified Command

A command relationship between two or more agencies working together which incorporates the senior commanders from supporting units into a single command module where command is shared.  Unified command is commonly used when the reinforcing unit is larger than the one reinforced. (See also Joint Command)

Unity of Command

One of the nine principles of war that ensures that all efforts are focused on a common goal.  Unity of command is achieved by vesting a single commander with the requisite authority to direct, coordinate and control the actions of all forces employed in reaching the objective. (See also Nine Principles of War)

Unreasonable Force

The use of any force when it is unjustified.  The most common mistake associated with complaints of unnecessary force is lack of urgency. (See also Excessive Force)

V

Vapor Swarm

A swarming tactic that involves maneuver elements that are already dispersed and converge on a target from many directions.  It is also called a “dispersed swarm.” (See also Cloud Swarm)

Visibility

The clarity and distance something can be seen with or without visual aids.

W

Warning Order

An order that is used when it appears certain that an individual or unit will be required, but is not immediately needed.  It can also be used to advise that some type of action may be required.  This is particularly valuable if the action requires unusual resources or extraordinary preparation. (See also Four Types of Orders)

Weather Analysis

The process by which atmospheric conditions are identified and evaluated for their impact on a tactical operation. (See also Terrain Analysis)

Weather

The state of the atmosphere at any given time and place with respect to such things as temperature, wind speed and direction, humidity, precipitation, and so forth.

Window of Vulnerability

A period of time when conditions exist that place a tactical team at a disadvantage.

Windows of Opportunity

  • Exploitation Window is a period of time in which an individual or unit is at some sort of disadvantage as a result of an intentional action by their opponent.
  • Window of Vulnerability occurs when conditions exist that place a tactical team at a disadvantage.

Z

Zone of Action

Any geographical region where a commander is actively attempting to influence the outcome of an operation or disaster response. (See also Area of Operation, Area of Interest, and Area of Influence)

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Passive Intelligence

 

An intelligence strategy which advocates methods that rely on deployed personnel with the belief that, because they are already in the field, and in many cases personally involved with the incident, they are the most able to provide the necessary information. In the law enforcement community, this strategy is sometimes referred to as a “windshield survey.”

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Operational Control

 

A command relationship that gives a commander authority to assign tasks, organize and employ the supporting unit’s assets and give direction throughout the accomplishment of the mission. Sometimes referred to by the acronym OPCON.

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Tactical Control

 

A command relationship that gives a commander authority for assignments limited to objectives necessary to accomplish specific missions. Sometimes referred to by the acronym TACON.

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Debriefing

 

A moderated discussion focused on gaining understanding and insight regarding a specific operation or exercise and involving those people who were personally involved. Debriefings can occur with all echelons of an organization but are predominately done at the lowest levels and include only those persons specifically involved in a given operation or exercise.

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Four Types of Orders

 

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Synthesis

 

A mental process that involves integrating the various components and activities of an intervention into a cohesive whole so that the plan is both effective and efficient. It is of great value for estimating the impact of the various dynamics and identifying intermediate objectives.

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Cascade Effect

 

Any failure or succession of failures resulting from a preceding failure. A cascade of failures can often be attributed to a seemingly trivial action upon which other functions and actions were dependent.

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Appendix

 

An extension to a written plan that contains detailed supplemental information that adds clarity or precision to an overall plan. An appendix is usually added when further information or explanation is necessary, often in the form of checklists, charts, tables, or schedules.

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Enclosure

 

An extension to a written plan that contains specific information on a single subject that is used for reference. An enclosure is often a separate document prepared for a different purpose but that provides clarity and understanding in the new context. Common examples of enclosures include photographs, maps, sketches, and the like.

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Annex

 

An extension to a written plan that contains information that provides specific and detailed instructions related to a single aspect or function of a plan. An annex often deals with a specific function like logistics, communications, intelligence, or a particular problem, evacuations, traffic control, investigations, etc.

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Four Types of Information

 

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Zone of Action

 

Any geographical region where a commander is actively attempting to influence the outcome of an operation or disaster response.

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Resources

 

A term used to describe the equipment, tools, weapons, personnel and so forth, that are available but not owned by the organization.

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Essential Elements of Information(EEI)

 

Essential elements of information are those critical facts that a decision maker must have to reach a conclusion.

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Other Intelligence Requirements (OIR)

 

Information that is not absolutely essential but is “nice to have.” OIRs complement the more critical EEIs by “filling in the blanks” and providing a more complete picture of the situation. (See also Assumptions and Essential Elements of Information)

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Symmetric Strategy

 

A strategy in which one force attempts to match—or rather, to overmatch—an adversary’s strengths.

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Synchronous System

 

refers to a method of communicating that requires all participants to communicate at the same time.

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Narrowcast

 

Any means of communicating that is sent to specific users who have a need for it. Narrowcasting has the advantage of focusing communications to a particular person or group.

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