ATP 3-60 – Targeting

Army Publication ATP 3-60, titled “Targeting,” is a crucial document that provides comprehensive guidance on the art and science of targeting in modern warfare. Issued by the Army Publishing Directorate, ATP 3-60 is a vital resource for commanders, planners, and targeting professionals, outlining the principles, processes, and techniques required to effectively identify, analyze, and engage targets. This article aims to explore the content and significance of ATP 3-60, highlighting its key components, objectives, and impact on achieving operational success in the contemporary battlefield.

ATP 3-60, the Army’s manual on targeting, serves as a definitive guide for commanders and targeting professionals across all Army components. Its purpose is to provide a standardized approach to targeting, enabling commanders to achieve desired effects on the battlefield. ATP 3-60 covers a broad range of targeting aspects, including target development, target engagement, target effects assessment, and target-related intelligence.

Targeting Fundamentals

ATP 3-60 establishes a foundation by outlining the fundamental concepts and principles of targeting. It emphasizes the need to align targeting efforts with the overall mission and operational objectives. The manual provides an understanding of the targeting process, including target nomination, validation, and prioritization. Additionally, it emphasizes the integration of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) assets into the targeting cycle to facilitate accurate and timely target engagement.

ATP 3-60 presents a comprehensive targeting methodology that encompasses a systematic approach to target development and engagement. It outlines the steps involved in identifying potential targets, conducting target analysis, and determining the appropriate means to engage them effectively. The publication highlights the importance of intelligence fusion, collaboration, and integration throughout the targeting process.

Achieving desired effects on the battlefield is a crucial aspect of targeting. ATP 3-60 provides guidance on how to define and assess target effects. It emphasizes the importance of understanding the potential impacts of target engagement on the enemy’s capabilities, vulnerabilities, and will to fight. By considering the broader effects of target engagement, commanders can shape the operational environment and influence the outcome of the mission.

Targeting Assets and Capabilities

Targeting Assets and Capabilities

ATP 3-60 addresses the various assets and capabilities available for effective targeting. It provides an overview of the platforms, systems, and technologies that contribute to the targeting process, including ISR assets, precision-guided munitions, and command and control systems. The manual also emphasizes the need to coordinate and synchronize these assets to ensure effective target engagement.

Targeting operations must adhere to legal and ethical standards. ATP 3-60 highlights the importance of conducting targeting activities within the framework of international law, including the law of armed conflict and rules of engagement. The publication emphasizes the need for commanders and targeting professionals to exercise sound judgment and ensure that targets selected are lawful and proportionate.

Targeting in Joint and Multinational Operations

ATP 3-60 acknowledges the collaborative nature of modern warfare and the importance of targeting in joint and multinational operations. It provides guidance on how to integrate targeting efforts across different services and international partners. The publication emphasizes sharing information, coordinating targeting activities, and adhering to common targeting methodologies to enhance interoperability and mission success.

ATP 3-60 recognizes the significance of training and education in developing proficient targeting professionals. It provides guidelines for the training and certification of personnel involved in the targeting process. The manual emphasizes the need for continuous learning, practical exercises, and simulation-based training to enhance targeting skills and decision

Targeting and the Operational Environment

Targeting and the Operational Environment

ATP 3-60 recognizes the dynamic nature of the operational environment and its impact on targeting. The publication emphasizes the need for commanders and targeting professionals to thoroughly analyze the operational environment to identify and prioritize targets effectively. Factors such as terrain, weather conditions, enemy capabilities, and civilian considerations are taken into account to ensure accurate target engagement and minimize collateral damage.

ATP 3-60 outlines the concept of targeting cycles and the importance of iterative processes in achieving optimal results. The manual describes the iterative nature of targeting, where feedback from previous engagements is used to refine target development, analysis, and engagement. This iterative process allows commanders to adapt and adjust their targeting efforts based on evolving conditions and the changing enemy situation.

Targeting in Irregular Warfare and Counterinsurgency Operations

ATP 3-60 recognizes the unique challenges posed by irregular warfare and counterinsurgency operations. The manual provides specific guidance on targeting in these contexts, where the enemy is often elusive and embedded within the civilian population. It highlights the importance of conducting focused intelligence collection, engaging with the local population, and employing precision and discriminate targeting to minimize civilian casualties and win hearts and minds.

ATP 3-60 emphasizes the need for close collaboration and support from various elements within the military structure. It underscores the importance of targeting cells, intelligence personnel, and operational planners working together to ensure a synchronized and effective targeting effort. The manual provides guidance on establishing targeting working groups, promoting information sharing, and leveraging the expertise of different units and organizations involved in the targeting process.

ATP 3-60 recognizes the criticality of assessing the effects of target engagement and providing feedback for continuous improvement. The manual outlines the processes for conducting post-strike assessments, collecting and analyzing data, and evaluating the overall success of targeting operations. By systematically assessing the outcomes of target engagement, commanders can refine their targeting methodologies and make informed decisions for future operations.

Targeting and Mission Command

Targeting and Mission Command

ATP 3-60 underscores the integration of targeting within the mission command philosophy. It emphasizes the need for decentralized execution and empowerment of subordinate leaders in the targeting process. The manual highlights the role of commanders in providing clear intent, guidance, and priorities while allowing flexibility for targeting professionals to exercise initiative and make timely decisions on target engagement.

ATP 3-60 recognizes targeting as a force multiplier, enabling the effective use of limited resources to achieve maximum results. By accurately identifying and engaging high-value targets, commanders can disrupt enemy operations, degrade their capabilities, and create opportunities for success. The manual emphasizes the importance of targeting as a strategic tool that contributes to overall operational success and the accomplishment of campaign objectives.