To the Editor:
In the April-June 1995 issue of the Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin, you published an article by two Officer Advanced Course instructors on the subject of "Center of Gravity." In this article, the authors encouraged battalion and brigade S2s to seek out the enemy's center of gravity in their threat analysis and evaluation. They argued that this process of determining the enemy center of gravity was the key to conducting successful intelligence analysis and targeting at the tactical level. I believe that they were wrongfully applying this doctrinal concept. They have misused the terminology, and in espousing this as military intelligence doctrine, have put the credibility of our S2s at risk. Please, set the record straight and get us back on the path of doctrinal accuracy.
In our branch, information is our primary weapon and words are our primary tools. We must be careful the application of doctrinal terms. The authors selectively pulled a quotation from FM 100-5, Operations, to support their thesis. Context, critical to understanding the meaning and use of the term "center of gravity," comes from the preceding and subsequent paragraphs. The preceding paragraph on page 6-7 states, "Several key concepts of campaign planning design guide theater- and operational-level planners in their efforts." This passage clearly places the use of the center of gravity in the operational realm. Although this term is also used at the corps-level, in transitioning from the operational to tactical-level of operations, the term may not be meaningful at the tactical-level. The following extract from page 6-7 of FM 100-5 further clarifies the use and meaning of center of gravity stating "The essence of operational art lies in being able to mass effects against the enemy's main source of power his center of gravity, which he seeks to protect. At any given time, however, a center of gravity may not be immediately discernible. For example, the center of gravity might concern the mass of the enemy's units, but that mass might not have been formed. Additionally, the center of gravity may be abstract, such as the enemy's national will or an alliance structure, or concrete, such as strategic reserves, C2, or industrial bases and LOCs."
Our doctrine for intelligence operations at the tactical level is clear and concise. Battalion and brigade S2s conduct intelligence preparation of the battlefield to support tactical engagements. At this level of threat analysis, the S2s are dealing with enemy capabilities. The focus should be on the enemy's doctrine, tactics, and procedures. The end results of the intelligence preparation of the battlefield process where rubber meets the road are products that support the commander's fire and maneuver. The threat model produced by the battalion and brigade S2s must be useful to the commander, supporting his application of combat power on the battlefield. FM 34-130, Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield, clearly establishes the need for an evaluation of the threat strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities, including an evaluation of typical high value targets. Center of gravity just does not meet the needs of the tactical commander. At the battalion and brigade level of operations, the enemy's source of power are generally his combat forces. When tank meets tank or infantryman meets infantryman on the battlefield, center of gravity becomes esoteric.
I am not saying that we must always stay within the confines of the doctrinal definition. There may be situations, especially in the operations other than war arena, where new or unusual methods of analysis are not only acceptable but necessary. We must, however, be extremely careful in what we say and write. When applying doctrinal terms in a new or unusual manner, we must explain this carefully. Always place the "nondoctrinal" use of terminology in context and carefully consider what it is you are trying to portray. Remember, information is our main contribution to the combat commanders. Words are our projectiles and cannot be launched without careful consideration and accuracy.
Major George J. Franz
School of Advanced Military Studies
Lansing, Kansas

To the Editor:

Probably the most valuable piece of information that I have come across recently, for our community, I have found in the Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin, April-June 1995 issue: notably the "JTF JIC Operations: Critical Success Factors," "Joint Intelligence Courses at NMITC" the entire issue. A job well done!
M.E. Idrogo
Naval Reserve JIC Pacific Unit 1070 Naval Air Station, Dallas, Texas