Battlespace or battle-space is a term used to signify a military strategy which integrates multiple armed forces for the military theatre of operations, including air, information, land, sea, cyber and outer space to achieve military goals. It includes the environment, timeframe and other factors, and conditions that must be understood to successfully apply combat power, protect the force, or complete the mission. This includes enemy and friendly armed forces, infrastructure, weather, terrain, and the electromagnetic spectrum within the operational areas and areas of interest.[1][2]


From "battlefield" to "battlespace"

For many years, the understanding of the military operational environment has transformed from primarily a time and space-driven linear understanding (a "battlefield") to a multi-dimensional system of systems understanding (a battlespace). This system of systems understanding implies that managing the battlespace has become more complex, primarily because of the increased importance of the cognitive domain, a direct result of the information age. Today, militaries are expected to understand the effects of their actions on the operational environment as a whole, and not just in the military domain of their operational environment.

From "Old" to "New" Battlespace

The evolution of competition and conflict during the industrial age has led to a corresponding transformation in the ability to engage in warfare in the information age. The concept of thinking and fighting in the industrial age can be described as the "Old Battlespace," characterized by clearly defined and discernible battlefield lines in the tangible domains of land, sea, and air.

However, as economies and technologies have advanced, the methods by which countries and militaries compete and conduct warfare have also changed. In the information age, the tangible domains of land, sea, and air remain constant, but the emergence and prominence of cyber operations, outer space activities, civil society engagement, and social media usage have elevated the significance of intangible realms in both kinetic and non-kinetic forms of warfare.

This shift to a "New Battlespace" implies that traditional barriers, such as vast distances, oceans, and legal constraints, no longer present insurmountable obstacles. Consequently, emerging domains allow for the weaponization of nearly anything, turning the entire globe into a competitive arena for state and non-state actors. In this context, everyone becomes a participant in global contestation, whether willingly or not, as anything and everything can be utilized as a weapon.

These changes do not indicate a fundamental alteration in the nature of war between the Old and New Battlespaces; rather, they underscore the continuously evolving character of war due to changes in economies, technologies, and military strategies. "New Battlespace" poses complex challenges for strategists and policymakers.

The internet, deep interdependencies, and hyper-connectivity present difficulties for armies that are structured around an industrial age mindset, particularly when it comes to defending one's homeland. Addressing these challenges requires a nuanced understanding of the evolving battlespace and the ability to adapt military structures and strategies to effectively compete and defend against adversaries in the information age.[3]

Battlespace agility

Battlespace agility, in the context of war-fighting, encompasses the ability of a military organization to rapidly convert knowledge into actionable strategies that yield desired outcomes within the battlespace. It emphasizes the need to outperform the opposing forces by executing appropriate actions at the right time and location. However, battlespace agility is not solely focused on speed; it also underscores the importance of executing actions in the most efficient manner possible to achieve the desired impact on the system. Fundamental to this concept is the recognition that battlespace agility relies on the quality of situational awareness and a comprehensive understanding of the battlespace, which in turn drives the renewed emphasis on the value of military intelligence.

A central aspect of battlespace agility is the capacity of intelligence analysts and operational planners to perceive the battlespace and their targets as interconnected networks. This perspective facilitates a shared and more accurate understanding of the situation, thereby enabling faster decision-making and enhancing the overall effectiveness of targeting efforts. Battlespace agility finds its origins within the broader field of Command & Control (C2) research, specifically the exploration of C2 agility by NATO.[4] However, it specifically addresses agility within the domain of war-fighting,[5] thus aligning with the principles of effects-based thinking, system of systems analysis, and the competing Observation Orient Decide Act (OODA) loops.[6]

Battlespace awareness

Battlespace awareness (BA) is a principle derived from military philosophy that holds significant value for joint component and force commanders, aiding them in predicting potential courses of action before deploying troops into a designated area of operation (AO). It relies on the utilization of intelligence preparation assets, which play a critical role in supporting commanders to maintain a heightened state of awareness regarding recent, ongoing, and forthcoming events within their battlespace.[7]

It is based around its knowledge and understanding obtained by the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) system. It is another methodical concept used to gain information about the operational area—the environment, factors, and conditions, including the status of friendly and adversary forces, neutrals and noncombatants, weather and terrain—that enables timely, relevant, comprehensive and accurate assessments. It has become an effective concept for conventional and unconventional operations in successfully projecting, or protecting, a military force, and/or completing its mission.[8]

Battlespace awareness is a comprehensive approach rooted in the acquisition and comprehension of knowledge obtained through the intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) system. It serves as a systematic concept employed to gather pertinent information regarding the operational area, encompassing various aspects such as the environment, factors, and conditions. These include the status of friendly and adversary forces, as well as neutrals and noncombatants, weather patterns, and the terrain.

Battlespace digitization

Battlespace digitization is designed to improve military operational effectiveness by integrating weapons platforms, sensor networks, ubiquitous command and control (UC2), intelligence, and network-centric warfare. This military doctrine reflects that in the future, military operations will be merged into joint operations rather than take place in separate battlespaces under the domain of individual armed services.

Battlespace intelligence preparation

Intelligence preparation

Intelligence preparation of the battlespace (IPB) is an analytical methodology employed to reduce uncertainties concerning the enemy, environment, and terrain for all types of operations. Intelligence preparation of the battlespace builds an extensive database for each potential area in which a unit may be required to operate.

The database is then analyzed in detail to determine the impact of the enemy, environment and terrain on operations and presents it in graphic form. Intelligence preparation of the battlespace is a continuing and crucial process to successful warfare.

Joint intelligence preparation

Joint intelligence preparation of the battlespace (JIPB) is the analytical process used by joint intelligence organizations to produce intelligence assessments, estimates and other intelligence products in support of the joint force commander's decision-making process. It is a continuous process that includes defining the total battlespace environment; describing the battlespace's effects; evaluating the adversary; and determining and describing adversary potential courses of action.

The process is used to analyze the aerial, terrestrial, maritime/littoral, spatial, electromagnetic, cyberspace, and human dimensions of the environment and to determine an opponent's capabilities to operate in each. JPIB products are used by the joint force and component command staffs in preparing their estimates and are also applied during the analysis and selection of friendly courses of action.

Battlespace measures

Maneuver control

Maneuver control measures are the basic preliminary step in effective clearance of fire support (e.g. artillery, naval gunfire support, and close air support), marked by imaginary boundary lines used by commanders to designate the geographical area for which a particular unit is tactically responsible. It is usually established on identifiable terrain to help aid in hasty referencing for better lateral advantage in the science of fire support, normally orchestrated by a higher echelon of the general staff, mainly the operations staff sections.

They are normally designated along terrain features easily recognizable on the ground. An important point on maneuver control graphics: staffs must be knowledgeable regarding the different maneuver control measures and their impact on clearance of fires. For instance, boundaries are both restrictive and permissive; corridors are restrictive, while routes, axis, and directions of attack are neither.

It should be reminded of the effect on clearance of fires if subordinate maneuver units are not given zones or sectors (i.e. no boundaries established). Since boundaries serve as both permissive and restrictive measures, the decision not to employ them has profound effects upon timely clearance of fires at the lowest possible level.

The higher echelon may coordinate all clearance of fires short of the Coordinated Fire Line (CFL), a very time-intensive process. It allows the unit to maneuver successfully and to swiftly and efficiently engage targets. It requires coordination and clearance only within that organization.

They affect fire support in two ways:[9]

Battlespace shaping

Further information: Area of responsibility

Battlespace shaping is a concept involved in the practice of maneuver warfare that are used for shaping a situation on the battlefield, gaining the military advantage for the commander. It forecasts the elimination of the enemy's capability by fighting in a coherent manner before deploying determine-sized[clarification needed] forces.[10]

See also


  1. ^ Battlespace definition Archived 2008-06-18 at the Wayback Machine, DoD
  2. ^ Military Jargon Database
  3. ^ Matisek, Jahara (8 April 2022). "The New Battlespace is Here: The American Homeland is No Longer Safe". War Room (US Army War College).
  4. ^ (1985) C2 Agility: a tutorial and review of SAS-085 Findings
  5. ^ Mitchell, Agile Sense-Making in the Battlespace
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-12. Retrieved 2013-12-05.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Joint Synthetic Battlespace: Cornerstone for Predictive Battlespace Awareness
  8. ^ "DOD - Battlespace Awareness defined". Archived from the original on 2008-06-18. Retrieved 2006-07-05.
  9. ^ U.S. Field Manual 6-20-40; Appendix E: Fire Support Coordinating Measures
  10. ^ DEATH FROM ABOVE: I MEF's use of Marine TACAIR during Desert Storm

Further reading