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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, 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 "battle-space"

Over the last 25[when?] 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 battle-space). This system of systems understanding implies that managing the battle-space 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

As competition and conflict evolved during the industrial age, so has the ability to militarily compete in the information age. Thinking and fighting in the industrial age could best be conceptualized as the "Old Battlespace" because battlefield lines were more distinct and pronounced in the more tangible domains of land, sea, and air. However, as economies and technologies change, so do the ways countries and militaries compete and conduct warfare. Hence, in the information age, the tangible domains (land, sea, and air) remain a constant, however, with the advent of (and prominence) of cyber, outer-space, civil society, and social media (human or cognitive domain), such intangible realms of competition and conflict have taken on greater prominence in the way non-kinetic and kinetic forms of warfare are pursued. Such a "New Battlespace" means that traditional barriers (e.g. vast distances, oceans, laws, etc.,) that used to prevent targeting are no longer an obstacle.[3] Thus, emergent domains enable everything to be weaponized and the globe becomes a competitive space for any state or non-state actor. Anything and everything will be weaponized, as everyone becomes a combatant in global contestation whether they like it or not.[4] Such changes do not mean the nature of war has changed between Old and New Battlespaces, but instead points to the continuously changing character of war due to the modifications of economies, technologies, and military adaptation. This means the "New Battlespace" presents more complex problems to strategists and policymakers as the internet, deep interdependencies, and hyper-connectivity, make it difficult for armies built around an industrial age mindset to compete, and even more difficult when it comes to defending one's Homeland.[5]

Battle-space agility

Battle-space agility refers to the speed at which the war-fighting organization develops and transforms knowledge into actions for desired effects in the battle-space. Essentially it argues that you must be better than the opposition at doing the right actions at the right time and place. Inbuilt into this understanding is that battle-space agility is not just about speed, but it is also about executing the most effective action (ways) in the most efficient manner (means) relative to achieving the desired impact on the system (ends). At all times battle-space agility is dependent on the quality of situational awareness and holistic understanding of the battle-space to determine the best actions, a logic that has become a driving force behind a renaissance of interest in the quality of military intelligence. It has been heavily linked to the ability of intelligence analysts and operational planners to understand their battle-space, and their targets, as networks in order to facilitate a faster, and more accurate shared situational understanding. This in turn increases targeting efficacy and helps retain the overall initiative. Battle-space agility has its roots solidly in the more generic Command & Control (C2) research field on C2 agility conducted by NATO,[6] but works specifically with an agility concept within the context of war-fighting only.[7] Hence it is framed by effects based thinking, system of systems analysis, and competing Observation Orient Decide Act (OODA) loops.[8]

Battle-space awareness

Battle-space awareness (BA) is a practice of military philosophy that is used as a valuable asset by joint component and force commanders, to predict courses of action before employing troops into a prescribed area of operation (AO). It utilizes the intelligence preparation asset to assist the commander in being 'aware' of recent, current, and near term events in their battle-space.[9]

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.[10]

Battle-space digitization

Battle-space 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 battle-spaces 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 battle-space 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 battle-space is a continuing and crucial process to successful warfare.

Joint intelligence preparation

Joint intelligence preparation of the battle-space (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 battle-space environment; describing the battle-space'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.

Battle-space 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:[11]

Battle-space shaping

Further information: Area of responsibility

Battle-space 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 forces.[12]

See also


  1. ^ Battlespace definition Archived 2008-06-18 at the Wayback Machine, DoD
  2. ^ Military Jargon Database
  3. ^ Matisek, Jahara; Jayamaha, Buddhika (2022). Old and New Battlespaces: Society, Military Power, and War. Lynne Rienner. ISBN 978-1-62637-996-1.
  4. ^ Galeotti, Mark (2022). The Weaponisation of Everything: A Field Guide to the New Way of War. Yale University Press.
  5. ^ Matisek, Jahara (8 April 2022). "The New Battlespace is Here: The American Homeland is No Longer Safe". War Room (US Army War College).
  6. ^ (1985) C2 Agility: a tutorial and review of SAS-085 Findings
  7. ^ Mitchell, Agile Sense-Making in the Battlespace
  8. ^ "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)
  9. ^ Joint Synthetic Battlespace: Cornerstone for Predictive Battlespace Awareness
  10. ^ "DOD - Battlespace Awareness defined". Archived from the original on 2008-06-18. Retrieved 2006-07-05.
  11. ^ U.S. Field Manual 6-20-40; Appendix E: Fire Support Coordinating Measures
  12. ^ DEATH FROM ABOVE: I MEF's use of Marine TACAIR during Desert Storm

Further reading