Operational Preparation of the Battlespace

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Operational Preparation of the Battlespace (OPB) is a term, primarily from the US military but also used with NATO and other allies, which has not been discussed extensively, in the unclassified literature, until fairly recently. It now is defined by the United States Special Operations Command as
Non-intelligence activities conducted prior to D-Day, H-Hour, in likely or potential areas of employment, to train and prepare for follow-on military operations

It complements Intelligence Preparation of the Battlespace and is a subset of Operational Preparation of the Environment. Somewhat confusingly, some OPB activities may be conducted by "intelligence agencies" acting in a paramilitary role, such as the Central Intelligence Agency teams, under the Counterterrorism Center/Special Operations that made initial contact with potential guerrilla allies in the Afghan Northern Alliance and in Iraqi Kudistan, as well as training guerrillas to be infiltrated (e.g., Scorpions (Iraq War)). Other activities, however, clearly are conducted by military units.

The United States Air Force has identified, in its policy on "Battlefield Airmen", a number of tasks that are clearly OPB, some of which may be performed by members of other services. Some, such as target location and designation, blur between OPB and IPB — IPB finds the target and OPB plans and directs the attack on it. [1]

Function
Reconnaissance and Surveillance
Weather Operations
Airfield Surveys and Assessments
Navigation and Positioning
Command and Control (C2) Battle Management
Air Traffic Control and Assault Zone Marking
Terminal Attack Control
Time-Sensitive Weaponeering/Targeting
Personnel Recovery (Combat Search and Rescue and Isolated Personnel Repatriation)
Field Trauma Care
Information Operations

References

  1. Ronald E. Keys (4 February 2005), Air Force Policy Directive 10-35: Battlefield Airmen