Defining Terrorists' Information Requirements

The Modified Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (ModIPB) Framework

Published in: Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, v. 5, no. 1, 2008, p. [1-18]

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2007

by Christopher Paul, Eric Landree

Considerable existing literature on terrorism contains limited discussions of what terrorists need to know in order to plan their attacks. This article focuses explicitly on terrorist information needs and specifies a list of intelligence requirements for attacks against the transportation infrastructure. This list is part of the modified intelligence preparation of the battlefield (ModIPB) framework, developed based on the traditional U.S. Army doctrine for intelligence preparation of the battlefield, RAND research recommending modifications to IPB, specifically to the urban operating environment, and the so-called "al Qaeda manual." The ModIPB framework identifies four categories of information relevant to targets in the transportation infrastructure, including (1) avenues of approach and ease of access, (2) target features, (3) security (including forces, security measures, and other population groups present), and (4) analysis of threats to the terrorist operation. Each category contains detailed elements and sub-elements. Because this analytic framework can be used for the evaluation of simulated terrorist intelligence collection efforts for consistent and comparable analyses across scenarios and targets we offer it here for its possible utility to other researchers or for those in charge of maintaining or assessing infrastructure security.

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