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Afghan War News > Intelligence > F3EAD

Find, Fix, Finish, Exploit, Analyze, and Disseminate (F3EAD)

The intelligence targeting process has been refined over the past several years as a result of the experience gained in Iraq and Afghanistan. One outcome of this refinement is the network-based targeting process adopted by Special Operations forces called F3EA. The SOF needed a targeting methodology that had a quick turnaround time that worked well in in HVI targeting against insurgents. 5. This later became known as F3EAD - adding a "D" for disseminate. In short, this process "meant charting the clandestine terrorist and insurgent cells and their immediate supporters in order to attack them". 3. This process soon became part of the curriculum for the 131A Warrant Officer Basic Course in 2007 1. and was later incorporated into a targeting field manual. 4.

F3EAD has been used by a variety of organizations and in large number of situations. Some of the organizations using F3EAD utilize sophisticated intelligence software systems such as Palantir to organize information gathered. JIEDDO has integrated it into its "Attack the IED Network" concept. 2.  has used it extensively in its targeting process.

Graphic of F3EAD Process
(Graphic from Page B-2 FM 3-60, The Targeting Process, Nov 2010)

Papers, Reports, and Publications about F3EAD

Counterinsurgency (COIN) Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Operations.  Report by the Defense Science Board Task Force on Defense Intelligence, February 2011.  Accessed on the Office of the Secretary of Defense website here January 2012.  (Adobe PDF).

"Partnership Till it Hurts: The Use of Fusion Cells to Establish Unity of Effort Between SOF (Yin) and Conventional Forces (Yang)".  By Paul Lushenko, 2010.  Accessed on Small Wars Journal here January 2012.  (Adobe PDF).

Fusion Nodes: The Next Step in Combating the Global Terrorist Threat. By Timothy R. Shaw, Jason S. Mackenzie, and Anthony F. Pollio, Jr. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, December 2011.  Accessed here on hsdl.org.

The Phoenix Program and Contemporary Counterinsurgency, by William Rosenau and Austin Long, National Defense Research Institute, RAND Corporation, 2009.  Pages 18-20 discuss the importance of F3EAD in the Iraqi conflict for SOF targeting.  Accessed here on rand.org.

Exploitation Tactics: A Doctrine for the 21st Century. By LTC William J. Hartman, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS, May 15, 2008. The paper looks at how to solve adaptive problems in the intelligence field and discusses the F3EA process.  Accessed here on the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) website.

References about F3EAD

Joint Pub 3-24, Counterinsurgency Operations, 5 October 2009.  See Chapter V. Intelligence Support to Counterinsurgency.  Accessed here on dtic.mil website January 2012.  (Adobe PDF).

ATP 2-22.9, Open-Source Intelligence, July 10, 2012.  HQs Department of the Army.

F2EAD Acronym.  Definition provided here at CAC Thesaurus Index.

"Find, Fix, Finish, Exploit, Analyze, and Disseminate", Appendix B, ATP 3-60, Targeting, May 2015.

News Articles about F3EAD

March 10, 2011.  Afghan National Civil Order Police officers practice intelligence gathering, relationship building.  DVIDS.

Blog Posts, Magazine and Periodical Articles about F3EAD

"The Future of Special Operations: Beyond Kill and Capture", Foreign Affairs, November/December 2012, by Linda Robinson. Article briefly mentions F3EAD. Accessed here.

"Malleable COIN Targeting: A Pentagon Plan for Flexibility in Processes", by Brandon C. Miller, Small Wars Journal, February 2, 2012.  Accessed here on SWJ.

F3EAD: Ops/Intel Fusion "Feeds" The SOF Targeting Process, by Charles Faint and Michael Harris. Small Wars Journal, January 31, 2012. A detailed account of a SOF targeting methodology accessed here on SWJ.

The Targeting Process: D3A and F3EAD, by Jimmy A. Gomez. Small Wars Journal, July 16, 2011. This paper explains the plus and minus of D3A and F3EAD.  Accessed here on SWJ.

"Why Defeating Insurgencies Is Hard: The Effect of Intelligence in Counterinsurgency Operations - A Best-Case Scenario".  By Moshe Kress and Roberto Szechtman.  Operations Research, Vol. 57, No. 3, May-June 2009, pp. 578-585.  Accessed here on NPS.edu.  (Adobe PDF).

"Company Level Tactical Intelligence and Targeting", by Major Wayne Hennessy-Barrett, Small Wars Journal, February 26, 2009.  Accessed here on SWJ.

"Employing ISR - SOF Best Practices", Joint Forces Quarterly, Issue 50, 3d Quarter 2008, by Michael T. Flynn, Rich Juergens, and Thomas L. Cantrell. Accessed here on DTIC.mil. Six page article provides info about the emphasis placed on the exploit and analyze phase of F3EAD.


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1.  See the comment at the bottom of the SWJ post DTG Feb 1, 2012 - 11:10am. F3EAD: Ops/Intel Fusion "Feeds" The SOF Targeting Process, by Charles Faint and Michael Harris. Small Wars Journal, January 31, 2012. Accessed here on SWJ.

2. See Attacking the IED Network - a PowerPoint presentation used at the NDIA Global EOD Conference by CAPT Frederick Gaghan (USN) on May 5, 2011 to see how F3EAD is incorporated into JIEDDO methodology. Accessed here on the DTIC.mil website.

3. See page 42 of Secret Weapon: High-value Target Teams as an Organizational Innovation, by Christopher J. Lamb and Evan Munsing, Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS), March 2011.  Access here on DTIC.mil.

4. F3EAD is now part of the U.S. Army's targeting manual.  See Appendix B of The Targeting Process, FM 3-60 (FM 6-20-10), November 2012 accessed here on armypubs.army.mil.

5. See Decade of War, Volume I: Enduring Lessons from the Past Decade of Operations, Joint and Coalition Operational Analysis (JCOA), June 15, 2012.  Accessed here on defensenews.com.



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