Length: 2 Days
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Fundamentals of Targeting and CDEC (Collateral Damage Estimation Methodology)

Fundamentals of Targeting and CDEC (Collateral Damage Estimation Methodology) is a 2-day training program that covers Targeting and CDEC principles and theory applied to military operations and the assessment of potential risks and impacts.

Fundamentals of Targeting and CDEC (Collateral Damage Estimation Methodology)

Targeting refers to the process of selecting and prioritizing specific objectives or targets for military operations. It involves identifying and analyzing potential targets that, when engaged, will contribute to achieving military objectives.

Targeting includes gathering intelligence, conducting analysis, and making decisions about which targets to engage and with what level of force. The aim of targeting is to maximize the effectiveness of military operations while minimizing collateral damage and civilian casualties.

Targeting involves various elements, such as identifying high-value targets (HVTs) or key targets, assessing their vulnerabilities, determining the appropriate weapons or means to engage them, and planning the execution of operations to neutralize or exploit those targets. It requires coordination between intelligence analysts, operational planners, and commanders to ensure that targets are selected and engaged in accordance with legal, ethical, and operational considerations.

The targeting process may be grouped into two categories:

  • Deliberate: This category of targeting prosecutes anticipated or known targets within a given operational area and timeframe, and normally supports the joint force’s future plans effort, which is overseen by the plans directorate of a joint staff (J-5). Normally, the future operations directorate focuses on 24 hours up to 72 hours. This is a critical linkage during targeting execution.
  • Dynamic: This targeting prosecutes targets that were not included in the deliberate targeting process, possibly because they were not known or not initially selected for prosecution. Dynamic targeting is normally employed in current operations planning because the nature and time frame associated with current operations (usually the current 24-hour period) typically requires more immediate responsiveness compared to deliberate targeting.

Collateral Damage Estimation Methodology (CDEC) is a process used by military planners to assess and estimate the potential impact and consequences of an attack on a target. CDEC aims to predict and quantify the potential collateral damage, including civilian casualties, damage to infrastructure, and other unintended effects that may result from military operations.

CDEC provides commanders with an understanding of weapon effects, incidental consequences and mitigation techniques, enabling more balanced, comprehensive judgments and decisions.

The methodology is designed to provide a credible estimation to enable the identification of possible courses of action based on the level of risk, thereby allowing commanders to understand, consider and mitigate risks.

A determined level of responsibility for approving the target can thereafter be identified. The technical basis for the application of these levels is based upon munitions effectiveness data for air, ground and sea launched weapons. The collateral damage thresholds are based on increasing risk levels that will require specific courses of action to engage the target.

CDEC involves analyzing various factors, such as the target’s location, proximity to civilian populations, the type and size of munitions to be used, the accuracy of the weapons system, and other environmental and situational considerations. By using available data, models, and simulation tools, military planners can estimate the potential effects of an attack and make informed decisions regarding target engagement.

The goal of CDEC is to minimize collateral damage and civilian casualties by providing planners with the necessary information to assess the risks and make well-informed choices during targeting and mission planning. The methodology helps ensure that military operations are conducted in accordance with the principles of proportionality, distinction, and minimizing harm to non-combatants.

It’s important to note that both targeting and CDEC are integral parts of military planning and operations, with the aim of maximizing effectiveness while minimizing unintended consequences and harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure. Adhering to legal and ethical standards is crucial when conducting military operations to mitigate risks and protect innocent lives.

Under CDEC, targeting planners examine the possible effects of various weapons to propose recommendation to lessen collateral damage to comply with rules of engagement (ROE) and the law of armed conflict (LOAC).

Fundamentals of Targeting and CDEC Course by Tonex

The objective of Fundamentals of Targeting and CDEC (Collateral Damage Estimation Methodology) course is to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of the fundamentals of targeting and collateral damage estimation methodology (CDEC). Participants will learn the key concepts, principles, processes, and best practices involved in target selection and engagement, as well as the methodologies for assessing and minimizing collateral damage during military operations. By the end of the course, participants will have a solid foundation in targeting concepts and CDEC methodologies to support effective and responsible decision-making in operational planning.


The “Fundamentals of Targeting and CDEC (Collateral Damage Estimation Methodology)” course is relevant for a variety of professionals involved in military operations and related fields.

The course is designed for:

  • Military Personnel: This course is particularly beneficial for military officers, enlisted personnel, and specialists involved in planning and executing military operations. It is relevant for those working in roles such as intelligence analysts, targeting officers, planners, operators, and aircrew members.
  • Targeting Professionals: Individuals directly involved in the targeting process, including targeting officers, intelligence analysts, and planners, will greatly benefit from this course. It will enhance their understanding of target selection, engagement, and collateral damage estimation methodologies.
  • Legal and Policy Advisors: Professionals working in legal and policy advisory roles within military organizations or government agencies will gain valuable insights into the legal and ethical considerations associated with targeting and collateral damage mitigation.
  • Risk Management Specialists: Individuals responsible for risk management within military operations, such as risk analysts and consultants, can benefit from understanding the methodologies and best practices for assessing and mitigating collateral damage risks.
  • Intelligence Analysts: Intelligence analysts who want to broaden their knowledge and understanding of targeting processes, methodologies, and collateral damage estimation will find this course valuable in enhancing their analytical capabilities.
  • Commanders and Decision-Makers: Commanders and military decision-makers who are involved in the approval and oversight of targeting operations will gain a comprehensive understanding of the targeting process, collateral damage estimation, and the associated legal and ethical considerations.
  • Peacekeeping and Stabilization Mission Personnel: Personnel involved in peacekeeping or stabilization missions will benefit from understanding the principles and practices of targeting and collateral damage estimation in order to conduct operations in a responsible and ethical manner.
  • Defense Contractors and Industry Professionals: Professionals working in defense contracting firms, defense industry, or technology companies providing solutions or services related to targeting and collateral damage estimation can gain valuable knowledge to better support military customers and stakeholders.
  • Researchers and Academics: Researchers, academics, and students in fields such as military studies, international relations, and security studies who want to deepen their understanding of targeting processes and collateral damage estimation methodologies can benefit from this course.

The course is designed to accommodate both beginners and intermediate level with some prior knowledge or experience in targeting and collateral damage estimation. It provides a solid foundation for participants to further specialize or advance their skills in these areas.

Course Outline:

Module 1: Introduction to Targeting

  • Definition and importance of targeting in military operations
  • Key elements and stakeholders involved in the targeting process
  • Legal and ethical considerations in targeting operations

Module 2: Target Identification and Selection

  • Gathering intelligence for target identification
  • Factors influencing target prioritization and selection
  • Assessing target vulnerabilities and potential effects

Module 3: Target Engagement

  • Methods and techniques for engaging targets effectively
  • Selection of appropriate weapons and means for target engagement
  • Coordination and integration of assets in target engagement operations

Module 4: Collateral Damage Estimation Methodology (CDEC)

  • Understanding the purpose and principles of CDEC
  • Components and factors considered in collateral damage estimation
  • Using models, simulations, and tools for CDEC analysis

Module 5: Mitigating Collateral Damage

  • Principles and strategies for minimizing collateral damage
  • Considerations for target location and proximity to civilian populations
  • Use of precision-guided munitions and advanced targeting systems

Module 6: Legal and Ethical Considerations

  • International humanitarian law and rules of engagement
  • Ethical considerations in targeting and collateral damage mitigation
  • Reporting and accountability for collateral damage incidents

Module 7: Targeting and CDEC in Practice

  • Case studies and real-world examples of targeting operations
  • Practical exercises for target identification and engagement
  • Applying CDEC methodologies to assess potential collateral damage

Module 8: Collaborative Targeting

  • Coordination and collaboration between intelligence analysts, planners, and operators
  • Information sharing and fusion in the targeting process
  • Interagency and multinational targeting cooperation

Module 9: Targeting Decision-Making and Risk Assessment

  • Risk assessment and analysis in targeting operations
  • Decision-making frameworks for target engagement
  • Balancing military objectives and minimizing collateral damage risks

Module 10: Future Trends and Challenges in Targeting and CDEC

  • Emerging technologies and their impact on targeting
  • Ethical challenges in modern warfare and targeting practices
  • Innovations in CDEC methodologies and tools

Note: The course outline provided above is a general guideline and can be customized or expanded based on specific training objectives, target audience, and available course duration. The inclusion of practical exercises, case studies, and group discussions throughout the course will enhance participants’ understanding and application of targeting concepts and CDEC methodologies.

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