Accession Number:



Report of the Defense Science Board. Task Force on Combat Identification.

Descriptive Note:

Final rept.

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The Defense Science Board Task Force was formed to review the current state of combat Identification as well as to act as Senior Advisors to the DoD Combat ID Study. Although we looked at the individual developments now underway and under consideration, we spent most of our effort on trying to gain a broad understanding of the nature of combat ID in order to reach conclusions about what should be done. Our basic conclusion is that there is no crisis in combat ID calling for extraordinary action. Fratricide is a serious long term problem which can never be entirely prevented but which must be reduced to a practical minimum in any given situation. There is a tradeoff between the need to attack a dangerous enemy and the need to avoid attacking friends and neutrals. The real need is to minimize casualties while attaining military objectives, and minimum casualties is usually not the same as minimum fratricide. This familiar problem is now receiving increased attention, however, due to changes in the nature of expected conflicts, including highly mobile joint service operations, limited conflicts with reduced tolerance for both military and civilian casualties, and long-range highly lethal weapons. Combat ID does not result from a single device or process but results from the combination of many sources. Knowledge about the location and activities of friendly and enemy forces situational awareness comes from plans, reports, surveillance often enhanced by distinctive uniforms and insignia and necessarily includes identification. New technology for surveillance, processing, navigation, and networking is greatly increasing our ability to create and distribute accurate, timely situational information smoothing out the difference between situational awareness and combat ID.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Navigation and Guidance

Distribution Statement: