Order of Battle (OB), sometimes referred to as OrBat/ORBAT, is an intelligence product detailing the command, strength and disposition, and equipment of military units. There’s a likely an OB product for every military in the world sitting at the Pentagon right now. Order of Battle products are updated periodically to reflect the most current design and health of the adversary or potential adversarial military. The OB is one of the most important of all intelligence products when facing a known adversary, and it costs nothing but time to produce.
We’ve talked about Tables of Organization & Equipment (TO&E) before, and OB is taking it one step further. We build OB products because they allow us to authoritatively estimate the capabilities of adversaries. The more we know about an adversary’s organization, the better we can identify his courses of action (COA). At the same time, we can begin to remove potential COAs because they’re unfitting for those types of units, or the force is too small or too large to pursue this particular COA, or the force is too technologically limited to pursue that COA, or the force is too vulnerable to pursue this other COA.
As intelligence analysts, we’re called to be experts on the enemy… ahem, ‘to find, know and never lose the enemy’comes directly from the Military Intelligence Creed. It’s ingrained in intelligence analysts to be as good a subject matter expert as possible. Without that expertise, a poor and/or incomplete analysis is likely to be created. Poor intelligence gets some people killed; incomplete intelligence gets a lot of people killed.