--Characteristics of the Defense


3-2. The defense shares the following characteristics: preparation, security, disruption, massed effects, flexibility, maneuver, and operations in-depth. (Refer to ADRP 3-90 for more information).

Soldiers engage enemy combatants.

Soldiers engage enemy combatants.


3-3. The defense has inherent strengths. The defender arrives in the area of operation before the attacker and uses the available time to prepare. These preparations multiply the defense’s effectiveness. Preparations end only when the defenders retrograde or begin to fight. Until then, preparations are continuous. Preparations in-depth continues, even as the close fight begins.


3-4. Security helps deceive the enemy as to friendly locations, strengths, and weaknesses. It also inhibits or defeat enemy reconnaissance. Security measures provide early warning and disrupt enemy attacks early and continuously.


3-5. Defenders disrupt attackers’ tempo and synchronization with actions designed to prevent them from massing combat power. Disruptive actions attempt to unhinge the enemy’s preparations and, ultimately, his attacks. Methods include defeating or misdirecting enemy reconnaissance forces, breaking up his formations, isolating his units, and attacking or disrupting his systems.


3-6. Defenders seek to mass the effects of overwhelming combat power where they choose and shift it to support the decisive operation. To obtain an advantage at decisive points, defenders economize and accept risk in some areas; retain and, when necessary, reconstitute a reserve; and maneuver to gain local superiority at the point of decision. Unit leaders accept risk in some areas to mass effects elsewhere. Obstacles, security forces, and fires can assist in reducing risk.


3-7. The defense requires flexible plans. Planning focuses on preparation in-depth, use of reserves, and ability to shift the main effort. Leaders add flexibility by designating supplementary positions, designing counterattack plans, and preparing to counterattack.


3-8. Maneuver allows the defender to take full advantage of area of operation and to mass and concentrate when desirable. Maneuver, through movement in combination with fire, allows the defender to achieve a position of advantage over the enemy to accomplish the mission. It also encompasses defensive actions such as security and support area operations.


3-9. Simultaneous application of combat power throughout the area of operation improves the chances for success while minimizing friendly casualties. Quick, violent, and simultaneous action throughout the depth of the defender’s area of operation can hurt, confuse, and even paralyze an enemy force just as it is most exposed and vulnerable. Such actions weaken the enemy’s will and do not allow all early enemy successes to build the confidence of the enemy’s Soldiers and leaders. In-depth planning prevents the enemy from gaining momentum in the attack. Synchronization of decisive, shaping, and sustaining operations facilitates mission success.

Watch the following video to learn more about preparing for an enemy attack.