--Conduct Searches


4-73. To conduct search operations or to employ search procedures is a continuous requirement. A search can orient on people, materiel, buildings, or terrain. (Refer to chapter 6 of this publication for more information.) Techniques include Search and Attach and Cordon and Search. Often during these tasks, site exploitation is conducted.


4-74. Site exploitation is the synchronized and integrated application of scientific and technological capabilities and enablers to answer information requirements, facilitate subsequent operations, and support host-nation rule of law. (ATP 3-90.15) Site exploitation is guided by the unit’s information collection plan. (Refer to JP 2-0 and FM 3‑55) on doctrine pertaining to information collection and collection planning.) The information collection plan enables the commander to focus assets on collecting information to answer specific information requirements. (ATP 3-90.15)

4-75. Primarily, site exploitation is a means of gaining information supporting the intelligence process. Site exploitation missions doctrine emphasizes three purposes:

  • To answer information requirements (usually the commander’s critical information requirements).
  • To facilitate subsequent missions (already planned or not yet anticipated).
  • To facilitate criminal prosecution by host nation, coalition, or international authorities (related to war crimes).

4-76. Site exploitation missions may focus on one fundamental purpose or involve all three simultaneously. The purpose of the site exploitation should be considered throughout TLP. The development of intelligence, through immediate analysis or off site processing can enable the leader to target additional objectives. At the platoon level, many of the site exploitation related activities answer higher headquarters information requirements.

4-77. Site exploitation forces provide critical data for inclusion in the intelligence process, which subsequently supports operations already planned or not yet anticipated. They identify information, materiel, and persons of interest, collect and preserve these items, and, after the mission is completed, debriefed by appropriate intelligence representatives, usually the S-2 or CoIST. The information (in any medium or form), materiel, and persons collected are processed by the appropriate agencies and analyzed to produce intelligence supporting ongoing or subsequent operations.

4-78. During stability tasks, units can use site exploitation to gain information supporting criminal prosecution by host nation authorities. Clearly documenting the details surrounding the initial detention, preserving evidence, and maintaining chain of custody are critical and aid in determining if further detention is warranted, in classifying the detainee, in developing intelligence, and in prosecuting detainees suspected of committing criminal acts. Documentation should be detailed and answer the six Ws—who, what, when, where, why, and witnesses. Record these details on the DD Form 2745 (Enemy Prisoner of War (EPW) Capture Tag), DA Form 2823 (Sworn Statement ), DA Form 4137 (Evidence/Property Custody Document ), and locally developed forms if necessary. (Refer to ATP 3-90.15 for more information.)