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Combat assessment (CA)

Definition Combat assessment (CA) is a military operations term that refers to the evaluation process of combat actions’ effectiveness, primarily focusing on the impact of those actions on the enemy. It involves analyzing real-time data, intelligence, and situational developments to adjust and refine tactics, strategies, and resources accordingly. This process is crucial in determining the […]


Combat assessment (CA) is a military operations term that refers to the evaluation process of combat actions’ effectiveness, primarily focusing on the impact of those actions on the enemy. It involves analyzing real-time data, intelligence, and situational developments to adjust and refine tactics, strategies, and resources accordingly. This process is crucial in determining the success of military objectives and ensuring efficient use of resources in a given operation.

Key Takeaways

  1. Combat assessment (CA) is a crucial process in military operations that involves analyzing the effectiveness of actions taken in battle, helping commanders make informed decisions for future maneuvers.
  2. CA focuses on two primary aspects: battle damage assessment, which evaluates the damage inflicted on the enemy and its impacts on their capabilities; and munitions effectiveness assessment, which determines the success of the weaponry and tactics employed during a mission.
  3. Conducting a successful combat assessment not only improves decision-making and resource allocation, but it also provides valuable information for adapting strategies, refining tactics, and enhancing overall mission effectiveness.


Combat assessment (CA) is a critical aspect of military operations as it aids in evaluating the effectiveness of a specific operation or strategy employed during a conflict.

CA provides essential insight into the outcomes of an engagement, gauging the performance of a maneuver or tactic against an adversary.

By conducting a thorough analysis of factors such as enemy capabilities, collateral damage, and mission accomplishment, decision-makers can make informed choices in real-time or adjust future strategies accordingly.

This comprehensive evaluation helps optimize resource allocation and minimize risks, ultimately contributing to the success of the mission and the safety of military personnel.


Combat assessment (CA) plays a pivotal role in modern military operations, serving as an essential tool for commanders and decision-makers to evaluate and analyze the effectiveness of the operations undertaken. The primary purpose of CA is to provide an accurate and timely evaluation of the results of military engagements, helping higher-ups adapt their strategies and tactics to ensure mission success.

By examining various aspects such as target effects, collateral damage, and the overall success of tactical objectives, commanders can identify elements that need improvement or unanticipated challenges in the battlefield, ultimately making the best possible decisions for future actions. In order to achieve this, the CA process systematically gathers and consolidates data from various sources such as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) assets, and battle damage assessments (BDA). CA then synthesizes this information to create a cohesive understanding of the situation, allowing commanders to assess whether the initial objectives have been met or if additional efforts and resources are required.

In essence, combat assessment serves as an invaluable feedback loop that constantly refines and optimizes military strategies and operations. This holistic approach not only mitigates risks and potential drawbacks but also maximizes the effectiveness of military forces in achieving their goals and safeguarding national interests.

Examples of Combat assessment (CA)

Operation Desert Storm (1991): During the Gulf War, the U.S. military and its coalition partners engaged in a large-scale combat assessment of the Iraqi forces. The CA process involved gathering information on the effectiveness of air strikes, ground forces, and other assets in the battlespace. Intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) assets, such as satellite imagery and HUMINT, were used to assess the damage caused to the Iraqi forces. This allowed the coalition forces to identify gaps in their strategy and adjust their attack plans to achieve the desired outcome.

Operation Enduring Freedom (2001-2014): After the September 11 attacks, the U.S. and NATO forces launched Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, aimed at dismantling the Al-Qaeda terrorist network and defeating the Taliban regime. Throughout the operation, extensive combat assessments were performed to evaluate the progress and effectiveness of military campaigns. Analysts and commanders used information from ISR assets, human intelligence (HUMINT), and battle damage assessments to identify enemy capability, intentions, and forces. This intelligence analysis facilitated the adjustment of strategies, tactics, and resource allocations to successfully carry out the mission.

Battle of Mosul (2016-2017): During the battle to liberate the city of Mosul from the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq, the military forces of Iraq, the Kurdish Peshmerga, and the global coalition conducted continuous combat assessments. Throughout the nine-month-long operation, ISR assets, including drones, were employed to monitor the situation on the ground and collect vital information on the enemy’s numbers, equipment, tactics, and defenses. This enabled commanders to make informed decisions, adjust military tactics, and allocate resources and assets effectively. The battle concluded with the successful recapture of Mosul and a major setback for ISIS.

Combat Assessment (CA) FAQ

1. What is Combat Assessment (CA)?

Combat Assessment (CA) is the process of evaluating the effectiveness of military operations, such as force engagements, munitions employment, and maneuver activities. The primary objective of CA is to determine the success of these operations in achieving the intended objectives and to provide valuable information for refining tactics, techniques, and procedures for future missions.

2. What are the primary components of Combat Assessment?

Combat Assessment is comprised of three primary components: Battle Damage Assessment (BDA), Munitions Effectiveness Assessment (MEA), and Re-Attack Recommendation (RAR). BDA evaluates the extent of damage inflicted on the target, MEA assesses the performance of the employed munitions, and RAR recommends whether to conduct follow-on attacks to achieve the desired objectives.

3. Who is responsible for conducting Combat Assessment?

Combat Assessment is a joint responsibility of the command and control elements, intelligence community, and operational units involved in the military operation. These entities work together to gather, analyze, and share information about the mission’s effectiveness, helping the commander make informed decisions regarding follow-on operations.

4. How is Combat Assessment data collected?

Data for Combat Assessment is collected using various methods, including intelligence sources (e.g., satellite imagery, signals intelligence), operational reporting from the units involved in the operation, and post-strike reconnaissance using aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Additionally, friendly forces on the ground may provide first-hand observations of the mission’s effectiveness.

5. Why is Combat Assessment important?

Combat Assessment is crucial for several reasons. First, it helps commanders determine the success of their operations and make informed decisions on whether additional actions are necessary. Second, it enables the identification and analysis of potential weaknesses in enemy capabilities, providing valuable insights for future planning. Third, CA helps assess the performance of weapons systems and tactics, potentially leading to improvements in military technology and doctrine.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Disability compensation
  • Combat-related injury
  • Veterans healthcare services
  • Service-connected disability

Sources for More Information

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