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Dynamic targeting

Definition Dynamic targeting refers to a military tactic where resources are rapidly reallocated to engage targets that hadn’t been previously planned or anticipated. This approach requires real-time information and flexible command and control systems. The intent is to exploit opportunities and react to rapid changes on the battlefield. Key Takeaways Dynamic targeting refers to the […]


Dynamic targeting refers to a military tactic where resources are rapidly reallocated to engage targets that hadn’t been previously planned or anticipated. This approach requires real-time information and flexible command and control systems. The intent is to exploit opportunities and react to rapid changes on the battlefield.

Key Takeaways

  1. Dynamic targeting refers to the military practice of identifying, analyzing, and tracking targets that were not previously planned or known. These targets typically emerge during the course of an operation, necessitating quick decisions and responses.
  2. The process involves various stages including “find”, “fix”, “track”, “target”, “engage”, and “assess”. These stages help in the identification, tracking, decision-making, implementing actions, and evaluating results of dynamic targeting operations respectively.
  3. Dynamic targeting is an essential aspect of modern warfare, providing the military with the ability to respond quickly to rapidly changing scenarios, thereby remaining adaptive and effective in the face of unprecedented situations.


Dynamic targeting is a critical military operations term because it refers to the process of identifying, analyzing, and responding to high-priority targets in real-time.

This tactic is of high importance and enables a swift response against adversaries with the aim of diminishing their capabilities or disrupting their operations.

The primary purpose of dynamic targeting is to handle targets that may not be addressed through deliberate targeting, typically due to time-sensitivity or the target’s transient nature.

Dynamic targeting facilitates a quick and effective response to emergent threats, helping to increase the adaptability and efficiency of military operations, contributing to operational success and the ultimate achievement of strategic objectives.


Dynamic targeting is mainly utilized within military operations to address targets that are time-sensitive, fleeting, or movable and arise beyond the planning cycle’s scope. It is an integral part of modern warfare and focuses on adaptability and quick responses to changing circumstances.

Dynamic targeting involves the formulation of a quick response strategy designed to engage targets that couldn’t have been foreseen during the pre-battle phase, such as enemy combatants on the move or temporal high-value targets, like commanders, specialized weaponry, or other strategic assets. It requires advanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, as well as reliable and quick communication channels.

The purpose of dynamic targeting is to provide the capability to track and engage targets that are not fixed, allowing increased flexibility and adaptability in orchestrating military missions. This methodology maximizes the opportunities to eliminate threats and achieve mission objectives.

It also enhances real-time decision-making and accelerates the operational tempo, which gives the armed forces an advantage over the opponent. Thus, dynamic targeting not only promotes efficiency and effectiveness in operations but also increases the probability of mission success.

Examples of Dynamic targeting

Operation Chromite during the Korean War: One of the key aspects of dynamic targeting was illustrated during the Korean War’s Operation Chromite, where the US military had to constantly adjust their targets based on the movements and activities of the North Korean forces. When the original landing site for the amphibious operation was discovered by the enemy, the target was shifted to another location in real-time to ensure the success of the operation.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Operation Unified Protector in Libya, 2011: The operation is known for its extensive use of dynamic targeting where time-sensitive targets were continuously identified and neutralized. NATO forces launched airstrikes on pro-Gadhafi military assets which constantly moved to avoid being targeted.

Operation Neptune Spear, the raid to capture Osama Bin Laden in 2011: This operation employed dynamic targeting in navigating the rapid changes during the mission. Given the classified and sensitive nature of Operation Neptune Spear, real-time information was crucial for US forces to adapt their plans while maintaining the goal of capturing or neutralizing Osama Bin Laden. This mission demonstrated dynamic targeting’s ability to adjust to risks, threats, and unexpected changes in the operation while achieving its objective.

FAQs on Dynamic Targeting

1. What is Dynamic Targeting?

Dynamic targeting is a military strategy that uses real-time information to make decisions about potential targets. It’s part of a larger strategy known as adaptive planning which encompasses identifying, assessing, and attacking targets that are not always known in advance.

2. How does Dynamic Targeting function in military operations?

Dynamic targeting in military operations functions by actively and continuously tracking real-time information. This information then helps in the identification, assessment, and prioritization of targets Then, the most appropriate assets are assigned to engage the targets.

3. Why is Dynamic Targeting essential to military operations?

Dynamic targeting is essential to military operations because it allows for a more adaptable, precise, and effective response. This is especially important in situations where targets may change rapidly or are time-sensitive. The real-time decision-making capability provided by dynamic targeting can lead to enhanced military effects and reduced collateral damage.

4. What are the drawbacks of Dynamic Targeting?

Some drawbacks of dynamic targeting include the potential for information overload and the need for significant resources to gather and analyze data. Additionally, there can be challenges in communication and coordination between different units involved in the targeting process. It also often requires advanced technology and skilled personnel to effectively utilize dynamic targeting strategies.

5. What technology supports dynamic targeting operations?

Several technologies support dynamic targeting operations which include certain reconnaissance assets like drones, radar systems, and advanced communication systems. Advanced computer systems for data analysis and decision-making, and precision-guided munitions for effective strikes also support dynamic targeting operations.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Benefit Eligibility: The criteria that must be met to receive dynamic targeting for VA benefits.
  • VA Health Care System: The system where dynamic targeting is implemented to provide benefits to the veterans.
  • Service-Connected Disabilities: The injuries or diseases that occurred or were aggravated during active military service, often a primary consideration in dynamic targeting.
  • VA Compensation Rate: The amount provided to the veterans which can differ based on dynamic targeting.
  • Needs-based Assessment: A system used to determine the allocation of resources, including VA benefits which form a part of dynamic targeting.

Sources for More Information

  • Joint Chiefs of Staff: This is the official U.S. Department of Defense website, which offers a vast wealth of information including details about dynamic targeting in military operations.
  • RAND Corporation: As a global policy think tank, RAND conducts a lot of research related to military affairs. The website offers numerous publications on dynamic targeting.
  • Air University: The Air War College at Air University often publishes articles and papers related to air power, which include dynamic targeting in air operations.
  • U.S. Naval Institute: This organization provides an independent forum for those who dare to read, think, speak, and write in order to advance the professional, literary, and scientific understanding of sea power and other issues critical to national defense. This includes discussion and information about dynamic targeting in naval operations.

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