1. Identifying Obstacles provides leaders information about terrain that limits mobility to include both existing and reinforcing obstacles. Existing obstacles include swamps/wetlands, ravines, gaps/ditches over 3 meters wide, trees larger than 7 inches and are spaced within 4 meters of each other, and any manmade obstacle such as structures or buildings. Reinforcing obstacles are manmade obstacles that are tied to existing obstacles, thus the term reinforcing, designed to further deter an opposing force. Reinforcing obstacles include minefields, anti-vehicle ditches and wire obstacles. Identification of enemy reinforcing obstacles gives leaders insight to where the enemy wants you to go or does not what you to go. During defensive planning the implementation of existing obstacles into your defensive plan is essential to augment limited obstacle construction resources and to force the enemy to go where you want them to go, such as engagement areas or the denial of an avenue of approach in favor of another.
2. Identifying Avenues of Approach provides leaders information into air and ground routes an attacking force can use when approaching an objective or key terrain feature. Avenues of approach are classified as mounted, dismounted,
air, or subterranean which is a sewer/utility systems in a urban area. Once avenues of approach are identified leaders then annotate the formation that can be used, the movement speed and the largest unit size for each avenue illustrated by the following example, "A enemy squad moving in a squad column formation." During offensive operations, avenues of approach discussions should consider how each avenue supports movement techniques and how that avenue impacts maneuver when an element is in contact. During defensive operations, discussions should consider how each avenue supports the enemy's likely approach to the group's position and how the enemy can use each avenue during an attack.
3. Identify Key Terrain that if secured provides a significant advantage to either side, or terrain that must be occupied for mission accomplishment. High ground like hilltops along an avenue or a river fording site along an avenue are examples of common key terrain. Additional key terrain are areas required for support by fire positions, observation of the opposing force, or an area required for the safe passage of forces.
4. Identify areas that provide Observation and Fields of Fire near an avenue of approach or objective allowing forces to position weapons for unobstructed employment. When considering observation points look for areas that are idea overwatch positions that provide direct fire support for maneuver elements. When analyzing both observation and fields of fire, leaders must consider weapons capabilities for both combatant forces and their range to cover
both key terrain and avenues of approach. Also, consider where both forces are able to concentrate fires along avenues of approach.
5. Identify areas that provide Cover (protection from direct and indirect weapons) and Concealment (protection from observation) focusing on terrain, foliage, structures and other terrain features along avenues of approach, near objectives and defensive positions. During both offensive defensive operations identify the avenue of approach that provides not only the best fields of fire to support overwatch of maneuvering units but also effective cover and concealment. In addition, during defensive operations always remember that weapon positions are to be both lethal and survivable. Effective cover and concealment for positions is just as vital as having clear fields of fire.