What is METT-TC Part 3: Enemy

Michael continues his series on METT-TC, this time covering E in further detail. Three applicable acronyms here are SALUTE, DRAW-D, and EMLCOA. Check out the article below to get a breakdown on each as well as some other considerations to take into account when analyzing the Enemy.

Enemy (METT-TC)

Much can be written about the Enemy variables that should be considered when conducting a METT-TC analysis. In the most basic of terms, you want to answer as many questions as possible that enable you to know thy enemy.

In the military, sometimes days are spent just analyzing a threat and developing as many different courses of action as possible and wargaming them out. I won’t be illustrating that in this article, but it is incredible how much you can learn just by wargaming.

A common saying is that the enemy always has a say. It’s not a static target with role-players that keel over when you point your muzzle in their general direction. Like you, the enemy thinks and reacts and the more you put into thinking through their possible actions and reactions, the more your likelihood of success will improve should a decisive engagement occur—that is, if you have the skills to back it all up.


One of the most common acronyms utilized when describing the enemy is SALUTE. This is also a common report format. SALUTE describes the composition and disposition of the enemy which, put simply, describes how many there are, who they are, what they have, where they are, and what they are doing.

Pretty straightforward, this is simply reported as the number of observed enemy personnel.

What are they doing at the time of observation? Are they on the move? Digging in? Sleeping without any firewatch posted (shameful)?

Typically reported in a grid format, but any method of communicating a physical location will work if who you are reporting to is on the same page. Could be MGRS grids, lat/long coordinates, or near an intersection with the road names pointed out. (MGRS grid coordinates would be the method the US Military uses.)

Also sometimes referred to as Uniform. What are they wearing? Is there an insignia or certain color armband? Are vehicles marked with a Z? If no major identifiers, or unit is unknown, a general description of any commonalities would suffice such as blue jeans and flannels or a particular camouflage pattern that is commonly worn.

When was the observation made? You may find that you must fill out a SALUTE report and submit it later than when it was actually observed. Always report the time of observation.

This can range from comm capabilities to vehicles to weapon platforms. It can also illustrate a lack of capabilities if a unit is poorly equipped.

For a SALUTE report, the more information, the better. However, it is typically transmitted via radio, so it should be noted that the format works best when only the necessary information is transmitted.

SALUTE reports are often briefed in the order of TSUALE. An example of briefing in this order would look something like this:
[TIME] At 1600 this afternoon, [SIZE] a 6 man element [UNIT] of UC was observed [ACTIVITY] sitting on the curb eating french fries [LOCATION] in the vicinity of In-N-Out near grid 11S MS 1234 5678. [EQUIPMENT] They possessed what appeared to be one BaoFeng that had no battery. Each was carrying a KAC SR-15 with a GBRS Hydra Mount and a knockoff NGAL mounted with goon tape wrapped around unnecessary components. 

From this relatively succinct report, we can infer quite a bit. We know we have a 6-man element equipped with civ bro rifles but who are severely lacking in other areas such as comms, which means they have probably skipped corners in other areas of their gear and training as well. We know where they were at the time of the report, and we know that they have no sense of security or dispersion and most likely little concern for enemy contact. Or they saw us coming from a mile away with their Chinese drone and set everything up as a decoy, and now we are going to be lured to our deaths thinking we have an easy target. Either way, these are the things that should be running through your head as you plan your actions. The enemy always has a say. 


The other main enemy-analysis tool I like to use is the acronym DRAW-D. This seeks to describe the enemy’s capabilities and limitations.

There are many more questions you can ask yourself here, but hopefully these get your wheels spinning.

Will they defend their position? Is it worth defending? How long can they sustain a defense? Are they in an advantageous position to defend?

Does the enemy have access to reinforcements? If so, how will they communicate for reinforcement? How far away are their likely reinforcements and how long will it take for them to arrive? What route will reinforcements likely take?

Is the enemy in an advantageous position to attack if afforded the opportunity? What does their doctrine typically dictate when attacking (e.g. Get online and clear; Bold flanking maneuvers)?

Are they light and mobile enough that they would simply withdraw if decisively engaged? Do they have a clear way out of a decisive engagement that would allow them to withdraw?

Are they equipped well enough to engage us while maintaining standoff? Have they constructed obstacles or do they possess the ability and equipment to do so?


The main point of enemy analysis is to determine what they are most likely to do. Put another way, what is the Enemy’s Most Likely Course of Action (EMLCOA)? This is best answered once you have worked your way through all of METT-TC and have a clearer understanding of your mission and all variables that not only affect you, but your enemy as well. Putting yourself in the enemy’s shoes is one of the most effective ways to develop the EMLCOA which will eventually allow us to develop our exploitation plan and finally, our scheme of maneuver.

There is much more to be said about the E in METT-TC. You can find chapters in various military pubs just on a threat or enemy analysis. My aim here is to introduce this topic to those that have never seen it before or perhaps serve as a refresher for those that have.

Feel free to contact us at [email protected] if you have any additional input, found some errors, or simply would like to further discuss the contents of this article and we will be sure to respond.