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Camouflage, concealment and decoys discipline

CCD discipline is avoiding an activity that changes the appearance of an area or reveals the presence of military equipment.

CCD discipline is avoiding an activity that changes the appearance of an area or reveals the presence of military equipment. CCD discipline is a continuous necessity that applies to every soldier. If the prescribed visual and audio routines of CCD discipline are not observed, the entire CCD effort may fail. Vehicle tracks, spoil, and debris are the most common signs of military activity. Their presence can negate all efforts of proper placement and concealment.

CCD discipline denies an enemy the indications of a unit’s location or activities by minimizing disturbances to a target area. To help maintain unit viability, a unit must integrate all available CCD means into a cohesive plan. CCD discipline involves regulating light, heat, noise, spoil, trash, and movement. Successful CCD discipline depends largely on the actions of individual soldiers. Some of these actions may not be easy on a soldier, but his failure to observe CCD discipline could defeat an entire unit’s CCD efforts and possibly impact the unit’s survivability and mission success.

TACSOPs prescribing CCD procedures aid in enforcing CCD discipline, and they should:

  • List specific responsibilities for enforcing established CCD countermeasures and discipline.
  • Detail procedures for individual and unit conduct in assembly areas (AAs) or other situations that may apply to the specific unit.

Units should have frequent CCD battle drills. CCD discipline is a continuous requirement that calls for strong leadership, which produces a disciplined CCD consciousness throughout the entire unit. Appendix B of FM 20-3 (Camouflage, Concealment and Decoys) contains additional guidance for incorporating CCD into a unit TACSOP.

Light and heat:

Light and heat discipline, though important at all times, is crucial at night. As long as visual observation remains a primary recon method, concealing light signatures remains an important CCD countermeasure. Lights that are not blacked out at night can be observed at great distances. For example, the human eye can detect camp fires from 8 kilometers and vehicle lights from 20 kilometers. Threat surveillance can also detect heat from engines, stoves, and heaters from great distances. When moving at night, vehicles in the forward combat area should use ground guides and blackout lights. When using heat sources is unavoidable, use terrain masking, exhaust baffling, and other techniques to minimize thermal signatures of fires and stoves.


Individuals should avoid or minimize actions that produce noise. For example, muffle generators by using shields or terrain masking or place them in defilade positions. Communications personnel should operate their equipment at the lowest possible level that allows them to be heard and understood. Depending on the terrain and atmospheric conditions, noise can travel great distances and reveal a unit’s position to an enemy.


The prompt and complete policing of debris and spoil is an essential CCD consideration. Proper spoil discipline removes a key signature of a unit’s current or past presence in an area.


Vehicle tracks are clearly visible from the air, particularly in selected terrain. Therefore, track and movement discipline is essential. Use existing roads and tracks as much as possible. When using new paths, ensure that they fit into the existing terrain’s pattern. Minimize, plan, and coordinate all movement; and take full advantage of cover and dead space.


Reference: FM 20-3 Camouflage, Concealment and Decoys

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