SALT and SALUTE reports

When sending information reports(information is collected…Intelligence is a processed, usable product created from accurate information) there’s two formats; SALT and SALUTE. By now everyone in the III% community should be aware of what a SALUTE report is, what the acronym stands for, and sending practice messages during your training meetings. For those needing a refresher, SALUTE stands for SIZE, ACTIVITY, LOCATION, UNIFORM/UNIT, TIME, EQUIPMENT. It’s simple…commit it to memory. This is the basic format, and the field operator should have an index card with the acronym spelled out vertically to fill the info in for quick, efficient transmitting over the radio. With this report, include as much detail as possible. The point of the report is to give your intelligence analyst something to work with. The detail you provide or fail to can and likely will make worlds of difference in the success of the mission. Typically with Size, trained Scouts begin with the largest element(which could be X number of vehicles, X number of differing vehicles by name, X number of troops, X number of local nationals, etc.). It’s not just the plain vanilla, “platoon size element over the ridge, over”, which tells me about as much as saying the Golden Horde is laying in wait. Activity and Location speak for themselves, with Location being the location of what you’re observing. With Uniform/Unit, understand that there is a distinction. In Afghanistan I wore several different uniforms, depending on the mission and who we were working with. A unit’s level of importance and training can easily be determined with a careful eye. It can also tell the guerrilla who the new kids on the block are. Captured AQ-I insurgents would often remark that they knew when the new guys were coming to town just by the new patches showing up. It’s not limited however…four guys all wearing the same ballcap in a close proximity, or two car loads of guys all wearing red t-shirts might very well be a detail you need to pay attention to. Time is important for self explanatory reasons, as is Equipment. The more detail the better! That new box on the back of their trucks or each guy wearing a black scarf may be something to further investigate…who knows. One thing’s for certain, if you don’t put it in the report no one will ever know.
So what’s a SALT report? Its an abbreviated SALUTE report standing for SIZE, ACTIVITY, LOCATION, TIME. Why would we use this? In short, it’s a fragmentary report given as a rapid update to the initial SALUTE report. For example, you’re watching an armored column show up at one corner of town from your Hide site, and another group of vehicles shows up 20 minutes later, dismounting additional troops and a group of well dressed civilians wearing body armor. Your initial SALUTE is now outdated…and the SALT report fixes this.
Commit these to memory. There’s no reason not to. Practice sending them locally via the license free bands as to not attract unwanted attention…and if you find you can’t do this effectively, take up something else. Field information collection is a professional activity, act accordingly.