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CHAPTER 2

MISSION ESSENTIAL TASK LIST (METL) DEVELOPMENT

Do essential things first.  Each commander  what is essential 
and assign responsibilities for accomplishment.  Nonessentials should
not take up time required for essentials.

General Bruce C. Clarke


This chapter addresses the procedures that battalion and company
commanders use to develop their units' METLs. It also describes the
development of soldier, leader, and collective tasks and training 
objectives that support the METL's accomplishment. This chapter focuses
on newly assigned commanders who are reviewing their METLs for the first 
time. It also addresses commanders who receive new wartime missions which
cause them to adjust their METL or develop a new METL.

Battle focus drives the METL development process. The METL is based on the wartime mission; the unit must train as it plans to fight. Commanders develop METLs because units cannot obtain proficiency on every possible task. The METL development process ( Figure 2-1) allows the commander to narrow the training requirements to an achievable number; it is the same for Active and Reserve Components.

KEY POINTS

Figure 2-1.

Resource availability does not affect METL development. The METL is an unconstrained statement of tasks required to accomplish wartime missions.

Wartime commanders must recognize the peacetime training limitations faced by subordinates and tailor wartime missions within these practical constraints. If a commander determines his unit cannot execute all the tasks on the unit's METL to standard, he must request an adjustment of the unit's mission. The commander determines which tasks he can train and execute. He then negotiates with his wartime commander to ensure the mission and METL are consistent. RC commanders coordinate with their first wartime commander to ensure assigned missions are as specific as possible; they coordinate with the peacetime chain of command for training resources.

The METL is not prioritized. It may be changed or adjusted if wartime missions change. Commanders reexamine the METL periodically to ensure it still supports the wartime mission.

The METL must support and complement the METL of the next higher headquarters and the supported wartime unit for CS and CSS units. This is especially important for battalion and lower units assigned to echelons above division; for example, a supply and services company, general support. In addition, the METL--

  • Must be understood by the CSM and key NCOs so that they can integrate soldier tasks.

  • Must apply to the entire unit.

  • May vary for like units because of different wartime missions or locations.

  • Must be briefed to and approved by the next higher wartime commander. Some RC units may be unable to conduct in-person briefings to their higher wartime headquarters. In those cases, commanders must use other means such as messages or mail to get their METL approved.

Other points concerning METL development follow:

  • Company is the lowest level unit that prepares a METL.

  • Battalion staffs develop staff METLs which are approved by the battalion commander.

  • Battalion commanders must ensure staff, supporting slice, and company METLs are properly coordinated and mutually supporting.

  • Commanders create a team approach to METL development by involving all subordinate leaders.

  • Combat task organizations may be tailored as heavy, light, special operations, or any combination to meet specific mission requirements. When mission, enemy, terrain, troops, and time available (METT-T) dictate changes in a force mix, such as heavy and light, commanders must understand each unit's capabilities and limitations when reexamining the METL. The same applies to joint and combined operations.

SOURCES

Commanders determine their units' METLs based on war plans and external directives. War plans consist of the unit's anticipated wartime missions, operations plans, and contingency plans. External directives may include--

  • CAPSTONE mission guidance letters.

  • Mobilization plans.

  • Installation wartime transition and deployment plans.

  • Force integration plans.

The primary source for tasks is doctrinal manuals, such as FM 17-97 for a regimental armored cavalry troop or FM 33-1 for a psychological operations unit. At battalion and company levels, the applicable MTP is a good start point for selecting collective tasks to support the mission. When no MTP exists, leaders may develop task lists using the following sources:

  • Table of organization and equipment (TO&E).

  • General defense plan (GDP).

  • Tactical standing operating procedures (TSOPs).

  • Technical manuals (TMs).

  • Readiness standing operating procedures (RSOPs).

  • State wartime contingency plans for ARNG.

SEQUENCE

The battalion commander follows this sequence in METL development. He--

  • Receives the brigade mission and METL and analyzes the mission to identify specified and implied tasks. He also reviews war plans and other external directives to help identify those tasks.

  • Restates the unit's wartime mission.

  • Determines and selects the tasks critical for wartime mission accomplishment, which become the unit's METL.

  • Gets approval of the unit's METL from the commander.

  • Provides the approved METL to his staff and company commanders.

Using the same procedures, the battalion staff and company commanders select METL tasks which are approved by the battalion commander.

To illustrate METL development, the following paragraphs show the steps the TF 1-77 commander used in developing his METL. The examples are developed based on the division and brigade missions and METLs in Appendix A.

BATTALION COMMANDER'S ANALYSIS

The TF 1-77 commander received the 1st Brigade's wartime mission, METL, and war plans. He then--

  • Analyzed these documents and other external directives to identify his specified and implied tasks.

  • Used the operation-to-collective task matrix found in ARTEP 71-2-MTP to determine the collective tasks in support of the critical wartime missions. These critical wartime operations are offensive, defensive, retrograde, reconnaissance and security, and movement to contact. Additionally, several tasks are annotated that were derived from the battalion's war plans.

  • Logically compiled and sequenced these collective tasks as he expected them to occur during execution of the unit's wartime mission. A sample of the TF's collective tasks is at Figure 2-2.

Figure 2-2. Sample TF 1-77 tasks.

The battalion commanders of CS and CSS battalions use the same analytical process to determine their task lists. Sample CS and CSS task lists (not all inclusive) for divisional CS and CSS units are at Figures 2-3 and 2-4. A sample nondivisional MP battalion task list is at Figure 2-5.

Figure 2-3.

Figure 2-4. Sample forward support battalion (FSB) tasks.

The TF commander then restated his wartime mission:

At D-Day, H-Hour, TF 1-77 deploys by air and sea, draws equipment, moves to and occupies designated assembly areas, and organizes for combat. On order, moves to assigned sector to defend. Be prepared to counterattack. On order, conduct offensive operations.

Figure 2-5.

The TF commander analyzed the restated mission and selected from the task list only those tasks essential to accomplish his unit's wartime mission. These tasks make up his METL. Figure 2-6 shows a sample METL resulting from TF 1-77 commander's wartime mission analysis.

The engineer, FSB, and MP battalion commanders used the same process as the TF 1-77 commander to determine their mission essential tasks. Figures 2-7, 2-8, and 2-9 show sample METLs resulting from the engineer, FSB, and MP commanders' analyses.

APPROVAL OF BATTALION METL

Once the METL is developed, the battalion commander briefs his next higher wartime commander who approves the METL. For example,TF 1-77 commander briefed the 1st Brigade commander; the divisional engineer battalion commander briefed the division commander; and the FSB commander briefed the division support command (DISCOM) commander. The corps MP battalion commander briefed the MP brigade commander.

The TF 1-77 commander provided his restated wartime mission and approved METL to his staff and company commanders. As depicted in TF 1-77 task organization (Appendix A), Team A is a tank heavy subordinate unit of TF 1-77.

Figure 2-6. Sample TF 1-77 METL.

Figure 2-7. Sample divisional engineer battalion METL.

Figure 2-8. Sample FSB METL

Figure 2-9. Sample MP battalion METL.

COMPANY COMMANDER'S ANALYSIS

During the METL development process, the Team A commander--

  • Analyzed the TF commander's restated wartime mission and approved METL. Using the same process, he identified his specified and implied tasks.

  • Used the mission-to-collective task matrix found in ARTEP 71-1-MTP to determine the collective tasks in support of critical wartime missions. These critical wartime missions are Movement to Contact, Attack, Raid, Ambush, Reconnaissance and Security, Defend, and Retrograde. He also identified other tasks required to execute war plans.

  • Sequenced the collective tasks as he expected them to occur during the execution of his wartime mission.

A sample list of Team A collective tasks is at Figure 2-10.

The company commanders of an engineer company and a supply company would use the same analytical process to determine their task lists. Sample lists of their collective tasks are at Figures 2-11 and 2-12.

Figure 2-10. Sample Team A tasks.

Figure 2-11. Sample engineer company tasks.

Figure 2-12. Sample supply company tasks.

The Team A commander then determined his restated wartime mission which follows:

At D-Day, H-Hour, Team A deploys by air and sea, draws equipment, moves to and occupies assembly area. On order, defends from assigned battle position. On order, conducts a counterattack to defeat the enemy. Be prepared to conduct offensive operations.

The Team A commander analyzed the restated mission and selected from the task list only those tasks essential to accomplish his wartime mission. These mission essential tasks make up his METL. Figure 2-13 shows a sample METL resulting from Team A commander's wartime mission analysis. Figures 2-14 and 2-15 show sample METLs resulting from the engineer and supply company commanders' analyses for their units.

APPROVAL OF COMPANY METL

After the company commander develops the METL, he briefs the battalion commander. For example, the Team A commander briefed the TF 1-77 commander; the engineer company commander briefed the engineer battalion commander; and the commander of the supply company briefed the FSB commander. The battalion commander approves the company METL.

Figure 2-13.

Figure 2-14. Sample engineer company METL.

Figure 2-15. Sample supply company METL.

TDA METL DEVELOPMENT

Tables of distribution and allowances (TDA) unit leaders must also develop a battle focused METL that enables them to accomplish their assigned missions. The METL development process is the same as for TO&E units. This METL must reflect a task list derived by integrating required primary support mission tasks with warfighting skills. These tasks range from wartime mobilization requirements to support for disasters or local emergencies.

Some missions may not change for TDA units during wartime (soldier and equipment support requirements for US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) schools and in support of recurring garrison or installation tasks). For example, training battalions and companies would continue to train soldiers and leaders. A sample TDA METL is at Figure 2-16.

Figure 2-16. Sample basic training battalion METL

INTEGRATION OF SOLDIER, LEADER, AND COLLECTIVE TRAINING

Company is the lowest level to have a METL. The Team A commander gives to his chain of command the mission and METL for accomplishing the company's wartime mission.

SELECTION OF PLATOON AND SQUAD COLLECTIVE TASKS

From the company mission and METL, the platoon leader and PSG from 1st Platoon, Team A, determined their collective tasks. They used the following process:

  • Used the mission-to-collective task matrix found in ARTEP 7-8-MTP to determine platoon collective tasks that support each company mission essential task.

  • Determined which collective tasks support more than one company mission essential task to identify high payoff tasks. For example, Collective Task 7-3/4-1025, Move Tactically, is required for most company mission essential tasks.

  • Presented selected platoon collective tasks to Team A commander to obtain his guidance and approval. The Team A commander used mission, enemy, terrain, troops, and time available (METT-T) analysis, resource availability, and unit status analysis to select the most important platoon tasks.

The 1st Platoon leader and PSG assisted the 2d Squad leader in determining the squad collective tasks to accomplish the platoon collective tasks. They used the same process as above to select these tasks. The 1st Platoon leader approved the 2d Squad collective tasks. Sample lists of the 1st Platoon and 2d Squad's collective tasks are at Figure 2-17.

SELECTION OF LEADER AND SOLDIER TASKS

Leader and soldier tasks must be identified at the appropriate level to support the accomplishment of the unit mission essential tasks. Figure 2-18 identifies leaders that select, review, and approve NCO leader and soldier tasks.

Leader tasks can be found in the appropriate soldier training publication (STP), MQS, MTP, or SM. Figure 2-19 shows a small sample of leader tasks for the infantry platoon leader and subordinate NCOs from Team A. The company commander used ARTEP 7-8-MTP to identify platoon leader tasks. The 1SG and key NCOs used STP 7-11M14-SM-TG and STP 7-11B14-SM-TG to identify NCO leader tasks. Leaders must be proficient on these and other specified leader tasks before conducting collective training.

Train the trainer to train his soldiers.

CS and CSS leaders may have similar documents available. When no published leader tasks exist, they must develop them using doctrinal manuals, other proponent school publications, and common task manuals. For example, STP 10-94B25-SM-TG provides CSS leader tasks for a food service NCO. Some skill level 3 sample tasks from the STP are--

  • Establish layout of field feeding areas.

  • Supervise operation and maintenance of the mobile kitchen trailer (MKT).

  • Supervise field kitchen sanitation operations.

  • Supervise personnel in cleaning and maintenance of field feeding equipment.

  • Request and turn in subsistence.

Leaders must determine which subordinate leader tasks will be incorporated into collective training.

Unit leaders select soldier tasks to support squad and platoon collective tasks using the collective-to-soldier task matrix found in the appropriate ARTEP MTPs. They do this for each skill level within the unit. An example of skill level 1 tasks found in ARTEP 7-8-MTP which support the task Defend in Team A is at Figure 2-20.

Figure 2-17. Sample 1st Platoon and 2d Squad collective tasks.

Figure 2-18. Task approval matrix.

Figure 2-19. Sample leader tasks.

The CSM and key NCOs review and refine the supporting soldier tasks for each skill level in every MOS within the unit. They pay particular attention to low-density MOS tasks. Leader books are a valuable tool to track tasks for which subordinates must be proficient. Information on the leader book is in Appendix B.

All leaders and soldiers must perform applicable common tasks and military occupational specialty (MOS)-specific tasks. There are 85 common tasks and 70 MOS-specific tasks in ARTEP 7-8-MTP. This list of 155 tasks will be too large to reasonably sustain because of limited training time and other resource restrictions. Leaders use battle focus to refine the list to mission related tasks that are essential to thesoldier's duty position. This list of leader and soldier tasks is analyzed to eliminate duplication. For example, the squad leader and team leaders in a BFV squad first selected the common tasks they determined as essential for all skill level 1 squad members. Figure 2-21 is a sample of their common tasks.

The leaders next identified tasks essential to both the soldiers' duty positions and to duty positions for which they are being cross trained. Figure 2-22 (a and b)is a sample of tasks by soldier's positions.

The integration of soldier, leader, and collective tasks with the METL mutually supports the unit's wartime mission. The relationship of essentialsoldier and leader tasks to squad and platoon collective tasks and the company mission essential tasks for Team A is at Figure 2-23.

Another example of how soldier, leader, and collective tasks are integrated into a CS company follows at Figures 2-24 through 2-26. The engineer chain of command developed task lists using ARTEP 5-145-11-MTP to support mission essential task Conduct Obstacle Reduction (Breaching) Operations.

Figure 2-20. Collective-to-soldier matrix extract.

Figure 2-21. Sample common tasks.

Figure 2-22. Sample soldier duty position tasks.

Figure 2-22 (continued).

Figure 2-23. Relationship of soldier and leader tasks to squad and platoon collective tasks and the company METL.

Figure 2-24. Sample engineer platoon collective tasks.

Figure 2-25. Sample engineer squad collective tasks.

Figure 2-26. Sample engineer leader and soldier tasks

BATTLE STAFF

The battle staff consists of the battalion staff and battalion slice (CS and CSS elements that are task-organized). Battalion staff and slice leaders develop mission essential tasks that support the battalion METL. They use the same process as the battalion and company commanders to develop their METL. Battle staff mission essential task lists are reviewed by the battalion executive officer and approved by the battalion commander.

Figure 2-27. Sample battle staff METLs.

The battalion commander must ensure that the battle staff METL integrates combined arms tasks which enable the battalion to fight as a combined arms team. As additional assets are task-organized, they must be integrated into the battle staff. The tasks of special staffs are incorporated into the battle staff's METLs; for example, the chaplain and medical officers' tasks with the S1's METL; the signal, chemical, and S3 air officers' tasks with the S3's METL; the motor and support platoon officers' tasks with the S4's METL. A sample list of battle staff mission essential task lists is found in Figure 2-27.

BATTLE TASKS

After approving the battle staff's and companies' METLs, the battalion commander selects from these METLS those tasks which the accomplishment of is critical to the success of each battalion mission essential task. These become the battalion's battle tasks. The selection of these battle tasks allows the battalion commander to focus on those tasks he wants to emphasize during training and evaluation. It also enables him to allocate scarce resources, such as ammunition, fuel, training areas, repair parts, and training aids, devices, simulators, and simulations (TADSS). Battalion is the lowest level that has battle tasks.

After compiling all battle tasks for each TF mission essential task, the TF commander eliminates redundant battle tasks. For example, logistical operations, command and control, and NBC tasks relate to all mission essential tasks. Figure 2-28 illustrates the battle task selection process in which the higher commander selects his battle

Figure 2-28.

tasks from the subordinate unit's METL.

BATTLEFIELD OPERATING SYSTEMS

A tool that the TF commander may use to organize his battle tasks is the battlefield operating systems (BOS). The seven BOS are the major functions which occur on the battlefield. The BOS must be synchronized to ensure total combat power is coordinated and directed toward accomplishing the wartime mission. The BOS are a tool and provide a process to evaluate and assess performance. They may be used to identify operational deficiencies and focus attention for training.

All BOS are not equal in all operations, nor do they apply for all tasks. They also are not any end in themselves. Mission accomplishment and overall unit performance are what count. BOS are listed in sequence as they would appear in the five paragraph field order:

  • Intelligence.

  • Maneuver.

  • Fire support.

  • Mobility/countermobility/survivability.

  • Air defense.

  • Combat service support.

  • Command and control (C2).

SPECIALTY PLATOONS

The collective tasks of the battalion's specialty platoons directly support the battalion METL. Specialty platoon tasks may be incorporated into the headquarters and headquarters company (HHC) METL. If specialty platoon tasks are in the HHC METL, they may be identified as battalion battle tasks.

Commanders must therefore pay special attention to training specialty platoon collective tasks. For example, the success of the battalion's movement may depend on the scout platoon's ability to conduct a route reconnaissance. Additionally, the ability of the mortar platoon to rapidly bring indirect fires on a moving enemy formation may be key to the success of a battalion defense.

EXAMPLE BATTLE TASKS

Figure 2-29 shows the TF 1-77 commander's selection of battle tasks for the battalion mission essential task Assault. The TF commander chooses tasks from company and team METLs to support the battalion mission essential task Assault. He bases his selection on his knowledge of the battalion's mission and his concept of the operation, choosing those tasks he feels are most important to the battalion's success. These become the battalion battle tasks. Figure 2-29 also shows the relationship of soldier, leader, and collective tasks, and METL to the battalion task.

CS and CSS battalion commanders have additional considerations which make selecting battle tasks extremely difficult. The METLs of their subordinate units must support their own battalion METL as well as the METLs of supported units. The subordinate companies could also have diverse missions within the battalion (such as medical, maintenance, and supply companies within the FSB).

Figure 2-29. TF 1-77 battle task selection and relationship to soldier, leader and collective tasks and METL.

Figure 2-30 is an example of an engineer battalion commander's selection of battle tasks for the mission essential task Prepare Combined Arms Obstacle Plan. Figure 2-31 shows 1st FSB's selection of battle tasks for the mission essential task Conduct Logistical Operations.

Figure 2-30. Engineer battalion battle task selection.

Figure 2-31. 1st FSB battle task selection.

TRAINING OBJECTIVES

After identifying battalion and company METLs, supporting platoon and squad collective tasks, and supporting soldier and leader tasks, leaders establish supporting conditions and standards for each task. The resulting training objective describes the desired outcome of a training activity.

Local conditions vary. Commanders must therefore modify conditions statements to fit their training environments and assessments of their units' level of proficiency. The goal is to create as realistic and demanding a training environment as possible with the resources available.

To adapt a conditions statement, the commander should take the following steps:

  • Read the existing MTP or SM statement. (It is deliberately general because a more specific conditions statement may not apply to all units.)

  • Read the applicable references with suggested support requirements and identify the resources needed to train the task.

  • Consider the local situation--ammunition available, OPFOR, time, terrain, ranges, TADSS, and weather conditions.

  • Prepare a revised conditions statement. Conditions prescribed should be realistic and practical. If conditions are considerably different from those stated in the MTP, the commander must consider whether the standards can be met or should be modified. Regardless, the conditions should be adjusted so that the standards remain appropriate to the task.

The conditions statement will include comments on one or more of the following:

  • Status and capability of threat forces.

  • Equipment, material, tools, or other resources allocated for use in performing the task.

  • References, checklists, and other memory aids for use during actual task performance.

  • Physical or environmental conditions; for example, darkness, dense tropical forests, cold weather, or NBC conditions.

  • Assistance available during performance of the task.

  • Time allocated for task performance.

  • Restrictions or limitations.

The standards for most tasks may be found in applicable MTPs and SMs. These standards for task performance are the minimum Army standards. For tasks without published training objectives, the following documents will assist in their development:

  • DA Pamphlet 350-38.

  • Deployment or mobilization plans.

  • General defense plans.

  • Army, major Army command (MACOM), and local regulations.

  • Local standing operating procedures (SOPs).

  • Equipment TMs and FMs.

CS and CSS unit commanders should structure daily operations so they replicate how business will be conducted during war. For example, a counterintelligence team from the military intelligence (MI) battalion supports the brigade's operational security (OPSEC) program in garrison through OPSEC awareness and vulnerability assessments; the FSB will routinely have the maintenance support teams from the maintenance company operate with supported unit's organic maintenance personnel. The following training objectives are examples for battalion-through-soldier level which support the TF 1-77 mission Defend (Figures 2-32 through 2-36). Figures 2-37 and 2-38 show training objectives for 1st FSB and Company A, 52d Engineer Battalion.

Figure 2-32. Example TF 1-77 training objective.

Figure 2-33. Example Team A training objective.

Figure 2-34. Example tank platoon training objective.

Figure 2-35. Example crew training objective.

Figure 2-36. Example soldier training objective.

Figure 2-37. Example 1st FSB training objective.

Figure 2-38.

The METL with supporting soldier, leader, and unit collective tasks provides the foundation for the training plan. The battalion and company commanders in concert with the CSM, first sergeants, and subordinate leaders are now ready to plan their units' training.



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