Operation Plans [OPLAN]
An Operation Plan is any plan, except the SIOP, for the conduct of military operations in a hostile environment prepared by the commander of a unified or specified command in response to a requirement established by the joint chiefs of staff. Operation plans are prepared in either complete or concept format. An Operation Plan in Complete Format (OPLAN) is an operation plan for the conduct of joint operations that can be used as a basis for development of an OPORD. Complete plans include deployment/employment phases, as appropriate. An Operation Plan in Concept Format (CONPLAN) is an operation plan in an abbreviated format that would require considerable expansion or alteration to convert it into an OPLAN or OPORD.
The general criteria for approval of an operation plan are adequacy, feasibility, acceptability, and consistency with joint doctrine. Combining the criteria of feasibility and acceptability, the review ensures the mission can be accomplished with available resources and without incurring excessive losses in personnel, equipment, material, time, or position.
The review for adequacy determines whether the scope and concept of planned operations satisfy the tasking and will accomplish the mission. The review assesses the validity of assumptions and compliance with CJCS guidance and joint doctrine.
The review for feasibility determines whether the assigned tasks can be accomplished using available resources within the time frames contemplated by the plan. The primary considerations are whether the resources made available for planning by the JSCP and Service planning documents are used effectively or are insufficient to satisfy plan requirements.
The review for acceptability ensures the plans are proportional and worth the expected costs. Additionally, this criteria ensures plans are consistent with domestic and international law, including the law of war, and are militarily and politically supportable.
An OPLAN represents the full development of the concept of operations of the commander in chief (CINC) of a unified command. It specifies the forces and support needed to execute the plan and the transportation schedule required to move those resources. In developing a plan, the CINC and service-component staffs develop a detailed flow of resources into the theater to support the approved OPLAN concept. After forces are selected, time-phased support requirements are determined, and transportation feasibility is established, the detailed planning information is generated and stored as a "time-phased force and deployment data" (TPFDD) file.
Reference days used for planning are:
D-day: Unnamed day on which a particular operation begins when describing a concept of operations. H- hour is the reference with this day for what time that operation begins.
C-day: Deployment planning is based on C-day. This is the unnamed day on which movement for forces, support, and transportation from origin begins. The L- hour is the specific time associated with C-day.
M-day: Unnamed day on which mobilization of reserve forces begin and F-hour is the specific time associated with the mobilization announcement by the SECDEF.
Much of the detailed work of deployment planning is done by Service components after the CINC issues a detailed Letter of Instruction with technical guidance. Employment planning, which is "how" forces are to be used, is worked by the JTF and component commanders, after the supported commander's plan has been approved by the CJCS, remember though that an understanding of the employment plan is necessary to ensure that the deployment plan is appropriate. The "where" and "when" were determined in concept development as part of the final product; the concept of operations. Much of the CINC's work is deployment: getting the resources there for them to be eventually employed.
Operation Plans [OPLAN], operation plans in concept format (CONPLANs) with and without Time-Phased Force and Deployment Data (TPFDD), and FUNCPLANs are prepared by commanders to fulfill tasks assigned in the Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan (JSCP), or otherwise directed by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They conform to standardized formats and content in the Joint Operation Planning and Execution System (JOPES) database. To facilitate communications concerning operation planning among military headquarters, commanders standardize the format and content of other appropriate plans.
As the all-encompassing warfighting document for a theater, the CINC's deliberate plans associated with each MTW provides the basis from which to delineate the logistics responsibilities, and its corresponding TPFDD provides the base document to capture logistics data requirements.
The TPFDDs only establish the initial movement requirements in the theater, e.g., PODs to initial staging areas. Consequently, not all-subsequent phases of theater campaign plans that require additional movement of equipment, supplies, and personnel can be calculated from the TPFDD database. While current TPFDDs do not account for these subsequent movement requirements, planners in both theaters were aware of this deficiency and were working to address the issue. In NEA, US Forces Korea (USFK) planners have developed a Wartime Movements Plan (WMP) which lists the subsequent movement requirements in Korea for the first 30 days. This subsequent movement data is important in determining overall transportation requirements throughout the campaign.
The TPFDD would provide the population statistics by number of personnel, time periods, and locations throughout the theater. Using the simple Rapid Query Tool (RQT) application that operates with pertinent portions of the Global Command and Control System (GCCS) and the Joint Operation Planning and Execution System (JOPES) databases, theater planners could determine the needed data elements.
There are significant differences between the two theaters, the most noticeable being the level of centralization. In NEA, for example, the planning staffs for both USFK and EUSA worked within walking distances from each other. The large forward-presence force maintained on the Korean peninsula has allowed planners a greater insight into how an MTW would be fought and supported. However, close proximity does not always eliminate confusion. For instance, the relationship between PACOM and USFK as it pertains to complying with the Army's process for determining joint land-based support is not well understood. SWA on the other hand, is an austere theater, with the CENTCOM staff thousands of miles away from their theater, and hundreds of miles removed from their subordinate Service staffs. However, for this MTW campaign, there is only one centralized planning staff, i.e., CENTCOM. Its Army component, ARCENT, had been assigned land operation responsibilities throughout the potential areas of operation. CENTCOM planning staff responsibilities, therefore, were more clearly understood.
In 1999 SAIC was contracted by Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA), Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics (ODCSLOG) to develop a data call process that captured the Army's Logistics Support to Other Services (ALSOS) responsibilities and associated requirements (previously known as Wartime Executive Agent Responsibilities [WEAR]) in the event of two nearly simultaneous Major Theater Wars (MTW). SAIC was unable to locate an appropriate Air staff element to discuss the Army's support to other Services responsibilities and requirements.
This review included DOD/Joint doctrine, MTW deliberate and concept plans (CONPLAN), joint regulations agreed to by two or more Services and ISAs and responsibilities identified in previous HQDA, ODCSLOG studies. The review centered on only those ALSOS responsibilities, e.g., executive agent, that had support implications to the warfighting CINCs. Based on limited availability of pertinent documents - not all applicable deliberate plans/CONPLANs were made available by the Government - MTWs tailored ALSOS Responsibilities List were developed for each theater. This review covered a number of Southwest Asia (SWA) OPLANs [ CENTCOM OPLAN 1003-96, CENTCOM OPLAN 1002-96, CENTCOM CONPLAN 1015-96, ARCENT OPLAN 1003-96, ARCENT OPLAN 1002-95, and ARCENT CONPLAN 1015-96] as well as Northeast Asia (NEA) OPLANs [ PACOM OPLAN 5027-96, EUSA OPLAN 5027-95, UNC/CFC OPLAN 5027-98, and PACOM CONPLAN 5028-96]
In reviewing the various MTW deliberate plans in 1999, SAIC found contradictions and gaps in the various CINC and Service Components plans. This situation was partially understandable due to current ongoing deliberate plan revision efforts, but did cause confusion during this study. In SWA for example, the CENTCOM and ARCENT deliberate plans were integrated and the tasks in the CENTCOM plan were well nested in the subordinate ARCENT document. In NEA on the other hand, the PACOM, USFK and EUSA MTW deliberate plans were not always synchronized. In fact the EUSA OPLAN 5027-95 pre-dated its superior deliberate plan, USFK OPLAN 5027-96. Tasks delineated to EUSA by the PACOM OPLAN 5027-96 could not always be found in the USFK OPLAN 5027-96, and the actual in-theater chain of command that assigns and executes ALSOS responsibilities was confusing. In addition, the OPLANs did not clearly delineate if they supported single or dual MTW scenarios.
During the 1999 SAIC study, the transportation data submitted for each Service was segregated into two parts. The first part appeared to be a TPFDD - generated sort as described earlier in this report. The second part consisted of Wartime Movements Plan (WMP) data compiled by EUSA. The TPFDD generated data, while in the proper spreadsheet format, did not have valid destinations for many of the records. For example, the majority of United States Air Force (USAF) data records had a destination of Contingency Operating Base/Mobilization Operating Base (COB/MOB) and USMC records had a destination of Theater Assembly Area (TAA).
The 1999 SAIC study noted that differences in Service's consumption rates could have a major impact on the Army's force structure determination process. For example, the review indicated a wide variance in the USMC's Class I planning factors versus the Army's rate, i.e., 4.4 pounds per day (ppd) in their OMFTS study to 5.7 ppd in their TAA 005 submission as compared to the Army's 8.09 ppd. Other classes of supply appeared to have similar wide differences in consumption factors.
The Strategic Plan for Transforming DOD Training, 1 March 2002, recognizes that "transformed training" is the key enabler to transforming the Department of Defense. A significant influence on the principal determinants is the shift in defense strategy from a "threat-based" to a "capabilities-based" approach. The capabilities-based approach requires leaders to identify capabilities that Army forces need now to deter and defeat a broad range of potential adversaries. The impact of that shift is that Army training and education systems must produce well-trained soldiers and self-aware, adaptive leaders who can develop versatile, lethal, agile, deployable, responsive, sustainable, and survivable units. While those qualities describe the Objective Force, they are already needed.
In late 2003 it was reported ["Military Alters Plans For Possible Conflicts" By Bradley Graham Washington Post November 18, 2003, pg. 18] that regional military commanders and the the Joint Staff had revised OPLANs "based on assumptions that conflicts could be fought more quickly and with fewer American troops than previously thought ... The study, called Operational Availability, is analyzing how changes not only in technology but also in foreign basing of troops, pre-positioning of combat equipment abroad and routine rotations of U.S. forces overseas can increase the U.S. military's speed in achieving victory.... A series of war-gaming exercises last year  ... found that timelines for U.S. victories could be shortened significantly.... The speedier wars meant that many of the forces called for in the plans -- up to two-thirds in some instances -- would never have fought."
The short title of each plan is UNCLASSIFIED and denotes the supported commander, the type of plan, and the Plan Identification Number (PID). The basic PID is a command-unique four-digit number and a two-digit suffix. As specified by the JSCP, the suffix represents the fiscal year of the JSCP for which the plan is written or reprinted; for example, USCINCEUR OPLAN 4999-99. The supported command assigns a PID for the life of the plan. To the maximum extent possible, PID changes should be limited to those dictated by security/ operations security (OPSEC) requirements. All PID changes must be coordinated with the Joint Staff.
The four-digit number in the PID does not change when the OPLAN is revised or converted into an OPORD. Also, the four-digit number is not reused when the requirement for the plan is canceled. The two-digit suffix is assigned to the OPLAN, and is used throughout. This includes new plans and complete reprints of plans. When an OPLAN is revised in part or approved for a subsequent period of the JSCP, there is no requirement to change the suffix throughout the plan. However, changes and related documents will reference the fiscal year of the JSCP to which the change or related document applies.
OPORDs prepared by the CINCs to fulfill Chairman requirements will be assigned PIDs selected from the block of numbers allocated above when the OPORD is not a conversion of an existing OPLAN. The UNCLASSIFIED short title will be derived in the manner described in subparagraph 3a above. Thus, an OPORD prepared by USJFCOM might be designated USJFCOM OPORD 2000-92. (The two-digit suffix represents the calendar year or fiscal year in which the order is published.)
Supporting plans are assigned a PID identical to that of the supported plan. However, when a supporting command or agency prepares a single OPLAN to support two or more plans of other commanders, the plan is assigned a PID without regard to the PIDs of the supported plans. PIDs will be established by using the command-unique four-digit number, followed by the two-digit fiscal year designation.
OPLAN 774FM is a fictitious OPLAN used by USTRANSCOM for training.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|