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Decisive Victory

In peacetime, conflict, and war, the Army is the nation's predominant decisive land force. Whenever the Army is called upon, it fights to win and operates to achieve decisive results at minimum cost to life and treasure. Army forces (ARFOR) in combat seek to impose their will on the enemy. In MOOTW, they seek to create, set, or control conditions to achieve their purpose. The standard is to achieve the military commander's end state within the strategic end state articulated by the National Command Authorities (NCA).


In today's global-based, force-projection Army, planning and executing major operations to support a theater campaign is a formidable task. The theater strategic environment is uncertain and dynamic, with ever-increasing threats and instabilities. Still, the opportunities for peace, growth, and stability are evident. Army capabilities to succeed in leveraging the environment consistent with national policy and strategy is the key. Commanders at all levels must organize, resource, train, and employ their forces to be the decisive force when and where required. The Army operational-level commander's challenge -is to shape the military environment and set the conditions for decisive results or victory--unqualified success in all major operations, whether in peacetime, conflict, or war. This chapter is synchronized with Joint Pubs 1, 0-2, 3-0, 4-0, and 5-0; multiservice publications (FMFM 1, NDP 1, AFM 1); and Army FMs 100-1 and 100-5.


The theater campaign is the focus of army operations in war, conflict, or peacetime. It is linked to a theater strategy. The campaign is a series of related and integrated major operations with strategic, operational, and tactical complementary actions simultaneously and sequentially arranged to accomplish national strategic, theater strategic, and operational objectives within a given time and space. The campaign plan describes the conduct of air, land, sea, space, and special operations. If appropriate, it also includes interagency operations, NGOs and PVOs, and multinational operations, often in relation to UN actions. To win rapidly and decisively, both combat and noncombat operations occur simultaneously throughout the combatant commander's campaign space and the operational-level commander's battle space and against the enemy's theater depths.

In wartime, a broadly conceived theater campaign plan normally involves the employment of large unified and joint forces. A single, unifying strategic concept of operations synchronizes the actions taken at each level of war against the enemy's depth. The intent is to concentrate strategically the decisive force, simultaneously destroying and disrupting key enemy capabilities and functions, and exploiting the resultant strategic advantage and initiative before the enemy can react. Achieving the theater strategic objectives, while striving to incur minimum casualties, is the measure of success.

Other campaigns may also be broad in scope but usually call for smaller forces and may include UN forces as well as other international agencies, NGOs, PVOs, and US Government agencies. Also based on theater strategies, these campaigns involve a series of integrated operations with strategic aims at international, national, and theater levels. The intent is to establish and maintain the desired military conditions while employing a wide range of military and nonmilitary capabilities to achieve theater strategic and operational objectives.

Campaigns covering the full range of military operations demand plans with sound linkages between theater strategy, the campaign plan, and major operations plans. The theater campaign must include forward-deployed forces and force-projection forces involved in peacetime engagement--for example, the Partnership for Peace Program, multilateral training, meetings--all part of the CINC's strategy.


The vital linkage between national and theater strategic direction and the tactical employment of forces on the battlefield takes place in major operational-level planning. The theater strategy and campaign relate the ends, ways, and means of national strategy to the outcomes, methods, and resources for operational activities. Translating national, alliance, or coalition guidance, the theater commander devises theater strategic objectives, concepts, and resource implications for a broad range of activities in the theater, including provisions for both war and MOOTW. The theater strategy is the foundation for the campaign plan and forms the framework for the employment of forces.

With the outbreak of crisis or, more optimally, in anticipation of an outbreak, the CINC modifies portions of his strategy and campaign and, when necessary, develops a new campaign plan. His critical tasks are to identify the military operations that will achieve the desired military end state, thereby contributing to conditions for achieving the strategic end state. The military end state normally represents the conditions the CINC wants the campaign to achieve and is reflected in his mission statement, concept, and intent. The NCA normally directs the military to support other elements of national power to achieve a strategic end state that may be broader in scope than the necessary military end state. The intent of the CINC to meet the necessary military end state must be nested inside the broader intent of the NCA. Within the theater of war and theaters of operations, the CINC's campaign plan supports the strategic intent, concepts, and objectives.

Operational-level commanders set the conditions for tactical plans and support the campaign with operational intents, concepts, and objectives. Commanders at the tactical level ensure their intents, concepts, and objectives are nested within those of the operational-level commander. Regardless of level, Army commanders consider the objective factors of mission, enemy, terrain, troops-time available (METT-T) in their battle space to achieve dominance over the enemy and to protect the force.


Commanders of major operations require a fundamental understanding of the principles of planning. Operational and tactical planning share the same basic, self-evident requirements--a complete definition of the mission, clarity of the commander's intent, thoroughness of estimates, and sound concepts of operations. At the operational level, the imperative is to remain capable of responding to continually changing conditions. These principles assist operational-level planners significantly.


To the Army operational-level commander, a mission is more than expressing what the unit must accomplish and for what purpose. In analyzing the mission, he considers his superiors' intent and the battle space and anticipates the missions that could logically follow from the mission in the campaign plan. Anticipating and staying ahead of change requires the operational-level commander to continuously reassess the stated mission in light of changing strategic and operational conditions. Subordinates still require clear, understandable statements of mission and intent before and during battle. In assigning missions, commanders consider that nested concepts contribute to the unified effort and dominance of the enemy.


Just as at the tactical level, the operational-level commander's continuous estimate assists commanders in choosing the best course of action (COA) and in making adjustments to changing situations during execution. Commanders first consider the enemy's capabilities, his likely intent and COA, and wargame friendly alternatives to get from the current friendly state to the desired military end state. Once a commander selects a COA, he articulates the operational concept--a description of his vision for the operation. He also begins to formulate ways to support the CINC's plan to keep the public informed of the campaign, thereby gaining its understanding and support. The result of the estimate is an accurate assessment of the current enemy and friendly situation, a refined understanding of the mission, and a clear expression of alternatives, which is the basis for the rest of the plan.

Estimates never stop. Operational-level commanders continually review the situation by--

  • Visiting subordinates and getting their estimates

  • Observing operations.

  • Meeting with higher and adjacent commanders.

  • Receiving updated intelligence and information about support efforts.

Commanders revise their concepts accordingly. During the execution of the plan, they may adjust the operation. Estimates include changes in military and strategic conditions as a basis for future missions. Further consideration of estimates is important for resource allocation changes, particularly in support operations.

Commander's Intent

After mission analysis, the operational-level commander clearly describes the operation's purpose, the desired end state, the degree of acceptable risk, and the method of unifying focus for all subordinate elements. The operational-level commander's intent contains the intent statement of the next senior commander in the chain of command. The commander's intent is meant to be a constant reference point for subordinates to discipline their efforts. It helps them focus on what they have to do to achieve success, even under changed conditions when plans and concepts no longer apply. For major operations, a clear statement of intent is essential to successful integration and synchronization of effort, including support operations throughout the depth of the battle space.

Concept of Operations

The concept of operations describes how a commander visualizes the major operation unfolding. The concept is based on the selected COA to accomplish the mission, expressing what, where, and how the various subordinate operations will affect the enemy. The concept addresses the sequence and timing of events most likely to produce the desired end state. Support, in particular, can be a dominant factor in the determination of the nature and tempo of operations. Operational-levels commanders answer these questions--what, where, and how--in sufficient detail for the staff and subordinate commanders to understand what they are to do, how they are to fight, and how they are to provide support for the fight. In the concept of operations, subordinate commanders describe how they see the actions of each unit fitting together to accomplish the mission. They describe their view of probable enemy actions and how they plan to defeat the enemy. The operational-level commander ensures that his concept is consistent with his intent, the intent of the CINC, and the strategic purpose of the campaign.

Historical Perspective

The commander of VII Corps had received his order to attack into Iraq. En route to his headquarters he wrote out his intent for the operation: I intend to conduct a swift, violent series of attacks to destroy RGFC (Republican Guard Forces Command) and minimize our own casualties. Speed, tempo, and a coordinated air-land campaign are key. I want Iraqi forces to move so we can attack them throughout the depth of their formations by fire, maneuver, and air. The first phases of our operation will be deliberate and rehearsed. The latter will be more METT-T-dependent. We will conduct a deliberate breach with precision and synchronization resulting from precise targeting and continuous rehearsals. Once through the breach, I intend to defeat forces to the east rapidly, with one division as an economy of force, and pass three divisions and the ACR (armored cavalry regiment) as the point of main effort to the west of that action to destroy RGFC in a fast-moving battle with zones of action and agile forces attacking by fire, maneuver, and air. CSS must keep up because I intend no pauses. We must strike hard and continually and finish rapidly.


The subordinate commanders' application of operational art begins with understanding the theater strategic concept and guidance about the military end state. As strategic realities tend to constrain the strategic possibilities, the guidance also limits operational-level possibilities. Directly stated, strategic guidance allows the operational-level commander to proceed along clear lines in planning an operational concept to support a desired military end state.

Every subordinate campaign or operation plan (OPLAN) requires an overarching operational concept. The subordinate joint force commander (JFC) is normally responsible for the concept--an idea that is initially a product of the higher commander's intent, mission analysis, personal estimate of the situation, and creative imagination and intuitive judgment. Initially, it exists only in his mind. Yet, the operational concept must be clearly articulated relative to the conditions in which it will apply. No finite set of principles exists to help in formulating an operational concept, but history has validated the application of several key military notions or concepts.

Three commonly used concepts are center of gravity, lines of operations, and decisive points. Center of gravity usually relates to the main enemy force or capability. The concept of center of gravity is useful as a tool to analyze enemy strengths and vulnerabilities. By identifying and controlling decisive points, commanders gain a marked advantage over the enemy and can influence the outcome of an action. A line of operation connecting a force with its base of operations is useful for focusing the effects of combat power toward a desired outcome. A commander who uses more than one line of operation produces flexibility and creates opportunities for success. By applying all three concepts, either separately or in concert, the commander forms a concept to set conditions for operations and battles with conclusive, and sometimes, decisive results. Other useful theoretical concepts include culminating point, synergy, simultaneity and depth, anticipation, leverage, tempo, direct versus indirect approach, and termination.

In developing the concept, operational level commanders should consider alternatives that lead to decisive operations and battles. These operations are key to determining the outcome of engagements, battles, and major operations. Many other operations support decisive operations. For example, two supporting ground battles, an interdiction operation, and a deception operation all could support a separate, decisive ground battle during a single phase of a campaign.

Commanders at all levels provide focus by designating the main effort and supporting efforts, which help set priorities, determine risks, and unify the effort. The operational level commander focuses by applying structure to the theater of war and his area of responsibility (AOR). Structure is a product of the strategic objectives, forces allocated for the theater, a concept for their employment, the factors of METT-T, and the presence of alliance or coalition structures.

Thinking more broadly and outside the structure, the commander synchronizes major actions within his battle space. The operational-level operating systems-- movement and maneuver, fires, protection, battlecommand, intelligence, and combat service support (CSS)--are logical ways for commanders to describe systematically the integration of functions that occurs in each phase of the campaign plan within a given battle space.


The Army operational-level commander dominates land combat to provide decisive results for the CINC. He recommends force projection into theaters; links strategy and campaigns to major operations and tactics through battle dynamics (described later in this chapter); integrates assigned and supporting joint capabilities effectively; and transitions smoothly from crisis back to peacetime. The Army operational-level commander also understands all aspects of the CINC's intent. More than merely comprehending the Army or land force role in the joint operation, he understands the planning considerations of the other service operational-level commanders and ensures a mutual understanding and contribution to the accomplishment of all subordinate missions. He also realizes that the joint team shares limited resources. The CINC's vision for the campaign provides direction for the allocation of these limited resources. Most significantly, the Army operational-level commander recognizes that theater success requires more than the success of a single service component; it requires unified success of the joint team, as directed by the CINC.


Power projection is the ability of the US to apply any combination of economic, diplomatic, informational, or military instruments of national power. An effective power-projection capability serves to deter potential adversaries, demonstrates US resolve, and carries out military operations anywhere in the world.

Historical Perspective

Operation Just Cause began in the early hours of 20 December 1989, as a United States (US) joint force conducted multiple, simultaneous strikes in the Republic of Panama. Elements of the Army's XVIII Airborne Corps formed the core of the US Southern Command's Joint Task Force (JTF) South in this force-projection operation. Forward-presence forces, special operations forces (SOF), parachute assault forces, and air elements of the joint force simultaneously attacked or secured 27 critical objectives throughout the depth of the JFC's and enemy's battle space The synchronized attack of enemy command and control [C²] facilities and troop concentrations paralyzed and crushed the Panamanian Defense Force. The objectives included US family housing areas and critical US facilities, which JTF South secured during the attack on Panamanian forces. American forces established effective control of most Panamanian military targets and much of the infrastructure within 24 hours, with limited casualties.

The redeployment of conventional forces to CONUS began before the joint staff terminated Operation Just Cause. Limited military police and elements of the 82d Airborne Division departed Panama as other forces continued efforts to secure outlying regions of the country. These critical Army crisis-response forces returned to home stations to reestablish quickly their peacetime readiness posture.

Historians may declare Operation Just Cause as the first war of the twenty-first century. The speed and scope of the force projection, the simultaneity and depth of attacks at all levels of war, the integration of combat and MOOTW, and the rapid reconstitution of national strategic capabilities provide a model for future conflicts.

Force projection is the Army's contribution to the joint effort to project power to secure the interests and objectives of the US. Force projection is the demonstrated ability to alert rapidly, mobilize, and deploy ARFOR and to conduct joint, multinational, and interagency operations anywhere in the world from CONUS or forward-deployed locations.

Ensuring the projection of lethal force worldwide represents the operational-level commander's most critical and difficult task. This task is essential because power projection forms a central element of the US National Security Strategy. This task is challenging because it requires the operational-level commander to deploy limited forces thousands of miles and conduct a high-stakes, come-as-you-are operation. The importance of the anticipation, balance, and timing of offensive operations represents three critical force-projection considerations.


The operational-level commander improves his ability to project decisive force through anticipation. Predeployment and deployment decisions are crucial. Made under conditions of great uncertainty and friction, these decisions influence the success of entry, combat, and postconflict operations. Once made, the decisions are most often irretrievable. The operational-level commander improves these early decisions by anticipating alert and deployment. Anticipation also plays a key role throughout the deployment. Time remains a critical resource, while ambiguity and uncertainty continue to cloud the environment. Continuous force tracking, total asset visibility, and continuous intelligence-preparation-of-the-theater enable the operational-level commander to anticipate changes and maximize his freedom of action.


The most difficult predeployment decisions in support of the campaign plan concern force mix and balance. The operational-level commander must resolve requirements for quick, decisive victory with strategic constraints and uncertainty. Initially, he must seek a balance in joint capabilities instead of a balanced ARFOR. He will want to deploy credible, lethal forces early, but limited strategic lift, undeveloped theater infrastructure, and time constraints may prevent him from doing so. Conversely, he may require the maximum amount of combat power at the cost of logistical support. Either way, the CINC can seldom afford duplicate capabilities among elements of the joint team. Maritime air and amphibious capabilities, naval gunfire, and fleet ballistic missiles represent lethal force often available to support early entry operations. These or other forward-presence forces may protect the lodgment, deter enemy attack, or initiate limited offensive operations if conditions limit the early entry of fully balanced Army combat power. The operational-level commander must exploit forward-presence forces; split-based operations; and host nation, coalition, and joint assets to balance early entry capabilities.


The operational-level commander also faces a critical decision as he plans the transition to offensive operations. Early entry units may initially secure the lodgment as additional forces arrive. However, American operations doctrine and the situation will prevent long-term defensive operations. The operational-level commander must decide when he has sufficient combat capability to transition to offensive operations. He must also consider other joint capabilities that complement Army force projection characteristics. He must apply the CINC's intent and guidance to evaluate trade-offs between the time required to assemble overwhelming combat force and the benefits of early offensive action against an enemy that is consolidating gains or preparing for offensive action. The preferred model remains Operation Just Cause, which emphasized overwhelming and paralyzing the enemy through decisive, simultaneous strikes throughout the depth of the battle space. This action resulted in minimal losses and rapid strategic conclusion.


Operational art links success in tactical engagements and battles with strategic aims. The aspects of battle dynamics establish this relationship: battle command; battle space; depth and simultaneous attack; early entry, lethality, and survivability; and CSS. Although FM 100-5 describes each of these dynamics, TRADOC Pamphlet 525-5 is the first document that codifies the elements of battle dynamics.

Battle Command

Battle command describes one dimension of the linkage among strategy, operations, and tactics. Battle command is a commander's mental decision-making framework. The attributes of battle command--assigning missions, prioritizing and allocating resources, assessing and taking risks, guiding and motivating the organization--contribute to positive impact on commanders at critical points in the battle or on the battlefield. Commanders visualize current and future states of friendly and enemy forces and then formulate concepts of operation to accomplish the mission. The Army operational-level commander faces unique responsibilities in this area. Time constraints and requirements during force projection strain the process of translating theater strategy and design into operational design and tactical objectives. The Army operational-level commander may proceed through the first iteration of the estimate process concurrently with the CINC and subordinate Army commanders. Consequently, the CINC may not fully develop and communicate his strategy in military terms early enough to support parallel planning. The Army operational-level commander must translate nonmilitary theater end states into clear military objectives to support the planning of his staff and subordinate commands.

Battle Space

Battle space characterizes another facet of the linkage among the levels of war. It represents the domain in which commanders conduct their operations at the tactical, operational, and theater strategic levels. The Army operational-level commander's battle space forms a subset of the CINC's and contains the battle space of all subordinate commanders. Its physical volume expands or contracts in relation to the Army operational level commander's ability to acquire and engage the enemy. It includes the breadth, depth, and height in which he positions and moves assets over time. It also reflects the capabilities of the intelligence systems that support him and the deep operations capabilities of the units and systems that support his command. The Army operational level commander's battle space may extend beyond his operations area, and it may not be contiguous. It also extends back to CONUS, to include the deployment and logistical systems that support Army operations in theater.

Depth and Simultaneous Attack

Depth and simultaneous attack reinforce the linkage among strategy, operations, and tactics. The operational-level commander supports the CINC's aims by dominating the opponent in his battle space through depth and simultaneous attack. The operational-level commander cannot maximize depth through unilateral action. To achieve it, he must link the levels of war by augmenting his intelligence and deep operations systems with joint capabilities. The operational-level commander also joins the levels; of war through simultaneous attack. His efforts to achieve simultaneity concentrate the effects of engagements, battles, and major operations in the dimension of time. Resulting concurrent operations at all levels of war increase the requirement for tightly integrated activities. Application of depth and simultaneous attack blurs the boundaries among tactics, operations, and strategy.

Early Entry, Lethality, and Survivability

Early entry forces are those operational deploying forces required to support the CINC or other JFC concepts of operations in a precrisis or crisis situation. Early entry forces must be able to deploy rapidly, enter the operational area, and secure the lodgment. They must either immediately have a decisive effect or create conditions for the arrival of substantial follow-on forces that can then conduct decisive operations. Early entry forces must consist of lethal and survivable units tailored to support or carry out the operational intent of the JFC.

Combat Service Support

The functions of CSS have not changed in many centuries. Logisticians have and will continue to have similar requirements to arm, fuel, fix, move, and sustain soldiers and their systems. The primary differences are in the execution of the support provided. These differences are a result of diplomatic, economic, social, and technological changes. Successful armies recognize and adapt to this change, harness it to their benefit, and are ultimately victorious.

Rapid force projection from CONUS, extended lines of communication (LOCs), and potential forcible entry into logistically bare-based areas of operations (AOs) require Army development of a CSS system that is versatile, deployable, and expansible. The CSS system must be as capable as the joint and multinational forces, to include the SOF, it supports. The CSS system must include both the deployed force and the sustainment base. Its purpose must be to maintain readiness and sustain ARFOR in all operations across the range of military operations and at all levels of war--strategic, operational and tactical. The focus of the CSS system must continue to be soldiers and their weapons systems.


The operational-level commander plays a critical role in integrating joint capabilities. He understands all aspects of the CINC's intent and recognizes the importance of unity of effort. These two abilities underpin the concept of integrated joint capabilities. The operational-level commander integrates joint capabilities during the land phase of joint operations and as a service component commander reinforcing other members of the joint team.

The operational-level commander is the primary coordinator and integrator of joint capabilities during decisive land operations. The CINC seeks combinations of forces and actions to achieve concentration in various dimensions throughout all phases of the campaign. During the decisive phase of joint operations, the operational-level commander becomes the integrator of joint capabilities within his battle space. During this phase, the CINC coordinates the availability of resources and integrates supporting joint force operations elsewhere in the theater. The operational-level commander synchronizes the actions of theater intelligence assets, naval gunfire and fleet ballistic missiles, air interdiction, close air support (CAS), joint electronic warfare assets, SOF, and other joint and national assets. He and his staff must exploit the capabilities of these resources.

The operational-level commander also integrates joint operations indirectly through the support of other services. He contributes to the integration of operations in which the CINC assigns him support missions. The attack of enemy air defenses to support air operations and the attack of small enemy naval vessels in support of maritime operations during the Gulf War are two examples of this. The operational-level commander also seeks opportunities to integrate his capabilities into the operations of the other members of the joint force. He understands the planning considerations of air, maritime, and SOF and seeks opportunities to contribute to unity of effort and the accomplishment of other service missions.


The operational-level commander considers postconflict operations early in the planning process. They fall in two broad categories:

  • Actions to restore order and normal social activities following armed conflict.

  • Operations to reestablish precrisis readiness levels.

Early decisions concerning mobilization and deployment establish conditions for critical postconflict operations. Long-term solutions to regional crises usually require more than the defeat of the enemy's military. The operational level commander develops plans for conflict termination and postconflict operations early. He reviews them as branches and sequels to deployment and combat operations and plans for simultaneous combat. ARFOR assist the JFC in supporting the host nation with operations to handle refugees, clear minefields for immediate tactical purposes, control prisoners of war, provide humanitarian assistance, and provide other forms of support. Nonmilitary considerations often require the initiation of these MOOTW before the completion of combat operations.

Once the conflict ends, forces may deploy to their home stations or to another theater. The operational-level commander must plan for this possibility. He must expect the NCA to alert his forces, as in precrisis operations. His forces must be versatile enough to transition rapidly from one regional conflict to another. Once forces return to their home stations, they rapidly reestablish premobilization levels of readiness in anticipation of future operations.


The Army operational-level commander's role in MOOTW is critical to achieving strategic success. Like the decisive phase of combat, most of these operations are land-based. Consequently, the Army operational-level commander functions as the central integrator of a joint and multinational team. He faces ambiguous threats, unpredictable conflicts, ad hoc staffs, and force packages, as well as a multitude of nonmilitary participants. The operational-level commander prepares for a mission of unknown duration and anticipates changes in its nature and scope. To ensure success, he applies operational art executed within the framework of battle dynamics. He achieves his desired end state by carefully planning, integrating complementary capabilities, and using versatile forces. Transitions may have no clear division between combat and peacetime activities, may lack definable timetables for transferring responsibilities, and may be conducted in a fluid, increasingly diplomatic environment.

JTF Andrew coordinated with many federal, state, and private organizations. These included the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Civil Air Patrol, the American Red Cross, the General Services Administration, the Public Health Service, the Department of Agriculture, the Salvation Army, the Boy Scouts of America, and many religious relief organizations. The commander of JTF Andrew determined that victory would be achieved when the local schools reopened. This had a significant focusing effect on the efforts of DOD and non-DOD participants and answered the question, "How do I know when I am done?"

Historical Perspective

At 0500 on 24 August 1992, Hurricane Andrew devastated south Florida. The Governor of Florida requested federal assistance. The Secretary of the Army, as the President's executive agent, directed initiation of disaster-relief operations in support of the Federal Response Plan. As part of those operations, the commander in chief of Forces Command directed Second US Army to form JTF Andrew and begin humanitarian relief operations. Eventually composed of elements of all services and both active and reserve forces, JTF Andrew began operations on 28 August 1992.

JTF Andrew's mission was to provide humanitarian support by establishing field feeding sites, storage and distribution warehousing, cargo transfer operations, local and line haul transfer operations, and other logistics support to the populace in affected areas. The commander of JTF Andrew defined success as getting life support systems in place and relieving immediate hardships until nor-Department of Defense (DOD) federal, state, and local agencies could reestablish normal operations. Operations were conducted in three phases.

  • Phase I provided immediate relief through life support systems--food, water, shelter, medical supplies and services. information, sanitation, and transportation.

  • Phase II was a recovery phase that ensured sustainment of services provided in Phase l while assisting federal, state, and local authorities to reestablish public services.

  • Phase III was a reconstitution phase that continued to reestablish services under federal, state, and local control while JTF forces redeployed.

    During these operations, 1,014 sorties were flown, carrying over 19,000 tons of mission support materials. Almost 900,000 meals were served. Over 80,000 tons of humanitarian supplies were moved into the area by sea and over land. Almost 2,000 tons were moved by air. Over 67,000 patients received medical treatment, and over 1,000 tents were erected A mobile radio station was established to provide emergency information to the local population and to provide route information to assist convoys as they arrived. Four life support centers were constructed, providing mass care for 2,400 people per day for approximately two months. Over six million cubic yards of debris were removed, and 98 schools were repaired.

This disaster-relief effort demonstrated the versatility of the IJS armed forces. The training for war that developed initiative, ingenuity, and flexibility in the conduct of operations served the nation well in a noncombat situation. The alert of the 10th Mountain Division for Somalia less than six weeks after sending more than 6,000 soldiers and their equipment to south Florida further highlights their versatility.


Military decision making and planning processes also apply to MOOTW. The operational-level commander faces unique planning considerations because of the nature of MOOTW. Areas that require special planning considerations include interagency cooperation, parallel and continuous planning, intelligence, and constraints and restraints placed on the operation.

Gaining cooperation among the multitude of participants is a formidable task. The operational-level commander unifies the efforts of all participants operating within his battle space by attempting to reach agreement on common goals and objectives. Consensus on goals and objectives requires an understanding of the roles, missions, and capabilities of each participating member. Additionally, both national and international representatives of the media will likely cover the operation. Facilitating their mission keeps the service member, the local populace, and the international community apprised of the situation and may contribute to the achievement of national aims and objectives.

Parallel planning is essential. Ideally, this begins with the NCA decision to commit military forces. The uncertainty surrounding the mission requires commanders to simultaneously begin planning at all levels. Parallel planning provides planners with the ability to influence task organizations, mission statements, and force caps and obtain access to critical strategic intelligence early in the planning process. The operational-level commander must participate in the development of end states, conditions, and measures of effectiveness (MOEs). He must understand the diplomatic, economic, and social objectives of the operation before determining the military end state and sequencing operations to achieve it. Clarity of mission and desired end state is critical.

Intelligence is the key to force protection. The Army operational-level commander acquires and disseminates information on the country, the people, and the diplomatic, economic, and military situations. Key items of information are shared with members of participating civilian organizations, who in turn can be vital sources of intelligence. Continuous access to strategic intelligence and reliable low-level sources is paramount to situational awareness. The viability of the rules of engagement (ROE) are assessed continuously with the current mission, friendly force capability, threat conditions, and environment within which operations are conducted. ROE protect the force and also provide a framework within which hostile acts are controlled.

The Army operational-level commander must conduct a continuous estimate process. He operates in a dynamic environment. Changes in strategic objectives, operational constraints, or the nature of the threat are three examples that may invalidate the initial mission analysis. Operations, intelligence, deployment, engineer, and logistics estimates are constantly updated as new information becomes available. The commander's continuous estimate process serves to integrate the parallel planning and estimate processes ongoing in each functional area.

The operational-level commander obtains clear, strategic guidance on constraints and restraints early in the planning phase. He determines his authority and capability to enforce local laws and assesses restraints on weaponry, tactics, and levels of violence. Excessive force could impede the attainment of operational goals and hamper the efforts to maintain legitimacy and obtain international acceptance. Disciplined forces, measured responses, and patience are essential to successful outcomes.


The operational-level commander integrates and synchronizes complementary capabilities within his battle space. Establishing cooperation among many participants is demanding; integrating their capabilities is even more so. The simultaneous application of complementary strengths, concurrently conducted at all levels, provides the necessary leverage to achieve the desired end state. The key to developing this leverage is the ability to establish unity of military and civilian efforts. Without a formal interagency command structure, commanders ensure unity of effort through leadership. They must demonstrate the logic and soundness of their solutions and the competence of their execution. Robust liaison is critical in this role. Providing assistance to other participants promotes integration of their unique capabilities. Operational-level commanders enhance their integration efforts by--

  • Collocating their headquarters with local and regional governments.

  • Establishing a civil-military operations centers.

  • Aligning military and diplomatic boundaries.

By planning, implementing, and continuously updating a complementary joint and interagency concept, operational-level commanders integrate diplomatic, military, and economic power across all dimensions of the environment.


The operational-level commander plans MOOTW anticipating the requirement to transition to another, similar operation or even war. The experiences of the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) during 1992 and 1993 set the precedent. MOOTW require flexible leaders with versatile forces. The operational level commander must be able to address a wide array of missions against a multitude of diverse threats. His versatile force must be capable of fighting and winning our nation's wars, yet it must be fully capable of transitioning from warfighting to other operations. Rapid changes in the strategic situation may force sequential commitment from one theater to another; while changes within the same theater may require a transition from one type of operation to another. Activities such as nation assistance, humanitarian support, and disaster-relief operations may continue when higher levels of violence arise. Commitments to MOOTW may precede combat, follow combat, or flow readily back and forth between the two.


Throughout history, military operations have been conducted with armed forces of several nations in pursuit of common objectives. The changing world environment dictates that future operations will most likely require multinational involvement.

An operation conducted by forces of two or more nations is termed a multinational operation. An operation conducted by forces of two or more nations in a formal arrangement is called and alliance operation. An operation where the military action is temporary or informal is called a coalition operation. Campaigns and major operations may be conducted within the context of an alliance, coalition, or other international arrangement. Such operations, whether or not they involve combat, are planned through both international and US channels. In practice, each coalition operation is unique. Planning and conduct of the operations vary with the international situation and the composition of the forces. Alliance or coalition members may not have identical strategic perspectives, but there should be sufficient harmony of interests to ensure a common purpose for the campaign. The need to maintain consensus within the alliance or coalition is paramount to preserve a unified effort.

Multinational operations require close cooperation among all forces. Capabilities will often differ substantially among national forces, but higher considerations of national prestige will often be as important to the final success as the contributions to the overall effort. Seemingly small decisions, such as national composition of the main effort, may have significant consequences for the outcome of the operation. Members should be consulted on their recommendations for COA development, ROE, and assignment of missions.

To assure unity of effort, all plans require detailed coordination with essential supporting plans for liaison and the provision of mutual support. Host nation support and the capabilities of coalition partners in particular may dictate the tempo of the attack and its form. The commander must focus on lateral coordination across national and interagency boundaries, in particular the effective sharing of information. Though unity of command promotes unified effort, American commanders should be prepared to operate within the alliance or coalition under command of other than a senior US commander.

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