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Appendix D

Risk Management/Risk Assessment

Tough, realistic training conducted to standard is the cornerstone of Army warfighting skills. An intense training environment stresses both soldiers and equipment, creating a high potential for accidents. The potential for an accident increases as training realism increases, just as it does in combat. The end result is the same; the soldier or asset is lost. Commanders must find ways to protect individuals, crews, teams, and equipment from accidents during training and combat. How well they do this could be the decisive factor in winning or losing. Risk management is a commonsense tool that leaders can use to make smart risk decisions in tactical and everyday operations. It is a method of getting the job done by identifying the areas that present the highest risk and taking action to eliminate, reduce, or control the risk. It is not complex, technical, or difficult. It is a comparatively simple decision making process, a way of thinking through a mission to balance mission demands against risks.


D-1. Commanders are responsible for effectively managing risk. They must—

  • Willingly determine the proper balance that will achieve optimum performance from their command.
  • Select the best risk-reduction options from those that the staff provides.
  • Accept or reject residual risk, based on perceived benefits.
  • Recommend appropriate control measures.
  • Train and motivate leaders at all levels to effectively use risk management concepts.
  • Ensure that risk controls are integrated into plans and orders.
  • Ensure that unnecessary safety restrictions are eliminated to maximize training and combat effectiveness.
  • Maintain a total commitment to mission accomplishment and the welfare of subordinates.
  • Use the risk management process to identify, assess, and control hazards for their mission.
  • Report risks beyond their control or authority to their superiors for resolution.


D-2. Each individual soldier must—

  • Understand, accept, and implement risk reduction guidance and the concept of risk management and assessment.
  • Maintain a constant awareness of the changing risks associated with the operation.
  • Make leaders immediately aware of any unrealistic risk reduction procedure.
  • Report risks beyond their control or authority to their superiors for resolution.


D-3. Step 1. Identify Hazards.

  • Identify the major events that are expected to occur during the operation and the hazards associated with all specified and implied tasks. The staff reviews and expands, as appropriate, the list of hazards and major events during the training or combat scenario. This procedure helps to ensure that all significant hazards have been identified, and the staff can determine the appropriate force protection measures.

D-4. Step 2. Assess Hazards.

  • Assess hazards based on their probability of occurrence and severity of effect. Based on this assessment, the staff can—
    • Determine the level of risk associated with a given hazard.
    • Decide where or when control measures are appropriate to protect the force.
  • Use the risk assessment matrix alone or with other techniques. Risk assessment matrices provide a simple analysis method of subdividing an operation into its major operational events. In this way areas may be discovered where the staff might eliminate or reduce risk. Each unit should develop its own risk assessment matrix with applicable major operational events similar to the one shown in TC 1-210. The matrix is nearly always more effective than intuitive methods in identifying the extent of risk. When using a risk assessment matrix, the risk assessor must—
    • Review each situation to ensure he has evaluated all significant areas of concern, even if the matrix does not include them.
    • Use the matrix to analyze risk and target areas of concern for risk reducing techniques.
    • Review individual areas of concern before recommending options.
  • Use the mission, enemy, troops, terrain — time available, civilian considerations (METT-TC) format as another technique in the risk assessment procedure. Leaders can subjectively decide the likelihood and extent of accidental loss based on this type of analysis. When using the METT-TC format, the risk assessor must—
    • Determine the mission's complexity and difficulty.
    • Assess the enemy situation and identify specific hazards.
    • Consider all aspects of the terrain as well as weather and ability.
    • Determine the supervision required and evaluate the experience, training, morale, and endurance of units and their equipment.
    • Determine the time available for planning and executing the mission.

D-5. Step 3. Develop Controls.

  • Develop control measures that reduce the risk to the mission. The staff must—
    • Identify hazards and assess risk.
    • Focus on critical events first.
    • Eliminate unnecessary risks.
    • Reduce the level of mission essential and prudent risks by applying controls.
    • Develop control options that synchronize the operation to eliminate or reduce risks.
    • Recommend options for the commander's decision. Check for residual effects before suggesting options. Visualize what will happen once the option has been implemented. Sometimes reducing one risk will only introduce other risks.
  • Leaders can detect and analyze safety restrictions that impede the realism or effectiveness of training. With proper controls in place, these restrictions can be reduced or eliminated. Sensible consideration and consultation with the unit's most experienced personnel are the key.

D-6. Step 4. Implement Controls.

  • Adopt, implement, and integrate specific controls into plans, operations orders (OPORDs), standing operating procedures (SOPs), and rehearsals. Knowledge of controls, from the commander down to the individual soldier, is essential to successfully implement and execut controls.

D-7. Step 5. Supervise.

  • The commander must enforce controls. Leaders must verify, monitor, follow-up, and appropriately correct or modify those controls that the commander imposes on his subordinates.
  • When monitoring operational activities, leaders must—
    • Avoid administrative intrusions on their subordinates' time.
    • Go where the risks are and spend time at the heart of the action.
    • Analyze and think through issues, not just observe.
    • Work with key personnel to improve operational procedures after the action. Leaders must not hesitate to assess imminent danger issues on the spot.
    • Fix systemic problems that are hindering combat effectiveness.
    • Retain and disseminate lessons learned from mishaps, near misses, etc., to affect present and future operations.
  • Leaders must also balance the cost of risks with the value of the desired outcome. They must consider and manage risks in making such decisions using three general rules—
    • Never accept an unnecessary risk. The leader who has the authority to accept or reject a risk is responsible for protecting his soldiers from unnecessary risks. If he can eliminate or reduce a risk and still accomplish the mission, the risk is unnecessary.
    • Make risk decisions at the appropriate level. The leader who must answer for an accident is the person who should make the decision to accept or reject the risk. In most cases, he will be a senior officer, but small-unit commanders and first-line leaders might also have to make risk decisions during combat. Therefore, they should learn to make risk decisions during training.
    • Ensure that the benefits of a prudent risk outweigh the possible cost of the risk. Leaders must understand the possible risk and have a clear picture of the benefits to be gained from taking that risk.

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