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Appendix E

CA in the Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Processes




E-1.   Before discussing CA mission planning using each of the various planning processes, it is useful to review the basic steps to solving problems that leaders at all levels follow. The next several paragraphs, paraphrased from FM 22-100, explain those steps.


E-2.   Leaders should not be distracted by the symptoms of the problem; they must get at its root cause. There may be more than one thing contributing to a problem, and leaders may run into a case where there are lots of contributing factors but no real "smoking gun." The issue the leader chooses to address as the root cause becomes the mission (or restated mission for tactical problems). The mission must include a simple statement of who, what, when, where, and why. In addition, it should include the end state-how the leader wants things to look when the mission is complete.


E-3.   Leaders should get whatever facts they can in the time they have. Facts are statements of what is known about the situation. Assumptions are statements of what is believed about the situation but facts are not available to support. Leaders make only assumptions that are likely to be true and essential to generate alternatives. Some of the many sources of facts include regulations, policies, and doctrinal publications. The organization's mission, goals, and objectives may also be a source. Sources of assumptions can be personal experiences, members of the organization, subject matter experts, or written observations. Leaders analyze the facts and assumptions they identify to determine the scope of the problem. (FM 101-5 contains more information on facts and assumptions.)


E-4.   Alternatives are ways to solve the problem. Leaders should develop more than one possible alternative and not be satisfied with the first thing that comes into mind-the third or fourth or twentieth alternative the leader comes up with might be the best one. If the leader has time and experienced subordinates, they should be included in this step.


E-5.   Leaders identify intended and unintended consequences, resource or other constraints, and the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative. All alternatives should be considered. Leaders should not prejudge the situation by favoring any one alternative over the others.


E-6.   Leaders evaluate each alternative for its probability of success and its cost. They think past the immediate future. How will this decision change things tomorrow? Next week? Next year?


E-7.   Leaders prepare a leader's plan of action, if necessary, and put it in motion. (Planning, an operating action, is covered later in this appendix.)


E-8.   Leaders check constantly to see how the execution of their plan of action is going. They keep track of what happens and adjust their plan, if necessary. Leaders should learn from the experience so they will be better equipped next time. Leaders then follow up on results and make further adjustments, as required.




E-9.   An integral part of DOD's ability to deploy forces, the JOPES has been used for over 25 years to support the development of OPLANs and TPFDD. Despite this fact, there is still a common misconception among soldiers that JOPES is only an ADP system.

E-10.   The following overview, adapted from the User's Guide for JOPES, is intended to clarify what JOPES is and how CA planners participate in JOPES processes. More detailed information is in the following publications, found at http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/index.htm:

  • JP 5-0.
  • CJCSM 3122.01, Joint Operation Planning and Execution System, Volume I, (Planning Policies and Procedures): Defines the process for both deliberate planning and crisis-action planning.
  • CJCSM 3122.02B, Joint Operation Planning and Execution System (JOPES), Volume III, (Crisis Action Time-Phased Force and Deployment Data Development and Deployment Execution): Provides policies and procedures for deployment execution.
  • CJCSM 3150.16B, Joint Operation Planning and Execution System Reporting Structure (JOPESREP), Volume I.
  • CSCSM 3122.03A: Provides the administrative instructions and formats for developing joint operation plans.
  • CJCSI 3020.01, Managing, Integrating, and Using Joint Deployment Information Systems.

E-11.   Figure E-1, depicts the various parts of JOPES. JOPES is the principal system within the DOD to translate SecDef policy decisions into the joint combatant commander's air, land, and sea operations. It governs all aspects of conventional joint military operations planning and execution and is the tool used by all echelons of planners and operators to speak a commonly understood language. It does this by precisely defining DOD war planning and execution policies, designating specific procedures and formats, and providing ADP support to convert SecDef decisions into joint operation plans. Joint operation plans are the blueprints for joint operations.

Figure E-1. The Joint Operation Planning and Execution System

Figure E-1. The Joint Operation Planning and Execution System


E-12.   The standardized policies, procedures, and formats of JOPES furnish joint commanders and war planners the ability to produce and execute a variety of required tasks to include-

  • Planning: Writing OPLANs, CONPLANs, functional plans, campaign plans, and OPORDs.
  • Execution and deployment (TPFDD) management: Defining requirements for, and gaining visibility of, the movement of forces into the combatant commander's AOR.

E-13.   The ADP portion of JOPES provides both hardware (computers) and software (programs) to facilitate joint operation planning and execution. JOPES ADP resides in the computer network of the GCCS. The JOPES software applications support a variety of planning and execution functions. Together, the computer hardware and software systems assist the planners to-

  • Develop detailed deployment requirements.
  • Estimate logistics and transportation requirements and assess OPLAN transportation feasibility.
  • Prioritize, replan, and track deployment status during execution.
  • Refine deployment requirements and monitor the deployment.

E-14.   The players in the joint planning process, as illustrated in Figure E-2, include the President and the SecDef, as well as the joint planning and execution community (JPEC). The President and the SecDef sit atop the pyramid. They provide the ultimate decision on national policy and overall strategic direction of the U.S. Armed Forces. They are supported by the executive departments and organizations within the Office of the President, primarily the NSC.

Figure E-2. The Joint Planning and Execution Community

Figure E-2. The Joint Planning and Execution Community


E-15.   The NSC is the principal forum to deliberate national security policy issues. The NSC provides the framework to establish national security strategy and policy decisions for implementation by the President in his role as commander-in-chief. The President either issues orders directly to the military to implement his national security strategy or he mandates military action by using directives. These directives can take the form of the national security strategy document, national security presidential directives, or executive orders.

E-16.   As depicted in the lower portion of the pyramid, the JPEC consists of those HQ, commands, and agencies involved in the training, preparation, movement, reception, employment, support, and sustainment of military forces assigned to a theater of operations. The JPEC principals are the CJCS and the joint staff, who publish the task-assigning documents, review the products, and approve the final version of peacetime plans. The supported commands and their subordinates are responsible for developing and executing OPLANs and OPORDs.

E-17.   CA planners participate in the JOPES process at all levels, but in varying degrees. As participants, it is important that CA planners at all levels are familiar with the NSS, NMS, presidential directives, and many other related documents generated by the President, the SecDef, and the NSC as part of the planning process.




E-18.   Plans are developed under different processes depending on the focus of the specific plan (Figure E-3). These plans are campaign, deliberate, and crisis-action planning. These processes are interrelated; campaign planning principles contribute to both deliberate and crisis-action planning.

Figure E-3. Joint Operation Planning

Figure E-3. Joint Operation Planning

Campaign Planning

E-19.   Campaign planning allows combatant commanders to translate national strategy and objectives into unified plans for military action by specifying how operations and logistics will be used to achieve success within a given space and time. It embodies the combatant commander's strategic vision of the related operations necessary to attain theater strategic objectives.

E-20.   If the scope of contemplated operations requires it, campaign planning begins with deliberate planning. It continues through crisis-action planning, thus unifying both planning processes. The degree to which the deliberate plan may serve as the core for a campaign plan is dependent on the plan assumptions, commander's intent, and available resources. Campaign planning and its relation to joint operation planning are discussed in detail in JP 5-0.

E-21.   CA planners at the geographic combatant command HQ keep abreast of the national security issues in the combatant commander's AOR. During campaign planning, they advise the combatant commander and his staff on the political, economic, social, and cultural implications of contemplated military operations. This includes the effects of military operations on the populace and infrastructure in the immediate AO, as well as repercussions within the regional and global community. CA planners formulate CMO themes and policies into a centralized CMO plan that can be executed in a decentralized manner while supporting campaign objectives. CA planners also look beyond the end state of military operations by identifying MOEs for CMO and planning for the eventual transition of control from military forces to civilian authorities. Finally, CA planners write the CMO annex (normally Annex G) to the campaign plan.

Deliberate Planning

E-22.   The deliberate planning process develops joint operation plans for contingencies identified in joint strategic planning documents. These planning documents include the SecDef's annual Contingency Planning Guidance (CPG), which provides written policy guidance for contingency planning, and the Chairman's JSCP, which provides guidance to the combatant commanders and Service chiefs for accomplishing military tasks and missions based on current military capabilities.

E-23.   Deliberate planning is completed in five phases based on JOPES guidance:

  • Phase I, Initiation: This phase specifies strategic objectives and planning assumptions, specifies the type of plan for each task, and apportions major combat and strategic forces to the combatant commanders for planning. This information is provided to the combatant commanders in the JSCP.
  • Phase II, Concept Development: In response to the JSCP-assigned task, the combatant commanders conduct mission analysis, identify friendly and enemy centers of gravity, determine the commander's overall intent for the operation, and develop the staff estimates. The final result of Phase II is a combatant commander's strategic concept, which is submitted to the Chairman, as required, for review and approval.
  • Phase III, Plan Development: This phase occurs after the combatant commander's strategic concept is approved. It begins with full plan development and documentation. This process produces force, support, and transportation planning documents to support the combatant commander's CONOPS. This process will be discussed in detail later during discussions on TPFDD development.
  • Phase IV, Plan Review: The plan is reviewed for adequacy, feasibility, acceptability, and compliance with joint doctrine. Those plans requiring approval by the Chairman will be reviewed by the Joint Staff, Services, and combat support agencies (DIA, Defense Information Systems Agency [DISA], Defense Logistics Agency [DLA], NIMA, and NSA).
  • Phase V, Supporting Plans Development: Emphasis shifts to subordinate and supporting commanders as they complete their plans to augment the combatant commander's plan.
Crisis-Action Planning

E-24.   Crisis-action planning, like deliberate planning, involves a structured process following the guidance established in JOPES publications. This planning process results in the time-sensitive development of campaign plans and OPORDs for execution. The planning process includes the following phases:

  • Phase I, Situation Development: Initiated with the perception or recognition of a crisis and results in the development of the combatant commander's assessment.
  • Phase II, Crisis Assessment: The SecDef and Chairman evaluate the combatant commander's assessment and determine whether a crisis is imminent.
  • Phase III, Course of Action Development: The SecDef or the combatant commander develops one or more COAs. The combatant commander submits the commander's estimate and recommendation to the Chairman.
  • Phase IV, Course of Action Selection: The SecDef decides on a COA.
  • Phase V, Execution Planning: The combatant commander develops a campaign plan or OPORD, and TPFDD.
  • Phase VI, Execution: The SecDef decides to execute the campaign plan or OPORD. OPORDs are prepared in prescribed JOPES formats during crisis-action planning. They are in the form of a directive issued by a commander to subordinate commanders to effect the coordinated execution of an operation.



E-25.   Based on the Chairman's JSCP planning requirements, the combatant commanders prepare four types of deliberate plans: OPLANs, CONPLANs (with and without TPFDD), and functional plans. These plans facilitate the rapid transition to crisis response. Each plan has different JOPES procedural and format requirements. However, all follow the basic format of a five-paragraph order:

  • Situation.
  • Mission.
  • Execution.
  • Administration and logistics.
  • Command and control.
Operation Plan

E-26.   OPLANs are prepared when-

  • The contingency has a compelling national interest and is critical to national security.
  • The nature (large scale) of the contingency requires detailed prior planning for complex issues.
  • Detailed planning contributes to deterrence.
  • Detailed planning is required to support multinational planning.
  • Detailed planning is necessary to determine specific force and sustainment requirements.

E-27.   An OPLAN includes a full description of the CONOPS using all documentation applicable to a JOPES-structured plan. It identifies the specific forces, functional support, and resources necessary to implement the plan and provides closure estimates for their movement into the theater. OPLANs can be quickly converted to OPORDs. They may include as many as twenty JOPES-prescribed annexes with associated appendixes, and they always include TPFDD.

E-28.   Because of the detailed nature of an OPLAN, JOPES guidance requires a thorough presentation of the commander's operational concept. JOPES requires all annexes and appendixes to contain detailed information on the combatant command's CONOPS, CS, and CSS activities.

E-29.   CA planners are responsible for JOPES Annex G, Civil-Military Operations. A sample Annex G is in Appendix C.

Operation Plan in Concept Format

E-30.   A joint OPLAN in an abbreviated, "concept" format is called a CONPLAN. A CONPLAN requires considerable expansion or alteration to convert into an OPLAN, campaign plan, or OPORD. In a CONPLAN, all the elements of the basic OPLAN are included in summary form except mission, situation, assumptions, and CONOPS. These elements are fully developed. The full complement of annexes and appendixes are not required in a CONPLAN. CONPLANs contain a summary of logistics requirements and major constraints regarding forces, movement, or logistic support that significantly affect implementation of the plan.

E-31.   A CONPLAN (without a TPFDD) is normally required when-

  • The contingency has a less compelling interest but is important to national security.
  • Binational alliance or treaty arrangement requires contingency planning by the signatory countries.
  • The contingency is smaller in scale, requires less detailed planning, and can be handled in the near term with more general capabilities-based concepts.
  • No specific threat has been identified.

E-32.   A CONPLAN with a TPFDD is a CONPLAN that requires more detailed planning for the phased deployment of forces. Like an OPLAN, it is prepared when the contingency has a compelling national interest and is critical to national security-however, it is not as likely to occur in the near term. The larger scale of the possible contingency requires more detailed planning than would normally be conducted for a CONPLAN. Preparing a CONPLAN with TPFDD follows the same JOPES procedures as developing an OPLAN.

Functional Plans

E-33.   Functional plans may also be developed by combatant commanders to address "functional peacetime operations" such as disaster relief, HA, or peace operations. They may be developed in response to JSCP tasks, as a combatant command initiative, or as tasked by a Service or defense agency acting as an executive agent for the SecDef (for example, military support to civil authorities). Functional plans are structured as CONPLANs (without TPFDD), following published JOPES formats. Annexes and appendixes are developed as required.




E-34.   JP 3-05.2 is the doctrinal manual that applies to the planning, conduct, and support of joint SO across the range of military operations. It provides guidance for joint SO targeting and mission planning and builds on the foundation of joint SO, targeting, and planning doctrine. It discusses SO operational mission criteria with regard to joint planning and targeting, and describes the methodology for integrating SO into the supported commander's targeting and planning processes. A major part of this publication discusses the SO deliberate and crisis-action planning processes. It also includes discussions on delineation of authority and responsibilities, SO target criteria and considerations, SO integration at the theater and JTF levels, and mission analysis procedures. USACAPOC uses the procedures outlined in JP 3-05.2 to effectively monitor subordinate unit, team, and individual preparation for, and participation in, CA operations. CA planners use SO operational planning procedures for all CA missions. These missions range from providing individual liaison to military and nonmilitary agencies, to providing training or assessment teams to foreign military and nonmilitary organizations, to conducting tactical and operational CA unit operations in support of conventional and special operations forces.

E-35.   SO operational planning supports deliberate and crisis-action planning under the JOPES. Since CA forces are more apt to be involved in crisis action versus deliberate planning, this section addresses CA participation in crisis-action planning, including SOF execution phase planning.

E-36.   SO operational planning also supports planning PME and theater security cooperation activities, such as CA support to HMA operations, combatant commander-directed mil-to-mil programs, and disaster preparedness planning surveys. Interagency coordination becomes increasingly important when planning these activities.

E-37.   CJCSM 3113.01A provides some guidance on planning PME. CA planners must be flexible and innovative when integrating peacetime CA operations with other agencies' activities. Funding sources and procedures may constrain peacetime military operations.


E-38.   During a crisis situation, the CA force (for example, a single CA soldier, a CA team, or a CA unit) conducts both operational planning and execution phase planning as part of crisis-action planning. These planning phases are depicted in Figure E-4. As a JTF is working through the six phases of crisis-action planning, the CA force also is conducting its planning process that results in various products, such as OPORDs or FRAG orders. Each of these phases is explained in the following paragraphs.

Figure E-4. CA Force Support to Crisis-Action Planning

Figure E-4. CA Force Support to Crisis-Action Planning

Special Operations Operational Planning During Crisis-Action Planning Phases I-V

E-39.   During phases I through V of crisis-action planning, the CA force's planning efforts are directed toward two types of products. These products are inputs to the JTF's OPORD (with its organic TPFDD) and development of the CA force's own OPORD. The processes used to develop these two products usually are conducted concurrently.

E-40.   Providing Input to the JTF's OPORD. The focus of the CA force's planning efforts in this phase of operational planning is development of input to the JTF's OPORD (Figure E-5). The CA force staff should provide information for all aspects of the JTF's order (base order, all annexes, and appendixes). This should be done as a collaborative planning effort between the JTF and CA force planners. Although all aspects of the JTF order will impact the CA force, it is especially important that the CA force provide input to the CMO appendix to the Operations annex of the JTF OPORD. Major operational issues that also should be discussed in developing input to the JTF's OPORD include the following:

  • Operational capabilities required.
  • Forces required.
  • Command relationships.
  • Civil targeting priorities.
  • Force allocation.
  • Task organization.
  • Deployment and basing options.
  • Mission approval procedures.
  • TPFDD input.

Figure E-5. CA Force Support to Crisis-Action Planning: Input to JFC's Orders

Figure E-5. CA Force Support to Crisis-Action Planning: Input to JFC's Orders


E-41.   The process that allows the CA force to contribute to the JTF's OPORD is depicted in Figure E-6, and includes the following:

  • Contribute to JTF's overall mission analysis, as follows:
    • Determine known facts using CA methodology techniques outlined in Chapter 3, Assess. This includes, but is not limited to-
      • Analyze the higher commander's mission and intent from a CA/CMO perspective.
      • Describe the friendly situation of the JTF, CA force, components, and other commands.
      • Describe the civil situation using CASCOPE.
      • Determine the status or conditions of CA/CMO already implemented by the higher commander.
      • Describe how possible CA/CMO missions relate to the JTF's plans.
      • Describe other facts that may affect the possible missions.
    • Develop assumptions to replace missing or unknown facts. This includes, but is not limited to-
      • SOFAs at probable execution.
      • Availability and support requirements of indigenous populations and institutions, multinational forces, and/or international organizations and NGOs.
      • Support from other government agencies.
      • ROE changes, if required.
      • CASCOPE considerations that may affect the mission.
    • Review CA/CMO constraints and limitations.
    • Identify tasks to be performed by CA/CMO forces. These include-
      • Specified tasks.
      • Implied tasks.
      • Essential tasks.
    • Conduct initial CA/CMO force structure analysis; tentatively identify required and available CA/CMO assets and required capabilities.
    • Conduct an initial risk assessment.
    • Determine end state (or success criteria) for CA/CMO.
    • Identify CA/CMO intelligence requirements.
    • Assist in developing the JTF's mission statement.
    • Assist in developing a mission analysis briefing for the JFC.
  • Assist mission analysis briefing and receive JFC planning guidance. The JFC should provide guidance at this point. Planning guidance should be disseminated to the CA force and other JTF components.
  • Develop CA/CMO options for the JFC's COA. The JTF staff should develop multiple friendly COAs. The CA force should perform the following:
    • Develop options for initial CA/CMO COAs.
    • Review mission analysis and JFC's guidance.
    • Develop or refine a comparison of civil capabilities (for example, indigenous populations and institutions, international organi-zations, and NGOs) and CA/CMO capabilities.
    • Review options for engaging the civil centers of gravity and accomplishing the JTF's mission or tasks.
    • Provide options for CA/CMO operational movement. These options include, but are not limited to-
      • Strategic deployment of CA/CMO forces into the joint operations area (JOA), including developing and integrating the deployment concept consistent with the JFC's supporting campaign scheme and sequence of operations for initial combat and noncombat operations, force reception and buildup, and timing of follow-on operations.
      • Intratheater deployment of CA/CMO forces within the JOA.
      • Logistic support for the movement of CA/CMO forces from ports of debarkation to initial positions.
      • Transportation, existing transportation infrastructure, and required improvements, available bases and airfields to support movement, intermediate staging bases (ISBs), and FOBs, as applicable.
    • Provide options for CA/CMO operational maneuver. Develop options for the concentration of CA/CMO forces in the JOA, keeping in mind operations in depth (such as local, provincial, and national levels).
    • Provide options for CA/CMO operational mobility. Consider effective use of existing facilities or infrastructure, the capture or isolation of facilities or infrastructure, and the establishment of CMOCs.
    • Provide options for CA/CMO force protection, including OPSEC, PHYSEC, information security (INFOSEC), CA/CMO project management, and the establishment of relationships with indigenous populations and institutions, international organi-zations, and NGOs to enhance force protection of the joint force.
    • Provide options for CA/CMO C2:
      • Plan to incorporate CA/CMO forces into the JTF information architecture.
      • Develop options to task-assigned and attached CA/CMO forces.
      • Consider the formation of JCMOTFs for specific, complex CMO missions.
    • Test each COA input for validity.
    • Provide input to the JFC COA statement and sketches.
  • Participate in COA analysis (war gaming). Contribute to the process of war gaming by mentally "fighting the battle" in time and space. The process may use the structure of "action-reaction-counteraction" sequences for critical events. Key elements the staff should determine include details about-
    • Required CA/CMO operational capabilities (specific tasks to capabilities).
    • Required CA/CMO assets.
    • Task organization of the JCMOTF throughout the operation, if applicable.
    • Command relationships.
    • CA/CMO POEs.
    • Civil decisive points and intelligence requirements related to major civil events.
    • Operational support needed from the joint force and/or from indigenous populations and institutions, international organi-zations, and NGOs.
    • Identification of branches (what if) and sequels (what then).
  • Participate in COA comparison, as follows:
    • Participate in determining the criteria to be used for comparing COAs. Criteria for comparison of CA/CMO options could come from the commander's intent, METT-TC factors, or other.
    • Ensure recommendations for CA/CMO have been coordinated with the CA/CMO components of the JTF.
  • Receive the JFC's decision on COAs. The JFC may select or modify the recommended COA. Based on that decision, the JFC's "Commander's Estimate" document (or slides) normally will be sent or briefed to the higher commander for approval.
  • Provide CA/CMO perspective in the JTF order. After the COA is selected, the order is developed. Most of the information needed for this task already should have been developed through the estimate process (mission analysis through COA selection). As discussed in Chapter 4, Decide, CMO input can be in many sections of the order, but the primary area for CA should be the CA Appendix to Annex C (Operations) of the order.

Figure E-6. Operational Planning Process: Commander and Staff Responsibilities

Figure E-6. Operational Planning Process: Commander and Staff Responsibilities


E-42.   Development of the CA Force's OPORD. The CA force's input to the JTF's OPORD and development of the CA force's OPORD are conducted almost simultaneously. The processes used to develop the OPORD follow the same process used for input to the JTF's order, but are refined and tailored to provide guidance to the CA force's components. These processes include-

  • Conduct mission analysis. Information obtained while developing input for the JTF's order should be updated and applied to the CA force level of planning. Topic areas include-
    • Review known facts:
      • Describe the friendly situation: JTF, CA force, components, and other forces, as per METT-TC.
      • Describe the civil situation: indigenous populations and institutions, other government agencies, international organizations and NGOs, and others, as per METT-TC.
      • Describe how possible missions relate to the JTF's plans.
      • Describe other facts that may impact on the possible missions.
    • Review assumptions. Assumptions replace necessary, but unknown, facts. Assumptions must be valid and necessary for planning to continue. The CA force should take into account support from other government agencies, ROE changes, and CASCOPE considerations that may affect the mission.
    • Review CA/CMO constraints and limitations.
    • Review specified, implied, and essential tasks to be performed by CA/CMO forces.
    • Review required and available assets and capabilities, including CA/CMO assets that are required to accomplish possible JTF-directed missions.
    • Review civil IPB products and deliberate assessment plans associated with the CA/CMO mission. As early as possible, include support required beyond that of the capability of the CA force and identify PIR.
    • Review the risks to CA/CMO forces:
      • Identify and assess risks that the JFC is willing to take to accomplish the mission.
      • Address CA/CMO force protection issues.
      • Assess time available as determined by JFC-imposed limitations.
      • Assess the risk of failure due to possible inadequate preparation time and time to obtain support from non-CA/CMO assets.
    • Review mission success criteria for CA/CMO and state the CMO MOEs.
  • Develop, analyze, compare, and recommend CA/CMO COAs. This step is dependent on time available. COAs can be as simple as force options, or more complex and detailed. Specifically, the CA force should develop COAs to support the JTF as a whole. These COAs identify or confirm-
    • Who (type of CA/CMO asset) will execute the task.
    • What type of CA/CMO mission, action, or task is contemplated.
    • Where the mission will occur.
    • Why each element of the force will conduct its part of the operation.
    • How the CA/CMO force will employ available components.

COAs are analyzed to identify strengths and weaknesses and further identify many of the elements of execution planning for each COA. Friendly COAs are then compared to reveal which COA has the highest probability of success. The end product of this step is a recommendation to the CA force commander on a COA for the various types of missions the JTF has assigned to the CA force.

Special Operations Execution Phase Mission Planning

E-43.   The process for SO execution phase mission planning is a dynamic, interactive process (Figure E-7). It requires continual coordination and communications among the JTF, CA force, other components of the joint force and civilian organizations, if applicable. Collaborative planning can be of immense value during crisis-action planning.

Figure E-7. Special Operations Execution Phase Mission Planning

Figure E-7. Special Operations Execution Phase Mission Planning


E-44.   Requests for Support. Requests for support (which may include the application of CA generalist and/or specialist skills) can come from a variety of sources. Among these are the Joint Forces Group HQ (elements such as the Joint Information Operations Cell and Joint Planning Group), the JTF components, JSOTF components, and multinational forces. These requests, depending on command relationships and mission approval levels already established, may come from a supported command direct to the CA force or may go through the JTF to the CA force.

E-45.   Feasibility Assessment. The CA force conducts a feasibility assessment to provide an initial determination of the viability of a proposed mission or project for CA/CMO. It is an abbreviated version of mission analysis and COA development, analysis, and selection. It essentially answers the following SO criteria questions found in FM 41-10 (and in JP 3-05.2, Appendix E, "Special Operations Feasibility Assessment"):

  • Is it an appropriate SOF mission?
  • Does it support the JFC's mission and intent?
  • Is it operationally feasible?
  • Are required resources available?
  • Does the expected outcome justify the risk?

E-46.   Feasibility Assessment Submission to JTF. Submission of the feasibility assessment to the JTF provides the JFC with an assessment of the CA force's ability to accomplish specific requests for support.

E-47.   Warning Order Provided to Subordinates. The components should be informed early on if a mission is likely to be tasked. Critical intelligence and assessment products should be pushed to the MPA at this point. Doing so provides the components with more time to begin their mission planning. This step is not necessary if the feasibility assessment determines that the "SOF mission criteria" are not sufficiently satisfied for execution by CA forces.

E-48.   Input for Developing the JTF FRAG Order. The CA force planning section should be coordinating with the JTF Joint Forces Group (through the JTF CMO staff officer or other means) to provide input to the JTF FRAG order that tasks the CA force for the mission.

E-49.   Development of the CA Force's FRAG Order. Once the JTF FRAG order has been sent to the CA force, the CA force planners review it to confirm or update the information that was developed during the feasibility assessment. In some instances, a verbal warning order or FRAG order may be the CA force's first indication of a mission. In this case, the CA force planners will have to conduct a rapid and abbreviated mission analysis and COA selection process, to include-

  • Confirm or conduct mission analysis. This is the same process as discussed in the feasibility analysis, but the CA force commander must now select the most feasible COA.
  • Confirm and conduct COA selection. This is also the same process as discussed in the feasibility assessment.
  • Confirm and identify the MPA. Ideally, the MPA has been identified and given a warning order during the feasibility assessment phase. If this was not possible, this step formally designates the MPA. At this point, intelligence and assessment products are pushed to the MPA for production of the SOMPF.
  • Allocate resources. If necessary, the CA force commander provides direction and assistance on the identification and coordination for additional resources that may be necessary for the MPA to conduct the mission. The CA force commander must identify to the JFC those specific support requirements.
  • Confirm and identify intelligence requirements.
  • Confirm and identify ROE requirements.
  • Identify supporting plans. In most instances, the CA force MPA will be the supporting command. The plans of the supported unit must be identified and reviewed in their entirety, as described in Chapter 4, Decide. This may also occur when the CA force is conducting a transition to or from another organization.
  • Identify supporting components. In some missions, the MPA will require assistance from supporting commands and components. The type of support (direct, mutual, general, or close) should be specified. In addition, the CA force (as the directing HQ for the support arrangement) should provide the following information when establishing support command relationships:
    • Desired end state effects and scope.
    • Forces and resources allocated to the supporting effort.
    • Time, place, level, and duration of the supporting effort.
    • Priority of the supporting mission relative to the other missions of the supporting force.
    • Authority, if any, of the supporting commander to modify the supporting effort in the event of exceptional opportunity or emergency.
    • Degree of authority granted to the supported commander (the MPA) over the supporting effort.
  • Identify mission approval authority. Clearly identify mission approval authorities for each mission.
  • Write and transmit the FRAG order. The FRAG order designates the MPA and supporting agencies; identifies specific taskings, planning timelines, and CONOPS requirements; grants DIRLAUTH; and sometimes establishes the earliest anticipated departure time. Acknowledgment of the FRAG order is required.

E-50.   MPA Development of CONOPS and MSRs. Requirements for submission of CONOPS and MSRs include the following:

  • CONOPS requirements. The CA force commander should clearly specify the requirements for the MPA in submitting the CONOPS for approval IAW CA force SOP or as in the FRAG order. Among those items that should be included in the CONOPS are-
    • Situation.
    • Mission (restated MPA mission).
    • Execution (CONOPS, subordinate unit tasks, coordination, and operational limitations).
  • Mission support requests. MSRs consist of the following types of requests:
    • Support requests. For initial support, the MPA submits a SPTREQ to the supporting component HQ and provides an information copy to the CA force requesting resources needed to accomplish the tasked mission. It should be sent at the same time that the MPA sends the CONOPS message. For support from sources outside of the CA force (such as Class X supplies), the SPTREQ is sent only to the CA force for action. The CA force may grant DIRLAUTH between CA components and components of the JTF. The SPTREQ should list all MPA support requirements and identify any preference for a particular supporting agency. The MPA may submit additional SPTREQs as planning continues. For follow-on support, the MPA submits a SPTREQ to the supporting component HQ for action and provides an information copy to the CA force requesting follow-on support for a CA element already on a mission. The SPTREQ should be submitted as soon as possible.
    • Air support request. For initial support, the AIRSUPREQ is used to request preplanned and immediate close air support interdiction, reconnaissance, surveillance, escort, helicopter airlift, humani-tarian supply delivery, and other aircraft missions. The MPA submits an AIRSUPREQ to the supporting component HQ and provides an information copy to the CA force requesting resources needed to accomplish the tasked mission. It should be sent at the same time the MPA sends the CONOPS. The CA force may grant DIRLAUTH between CA components and components of the JTF. The AIRSUPREQ should list all MPA air support requirements and identify any preference for a particular supporting agency. The MPA may submit additional AIRSUPREQs as planning continues. SOF LNOs and coordination elements should be aware of mission coordination in progress.
    • Airspace control means request. This is used to request that a defined block of airspace be designated as having special significance for air operations within an AOR. These areas include drop zones (DZs), ground free-fire zones, landing zones (LZs), pickup points, restrictive fire plans, selected areas for evasion (SAFEs), and potential evasion locale. These zones may be defined as a circle around a central point, a corridor centered on a line, an area bounded by line segments, or airspace bounded by attitude. This request is submitted to the joint special operations air component commander who will enter them into the air control order (ACO).
    • MSR confirmations. Prior to mission execution, the supporting SOF components send support confirmation in response to the support requests, or request confirmations in response to the AIRSUPREQs to the MPA with information copies provided to the CA force.

E-51.   CONOPS Approval. The approval process varies depending upon whether or not the CA force commander has mission approval authority, as follows:

  • CA force commander has mission approval authority. If the CA force commander has approval authority for execution of the mission, a CA force CONOPS is not submitted to the JTF. Once the CA force commander is satisfied with the MPA's CONOPS, the CA force sends a CONOPS approval to the MPA and supporting components. Approval is sent as soon as possible after receipt of the MPA's CONOPS.
  • CA force commander does not have mission approval authority. If the CA force commander does not have approval authority for the mission, a CA force CONOPS is sent to the JFC for approval.

E-52.   Monitoring of Other Support Plans. For most CA operations, other commands or agencies, both within and outside the JTF, could provide support or follow-on actions to the CA force. The CA force should monitor the planning activities and coordinate actions to ensure unity of effort. Coordination with nonmilitary agencies is usually accomplished in a CMOC. Chapters 4, Decide, and 5, Develop and Detect, include additional information.

E-53.   Mission Briefbacks. Mission briefbacks are briefings by subordinate commanders to the mission approving authority (the CA force commander or the JFC) explaining how the CA element intends to accomplish the assigned mission. Representatives from the CA force planning section and the JOC should attend the briefback, if possible. At this point, planning has not ended and changes can still be made to the plan. The major benefits of briefbacks are that they allow the approving commander to-

  • Clarify the commander's intent.
  • Identify and emphasize the CCIR.
  • Understand problems that the MPA may be having in planning the mission.
  • Understand the MPA's CONOPS.
  • Modify and/or approve the MPA's CONOPS.

The approving commander should expect the following from the MPA:

  • Information concerning the MPA's assumptions, task organization, mission statement, commander's intent, CONOPS, threat assessment, and risk.
  • Discussion of any issue that needs clarification.
  • Requests for support and assistance in resolving issues.

E-54.   Plans Handover Procedures. At some point prior to mission execution, the CA force's planning effort should be handed over to the JOC for execution. This handover should be a formal process in which the CA force planners ensure that the JOC personnel are thoroughly familiar with the plan. The plans handover briefing should include the following:

  • Situation: The general situation, the civil situation, CA/CMO objective and mission description, and threat assessment.
  • Mission: Specified and implied tasks and expected results of action taken in as specific terms as possible.
  • Task organization: CA/CMO operational elements, including support, security, and logistic elements, as required.
  • CONOPS: Infiltration plan, actions on the objective, exfiltration plan, and emergency action plan.
  • Other: Limitations, ROE, support plans, status of support requests, and command and signal.

E-55.   Requests for Execution and Execute Order. The MPA requests authority for mission execution (verbal or via message or E-mail). If the CA force commander has mission execution authority, approval is granted through an EXORD. If the JFC (or higher level of command) has execution authority, the CA force commander prepares a request for execution and submits it to the JFC. The higher authority provides an EXORD and the CA force commander subsequently issues an EXORD to the MPA and supporting units.

E-56.   Operation Summary. Once the mission is complete, the MPA submits an OPSUM to the CA force commander.


E-57.   There are thirteen basic steps for planning CA missions using the SO operational planning process. CA units, teams, and individuals follow these steps for deliberate, time-sensitive, and peacetime planning whether planning at home station or at a forward-deployed location. This section will discuss each of the steps, less deploy, execute mission, and redeploy, in detail. For the purpose of simplicity, this discussion will begin with a validated mission tasked by USACAPOC to a regional CACOM or Active Army CA battalion to provide support to a geographic combatant command. Tasks attributed to the CA unit commander and staff officers in this discussion are performed at the CA team level by the team leader and team members.

Receipt of Mission

E-58.   A CA unit will receive notification of a mission by means of a warning order, TASKORD, or FRAG order. This order could be issued verbally, but it is more often received in electronic or hard copy form. It is normally transmitted in message text format through secure means via a message center or over a classified network. It may also be hand delivered by courier.

E-59.   The mission notification order provides as much information as necessary for the subordinate unit to begin mission planning. It follows the 5-paragraph field order format. At a minimum, the order designates the MPA and supporting agencies, provides pertinent references and POCs, gives instructions regarding DIRLAUTH, key mission planning events, and suspense dates for required reports, and earliest anticipated launch time (EALT).

E-60.   Mission notification is normally handled through the CA unit operations section. Upon receipt of the mission, the G-3 or S-3 informs the unit commander via the most expedient and secure means possible. The commander provides initial guidance regarding the mission planning process, such as the date, time, and required attendees for the mission analysis conference.

Initiation of the Special Operations Mission Planning Folder

E-61.   The SOMPF is an integral part of the planning process and is described in JP 3-05.5, Joint Special Operations Targeting and Mission Planning Procedures. The SOMPF is a key, single-source, reference document that contains all historical details of a mission from initial notification through mission completion. It is classified according to its contents and is handled appropriately according to its classification. It is designed to retain continuity for planners over time.

E-62.   The G-3 or S-3 initiates the SOMPF by assigning a mission designation and an MPA. The MPA creates the folder according to unit SOP. The SOMPF is normally contained in a compartmented binder or folder that keeps all information in an orderly, logical format. A typical SOMPF consists of the following items:

  • Mission designation.
  • Mission TASKORD.
  • Mission planning checklist (Figure E-8).
  • DA Form 1594, Daily Staff Journal or Duty Officer's Log.
  • Commander's Statement of Intent.
  • MSR.
  • CONOPS approval by higher HQ.
  • Planning conference trip reports.
  • Predeployment site survey (PDSS) results.
  • Deployment data.
  • OPSUM.
  • AAR.

Figure E-8. Sample Mission Planning Checklist

Figure E-8. Sample Mission Planning Checklist

Mission Analysis

E-63.   The commander and all essential personnel involved in the CA mission participate in the mission analysis process. This process is best performed in a location that gives the participants a secure, nondisruptive atmosphere yet provides access to equipment, people, and information required for proper mission analysis. The following paragraphs discuss the mission analysis process.

E-64.   Gather Facts. The following documents are useful in gathering facts pertaining to the mission:

  • All documents referenced in the TASKORD (these usually include theater OPLANs or OPORDs, supported unit OPLANs or OPORDs, and other documents that are directive in nature or provide guidance for mission planners).
  • Area studies for the specified AO.
  • Recent surveys or assessments of the AO.
  • SODARS data for the specified AO.
  • Trip reports and AARs of conferences or CA operations in the AO.
  • Current SITREPs of deployed CA units, teams, and individuals in the AO.

E-65.   Other sources of information include national and theater threat assessments, ambassadors' annual statements of goals and objectives, country team and HN government plans, annual integrated assessments of security assistance, theater joint mission analysis, basic PSYOP studies, and the plans and programs of other USG agencies. Many of these sources are available through theater-level planners and are highly classified.

E-66.   Make Assumptions. Any required information not readily available through these resources should be requested from the higher CA HQ using specific RFIs. In order for the mission analysis process to continue, the missing information is replaced by assumptions that are based on the knowledge and experience of the analysts. These assumptions will be confirmed or refuted upon receipt of answers to the RFIs.

E-67.   Restate the Mission Statement. The tasked CA commander restates the mission statement to reflect what he sees as his actual mission. Using the TASKORD as the primary document and the resources listed above as supporting documents, the CA commander and his staff determine the specified and implied tasks for CA forces. Specified tasks are those tasks specifically assigned to CA forces in plans, orders, and other directives. Implied tasks include those supporting tasks that must be accomplished in order to achieve a specified task. Implied tasks also include those tasks identified in supporting documents that must be accomplished to achieve the overall mission.

E-68.   After listing all specified and implied tasks, the commander and his staff determine which are the critical, or essential, tasks. The essential tasks are those that absolutely must be accomplished in order to successfully complete the mission. These essential tasks will be listed in the restated mission statement for the unit conducting the mission analysis.

E-69.   Determine Commander's Intent and Guidance. In addition to the restated mission statement, the commander constructs his intent for the mission, defining what he sees as the end state of the operation and what the CA force must do to achieve that end state. He also provides guidance for continued mission analysis by the staff. His guidance should include-

  • Specific COAs to develop.
  • Risk guidance.
  • Security measures to be implemented.
  • Specific priorities for CSS.
  • The time plan.
  • The type of order or product to result from the process.
  • Any other information the commander wants the staff to consider.

E-70.   At this point, the commander should take the opportunity to give a warning order to all subordinate units, teams, or individuals that will be participating in the operation. The warning order provides all details necessary for the subordinate CA element to begin planning and, if applicable, tells the subordinate element when the OPORD will be issued.

E-71.   Develop and Analyze COAs. When the commander and staff have completed the steps mentioned above, the staff conducts a COA analysis. FM 101-5 presents a detailed discussion of the process of developing and analyzing COAs. The staff will follow this process to determine options that will achieve the restated mission.

E-72.   For some CA missions, only one COA exists to satisfy a mission. The commander of the higher CA HQ may direct this COA or it may be the only viable solution based on mission requirements and the availability of CA functional specialists. When only one COA is developed, the purpose of the COA analysis is to verify, refine, synchronize, and integrate the commander's COA and recommend modifications, as necessary.

E-73.   Approve COA. The staff will present each of the options to the CA unit commander in a decision briefing. At the end of the briefing, the unit commander chooses the COA which best satisfies the mission according to his guidance.

E-74.   If the commander has observed and participated in the planning process, the decision may be rapidly apparent and the commander can make an on-the-spot decision. If only one COA was developed, no decision is required unless the developed COA becomes unsuitable, infeasible, or unacceptable.

Response to Higher Headquarters via CONOPS and MSR

E-75.   The approved COA becomes the basis for the unit's initial CONOPS. The CONOPS indicates to the tasking CA commander that the tasked unit has conducted a detailed mission analysis. The initial CONOPS will contain as much detail as possible in each of its paragraphs, but leaves room for further coordination. It is sent to the higher CA HQ according to the suspense date given in the mission notification order; for example, within 90 days of the DTG of the TASKORD for deliberate planning and NLT 24 hours after receipt of the TASKORD for time-sensitive operations.

E-76.   The CONOPS is not a directive-it is merely a mechanism used to advise the tasking commander how the unit intends to accomplish its assigned mission.

E-77.   Normally, the CA element tasked as the MPA will consolidate the CONOPS of subordinate or supporting CA elements into one CONOPS. This CONOPS is passed to the higher CA HQ where it may be further consolidated before submission to the tasking commander.

E-78.   Any resources required for the mission that are not organic to the unit or available to the unit through routine CSS channels are listed in an MSR. The MSR is forwarded to the next-higher CA HQ, usually along with the CONOPS. This HQ will attempt to fill the request using internal sources. It will consolidate all subordinate and supporting unit MSRs and forward unfilled requirements to the next-higher CA HQ for resolution.

Receipt of CONOPS Approval From Higher CA Headquarters

E-79.   Upon review of the CONOPS, the tasking commander will issue a message indicating approval or disapproval of the CONOPS. He will also provide additional guidance, as necessary, regarding further planning and coordination for the mission.

Mission Conferences and Orders Briefs and Conduct of PDSS

E-80.   Depending on the timeline given in the mission notification order, this step may occur during the facts-gathering phase of mission analysis and before CONOPS submission.

E-81.   The tasked CA unit commander sends his primary mission planners to mission conferences and orders briefs sponsored by the supported unit. The CA planners actively participate in these meetings by providing capabilities briefings, meeting key POCs, coordinating logistics requirements, and gathering additional information for CA mission planning.

E-82.   If time, circumstances, and force protection measures permit, the CA planners visit the location at which the unit, team, or individual will conduct the CA mission. During this PDSS, CA planners visit or obtain information on all mission-related CASCOPE. They meet key POCs and conduct as much coordination as possible to ensure a smooth transition to full operations upon deployment. A technique is to take still photos or video during the PDSS to orient deploying CA soldiers to the area.

E-83.   Upon return from mission conferences, orders briefs, and PDSSs, CA planners write trip reports. Trip reports serve to document coordination made during the trip and to identify unresolved issues that must be addressed before execution of the CA mission. They are submitted to the MPA according to time requirements specified in the unit SOP. A typical trip report format is found in Appendix C.

Refinement of CONOPS into OPLAN, CONPLAN, Supporting Plan, or OPORD

E-84.   The final product of the SO operational planning process is an OPLAN, CONPLAN, supporting plan, or OPORD that details how the CA unit, team, or individual will accomplish the CA mission. All plans and orders and their supporting annexes and appendixes use the five-paragraph field order format found in FM 101-5.

E-85.   The OPLAN, a product of deliberate planning, is a complete and detailed plan containing a full description of the CONOPS and all required annexes with associated appendixes. The OPLAN identifies the specific CA forces, functional support, deployment sequence, and resources required to execute the plan and provides closure estimates for their movement into the theater. The OPLAN becomes an OPORD when the conditions of execution occur and an execution time is determined.

E-86.   The CONPLAN, also a product of deliberate planning, is an OPLAN in an abbreviated concept format that would require considerable expansion or alteration to convert it into an OPLAN or OPORD. A CONPLAN contains the commander's employment concept and key annexes and appendixes required to complete planning. CONPLANs are generally developed to meet common-type missions that may develop rapidly and require implementation of like action but under markedly different circumstances; for example, NEO.

E-87.   The supporting plan complements the OPLAN or CONPLAN of a supported unit. Some examples of supporting plans are CMO annexes, CA appendixes, and NEO plans.

E-88.   The OPLAN, CONPLAN, and supporting plan are merely proposals for executing a future or anticipated operation. Upon completion, these plans are stored according to their classification until required. Because plans make assumptions about the nature of the situation at the anticipated time of execution, they cannot remain static. They must be reviewed periodically and updated to reflect the current analysis of the situation.

E-89.   The OPORD, a product of both time-sensitive planning and peacetime planning, is a directive issued by the commander to subordinate commanders or team leaders for effecting coordinated execution of an operation. Based on plans or the receipt of a new mission, the OPORD is a written or an oral communication directing actions at a specified execution time and date.

E-90.   The execution paragraph of CA plans and orders typically covers five distinct phases:

  • Phase I, Predeployment: Addresses all actions necessary to prepare the unit, team, or individual to deploy, including administrative, training, and logistics requirements and mobilization issues.
  • Phase II, Deployment: Addresses movement through mobilization station or point of embarkation to the AO according to the TPFDD or TPFDL.
  • Phase III, Employment: Addresses how the CA unit, team, or individual will accomplish its specified, implied, and critical tasks in the AO along civil lines of operation (such as the six CA activities). This section may be further divided into major milestones or phases of the operation, if known.
  • Phase IV, Redeployment: Addresses movement through point of embarkation through demobilization station to home station according to TPFDD or TPFDL.
  • Phase V, Recovery: Addresses all actions necessary to prepare the unit, team, or individual for future missions.

E-91.   The briefback is the MPA's opportunity to demonstrate to the tasking CA commander or the supported mission commander that all assigned tasks from the mission notification order and all subsequent guidance requirements issued during the planning process have been met. For deliberate planning, the briefback allows the tasking CA commander the opportunity to review OPLANs, CONPLANs, and supporting plans before they are placed in the CA unit files or forwarded to the commander of the supported unit. For time-sensitive and peacetime planning, the briefback allows the tasking CA commander to ensure the deploying unit, team, or individual clearly understands the mission, and all requirements have been planned and coordinated prior to mission execution.

E-92.   The tasking CA commander dictates the venue and format of the briefback. The briefback can take the form of a formal staff briefing or an informal desk-side briefing. At a minimum, the briefback should cover each of the five paragraphs in enough detail to demonstrate the extent and effectiveness of the planning process.

E-93.   If circumstances do not afford a tasked CA unit, team, or individual the opportunity to present an oral briefback to the tasking commander, a final CONOPS that details the same information may serve the same purpose.

NOTE: This is the last step in the SO operational planning process for deliberate planning.

Deploy/Execute Mission/Redeploy

E-94.   These steps of the planning process are the result of CA mission planning. They will not be addressed in this appendix.

Results of Mission Documented in OPSUM, AAR, JULLS, SODARS, and CA Database

E-95.   This step in the planning process occurs after mission completion and is not technically a step in mission planning. It is addressed at this time, however, because the products of this step assist CA planners plan follow-on CA missions or CA missions of a similar nature.

E-96.   Operations Summary. The OPSUM is a snapshot of what occurred during the mission. It outlines details about the operational mission only. It is normally submitted within 96 hours of mission completion with the understanding that a more detailed AAR will follow. A sample OPSUM is in Appendix C.

E-97.   After-Action Report. The AAR is a historical record of a CA activity or CA participation in a civil-military operation. Participants in the activity or operation generate the AAR shortly after the mission is completed. The AAR is forwarded through the chain of command to the highest command level so that commanders, staff officers, and other analysts can develop trends, lessons, and justification for changes to structure and equipment authorizations.

E-98.   A good, comprehensive AAR contains copies of pertinent documentation and information about the important events that initiated the operation. It provides diagrams depicting force structure and command relationships for the operation. It details the CA activities conducted during the operation and discusses challenges and issues that enhanced or impeded those activities. Finally, the AAR analyzes the operation for DTLOMS.

E-99.   Joint Universal Lessons Learned System. JULLS is a subcomponent of the joint exercise management package (JEMP). The JULLS program is used widely throughout all branches of the military and provides a mechanism for collecting lessons that are learned from a military exercise or operation. Each lesson learned is stored in a central database to facilitate later reference. This database is distributed semiannually to the combatant commanders of all unified commands, the Services, and the combat support agencies. JULLS improves combatant commanders' warfighting capabilities by taking advantage of lessons from real-world operations and exercises. The JULLS database is classified SECRET and below.

E-100.   Information is input to the JULLS database in the following format:

  • Identifying information.
  • Title.
  • Observation.
  • Discussion.
  • Lesson learned.
  • Recommended action.
  • Comments.

E-101.   Special Operations Debrief and Retrieval System. Some OCONUS missions require a SODARS report. The purpose of the SODARS report is to capture current conditions, attitudes, contacts, and other information items in the visited area for reference by SOF personnel deploying there on future missions. The unit G-2 or S-2 is responsible for maintaining and transmitting the SODARS report through higher CA HQ to USASOC.


E-102.   Except for TPFDD development, JOPES deliberate and crisis-action planning is essentially a manual process. In crisis-action planning, JOPES ADP support is used to refine existing TPFDD or to develop new ones. At execution, JOPES ADP manages the deployment of forces and their equipment into the AO.

Time-Phased Force and Deployment Data

E-103.   A TPFDD is a computer database used to identify types of forces and actual units required to support an OPLAN or OPORD. In addition, the TPFDD contains estimates of logistics support and designates ports for loading (embarkation) and unloading (debarkation). Finally, the TPFDD, based on planner input, establishes the sequence for moving the forces and their support (time phasing) into the AO. The time-phased forces, and their associated cargo and passenger movement requirements, are used as the basis for actual transportation scheduling. JOPES ADP depends on Service planning systems for these force and support requirements. The JOPES database is distributed worldwide and provides a single information source for movement status.

E-104.   Developing TPFDD involves four main processes. These are discussed in the following paragraphs.

E-105.   Force Planning. JOPES ADP helps planners build the force list during force planning. Force planning begins when the combatant commander identifies the major apportioned forces needed to support his CONOPS, and continues with the identification of CS and CSS force requirements. Initially, for gross planning estimates, notional (generic) units may be designated. As the process continues, however, actual units must be identified.

E-106.   Support Planning. TPFDD development then shifts to support planning. Various software programs use the force list to estimate time-phased lift requirements for supplies, equipment, and replacement personnel needed to sustain the forces specified during force planning. The quantities are determined using planning models to derive gross quantities (weight and volume). Unique computer programs provide support for specialized planning models, such as civil engineering and medical support.

E-107.   Transportation Planning. During transportation planning, all of the forces are time-phased into the AO. JOPES software compares apportioned transportation assets to the forces to be moved, factors in their sustainment requirements and time-phasing, and determines if the planned forces can be moved to the AO to meet the combatant command's needs. The product of this process is a capabilities-based, transportation-feasible database containing all the forces, materiel, and personnel needed to execute the combatant commander's CONOPS. This transportation-feasible database is the TPFDD.

E-108.   Deployment or Redeployment Execution. At execution, the TPFDD developed during deliberate planning (or a new one developed during crisis-action planning) is refined and movement requirements are validated. This validated TPFDD becomes the basis for actual transportation scheduling for force deployment and subsequent redeployment. Supply and replacement personnel estimates developed during planning are used as a source for establishing transportation channels for sustainment movement. In short, the JOPES database is a single source for force deployment movement requirements and status.

E-109.   The CJCS has established a time standard for TPFDD development during crisis-action planning. The objective time standard is 72 hours from notification and receipt by the supported commander to validation of the TPFDD (in level IV detail [explained below]) for the first 7 days of the deployment flow. (NOTE: Based on supported commander guidance, assets deploying from origin to destination on unit organic transportation may not require level IV detail.)

Levels of Detail

E-110.   Within the current joint planning and execution systems, movement characteristics are described at six distinct levels of detail. CA planners must be familiar with the levels as they must provide specific data to the supported unit during the TPFDD-building process. These levels are-

  • Level I: Aggregated level. Expressed in total number of passengers and total short tons (STONs), total measurement tons (MTONs), total square feet (SQFT), or total thousands of barrels by unit line number (ULN), cargo increment number (CIN), and personnel increment number (PIN).
  • Level II: Summary level. Expressed as total number of passengers by ULN and cargo summarized as follows: bulk, oversized, outsized, and non-air-transportable STONs; vehicular, non-self-deployable aircraft and boats, and other MTONs in SQFT; and thousands of barrels of POL.
  • Level III: Total passengers and cargo STONs, MTONs, SQFT, and thousands of barrels broken down by cargo category.
  • Level IV: Detail expressed as number of passengers and individual dimensional data (expressed in length, width, and height in number of inches) of cargo by equipment type by ULN.
  • Level V: Detail by priority of shipment. Expressed as total number of passengers by Service specialty code in deployment sequence by ULN individual weight (in pounds) and dimensional data (expressed in length, width, and height in number of inches) of equipment in deployment sequence by ULN.
  • Level VI: Detail expressed for passengers by name and social security number (SSN) or for coalition forces and civilians by country national identification number; and for cargo by transportation control number (TCN). Nonunit cargo includes federal stock number (FSN) or National Stock Number (NSN) detail. Cargo can be nested. Cargo with TCNs that are nested are referred to as "secondary loads." Level VI example: 11 level VI records would represent 11 vehicles of the same type. Those records would be summed to 1 in a level IV record.
CA Planner Responsibilities

E-111.   ADP hardware and software applications supporting JOPES and TPFDD development are continuously upgraded as technology advances. The GCCS currently provides the hardware that supports JOPES. The JOPES ADP software is made up of hundreds of individual computer programs. The major elements of JOPES ADP are found no lower than division level.

E-112.   Whatever the mechanisms may be, collaborative planning is a common goal that all commands must support. CA planners support the process by-

  • Reviewing the following policy documents:
    • JOPES Volume I.
    • Joint TPFDD letter of instruction (LOI).
    • Supported combatant command TPFDD LOI.
  • Routinely assessing unit mission, readiness, and deployment requirements.
  • Maintaining accurate and current databases; for example, Status of Resources and Training System (SORTS), which feeds into the TPFDD-building process.
  • Reporting discrepancies to the appropriate staff or command element.
  • Providing copies of cargo detail reports and personnel detail reports to designated command element, logistics staff, and movement planners.
  • Reviewing and updating cargo detail reports and personnel detail reports upon notification of deployment or receiving access to operation plan from operations staff.
  • Keeping abreast of changes in supported unit requirements that ensure the effective deployment and redeployment of any assigned mission or requirement.

E-113.   The following paragraphs discuss the TPFDD process for CA units deploying or redeploying in support of CMO.

E-114.   The supported combatant command-

  • Determines force requirements.
  • Normally develops force module.
  • Develops notional TPFDD (type unit, locations, dates).
  • Informs USSOCOM of force requirements.
  • Obtains geographic combatant commander approval for force deployments.
  • Validates force requirements to USTRANSCOM for lift scheduling.
  • Except for validation of lift, usually exercises authority through theater Army or SOC.

E-115.   USASOC-

  • Coordinates with USSOCOM, SOCs, and MSCs in building and sourcing the TPFDD.
  • Monitors the size of unit deployment packages to ensure that only the minimum essential equipment and personnel are sourced in the TPFDD.
  • Loads cargo detail into JOPES.
  • Validates TPFDD to USSOCOM IAW TPFDD milestones outlined in the USSOCOM and supported combatant command TPFDD LOI.

E-116.   USASOC TPFDD procedures (Figure E-9) include the following:

  • ARSOF TPFDD for crisis and contingency operations will be loaded into JOPES at USASOC Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans (DCSOPS), once validated by the chain of command.
  • Exercise data will be entered at USASOC DCSOPS or at the theater exercise planning conference if a USASOC representative is present, IAW the supported combatant command's TPFDD LOI or USSOCOM tasking.
  • Deliberate planning data will be entered at USASOC DCSOPS prior to planning conferences or at the USTRANSCOM planning conference if a USASOC representative is present, IAW the supported combatant command's TPFDD LOI or USSOCOM tasking.
  • ARSOF units will be listed separately from conventional forces. They will not be absorbed into conventional ULNs.

Figure E-9. TPFDD Data Entry

Figure E-9. TPFDD Data Entry


E-117.   General rules for TPFDD and ULN development include the following:

  • An air movement ULN will not exceed four C-141B equivalents (80 STONs).
  • One unit identification code (UIC) per ULN.
  • ULNs will be based on company-sized and smaller units with appropriate UIC.
  • Standard pallet planning weight is 3.2 STONs or less unless shipping paper, water, ammunition, or barrier material.
  • Derivative UICs are vigorously used and tracked.
  • USASOC Level II or Level IV Worksheet (Appendix C) will be used to submit TPFDD.

E-118.   Earliest arrival date (EAD) and latest arrival date (LAD) window procedures are as follows:

  • Theater planners specify the EAD and LAD window.
  • C-days are used for real-world TPFDD.
  • Julian dates are used for most exercise TPFDD.
  • Air movement ULNs require a minimum of 3 days.
  • Sea movement ULNs require a minimum of 10 days.

E-119.   Airlift allocation procedures (Figure E-10) are as follows:

  • Supported commander provides for real-world and exercise planning.
  • Real world: Expressed as the total number of STONs of cargo (per day) that can be transported by air or sea into the theater of operations.
  • Exercise: The total number of aircraft authorized by the joint staff for a specific exercise.
  • Theater SOC will suballocate airlift to SOC components.
  • Theater Army will suballocate airlift to CA and PSYOP.
  • ULNs must be sized and phased to remain within respective suballocations.

Figure E-10. TPFDD Airlift Scheduling

Figure E-10. TPFDD Airlift Scheduling


E-120.   TPFDD validation procedures include the following:

  • "Force receiving commands" and "force providing commands" have reached agreement on the forces in the TPFDD.
  • Theater SOCs and combatant commands ensure that sourced forces in the TPFDD satisfy force requirements and are prioritized for movement. USASOC and USSOCOM ensure-
    • Units are ready to deploy by dates in the TPFDD.
    • Unit readiness status will allow them to accomplish the mission.
    • TPFDD is accurate and error-free.
    • Identification of hazardous cargo during the validation.
    • Unit's requested lift requirement is within the theater-defined lift allocation.

E-121.   TPFDD milestones (air movement) include the following:

  • T-110: TPFDD to MSC G-3.
  • T-95: USASOC submits validation to USSOCOM.
  • T-90: USSOCOM submits validation to supported combatant command.
  • T-85: Theater SOC or Army validates to supported combatant command.
  • T-70: Supported combatant command validates to USTRANSCOM.

E-122.   TPFDD milestones (sea movement) include the following:

  • T-135: TPFDD to MSC G-3.
  • T-125: USASOC submits validation to USSOCOM.
  • T-120: USSOCOM submits validation to supported combatant command.
  • T-115: Theater SOC or Army validates to supported combatant command.
  • T-100: Supported combatant command validates to USTRANSCOM.



E-123.   EMPRS was developed to meet the challenges of force projection and rapid deployment to contingency operations. Forces deploying to an operational area, by air, land, or sea, are expected to execute their mission immediately upon arrival. Those forces may or may not have the benefit of time and intelligence to adequately prepare and rehearse an operation before departure.

E-124.   EMPRS provides the ability to support en route collaborative planning and mission rehearsal with early entry and forced entry forces that are typically disadvantaged while moving to the target area for tactical deployment. It provides C2 to deploying forces by enabling HQ to plan and replan operations collaboratively based on changes to ongoing operations.


"When you put an airborne force or a light force . . . on an airplane, you essentially put them in an isolation booth, so all they know is what they knew when they got on that airplane," said Lieutenant General Randall L. Rigby, exercise director for the experiment.

During one test of the system, paratroopers from the 3d Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, were tasked to take the airfield on the fictitious island of "Aragon." They learned 15 minutes after takeoff that a cache of SA-18 antiaircraft missiles north of the drop zone had to be seized as well.

With the help of EMPRS, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Garrett, 3d Battalion commander, drafted a new plan of attack, briefed the joint task force headquarters at Fort Bragg, and informed his men of the additional mission before they reached the drop zone. He was able to section off a detachment to seize the missiles well before the paratroopers hit the ground.

Based on such performance, some officials believe the EMPRS could play a key part in the success of Army Chief of Staff General Eric K. Shinseki's plan to create brigade combat teams that can deploy anywhere in the world within 96 hours. "If you can't plan to rehearse while you are in the air, then we won't be able to make the 96-hour time line."


Experimental System Provides Real-Time In-Flight Data,
Army Logistician,
Volume 33, Issue 1,
January-February 2001


E-125.   As a capability of the ABCS, EMPRS is a platform for three-way communications between mission command HQ, a task force en route, and an operations site. The system's hardware and software components enable the development, processing, and display of mission-related information including maps, photographs, and other planning tools. The system provides data connectivity between ground and airborne computers using various communication links, and connections with remotely located stations. In addition to voice communications, the system enables participants to simultaneously exchange and edit overlays, imagery, presentations, and other documents.

E-126.   Using ABCS- and EMPRS-unique equipment, deploying forces are able to-

  • Receive a new or modify an existing mission tasking while en route to an area of combat operations.
  • Replan mission implementation based upon new information or tasking in near-real time.
  • Coordinate the new plan among all applicable combat elements (including joint and multiservice elements).
  • Rehearse the new plan with all applicable combat elements.
  • Execute the new plan.

E-127.   During the alert and predeployment phase, the system operates from fixed facilities. EMPRS can also be configured for mobile platforms, including USAF C-130, C-141, C-5 and C-17 aircraft, as well as surface ships.

E-128.   While communication between tactical military users is normally secure, the system also interfaces with NGOs supporting contingency operations using commercial, off-the-shelf, industry-standard hardware and software packages.

E-129.   When used aboard aircraft, EMPRS is a palletized system. The deploying force commander and staff must create seating plans and bump plans that cross-level soldiers based on their operational functions and mission requirements in the objective area. The CA team leader ensures that the commander conducts an appropriate METT-TC analysis when creating these plans.




E-130.   This discussion of the MDMP, adapted from FM 101-5, supports CA planners in their role as members of a conventional military staff below the joint level. It covers basic procedures without the benefit of the ABCS.

E-131.   Deliberate decision making is characterized by full implementation of the MDMP. Commanders below the joint level use the MDMP when time is available for the staff to explore a full range of options. It is used by both experienced and inexperienced staffs. CA planners, as essential members of the staff, are intricately involved in the MDMP.

E-132.   The commander is personally responsible for planning, preparing for, and executing operations. From start to finish, the commander's personal role is central; his participation in the process provides focus and guidance to the staff. The commander uses his staff during the MDMP to explore the full range of probable and likely enemy, friendly, and civilian COAs, and to analyze and compare his own organization's capabilities with those of the enemy and other organizations in the AO. This staff effort has one objective: to collectively integrate information with sound doctrine and technical competence to assist the commander in visualizing the battlespace and in making sound decisions. The MDMP is an adaptation of the Army's analytical approach to problem solving, mentioned previously in this appendix. The MDMP-

  • Provides a tool to assist in developing a plan.
  • Is detailed, deliberate, and sequential.
  • Minimizes the risk of overlooking a critical aspect of the operation.
  • When used properly, results in the production of a sound order.
  • Is time-consuming.
  • Forms the foundation for planning in a time-constrained environment.

E-133.   Throughout the MDMP, the commander and each staff section maintain estimates. The estimate contains significant facts and events of an AO, interprets their significance to current and future operations, and, based on the analyzed data, provides conclusions on future possibilities and prospective results of the various actions that might be taken by all sides of an operation-friendly, enemy, and civilian. The estimate also recommends how to best use available resources.

E-134.   The estimate is revised when important new information is received or the situation changes significantly. It is maintained not only to support the planning process but also for mission execution. The CMO estimate format is found in FM 41-10.

E-135.   Figure E-11 provides a detailed graphic representation of the MDMP. FM 101-5 identifies seven steps to the MDMP. Each of these steps will be discussed in more detail below.

Figure E-11. The Military Decision-Making Process

Figure E-11. The Military Decision-Making Process


E-136.   A unit may receive a mission in a variety of ways; for example, via warning order, FRAG order, OPORD, or verbal order. As soon as a new mission is received, the unit's operations section issues a warning order to the staff alerting them of the pending planning process. Unit SOPs identify who is to attend, who the alternates are, and where they should assemble.

E-137.   Before the MDMP, staff officers must know the status of subordinate units, limitations, and capabilities of supporting assets, threat situation and capabilities in the AO, and time available. The CA planning team prepares for the mission analysis immediately upon receipt of the warning order by gathering the tools needed to do mission analysis. These include-

  • Copy of the order or plan of the higher HQ, with graphics.
  • Maps of the AO.
  • SOPs of the supported unit, the higher HQ, and the supporting CA unit.
  • Appropriate FMs.
  • Any existing CMO estimates and area assessments. At a minimum, the CA planners should have conducted an analysis of CASCOPE for the AO.
  • Additional tools determined to be useful based on team experience and CA unit SOP for the particular type of mission.

E-138.   At the initial mission analysis meeting, the commander and staff conduct a quick initial assessment designed to optimize the commander's use of time while preserving time for subordinate commanders to plan and complete operational preparations. This assessment-

  • Determines the time available from mission receipt to mission execution.
  • Determines the time needed for the unit and its subordinates to plan, prepare for, and execute the mission.
  • Determines the IPB.
  • Determines the staff estimates already available to assist planning.
  • Considers ambient light requirements for planning, rehearsals, and movement.
  • Considers the staff's experience, cohesiveness, and level of rest or stress.

E-139.   Additionally, the commander issues his staff initial guidance. This guidance normally includes-

  • How to abbreviate the MDMP, if required. The commander can do this by giving the staff specific COAs to develop.
  • Initial time allocation for planning. The commander establishes a timeline that allocates one-third of the available time to his staff planning process and two-thirds to subordinate units. The time may vary from hours to days, weeks, or months.
  • Liaison officers to dispatch. Liaison officers facilitate support for any coordination that may be required. Their dispatch is an informal notification that a plan of action is pending.
  • Initial reconnaissance to begin. A collection plan is established early to gather and provide information to the staff during the planning process. Depending on the staff level and assets available, the reconnaissance may range from a foot soldier to satellite imagery to researching and monitoring Internet sites to a host of other sources.
  • Authorized movement. It may be necessary to move units into positions that facilitate implementation upon completing and disseminating the plan.
  • Additional tasks to accomplish. This refers to any other identified activities that can be done before the mission or to aid in mission accomplishment.

E-140.   The last step in the mission receipt phase is to issue a warning order to subordinate and supporting units. This order must include, as a minimum, the type of operation, the general location of the operation, the initial timeline, and any movement or reconnaissance operations to initiate. It is issued so that several echelons can work on their MDMP concurrently.

E-141.   Parallel planning is a routine procedure for MDMP. Parallel planning relies on accurate and timely warning orders and a full sharing of information between echelons as it becomes available. Parallel planning is facilitated by digitization using ABCS. CA planners ensure unit SOPs address when and how to share relevant CA and CMO information in support of parallel planning between staff elements and between echelons.


E-142.   The mission analysis process is crucial to the MDMP and ensures that the commander and all staff members completely understand what tasks the unit is directed to accomplish and why. The result of mission analysis is defining the tactical problem and beginning the process of determining feasible solutions.

E-143.   The staff normally conducts mission analysis and briefs the results to the commander for his approval. The commander conducts his own mission analysis to develop a framework from which to evaluate the staff's work.

E-144.   This process contains seventeen steps, as described in detail below. The order in which these steps are followed is not as important as ensuring that all areas are addressed.

I do not propose to lay down for you a plan of campaign; but simply to lay down the work it is desirable to have done and leave you free to execute it in your own way.

LTG Ulysses S. Grant to MG William Tecumseh Sherman,
4 April 1864

Step 1. Analyze the Order of the Higher Headquarters

E-145.   The commander and his staff thoroughly analyze the order of the higher HQ to make sure they completely understand-

  • The higher HQ commander's intent, mission (including tasks, constraints, risk, available assets, and AO), concept of the operation (including the deception plan), and timeline for mission execution.
  • The missions of adjacent (to include front and rear) units and their relation to the plan of higher HQ.
  • The assigned AO.

E-146.   Embedded in the mission order of the higher HQ are the campaign objectives and end state objectives from which the supported unit mission is derived. CA planners must review all appendixes and annexes for relevant CA and CMO information. CA and CMO tasks may not be specifically stated, but CA planners can readily identify how CA forces and activities and CMO support the mission and intent of higher-level commanders. If any of the order is unclear, CA planners must seek clarification from the higher HQ immediately.

Step 2. Conduct Intelligence Preparation of the Battlespace

E-147.   According to FM 101-5, the IPB is a systematic, continuous process of analyzing the threat and the effects of the environment on the unit. It identifies facts and assumptions that determine likely threat COAs. The IPB supports the commander and staff and is essential to estimates and decision making.

E-148.   Traditional IPB seeks to define the conditions in an AO in terms of the enemy, environment, and terrain and how these factors affect potential military operations. This is the function of the G-2 or S-2, assisted by the commander and all staff members.

E-149.   CA planners conduct civil IPB by factoring in the nonmilitary threats to unit operations. They analyze the conditions in an AO in terms of CASCOPE. They determine the effect of nonmilitary threats from these civil aspects of the battlespace to potential military operations, as well as the effect of military operations on each of these factors.

E-150.   From this analysis, CA planners develop situational templates (SITTEMPs) that depict likely civilian COAs. These SITTEMPs support the war-gaming process used later during COA analysis.

Step 3. Determine Specified, Implied, and Essential Tasks

E-151.   Determining the tasks to be performed is the heart of mission analysis. A mission is narrowly defined as a task that, together with the purpose, clearly indicates the action to be taken and the reason for taking it. Three types of tasks that planners must identify before narrowing down a unit's mission statement are specified, implied, and essential tasks.

E-152.   Specified Tasks. These tasks are expressly stated in the mission order and its annexes. CA tasks may be found in paragraph 2, Mission, but are more likely found in Tasks to Subordinate Units under paragraph 3 or in the Civil Affairs annex. CA tasks, as well as CMO tasks, can be found throughout the mission order in almost any paragraph, annex, or overlay. CA planners must review the entire mission order document to identify specified CA and CMO tasks.

E-153.   Implied Tasks. These tasks are not specifically stated in the mission order, but must be accomplished to satisfy the overall mission or to satisfy any of the specified tasks. Implied tasks come from a detailed analysis of the order (reading between the lines) and from an understanding of the environment through the civil IPB process. Implied CA tasks may include the following:

  • Establish liaison with international organizations and NGOs in-theater.
  • Establish liaison with HN governmental officials in the AO.
  • Identify and report MOEs that affect or establish the commander's desired end state.

E-154.   Essential Tasks. These tasks are derived from the list of specified and implied tasks. They are the tasks that must be executed to accomplish the overall mission. The restated mission will be formed around the essential tasks.

Step 4. Review Available Assets

E-155.   The commander and staff examine additions to and deletions from the current task organization, support relationships, and status (current capabilities and limitations) of all units. They determine if they have the assets to perform all specified and implied tasks. If there are shortages, they identify additional resources needed for mission success, such as CA specialty teams of the parent or higher CA HQ, additional CAT-As, and so on. The staff needs to pay particular attention to deviations from what the commander considers his normal task organization.

Step 5. Determine Constraints

E-156.   A higher commander normally places some constraints on his subordinate commanders that restrict their freedom of action. These limitations are normally found in the scheme of maneuver, the CONOPS, and coordinating instructions.

E-157.   Constraints are those things imposed by a higher HQ or by factors such as the enemy, terrain, and weather, that an organization either must do or cannot do. Constraints limit options available to a commander or prohibit the commander from doing something specific. Examples of must do constraints include-

  • Movement in sector at night requires permission by HN military authorities.
  • CMOC will be fully functional within 48 hours of arrival in sector. (Affects load plans and sequencing of units into sector.)

Examples of cannot do constraints include-

  • Direct liaison with civilian agencies authorized no earlier than (DTG).
  • Conduct no follow-on missions without prior coordination with the higher HQ.

E-158.   The commander must be informed if those constraints are found to severely limit a unit. The staff should try to adjust or remove such constraints, if possible.

Step 6. Identify Critical Facts and Assumptions

E-159.   The staff prepares for mission analysis by collecting pertinent information and sorting it into facts and assumptions. Facts are statements of known data concerning the situation, including enemy and friendly unit dispositions, available troops, material readiness, and conditions in the civil arena. Assumptions are suppositions about the current or future situation that are assumed to be true in the absence of facts. They take the place of necessary, but unavailable, facts and fill the gaps in what the commander and staff know about a situation. Assumptions are replaced by facts as soon as the facts are known.

E-160.   An assumption is appropriate if it meets the tests of validity and necessity. Validity means the assumption is likely to be true. "Assuming away" potential problems, such as weather, likely enemy options, or likely civilian responses to friendly or enemy military operations, would result in an invalid assumption. Necessity is whether or not the assumption is essential for planning. If planning can continue without the assumption, it is not necessary and should be discarded. When possible, assumptions are cleared with higher HQ to ensure they are consistent with the plan of the higher HQ.

E-161.   To provide a basis for compiling facts and assumptions, staff officers constantly update staff estimates and other critical information databases pertaining to the AO. It may be helpful to organize critical facts and assumptions into three categories: friendly, enemy, and civilian.

E-162.   The CA staff planner gathers facts and assumptions according to CASCOPE. He maintains pertinent CA and CMO information in a CA database, and keeps the CMO estimate current. He is also familiar with the AO, establishes and maintains contacts within the civilian community, and knows where to obtain critical information related to CMO.

E-163.   While gathering facts and assumptions, the CA planner follows OPSEC procedures and guidelines in effect for the given mission.

Step 7. Conduct a Risk Assessment

E-164.   There are many potential threats or hazards associated with military operations-natural, man-made, and technological. The commander and staff identify threats and hazards and make an initial assessment of the risk level associated with each threat and hazard. The commander may also specify a risk he is willing to accept to accomplish the mission.

E-165.   A risk assessment serves not to stifle or eliminate dangerous missions but to provide for safer and more effective missions. A risk assessment-

  • Fosters an awareness of the potential threats to the force and hazards inherent to a particular operation. Awareness is the first step toward reducing or mitigating threats and hazards or the effects of threats and hazards.
  • Identifies equipment and procedures that will be beneficial or that may improve on the conduct and safety of the operation.
  • Identifies coordination that may be required to better execute the intended operation.
  • Outlines training that can be conducted during rehearsals for the operation to improve the overall effectiveness of the operation and mitigate the possibility of problems occurring during the operation.

E-166.   There are five steps to risk assessment:

  • Identify threats and hazards.
  • Assess threats and hazards.
  • Develop controls, determine residual risk, and make risk decision.
  • Implement controls.
  • Supervise and evaluate.

An example Risk Assessment Matrix is in Appendix C.

Step 8. Determine Initial Commander's Critical Information Requirements

E-167.   The commander identifies information requirements that support his visualization of the battlespace and are critical to decision making and analyzing COAs. He decides what information is critical based on his experience, the mission, the higher commander's intent, and input from the staff.

E-168.   CCIR are situationally dependent and are specified by the commander for each operation. The commander continually reviews CCIR during planning and adjusts them as the situation changes and CCIR are answered.

E-169.   During the MDMP, CCIR most often arise from IPB and war gaming. CCIR define what is important to mission accomplishment. They also help focus the efforts of subordinates and staff, assist in the allocation of resources, and assist staff officers in making recommendations. The CCIR consist of-

  • PIR: Information the commander needs to know about the enemy.
  • FFIR: Information the commander needs to know about adjacent units.
  • EEFI: Information about friendly forces that must be protected from discovery by the enemy.

E-170.   Application of CA and CMO into CCIR is further discussed in Chapter 5 under Civilian Interview Techniques.

Step 9. Determine the Initial Reconnaissance Annex

E-171.   Based on CCIR and IPB, the staff identifies gaps in intelligence and determines the R&S plan to acquire that information. The G-3 or S-3 turns this plan into an initial reconnaissance annex to launch reconnaissance assets as soon as possible to begin their collection effort.

E-172.   CA/CMO-related R&S activities may include visiting and assessing key infrastructure facilities or monitoring web sites pertaining to CASCOPE in the AO. This step allocates resources to gather the information to support the MDMP. As these assets and activities collect information and help fill in the intelligence gaps, the taskings to reconnaissance assets are updated to reflect new CCIR.

Step 10. Plan Use of Available Time

E-173.   The commander and staff refine the initial plan for the use of available time. They compare the time needed to accomplish essential tasks to the timeline of the higher HQ to ensure mission accomplishment is possible in the allotted time. Additionally, the staff must consider the enemy and civilian timelines, developed during the IPB and civil engagement processes, to determine windows of opportunity or times when the unit will be vulnerable to enemy or civilian activity.

Step 11. Write the Restated Mission

E-174.   The final product of the mission analysis is the restated mission statement. The restated mission must contain all elements of a mission statement:

  • Who (what types of forces) will execute the action?
  • What type of action (for example, attack, defend, or support) is contemplated?
  • When will the action begin?
  • Where will the action occur (AO and objectives)?
  • How will the commander employ available assets?
  • Why (for what purpose) will each force conduct its part of the operation?

E-175.   The element of what states the essential tasks. On-order missions are included in the mission statement while be-prepared and follow-on missions will be addressed in the concept of operation. CA planners ensure CA unit missions and maneuver unit CMO responsibilities are included in these two paragraphs.

Step 12. Conduct Mission Analysis Briefing

E-176.   The staff briefs the commander on the results of its mission analysis. The briefing focuses on the relevant conclusions reached by the staff and helps develop a shared vision of the requirements of the upcoming mission. It normally follows the following outline:

  • Mission and commander's intent of the HQ two levels up.
  • Mission, commander's intent, concept of the operation, and deception plan or objective of the HQ one level up.
  • Review of commander's initial guidance.
  • Initial IPB products.
  • Specified, implied, and essential tasks.
  • Constraints and restraints on the operation.
  • Forces available.
  • Hazards and their risk.
  • Recommended initial CCIR.
  • Recommended timelines.
  • Recommended restated mission.

E-177.   This is not a unit readiness briefing. The CA/CMO staff officer must know the status of supporting CA units and teams and brief relevant information as it applies to the situation. CA planners should develop standardized charts, according to the supported staff's SOP, to monitor and consolidate this type of data to assist the commander in obtaining a quick snapshot of his capabilities.

E-178.   The mission analysis briefing is a critical event for CA planners. It is often the only time the commander and his entire staff is present and the only opportunity to ensure that all staff members are starting from a common reference point. The focus of the briefing is on relevant conclusions reached during mission analysis so that the commander and staff can develop a shared vision of the requirements for the upcoming operation. Failure to promote CA/CMO themes in this briefing may result in poorly crafted or coordinated plans later.

Step 13. Approve the Restated Mission

E-179.   Immediately after the mission analysis briefing, the commander approves a restated mission. Once approved, the restated mission statement becomes the unit's mission, which is placed in paragraph 2 of the unit OPLAN or OPORD.

Step 14. Develop the Initial Commander's Intent

E-180.   The commander's intent is a clear, concise statement of what the force must do to succeed with respect to the enemy, the terrain, and the desired end state. It provides the link between the mission and the CONOPS by stating the key tasks that, along with the mission, are the basis for subordinates to exercise initiative when unanticipated opportunities arise or when the original CONOPS no longer applies. If the commander wishes to explain a broader purpose beyond that of the mission statement, he may do so. Intent is normally expressed in four or five sentences and is mandatory for all orders. The mission and the commander's intent must be understood two echelons down.

E-181.   Key tasks are those that must be performed by the force, or conditions that must be met, to achieve the stated purpose of the operation (paragraph 2 of the OPORD or OPLAN). Key tasks are not tied to a specific COA; rather they identify that which is fundamental to the force's success. When circumstances change and planned COAs no longer apply, subordinates use these tasks to keep their efforts supporting the commander's intent.

E-182.   Examples of key tasks that commanders include in their intent are the tempo and duration of the operation, the intended effect on the enemy, terrain that must be controlled, the degree of acceptable collateral damage, and the treatment or disposition of noncombatant civilians encountered during the operation.

E-183.   Commanders from company level up prepare an intent statement for each OPORD or OPLAN. There is only one commander's intent statement and it is found at the beginning of paragraph 3, Operations, in the basic order or plan document. The commander personally prepares his intent statement. To ensure the commander considers his CMO responsibilities, CA planners may recommend CMO themes or tasks to include in his intent statement.

E-184.   Annexes (and their subordinate appendixes, tabs, and enclosures) to the OPORD or OPLAN do not contain an intent statement; they contain a concept of support. For example, the CA annex to an OPORD will contain a concept of support but not an intent statement. However, if a CA unit is deployed intact in support of a maneuver unit, the OPORD issued to the CA unit will contain the intent statement of the CA unit commander.

Step 15. Issue the Commander's Guidance

E-185.   After the commander approves the restated mission and states his intent, he provides the staff with enough guidance (preliminary decisions) to focus staff activities in planning the operation. This guidance is essential for timely COA development and analysis. His guidance allows staff members to concentrate on developing COAs that meet the commander's intent.

E-186.   The commander's guidance must focus on the essential tasks supporting mission accomplishment. The guidance emphasizes in broad terms when, where, and how he intends to mass his combat power to accomplish the mission according to his higher commander's intent. Commander's guidance should include priorities for all combat, CS, and CSS elements and how he envisions their support of his concept. At a minimum, the commander's guidance should address-

  • Specific COAs to consider or not to consider-friendly, enemy, and civilian-and the priority for addressing them.
  • The CCIR.
  • The reconnaissance guidance.
  • Risk guidance.
  • Deception guidance.
  • Fire support guidance.
  • Mobility and countermobility guidance.
  • Security measures to be implemented.
  • Additional specific priorities for CS and CSS.
  • Any other information the commander wants the staff to consider.
  • The time plan.
  • The type of order to issue.
  • The type of rehearsal to conduct.

E-187.   Some of the specific guidance listed (for example, fire support, mobility and countermobility, and security measures) has CA/CMO-related repercussions or consequences. If the commander's guidance is unclear on CA/CMO tasks or related issues, CA planners should seek specific CA/CMO guidance from the commander.

Step 16. Issue a Warning Order

E-188.   Immediately after the commander gives his guidance, the staff sends subordinate and supporting units a warning order that contains, as a minimum-

  • The restated mission.
  • The commander's intent.
  • The unit's AO (a sketch, an overlay, or some other description).
  • The CCIR.
  • Risk guidance.
  • Reconnaissance to be initiated by subordinate units.
  • Security measures.
  • Deception guidance.
  • Mobility and countermobility guidance.
  • Specific priorities.
  • The time plan.
  • Guidance on rehearsals.
Step 17. Review Facts and Assumptions

E-189.   As mentioned previously, CA planners maintain and update the CMO estimate continuously. Current information is important as the commander and staff periodically review all available facts and assumptions throughout the rest of the decision-making process to confirm their currency and validity. New facts may alter requirements and analysis of the mission. Assumptions may have become facts or may have become invalid. Whenever the facts or assumptions change, the commander and staff must assess the impact of these changes on the plan and make the necessary adjustments.


E-190.   After receiving the commander's guidance, the staff develops COAs for analysis and comparison. COA development is a deliberate attempt to design unpredictable COAs (difficult for threat elements to deduce). CA planners are intricately involved in this process.

E-191.   A good COA positions the force for future operations and provides flexibility to meet unforeseen events during execution. It also provides the maximum latitude for initiative by subordinates. During COA development, the commander and staff continue the risk management process, focusing on identifying and assessing threats and hazards, developing controls, determining residual risk, and making risk decisions.

E-192.   There are normally six steps in COA development. FM 101-5 covers each of these steps in detail. While CA planners should be familiar with the entire process, they usually participate as follows.

Step 1. Analyze Relative Combat Power

E-193.   The commander and staff compare the relative strengths and weaknesses of opposing forces. The goal is to generate overwhelming combat power to accomplish the mission at minimal cost.

E-194.   While this analysis generally focuses on military forces, a transparent factor of relative combat power lies in the civilian component of an AO. The CA planners' IPB and CASCOPE analysis should have identified the general attitudes and capabilities that exist among the people and organizations of the AO. Sometimes the populace may provide overwhelming support to the enemy, sometimes it may overwhelmingly support friendly forces, and other times it may be neutral or split evenly both ways. These often-ignored issues can influence the relative combat power by causing friendly or enemy forces to deploy critical assets in nondoctrinal ways.

E-195.   Whatever the operational environment, civil considerations must be weighed during this step to determine its effect on relative combat power. These considerations eventually affect the commander's selection of objectives; the location, movement, and control of forces; the use of weapons; and force protection measures. CA planners provide the insight that allows the staff to manage these issues in later steps.

E-196.   During this analysis, the commander and staff also discuss how to allocate existing resources and what additional resources may be required to execute the mission. Sometimes, shortfalls in resources may readily be made up through FNS. CA planners who conduct detailed CMO estimates will have identified sources of FNS that can be used in support of military operations. Availability of resources through FNS should be carried as an assumption until coordination and acquisition make it fact.

Step 2. Generate Options

E-197.   Based on the commander's guidance and the results of Step 1, the staff generates options for COA development. The commander usually limits the number of options with his commander's guidance. The options should focus on enemy and civilian COAs arranged in order of probable adoption.

E-198.   The preferred technique for generating options is brainstorming. All staff members must participate for this to be effective. The staff must be unbiased and open-minded in evaluating proposed options. If a CA planner identifies information that might affect another staff member's analysis, he must share it immediately.

E-199.   CA planners can quickly identify COAs that are obviously not feasible for civil considerations. They must be able to make recommendations regarding how a COA can be modified to accomplish requirements or if the COA needs to be eliminated completely.

E-200.   In developing COAs, staff members must determine the doctrinal requirements for each type of operation they are considering, to include doctrinal tasks to be assigned to subordinate units. For example, DC operations require control and assembly points, rest areas, and campsites that must be organized and manned by personnel. In the absence of HN or NGO support, these requirements fall to military organizations.

Step 3. Array Initial Forces

E-201.   In this step, staff planners determine the forces necessary to accomplish the mission and provide a basis for the scheme of maneuver. They determine the ration of friendly to enemy units required for each task starting with the main effort and continuing through all supporting efforts. They also determine battlefield geometry and control measures; for example, a proposed forward edge of battle area (FEBA) for a defense or a line of departure/line of contact (LD/LC) for an offense.

E-202.   During this step, planners consider the deception story. Because aspects of the story may influence unit positioning, planners must consider the story's major elements before developing any COAs. CA planners must factor in the civil considerations of CASCOPE before the staff finalizes the deception story.

E-203.   Staff planners next make the initial array of friendly forces using generic unit configurations, starting with the main effort at the decisive point in the operation and continuing through supporting efforts. During this step, staff planners do not assign missions to arrayed units; they merely consider what forces they must allocate to accomplish the mission. CA planners ensure the arrayed forces contain appropriate CA attachments required to accomplish specified and implied CA/CMO tasks.

E-204.   The initial array identifies the total number of units and attachments needed, develops a base of knowledge to make decisions, and identifies possible methods of dealing with the enemy and civilians during scheme-of-maneuver development. If the number of units and attachments arrayed is less than the number available, the additional assets are placed in a pool for use during scheme-of-maneuver development. If the number arrayed is greater than the number available, the shortfall is identified as a possible requirement for additional resources. For CA planners with limited access to CA resources, this may mean seeking non-CA resources to fill the gap. This option, however, inherently carries a measure of risk-taking as well as a need for comprehensive training of tasked personnel.

Step 4. Develop the Scheme of Maneuver

E-205.   The scheme of maneuver describes how arrayed forces will accomplish the commander's intent. It is the central expression of the commander's CONOPS and governs the design of supporting plans or annexes. Planners develop a scheme of maneuver by refining the initial array of forces and using graphic control measures to coordinate the operation and to show the relationship of friendly forces to one another, the enemy, the civilians, and the terrain.

E-206.   FM 101-5 contains a list of items that are included in the scheme of maneuver. One item not mentioned, which the CA planner must add during this step, is the consideration of the effects of civilian activities on military operations and military operations on civilians.

E-207.   At this point during MDMP, it may also be necessary for CA planners to articulate the value of CA teams and CMO in enhancing the effectiveness of military operations. A useful technique is to determine the operational risks or costs associated with not engaging the civilian component of the operational environment through CMO. Examples of the types of operational risks to consider include-

  • Missed opportunities.
  • Decrease in ability to manage civilian behavior.
  • Deteriorated force protection.
  • Increase in degree or length of dependency of civilians on the military (in terms of food, health, public security, and safety).
  • Undesirable or inappropriate allocation or reallocation of resources (soldiers, equipment, materiel) to "fix" a preventable situation.
  • Unnecessary collateral damage.
  • Loss of mission legitimacy.
  • Reduction in support or cooperation for future operations from coalition partners, indigenous population, or international community.
  • Failure to meet U.S. goals and objectives.
  • Damage to reputation or embarrassment to command, combatant command, ambassador, or SecDef.

E-208.   During this step, staff planners select control measures (graphics) to control subordinate units during the operation. The planners base control measures on the array of forces and the scheme of maneuver to defeat probable enemy and civilian COAs.

E-209.   Maneuver and graphic control measures often have serious repercussions on CA operations and CMO. CA planners must be thoroughly familiar with the scheme of maneuver and monitor the placement of maneuver and graphic control measures. They must be cognizant of areas that should be designated for limited use or off-limits to certain military activities. They should also ask questions regarding considerations and responsibilities for bypassed areas that contain civilian populations. In some operations, primarily during stability and support missions, CA planners must address the placement of unit boundaries with respect to political boundaries versus the traditional placement on terrain features.

Step 5. Assign Headquarters

E-210.   Staff planners next assign HQ to groupings of forces, creating a task organization. CA planners must ensure that each HQ contains a CA representative on the primary staff to plan, coordinate, and monitor CA activities and CMO for that organization.

Step 6. Prepare COA Statements and Sketches

E-211.   The G-3 or S-3 prepares a COA statement and supporting sketch for each COA developed. The COA statement must clearly portray how the unit will accomplish the mission and explain the scheme of maneuver, including the end state. The sketch should include the array of generic forces and control measures discussed above.

E-212.   CA planners review the sketches to ensure they adequately portray the civil considerations discussed throughout this process. They ensure that known or templated locations of populated areas are shown. If possible, the affiliations and sympathies of these populations are included. CA planners also ensure that restrictive fire control measures (restricted-fire areas and no-fire areas) and restricted targets are included among the fire support coordination measures.


E-213.   The COA analysis identifies which COA accomplishes the mission with minimum casualties while best positioning the force to retain the initiative for future operations. COA analysis helps the commander and his staff to-

  • Determine how to maximize combat power against the threat while protecting friendly forces and minimizing collateral damage.
  • Have as near an identical vision of the operation as possible.
  • Anticipate battlefield events.
  • Determine conditions and resources required for success.
  • Determine when and where to apply the force's capabilities.
  • Focus IPB on enemy strengths, weaknesses, centers of gravity, desired end state, and decisive points.
  • Focus civil IPB on civilian strengths, weaknesses, centers of gravity, desired end state, and decisive points.
  • Identify the coordination or engagement requirements among friendly forces and civilian agencies (for example, government or NGOs) to produce synchronized results.
  • Determine the most flexible COA.

E-214.   Commanders use the war-gaming process to visualize the flow of an operation and to analyze various COAs. The war-gaming process generates branches and sequels that are essential for rapid response to changing operational conditions and situations. The war-gaming process helps to identify decision points and critical information requirements, which, in turn, drive the unit's intelligence and reconnaissance efforts.

E-215.   The war-gaming process has a set of rules and steps, and each staff officer has particular responsibilities. The following discussion highlights some of the responsibilities and steps as they apply to the CA planner. FM 101-5 contains a detailed discussion of the war-gaming process.

E-216.   The CA staff officer's responsibility in the war-gaming process is similar to that of the G-2 or S-2 in that he must role-play civilian leaders and individual groups of civilians that will be encountered in the AO. He develops critical civilian decision points in relation to the friendly and enemy COAs, projects civilian reactions to both friendly and enemy actions, and projects civilian losses due to expected collateral damage. He war-games and finalizes the MOEs (Chapter 4) that will be used to monitor the objectives established for the civilian situation in this particular operation.

E-217.   The CA staff officer captures the projected results of each COA on the civilian situation using the factors of CASCOPE. By doing so, he ensures that the staff fully understands the civil considerations inherent in every offensive, defensive, stability, and support operation. He ensures that the commander and staff fully address the commander's legal responsibilities in CMO. He also assists staff members such as the G-1 or S-1 and G-4 or S-4 in projecting HNS requirements to augment CSS shortfalls.

E-218.   A very important byproduct of the war-gaming process is that CMO-related tasks and responsibilities are often identified that are beyond the scope or capabilities of attached CA forces. These tasks and responsibilities must be assigned to some element of the force. War gaming allows the staff to look at available resources and determine the most economic and efficient way to assign those tasks and responsibilities or request additional resources from the higher HQ before getting too deep into the operation.

E-219.   One of the steps followed during the war-gaming process is gathering the necessary tools, materials, and data to be used during the war game. Tools the CA staff officer should bring to the war game process include, but are not limited to-

  • Current CMO estimate.
  • Map of AO.
  • Event template.
  • Synchronization matrix.
  • Projected civilian COAs, DC routes, and FNS asset availability and acquisition requirements.
  • Civilian icons and symbols to post on the war-gaming medium (for example, map, sand table, or other terrain model).

E-220.   Another step in the war-gaming process consists of determining evaluation criteria to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of one COA relative to other COAs following the war game. The staff normally determines this criteria as a group. Evaluation criteria may change from mission to mission. Evaluation criteria may include anything the commander desires. The criteria should look not only at what will create success, but also at what will cause mission failure. Examples include-

  • The principles of war.
  • Doctrinal fundamentals for the kind of operations being conducted.
  • The commander's guidance and intent.
  • The level of residual risk for accident hazards in the COA.

E-221.   During this step, it is important that the CA staff officer advocates including civil considerations into the evaluation criteria, if not already included. Ignoring the civil considerations of an operation can make the COA comparison invalid.

E-222.   Yet another step in the war-gaming process is selecting a method to record and display results of the war game. Again, the staff normally decides this as a group. Two methods used to portray COA actions are the synchronization matrix and the sketch note. The synchronization matrix is the method most preferred by staff officers because it can be readily translated into a graphic decision-making product, such as a decision support template, at the war game's conclusion. The synchronization matrix allows the staff to synchronize COAs across time and space in relation to the enemy and civilian COAs. CA planners must make sure that civilian actions and activities have a separate and distinct row on the matrix and that valid civilian actions and activities are entered along the timeline. An example of a synchronization matrix that shows civilian actions and activities and CA/CMO tasks along the timeline is in Appendix C.

E-223.   By the conclusion of the war-gaming process, the commander and staff will have analyzed all COAs individually and completely. They will better understand the nuances of each COA and may have found that certain details regarding the friendly, enemy, and civilian situations needed to be refined or modified completely. They also have a better understanding about the conditions of the entire battlespace and the tasks and task organization required to successfully complete all mission requirements.


E-224.   The COA comparison starts with each staff officer analyzing and evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of each COA from his perspective. Each staff member presents his findings for the others' consideration. Using the evaluation criteria developed earlier, the staff then outlines each COA, highlighting its advantages and disadvantages. Comparing the strengths and weaknesses of the COAs as they apply to the civil situation helps the CA planner identify their strengths and weaknesses with respect to each other. Table E-1, outlines the COA planning factors.

Table E-1. COA Planning Factors






Will the population support it?      
Will the military support it?      
Will other agencies support it?      
Will the government support it?      
Can it start immediately?      
Will it have immediate impact?      
Will it benefit a majority of the people?      
Will it have a favorable psychological effect?      
Is it amenable to public exploitation?      
Will it improve the government image?      
Will it improve civil-military relations?      
Will it lend itself to self-help?      
Will it contribute to the stabilization of society?      
Does it jeopardize primary mission accomplishment?      
Does it have full approval and support of the civilian leadership in the community?      
Will the civilians in the community work along with the military?      
Does it infringe upon private enterprise?      
Will it require future Army maintenance?      
Will it benefit a wide spectrum of the community?      
Is it discriminatory?      
Will it be fully coordinated with all appropriate levels of authority?      
Is it in consonance with the country's national objectives and interests?      
Is it in support of the commander's politico-military mission?      
Will the project serve to gain civilian cooperation with populace and resources control and tactical operations?      
Will participation by the military avoid wasteful or needless duplication of functions and services of other agencies?      
Does it compromise civilian authority and responsibility?      
Is it an important need, locally wanted, and beyond unaided local capabilities?      
Can military participation be so managed that it does not compromise civilian authority and responsibility?      
Will the project stimulate the flow of needed information from the people of the area?      


Does it conform to local customs?      
Are all necessary skills available?      
Are labor materials and equipment available?      
Can it be supported by current programmed funds?      


Will it provide maximum return on investment and effort?      
Does it avoid duplication with efforts of other agencies?      
Will the operation raise the expectations of the populace and then result in disappointment when U.S. assistance is withdrawn?      

E-225.   The actual comparison of COAs is critical. The staff may use any technique that facilitates the staff reaching the best recommendation and the commander making the best decision. The most common technique is the decision matrix, explained in FM 101-5, which uses evaluation criteria developed earlier in the war-gaming process, to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of each COA. The criticality of this comparison highlights why the CA staff officer must strive to put civil considerations into the evaluation criteria.


E-226.   After completing its analysis and comparison, the staff identifies its preferred COA and makes a recommendation in a decision briefing to the commander. The commander may reject the recommendation and direct the staff to begin the process over again. He may also accept the recommendation completely, accept it with modification, or give the staff an entirely new COA. If the commander modifies a proposed COA or gives the staff a new one, the staff must war-game the revised or new COA to derive the products that result from the war-game process.

E-227.   Once the commander has selected a COA, he may refine his intent statement and CCIR to support the selected COA. Having already identified the risks associated with the selected COA, the commander decides what level of risk he will accept to accomplish the mission and approves control measures that will reduce the risks.

E-228.   The commander issues any additional guidance on priorities for CS or CSS activities, orders preparation, rehearsal, and preparation for mission execution. Upon receipt of this guidance, the staff immediately issues a warning order with essential information so that subordinate units can refine their plans.

E-229.   CA staff officers take time at this point to ensure the COA and the commander's risk decisions support both short- and long-term CMO objectives for the AO. Any shortfalls in support to CMO objectives must be passed on to the CA/CMO planners at the next-higher HQ for consideration in achieving the objectives by some other means.


E-230.   The staff prepares the order or plan to implement the selected COA by turning it into a clear, concise CONOPS, a scheme of maneuver, and the required fire support. Orders and plans provide all the necessary information subordinates require for execution.

E-231.   The CA staff officer writes the CA annex to the OPORD or OPLAN. This annex directs subordinate CA assets to conduct CA missions in support of the overall supported unit mission. An example of a CA annex is in FM 41-10.

E-232.   During orders production, CA staff officers continuously coordinate with fellow staff officers to ensure that those CMO-related tasks and responsibilities that were identified for non-CA units during the war-gaming process are incorporated in the appropriate paragraphs (particularly the Concept of the Operation, Tasks to Subordinate Units, and Coordinating Instructions paragraphs), graphics, appendixes, and annexes. Later, when the staff briefs the order to subordinate commanders and staffs, the CA staff officer participates in the briefing and ensures all subordinates understand the civil considerations they must include in their own decision-making process.

E-233.   Table E-2, depicts the typical participants and responsibilities, actions, and products required during the MDMP.

Table E-2. Typical Participants and Responsibilities, Actions, and Products Required During the MDMP

Planning Process





Mission Analysis:

      - Prepare charts for mission analysis.      


      - Prepare terrain sketches.      


      - Update and post unit reports or status.    



      - Prepare TOC for planning process.    



      - Conduct mission analysis.




      - Serve as a recorder during process.    



      - Brief commander and staff.  



Commander's Guidance:

      - Assist CDR in developing guidance.  



      - Issue guidance.


      - Record and post CDR's guidance.  




COA Development:

      - Prepare charts.      


      - Sketch COAs.      


      - Develop COAs.




      COA Analysis:

      - Collect and prepare tools and charts.      


      - Serve as recorders during war game.    



      - Conduct war-game session.





      - Make recommendation to CDR.  



      - Decide.


      - Record and post CDR's guidance.  




Order Preparation:

      - Write annexes.  



      - Consolidate annexes.    


      - Type order.    



      - Reproduce order and graphics.      


      - Review order.




      - Approve order.


      - Set up briefing area.    



      - Distribute order and graphics.      


      - Brief the order.




      - Receive briefbacks.



      - Set up rehearsal area.    



      - Distribute new or changed products.      


      - Conduct rehearsal.







E-234.   Eventually, execution of a CA or CMO mission is the responsibility of a designated team. Depending on mission requirements, the team may be unified (a singular branch, unit, or function), such as a CAT-B, CAT-A, or CA specialty team performing strictly CA tasks. It is quite likely, however, that the team will consist of elements from various BOSs (for example, maneuver, mobility and survivability, and CSS) and specific operational functions (for example, PSYOP, chaplain, MP, and CA) performing CMO. Whatever the composition of the team, the team will have a team leader. This leader must prepare his team to accomplish the assigned mission.

E-235.   Troop leading is the process a leader goes through to prepare his organization to accomplish an assigned mission. TLP consist of eight steps, which are highlighted below. CA soldiers participate in TLP whether they are team leaders or team members. The following discussion assumes the CA team is deployed and attached to a supported unit. The team is tasked to conduct CA operations in support of CMO in offense, defense, stability, or support operations.

E-236.   The TLP begin when the team leader is alerted for a mission. TLP continue until the mission is completed or the leader receives a change of mission or a new mission. For CAT-B and CAT-A leaders who have CA staff planning functions, as well as requirements to conduct CA activities in support of CMO, TLP may begin during MDMP or immediately after the orders briefing. It may be useful for these team leaders to delegate the initial steps of the TLP to a subordinate leader until they can focus entirely on preparation for the CA mission.

E-237.   The TLP are similar to the MDMP in that the TLP support problem solving and deliberate decision making at the team level. There are eight steps to the TLP as explained below.


E-238.   The team leader may receive the mission verbally or in writing in the form of a warning order, an OPORD (or more specifically, the CA annex to an OPORD), or a FRAG order. Upon receipt of the mission, he initiates a mission planning folder (MPF) similar to the one described in the discussion on SO operational planning earlier in this appendix. He gathers the appropriate materials-maps, overlays, SOPs, FMs, CMO estimates, or area assessments-needed for a mission analysis. He then begins a preliminary mission analysis using the factors of METT-TC:

  • What is the CA team mission and what are the CMO requirements of the supported unit mission?
  • What is known about the enemy that could hinder CA operations and CMO?
  • How will terrain and weather affect CA operations and CMO?
  • What troops and support are available within the CA team to conduct CA operations or from the supported unit to conduct CMO?
  • How much time is available to plan and rehearse before mission execution?
  • What are the known civil considerations for this operation?

E-239.   If there is insufficient information to answer these questions, the team leader determines what additional facts he needs to conduct a more detailed mission analysis during Step 3. He makes assumptions until the facts are known. He can immediately request additional information from the issuing HQ or he can wait until Step 2 to designate a subordinate to obtain the necessary details.


E-240.   The team leader provides initial instructions to the team in a warning order. The warning order has no particular format, but the five-paragraph OPORD format is often used. The warning order contains enough information for team members to begin preparation as soon as possible. At a minimum, the team leader provides-

  • The mission or nature of the operation.
  • Information on who is participating in the operation.
  • Time of the operation.
  • Tasks to team members in support of mission planning and preparation.
  • Time and place for issuance of the team OPORD.
  • Information on who will attend the OPORD.

E-241.   The team SOP should prescribe the routine actions team members take upon receipt of a warning order. Examples include drawing ammunition, rations, and water; checking vehicles, communications equipment, other team equipment, and personal gear; and gathering or packing mission-specific materials. The team leader provides updates and refined guidance to team members as often as necessary until he issues the OPORD.


E-242.   The team leader develops a comprehensive estimate of the situation to use as the basis for his tentative plan. Using all available information, the team leader conducts a modified MDMP consisting of five steps:

  • Detailed mission analysis.
  • Situation or risk analysis and COA development.
  • Analysis of each COA.
  • Comparison of each COA.
  • Decision.

E-243.   During detailed mission analysis, the team leader builds on the METT-TC analysis of Step 1:

  • What is the mission?
    • Determine specified and implied CA tasks by analyzing the mission, intent, and concept of the operation of the supported commander and the commander two levels up.
    • Determine the essential CA tasks required to accomplish the overall mission and support or set the conditions for the end state.
    • Determine CMO-related tasks to non-CA elements of the supported unit by analyzing the supporting annexes to the OPORD; for example, the fire support annex, the engineer annex, the service support annex, the provost marshal annex, and the rear operations annex.
  • What is known about the enemy?
    • Determine known and suspected enemy positions, obstacles, targets (especially NBC targets), and tactics (such as ambush, sniping, or sabotage) that could hinder CA operations and CMO.
    • Determine any nonlethal security threats to the mission, such as political propaganda, criminal activities, activist activities (demonstrations or sabotage), IO, DC movement, HN or international community restrictions, and disease or other medical conditions.
  • How will terrain and weather affect the operation?
    • Determine the locations of urban, rural, and agricultural areas in the AO. (This is explored further in civil considerations.)
    • Determine the prevalent weather patterns of the season and forecasted weather conditions and how they might affect movement through urban, rural, and agricultural areas.
  • What troops and support are available?
    • Confirm the composition of the team and determine any additional troop resources that may be available from higher CA HQ and the supported unit.
    • Determine shortfalls that must be filled to accomplish the specified and implied CA tasks.
  • How much time is available?
    • Use no more than one-third of the available time for planning and for issuing the team OPORD. The remaining two-thirds is for subordinates to plan and prepare for the operation.
    • Consider available daylight and travel time to and from orders and rehearsals.
    • Use reverse planning from the time of execution to the present to allow enough time for the completion of each task.
  • What are the civil considerations for this operation?
    • Using CASCOPE, determine the civil areas, structures, capabilities, organizations, people, and events that affect the operation or can be exploited in support of the operation.
    • Analyze the situation for CASCOPE.

      NOTE: Chapter 4 contains more detail on analyzing the situation for CASCOPE.

E-244.   During situation or risk analysis and COA development, the team leader identifies potential threats to and vulnerabilities of his team. He determines countermeasures to those threats and vulnerabilities (also known as force protection measures) and incorporates them into his COA development.

E-245.   The team leader develops COAs that satisfy the essential tasks according to the conditions identified in the mission analysis. It may be useful to identify essential CA tasks (for example, meetings, interviews, assessments, inspections, or negotiations) as CA objectives. The COAs, then, evolve around different methods of approaching and engaging those objectives with assigned team members while maintaining the security of the team.

E-246.   During COA analysis, the team leader war-games each COA. The war-gaming process at the team level consists of talking through each phase of the mission, beginning with departure from current location to actions on the objective to return to current location. The team can war-game the COAs in a tabletop exercise using COA sketches, maps and overlays, sand models, or other similar methods. (Figures C-22a through C-22c, contain samples of COA sketches.) The purpose of the war game is to analyze the viability of each COA and to identify details that may need to be modified or refined.

E-247.   During comparison of each COA, the team leader identifies criteria against which to measure the feasibility of each COA. He analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of each COA using this criteria. A decision matrix may be useful in making this comparison.

E-248.   Based on the results of the comparison step, the team leader decides which COA is the best course to follow. His decision represents the tentative plan. Before going much further, the team leader must brief his plan to the tasking agent for approval. Having the understanding and support of the tasking agent facilitates continued mission planning and coordination conducted by the CA team.

E-249.   The team leader uses the approved plan as the start point for coordination, reconnaissance or assessment, task organization (if required), and movement instructions. He works through the problem-solving sequence in as much detail as time allows. The team leader updates the estimate continuously and refines his plan accordingly.


E-250.   The team may have to move itself or any attached elements into a staging area, rehearsal area, or some other position before execution of the team mission. This step can occur at any time. It is important that the team checks the current security situation and conducts a precombat inspection (PCI) of all equipment before movement.


E-251.   An assessment provides the team leader with critical information that is essential in making decisions regarding mission tasks, task organization, and allocation of resources. It identifies potential threats and area characteristics that must be considered in the plan.

E-252.   The need to conduct a preliminary or initial assessment depends on the team's familiarity with the CA objective and the objective area, as well as time available and the security conditions in the AO. Team leaders should not discount this step for the sake of expediency. In fluid environments where the situation constantly changes, this assessment can define the success or failure of the mission.

E-253.   At the very least, the team leader conducts a map or photo reconnaissance of the objective area. If possible, he conducts a leader's reconnaissance to verify his situation analysis, adjust his plan, confirm the usability of routes or facilities, and time any critical movements. Chapters 3 and 5 contain more information on assessments.


E-254.   The team leader completes his plan based on the assessment and any changes in the situation. He should review his mission, as he received it from the tasking agent, to ensure his plan meets the requirements of the mission and stays within the framework of the commander's intent.

E-255.   He organizes the plan using the five-paragraph OPORD format. He includes as much detail as time permits. The successful team leader will have delegated as much of the plan as possible to subordinate leaders to maximize the time and talent available to him for the orders process.


E-256.   The team leader issues the order to his subordinates. This order is normally issued orally and to all mission participants. To aid subordinates in understanding the concept of the operation, the team leader should issue the order within sight of the objective, if possible. When this is not possible, the leader should use a terrain model or sketch.

E-257.   The CA team leader must ensure that all mission participants understand the mission, the commander's intent, the concept of the operation, and their assigned tasks. The leader may require subordinates to repeat all or part of the order, demonstrate on the model, or sketch their understanding of the operation. They should also quiz the participants to ensure that all participants understand the mission.


E-258.   The team leader supervises the team's preparation for the mission by conducting rehearsals and inspections.


E-259.   The team leader uses rehearsals to-

  • Practice essential tasks (improve performance).
  • Reveal weaknesses or problems in the plan.
  • Coordinate the actions of participating elements; for example, CA team, infantry squad, military police, or PSYOP team.
  • Improve soldier understanding of the concept of the operation (foster confidence in soldiers).

E-260.   If possible, the team rehearses under similar conditions as those expected to be encountered in the objective area. Rehearsals should include all team members and focus on the following tasks:

  • Force protection measures en route to and from the objective area; for example, convoy procedures, react to ambush, react to indirect fire, and react to air attack.
  • Force protection measures at the objective; for example, surveillance and reconnaissance of objective, establishment of security zones around the objective, personal security measures, methods of guarding vehicles and team equipment in an urban environment, and actions on unexpected enemy contact.
  • Actions on the objective; for example, survey a facility, direct a meeting, conduct an interview, resolve disputes between parties, or observe civilian activities while maintaining site security.
  • Other tasks, including operating in buddy teams, crowd control measures, ID checks, treating and evacuating casualties, using local phrases, searching detainees, ROE, and reacting to NBC attack.

E-261.   Before moving to the objective, team leaders conduct a final PCI to reassure the team's readiness. The PCI consists of checking-

  • Weapons and ammunition.
  • Uniforms and equipment.
  • Mission-essential equipment.
  • Communications equipment.
  • Team members' understanding of the mission and their specific tasks.
  • Rations and water.
  • Deficiencies noted during earlier inspections.

E-262.   The following sample Mission Planning Execution Checklist (Table E-3) illustrates the types of coordination and team activities required to successfully prepare for and recover from a routine CA mission. The team leader reviews and modifies the checklist at the beginning of every mission planning requirement. This checklist should be posted at the front of the SOMPF.

Table E-3. Sample Mission Planning Execution Checklist


Point of



DTG Action Started

Suspense Date

DTG Action Completed





Contacts CA for JRTC






Tasking Order





Start MPF





Conference Briefing





Review Battalion METL





Review Company METL





Conduct Mission Analysis





Title 10 Request





OCONUS Air Asset Request





Conference Briefing





Ammo Forecast/ Request





JA/ATT Request Deploy/Redeploy





Frequencies OCONUS





PDSS Country Clearance





Conference Briefing










PDSS Passport/ Visas










Personnel Support





Imagery/Map Request





Initial IPR Brief





PDSS Briefback





Army Aviation





ADVON Country Clearance





MB Country Clearance





ADVON/MB Passport/Visas







Request for Medical Supplies




Air Items Request



CO S-4


SSSC Request



BN S-4


Submit Ammo 581s





Military Vehicle Coordination



BN S-4


Ration Request





Batteries Request



BN S-2


Courier Orders



BN S-4


OPFUND Request


USASOC Comptroller




Commercial Air/Lodging





Threat Brief







Pending CONOPS Approval




JAG Briefing



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