Mission Analysis in OOTW
by MAJ Kevin Dougherty, U. S. Army Infantry School
Operations Other than War (OOTW) challenge maneuver units with missions and tasks not part of their normal Mission-Essential Task List (METL). Yet OOTW contingencies continue to dominate U. S. Army deployment requirements.
To help prepare for OOTW, divisional units potentially selected for OOTW operations, who are scheduled for a JRTC rotation, can request an OOTW rotational scenario, usually a Peace Enforcement operation. These rotations provide invaluable, realistic training that presents an OOTW equivalent to the combat training JRTC normally provides.
Long-term observation of conventional and OOTW JRTC training shows units consistently have difficulties with various aspects of the Tactical Decisionmaking Process (TDMP). In many instances, units fail to do a complete or accurate mission analysis. This results in serious problems with the subsequent phases of the TDMP (COA development; wargaming).
The mission analysis process is straightforward. Take the mission from higher headquarters and from it derive specified, implied,and essential tasks. Then produce a restated mission for your unit that answers who, what, when, where and why.
However, JRTC OOTW operations point out units consistently have difficulty with common terminology, designating main effort, and linking supporting tasks and purpose.
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