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PROBLEM: Difficulty identifying implied and essential OOTW tasks leads to errors in differentiating between the main effort and the supporting effort.

RESULT: Often all three battalions in a brigade have the same stated purpose, and no single battalion or task force is designated the main effort, which results in disjointed, unsuccessful mission execution.

SCENARIO for a Battalion/Task Force

Operation: Peace Enforcement with UN mandate to 1) separate belligerents; 2) protect civilians; 3) assist Prisoners of War (PWs) and interned noncombatants; 4) conduct mine awareness training; and 5) assist NGOs.

Purpose: Establish conditions that allow for the introduction of UN peacekeeping forces.

Essential Task: Separate belligerents. (This is the essential task because it is the one task most critical to achieving the operation's purpose.)

Technique: Separate belligerents is the only task that should appear in the restated mission.

However, rather than use the phrase "separate belligerents", use the word "clear" to describe the task. As discussed above, separate belligerents implies establishing a buffer zone, and it is more likely that " clear" will be better understood by the soldiers who must conduct the mission.

Battalion-level Restated mission: 1st Battalion clears Buffer Zone Alpha NLT 252400 Sep xx, to establish conditions that allow for the introduction of UN peacekeeping forces.

Main effort: Designate one company or Co/TM as the main effort.


1) The company designated as the main effort should have a purpose identical to the Bn/TF purpose.
2) The main effort company's task, therefore, must be one that will achieve the battalion's purpose. In this scenario, the main effort might involve clearing the entire buffer zone, or more likely, it would entail clearing the portion of the buffer zone containing the decisive point.

The decisive point may be the templated location of the belligerent force; a population or resource center that must be controlled; any other point that would provide a key advantage to the force controlling it.

CONDITION: Within Buffer Zone Alpha, the village K-town is a belligerent stronghold, and a source of manpower, supply, and a command and control center.

ASSESSMENT: Without control of K-town, the belligerents most likely could not conduct organized and sustained operations in Buffer Zone Alpha. Therefore, K-town is a decisive point, and an objective for the main effort.

Company-level Restated mission: Company A conducts cordon and search to clear K-town NLT 252400 Sep xx, to eliminate the belligerent's ability to conduct organized and sustained operations in Buffer Zone Alpha.

Table of Contents
Common Terminology
Linking Supporting Tasks and Purpose

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