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Posted on Aug 17, 2011 in Tactics101, War College

Tactics 101 063 – The Concept of Operations

By Rick Baillergeon and John Sutherland

After conducting a mission analysis, course of action development, and course of action analysis, the Brigade Commander and his staff have decided on a plan to achieve their purpose and task. The plan calls for the maneuver units to execute the following tasks:

  • A light battalion clears OBJ 1
  • A mechanized battalion task force fixes OBJ 1 and 2
  • A mechanized battalion task force seizes OBJ 2
  • An armor battalion task force destroys the enemy on OBJ 3

Once these are achieved, the following actions will occur within the division:

  • BCT conducts a forward passage of lines (FPOL) through us in the vicinity of OBJ 3 and continues the attack west
  • BCT follows 1 BCT and assumes the main effort to destroy the MRR in depth

Your Mission Should You Decide To Accept It:


You are assistant operations officer and your boss, the S3 (Operations Officer) has told you to write the concept of the operation portion of paragraph 3 of the operations order. The Concept of Operation generally includes the following information:

  • The purpose of the operation; nested two levels up. This means we have to tell why we are doing what we are doing, while explaining how this allows the division and corps to accomplish their purposes.
  • Our overall concept to include the form of maneuver with a generic description of who is doing what. You should designate the main effort (the subunit whose success accomplishes the overall mission) with their purpose and task, the supporting efforts (the subunits which will aid the main effort in achieving their) with each of their purposes and tasks and the decisive point (the time, place, event or combination of all three where we begin to win the battle). You should also designate the reserve. Remember that the real details go in the tasks to maneuver units and coordinating instructions.
  • You should close with the desired end state which explains the envisioned unit posture upon successful completion of the operation in terms of our relationship to the enemy, the terrain, and our friendly forces.

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