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MDMP Class (Military Decision Making Process). What is MDMP. It is a standardized planning / decision making model used by the Army: Conceptually very easy to understand Application in a very dynamic environment is very difficult Art vs. science. Why is it important.

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what is mdmp
What is MDMP
  • It is a standardized planning / decision making model used by the Army:
    • Conceptually very easy to understand
    • Application in a very dynamic environment is very difficult
    • Art vs. science
why is it important
Why is it important
  • Decision making process needs to be standardized because:
    • Organizational structure is very fluid (players change almost daily)
    • Provides a fundamental / common framework that facilitates “plug and play” nature of the Army
    • Imagine this:
      • Your signal platoon has been attached to a unit you’ve never worked with
      • Assigned unit is planning / preparing for a major deployment and operation
      • You have been asked to get linked up with and begin the planning process
    • Standardized planning process facilitates rapid integration of new players.
basic problem solving model
Basic Problem Solving Model
  • Identify the Problem: I need a car
  • Develop solutions: what are my options,
    • New / used
    • Truck, van, sedan, SUV, or motorcycle
  • Compare alternatives: cost, gas mileage, reliability, etc.
  • Decision: used Huffy 3 speed
fundamentals of planning
Fundamentals of Planning
  • Troop Leading Procedures:
    • Eight step process used to plan and prepare for military operations.
  • MDMP:
    • Standardized planning / decision making model
  • Staff Estimates:
    • Formal process used to fully analyze a problem from a specific functional area viewpoint (S1, S3, S3, S4, etc).
troop leading procedures tlp
Troop Leading Procedures (TLP)
  • Eight step process used to plan and prepare for military operations.
    • Receive the mission
    • Issue a warning order
    • Make a tentative plan
    • Initiate movement
    • Recon
    • Complete the plan
    • Issue orders
    • Supervise
  • Receive mission
  • Mission analysis
  • Course of Action development
  • COA Analysis
  • COA Comparison
  • COA Approval
  • Orders Production
  • What is an estimate:
    • It is a formal process used to fully analyze a problem from a specific functional area viewpoint.
  • Who conducts estimates:
    • Staff officers: Staff estimate
    • Cdrs: Commander estimate
staff estimates vs cdr estimates
Staff Estimates vs. Cdr Estimates
  • Staff Estimate:
    • Tailored problem analysis process specific to staff officer’s functional area of expertise
      • Intelligence Officer
      • Operations Officer
      • Logistics
      • Etc.
  • Commander’s Estimate:
    • A more broad / general analysis of a problem
  • Why two different estimates:
    • Provides a “somewhat” independent analysis of a problem
    • Serves as a checks and balance system to ensure all planners are thoroughly analyzing the problem
estimates in relation to mdmp
Estimates In Relation to MDMP
  • Receive mission
  • Mission analysis
  • Course of Action development
  • COA Analysis
  • COA Comparison
  • COA Approval
  • Orders Production

Staff Estimate

Cdr Estimate

tlp vs mdmp vs estimates
TLP vs. MDMP vs. Estimates

Troop Leading Proc.

  • Receive the mission
  • Issue a warning order
  • Make a tentative plan
  • Initiate movement
  • Recon
  • Complete the plan
  • Issue orders
  • Supervise


  • Receive mission
  • Mission analysis
  • Course of Action dev.
  • COA Analysis
  • COA Comparison
  • COA Approval
  • Orders Production


  • Cdr Estimate
  • Staff Estimate
  • All three systems are integrated and mutually supportive
  • Receive mission
  • Mission analysis
  • Course of Action development
  • COA Analysis
  • COA Comparison
  • COA Approval
  • Orders Production

Next Class

mission analysis
Mission Analysis
  • Why:
    • Must accurately define the problem
    • What am I trying to do, what is the problem I am trying to solve?
    • Sometimes problem identification is very easy, sometimes is it very difficult
    • Endstate of Mission Analysis is a clearly defined mission statement.
      • Mission statement provides organizational focus.
    • Do I really need a car?


    • Do I really need transportation to/from class
steps of mission analysis process
Steps of Mission Analysis Process
  • Analyze HHQ operations order and other available documentation
  • Conduct IPB
  • Determine: specified / implied / essential tasks
  • Review available assets
  • Determine constraints
  • Identify critical facts and assumptions
  • Conduct risk assessment
  • Determine CCIR
  • Determine initial recon requirements
  • Plan use of available time
  • Develop restated mission
  • Conduct mission analysis brief
  • Approve restated mission
  • Develop initial, proposed Cdr’s intent
  • Issue Cdr’s guidance
  • Issue warning order
  • Review facts / assumptions
  • Bullets in Red are the only ones we’ll focus on.
  • Others are beyond the scope of ROTC instruction

Mission Analysis (Analyze Available and Relevant Documentation)

  • Operations Orders
  • SOPs
  • Verbal guidance
  • Polices
  • Regulations
  • Any other relevant documents
  • Maps / Terrain

Mission Analysis (Specified, Implied, Essential Tasks)

  • Specified: tasks you have been directed to do.
  • Implied: tasks you must do, but not necessarily directed to do.
  • Mission Essential tasks (MET): those few tasks that MUST be accomplished or risk failure.
  • Example:
    • Task: Prepare 20 page research paper integrating all concepts learned in Human Resource Management classes.
    • Specified:
      • Must be 20 pages
      • Must be turned in NLT 15 Dec 04
      • Must include 10 different sources
      • Topic / Outline must be approved NLT 1 Nov 04
    • Implied:
      • Conduct interview of local business experts
      • Research library for similar papers
      • Prepare draft, have friend proof draft
      • Find someone to type / edit / bound report
    • Mission Essential Tasks:
      • Conduct thorough review and selection of relevant resources
      • Topic / Outline must be approved by instructor
      • Final Draft must be complete by Thanksgiving (vacation / finals)

Mission Analysis (Review Avail. Assets)

  • Library
  • Internet sources
  • Clubs or professional associations / journals
  • Subject matter experts within department
  • Other students who have previously taken course and written papers on related subject.
  • Local business personnel

Mission Analysis (Determine Constraints)

  • Restrictions that limit freedom of action:
    • Parameters you have to operate within.
    • Things you have been told you have to do.
    • Things you have been told you can’t do.
    • Often are redundant with specified tasks.
  • Research Paper Scenario:
    • Must incorporate three interviews of faculty or other professionals
    • Must have topic and outline approved by Professor
    • Can’t use same topic as previous prerequisite course.

Mission Analysis (Facts / Assumptions)

  • Must be relevant to mission.
  • Assumptions are used to fill-in information voids (must be realistic)
    • Don’t want to adopt a specific course of action based on faulty / unrealistic assumptions.
    • Must be stated up front to ensure all planners are planning based on same approved assumptions
  • Facts:
    • My previous paper / topic was…..
    • Library is not going to be available due to renovation from 1-3 Oct
    • Have asked local business leader for assistance / interview, and he seems receptive to idea, but wants to know more. Wants to schedule an interview on 25 Sep (he’s out of town between now and then). This individual is key and you can’t pursue topic without their assistance.
  • Assumptions:
    • Local business leader will decide to assist me and give me access to information. (If this assumption proves false, you may loose 4 weeks of valuable time).

Mission Analysis (Recon Requirements)

  • What information do I need to complete my plan?
  • How can I best get that information?
  • Who is best suited to get the information?
  • Scenario:
    • You are assigned to a transportation unit that is responsible for providing Military Support to Civilian Authorities in Alabama in response to Hurricane Ivan.
    • You are planning a long convoy movement that crosses numerous bridges. You are told that numerous bridges may be washed out due to extensive rain fall / flooding.
  • Recon Requirements:
    • Are bridges out?
    • If so, is a bypass available, how long will the not be available?
    • Once water recedes, what will be required to repair bridges?
    • Will bridges support loaded trucks (moving heavy equipment and supplies)?

Mission Analysis (Time Analysis)

  • Using school project scenario, now till 15 Dec sounds like a long time, but consider the following:
    • 15 Dec: Paper due
    • 10 Dec: final revisions complete
    • 5-10 Dec: finals week
    • 22-26 Nov: Thanksgiving
    • 2 Dec: semester APFT
    • 1 Dec: final draft complete
    • 15 Nov: interviews completed
    • 15 Nov: topic/outline adjustments incorporated
    • 8 Nov: Expect approval from Professor
    • 2-4 Nov: midterms for two classes
    • 1 Nov: Topic / outline submitted for approval
    • 21-25 Oct: fall break
    • 15 Oct: draft topic / outline complete
    • 7-8 Oct: Fall FTX
    • 15 Oct: research complete
    • 1-4 Oct: library renovation
    • 25 Sept: topic determined
    • 16 Sep: receive mission

Mission Analysis (Mission Statement)

  • Your mission analysis results in a proposed mission statement answering: who, what, when, where, and why.
  • Who: Cadet Gwosch
  • What: prepares 20 page research paper
  • When: due 15 Dec 04
  • Where: Clemson University
  • Why: capstone research project for MGT 463.
part ii
Part II
  • Course of Action (COA) Development
  • COA Analysis
  • COA Comparison
coa development
COA Development
  • Purpose: develop feasible, suitable, distinguishable, and acceptable options that if implemented will accomplish mission or resolve problem.
  • Upon completion of Mission Analysis Brief, Cdr should issue guidance regarding COA development:
    • COAs he wants to consider.
    • COAs he does not want to consider
    • Knowing what you don’t want is just as valuable as knowing what you want.
features of coas
Features of COAs
  • Each COA considered / developed must be:
    • Suitable (can accomplish mission)
    • Feasible (within capabilities of unit)
    • Acceptable (means justify the ends)
    • Distinguishable (each COA must distinguishable from others)
steps to develop coas
Steps to Develop COAs
  • Analyze relative combat power
  • Generate options
  • Array initial forces
  • Develop scheme of maneuver
  • Assign Headquarters / task organization
  • Prepare COA statements / sketches
    • No more than the concept sketches / brief you do for projects.
coa analysis
COA Analysis
  • Purpose: conduct a detailed analysis of each COA. Will result in your ability to compare each COA and will culminate with the staff’s recommendation to the Cdr.
steps to coa analysis
Steps to COA Analysis
  • Gather the tools
  • List all friendly forces
  • List assumptions
  • List know critical events and decision points
  • Determine evaluation criteria
  • Select war-game method
  • Select method to record and display results
  • War-game battle and assess results.
coa analysis gather tools
COA Analysis (Gather Tools)
  • Tools:
    • Maps/pictures/terrain analysis products
    • COA sketches
    • Synchronization Matrices
    • Event Templates
    • Unit symbols (to move on map/sketch)
    • Staff estimates
coa analysis list friendly forces
COA Analysis (List Friendly Forces)
  • List all friendly forces:
    • Current task organization including all units.
coa analysis list assumptions
COA Analysis (List Assumptions)
  • List assumptions:
    • Review assumptions made during mission analysis:
      • Are they still valid / relevant?
      • Do we need to make any additional assumptions?
      • Do we have any new information that will validate existing assumptions?
coa analysis critical events dps
COA Analysis (Critical Events / DPs)
  • List know critical events and decision points:
    • Critical events: key actions you know or anticipate will occur that warrant detailed analysis.
      • Passage of Lines
      • Entering a building
      • Consolidation on a drop zone
    • Decision Points: key actions you know or anticipate that may require a significant decision.
      • Enemy force of significant size located on drop zone.
      • Unexpected enemy force blocking movement along planned route (require alternate route)
coa analysis eval criteria
COA Analysis (Eval. Criteria)
  • Determine evaluation criteria:
    • What criteria will you use to analyze and compare each COA.
    • How will you quantify each criteria?
    • Criteria typically include:
      • Does COA facilitate flexibility?
        • Once we reach a given point, do we have any options remaining?
      • Does COA allow us to mass our combat power on objective area?
        • How many squads / platoons can we mass on the objective / engagement area?
      • Does COA facilitate good Command / Control?
        • How many / what types of units is each subordinate commander responsible for?
      • Simplicity?
        • How simple / complex is our plan?
      • Surprise?
        • At what point can we realistically expect the enemy to realize what we are doing?
coa analysis war game method
COA Analysis (War Game Method)
  • Select war-game method:
    • Belt technique:
      • Analyze all activities between PL Red and PL Blue.

+synchronizes all activities in a given area

-time consuming

    • Box technique:
      • Analyze all activities in a selected area (typically an engagement area, objective area, obstacle breeching, etc.

+very detailed / focused

+great technique in time constrained environment (prioritize events to be war-gamed).

-typically ignores other key events

    • Avenues in depth:
      • Analyze all activities from start to finish along a given axis.

+very detailed

-very time consuming

coa analysis record display method
COA Analysis (Record / Display Method)
  • Two methods:
    • Synchronization Matrix:

+Results in a planning tool that you need/can use later

+More detailed synchronization of events

-More time consuming

    • Sketch note method:


-Less detail

-Requires synch matrix to be developed later.

coa analysis war game assess
COA Analysis (War-Game / Assess)
  • War-game battle and assess results.
  • Decide who moves first:
    • Attacking force typically goes first.
  • Fought like a chess game:
    • I’m doing this ………….
    • The enemy is reacting by ………….
    • My counter-action is this…..
  • Bn S2 typically fights the enemy:
    • Must be realistic.
    • Don’t wish the enemy away.
    • “Hope is not a method”.
coa comparison
COA Comparison
  • Review / grade each COA in relation to your evaluation criteria.
  • Be as objective as possible.
decision brief
Decision Brief
  • Once COAs are developed and War-gamed and staff has completed their recommendation, they then conduct a decision brief to the commander.
planning in time constrained environment
Planning in Time Constrained Environment
  • This is the norm.
  • Experience and practice will significantly reduce planning time.


Available Planning Time



Level of Cdr Involvement



Detail in Cdr Guidance



Flex / Latitude of Staff



#s of COA Developed



Detailed Op Ord