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Steps of the military decisionmaking process Transition among the integrating cells Risk reduction factors Soldiers often cooperate, shape, influence, assist, and coerce according to the situation, varying their actions to make permanent the otherwise temporary gains achieved through combat. Military operations vary in purpose, scale, risk, and intensity see JP They include relatively benign, routine, and recurring military operations in peacetime; specific combat and noncombat responses to contingencies and crises as they occur; and less frequent, large-scale combat operations typical of wartime conditions.
Army forces are designed, organized, equipped, and trained to accomplish many military operations. Table lists examples of military operations. See JP 1 for a discussion of the range of military operations. Land combat against an armed adversary is an intense, lethal human activity.
Its conditions include complexity, chaos, fear, violence, fatigue, and uncertainty. The battlefield often teems with noncombatants and is crowded with infrastructure. In any conflict, Soldiers potentially face regular, irregular, or paramilitary enemy forces that possess advanced weapons and rapidly communicate using cellular devices. Our enemies will employ terror, criminal activity, and every means of messaging to further complicate our tasks.
To an ever-increasing degree, activities in cyberspace and the information environment are inseparable from ground operations. The information environment, our use of it, and inform and influence activities continues to increase. Because the land environment is so complex, the potential for unintended consequences remains quite high. In the end, it is not the quality of weapons, but the quality of Soldiers employing them that determines mission success. Any mission can rapidly become a combination of combat, governance, and civil security.
Most of our missions require combinations of lethal and nonlethal actions. This is inherent in the nature of land operations, usually conducted in the midst of noncombatants. When called upon, Soldiers accomplish nonlethal missions such as disaster relief and humanitarian assistance quickly and effectively. Regardless, our combat capability often underwrites our ability to provide assistance. It emphasizes the necessity of synchronizing our capabilities with the other Services joint , other government agencies interagency , other international government partners intergovernmental , and military forces from partner nations multinational.
The basic premise of unified land operations is that Army forces combine offensive tasks, defensive tasks, stability tasks, and defense support of civil authorities DSCA in concert with joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational partners. Army operations conducted overseas combine offensive, defensive, and stability tasks. If hostile powers threaten the homeland, we combine defensive and offensive tasks with DSCA. The effort accorded to each task is proportional to the mission and varies with the situation. We label these combinations decisive action because of their necessity in any campaign.
In unified land operations, commanders seek to seize, retain, and exploit the initiative while synchronizing their actions to achieve the best effects possible. Operations conducted outside the United States and its territories simultaneously combine three elements—offense, defense, and stability.
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Within the United States and its territories, decisive action combines the elements of defense support of civil authorities and, as required, offense and defense to support homeland defense…. Decisive action requires simultaneous combinations of offense, defense, and stability or defense support of civil authorities tasks.
Table lists the tasks associated with each element and the purposes of each task. Each task has numerous associated subordinate tasks. When combined with who unit , when time , where location , and why purpose , the tasks may become mission statements. Table Tasks of decision action.
An offensive task is a task conducted to defeat and destroy enemy forces and seize terrain, resources, and population centers. In combined arms maneuver, the offense is a task of decisive action. Against a capable, adaptive enemy, the offense is the most direct and a sure means of seizing, retaining, and exploiting the initiative to gain physical and psychological advantages and achieve definitive results. In the offense, the decisive operation is a sudden, shattering action against an enemy weakness that capitalizes on speed, surprise, and shock.
If that operation does not destroy the enemy, operations continue until enemy forces disintegrate or retreat to where they no longer pose a threat. Executing offensive tasks compels the enemy to react, creating or revealing additional weaknesses that the attacking force can exploit. See Army tactics doctrine for a detailed discussion on offensive tasks.
A defensive task is a task conducted to defeat an enemy attack, gain time, economize forces, and develop conditions favorable for offensive or stability tasks. Normally the defense alone cannot achieve a decision. However, it can set conditions for a counteroffensive or counterattack that enables Army forces to regain the initiative. Defensive tasks can also establish a shield behind which wide area security can progress. Defensive tasks are a counter to the enemy offense. They defeat attacks, destroying as much of the attacking enemy as possible.
They also preserve and maintain control over land, resources, and populations. The purpose of defensive tasks is to retain terrain, guard populations, and protect critical capabilities against enemy attacks. Commanders can conduct defensive tasks to gain time and economize forces so offensive tasks can be executed elsewhere. See Army tactics doctrine for a detailed discussion on defensive tasks. Stability is an overarching term encompassing various military missions, tasks, and activities conducted outside the United States in coordination with other instruments of national power to maintain or reestablish a safe and secure environment, provide essential governmental services, emergency infrastructure reconstruction, and humanitarian relief.
See JP Army forces conduct stability tasks during both combined arms maneuver and wide area security. These tasks support a host-nation or an interim government or part of a transitional military authority when no government exists. Stability tasks involve both coercive and constructive actions. They help to establish or maintain a safe and secure environment and facilitate reconciliation among local or regional adversaries.
Stability tasks can also help establish political, legal, social, and economic institutions while supporting the transition to legitimate host-nation governance. Stability tasks cannot succeed if they only react to enemy initiatives. Stability tasks must maintain the initiative by pursuing objectives that resolve the causes of instability. See Army doctrine on stability tasks. The operational environment is a composite of the conditions, circumstances, and influences that affect the employment of capabilities and bear on the decisions of the commander JP 1. Army leaders plan, prepare, execute, and assess operations by analyzing the operational environment in terms of the operational variables and mission variables.
The operational variables consist of political, military, economic, social, information, infrastructure, physical environment, time known as PMESII-PT. The mission variables consist of mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available, time available, civil considerations known as METT-TC. No two operational environments are identical, even within the same theater of operations, and every operational environment changes over time.
Because of this, Army leaders consider how evolving relevant operational or mission variables affect force employment concepts and tactical actions that contribute to the strategic purpose. Army forces demonstrate their core competencies of combined arms maneuver and wide area security by combining offensive, defensive, and stability or defense support of civil authorities tasks simultaneously. As part of a combined arms force within unified land operations, Army forces accept prudent risk to create opportunities to achieve decisive results.
They employ synchronized action of lethal and nonlethal effects, proportional to the mission and informed by an understanding of an operational environment. Although distinct by definition, combined arms maneuver and wide area security are inseparable and simultaneous. Combined arms maneuver and wide area security provide the Army a focus for decisive action as well as a construct for understanding how Army forces use combined arms to achieve success in this contest of wills.
As core competencies, combined arms maneuver and wide area security uniquely define what the Army provides to. Additionally, the Army is organized and equipped to support the joint force commander through combined arms to cover vast distances for extended periods. The Army works to integrate all available instruments to unified action partners to achieve the desired outcome. Combined arms maneuver and wide area security are not tasks.
They provide an operational context to assist a commander and staff in determining an operational approach and to combine tasks of decisive action into a coherent operation that assigns missions to subordinates.
Forces execute these missions to defeat or destroy enemy forces, and seize or control areas vital to accomplishing their missions, while protecting civilians, infrastructure, and themselves. While all operations consist of simultaneous combined arms maneuver and wide area security in various proportions, most tactical tasks will be predominantly characterized by one or the other.
The preponderant core competency determines the choice of defeat or stability mechanisms to describe how friendly forces accomplish the assigned mission. Generally, defeat mechanisms are appropriate for combined arms maneuver, while stability mechanisms are best suited for wide area security. Combined arms maneuver is the application of the elements of combat power in unified action to defeat enemy ground forces; to seize, occupy, and defend land areas; and to achieve physical, temporal, and psychological advantages over the enemy to seize and exploit the initiative ADP Physical advantages may include control of key terrain, population centers, or critical resources and enablers.
Temporal advantages enable Army forces to set the tempo and momentum of operations and decide when to fight so the enemy loses the ability to respond effectively. Combined arms maneuver exposes enemies to friendly combat power from unexpected directions and denies them the ability to respond effectively. In addition, forces conducting combined arms maneuver threaten enemies indirectly, causing them to reveal their intentions and expose hidden vulnerabilities.
Combined arms maneuver primarily employs defeat mechanisms against enemies and is dominated by offensive and defensive tasks. A defeat mechanism is a method through which friendly forces accomplish their mission against enemy opposition. Army forces at all echelons use combinations of four defeat mechanisms: destroy, dislocate, disintegrate, and isolate.
Applying focused combinations produces complementary and reinforcing effects not attainable with a single mechanism. Used individually, a defeat mechanism achieves results proportional to the effort expended. Used in combination, the effects are likely to be both synergistic and lasting. When commanders destroy, they apply lethal combat power on an enemy capability so that it can no longer perform any function. The enemy cannot restore it to a usable condition without being entirely rebuilt.
When commanders isolate, they deny an enemy or adversary access to capabilities that enable the exercise of coercion, influence, potential advantage, and freedom of action …. Wide area security is the application of the elements of combat power in unified action to protect populations, forces, infrastructure, and activities; to deny the enemy positions of advantage; and to consolidate gains in order to retain the initiative ADP Army forces conduct security tasks to provide the joint force commander with reaction time and maneuver space.
Additionally, these forces defeat or fix the enemy before the enemy can attack, thus allowing the commander to retain the initiative. As part of unified land operations, Army forces may assist the development of host-nation security forces, a viable market economy, the rule of law, and an effective government by establishing and maintaining security in an area of operations. The goal is a stable civil situation sustainable by host-nation assets without Army forces. Security, the health of the local economy, and the capability of self-government are related.
Without security, the local economy falters, populations feel unsecure, and enemy forces gain an advantage. A functioning economy provides employment and reduces the dependence of the population on the military for necessities.
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Security and economic stability precede an effective and stable government. Wide area security includes the minimum essential stability tasks as part of decisive action. Army forces perform five primary stability tasks:. The combination of stability tasks conducted during operations depends on the situation. In those cases, Army forces work with and through host-nation authorities. Commanders use civil affairs operations to mitigate how the military presence affects the populace and vice versa.
Army Doctrine Publication Adp 5-0 (FM 5-0) the Operations Process May 2012
Conversely, Army forces operating in a failed state may need to support the well-being of the local populace. That situation requires Army forces to work with civilian organizations to restore basic capabilities. Again, civil affairs operations prove essential in establishing trust between Army forces and civilian organizations required for effective, working relationships.
A stability mechanism is the primary method through which friendly forces affect civilians in order to attain conditions that support establishing a lasting, stable peace. As with defeat mechanisms, combinations of stability mechanisms produce complementary and reinforcing effects that accomplish the mission more effectively and efficiently than single mechanisms do alone. The four stability mechanisms are compel, control, influence, and support. Compel means to use, or threaten to use, lethal force to establish control and dominance, effect behavioral change, or enforce compliance with mandates, agreements, or civil authority.
Control involves imposing civil order.
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Influence means to alter the opinions, attitudes, and ultimately behavior of foreign friendly, neutral, adversary, and enemy populations through inform and influence activities, presence, and conduct.