The analysis of the area of operations is a detailed study conducted within time constraints to serve as the basis for developing specific courses of action. It includes an analysis of weather, terrain, and other factors such as the political boundaries, governmental structures, economy, social groups, location, scope, and severity of damage throughout the commander's projected area of operations.

The civil-military operations (CMO) team is responsible for initiating, coordinating, completing and, disseminating the final analysis of the area of operations, which represents a coordinated staff effort with federal and state agencies. Considerations for area analysis may also apply to other types of operations. In any event, the assigned mission will dictate what essential elements of information (EEI) are needed.


In most cases, the EEI about the area of operations can be readily determined by consulting several FORSCOM automated systems. One of these is the FORSCOM Automated Intelligence Support System (FAISS), a geographic information system that uses Defense Mapping Agency maps and a variety of data bases to locate and display many of the EEI. A second automated system available at FORSCOM is a DOD resource data base that contains information about military resources and points of contact that might be used or called upon to respond to domestic support operations. The FEMA also has automated systems, such as their Disaster Analysis System (an automated mapping program), which they make available to military commanders to facilitate analyses and mapping of the closest critical resources. Typical EEI are discussed briefly below.

In preparing the analysis of the area of operations, the information that the CMO team gathers to satisfy the commander's EEI normally includes:

The above EEI will be significantly modified after the first 72 hours and will be replaced by increasing demands for specific information on other aspects of the event. The management of information may become more difficult as the quantity and quality of information increase. As additional state and federal assets arrive in the area of operations, coordination and communication become more complicated.

New information requirements are generated by the need to deploy the resources efficiently and effectively. DOD planners and operators at this point should be integrated, if possible, with the FEMA's ESF-5, Information and Planning Operations, which focuses on establishing a centralized repository of data for executing relief operations.


Sources of information that will satisfy many of the commander's EEI include:

The above list is not all-inclusive. As the operation progresses, changes in the mission or receipt of additional or more accurate information will require revision of the analysis and modification of the EEI.