LESSON PLAN: Course of Action Analysis
Brigade Operations and Intelligence


Slide 1
1. TIE-IN: Successful tactical operations begin with well thought out detailed operations orders. Your plans must be detailed enough to give every subordinate commander the information needed to conduct operations at his level. Your planning establishes the framework for the success of subordinate commands operations. You conduct planning to determine if the concept of the operation and the scheme of maneuver are viable enough to be handed off to your subordinate commands. A brigade plan that does not consider METT-T and force ratios should not be passed to a subordinate command. There is no possible way to determine if the operation will be successful unless it is analyzed in detail and meets the scrutiny o the battle staff and the commander. Course of Action analysis gives you, the battle staff planner, the opportunity to determine whether or not the operation will succeed before the lives of your soldiers are placed in the fray of battle. Your soldiers don't understand (PB, Force Ratios, Mission Analysis, or Course of Action Development. They'll take your plan and follow it to the letter, because that's what they train to do. They don't have the time to conduct mission analysis. If you do your job shoddily and without detail it may manifest itself in the loss of their lives. DON'T SHORTCUT! Take all of the time to determine action-reaction-counteraction that you have available. Before you publish an order, make sure you have analyzed every identifiable variable and you give him the edge and combat power he needs to be successful.

2. PURPOSE: Advanced Course Officers will understand the Course of Action Analysis method outlined in
ST 100-9. The method will be applied to the practical exercises 100% correctly. Failure to apply the proper course of action analysis method will result in the repetition of the course of action analysis practical exercise.

3. TASK: To develop an understanding of the course of action methods published in ST 100-9 well enough to apply the method to the practical exercises using brigade operations and intelligence and support actual operations in future assignments.

4. CONDITIONS: The lecture presentation will be conducted in the classroom, the accompanying practical exercise will be conducted in a simulated tactical operations center environment.

5. STANDARDS: The course of action analysis method will be applied with 100% accuracy. Any errors will result
in the repetition of the lecture and the practical exercise.

6. SAFETY: All safety procedures will be followed. Training will not be conducted if safety must be compromised. There is unusual risks associated with this training.

Slide 1
1. Staff analysis identifies the best course of action for recommendation to the commander.

Slide 21. Courses of action must be promptly and efficiently. During this analysis, information identified by any staff member that might affect analysis must be shared with the battle staff immediately. A determination that a COA is not feasible must also be shared so that the staff does not waste time analyzing it. War gaming gives the staff the opportunity to fight the battle notionally before soldiers are given the order. Several methods are available for the staff analysis:

a. Time measurements are based on technical capabilities and historical data. They are used to calculate estimated even durations. Time is correlated to distances, speed, and capability rates in order to project enemy and friendly actions and then determine if sufficient time is available to execute the concept as designed.

b. Space analysis includes measurements that ensure adequate ground and air space exist to conduct operations. Using tables and experience, the staff may estimate the area required to deploy units for the concept, determine road requirements, identify depth requirements, etc. METT-T dictates which space requirements are significant for a given concept.

c. Means analysis ensures that forces have the necessary combat power available to conduct the stated operation. For example, the staff would check the relative force ratios at the critical events in the expected battle to ensure success of the main effort, or the staff would quickly determine if enough bridging assets are available for a river crossing operation.

2. If a concept is deemed inadequate in terms of feasibility, the staff must modify the concept or the commander must select a new concept. The staff would then conduct a new suitability check on the modified or new concept and conduct feasibility checks again. Once a new concept passes the suitability and feasibility analysis, the planners can analyze it for acceptability.

Slide 3

1. War gaming is a conscious attempt to visualize the flow of a battle, given friendly strengths and dispositions, enemy assets and possible COAs and a set piece of ground. It attempts to foresee the action, reaction, and counteraction dynamics of battle. The staff members analyze the COAAs using any selected method. Following are examples of methods that staff members can use:

a. The staff and the G3 war game the operation and attempt to visualize the battle.

b. They rely heavily on tactical judgement and experience but is a logical step-by-step analytical process.

c. War gaming focuses the staff on each phase of the operation in a logical sequence.

d. War gaming may result in the modification or/of a particular COA or he may develop a new one.

2. The war gamer must observe the following rules.

a. List advantages and disadvantages.

b. Remain unbiased; keep an open mind,

c. Continually assess the feasibility of the COA to see if it meets the requirements of the mission. If the COA fails to remain feasible, reject it and don't waste time.

d. Avoid comparison.

e. Avoid premature conclusions.

3. The exact sequence of war gaming steps is not critical, but they provide a logical process to arrive at the desired results.

Slide 4
1. COA analysis begins with mission analysis, and COA development.

Slide 5
1. Here are the steps to war gaming; Step 1, Gather the tools.

a. The commander selects the enemy COA to be war gamed first.

Slide 6
b. The war gamer selects the friendly COA to be war gamed first, the S-3 usually selects and establishes the order.

Slide 7
c. He posts the map with both the AO and the area of interest. The current composition and disposition of both are then posted.

Slide 8
1. Step 2; List all friendly forces. The list must remain constant throughout the operation.

Slide 9
1. He must include the priority of support, such as air support, artillery, and surveillance.

Slide 10
Step 3; List the assumptions delivered during mission analysis. They must be logical, i.e., the enemy will cross the IB at 70% strength, realistic, i.e., we can delay his attack into our western flank. Stated positively, i.e., we can complete our mission with losses by using the atk helicopter battalion.

Slide 11
1. Step 4; List known critical events and decision points. Critical events are events that are normally specified tasks or implied. These events are critical to the successful completion of the operation.

Slide 12
1. Select a war game method.

a. Avenue in depth.

Slide 13
1. The belt technique divides the battlefield into areas that run the width of a sector.

Slide 14
1. The box technique microanalyses a few critical areas. It is mainly used when there is too little time to conduct complete analysis.

Slide 15
1. Select a technique to record/display the results. There are two basic types:

a. The sketch technique

b. The narrative technique

Slide 16
1. War game the battle and assess the results. We analyze each event by identifying components of the subevents and tasks one level down and assets two levels down. Divisions look at brigades and their employment of the battalions.

Slide 17
1. Start the war gaming with the initial unit locations determined during course of action development.

Slide 18
1. Visualize the flow of the battle from the LD/LC to objective.

Slide 19
1. Always consider the action, reaction, and counteraction when war gaming.

Slide 20
1. Comparison of the COAs must be completed to identify the one with the highest probability of success.

Slide 21
1. The end result is the COA that is executable with the highest probability of success.