RANGER AGAINST WAR: Five Paragraph Field Order <

Friday, January 08, 2010

Five Paragraph Field Order

I think that with your IQ,
you're unarmed and still VERY dangerous

-- Tango & Cash

In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet

and say to us, "Make us your slaves, but feed us"

--Fyodor Dostoyevsky


The Five Paragraph Field order is being presented to the uninitiated to show that all military operations should be represented by a clear operations order. The Order follows a format which rarely varies, so the plan should be understood by all parties involved prior to setting out on operations.

Based on the seeming helter-skelter nature of too many operations in the past eight years, civilians may have the notion that these things are undertaken on the fly. They should not be.

Most Platoon and Company-level operations will encompass the details listed here. Let's refine them slightly for easier consumption. Note that before the order is issued, the METT-T analysis (Mission, Enemy, Terrain and Weather, Troop & Fire Support, and Time) is completed, using the BAMCIS process (Begin the Planning, Arrange Recon, Make Recon, Complete Planning. Issue Order, Supervise). (The Army loves it some acronyms!)

So both METT-T and BAMCIS will prepare for the creation of the operation order, which includes:

[1] Situation: as described.

[2] Mission:
To be clearly stated and have a "be prepared" statement for when the operation is successful. For example, "1/B/2/47/ will attack hill 0881 @ 0530 hrs 29Jul08 and will be prepared to continue the attack on order to achieve objective X."

[3] Execution:
The coordinating instructions should be clear, concise and easily understood. KISS -- Keep it Simple, Sir.

[4] Administration/Logistics:
This is an area of concern because the admin/log types are on a different radio net and are often unresponsive to lower echelon leaders. These taskings must be clearly delineated and administered by the appropriate staff function of the unit involved. Often, the problem arises that the shooters shoot for the Commander and the admin/log types work directly under the XO's (Executive Officer's staff) supervision. All work for the Commander, but this is always a weak point in most combat operations. The failure to have coordination on this paragraph can unwind an operation in a New York minute.

[5] Command and Signal:
This is where all the signal instructions and electronic communications are clearly delineated. In the Infantry Battalion, Brigade and Regiment these are usually SOP, but it is beneficial to clearly identify all areas of potential confusion. All radio nets must mesh before the operation, not after it is in progress.

Under friendly forces -- attached units should be addressed here with a clear delineation of command structure. Aviation, Artillery and Engineer assets should be identified and their mission, as well as their Command and Signal instructions.

When all of these functions are check-listed, planned and briefed, any operation should have a great chance of success.

A parting thought: Military operations can only achieve the achievable. Following the operations order format allows a leader to assess and delineate the achievable, thereby converting the intention into a practicable effort and hopeful military success.



Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

the five paragraph structure is a fine starting point.

but, just like mike tyson said:

everybody has a great fight plan. it goes up in the air as soon as you get that first punch in the mouth.

when i was spending some TAD time being on the "red team," our charges when they were first coming in would prepare classic action plans.

great grammar even. nice, textbook plans.

our job, as opfor, was to show them that the enemies they would eventually face didn't give fuck all for the best laid plans of majors and louiees and that they would do their damnedest to make everything gang aft agly.

had the plan for iraq been realistically gamed, they would have seen the fallacy of the paragraphs which read "we shock and awe them to the point of when they see our troops in their streets they start tossing flowers and passing out candy."

they had a faulty plan a.
no plan b.
no plan c.
no plan for the big didi mau when it all went south.

stupid. wasteful. even criminal if you are one of the folks who gets indignant when they send our good kids off to die.

Saturday, January 9, 2010 at 12:07:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

The school solution to your pointed and pertinent comment is to issue a frag order.
Most ops are fragos anyway.
Well trained units do well and some don't. Fragos usually hinge on unit sop's and familiarity of the players.
Remember that you are talking elite units and today we're discussing generic opns.

Saturday, January 9, 2010 at 12:12:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

one of the things that still sticks in my craw about iraq is that they did attempt a bigtime game exercise.

the opfor was brilliant. seeing as he was facing an overwhelming invading force, overwhelming in terms of technology and numbers, the opfor commander went fucking stone age on them.

he knew that they would begin with bombing all concentration areas and all areas of military interest. so he dispersed men and material.

he knew they would next do blanket jamming of all command and control which happened to survive phase one.

that brilliant dude went to old school messengers on motorbikes.

he knew that air superiority would be total from the jump and that any obviously military vehicles would be obliterated. he used school busses, ambulances, and civilian vans, trucks and cars to do his transport.

he knew that the wearing of a uniform would be an invitation to eternal rest, so he shucked his BDU's and went mufti.

for three days the blue team blundered about the california high desert. the only action they could stir up was trying to figure out what the fuck just happened as opfor troops came out of everywhere and nowhere without warning, struck, and disappeared just as fast.

the stand up fight that they outlined so beautifully never fucking happened.

it's totally fucking stupid to make a plan that relies on the enemy going right the fuck along with your big ass plan to have them run up onto your armored divisions in suicidal charges...

the result? red team kicked blue team butt.

what did they do with that?

changed the rules of the game so that they could say "we gamed it and it worked."

Sunday, January 10, 2010 at 12:08:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, Nothing about contingency planning?


Sunday, January 10, 2010 at 5:54:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I wasn't planning on doing anything on contingency planning as i don't know how to do it in a short blog format.
This is a topic for thesis and books and i'm not sure that i could do an adequate job.
These last 2 pieces were old holdovers printed only b/c i haven't had the urge to write lately. My morale and motivation have been lower than whaleshit lately.
Other than that -all is cool.

Monday, January 11, 2010 at 11:23:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, a complex, but IMHO, very important topic. It would be a challenge to distill to an essence that is blog post sized.

Stay cool.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 7:37:00 AM GMT-5  

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