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5.2. Planningselected for printing

Military planning describes specific activities associated with the deployment, employment, sustainment and redeployment of a joint task force and provides a unifying purpose on individually applied actions (ways) and resources (means) based on operational objectives (ends). Military planning is based on understanding the problem and framing conditions.

The overall planning for complex operations requires good communication and detailed planning and coordination with other actors. The majority of such civil-military interaction (CMI) are to be conducted by all NATO military disciplines and functions. However, civil-military cooperation (CIMIC) personnel as enablers and facilitators of the CMI are trained for this task.

Through the sequence of planning activities, CIMIC staff need to effectively translate the commander’s planning guidance related to the civil environment into CIMIC related effects, and feasible contributions to a course of action, concept of operations and operation plan (OPLAN). This will be facilitated by the CIMIC estimate22 that includes but is not limited to the following actions:

  • identify non-military actors that could influence the crisis and the mission;
  • provide input to the comprehensive preparation of the operational environment including actions to identify and analyse the root causes of the crisis;
  • support all sub teams as part of a joint operations planning group;
  • advice on implications of military operations, including CIMIC activities, on the civil environment and vice versa;
  • consider relevant cross-cutting topics;
  • consider the objectives and plans of relevant non-military actors;
  • contribute to the assessments of the host nation;
  • facilitate coordinated planning with non-military actors;
  • share information of planning related information with non-military actors, within the limits of operations security; and
  • develop the CIMIC effects and their corresponding measures of effectiveness, as well as the CIMIC activities to produce these effects and their corresponding measures of performance.

The Allied Command Operations Comprehensive Operations Planning Directive (COPD) is the basic reference document for planning staffs within NATO. It addresses all aspects of an OPLAN, provides guidance on the conduct and methods of planning, as well as identifying the factors to be taken into consideration during the development of a plan.

Functional planning guides provide planning guidance in specific functional areas. The intent of these guides is to supplement the planning information available in the NATO Crisis Response System Manual, Military Committee documents, approved NATO joint doctrine and the COPD. Specific tactics, techniques and procedures, and headquarters standing operating procedures and standing operating instructions explain how to implement CIMIC and naval cooperation and guidance for shipping related procedures into planning.

The aim of the comprehensive operations planning (COP) is to provide the best military advice to strategic and political military decision makers by ensuring a holistic understanding of engagement space. Unlike the conventional operational planning methodologies, comprehensive operations planning is not solely adversary and terrain centric but can be regarded as rather population centric. The planning phases are depicted below:

Operations planning process (OPP) phases at operational/ component level

During planning for operations, the CIMIC planners will lead the X9 contribution to the OPP. This will include input in the development of the comprehensive understanding of the operational environment (CUOE – X2 led) and the contribution of CIMIC planners to each operations planning group (X5 or X35 led). CIMIC contribution to OPP will be briefly explained below. CIMIC functional planning guide (CFPG) can be referred to for detailed information.

Initial situational awareness (Phase 1)

From a CIMIC perspective this phase is dedicated to forming a common understanding of the linkages in the civil environment. Due to sensitivities, planning efforts are classified. Direct liaison authority (DIRLAUTH) is unlikely at this stage so there will be little external engagement. The CIMIC estimate may start by J/X9 in this phase. CIMIC would identify non-military actors and determine their role and their relations, especially IO/GO/NGOs and the host nation (HN) civil emergency structures. The CIMIC planner can start to work on the actors diagram and has to determine what CIMIC-related aspects will impact on possible engagement and initial deductions. Coordination between X2/X9 is necessary at all levels. Analysis should also include (where possible and where applicable) a study of HN resiliency status.

CIMIC contribution in Phase 1.

  • Open source information gathering.
  • Start of the SWOT analysis (Identify civil strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats).
  • Actors diagram (Identify non-military actors and determine their role and their relations) in the AOI.
  • Start of the request for information (RFI) process.
  • Start comprehensive understanding of the operational environment (CUOE) if initiated.
  • Start of the CIMIC estimate (use TOPFAS23, if possible, as a situational awareness tool).

Appreciation of the environment (Phase 2)

Phases 1 and 2 of the OPP are focused on the same central idea – to create shared understanding about the operating environment at both tactical and operational level. In fact, the only significant difference between the two phases is the level of detailed analysis. Phase 1 is focused on scanning the horizon for potential crises; and once directed by the commander, initiating the CUOE. Phase 2 is a more detailed analysis of the crisis, resulting in advice to the higher level and providing them with the developed CUOE. Regionally-focused and already deployed HQs (MNC-NE, MND-SE, NFIUs etc.) possess unique regional situational awareness which can be used during the OPP. Therefore, RFI process continues. The CUOE phase starts with the receipt of the warning order from the higher HQ (strategic warning order for the operational level; operational warning order for the tactical level), which will be followed by the activation of the operations planning group (OPG) at every level. Once an OPG is activated, it is usually composed of three teams. CIMIC plans has to support all three teams :blue (friendly forces), red (adversary forces) and green (others). CIMIC work at this phase is captured below:

  • Liaise with organizations and agencies as far as authorized (DIRLAUTH).
  • Contribute to the operational liaison and reconnaissance team (OLRT) if deployed.
  • NFIU - RFIs / OLRT- RFIs.
  • Contribute to CUOE / support the analysis of the PMESII & TE domains. 
  • Update the CIMIC estimate, SWOT analysis, actors diagram.
  • Contribute to the liaison and engagement matrix (led by SHAPE J9).
  • Participate in blue, red and green planning teams.
  • CIMIC contribution to the CUOE (C3OE) briefing to the OPG.
  • Analyse (tactical level) and contribute (operational level) to SACEUR’s strategic assessment.
  • Disseminate (operational level) and contribute (tactical level) to SACEUR military response options (MROs)
  • Start compilation of data for CIMIC sites of significance, key non-military actors and crisis emergency planning (CEP24) structures and procedures.
  • Contribute to CIMIC relevant commander's critical information requirements (CCIRs).

It should be noted that CUOE is cross-functional, drawing engagement from the most appropriate subject-matter experts (SME) across the whole HQ and external augmentation as required IOT provide a holistic view of all possible PMESII & TE elements in combination with the ASCOPE analysis matrix. At this phase, X9 staff members, in addition to X2, should actively engage with other members across the whole HQ and contribute to their processes in activities such as intelligence preparation of the battle space (IPB), targeting, non-lethal effects and other relevant activities.

Operational/ tactical estimate (Phase 3)

The focus of Phase 3 is to understand the challenges, the operating environment, and the mission through detailed staff analysis. It is essential that the CIMIC planner understands CIMIC as a joint function, which can influence the whole planning process and should be considered as integral part of collaborative planning.

Phase 3 is divided into two different steps:

  1. Phase 3a - Mission analysis (looking for the ‘what’).
  2. Phase 3b – Course of action (COA) development (looking for the ‘how’).

Phase 3a - Mission analysis determines the operational / tactical problem that must be solved, the specific operational / tactical conditions to be created and the key operational factors. Mission analysis for the CIMIC planner consists of an in-depth analysis of the civil environment to determine the problem to be solved (the “what”) and the conditions that must be established.

The C3OE is completed before starting this phase, and a factor analysis25 (Factor/Deduction/Conclusion) summary sheet has to be developed as integral part of the CIMIC estimate (Link to CFPG Annex B and F for a sample factor analysis).

The main CIMIC products of Phase 3a are the contribution to the mission analysis and the development of a draft CIMIC concept26. A CIMIC concept depicts how CIMIC is going to be employed in the theatre and support the mission. CIMIC work at this sub-phase is captured below:

  • Factor analysis (key in the mission analysis).
  • Contribute to the development of the liaison matrix.
  • Provide input into operations design and centre of gravity (COG27) analysis.
  • Complete CIMIC sites of significance.
  • Determine NATO and HN CIMIC forces available and CIMIC C2 structure.
  • CICOM28 (if relevant) at all levels.
  • Identify gaps in civil capacities/capabilities with impact in own operations.
  • Update the CIMIC estimate (to be continued until Phase 4b).
  • Start drafting the CIMIC concept.
  • Prepare the CIMIC contributions to the mission analysis briefing (MAB29).
  • Receive/ disseminate (operational level) strategic planning directive (SPD), coordinate and contribute to operational planning directive (OPD) and component planning guidance (CPG30).

This sub phase ends with the mission analysis briefing (MAB). The key product from the MAB are the operational planning guidance (OPG) at joint level and component planning guidance (CPG) at component level to guide the main subordinate units. The CIMIC planners have to contribute to the OPG and CPG at each level in order to guide the further development/ update of the CIMIC estimate in support of the following stages of the planning process.

Phase 3b COA development is aimed at selecting how to best carry out operations in accordance with the Commander's intent. It includes a review of the commander's planning guidance, the development of the courses of action (COAs) and contributes to the combined joint statement of requirements (CJSOR). The own (blue) COAs will be tested against the adversary (red) COAs during war gaming in order to refine them. X9 participates in the war gaming in green team portraying the actions of non-military actors and their impact on the operation as well as the implications of military (own and adversary) operation on civilian activities and population.

  • Update the CIMIC estimate, and the liaison and engagement matrix.
  • Provide input to both blue and red COAs.
  • CICOM at all levels to coordinate the CIMIC Concept for each COA.
  • Analyze effects of non-military actors.
  • Participate in the war gaming on the green team.
  • CIMIC contribution to MoE-MoPs.
  • Contribute with CIMIC relevant input to CJSOR.
  • Contribute to operational/ component planning directive.
  • Start drafting the Appendixes 2 (CIMIC Structure) and 5 (Reports and Returns) to the Annex W of the OPLAN.

At the end of this phase, the whole CIMIC staff must have a clear understanding of the CIMIC capabilities required to support the selected COA, staff augmentation requirements, the CIMIC concept and the supporting C2 arrangement. For the COA decision brief, CIMIC planner has to create a CIMIC concept for each blue COA (a single CIMIC concept can support all the blue COAs, but can also differ pending on the presented blue COAs).

OPLAN Development (Phase 4)

The purpose of this phase is to transfer the ideas, expressed in the chosen and refined COA into a written OPLAN. OPLAN development is split into two distinct parts:

  1. Phase 4a - Concept of operations (CONOPS) development.
  2. Phase 4b - Operation plan (OPLAN)/ operation order (OPORD) development.

Phase 4a - CONOPS development begins following the revision of the commander’s selected COA (during COA decision brief), the operational/ tactical design, the provisional component mission, and the corresponding objectives. The CIMIC involvement during this sub-phase will be:

  • Update the CIMIC estimate.
  • Ensure relevant cross cutting topics31 are considered.
  • CICOM at all levels.
  • Ensure CIMIC relevant information is integrated in the main body of the CONOPS*.
  • Contribute to the key annexes to the CONOPS*.
  • Continue the development of the appendices to annex W to the OPLAN (to include, but not limited to, appendices 3 ‘Key civil organizations’ and 4 ‘CIMIC sites of significance’).

Phase 4b – The purpose of OPLAN development phase is to implement the CONOPS and to determine the conduct of operations. In the OPLAN development CIMIC involvement will be:

  • CIMIC contribution to the OPLAN main body and annexes.
  • Finalized ANNEX W and its appendixes32.
  • CICOM at all levels.

This phase ends with the signed OPLAN as the responsibility for the further planning is now transferred from X5 to X3.

Execution (Phase 5)

This Phase starts after the promulgation of NAC execution directive (NED) and the receipt of the activation order (ACTORD). The purpose of this phase is the execution of the approved OPLAN. It requires interaction with other military and non-military actors to conduct integrated, coordinated and synchronized activities. CIMIC will contribute to this phase by providing the commander with periodic and specific CIMIC assessments.

Phase 5 could have many sub-phases. The NATO planning cycle of PLAN (X5), refine (X35), execute (X3) and assess (operational analysis branch) firmly kicks in. The CIMIC plan will be refined and then given to the X3 shop. The CIMIC planners will likely remain with the OPG and look at subsequent operations and ultimately the transition.

Transition (Phase 6)

The purpose of this phase is to review, develop and coordinate a tailored OPLAN or SUPPLAN for transition, including the handover of responsibility to the HN, or international organizations, or a follow-on force. The planning for disengagement of NATO forces must be initiated well in advance and may involve a large number of non-NATO actors. Continuous liaison and coordination between Alliance HQs on all levels, the HN, and civil organizations and agencies is essential.

The CIMIC involvement during this phase will be:

  • To participate in the planning process and procedures for the handover of responsibilities.
  • To facilitate the interaction with other international or national actors in developing a transition OPLAN or SUPPLAN.

Integrated planning with non-military actors

When civilians and military forces interact, there has to be coordination within the limits of what is suitable, feasible and acceptable for each. Whether the relationship will be one of cooperation or coexistence, coordination must take place.

The core lesson from CMI in events, ranging from humanitarian assistance (HA)/ disaster relief (DR) to open hostilities, is that each has its own unique requirements in an often complex environment.

During hostilities, the interaction between civilian and military participants will normally be much more restricted and circumspect than during a natural disaster and emergency response.

At one end of the spectrum is ‘cooperation’, whereby during HA/DR operations the civil-military goals closely align and share information relatively freely, and association is not limited. On the other end of the spectrum, ‘coexistence’ represents a more complex environment where the military is engaged in hostilities that limit civil-military information sharing and association. Military planners should note that the willingness of aid agencies to engage with the military along the coordination spectrum will depend not only on the conflictual nature of the operating environment but also on the culture of each agency.

Identification of civilian-military information sharing and planning (CMIS) information allows the planners to identify likely sources amongst the civilian entities to approach requesting access to the information, but also initiates the process of identifying unclassified sources, or information likely to require declassification, when requested by the civilian entities.

  • 22

    CIMIC Estimate:  It is the principal CIMIC planning output in support of planning and will form the base of Annex W. This is a living document aiming to assemble as much raw data as possible that should be updated throughout the whole planning process. (For further information see CFPG).

  • 23

    TOPFAS (tool for operational planning functional area service), and this is the data and planning support tool for operational planning. The objective of TOPFAS is to provide operations planners with software tools to support their operations planning and assessment activities. This tool will provide the capabilities required to support the preparation and evaluation of planning products and to conduct concurrent collaborative and distributed operations planning by multiple headquarters and staffs from different functional areas. TOPFAS enhance information sharing; improve the availability, quality and timeliness of information exchange; and achieve a common situational awareness and a better planning synergy and synchronization.

  • 24

    CEP Analysis: Resilience status and capability gaps of HN, critical infrastructure, and cultural property

  • 25

    For further informations see CFPG Annex B and F for a sample factor analysis

  • 26

    CIMIC concept is under construction.

  • 27

    CIMIC Contribution to the centre of gravity (CoG): CIMIC analysis and work on a centre of gravity-analysis is naturally mainly on non-military actors. At the tactical level, COG tend to be host nation and civilian specific capabilities at specific points that provide freedom of action and the means for achieving tactical objectives (something physical and tangible).

  • 28

    CIMIC Coordination Meeting (CICOM):  The CICOM is a X9 led multilateral forum the ultimate aim of which is to ensure a comprehensive Civil-military approach to support the achievement of the military objective. CICOM enables coordination among the CIMIC community to share and update information, task distribution and de-confliction. It could be held at the joint level with the participation of relevant divisions and components or held at the component level with the participation of relevant divisions and main tactical subordinate units.

  • 29

    Mission analysis briefing (MAB): Mission analysis determines the tactical problem that must be solved, the specific tactical conditions to be created and the tactical key factors. Mission analysis for CIMIC planner consists of an in-depth analysis of the civil environment to determine the problem to be solved (the “what”) and the conditions that must be established. Phase 3a ends with the mission analysis briefing (MAB) and the key product of MAB is the commander’s planning guidance (CPG). The CPG will guide further planning of the staff as well as initiate and orientate planning by the main subordinate units.

  • 30

    Refer to CFPG for further detail.

  • 31

    Cross cutting topics: Approved cross cutting topics such as protection of civilians (PoC), children and armed conflicts (CAAC), women, peace and security, cultural property protection (CPP), and building integrity (BI)) were given to the CIMIC division/ branches. Therefore, the different (CIMIC) SOs in lead for the respective WGs have to make sure that all CCT relevant information for the operational/ tactical CONOPS is covered on the same way as described for CIMIC and produce (if needed) an appropriate Annex W. 
    For further informations see chapter 8.2

  • 32

    For further informations see CFPG Annex C for CIMIC Input to an OPLAN.