Platoon Operations Order
Field Manuals
a. FM 3-0
b. FM 1-02
Operational terms and Graphics
c. FM 5-0
Army Planning and Orders Production
d. FM 3-21.8
The Infantry Platoon and Squad
Combat Orders
a. Capture the commander’s battlefield visualization, intent, and decisions.
b. Focus on an end state operation (what the commander expects to achieve).
c. Subordinate leaders must know
i. How to interpret
ii. Extract relevant information
iii. Communicate plans to implement action to support mission accomplishment
Definition of an order
a. A written or an oral communication directing action
b. Orders are based on
i. Plans or receipt of mission
Categories of Orders
a. Administrative order
i. Covers normal administrative operations in garrison or in the field.
1. General, specific, and memorandum orders
2. Court-martial orders
3. Bulletins, circulars, and other memoranda
b. Combat order
i. Means by which the Platoon leader receives and transmits information from the
earliest notification that an operation will occur through the final steps of
ii. Critical to mission success
Types of Orders
a. Warning Order
i. Preliminary notice of actions or orders that are to follow
ii. Gives subordinates maximum time to prepare
iii. Usually issued upon restatement of mission statement
iv. Amount of detail depends on information and time available
b. Operation Order
i. Directives a commander issues to subordinate commanders to coordinate the
execution of an operation.
ii. Always specify an execution time and date.
iii. Five paragraphs
1. Situation
2. Mission
3. Execution
4. Sustainment (service and support)
5. Command and Signal
c. Fragmentary Order
i. Provides timely changes to existing orders to subordinate and supporting
ii. Provides notification to higher and adjacent commands
iii. Only addresses those parts of the original OPORD that have changed.
1. All five-paragraph headings are used.
2. After each heading, state either “no change” or the new information
a. This ensures the recipients know that have received that entire
iv. Can be either oral or written
d. Service and Support Order
i. Directs service and support of operations
1. Includes administrative movements
ii. Can be issued either with an OPORD or separately when the commander
expects the CSS situation to apply to more than one operation plan or order.
e. Movement Order
i. A stand-alone order that facilitates an uncommitted unit’s movement.
ii. Normally occur in the communication zone
iii. Typically administrative
1. Troops and vehicles are arranged to expedite their movement when no
interference is expected except by air.
Troop Leader Procedures
a. Make a tentative plan is based on Estimate of the Situation
i. Estimate of the Situation
1. Mission analysis
2. Analyze the situation develop courses of action
i. Mission, Enemy, Terrain (Weather) – Ocoka, Troops,
Time, and Civilian considerations
3. Compare courses of action
4. Analyze COA
5. Decision
b. Reconnaissance is conducted based on the tentative plan.
c. Information discovered during the reconnaissance is plugged into METT-TC and Estimate
the Situation.
i. Can cause a change in plan or mission
Task Organization of the Operations Order
a. Annex “F” of FM 5-0 describes two formats
i. Outlined format
1. Lists all units under the headquarters to which they are allocated or
they support.
ii. Matrix format
1. Displays in terms of unit type and relationship to subordinate
2. Advantages
a. Displays and command and support relationships for
subordinate units and the force as a whole.
b. Conserves time and eliminates redundancy by not listing
organic units of a parent organization.
c. Show organization for combat of combat support and combat
service support elements.
a. Enemy Forces ( Annex B, intelligence)
i. Disposition
ii. Composition
iii. Most likely Course of Action
b. Friendly Forces
i. List mission
ii. Commander’s intent
iii. Concept of operation for HQ one and two levels up
iv. Subparagraphs mission of flank units and other units having an effect on issue
1. Left and right units
Course of Action (A step in -Estimate of the Situation- which is utilized form a tentative plan)
a. COAs should be developed when time allows and after receiving
i. Restated mission
ii. Commander’s intent
iii. Commander’s planning and guidance
b. COAs should meet the following criteria
i. Feasible
1. Accomplish the mission within available time, space, and resources
ii. Acceptable
1. Tactical and operational advantage gained must justify the cost in
iii. Suitable
1. Accomplish the mission and comply with the commander’s planning and
iv. Distinguishable
1. Differ significantly from others
v. Complete
1. Must show how to
a. Decisive op accomplishes the mission
b. Shaping ops create and preserve conditions for success or
decisive operations
c. Sustaining ops enable shaping and decisive ops
Mission Statement
a. Platoon leader uses mission statement to summarize the upcoming mission
b. Written based on 5 Ws
i. Who – unit
ii. What – task (measurable)
1. Tactical task – specific activities performed by the unit while it is
conducting a form of tactical operation or a choice maneuver.
a. Examples
i. Retain – Ensures a terrain feature controlled by friendly
force remains free of enemy occupation.
ii. Secure – Preventing a unit, facility, or geographical
location from being damaged or destroyed as a result of
enemy action.
iii. Seize – tactical mission task involves taking possession
of a designated area using overwhelming force.
iv. Support-by-fire – a maneuver force moves to a position
where it can engage the enemy by direct fire in support
of another maneuvering force.
iii. When – date-time group
iv. Where – grid location or geographical reference for the AO or objective
v. Why – purpose
c. The platoon leader must ensure that the mission is understood one and two echelons
a. Commander’s intent
i. Purpose and End State
b. Concept of operation (Annex C, Operations Overlay)
i. Maneuver (phases may be used to logically break mission)
ii. Fires ( Annex F)
1. Priority of fires
2. Employment authority
iii. Counter Air Ops (Annex G, Air Defense )
iv. Intelligence
v. Others as needed
c. Tasks to maneuver units
i. Fire Support
1. Air support
2. Chemical Support
3. Field Artillery support
4. Fire support coordinating measures
ii. Engineer Support
iii. Military Police
iv. Chemical
d. Tasks to combat support units
e. Coordinating instructions
i. Commander’s Critical Information Requirements (CCIR)
1. Essential elements of friendly information
2. Friendly force information requirements
3. Priority intelligence requirements
Service & Support
a. Support concept
b. Materials and services
c. Medivac Plan
d. Personnel
e. Civil Military
f. As required
Command and Signal
a. Command
i. Location of commands posts
ii. Succession of command
b. Signal
i. SOI index in effect (frequencies, call signs).
ii. Method of communication by priority (usually FM and then runner)
iii. Pyrotechnics and signals, to include arm and hand signals (go over all important
signals like lift/shift fire, assault onto the OBJ, withdraw from OBJ, etc.)
iv. Codewords (like red, white, and blue in the example in paragraph 3)
v. Challenge and password (behind friendly lines)
vi. Number combination (forward of friendly lines)
vii. Running password.
viii. Recognition signals (near/far, day/night).
ix. Special instructions for RTOs.
Army Organization
Preamble to the Constitution
a. We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish
Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the
general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do
ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.
Continental Congress
a. Created national Army on June 14, 1775
b. The congress under the Articles of Confederation provided the first roles and missions
for the militia.
i. Articles of Confederation
1. Made clear the intent to rely primarily on a militia to “provide for the
common defense.”
2. Did not envision a requirement to establish a permanent standing army.
a. The legal basis and framework for a military establishment
charged with the “common defense” were set forth in
subsequent sections of the Constitution after the Revolutionary
1787 – Constitution
a. Established civilian control over armed forces
b. Congress
i. Exclusive power to raise and support armies (and provide for a Navy)
ii. To declare war
iii. To make rules concerning captures on land and water
c. The President (Commander-in-Chief – stated in Article II Section 2)
i. Authority to make treaties
ii. Appoint federal officers to the armed forces
d. Civilian officials in both the legislative and executive branches of the federal
i. Constitutionally responsible for providing for the nation’s defense (common
defense) through the armed forces of the United States.
National Security Act of 1947
a. Prior to 1947
i. The Constitution recognized the need for armed forces to protect the nation
ii. The Constitution did not establish a system or define how the nation is to be
iii. The only military departments were the Department of War and the
Department of the Navy.
b. The National Security Act of 1947 established the current structure for national defense
c. The purpose was to promote unity coordination in the armed services
d. Established
National Security Council (NSC)
The Department of the Air Force
The National Military Establishment (NME)
The Secretary of National Defense (co-equal with secretaries of Army, Navy, and
Air Force).
v. The organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (OJCS)
vi. Other organizations related to national security (including CIA)
e. Amendments to National Security Act of 1947
i. 1949 created the position of the “Secretary of Defense”
1. Head of Department of Defense (DOD)
2. SECDEF is Principal assistant to the President in all matters pertaining to
the (DOD)
3. SECDEF is positioned between the President and the war fighting
commanders in the operational chain of command.
4. Department of Defense includes
a. Department of the Army (formerly Dept. of War)
b. Department of the Navy (includes Marine Corps)
c. Department of Air Force
ii. National Command Authorities (NCA)
1. The President and Secretary of Defense
2. Only the NCA not uniformed military officers may direct military action
or military deployments.
f. Historic Basis for Army Rules and Function – reflects the evolution of the roles and
missions of the Army as the Nation’s historical distrust of a standing army was balanced
against the need to defend the republic and support expansion.
i. 1775 – Articles of Confederation
1. Established principal of “provide for common defense”
ii. 1784 – Resolution to Articles of Confederation
1. Protec the Northwestern frontiers; guard stores
iii. 1787 – Constitution
1. Ensure domestic tranquility
2. Provide for the common defense
3. Article I, Section 8: The militia would be used for
a. Execution of law
b. Suppression of insurrection
c. Repelling of invasion
iv. 1789 – Authority delegated to the President
1. Call Militia into federal service (to protect frontier inhabitants)
v. 1824 – Nation building functions
1. Basis for Army Corps of Engineers
2. Harbor development
3. Improvement of river navigation
4. Exploration
vi. 1862 – Military government function
1. War Department General Order 100 to provide military government of
occupied territories.
2. Basis of civil affairs function.
vii. 1930 – Supervision of civil works projects
1. Organization and command of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)
Roles, Functions, and Missions
a. Historic progression of roles
i. Began to get complicated when Army and Navy discovered the usefulness of air
power. By WWII, both the Navy and Army had significant aviation elements.
The Army had the Army Air Corps and the Navy had carrier-based aviation.
ii. In 1958, services retained roles as established by law, but missions were
assigned on a geographical or functional basis to field commanders.
iii. In 1987, Congress established the new combatant command the US Special
Operations Command (USSOCOM) – assumed role similar to other services.
b. Roles ( Congress assigns ) – board enduring purposes for which the military services
were established by law.
i. Army
1. Organize, train, and equip forces for prompt and sustained combat
incident to operations on land.
ii. Navy
1. Organize, train, and equip forces for prompt and sustained combat
incident to operations on and from the sea.
iii. Marine Corps
1. Organize, train, and equip forces for service with the fleet in the seizure
or defense of advanced naval bases, and the conduct of such land
operations as may be essential to the prosecution of a naval campaign.
iv. Air Force
1. Organize, train, and equip forces for prompt and sustained offensive
and defensive air operations.
v. Special Operations Command
1. Organize, train, and equip forces for special operations activities or
missions involving special operations forces from all the services.
c. Functions – Specific responsibilities assigned by the President and Secretary of Defense
to enable the services to fulfill their legally established roles.
d. Missions- Specific tasks assigned by the President or Secretary of Defense to combatant
commanders in chief (CINCs).
e. The services supply the forces to the Combatant Commanders in Chief (CINCs) who in
turn, direct and employ the forces in war operations or operations other than war.
National Command Structure
a. 9 Unified Joint Commands
i. U.S. Pacific
ii. U.S. European
iii. U.S. Atlantic
iv. U.S. Southern
v. U.S. Central
vi. U.S. Space
vii. U.S. Special Operations
viii. U.S. Strategic
ix. U.S. Transportation
b. Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff is not in the chain of command.
c. Functions of the Department of Defense
i. Support and Defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies,
foreign and domestic
ii. Ensure, by timely and effective military action, the security of the United States
of America, its possessions, and areas vital to its interests.
iii. Uphold and advance the national policies and interests of the United States
d. Functions of Department of the Army
i. Organize, train, and equip forces for the conduct of prompt sustained combat
operations on land-specifically. Forces to defeat land forces and to seize,
occupy, and defend land areas.
ii. Develop airborne doctrine common to Army and Marines
iii. Support and conduct special operations and psychological operations
iv. Furnish forces for the occupation of territories abroad
v. Conduct authorized civil works
vi. Train forces to interdict enemy sea and air power and communications through
operations on land
The Army Staff
a. Chief of Staff Army – the executive component of the Army
i. Vision: The world’s best Army – a full spectrum force – trained and ready for
1. Values based organization
2. Integral part of Joint team
3. Modern Weapons and equipment
4. Responds to nation’s needs
5. Changing to meet the challenges of today, tomorrow, and the 21st
b. Vice Chief of Staff – Director of the Army Staff
c. Four primary staffs to chief of staff
i. Deputy Chief of Staff Personnel (G1)
1. Man the total Army with quality people, provide and maintain a
properly trained and motivated individual for each task.
2. Key functions – Sustain, distribute, separate, train, acquire, structure
ii. Deputy Chief of Staff Intelligence (G2)
1. Policy formation, planning, programming, budgeting, management, staff
supervision, evaluation, and oversight for intelligence activities of the
Department of the Army.
2. Includes censorship, threat validation, security, meteorological
activities, topographical activities.
iii. Deputy Chief of Staff Operations and Planning (G3)
1. Advise the Chief of Staff Army (CSA) on Army strategy, political aspects
of international affairs, Army position on joint matters, force integration
and force development, mobilization and planning, training, and arms
control policy.
2. Represent CSA as Army Operations Deputy to Joint Chief of Staff
3. Includes mobilization, readiness reporting, leader development, foreign
area officer program.
iv. Deputy Chief of Staff Logistics (G4)
1. Policy formation, planning, programming, budgeting, management, staff
supervision, evaluation, oversight, and information system support for
logistics activities of the Department of the Army
2. Key functions
a. Supply, Maintenance, Readiness
b. Material & integrated logistics support
c. Troop Support & Energy
d. Transportation and Mobility
d. Six special staffs to chief officer
i. Chief of Engineers
ii. Chief of Chaplains
iii. Chief National Guard Bureau
iv. Chief Army Reserve
v. Chief Army Surgeon General
vi. Judge Advocate General
e. Asst. Chief of Staff of Installation Management
Total Army today
a. 4 Corps, 18 Divisions, 15 Enhanced Brigades
b. The Army’s size has decreased from 28 divisions in 1989 to 18 divisions in 1997
c. Twelve Major Commands (CONUS)
i. Forces Command
ii. Training and Doctrine Command
iii. Army Material Command
iv. Information Systems Command
v. Corps of Engineers
vi. Military Traffic Management Command
vii. Special Operations Command
viii. Criminal Investigations Command
ix. Medical Command
x. Intelligence and Security Command
xi. Military District of Washington
xii. Space & Strategic Defense Command
d. Four Major Army Overseas Commands – consist primarily of major forces assigned as
the ground force components of the United States unified commands. These
components are under the operational control of the Commanders in Chief of the
unified commands who report to the Secretary of Defense
i. US Army Europe (USAREUR) – European Command
ii. US Army Pacific (USARPAC) – US Pacific Command
iii. Eighth US Army(EUSA) –US Forces Korea (sub-unified command of U.S. Pacific
iv. US Army, South (USARSO) – US Southern Command
e. Other key component commands
i. Third US Army (USARCENT) – US Central Command
ii. US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) – US Atlantic Command
1. HQ Fort McPherson, GA (no permanently assigned forces)
Types of Forces
a. Airborne
b. Air Assault
c. Light Infantry
d. Armor
e. Special Ops
i. Special Forces, Army Rangers, Psychological Operations, Civil Affairs, Special
Three Major Army Commands
a. Combat Arms (Infantry, Armor, Artillery)
b. Combat Support (Engineering, Signal, Chemical)
c. Combat Service Support (Medical, Transportation, Maintenance)
Active Component (AC)
a. Provides a variety of capabilities with which to tailor a rapidly deployable crisis response
Reserve Component (RC)
a. Provides essential capabilities not found in AC. Increasingly important role in
peacekeeping, humanitarian work, and civil assistance operations, while continuing to
respond to domestic emergencies.
b. Organization
i. Ready Reserve – Army National Guard, Army Reserve Units, Individual
Mobilization Augmentees, Active Guard/Reservists, Individual Ready Reserve,
and member of Inactive National Guard.
ii. Standby Reserve – Individuals who have completed active duty and reserve
training requirements, or are unable to maintain membership in units.
iii. Retired Reserve- Individuals who have completed 20 years of qualifying service
for retirement.
Army National Guard
a. Lineage traced to militias formed during the French and Indian Wars in 1700s
b. Provides primarily Combat and Combat Support unit reinforcements as well as some
combat service support for active Army.
c. Provides combat reinforcement capability with 15 enhanced readiness brigades, trained
and equipped to reinforce deployed AC forces within 90 days.
d. Two roles
i. Allegiance to the State Governor (State Mission)
ii. Allegiance to the President (Federal Mission)
Army Reserve
a. Formed in 1908
b. After WWI the National Defense Act of 1920 established the Organized Reserve Corps.
c. The Army Reserve is not under state control
d. Provides the bulk of combat support and combat service support for the Total Army.
Staff Organization
a. FM 3-0 – Army Operations
b. FM 1-02 Operational Terms and Graphics
c. FM 5-0 Army Planning and Orders Production
d. FM 3-21.20 The Infantry Battalion
Command – the authoritative act of making decisions and ordering action
Control – the act of monitoring and influencing the action
Staff Organization and Responsibilities
a. The activities of the staff focus on the function of assisting the Commander in making
b. The Staff supports the commander by
i. Coordinating plans, activities, and operations
ii. Advising the Commander in professional, technical or functional areas
iii. Continuously collecting, collating, analyzing, and disseminating information
gathered from all available resources.
iv. Preparing plans and orders and supervising the execution of orders issued by, or
in the name of, the Commander.
v. Provides the Commander (and subordinate Commanders) with “Situational
c. Staff Officer common duties and responsibilities
i. Advise and provide information
ii. Prepare, update, and maintain estimates
iii. Make recommendations
iv. Prepare plans and orders
v. Monitor Execution
vi. Process, analyze and disseminate information
vii. ID and analyze problems
viii. Preform risk management
The Battalion Staff
a. Coordinating Staff – aid the Commander by coordinating the plans, activities, and
operations of the command (Responsible directly to the BN XO).
i. Battalion XO
1. Is 2nd in Command
2. XO coordinates and synchronizes the staff
3. During combat the XO synchronizes Battlefield Operating Systems (BOS)
and anticipates problems.
4. Supervises Combat Service Support
ii. S1 – Personnel (Adjutant)
1. Responsible for all personnel matters
2. Supervises medical, legal, safety, and civil affairs
3. Operates from the Combat Trains Command Post (CTCP)
a. Shares supervision of logistics with the S4
iii. S2 – Intelligence
1. Responsible for intelligence collection and dissemination
2. Performs Intelligent Preparation of the Battlefield (IPB) with the
3. Normally operates from the main Command Post (CP).
iv. S3 – Operations and Training Officer
1. Commander’s primary assistant in coordinating and planning the battle.
2. Coordinates, plans for, and integrates all Battlefield Operating Systems
(BOS) assets.
3. Prepares operations estimates and orders
v. S4 – Logistics Officer
1. Determines Combat Service Support (CSS) requirements and priorities
2. Develops Combat Service Support plans in concert with the tactical plan
3. Officer in Charge (OIC) of the Battalion Combat Trains
4. Primary coordinator for logistical staff
vi. S6 – Signal Officer
1. Advises the commander and staff on all communication matters
including communication maintenance and Electronic Warfare (EW).
2. Assists S3 in determining locations for Command Posts.
3. Prepares, writes the signal annex of the OPORD.
vii. (S5) – Civil Military Operations Officer
b. Special Staff – Aids the Commander in professional, technical, or other functional areas.
i. Headquarter Company (HHC) Commander
ii. Fire Support Officer (FSO)
iii. Chemical Officer
iv. Recon Platoon Leader
v. Mortar Platoon Leader
vi. Anti-Armor Platoon Leader
vii. Engineer
viii. Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Platoon Leader
ix. Surgeon
x. Support Platoon Leader
xi. Medical Platoon Leader
xii. Forward Air Controller (FAC) / Air Liaison Officer (ALO)
xiii. Commander of any Combat Support (CS) or Combat Service Support (CSS) unit
that is attached, under operational control (OPCON), or that provides direct
support to the battalion.
c. Personal Staff
i. Command Sergeant Major (CSM)
ii. Chaplain
Operational Terms and Graphics
FM 1-02 covers Operational Terms and Graphics
Graphics information describes: who, where, what and how.
a. When done properly, graphic overlays are stand-alone.
Blue / (Cyan computer generated)
Friendly Graphic Control Measures
A unit symbol (who) is composed of
a. Frame
i. Basic symbol frames
b. Color
c. Icon, branch, or functional symbols
d. Text of other graphic modifiers
Location (Where)
a. A headquarter unit has the location extension drawn on the bottom left side of the
frame. A normal unit has the location extension drawn on the center of the frame.
b. A unit with no location extension positions the frame center mass on the location.
c. Unit locations can also be grouped within a bracket or joined via the location line to
show a common location for all indicated units.
Weapons and Obstacles (What)VV
Control Measures, Boundaries, Lines, Areas, Routes, Fire Planning, and other actions (HOW)
a. Control Measures (Points)
i. Directives given graphically or orally by the Commander to subordinates
commands to assign responsibilities, coordinate fires and maneuver, and
control combat operations.
ii. In general all control measures should be easily identified from the ground.
b. Boundaries
i. A line that delineates surface areas for the purpose of facilitating coordination
and to resolve confliction of operations between adjacent units, formations, or
ii. The following example shows boundaries separating 1st and 2nd PLT, A and B
Company, and 1-11th Battalion and 2-502nd Battalion respectively.
c. Lines
i. Forward Line of Own Troops (FLOT) – Indicates the most forward positions of
friendly troops at a specific time. Indicated by line that makes contiguous sideways humps. Top of the humps face the enemy.
Phase Line (PL)- A line used for control & coordination of military operations,
usually an easily defined feature in the operational area.
Limit of Advance (LOA) – A phase line used to control forward progress of the
attack. The limit of advance for 6th Infantry Division (Light), 7th Infantry
Division, and 10th Mountain Division is phase line Glass.
Line of Contact (LC) - A general trace delineating the locations where friendly
and enemy forces are engaged. Phase line Tin is the line of contact for 101st
Air Assault Division, 2nd MAR Division, and 2nd Armor Division.
Line of Departure (LD) – A line designated to coordinate the departure of
attack elements. Phase line paper is the Line of Departure for 3rd Armor
Division, 1st Cavalry Division, and 82nd Airborne Division.
Probable Line of Deployment (PLD) - Phase line that a CDR designates as the
location where he intends to completely deploy his unit into assault formation
before he begins the assault. Indicated by a dotted line. Phase line lead is
the probable line of deployment for 1st Armor Division, 9th Infantry Division,
and 5th Infantry Division Mechanized.