Infantry Drills

A-108: Course of Action Development

Previous: A-106: Identify Tentative Decisive Points

A-108. From developing a strategy to analyzing, refining, and rehearsing the plan, a leader should be knowledgeable in the following areas detailed under this subheading to construct a solid COA. The purpose of COA development is to determine one or more ways to accomplish the mission consistent with the immediate higher commander’s intent. A COA describes how the unit might generate the effects of overwhelming combat power against the enemy at the decisive point with the least friendly casualties. Each COA the leader develops must be detailed enough to clearly describe how he envisions using all of his assets and combat multipliers to achieve the unit’s mission-essential task and purpose.

A-109. To develop a COA, he focuses on the actions the unit must take at the decisive point and works backward to his start point. The leader should focus his efforts to develop at least one well-synchronized COA; if time permits, he should develop several. The result of the COA development process is paragraph 3 of the OPORD. A COA should position the unit for future operations and provide flexibility to meet unforeseen events during execution. It also should give subordinates the maximum latitude for initiative.

Next: A-110: Screening Criteria

Go Back To: U.S. Army FM 3-21.8: The Infantry Rifle Platoon and Squad