Infantry Drills

A-114: Generate Options

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A-114. Most missions and tasks can be accomplished in more than one way. The goal of this step, generating options, is to determine one or more of those ways quickly. First, leaders consider TTP from doctrine, unit SOPs, history, or other resources to determine if a solution to a similar tactical problem exists already. If it does, the leader’s job is to take the existing solution and modify it to his unique situation. If a solution does not exist, the leader must develop one. Second, leaders confirm the mission’s decisive point. Then, using doctrinal requirements as a guide, the leader assigns purposes and tasks to decisive, and shaping, and sustaining operations.

A-115. This doctrinal requirement provides a framework for the leader to develop a COA. For example, a breach requires an assault element, support element, breach element, security element, and possibly a reserve. Beginning with the decisive point identified during mission analysis, the leader identifies the decisive operation’s purpose and purposes of his shaping and sustaining operations. The decisive operation’s purpose is nested to his unit’s overall purpose and is achieved at his decisive point. The shaping operation’s purposes are nested to the decisive operation’s purpose by setting the conditions for success of the decisive operation. The sustaining operation’s purposes are nested to the decisive and shaping operation’s purposes by providing sustainment, operational area security, movement control, terrain management, and infrastructure. The leader then determines the tactical mission tasks for the decisive, shaping, and sustaining operations. These tasks must be accomplished to achieve the subordinate unit’s purpose.

Next: A-116: Array Forces

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