Infantry Drills

A-119: Prepare a Course of Action Statement and Sketch

Previous: A-118: Assign Responsibilities

A-119. Leaders in small units primarily use the COA statement and COA sketch to describe the concept of the operation. These two products are the basis for paragraph three of the OPORD. The COA statement specifies how the unit will accomplish the mission. The first three steps of COA development provide the bulk of the COA statement. The COA statement details how the unit’s operation supports the next higher leader’s operation, the decisive point and why it is decisive, the form of maneuver or type of defensive mission, and operational framework. The COA sketch is a drawing or series of drawings to assist the leader in describing how the operation will unfold. The sketch provides a picture of the maneuver aspects of the concept. Leaders use tactical mission task graphics and control measures (Refer to ADRP 1-02 for more information.) to convey the operation in a doctrinal context. Both the COA statement and sketch focus at the decisive point. The COA statement should identify—

  • Decisive point and what makes it decisive.
  • Form of maneuver or type of defensive mission.
  • Tasks and purposes of the decisive, shaping, and sustaining operations.
  • Reserve planning priorities.
  • Purposes of critical warfighting functions elements.
  • The end state.

A-120. The COA sketch should identify how the unit intends to focus the effects of overwhelming combat power at the decisive point. When integrated with terrain, the refined product becomes the unit’s operations overlay.

Next: A-121: Course of Action Analysis

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