Infantry Drills

A-132: Step 7 – Issue Operations Order

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A-132. The OPORD precisely and concisely explains both the leader’s intent and
concept of how he envisions the unit accomplishing the mission. The order does not contain unnecessary information. The OPORD is delivered quickly and in a manner allowing subordinates to concentrate on understanding the leader’s vision and not just copying what he says verbatim. The leader must prepare adequately and deliver the OPORD confidently and quickly to build and sustain confidence in his subordinates.

A-133. When issuing the OPORD, the leader must ensure his subordinates understand and share his vision of what must be done and when and how it must be done. They must understand how all the platoon elements work together to accomplish the mission. They also must understand how the platoon mission supports the intentions of the immediate higher commander. When the leader has finished issuing the order, subordinate leaders should leave with a clear understanding of what the leader expects their elements to do. The leader is responsible for ensuring his subordinates understand.

A-134. In many respects more importantly, the leader must issue the order in a manner instilling subordinates with confidence in the plan and a commitment to do their best to achieve the plan. Whenever possible, he must issue the order in person. He looks into the eyes of his subordinate leaders to ensure each one understands the mission and what the element must achieve.

A-135. Complete the order with a confirmation brief. At a minimum, each subordinate leader should be able to back brief the unit mission and intent, the immediate higher commander’s intent, his own tasks and purpose, and time he will issue his unit’s OPORD. Each subordinate should confirm he understands the commander’s vision and how the mission is accomplished with respect to the decisive point. This confirmation brief provides an opportunity to highlight issues or concerns.

A-136. The five-paragraph OPORD format (see figure A-4, page A-34), helps the
leader paint a picture of all aspects of the operation, from the terrain to the enemy, and finally to the unit’s own actions from higher to lower. The format helps him decide what relevant details he must include and in providing subordinates with a smooth flow of information from beginning to end. At the same time, the leader must ensure the order is not only clear and complete but also as brief as possible. If he has already addressed an item adequately in a previous WARNORD, he can simply state “No change,” or provide necessary updates. The leader is free to brief the OPORD in the most effective manner to convey information to his subordinates.

Figure A-4. Operations order format

Next: A-137: Step 8 – Supervise and Refine

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