1-10: Mission Variables

View the complete version here: www.amazon.com/dp/1533408491

Previous: 1-7: Threat

1-10. Mission variables describe characteristics of the area of operation, focusing on how they might affect a mission. Incorporating the analysis of the operational variables into METT–TC ensures Army leaders consider the best available relevant information about conditions that pertain to the mission. Using the operational variables as a source of relevant information for the mission variables allows commanders to refine their situational understanding of their operational environment and to visualize, describe, direct, lead and assess operations. The mission variables are —

  • Mission. Commanders and staffs view all of the mission variables in terms of their impact on mission accomplishment. The mission is the task, together with the purpose, that clearly indicates the action to be taken and the reason for the action. It is always the first variable commanders consider during decision-making. A mission statement contains the, who, what, when, where, and why of the operation.
  • Enemy. The second variable to consider is the enemy dispositions (including organization, strength, location, and tactical mobility), doctrine, equipment, capabilities, vulnerabilities, and probable courses of action.
  • Terrain and weather. Terrain and weather analysis are inseparable and directly influence each other’s impact on military operations. Terrain includes natural features (such as rivers and mountains) and man-made features (such as cities, airfields, and bridges). Commanders analyze terrain using the five military aspects of terrain, observation and fields of fire, avenues of approach, key and decisive terrain, obstacles, cover and concealment (OAKOC). The military aspects of weather include visibility, wind, precipitation, cloud cover, temperature, and humidity.
  • Troops and support available. This variable includes the number, type, capabilities, and condition of available friendly troops and support. This includes supplies, services, and support available from joint, host nation and unified action partners. They also include support from civilians and contractors employed by military organizations, such as the Defense Logistics Agency and the Army Materiel Command.
  • Time available. Commanders assess the time available for planning, preparing, and executing tasks and operations. This includes the time required to assemble, deploy, and maneuver units in relationship to the enemy and conditions.
  • Civil considerations. Civil considerations are the influence of manmade infrastructure, civilian institutions, and activities of the civilian leaders, populations, and organizations within an area of operation on the conduct of military operations. Civil considerations comprise six characteristics, expressed as ASCOPE: areas, structures, capabilities, organizations, people, and events.

Next: 1-11: Unified Land Operations

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