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Military Decision Making Process Vs Appreciation

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Nursing
Wordcount: 4894 words Published: 21st Apr 2017

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"If the band played a piece first with the piccolo then with the brass horn, then with the clarinet, and then with the trumpet, there would be a hell of a lot of noise but no music.

To get harmony in the music, each instrument must support the others, to get harmony in battle; each weapon must support the others. Team play wins."

-General George S. Patton


1. Decision theory is a widely studied subject. It has attracted scholars from a variety of disciplines such as psychology, sociology, biology, mathematics, economics, and managerial science (Major Chariton: 1997, pp-4) [1] . It is a dynamic and multidimensional process that allows simultaneous development of planning and arriving at logical decisions in our context. Today's battlefield requires commanders to make decisions faster than the adversary to outwit him and gain initiative.The decision making process has been adopted as a tool to generate options to reach a decision for any military problem in most professional armies of the world. This process has also become a mechanism to reach decisions in any UN field missions where Nepal Army has been frequently involving since many years.

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2. The Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) is a planning model that establishes procedure for analyzing a mission; developing analyzing, and comparing courses of action against criteria of success and each other, selecting the optimum courses of action and producing a plan or order (US Army FM5-0:2002,P-1) [2] . It indicates that decision making is the process of sufficiently reducing uncertainty and doubt about alternatives to allow a reasonable choice to be made from among them.

3. It has become a great matter of discussion over the period of time among the army offers of Nepal Army whether it is necessary to adopt the MDMP as a tool for planning process or existing system of tactical appreciation to be continued for various military operations. Hence, it is imperative to conduct analytical study about Decision-making process.

4. This paper will study the relation between MDMP and Tactical Appreciation preceded by historical background. It is intended to carryout comparative study of the DMP to establish credibility and viability of the process to lead us to quality decisions. There after State of training and familiarization of officers with the new MDMP will be evaluated. The discussion will subsequently focus on feasibility of DMP for Nepal Army with suggestive measures for its adaptation. Finally, paper will be concluded with some recommendation.

Historical Background

5. 'As the Schlieffen plan was being developed and the world drew closer to World War I, the US Army lacked published staff doctrine. The 1910 publication, Regulations for Field Manoeuvres, did not include a description of staff processes; a 1914 field service regulation (FSR) mentioned the need for a commander and staff estimating process but did not describe one.4 Following World War I, the 1924 version of the FSR included doctrinal formatted orders with required annexes, maps and tables. Still, the FSR stated only that leaders should "first make an estimate of the situation, culminating in a decision upon a definite plan of action' (Christophar: 2001, pp-46)." [3] It has been mounting continuous effort to

make decision making process a comprehensive and to make compatible with the technological developments. 'The Army's decision making process has changed very little in the last several decades. First described in the 1932 version of FM 101-5 (Staff Officers' Field Manual, Part 1) as the "Estimate of the Situation", it contained the following four paragraphs: (a) Mission: that mission assigned by higher headquarters. (b) Opposing Forces: the disposition and relative combat strength of the enemy (c) Situation: analysis of the enemy's probable intentions and friendly courses of action (d) Decision: states what is to be accomplished, when, where, and why. (Major Chariton: 1997, pp-10) [4] 

6. The estimate of the situation remained virtually unchanged until the 1982 version of FM10 1-5 when it was augmented with the Military Decision Making Process. This manual formalized the concept of mission analysis as a "means through which the commander obtains an understanding of the mission." The "new" FM 101-5 also attempted to link the MDMP with various actions performed by the commander and staff .The current MDMP follows the same basic steps that began as the estimate of the situation almost seventy years ago.Like its predecessors, it is a sequential and prescriptive in nature.'(Major Chariton: 1997, pp-10) [5] .

7. As the decision making process is unfolding its path of development continuously, contemporary civilian institutions also has been developing the system of decision support system to cope with the technological revolution. 'By the late 1970s, a number of researchers and companies had developed interactive information systems that used data and models to help managers analyze semi-structured problems. These diverse systems were all called Decision Support Systems. From those early days, it was recognized that DSS could be designed to support decision-makers at any level in an organization. A variety of models were used in DSS including optimization and simulation. Also, statistical packages were recognized as tools for building DSS. Artificial Intelligence researchers began work on management and business expert systems in the early 1980s'. (D. J. Power: 2001) [6] .

8. After tracing the history of Army decision making doctrine, it is proposed for wide-ranging examination of procedures, organizations and culture of Nepal Army. The military decision-making process emerges as a valuable tool for coordinating intuition with analysis, task with purpose, plans with operations, and the present with the future.

Relationship of Decision Making Process VS Appreciation

9. Underlying rationale of decision making process is not unlike tactical appreciation. 'Mission analysis' takes the place of 'Factors Affecting the Aim' and 'Aim' headings of tactical appreciation. Limitations to the aim have been analysed in terms of 'Restrictions' and 'Constraints'. 'Restated Mission' replaces the 'Aim'. All factors related to 'Ground', 'Enemy' are analysed through the intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) process, and its products are used to develop friendly courses of action. Factors of 'Relative Strength' and 'Assessment of Task' are analysed in similar manner and have become steps of 'Courses of Action' development stage of decision making process. 'Analysis of the Course of Action' is done very deliberately through a process of war game and relative advantages of the best course are thus ascertained. War game synchronises battlefield operating systems, allots troops to task, makes grouping, establishes command and control arrangements, and various control measures and makes contingencies to face unexpected development. These ultimately lead to decisions and decisions into operational plan or orders which in fact is the final stage of the decision making process (Bangladesh Army: 2001, 1-1) [7] .

Comparison of Nepal Army DMP with the US Army DMP

10. Nepal Army DMP. Nepal Army is currently using appreciation system as a DMP. This Tactical Appreciation Module is akin to Indian Army's DSSC Précis, and GS Publications which gives detail description of tactical, intelligence and administrative appreciations. Appreciation follows a logical sequence as discussed in succeeding paragraphs:

(a) Analysis of Area of Operations. Analysis of area of operations is a detailed study of the weather and ground in which military activities are to occur. Its purpose is to determine the effects, which the area may have on operations.

(b) Intelligence Appreciation. It combines the analysis of the area of operations with knowledge of enemy situation. It is kept current and changes are presented to the commander by the intelligence staff. Normally it is the first staff appreciation to be presented to the commander.

(b) Tactical Appreciation. This is the process used to reach at tactical plan through consideration of various factors like Ground and Weather, Enemy situation, Surprise and deception (at higher level only),Own situation, Time and Space and own courses which follows the production of order or outline plan.

(b) Administrative Appreciation. The administration staffs prepare an administrative appreciation after they have been given the outline operational plan. However, before finalising the outline plan, general staff formulates and evaluates available COAs. AQ Staff also analyses the feasibility of each course from administration support point of view from the initial stage.

11. Strengths of the Nepal Army DMP.

(a) Matured and Widely Understood. Tactical Appreciation is a matured process, which is extensively taught in Army schools and widely understood by the officers.

(b) Documented Compilation. Being an old system tactical DMP of Nepal Army is sufficiently compiled.

(c) Intangibles. The effect of intangibles like moral, motivation, enemy's will to fight, commander's initiative and personal style, attitude of civil population and leadership are adequately discussed and catered for. Surprise and deception is one of the important aspects of any plan. Appreciation incorporates the same in detail.

12. Weaknesses of the Nepal Army DMP.

(a) Reflects Individual Style and Demands Intellectual. Appreciation reflects individual style varying from person to person therefore the balance seems to be tilting towards intuition. Being subjective in nature, it demands high level of professional intellect, which is seldom available.

(b) Mission Analysis. Some disjointed links do mention about the mission analysis, yet the detailed is missing.

(c) Non-Utilisation of Decision-Making Tools. Nepal Army DMP does not make use of modern decision-making tools. Though a growing realisation is there and some of these tools like mission analysis, IPB and war gaming are being introduced in the training institutes.

(d) Lack of Continuous Flow of Guidance. There is not a system of continuous system of guidance how this would be translated into action.

(e) War Gaming. War-gaming is done separately while analysing the course in detail. It is not integrated to appreciation.

13. US Military Decision-Making Process. DMP of US Army is comprehensive and described in detail in a Field Manual (US Army FM5-0:2002, P-1) [8] . The process is akin to Argyris Double Loop Learning Theory. The focus of the process is on solving problems that are complex, ill structured and ever changing as DMP advances(Argyris:2002), [9] .

14. Steps of US MDMP. The MDMP has 7 steps. Each step of the process begins with certain input that builds upon the previous steps. Each step, in turn, has its own output that drives subsequent steps.

(a) Receipt of Mission. This is the first step of mission analysis.

(b) Mission Analysis. Mission analysis is crucial to MDMP. Out of total time spent on MDMP roughly 30% time is spent on mission analysis (US Army FM5-0:2002, P-1) [10] . It allows the commander to begin his battlefield visualisation. The result of Mission analysis is defining the tactical problem and beginning the process of determining feasible solutions. It consists of 17 steps and results in approval of restated mission, development of commander's intent, issue of commander's planning guidance and warning order. These steps are: (1) Analyse the Higher Headquarters' order (2) Conduct initial IPB (3) Determine specified, implied and essential tasks (4) Review available assets (5) Determine constraints (6) Identify critical facts and assumptions (7) Conduct risk assessment (8) Determine initial commander's critical information requirements (CCIR) (9) Determine the initial reconnaissance annex (10) Planned use of available time (11) Write the restated Mission (12) Conduct a Mission analysis briefing (13) Approve the restated Mission (14) Dev the initial commander's intent) (15) Issue the commander's guidance (16) Issue a warning order (17) Review facts and assumptions .

(c) Course of Action Development. Following self-explanatory figure shows various inputs processes and outputs of this step. Commander's direct participation helps the staff get focused quickly.

(d) Course of action Analysis. The COA analysis identifies which COA accom­plishes the mission with minimum casualties while best positioning the force to retain the initiative for future Operations. Course of action analysis is conducted using war gaming.

(e) Course of Action Comparison. Using the evaluation criteria, staff highlights advantages and disadvantages of COAs. Comparison of the strengths and weaknesses help to choose the best COA, which has the best probability of success against the most likely en COA, and the most dangerous COA.

(f) COA Approval. Commander approves the COA, commander issues the final planning guidance and if necessary commander modifies a COA. The staff must war game the modified COA to derive the products of war-gaming process.

g. Orders Production. Based on commander's decision and final guidance, staffs refine the COA, complete the plan and prepare to issue the orders. The commander and staff conduct confirmation briefings with subordinates immediately following the issue of orders.

15. Troops Leading Procedure. Troops Leading Procedure (TLP) provides small unit leaders a framework for planning and preparing for operations. Leaders of coy and smaller units use TLP to develop plans and orders. There are eight steps in TLP; Receive the mission, issue warning order, make tentative plan, conduct recee, complete plan, issue operation order and supervise with refinement. TLP extend the MDMP to small unit level. The MDMP and TLP are similar but not identical (US Army:2005,4-5) [11] ,. They are both linked by the basic problem solving methodology. Commanders with a coordinating staffs use the MDMP as their primary planning process. Coy level and smaller units do not have formal staffs and use TLP to plan and prepare for operations.

16. Strength of US Army MDMP. The strength of present MDMP of US Army is:

(a) Documented Compilation. The US MDMP is comprehensively compiled and issued as FM 5-0, "Army Planning and Orders Production".

(b) Telescopic Version. It has a very comprehensive and detailed telescopic version for time constraint conditions.

(c) Dynamic and comprehensive. The MDMP is a dynamic process and is equally applicable at different levels of operations.

(d) Well integrated. The MDMP clearly defines inputs and outputs both for the commander as well as staff. Thus it results in the highest degree of integration, co-ordination and synchronisation.

(e) Mission Analysis. Mission analysis is carried in great detail.

(f) Use of Latest Tools. The extensive use of latest tools like number of templates in IPB, techniques of war gaming and numerous matrices help in reaching a quality decision.

(g) Continuous Flow of Guidance. MDMP ensures periodic and continuous guidance from commander to staff almost at every stage. This way commander's experience and military judgement is fully exploited.

(h) Information Dependency. Through IPB, enemy's doctrine and related aspects are taken into account while formulating enemy COA even in the absence of certain information through valid assumptions.

17. Weaknesses of US MDMP. The weaknesses of US MDMP are:-

(a) Voluminous and Time Consuming. Given the fact that full MDMP will only be adopted when sufficient time is available, today's battlefield is so fluid that we may not be able to spare so much of time for decision-making. Dynamics of the situation may change while the decision is made.

(b) Heavy Reliance on IPB. MDMP relies heavily on IPB; the danger of this process is that it fails to take into account the deceptive and misdirection efforts of the enemy. An enemy that understands the friendly IPB process can in fact use such knowledge against his opponent" (White: 2001, 2) [12] .

(c) Analysis Vs Intuition. 'Two general schools of thought have emerged in recent times to address military problem solving: the analytical school and the naturalistic/intuitive school. To use Dietrich Dormer's language from The Logic of Failure, the two schools can be seen as those who don't wait for more information and conduct "ballistic decision making" and those who do "paralysis by analysis", with overanalyzing a plan that is never good enough' (Vowell J B: 2003, 3-4) [13] .

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(d) Lack of Analytical Thinking. "The unavoidable truth is that no matrix, chart, or preformatted slide can sidestep the need for clear, analytic thinking to solve tactical problems. Matrixes and other tools can greatly assist staffs in managing, visualizing, and presenting information, but they cannot solve tactical problems. Only applied brain power can do that, and shortcuts often cause more problems than they solve. Tactical problem solving is a thinking man's game" (Mclamb: 2002)" [14] .

(e) One danger in MDMP is being over analytical, creating a tendency toward premature closure in the process of formulating stratagems. Decision makers may be more comfortable or competent conducting MDMP's procedural aspects. They may give inadequate attention to the less-structured, but more important, step of generating stratagems in the first place(Christopher R. Paparone: 2001, 50). [15] 

18. MDMP in Other Countries. In modern battlefield environment, varieties of circumstances under which decisions have to be taken are endless. The only way of coping with such richness is to anchor on simple and transparent Decision Making Process (DMP) and to develop an account of how decisions of this sort ought to be taken"(Collingridge: 1982, 3). [16] It has become a basic tool for planning and conduct of military operation in NATO countries and UN Mission. Some of the South Asian Countries like Bangladesh has been adopting this MDMP.

Current State of Training and Indoctrination of the DMP

19. A realistic stock of existing state of training and familiarization will help to draw a roadmap for adoption of new DMP in Nepal Army.

20. Officers' Skill Level at Different Stages of Service.

(a) Nepal Military Academy. At present no training is being imparted onto the cadets about IPB or DMP. However, some of officer platoon commanders are available who have an exposure to IPB and DMP either during Junior Command and Staff Course or foreign courses.

(b) Up to Eight Years of Service. Initial eight years are most formative years in the professional grooming of an officer. At present this is the most neglected group as far as IPB and DMP is concerned. About 10-20 officers are being sent on courses abroad yearly, where they get a detailed exposure of DMP.

(c). 8 - 18 Years of Service. Before coming to Army Command and Staff Course few officers have idea about IPB and DMP. Army Command and Staff College incorporated IPB into its curriculum since 15th Army Command and Staff Course. Theoretical class on IPB and DMP was conducted since Command and Staff Course 16 and it was further expanded by incorporating a MDMP exercise since 17th Command and Staff Course. Therefore there is very less number of mid level officers who have a fair idea about IPB and DMP.

(d) Senior Officers. At this stage there are limited officers who have done some training on IPB and DMP. Mostly these officers constitute the senior instructor at Army Command and Staff Course and other schools of instruction and are at decision making level and / or commanding the units or field formations.

21. Army Command and Staff College. Army Staff College is currently providing the hub of all training activity, research and development (R&D) facility and printed material about IPB and DMP in the Army.

22. Conclusions. Following conclusions can be drawn about present state of familiarization in the Army:

(a) Very less number of instructors is available up to Army Command and Staff college level.

(b) Young officers and senior field commanders are the least exposed categories.

(c) Minimum number of lieutenant colonels of Nepal Army is trained on the IPB and DMP. Therefore, there will be problem for induction of new system at unit level.

(d) Resistance to change and mental block amongst officers is existing.

(e) For IPB and DMP, Army Command and Staff College provides the nucleus for training and research.

Strategy for Adoption of MDMP

23. Adoption strategy can be sub divided into two broad categories i.e. policymaking and training. Army has to take holistic view of the entire spectrum of the problem. Following guidelines are proffered:

24. Policy Guidelines.

(a) Senior Leadership. Induction of new DMP would require steadfast support of senior leadership. There is need to prepare senior leadership to understand the process and its importance.

(b) Probationary Period. Initial 3-5 years time to be regarded as a probationary period by which time senior cadre would also be well familiar with the process and reach at policy making level, field officers would learn it thoroughly and reach at policy drafting level and junior officers are considerably groomed at application level.

(c) Reappraisal after Probationary Period. A thorough reappraisal has to be conducted by Army Headquarters (AHQ) for necessary modifications in the draft doctrine before formal adoption.

(d) DMP Publication. One draft GSTP should be prepared before hand and issued in the army for training and review. Finally, GSTP encompassing the complete DMP be published after approval.

(e) Simultaneity. Training in the new process must be conducted for officers at all levels simultaneously to ensure that the changeover to the actual use of the new process in units is rapid.

(f) Periodic Evaluation. Over the long term, induction of new DMP should be viewed and evaluated not just as an individual skill, but also as a staff and unit skill. Evaluation can be conducted during tactical exercises without troops, excessive war games and command post exercises.

25. Role of AHQ. Following directorates can play a significant role in the process of induction of new DMP:

(a) Director General Military Operations. Monitor progress of implementation through induction and revision committee. Conduct war games at operational level to check the feasibility of the new DMP at the highest level.

(b) Director General Military Training. R&D facility for induction can be established initially at Military Training Directorate that can later be shifted to Staff College. This directorate assists army regarding induction of new doctrines. Army Command and Staff College, Shivapuri has a separate Research and Development (R&D) led by a Lt Col exclusively for R&D.

(c) Military Secretary's Branch. Help create pool and provision of qualified officers in each formation and schools of instruction.

26. Training Policy.

(a) Quality Training. Nepal Army should expand contacts and association with foreign militaries who are practising similar systems and arrange more number of courses abroad.

(b) Courses in Schools of Instruction. New DMP should be taught in the schools of instruction extensively. This system allows the simultaneous training of officers at junior, middle and senior levels in the new process.

(c) Staff College Level Training. Army Command and Staff College should be included in the process of training mid level leadership and to incorporate operational/tactical level planning procedures in the DMP to make it a wholesome system.

(d) Specialist Training. Certain processes in DMP are a specialist's job like IPB where troops will also get engaged. Training of the troops should also be arranged centrally for uniformity and later at unit level for spreading it in the Army.

(e) Professional Articles. Articles in professional journals can be published describing the new DMP. It will help in setting the scene and provide commanders at various tiers food for thought. It will provide the officers corps insight into the process.


27. Nepal Army Officers are already familiar with the procedure and format of the 'Appreciation of the Situation' (Tactical Appreciation), Intelligence Appreciation and Administrative Appreciation. It is appropriate to adopt appreciation for battalion level and if the time is short, at brigade level. A more elaborate procedure is necessary for tactical decision making at higher levels that will allow inputs from specialist staff and advisors to be incorporated into the planning. Decision Making Process (DMP) addresses this problem. It facilitates the military officers to understand the Campaign Planning (planning related series of operations aimed at achieving a goal) which also uses a similar process.

28. Detailed analysis reveals that DMP is a viable system of planning operation. Present state of familiarization was also studied, which reveals that limited officers are aware of MDMP, however young officers and senior field commanders are the weakling but Nepal Army can easily convert to new DMP.

29. Nepal Army uses appreciation system as DMP, which is well documented. The system is matured and widely understood. Major grey areas in this process are that, it reflects individual style and does not follow the format rigidly thereby it requires high level of intellect. Mission analysis is not done in exhaustive details like MDMP.

30. MDMP of US Army is comprehensive and well-documented process. MDMP is well integrated at all the tiers of operations. MDMP is too format oriented thereby it inhibits analytical thinking. The suggested DMP needs to be inducted fully in Nepal Army as part of a strategy. DMP doctrine should be finalised and published as a GSTP. Training should start simultaneously for all the cadres and entire process should be subjected to periodic evaluation.

31. Troops Leading Procedure is a dynamic process used by small unit leaders to analyze a mission, develop a plan and prepare for operation. These procedures enable a leaders to maximize available planning time while developing effective plan. Hence this procedure may be adopted for sub unit leaders of Nepal Army.


32. Based on the analysis carried out in the paper, it is recommended that. There is a dire need to adopt MDMP in Nepal Army compatible to modern battlefield operating systems in the light of the suggestions submitted in the paper.


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