Utilizing Military Tactical Planning- Part 1, by Last NJ Conservative

Military tactical planning has been used formally for a long time by fighting and maneuver elements. This article is a combined overview of the ground combat units’ frameworks. Not all branches of our armed forces use all of this together in this format nor is the terminology exactly the same. Obviously the Army and Marine Corps, whom have organically most of the ground combat units, utilize significant amounts of these doctrines.

A Solid Foundation When Group Has To Combat Evil Doers

This planning is not all inclusive nor the be all to end all. However, it does provide a solid foundation and basis upon which to build when the time comes that your group has to field a force to combat evil doers.

You Will Be Able to Read About…

There is a goal in mind with this foundational framework. Described in written narrative format, you will be able to read in succinct fashion about:

  • the six troop leading steps (key words acronym BAMCIS),
  • the situation estimation analysis (key words acronym METT-TC),
  • enemy forces reporting (key words acronym SALUTE),
  • actions against the enemy (key words acronym DRAW-D),
  • terrain tactical issues (key words acronym KOCOA),
  • the five paragraph operations order (key words acronym O-SMEAC),
  • friendly and enemy troops and fire support projections attempts (key words acronym POME),
  • friendly and enemy forces status (key words acronym HAS), and
  • organizational supply (key words acronym the 4 B’s).

Simplified to the Least Common Denominator For Brevity

This framework format in its narrative is simplified to the least common denominator for sake of brevity and ease of following. It is, however, even easier in utilization with the checklist format once familiarized with the concepts. Looking prospectively into the future, at some point there will probably be a need to field a party of like-minded and trained friends for mutually protective safety and security reasons. Because they will be heading out into “Indian” country, which exposure to hostile activity is a distinct possibility, you should take into consideration proper planning through a well thought out process to “cover your tails”, figuratively and literally, without any disrespect intended to our native American friends. We will state the framework and then provide some thought provoking questions for your consideration. Again, these are not all inclusive but simply ideas to get you in the right mindset and provide sample deliberative concepts.

Six Troop Leading Steps- BAMCIS

We begin with the six troop leading steps. Notice it says “leading”. It doesn’t say supervise, or manage, or direct, or administer. At its root is to lead. Supervision, management, mirection, and administration are all sub-components of leadership, no doubt. However, they are not replacements to lead!

Begin the Planning- B in BAMCIS

Step (Roman Numeral) I one is signified by the letter “B” in the key words acronym “BAMCIS”, for Begin the planning. By entering into this process, we have done just that; we began the plan. In planning, it is always, always, always good to have at least primary, secondary, and tertiary options for reasons to be illustrated shortly. For planning, we will follow the acronym METT-TC

Mission is Everything- M in METT-TC

Mission is everything. The number one goal of the United States Marine Corps is mission accomplishment. No matter what mission the Marines are ordered to execute on by the Commander in Chief, they will accomplish that mission come hell or high water. The number two goal in the Marine Corps is troop welfare. You cannot accomplish goal one without providing for goal two. Word to the wise. What is our objective? What is it we need to accomplish? These two questions should define and broadly encompass our Mission, Part A of the key words acronym “METT-TC”.

The Enemy is Unforgiving- E in METT-TC

The Enemy, Part B of the key words acronym “METT-TC”, is unforgiving. No plan survives first contact with the enemy. When your primary option in your plan doesn’t work or is no longer viable, you better have within reach secondary and tertiary options. You don’t need three separate plans. You do need flexibility with options for when Mr. Murphy makes his untimely appearance. What hostiles should we expect to encounter? Are we talking terrorists, criminals, gangs, zombies, aliens, foreign troops, rogue cops, or combinations thereof?

When we encounter these hostiles, are we to simply observe and gather intelligence on them from a distance? Are we to close with them and engage them? If we are compromised, what should we do? Did you see the movie or read the book Lone Survivor? When the Navy SEALs were compromised observing the Taliban by a local shephard, valuable time was lost figuring out what to do. Remember to have at least three options for all your contingencies.

A Mechanism to Report the Enemy/Whom We Encounter- SALUTE

Regardless of whether we are to gather intelligence or close with and destroy the enemy, we should have a mechanism to report whom we encountered. For this we use the six line key words acronym “SALUTE” to report the enemy. This acronym represents information to gather including Size, Activity, Location, Unit, Time, and Equipment.

What size group of the enemy were encountered? What activity was the enemy performing when observed/encountered? At what location did we observe/encounter the enemy? Was the enemy organized into a discernable unit? What time did you observe/encounter the enemy? Did the enemy carry any equipment? Did the enemy have any equipment on their vehicles, horseback, bicycles, et cetera?

Five Actions Against the Enemy– DRAW-D

When the enemy is encountered and we cannot simply observe them for intelligence gathering purposes but must take some sort of action against them, what are we to do? There are basically five actions against the enemy you can consider utilizing the key words acronym “DRAW-D”. Will we Defend against them? Will we Reinforce others allied with us against them? Can we Attack them? Will we Withdraw from them? Will we Delay them? No matter what, you should always defend yourselves and your group. You should never surrender. Some would add “while you have the means to resist”. I will simply state you should never surrender, otherwise you are assured to experience first hand torture, imprisonment, and probably a long painful death. I personally will fight until I die; you may decide to act otherwise.

Difference Between Surrender, Retreat, and Withdraw

There is a difference between surrender, retreat, and withdraw. Like surrender, you should never retreat. Some forces utilize the term ‘advance in the retrograde’ rather than retreat. Now is not the time to be politically correct throwing around acceptable terminology. You should never retreat. However, there are exceptions. What about in the assault if your squad sized patrol is being totally decimated and you have more casualties then you can tend to or carry? Perhaps retreating out of the beaten zone is a tactical consideration.

I know, I know, I know; if an ambush is properly set, the only way to survive is to aggressively assault through it. I know. However, that is typically encountered when professional armies meet professional armies on the field of battle. On our field here, those terms aren’t likely. Also, if you encounter overwhelming forces and have time to reach into your bag of options, perhaps withdrawing to fight another day isn’t such a bad idea after all when considering the other option could be facing annihilation.

Terrain and Weather- First “T” in METT-TC

Part C of the situation estimation analysis is Terrain and weather. It is the first “T” in the key words acronym of “METT-TC”. Weather prediction in any grid down situation will probably be strictly locally based on observable conditions. If lucky enough to have outside communications within our regional Area of Operations (AO), it should be at least possible to be warned a little ahead of time of incoming weather conditions based upon prevailing winds and the jet stream. Be it a torrential downpour, hail, snowstorm, flooding, whatever, it would be very nice to know ahead of time about any of these bad climatic situations.


After weather, terrain tactical considerations should be addressed using the key words acronym “KOCOA”. Ordinal i is “K” for Key terrain. What is the key terrain? Where is the military crest on this hill or that mountain? Where are the valleys? Ordinal ii is “O” for Observation and fields of fire. What is our expected fields of observation with the presenting terrain? How must we adjust our fields of fire to those local terrain features? How will we cover dead spots? Ordinal iii is “C” for Cover and concealment. Is fog typical to our prospective AO? If so, how can it obscure enemy movement? Conversely, would it be able to conceal our movements? Is there any natural cover to our enemy or for us?

Remember, cover stops incoming rounds and concealment hides us from sight. Ordinal iv is “O” for Obstacles. Are there any obstacles, natural or man made, to impede vehicle or foot traffic? What happens when we encounter a mine field or booby traps? I was always trained we either go through an enemy or obstacle, over an enemy or obstacle, or under an enemy or obstacle but never around an enemy or obstacle. Your training or current needs may be different. Ordinal v is “A” for Avenues of approach. What lanes of march can we utilize to reach our objective? What are the enroute and objective rally points? Where are the phase lines?

Tomorrow, we will continue going through the initial planning process using the METT-TC acronym.

See Also:

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  1. Thank you for not simply regurgitating from an FM. You hit the highlights and presented the material for Patriots instead of professional armies. As we all have that ‘one thing you forgot to mention’, here is mine: Five point contingency plan- What to do if something goes wrong. GOTWA stands for (G) where I am Going; (O) Others I am taking; (T) Time of return; (W) What to do if I don’t return; (A) Actions to take if I am hit, or to take if you are hit.
    Those five points can and should be applied to our families when they venture forth from the homestead- practice a 5-point contingency plan for walking to and from school, driving to and from work, a trip to the outlet stores, even attending a sporting event at the high school. Always allow for things to go wrong or for conditions to sour. GOTWA will guide the family to a better resolution.

  2. good intentions, and interesting topic. However, if I may offer some critical remarks.

    The purpose of knowing acronyms is critical to understanding. At the echelon (sizes) relevant to the audience, knowing the purpose behind the acronyms is paramount – especially if you can’t remember a particular acronym. If you can remember that there is some other considerations, it might jar your memory.

    The acronyms are close enough to real military acronyms that you might as well use the actual acronyms in use and known by many vets and taught to many civilians by tactical instructors. i.e. Troop Leading Procedures works very well at the company echelon and below (150 pax). The most important of which may be to issue a warning order to your unit leaders, so they can prepare for movement or action while you are planning.

    Another example is your acronym for military aspects of terrain. OCKOA is the basic platform to which a few other aspects are often appended to.

    Your use of METT-TC is worthy of an article alone. It is such a great framework for quick analysis, everyone who thinks in any terms of tactics should know how to apply it. Let me elaborate about METT-TC a second:

    Mission – invokes the use of the Troop Leading Procedures.
    Enemy – drives the intel framework of surveillance and reconnaissance based on the question that must be answered.
    Troops – what “tools” are available to solve the “problem”. This means my troops and equipment compared to the enemy troops and equipment (or weather). Is my plan enemy centric or terrain centric?
    Terrain – invokes the use of OCOKA at the basic level. Am I defending or attacking – the same terrain has different relevancy for each force.
    Time – Have I developed an understanding of the operation in a temporal framework? Have I backwards planned from the decisive point to the decision point(s) and allowed for my R&S plan to gather the information I need? so much more.
    Civilians – In a post collapse or during a collapse, being able to understand 3 types is critical. Friend / opposition / neutrals (or even undecided – lol)

    if you want some help, just reach out to me. Best of luck as you work thru this!

  3. Question, what group of people is all of this being prepared for?

    If it’s common thugs, common hunters will be able to take care it at 500 yards out.

    If it’s a real foreign military or even ours under an Obama type, you are going to lose.

    Lastly, is the scenario in the top 100 of actually happening in the next 10 years?

    1. It doesn’t really matter what size or scale you are working at. These are frameworks from which anyone with a desire for stability and normalcy AFTER can use to develop practical solutions for various problems that can and likely will come up after LEOs go home.

      While the military teaches these principles at length to combat leaders, the principles boil down to a simple word: forethought.

      They teach this in detail, so when a leader is presented with an emerging situation, they have already evaluated known elements, generally leaving emergent issues to consider.

      METT-C can take days to develop, or a few minutes, its all dependent upon the scale of the issue one’s team is dealing with.

      Mission: The mission for most people AFTER, is protecting your people. Its not defending stuff. If you value the last can of baked beans over your children, I can’t help you.

      Enemy: This is the only variable that will continually change. Whether the enemy is a lone vagrant or a foreign or domestic army, they are essentially evaluated the same. Its how you choose to respond that will vary. This is the big weenie, and a topic for a full article.

      Terrain? If you are not continuously on the move, terrain is outside your front door. Where are the high points? Low points? Water? What are the routes someone might take to attack/steal/etc from you? Go outside and look.

      Weather? Learn your local weather patterns, and then look at how they can help/hurt someone attacking your homestead. How can you use this knowledge to your advantage.

  4. Does anyone have an opinion on the usefulness of “Total resistance” – Major H. von Dach Bern (Swiss Army) – Paladin press

    Its vintage 1950’s info. from the Swiss Noncommissioned Officers Association, using guerrilla warfare to protect their country from a potential communist invasion.

    The orientation was toward the formation of a civilian resistance movement.

  5. Former doctrine writer here (US and two other countries): doctrine evolves, and acronyms evolve with it. Great article and starting point for discussion. You’re never going to cover all the bases (for example, conduct priorities of work in the defense) by yourself, or with your friends (under fire), or even with a tiered active duty unit. We always forget stuff. So, kudos to you for this great explanation. scott

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