Joint Staff Officers Guide AFSC Pub 1 -- 1997

Appendix F Commanderís Estimate of the Situation

This description is adapted from Joint Pub 5-03.1 (to be published as CJCSM 3122.01).



Issuing Headquarters


Day, Month, Year, Hour, Zone


( ) REFERENCES: a. Maps and charts

b. Other pertinent documents

1. ( ) Mission. State the assigned or deduced task and its purpose. If the mission is multiple, determine priorities. List any intermediate tasks, prescribed or deduced, necessary to the accomplishment of the mission.

2. ( ) The Situation and Courses of Action

a. ( ) Considerations Affecting the Possible Courses of Action. Determine and analyze factors that will influence the choice of a COA as well as those that affect the capabilities of the enemy. Consider any of the following and other factors that are involved, include under each a statement of each fact (or an assumption, if necessary), and deduce the probable influence on enemy or friendly actions.

(1) ( ) Characteristics of the Area of Operations

(a) ( ) Military Geography

1. ( ) Topography. Consider factors of relief and drainage, vegetation, surface materials, and similar characteristics because they affect such elements of an operation as observation, maneuver, fire support, concealment, cover, air and surface movement, LOCs, avenues of approach, key

terrain, nuclear and CB weapons employment, electronic emissions of all types, and unconventional, psychological, and other significant activities.

2. ( ) Hydrography. Include the characteristics of offshore sea areas, approaches to the beaches, currents, tides, the beaches themselves, ports, docks, and similar maritime considerations.

3. ( ) Climate and Weather. Determine and state extremes of temperature, wind velocities, cloud cover, visibility, precipitation, and other such factors that can affect military operations. Sunrise, sunset, and twilight data are normally given in this subparagraph.

(b) ( ) Transportation. Indicate characteristics of roads, railways, inland waterways, and airfields, including such factors as size, capacity, conditions, and other facts that affect enemy capabilities and friendly COA.

(c) ( ) Telecommunications. List radio, cable, landline, and other communications facilities in the area of operations that might aid in the exercise of command over military forces. Facilities considered by this subparagraph are not those in the organic capability of the opposing forces, but rather those present in the area.

(d) ( ) Politics. Include such considerations as political stability, alliances, relations with other countries, aspects of international law, control over subversion and dissidence, and similar factors that may influence selection of a COA. Neutrality or nonneutrality of neighboring states in the area is often listed here.

(e) ( ) Economics. Include the organization of the economy and sometimes its mobilization capacity; the industrial base of the antagonists to support hostilities, finance, and foreign trade; and similar influences as they affect selection of a COA.

(f) ( ) Sociology. Consider social conditions, which run a wide range from the psychological ability of the populace to withstand the rigors of war to health and sanitation conditions in the area of operations. Language, social institutions and attitudes, and similar factors that may affect selection of a COA must be considered.

(g) ( ) Science and Technology. Although little immediate military impact may result from the state of science and technology in a target area, consider the long-range effects of such factors as technical skill level of the population and scientific and technical resources in manpower and facilities in cases where they may affect the choice of a COA.

(2) ( ) Relative Combat Power

(a) ( ) Enemy

1. ( ) Strength. Give number and size of enemy units committed and those available for reinforcement in the area. This is not intended to be a tabulation of numbers of aircraft, ships, missiles, or other military weaponry. Rather, it is a study of what strength the enemy commander can bring to bear in the area in terms of ground units committed and reinforcing; aircraft sortie rates, missile delivery rates; and unconventional, psychological, and other strengths the commander thinks may affect the balance of power.

2. ( ) Composition. Include order of battle of major enemy combat formations, equivalent strengths of enemy and friendly units, and major weapon systems and armaments in the enemy arsenal and their operational characteristics.

3. ( ) Location and Disposition. Indicate geographic location of enemy units; fire support elements; command and control facilities; air, naval, and missile forces; and other combat power in or deployable to the area of operations.

4. ( ) Reinforcements. Estimate the enemy reinforcement capabilities that can influence the battle in the area under consideration. This study should include ground, air, naval, and missile forces; nuclear, CB, and other advanced weapon systems; and an estimate of the relative capacity to move these forces about, to, and in the battle area.

5. ( ) Logistics. Summarize enemy ability to support the capabilities with which it has been credited and include such considerations as supply, maintenance, hospitalization and evacuation, transportation, labor, construction, and other essential logistics means. Broadly speaking, it is a feasibility test for enemy capabilities.

6. ( ) Time and Space Factors. Estimate where and when initial forces and reinforcements can be deployed and employed. Such a study will normally include distances and travel times by land, sea, and air from major bases or mounting areas into the battle area.

7. ( ) Combat Efficiency. Estimate enemy state of training, readiness, battle experience, physical condition, morale, leadership, motivation, tactical doctrine, discipline, and whatever significant strengths or weaknesses may appear.

(b) ( ) Friendly. In general, follow the same pattern used for analysis of the enemy when appraising the commanderís own force. The descriptions of what to consider and the approach to the problem outlined in subparagraph 2a (2) (a) apply to the analysis of friendly forces.

(3) ( ) Assumptions. Assumptions are intrinsically important factors on which the conduct of the operation is based and must be noted as such in paragraph 2 of the Commanderís Estimate.

(a) ( ) Enemy Capabilities.* State the enemy capabilities that can affect the accomplishment of the operations envisioned.

(b) ( ) Own Courses of Action. State all practicable COAs open to the commander that, if successful, will accomplish the mission.

3. ( ) Analysis of Opposing Courses of Action. Determine the probable effect of each enemy capability on the success of each of the commanderís own COAs.

4. ( ) Comparison of Own Courses of Action. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each of the commanderís COAs with respect to the governing factors. Decide which COA promises to be the most successful in accomplishing the mission.

5. ( ) Decision. Translate the COA selected into a concise statement of what the force as a whole is to do, and as much of the elements of when, where, how, and why as may be appropriate.

(Signed) __________________________


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