CWPC Contingency Wartime Planning CourseCWPC Contingency Wartime Planning Course

Plan Development


INSTRUCTOR: Lt Col Bob Barthelmess

DESCRIPTION: This lesson introduces the planner to development of the written plan. The lesson is presented in two parts: Part one will be a review of a typical operation plan format, pointing out the essential sections. Part two will provide the student planner a logical progression in which to develop his or her plan.

OBJECTIVE: TOOTLIFEST describe the structure and contents of a standard operation plan, and describe the logical progression for development of a functional Annex or Appendix.

SAMPLES OF BEHAVIOR: Each student will be able to:

1. Know the two documents that establish the standard format for operation plans

2. Describe the structure of a standard operation plan format

3. Describe a logical process for developing an Annex, Appendix or Tab to an operation plan


1. Scan JOPES Vol II, (CJCSM 3122.03), Planning Formats and Guidance

2. Scan AFMAN 10-401, Vol II, Planning Formats and Guidance




1. Introduction:

a. Operation plans, whether they be in the form of an Oplan, Conplan, or Functional Plan, are directed to be written by the Joint Strategic Capabilities plan (JSCP). So that all Services, CINCs, DoD agencies, and supporting commands/agencies develop plans in the same manner, a standard format was established. Use of this standard format is directed by the Chairman, and is provided in JOPES Volume II (CJCSM 3122.03); and, for Air Force personnel, in AFMAN 10-401, Volume II.

b. As indicated above, the "originating CINC" should follow the standard operation plan format in JOPES Vol II; but with approval from the Joint Staff, he may modify the content to meet specific needs. In turn, each supporting organization must, as a minimum, follow the CINC’s format. The Air Force, in writing AFMAN 10-401, Vol II, ensured compliance with the standard Joint guidance for operation plans; however, it has also added Appendices, where needed, to carry out Air Force roles and functions.

2. Structure of a Standard Operation plan

a The genesis for all operation plan formats is JOPES Vol II (CJCSM 3122.03). Described below are the major portions of every plan. Note that a parallel structure exists between the Plan Summary, Basic Plan, Annexes, Appendices, and Tabs. This will be pointed out throughout this outline.

(1) Cover: The cover page is unclassified, however on the top and bottom it indicates the highest classification of the plan (the back cover must also reflect this classification) Also shown on the cover are the Short Title (who’s plan, what kind of plan, and the PID) --usually unclassified; the date of the plan; the authority for classification and declassification; any warning notices (e.g., WINTEL, NOFORN, ROKUS, etc), and a count of how many copies are provided.

(2) Security Instructions: Here’s where the planner can find the Long Title of the plan, providing just enough information to, usually, make this page classified. Additional security information is provided, as is a Record of Changes.

(3) Plan Summary: The Plan Summary is the first place to start. It is essentially an "executive summary," drawing on and providing the essence of the plan in a few pages. Included is:

(a) a Purpose statement, indicating what the expected results would be by executing the plan (refer to the JSCP task assignment for the plan);

(b) a statement indicating the political, military, legal, and environmental implications for executing the plan

(c) a brief summary of force requirements, deterrent measures, deployment, employment, supporting and collateral plans

(d) a list of assumptions to make planning possible

(e) items which may impede the accomplishment of the mission/plan

(f) a time table showing the build up of forces in the theater

(g) a description of command relationships

(g) staff estimates on logistics and personnel

(h) a listing and impact assessment of shortfalls and limiting factors.

(4) Classification Guide: In a tabular format, this page shows the planner the classification of major subjects (e.g., Operation Code Word, ConOps, Date Operation Begins, etc.) as they progress from the planning Phase through the Post Conflict Phase. This is a good starting point for determining basic classification.

(5) Table of Contents: Here is a listing of all the required Annexes, Appendices, and Tabs addressed in the plan. The Annexes (and subsequent Appendices and Tabs supporting the Annex) address the functional areas, such as Operations, Logistics, Communications, etc. In theory, this list should reflect the model table of contents in JOPES Vol II and/or AFMAN 10-401. Usually, all items in the JOPES/10-401 will be listed, with exceptions noted as "not used" or "not required." This indicates that the planner followed the proper format, but conscientiously did not include some items. The table of contents is also a good reference for how to index or number the pages. Note that Annexes start with a letter, followed by a page number (e.g., B-1, B-2, B-3…); An Appendix to an Annex starts with a number, followed by a page number (e.g., B-1-1, B-1-2, B-1-3…); Tabs supporting an Appendix, supporting an Annex will start with a letter (e.g., B-1-A-1, B-1-A-2, B-1-A-3…)

(6) Basic Plan: The Basic Plan, starting on Page 1 but after the above items, is the foundation and guts of the plan. It provides a list of references, including charts, maps, and documents needed to conduct the plan; and, a myriad of information, such as:

(a) A referral to the TPFDD (Annex A) for Tasked Organizations

(b) a description of the Situation, including enemy and friendly capability, pre-conflict actions, assumptions for planning, and legal considerations.

(c) a Mission statement indicating what the purpose of the plan is and what is expected to be accomplished on execution.

(d) a section on Execution, including a Concept of Operations describing how the plan is expected to unfold; a Commander’s Intent which will include phasing of the operation and the desired end state; the structure of the OPlan; Deployment/Employment requirements; a task list describing each mission to be performed by whom

(e) a section containing the essence of Administration and Logistics, providing a brief Concept of Logistics and Administration Support. Logistics and Admin support will be expanded further in their respective Annexes

(f) a section on Command and Control, including Command Relationships; locations, establishment, and reporting of Command Posts; Succession to Command; and C4I systems.

(g) finally, a list of Annexes that will be used in the plan.

(7) Annexes: The Annexes listed below provide detailed planning within each of the functional areas. With the exception of Annexes X, Y, and Z, each Annex is formatted the same. The format of each Annex closely follows and illuminates the Basic Plan. For instance, the major headings of: References, Situation, Mission, Execution, Administration and Logistics, and Command and Control are the same as in the Basic Plan. But, the functional Annex amplifies the information in the Basic Plan. For instance, while the Basic Plan may provide good insight into the Concept of Operations for the overall plan (discussing Commander’s Intent, Deployment, etc.), the Operations Annex, under "Concept of Operations," will go into greater detail. Readiness, Alert, and Marshalling; Aerospace functions; Force Enhancement operations; ROE; etc. are examples of the extended detail the Operations Annex will address. Each Annex will end with a list of Appendices that further amplify information in the Annex.












(8) Appendices: As Annexes amplify the information in the Basic plan, Appendices amplify the information in the Annex, providing further detail into specific subjects. Appendices follow the same basic format at the Annex and Basic Plan, containing sections on References, Situation, Mission, Execution, Administration and Logistics, and Command and Signal. Using the Operations Annex as an example, there are 19 Appendices that must be developed to amplify the contents of the Operations Annex. Some examples are: Nuclear Operations, Search and Rescue Operations, NEO, Force Protection, Tactical Airlift, and History Documentation. Again, as one looks at any of these Appendices, they’ll see a familiar format detailing – for example in Appendix 5, SAR – the enemy’s capability to disrupt the prosecution of individual SAR missions. An Appendix, in turn, may list Tabs.

(9) Tabs: Tabs are a further subset of Appendices, providing more detailed information. Tabs can be in narrative form, in which case they’ll follow the same format as Appendices, Annexes, and the Basic Plan; or, they can be in tabular form, providing information on items like expected POL consumption, organization charts, etc.

3. The Process for Developing an Annex or Appendix The process below presents a suggested logical sequence of steps a planner might take prior to developing his or her specific Annex, Appendix, or Tab to a supporting plan. It is in two phases. First, in General Planning Guidance, the planner should review documents to get a broad picture of the threat, guidance, overall mission, taskings, combat force apportionment, etc. Then in the second phase, Functional Planning Guidance, the planner should look at the threat, guidance, mission, etc. for their specific functional area. Here is where the planner puts pen to paper and writes the Annex, Appendix, or Tab. We realize that not all documents will be available for the planner to review as they prepare their plans, nor are we concerned about what particular order in which they are used. The key is to review as many of the documents and plans within the "family of plans" as possible prior to embarking on the writing of the supporting plan.

a. General Planning Guidance: The first step, here’s where the planner can get broad insight into why he or she is writing the specific Annex, Appendix, or Tab to a supporting plan. Below is a suggested process, along with the documents, that the planner might use:

(1) JSCP: The Joint Strategic Capabilities plan (JSCP) - If the JSCP is available at the planner’s level, this is the place to start. The JSCP will provide the planner a vision of the:

(a) threat – drawn from the Joint Strategy Review (JSR) and other intel documents, the reason we’re planning is pointed out in the JSCP

(b) guidance - tells the planner how planning will be accomplished and the planning process that will be used.

(c) apportionment – shows the planner the apportionment of combat forces to their CINC and Service. While this is general apportionment information, it is none-the-less good information to see who will have what combat forces.

(d) supplements – the 14 Supplemental Instructions will provide more, in-depth functional information to the planner. Often, a planner will use one of the supplements to determine planning requirements and constraints within their functional area.

(2) WMP 3-1: The WMP is the next logical document to look at to follow through on the apportionment of combat forces. A quick comparison can be made between the WMP 3-1 (how Air Force combat forces are apportioned to the component commands) and the JSCP to ensure all the Air Force forces have been reapportioned in the WMP 3-1 This step may be more important to the operation planner; however, a logistics or support planner also benefits because wherever the combat forces go, sustainment and support must follow.

(3) CINC’s Plan (or higher headquarters’ plan) : Recalling the structure of a plan in the first section of this lesson, the next step should involve a look at the "front end" of the CINC’s plan. Here, the planner should review the:

(a) plan Summary – this will give the planner an "executive summary" look at why the CINC is tasked to develop the plan.

(b) Classification Guidance – this table will gives the planner insight into basic classification guidance to be followed when developing any of the supporting plans.

(c) Basic Plan – here is the essence and foundation of the CINC’s plan in approximately ten to fifteen pages. It includes the Situation, Mission Statement, Concept of Operations, Commander’s Intent, and a host of other information essential to anyone developing a supporting plan. If nothing else, this section should be read.


(4) Supporting Plan: The supporting plan is the document the planner will be developing an Annex, Appendix, or Tab for. However, before going directly to the Annex the planner will be writing, they should first spend time looking at the front of the plan to check Security and Classification. Then determine:

(a) does the Basic plan section follow the Mission, Concept of Operations, etc. laid out in the CINC’s plan?

(b) what kind of Air Force specific guidance is provided in the Basic Plan – the Mission, Tasking, ConOps, etc

(c) how does the Basic Plan affect the planning you’ll do in your particular Annex, Appendix, or Tab?

b. Functional Planning Guidance: This is the second step in developing the plan. Using the process suggested under General Planning Guidance, the planner should have a good general picture of why the CINC and his subordinates were tasked, and what their Objectives, Mission, ConOps, etc. are. Now it’s time to do functional planning – going to the functional area where the planner will work and develop the Annex, Appendix, or Tab. The following suggests a method for doing this.

(1) WMP-1: The WMP-1 is, perhaps, the best place to start. The WMP-1 contains the essence of the JSCP as it pertains to the Air Force. If the planner cannot get hold of a copy of the JSCP (highly likely if the planner is below the level of the MAJCOM or Air Component Command), then the WMP-1 will give them the necessary background for developing the plan. More importantly, the WMP-1 also has 30+ functional Annexes, specifically designed to assist the planner in their functional area. We suggest the planner review the front of the WMP-1, then go to the functional Annex to get more detailed, functional guidance

(2) AFMAN 10-401: The next logical step is AFMAN 10-401. AFMAN 10-401 is the Air Force planner’s bible. It contains most of the general information needed to do planning. Volume I provides guidance and policy for planning; Volume II has approved Oplan and Conplan formats. AFMAN 10-401 also contains a section with functional guidance and a planner’s checklist keyed to the functional areas. The planner should use 10-401 as a reference, and use the functional guidance and checklist as a tool for planning

(3) CINC’s plan (or higher headquarters’ plan): Now it’s time to return to the CINC’s plan, this time going to the functional Annex that the planner will support. Here is the opportunity to see how the CINC’s staff supported the CINC’s Basic Plan in their Annex.. Did they carry forward the ConOps and properly develop a functional-specific Concept of Operations (usually Para 3a) supporting it? Does the Concept of (Logistics, Medical, xxxx, etc) Operations answer the Who, what, where, when, how questions?

(4) Supporting Plan: Finally, armed with all the foregoing information, it’s time to work on the Supporting plan (supporting a CINC’s plan, Air Component Command, NAF, or Wing plan). Some common-sense rules apply:

(a) Assuming the current plan exists, don’t toss it out and start with a clean sheet of paper. The current plan was approved and, no doubt, has considerable value. Depending on the new threat, forces, planning factors, ConOps, etc, there be very little needed to update the plan.

(b) Ensure that the Concept of (xxxx) Operations paragraph answers the questions: Who, Where, When, Why, What, and How. A complete ConOps will paint a good picture how the planner’s functional area will support the Basic Plan and the higher headquarters’ plan.

(c) When completed, use the Checklist(s) in AFMAN 10-401 to ensure everything is covered.