CWPC Contingency Wartime Planning CourseCWPC Contingency Wartime Planning Course

Crisis Action Planning


INSTRUCTOR: Lt Col Buck Buchanan

DESCRIPTION: This lesson introduces the concept of joint planning and execution during time-sensitive situations. It examines the six phases of the Crisis Action Procedures (CAP) and the implementing orders that issue tasks, guidance, and NCA decisions.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this lesson is for each student to comprehend the concept of crisis action planning.

SAMPLES OF BEHAVIOR: Each student will be able to:

1. Know the purpose of CAP and how it supports national security objectives and strategy.

2. Describe the six phases of crisis action planning.

3. Describe the CAP orders and what action they require by the CINC.

  1. Describe the concept of pairing and tailoring of force packages.
  2. Know the value of SORTS during crisis action planning.
  3. Know how TARGET supports CAP.
  4. Describe the reassignment and attachment of forces during execution planning.













  1. Purpose and Definition of a Crisis:
  1. Purpose of CAP. An adequate and feasible military response to crisis demands a

flexible adaptation of the basic planning process that emphasizes the time available, rapid and effective communications, and the use of previously accomplished contingency planning. To rapidly translate national objectives into military capabilities.

b. Crisis Definition: Whenever possible military forces, and possessions or vital interests that develops rapidly and creates a condition of such diplomatic, economic, political, or military importance to the US government that commitment of US military forces and resources is contemplated to achieve US national objectives.

2. Deliberate Planning vs. Time-Sensitive Planning:

a. Deliberate planning Phases 1 and 2 (Initiation and Concept Development) correspond ROUGHLY to CAP phases 1 through 4 (Situation Development, Crisis Assessment, COA Development, and COA Selection). Deliberate planning Phase 3 (Plan Development) corresponds ROUGHLY to CAP Phase 5 (Execution Planning).

    1. Similarities: (1) Using same units, people, and resources. (2) Usually, same people involved in the planning. (3) Processes similar although a different breakout in phases.
    2. Differences: (1) Relative calm vs. time crunch. (2) Probability of implementation.

3. Six Phases of the Crisis Action Planning (CAP):

a. PHASE I - Situation Development: Begins with the occurrence of an event having possible national security implications and ends when that event is reported to the NCA and Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    1. Something happens.
    1. Initial report is provided to NMCC
    1. CINC sends a Commander's Assessment of the situation (OPREP-3 Pinnacle/CINC's Assessment):
    1. Key elements:
    1. Information on the situation.
    2. Actions currently underway or proposed.
    3. Forces readily-available to respond to the crisis.
    4. Time for earliest commitment.
    5. Constraints on employing forces.
    1. May include discussion of COAs recommended or under consideration.
    1. NCA, JCS, and CINC monitor situation.

(4) JCS Crisis Response Modes: NMCC Operations Team, Response Cell, Crisis Action Team (CAT), and Operations Planners Group (OPG).

b. PHASE II - Crisis Assessment: This phase begins with a report from the supported CINC (OPREP-3/PCA generated from Phase I) and ends with a decision by the NCA to return to situation monitoring or to have military options developed for possible use.

(1) Diplomatic, political, economic, and military implications of the situation are weighed. (2) Usually, JCS requires increased reporting from field. (3) JCS Force Preparation considerations: (a) Secrecy and surprise. (b) Reduce reaction time. (c) Deployment Preparation Order or Deployment Orders.

1. Five deployability postures: Normal, Increased, Advanced, Marshaled, and Loaded 2. Issued by CJCS under authority of SecDef.

(4) NCA decides event is or is not a crisis.

(a) If not, back to normal watch.

(b) If so, go forward to Phase III.

c. PHASE III - Course of Action (COA) Development: Begins with the CINCís receipt of the Warning Order, echoing an NCA/CJCS decision to develop possible military COAs. Phase III ends when COAs (Commanderís Estimate) are presented to the CJCS/NCA.

(1) Initiated by JCS WARNING ORDER, which, among other things, tells CINC to develop COAs and provide a formal Commander's Estimate of the situation. (a) Allocates major combat forces and strategic lift; or requests the supported CINC to develop force and strategic lift requirements using JOPES.

(b) Requests CINC's Commander's Estimate.

(c) Defines: 1. Objectives. 2. Anticipated mission or tasks. 3. Constraints. 4. Command Relationships. (e) In fast-breaking situation, could be a phone call at general/flag officer level, with follow-on hard copy.

(2) Force allocation process

    1. Allocation. The resources furnished to the commander of a unified command by the NCA with the advice from the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, in consultation with other members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for execution planning or actual execution.
    2. Assignment. To place units or personnel in an organization where such placement is relatively permanent and/or where such organization controls and administers the units or personnel for the primary function, or greater portion of the functions, of the unit or personnel.
    3. Attachment. The placement of units or personnel in an organization where such placement is relatively temporary. The detailing of individuals to specific functions where such functions are secondary or relatively temporary.
    1. Use of SORTS. Best available source of information to determine what units are manned, equipped, trained and condition of equipment to perform capabilities required
    2. Force package pairing and tailoring. Revising a predefined mobility package, prior to departure, to allow for the existing personnel and materiel situation at the deployment location.
    1. Reasons for pairing and tailoring. To meet operational requirements for specific taskings for the particular crisis. No need to take cold weather gear when deploying to Grenada.
    2. Tools for pairing and tailoring. Personnel: Shortfall Change Message and PLANBUILD. Logistics: LOGPLAN and DEMES (coming soon). OT&P communicates all changes to JOPES.
    1. Use of TARGET in course of action development.

1. TARGET capabilities. Theater Level Analysis, Replanning and Graphical Execution Toolbox. Allows near real time collaboration between organizations for development of multiple courses of actions. It is a high-level multimedia and graphical toolkit.

2. Role in CAP. Enables COA generation, analysis, and recommendation selection.

(6) CINC submits Commander's Estimate with his recommended COA.

(7) Key principle: Maximum Flexibility Left To SUPPORTED CINC.

d. PHASE IV - COA Selection: Begins when the Commanderís Estimate with COA(s) are received from the CINC (end of phase III) by the CJCS/NCA and ends upon NCA selection of the COA..

(1) JCS evaluates COAs and situation and presents COA(s) to NCA, in order of priority.

(2) NCA makes selection. (Note: The NCA may not make a final determination of which COA to pursue at this time. If they donít, Phase V will most likely begin anyway; but, with a CJCS Planning Order, vice an Alert Order -- see below)

e. PHASE V - Execution Planning: Begins upon notification by the CJCS of an approved (Alert Order) or pending (Planning Order) NCA decision of a COA. Phase V ends when the OPORD is approved by the CJCS/NCA, and a decision is made to execute the resulting OPORD(s).

(1) Initiated by a an ALERT ORDER or PLANNING ORDER

(a) JCS Alert Order:

1. Conveys an Approved NCA decision of COA selection.

2. Initiates Execution Planning.

3. Contents depend on crisis and degree of prior planning.

4. Eventually, an Alert Order will always be provided -- with the NCAís decision.

(b) JCS Planning Order:

1. Issued when JCS wants continued execution planning before NCA approval of a COA. Ergo, NCA decision is Pending

2. IF it comes, it initiates Execution Planning.

(2) Execution Planning transforms the selected COA into an OPORD. (a) An OPORD directs execution of an operation (b) Actual force movement. (c) Based on facts, not assumptions. (d) Limited scope: time and area.

(3) Tasks of Phase V, Execution Planning:

    1. Execution Planning.
    2. Force Preparation.
    1. Deployability Posture Reporting.

(4) Possible NCA decisions: (a) Execute the OPORD. (b) Put the OPORD on hold for possible future use. (c) Cancel the OPORD

f. PHASE VI - Execution: The authorization by the NCA to execute the military operation. It begins with the decision to execute an OPORD, normally transmitted by a CJCS EXECUTE ORDER, and continues until the crisis is resolved satisfactorily. SECDEF directs JCS to issue an EXECUTE ORDER which: . (a). Directs execution of a military operation (b). Results from NCA decision. (c). Issued by Authority of SECDEF. (d). If other orders were not previously issued (i.e., Warning, Alert, or Planning), this order would contain all information the CINC and the other players would need to execute the OPORD.