Accession Number:



Military Decisionmaking Process: Lessons and Best Practices

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Technical Report

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Center for Army Lessons Learned Fort Leavenworth United States

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Historically, a units success is directly related to the ability of the staff to execute the military decisionmaking process MDMP. Given the increased complexity of todays operational environment and the vast array of mission command systems and processes, integration and synchronization of all activities associated with operations are increasingly difficult. Observations derived from deployed units, as well as from trainers at Combat Training Centers CTCs over the past decade, indicate a significant loss of unit ability to conduct a detailed MDMP. This lack of planning expertise results in de-synchronized operations, and could ultimately cost the lives of Soldiers. Both in actual operations and in training at the CTCs, planning time is often extremely limited. In these instances, units often omit steps of theMDMP. Most CTC trainers agree that when time is limited, completely omitting any step of the MDMP is not the solution and often degrades mission success. Combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan resulted in the use of non-doctrinal story boards in the planning process. This practice lacks the fidelity necessary to provide the commander with decisionmaking information he needs, and can lead to a loss of synchronization during operations.The MDMP is a solid model for developing a solution to a problem. However, if the staff conducting the MDMP is unfamiliar with each of the steps, the process can become very complex, and errors committed early in the process become increasingly problematic as planning continues. The MDMP facilitates interaction among the commander, staff, andsubordinate headquarters throughout the operations process. It providesa structure for the staff to work collectively and produce a coordinated plan. During planning, staff members monitor, track, and aggressively seek information important to their functional areas. They assess how this information affects course of action development and apply it to any recommendations they make.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Administration and Management

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