Lesson 1/Learning Event 1
Higher headquarters may use command forecasts to begin the planning sequence. Subordinate
commanders also may use these forecasts to begin their preparations concurrently, which permits them
to complete their own studies and estimates. When planning and preparation begin early, the overall
command reaction time is reduced. As actions are projected further into the future, fewer facts are
available, more assumptions must be made, and the probability of forecasted commitments occurring
exactly as predicted diminishes rapidly.
Assumptions are an essential part of forecasting and are used in all stages of the planning sequence. In
the absence of facts, assumptions state conditions that must exist if a specific plan is to be put into
effect. Different assumptions are used to develop alternate plans for various probable commitments. A
subordinate planner treats a higher commander's assumptions as facts bearing on the problem. When
additional information becomes available, forecasts are changed to agree with the facts. These changes
necessitate corresponding changes in plans being developed, or revisions to those already completed.
All staff sections must be informed promptly of any changes so that planning and preparation will be
coordinated throughout the command.
Examining probable commitments and establishing priority of further preparation is the second step in
the planning sequence. This involves an analysis of forecasted commitments and assumptions to
determine the probability and the likely priority of their occurring so that priorities can be established for
further planning and preparation. At this stage, a planning program begins to emerge. A planning
program is a schedule for performing a series of planning tasks in a particular order. It is a valuable aid
in coordinating the detailed investigation of all matters essential to the planning process.
Studying the implications and the interrelationship of the probable commitments to determine an
assumed mission, or missions, is the third step in the planning sequence. As each mission becomes
more apparent, the planning sequence and the sequence of actions in making and executing decisions
become closely allied.
Analyzing the mission to determine the specific tasks to be performed, their complexity, and their
relative importance is the fourth step in the planning sequence. At this point, the planning tasks and the
phasing of planning tasks begin to emerge. An analysis of the work to be performed during planning
establishes the specific planning tasks that must be completed and the sequence for their completion. A
checklist based on this analysis, should be developed early in the planning sequence to facilitate the
solution of problems