Operational Environment

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It is imperative that commanders and leaders possess a thorough understanding of their respective dynamic Operational Environment (OE) in order to efficiently utilize available resources to achieve the desired end state. Understanding the physical environment, the state of governance, technology, local resources and the culture of the local populace is absolutely vital and failure to do so leaves little chance for success. When considering the OE the following factors need to be examined; ideology, religion, race, ethnicity, nationalism and physiological needs. Obtaining the necessary information will only be achieved as a result of a time consuming process that entails speaking with members of the local governance and the local populace of which patience is paramount. Given our current Contemporary Operational Environments (COE) of Iraq and Afghanistan probably the most important factor to understand is religion. It is imperative that commanders have a thorough understanding of the desired end state which is to rebuild the country and not force western culture upon them in the process. Agreeing with their culture or beliefs is inconsequential. Commanders at all levels are obligated to ensure that this end state is clearly stated and understood by everyone at all levels in order to show the local populace that are intentions are clear and that our efforts are sincere.

According to FM 3-0 the OE should be analyzed utilizing the following interrelated operational variables; political, military, economic, social, information, infrastructure, physical environment and time (PMESII-PT). These variables provide a view of the operational environment that emphasizes its human aspects. It is suggested that whenever possible commanders and staff utilize specialists in each variable in order to improve analysis. The political analysis also addresses the effect of will. Will is the primary intangible factor it motivates participants to sacrifice to...
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