Decision making is knowing if to decide, then when
and what to decide. It includes understanding the consequence of decisions. Decisions are the means by which the commander translates his vision of the end state into
Decision making is both science and art. Many as-
pects of military operations—movement rates, fuel con-
sumption, weapons effects—are quantifiable and,
therefore, part of the science of war. Other aspects—the
impact of leadership, complexity of operations, and un-
certainty regarding enemy intentions—belong to the art
The military decision-making process (MDMP) is a
single, established, and proven analytical process. (See
Figure 5-1, page 5-2.) The MDMP is an adaptation of
the Army’s analytical approach to problem solving. The
MDMP is a tool that assists the commander and staff in
developing estimates and a plan. While the formal
problem-solving process described in this chapter may
start with the receipt of a mission, and has as its goal the production of an order, the analytical aspects of the
MDMP continue at all levels during operations.
The MDMP helpsthe commander and hisstaff exam-
ine a battlefield situation and reach logical decisions.
The process helps them apply thoroughness, clarity,
sound judgment, logic, and professional knowledge to
reach a decision. The full MDMP is a detailed, deliber-
ate, sequential, and time-consuming process used when
adequate planning time and sufficient staff support are
available to thoroughly examine numerous friendly and
enemy courses of action (COAs). This typically occurs
when developing the commander’s estimate and opera-
tion plans (OPLANs), when planning for an entirely
new mission, during extended operations, and during
staff training designed specifically to teach theMDMP.
The MDMP is the foundation on which planning in a
time-constrained environment is based. The products
created during the full MDMP can and...