CHARACTERIZING THE OPERATIONAL ENVIRONMENT
WITH OPERATIONAL AND MISSION VARIABLES
From U.S. Army, 2012b, Page 2
THE OPERATIONAL ENVIRONMENT
7. The operational environment is a composite of the conditions, circumstances, and influences that affect the employment of capabilities and bear on the decisions of the commander (JP 1-021). Army leaders plan, prepare, execute, and assess operations by analyzing the operational environment in terms of the operational variables and mission variables. The operational variables consist of political, military, economic, social, information, infrastructure, physical environment, time (known as PMESII-PT). The mission variables consist of mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available, time available, civil considerations (known as METT-TC). How these variables interact in a specific situation, domain (land, maritime, air, space, or cyberspace), area of operations, or area of interest describes a commander’s operational environment but does not limit it. No two operational environments are identical, even within the same theater of operations, and every operational environment changes over time. Because of this, Army leaders consider how evolving relevant operational or mission variables affect force employment concepts and tactical actions that contribute to the strategic purpose.
THE ARMY’S CORE COMPETENICES:
COMBINED ARMS MANEUVER AND WIDE AREA SECURITY
From U.S. Army, 2012b, Pages 2-8 - 2-10
ARMY CORE COMPETENCIES
2-31. Army forces demonstrate their core competencies of combined arms maneuver and wide area security by combining offensive, defensive, and stability or defense support of civil authorities tasks simultaneously. As part of a combined arms force within unified land operations, Army forces accept prudent risk to create opportunities to achieve decisive results. They employ synchronized action of lethal and nonlethal effects, proportional to the mission and informed by an understanding of an operational environment. Mission command that conveys commander’s intent guides the adaptive use of Army forces.
2-32. Although distinct by definition, combined arms maneuver and wide area security are inseparable and simultaneous. Combined arms maneuver and wide area security provide the Army a focus for decisive action as well as a construct for understanding how Army forces use combined arms to achieve success in this contest of wills. As core competencies, combined arms maneuver and wide area security uniquely define what the Army provides to
1“JP 1-02” refers to Joint Publication 1-02, Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, Directorate for Joint Force Development (J-7), Joint Staff (DoD, 1994). In ADRP 3-0, operational environment is defined and discussed in paragraphs 1-2 through 1-16 (U.S. Army, 2012b). That discussion includes the PMESII-PT operational variables (paragraph 1-9) and the METT-TC mission variables (paragraph 1-10).