Operation Order

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An Operation Order or Operations Order (OPORD sometimes OPORDER or OP O) is a directive, usually formal, issued by a commander to subordinate commanders for the purpose of effecting the coordinated execution of an operation. These orders can be issued both verbally and in written form. Many western military forces and all NATO members have adopted the NATO "Five-Paragraph" Operation Order format, some continue to use innate forms of operation/combat orders for non-allied purposes.

The Warsaw Pact equivalent of the OPORD, still used by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and other former WP-members, is the Combat Order, which is not as standardized as the NATO equivalent throughout the various forces and levels.

All operation orders contain a description of the military situation, state a mission, state how the mission is to be achieved, how the operation plan is to be executed and how the execution is supported by supporting assets, logistics and command and control systems. The use of a standardized format for operation and combat orders increases the clarity of the orders, minimizes the risk of misunderstandings, while at the same time making the promulgation of orders more time-efficient, as all subordinates are familiar with the presented structure and know what to expect.

NATO Format for Operation Orders

See NATO Operation Order for the full article on the NATO OPORD Format.

The NATO Operation Order (OPORD), as standardized in STANAG 2014, is always in the five paragraph format and always includes paragraphs 1.a, 1.b, 1.c, 2, 3, 4 and 5 with their headings. Paragraph 2 (Mission) is neither sub-paragraphed, nor summarized using terms such as "No Change" or "NIL.".

Task organization

1. SITUATION

a. Enemy forces.
b. Friendly forces.
c. Attachments and detachments.

2. MISSION

3. EXECUTION

4. ADMINISTRATION/LOGISTICS

5. COMMAND AND SIGNAL

US Army Format for Operations Orders

See US Army Operations Order for the full article on the US Army OPORD Format.

The Operations Order (OPORD) format used by the US Army, complies with the general NATO five-paragraph OPORD format set forth in STANAG 2014, but adds and interjects additional elements into the five paragraphs, while also renaming paragraph 4. to "Sustainment" and 5. to "Command and Control".

Task organization

1. SITUATION

a. Area of Interest
b. Area of Operations
c. Enemy Forces
d. Friendly Forces
e. Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Nongovernmental Organizations
f. Civil Considerations
g. Attachments and Detachments
h. Assumptions

2. MISSION

3. EXECUTION

a. Commander's Intent
b. Concept of Operations
c. Scheme of Movement and Maneuver
d. Scheme of Intelligence
e. Scheme of Fires
f. Scheme of Protection
g. Stability Operations
h. Assessment
i. Tasks to Subordinate Units
j. Coordinating Instructions

4. SUSTAINMENT

a. Logistics
b. Personnel
c. Health System Support

5. COMMAND AND CONTROL

a. Command
b. Control
c. Signal

Canadian Format for Operation Orders

See Canadian Operation Order for the full article on the OP O Format used by Canadian Armed Forces.

The Operation Order (OP O) format used by the Canadian Armed Forces, largely complies with the general NATO five-paragraph OPORD format set forth in STANAG 2014, but adds and interjects additional elements into the five paragraphs, renaming paragraph 4 "Service Support" and paragraph 5 "Command and Signals".

Task organization

1. Situation

a. Enemy Forces.
b. Friendly Forces.
c. Attachments and Detachments.
d. Commander's Evaluation.

2. Mission

3. Execution

Intent.
a. Concept of Operations.
b. Tasks/Missions to Sub Units.
c. Coordinating Instructions.

4. Service Support

a. Support Concept.
b. Materiel and Services.
c. Medical Evacuation and Hospitalization.
d. Personnel.
e. CIMIC.
f. Miscellaneous.

5. Command and Signals

a. Command and Control.
b. Command.

British Generic Orders Format

See British Generic Orders Format for the full article on the orders format used by the Land Component of the Armed Forces of the UK.

The Generic Orders Format used by the British Armed Forces, largely complies with the general NATO five-paragraph OPORD format set forth in STANAG 2014, but adds and interjects additional elements into the order, creating an unnumbered 6th paragraph before the "Situation" paragraph named "Preliminaries" that contains, among others things, the Task Organization. It also renames paragraph 4 "Service Support" and paragraph 5 "Command and Signal".

PRELIMINARIES

a. Task Organisation.
b. Ground.

1. SITUATION

a. Enemy Forces.
b. Friendly Forces.
c. Attachments and Detachments.

2. MISSION

3. EXECUTION

a. Concept of Operations.
Intent
Scheme of Manoeuvre
Main Effort
Key Timings
b. Mission Statements.
c. Coordinating Instructions.
d. Summary.

4. SERVICE SUPPORT

5. COMMAND AND SIGNAL

German Army Operations Order

See German Army Operations Order for the full article on the OP-order (OP-Befehl) Format used by the Bundeswehr.

The Operations Order (OP-order) "Operationsbefehl - (OP-Befehl)" format used by the German Army ("Bundeswehr - Heer"), largely complies with the general NATO five-paragraph OPORD format set forth in STANAG 2014, but adds and interjects additional elements into the five paragraphs.

German Translation
Truppeneinteilung Task Organisation
1. Lage
a) Feindlage
b) eigene Lage
c) Unterstellungen/Abgaben
1. Situation
a) Enemy Forces
b) Friendly Forces
c) Attachments/Detachments
2. Auftrag 2. Mission
3. Durchführung
a) Eigene Absicht und Geplante Operationsführung
b) Einzelaufträge
c) Spezielle Aufträge
d) Maßnahmen zur Koordinierung
3. Execution
a) Intent and Concept of Operations
b) Tasks to subordinate units
c) Special tasks
d) Coordinating Instructions
4. Einsatzunterstützung
a) Sanitätsdienst
b) Logistik
c) Personal
4. Logistics and Administration
a) Medical Service
b) Logistics
c) Personnel
5. Führungsunterstützung 5. Command and Signal

Warsaw Pact Format for Combat Orders

See Combat Order (Warsaw Pact) for the full article on the Warsaw Pact Combat Order.

The Combat Order is the Warsaw Pact equivalent of an Operations Order. It is issued prior to combat actions. The exact form and numbering differs from command level to level and was subject to adapations from armed force to armed force throughout the years. It generally followed this format throughout Warsaw Pact forces:

Orientation Points

1. Enemy

2. Higher and Adjacent Units

3. Mission

4. Order

Preceded with "I order..."

a) Tasks to subordinate units
b) Tasks to Artillery and other units
c) Tasks to NBC-Defense
d) Timeline/Readiness Times
e) Signals

5. Location of the Commander

6. Succession of Command

See Also