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Assumptions of Conflict
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Group Emergency Planning

Mission Planning and the Value of Independent Initiative

16 October 2005
page reconstruction & link check September 2018
Abstract: The steps to critical mission planning are outlined here as an operation checklist and guide to planning. The listing is based on the principle of training for the institution of innovative independent action and the taking of responsibility at all levels of an organization or mission. The planning and training for initiative taking strengthens a system's ability to respond and take independent action when faced with a novel situation for which planning provides no solution, or when communication has been lost, or events on the ground are moving too fast for effective communication and response. The following provides a guide for decision making, a basis for a disaster recovery plan (DRP) or a business continuity plan (BCP) or any operation where overall success is more important than getting in and returning with the flag regardless of the consequences.
Note: This paper is not meant to be definitive and should be treated only as a preliminary outline for action.
The following is relevant to any critical field operation as well as for group organization or for creating systems or products for clients. The terminology may be different but the conceptual framework is relevant to each of these fields and other instances in which some control is exercised over the outcome of events whether it is on the individual or group level.
The major causes of failure.
Aside from lack of timing, inadequacy of supplies or access, inadequate planning, inadequate data gathered on current condition of environment within which mission is to be accomplished, and a thousand other variables, the major causes of failure:
Predetermination of approach before all goals set, data are gathered.
Rigidity or inflexibility of approach precluding considering the reality on the ground.
Grandstanding by leader or manager attempting to always take center stage.
Inadequate division of labor causing overload on particular personnel.
Inadequate or blocked access to decision makers with timely data relating to changes in the situation.
Inadequate access to innovative or alternative ways to accomplish mission Inadequate support made available to team members.
Inadequate provision for initiative and self determination on the action level when communication to central command is severed or before effective communication and active response established.
Initiation of independent action.
Something which we do not want to think about is the loss of leadership at the top. However this is always a possibility and until the chain of command can be reinstated there is a gap which if left unfilled by action on the ground may lead to greater loss, suffering and perhaps even defeat.
Any organization must be set up and trained so that in the absence of leadership from the top, the lower echelons, and the personnel on the ground can take responsibility and initiate appropriate action. This requires additional training and an atmosphere which is not usually present in many bureaucratic or highly organized systems. Training and rewards for taking the initiative and the assumption of responsibility for a bottom up or horizontal command capability provides a system with increased latitude and power. Any system instituting this concept throughout an organization would be far stronger and capable of handling any mission whether it be a disaster or regular operation either within or separated from the normal chain of command. Such a system will also often benefit from increased innovation in handling situations for which there has been no specific preparation (7).
What happens when independent initiative is not available as an option?
Level of training.
Units and different levels of the command structure are less trained and prepared for novel situations and are less prepared in general even for their own part in the mission.
Training for initiative and responsibility leads to novel solutions which can be incorporated into the overall advancement of the mission.
Advancement of mission.
Units focus only on their own segment in a mission without a broader view which could enable more understanding and flexibility to perform.
When faced with communication lapses for whatever reason, action which may be critical to the overall mission is delayed when confronting a new situation or threat.
Morale is lower when units or individuals are not empowered.
Preparation for initiative and leadership in small arenas give greater sense of responsibility and pride in unit accomplishments.
Training would include:
Set of expectations delineating assumption of initiative and responsibility bounded by certain limitations.
Leadership and overall command responsibilities.
Training for effective cooperation between unit members.
Innovation and problem solving techniques.
Multi-tasking in a number of central and crucial possible situations to be encountered .
Training in identification of signs of possible problems within the teams, the mission and within the environment.
Training in future ideation – consequence timelines, and interaction juxtaposition (how elements should work together).
Broad training in information access.
Training in communication (making sure that everyone knows how to operate the available technology and lines of access).
Knowledge of logistics at each level and access to supply chains.
Coordination with other groups involved to avoid overlap and interference.
Arena available materials identification, location of and use of instead of waiting for outside supply.
Flexibility management and adaptation.
Use of local knowledge and information from the field in forming decisions and operational strategy.
Understanding of specific arena characteristics to obtain seamless operational efficiency.
Training which will develop the basis for mature judgment through experience. Effective run through of situations so that each member of the team can see the overall picture and how everything interacts.
Advance planning and execution based on foreseen future requirements.
Negative aspects which need to be countered are:
Lack of training.
Lack of information.
Lack of resources.
Incorrect timing.
Lack of integration with other efforts being pursued in the arena.
Instituted when:
The use of independent action is normally part of any organization when the type of action taken is within a narrow scope of activity or will have relatively little ramification on the total mission.
A structure is federated and little emphasis has been placed on chains of command, rules of action, or when the details of action are in principle left to the lower echelons.
When independent action is dictated by the emergencies of the situation and there is no response from higher levels, or response is not forthcoming within the time frame, or response is ineffective given the situation faced on the ground.
Independent, innovative action and the taking of responsibility has been built into the system and is expected.
This paper focuses on the 3rd and 4th situations and provides a basis for the training, instituting of rewards for independent and innovative action.
Stages of Critical Mission Planning.
Basically, all of the steps covered here must to some degree be part of any operation or response. The important first step is to identify the different stages and to assess their timeline, overlap, and each stage's contributory influences to other stages. Many stages may in fact overlap in time, material usage, and influence. The most critical job will be to keep them running concurrently without interference between segments which could compromise the mission.
This is the stage of developing the goals dictated by the problems or desires which must be solved or fulfilled. It is the period of reconnaissance in which as much as possible is learned about the possibilities, the 'lay of the land' and the collection of all data which will be used to understand the situation within which the mission will be conducted. At this stage documentation is started which will last throughout the project.
This is the stage in which goals will be linked to all of the possibilities and directions necessary to their attainment within different possible settings and resource availability including timing and integration.
This stage places flesh on the bones of the structure created during planning. All materials, and resources or capabilities for resource delivery are completed. All operations will be realized in terms of their requirements prior to the actual execution of the plan.
This is the realization stage of the plan in which any gaps in the previous stages are discovered and must be filled in real time. This stage is the one in which not being prepared can easily lead to disaster. This is also the stage in which innovation, and necessity of taking new roads for which there is no preparation needs to be taken.
This stage runs throughout the execution and afterwards to repair, adjust, and reassess enabling continuation of the operation and the next phase.
Wind down of all actions, protection of all resources, assessment of all attainments and their meaning for the continuation of and continuity of the organization in the present and the preparation for the next operation.
This stage is all too often in actuality a new operation in its own right which should be executed according to all of the stages. It is the result planned for but it is often not at all what was envisioned. Therefore, in most instances, the preparation for the aftermath must be scrapped and a new set of rules and procedures instituted to fit the realities of the actual situation.
Review, evaluation and critique.
This stage provides understanding to the degree possible of what occurred and an assessment of what were successes and failures. This phase is critical for future operations and must not be overlooked or minimized. At this phase it is very important to have outside bodies participate in the assessment and to accomplish an independent review and critique.
The following are details of the above stages and are applicable to all situations from individual actions to group endeavors.
Logs, databases, forms, questionnaires, observers, transcribers initiated which will run throughout all phases of the mission.
Setting of overall goal/sub-goals/possible alternative goals.
Think, plan and provide globally before devising the intricacies of any operations. Global definitions will enter into every small part of an operation.
Devise different global views - an incorrect or flawed global view will necessarily lead to disaster at some level if not to the total operation and its outcomes.
Analysis of goal fulfillment.
Be sure of the reasons for the goals you have set.
What will be the effect of these goals if realized?
What would be the effect should different goals be set?
What would be the effects of failure on the group?
Before you do anything, find out all you can about the thing you are about to do.
Be able to navigate within the area. This may mean linguistically through the use of interpreters, understanding of the protocols, prejudices, traditions, worldview of different segments of the population or group concerned.
Learn the history of those who will be involved and how your plan will impact them and how this will effect the mission.
Playing field.
Study and know the area within which the plan will be realized, its parameters, obstacles, the rules by which the plan will be unfolded and the way in which the participants will interact.
Determine the parameters of movement.
Other players.
Study the other participants and what they bring to the interaction.
General environment.
Environmental parameters which will aid or hinder progress.
Within arena resources potentially needed which are already present and available Available tools, materials, people, skills available within the arena or the population.
Major obstacles to overcome and potential solutions.
Previous attempts to accomplish mission by self or others.
Successes and failures of past attempts.
Available resources to obtain historical data.
Analysis of historical data.
Determine what is available or not available now as opposed to previous attempts.
Find historical incidents similar to the operation planned and learn by example.
Look at a number of well known and documented incidents either related or unrelated) which succeeded or which went wrong and assess the reasons for the successes or failures and what could have been done or avoided.
Risk assessment.
Identify all possible risks – natural and manmade which may enter into any response pattern.
Always factor in the presence of outside and potentially disruptive elements - those which can be foreseen and those which may be totally fortuitous and unpredicted.
Basic organizational structure.
Units and chain of command should be clarified and known to all taking part in the mission.
Basic funds and resources needed.
The basic needs for each stage, the potential sources and methods of commitment and timing of delivery.
Time sequencing.
Set the basic time sequencing of operations to accomplish task.
Resources available including personnel.
Basic skills available which will be needed to accomplish mission.
Skills and resources within group.
Skills and resources from suppliers and other resources.
Other potential groups or individuals who may be called in to perform central support or auxiliary functions.
Delineation of the involvement of personnel and support groups, when, where, and how much.
Basic communications and structure.
Communications available and potentially useful or critical to the operation.
Types of analysis and monitoring needed.
Initial analysis.
Obtain the opinions of others (participants, analysts, experts) on the general outline and on different parts of the planned operation.
General rules of planning.
Generate a spirit of improvisation and willingness to take responsibility in performing independent action suited to the exigencies confronted on the front line of any operation.
Decentralization increases the opportunities for success.
Never rely solely on your own view of events, or those of close advisors or players.
Most mistakes have been due to not taking outside and conflicting points of view into consideration. And never attempt to plan or execute a plan on the sole advice of yourself.
Never assume what the other party is thinking, their capability, predisposition or ability to perform. Keep in mind that the other actors taking part in the operation may have a totally different view of the situation and will themselves have factored in their own security and protection.
Provide measures which will create the least negative effects should something go wrong.
Preplan methods of ameliorating negative fallout or consequences.
Deal with planning and scheduling problems related to options available for each task and the consequences of each action to determine the most practical and goal effective methods.
Always factor in pullout, shutdown, abort possibilities and methods for accomplishing with least disruption. This often entails greater preplanning than the planning of the operation itself.
Generate methods for handling unexpected events.
Operations in obtaining goal.
Determination of what operations are needed to succeed.
Determine areas of flexibility – what is flexible and what is not in terms of tasks, time line, resource availability.
Methods of handling and analyzing alternative suggestions and innovations.
Establishing boundaries for the fulfillment of tasks.
Establishing rules and methods for cooperation, engagement, retreat, and re-planning.
Scheduling, timing and intersection.
Timing and integration is critical at all levels.
Determination of time line for each action and how it interacts with all other actions involved in the operation and in the environment.
Modeling and dry runs to determine probable success.
Create a limited mission with few elements and game play with group of players to discover what is needed, when, and how much.
Work through scenarios in which planned elements are changed to review the changes created in the operation and the outcome.
Assess all possibilities so that there is no possible room for surprises.
Always answer the questions what, what, what if, when, why, where, how and how much as a rule of thumb.
Assess the consequences of each action to determine the most practical and goal effective.
Push each operation to its logical conclusion and in some cases illogical fallout and consequences.
Test all modalities of mission critical equipment and functioning.
Chain of command and division of labor.
Determination of lines of command or responsibility.
Determination of who does what and in what circumstances.
Determination of backup for every critical position.
Backups and redundancy.
Redundancy measures for critical functions.
Recovery modes for errors in task completion.
Backups for each role or function.
Have backup plans or capabilities for each operation.
Prepare for backups, re-supply and re-delivery, including possible substitutes, alternative means and routes of all expendables.
Overcoming barriers.
Delineation of barriers which will impede progress and methods for overcoming.
Create what if…? For every possible occurrence to determine what to do given different types of circumstances.
Rules of engagement.
Delineation of basic rules of conduct and accountability.
Support networks and resources.
Support networks established for each position and task.
Establish rules of communication.
Provision of outside help in emergencies.
Establishing parameters for cooperation from within the arena itself.
On call facility and resources providers.
Provision for cooperation from outside groups even in some cases competitors.
Analysis methods of ongoing events.
Provide for constant analysis of situational variables, progress and future possibilities based on changes which are continually fed into the operations as they proceed.
Security and protection.
Factor in security and protection of all members as well as those tangentially affected.
Prepare alternative means of protection given any contingency.
Brainstorm all possible scenarios where protection or security may be necessary.
Response protocols and rules.
Develop specific responses for all risks identified and general response protocol which will prepare for unexpected risks.
Methods of accountability and follow-up.
Public accountability.
Methods and rules for disclosure.
Rules, types and methods for public relations.
Consequences and outcomes.
Factor in how the operation and its outcomes will effect other operations, players, social and political bodies.
Re-plan sequences after each unforeseen change in the conduct of an operation.
Plan for aftermath and all possible consequences.
Plan meticulously for aftermath - all possible scenarios including those not envisioned.
In many cases the aftermath takes more planning and has greater consequences than the operation itself.
This is the stage of logistics and training - the obtaining and positioning of materials and players towards the stage of execution. During this stage a great deal of flexibility and re-planning must take place based on the availability of resources, capabilities of storage and positioning and arranging for the timing of receipt and planned use of resources.
This is the stage in which planning is finalized based on the availability and positioning of resources and the capabilities of personnel. Finalization must be created through in-depth analysis of all measurable factors involved.
Assess supply needs, acquisition, arrangement for storage and delivery at appropriate times.
Assess the capabilities of your team(s) and your own capabilities.
Always have sufficient players to fulfill all parts of the operation in terms of knowledge, capability and training.
Training and overall preparation of all personnel.
Mock play through, rehearsal, and simulation in real time or computer modeling for purposes of training, and determination of gaps in knowledge, capabilities and interaction with other team members and other teams.
Multiple role training so that any individual can take over and fulfill a number of different positions.
Training, information and written protocols which can be accessed in an emergency.
Testing and evaluation.
Run-through and testing of the different operation options to identify gaps and areas needing further training or change in modality.
Testing of personnel in terms of capability to perform within the context of the tam and operation.
Testing and finalization of procurement and delivery of all needed materials.
Equipment, training, knowledge of theater of operation.
Training for optimum use of encounters with competitors, friendlies, or hostiles.
Checking of communications and alternatives available.
Interaction analysis.
Cohesion of teams and clarification of points of possible friction.
What if? analysis.
What if? planning so that all possibilities of changes in scenarios of planned action due to probable, improbable and unexpected factors will be covered.
Identification of areas which are incomplete, lacking, or might produce problems in actual interaction in theater of operation.
Identification of environmental variables (supplies, availabilities of material from previous actions, reuse of equipment, possible replication) which can be used to advantage thus reducing the reliance on centralized procurement and delivery.
Identification and accounting of real time action variables (juxtaposition of forces, tradeoffs, cross actions, turning points and changes in requirements in supplies, types of material needed, changes in rules of conduct, changes in form of engagement.
Psychological factors involved.
Establish the morale, knowledge and acceptance of goal and reasons for the action. Establish an atmosphere for innovation, independent action and responsibility where action must be taken and there is lack of communication or clear guidelines to action.
Integrate plans into wider area plans which are in place by other agencies or entities.
Integration and early warning systems should interact to provide feedback and support.
Set priorities for each agenda: action, protection, response, preservation, recovery.
In the event of an emergency or during any operation is will not always be possible to complete all functions – which are the most valuable or necessary for continuance and continuity (some are not necessarily recognizable as such). Review operations in relation to timing, communication, supply, chains of command.
Evaluate condition and characteristics of all environmental, social and physical factors which could impact on the operation.
Develop a check list for updates on any changes which need to be considered.
Checking security.
Checking and enhancement of security of operation on all levels.
Checking and enhancement of the safety of personal including protection systems for each entity – personnel, material, communication, resources. Each grouping needs a specialized protection system which includes protection against known dangers as well as protocols covering any unknown or unexpected danger. This should also include the development of maintenance procedures which will reduce long term problems.
Monitoring capabilities.
Special provision for real time monitoring using different modalities with backups and redundancies.
Develop listing of telltale signs of problems, how to recognize them, and what to do when they occur.
Maintenance and updating.
Maintenance schedules should be set for all renewable factors in the mission.
Procedures for updating all equipment, programs, communication should be instituted.
This is self explanatory – or is it? There are a number of indicators which test the degree to which the preceding stages were accomplished successfully or not if any of the items below are not fulfilled or actively in place.
Early warning.
Provide an effective early warning system which will reach 90+% of those effected.
Provide for a way to monitor the receipt of the warning and action related to it.
Follow up with a sustained and effective means of dealing with the effects of the warning.
Provide for the capability of effective response to the early warning. In many cases this may be one of the more difficult parts of a mission. Monitoring.
It is during this stage that several types of monitoring must be in place:
Monitoring of all functions which will enable identification of environmental, personnel and resource availability and interaction and sufficiency for mission continuity in real time and to provide for review and critiques at later stages.
Monitoring of scheduling, delivery and sufficiency of supplies, sufficiency of personnel, success and failures of each operation toward each sub-goal and the overall goal of the mission.
There must be clear indications and measurable indices of each of the above to enable effective decision making, indices which can signal advancement, retreat, abort sequences, or changing of the goals within the mission given real time necessities.
Constantly assess the resources available in the theater of action (already in the arena, available through conventional resources, available as an outcome of the action itself. Concurrent analysis.
Concurrent analysis during active phases of the operation.
Possible error analysis: Correction and decision making based on analysis of all things which can go wrong given the actual operation on the ground.
Flow diagrams of operation in progress to assess next steps given environmental, personnel, interaction, equipment vectors.
Real time feedback from different vantage points, and different modalities.
Real time updating of those carrying out the operation.
Provision for containment.
Identification of the need for containment.
Parameters of containment.
Measures in instituting containment.
Check against the major causes of failure of containment.
Constant check of the effectiveness of containment.
Contingency operations and shifting of preplanned actions.
There must be latitude for shifts in operations provided by sufficient backups, and preplanning for most contingencies.
Be prepared for sudden shifts in rules, projected occurrences, order of presentation some of which may totally change the way in which the operation is handled and played out including the possible consequences and needs for security and protection.
Be constantly prepared to reassess and adjust.
Where there is no preplanning and a lack of supplies or command for certain contingencies, there must be the ability, backed up by training and experience, to take the initiative and the responsibility on the local level if lives are to be saved or the goals of the operation are to be realized.
Decision making.
Constantly check for clear chain of command without overlap from other groups, agencies or individuals with an interest or legal right to intercede. These should be included as detailed lines of approval within the chain and not pose as unplanned decision makers.
Have alternative ways to do each operation accessible both theoretically and operationally given changes in the arena or problems encountered.
Always be willing to look at conventional wisdom as well as alternative and even highly criticized theories.
Preplan all possibilities including those not generally accepted by conventional wisdom and general knowledge of the field.
Continual input of open information channels.
Where public policy is involved, keep open well advertised public forums and capability for response and question-asking along with follow-up and review by those making the decisions.
Always have instant feedback capabilities to the participants from the decision makers in order to provide information, timing, and change in direction or operation.
Recovery should always be preplanned since any operation entails the possibility of some form of negative risk, feedback, change in the parameters of 'business as usual', and there must be sufficient planning to guarantee continuity. We usually think in terms of disaster recovery, but in fact any large scale operation carries with it the potential of disruption, changed fiscal position and liquidity and access to resources, as well as changes in the atmosphere in the organization and within the lives of the individuals involved in the operation.
Recovery is an ongoing part of any operation and should be meticulously planned prior to an incident or initiation of action. Failure to institute recovery measures and providing for continuity during an operation including the necessary personnel and material support and expertise to accomplish it in a timely manner can severely compromise the effectiveness of a mission.
Preparing for recovery and continuity.
Identification of gaps.
Establishing timing – assessed length of time between breakdown of critical functions and failure of sub-mission, length of time to repair or reestablish continuity (6).
Pre-identification of hazards or risks which will create a lapse in continuity during mission critical operations (6).
Managing for external intrusion and internal compromise.
Develop signs of potential breakdown which, apart from major damage due to mission accomplishment and backlash, will alert unit of impending breakdown or insufficiency.
Pre-established alternatives.
Establishing alternative means to perform critical functions.
Formulation of alternative measures to ensure continuity.
Institute redundancies of materials and personnel which can immediately fill any gaps in operation occasioned by breakdown, exhaustion of resources, destruction.
Pre-planning for executing recovery of (a non-exhaustive listing):
data still existing on hard drives of computers otherwise destroyed, codes and plans needed for continuation, etc.
Lost or ineffective communication.
Personnel in the arena who are crucial to continuance but who have been compromised momentarily for any number of reasons.
Communication links which have been compromised through intrusion by hackers, virus/worm attacks or spy programs.
Material assets which have been damaged but are still viable with repair or part replacement.
Restoration of communication with those units or service providers and suppliers needed for providing continuity.
Identify backup or redundant personnel or services prepared to perform recovery functions under adverse conditions if necessary. Develop protocols for repair and recovery of critical functions.
Institution of procedures.
Perform regular checks of mission critical functions which should be automatic checks where possible, Recovery should be accomplished in accordance with preparation. Where there has not been preparation or when the unexpected occurs, the training, atmosphere and the command structure should be capable of allowing for innovation, independent operation of personal, and acceptance of responsibility at the ground level for maintaining continuity.
Have a cyber incident response (CIRT) plan. Make sure that all communications are secure or do not transmit sensitive information.
Provide for remote capabilities in event of main communication breakdown.
Develop strategies for filtering communications which are fraud, intent on disruption or misinformation.
Recovery procedures and alternative means of communication should be instituted.
Provision for dealing with disorientation, loss of morale, instability.
Provision should be made for group support interaction, individual psychological help, debriefing, and reality checks particularly in sensitive missions.
Wrap-up is not just the end of the operation and withdrawal from the field. It comprises a number of identifiable operations. In actuality, wrap-up during the operations at the end of sub-stages is possible and if handled correctly, effective in preparation for the next stages of the operation.
Make any successes stable and failures mollified or turned to advantage based on new perspectives (lessons learned, data generated which can be useful for future operations).
Debriefing to some extent should always occur for those involved to reduce psychological load, to better understand what happened on the individual and unit level, desensitization if needed, and learning from individual experiences what transpired both physically and psychologically.
Recording procedures.
Recording of experiences and ideas for the next operation.
Replay of crucial operations to learn for future use.
Recording of events from the view point of the participants for historical purposes and documentation.
Recording for use in debriefing.
To prevent reoccurrence or provide for greater access.
Analyze and put in place measures which in a disaster will help prevent a reoccurrence or ease dealing with it, or to help future missions to operate more effectively.
Analysis of data should be carried out to better understand the causes and lead-ups to successes and failures and understanding of gaps in supply and operation.
Editing of real time data transmissions and analyses made during the operation for future use and reporting.
Public relations and reporting.
Rewards given for accomplishments.
The aftermath is usually considered to be any operation after the main operation and is therefore downgraded in importance and often performed with scant attention. However, this is in many cases a new operation and should be treated as such. Many failures are experienced during this phase which often degrade the successes of the 'main' operation or in some cases actually saves the operation from its failures. In point of fact, the aftermath is often more important than the operation itself since it pre-positions for the next event which may be deadlier or costlier or wider spread.
Cleanup, repair, adjust, re-supply, reposition.
Restart planning process.
Adjust planning for new reality – In many cases none of the old planning is relevant in the new situation.
Instituting forms of security and protection of personnel for the long run is priority.
Setting in place security measures and protection of affected populations from internal or external forces.
Initiate early warning systems on a number of levels.
Reassess strategies.
Reassess and develop new strategies in all areas to improve early warning, response and control.
Publish data.
Position and make readily available documents and data which will be needed in future actions.
Analysis from unit and command levels.
Analyze the outcome from the point of view of a number of different disciplines.
Reconstruct sequencing, timing, availability of materials, personnel and knowledge available.
Have different parts of the analysis team focus on a different aspect of the operation and provide for feedback and interconnectedness of teams and members during the analysis process.
Gather all possible data and, where appropriate, materials involved and arrange for their storage, security and safekeeping against all forms of intrusion, or disturbance.
Do not allow concentration on any failed portion of an operation to cloud all the factors which might have contributed to the incident as it occurred.
Review, evaluation, reconstruction and critique.
While part of this is accomplished in a number of ways in the wrap-up, this is an ongoing process which many have little or nothing to do with the participants in the operation but with the overall successes or failures. In some cases this stage takes years to complete.
Some of the events and data can only be understood within the context of a timeline often running years before and after an event.
Reconstruction of what occurred and the reasons for successes and failures by the system itself improves the future response of the system in general. Such reconstruction can be the basis for reorganization and the changing of suppliers, equipment, data and command flows, information gathering and use processes within the organization.
This is also a basis for learning and identifying best procedures.
Critique and investigation panels.
Set up criteria for the review and critique.
This should be conducted by outside and independent sources provides the basis for comprehensive understanding of the operation. This will often (if not always) highlight areas not seen or looked at by all internal critiques and reconstructions.
If the operation has been publicized, set up a public forum to obtain feedback and critique some of which will have perspectives at angles often missed by regular panels.
Provide an information database for review and for any personnel who will be part of the review process.
Publish reconstructions, critiques and investigations including the successes and failures as future guides as well as thoughts on how the operation could or should have been accomplished and internal as well as external restructuring.

Links To Resources
  • Center for American Progress 100 Mistakes for the President to Choose From
  • The Six Steps of Mission PlanningStarts off with "Is This Mission Planning Too Good To Be True?" from
  • (3)The Planning Illusion by Arnold Kling"The law of demand worked much better than any centralized rationing scheme.
  • New Incident Response Best Practices by Guidance Software
  • (6)Continuity of Operations Plan TemplateUniversity of Minnesota Revised December 2014
  • (7)Military Operations Battlefield Visualization Concept, Training and Doctrine CommandFort Monroe, Virginia 23651-5000 1 October 1995
  • Family Disaster Plan developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red CrossFamily Disaster Planning (PDF File) Preparing for Disaster (A4600)(FEMA 475) (PDF File)
  • Preparing A Disaster PlanNortheast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) 1 The Disaster Planning Team | 2 Writing a Disaster Plan | 3 Maintaining the Disaster Plan
  • Systems Development Life Cycle. Guidance Documentm The Department of JusticeJanuary 2003
  • What Went Wrong in IraqBy Larry Diamond From Foreign Affairs, September/October 2004

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