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The Advance Pol-Mil Planning Process

Overview: The Advance Pol-Mil Planning Process is the methodology used within the interagency to conduct policy planning in anticipation of a complex emergency. This process supports Principals and Deputies Committee requirements for having viable options to deal with a crisis, while at the same time giving direction to agencies on planning requirements.

Initiation: Advance planning activities are normally initiated by the Deputies Committee, although a planning effort can be originated at the call of the National Security Advisor, a department Under Secretary, at the request of a U.S. Ambassador or a Combatant Commander.

  • Senior NSC Director for Complex Contingency Management establishes a Policy Steering Group (PSG) / PSG Reports to the Deputies Committee

Prep Phase: Foundations for Pol-Mil Planning

  • Regional Strategy (Prepared by the Regional Bureau of the State Department)

  • Comprehensive Situation Assessment (Prepared by the Intelligence Community)

  • Crisis Planning Scenarios (Prepared by the NSC Staff)

Phase 1: NSC Guidance for Pol-Mil Planning (Prepared by the NSC Staff, Approved by the NSA)

  • Geo-strategic context

  • Summary of the evolving situation

  • Crisis planning scenarios and assumptions

  • U.S. policy aims and core regional objectives

  • Specific planning guidance

  • PSG establishes an Interagency Planning Group (IPG) / IPG Reports to the PSG

Phase 2: Major Mission Area Staff Estimate (Prepared by the IPG)

  • Situation assessment of the mission area

  • Probable mission area objectives and component tasks

  • Probable key actors and roles

  • Important planning considerations

  • Required early decisions or actions

  • Policy issues that will need resolution

Phase 3: Projection of Strategic Outcomes and Policy Issues (Prepared by the PSG)

  • Conduct a RED-BLUE-GRAY Strategy Game at the Assistant Secretary / Three Star level

  • Clarify threats and policy issues that will emerge immediately and in the near-term

  • Forecast strategic outcomes arising from the crisis immediately and in the near-term

  • Deputies Committee Decision: Continue Interagency Planning (or Suspend Planning)

  • Deputies establish an Executive Committee (ExCom). PSG members advise the ExCom

Phase 4: Political-Military Intervention Strategy (Prepared by the PSG for the ExCom)

  • Restate the crisis planning scenario

  • Restate the political forecast of potential actions by protagonists

  • Update U.S. concerns and potential level of U.S. commitment

  • Confirm the U.S. policy aims

  • Present the U.S. pol-mil intervention strategy to prevail in the crisis

  • Present component strategies to mobilize, wield and sustain international power

  • Outline the key coalitions needed for the intervention

  • ExCom Decision: Prepare a Pol-Mil Implementation Plan

Phase 5: Political-Military Implementation Plan (Prepared by the IWG and PSG for the ExCom)

  • Summarize the geo-strategic context

  • Describe the crisis planning scenario

  • Present a policy overview

  • Outline the strategic purpose, mission statement, and pol-mil objectives

  • Present the political-military intervention strategy (see Phase 4 above)

  • Specify preparatory tasks in advance of the intervention

  • Specify the major mission areas, objectives, key tasks, timelines, lead and supporting agencies

  • Describe the mission’s organization and concept of operation

  • Describe interagency management activities

Phase 6: Major Mission Area Campaign Planning and Mobilization (Directed by the ExCom)

  • Complete major mission area operational plans by agency planners

  • Designate leaders, commands, missions, tasks, timelines and resources

  • Mobilize national and multilateral partners in key coalitions

  • Clarify mission area planning issues and concerns

Phase 7: Interagency Rehearsal (Conducted by the ExCom and the Deputies Committee)

  • Confirm the playbook for the final countdown

  • Review mission area objectives, activities and management

  • Review agency plans

  • Harmonize agency efforts within each major mission area of the pol-mil plan.

Execution of the Intervention (Daily oversight by the ExCom and Policy decisions by the Deputies Committee, Principals Committee, and the President.)

After Action Reviews (Directed by the NSC Staff)