top of page

The 5 Paragraph Order

Updated: Mar 22, 2022

Oftentimes we go out to train and we have no set precedence or anything in mind. We either go out and run some simple on the fly battle drills, maybe one or two planned things, or we get there and everything goes to shit and we end up sitting around a fire for the weekend and make jokes. Sometimes we need those trips, but most of the time we need to be prepared to train hard and retain something from the trip.

We need to train how we fight, and that includes a proper mission plan. In the military, there is always a mission plan that goes before a mission. It lays out what's going on, what we're going to do about it, and then the administrative portions. In training, we need to come up with these hypothetical situations to train around, and give proper mission briefs to ensure everybody knows the plan and the underlying information.


a. Area of Interest. Describe the area of interest or areas outside of your area of operation that can influence your area of operation.

b. Area of Operations. Describe the area of operations. Refer to the appropriate map and use overlays as needed.

(1) Terrain: State how the terrain will affect both friendly and enemy forces in the AO.

(2) Weather. Describe the aspects of weather that impact operations. Consider the five military aspects of weather to drive your analysis (V,W,T,C,P- Visibility, Winds, Temperature/Humidity, Cloud Cover, Precipitation)

Other considerations:

Temp high and low, sunrise/sunset, moonrise/moonset and phase, wind speed and direction.

c. Enemy/Opposing Forces. The enemy situation. Refine it by adding the detail your subordinates require. Point out on the map the location of recent enemy activity known and suspected.

(1) State the enemy’s composition, disposition, and strength.

(2) Describe his recent activities.

(3) Describe his known or suspected locations and capabilities.

(4) Describe the enemy's most likely and most dangerous course of action.

*This can also include civilian activity that will cause detection. While civilians in the area are not enemies, they are generally going to be alarmed if they see armed men in their AO unless they are familiar with you.*

d. Friendly Forces. Mission of Adjacent Units. State locations of units to the left, right, front, and rear. State those units’ tasks and purposes;

and say how those units will influence yours, particularly adjacent unit patrols.

(1) Show other units’ locations on map board.

(2) Include statements about the influence each of the above patrols will have on your mission, if any.

(3) Attachments and Detachments. Avoid repeating information already listed in Task Organization. Try to put all information in the Task Organization. However, when not in the Task Organization, list units that are attached or detached to the headquarters that issues the order. State when attachment or detachment will be in effect, if that differs from when the OPORD is in effect such as on order or on commitment of the reserve. Use the term “remains attached” when units will be or have been attached for some time.

*This can be other groups in the area, people that are friendly to you and your cause in the area, or others that you are training with

2. MISSION. State the mission derived during the planning process. A mission statement has no subparagraphs. Answer the 5 W's:

Who? What (task)? Where? When? and Why (purpose)?

• State the mission clearly and concisely. Read it twice.

• Go to map and point out the exact location of the OBJ and the unit’s present location


a. Mission Intent. State the intent which is the clear, concise statement of what the force must do and the conditions the force must establish with respect to the enemy, terrain, and civil considerations that represent the desired end state.

b. Concept of Operations. Write a clear, concise concept statement. Describe how the unit will accomplish its mission from start to finish. Base the number of subparagraphs, if any, on what the leader considers appropriate, the level of leadership, and the complexity of the operation.

Warfighting Functions:

Fire support

Movement and Maneuver


Command and Control


Sustainment (formerly called "CSS")

c. Scheme of Movement and Maneuver. Describe the employment of maneuver units in accordance with the concept of operations. Address subordinate units and attachments by name. State each one’s mission as a task and purpose. Ensure that the subordinate units’ missions support that of the main effort. Focus on actions on the objective. Include a detailed plan and criteria for engagement / disengagement, an alternate plan in case of compromise or unplanned enemy force movement, and a withdrawal plan. The brief is to be sequential, taking you from start to finish, covering all aspects of the operation.

• Brief from the start of your operation, to mission complete.

• Cover all routes, primary and alternate, from insertion, through AOO, to link-up, until mission complete.

• Brief your plan for crossing known danger areas.

• Brief your plan for reacting to enemy contact.

• Brief any approved targets/CCPs as you brief your routes.

d. Casualty Evacuation. Provide a detailed CASEVAC plan during each phase of the operation. Include CCP locations, tentative extraction points, and methods of extraction.

e. Tasks to Subordinate/Additional Units. Clearly state the missions or tasks for each subordinate unit that reports directly to the headquarters issuing the order. Leaders may task their subordinate squads to provide any of the following special teams: reconnaissance and security, assault, support, aid and litter, and clearing. You may also include detailed instructions for the team leaders, compass-man, and pace-man.

h. Coordinating Instructions. This is always the last subparagraph under paragraph 3. List only the instructions that apply to two or more units, and which are seldom covered in unit SOPs. Refer the user to an annex for more complex instructions. The information listed below is required.

(1) Time Schedule. State time, place, uniform, and priority of rehearsals, back briefs, inspections, and movement.

(2) Commander's Critical Information Requirements. Include PIR and FFIR

(a) Priority intelligence requirements. PIR includes all intelligence that the commander must have for planning and

decision making.

(b) Friendly force information requirements. FFIR include what the team needs to know about friendly forces available for the operation. It can include personnel status, ammunition status, and leadership capabilities.

(3) Essential elements of friendly information. EEFI are critical aspects of friendly operations that, if known by the enemy, would compromise, lead to failure, or limit success of the operation.

(4) Risk-Reduction Control Measures. These are measures unique to the operation. They supplement the unit SOP and

can include mission-oriented protective posture, operational exposure guidance, vehicle recognition signals, and fratricide

prevention measures.

(5) Rules of Engagement (ROE).

(6) Environmental Considerations.

(7) Force Protection.


A. Administration – "Bad Guys & Bandages": Enemy Prisoners of War ("EPW") & Casualty evacuation ("Casevac") Plans

B. Logistics – "Beans, Bullets, & Batteries": Food, Ammunition, Supply, Communications, Pyro, etc.

(1) Bad Guys focuses primarily on enemy prisoners of war (EPW) handling procedures and evacuation plan.

(2) Bandages focuses on medical evacuation plan for wounded, including location of your element’s medical personnel. This can also identify skid teams, level of treatment, exfil locations, casualty collection points, and so on.

(3) Beans, Bullets, and Batteries is how much should each individual bring for food, ammunition, batteries, is there resupply, where the resupply location is, etc.

Other considerations:

Transportation. State method and mode of transportation for infil/exfil, load plan, number of lifts/serials, bump plan, recovery assets, recovery plan.


“We will conduct self aid, buddy aid, then medic aid for casualties. Consolidate casualties in the center of our 360 upon consolidation on the objective. EPWs will be guarded and brought back to camp 2 upon completion of the mission. Everyone will carry one day supply of chow, two full canteens/nalgenes, a camelbak, and 150 rounds of ammunition for primary rifles.

5. COMMAND AND SIGNAL. State where command and control facilities and key leaders are located during the operation.

A. Command:

(1) Location of Commander/Patrol Leader. State where the commander intends to be during the operation, by phase if the

operation is phased.

(2) Succession of Command. State the succession of command if not covered in the unit’s SOP.

B. Control:

(1) Command Posts. Describe the employment of command posts (CPs), including the location of each CP and its time of

opening and closing, as appropriate. Typically at platoon level the only reference to command posts will be the company CP.

(2) Reports. List reports not covered in SOPs.

C. Signal:

Describe the concept of signal support. This is generally laid out with a primary, secondary, and tertiary method of signal. Common methods are hand and arm signals, radios, ATAK/mesh networks, cell phones, smoke signals, and a lot of other methods if you can get creative with it.

1,203 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All
Post: Blog2 Post
bottom of page