Discussion in 'Staff College and Staff Officers' started by alfred_the_great, Jun 29, 2010.

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  1. Right, we're having a bit of a discussion at work about this: can any one help.

    I've been taught that the definitions are as follows:

    MLCOA - that COA likely to be chosen by the En when taking into account his displayed intent and current Orbat.

    MDCOA - that COA which offers the greatest risk to the En, again IAW his intent/capability, which also offers the greatest reward.

    The argument hinges around the latter - some of my oppo's think it means that COA that is most dangerous to friendly forces.

    Can anyone tell me where I can find the DCDC approved definitions? I've had a quick scout through JWP 2-00, but nothing seen. I've got access to DII (and if necessary DII(Secret)!) and Armynet if you want to PM me.

    many thanks in advance!

  2. Probably get shot down across the board, but in terms of Multi-National/UK operational doctrine:

    MLCOA- That which you assess the enemy will do based on the information you have at any given point in time. May change over the campaign as Time/Space/Force factors are variable. Seeks to attack your Centre of Gravity (CoG) when based on a rational enemy.

    MDCOA- What the enemy might do to attack your CoG if he weren't being rational and would really spoil your day. Again would be reviewed against factors on a regular basis as part of Operational Analysis.
  3. Sorry to be an arse, but I really need a quotable source. I've got lots of (mutually contradictory) opinions heading my way, but no-one can tell me exactly where it's laid down.....
  4. Just to let you know what else I've checked:

    JWP 2-00 (but not the new draft)
    JWP 0.0-01 (the Doctrine Glossary)
    AFM Vol 1 Pt 8 (Command and Staff procedures)

    Anything else people could suggest?
  5. msr

    msr LE

    That is my understanding.

  6. Stonker

    Stonker On ROPs

    Can't help - whole new set of acronyms - grateful for a decode of the words, I'll wait for someone more current than me to post an authoritative definition (if there is one :wink: )

    I'm deducing Enemy Most Likely/Most Dangerous Courses of Action

    I hate to say it, but if that's the right answer, it seems to me that the answer is bl##din' obvious (and therefore may not be tightly defined)

    Bearing in mind Von Moltke's thing about your enemy invariably choosing the third of the two courses of action your estimate thought were available to him. :D
  7. I've seen a JOTAC ESTIMATE publication which supports that it's the COA most dangerous to the EN, rather than you. It's also the same on some documents on the "Combat Estimate" section of Army Knowledge Exchange (on Armynet) - see the notes to go with slide 19 on the top ppt presentation at


    (login to AKX)

    I also think it mentions it on the Combat Estimate TDN Nov 2009

    Presumably the source would be AFM part 8 ( I think ) which covers Command and Staff Procedures - I can't access it at the moment to check.

    I'd assumed it was so you could maybe try and encourage your EN to underatake this COA, though I may of course be entertaining my Machiavellian tendencies far too much...
  8. I'm curious as to why the definitions can't be read out, only to be used as part of a answer:

    Lecturer’s Note (for info in case of a question---NOT TO BE READ OUT):
    The enemy's most likely COA will be the COA which gives the enemy the most consistent superiority (with the least amount of risk) and most closely matches his doctrine or way of doing things.
    The most dangerous COA will be the COA that gives the enemy the most decisive superiority but is considered a less likely option due to excessive unnecessary risk to the enemy.

    061103-U-Intro to Cbt Estimate(Generic) slide 16

    Link above....
  9. Stonker

    Stonker On ROPs

    That 2nd one seems to assume significant risk-aversity (standard Brit attitude?) on the part of the adversary. Yet, Manoeuvrism ought to encourage intelligent risk-taking, and it would be unwise to presume all enemies to lack boldness, shurely?

    Read Rommel "Infantry Attacks" (Infanterie Greift An!)*, in which he analyses some of the actions he led in WW1, and mebbe you'll begin to see what I mean.

    IIRC, on (at least) one occasion, in the face of superior numbers, and during a withdrawal in contact, he turned his troops about and sharply attacked his pursuers, causing them to turn tail, allowing him to break clean.

    On the face of it, a risky decision, (one that would almost certainly not have worked on a blank-firing exercise). In combat, however, when fight/flight instincts compete for control over all but the steadiest individuals . . . it's a different matter.
    * English language version is still in print
  10. Well, is this is all tied into Mission Command we've discussed elsewhere? Perhaps we can't actually comprehend an En that fully uses Mission Command (I would suggest that parts of the AQ, as distinct from the Taliban do use Mission Command). There's a new Doctrine Note out about Red Teaming, although I haven't had the chance to read it yet, perhaps that might clarify the "official" thoughts....
  11. Utter tosh produced by some pointy-headed twot with too much time on his hands. What has superiority got to do with it - this may not be what the en is trying to achieve? Haven't we got anything better to do than consistently, and pointlessly, fiddle with doctrine? Quite simply FF/en COA can both be defined as:

    Most likely COA is that which may enable us/him to achieve the desired end with the least amount of risk.

    Least likely COA (not most dangerous - more staff shite) is that which may enable us/him to achieve the desired end with the most amount of risk.
  12. Stonker

    Stonker On ROPs

    I wouldn't think even in those terms: the enemy doesn't have to make any use of mission command in order to be daring.

    Sovs in WW2 (or even in AFG 79-89, up to a point) would be a f'rinstance - much much les reluctant to take casualties than Western commanders, shurely?

    Anecdotal evidence says that ANA troops can sometimes be recklessly bold too - presumably the same is true of Taliban?

    (I wonder what En COA Lord Chelmsford had in mind for the Zulus, the night before the Battle of Isandhlwana . . . :wink: )
  13. msr

    msr LE

    Explanation of likely enemy COAs, normally expressed as the most
    likely and most dangerous.

    They do not appear to be defined, so it looks like someone is trying to be clever.

  14. Stonker

    Stonker On ROPs

    Elegantly put.

    I was wondering whether this line of analysis had ever been put to the test in (say) EyeRack or AFG - somehow it just doesn't feel like it, in which case it is academic theory masquerading as a practical framework for thought, and - worse - theoretical doctrine and everything that it drives (like training and officer education) has become yet another step divorced from the real stuff of soldiering.

    That would be foolish, to say the least.
  15. Stonker

    Stonker On ROPs

    testing this thread for beta damage . . .