Thoughts on the Military Decision Making Process

Over the past few years I’ve had countless repetitions in screwing up the Military Decision Making Process. In retrospect, the lessons I learned were a key part of my development as an organizational leader. Here are five key take aways on MDMP — hopefully they help you improve your game!

MDMP is a process, not a series of products. Create the time and space to build shared understanding amongst the staff through collaboration and discourse.

MDMP is about efficiency. You can only efficiently use the process after numerous reps in a training environment. Teach, train, review, repeat!

As an institution, we usually don’t finish Course of Action Development until after Course of Action Analysis. The output of good COA DEV is one or more COAs that pass screening criteria (feasible, acceptable, suitable, distinguishable, and most importantly, COMPLETE). In order to have a complete COA, it should probably be accompanied by a nearly complete synchronization matrix.

Your plan is bad, and failing from the minute you think of it. Good staffs set conditions for subordinate organizations to adapt and recognize winning attributes as they emerge.

The MDMP is a tool to create shared understanding. If the process isn’t doing that, alter it! The MDMP, as a doctrinal framework, is a guide to enable action.

Looking for more insight to build staff capacity? Check here!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

3 thoughts on “Thoughts on the Military Decision Making Process

  1. Excellent piece. We had a great conversation at CGSC this week about the process vs products “dilemma” that many staffs struggle through. At the end of the day as you stated it’s about creating shared understanding vertically and horizontally across the chain of command and the only way for any staff to actually succeed in doing so is through reps. Lots and lots of reps. One of the great beauties of MDMP is that you can use it for nearly anything to build reps with your staff and through these reps they will gain confidence in their abilities so that by the time, assuming you take advantage of what time you have available, you hit a CTC or deployment your staff understands the process and can more efficiently execute it in a time constrained and stressful environment.

    • Thanks AJ – let us know if you are interested in attending a Leader Livecast Session. We’ll have at least one more at Fort Leavenworth in the near future.

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