MDMP for Sustainment Units
by Major DanieL Misigoy
Many members of sustainment units are often uncomfortable with the military
decision making process (MDMP) and do not understand its importance
to the successful completion of their jobs. This article offers some suggestions
to help sustainers make the MDMP work for them.
ustainment commanders and staffs fear the How a maneuver unit conducts its MDMP is
military decision making process (MDMP) clearly different from how other headquarters conduct
because they typically do not understand it. their MDMPs. The greatest difference is specified
For some officers, their only exposure to the MDMP tasks. Maneuver units will receive more specified
is at the schoolhouse when they attend the Combined tasks and purposes throughout an operation than
Logistics Captains Career Course, Combined Arms other units. These specified tasks are clearly posi-
and Services Staff School, and Intermediate Level tioned throughout the operation and are usually
Education. Likewise, noncommissioned officers addressed in the commander’s intent. By contrast, a
(NCOs) may be exposed to the MDMP only during the sustainment unit will typically receive one specified
Battle Staff NCO Course. Other officers and NCOs task: to “provide sustainment to” the supported unit.
may have been exposed to the MDMP by working with This task never changes. At most, the sustainment
a maneuver battalion or brigade staff. These experienc- unit may be tasked to conduct missions in addition to
es often lead officers and NCOs to believe that MDMP sustainment, such as base defense and detainee opera-
is unfeasible or irrelevant in nonmaneuver units or tions. However, no further guidance is provided on
units that are not assigned an area of operations (AO). the sustainment mission.
The purpose of this article is to identify the differ- Typically, the concept of support developed by
ences between an MDMP for land-owning units and the G/S–4 and the support operations officer (SPO)
for units without an assigned AO. These differences during the higher headquarters’ MDMP becomes
should shape the unit headquarters’ battle rhythm and the concept of operations for the sustainment unit.
execution of an MDMP. A commander and staff who Therefore, part of the sustainment unit’s MDMP is
are well versed in doctrine understand the operational completed before higher headquarters issues an order.
framework of their missions and the MDMP and will This should lead a sustainment unit to develop a
be able to make better use of their time and resources directed course of action (COA) and wargame only
to plan, prepare, and execute a mission. that one COA.
Although Sun Tzu teaches us to “see the enemy,
Defining MDMP see the terrain, and see ourselves,” the sustainment
Field Manual (FM) 5–0, Army Planning and Orders staff must also see the supported unit. This is a key
Production, defines the MDMP as follows: complexity that sustainment staffs should recognize.
They must also take into account friendly actions as
The military decision making process is a planning well as enemy actions. Staffs must understand the
model that establishes procedures for analyzing composition, disposition, and scheme of maneuver
a mission, developing, analyzing, and comparing
courses of action against criteria of success and for the supported unit and for their own units. If the
each other, selecting the opt