Article Title

Decision Options

Publication Date



How fast can a Commander adapt employment of the force during an operation’s execution? For speed and flexibility, the commander needs alternatives for counteractions in anticipation of enemy reactions. Navy Warfare Publication 5-01, Navy Planning, hints at these as being decision options and suggests organizing them in a decision support tool. The problem is doctrine lacks cues to emphasize their consideration in parallel with creating a course of action. The Navy’s detailed planning process narrowly drives towards selecting a preferred course of action, particularly under time constraints. That effort overwhelms generating options in anticipation of contingencies. Consequently, they become afterthoughts. This article elevates the importance of decision options and provides methods for guiding their development. The expected outcome is that a Maritime Component Commander’s staff considers developing decision options from the very start of planning to build comprehensive plans and better support decisions during execution.

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