Joint Publication 5-0, Joint Planning

By Steve Townsend Joint Force Quarterly 87

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Steve Townsend is a Strategic Planner in the Joint Chiefs of Staff J5.

The Joint Staff Director, Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate (J5), approved a new Joint Publication (JP) 5-0, Joint Planning. The publication, signed by the Director, Joint Force Development (J7), will be the fifth iteration of joint doctrine on planning since 1995.

U.S. Army and British paratroopers perform static line jump at Holland Drop Zone in preparation for Combined Joint Operational Access Exercise 15-01, demonstrating interoperability between U.S. Army and British army soldiers, U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard and Royal Air Force airmen, and U.S. Marines, April 11, 2015, Fort Bragg, North Carolina (U.S. Air Force/Sean Martin)

U.S. Army and British paratroopers perform static line jump at Holland Drop Zone in preparation for Combined Joint Operational Access Exercise 15-01, demonstrating interoperability between U.S. Army and British army soldiers, U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard and Royal Air Force airmen, and U.S. Marines, April 11, 2015, Fort Bragg, North Carolina (U.S. Air Force/Sean Martin)

JP 5-0 was developed to support JP 3-0, Joint Operations, to identify the planning requirements essential to successfully executing contingency combat operations. In 2002, an additional manual, JP 5-00.1, Joint Doctrine for Campaign Planning, was added to the 5-series to address campaign planning. In 2006, the first update to the original JP 5-0 was conducted, titled Joint Operation Planning. This JP included lessons learned from the joint force’s response to the terror attacks of September 11 and guidance from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. It was updated in 2011 to provide clarity to joint doctrine. These previous versions focused on planning for combat operations and, more specifically, planning for contingency combat operations.

During the recent doctrinal review, commenters noted that joint doctrine adequately addressed operational art, operational design, and the planning process, but fell short on discussing planning for daily operations in a global campaign. These campaigns direct the theater and functional campaigns the combatant commands (CCMDs) execute on a day-to-day basis, forming the basis of Department of Defense (DOD) operations that set conditions to deter conflict or prepare for a contingency response. Additionally, joint doctrine focused on planning at the operational level, leaving a gap in providing the best military advice, and options, to national-level leadership.

The new version of JP 5-0 takes these considerations into account and recognizes that joint planning, especially at the CCMDs, has two key purposes. First, it must provide options for the President and Secretary of Defense in the event of a crisis or contingency. Second, it must provide a means to identify the best military advice on the effective and efficient use of the joint force on a daily basis, including short of armed conflict, to protect national interests and achieve the national objectives in a complex, uncertain, and changing environment, from cooperation through competition and, if necessary, armed conflict. While the nature of war has not changed, the character of warfare has evolved. Military operations will increasingly operate in a transregional, multidomain, and multifunctional (TMM) environment. TMM approaches will cut across multiple CCMDs the land, maritime, air, space, and cyberspace domains. Effective planning provides leadership with options that offer the highest probability for success at acceptable risk and enables the efficient use of limited resources, including time, to achieve objectives in this global environment. Global campaigns also identify the best use of the military to compete short of armed conflict to protect U.S. national interests and achieve objectives.

The core elements of the planning process remain unchanged. Whether planning for the long-term campaign that directs daily activities, developing a contingency plan, or planning in a time-constrained environment in response to a crisis, the planning process continues to follow the time-tested steps from initiation and problem identification through mission analysis and course-of-action development to approval and then plan or order development. Similarly, planners still use operational art and elements of operational design in plan development.

Due to the planners’ feedback during the joint doctrine review process, and the introduction of global campaign plans and integrated planning, JP 5-0 was significantly rewritten. These changes include:

  • CCMD campaign plans were added as the base for all operations the joint force conducts. These campaigns seek to achieve U.S. objectives and protect U.S. interests short of armed conflict. They also set conditions to support a contingency, should one occur.
  • Contingency plans serve as branches to the campaign plans. As such, contingency plans should have multiple options at the strategic level to provide opportunities to escalate or de-escalate and return to the campaign. Similarly, the campaign should address the assumptions in a contingency plan in order to reduce uncertainty.
  • Since strategic plans must provide options for senior leaders, most notably the President and Secretary of Defense, phasing is not used in those plans. At the strategic level, plans must be flexible and adaptable to allow decisions on escalation and de-escalation rather than planning the expectation that plans, once implemented, continue through fixed, phased progression. The description of phasing remains unchanged, and phasing remains critical at the operational and tactical levels; however, for strategic plans, the six-phase model can be an obstacle in discussing options, requirements, and risks.
  • The terms deliberate and crisis action were removed from planning. All planning uses the same conceptual framework, from problem identification through completion. The differences arise in the use of assumptions, decision points, and output.
  • Contingency plans must be integrated across CCMDs. In the TMM environment, operations and their effects are rarely confined to a single combatant commander’s geographic or functional area. Plans must address how they interact across commands and domains and the dependencies between commands.
  • Appendices were added to address assessments, red teams, posture plans, and theater distribution plans.

Because of the interrelationship between planning and execution, JP 5-0 was developed in close collaboration with JP 3-0, which was published earlier this year. JP 3-0 and 5-0 authors collaborated to ensure continuity between these keystone JPs to address strategic, operational, and tactical issues. For example, the introduction of theater campaign planning in JP 5-0 resulted in related changes in JP 3-0 to ensure continuity and consistency in language. Plans developed in accordance with JP 5-0 will be executed consisted with the JP 3-0 series of publications. For example, JP 5-0 introduces phasing for the operational and tactical levels, but does not provide any examples; JP 3-0 has examples to show how phasing might be implemented in execution. Conversely, joint operations, conducted on a daily basis outside of contingencies, are now addressed as part of the campaign plan rather than as a phase of a potential contingency. This requires updates to other doctrinal publications to identify how operations support global campaigns outside of contingencies and the relationship between campaign operations and contingency planning.

Planning will continue to evolve as DOD implements integrated planning both in the global campaign plans and integrated contingency planning. As the planning community develops updated processes in the new planning environment, the Joint Doctrine Development Community will capture those best practices and integrate them into JP 5-0 through the adaptive doctrine process.

The updated JP 5-0 is a big step in aligning planning doctrine with the processes used by planners in the combatant commands and the guidance in the National Military Strategy and Joint Strategic Campaign Plan. This version provides joint force commanders and their component commanders with processes that allow for that flexibility and the ability to plan and develop plans for an uncertain and challenging environment. JFQ