Course of Action Analysis (COAs)

1. List facts and assumptions. Here, you do not need to repeat facts and assumptions from your Requirement #1 Running Estimate. Focus on facts and assumptions which you may not have included in your movement estimate when you assumed the locals could provide enough carts. Place all facts and assumptions before the analysis of your COAs, rather than listing (and repeating) facts for each COA.

1. Establish measurable evaluation criteria. If you were buying a car, you might consider cost, carrying capacity, and fuel economy. DO NOT USE SCREENING CRITERIA.  LTC Mucci feels that each of HIS suggestions is feasible, suitable, distinguishable and acceptable to him.  None is yet complete, but he is confident his staff will make them so. Likewise, broad undefined terms such as the Principles of War are normally not useful criteria for evaluating a unique problem.  As in an experiment or car purchase, evaluation criteria must be variables, rather than constants.  If experimenting with pendulums, pendulum length, weight, and arc are each variables, which the scientist measures when analyzing the period of motion.  In this scenario, the speed of the POWs movement is a constant (and should be listed as a fact or assumption); while the time until link-up with 6th Army is different for each COA (in which one or both forces are moving different distances) and could serve as a useful evaluation criteria.

1. Analyze each COA against each evaluation criterion.
• Although there is a tendency to organize the course of action analysis by the evaluation criteria, Step 4 of the MDMP (FM 6-0 p 9-25 through 9-34) focuses on an analysis by course of action. In other words, you don’t have to write a paragraph for each evaluation criterion as you explain your COA analysis.
• For instance, we would NOT have a paragraph in which we analyze the “Time from initiation of the assault until completion of link-up with 6th Army” in which we use comparative terms (such as fastest and slowest), and then have another paragraph which analyzes the COA against another evaluation criterion.
• Instead, we should analyze each COA against the evaluation criteria (be sure to include ALL of the criteria), using our facts and assumptions. For example, if we assume that without carts the POWs could walk at 1 mph during daylight and .5 mph at night, and further assume that the Rangers will begin their assault at 2000 hrs, then through analysis we may estimate that the POWs and Rangers could get to Guimba in about 60 hours.
• For part c, your answer should be approximately a half-page narrative for each contingency presented in Requirement #7.

1. Compare the COAs to each other using a decision matrix or other technique.

Clearly indicate if high or low scores are best, and explain any weighting you apply.

1. Make and justify a recommendation.

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