Operationalizing the Capability Package Planning Model (CPPM) – The proposal process Part 3: Mission Analysis

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“A capability includes four major components: force structure, modernization, readiness, and sustainability.”

“Capability is not simply a weapon or piece of equipment; it is a complex system of mutually reinforcing inputs that combine to enable a military to achieve a necessary function in support of a specific mission.”

Leaving the RSWG you should have concluded with something like the following presentation by the Combatant Command and what the Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) Theater Security Cooperation handout suggests:

CALL Operational Effect Example

Now that your capability gap has been confirmed and approved as a priority for the command it is time to develop it more over the next four months before the STRWG.  This section of the article will show you a way to transcend it from an LOE, IMO, and & CLO into actionable events that will collectively accomplish these objectives. The goal going into the STRWG should be presenting DASD Thomas’ Full-Spectrum Capability Development. This part of the article will walk you through one approach to developing the CPPM through using The Military Decision Making Process (MDMP).

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Don’t fall in love with the request, staff it through the systems (Receive the Mission)

This will be first of many Receipt of Mission / Letter of Requests (LORs) / AFRICOM taskings / Diplomatic messages you receive. Before you send any request from the host nation to the Combatant Command, sit down in your office and gather your tools and thoughts. First of all, let’s go back to the three request types. #1 (Partner Nation) and #3 (DoS) could occur at any time of the year, whereas the #2 request (AFRICOM) will follow the yearly planning cycle.  I highlight this because the MDMP applies at all times throughout the year as you are receiving these requests. Therefore, I have approached this section of the series as if you are starting from the original request’s timeline, not AFRICOM’s. The MDMP can apply throughout the year for you. You may go into the RSWG with a “fully baked” request, or you may have a brand new one that hasn’t been fully developed.  You may have requests left over from last year, or ones that weren’t approved that you don’t know about.  Either way, the end state is to come out of the RSWG with the concurrence and go into the STRWG with everything “fully baked.”

There are several ways to do this.  One way is to open up the scenarios you went through while at DISCS using the spreadsheets and other items available.  The biggest problem you will encounter here is that DISCS teaches you how to execute the FMS system, and in Africa, you rarely will execute that system because the FMS system is largely based on the host nation paying for everything. In Africa, you will primarily implement the pseudo-FMS system.

In Africa, a majority of the activities we conduct are “grants,” thus you as the “granting” officer need to write the proposal requesting the funding to support this grant. The host nation isn’t paying for anything in your CPPM, or they could contribute a portion to it. If you can convince them to contribute to the CPPM that talking point will more than likely sell the overall CPPM.

The FMS system is designed to allow changes and delays to occur, whereas, the pseudo-FMS system is not. If you want your CPPM to be successful, you must do all the analysis beforehand, before each of the sub area proposals are Congressionally Notified. CPPM success in Africa is a result of operational design application. You are developing the components of the CPPM which will drive multiple projects using multiple funding streams. Most of what DISCS teaches you is FMS only, but your CPPM should focus on all the programs available to you and their systems, not just the FMS system.  Don’t forget all the other tools, programs, and systems the U.S. military provides you.  Stop and thumb through the Security Cooperation Programs handout you were given in DISCS.  Look through there and think about all the programs your country can use.  Once you have this in mind, it is time to use the MDMP.

The Military Decision Making Process (MDMP)

According to ADP 5-0: The Operations Process “The MDMP combines the conceptual and detailed aspects of planning and integrates the activities of the commander, staff, subordinate headquarters, and other partners throughout the planning process.” You are crucial in this analysis, and your OSC office, the combatant, and component commands are your primary staff, tools, and assets. The key from the beginning is not to fall in love with the request and your initial thoughts. Accept criticism and allow room for Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) and Military Departments (MILDEPs) specialists to advise you. Keep a logical perspective, and your capability package will succeed. Be the Commander of the MDMP, be the Conductor of the CPPM, but in the end don’t be an ass.

Receive the Mission

You are the commander and the staff in the MDMP process; therefore, the first step is to gather the staff you have available. Primarily, this is your Security Cooperation Office which should also include your locally employed staff, as they may have fundamental insight into what the host nation is requesting or needs. You should use the Service Components, your desk officers, etc. Next, gather the tools available such as the publications received at the recent DISCS course you attended as well as the many online tools available at the DISCS website for screening and adequately preparing capability packages. Also helpful are the Department of the Army Pamphlet 11-31, Army Security Cooperation Handbook; Department of the Army Field Manual 3-22, Army Support to Security Cooperation; and Joint Publication 3-20, Security Cooperation.

The previous post covered three types of requests that you may regularly receive.  They are all similar but will have some difference.  The request from the partner nation could be an official Letter of Request (LOR) for a Foreign Military Sales (FMS), much like you learned about in DISCS.  You should work with them to use the CPPM concept, but at the end of the day they are paying for it, so they may not want the additional costs.  The other requests for AFRICOM assistance via an official diplomatic letter from the partner nation or AFRICOM’s task to you to develop capability gaps – all requests should be treated the same way.  It could be a very niche capability like UAVs or a broad request for logistic improvements.  Part of your MDMP should understand the size of the request you have received, or that you are developing. You should always try to build a CPPM around any request – the CPPM model provides a way to build capacity over time and organizations successfully.

The last two steps of Receive the Mission are to begin running estimates and conduct an initial assessment. Start capturing points of analysis during your initial thoughts and discussions with your staff and the host nation.  It may be helpful to sit down with your counterpart and review the request to ensure you understand the intent. They may not need a CPPM for their request after your analysis, or they may have asked for a small train and equip when they need a full CPPM.

Drafting a good, complete CPPM is primarily the responsibility of your office and the partner nation; however, be prepared to provide solid advice and guidance to the partner nation. Also, the Service Components may make their CPPMs, which is perfect, but you must work through your desk officer to ensure they are designing it, proposing it, and executing all the tasks they are signing up to do. It is likewise important to ensure your partner nation understands each CPPM is a request, which unfortunately may not be approved. Managing everyone’s expectations (the partner nation, the Ambassador, the Component, etc.) is another key to a successful CPPM. In some few cases, you may find yourself fully staffing the CPPM even though you know it may not be approved due to funding or policy limitations. Remember the Ambassador who walked into my office?

Send the request to your combatant and component commands desk officers now that you have conducted your initial assessment and before you invest more time in your CPPM. Doing this informally may minimize significant roadblocks later when the refined CPPM is submitted. There may be current sensitivities to a particular request for a specific capability or a recent failure of another capability by a different partner nation.  This request could have been previously reviewed and rejected before your arrival, and you may avoid some lost time and effort by doing this.

Identifying the gaps and understanding your role – (Mission Analysis)

What does the Chief of Defense’s request to improve the logistical peacekeeping capabilities of his military mean? Take the time to analyze this request, because showing the analysis in your CPPM and being able to answer other agencies questions are important. You should reflect on whether or not you can link the capability the host nation desires into the “GCC (Geographic Combatant Command) country plan objective(s) or FCC (Functional Combatant Commander) objective and end state it supports; (2) coordinate each activity to a GEF (Global Employment of the Force) SC (Security Cooperation) focus area; and (3) plan LOE (Line of Effort) into the Future Years Defense Program.” Army Security Cooperation Handbook, http://www.apd.army.mil/epubs/DR_pubs/DR_a/pdf/web/p11_31.pdf  You may find it hard for your CPPM to be approved and funded if it doesn’t link well.

The following systems may be useful in identifying capability gaps by examining specific aspects of the partner country’s available resources, environment, etc.

DIME: Diplomatic, Information, Military, Economic

PMESII-PT: Political, Military, Economic, Social, Infrastructure, Information, Physical Environment, Time

DOTMLPF-P: Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership, Education, Personnel, Facilities, Policy

Principles of War: Mass, Objective, Offensive, Surprise, Economy of Force, Maneuver, Unity of Command, Security, Simplicity

Since the Chief of Defense mentioned United Nations Peacekeeping, a few other useful references for your use during your analysis might include the United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping Training Manual, UN Peacekeeping Missions Military Logistics Unit Manual, and the UN Infantry Battalion Manual Volume I and II. Another useful site is the Peace Operations Training Institute Logistics Course.

You should analyze all the threats the host nation may encounter and not just those that are of concern to the United States. When assisting the country in writing the CPPM, your role is to represent U.S. policy and strategic interests while also trying to understand and serve, as much as possible, partner nation perspectives and needs. One often overlooked reference that may help is U.S. Army Field Manual 34-130, Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield. It can help you and the partner country recognize additional considerations in analyzing environmental assets and obstacles.

Using the above systems can contribute to defining:

  1. The current situation of the host nation’s defense establishment and forces – (Organization, Training, Leadership, Education, Personnel, Facilities, Troops Available);
  2. The partner country’s motivations and role regarding the peacekeeping mission – (Diplomatic, Economic, Political, Physical Environment, Policy, Objective, Security, Civilian Considerations, Key Terrain);
  3. Where and how their forces will operate (Infrastructure, Information, Physical Environment, Time, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership, Facilities, etc.);
  4. What equipment assets they have and what they may need to acquire – (Military, Economic, Infrastructure, Time, Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Facilities, etc.)

As you utilize these systems to analyze the Chief of Defense’s request, some common issues may appear:

  1. They are having difficulties in training personnel and procuring items to equip their peacekeeping forces adequately. This is causing the United Nations not to certify them promptly for deployment. (Procurement Processes)
  2. They lack a single storage and distribution point for resupplying their peacekeepers causing duplication of efforts and loss of supplies to pilferage. (Warehouse Operations)
  3. They require trained personnel and a system to track the requests and allocation of supplies resulting in the lack of resupply of units in the sector. (Supply Distribution)
  4. They lack the maintenance capability to sustain armored vehicles, recently donated by another international partner, resulting in the abandonment of vehicles during patrols in their area of operations. (20/30 Level Maintenance)
  5. They lack an understanding of the United Nations’ reimbursement system causing their forces not to track accurately and report refundable expenses. (Knowledge of UN Systems)
  6. An increase of improvised explosive devices (IED) along the main supply routes and a lack of training on device detection has resulted in recent casualties and caused morale in logistics units to reach an all-time low level. (Combat Logistics Convoy Operations)


Your analysis identified six capability gaps: Procurement Processes, Warehouse Operations, Supply Distribution, 20/30 Level Maintenance, Knowledge of UN Systems, and Combat Logistics Convoy Operations.  During your analysis, you could have already identified equipment and training required to address these issues, or the partner nation might have given you a list.

Executive, Generating, and Operating Forces

Before you move on to further defining the capability gap, you should take into consideration why that gap exists in your host nation’s military. During your analysis, you may identify areas outside of the host nation’s peacekeeping organizations that are contributing to these gaps.  As the Joint Doctrine Note 1-13, Security Force Assistance, 2013, states “Security forces perform three generic functions: executive, generating, and operating. The executive function includes the strategic direction that provides oversight, policy, and resources for the FSF generating and operating functions. FSF generating forces refer to the capability and capacity of the FSF to organize, train, equip, and build operating force units. FSF operating forces form operational capabilities through the use of concepts similar to the US joint functions to achieve FSF security objectives.” A majority of the gaps you identify are categorized into the generating and operating functions; however, others may also fall into the executive function.

As you conduct further analysis, you may desire to understand how this request integrates into the partner nation’s National Security Strategy and National Military Strategy.  Some partner countries may or may not have these strategies, or they may not share them with you; in other cases, the country may have an unclassified defense white paper available. The most important part of your joint analysis and their translation of this analysis is understanding, defining and explaining what the requested capability gap is and what the desired operational effects are. In Africa, to execute a CPPM, you should find yourself writing multiple proposals that all will be synchronized through the CPPM to achieve a strategic or operational effect, not just tactical results.

Now that you have identified the capability gaps you should move into developing the proposals to achieve the operational effect the Chief of Defense is trying to accomplish.  First, you should review your analysis with the partner nation to verify you are on the correct path.  If you aren’t, then you should stop and re-examine the request.  If you have correctly identified the capability gap, then the next step of the MDMP will allow you to determine the components of your CPPM needed to achieve the operational effect.

CPPM Development (Course of Action Development)

Focusing back on the CPPM brings us to the running estimates. Hopefully, throughout this process, you kept meticulous notes identifying the requirements and needs that will drive the COA Development. Your analysis identified one overall capability gap (logistics/sustainment) and six focus areas.  You also have reviewed the Security Cooperation and Assistance programs that your country can participate in.  You have now arrived at step three of DASD Thomas’ CPPM.

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The United States Army Africa (USARAF) developed an approach to security cooperation activities which can be helpful when preparing your CPPM.  This method is called “African Horizons.” “African Horizons is an innovative approach to synchronizing Army activities over time to achieve strategic objectives. It links bilateral activities with the principal influencers to reach regional effects that build toward continental security in Africa. Communicating African Horizons through Partnerships, Time, and Scale allows USARAF to nest with national and USAFRICOM strategic guidance, communicate the breadth and depth of Army activity in Africa, and leverage the visual and emotive connotations of the word ‘horizon.'” https://www.army.mil/article/156522

The Partnership Horizons. Bilateral, Regional, International. “In a Bilateral Horizon, USARAF works with capable and willing African partners to develop capabilities tailored to their unique circumstances. US Army forces train units for UN and African Union (AU) missions, execute focused train-and-equip initiatives, support the development of doctrine, and build professional institutions to sustain gains in capability and capacity.” As you begin constructing a course of action (COA) for your CPPM, you should think about other international partners that could contribute to the execution of training (forces available). Regionally you should consider if there are cultural, intelligence, language, or doctrinal considerations to include in your proposal.

The Time Horizons. Short, Mid, and Long Term. “USARAF serves as a trusted and respected partner, enabling Africans to defeat current threats and building professional institutions to set conditions for enduring peace and security in Africa. To do this, USARAF operates across three time horizons: short, mid, long.” Your CPPM will more than likely take up to three or five years to come to final culmination.  Therefore, as you develop your COA, you should develop other events that will assist the host nation in the Short Term (1 year), such as Military to Military (M2M) events, International Military Education and Training (IMET) courses, or DoD Regional Centers for Security Studies conferences or seminars. These events could assist the host nation temporarily in improving their capabilities quickly. For example, perhaps a “Best Practices on Implementing Lessons Learned from UN Operations” event could suggest quick changes the partner nation could make.

The Mid Term (2 years) would be the proposals that you are developing which would provide training and equipment to fill the capability gap and accomplish the tactical and operational effects the Chief of Defense needs.

The Long Term (3 to 5 years) would consider the Executive and Generating Forces (Institutional) issues you identified in your analysis. Defense Institution Building (DIB) programs such as the IMET program, the Defense Institution Reform Initiative (DIRI), Ministry of Defense Advisor (MoDA), Defense Institute of International Legal Studies (DIILS), or African Military Education Program (AMEP) can assist in developing the institutional issues you need to address. These all have their proposal processes and funding streams. However, the more you link them together, the more successful you will be.

The Scale Horizons. Tactical, Operational, Strategic. “By conducting operations across the scale of the level of war, US Army forces in Africa support the development of military capability across the Range of Military Operations (ROMO) based upon the specific need of African partners. USARAF leverages a dozen State Partnership Programs (SPP), Regionally Aligned Forces (RAF), and Army Generating Forces to build partner capacity across three operational horizons: tactical, operational, and strategic.”

As you continue to develop your COA you now have twelve levels to focus your proposal around: Bilateral, Regional, and International; Short, Mid, and Long Term; Tactical, Operational, and Strategic Levels; and Executive Direction, Generating Force, and Operating Force levels.  Are you confused yet?  Don’t become overwhelmed with ensuring all twelve areas are included, rather, use this concept as another tool through which you develop your COA.

For example, for your capability gap (logistics/sustainment) you have six sub areas to focus on: Procurement Processes, Warehouse Operations, Supply Distribution, 20/30 Level Maintenance, Knowledge of UN Systems, and Combat Logistics Convoy Operations.  Take some time to analyze each sub area compared to the 12 areas mentioned above and think through how best to approach solving the problem of each using the security assistance and security cooperation tools available to you in Africa. You do not have to use all of them.

Previously I mentioned reviewing the DISCS Security Cooperation Programs Handout, and I mentioned you should have a full understanding of each of these programs, and whether or not they apply to your partner nation. I’ve done this because one visual tool for you to use could be the power point slide below – it should be helpful to show you what you can do.  If you can’t match a program against the capability gap sub area, then you’ll need to reanalyze whether or not the U.S. can assist the partner nation with their capability gap.  One area that always is asked for in Africa, but is tough to do is construction.  Any gap that is construction heavy should automatically send signal flares through the roof of your office.

Capability gap to programs broad analysis

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The majority of the costs for most proposals will be the material list. It is critical to reflect back on the identified effect that was requested, and not become sold on a particular equipment type or manufacturer.  Perhaps no equipment is the right answer to the situation, or maybe another strategic partner can contribute a better platform the partner nation can sustain.  Specific details are required, but at the same time, too many may be counterproductive. The most important part is correctly explaining what you need the equipment to do.  This sounds easy, but small mistakes can mean mission failure.  Reflecting upon the Mission Analysis sections of METT-TC and OCOKA should identify particular hardware functions you must have.

Think about where the equipment will operate – the terrain. For example, the height of axles, type of paint for heat and corrosion purposes, color of the paint scheme, fording capabilities, or manual vs. automatic transmissions. Perhaps the host nation primarily uses 220 volts, then requests for maintenance tools should specify 220 volts only.  If the logistics company requires a wrecker, then what weight will that wrecker need to tow?  What Armored Personnel Vehicles (APV) are in use – what is the weight? Maybe a wrecker is too difficult to sustain, but a low-boy with a ten-ton winch would be more multi-purpose. If you are not knowledgeable about what is needed, then the key is to define the requirement in the proposal and let the MILDEPs assist you in working through identifying the exact equipment.  Ensure you include in your plan what is needed, where will it be used, and by whom. Tell them what you need and let them tell you what they can provide.  Perhaps, what they can provide is the right solution right now, but the wrong solution in the long run. If you deliver a piece of equipment that the partner nation can’t sustain, thus making it only suitable for less than a year your CPPM will have failed before completion.

For example, for the logistics shortages identified in the Mission Analysis, the proposal could state fourteen lightly armored five-ton cargo vehicles. However, it could also say fourteen lightly armored five-ton cargo vehicles; capable of sustaining multiple 7.62mm strikes; with a manual 360-degree traversing turret capable of mounting a PKM; a collapsible cargo cover and seating area capable of seating 20 soldiers or holding six pallets of supplies; all wheeled drive; manual transmission; hitch capable of towing five tons; minimum axle height of 18 inches; four wheels instead of six preferred; and with manuals in Arabic. These details can always be worked out later after the primary approval process, but it is always helpful for the MILDEPs if the proposal has these requirements from the beginning.

When requesting equipment don’t forget to procure the items that need to maintain or assist the operator in using the equipment.  For example, ensure you request the full Basic Issue Items (BII) for each equipment set, any mechanics tool kits required to sustain the equipment, and request funding to purchase the release of technical manuals that go along with the items. Expending millions of dollars to deliver a piece of equipment halfway around the world only for it to not operate because you are missing a piece of BII is unfortunate. Giving a mechanic a manual in English when he can’t read is even more unfortunate. Providing a truck whose battery can only be purchased in the U.S. is another sad case. The devil is in the NSN’s in Africa.

One last personal pet peeve of mine that I see a lot in the SOF proposals in Africa. The kit: American SOF equipment is high speed with gloves, glasses, boots, gear, etc. Wiley X googles in Africa are going to last maybe two months, and when they break well, the soldier will go back to doing what he did before he had these high-speed goggles. I call this the Iraq effect.  We want to “dress” our African partners in the same “kit” that our forces have. I’d argue that our troops shouldn’t have some of this kit as well, but the end state is – is it sustainable or a one-time purchase (gloves/goggles); can they use it without any training (medical items); does it wear out (boots, uniforms, etc.)?  Don’t introduce a quick solution to a complex problem; you need to provide a complex solution to a complex issue.  The CPPM is a complex solution, don’t undermine it with inadequate solutions. If you are buying boots, then you should purchase a five-year supply, or just think about how they have managed without combat boots for the past 100 plus years. Maybe the partner nation signs a Memorandum of Agreement that they will provide these parts.

Small Scale Construction

NAVFAC, USACE, and DoS might cringe after reading the following sentence. I believe every PKO or 333 proposals should include some form of construction in Africa. They may cringe because we have experienced very mixed results with this on the continent, some projects are now in their 5th to 7th year of execution for numerous reasons, and they don’t have the staff to manage this. The problem is always the cap (DoD programs) – currently $750k, with the potential in the 2018 NDAA to be $2M to $3M.

The other problem is the standards we are required to build to.  They aren’t African; they are American.  The same building built by African standards that will last 50 years vs. the American standards, I estimate to cost probably 25% of what we will have to pay.  There is no way around this system, so you must over estimate and under commit to what you can do.  A warehouse refurbishment will cost the entire $750k, and you won’t have money to buy shelving inside. However, you could purchase the shelving as part of the equipment list for the overall proposal. Think about the small things, and add them to the equipment list, not the construction list. A $25k TCT by a US Army Engineers or Navy Seabees to conduct an assessment could save everyone a lot of time and money in the long run.

The construction must directly be contributed the support of the equipment or the institution you are supporting. However, with the new 333 DIB requirement, you could use it for institution building in support of your CPPM.  For example, under the generating force category within the logistics/sustainment capability cap, perhaps to link into the 20/30 level maintenance you could repair or refurbish their maintenance bays to increase their capacities and throughputs.  Maybe they need a classroom, and their POIs need updating.  All of this together would affect different parts of the CPPM.

Brand Names

Requesting a particular brand or manufacturer can significantly extend the time to process the proposal due to the potential for a Sole Source Request. However, you should take the time to consider whether or not a particular brand request is worth the extension and further justification in the proposal. For example, if your suggestion has a maritime focus and the host nation is particularly familiar with a certain brand of outboard motor, and they already can procure sustainment parts, then it might be worthwhile to request that the new engines match the acquisition system already in place. The justification that the investment is more likely to be sustained longer is plausible.


Perhaps the host nation is lacking in their understanding of the United Nations Logistics Unit Manual and needs the training tasks, and inspection criteria explained and integrated into their Program of Instruction (POI) or curriculum at their peacekeeping center. Maybe they don’t know this is already available online at the United Nations.  Perhaps a computer lab could solve this. Maybe their forces lack the tactical level skills of successfully conducting a combat logistics resupply to a unit forward deployed. Maybe a train and equip at the Generating and Operating Force level could fill this sub capability area. Whatever the training requirement identified there are a few key details you should estimate when you submit your proposals and build your CPPM.

These training calculations will determine the amount of money you request, which in turn will determine the level of training you can provide. Perhaps the host nation will adjust IMET funding allocation for the next three years to build the officers knowledge in the area, or you request additional funding through one of the SFA proposals (333 & MASL). Maybe it is the partner nations doctrine, and the school house that is lacking and an African Military Education Program (AMEP) is the solution to increase their logistical peacekeeping knowledge. This is where in your CPPM you as the OSC become the conductor, or in other phrases the person who synchronizes things.


There may be a requirement to send a soldier from the host nation to the United States to attend a technical school such as the Armored Turret Maintainer Course, or Small Boat Hull Repair Course.  You should be able to access the Military Articles and Services List (MASL) readily and identify the course and estimated costs to include in your proposal. Also, think about the language the trainers will need to communicate to the trainees during training. You may need to provide English Language Training (ELT) in the US, or you may need to contract interpreters for the training in country and translators for PowerPoint presentations. Either way, you should account for these costs in your CPPM.

IMET is a legacy program for our diplomatic efforts in Africa. However, one of its core weaknesses is that it does not overly support technical training. Therefore, use every opportunity you can to insert a MASL listed technical training into your each of the sub areas of the CPPM. NCOs in Africa rarely get the technical training required to sustain U.S. equipment. Build in redundancies to counter against the occasionally AWOL soldier or English language failure will increase the Generating Force capacity over time. The occasional high-speed soldier can sustain an entire fleet – in Africa, as in most places in the world, knowledge, and capability equates to power.


Our first thoughts are to request military members to execute these training events; however, there are times that a civilian contractor may be a better request.  This is the case particularly with specific equipment such as helicopters, armored vehicles, communications equipment, etc.  It may be common for the manufacturer to require a primary user instruction course to ensure the equipment is received and set up correctly, and the MILDEP will assist you in determining this. Unless there is a partner nation request for military members to execute the training, you should always push for contractors. There are too many variables to account for when coordinating through the Components for their military members to risk the success of the overall CPPM.  You as an MAJ or LTC will not be able to affect the decisions the Component headquarters makes, but you as the OSC working through the MILDEPS can.  However, in some partner nations having a uniformed member working with their uniformed members is more receptive and might move the overall relationship between the two countries forward more.  These are parts of the mission analysis you should do.

At this point, you shouldn’t concern yourself with specifying each skill set or soldier skill level, but you should have a general idea of the individual and collective tasks you hope to achieve and an estimate of how long those might take to train.  After approval, and before execution, the trainers allocated by the MILDEP or Component should develop a full Program of Instruction (POI) for each event. Lastly, including other international partners in the development as trainers or assistants is sometimes desired and should be included in the training plan if higher approves and after proposal approval.  One area of warning on this, if a contractor is coming for only a few weeks, I doubt the partner nations are going to get much out of them.  If you request a contractor, go long term six to 12 months.  The same applies to military members.  Less equates to less, and more equates to more.


You should consider the force protection requirements and the location of where the trainers will stay and execute training. You should estimate TDY costs including local transportation including a driver and fuel costs; visa entrance costs; training materials such as targets, staples, etc.; airfare and lodging expenses.  After approval and during the training schedule development you should identify any seasonal weather restrictions that might affect training (storms, rainy seasons, etc.) and any religious holidays to avoid during training. You should know what the average interpreter, vehicle rental, and per diem costs are for your country.

Sustainment Plan

Throughout the approval process, your proposals as part of the overall CPPM will consistently be viewed to answer two questions: 1) Can the host nation sustain the equipment in this project? 2) If not then what is the sustainment plan?  The first question should be easily answered based upon whether or not the host nation sustained the previous train and equip proposals.  You should always address the second question in your plans.  Ways to address this are through including spare parts packages for every main piece of equipment.  The MILDEP can adjust the packages based on the estimated time you request in the proposal (one to five years).  Keep in mind these estimations are based on the need for parts from previous activities by the U.S. military and other countries; your host nation may use the equipment more or less than was estimated.  Five years of spare parts sound big – where will they store it and will those locations be adequate to defend against degradation of the parts?

One area you should work on collaborating with the host nation is in establishing follow on direct commercial sales, or even FMS accounts for sustainment parts for the equipment provided.  These systems take months and years to develop – start them at the beginning of an overall component of the overall CPPM.  This is where your DISCS contacts or the MILDEPs are necessary.  Sometimes in Africa, it is not that they don’t want to sustain it, it is that they don’t know how the [U.S.] system works to order parts. Sometimes a Significant Military Equipment (SME) platform comes with the requirement for a particular type of lubrication that is only available in the U.S. Sustainment is about establishing the systems to procure and maintain the systems you are providing in the CPPM.  Building systems that last should always be at the heart of every CPPM.

Assessment Plan

Your Combatant and Component Commands have, or soon will have, directorates specially designated for assessing.  Be it the Asymmetric Warfare Group or Operations Research & System Analysis (ORSA); there are experts ready to assist you in developing and executing any assessments you may need. However, the recent NDAA 2017 mandates will take a few years to produce the required results.  Until then, you as the African OSC will continue to be seen as the sole assessor of your partner nation, per the Foreign Assistance Act.

It is key as you move through the Short, Mid, and Long Term phases to reassess what was accomplished, what was not, and if there are any changes to the plan that should be made. Some changes may be easier than others.  For example, changing the equipment types once they have shipped more than likely is not possible, however, changing the training plan or operational level of training (tactical, operational, or strategic) can easily be adjusted. Assessing throughout the process will ensure you accomplish, measure, and capture the milestones initially identified. Assessing will also give you baselines for future Mission Analysis’, provide justifications for future proposals, and may identify capability gaps that you missed in your original analysis. It can also provide vignettes for other partner nations or influence the future topics of regional exercises. Using components to conduct this assessment allows you to stay objective and not become too close and “in love” with the plan.

Continuity Plan

Although you may have recently arrived and will see this CPPM through the approval and execution phases, you will change over at some point in the process.  Ensure you capture all documents related to the design, build, train, equip, sustain, and assessing phases of the CPPM.  You can save them on the local share drive or print them out and make a particular binder just for this CPPM. Either way, the intent would be that your replacement could read through the documents and quickly execute the Short, Mid, or Long Term plans you have designed and put into place. If you made any agreements with the host nation, they should be captured in a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) or Understanding (MoU) before you depart. These agreements typically outline what the U.S. government and the host nation each will provide towards the training events. This will ensure your replacement has clarity on agreements made or not, long after you depart. Imagine that once you leave if you have not done any of this, the entire CPPM will fail.

Reality Check

(Course of Action Comparison / Analysis)

The Final CPPM

Below is an example of what the CPPM could look like. This CPPM has approached it from an angle where the partner nation needs assistance in every area.  This might not be the case in your country.

Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 11.57.30 PM

Absorption Capacity (Again!)

Now that you have a COA the first thing you should consider is whether or not your office and the host nation have the ability to receive, operationalize, and sustain the training and equipment the CPPM proposes.  This may seem like a redundant step, but one must continuously assess throughout the process. If the CPPM has grown too large then maybe you will need to adjust the COA or add in additional assistance to execute it.  You should again verify the desired strategic, operational, and tactical effects with the host nation and analyze the partner country’s demonstrated willingness for the proposal.

Ensure the plan is feasible and suitable for the functional effects you are addressing. You should take a second to reflect on how much you as the OSC have skewed, or not, this CPPM.  If you are a Signal Officer or Military Intelligence Officer, have you skewed it too heavily that way or vice versa for Artillery or Special Operations Officers. Lastly, go back and make sure it hasn’t morphed into something that doesn’t fit into one of the Combatant Commander’s Line of Effort’s or worse something that will never be funded.

Overall, if you correctly develop your CPPM and use the right strategy, you can design the assistance your Combatant Command can provide your host nation, and give them the competitive advantage they need against our common enemies. Your CPPM can achieve an LOE.


By the end of this post, you should be incredibly overwhelmed with things to do.  Don’t be. The key to being the conductor is to know what you need done and know who can or should do it for you.  Concentrate on designing the CPPM and developing each of its sub areas piece by piece and program area by program area.  Overly abuse the Combatant and Component Command staffs.  Make them do the work, and you are the point of the spear that provides the information and the access you are challenged with providing.

The end result of the CPPM should look something like this:

Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 11.57.45 PM

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