An Operations Order, often abbreviated as OPORD, is an executable plan that directs a unit on how to conduct a military operation. An Operations Order will describe the situation facing the unit, the mission of the unit, and what activities the unit will conduct to achieve the mission goals. Normally an Operations Order will be generated at a regiment, brigade, division, or corps headquarters and then given to lower echelons to implement. Each lower echelon as they receive an operations order will in turn develop their own Operations Order which removes extraneous detail and adds details focused on what and how that subunit will implement the higher level OPORD. So an Operations Order at a particular level of the military organization will trigger units involved in the operation to develop their own Operations Order which will borrow from the Operations Order given them so far as the situation and mission but will then add additional details for the activities a specific unit is to conduct.
A standardized multi paragraph format is used by the United States Department of Defense's armed services and most other military forces. An OPORDER is designed to organize both generalities and specifics of a mission into five standard topics (paragraphs): Situation, Mission, Execution, Sustainment (formerly Service Support, and known as Admin & Logistics in the Marine Corps), and Command and Signal. Higher level units which have extensive lists or details in a topic will move most of the material to an Annex or an Appendix to the order. This also allows an order be customized to a recipient by easily removing extraneous information for that recipient.
The OPORD is the primary order that is given for a mission, however it is not the only type of order that may be issued for a mission. Other types of orders may be issued.This is to tell units that an Operations Order may be forthcoming, as a Warning Order, or to inform units during the execution of an Operations Order,that the situation has changed and,identifying changes in situation and mission, (Fragmentary Order).
A Warning Order, or WARNO, is given in advance of the OPORD to let soldiers under the command know that they may be receiving an Operations Order. The WARNO contains a few basic details of the situation and what the mission may entail.However,much of the pertinent information for a proper Operations Order is still forthcoming.
Once an OPORD is given,the situation may change before the mission is actually begun or,during the operation the situation may change so that the Operations Order must be modified. In these cases the commander will issue a Fragmentary Order, or FRAGO. The FRAGO will state exactly how the situation and/or,mission has been changed and what must be done to make up for the change.
OPORD [number][code name]-[issuing headquarters](place the classification and short title of the OPORD at the top of the second and any sub sequential pages.)
- a. Enemy forces.
i)Most probable course of action ii)Most dangerous course of action
- b. Friendly forces.
- c. Attachments and detachments.
- a. Who, What, Where, When, Why
- a. Concept of operations.
- (1) Maneuver
- (2) Fires
- (3) Reconnaissance and Surveillance
- (4) Intelligence
- (5) Engineer
- (6) Air Defense
- (7) Information Operations
- b. Tasks to maneuver units.As Required.
- c. Tasks to combat support units.-As Required.
- (1) Intelligence
- (2) Engineer
- (3) Fire Support
- (4) Air Defense
- (5) Signal
- (6) NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical)
- (7) Provost Marshal
- (8) PSYOP
- (9) Civil military
- (10) As required
- d. Coordinating instructions.
- (1) Time or condition when a plan or order becomes effective
- (2) CCIR (Commander's Critical Information Requirements)
- (3) Risk reduction control measures
- (4) Rules of engagement
- (5) Environmental considerations
- (6) Force protection
- (7) As required
4. SUSTAINMENT (formerly Service Support)/ADMIN & LOGISTICS -Materials and Services
- a. Support concept.
- b. Materiel and services.
- c. Medical evacuation and hospitalization.
- d. Personnel.
- e. Civil military.
- f. As required.
5. Command and Signal (formerly Command and Control)-Command and Control.
- a. Command.
- b. Control.
- FM 7-8
- FM 101-5 Appendix H
- Tactical leadership MSL III : Custom edition for BOLC 1: ARMY ROTC (A military science & leadership development program)
- U.S. Army Cadet Command: Infantry Platoon TACSOP