operational area. Environmentally sensitive areas are defined in FM 1-02 (101-5-1) as environmental
areas of interest. Environmental areas of interest include natural and man-made structures, such as waste
treatment plants and dams.
Step 3. Determine specified, implied, and essential tasks. The staff analyzes higher HQ orders to
determine which environmental considerations should be specified, implied, and essential tasks. The
mission determines if environmental considerations are essential tasks. If, for example, the mission is
focused on response to a natural or man-made emergency, it is more likely that environmental
considerations will be important.
Step 4. Review available assets. The commander and his staff examine additions to and deletions
from the current task organization, support relationships and status (current capabilities and limitations) of
all units. They consider the relationship between specified and implied tasks and available assets. From
this information, they determine whether they have the assets to perform all specified and implied tasks.
If there are shortages, they identify additional resources needed for mission success. Current subordinate
unit capabilities to deal with environmental considerations may be limited. If environmental
considerations require expertise that is not organic to the commander's unit or his subordinate units, it is
critical that those issues are raised.
Step 5. Determine constraints. A higher commander normally places some constraints on his
subordinate commanders that restrict their freedom of action. Environmental considerations may also
cause constraints on an operation. The commander and his staff must identify and understand these
constraints. These will normally be found in the scheme of maneuver, the concept of operations, and the
coordinating instructions. The commander ensures that critical environmental constraints are up front in
the body of the order and not merely relegated to an annex or appendix.
Step 6. Identify critical facts and assumptions. The staff gathers two categories of information
concerning the assigned task facts and assumptions. Facts are statements of known data concerning the
situation including enemy and friendly dispositions, available troops, unit strengths, and material
readiness. Assumptions are suppositions about the current or future situation that are assumed to be true
in the absence of facts. They take the place of necessary, but unavailable facts, and fill the gaps in what
the command and staff know about a situation. An assumption is appropriate if it meets the tests of
validity and necessity. Validity means the assumption is likely to be true. "Assuming away" potential
problems, such as weather, environmental considerations, or likely enemy options, would result in an
invalid assumption. Necessity is whether or not the assumption is essential for planning. If planning can
continue without the assumption, it is not necessary and should be discarded. When possible,
assumptions are cleared with the higher HQ to ensure they are consistent with the HQ plan. Assumptions
are replaced with facts as soon as possible. The mission may require significant environmental
considerations. In this case, the facts and assumptions regarding environmental considerations may take a
preeminent position in the planning process.
Step 7. Conduct risk assessment. The commander and staff identify accident risk hazards and
make an initial assessment of the risk level for each hazard. The commander also makes an initial
assessment of where he might take tactical risk. While the focus of risk assessment is on tactical risk,
significant issues for accident risk, with respect to the environment, are also considered.
Step 8. Determine initial commander's critical information requirements (CCIRs). The CCIR
identifies information needed by the commander to support battlefield visualization and to make critical
decisions, especially to determine or validate courses of action. They help the commander filter
information by defining what is important to mission accomplishment. Environmental considerations that
may be part of the CCIR include protection of cultural and historical sites, water sources, HW/polluted
industrial sites, or other significant safety considerations.