DMS310 - Operations Planning Process

Outline info
Last revision date 2017-11-21 10:36:44.157
Last review date 2017-11-21 10:36:50.95

Subject Title
Operations Planning Process

Subject Description
Planning is indispensable to achieving a desirable outcome in the conduct of military operations. Although planning is constrained by various factors including human experience, information and time, the aim of any plan is to direct attention towards the identification and selection of a logical and reasoned course of action from a variety of options. This course introduces students to an iterative logical framework process that guides, informs and shapes analysis of a given situation leading to the selection of a best course of action and ultimately to the development of an operational plan.

Credit Status
Mandatory Seneca College credit towards the Military Arts and Science Diploma.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

1. Appreciate the meaning of operational art and the means through which commanders exercise operational art
2. Evaluate the content of an Initiating Directive issued by higher authority and determine questions that should be addressed to the higher authority for clarification on the Initiating Directive;
3. Conduct an evaluation of available information for development of enemy courses of action as a result of constructing a Joint Intelligence Preparation of the Battlespace (JIPB) analysis;
4. Conduct an analysis of available information and on completion write a Mission Statement;
5. Define the terminology used in operations planning within the context of a Joint Operations Staff structure;
6. Conduct the design and development of various available Courses of Action and determine through critical analysis the most probable Course of Action for friendly forces;
7. Provide various briefings including, but not limited to, a Mission Analysis Brief and Decision Brief to a senior authority; and
8. Develop and write an operational plan.

Cheating and Plagiarism
Each student should be aware of the College's policy regarding Cheating and Plagiarism. Seneca's Academic Policy will be strictly enforced.

To support academic honesty at Seneca College, all work submitted by students may be reviewed for authenticity and originality, utilizing software tools and third party services. Please visit the Academic Honesty site on for further information regarding cheating and plagiarism policies and procedures.

All students and employees have the right to study and work in an environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment. Language or activities that defeat this objective violate the College Policy on Discrimination/Harassment and shall not be tolerated. Information and assistance are available from the Student Conduct Office at

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Disabilities Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.


Topic Outline

Canadian Operations during the first and second World Wars

Operational Art

Operations Planning Overview

Initiating Directive



Analysis Briefing

Courses of Action Development

Courses of Action Development

War Gaming Courses of Action

Decision Brief

Operational Plan Development

Concept of Operations Development

Preparation of the Plan

Mode of Instruction
The Operations Planning Process course will be delivered as an online course that will include the following:

Online course notes and course instructions that will be downloaded from the LCMS in PDF format;

Lesson commentary available through the LCMS;

Hyperlinks to various DND, NATO and foreign military sites containing information that will support the Learning Outcomes and Lesson Objectives;

Downloadable Power Point Presentations intended to support Lesson Objectives in cases were additional clarity is required that cannot be achieved through content provided in the Student Study Guide;

Asynchronous discussion forums that will allow students to interact with one another in small groups or as an entire course group; and regular instructor intervention and assistance.

Prescribed Texts

Reference Material

Required Supplies

Promotion Policy

Grading Policy
A+ 90%  to  100%
A 80%  to  89%
B+ 75%  to  79%
B 70%  to  74%
C+ 65%  to  69%
C 60%  to  64%
D+ 55%  to  59%
D 50%  to  54%
F 0%    to  49% (Not a Pass)
EXC Excellent
SAT Satisfactory
UNSAT Unsatisfactory

For further information, see a copy of the Academic Policy, available online ( or at Seneca's Registrar's Offices.

Modes of Evaluation
Grading is based on the following marking scheme:

Discussion #1 0%
Discussion #2 10%
Assignment #1 20%
Discussion #3 10%
Assignment #2 15%
Discussion #4 10%
Discussion #5 15%
Assignment #3 20%
Total 100%

Note: Seneca College's grading policy applies to online subjects. 


There are three assignments associated with this course.

Assignment #1 – Due at the end of Week #3 – Initiation of Operations

Assignment #2 – Due at the end of Week #6 – Write a Mission Statement and Commander’s Planning Guidance

Assignment #3 – Due middle of Week #14 – Bringing the Pieces Together 

Expected English Competencies

The ability to communicate in writing is essential for success in all business subjects. All written work must display the following characteristics of clarity and conciseness: 
  • writing is consistent with the rules of English grammar 
  • spelling and punctuation are correct 
  • appropriate vocabulary is used 
  • sentences are structured correctly 
  • main points are supported with specific, relevant examples and reasons
  • work flows logically through supporting statements/paragraphs 
  • work is arranged in correct format (i.e., reports, essays) 
  • layout is attractively displayed.
Up to 10% of the final grade may be deducted on all written work if the above mentioned expected English competencies are not met. 


Assignments are due at the beginning of the class on the dates specified.  Begin your assignments early in anticipation of unforeseen problems that may arise in your work or personal life.  Should extenuating circumstances arise, please contact your instructor immediately, prior to when your assignment is due, so an appropriate course of action be established.  Late assignments may be subject to a penalty of up to 10% per week and will not generally be accepted beyond two sessions after the assignment due date.

The College's Academic Policy will prevail regarding Academic Honesty.

Assignments will be marked on the basis of an appropriate standard of research, content, organizaton of material and presentation.  Assignments are to be grammatically correct and typewritten or prepared by computer.

Students are expected to demonstrate a professional level of communication skills both verbally and in their written work.

Permission to write missed tests or submissions of late assignments will be granted only under extenuating circumstances and with the provision of appropriate documentation such as a medical certificate.

To be successful in this course, you must complete all course work as specified and achieve an overall grade of 50% or higher. For further information on evaluation and academic standing, see a copy of the Academic Policy available at Seneca registration offices.

Please retain this subject outline document for future educational and/or employment use.

Approved by: Barb Shannon, Fiona Bain-greenwood