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Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) Exam

Instructions: The Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) exam is worth 60% of the C600 block grade and is due after lesson C634. Specifically, this exam has seven requirements for you to apply the MDMP to a tactical scenario.

All work must be your own. Your answers to exam questions must be typed and double-spaced throughout, using Times New Roman 12-pitch font and one-inch margins.

Overview: In Leavenworth Papers #11 “Rangers: Selected Combat Operations in World War II,” Dr. Michael J. King notes that “The rescue of 511 American and Allied prisoners from a Japanese POW compound near Cabanatuan in the Philippines by elements of the 6th Ranger
Battalion, reinforced by Alamo Scouts and Filipino guerrillas, was the most complex operation that Rangers conducted during World War II. It was also one of the most successful.”

That rescue has been chronicled in the 2005 movie The Great Raid and several books including Hour of Redemption by Forrest Bryant Johnson, The Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides, and is the focus of Chapter 6 of King’s work. Although the movie and other references may help you understand the scenario more, this examination scenario is based solely on the information provided in King’s work. You may refer back to the C600 online lessons and readings to review key concepts about MDMP. ADRP 1-02 dated September 2013 and FM 6-0 dated May 2014 are the primary doctrinal references for this examination. Additionally, you should review the Military Review article by Dr. Tom Clark and the three student aids posted with the exam.

Read Chapter 6 “Cabanatuan” of Leavenworth Papers #11, and then provide your responses to the seven requirements which begin on page three of this document.

If you state information from the lessons, readings, doctrinal manuals or other references as part of your answer, you must include a citation in accordance with ST 22-2. You may use parenthetical citations, endnotes or footnotes.

Mission Analysis: Through mission analysis, the commander and staff should understand the problem and the resources available to solve that problem. Each staff member is responsible for conducting his or her own running (staff) estimate that provides very detailed information within his or her area of responsibility. The staff then analyzes that information and synthesizes (packages) it into the mission analysis brief. The essence of staff work involves distilling mountains of information into nuggets of knowledge. One method through which staff officers do this is to process the facts (or WHAT) into information (by asking SO WHAT?), analyze the information to increase knowledge (by asking WHICH MEANS?), and apply judgment to gain an understanding (by asking THEREFORE?)
COA Development: “A COA is a broad potential solution to an identified problem” (FM 6-0 pg 9-16). Serving initially as lead planner, Captain Robert Prince developed a broad plan which included a truck movement, dismounted infiltration, flawless actions at the POW camp, and an elaborate exfiltration. With virtually no room for error, CPT Prince refined and rehearsed the plan to resource his main effort, nest the supporting efforts, and eliminate wasted efforts. As a result, every Ranger, Alamo Scout and Guerrilla in every platoon and special element contributed to the success of the mission.
Commander’s Critical Information Requirements: Commanders use information and judgment to make decisions. In many instances, several pieces of information contribute to one decision. In those instances, the commander may arrange the information in an IF, AND/OR, THEN sequence, illustrated by this simple example:

IF my team is still in the playoff hunt
AND my brother can purchase game tickets
AND the winter roads are clear enough to drive
OR I can afford train tickets
THEN I will go to the last regular season game
Commander’s Judgment: While CCIR helps the commander make an anticipated decision, commanders must often make decisions that they and their staffs did not anticipate. LTC Mucci’s decision to delay his actions on the objective until 30 January 1945 may have been his most difficult and most important decision. In hindsight, his judgment was correct. Despite the benefits, LTC Mucci accepted the risk that the Japanese would detect his force, or sense that 6th Army was too close and consequently kill or move the POWs.

COA Analysis, Comparison and Recommendation: According to page 9-25 of the 2014 FM 6-0: “War-gaming is a disciplined process, with rules and steps that attempt to visualize the flow of the operation, given the force’s strengths and dispositions, enemy’s capabilities and possible COAs, impact and requirements of civilians in the AO, and other aspects of the situation.”
It further states that “COA analysis enables commanders and staffs to identify difficulties or coordination problems as well as probable consequences of planned actions for each COA being considered. It helps them think through the tentative plan. COA analysis may require commanders and staffs to revisit parts of a COA as discrepancies arise. COA analysis not only appraises the quality of each COA but also uncovers potential execution problems, decisions, and contingencies. In addition, COA analysis influences how commanders and staffs understand a problem and may require the planning process to restart.”
NOTE: The MDMP is an adaptation of the Scientific Method. A Problem is an Observation, Mission Analysis- Research, Mission- Hypothesis, and Course of Action Analysis (Wargame)- Experiment. Like a scientist, the tactician can use a simple process to analyze and compare options.
a. 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.

b. 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.

c. 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.

d. 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.

e. Make and justify a recommendation.
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