Army Operations Order: Guide to “Flipping” an Order

“Flipping” an Army operations order is both a scientific and artistic process. This article will serve as a step-by-step guide to generate a platoon operations order from a company OPORD in a time-constrained environment. Knowing what to look for and where to look for it will save you precious time as a leader to focus on higher priority and intellectually demanding tasks while preserving the precious 1/3, 2/3 rule for subordinates’ time.

1. Situation.

In nearly all instances, the information found in the first paragraph is generated from your higher headquarters’ OPORD. Most of this paragraph is copying already existing information, but it is absolutely critical you understand what you are copying. With the right RTO, you can even delegate the task to copy this information while you focus on developing your tactical plan to accomplish the mission.

a. Enemy Forces. You need to refine the information found in the higher HQ OPORD paragraph 1.a. by excluding information that does not pertain to your platoon. In a time-constrained environment, you can use the higher HQ order to generate this and highlight the information you want to brief in your own order.

b. Friendly Forces. This information is found in higher HQ OPORD paragraphs 1.b., 2, and 3. For two levels up, you will copy the one level up information from higher HQ OPORD paragraph 1.b. For one level up, you will copy the company mission from paragraph 2, and get the CDR’s intent and CONOP from paragraph 3. For the missions of adjacent units, you will find some of this in paragraph 3 tasks to subordinate units for your sister platoons and the remainder in the mission of adjacent units for whichever direction is not covered by one of your company’s platoons.

c. Attachments and Detachments. Do not repeat the information you listed in the task org., but this will be found in the same section of the higher HQ OPORD.

2. Mission

You will find your platoon’s mission in paragraph 3.e. Tasks to Subordinate units and copy it directly.

3. Execution.

This paragraph will largely be originally generated with references to the company order.

a. Commander’s Intent. You will need to view the Company CDR’s intent and add anything else needed (key tasks) and cut out anything irrelevant to your platoon’s mission.

b. Concept of Operations. This is entirely you.

c. Scheme of Movement and Maneuver. This will be entirely original and will explain in detail how you will accomplish your mission.

d. Scheme of Fires. This likely can be copied directly from the company order.

e. Tasks to Subordinate Units. This is entirely you and where you will provide missions for each of your SQDs.

f. Coordinating Instructions. Things that are applicable to all squads can be pulled from the company order, but you likely will need to add to it.

4. Sustainment.

It is typically a good TTP to have your Platoon Sergeant create and brief this with your oversight. Most of these tasks will be dictated by a company battle rhythm and this will serve as the means to communicating this information to your squads

a. General. This will be a combination of platoon internal sustainment nodes and company level.

b. Logistics. At the platoon level this likely can be copied from the company order.

5. Command and Signal.

Most of this will be taken directly from the company order, with slight adjustments.

a. Command. Locations will remain the same with adjustments to the succession of command for the platoon.

b. Signal. This will be copied from the company order, unless for some reason you are generating platoon internal passwords.

As you can see, flipping an order or creating a platoon operations order from a company order in a time-constrained environment is a process that can be improved with familiarity with the operations order format. Knowing what you are looking for and where to find it can save precious minutes off of your own order generation. At CST, you likely will have very limited time to actually generate a platoon order so rehearsing this process will improve your chances of success.

Please check out our Platoon leader and Squad leader operations order templates/shells. Our Squad leader shell is formatted for easier portability while our Platoon leader template allows for more writing space. However, each contains the exact same OPORD template!

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