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  • Question

    Are there any acquisition guides, policies, or doctrine that define what a CONEMP is, and how and who should write a CONEMP? What is the difference between a CONEMP and a CONOP?


    Answer

    In general, the CONEMP or COE, concept of employment, is more detailed and usually more tactically focused.  It involves the use of forces which differs from CONOPS, concept of operations, which involves a broader scope of the commander's intent on how to apply all available resources.  Our experience is that the USMC writes a detailed CONEMP in place of the Operational Mode Summary/Mission Profiles (OMS/MP.)

    A Rand Report completed for the USAF in 2003 described it this way:

    LACING THEM TOGETHER

    Now to lace the levels, actors, and concepts together (from the bottom up):

    •  Combatants accomplish a portfolio of military tasks (according to the CONEX for each stated task). By doing so, they enable a subordinate commander (in the presence of a CONEMP) to achieve some stated operational objective (or to conduct some stated major operation within a campaign).

    •  Subordinate commanders achieve a portfolio of operational objectives (according to the CONEMP for each objective). By doing so, they enable the overall combatant commander (in the presence of a campaign strategy) to attain the effects desired in conducting the campaign.

    And from the DOD Dictionary of Terms and Definitions.

    concept of operations — A verbal or graphic statement that clearly and concisely expresses what the commander intends to accomplish and how it will be done using

    available resources. Also called CONOPS. (JP 5-0)

    operation — 1. A sequence of tactical actions with a common purpose or unifying theme. (JP 1) 2. A military action or the carrying out of a strategic, operational, tactical, service, training, or administrative military mission. (JP 3-0)

    employment — The strategic, operational, or tactical use of forces. (JP 5-0)

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