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Concept of Operations (CONOPS)

ARQM 006

DAU GLOSSARY DEFINITION

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

Alternate Definition

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. The concept is designed to give an overall picture of the operation. Also called commander’s concept or CONOPS. (Source: Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms)

General Information

A CONOPS is a verbal or graphic statement of a commander’s assumptions or intent in regard to an operation or series of operations. The CONOPS is frequently embodied in campaign plans and operation plans, particularly when these plans cover simultaneous and successive operations. The CONOPS presents an overall picture of the operation with the intent of providing additional clarity of purpose.

As described in the JCIDS Manual, a CONOPS describes how a joint force commander may organize and employ forces in the near term (now through seven years into the future) in order to solve a current or emerging military problem. These CONOPS provide the operational context needed to examine and validate current capabilities. Additionally, Sponsors may use CONOPS to examine new and/or proposed capabilities required to solve a current or emerging problem.

When Sponsors use a CONOPS as the basis for a Capabilities-Based Assessment (CBA), it must first be endorsed by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC), combatant command, or sponsoring DoD component. CONOPS not staffed through the JROC for endorsement must be attached as an appendix to the Initial Capabilities Document (ICD) or joint DOTmLPF-P Change Request (DCR) so that reviewers can understand the context used to identify and evaluate the identified capabilities. There is no strict format for a CONOPS but it should cover the following areas at a minimum: the problem being addressed, the mission, the commander’s intent, an operational overview, functions or effects to be carried out/achieved, and the roles and responsibilities of affected organizations.