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Action phase

Definition The action phase in military operations refers to the period during which a mission or task is actively executed. This stage involves the deployment of forces and resources to accomplish assigned objectives. The action phase comes after the planning and preparation stages but before the mission’s termination and evaluation. Key Takeaways The action phase […]


The action phase in military operations refers to the period during which a mission or task is actively executed. This stage involves the deployment of forces and resources to accomplish assigned objectives. The action phase comes after the planning and preparation stages but before the mission’s termination and evaluation.

Key Takeaways

  1. The action phase is the portion of a military operation in which the actual execution of planned activities and engagement with the enemy occurs. This phase is the central part of the operational timeline and focuses on achieving the mission objectives.
  2. During the action phase, military units will apply tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) to conduct various types of operations such as offensive, defensive, or stability operations. The action phase may include various sub-phases such as maneuver, movement, and sustainment activities depending on the specific operation.
  3. Effective communication, synchronization, and coordination among different military elements are essential for success in the action phase. Commanders must be able to adapt to changing circumstances and make operational adjustments as needed to maintain the initiative and achieve the mission objectives.


The action phase is a critical component of military operations, as it refers to the actual execution of a mission or plan that has been thoroughly prepared and strategized.

This phase is important because it is the point where all the tactical decisions, resource allocations, and coordination efforts come to fruition in pursuit of a specific objective.

It enables military forces to respond effectively to threats, achieve operational success, and maintain national security.

Furthermore, the action phase’s successful implementation is crucial for minimizing risks to personnel, ensuring efficiency in resource usage, and fostering adaptability in the face of rapidly evolving operational environments.

Thus, the action phase stands as a key determinant of the overall effectiveness of a military operation and constitutes a vital aspect of any military endeavor.


The action phase is a significant part of military operations, as it essentially encompasses the core activities and tasks that are executed to achieve a specific objective or mission. It is during the action phase where the strategies and tactics, developed in the planning and preparation stages, are put into practice in the field. Purposeful and outcomes-oriented, this phase involves the careful mobilization, maneuvering, and implementation of forces, as well as the exploitation of situations to gain tactical advantage and achieve desired results.

The action phase aims at overcoming adversaries, securing strategic locations, and demonstrating a dominant presence to deter potential threats and facilitate favorable end states. The action phase is crucial for several reasons. First and foremost, it tests and challenges the robustness and effectiveness of the planning, intelligence, and logistical components of any given military operation.

This is an opportunity for the deployed forces to capitalise on their skills and competencies to successfully execute the tasks at hand, ensuring mission success and minimising casualties. Second, the action phase serves as a platform to demonstrate a nation’s military power and resolve in addressing various risks and threats to national security, thereby re-establishing stability and peace in regions prone to conflict or hostility. Additionally, it provides valuable lessons and experiences, which can be used for training, refining existing doctrines, and nurturing adaptive and resilient leaders who can effectively navigate the complexities of future military operations.

Examples of Action phase

The “action phase” in military operations refers to the period in which combat forces are actively engaged in conducting their assigned missions and tasks. Here are three real-world examples of action phases in military operations:

Operation Overlord (D-Day):During World War II, the Allied invasion of Normandy, known as Operation Overlord, saw a significant action phase on D-Day (June 6, 1944). This involved the landing of more than 150,000 Allied troops on the beaches of Normandy, France. The action phase included a massive naval bombardment, an airborne invasion, and amphibious landings on the beaches. These combined efforts allowed the Allies to establish a foothold in Europe and begin the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi occupation.

Operation Desert Storm:In the Gulf War of 1991, following a period of strategic planning and extensive air campaign, the action phase of Operation Desert Storm comprised the ground offensive by U.S. and coalition forces against the Iraqi army in Kuwait and southern Iraq. This phase, launched on February 24, 1991, involved a rapid series of ground assaults, flanking maneuvers, and other military actions designed to overwhelm and defeat the Iraqi forces in just a few days. By February 28, 1991, the ground offensive ended with Kuwait liberated and a ceasefire agreement in place.

Operation Anaconda:In the early stages of the 2001 war in Afghanistan, Operation Anaconda was a U.S.-led mission aimed at destroying Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces in the Shahi-Kot Valley in eastern Afghanistan. Launched on March 2, 2002, the action phase included a combination of airstrikes, ground assaults, and special operations forces conducting missions against enemy forces entrenched in the mountains. The operation lasted nearly two weeks, resulting in heavy casualties for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces, ultimately pushing them out of Shahi-Kot Valley.

FAQ Section: Action Phase

1. What is the action phase in military operations?

The action phase in military operations refers to the stage where the actual execution of the mission takes place. It usually follows the planning and coordination stages and involves the engagement of forces to achieve specific objectives set by the mission plan.

2. What activities take place during the action phase?

During the action phase, military forces carry out operations such as reconnaissance, surveillance, offensive, defensive, and other actions to achieve their mission objectives. These operations may involve maneuvering, engaging enemy forces, securing territory, providing humanitarian aid, or any combination of these tasks as determined by the mission plan.

3. How is the action phase controlled & managed?

The action phase is controlled and managed through an established chain of command, which ensures proper communication, coordination, and decision-making throughout the operation. This may include tactical, operational, and strategic levels of command to effectively manage resources, monitor the progress of the mission, and make necessary adjustments to the mission plan and strategy.

4. How is the success of an action phase measured?

The success of an action phase is measured based on the achievement of the mission objectives. This may involve analyzing various factors such as casualty rates, enemy forces eliminated, territory gained or stabilized, key targets neutralized, and other metrics that indicate the overall effectiveness of the operation.

5. What happens after the action phase?

After the action phase, the military operation transitions to the assessment and exploitation phase. During this stage, the results of the action phase are analyzed, and if necessary, follow-on operations are planned and executed to further achieve mission objectives or to manage the immediate aftermath of the operation. This can include securing and stabilizing areas, conducting damage assessment, evacuating casualties, and initiating reconstruction efforts.

Related Military Operation Terms

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