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Concept plan

Definition A concept plan, in military operations, is a type of document that outlines a proposed operation in broad terms, typically detailing initial strategies and resources required. It gives an overall picture of how the operation aims to achieve its objectives, without going into specific tactical details. This plan can be used as a basis […]


A concept plan, in military operations, is a type of document that outlines a proposed operation in broad terms, typically detailing initial strategies and resources required. It gives an overall picture of how the operation aims to achieve its objectives, without going into specific tactical details. This plan can be used as a basis for further planning and decision-making processes.

Key Takeaways

  1. A Concept Plan, often abbreviated as CONPLAN, is a type of operation plan in the realm of military and defense activities. It outlines the concept of military operations in response to a potential scenario, but does not involve specific details such as deployment of forces or execution timelines.
  2. CONPLANs serve as a framework to guide the preparation of more detailed operational plans, should the potential scenario become a reality. These plans are vital in proactive planning and are typically devised by a combatant commander in anticipation of possible future military operations.
  3. Although a CONPLAN lacks detailed execution information, it usually describes the sequence and scope of the anticipated operations, the commander’s intent, strategic objectives, and concept of operations. Also importantly, it outlines needed resources and potential risks involved, providing a comprehensive overview for decision makers and strategists.


The military operations term Concept Plan (CONPLAN) is important as it serves as a comprehensive, high-level strategy document that details how the military would respond to a number of hypothetical situations or potential threats.

A CONPLAN allows military leaders to review strategic options, make decisions about resource allocation, and prepare for a range of eventualities without waiting for an actual crisis to occur.

The plan encompasses the identified necessary military response, intelligence, logistics, and resources needed to carry out the operations effectively and efficiently.

Therefore, the CONPLAN is essential for proactive planning, effective decision-making, and maintaining the military’s readiness to respond to potential threats.


A Concept Plan (CONPLAN) in military operations is used to portray the overall strategy and action plan of implementing a mission, given a certain set of circumstances. The primary objective of a CONPLAN is to guide and inform the military leaders and the chain of command, regarding the intended approach for facing the presented scenario, setting a scope and direction for the preparation and execution of operations.

These plans are essential in structuring the response to possible threats, challenges or crises that the military may have to face in the future. Moreover, a CONPLAN provides a detailed inspection of operations, including the resources required, phases of execution, control measures, and the essential tasks to be performed.

It aims to ensure that all involved units are working in a coordinated manner towards the achievement of the ultimate military objective. Through the development of a CONPLAN, a military force develops a greater understanding of how to maximize their strengths, effectively utilize their resources, and handle potential threats effectively.

In conclusion, a Concept Plan serves as a strategic game plan that articulates a way to achieve a common objective while navigating through different tactical challenges.

Examples of Concept plan

Operation Neptune Spear: This renowned military operation was used to locate and kill Osama Bin Laden in

The Concept Plan for Operation Neptune Spear involved numerous elements, such as surveillance, intelligence gathering, rehearsal of the raid, and contingency planning. It was highly coordinated with meticulous planning to infiltrate Bin Laden’s location in Abbottabad, Pakistan without detection.

Operation Overlord (D-Day): A concept plan put forth during World War II for the allied invasion of Normandy. The plan involved deception strategies to divert German attention, detailed planning of the amphibious and airborne assets, as well as coordination of a multinational force for the attack.

Operation Desert Storm: During the Gulf War, the U.S. and its allies established a Concept Plan to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi forces. The plan involved an extensive air campaign to destroy Iraqi defense capabilities, followed by a swift and massive ground assault. The success of the plan led to the restoration of the Kuwaiti government.

FAQ Section: Concept Plan

What is a Concept Plan?

A Concept Plan is a military planning directive which outlines an operational project or potential operations. It presents a general idea of how a command would operate according to higher command guidance.

Why is a Concept Plan important?

Concept Plans are critical in military operations because they help to guide and provide structure for planning. They ensure that all aspects of an operation are considered and any potential issues are identified ahead of time.

Who is involved in creating a Concept Plan?

Usually, a Concept Plan is developed by the commanding officer and his staff. However, it can also involve input from other sectors depending on the scale and complexity of the operation.

What information is included in a Concept Plan?

A Concept Plan typically includes the mission, the command’s intent, any constraints, known risks, command and control elements, and more. The purpose is to provide an overview of how an operation should proceed.

In what scenarios is a Concept Plan used?

Concept Plans can be used in a variety of scenarios including combat missions, reconstruction efforts, humanitarian aid, training exercises, and more. Any operation that requires a broad overview and plan would benefit from a Concept Plan.

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Sources for More Information

  • Department of Defense: The U.S. Department of Defense’s official website provides comprehensive information about all aspects of military operations, including concept plans.
  • Joint Chiefs of Staff: The Joint Chiefs of Staff website is an authoritative source for information related to military operations, including concept plans.
  • RAND Corporation: This nonprofit global policy think tank has conducted many research projects on military operations, which often involve concept planning.
  • U.S. Naval War College: A top military educational institution, the U.S. Naval War College often explores military operational planning, including concept plans, in its academic studies.

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