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Essential task

Definition An essential task in military operations refers to a job or action that must be accomplished to successfully complete a mission. It is a crucial component of the overall operation that directly contributes towards the achievement of the specified objectives. If an essential task is unfulfilled, it can negatively affect the outcome of the […]


An essential task in military operations refers to a job or action that must be accomplished to successfully complete a mission. It is a crucial component of the overall operation that directly contributes towards the achievement of the specified objectives. If an essential task is unfulfilled, it can negatively affect the outcome of the mission.

Key Takeaways

  1. An Essential Task is a task that an organization, unit, or formation must perform to achieve the specific desired outcome or objective. It’s a critical component in the military mission planning process.
  2. Essential Tasks are typically named in the operation orders (OPORD) and those tasks which are not successfully completed can often lead to the failure of the mission. They are often derived from high-level military doctrine and adapt according to specific mission requirements.
  3. These tasks provide focus to the commanders and their staff, forming the foundation of the plan. They also facilitate effective resource allocation, ensuring that the military’s resources are best used to achieve mission objectives.


An Essential Task in military operations holds paramount importance as it refers to a mission or job that is absolutely necessary for the success of the operation. These tasks are usually directly related to achieving specific objectives that are vital for the overall mission.

Not accomplishing an Essential Task could result in mission failure, making their identification, planning, and execution crucial. They help in streamlining the planning process and focusing resources and efforts on what is more critical, thereby increasing the operation’s chances of success.

They also provide a framework within which subordinate units can design their operations to support the overall objectives. Overall, Essential Tasks shape the skeleton of military operational planning and implementation.


In military operations, an Essential Task plays a significant role in the success of the mission at hand. Its purpose is to illume the fundamental activity that a military unit must perform in order to accomplish its mission or part of it.

These tasks are core to the operational goals and they are pivotal to achieving the desired mission outcomes. They represent tactical priorities and if not accomplished, could lead to failure or significantly hinder the achievement of the overall objectives of the operations.

This concept of an Essential Task is used as a cornerstone for strategic planning and operational execution in the military. It aids in identifying, organizing and prioritizing tasks which are crucial for the accomplishment of the mission.

It streamlines resources and manpower towards achieving these tasks, thereby increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of operations. The Essential Task is also an important metric in assessing the progress and success of military operations, providing measurable actions that can give commanders a tangible understanding of mission success or failure.

Examples of Essential task

Operation Desert Storm – One of the essential tasks in this operation was to incapacitate the Iraqi air defenses and communication infrastructure. This was achieved through an intensive bombing campaign. This was a necessary task to ensure the subsequent ground forces encountered minimal resistance.

Operation Enduring Freedom – The essential task during this operation was to dismantle the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda and remove the Taliban regime from power in Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Coalition forces achieved this through numerous strategic bombings, ground troop operations, and providing support to local rebel groups.

D-Day Invasion – The essential task during this historic military operation was to secure the Normandy Beachhead, providing a crucial entry point for Allied forces into mainland Europe. The invasion involved a variety of tasks such as airborne landings, naval bombardments, and ground force attacks. This mission was absolutely necessary for the further success of Allied forces in Europe.

FAQs for Essential Task

What is an Essential Task in the military?

An Essential Task in the military is a mission-focused task determined to be critical in order to achieve the assigned mission. It is a task that an organization must perform successfully in order to achieve a successful outcome.

How is an Essential Task identified?

An Essential Task is typically identified during the Mission Analysis process by the Commander and the staff. They take into account the mission, the enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available, and civil considerations.

Are Essential Tasks always the same for every mission?

No, Essential Tasks are not always the same for every mission. They are designed to be specific to the mission or the operation. These tasks can change based on myriad factors like the changing circumstances of a mission, the environment, the enemy, and more.

What is the importance of an Essential Task in a military operation?

Essential Tasks in a military operation are vital as they directly link to the accomplishment of the mission. Their successful execution ensures that the mission objectives are met effectively. They help in keeping the focus on crucial elements of the operation, ensuring proper allocation of resources and efforts.

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Sources for More Information

  • United States Army Official Page: This is a comprehensive source for all things related to the U.S Army, including information about military terminology like the Essential Task.
  • U.S Department of Defense: This website is a great resource for understanding U.S. military operations, policies, and terminology.
  • Joint Chiefs of Staff: This is another authoritative source for getting information about US military operations and terms.
  • Marine Corps University: Offers deep insights into various military terminologies, doctrines, and operations, including ‘Essential Task’.

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