Operational Environment Analysis with PMESII-PT
SUMMARY: Understanding the Operational Environment can help us to blend-in, recognize harmful actors (thus deterring or avoiding them), travel safely/efficiently, find resources, and identify allies. PMESII-PT is a technique that analyzes 8 mutually connected operational variables IOT holistically comprehend the asymmetric Operational Environment (OE).
The OE can simply be where you currently reside (hometown) or it can encompass the entirety of a greater area (nation). It can also assess an area you plan to operate in. Doing precursor research into an Area of Operations (AO) is referred to as an Area Study. Doing a deep-dive analysis into the entirety of the OE is a PMESII-PT Analysis. An OE is the composite of the conditions, circumstances, and influences that effect our decisions within an Area of Interest. An understanding of the AO doesn't concern itself with the how's and why's, so only a "Google search" is needed to conduct an area study.
Analysis considers these variables; Political, Military, Economic, Social, Information, Infrastructure, Physical Environment, and Time. This is not to be confused with METT-TC which acts as part of the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) IOT assess the mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available, time available, and civil considerations. Our intent is to better understand our OE for the purpose of safe and efficient routine operations such as travel, commerce, and leisure. Knowing your OE can aid in countering hostile activity (foreign/domestic).
We must attempt to identify, analyze, and relate actors within the OE to their goals and objectives, organization structures, dependencies and inter-dependencies, external influences, strengths, susceptibilities, and vulnerabilities.
Below is an overview of how to assess each variable to increase your situational awareness of your OE.
The POLITICAL variable assesses the obvious political power and the influencers of that power. Identify the formally constituted authorities, as well as informal or covert political powers.
》What is the effectiveness and legitimacy of the current government?
》What are the current domestic political issues?
》What are the most vulnerable sub-cultures in the OE?
》Are there any influential political groups such as: terrorists, criminal organizations, DVEs/HVEs, cartels, etc?
The MILITARY variable analyzes military and paramilitary capabilities of all relevant actors (enemy, friendly, and neutral.)
》What is the composition of the government paramilitary forces, non-state paramilitary forces, unarmed combatants, or militias?
》How will threat actors use a local populace in their operations?
》What are the limitations (socially acceptable or influenced by MSM or civil unrest) of the military capabilities possessed by each threat/actor and the potential to exploit those limitations?
The ECONOMIC variable assesses industrial organizations, international trade, foreign aid, the rule of law, and financial management. Identify the behaviors related to producing, distributing, and consuming resources.
》What is the economic diversity and employment status in the OE?
》What relationships exist between the taxing of citizens, unemployment, and government assistance programs in regards to economic development, crime, and over-dependency?
》What is the basis of the economy? (technology, agriculture, manufacturing.)
The SOCIAL variable examines the religious, cultural, and ethnic compositions within an OE. This includes the investigation the social groups and systems, societies, and cultures. A social system involves people, groups, and institutions that convey shared values, norms, and convictions.
》How many internally displaced persons (IDPs) and homeless persons are in the OE?
What are the social networks, statuses, functions, and social volatility?
》How does the populace react to societal incidents such as human rights violations or government overreach?
》How do pre-existing bias and presumed allegiances affect societies reactions?
The INFORMATION variable analyzes the nature, extent, effects, and characteristics of individuals, organizations, and other systems that gather, distribute, process, or adhere to information. Identify how individuals, organizations, and systems. Then assess how they collect, process, disseminate, or act on information.
》How controlled is the information environment? Does government or private organizations (Social Media Outlets, SMOs and Mainstream Media, MSM) censor information?
》What IO capabilities are used to influence citizens? (Electronic warfare, computer warfare, information attack, deception, physical destruction, and protection and security measures)
》How does Low Intensity Conflict (propaganda, false flags, IO) influence human behavior?
The INFRASTRUCTURE variable assesses facilities, services, and installations that are required for a society to function as their current developmental level. It analyzes the economic and resource strains on the capability to maintain and grow infrastructure. It further includes the vulnerabilities and susceptibilities to protecting and securing physicals assets.
》What transportation networks exist? (public transportation, ride-shares, roadways, flight, etc)
》How dependent are utilities to internet technology? (communication, power, water, fuel, etc)
》What is the level of freedom of movement by the populace and availability of resources to the populace?
The PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT variable looks at the geographic and man-made structures as well as the climate and weather in OE.
》What areas are prone to wildfires, hurricanes, flooding, or other natural disasters?
》What is the physical security of commercial buildings?
》Are rural areas traversable or hospitable to thru-travel?
The TIME variable influences decisions and planning. This includes the understanding of current events, reaction speed, timing/duration of activities/events/conditions, information onset, and a tactical exploitation of time.
》How will certain direct action's success be effected by when the action is executed?
》What are the key dates (holidays, elections), time periods (spring break, Ramadan), or events (planned protests, expos)?
If you're traveling to a hostile country or planning a business move to a civil unrest infected city; consider conducting a PMESII-PT.
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