The U.S. military has a conventional, linear planning process that does not adequately address the realities of today’s asymmetric global threat environment. The Department of Defense (DoD) joint planning model calls for phase zero (shaping) to occur before hostilities begin, and phases four (stabilize) and five (enable civil authority) to commence post-conflict. These categories can no longer be compartmented into distinct phases before and after military operations.
The military planning process needs to be restructured in a multidisciplinary manner to meet today’s challenges. Phase zero, or peacetime activities, and phases four and five should be fused to cover continual theater and global shaping operations. These operations need to be incorporated into daily military activities, specifically focused on terrorist groups and violent extremist organizations.