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Information/Briefing

Appendix E

MILITARY BRIEFINGS

Briefings are a means of presenting information to

commanders, staffs, or other designated audiences. The

techniques employed are determined by the purpose of

the briefing, the desired response, and the role of the

briefer. This appendix describes the types of military

briefings and gives briefing formats for each type.

TYPES OF BRIEFINGS

There are four types of military briefings:

• Information.

• Decision.

• Mission.

• Staff.

Information

The information briefing is intended to inform the lis-

tener and to gain his understanding. The briefing does

not include conclusions and recommendations, nor re-

quire decisions. The briefing deals primarily with facts.

The briefer states that the purpose of the briefing is to

provide information and that no decision is required.

The briefer provides a brief introduction to define the

subject and to orient the listener and then presents the in-

formation. Examples of an information briefing are in-

formation of high priority requiring immediate

attention; information of a complex nature, such as com-

plicated plans, systems, statistics, or charts, requiring

detailed explanation; and controversial information re-

quiring elaboration and explanation.

Decision

The decision briefing is intended to obtain an answer or

a decision. It is the presentation of a staff officer’s recom-

mended solution resulting from analysis or study of a

problem or problem area. Decision briefings vary as to

formality and detail depending on the level of command

and the decision maker’s knowledge of the subject (the

problem or problem area). In situations where the person

receiving the briefing has prior knowledge of the problem

and some information relating to it, the briefing normally

is limited to a statement of the problem, essential back-

ground information, and a recommended solution.

However, the briefer must be prepared to present his

assumptions, facts, alternative solutions, reason for

choosing the recommended solution, and the coordina-

tion involved. If the person who is being briefed is unfa-

miliar with the problem and the facts surrounding it,

then a more detailed briefing is necessary. In this case,

the briefing should include any assumptions used in ana-

lyzing the problem, facts bearing on the problem, a dis-

cussion of the alternatives, the conclusions, and the

coordination involved. The staff study format in Appen-

dix D provides a logical sequence for presenting a de-

tailed decision briefing.

At the outset of the briefing, the briefer must state that

he is seeking a decision. At the conclusion of the briefing,

if the briefer does not receive a decision, he asks for it.

The briefer should be certain that he understands the deci-

sion thoroughly. If he is uncertain, he asks for clarifica-

tion. In this regard, a precisely worded recommendation

that may be used as a decision statement, once approved

by the commander, assists in eliminating possible ambi-

guities. Following the briefing, if the chief of staff (execu-

tive officer) is not present, the briefer informs the SGS or

other appropriate officer of the commander’s decision.

Mission

The mission briefing is used under operational condi-

tions to provide information, to give specific instructions,

or to instill an appreciation of a mission. It is usually pre-

sented by a single briefing officer, who may be the com-

mander, an assistant, a staff officer, or a special

representative. This depends on the nature of the mission

or the level of the headquarters. In an operational situation

or when the mission is of a critical nature, it may become

necessary to provide individuals or smaller units with

more data than plans and orders provide. This may be

done by means of the mission briefing. The mission brief-

ing reinforces orders, provides more detailed requirements

and instructions for each individual, and explains the sig-

nificance of each individual role.

Staff

The staff briefing is intended to secure a coordi-

nated or unified effort. This may involve the

exchange of information, the announcement of deci-

sions within a command, the issuance of directives,

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or the presentation of guidance. The staff briefing

may include characteristics of the information brief-

ing, the decision briefing, and the mission briefing.

Attendance at staff briefings varies with the size of

the headquarters, the type of operation being con-

ducted, and the personal desires of the commander.

Generally, the commander, deputies or assistants,

chief of staff (executive officer), and coordinating

and special staff officers attend. Representatives

from major subordinate commands may be present.

The chief of staff (executive officer) usually presides

over the staff briefing. He calls on staff representa-

tives to present matters that interest those present or

that require coordinated staff action. Each staff offi-

cer is prepared to brief on his area of responsibility.

In garrison, staff briefings are often held on a regu-

larly scheduled basis. In combat, staff briefings are

held when required by the situation. The presentation

of staff estimates culminating in a commander’s deci-

sion to adopt a specific course of action is a form of

staff briefing. In this type of briefing, staff officers

involved follow the general pattern prescribed for the

staff estimate being presented.

BRIEFING STEPS

A briefing assignment has four steps:

1. Analyze the situation. This includes analyzing

the audience and the occasion by determining—

• Who is to be briefed and why?

• How much knowledge of the subject does the audi-

ence have?

• What is expected of the briefer?

Before briefing an individual the first time, the briefer

should inquire as to the particular official’s desires. The

briefer must understand the purpose of the briefing. Is he

to present facts or to make a recommendation? The pur-

pose determines the nature of the briefing. The time allo-

cated for a briefing will dictate the style, physical

facilities, and the preparatory effort needed. The avail-

ability of physical facilities, visual aids, and draftsmen is a

consideration. The briefer prepares a detailed presentation

plan and coordinates with his assistants, if used. The pre-

paratory effort is carefully scheduled. Each briefer should

formulate a “briefing outline” (next page). The briefer ini-

tially estimates the deadlines for each task. He schedules

facilities for practice and requests critiques.

2. Construct the briefing. The construction of the

briefing will vary with its type and purpose. The analy-

sis provides the basis for this determination. The fol-

lowing are the major steps in preparing a briefing:

• Collect material.

• Know the subject thoroughly.

• Isolate the key points.

• Arrange the key points in logical order.

• Provide supporting data to substantiate validity of

key points.

• Select visual aids.

• Establish the wording.

• Rehearse before a knowledgeable person who can

critique the briefing.

3. Deliver the briefing. A successful briefing de-

pends on how it is presented. A confident, relaxed,

forceful delivery, clearly enunciated and obviously

based on full knowledge of the subject, helps convince

the audience. The briefer maintains a relaxed, but mili-

tary bearing. He uses natural gestures and movement,

but he avoids distracting mannerisms. The briefer’s de-

livery is characterized by conciseness, objectivity, and

accuracy. He must be aware of the following:

• The basic purpose is to present the subject as di-

rected and to ensure that it is understood by the

audience.

• Brevity precludes a lengthy introduction or

summary.

• Logic must be used in arriving at conclusions and

recommendations.

• Interruptions and questions may occur at any point.

If and when these interruptions occur, the briefer answers

each question before proceeding or indicates that the ques-

tions will be answered later in the briefing. At the same

time, he does not permit questions to distract him from his

planned briefing. If the question will be answered later in

the briefing, the briefer should make specific reference to

the earlier question when he introduces the material. The

briefer must be prepared to support any part of his brief-

ing. The briefer anticipates possible questions and is pre-

pared to answer them.

4. Follow-up. When the briefing is over, the briefer

prepares a memorandum for record (MFR). This MFR

should record the subject, date, time, and place of the

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FM 101-5

briefing and ranks, names, and positions of those pres-

ent. The briefing’s substance is concisely recorded. Rec-

ommendations and their approval, disapproval, or

approval with modification are recorded as well as any

instruction or directed action. This includes who is to

take action. When a decision is involved and doubt ex-

ists about the decision maker’s intent, the briefer

submits a draft of the MFR to him for correction before

preparing it in final form. The MFR is distributed to staff

sections or agencies that must act on the decisions or in-

structions contained in it or whose operations or plans

may be influenced.

BRIEFING OUTLINE

1. Analysis of the Situation

a. Audience.

(1) How many are there?

(2) Nature.

(a) Who composes the audience? Single or multiservice? Civilians? Foreign nationals?

(b) Who are the ranking members?

(c) What are their official positions?

(d) Where are they assigned?

(e) How much professional knowledge of the subject do they have?

(f) Are they generalists or specialists?

(g) What are their interests?

(h) What are their personal preferences?

(i) What is the anticipated reaction?

b. Purpose and type.

(1) Information briefing (to inform)?

(2) Decision briefing (to obtain decision)?

(3) Mission briefing (to review important details)?

(4) Staff briefing (to exchange information)?

c. Subject.

(1) What is the specific subject?

(2) What is the desired coverage?

(3) How much time will be allocated?

d. Physical facilities.

(1) Where will the briefing be presented?

(2) What arrangements will be required?

(3) What are the visual aid facilities?

(4) What are the deficiencies?

(5) What actions are needed to overcome deficiencies?

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2. Schedule of Preparatory Effort

a. Complete analysis of the situation.

b. Prepare preliminary outline.

c. Determine requirements for training aids, assistants, and recorders.

d. Edit or redraft.

e. Schedule rehearsals (facilities, critiques).

f. Arrange for final review by responsible authority.

3. Constructing the Briefing

a. Collect material.

(1) Research.

(2) Become familiar with subject.

(3) Collect authoritative opinions and facts.

b. Prepare first draft.

(1) State problem (if necessary).

(2) Isolate key points (facts).

(3) Identify courses of action.

(4) Analyze and compare courses of action. State advantages and disadvantages.

(5) Determine conclusions and recommendations.

(6) Prepare draft outline.

(7) Include visual aids.

(8) Fill in appropriate material.

(9) Review with appropriate authority.

c. Revise first draft and edit.

(1) Make sure that facts are important and necessary.

(2) Include all necessary facts.

(3) Include answers to anticipated questions.

(4) Polish material.

d. Plan use of visual aids.

(1) Check for simplicity—readability.

(2) Develop method for use.

e. Practice.

(1) Rehearse (with assistants and visual aids).

(2) Polish.

(3) Isolate key points.

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(4) Commit outline to memory.

(5) Develop transitions.

(6) Use definitive words.

4. Follow-Up

a. Ensure understanding.

b. Record decision.

c. Inform proper authorities.

Format for an Information Briefing

1. Introduction.

Greeting.

Address the person(s) being briefed. Identify yourself and your organization.

“Good morning, General Smith. I’m Captain Jones, the S3 of the 1st Bn 28th Artillery.

Type and Classification of Briefing.

“This is a SECRET information briefing.”

“This is an UNCLASSIFIED decision briefing.”

Purpose and Scope.

Give the big picture first.

Explain the purpose and scope of your briefing.

“The purpose of this briefing is to bring you up to date on our battalion’s General Defense Plan.”

“I will cover the battalion’s action during the first 72 hours of a general alert.”

Outline or Procedure.

Briefly summarize the key points and your general approach.

Explain any special procedures (demonstrations, displays, or tours). “During my briefing, I’ll discuss the six

phases of our plan. I’ll refer to maps of our sector, and then my assistant will bring out a sand table to show you

the expected flow of battle.”

2. Body.

Arrange the main ideas in a logical sequence.

Use visual aids correctly to emphasize your main ideas.

Plan effective transitions from one main point to the next.

Be prepared to answer questions at any time.

3. Closing.

Ask for questions.

Briefly recap your main ideas and make a concluding statement.

Announce the next speaker.

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Format for a Decision Briefing

1. Introduction.

Military greeting.

Statement of the type, classification, and purpose of the briefing.

A brief statement of the problem to be resolved.

The recommendation.

2. Body.

Key facts bearing upon the problem.

Pertinent facts that might influence the decision.

An objective presentation of both positive and negative facts.

Necessary assumptions made to bridge any gaps in factual data.

Courses of Action.

A discussion of the various options that can solve the problem.

Analysis.

The criteria by which you will evaluate how to solve the problem (screening and evaluation).

A discussion of each course of action’s relative advantages and disadvantages.

Comparison.

Show how the courses of action rate against the evaluation criteria.

3. Conclusion.

Describe why the selected solution is best.

4. Questions.

5. Restatement of the Recommendation so that it only needs approval/disapproval.

6. Request a decision.

The Mission Briefing

1. General. The mission briefing is an information briefing presented under tactical or operational conditions,

usually given by a single briefing officer.

2. The Purposes of a Mission Brief.

Give specific instructions.

The mission briefing serves to—

• Issue or elaborate on an operation order, warning order, and so forth.

• Instill a general appreciation of a mission.

• Review the key points of a forthcoming military operation.

• Ensure participants know the mission’s objective, problems they may confront, and ways to overcome them.

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3. Format.

While the mission briefing has no set format, a convenient format is the five-paragraph operation order:

1. Situation.

2. Mission.

3. Execution.

4. Service support.

5. Command and signal.

The Staff Briefing

1. General. The staff briefing is a form of information briefing given by a staff officer. Often it’s one of a series

of briefings by staff officers.

2. Purposes of a Staff Briefing. The staff briefing serves to—

• Keep the commander and staff abreast of the current situation.

• Coordinate efforts through rapid oral presentation of key data.

3. Possible Attendees:

• The commander, his deputy, and chief of staff.

• Senior representatives of his primary and special staff; commanders of his subordinate units.

4. Common Procedures:

• The person who convenes the staff briefing sets the agenda.

• The chief of staff or executive officer normally presides.

• Each staff representative presents information on his particular area.

• The commander usually concludes the briefing but may take an active part throughout the presentation.

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UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
THE BASIC SCHOOL

MARINE CORPS TRAINING COMMAND
CAMP BARRETT, VIRGINIA 22134-5019

MILITARY BRIEFING
W3S0005

STUDENT HANDOUT

W3S0005 Military Briefing

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LEARNING OBJECTIVES.

1. TERMINAL LEARNING OBJECTIVE.

a. Given subordinate units and an order, while considering the situation

and time available, issue a five paragraph order to communicate a complete,

realistic, and tactically sound plan that accomplishes the

mission. (TBS-C2-1002)

b. Given a unit and references, conduct a military brief to ensure the

audience receives the message. (MCCSLDR-2204)

2. ENABLING LEARNING OBJECTIVES.

a. Given a scenario, commanders intent, and available references,

determine format for the information brief in order to facilitate the

transfer of information. (MCCS-LDR-2204a)

b. Given a scenario, commanders intent, and available references, build

content into formatted information brief in order to facilitate the transfer

of information. (MCCS-LDR-2204b)

c. Given a scenario, commanders intent, and available references, present

an information brief in order to facilitate the transfer of information.

(MCCS-LDR-2204c)

d. Given an audience, with the aid of references, communicate orally to

present ideas with confidence, accuracy, and completeness. (TBS-CORE-2102b)

W3S0005 Military Briefing

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1. TYPES OF MILITARY BRIEFS. Military briefs are designed to present

selected information to commanders, staffs and other audiences in a clear,

concise and expedient manner. The types of military briefs are dictated by

purpose. There are four (4) basic types: the information brief, the decision

brief, the staff brief, and the mission brief. Although there are elements,

which are common to all four, each type of brief is distinct in that it is

designed to accomplish a specific purpose.

a. Information Brief. The information brief is designed to merely

provide information to an audience. An information brief deals only with

facts. The desired end state of this type of brief is listener

comprehension. No conclusion or decision needs to be drawn form the brief.

Times when an information brief may be utilized include: Passing information

of high priority which requires the immediate attention of proper authority,

when passing complex information requiring detailed explanation or an After

Action report for a military operation.

(1) Format. The basic format for the presentation of an information

brief is as follows:

(a) Introduction.

1 Greeting. Recognize senior member(s) of audience. Follow

up with “gentlemen” or “ladies and gentlemen” in recognition of others

present. Finally, identify yourself.

2 Purpose. Explain purpose and scope.

3 Procedure. Explain conduct of brief, lecture,

demonstration, display, tour, combination, etc.

4 There is no need, nor time, for an attention gainer.

(b) Body.

1 Organization. The body should follow an organization

providing the best arrangement, presentation and support of main ideas.

Sequence may be chronological, such as what happened, is happening, and is

expected to happen; or it may be presented as cause-and-effect, as in an

after action report.

2 Plan for effective, smoothly executed transitions.

3 Be prepared for questions at any time.

(c) Conclusion.

1 Summarize main ideas. Keep in mind that this is the last

thing your audience will hear and so it will be one of the more prominent

memories. It is here that you should restate any significant facts.

2 Closing statement. “This concludes my brief, are there any

questions.” Or, if briefing a senior, “Sir, pending your questions, this

concludes my brief.”

3 Introduce next speaker, if applicable.

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b. Decision Brief. Designed to be presented to a commander in order to

elicit a decision.

(1) The outcome is usually the manner in which a unit will execute a

pending mission. For example, a commander may be presented a decision brief

containing three (3) Courses of Action (COAs), all of which are designed to

accomplish the same mission, but in different manners.

(2) After being presented and considering the strengths and

weaknesses of each COA, the commander can make an educated decision. Of

course, the commander retains the prerogative to modify or reject the choices

and send his staff back to the drawing board.

(3) The format for a Decision Brief is built upon the Information

Brief.

(a) Introduction.

1 Greeting. Recognize the senior member(s) of the audience.

Follow up with “gentlemen” or “ladies and gentlemen” in recognition of

others. Finally, identify yourself.

2 Purpose. State the purpose is to obtain a decision.

3 Procedure. Explain any special procedures or introduce

additional briefer(s).

4 Coordination. State any previous coordination.

5 Classification. Identify security classification of brief.

(b) Body.

1 Assumptions. State all that are valid, relevant and

necessary.

2 Facts Bearing. Any supportable facts bearing on the

problem should be stated concisely and accurately.

3 Discussion. Analyze COAs. The initial statement should

indicate the origin of the problem and point out any command guidance given.

Plan for smooth transitions. THIS IS THE CRITICAL PHASE OF THE DECISION

BRIEF!

(c) Conclusions.

1 State conclusions reached as a result of your analysis.

Rank the COAs based upon level of supportability. Do not introduce new COAs

or suggest modifications at this point. Restrict to only logical conclusions

derived from discussion phase.

2 State recommended actions. Read recommendations to ensure

accuracy and phrase them so the commander can mentally accept or decline.

Recommendations must be specific and not solicitations of opinion.

(d) Conclude your brief.

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1 Ask for questions.

2 Solicit decision or inquire if recommendation is approved

or disapproved.

c. Staff Briefing. The staff briefing is the most widely used military

briefing and is used at every level of command from the Marine Corps

fire/demo team to HQMC. It is used to secure a coordinated or unified

effort. The staff briefing is designed for the rapid, oral dissemination of

information.

(1) In peacetime, staff briefings are normally conducted on a

scheduled basis. In combat, they are held as often as the situation

requires.

(2) At the battalion level, the executive officer usually presides

over the staff briefing, but the commander may elect to do so if he desires.

The individual presiding normally begins by identifying the purpose of the

briefing and may review the mission of the next higher headquarters. He may

highlight the briefing and then call on staff members to brief their areas of

responsibility. These staff representatives should avoid presenting a rehash

of the entire staff estimate but should tailor their presentation to specific

areas that will assist the commander in the execution of the mission. For

example, the S2 chief should refrain from reciting verbatim the entire

weather forecast. Specifically, he should focus only on the effects of

weather on mission accomplishment.

(3) Staff representatives present matters that might pertain to, be

of interest to, or require coordination action by other staff sections. The

commander usually concludes the briefing but may take an active part

throughout the presentation.

(4) The format for presentations by each staff member during the

staff briefing varies and is dependent upon the commander’s guidance. The

format may be elaborate, using visual aids to depict the activities of each

staff representative; or it may be less formal, with the emphasis on each

staff member briefing only those items or areas the commander feels are

appropriate.

d. Mission Brief. Mission briefings are used under operational

conditions to impart information or to give specific instructions for

accomplishment of the mission.

(1) In an operational situation or when the mission of a specific

unit is critical, it may be necessary to provide individuals or smaller units

with more data than written orders provide. This may be done by means of the

mission briefing.

(2) The mission briefing reinforces written orders and provides more

detailed requirements and instructions. The mission briefing is normally

conducted as a joint staff effort, with the commander stating the mission the

unit has received and each staff member presenting information on his area.

(3) There is no prescribed format for the mission briefing, but it

should be tailored to achieve the specific purpose of the briefing. In most

cases, the operations order (OPORD) format can be used if it is not

unnecessarily repetitious.

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(4) The purpose of the mission briefing can be summarized as the

final review of a forthcoming military action to ensure those taking part are

certain of their mission, understand the intent of the commander, and grasp

his concept of the operation. For these reasons, the commander actively

participates throughout the confirmation briefing.

(5) The Confirmation Brief is a form of the Mission Brief that is

performed as a part of the Marine Corps Planning Process. After the

subordinate commander receives his order or plan, the subordinate commander

then briefs the higher commander on his understanding of the higher’s intent,

their specific task and purpose and the relationship between their unit’s

missions and the other units in the operation. The Confirmation Brief also

allows the higher commander to identify gaps in his plan, identify

discrepancies between his and subordinate commander’s plans and learn how

subordinate commands intend to accomplish their mission. Lastly, The

Confirmation Brief informs the higher commander that the subordinate unit is

ready to execute and lays out the timeline for the execution of its mission.

(6) The format for a Confirmation Brief will vary from unit to unit,

however the brief generally follows the OPORD format with emphasis being

placed on the Mission and Execution paragraphs. In some cases, the

Situation, Admin and Logistics, and Command and Signal paragraphs are omitted

as a part of the Confirmation Brief since they have been addressed previously

during the planning process and would be redundant. For example, the weather

forecast published by the S-2 usually doesn’t need to be reiterated to the

commander by one of his subordinate commanders. However, selected portions

of these paragraphs may be included if they have a direct effect on the

accomplishment of your mission and the higher commanders mission. For

example, if the rain the S-2 forecasts will cause a delay in your operation,

then that is something that should be briefed.

2. PREPARING A BRIEF. The preparation or creation of a brief involves

several steps. A briefer must have a thorough knowledge of the subject to be

presented. Knowledge is gained through research. Knowledge alone, however,

does not guarantee an effective brief. Effective planning is also important.

You prepare for a briefing by using knowledge, research and planning. To

ensure success use the following steps to guide you in your preparation of

your briefs:

a. Analysis.

(1) First, determine the purpose of the briefing. You have to ask

yourself (and others); Why am I giving this brief? What is the desired

outcome? Ask for guidance in order to inform accurately – your purpose is not

to sell or entertain, but to impart information.

(2) Second, consider your audience. Know the size and composition,

including names and grades. Learn the interests, desires and traits of the

senior member.

(3) Next, consider the time and schedule contingencies. Know in

advance how much time you have and how flexible the schedule or itinerary is.

(4) Consider the requirement for equipment and facilities. Size,

comfort, accessibility, acoustics of the facility, and freedom from

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distractions will affect selection of visual aids, seating arrangements, and

use of assistants.

(5) Finally, check the SOP. Many commanders have definite rules for

the presentation of briefings. Know and follow these rules on such things as

protocol, uniform, manner of greeting, use of manuscripts and other important

aspects. If your brief contains classified information, it is imperative

that you clear your brief through the S-2/G-2.

b. Research Topic/Write Outline.

(1) Tailor topic(s) to meet time restraints/constraints. Both the

content and the organization depend on the purpose and scope established in

the initial guidance.

(2) Collect authoritative material to support your position.

Examples include statistics, surveys, and interviews.

(3) Determine main ideas to form the foundation of your brief.

(4) Sequence main ideas in logical order. This could be

chronological, cause and effect or possibly in the building block format

depending on the situation.

(5) Write an outline (your “rough draft”). Main ideas should be in

some logical sequence with natural transitions from idea to idea.

c. Write the Briefing.

(1) Depending on local SOP, program as an outline or a complete

manuscript, the latter being a rarer requirement.

(2) Advance approval of a briefing is usually required; obtain firm

approval of content and organization prior to rehearsal to avoid changes

later.

(3) For use in rehearsals and presentations, prepare an outline,

prompter cards, or an annotated manuscript. Use lectern notes and visual

aids for the rehearsal just as you plan to do for your actual brief.

d. Rehearse. Rehearsing your brief is the best way to alleviate

excessive nervousness. Complexity of the briefing and time available to

present it will govern the amount of time you devote to rehearsals.

(1) Rehearse alone initially to get the sequence of the briefing down

and the manipulation of visual aids.

(2) Rehearse with assistants to coordinate key words.

(3) Bring in a live audience of one or two persons to give you an

objective criticism of your presentation. What is logical to you may not be

logical to others.

(4) Conduct a dress rehearsal with only your audience missing.

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(5) The above order will not always be possible, but the briefer must

at least walk through the main points of the briefing and fix in his mind the

approach to the subject.

(6) Make a final check. Insure that everything is ready for the

actual briefing. Give special attention to seating arrangements and other

physical aspects.

(7) Sometimes, the items listed above will not be feasible. The

briefer must, however, at a minimum walk and talk through the main points of

the brief to set to mind the basic organization of the presentation.

e. Prepare a Briefing Packet. An effective packet helps to guide an

audience through your brief. Creating a packet is not always necessary or

even feasible depending upon the situation and environment. Determine the

requirement, or lack thereof, in your initial analysis. Effective packets

serve as a “tour guide” and follow the following guidelines:

(1) Synchronized with presentation to prevent constant page turning.

(2) Simple, large – bulleted format.

(3) Contains only essential information. If detailed, amplifying

data is needed, include it as an enclosure at the end of the packet or

provide as an additional handout.

(4) Items incorporated in a briefing packet include, but are not

limited to, the following:

(a) Title Page. The title page should contain the name of the

mission or exercise, the type of brief that is being given, the names of

those presenting the brief, the date, and the classification of the brief.

(b) Orientation Tab. During the orientation show a map of the

AO. When briefing the orientation, remember that you are not the first or

only person to brief, so much of the orientation has already been provided by

the S-2 or S-3. Brief the orientation from the Engineer perspective. Brief

general to specific and do so in an organized manner. Remember to use a

1:50K map when doing the orientation.

(c) Situation. When briefing Enemy and Friendly situations,

focus on how it affects your engineer mission only. For example, if you are

in a Confirmation Brief for obstacle planning, talk to the enemy’s breaching

capabilities.

(d) Request For Information & Assumptions. In a Confirmation

Brief you should have already had all your RFI’s answered. Any unanswered

RFI’s become assumptions that you have to work off of when planning. When

making assumptions, use the worst case scenario.

(e) Mission. Your mission comes directly from the task that was

provided to you in your CO’s order. Your mission should be stated as

engineers to support the commander’s intent. Make sure you answer the Who,

What, Where, When, and Why (IOT).

(f) Commander’s Intent. This should be your intent as the

Engineer Officer based on the engineering mission. Although it will not be

the exact same as the intent of the CO, it should not refute anything that he

W3S0005 Military Briefing

9

has stated in his order. The end-state is again based derived from your

engineering mission. Although it will not be the exact same as the end-state

of the CO, it should not refute anything that he has stated in his order.

(g) Execution. This should be the meat and potatoes of your

brief. Brief your plan in phases in such a way that it illustrates how you

will accomplish your mission. Use maps and graphics as required. All

coordination with supported or supporting units should have already been

conducted so be sure that you are not introducing anything new to the units

at the brief. At the end of this section the entire briefing audience will

walk away knowing what your plan is and have a general understanding of how

you intend to execute that plan. Be sure to show the commanders in the room

what you will be doing.

(h) Timeline. There are several ways to depict a timeline. When

you brief the Commanding Officer, you need to convey what you will have done

and by when. In your briefing packet you should show the mathematics of how

you arrived at that timeline. GANTT charts, CPM, Activity Estimation sheets,

etc.

(i) Administration. Do not just list the T/O – however you

should show the Task Organization of how you have your platoon broken down.

You should also list any critical MOS’s that you have. For instance, if you

are doing a utilities heavy mission and only have (2) 1141’s, you should

mention that. Lastly, ensure the CO knows of any additional augments you

have, especially from other units.

(j) Logistics. Do not list your entire T/E, just like you don’t

list your entire T/O. However, you need to show your critical pieces of

equipment and gear, and show the big ticket items of Class IV and Class V.

All requests for the materials should have already been coordinated with and

approved by the S-4. You need to account for how you plan to move all your

equipment, gear, Marines, and materials. Any gear you are temporarily

loaning from other units or internal units to the battalion should be noted

in this section.

(k) Command & Signal. Explain the location of key personnel –

PltCdr, PltSgt, PltGuide. You should also explain what frequency you will be

operating on and if there are any changes to the POI. If you have any

brevity codes associated with the mission, i.e. breaching, make sure you

explain them clearly in this section.

(l) Conclusion. Summarize your main points. Reiterate what time

you will be mission complete from the engineering standpoint. Do not

introduce any new ideas in this section; it should take you no more than 45-

60 seconds.

(m) Questions. Ask for questions from the audience. It usually

pays to have the Platoon Sergeant or Platoon Guide on hand as well to help

answer questions if need be.

f. Use of Notes. Think of your notes as signs on a highway. You pick

up information at a glance as you whiz by; you should do the same with your

notes. Here are some tips on preparing your notes:

(1) Use cards (3”x5”, 4”x6”, 5”x8”) or sheets of paper, whichever is

easiest for you. Number each card or page in the upper right-hand corner.

W3S0005 Military Briefing

10

(2) Keep your notes brief, just a word or phrase, with plenty of

space between key points so that your eye easily locates the next “thought-

jogger”.

(3) Type or print in large block letters.

(4) Underline important words in ink or colored pencil.

(5) Do not fold your notes (they should lie flat) or staple the pages

together. Turning pages distracts the audience.

(6) Notes tell your audience you are prepared, so do not conceal

them.

(7) Occasionally, you may be required to read from a study as part of

your briefing. Here are some guidelines:

(a) Be familiar with the materials.

(b) Listeners cannot see punctuation, so punctuate for them with

your voice.

(c) Hold your reading material at a comfortable height so that

you can read out and over it, not down into it. Look at your listeners

occasionally. Use free hand or thumb to guide your eye down the page.

g. Use of Media.

(1) Media (Computer Generated Graphics) can greatly enhance the

effectiveness of a brief. Power Point has become the unofficial standard

throughout the Marine Corps. As leaders, you need to familiarize yourself

with the program and become proficient with it.

(2) Many units or organizations will have a standard slide background

format or “master” that you’ll be required to utilize for briefs or other

presentations. Use classification marks (Unclassified, Secret, Top Secret)

in the header and footer as appropriate.

(3) In absence of a standard format, try to avoid the use of the more

complicated or “busy” backgrounds contained in the design templates. Text

can sometimes get “lost” in the details of the background. Not all of the

design templates are suitable in certain light conditions. Details and

colors displayed on the monitor may look different when projected onto a

screen or whiteboard, especially when viewed under florescent lighting. Make

sure you look at your brief from the perspective of your audience to avoid

problems of clarity.

(4) Lengthy text paragraphs become a reading exercise for your

audience vice an informative brief and should be avoided. Keep sentences

simple or use sentence fragments. Proof read fragments to ensure your

message is clearly understood and that the point that you’re trying to make

isn’t misconstrued. Choose a font style, size and color that will contrast

against your background and be visible to all. Keep in mind that there is

nothing wrong with black on white.

W3S0005 Military Briefing

11

(5) The use of graphic animation should be limited as it becomes

distracting over time. This is especially true with the use of sound effects

and should generally be avoided for a military brief. Standard military

symbology and colors must be used where applicable and practicable.

(6) Since the brief will most likely be displayed behind you, keeping

eye contact with your audience presents a greater challenge. The use of the

notes pages printed from your brief and placed on the lectern or podium can

help you to keep your focus on your audience. It’s acceptable to glance at

your slides from time to time, but reading from them is not acceptable.

h. Use of Visual Aids.

(1) Stand as close to your visuals as possible. If you are right-

handed, stand stage left. If you are left-handed, stand stage right.

(2) When using the overhead projector, turn the projector off when

you have finished showing a transparency, remove the transparency, and then

place the next one on the projector before turning the projector on. This

will prevent the audience from being subjected to flashes of bright light on

the screen.

(3) Turn the projector off when you are not using a visual.

(4) If your visuals are on charts, place them face down on the floor

or face against the wall when you finish with each one to avoid distractions.

(5) If you are using slides, place them in an orderly sequence so

that you can readily find the one you want during the question period.

(6) If handout material is necessary for your briefing, distribute it

either before or after your briefing. It is impossible for the audience to

receive the material, read or glance at it, and still devote attention to

what you are saying. If you must distribute material during your briefing,

pause until the audience receives it before you resume speaking.

i. Use of Pointers.

(1) Use a solid (wood or metal) pointer.

(2) Look at the visual only to get the pointer on the right spot and

to glance at words printed there. Then face the audience to speak while

holding the pointer fixed on the spot.

(3) Unless you are circling an item of interest, hold the pointer

steady on the spot. Do not wave it around.

(4) When pointing at a line of words, place the pointer at the end of

the line nearest you and hold it there. Do not sweep it or move it from word

to word as you read.

(5) Place the pointer under a word horizontally as an underline for

emphasis.

(6) When pointing on a transparency, lay the pointer down on that

portion of the transparency you wish to emphasize.

W3S0005 Military Briefing

12

(7) When you do not need the pointer, lay it down or hold it

motionless at your side.

(8) If using an assistant, plan for him to use the pointer to

emphasize key points while you present the brief.

3. BRIEF DELIVERY.

a. A military brief is a highly specialized type of speech. It is

characterized, more than any other type of speech, by conciseness,

objectivity and accuracy. A successful brief depends, not only on organized

content, but also on how the briefer presents it. A confident, precise and

forceful delivery, based on in-depth subject knowledge and the following,

will succeed:

(1) Present the subject as directed and ensure it is understood.

(2) Conclusions and recommendations must be logical.

(3) Need for brevity precludes a lengthy introduction and/or summary.

b. Communication Techniques. Effective verbal communication involves

the effective use of each of the following eight (8) techniques:

(1) Volume. Volume is vital in holding listeners’ attention. A

speaker should use the volume necessary to reach an entire audience,

regardless of the speaking environment. Do not, however, overpower the

closest members of an audience. Various situations call for different volume

levels.

(2) Inflection. Inflection is directly related to volume. More

commonly referred to as “pitch,” inflection aids in maintaining listener

attention. A lack of inflection results in a monotone speaker. Inflection

is often used to express an emotional or persuasive point. This helps make a

brief or lecture more meaningful.

(3) Rate. Rate is the speed of delivery. Speak too fast and

listeners may miss important material. Speak too …

UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
THE BASIC SCHOOL

MARINE CORPS TRAINING COMMAND
CAMP BARRETT, VIRGINIA 22134-5019

MILITARY BRIEFING
W3S0005

STUDENT HANDOUT

W3S0005 Military Briefing

2

LEARNING OBJECTIVES.

1. TERMINAL LEARNING OBJECTIVE.

a. Given subordinate units and an order, while considering the situation

and time available, issue a five paragraph order to communicate a complete,

realistic, and tactically sound plan that accomplishes the

mission. (TBS-C2-1002)

b. Given a unit and references, conduct a military brief to ensure the

audience receives the message. (MCCSLDR-2204)

2. ENABLING LEARNING OBJECTIVES.

a. Given a scenario, commanders intent, and available references,

determine format for the information brief in order to facilitate the

transfer of information. (MCCS-LDR-2204a)

b. Given a scenario, commanders intent, and available references, build

content into formatted information brief in order to facilitate the transfer

of information. (MCCS-LDR-2204b)

c. Given a scenario, commanders intent, and available references, present

an information brief in order to facilitate the transfer of information.

(MCCS-LDR-2204c)

d. Given an audience, with the aid of references, communicate orally to

present ideas with confidence, accuracy, and completeness. (TBS-CORE-2102b)

W3S0005 Military Briefing

3

1. TYPES OF MILITARY BRIEFS. Military briefs are designed to present

selected information to commanders, staffs and other audiences in a clear,

concise and expedient manner. The types of military briefs are dictated by

purpose. There are four (4) basic types: the information brief, the decision

brief, the staff brief, and the mission brief. Although there are elements,

which are common to all four, each type of brief is distinct in that it is

designed to accomplish a specific purpose.

a. Information Brief. The information brief is designed to merely

provide information to an audience. An information brief deals only with

facts. The desired end state of this type of brief is listener

comprehension. No conclusion or decision needs to be drawn form the brief.

Times when an information brief may be utilized include: Passing information

of high priority which requires the immediate attention of proper authority,

when passing complex information requiring detailed explanation or an After

Action report for a military operation.

(1) Format. The basic format for the presentation of an information

brief is as follows:

(a) Introduction.

1 Greeting. Recognize senior member(s) of audience. Follow

up with “gentlemen” or “ladies and gentlemen” in recognition of others

present. Finally, identify yourself.

2 Purpose. Explain purpose and scope.

3 Procedure. Explain conduct of brief, lecture,

demonstration, display, tour, combination, etc.

4 There is no need, nor time, for an attention gainer.

(b) Body.

1 Organization. The body should follow an organization

providing the best arrangement, presentation and support of main ideas.

Sequence may be chronological, such as what happened, is happening, and is

expected to happen; or it may be presented as cause-and-effect, as in an

after action report.

2 Plan for effective, smoothly executed transitions.

3 Be prepared for questions at any time.

(c) Conclusion.

1 Summarize main ideas. Keep in mind that this is the last

thing your audience will hear and so it will be one of the more prominent

memories. It is here that you should restate any significant facts.

2 Closing statement. “This concludes my brief, are there any

questions.” Or, if briefing a senior, “Sir, pending your questions, this

concludes my brief.”

3 Introduce next speaker, if applicable.

W3S0005 Military Briefing

4

b. Decision Brief. Designed to be presented to a commander in order to

elicit a decision.

(1) The outcome is usually the manner in which a unit will execute a

pending mission. For example, a commander may be presented a decision brief

containing three (3) Courses of Action (COAs), all of which are designed to

accomplish the same mission, but in different manners.

(2) After being presented and considering the strengths and

weaknesses of each COA, the commander can make an educated decision. Of

course, the commander retains the prerogative to modify or reject the choices

and send his staff back to the drawing board.

(3) The format for a Decision Brief is built upon the Information

Brief.

(a) Introduction.

1 Greeting. Recognize the senior member(s) of the audience.

Follow up with “gentlemen” or “ladies and gentlemen” in recognition of

others. Finally, identify yourself.

2 Purpose. State the purpose is to obtain a decision.

3 Procedure. Explain any special procedures or introduce

additional briefer(s).

4 Coordination. State any previous coordination.

5 Classification. Identify security classification of brief.

(b) Body.

1 Assumptions. State all that are valid, relevant and

necessary.

2 Facts Bearing. Any supportable facts bearing on the

problem should be stated concisely and accurately.

3 Discussion. Analyze COAs. The initial statement should

indicate the origin of the problem and point out any command guidance given.

Plan for smooth transitions. THIS IS THE CRITICAL PHASE OF THE DECISION

BRIEF!

(c) Conclusions.

1 State conclusions reached as a result of your analysis.

Rank the COAs based upon level of supportability. Do not introduce new COAs

or suggest modifications at this point. Restrict to only logical conclusions

derived from discussion phase.

2 State recommended actions. Read recommendations to ensure

accuracy and phrase them so the commander can mentally accept or decline.

Recommendations must be specific and not solicitations of opinion.

(d) Conclude your brief.

W3S0005 Military Briefing

5

1 Ask for questions.

2 Solicit decision or inquire if recommendation is approved

or disapproved.

c. Staff Briefing. The staff briefing is the most widely used military

briefing and is used at every level of command from the Marine Corps

fire/demo team to HQMC. It is used to secure a coordinated or unified

effort. The staff briefing is designed for the rapid, oral dissemination of

information.

(1) In peacetime, staff briefings are normally conducted on a

scheduled basis. In combat, they are held as often as the situation

requires.

(2) At the battalion level, the executive officer usually presides

over the staff briefing, but the commander may elect to do so if he desires.

The individual presiding normally begins by identifying the purpose of the

briefing and may review the mission of the next higher headquarters. He may

highlight the briefing and then call on staff members to brief their areas of

responsibility. These staff representatives should avoid presenting a rehash

of the entire staff estimate but should tailor their presentation to specific

areas that will assist the commander in the execution of the mission. For

example, the S2 chief should refrain from reciting verbatim the entire

weather forecast. Specifically, he should focus only on the effects of

weather on mission accomplishment.

(3) Staff representatives present matters that might pertain to, be

of interest to, or require coordination action by other staff sections. The

commander usually concludes the briefing but may take an active part

throughout the presentation.

(4) The format for presentations by each staff member during the

staff briefing varies and is dependent upon the commander’s guidance. The

format may be elaborate, using visual aids to depict the activities of each

staff representative; or it may be less formal, with the emphasis on each

staff member briefing only those items or areas the commander feels are

appropriate.

d. Mission Brief. Mission briefings are used under operational

conditions to impart information or to give specific instructions for

accomplishment of the mission.

(1) In an operational situation or when the mission of a specific

unit is critical, it may be necessary to provide individuals or smaller units

with more data than written orders provide. This may be done by means of the

mission briefing.

(2) The mission briefing reinforces written orders and provides more

detailed requirements and instructions. The mission briefing is normally

conducted as a joint staff effort, with the commander stating the mission the

unit has received and each staff member presenting information on his area.

(3) There is no prescribed format for the mission briefing, but it

should be tailored to achieve the specific purpose of the briefing. In most

cases, the operations order (OPORD) format can be used if it is not

unnecessarily repetitious.

W3S0005 Military Briefing

6

(4) The purpose of the mission briefing can be summarized as the

final review of a forthcoming military action to ensure those taking part are

certain of their mission, understand the intent of the commander, and grasp

his concept of the operation. For these reasons, the commander actively

participates throughout the confirmation briefing.

(5) The Confirmation Brief is a form of the Mission Brief that is

performed as a part of the Marine Corps Planning Process. After the

subordinate commander receives his order or plan, the subordinate commander

then briefs the higher commander on his understanding of the higher’s intent,

their specific task and purpose and the relationship between their unit’s

missions and the other units in the operation. The Confirmation Brief also

allows the higher commander to identify gaps in his plan, identify

discrepancies between his and subordinate commander’s plans and learn how

subordinate commands intend to accomplish their mission. Lastly, The

Confirmation Brief informs the higher commander that the subordinate unit is

ready to execute and lays out the timeline for the execution of its mission.

(6) The format for a Confirmation Brief will vary from unit to unit,

however the brief generally follows the OPORD format with emphasis being

placed on the Mission and Execution paragraphs. In some cases, the

Situation, Admin and Logistics, and Command and Signal paragraphs are omitted

as a part of the Confirmation Brief since they have been addressed previously

during the planning process and would be redundant. For example, the weather

forecast published by the S-2 usually doesn’t need to be reiterated to the

commander by one of his subordinate commanders. However, selected portions

of these paragraphs may be included if they have a direct effect on the

accomplishment of your mission and the higher commanders mission. For

example, if the rain the S-2 forecasts will cause a delay in your operation,

then that is something that should be briefed.

2. PREPARING A BRIEF. The preparation or creation of a brief involves

several steps. A briefer must have a thorough knowledge of the subject to be

presented. Knowledge is gained through research. Knowledge alone, however,

does not guarantee an effective brief. Effective planning is also important.

You prepare for a briefing by using knowledge, research and planning. To

ensure success use the following steps to guide you in your preparation of

your briefs:

a. Analysis.

(1) First, determine the purpose of the briefing. You have to ask

yourself (and others); Why am I giving this brief? What is the desired

outcome? Ask for guidance in order to inform accurately – your purpose is not

to sell or entertain, but to impart information.

(2) Second, consider your audience. Know the size and composition,

including names and grades. Learn the interests, desires and traits of the

senior member.

(3) Next, consider the time and schedule contingencies. Know in

advance how much time you have and how flexible the schedule or itinerary is.

(4) Consider the requirement for equipment and facilities. Size,

comfort, accessibility, acoustics of the facility, and freedom from

W3S0005 Military Briefing

7

distractions will affect selection of visual aids, seating arrangements, and

use of assistants.

(5) Finally, check the SOP. Many commanders have definite rules for

the presentation of briefings. Know and follow these rules on such things as

protocol, uniform, manner of greeting, use of manuscripts and other important

aspects. If your brief contains classified information, it is imperative

that you clear your brief through the S-2/G-2.

b. Research Topic/Write Outline.

(1) Tailor topic(s) to meet time restraints/constraints. Both the

content and the organization depend on the purpose and scope established in

the initial guidance.

(2) Collect authoritative material to support your position.

Examples include statistics, surveys, and interviews.

(3) Determine main ideas to form the foundation of your brief.

(4) Sequence main ideas in logical order. This could be

chronological, cause and effect or possibly in the building block format

depending on the situation.

(5) Write an outline (your “rough draft”). Main ideas should be in

some logical sequence with natural transitions from idea to idea.

c. Write the Briefing.

(1) Depending on local SOP, program as an outline or a complete

manuscript, the latter being a rarer requirement.

(2) Advance approval of a briefing is usually required; obtain firm

approval of content and organization prior to rehearsal to avoid changes

later.

(3) For use in rehearsals and presentations, prepare an outline,

prompter cards, or an annotated manuscript. Use lectern notes and visual

aids for the rehearsal just as you plan to do for your actual brief.

d. Rehearse. Rehearsing your brief is the best way to alleviate

excessive nervousness. Complexity of the briefing and time available to

present it will govern the amount of time you devote to rehearsals.

(1) Rehearse alone initially to get the sequence of the briefing down

and the manipulation of visual aids.

(2) Rehearse with assistants to coordinate key words.

(3) Bring in a live audience of one or two persons to give you an

objective criticism of your presentation. What is logical to you may not be

logical to others.

(4) Conduct a dress rehearsal with only your audience missing.

W3S0005 Military Briefing

8

(5) The above order will not always be possible, but the briefer must

at least walk through the main points of the briefing and fix in his mind the

approach to the subject.

(6) Make a final check. Insure that everything is ready for the

actual briefing. Give special attention to seating arrangements and other

physical aspects.

(7) Sometimes, the items listed above will not be feasible. The

briefer must, however, at a minimum walk and talk through the main points of

the brief to set to mind the basic organization of the presentation.

e. Prepare a Briefing Packet. An effective packet helps to guide an

audience through your brief. Creating a packet is not always necessary or

even feasible depending upon the situation and environment. Determine the

requirement, or lack thereof, in your initial analysis. Effective packets

serve as a “tour guide” and follow the following guidelines:

(1) Synchronized with presentation to prevent constant page turning.

(2) Simple, large – bulleted format.

(3) Contains only essential information. If detailed, amplifying

data is needed, include it as an enclosure at the end of the packet or

provide as an additional handout.

(4) Items incorporated in a briefing packet include, but are not

limited to, the following:

(a) Title Page. The title page should contain the name of the

mission or exercise, the type of brief that is being given, the names of

those presenting the brief, the date, and the classification of the brief.

(b) Orientation Tab. During the orientation show a map of the

AO. When briefing the orientation, remember that you are not the first or

only person to brief, so much of the orientation has already been provided by

the S-2 or S-3. Brief the orientation from the Engineer perspective. Brief

general to specific and do so in an organized manner. Remember to use a

1:50K map when doing the orientation.

(c) Situation. When briefing Enemy and Friendly situations,

focus on how it affects your engineer mission only. For example, if you are

in a Confirmation Brief for obstacle planning, talk to the enemy’s breaching

capabilities.

(d) Request For Information & Assumptions. In a Confirmation

Brief you should have already had all your RFI’s answered. Any unanswered

RFI’s become assumptions that you have to work off of when planning. When

making assumptions, use the worst case scenario.

(e) Mission. Your mission comes directly from the task that was

provided to you in your CO’s order. Your mission should be stated as

engineers to support the commander’s intent. Make sure you answer the Who,

What, Where, When, and Why (IOT).

(f) Commander’s Intent. This should be your intent as the

Engineer Officer based on the engineering mission. Although it will not be

the exact same as the intent of the CO, it should not refute anything that he

W3S0005 Military Briefing

9

has stated in his order. The end-state is again based derived from your

engineering mission. Although it will not be the exact same as the end-state

of the CO, it should not refute anything that he has stated in his order.

(g) Execution. This should be the meat and potatoes of your

brief. Brief your plan in phases in such a way that it illustrates how you

will accomplish your mission. Use maps and graphics as required. All

coordination with supported or supporting units should have already been

conducted so be sure that you are not introducing anything new to the units

at the brief. At the end of this section the entire briefing audience will

walk away knowing what your plan is and have a general understanding of how

you intend to execute that plan. Be sure to show the commanders in the room

what you will be doing.

(h) Timeline. There are several ways to depict a timeline. When

you brief the Commanding Officer, you need to convey what you will have done

and by when. In your briefing packet you should show the mathematics of how

you arrived at that timeline. GANTT charts, CPM, Activity Estimation sheets,

etc.

(i) Administration. Do not just list the T/O – however you

should show the Task Organization of how you have your platoon broken down.

You should also list any critical MOS’s that you have. For instance, if you

are doing a utilities heavy mission and only have (2) 1141’s, you should

mention that. Lastly, ensure the CO knows of any additional augments you

have, especially from other units.

(j) Logistics. Do not list your entire T/E, just like you don’t

list your entire T/O. However, you need to show your critical pieces of

equipment and gear, and show the big ticket items of Class IV and Class V.

All requests for the materials should have already been coordinated with and

approved by the S-4. You need to account for how you plan to move all your

equipment, gear, Marines, and materials. Any gear you are temporarily

loaning from other units or internal units to the battalion should be noted

in this section.

(k) Command & Signal. Explain the location of key personnel –

PltCdr, PltSgt, PltGuide. You should also explain what frequency you will be

operating on and if there are any changes to the POI. If you have any

brevity codes associated with the mission, i.e. breaching, make sure you

explain them clearly in this section.

(l) Conclusion. Summarize your main points. Reiterate what time

you will be mission complete from the engineering standpoint. Do not

introduce any new ideas in this section; it should take you no more than 45-

60 seconds.

(m) Questions. Ask for questions from the audience. It usually

pays to have the Platoon Sergeant or Platoon Guide on hand as well to help

answer questions if need be.

f. Use of Notes. Think of your notes as signs on a highway. You pick

up information at a glance as you whiz by; you should do the same with your

notes. Here are some tips on preparing your notes:

(1) Use cards (3”x5”, 4”x6”, 5”x8”) or sheets of paper, whichever is

easiest for you. Number each card or page in the upper right-hand corner.

W3S0005 Military Briefing

10

(2) Keep your notes brief, just a word or phrase, with plenty of

space between key points so that your eye easily locates the next “thought-

jogger”.

(3) Type or print in large block letters.

(4) Underline important words in ink or colored pencil.

(5) Do not fold your notes (they should lie flat) or staple the pages

together. Turning pages distracts the audience.

(6) Notes tell your audience you are prepared, so do not conceal

them.

(7) Occasionally, you may be required to read from a study as part of

your briefing. Here are some guidelines:

(a) Be familiar with the materials.

(b) Listeners cannot see punctuation, so punctuate for them with

your voice.

(c) Hold your reading material at a comfortable height so that

you can read out and over it, not down into it. Look at your listeners

occasionally. Use free hand or thumb to guide your eye down the page.

g. Use of Media.

(1) Media (Computer Generated Graphics) can greatly enhance the

effectiveness of a brief. Power Point has become the unofficial standard

throughout the Marine Corps. As leaders, you need to familiarize yourself

with the program and become proficient with it.

(2) Many units or organizations will have a standard slide background

format or “master” that you’ll be required to utilize for briefs or other

presentations. Use classification marks (Unclassified, Secret, Top Secret)

in the header and footer as appropriate.

(3) In absence of a standard format, try to avoid the use of the more

complicated or “busy” backgrounds contained in the design templates. Text

can sometimes get “lost” in the details of the background. Not all of the

design templates are suitable in certain light conditions. Details and

colors displayed on the monitor may look different when projected onto a

screen or whiteboard, especially when viewed under florescent lighting. Make

sure you look at your brief from the perspective of your audience to avoid

problems of clarity.

(4) Lengthy text paragraphs become a reading exercise for your

audience vice an informative brief and should be avoided. Keep sentences

simple or use sentence fragments. Proof read fragments to ensure your

message is clearly understood and that the point that you’re trying to make

isn’t misconstrued. Choose a font style, size and color that will contrast

against your background and be visible to all. Keep in mind that there is

nothing wrong with black on white.

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(5) The use of graphic animation should be limited as it becomes

distracting over time. This is especially true with the use of sound effects

and should generally be avoided for a military brief. Standard military

symbology and colors must be used where applicable and practicable.

(6) Since the brief will most likely be displayed behind you, keeping

eye contact with your audience presents a greater challenge. The use of the

notes pages printed from your brief and placed on the lectern or podium can

help you to keep your focus on your audience. It’s acceptable to glance at

your slides from time to time, but reading from them is not acceptable.

h. Use of Visual Aids.

(1) Stand as close to your visuals as possible. If you are right-

handed, stand stage left. If you are left-handed, stand stage right.

(2) When using the overhead projector, turn the projector off when

you have finished showing a transparency, remove the transparency, and then

place the next one on the projector before turning the projector on. This

will prevent the audience from being subjected to flashes of bright light on

the screen.

(3) Turn the projector off when you are not using a visual.

(4) If your visuals are on charts, place them face down on the floor

or face against the wall when you finish with each one to avoid distractions.

(5) If you are using slides, place them in an orderly sequence so

that you can readily find the one you want during the question period.

(6) If handout material is necessary for your briefing, distribute it

either before or after your briefing. It is impossible for the audience to

receive the material, read or glance at it, and still devote attention to

what you are saying. If you must distribute material during your briefing,

pause until the audience receives it before you resume speaking.

i. Use of Pointers.

(1) Use a solid (wood or metal) pointer.

(2) Look at the visual only to get the pointer on the right spot and

to glance at words printed there. Then face the audience to speak while

holding the pointer fixed on the spot.

(3) Unless you are circling an item of interest, hold the pointer

steady on the spot. Do not wave it around.

(4) When pointing at a line of words, place the pointer at the end of

the line nearest you and hold it there. Do not sweep it or move it from word

to word as you read.

(5) Place the pointer under a word horizontally as an underline for

emphasis.

(6) When pointing on a transparency, lay the pointer down on that

portion of the transparency you wish to emphasize.

W3S0005 Military Briefing

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(7) When you do not need the pointer, lay it down or hold it

motionless at your side.

(8) If using an assistant, plan for him to use the pointer to

emphasize key points while you present the brief.

3. BRIEF DELIVERY.

a. A military brief is a highly specialized type of speech. It is

characterized, more than any other type of speech, by conciseness,

objectivity and accuracy. A successful brief depends, not only on organized

content, but also on how the briefer presents it. A confident, precise and

forceful delivery, based on in-depth subject knowledge and the following,

will succeed:

(1) Present the subject as directed and ensure it is understood.

(2) Conclusions and recommendations must be logical.

(3) Need for brevity precludes a lengthy introduction and/or summary.

b. Communication Techniques. Effective verbal communication involves

the effective use of each of the following eight (8) techniques:

(1) Volume. Volume is vital in holding listeners’ attention. A

speaker should use the volume necessary to reach an entire audience,

regardless of the speaking environment. Do not, however, overpower the

closest members of an audience. Various situations call for different volume

levels.

(2) Inflection. Inflection is directly related to volume. More

commonly referred to as “pitch,” inflection aids in maintaining listener

attention. A lack of inflection results in a monotone speaker. Inflection

is often used to express an emotional or persuasive point. This helps make a

brief or lecture more meaningful.

(3) Rate. Rate is the speed of delivery. Speak too fast and

listeners may miss important material. Speak too …