NATO Planning Guidance

NATO’S Comprehensive Operational Planning Directive (COPD), Version 2.0, issued October 2013

This guidance focuses on some of the elements of the NATO planning process and shows how corruption-related considerations can be incorporated into it. It should not be treated as an exhaustive document, as there might be steps that are included in some planning processes that are not featured here. It is also not prescriptive, as the process can differ across headquarters and some considerations might need to be moved along the timeline. Like the other elements of the toolkit, this guidance is meant to be a handrail enabling planners to shape their own processes effectively.

Phase 1: Indicators and warnings


Indicators & Warnings of Crisis

Component of the process
Corruption related considerations
Define military and non-military objectives

Significance of corruption issues to the political and security situation in the JOA.

Provide direction to planners

Direction to include (or not) corruption issues in the planning process:

  • At this stage, planning direction should specify whether countering corruption is a specified task for the mission, in which case further planning will focus on it; or an implied task, in which case it is more likely to be seen as a key operational and strategic risk.
  • Accordingly, the mission could decide whether to focus on preventive measures, aimed at not creating additional opportunities, or proactive measure aiming to address corruption directly.
Coordination with non-NATO entities

Mapping of other actors’ involvement and interaction with corruption issues (in political, economic and social domains). This should include coordination with other actors, especially civilian, on anti-corruption initiatives and an understanding of the mission’s possible impact in this realm.

Phase 2: Assessment


SACEUR’s Strategic Assessment (SSA, SHAPE); Political-Military Estimate (NAC, completed in Phase 3) Note that this is a strategic assessment incorporating military and civilian issues, rather than exclusively military.

Component of the process
Corruption related considerations
Lessons learned

Lessons learned on the risks that corruption poses to the mission, as well as on mitigation measures, should be used to inform the planning process. This should include both preventive and proactive scenarios.

Strategic appreciation of the crisis

Include corruption issues in the PMESII domains.

Analysis of principle actors and their goals

Have host nation state institutions, including the armed forces and the MOD, been captured by corrupt networks?

Do national, regional or international corruption networks have significant influence in the country?

What are the incentives for people to engage in corruption (need or greed)? What is the role of criminal patronage networks and what is the impact of need and shortage of resources? What is the significance of factionalism and ethnic divisions?

This analysis should apply not only to Red (enemy), but also Blue (friendly),Green (neutral) and white (civilian) entities.

Appreciate threat to NATO

Do corrupt networks extend to NATO countries or partners?

Do they pose threats to NATO member state/partner institutions and interests?

Analyse strategic ends, ways and means

In order to achieve the desired mission end state, what actions will need to be taken with respect to corruption?

What can the mission do to address corruption, especially if partner forces and high-level government officials are affected?

Preventive option: if corrupt networks pose a risk to mission goals, how can their impact be minimised? Does it need to be an implied or a specified task at operational and tactical levels?

How can the force limit the risk of reinforcing corrupt networks, for example through partnering with HNDSF and injecting resources?

Proactive option: How can the impact of corrupt networks be curtailed? How can the mission shape incentives that would limit the reach of corrupt networks?

If the intervention has a chance to curtail corrupt networks, what will their response be? Can they be co-opted into legitimate, efficient governance structures, or should the mission expect significant backlash?

How can the armed forces support civilian anti-corruption activity to promote change and limit the impact of corruption networks?

What specific means could be applied?

Depending on the mission’s mandate, the preventive and proactive actions could include political means such as visa bans; inter-agency sanctions such as international asset seizures; and conditionality of assistance. At the level of the armed forces, administrative measures could apply, i.e. suspension and debarment in contracting. Their prioritisation and sequencing would depend on the particular context and the needs and capacities of the host nation and the mission.

Phase 3: Response Options Development


Military Response Options (MROs); Strategic Planning Directive (SPD)

Component of the process
Corruption related considerations
Determine (non) military strategic objectives (N)MSO

Consider MSOs and NMSOs comprehensively: what are the links between non-military factors and military outcomes, and vice versa?

What would be the impact of corruption and governance on the achievability of the MSO? Can the MSOs be threatened by corruption and weak governance? This conclusion should guide the choice between a more preventive and a more proactive approach, and the decision on whether countering corruption needs to become a specified task.

Conversely, is there a danger that achieving the MSO might strengthen corrupt networks and weaken governance? What would be the long-term consequences of that?

Example: would equipping and training a military force to guard borders result in that force engaging in corruption, for example smuggling? What needs to be done to prevent such an outcome?
Determine military strategic effects (MSE)

What effects are required to create the desired changes in the system, where, in what order, and/or what are the possible unintended consequences/risks of MSEs on governance and corruption?

Determine military strategic actions (MSA)

Given the preferred military strategic effects, what military strategic actions will be necessary?

At this stage, the intervention will most likely have decided to approach corruption either in a preventive or a more proactive way. If the former has been selected, the mission might need to decide whether some more proactive actions within the overall defensive approach will be needed, and what freedoms need to be preserved to do that.

Example: if a defensive approach requires protecting the mission’s integrity in local sustainment, are there specific, more targeted actions (such as limiting the participation of particular contractors and finding alternatives) that would require more freedoms and resources?

What are the unintended consequences of MSAs undertaken? Are they likely to have adverse consequences for governance? Could they provide opportunities for corrupt networks?

Example: if a MSA requires extensive reliance on militia tied to different powerbrokers, would empowering them threaten the state’s legitimacy and monopoly on the use of force?
Consider non-military strategic actions (NMSA)

Identify non-military areas where corrupt practices can have a major impact on military operations.

Example: corruption in customs forces, border protection, and airports can have a major impact on sustainment and supply chains.
Example 2: corruption in the Ministry of Finance can affect host nation military salary payments.

Assess corruption risks related to NMSAs that the armed forces are required to support

Example: can military support for carrying out elections be seen as participation in a rigged process?
Determine sustainment needs

Carry out corruption risks assessments for host nation/local support needed (i.e. local contractors)

Example: are local contractors linked to political actors and/or criminal or corrupt networks?

Introduce and implement a mission-specific sustainment protocol which sets out integrity standards for contractors and for their relationships with mission personnel; which provides opportunities for investigation of allegations of corruption; which protects whistleblowers; and which lays out suspension and debarment policies in response to corrupt practices.

Determine non-NATO interaction requirements

Identify stakeholders working on corruption and governance issues and identify a desirable degree of interaction, depending on preventive/proactive options.

  • Preventive option: exchange of information with civilian actors, for example on engaging with particular actors and networks
  • Proactive option: support civilian anti-corruption measures, for example through protecting anti-corruption investigations and court venues.
Determine StratCom needs

Identify the best communication strategy that reflects the NATO narrative and considers possible corruption risks.

NB: StratCom should not be seen as a panacea to corruption issues. Communicating a ‘zero tolerance’ approach will not work if the force is seen to do something else in reality.

Issue SPD, following the choice of option

Direct planners to consider major corruption risks and options to mitigate them. Direct a more preventive or a more proactive option.

Phase 4a/4b: Strategic Plan Development


Concept of Operations (CONOPS); Strategic Planning Directive (SPD); Strategic Operational Plan (OPLAN)

Component of the process
Corruption related considerations
Prepare Statement of Requirements

Assess needs for capabilities related to mitigating corruption risks, especially in light of preventive and proactive options. Both are likely to require reservist or civilian augmentation, especially if experts on financial flows and anti-corruption reforms (such as payroll reforms) are required.

Prepare service support and sustainment requirements

Assess the corruption risks in mission sustainment and what particular resources/sustainment lines will be required to support specific anti- corruption/governance development Lines of Effort/Operation.

Assess whether obtaining sustainment without threatening mission goals will require a proactive approach and specified tasks to enable tackling corruption in the sustainment chain, including detailed vetting and conduct standards for contractors.

Develop Rules of Engagement (ROEs)

Map out the options for responding to corrupt behaviour, either by own forces or by other actors linked to the force. Select options along the preventive/proactive spectrum.

What are the essential freedoms that need to be maintained in the mission’s legal framework in order to conduct the desired actions, including mitigating corruption risks? What constraints (both host nation and mission mandate) are likely to influence mission freedom of action? Do these change depend on the necessity to pursue preventive/proactive approaches to tackling corruption?

Analyse options for supporting and protecting whistleblowers and establishing mechanisms to handle the information provided.

Develop targeting guidance

Address targeting of corrupt actors, assessing the desirability and feasibility of preventive and proactive approaches: from limiting their influence, isolating them from contracts and support, to targeting them through comprehensive means.

Develop checks to minimize targeting based on politicized or criminalized intelligence (especially HUMINT).

Develop civil-military cooperation guidance

Understand the goals and interests of civilian stakeholders in the JOA, especially their understanding of and approach to mitigating corruption risks.

Example: what is the focus of organisations such as UNDP and the EU? Can their work support mission goals?

Identify opportunities for cooperation (with proactive approaches) and the need for coordination and deconfliction (with more preventive approaches) when mitigating corruption risks.

Example: assess whether the mission can cooperate with civilian organisations in setting anti-corruption strategies and monitoring contracts.

Identify circumstances in which military objectives need to be subordinated to other priorities, including anti-corruption initiatives.

Example: if achieving immediate mission objectives, such as capture of enemy actors, requires empowering other malign actors, can this be justified given the potential long-term consequences?
Develop operational assessment criteria (including Measures of Effectiveness)

Design assessment criteria addressing the impact of mission operations on corruption and governance (preventive option) and/or the effectiveness of mission actions aimed at countering corruption (proactive option).

Example: do resources originating from mission contracts empower corrupt networks? Does corruption within the mission provide opportunities for corrupt networks, for example in engaging in illegal trade?
Develop exit / transfer criteria

Identify the formal/informal and national/international governance outcomes that need to exist to enable mission exit or transfer. Assess whether approaches to corruption that have already been developed need to be adapted.

Example: what kind of oversight needs to be in place to support the legitimacy and effectiveness of HNDSF?
Conduct Force Generation

Ensure the availability of specialist anti-corruption expertise.

Example: Consider developing task forces, Inspector General units, and other specialized anti-corruption units; conduct force generation as required

Ensure forces provided by NATO Allies and Partners have been trained on assessing and mitigating corruption issues. This could be done through including corruption in force certification considerations.

Ensure forces provided have robust anti-corruption safeguards and are prepared to detect signals of wrongdoing.

Phase 5: Execution


SACEUR’s Mission Progress Report; Tasker for Periodic Mission Review

Component of the process
Corruption related considerations
Implementing the strategic OPLAN

As the OPLAN is being implemented, monitor corruption-related indicators & warnings in order to assess the prevalence and severity of corrupt measures.

Example: have reports of checkpoint extortion become more frequent?
Example 2: are there reports of mission-supplied arms appearing on the black market?
Monitoring and facilitating the operation AND Operations assessment at the strategic level

Gather data for measures of effectiveness that gauge the prevalence and severity of corrupt practices and their impact on the mission.

Example: high-level corruption in the host country MOD affecting goals related to partner capacity building.

Track the mission’s impact on corrupt practices and networks in the area of operations.

Example: have resources been diverted from sustainment contracts by criminal networks?
Example 2: have relationships with the mission benefitted corrupt networks and individuals?

Assess the balance and effectiveness of preventive and proactive options, and adjust/introduce new measures as required.

Continued force generation

Ensure continued availability of anti-corruption expertise and other specialised skills, such as financial analysts.

Phase 6: Transition


Strategic Transition OPLAN; Strategic Planning Directive/Disengagement Planning

Component of the process
Corruption related considerations
Activities to appreciate and/or conduct transition planning, including preparation of transition CONOPS and transition OPLAN

Consider the corruption risks related to asset disposal and base closure.

Example: Is there a risk that mission assets, especially weapons and equipment, will be appropriated by corrupt powerbrokers?
Example 2: will mission withdrawal open up opportunities for corrupt and criminal networks?

Consider measures to manage the risks, for example end-user monitoring of equipment donated or sold.

Coordinate with other organisations to help ensure continuity of anti-corruption measures and pass on relevant information, especially on supply chains and corruption in HNDSF. Share any databases of incidents, individuals, and companies.

Phase 1: Initial Situation Awareness of a Potential/Actual Crisis


Indicators & Warnings; Initiation of the Comprehensive Preparation of the Operational Environment (CPOE)

Component of the process
Corruption related considerations
Develop initial understanding of, and monitor, the emerging crisis (includes the identification of priority intelligence/knowledge requirements)

Ensure that the impact of weak governance, rule of law and corrupt networks is considered

Example: what is the impact of corruption on stability in the potential area of operations? Does it feed into civil unrest or factional strife?

Ensure corruption networks and their impacts are included in priority intelligence and knowledge requirements

Example: direct intelligence resources to map and assess the impact of corrupt networks

This analysis should apply not only to Red (enemy), but also Blue (friendly) , Green (neutral) and white (civilian)entities.

Initiate the Comprehensive Preparation of the Operational Environment (CPOE)

Assess how and when corruption issues need to be included in the PMESII analysis.

Example: identify the links of key actors with corrupt networks, their involvement with corruption, and the impact this has on the potential area of operations

Phase 2: Operational Appreciation of the Strategic Environment


Comprehensive Preparation of the Operational Environment; Operational Advice on MROs; appreciation of critical mission requirements

Component of the process
Corruption related considerations
Preparing the Commander’s initial guidance

Provide guidance on whether and how to include corruption in the planning process.

Development of the Comprehensive Preparation of the Operational Environment (CPOE)

Ensure that the impact of weak governance and corruption networks on the crisis and mission is considered by the intelligence staff.

Example: map the political economy of the host nation, with particular focus on the key criminal patronage networks
Understand the nature, scale and scope of the crisis; understand the key strategic factors contributing to the crisis

Ensure that the significance of corruption and weak governance, especially in the political and security realms, is included in the PMESII analysis.

Example: what is the impact of corrupt networks on the political and economic situation in the area of operations? Have corrupt networks captured the political system? Has corruption enabled theft of public goods, for example revenue from natural resources?

Include corruption in an analysis of strategic risks and threats to NATO

Example: are corrupt networks likely to facilitate the operation of international terrorist groups that could affect allied states?
Understand the main actors and their role in the crisis

Are key actors part of corruption networks?

Are they dependent on them and/or derive benefits from them?

Do insurgent or terrorist networks point to government corruption in an effort to legitimise their actions or attract recruits?

Identify reformers, spoilers and fence sitters. Identify measures that can help reinforce reformers and mitigate spoilers’ activity.

Preventive option: how can their impact be minimised?

Proactive option: How can these networks be tackled?

If the intervention has a chance to curtail corrupt networks, what will their response be? Can they be co-opted into legitimate, efficient governance structures?

This analysis should apply not only to Red (enemy), but also Blue (friendly),Green (neutral) and white (civilian) forces.

Appreciate the level and scope of international engagement

Identify actors with an anti-corruption mandate.

Identify potential actions that could contribute to managing the crisis and/or achievement of mission goals.

Identify actors with whom the mission should cooperate and/or deconflict (other international institutions, civil society).

Provide operational advice on military response options

When advising on operations that need to be conducted to achieve military strategic objectives (MSOs), consider whether corrupt practices could pose an obstacle and identify ways to mitigate their impact.

When advising on essential capabilities needed to carry out the mission, assess whether and how additional expertise on corruption and good governance (including investigative capacities if needed) needs to be brought on board.

Example: does the HQ need to augment its expertise with reservists who can offer expertise in corruption and/or financial flows?
Appreciate the desired NATO end state

Assess whether lessening the impact of corruption is necessary to achieve the desired end state. Identify the necessity for preventive and proactive options.

Appreciate legal requirements

Understand how the legal status of the mission, as shaped by the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), any Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) and international and national laws, can affect countering corruption and/or investigations and prosecutions of suspected corrupt acts, both among mission personnel and in the host nation.

Appreciate strategic communication requirements

Assess the mission’s communications needs and strategy with regard to corruption.

Example: will the mission need to convey a message of zero tolerance or will it not engage with the issue?
Evaluate MROs at the operational level

Identify whether and how corruption, both within the host nation and among mission forces, could contribute to mission failure.

Example: Will high-level political corruption in the host government make handover to a legitimate, capable government impossible?

Phase 3: Operational Estimate (3a: Mission analysis; 3b: Development of Courses of Action (COAs)


Commander’s Planning Guidance (3a); Courses of Action (3b)

Component of the process
Corruption related considerations
Deployment of the Operational Liaison and Reconnaissance Team (ORLT)

Ensure the ORLT gathers information and poses questions on corruption issues – especially regarding local stakeholders with associated interests in maintaining or eradicating corruption networks. ORLT conclusions should feed into the assessment and choice of more preventive or more proactive options.

Example: the ORLT could gather information on potential contractors and on corrupt practices affecting HNDSF.
Collect and review relevant lessons learned

Ensure corruption-related lessons learned and best practices are included.

Understand the operational environment and the main actors

Understand the extent and impact of corrupt networks. Identify key actors in the political and economic domains and assess their involvement in corrupt networks.

Example: are high-level officials involved in corrupt practices such as illegal trade in natural resources?
Example 2: does corruption in HNDSF affect their ability to achieve their objectives?
Analyse the mission

Understand how corruption can affect the establishment of conditions needed to achieve operational objectives.

Understand what kind of cooperation with civilian organisations will be needed to minimise the impact of corrupt practices on mission objectives. Identify proactive approaches that might require mission support.

Example: Can the mission support civilian initiatives such as judiciary reform by providing security to premises and staff?

 Include corrupt practices in factor analysis (see example below).

Conduct Center of Gravity (COG) Analysis

Determine the impact of corruption (or tackling it) on the COG and the critical requirements supporting it.

Determine whether achieving a COG requires a more proactive approach to countering corruption, or whether a more preventive approach focused on not creating opportunities will suffice.

Example: if host government legitimacy is the centre of gravity, what impact will corrupt practices have on it?
Determine Lines of Operation (LOO)

Assess the impact of corruption on each LOO.

How is anti-corruption integrated into the Ops Design: within a single LOO, or across several?

Across each LOO, should the mission apply preventive or proactive approaches to anti-corruption in order to mitigate undesirable effects and to achieve desired effects and objectives?

Plan and conduct the Mission Analysis Briefing (MAB)

Ensure the Commander is apprised of the significance of corruption issues and potential options for addressing them.

Issue the Commander’s Initial Intent and Planning Guidance

Direct the Joint Operational Planning Group to include corruption as a factor in developing and assessing the COAs.

Example: if the COA assumes cooperation with local militia, assess the probability of resources and opportunities that this cooperation brings being utilised by corrupt networks. What does this mean for long-term developments in the JOA? Are the consequences serious enough to warrant choosing another COA?
Appreciate/confirm the actions of others in the theatre

Assess the likely response of corrupt networks to mission presence

Example: are corrupt networks likely to capitalise on mission resources through, for example, sustainment contracts?
Example 2: will any proactive anti-corruption measures such as reforming payroll in HNDSF be met with resistance?
Draft, analyse and select COAs

Assess the likely impact of each COA on corruption and governance, especially where they have been identified as relevant to the COG or to the desired non-military strategic and operational effects. The goal is to identify the potential for reducing or exacerbating corruption issues through each COA (depending on, for example, their local sustainment and political support requirements) and assess whether some pose unacceptable risks.

EXAMPLE: factor analysis

Facts: a factual statement drawn from the environment analysis (i.e. what is the problem?)

Example: high-level corruption affects host country MOD, leading to skimming from procurement contracts and delivery of substandard equipment

Deductions: implications, issues or considerations at strategic level (i.e. what are the implications?)

Example: Government legitimacy is threatened due to theft of funds. Effectiveness of local forces is low due to low-quality equipment. NATO deployment could increase corruption through support for government actors and injection of resources.

Conclusions: outcome requiring action in planning or further analysis (i.e. what can/should be done?)

Example: Broader engagement is required. Prepare to contain or actively address corruption, depending on the severity of the threat it poses.


Phase 4: Operational Plan Development (4a: Operational CONOPS Development; 4b: Operational Plan (OPLAN) Development)


Operational CONOPS and Operational Plan (OPLAN)

Component of the process
Corruption related considerations
Develop the Concept for Service Support

Assess whether in-theatre support and logistics requirements are put at risk by corrupt networks.

Example: is corruption along the supply chain likely to disrupt supply lines and/or result in lower-quality products being delivered?
Develop CONOPS and OPLAN annexes

Ensure that corruption is factored into relevant annexes, such forces and effects, force protection, logistics, legal, targeting, public affairs, and others.

Example: analyse non-kinetic targeting measures aimed at corrupt networks.
Develop operational requirements and the Combined Joint Statement of Requirements (CJSOR)

Include the need for additional anti-corruption expertise to augment the HQ.

Develop supported and supporting relationships

Ensure that supporting commands are aware of what their role is in gathering information on corrupt practices.

Brief supporting commands on their role in any preventive and proactive anti-corruption measures.

Plan for the Operations Assessment

Identify the ways in which the extent and severity of corrupt practices need to be included in operational assessment guidelines.

Example: instances of corruption in partner forces should be used to assess effectiveness of partnering and capacity building.

Phase 5: Execution AND Phase 6: Transition


Mission Progress Reports; Operational Transition OPLAN See guidance for the strategic levels. The consideration at the operational level are similar: including manifestations of corruption in operations assessment and ensuring that corruption-related issues are considered in transition planning, which should limit opportunities available to corrupt networks.

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