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Handbook 11-07
December 2010

Appendix N

Composite Risk Management

Composite Risk Management (CRM) is a decision-making process used to mitigate risks associated with all hazards that have the potential to injure or kill personnel, damage or destroy equipment, or otherwise impact mission effectiveness. The primary premise of CRM is that it does not matter where or how loss occurs because the result is the same - decreased mission effectiveness. The guiding principles of CRM are:

  • Integrate CRM into all phases of missions and operations. Effective CRM requires the process be integrated into all phases of mission or operational planning, preparation, execution, and recovery.
  • Make risk decisions at the appropriate level. As a decision-making tool, CRM is only effective when the information is passed to the appropriate level of command for decision. Commanders are required to establish and publish approval authority for decision making. This may be a separate policy, specifically addressed in regulatory guidance, or addressed in the commander's training guidance. Approval authority for risk decision making is usually based on guidance from higher headquarters.
  • Accept no unnecessary risk. Accept no level of risk unless the potential gain or benefit outweighs the potential loss.

CRM is a decision-making tool to assist the commander, leader, or individual in identifying, assessing, and controlling risks to make informed decisions that balance risk costs (losses) against mission benefits (potential gains).

  • Apply the process cyclically and continuously. CRM is a continuous process applied across the full spectrum of Army training and operations, individual and collective day-to-day activities and events, and base operations functions. It is a cyclic process that is used to continuously identify and assess hazards, develop and implement controls, and evaluate outcomes.
  • Do not be risk averse. Identify and control the hazards; complete the mission.

Composite Risk Management Steps

CRM is a five-step process:

  • Step 1: Identify hazards.
  • Step 2: Assess hazards to determine risk.
  • Step 3: Develop controls and make risk decisions.
  • Step 4: Implement controls.
  • Step 5: Supervise and evaluate.

Steps 1 and 2 are assessment steps, and Steps 3 through 5 are management steps.

When the CRM is overlaid with the troop-leading procedures, the result is as shown in Figure N-1.

Graphic showing diagram of Composite Risk Management overlaid with the troop-leading procedures

Figure N-1. CRM and troop leading procedures

To maintain continuity with mission tasks and requirements, it is necessary to track the CRM process in a standardized manner. Many tools are available that can be tailored to portray CRM information to suit a particular mission, situation, operation, or event. When time and situation allow, the Army standard CRM worksheet (Department of the Army Form 7566, Composite Risk Management Worksheet) or an electronic version will be used to document the CRM process.

Key Definitions

Hazard: A condition with the potential to cause injury, illness, or death of personnel; damage to or loss of equipment or property; or mission degradation. A hazard may also be a situation or event that can result in degradation of capabilities or mission failure. Hazards exist in all environments - combat operations, stability operations, base support operations, training, garrison activities, and off-duty activities.

Danger: Exposure or vulnerability to harm or risk, the balance between the chance or probability of a hazardous incident, and the result of the hazardous incident.

Risk: Probability and severity of loss linked to hazards.

Risk management: The process of identifying, assessing, and controlling risks arising from operational factors and making decisions that balance risk cost with mission benefits.


Field Manual 5-19, Composite Risk Management, Department of the Army, August 2006.



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