Definition/Scope: (JP 1-02) (1) A preliminary notice of an order or action which is to follow. (2) A crisis action planning directive issued by the CJCS that initiates the development and evaluation of COAs by a supported commander and requests that a commander's estimate be submitted. (3) A planning directive that describes the situation, allocates forces and resources, establishes command relationships, provides other initial planning guidance, and initiates subordinate unit mission planning. (FM 5-0) WARNOs help subordinate units and staffs prepare for new missions. They increase subordinates' planning time, provide details of the impending operation, and detail events that accompany preparation and execution. The amount of detail a WARNO includes depends on the information and time available when it is issued and the information subordinate commanders need for proper planning and preparation. The words “warning order” precede the message text. With the commander's (or chief of staff's or executive officer's) approval, a coordinating or special staff officer may issue a WARNO. A WARNO informs recipients of tasks they must do now or notifies them of possible future tasks. However, a WARNO does not authorize execution other than planning unless specifically stated. A WARNO follows the OPORD format. It may include some or all of the following information: series numbers, sheet numbers and names, editions, and scales of maps required (if changed from the current OPORD); the enemy situation and significant intelligence events; the higher headquarters' mission; mission or tasks of the issuing headquarters; the commander's intent statement; orders for preliminary actions, including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations; coordinating instructions (estimated timelines, orders group meetings, and the time to issue the OPORD); service support instructions, any special equipment needed, regrouping of transport, or preliminary unit movements.
Broader Terms:combat orders
Related Terms:deliberate planning