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Combat Plans Division (CPD)


The Combat Plans Division (CPD) applies operational art to develop detailed execution plans for air and space operations. As one of five divisions within the Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC), the CPD enables the CAOC to meet its mission as the primary command and control facility for Coalition air operations in the U.S. Central Command’s (USCENTCOM) Area of Responsibility (AOR).


CPD produces execution plans that integrate and synchronize specific air and space capabilities and assets, with the ground commander's intent in order to accomplish the Combined Forces Command (CFC) mission. These plans are based on CFC objectives and distribution, the air operations directive, forces made available for the Combined Force Air Component Commander (CFACC) tasking and the operational environment. The end result is the publication and dissemination of the Air Tasking Order (ATO), Special Instructions (SPINS), and other planning and tasking documents.


CPD is led by the Director of Combat Plans and organized into six functionally oriented teams: Targeting Effects , Master Air Attack Planners, ATO Production, Air Refueling Control,  Command and Control Plans, and Airspace Management.

The Targeting Effects Team (TET) ensures the daily target selection process reflects guidance from the Air Operations Directive and produces the daily draft Joint Integrated Prioritized Target List. They provide inputs into the CFACC's Component Prioritized Collection List and review both the restricted and no-strike target lists. They also validate targeting solutions and desired points of impact for both kinetic and non-kinetic weapons.

The Master Air Attack Plan (MAAP) team develops the daily MAAP by matching air and space resources to effects-based requirements. The MAAP is the CFACC's prioritized flow of air assets, based on mission importance, timing and available airspace to support ground goals and objectives. It synthesizes CFACC guidance, desired effects, supported component's priorities, available resources, as well as friendly and enemy capabilities. The MAAP team consists of operational representatives from all air and space power disciplines and coordinates with component, service, host nation and Coalition representatives.

The Air Tasking Order Production (ATO) team constructs, publishes, and disseminates the daily ATO, which tasks air and space capabilities and assets in accordance with the MAAP. The ATO production team merges Air Force, Navy, Marine, Army, and Coalition partners' air battle plans, along with the theater airspace plan, through the Theater Battle Management Core System, into a single ATO with associated Airspace Coordination Order (ACO). The ATO and ACO provide the CFACC the means to control air assets within the USCENTCOM AOR.

The Air Refueling Control Team (ARCT) plans, tasks and executes air refueling missions to support theater air and space operations and coordinates air refueling planning, tasking, and scheduling to support air bridge and/or global attack missions within the USCENTCOM AOR. Based on the CFACC’s guidance, theater-assigned tankers also provide air refueling support to strategic air and space operations. ARCT, with the help of the Strategy Division, identifies future AOR tanker requirements to support ongoing combat and contingency operations. Additionally, this team provides the operational assessments of combat support air refueling operations. 

The Command and Control (C2) Plans team is composed of three cells: C2 Communications; Air Defense Planning; and Special Instructions (SPINS). The team's function is directly related to the CFACC's roles as the Airspace Control Authority (ACA), Area Air Defense Commander, and Space Control Authority. C2 Plans works Line-of-Sight radar and communication parameters and produces the daily, weekly and baseline SPINS. These documents provide accurate and timely dissemination of the CENTCOM special instructions for combat operations. Additionally, the C2 Plans team is responsible for developing and distributing several other documents which are critical to the mission.

The Airspace Management Team (AMT) works in both the CPD, producing the next day’s ACO, and also on the Combat Operations Division floor, amending the current day’s ACO based on real-time requirements. The team's function is directly related to the CFACC's roles as the ACA and creates the framework for deconfliction and safety of aircraft. AMT is responsible for authoring various Airspace Control Plans within the AOR, and also liaises with agencies throughout the AOR.

Updated July 2017