Assumptions are more vulnerable to events from the time the deliberate planning process begins to crisis action planning. The current treatment of planning assumptions, or the overreliance on assumptions, has turned the planning process into assumptive planning. Woodmansee et al discuss the need to amend the current planning process to address validating assumptions.
The Need to Validate Planning Assumptions
JOINT PUBLICATION 1-02, The Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, defines an assumption as "a supposition on the current situation or a presupposition on the future course of events, either or both assumed to be true in the absence of positive proof, necessary to enable the commander in the process of planning to complete an estimate of the situation and make a decision on the course of action."1 But, this definition of planning assumptions is incomplete. A key word-validation-is missing.We need to rewrite the current joint definition and the planning doctrine on assumptions to stress the importance of continually validating assumptions. In addition, current doctrine needs to stress the importance of how to validate assumptions, and the joint community should address the following issues concerning planning assumptions.First, planners must addre...