The Mission Essential Task List, also known as a METL, is an extremely important document. In fact, every type of unit in the Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserves, from Divisions to Companies has a unique Mission Essential Task List. The METL features the mission essential tasks a unit must be able to accomplish, in order to complete its wartime mission.
Most Mission Essential Task Lists typically have between 4-7 tasks. All METL tasks must pertain to the entire unit. For example, if your company has different types of platoons (e.g. supply, transportation, and maintenance) your Mission Essential Task List would only list the tasks that all Platoons must accomplish. In this example, sample company METL tasks could include deploy, defend, establish area of operations, provide combat service support and so forth.
When a new Company Commander first takes company command he or she should review the current unit METL with the First Sergeant, Company Executive Officer and Platoon Leaders. In most cases, the new Company Commander will not make any significant changes to the current Mission Essential Task List. However, there are a few exceptions. For instance, if the unit re-structured with a new wartime mission, the METL could change.
Once the Company Commander finishes reviewing the current Mission Essential Task List; he or she will prepare a memorandum for record and submit it to the Battalion Commander for approval. Once the Battalion Commander approves the METL, the Company Commander should brief his or her Soldiers about the Mission Essential Task List. That way, Soldiers understand the “big picture,” and why the unit exists.
In addition, you should post the approved Mission Essential Task List on the company bulletin board and give a copy to every Soldier. Make sure you input your METL into DTMS and put a copy in your unit’s training book.
If you are just assuming Company Command or have never developed a METL before, you should first get a copy of these documents (if available):
- Battalion METL
- Current Company METL
- FM 25-100 Training the Force
- FM 25-101Battle Focused Training
- ARTEP (for your specific type of company)
- CAPTSTONE mission guidance letters
- Mobilization Plans
- Force Integration Plans
- Company MTOE
- General Defense Plan
- Tactical SOPs
- Technical Manuals
- State Wartime Contingency Plans
Once you get a copy of these documents, spend a weekend familiarizing yourself with them. That way, you have a better idea about the big picture.
Next, come up with the big five, as I like to call it. Write down the five most important things your unit must be capable of accomplishing in wartime. Once you have this list, determine if each of these tasks apply specifically to the entire unit. If it doesn’t, cross off the task. If it does, keep it.
Once you are finished brainstorming and revising, you should have a pretty good first draft of your company Mission Essential Task List. You can now share this information with your First Sergeant, Company XO and Platoon Leaders to seek their input.
Upon completion of doing these steps, you should have a sound Mission Essential Task List. At this point, you could run it by the Battalion S3 or Battalion XO, prior to seeing the Battalion Commander. These two folks have plenty of experience and can help point you in the right direction.
In conclusion, the METL is a very important document. All Army units have specific missions. Each unit’s Mission Essential Task List outlines the mission essential tasks a unit must accomplish in order to complete its wartime mission.
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