Terrain and weather:
Terrain and weather are effects on the troops, they should not dictate mission success. The terrain to be crossed and the effects of the elements are to be considered when determining how the team members will react while on patrol.
If there is difficult terrain that offers cover and/or concealment, the enemy will use it to their advantage. Patrol leaders should plan for additional equipment and support considerations such as, water, vehicles, ammo resupply, how CASEVAC will be performed.
The effects of terrain and weather need to be thought through and planned for no matter what the operation calls for.
Troops and support:
The patrol leader determines how the patrol will be organized based on the size of the patrolling elements and their capabilities. This can be a simple process involving assault, support and, security; or a more in depth process with many moving parts, such as when dealing with convoy operations and logistics trains. The order of movement is based on the elements of the patrol. This is meant as a plan for the physical patrol structure, taking into account the vehicles, equipment and, supporting attachments.
Many patrol leaders forget two additional factors; what the adjacent units capabilities are during the time of patrol and what the supporting arms capabilities are through out the phases of the patrol. Many times, Marine patrols will pass through multiple AO’s depending on the layout of the battlespace. Elements in these AOs will only commit to support if they are properly notified and informed of the mission occurring within their piece of the battlespace.
Time available: actionable, priority, routine
Time is distance traveled with a given patrol size while taking into account the terrain to be traveled, in a specific type of weather. This dictates the time window that a patrol leader will brief in the operations order. A patrol might have a very short or very long time window to be conducted.
An actionable patrol is when intel has come down with the location of a high value target (HVT), or an IED has been recorded and explosive ordinance disposal needs a ride to the site. Actionable, again, defines the nature of the patrol.
Priority patrols are based on intel reports. The commander in the area wants concentrated patrol efforts in a region.
Routine patrols are routine in the sense that their mission is routine in nature; a doctrine scenario such as reconnaissance, route clearance or, satellite patrolling. A patrol is NEVER a routine thing. Each patrol is unique and offers new challenges.