We reference DOTMLPF all of the time. But what does it mean? Here is what the Defense Acquisition University has to say about it -
“DOTMLPF stands for:
- Doctrine: the way we fight, e.g., emphasizing maneuver warfare combined air-ground campaigns
- Organization: how we organize to fight; divisions, air wings, Marine-Air Ground Task Forces (MAGTFs), etc.
- Training: how we prepare to fight tactically; basic training to advanced individual training, various types of unit training, joint exercises, etc.
- Materiel: all the “stuff” necessary to equip our forces, that is, weapons, spares, etc. so they can do operate effectively
- Leadership and education: how we prepare our leaders to lead the fight from squad leader to 4-star general/admiral; professional development
- Personnel: availability of qualified people for peacetime, wartime, and various contingency operations
- Facilities: real property; installations and industrial facilities (e.g. government owned ammunition production facilities) that support our forces
The idea is to fix the capability gap (emphasis added).”
DoD speaks in terms of ‘capability gaps.” This means you are faced with a threat or warfighting challenge that you haven’t encountered before and need a solution for. You see the breakout of each of the letters in DOTMLPF but you have to consider it as a hierarchical means to a solution. Doctrine is way at the top and all of the other attributes have to fall into place to actualize that Doctrine. Notice that Material is toward the bottom. That’s because it is so expensive in both time and money. What you are going to find, is that if you really take a look at the issue, the solution will probably be somewhere else in the hierarchy (or a combination of factors).
If you’ve got a problem, you don’t call the A-Team, you reference DOTMLPF.