Researching with PMESII-PT Analysis

Article 4 min
Defining politics, military, economy, society, information structure, infrastructure, physical environment and time (PMESII-PT) in a foreign location for a mission's success.

PMESII-PT is one of several environmental scanning and monitoring techniques, including:

  • SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities, threats)
  • PESTLE (political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental)
  • QUEST (Quick Environmental Scanning Technique)

PMESII-PT, developed by the United States military, is an invaluable tool to organize information and build a strategy, while preparing for and executing operations in foreign countries. PMESII-PT is used for military operations especially for mission analysis and course of action development.

Environmental scanning is tracking trends, monitoring organizations and engagements, identifying current and future technologies and analyzing tactical, operational and strategic issues. This research is critical to writing a communication plan and understanding the information environment you're in.

Because you are working with a foreign public, with other unfamiliar influences and factors and a specific mission, it is important to use the PMESII-PT analysis.  This analysis assists in organizing, synthesizing and applying the information as a key part of communication planning and strategic thinking. The information provides insights into potential threats and opportunities from all angles. PMESII-PT analysis is an invaluable tool for gaining and maintaining information superiority on a foreign mission. As a Public Affairs or Communication Strategy Officer, use this model to research the operational information environment you're in and to gain an understanding of all of the systems that exist in unique and foreign environments.

Explore each factor of PMESII-PT to learn what to analyze when performing an environmental scan.

Discover content by selecting individual tiles, or using the buttons across the top.

What is PMESII-PT?

'P' stands for Politics

The political variable looks at the political power as a whole within the given operational environment (OE).


  • Responsibility and distribution of power
  • Formally constituted authorities
  • Informal/covert political powers
  • Districts and boundaries
  • Political parties
  • Current political situation
  • Unelected leaders

'M' stands for Military

The military variable focuses on the military environment of an OE.


  • Military capabilities of all relevant actors, including enemy, friendly and neutral
  • Paramilitary capabilities
  • Military & police structure
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Historic strategy
  • Location
  • Recent, relevant events

'E' stands for Economy

The economic variable encompasses the individual and group behavior. It affects industrial organizations, international trade, foreign aid, the rule of law and financial management. Remember that economic development of governments varies significantly per region or country so be specific.


  • Individual and group behaviors related to:
    • Producing
    • Distributing
    • Consuming

'S' stands for Society

The social variable describes the religious, cultural and ethnic composition within an OE. It examines social groups and systems, societies and cultures. Within a social system there are people, groups and institutions that convey shared values, norms and convictions.


  • Cultural factors
  • Religious factors
  • Ethnic makeup
  • Beliefs, values, customs and behaviors of society members
  • Meeting areas
  • Local and national ties
  • Family/group organizations (clans, tribes, families, youth groups, NGOs/IGOs)
  • Popular/influential social leaders
  • Important days
  • Social ceremonies
  • Social network analysis

'I' stands for Informa­tion

The information variable is regarding the nature, extent, effects and characteristics of individuals, organizations and other systems that gather, distribute, process or adhere to information.


  • Nature, scope, characteristics and effects of individuals and organizations spreading/consuming information (radio, television, word-of-mouth, etc.)
  • Available systems that collect, process, disseminate and act on information (cell/radio towers, print shops, internet, etc.)
  • Capabilities of the public (literacy rate, availability of media, phone service, internet-availability, etc.)
  • Information ecosystem map
  • Influence channels (human & digital)

'I' stands for Infra­structure

The infrastructure variable is concerned with the facilities, services and installations that are required for a society to function.


  • Roads, bridges, dams, etc.
  • Water and sewage systems
  • Government ministries
  • Construction companies/developers

'P' stands for Physical Environ­ment

The physical environment looks at all geographic and artificial structures in the OE.


  • Geography
  • Man-made structures
  • Climate and weather

'T' stands for Time

The time variable influences the military operations in terms of decisions, moments, operational speed, planning, etc. It should also take the operation's endurance into account as the support for long-term operations can drastically reduce over time.


  • Timing and duration
  • Events or conditions
  • Timing and duration as perceived by various actors

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