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What is a situation analysis?

by D. Power

A situation refers to the general position or context that a person or organization is operating within at a specific point in time. A situation refers to the general state of things; or the combination of circumstances occuring at a given time.

A situation analysis defines and interprets the state of the environment of a person or organization. A situation analysis provides the context and knowledge for planning. A situation analysis describes an organizations's competitive position, operating and financial condition and general state of internal and external affairs.

A SWOT analysis is often conducted as a major part of a situation analysis. SWOT is an acronym that refers to strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

In a military planning context, situation awareness is essential for commanders to conduct effective decision-making and planning activities. Situation awareness concerns the identification and perception of the elements in the relevant environment, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status into the near future. Situation analysis is defined as a process that examines a situation, its elements, and their relations, and that is intended to provide and maintain a state of situation awareness for the decision maker/commander. Situation analysis develops hypotheses about meaningful relations between entities and events, estimates the organizational structures and intentions of threat entities, assesses vulnerabilities of both one's own force and of threat assets and the level of risk posed by specific threats.

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