Cognitive work analysis (CWA) is frequently advocated as an approach for the analysis of complex socio-technical systems. Much of the current CWA literature within the military domain pays particular attention to its initial phases; work domain analysis and contextual task analysis. Comparably, the analysis of the social and organisational constraints receives much less attention. Through the study of a helicopter mission planning system software tool, this paper describes an approach for investigating the constraints affecting the distribution of work. The paper uses this model to evaluate the potential benefits of the social and organisational analysis phase within a military context. The analysis shows that, through its focus on constraints, the approach provides a unique description of the factors influencing the social organisation within a complex domain. This approach appears to be compatible with existing approaches and serves as a validation of more established social analysis techniques. As part of the ergonomic design of mission planning systems, the social organisation and cooperation analysis phase of CWA provides a constraint-based description informing allocation of function between key actor groups. This approach is useful because it poses questions related to the transfer of information and optimum working practices.