The motivating operation (MO) as defined by Jack Michael and others has been increasingly used over the past few decades in support of applied treatment. In particular the MO concept has been used in early intensive behavioral treatment (EIBI) of children on the autism spectrum. However, Michael defines the MO concept in terms of its hypothesized effect on consequent stimuli (behavior changes and value changes). Of particular concern is the concept of “value”. Changes in the value of a stimulus are inferred rather than directly observed phenomenon. This indirect measure is problematic, since direct measures of responding are available. Additionally, the use of the MO as an antecedent causal account of specific topographies of behavior conflicts with a Skinnerian selection by consequences view of behavior, this dichotomy will be discussed with respect to discrimination responding. Challenges in discrimination of MOs and discriminative stimuli (SD’s) with respect to the standard of the “availability” of a reinforcer will also be evaluated. The author will propose alternatives to the problematic conceptual description of MOs and Conditioned Motivating Operations (CMOs).