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New Army Field Manual Preview

In a conference call with bloggers this morning, the Army outlined the newest version of its Field Manual (FM 3-0 Army Operations), the first revision of Army doctrine since 2001. According to LTG William Caldwell IV, Commander of the Combined Arms Center, the manual has finally taken the step of elevating stabilization operations to the level of offensive and defensive ops.

An Executive Summary was passed out beforehand that outlines the chapters of the manual, which goes like this:

-- Chapter 1 establishes the context of land operations in terms of a global environment of persistent conflict, the operational environment, and unified action. It discusses the Army's expeditionary and campaign capabilities while emphasizing that it is soldiers who accomplish missions.

-- Chapter 2 describes a spectrum of conflict extending from stable peace to general war. From that spectrum, it establishes five operational themes into which various joint operations fit. Borrowing heavily from emerging NATO doctrine, this chapter helps Army leaders to understand where diverse operations such as peacekeeping and counterinsurgency fit and shape supporting doctrine.

-- Chapter 3 is the most important chapter in the book; describing the Army's operational concept -- full spectrum operations. Full spectrum operations seize, retain, and exploit the initiative through combinations of four elements: offense, defense, and stability or civil support operations. Mission command is the preferred method of exercising battle command.

-- Chapter 4 addresses combat power, the means by which Army forces conduct full spectrum operations. It replaces the older battlefield operating systems ("BOS") and elements of combat power with six warfighting functions tied together by leadership and employing information. Combined arms and mutual support are the payoff.

-- Chapter 5 reviews the principles of command and control and how they affect the operations process -- plan, prepare, execute, and assess. The emphasis is on commanders and the central role that they have in battle command. Commanders understand, visualize, describe, direct, lead, and continually assess.

-- Chapter 6 discusses operational art, offering Army commanders a bridge between military theory and practice.

-- Chapter 7 is about information superiority, particularly information operations. Information operations divide into five Army information tasks, with particular emphasis on information engagement.

-- Chapter 8 addresses the significance of strategic and operational reach to the force, articulating how the Army capitalizes on unique expeditionary and campaign qualities to promptly deploy forces into any operational environment worldwide, even the most austere regions...

Read more on this and other defense insider news from our friends at Aviation Week on Military.com.

-- Christian

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