Slimmed-down doctrine: Future manuals are fewer, shorter and handheld-accessible
BY MICHELLE TAN – The Army is transforming the way it delivers doctrine to soldiers.
The effort, called Doctrine 2015, aims to make the Army’s fundamental principles more accessible, relevant and user-friendly.
First to be unveiled is the 10-page FM 3-0, the Army’s operational field manual, now known as Army Doctrine Publication 3-0.
Yes, 10 pages. And soon, there also will be an app for that.
Doctrine 2015 is a “significant attempt” to reach out to the Army’s new generation of leaders, said Gen. Robert Cone, commanding general of Training and Doctrine Command.
“Most of these leaders — captains, majors, sergeants first class — have known nothing in the last 10 years but a period of war,” Cone said. “They’ve been on a cutting edge, learning and adapting and, in many ways, setting the standard for how things are done. So … as we transition out of a period of war, how do we capture their imagination? How do we show that we listen to them? The way you do that is rewrite the fundamental, foundational documents that show how we do business and we reach out to them.”
The Army has about 350 manuals. Most of them are 80 pages or longer, and some are more than 300 pages, said Brig. Gen. Charlie Flynn, acting commanding general of the Combined Arms Center and recent director of the Mission Command Center of Excellence.
Five years ago, the Army had as many as 550 manuals. It is moving to 65 with Doctrine 2015, Flynn said.
Doctrine 2015 breaks Army doctrine into three key layers.
“You can call them gears that spin at different rates,” said Brig. Gen. Sean MacFarland, deputy commanding general of the Combined Arms Center Leader Development and Education.
Publications. At the top are the Army Doctrine Publications, or ADPs. Each of these will be 10 to 15 pages and will represent the Army’s enduring doctrines, MacFarland said.
There are 14 ADPs covering topics such as operations, intelligence, mission command, training, leadership, special operations, stability operations, and offensive and defensive operations.
The ADPs will not require updates as frequently because they are the Army’s fundamental principles, he said.
“We wanted to put them on a slower track and people could really take that and incorporate it into [professional military education], acquisition cycles and training,” MacFarland said.
Reference. Below the ADPs are Army Doctrine Reference Publications, which will provide detailed and expanded information on each fundamental principle and “will turn more rapidly,” MacFarland said. Breaking down the doctrine even more are 50 field manuals, which will cover tactics and procedures in about 200 pages or so.
Wiki-centric. Beyond that are wiki-formatted, wiki-based techniques, which will seek input from troops in the field, and applications for mobile devices. The wiki-based techniques portion and the apps are targeted toward the soldiers of today, Flynn said.
“We’re trying to deliver to the customer here, and the customer needs [information] pretty quickly, and most of our force is on some kind of hand-held device,” he said. “It’s tailorable to the learning needs of the generation that’s predominantly in our force right now.”
Doctrine 2015 is like a clock with three hands — one each for the hour, the minute and the second, MacFarland said.
“You want the enduring principles on the hour hand, giving everybody the opportunity to learn about it and implement it,” he said.
“The 50 or so field manuals and the tactics and procedures, that’s your minute hand, and that’s updated every couple of years as we field new equipment and [go through] environmental changes. And below that is your second hand, the wiki-based techniques. You want that to move at the speed of war, so it’s current, and the war fighter can fight the fight on his hands.”
Flynn said Doctrine 2015 was born from a question posed by Gen. Martin Dempsey, the former Army chief of staff who commanded TRADOC and is now the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”
“The demand for doctrinal information had far outpaced our ability to supply it,” said James Benn, deputy director of the Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate.
“Given that, it was time to step back, get some new eyes to look at the situation and try to take a fresh approach at how people learn, how we share information, how we generate information,” Benn said.
The result was a framework that “produces fewer manuals, is more concise in its language, is accessible across the Army at a greater speed, and is current with what’s going on forward in combat operations or at home-station training or at the training centers,” Flynn said.
ADP 3-0 is the first publication to be released and it will be unveiled during the Association of the United States Army annual meeting beginning Oct. 10 in Washington, D.C.
The goal is to complete the other ADPs and accompanying reference publications by August 2012, Benn said. The 50 field manuals are slated to be completed by the summer of 2014, he said.
To rewrite the documents, the Army is seeking the “best thinkers” in each functional area, Cone said.
“The more people who are involved in this, the more ownership they will have and the more widely accepted this will be,” he said. “What’s been really interesting is a lot of the youngsters, and they get the opportunity to write this stuff. We really want to touch the operational side of the house and make sure they have their input.”
The key to Doctrine 2015 is building on 10 years of combat and lessons learned while preparing for potential new threats, MacFarland said.
“As we go through this difficult transition and talk about how we’re going to fight in the future, we need to talk about what we learned in the past and get investment from the future leaders,” he said. “A profession must have a unique body of expert knowledge and we need to |be actively soliciting and building upon that unique body of knowledge.”
Buy-in and participation from young Army leaders is crucial, Cone said.
“It is up to us as leaders to capture the imagination of this tremendous generation of young leaders and energize them,” he said. “They helped us with the challenge of adapting counterinsurgency warfare, and now they’ve got to help us with the challenge of adapting to home-station-based and a contingency-based Army. You might have the most airtight doctrine in the world, but if people don’t use it or accept ownership of it, what good is it?”