Small Wars Journal

Army Doctrine Update

Sat, 03/08/2008 - 4:44pm
Yep, those of us who have been around a while know some military acronyms, maybe too many. Still, for old hands and young bucks alike - how many times have you sat in on a "way ahead", "new concept" or "thinking out of the box" death by Power Point briefing scratching your head at the mind-boggling array of mumbo-jumbo that repackages old thoughts under a new wrapper or otherwise serves no purpose other than compelling the audience to pull out their buzz-word bingo cards?

One of my pet peeves is commonality of language -- calling a spade a spade and sticking with doctrinally acceptable terms to describe doctrine that is, well, accepted. Before you go changing the language, please do us all a favor and change the doctrine first, ensure the new terminology is better suited than the old, and above all - make sure the new and improved terminology finds its way into the DoD Dictionary of Military Terms.

That's why I commend the attached document -- the Army Doctrine Update that was sent out just prior to the release of Army Field Manual 3-0, Operations. It spells out how NOT to misuse terminology associated or otherwise related to the FM. I haven't seen something like this before and hopefully it will put to bed a lot of confusion.

Some examples from the document:

1. Terms UA, UE, and SUA are out. Use corps, division, and brigade combat team (BCT).

2. Know the difference between maneuver and movement (we don't maneuver networks; we move them).

3. Battlespace is no longer a joint or Army term. Use "operational environment."

4. The operational environment is described and evaluated using the variables of political, military, economic, social, infrastructure, and information with the addition of physical environment and time (PMESII-PT). Use the factors of METT-TC as the categories into which relevant information is grouped for a military operation.

5. Use "civil considerations" (the C in METT-TC), not "human terrain."

6. Don't use colors as shorthand for something else, for example: Red COP for enemy COP; Blue forces for friendly forces.

7. Don't use "red zone" at all; the term is "close combat."

8. The operations process consists of the following activities: plan, prepare, execute, and assess. The shorthand for this process is the verb "conduct."

9. Use relevant information, not relevant combat information.

10. Use common operational picture (COP), not common relevant operational picture (CROP).

11. Use "battle" only in the context of a set of related engagements against an enemy. "Operation" is more inclusive. It is the correct term in almost all other contexts.

12. Full spectrum operations is the name of the Army's operational concept. The operational concept is the foundation for all Army doctrine. Note that civil support operations are only executed domestically and stability operations are only executed overseas.

13. Effects Based Operations: For several years, the joint community has experimented with using effects to better link higher-level objectives to tactical actions. These efforts produced the EBO Concept. The proponent for EBO is the U.S. Joint Forces Command. EBO is designed to improve the planning, preparation, execution, and assessment activities of joint forces at the strategic and operational levels of war. However, EBO is not part of joint or Army doctrine. As defined by USJFCOM, it is not designed for use by Army tactical forces." Bottom line, the Army does not do EBO.

To the uninformed this discussion may seem arcane or silly - but military operations are based on precision and that precision is based on precise terminology. I again commend the Army in taking an important step in ensuring we at least begin each endeavor on the same sheet of music.

Categories: Army



Tue, 03/11/2008 - 5:14pm

FM 3-0: A GIANT LEAP BACKWARDS? I have just discovered a significant change (I am not convinced a good one) in FM 3-0. In past editions (to include JP 3-0) there has always been a separation between levels of war and levels of organization. In other words, levels of organization should not be confused with levels of war -- the latter pertaining to impact of activity, not where the activity takes place in the hierarchy. This change is significant because now there is explicit reference (pages 6-1 and 6-2) to levels of corresponding hierarchy in organization to levels of war. So how do we discuss strategic impact of activities that do not occur at high levels in the organization?? The manual fails to respond to this adequately. Is this a major setback in doctrinal conceptualization of operational art and the three levels of war?? I argue it is a mistake...and I speculate -- perhaps legitimizing the power structure in organization rather than the professional considerations involved in operational artistry,

ron humphrey (not verified)

Sat, 03/08/2008 - 9:54pm

" I again commend the Army in taking an important step in ensuring we at least begin each endeavor on the same sheet of music. "

Let's just hope the principle sticks