New Army Doctrine

FM 3-13

 The Army published FM 3-13, Inform and Influence Activities, on 25 January 2013, replacing the 2003 version of FM 3-13. 

This publication is for the operational force, and we need the operational force to provide comments and feedback.

Our doctrine team is already collecting comments and constructive criticism to make this document better. 

I encourage everyone to read FM 3-13 and provide constructive feedback to the proponent. 

This blog is one way we will capture comments.  Our goal is to make FM 3-13 a valuable and useful tool for the commander and his staff to enable commanders to more effectively inform and influence select audiences and affect adversary decisionmaking.

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5 Comments on "New Army Doctrine"

  1. jerrbevi April 23, 2013 at 11:42 am ·

    The “Human Domain Warfighting Function” is an emerging doctrinal concept that seems to be relevant to the FA 30 career field, but I do not see it discussed often among fellow practitioners. In there 2012 article on the subject, MG Sacolick and BG Grigsby defined the human domain as “the physical, cultural and social environments that influence human behavior to the extent that success of any military operation or campaign depends on the application of unique capabilities that are designed to fight and win population-centric conflicts.” The concept’s emphasis on influence seems to fit well with FM 3-13′s definition of IIA: ” Inform and influence activities is the integration of designated information-related capabilities in order to synchronize themes, messages, and actions with operations to inform United States and global audiences, influence foreign audiences, and affect adversary and enemy decision making.”

    According to FM 3-13, one of the critical duties of an IIA planner is “to plan for and integrate all potential operational assets supporting IIA efforts.” The creation of a Human Domain Warfighting Function would facilitate this integration by increasing the human factors of military operations. Currently, IIA exists as a minor subset of the overall Mission Command Warfighting Function alongside other concepts such as the operations process, knowledge management, network operations, and civil affairs operations. In this way, the specific idea of “influencing human behavior” often receives cursory attention during MDMP process as it is mixed with other information related tasks.

    In short, the inclusion of IIA in the Mission Command Warfighting Function is wholly appropriate. However, the establishment of a Human Domain Warfighting Function is a concept that would focus planning staffs on the core purpose of IIA, which is to influence human behavior. As such, it seems that FA 30 practitioners would be a strong advocate for the adoption of a seventh warfighting function.

    The following article explains the concept in more detail: http://www.ausa.org/publications/armymagazine/archive/2012/06/Documents/Sacolick_0612.pdf

  2. mthibode March 3, 2013 at 2:08 pm ·

    I like IO concept of support. (That is preferable to Effects Matrix in my book)
    I think it is also useful to think about what “information advantage” would look like. Info Domiance and Info Superiority are air domain references that have gone out of vogue… but I think commander often have an expectation tha they will operate or are operating with info dominance (or they come to the other conclusion, that they are “losing the IO fight”). Thinking about information advantage and when in the phasing of the campaign it is most important is very useful, especially during planning.

    IRT Mission Narrative: I think the idea of an informational “battlefield control measure” that directs the force’s narrative in order to reinforce and concentrate the commander’s intent is useful– so long as it is a sound narrative. It needs to be backed up by a process or method of coming up with a narrative. I also see the tension between coming up with something that is going to be pallatable to one’s allies, the public, etc. It might be that we need several narratives (I’d call these themes)– and themes are perhaps as far as we should go. It also could be that we need several narratives: an internal, an external ally, an external enemy narrative etc.

    IRT the proposed definition… I don’t like it as it stands now because it seems overly technical and information poor at the same time. You suggest: “The Mission Narrative is a single narrative statement made by the commander that articulates conditions, opportunities, key actions and potential payoffs associated with a particular mission.”

    - As I’ve indicated above– I’m not sure that a mission narrative can be so singular… even a really good one… take the following BCT, battlespace owner narrative… “No better friend, no fiercer enemy… 5/2 INF” (This is only an example.) This narrative addresses friends and enemies and instructs the brigade to project an image that is in concert with his intent and his operational concept. The potential problem with it is that it appeals to a US mindset that may not align with a changing mission or cultural expectations. It may also be unnecessarily polarizing and devisive. How does one test whether it is a good mission narrative or not? You might answer… DOES IT ACHIEVE THE DESIRED EFFECT? But you might also ask whether it is compatible with the target audience analysis, or whether it aligns closely with any single military objective? Is it more about keeping up morale than it is about accomplishing the mission. I think that all of these considerations suggest either several mission narratives, or a reliance on themes crafted for particular audiences rather than a singular mission narrative. There is no sense anchoring the commander to a narrative if it does not help him achieve an ACTUAL advantage in regard to his mission. It may not be worth the juice for the squeeze to fight the staff for concurrence on a single mission narrative when the PA folks can handily go about with their external media themes and internal command information and the PSYOPers can get good feedback from specially crafted themes informed by target audience analysis and known cultural norms/assumptions.

    On a separate note:

    It is crucial that Information Operators get their own mission narrative in working order. (Since we’re going to be doing it for commanders)

    If we were to craft an “elevator speech” about what IO is, then would it be…

    “The IIA staff officer is responsible for the plan to achieve the commander’s intended effects and is the primary integrator for holistic effects in the information environment.” FM 3-13

    It’s important to get these 27 words down to a simple idea or the least number of simple ideas that still expresses the mission narrative for information operators.

    I believe it is the following:
    “Information operators control information for military advantage.”

    No use tying it to the commander– there are lots of things going on in the headquarters that can lead to an information advantage, and they’re not all related directly to the commander. Moreover, if it helps the mission, then it helps the commander, whether that’s a functional SIDNE database, or operations that blend counter intelligence and cyber.

    Effects are a little misleading, because they are not how the Army commanders traditionally frame the fight. We left EBO behind a few years ago– largely because effects are the proverbial trees that can obscure the forest view. Effects are too ladden with techne’ at the expense of arche. So my suggestion is to focus more on objectives and lines of effort. That is how commanders and staffs think. Objectives seek End States and Goals (not effects). Objectives are also broad enough to be directive without overdetermining a small, perhaps meaningless set of effects that do not link up with the overall strategy.

    Anyway, these are my own thoughts and I’m interested in sparking a healthy discussion.

  3. 12th Man February 14, 2013 at 9:44 pm ·

    Much of my time as an IO Planner dealt with developing an “IO Concept of Support,” which served as a product to demonstrate the integrated employment of IRCs with an operation. I’ve noticed that the new FM 3-13 discusses very little on how to develop an “IO Concept of Support.” Does this need to be included in the next update to FM 3-13?

    Also, does anyone disagree with having a separate paragraph in Annex J for “Themes and Messages” to keep all the IRCs on the same consistent themes and messages? Right now, common themes and messages are to only be listed in the base order.

  4. 12th Man February 14, 2013 at 9:32 pm ·

    The definition of a mission narrative that is described as the campaign narrative is right on track. Ultimately, the narrative is the commander approved “story” he/she wants to communicate to external audiences. My only addition to the definition is that the narrative must be nested and succinct with the campaign plan or framework. For example…if a LOE in a campaign plan is to pressure the enemy, then the narrative should describe what that does for the external audience. The external audience must feel that they are stakeholders in the narrative. The major friction I’ve experienced in developing the narrative are the wedded opinions of some groups within the collaborative efforts in constructing the narrative. I have experienced some groups believing that the mission narrative should be accepted along what the indigineous will culturally accept. This is not neccessarily true. Cultural factors should inform HOW to state what the commander wants to communicate to the external audience. Cultural factors SHOULD NOT dictate what the commander wants to communicate to an external audience.

  5. Philip Martin February 8, 2013 at 7:11 pm ·

    Defining a Mission Narrative. FM 3-13 IIA dated JAN 13 and a few other manuals are referring to a “Mission Narrative”, but we as an Army have not defined the term in doctrine (atleast I have not found it defined). I believe we should seize the opportunity to define “Mission Narrative” to ensure it meets the needs of the Commander.

    JP 3-00.1 CDR’s Communication Synchronization Final Coordination dated NOV 12 (formerly Strategic Communication and Communications Strategy) defines a “narrative” as an overarching expression of the context, reason, and desired results. I have found a proposed mission narrative definition that I believe would be a good starting point for a discussion on this topic:

    “Mission Narrative” – Proposed Definition (Planning for Action: Campaign Concepts and Tools dated JUL 12 pg 108 By Dr. Jack Kem):
    The Mission Narrative is a single narrative statement made by the commander that articulates conditions, opportunities, key actions and potential payoffs associated with a particular mission.

    At the campaign level, the mission narrative is described as the campaign narrative. The mission narrative is developed to provide a common ‘azimuth’ to communicate effectively and accurately to external audiences, whose perceptions, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors are relevant to the unit’s mission. Mission Narratives should be developed from a collaborative effort that truthfully and accurately reflects what the mission itself is likely to communicate to those external audiences. Since any mission’s success is largely dependent on the ‘story’ it communicates, mission narratives should be analyzed as part of the evaluation process when comparing specific courses of action.”

    From your experience does this proposed definition of Mission Narrative support what we are trying to achieve when developing a mission narrative? If not, what changes do we need to make?

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