A New Paradigm for Army Knowledge

Written by on February 15, 2012 in Frontier 6 Sends - 5 Comments

This posting is based on the article “Doctrine at the Speed of War: A 21st Century Paradigm for Army Knowledge,”  found in the March edition of the Army Magazine.

Our Army is truly at an historical inflection point. The war in Iraq has ended and we continue to work ourselves out of a job in Afghanistan. While we reposition from a decade at war, however, we must ensure that we capture the lessons that we have learned and focus them on the years ahead. In other words, we must leverage our past to prepare for the future by quickly developing and disseminating our doctrine.

To capitalize on this opportunity and revolutionize the way we develop and share our doctrine we are in the process of restructuring our body of knowledge and identify the principles critical to our Army as the Nation’s land force of decisive action. This “Doctrine 2015” initiative will create documents that are more concise, accessible, and current – this means fewer manuals, shorter in length, and tied to technology to make them more accessible to our Soldiers.
The new Army doctrine structure incorporates five levels, including:

• Army Doctrine Publications (ADPs), which are the 15 foundational manuals that capture the enduring principles inherent to land warfare in the 21st century
• Army Doctrine Reference Publications (ADRPs) which will provide our Soldiers with more detailed information on each of the topics covered in the ADP
• Field Manuals (FM) that codifies time-tested tactics and procedures and fully explains the most current ones used in the field
• Army Technique Publications (ATPs) capture the rapidly changing techniques developed in the field and at training centers. These are on a MilWiki site and can be accessed and added to by anyone in the force, whether deployed or training at home station

The first manual we put through this new process was ADP 3-0, Unified Land Operations. This publication is the central unifying concept of the Army and will drive the development of every other aspect of Doctrine 2015. More recently, we have developed the capstone leadership manual, ADP 6-22, Army Leadership. Simultaneously, the ADRPs and FMs that undergird these are developed.

The restructuring of our doctrine and the development of a solid unifying operational concept is establishing a foundation for training, education, and equipment that will influence our Army for decades to come. By doing this we are improving our Soldiers’ and leaders’ understanding of current doctrine through increased accessibility and more current link to today’s operational environment. Our force has been operating at the speed of war for a decade – it’s time our doctrine caught up.

Prepare for War – Victory!
Frontier 6


5 Comments on "A New Paradigm for Army Knowledge"

  1. wjg4 May 5, 2012 at 10:32 pm ·

    An argument to strike paragraph two, page ii, from the preface of the Army’s first Army Doctrine Publication (ADP) 3-0, Unified Land Operations.

    The Army’s Doctrine 2015 initiative seems to mirror the Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication (MCDP) and Fleet Marine Force Manual (FMFM) publication convention the Marines have employed for decades. The Marines consider MCDPs their “higher order doctrine publications containing the fundamental and enduring beliefs of warfighting” which supersede reference oriented FMFMs. The MCDPs are extremely easy to read. They distill the Marine Corps’ body of thought on war and warfighting into ten cargo-pocket-sized (8”x5.5”x.25”) books. The ten MCDP titles cover critical areas from Warfighting to Planning and there is one for each one of the (what we call) warfighting functions. The Marines encourage widespread publication and dissemination of MCDPs throughout the Corps.

    The target audience for MCDPs is the Marine, and the commandant hits the mark. My brother introduced me to a copy of Warfighting and its contents when he was a lance corporal. The MCDPs and their information filter through the ranks because they are easy to understand, are readily available and easy to carry, and because leaders encourage Marines to read them. There is no readership stipulation like the one in the preface of ADP 3-0, Unified Land Operations. Paragraph two states that the “principal audience for ADP 3-0 is the middle and senior leadership of the Army, officers in the rank of major and above who command Army forces in major operations and campaigns or serve on the staffs that support those commanders.” This statement seemingly runs counter to mission command and the 37th CSA’s primary intent behind Doctrine 2015- “to make [our manuals] more collaborative and accessible…” presumably across the entire Army.

    Unified Land Operations is only one of two Army capstone publications. If capstone doctrine codifies how the Army views the nature of operations and “the methods by which commanders exercise mission command” (ADP 3-0), and “full familiarity with the commander’s intent throughout the force” is a prerequisite of mission command (FM 5-0), then it follows that every Soldier in the force should be familiar with the concepts embodied in Unified Land Operations. If the Soldier is not the intended audience for ADP 3-0, and the unified land operations narrative is too hard to swallow across the breadth and depth of our personnel, then I argue we are missing an opportunity to engage and educate the entire force on our senior leadership’s intent.

    Whether or not we are intentionally striving to replicate and improve upon a Marine Corps manual framework, we have not gone far enough. If we can stand to steal one more page from the Marine Corps’ book, then I recommend the final page of GEN Krulak’s foreword in MCDP 1, Warfighting. There he states, “Experience has shown that the warfighting philosophy described on these pages applies far beyond the officer corps. I expect all Marines—enlisted and commissioned—to read this book, understand it, and act upon it.” All the doctrine in the world is useless if not read, understood, and employed in the field. Condensing manuals and leveraging emerging technology to make publications available electronically is not the same as encouraging widespread doctrine dissemination, discourse, and understanding throughout the Army. Army leadership at all levels should seek the widest Army audience for Unified Land Operations (and future ADPs), not identify an exclusive principal audience. A good place to start is by striking paragraph two, page ii, from the preface of the ADP 3-0, Unified Land Operations.

    William Griffith
    MAJ, AV
    SAMS, Seminar 1

  2. mtgolden April 25, 2012 at 3:02 pm ·

    Upon reflection of my year long ILE experience, its hard to say that I enjoyed reading Army doctrine and their associated documents. That said, the Army has come a long way in its quest to make them easier to understand and more accessible. I believe that the Army needs to continue in this trend. The biggest problem that I find is trying to navigate the “official” Army websites to find information that is relevent to ones search. As MAJ Donley mentioned above, the majority of the force uses google to find doctrinal references. I believe this is indicative of a failure to provide a quick means of accessing our own “intellectual capital.” My introduction to ATN has improved my optimism for the development of a usable tool for the repository of information (where AKO has failed). The key now will be to grow the respository and work with the development and integration into smartphone technology (apps, etc).
    Michael Golden
    MAJ, AV

  3. jaymz95 April 17, 2012 at 3:22 pm ·

    I couldn’t agree more! The new approach to the way we approach doctrine is revolutionary. It will allow as my instructor Dave said, “for the light bulb to come on,” or for “Las Vegas, lights to come on!” The new approach allows all warfighters to enter doctrine at their own level. It also allows every warfighter the opportunity to do a deep dive or just skim the surface. I look forward to the development of follow on manuals.

  4. jmdonley March 8, 2012 at 9:14 pm ·

    I agree that it is critical to be able to not only understand the lessons learned from the last 10 years, but also capture them in a manageable and useful way. I think that the new form for manuals and doctrine will require a paradigm shift among those looking for gospel in doctrine. The ATPs and MilWiki will enable the force to be flexible when confronting complex problems that doctrine might not cover.

    The majority of the force uses google to find doctrinal references anyway, so moving even further away from paper manuals only makes sense. It is remarkable how many students in CGSC are attached to smart phones and/or tablets. This generation of leaders needs to be able to find useful answers quickly in order to move on to solving the next problem.

    Now if we can only take all of the many army knowledge systems available, (especially the difficult to use AKO) codify them and make them easier to use as one whole system. We still rely on stovepipe knowledge systems as islands of knowledge each create their own. How long will it be before the Army can create and manage one digital database of knowledge?

    Julia M. Donley
    MAJ, SC SG 24C

  5. rigger23 March 1, 2012 at 6:44 pm ·

    Frontier 6,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Very spot on when looking foreward at the lessons learned and how must must capture and implement into doctrine. Thanks for the read.


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