In addition to a foreword by Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy, the new edition of the Army's stability operations field manual features an introduction essay by Janine Davidson. Davidson will join Kathleen Hicks, the Pentagon's new deputy under secretary of defense in charge of planning, strategy and force development, next week as deputy assistant secretary for plans in the same office. Currently an assistant professor at George Mason University and a former Air Force pilot, Davidson has worked at the Pentagon before, overseeing stability operations initiatives such as the Irregular Warfare Roadmap, the Interagency Counterinsurgency Initiative and the Consortium for Complex Operations.
In her essay, Davidson praises not only the ideas captured by the manual, but also the "comprehensive approach" used by the writing team.
"Because the process of writing this manual led to the building of new relationships within and outside government, and collaborative debate about how best to conduct stability operations, the process might prove to be almost as important as the final product," writes Davidson.
Meanwhile the doctrine itself "fills a profound intellectual void by describing the complex 21st century landscape and articulating the military's unique role in bringing order to chaos," she writes.
She also counters the manual's critics, saying they "see the new doctrine as another dangerous step on the slippery slope toward U.S. imperialism."
She argues that FM 3-07 offers a set of options or tools but does not dictate to civilian leaders whether or where to use those tools.
Unfortunately, Davidson writes, the United States does not have the civilian capacity to carry out some of today's operations, making it necessary for the military to fill the gap.
"This manual is therefore a call to policymakers and legislators to either rebalance the national security portfolio by adequately resourcing these critical civilian agencies or to accept that soldiers and marines will continue to fill the gap -- and therefore will need to know how to do so," she writes.
And even if adequate expeditionary civilian capacity is reached, there will be times when it will be too dangerous for civilians to deploy, writes Davidson. This makes it necessary for the next generation of soldiers to understand the complexity of these missions and, according Davidson, FM 3-07 will help them do so.
-- Kate Brannen