The Army has unveiled an important new addition to its doctrinal canon: Field Manual 3-07: Stability Operations. Yesterday’s Washington Post summed it up nicely:
The Army on Monday will unveil an unprecedented doctrine that declares nation-building missions will probably become more important than conventional warfare and defines "fragile states" that breed crime, terrorism and religious and ethnic strife as the greatest threat to U.S. national security.The doctrine, which has generated intense debate in theU.S. military establishment and government, holds that in coming years, American troops are not likely to engage in major ground combat against hostile states as they did in Iraq and Afghanistan, but instead will frequently be called upon to operate in lawless areas to safeguard populations and rebuild countries. (full article
This new manual is being released today as the annual AUSA convention begins in Washington. It is the latest installment in a wider effort to bring the Army’s doctrine in line with strategic guidance from the Office of the Secretary of Defense to prepare for an array of threats much wider than traditional state-on-state conflicts.
Earlier this year the Army updated its keystone doctrine, Field Manual 3-0: Operations, shifting emphasis from conventional to a “full spectrum” opeations, a change that places post-conflict stability operations on par with offensive and defensive engagement. That change was made in accordance with Defense Department directive, 3000.05, issued in November 2005 that defined stability operations as “a core U.S. military mission” to be given “priority comparable to combat operations.”