Find a Security Clearance Job!


Appendix C


"Doctrine provides a military organization with a common philosophy, a common language, a common purpose, and a unity of effort."

General George H. Decker, 1960

Users of this manual must understand the elements of doctrinal literature and their relationships to each other. The commonly used terms doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures are interrelated and mutually supportive; yet, each term has its usage, level of detail, and place in the hierarchy of doctrinal publications. Because there is a close interrelationship, publications overlap in what they provide to the user. Figure C-1 illustrates the relationship of these doctrinal terms and publications.







Unit SOP

Soldier's Manuals

MQS Manual

Operator's Manual

Technical Manual

Figure C-1. Doctrinal and training literature.


Doctrine is the body of fundamental principles by which military forces guide their actions in support of national objectives. It is authoritative, but requires judgment in application. Doctrine provides the fighting philosophy of the Army, establishes a common language, and structures the manner within which units plan and conduct combat operations. Doctrine is not absolute; it is applied by the leader to meet the circumstances of the situation being faced. Doctrine provides for this flexibility with broad fundamentals and principles for conducting operations. Leaders well grounded in doctrine understand how to synchronize the elements of combat power and apply tactics, techniques, and procedures using the assets available to accomplish the mission.

Doctrine is described in field manuals. FM 100-5 defines the system of warfighting practiced by the US Army. FM 100-15 and FM 71-100 expand on this foundation by describing the manner in which corps and divisions fight to implement this basic doctrine. FM 17-95 describes the combat doctrine of cavalry and is a capstone manual for cavalry operations. It defines the role, operational requirements, mission tasks, battlefield functions, and command and control relationships of cavalry units. This manual is not oriented on a specific organizational structure. It does, however, define the capabilities that cavalry must possess to meet doctrinal requirements. Leaders at all levels apply this doctrine to their unique organizational and operational situations and use various tactics and techniques to accomplish the doctrine.


Tactics describes how the leader carries out doctrine. Tactics has two basic meanings, both relating to the arrangement of forces for battle:

  • The employment of units in combat.
  • The ordered arrangement and maneuver of units in relation to each other and to the enemy in order to use their full potential.

Tactics in the first case is the accomplishment of an assigned mission by the commander or leader. Tactics in the second case is a description of how the commander should arrange his forces and maneuver to accomplish a type of mission or task. This is the part of doctrinal literature used for training and preparation for combat. Tactics presented in manuals, like doctrine, is applied with judgment by the leader. FMs prescribe "how to fight" and mission training plans (MTP) describe "what to train."

FM 17-95 describes tactics to some extent to illustrate the doctrinal principles and to provide how-to guidance to commanders. Unit-oriented FMs provide a more detailed discussion of tactics with a focus on specific types of cavalry organizations. C-2 shows the hierarchy of field manuals that apply to cavalry units.

FM 100-5

FM 100-15
(Corps Operations)

FM 71-100
(Division Operations)

FM 17-95
(Cavalry Operations)

FM 1-114

FM 71-1
(Tk/Mech Co Tm)

FM 17-97
(Ar Cav Trp)

FM 1-116
(Air Cav Trp)

FM 1-116
(Air Cav Trp)

FM 17-15
(Tk Plt)

FM 17-98

(Sct Plt)

FM 17-98
(Sct Plt)

FM 17-98-1
(Sct Ldr's Handbook)

FM 17-98-1
(Sct Ldr's Handbook)

Note: Figure excludes MTPs.

Figure C-2. Hierarchy of cavalry field manuals.


Techniques are the methods of performing any act, especially the detailed methods used by troops or commanders in performing assigned tasks. Techniques describe the basic methods of using equipment and personnel. Techniques give details on how commanders actually carry out assignments. They improve a force's efficiency by ensuring uniformity of action or by ensuring actions of various individuals and elements complement those of other individuals or elements.

FMs and MTPs provide a description of techniques using the personnel and equipment available in actual organizations. These techniques show at a more detailed level how to use available assets to carry out tactics.


Procedures are the lowest level of detail. They address how-to at the task level. Procedures are a particular course or mode of action that describes how to perform a certain task. Procedures include the standing methods used by units to accomplish tasks, weapon and equipment operating steps, crew drills, staff action and coordination requirements, and methods of target engagement by direct and indirect fire weapons. Procedures are building blocks of individual and collective task accomplishment that serve as the foundation of tactics and techniques.

Procedures are explained in unit SOPs, mission training plans, soldier's manuals, operator's manuals, technical manuals, and similar publications.

Join the mailing list