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Chapter 1

The Army and the Role of Land Power

[Y]ou may fly over a land forever; you may bomb it, atomize it, pulverize it and wipe it clean of life—but if you desire to defend it, protect it, and keep it for civilization, you must do this on the ground, the way the Roman legions did, by putting your young men into the mud.
T. R. Fehrenbach
This Kind of War, 1963



The Role of the Army
Army Mission Essential Tasks
     Shape the Security Environment
     Respond Promptly to Crisis
     Mobilize the Army
     Conduct Forcible Entry Operations
     Dominate Land Operations
     Provide Support to Civil Authorities
The Operational Environment
     The Threat Dimension
     The Political Dimension
     The Unified Action Dimension
     The Land Combat Operations Dimension
     The Information Dimension
     The Technology Dimension
Doctrine and the Army
Full Spectrum Operations
Training for Full Spectrum Operations
Soldiers and Leadership

1-1.     Army forces are the decisive component of land warfare in joint and multinational operations. The Army organizes, trains, and equips its forces to fight and win the nation's wars and achieve directed national objectives. Fighting and winning the nation's wars is the foundation of Army service-the Army's nonnegotiable contract with the American people and its enduring obligation to the nation.


1-2.     Because Army forces fight and win the nation's wars, they also deter them. The object of deterrence is the will of state and nonstate political and military leaders. Deterrence establishes in the minds of potential adversaries that their actions will have unacceptable consequences. Today, potential adversaries rely on land-based military and paramilitary forces to retain power, coerce and control their populations, and extend influence beyond their borders. Army forces deter by threatening these means of power retention and population control with the ability to engage in decisive combat and seize and occupy adversary territory. Army forces also deter cross-border aggression through forward presence, forward deployment and prompt, flexible response. Army forces poised for action signal the unquestioned commitment of America to fight and win if deterrence fails.

1-3.     Deployed, combat-ready Army forces reassure allies as they deter potential enemies. The presence of Army forces usually contributes more to the situation than their potential combat power. Army forces on the ground demonstrate that the US is willing to back the host nation with military power. Historically, that backing brings opportunity for stability, and with it, the potential for economic and political development. The armed forces of the ally and Army forces both benefit directly from the cooperation that continuous contact makes possible.

1-4.     The Army's warfighting focus produces a full spectrum force that meets the needs of joint force commanders (JFCs) in war, conflict, and peace. In war, Army forces form the nucleus of the joint force land component-imposing the nation's will on the enemy and causing his collapse. In conflict, Army forces deploy quickly into an area of operations (AO) to deter adversaries and potential enemies from establishing their forces and preclude them from gaining an operational advantage. If deterrence fails, Army forces defeat the enemy, end the conflict on terms that achieve national objectives, and establish self-sustaining postconflict stability. Early movement of Army forces retains initiative and freedom of action by providing JFCs complementary means of conducting decisive offensive operations at times and places of their choosing. If circumstances require, Army forces block an enemy offensive and deliver the counteroffensive blow necessary to win as rapidly as possible. In peace, Army forces train for war. They also help shape the international security environment through peacetime military engagement (PME) activities. Army forces help civil authorities, both at home and abroad, prepare for and respond to natural or manmade disasters as well.

The Army—A Proud History of Full Spectrum Operations

Since 1775, Army forces have deterred, compelled, reassured, and supported in war, conflict, and peace. The Army's history spans over 225 years of service to the nation, domestically and overseas. Army forces have fought 10 wars, from the American Revolution to the Gulf War. They have engaged in expeditions and contingency operations in US territories and projected power around the world. They have performed stability operations in Latin America and the Caribbean and defended friendly countries in Asia and Europe during the Cold War.

Soldiers have been involved in support operations as well. They conducted the Lewis and Clark expedition, supported civil authorities during the San Francisco earthquake, and worked with the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Depression. They have eased human suffering during natural disasters worldwide. More recently, Army forces served or are serving as peacekeepers in the Sinai, Northern Iraq, Rwanda, Haiti, Macedonia, Bosnia, and Kosovo. Today, Army forces help maintain regional stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the Persian Gulf region.

Throughout the nation's history, Army forces have demonstrated that the Army remains the nation's strategic land combat force, a service with the diverse capabilities needed to conduct full spectrum operations—anytime, anywhere.


Army Mission Essential Tasks

  • Shape the security environment
  • Respond promptly to crisis
  • Mobilize the Army
  • Conduct forcible entry operations
  • Dominate land operations
  • Provide support to civil authorities

1-5.     The Army's mission essential tasks derive from statutory requirements, operational experience, strategies for employing military forces, and operational requirements of the combatant commanders. They are the operational expression of the Army's core competencies contained in FM 1. Although these tasks are termed the Army mission essential task list (METL), all Army units develop their own battle focused METLs as described in FM 7-0. To perform the Army METL tasks, the Army continuously integrates doctrine, training, leader development, organization, materiel, and soldiers (DTLOMS) (see AR 71-9; FM 3-100.11).


Full spectrum operations are the range of operations Army forces conduct in war and military operations other than war.

1-6.     The Army METL tasks describe what well-trained, superbly led, and well-equipped soldiers do for the nation. They state what the Army does so the nation can use its military power effectively across the full spectrum of operations in war, conflict, and peace. While focused on the land dimension, Army forces complement other service forces in unified action. The ability of Army forces to perform these tasks generates the credible land power necessary for JFCs to preclude and deter enemy action, win decisively if deterrence fails, and establish a rapid return to sustained postconflict stability. Thus, Army forces expand a JFC's range of military options in full spectrum operations.


Instruments of National Power

  • Diplomatic
  • Informational
  • Military
  • Economic

1-7.     The national security and national military strategies establish an imperative for engagement. The US will remain politically and militarily engaged in the world and will maintain military superiority over potential adversaries. Engagement elevates to mission status the role of the US armed forces in shaping an international environment that promotes and protects US national security interests, before the threat of conflict arises. Forward basing, forward presence, and force projection enhance the ability of Army forces to engage other nations-their people, governments, and militaries.

1-8.     Army forces pursue engagement through overseas presence and PME activities. Army forces conduct PME activities at home and abroad. Through PME, Army forces contribute significantly to promoting regional stability, reducing potential conflicts and threats, and deterring aggression and coercion.

1-9.     PME activities are proactive, opportunity-based endeavors conducted at home and abroad to shape the international security environment to favor US interests. Most nations maintain armies and paramilitary organizations as their primary military instruments. Through many day-to-day interactions with these forces, Army forces strengthen alliances and coalitions and foster the development of democratic institutions. Working with allies and potential coalition partners, Army forces foster bilateral and multilateral relationships, increase military openness, enhance cooperation, and advance regional conflict prevention and resolution mechanisms.

1-10.     Other PME activities are directed at potential adversaries. Those activities reduce the potential for instability and conflict by discouraging arms races, countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), combatting terrorism, and deterring aggression. The presence of Army forces performing these PME activities provides a visible sign of US commitment to peace and stability.

1-11.     By conducting PME activities, Army forces continually help combatant commanders shape their areas of responsibility (AORs). In this context, PME activities are developmental stability operations directed within a combatant commander's theater engagement plan. As such, they are planned and conducted like any other military operation. Army forces, especially Army special operations forces (ARSOF), are well suited for PME missions.


1-12.     JFCs organize actions in time and space to present the enemy with simultaneous, multidimensional threats-land, air, sea, and space. The strategic responsiveness of Army forces adds dominance of the vital land dimension to the capabilities of joint forces. In today's environment, potential enemies understand the dynamics of dimensional combat. They will attempt to sequence their activities to avoid air and naval strikes, while consolidating their position before significant land forces can defeat them. Responsive Army forces give JFCs the ability to conduct operational and tactical maneuver on land early in the operation. Operational and tactical maneuver provides the basis for Army forces to seize and retain the initiative and dictate the terms of land combat. Prompt response increases the magnitude of the enemy's dilemma exponentially. It allows the JFC to apply US military power in complementary and asymmetric ways. This allows the joint force to quickly build and maintain momentum and win decisively.

1-13.     Army forces respond to crises in all environments. They are versatile enough to dominate any situation. Army commanders tailor and train forces to react quickly to any crisis, regardless of its nature or the circumstances.


1-14.     The Army maintains the ability to mobilize reserve component (Army National Guard and US Army Reserve) forces to meet combatant commanders' contingent needs or the requirements of war or national emergencies. The Army also has the facilities, equipment, systems, procedures, and manpower necessary to generate sustained combat power rapidly and effectively.

1-15.     It is impossible to guarantee that active component forces will always be properly configured or sufficiently manned and equipped to meet either unexpected contingencies or the requirements of sustained land combat. Providing the means to expand the Army ensures that the National Command Authorities (NCA) can confront unforeseen threats to national security. Integrated approaches to DTLOMS ensure that all Army components stand trained and ready for action.


1-16.     Army forces make it possible for JFCs to seize areas previously denied by the enemy force. Army forces can strike contested areas from the air, land, and sea. They can establish and secure lodgments for projecting follow-on forces and sustaining the joint force. The airborne and air assault capabilities of Army forces allow JFCs to seize airfields or other important facilities, such as WMD production and storage sites. In conjunction with the Navy and other services, Army forces can conduct amphibious operations. Seizure and retention of land areas extends beyond points of entry. It can occur at any point where JFCs need to conduct operational maneuver.


1-17.     For war to be decisive, its outcome must be conclusive. Army forces today are the preeminent land forces in the world. That preeminence translates into the ability to dominate land operations—the decisive complement to air, sea, and space operations. The threat or use of Army forces is the ultimate means of imposing the nation's will and achieving a lasting outcome. Land operations seize the enemy's territory and resources, destroy his armed forces, and eliminate his means of controlling his population. Only land forces can exercise direct, continuing, discriminate, and comprehensive control over land, people, and resources.

1-18.     Ultimately, it is the ability of Army forces to close with and destroy the enemy that allows the Army to dominate land operations. Army forces close with and destroy enemy forces through maneuver and precision direct and indirect fires. An adaptive enemy attempts to lessen the effects of operational fires. However, with their inherent qualities of on-the-ground presence and situational understanding, Army forces make permanent the otherwise temporary effects of fires alone. Domination extends from the certainty in the minds of enemy commanders that close combat with Army forces, backed by superlative US air and naval forces, will have two outcomes—destruction or surrender.

1-19.     Sustained land operations establish the conditions required for long-term national objectives. Army forces can conduct sustained, large-scale full spectrum operations throughout the theater of operations. Army forces are inherently durable, self-sustaining, and self-replenishing. This endurance allows them to remain in a theater of operations as long as the NCA require. Faced by an enemy capable of prolonged resistance, Army forces create and maintain conditions that lead to the enemy's ultimate defeat.

1-20.     Army operational-level organizations include corps, Army service component commands (ASCCs), numbered armies, and other functional and multifunctional units. These organizations are resourced, trained, and equipped to dominate opposing land forces, control vast land areas, temporarily govern occupied areas, and control populations and resources. Their capabilities include operational and tactical maneuver and fires; command and control (C2) of Army, joint, and multinational forces; theater air and missile defense; intelligence; military and civil engineering; and combat service support (CSS). In addition, ARSOF add special operations capabilities to joint forces. These capabilities include unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, information operations (IO), WMD counterproliferation, direct action, special reconnaissance, counterterrorism, civil affairs, and psychological operations.

1-21.     Robust combat support and CSS to the joint force make sustained land action possible. Normally, Army forces, through the ASCCs, provide CSS; land-based theater air and missile defense; and nuclear, biological, and chemical defense to support or augment the capabilities of all joint force components. Key Army operational-level support organizations include Army air and missile defense commands (AAMDCs); theater support commands; and transportation (ground and aviation heavy lift), supply, engineer, chemical, finance, medical, intelligence, and personnel units. Each of these can deploy tailorable, early-entry, functional modules. These tailored organizations give Army force commanders the functional expertise and C2 capabilities necessary to provide sustained support to the joint force. If necessary, they expand to provide the support required for each phase of the JFC's campaign.

1-22.     The Army also maintains the structure and expertise necessary to develop, acquire, and supply the equipment and supplies for full spectrum operations. In addition to supplying Army forces, the Army manages certain commodities, such as conventional ammunition, for all services. It also maintains the research and development capabilities and linkages to the US industrial base that give Army forces the best equipment in the world.


1-23.     Army forces adapt and tailor their warfighting capabilities to complement and support civil authorities and agencies at home and abroad. In times of need, Army forces provide support and expertise to reinforce or fill critical requirements beyond the immediate capabilities of civil authorities and agencies. The presence of trained and ready Army forces from active and reserve components in the United States contributes to security and defense of the homeland. The Army can rapidly respond to natural or manmade disasters as well as threats to security because it possesses a robust and diverse force structure, maintains a substantial physical presence throughout the US, and has forces based or deployed forward in every theater. Prompt Army assistance to civil authorities is often a decisive element in disaster relief and crisis resolution. Army forces continue sustained support until civil authorities no longer require military assistance.


Dimensions of the Operational Environment

  • Threat
  • Political
  • Unified action
  • Land combat operations
  • Information
  • Technology

1-24.     The operational environment has six dimensions. Each affects how Army forces combine, sequence, and conduct military operations. Commanders tailor forces, employ diverse capabilities, and support different missions to succeed in this complex environment.


1-25.     The potential for armed conflict between nation-states remains a serious challenge. Despite the best efforts of many, disparities in wealth, technology, and information create unstable conditions among nations. Additionally, the influence of nonstate actors has ever increasing regional and worldwide implications. Nations, nonstate actors, and transnational entities compete in the diplomatic, informational, military and economic arenas of the strategic environment. Rarely are only two sides involved in modern conflicts. More often, one multinational group opposes another similar group with conflicting interests. Even within alliances or coalitions, the different parties have their own purposes.

1-26.     Multiple threats to US interests exist. Some are direct, such as a cross-border attack; others are indirect, such as coercion. Some regional powers aspire to dominate their neighbors and have the conventional force capabilities required to do so. Such situations may threaten US vital interests, US allies, or regional stability. Transnational groups conduct a range of activities that threaten US interests and citizens at home and abroad. Such activities include terrorism, illegal drug trading, illicit arms and strategic material trafficking, international organized crime, piracy, and deliberate environmental damage. Additionally, extremism, ethnic disputes, religious rivalries, and human disasters contribute to huge refugee migrations. These further the threat to the environment and a region's stability. Collectively, these transnational threats may adversely affect US interests and possibly result in military involvement.

1-27.     In the foreseeable future, most nations will modernize and maintain military capabilities for countering regional threats or seeking opportunities. Military change will incorporate advances in information technology, ballistic and cruise missile capabilities, WMD, and genetic engineering. Potential threats vary from heavy conventional units to adaptive, asymmetric forces structured for local and regional use. Adversaries will seek and obtain technologies that challenge US strengths in information technology, navigation, night vision systems, and precision targeting and strike capabilities. The proliferation of WMD and long-range delivery systems will enable adversaries to threaten US forces at greater ranges with increased lethality and precision.

1-28.     Adversaries will develop warfighting doctrine that takes perceived US strengths and vulnerabilities into account. They will try to prevent projection of US forces and control the nature and the tempo of US actions through asymmetric operations and adaptive forces. They will try to counter US air operations and neutralize US technological advantages, such as precision strike capabilities. Adversaries will adapt to more nonlinear, simultaneous operations conducted throughout the AO. They will use conventional and unconventional means to destroy US national will and the capability to wage war.

1-29.     Adversaries will also seek to shape conditions to their advantage. They will try to change the nature of the conflict or use capabilities that they believe difficult for US forces to counter. They will use complex terrain, urban environments, and force dispersal methods—similar to those used by the North Vietnamese, Iraqis and Serbs—to offset US advantages. These methods increase targeting difficulties and may result in US forces wasting precision weapons on relatively unimportant assets. Generally, adversaries will seek to operate against US forces according to these concepts:

  • Conduct force-oriented operations. Inflict unacceptable casualties.

  • Attempt to control the tempo. Create conditions to defeat US forcible entry operations.

  • Transition to a defensive framework that avoids decisive battle, preserves capability, and prolongs the conflict. If US forces deploy, use terrorist tactics and other attacks to erode public support, alliance or coalition cohesion, and the will to fight.

  • Use modernized intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) assets and WMD to conduct sophisticated ambushes. Destroy key operating systems or inflict mass casualties within and outside the theater of operations.

  • Use terrain and urban areas to disperse mechanized and armored units. Concentrate and disperse them as opportunities allow. Maneuver forces during periods of reduced exposure to US technology. Use upgraded camouflage and deception capabilities.

  • Form coalitions against the US.

  • Acquire or modify advanced technology systems to create surprise and limited duration overmatch in specific areas.

Adversaries will continue to seek every opportunity for advantage over US and multinational forces. When countered, they will adapt to the changing conditions and pursue all available options to avoid destruction or defeat. This environment and the wide array of threats present significant challenges. Army forces must simultaneously defeat an adversary while protecting noncombatants and the infrastructure on which they depend.


1-30.     The national security strategy defines how the US meets challenges in the complex and dynamic global environment. It establishes broad strategic guidance for advancing US interests through the instruments of national power. The detailed formulation of national strategic policy and direction is beyond the scope of this manual. Nevertheless, the national military strategy, derived from national security policy, forms the basis for all operations in war and military operations other than war (MOOTW) (see JP 1; FM 1).

1-31.     The military component of the national security strategy focuses on using military force as an instrument of national power. The NCA combine it with other instruments of national power to preserve, protect, and advance US interests. Military operations influence, and are influenced by, political direction and the integrated use of other instruments of power. The military objective in war is rapid, decisive victory. The NCA determine how that victory contributes to the overall policy objectives. War makes the most overt use of military force. However, successful military operations in any form require Army force commanders with a clear sense of strategic policy goals and objectives. They must understand how using military force fits into the national security strategy and the desired military conditions required to meet policy objectives. In addition, commanders must be able to clearly and concisely articulate this understanding to the US and international media. All political decisions made during operations have strategic, operational, and tactical implications. Likewise, each strategic, operational, and tactical action directly or indirectly affects the political dimension. Translating political decisions into military missions depends on informed and candid assessments. Army force commanders must articulate the military capabilities and limitations of their forces to the JFC, and when required, directly to the NCA.

Task Force Eagle in Bosnia

Beginning in December 1995, Task Force (TF) Eagle deployed to Bosnia to support a unified action conducted by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) under the Dayton Accords. The Army-led task force moved elements from Western Europe to the Balkans by air, rail, and road under severe winter conditions. The force encountered several challenges as it closed into the AO. The area was a former war zone, heavily laden with unexploded munitions and millions of landmines. Armed former warring factions faced each other along battle lines, where a tenuous cease-fire remained in effect. TF Eagle's AO contained forces under the United Nations Protection Force, a situation that required extensive information exchange and coordination before mission transfer to the NATO Implementation Force (IFOR). Adding to the complexity was TF Eagle's multinational composition of 25,000 soldiers representing 11 nations. TF Eagle closed in the theater of operations on 14 February 1996. The credible, overwhelming force coupled with extensive planning, liaison, leadership, and discipline overcame language and cultural barriers to move the former warring factions into designated garrisons. Within one year, IFOR carried out the military provisions of the Dayton Accords and created conditions for implementing their civil provisions.


1-32.     The national military strategy calls for Army forces to act as part of a fully interoperable and integrated joint force. Consequently, the employment of Army forces in campaigns and major operations is viewed from a joint perspective. JFCs synchronize Army force operations with those of other service forces. They exploit Army force capabilities and create an effective joint team.

1-33.     Land operations determine the outcome of major theater wars (MTWs). In an MTW, the nation employs large joint and multinational forces in major combat operations to defeat an enemy nation, coalition, or alliance. The Gulf War of 1991 is an example of an MTW. Army forces are the decisive forces for sustained land combat, war termination, and postwar stability. JFCs normally designate the land component as the supported force during those phases of a campaign. In other phases, they may designate another component as the supported force. In such cases, Army forces support the lead component. During all campaign phases, JFCs synchronize the complementary capabilities of the service components that comprise the joint force. In all cases, JFCs have access to the full complement of versatile Army forces to achieve strategic and operational objectives (see FM 3-100.7).

1-34.     Smaller-scale contingencies (SSCs) encompass a wide range of joint and multinational military operations that fall between MTW and PME. While not all-inclusive, Army forces committed to SSCs protect American lives and interests, support political initiatives, facilitate diplomacy, promote fundamental American ideals, or disrupt illegal activities. As in MTWs, the JFC assigns supported and supporting relationships to components of the joint force to best accomplish the mission.

1-35.     Army forces work with multinational and interagency partners to accomplish their missions. Ideally, multinational and interagency partners provide cultures, perspectives, and capabilities that reinforce and complement Army strengths and capabilities. Close coordination is the foundation of successful unified action.


1-36.     Land combat continues to be the salient feature of conflict. It usually involves destroying or defeating enemy forces or taking land objectives that reduce the enemy's effectiveness or will to fight. Four characteristics distinguish land combat:

  • Scope. Land combat involves contact with an enemy throughout the depth of an operational area. Forces conduct simultaneous and sequential operations in contiguous and noncontiguous AOs. Commanders maneuver forces to seize and retain key and decisive terrain. They use maneuver, fires, and other elements of combat power to defeat or destroy enemy forces. Land combat normally entails close and continuous contact with noncombatants. Rules of engagement reflect this.

  • Duration. Land combat is repetitive and continuous. It involves rendering an enemy incapable or unwilling to conduct further action. It may require destroying him.

  • Terrain. Land combat takes place among a complex variety of natural and manmade features. The complexity of the ground environment contrasts significantly with the relative transparency of air, sea, and space. Plans for land combat must account for the visibility and clutter of the terrain and the effects of weather and climate.

  • Permanence. Land combat frequently requires seizing or securing ground. With control of the ground comes control of populations and productive capacity. Thus, land combat makes permanent the temporary effects of other operations.


1-37.     All military operations take place within an information environment that is largely outside the control of military forces. The information environment is the aggregate of individuals, organizations, and systems that collect, process, store, display, and disseminate information; also included is the information itself (see JP 3-13; FM 3-13). National, international, and nonstate actors use this environment to collect, process, and disseminate information. The media's use of real-time technology affects public opinion, both in the US and abroad, and alters the conduct and perceived legitimacy of military operations. Now, more than ever, every soldier represents America-potentially to a global audience.

1-38.     Historically, information superiority has enabled decisive Army force operations. Information superiority enables Army forces to see first, understand the situation more quickly and accurately, and act faster than their adversaries. Derived from the effective synchronization of ISR, information management (IM), and IO, information superiority is an operational advantage that results in friendly forces gaining and retaining the initiative. Effective ISR operations and IM identify the information commanders require, collect it, and get it to them when they need it. Offensive IO degrade an adversary's will to resist and ability to fight while simultaneously denying him relevant friendly force information. Defensive IO protect friendly information and C2 systems. Information superiority means commanders receive accurate, timely information that enables them to make better decisions and act faster than their adversaries. Early attainment of information superiority influences all aspects of Army force operations. For example, sharing accurate, current information between initial-entry and follow-on forces creates the conditions for rapid transition from deployment to employment. Sharing real-time changes in the situation among all elements of a force in contact facilitates synchronization and encourages subordinates to exercise initiative.


1-39.     Technology enhances leader, unit, and soldier performance and affects how Army forces conduct (plan, prepare, execute, and continuously assess) full spectrum operations in peace, conflict, and war. For example, commanders and staffs assess capability differences among Army forces along with those of multinational forces when designing plans, preparing forces, and weighing employment options. Quality information provided by advanced communications and ISR capabilities assist commanders in making decisions. Battle command benefits from the ability of modern microprocessors and telecommunications to collect, process, store, display, and disseminate information faster and with greater precision. Technology improves soldier endurance and protection, thereby increasing the potential for mission accomplishment. Army warfighting methods adopt expanded capabilities in lethal and nonlethal weapons, projectiles, propellants, and power sources. Battlefield lethality increases due to changes in target acquisition, armament, and delivery means. Commanders leverage technological advancement in force protection and discriminate use of force in stability operations. They use improved C2, mobility, and CSS in support operations. Enhanced CSS, C2, and IM increase operational reach.

1-40.     In any operation, Army forces assume that adversaries possess at least some advanced weaponry. Their weaponry may range from a computer connected to the Internet to WMD. Adversaries may also possess information-based technologies or capabilities, such as satellite imagery, night vision devices, or precision-delivery systems. These can present asymmetric threats to Army forces. The potential for asymmetric threats puts a premium on intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB) and the other intelligence tasks, to include situation development and providing indications and warning. Operational success requires identifying enemy capabilities (strengths and vulnerabilities), intentions, and courses of action.

1-41.     Fielding technologically advanced systems means that commanders will have to combine the capabilities of units at different modernization levels. For example, digitized forces have advantages-such as precision location, precision fires, and in-transit visibility of equipment, personnel, and stocks-that other forces do not. Digitized forces use fires and maneuver with a precision and tempo that less modernized forces cannot match. Force tailoring creates hybrid forces with dissimilar capabilities and technologies. Additional challenges arise during multinational operations. Technological, organizational, and doctrinal differences require exchanging liaison teams and C2, communications, and intelligence equipment. Integrating Army and multinational forces in a way that synchronizes and maximizes their various capabilities is one aspect of unified action.

Technology Aids Soldiers—Operation Desert Hammer VI

Army force commanders use technology to enhance operations and provide an edge over adversaries. In April 1994, Army aviation and ground forces participated in Operation Desert Hammer VI, an advanced warfighter experiment conducted at the National Training Center (NTC). During the exercise, soldiers of TF 1-70, 194th Separate Armored Brigade conducted simulated combat operations using digital technology that enhanced their capabilities against the NTC opposing force. Army forces used the Dismounted Digital Soldier System to enhance visibility during day and night as well as through obscurants and to radio timely scouting reports to higher headquarters. Tanks employed the Intervehicle Information System to enhance mission planning through shared information and increased situational understanding on the move. TF 1-70 received fire support from Paladin, a digitized field artillery system with the capability to stop, fire accurately, and move quickly. During Desert Hammer VI, Army forces confirmed that, while technology improved their performance, soldiers remain the Army's most important resource.

1-42.     The US does not have a monopoly on technology. Just as US forces exploit technology to achieve an operational advantage, so might an enemy force. Never in history has access to advanced technology been so widespread. Even adversaries lacking a research and development capability can purchase remarkably sophisticated systems in the global marketplace. Commanders and staffs should prepare for adversaries who use technology in very sophisticated ways. These ways may differ sharply from the ways that US forces use similar technologies. Some adversaries may apply new technologies altogether.

1-43.     Even with its advantages, the side with superior technology does not always win in land operations; rather, the side that applies combat power more skillfully usually prevails. The skill of soldiers coupled with the effectiveness of leaders decides the outcomes of engagements, battles, and campaigns. This fact does not lessen the positive effects of advanced technologies. It does, however, challenge soldiers and leaders to realize and use the potential of advanced technologies in the conduct of full spectrum operations.


An operation is (1) a military action or the carrying out of a strategic, tactical, service, training, or administrative military mission; (2) the process of carrying on combat, including movement, supply, attack, defense, and maneuvers needed to gain the objectives of any battle or campaign.

1-44.     Doctrine is the concise expression of how Army forces contribute to unified action in campaigns, major operations, battles, and engagements. While it complements joint doctrine, Army doctrine also describes the Army's approach and contributions to full spectrum operations on land. Army doctrine is authoritative but not prescriptive. Where conflicts between Army and joint doctrine arise, joint doctrine takes precedence.

1-45.     Doctrine touches all aspects of the Army. It facilitates communication among soldiers no matter where they serve, contributes to a shared professional culture, and serves as the basis for curricula in the Army Education System. Army doctrine provides a common language and a common understanding of how Army forces conduct operations. It is rooted in time-tested principles but is forward-looking and adaptable to changing technologies, threats, and missions. Army doctrine is detailed enough to guide operations, yet flexible enough to allow commanders to exercise initiative when dealing with specific tactical and operational situations. To be useful, doctrine must be well known and commonly understood.

1-46.     As the Army's keystone operations manual, FM 3-0 provides the principles for conducting operations. It describes the Army's operational-level role of linking tactical operations to strategic aims and how Army forces conduct operations in unified action. FM 3-0 bridges Army and joint operations doctrine. It also links Army operations doctrine with Army tactical doctrine.


1-47.     Army doctrine addresses the range of full spectrum operations across the spectrum of conflict (see Figure 1-1). Army commanders at all echelons may combine different types of operations simultaneously and sequentially to accomplish missions in war and MOOTW. For each mission, the JFC and Army component commander determine the emphasis Army forces place on each type of operation. Offensive and defensive operations normally dominate military operations in war and some SSCs. Stability operations and support operations predominate in MOOTW that include certain SSCs and PME.

Figure 1-1. The Range of Army Operations

Figure 1-1. The Range of Army Operations

1-48.     Full spectrum operations include offensive, defensive, stability, and support operations (see Figure 1-2). Missions in any environment require Army forces prepared to conduct any combination of these operations:

  • Offensive operations aim at destroying or defeating an enemy. Their purpose is to impose US will on the enemy and achieve decisive victory.

  • Defensive operations defeat an enemy attack, buy time, economize forces, or develop conditions favorable for offensive operations. Defensive operations alone normally cannot achieve a decision. Their purpose is to create conditions for a counteroffensive that allows Army forces to regain the initiative.

  • Stability operations promote and protect US national interests by influencing the threat, political, and information dimensions of the operational environment through a combination of peacetime developmental, cooperative activities and coercive actions in response to crisis. Regional security is supported by a balanced approach that enhances regional stability and economic prosperity simultaneously. Army force presence promotes a stable environment.

  • Support operations employ Army forces to assist civil authorities, foreign or domestic, as they prepare for or respond to crisis and relieve suffering. Domestically, Army forces respond only when the NCA direct. Army forces operate under the lead federal agency and comply with provisions of US law, to include the Posse Comitatus and Stafford Acts.

Figure 1-2. Full Spectrum Operations

Figure 1-2. Full Spectrum Operations

1-49.     When conducting full spectrum operations, commanders combine and sequence offensive, defensive, stability, and support operations to accomplish the mission. The JFC and the Army component commander for a particular mission determine the emphasis Army forces place on each type of operation. Throughout the campaign, offensive, defensive, stability, and support missions occur simultaneously. As missions change from promoting peace to deterring war and from resolving conflict to war itself, the combinations of and transitions between these operations require skillful assessment, planning, preparation, and execution. Operations designed to accomplish more than one strategic purpose may be executed simultaneously, sequentially, or both. For example, within a combatant commander's AOR, one force may be executing large-scale offensive operations while another is conducting stability operations. Within the combat zone, Army forces may conduct stability operations and support operations as well as combat operations.

1-50.     Commanders allocate different proportions of their force to each type of operation during different phases of a mission. Large units are likely to conduct simultaneous offensive, defensive, stability, and support operations. Units at progressively lower echelons receive missions that require fewer combinations. At lower echelons, units usually perform only one type of operation. For example, an Army corps acting as the joint force land component may allocate two divisions to attack (offense) while a third division secures a port and airfield complex (defense). The defending division may order one brigade to eliminate small pockets of resistance (offense) while two others prepare defenses in depth. Around the airfield and port, designated units distribute food and provide medical support to refugees (support). Still other corps units and ARSOF equip and train host nation forces (stability).


The whole of military activity must therefore relate directly or indirectly to the engagement. The end for which a soldier is recruited, clothed, armed, and trained, the whole object of his sleeping, eating, drinking, and marching is simply that he should fight at the right place and the right time.


1-51.     Every day, the Army trains soldiers and units while developing leaders. Effective training is the cornerstone of operational success. It is a full-time job for commanders in peacetime and continues when units deploy. Training to high standards is essential for a full spectrum force; Army forces must train to, and maintain, the highest readiness levels. Battle-focused training on combat tasks prepares soldiers, units, and leaders to deploy, fight, and win. More often than not, Army forces execute full spectrum operations as part of a joint force. Joint training is a critical part of mission planning and preparation for Army leaders and units. Upon alert, initial-entry Army forces deploy immediately, conduct operations, and—if necessary—complete any mission-specific training in country. Commanders of follow-on forces conduct pre- or postdeployment mission rehearsal exercises, abbreviated if necessary, based on available time and resources.

1-52.     The METL development process describes the links between mission and training (see FM 7-0; FM 7-10). Commanders focus their METL, training time, and resources on combat tasks unless directed otherwise. Because Army forces face diverse threats and mission requirements, commanders may need to temporarily adjust their METL from battle focused tasks to focus on preparing for anticipated missions. Major Army command (MACOM), ASCC, continental US Army, and corps commanders determine the battle focus, resources, and METL that maintain the required readiness posture for anticipated operations in war or MOOTW. MACOM commanders decide for operational-level units, corps commanders for corps units. Commanders at lower levels conduct battle focused training unless otherwise directed.


1-53.     Soldiers provide the capability for decisive victory. Success in battle depends on sound doctrine; competent leadership; effective weaponry, equipment, and organizations; and well-trained, motivated, quality soldiers and units. The most important of these factors is soldiers. Their character and competence, combined with the warrior ethos, comprise the foundation of a trained and ready Army. The combination of quality soldiers, competent leaders, and cohesive units creates a versatile, powerful force.

1-54.     The Army needs competent and versatile soldiers able to accomplish missions in a challenging and ever changing global environment. They must be able to successfully accomplish tasks while operating alone or in small groups. Soldiers and leaders must exercise mature judgment and initiative under stressful circumstances and be capable of learning and adapting to meet the demands of full spectrum operations.

No man is a leader until his appointment is ratified in the minds and hearts of his men.

The Infantry Journal, 1948

1-55.     Soldiers must also be technically and tactically proficient. They must employ and maintain increasingly complex and sophisticated equipment. Current and future technology requires skilled soldiers who understand their systems. Regardless of the importance of equipment or the expansion of technological capabilities, soldiers are more important than machines. Soldiers, not equipment, accomplish missions and win wars. Leadership links soldiers' technical and tactical competence to operational success. Achieving combined arms effectiveness with complex systems demands adaptive and flexible soldiers.

1-56.     The role of the leader and leadership is central to all Army operations (see FM 6-22). Leadership is influencing people—by providing purpose, direction, and motivation—while operating to accomplish the mission and improving the organization. Purpose gives soldiers a reason to do tasks. Direction communicates the way to accomplish the mission. Motivation gives soldiers the will to accomplish the mission. Leadership and the warrior ethos sustain soldiers during the brutal realities of combat and help them cope with the ambiguities of complex military operations.

1-57.     Leaders create conditions for success. Organizing, equipping, training, and leading soldiers to accomplish operational missions are the goals of leaders. Will and determination mold soldiers into effective organizations. Full spectrum operations demand Army leaders who are masters of both the art and the science of military operations, and have the training and temperament to adapt to any situation. Success comes from imaginative, flexible, and daring soldiers and leaders.


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