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ON POINT II: Transition to the New Campaign

The United States Army in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM May 2003-January 2005

Part V


Chapter 14


Doctrine and Training

One of the most positive changes resulting from the US Army’s experience in OIF during this period is the overhauling of the Army’s key doctrinal concepts in light of the current operational environment. Since 2004 the Army has spent considerable resources to update its doctrinal manuals as well as its education and training programs to catch up with realities encountered in Iraq and elsewhere in the war on terror. Two efforts stand out among many. FM 3-24, Counterinsurgency, updated this critical and neglected aspect of the Army’s doctrinal hierarchy when it was released in December 2006. This manual directs Army leaders to use a mix of offense, defense, and stability operations which are tailored to provide security for the population and establishing the legitimacy and effectiveness of the host nation’s government and security forces. The Army’s Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, developed the manual using a process that included input from a wide variety of military and nonmilitary experts.

The 2008 version of the Army’s capstone doctrine, FM 3-0, Operations, employed the context of the Army’s recent experience in Iraq and Afghanistan to offer a more complete and clearly-defined concept of full spectrum operations. The new field manual articulated the idea of full spectrum operations by stating, “Army forces combine offensive, defensive, and stability or civil support operations simultaneously as part of an interdependent joint force to seize, retain, and exploit the initiative, accepting prudent risk to create opportunities to achieve decisive results.”4 The 2008 version of FM 3-0 also called for the synchronized use of lethal and nonlethal actions that are proportional to the mission and the operational environment. This concept eliminated the old, incorrect division between fighting and “everything else,” which in previous doctrine was too sharply delineated. Furthermore, the new version of FM 3-0 clarified the meaning of key concepts such as the spectrum of conflict, explained how operational themes such as irregular warfare assist in setting the basic foundations for campaigns, and established the paramount importance of information operations. Combined with Joint Publication 5-0 that established a revised joint planning process, these key documents demonstrate how the Army has integrated its experiences in Iraq into its overall theory and practice. The improvements to Army and Joint doctrine must now be matched by changes in US Government interagency processes. As both of the key manuals repeatedly state, the military instrument of national power must operate in a broader and well supported strategy if national objectives are to be achieved after battlefield success.

In response to the unexpected realities of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army began revamping its training programs in late 2003 and early 2004. Training at the Army’s Combat Training Centers (CTCs) has been changed to reflect operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The BCTP has been similarly revised. The US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) and Forces Command (FORSCOM) have radically revised individual and unit training programs to conform to the demands of OIF and Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF). They now include anti-improvised explosive device (IED), countersniper, convoy ambush, and a host of other programs designed in response to current battlefield demands. Units deployed to Iraq for OIF II had little if any time to take advantage of what were the still emerging changes in this area. Since OIF II, however, the record of those programs is much improved. The Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), formed in late 2004 and by 2006 a 300+ person organization with a multi-billion dollar budget, is an example of these efforts. Today, JIEDDO’s three pronged approach—defeat the device, attack the network, and train the force—illustrates the broad-based approaches developed during this transition.5 The “Road to Deployment” concept, developed by the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, is a good model to prepare units for the full spectrum environment. The model provides a systematic process of education and full spectrum training to lead units from notification to deployment and to ensure the Army provides the most current support available. It should be made part of the Army’s new training management doctrine, but it must remain flexible enough to be modified in light of future missions.

The demands of preparing for operations in Iraq have reduced the time available for training on the full range of individual and collective skills. Understandably, many Soldiers and units have not maintained their expertise in the collective tasks required by conventional operations. When the operational tempo for OIF (and OEF) slows down, the Army will have to restore its proficiency in the areas that have been neglected. Given its commitment to the concept of full spectrum operations, the Army must avoid becoming too heavily focused on one part of the spectrum of conflict, because the future tends to deal harshly with military forces whose expertise is one dimensional and backwards looking.

Chapter 14. Implications

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