HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The Army's newest capstone doctrine on how it fights in the present will focus on large-scale land warfare, Combined Arms Center commander Lt. Gen. Michael Lundy told Defense News.
Lundy's organization, headquartered at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, is the proponent for modernizing the force and is tasked with reforming service doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership, personnel, facilities and policy.
He teased out some of the major elements of the field manual's organization in an interview at the Association of the U.S. Army's Global Force Symposium last week as the center prepares to publish the field manual this fall.
"What we’ve been doing for the past 14 to 15 years -- even though we’ve been executing Unified Land Warfare -- over that time we haven’t been doing large-scale land warfare, so that is a very different focus than what we have," Lundy said.
The Army’s last field manual was released in 2008. It was focused on "Full Spectrum Operations," which describes the Army having to not only focus on defeating enemies but, at the same time, shape the situation through operations that stabilize the contested area.
Potential adversaries are looking a lot more like peers with equal capabilities and the ability to deny and deter freedom of movement in various domains, which means the Army is going to have to change the way it has grown accustomed to fighting -- mainly counter-insurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"When you look at threats that are emerging around the world and the potential adversaries that are out there -- North Korea has a pretty aggressive posture, activities going on around Europe and the South China Sea -- peer and regional adversaries are certainly of concern," Lundy said.
So the field manual is laid out differently than the Army would normally lay out its doctrinal manuals that are focused, typically, on one specific area, according to Lundy.
The doctrine looks through the lens of the Army’s operating concept, released two years ago, and also through the developing concept of "multi-domain battle," Lundy said. The multi-domain battle concept defines how the service will operate in and influence all domains in conjunction with the other services.
Therefore the new field manual will describe four strategic activities the Army must carry out for operational success, looking across "the entire joint phasing construct," he said.
The manual will provide operational instruction on how to shape, prevent, win and consolidate gains to achieve sustainable outcomes, Lundy said. And these four phases of operation are not meant to be conducted in order, or even at different or separate times.
"Shaping happens throughout" an operation, Lundy explained. The Army would help in "shaping those day-to-day activities that we need to be doing today in the region," he added. And as the force is shaping an environment or a situation, the Army could be conducting operations to prevent something from happening. The winning phase is just a measure of success to be used along the way, whether the service is shaping, preventing or consolidating gains. Consolidating gains can also happen throughout a given operation, not only at the end, Lundy explained.
The manual will acknowledge there is a physical aspect to operations, but also a cognitive one, Lundy said, such as "how do you deal with the local populations."
The manual also approaches operations on a much broader, extended battlefield, Lundy said. While the Air-Land Battle concept from many years ago broaches operations on a wider battlefield, the new doctrine includes geographical elements, but also "the temporal aspects," he said. "It’s not just the time and relation to the enemy, but also it’s the time and relation to being able to get an effect" or a certain outcome.
This comes into play in terms of such activities as information operations. "You can’t really go, ‘Hey, on this day at noon, I want to have this effect.’ And it’s hard for people to perceive these longer horizons of how long it takes for an effect to be seen or to happen or to assess your effect," Lundy said.
There’s also a "virtual" aspect to the manual, "which really gets into the whole thought of cyber and there are multiple pieces of that," he noted.
The manual will be out "for world-wide staff" in April, according to Lundy. "We are pretty close to being complete with the foundational writing and we are doing a lot of editing and cleanup now, so it’s on track."