Army unveils new Stability Operations manual
October 6, 2008
The commanding general of the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command, Gen. William S. Wallace, unveiled new Army doctrine today, Oct. 6, at the annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army in Washington. The new stability operations manual, Field Manual 3-07, puts stability operations into doctrine after it was recently introduced in FM 3-0, Operations, where its importance was elevated to the same level as offensive and defensive operations.
"We recognize that in a contemporary operational environment in the 21st Century, conventional military operations, offensive and defensive, will be conducted simultaneously with stability operations," said Wallace. "Our hope is that FM 3-07 becomes a source document not just for the military and agencies within our government, but also non-governmental agencies with whom we routinely work."
Today, our nation faces an environment of persistent conflict and uncertainty. The character of this environment is unlike any other in recent American history, where military forces operating among the people of world decide the major battles and engagements. Here, the margin of victory is measured in far different terms from the wars of our past.
"America's future abroad is unlikely to resemble Afghanistan or Iraq, where we grapple with the burden of nation-building under fire," said Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, commanding general of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. "Instead, we will work through and with the community of nations to defeat insurgency, assist fragile states and provide vital humanitarian aid to the suffering. Achieving victory will assume new dimensions as we strengthen our ability to generate "soft" power to promote participation in government, spur economic development and address the root causes of conflict among the disenfranchised populations of the world. At the heart of this effort is a comprehensive approach to stability operations that integrates the tools of statecraft with our military forces, international partners, humanitarian organizations; and the private sector."
Given the complexities of the future operating environment, the Army must look at the different ways the elements of national power (military, economic, diplomatic and information) are employed. Military success alone will not be sufficient to prevail during a time of protracted confrontation among state, non-state, and individual actors fueled by expanding religious extremism, competition for energy, globalization outcomes, climate and demographic changes, and the increased use of violence to achieve political and ideological ends.
"Our objective when we go into a foreign country is to leave, but to leave with that country safe and secure," said Caldwell. "If we work to ensure stability has returned, it will allow their people to live their lives in an orderly manner, feeling safe and secure."
During stability operations, U.S. military forces will partner with different U.S. government agencies, non-governmental agencies and coalition partners to bring help return the quality of life to the people.
This doctrine will make stability operations a more conscious portion of that which a Soldier prepares for and executes in the future by institutionalizing the recognition that stability operations are part of operations, regardless of where the Army operates along the spectrum of conflict.
"We brought in representatives from many different agencies from within the government and outside the government," said Lt. Col. Steve Leonard, chief of CAC's, operational level doctrine directorate. "We invited all the different services and some of the think tanks to make sure we cast the widest net possible when putting this doctrine together. We brought them in before writing the doctrine and made sure that everyone was working toward a common goal."
The comprehensive approach to doctrine development is the key to stability operations, and with the different government agencies, our allies; and the non-governmental community involved in the writing of the doctrine, it will help shape the roadmap from conflict to peace.
"We have to understand how to balance our approach," said Leonard. "There needs to be balance between the political and military imperatives that drive our operations and humanitarian principles the guide the efforts of relief agencies. Ultimately, the people are the focus of stability operations. So while we work to establish good governance, economic recovery, security and rule of law, we also have to give those NGOs the space and freedom to be able to be independent of the military and transparent to the people they are helping so they can do their jobs."
"Stability operations is part of the entire military-planning process," said Caldwell. "Some people are talking about pre-emptive stability operations. They are doing that because we literally need to plan for and resource it before military operations begin."
This isn't something new to the Army or the U.S. military. Soldiers and leaders have been performing the five critical tasks of establishing civil security, establishing civil control, restoring essential services, supporting governance and supporting economic and infrastructure development around the globe for years. What's new is the focus that these tasks are addressed before, rather than after, conflict, and conducted within the context of peacetime.
"We intended for this manual to be able to be used by all the services, all the departments and agencies of government and all the NGOs who might be participating in a Stability Operation," said Leonard. "This manual can be a 'how to' guide for any service, any nation who might partner with the United States or any agency, governmental or non-governmental."
"Field Manual 3-07, Stability Operations, represents a milestone in Army doctrine," said Caldwell. "It is a roadmap from conflict to peace, a practical guidebook for adaptive, creative leadership at a critical time in our history. It institutionalizes the hard-won lessons of the past while charting a path for tomorrow. This manual postures our military forces for the challenges of an uncertain future, an era of persistent conflict where the unflagging bravery of our Soldiers will continue to carry the banner of freedom, hope and opportunity to the people of the world."
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By John Harlow/TRADOC News Service