When it comes to combat development, Army leaders take a combined arms approach, focusing on all the elements needed for success on the battlefield.

FORT BENNING, Ga. (Jan. 31, 2013) -- Doctrine is the body of knowledge that forms the foundation for all Army operations. Combat developments are modernizations made at the formation level, from platoon to brigade, that make those operations effective and successful.

"Doctrine standardizes the fundamental principles, procedures, tactics, techniques, terms and symbols," said Col. David Beachman, chief of Doctrine and Collective Training Division on Fort Benning. "It's really an authoritative guide for leaders and Soldiers -- while allowing them the freedom to adapt to the circumstances. It tells leaders how to think, not what to think."

As part of the Doctrine 2015 project, Maneuver Center leaders are reviewing, revising and, where needed, developing doctrine that will reach units within three years.

"The Maneuver Center of Excellence is the proponent for 32 maneuver manuals from brigade combat team and below," Beachman said. "Out of those 32 manuals, five of them are field manuals and 27 of them are Army techniques publications. We need to take a critical look at ourselves as an Army, as an organization, and we need to capture those lessons learned and best practices garnered from the past 12 years of continuous fighting and inculcate them into our doctrinal manuals to ensure our manuals retain relevancy.

"Building enduring partners and operating in an environment of collaboration and integration are essential elements to our doctrine development process. The MCoE is committed to maturing and formalizing relationships with existing partners as well as, developing new partnerships, thus expanding the pool of critical stakeholders (e.g., operational forces, combat training centers, joint forces, government and non-government agencies, and our multi-national partners)."

Other centers of excellence also have a vested interest in the doctrine being written here, he said.

"It's about combined arms fighting," Beachman said. "From engineers to aviation to fires to intelligence assets -- all this is part of that combined arms fight. So we have to make sure as we write our doctrine for brigade combat teams and below, that our language, the terms we're using, the principles, tactics, and techniques reflect fighting as a combined arms team. It's about overmatch, and it takes the combined arms team to make that happen."

Combat development
Combat development is doctrine in action. The effort is aimed at improving the combat effectiveness of the maneuver force through integrated doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel and facilities, a series of categories called DOTMLPF for short.
Don Sando, director of Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate, said the MCoE is working a number of areas of combat development, such as redesigning brigade combat teams for the year 2020, developing a new individual carbine and creating an updated camouflage pattern for equipment.

"We're (also) working with a new ground combat vehicle, which will be the centerpiece for our armored brigade combat teams for generations to come," he said.

Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Carabello, the Maneuver Center command sergeant major, said the combat developments in the works on Fort Benning are truly "tremendous."

He cited the Nett Warrior System, which will "provide our Soldiers with the ability to be connected into our commanders and their units on the battlefield," he said. "It's going to give everyone a common operating picture of what's going on on the battlefield. Situational awareness is the most critical aspect you can have wherever you're fighting. This will ensure our commanders and our leaders and all of our Soldiers have more situational awareness of what's going on."

When it comes to combat development, Army leaders take a combined arms approach, focusing on all the elements needed for success on the battlefield. Carabello calls it a combined arms strategy.

"Combining our mobile protective fire platforms with our Infantry and using those smartly, educating our leaders in the fundamentals on how to apply those systems to complement each other -- it's a strategy that's just going to make us a better Army," he said.

That combination happens not only during deployment, but also during training.

Examples include officer candidates leading one-station unit training and Soldiers and Maneuver Captains Career Course students training alongside future platoon leaders in Armor Basic Officer Leader and Infantry Basic Officer Leader courses.

"Today, you have Infantry lieutenants who are combining mobile protective firepower platforms with our Armor officers during our field training exercises and using the combined arms strategy in the best manner possible," Carabello said.

Ultimately, Carabello said he is proud of everyone on Fort Benning -- including Soldiers and the Families who support them -- for their part in bettering the MCoE.

"There's a lot of professional momentum that's here on the installation," he said, "and nothing could happen without that group of cadre and that group of Soldiers who are working hard each and every day. I'm pretty confident were heading the right direction."

Editor's note: The next article in this biweekly series will be on leader development and will publish Feb. 13.

Page last updated Fri February 1st, 2013 at 12:01