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Dynamic TTP For The Joint Force

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Army Maj. Gen. Michael Vane and Air Force Lt. Col. Paul Moscarelli

A Common Perspective
October 2003

Maj. Gen. Michael A. Vane is currently the commanding general of the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery Center and Commandant of the U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery School. Before starting that assignment, he served as deputy chief of staff for Doctrine, Concepts, and Strategy, at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. He has held a variety of command and staff positions overseas and in the continental United States. He is a 1975 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and holds a Master of Science in systems technology from the Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey, California. He is also a graduate of the Command General Staff College and the U.S. Army War College.

Lt Col Paul J. Moscarelli is currently a Joint Staff Officer at the Air Land Sea Application Center, Langley AFB, Virginia.  He holds a Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University where his dissertation focused on military transformation, and his concentrations were international security studies, negotiation and conflict resolution, international political economy, and international communications.  He also holds masters degrees in international affairs, political science, and business administration. He has logged 3100 hours in the B-52, and flew 27 combat missions during Operation Desert Storm. He is a graduate of United States Air Force Officer Training School, Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College and Air War College.

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Dynamic TTP For The Joint Force

Today's joint force confronts a complex, ever-changing environment. To enable the agility and speed required in today's battlespace, the doctrine community must adjust its products, organizations, and processes to maximize the support provided to the warfighter. This includes providing timely and accurate tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) publications.

Doctrine is divided into two categories-broad, fundamental principles and specific TTP. Fundamental principles have been, and continue to be effectively compiled in today's joint doctrine hierarchy. In the area of TTP however, there are shortfalls. The increased need to adapt rapidly to changing battlespace dynamics increases the need for TTP. Operations are becoming more joint in virtually every area-logistics, missile defense, single integrated air picture, combat identification, command and control, fires, deployment/redeployment, and anti-access/assured access to name a few. The joint environment creates a need to clarify tactical and operational linkages-this is the realm of joint and multi-Service TTP. Our TTP must become increasingly flexible and responsive as the joint force faces adaptive enemies that are unconstrained by doctrine and bureaucracy.

Effective TTP flows from four basic principles:

- Maximize responsiveness,

- Maximize openness,

- Seek authoritativeness, and

- Create and maintain supporting organizations/processes.

Responsiveness entails rapid development of TTP when a need is identified, and a capability to rapidly revise the material when conditions change. Current models are not responsive. For example, the commonly-used joint TTP (JTTP) development process is 21 months long if it encounters no delays. Even the seldom-used "fast track" process is 12 1/2 months long. Further, the revision cycle is advertised as five years, but the five-year mark is when revisions are started. The revised publication normally is approved about two years after the start for a total of approximately seven years to revise JTTP. The enemy may or may not give us time for these processes to run their course. Since warfighters need the best information that is available at any point in time, TTP development processes must adapt. Greater responsiveness is the first essential principle.

The second principle for maximizing the value of TTP is openness to ideas directly from the field. Openness and responsiveness are interconnected. Openness means allowing warfighters to identify needs directly to TTPproducing organizations. Current processes articulated in JP 1-01, Joint Doctrine Development System, are burdensome and time consuming and require that warfighters find a Service or other sponsor. Ideas must filter up through organizations and sponsorship provided by the Chiefs of the Services, combatant commanders, or Joint Staff directorates; and then be approved by the Joint Doctrine Working Party (JDWP). This process serves the purpose of providing a thorough justification, however it is time consuming and creates "bureaucratic barriers" that can filter out valid needs along with invalid ones.

The third principle for developing effective TTP is authoritativeness, meaning that subject matter experts generally agree that the publication contains the best available guidance, and the appropriate authority has ordered that the guidance be followed unless exceptional circumstances dictate otherwise. Authoritativeness can impede responsiveness-the two requirements must be balanced. Achieving authoritativeness takes time. Current processes require that JTTP publications be repeatedly staffed through numerous organizations to achieve authoritativeness, and contentious issues often arise to delay the process. JP 3-09.3 JTTP for Close Air Support (CAS), took over one year to proceed through final coordination, resolution of contentious issues, and approval; which delayed its implementation prior to Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Doctrine producing organizations must work toward authoritativeness for their TTP, but also must provide the warfighter all available non-authoritative information that might be of use as responsively as possible.

Finally, TTP development requires organizations and processes that provide responsiveness, openness, and authoritativeness. Currently, there are numerous organizations that produce different types of documents that might be described joint or multi-Service TTP. These publications are created out of necessity-a need is identified in the field and an organization moves to meet it. Organizations move forward with the best of intentions, to meet the need, but do so without common guidance. Some examples of these TTP types are depicted in Table 1.

Several problems result from this multitude of TTP producers, types, and processes. They include: lack of universal awareness of the publication, leading to a lack of uniform application, difficulty providing updates due to lack of resources or inadequacy of process, lack of authoritativeness, and general confusion created by multiple TTP and multiple processes. Clearly establishing TTP development and revision processes and identifying organizations that would carry them out should provide solutions for these problems.

Application of the four principles for maximizing TTP effectiveness for the joint warfighter will require three interrelated actions:

- Reduce the type of TTP publications and create a single, well-defined taxonomy of TTP publications;

- Identify requirements for organizations which will develop TTP publications; and

- Identify an optimum process for developing and revising TTP publications.

Reducing the number of TTP-type publications would allow development and application of a standardized process to their development and revision. For several reasons, the new taxonomy should be multi-Service rather than joint in nature. Services have a doctrine development framework in place, and have a proven capability to produce multi-Service publications expeditiously. Services are the nation's force providers, i.e., the organizations that train and equip forces. They have the resources available to meet the needs. The expeditious production of TTP would include input from the joint community via the staffing process. An effective multi-Service taxonomy should include three TTP types-multi-Service handbooks (MSH), multi-Service reference publications (MSRP), and multi-Service regulations (MSR); which would provide non-authoritative guidance, authoritative guidance, and directive guidance respectively.

While the notion of eliminating JTTP may raise some eyebrows, there is good reason to do so. Problems such as excessive detail in joint publications were anticipated by the writers of JP 1-01, which states "...joint doctrine and JTTP should not include detail that is more appropriate in Service doctrine, standing operating procedures, plans, and other publications." Although this statement leaves open the question of what is meant by "appropriate," we must conclude that the lowest level details, i.e., those directed at the "worker bee" level, must necessarily be excluded, simply because there are no lower levels. The joint doctrine development process was established to provide well thought out authoritative principles, not responsive, detailed guidance in direct response to warfighter needs. JTTP can and should be eliminated, as could many other TTP types.

Another required action is to identify the characteristics of TTP-developing organizations. The idea here is not to be extremely restrictive regarding who produces multi-Service TTP. The key element is that the organization has access to sufficient resources to execute the approved development and revision processes for all multi-Service TTP publications.

Finally and most importantly, an optimum process for developing and revising multi-Service TTP must be identified. As a minimum this process should include:

- Openness to ideas from the field. TTP-producing organizations should be free to accept ideas and go forward in verifying the need for the publication and meeting that need.

- Rapid response capability that can be adjusted based on the urgency of a particular need.

- Efficient and effective research procedures to determine that an actual need exists and find the best way of meeting it.

- Efficient and effective procedures for organizing and holding joint working groups to produce TTP publications.

- A procedure for designating initial drafts as "nonauthoritative," or "handbooks," making them available to users immediately, and alerting users to their existence.

- A procedure for working toward authoritativeness that prioritizes work toward perfection in substance, then in format, staffing through all available subject matter experts, and provision of ongoing updates of substantive issues to the field.

- A procedure for maintaining contact with the users of the publication to monitor for relevancy and completeness of the TTP.

There are two ways that the three interrelated actions described above might be implemented. The JDWP could undertake to change the system using a "bottom-up" approach, but a far more effective approach would be for a directive to be issued to the JDWP from the DOD/JCS level. This "top-down" approach would result in a more substantive change being implemented at a much faster rate. Once the directive is received, the JDWP would have to modify the upcoming CJCSI (formerly JP 1-01) on joint doctrine development to reflect the taxonomy, process, and organizational requirements described in the preceding paragraphs.

Adhering to the four principles for maximizing effectiveness of TTP for the joint warfighter and application of the three interrelated actions to implement those principles will allow us to meet the real needs of the users in a timely manner. This will increase the combat effectiveness of the joint force.

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