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Stability Operations (FM 3-07)

What is it?
Army Field Manual (FM) 3-07, Stability Operations, is the implementing doctrine for how the Army will interact with populations during campaigns. FM 3-07 establishes how the Army conduct's stability operations before, during, and after combat operations, across the spectrum of conflict. In doing so, the manual emphasizes the military's support of the other instruments of national and international power; thus, this manual lays out a comprehensive approach to stability operations in a complex and uncertain future security environment .

Stability Operations is a crucial element of full spectrum operations, the Army's fundamental concept described in FM 3-0, Operations. FM 3-0 prescribes that the Army can combine offensive, defensive, and stability operations simultaneously within a Joint campaign.

What has the Army done?
With the publication of FM 3-07 in October 2008, the Army achieved an important milestone. The FM 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 the future.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
This manual addresses military stability operations in the broader context of U.S. reconstruction and stabilization efforts. It describes the role of military forces in supporting those broader efforts by harnessing both the coercive and constructive capabilities of the force to establish a safe and secure environment; facilitate reconciliation among local or regional adversaries; establish political, legal, social, and economic institutions; and help transition responsibility to a legitimate civil authority operating under the rule of law.

The Army recognizes that this requires interagency acceptance, and indeed, leadership. FM 3-07 is the departure point for the Army and other agencies to examine the nature of conflict from the perspective of forces on the ground. In turn, the manual will likely galvanize the other agencies to examine their roles in persistent conflict and serves as the catalyst for integration of interagency capabilities.

The manual also discusses how Army capabilities support a partner nation as part of peacetime military engagement. Those activities, executed in a relatively benign security environment under theater security cooperation plans, share many of the same broad goals as stability operations conducted in the aftermath of conflict or disaster. Aims include building partner capacity, strengthening legitimate governance, maintaining rule of law, fostering economic growth, and forging a sense of national unity. Peacetime military engagement remains vital for sustaining the long-term viability of host nations and multinational cooperation. Success in these endeavors typically requires a long-term commitment by external actors and ultimately the support and participation of the host-nation populace.

Why is this important to the Army?
Stability Operations presents a comprehensive approach that integrates the tools of statecraft with Army forces, international partners, humanitarian organizations, and the private sector. This transition is fundamental to the shift in focus toward long-term development activities where military forces support broader efforts in pursuit of national and international objectives.

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