By Ms. Melanie Marcec (TRADOC)March 4, 2019
The Combined Arms Center and the Mission Command Center of Excellence's Force Modernization Proponent Center announce the public release of Army doctrine for military deception titled, Field Manual 3-13.4, "Army Support to Military Deception."
Though "deception" is a long-established wartime strategy throughout history, the U.S. Army has consistently relied on military doctrine on the subject published at the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Department of Defense level.
The reason for the lack of service-specific doctrine on military deception has been that, traditionally, the tactics of military deception are classified and require high-level authority. In contrast, the nature of military doctrine is to empower the individual with a foundation of knowledge at lower echelons. It has been a challenge to overcome that disparity.
FMPC Director Col. Chris Reichart said, "While other publications occasionally gave mention of military deception, we still needed a means to have a far-reaching discussion on the 'how-to' at the tactical level."
In addition, doctrinal updates of Army capstone manuals tend to illuminate misalignment in lower-level doctrine. Recently published FM 3-0, "Operations," did just that by calling for the use of "tactical surprise."
FM 3-13.4 answers the call. "This manual," Reichart said, "is the first that contains the principles to plan and conduct military deception for the active Army."
At the outset, FM 3-13.4 alleviates any confusion for the reader regarding military deception. Chapter 1 divides the actions of deception into three categories -- military deception (MILDEC), tactical deception (TAC-D), and deception in support of operations security -- all under different authorities.
The emphasis of FM 3-13.4 is TAC-D.
In the simplest terms, Lt. Col. Bradley Loudon, chief, Leader Development & Education Division, FMPC, said, "The overall intent of the manual is to delineate what TAC-D IS from what it IS NOT."
Col. Matt Yandura, chief, Concepts, Requirements, Integration, Personnel, and Doctrine Division, FMPC, said that, without a doubt, "This publication is a precision tool, meant to give commanders, and staff planners options for favorably altering the battlefield calculus."
Reichart underscored that point and added, "Successfully planned deceptions give commanders the ability to act faster than the enemy can make decisions, creating positions of relative advantage."
FM 3-13.4 and other Army doctrine is located on the Army Publishing Directorate website (www.armypubs.army.mil).
For more on the subject of military deception, the Army University Press website (www.armyupress.army.mil) links to a variety of historical studies, to include a collection of essays titled, "Weaving the Tangled Web."