By Jim Hughes, Command Information OfficerSeptember 13, 2012
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (September 13, 2012) -- Fewer, faster, shorter, clearer and more accessible.
While most people associated with the Army wouldn't associate those terms with the service's doctrine publications, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command is looking to change that with its Doctrine 2015 program, according to James F. Benn, deputy director of the Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Benn visited Fort Rucker Sept. 10 to brief more than 200 U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence staff and faculty on Doctrine 2015, how it will affect and help them, and the schedule for the changes.
He said the idea to overhaul the Army's doctrine originated during a conversation between Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, now Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen, former commander of the Combined Arms Center, when Dempsey pointed out one of the books contained 200 pages.
"He said, 'People don't learn by reading a 200-page book,' and then he gave some guidance," Benn said. "The guidance we received was to put it in a format people are comfortable with and that the attributes of Army doctrine should be fewer, faster, shorter, clearer and more accessible.
"We were asked to design a program that cut down on the number of publications, make them much shorter, develop them faster, write in a language young people can adapt to and leverage existing technology that young people use," he added. "And Doctrine 2015 was launched."
According to the website for Doctrine 2015, it "is transforming the Army's doctrinal base to deliver doctrine -- clear, concise, current and accessible -- to the point of need. This process accelerates the implementation of new doctrine across the force by providing the Army with a completely revised structure of manuals.
"Doctrine 2015 captures the essential lessons learned from 10-plus years of persistent conflict. It leverages a broader range of available collaborative technologies, including wiki, interactive media instruction, video books, blogs and social media. Most importantly, it makes doctrine more accessible to Soldiers whether they are in a learning, training or operational environment.
The site also includes a quote that summarizes the goal of the program.
"Our force has been operating at the speed of war for a decade -- it's time our doctrine caught up," said Lt. Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center, in the March issue of "ARMY Magazine."
Benn explained that Doctrine 2015 organizes publications into five categories:
Army Doctrine Publications, which address fundamental principles, are limited in size to about 10 pages and are approved by the Army chief of staff;
Army Doctrine Reference Publications, which provide detailed explanation of all doctrinal principles to provide the foundational understanding so everyone in the Army can interpret them the same way, are limited to less than 100 pages and are approved by the CAC commanding general;
Field Manuals, which lay out tactics and procedures, limited to 200 pages, describe how the Army executes operations described in the ADP and are approved by the CAC CG as the TRADOC proponent for Army doctrine;
Army Techniques Publications, which include non-prescriptive ways or methods used to perform missions, functions or tasks. There is no size limit or limits on how many separate documents there will be and the approval authority will be the proponent. Also, the techniques pubs will have wiki versions behind MilSuite where individual Soldiers can suggest changes online, subject to approval by the proponents; and
Applications, which will consist of interactive media, podcasts and mobile apps. The idea is that any content of the ADPs, ADRPs, FMs and ATPs can be converted into apps.
Benn added that not all the work is done. The ADPs are available at http://armypubs.army.mil, and also http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/MCCOE/Doctrine2015Tables.asp, where further explanation on Doctrine 2015 is available.
He said that all 50 FMs (there used to be about 600 of them) are scheduled to be complete by Dec. 31, 2013, and all remaining knowledge transitioned to Army Techniques Publications with draft versions on a milwiki site by Dec. 31, 2015.
The Aviation FM, 3-04, is at Fort Rucker going through the approval process, said Lt. Col. Charles R. Bowery Jr., chief of the Doctrine Division for the USAACE Directorate of Training and Doctrine.
"We're taking the material out of a number of older FMs and combining them into the new FM 3-04, and adding emerging capabilities such as unmanned aircraft systems, so it is a fairly significant change. We expect to complete worldwide staffing of the new FM in February 2013," Bowery said, adding that Benn's visit showcases the great level of synergy between CAC and USAACE. "It ensures that our staff and faculty are using Army doctrine in the correct ways and teaching the right concepts in our courses."
As for the more accessible part, Benn said a lot of the feedback he'd received was from people who occasionally had either no access to the Internet or to Army Knowledge Online. He said the plan is to create DVDs that contain all the documents, along with charts that make finding topics more user friendly, that are pushed to the field every six months -- ensuring people have the most updated versions.
He added that there is debate about whether printed materials are still needed, and found at Fort Rucker much the same the CAC finds elsewhere -- feelings are mixed. Some in the crowd felt printed materials were still needed, while others were happy with just the digital material. But with budgets shrinking, Benn was not confident printing funds would remain available.
While numerous changes are included in the various doctrine products, Benn said that 75 percent of the information is the same, "it is just in different places."
Bowery feels the changes are a good thing.
"With Doctrine 2015, the Army will have a doctrinal base that is revised to capture current operations, is more relevant and more easily accessible than ever before," he said. "New doctrine will capture best practices in the operating force via the milwiki interface, which will allow the end user to quickly suggest modifications to doctrine."