TRAINING: Army Field Manuals Being Condensed

October 7, 2011 at 6:03 pm 1 comment

A Virtual “Cliff’s Notes” for Soldiers

The U.S. Army is cutting back on Field Manuals – not to save money but to save time and give soldiers easier access to the latest lessons learned in the field.

Instead of the more than 300 manuals now in use, the Army plans to boil down that collective knowledge to just 15 documents known as Army Document Publications (ADP). The 10-page ADPs will reduce the basic concepts of the field manuals to usable information available both in print and on-line.

The idea is to streamline the information soldiers need in the field and also to make that information more accessible. In addition to paper copies, the information will be available in a variety of electronic media including DVDs, podcasts and mobile phone apps. “It condenses down a mass of information,” says Lt. Col. Jeff Allen, public affairs officer of the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. “We’ve taken the big ideas from the FMs [field manuals] and put them into the ADPs,” he added.

The Combined Arms Center, a unit of Army Training and Doctrine Command, is responsible for leadership and doctrine development as well as training and education. Known as the “Intellectual Center of the Army,” it includes the Command and General Staff College as well as training centers and schools at posts and bases across the U.S.

TRADOC plans to roll out the first condensed manual — Unified Land Operations 3-0 – on Monday, the opening day of the three-day Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) annual conference in Washington, D.C. The 10-page paperback ADP will provide soldiers with fundamental principles. More detailed information will be provided by Army Doctrine Reference Publications (ADRP).

Field manuals will continue to “provide more detailed information about the specific tactics and procedures that support the ADPs and are talked about in the ADRPs,” Allen said. The Army also plans to cut the number of field manuals to 50 by 2015.

Topics to be covered by the 15 ADPs include: intelligence, sustainment, offensive and defensive operations, mission command and civil support operations.

Allen said there were two reasons the Army was pursuing the change in doctrine dissemination. “One is just to reduce the mass of doctrinal publications that are out there,” he said adding “it’s also an attempt to make our doctrine just as flexible and fluid as the soldiers who use it.”

Through a secure milWiki created in 2009, soldiers can share their field experience. “We’re able to get those lessons learned from soldiers overseas in real time, quickly vet it and get it into the system for application across the Army,” Allen said.


Entry filed under: Counter Insurgency, Lessons Learned, National Security and Defense, Skills and Training. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Soldier_Cynic  |  October 10, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    What next? A return to the “How to Fight” comic book field manuals?


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