WARRIOR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Soldiers from Bravo Company, 8th Brigade Engineer Battalion conduct a tactical road march during demolition training on July 9. The Army released an revised version of the Army Field Manual 3-0 Oct. 6, providing doctrine focused on large scale ground combat. The manual will help prepare the Army to transition from facing insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan to potential adversaries and nation-states like North Korea, Russia and China. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Patrick Eakin)

An increased emphasis on large-scale ground combat and a greater focus on cybersecurity during combat operations are among key changes in the Army’s updated Field Manual 3-0, Operations, released today.

America’s potential enemies now have capabilities greater than what Soldiers faced from insurgents in the Middle East. Threats from near-peer adversaries today include the infiltration of communication networks and cybersecurity compromise during combat.

“They have the ability to reach out and touch you — to interrupt your networks, to amass long-range artillery fires on your formations,” said Col. Rich Creed, director of the Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. “How to consider protection is different… (they) force you to dig in, or stay mobile and to consider air defense of your key assets … those are the kinds of challenges we’re talking about.”

The changes, directed by Gen. Mark Milley, the Army’s chief of staff, mark the first updates to the manual since 2011, when the Army moved from the AirLand Battle concept to unified land operations focusing on the joint force. To revise the guidance, the CADD worked closely since last fall with Lt. Gen. Michael Lundy at the Combined Arms Center and Gen. David Perkins at the Training and Doctrine Command.

The updates highlight a shift in readiness from counter-insurgency and stability operations to large-scale combat. Three chapters of the new manual will heavily focus on large unit tactics during large scale ground combat, addressing both the offense and the defense during operations. The emphasis on large-scale combat stems from the perception that conflict with a peer adversary is more likely now than any time since the end of the Cold War. Conflict with a nation state able to field modern capabilities approaching our own is quite different than facing insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, Creed said.

“Those adversaries have modernized,” Creed said. “They represent a type of capability that would be more challenging in many ways than what we’ve been doing. That type of warfare — large-scale ground combat — is a very different environment.”

Creed said CAC researchers examined which countries had the most dangerous conventional capabilities that were proliferated around the world so that doctrine could take a more threat-based approach to operations.

While the Army has focused resources on cybersecurity for years, Creed said the new manual will help account for cyberspace threats during combat and large-scale operations.

“There’s always been hackers,” Creed said. “We didn’t generally worry about that during military operations because the people that we were fighting couldn’t really do a whole lot to affect our operations. However (China, Russia, Iran and North Korea) are very active in cyberspace and have significant capabilities in cyberspace that extend into the military realm. So there’s no separation of cyberspace between civilian and military; you have to be aware of it all the time.”

Other areas addressed by the manual include consolidation after tactical victories, one of the Army’s strategic roles. Creed said after U.S. forces seized Baghdad during the Iraq invasion of 2003, after the quick strike, the enemy was allowed to extend the war.

“(We) gave the enemy the opportunity to reorganize and protract the conflict for a long time,” Creed said. “Because we didn’t account for the different possibilities that they could continue resistance … There’s a lot of other things you need to do after the initial battles to secure an area and make those gains enduring.”

Each of the manual’s chapters aligns with the Army’s strategic roles of shaping operational environments, preventing conflict, prevailing in large-scale ground combat, and consolidating gains.

The manual will also emphasize the roles of echelons above brigade. Creed said building around brigades won’t be enough in large-scale combat and that divisions, corps and theater armies take increased importance in large-scale operations. Finally, CAC made adjustments to the operational framework, the model commanders use to plan and conduct ground operations.

Creed said the revisions in the FM 3-0 will help deploying units continually prepare for future conflicts as the Army remains wary of threats from these nation states.

“We needed to make sure from a doctrine perspective that we had adequate doctrine to address those kinds of conflicts — the high-intensity type of conflicts,” Creed said. “If you are engaged in large-scale combat with a nation-state adversary with modern capabilities, you’ve got a different problem set to deal with. So that’s the underlying reason for what we’ve done.”

  • Jason Smith

    Trying to figure out the American mentality here. Half the nation is okay with a borderless nation. Half would have preferred rotten Hillary Clinton as president. How do you defend your nation with such a mentality? And, here they talk about how to defeat (presumably) China. China's military gets stronger each year; not just its quantity of advanced equipment, but its quality. And, you joke about quality; who has more high speed rail than the rest of the world? – China. The US? where is the US's public education system ranked? – like 20th in the world! – no exaggerations here…truth is what counts, not bias. So, what about those open borders? – Islamism, and the resettlement of thousands of Muslims…where they're not wanted, nor their ideology. Explain the logic of politicians doing this, for political gain? – there is none. It is the political-elite mindset; that my motives supersede yours…i.e. a Western politician's method of operation – is incompetence on a wide-scale. The American standard of living is dropping; due to this incompetence. And, it starts with the American culture; the mindset. The mindset includes this BLM – nonsense. And, protesting the American anthem, in America! – ignorant buffoons, to say the least. Perhaps they'd like it better in Africa?

    • Lee A. Paquet

      Yes. The ignorant buffoons are tools of the Progressives. Useful idiots who don't have a clue how much their nation is in peril from the inside. I am so glad I'm not 25 or 30 years old. I'm very afraid for my country when President Trump leaves office in 2025.

      • Snapdragon 9600

        Actually mate, I am very afraid of what Donny boy is doing in office now. What with not having a clue where his seventh fleet was initially during his destabilizing 'Twitter war' with Korean Leader Kim joon Un, even confusing his leadership with His father's! Throw in the ridiculous insults Donny boy has thrown at NATO allies, and praising both Vladimir Putin and Phillipine dictator Dutere. He needs to bite his tongue, get off Twitter for starters ,and hold security meetings as President where it should be, White house.Instead he misleads the public and sends mixed messages to his enemy's and allies alike buy doing Twitter,often contradicting his own original message, or advisors.

      • Snapdragon 9600

        Actually mate, I am very afraid of what Donny boy is doing in office now. What with not having a clue where his seventh fleet was initially during his destabilizing 'Twitter war' with Korean Leader Kim joon Un, even confusing his leadership with His father's! Throw in the ridiculous insults Donny boy has thrown at NATO allies, suggesting how foriegn govts should use thier Gdp on defence, talking isolationism,and praising both Vladimir Putin and Phillipine dictator Dutere.

        He needs to bite his tongue, get off Twitter for starters ,and hold security meetings as President where it should be, White house.Instead he misleads the public and sends mixed messages to his enemy's and allies alike buy doing Twitter,often contradicting his own original message, or advisors.USA really needs to prioritise its military spending too, why on earth allow such major blowouts like F35 to cost over half a trillion, to produce a plane that's still having issues, and can't even dogfight?

        Is USA afraid of competition so bad that it's willing to roll over and cripple the economy on white elephant purchases inferior and overtly expensive to what's out there? If ISIS is the main threat, why even need multi role stealth fighters?.they don't have an air force. USA needs to close some of its bases,800 plus is unsustainable, and recent personell fatigue on its warships, and resulting damage to ships going cheap on resuppling units ashore now is testament to that. Suicide rates too for soldiers returning from service too is alarming.

  • Jason Smith

    Trying to figure out the American mentality here. Half the nation is okay with a borderless nation. Half would have preferred rotten Hillary Clinton as president. How do you defend your nation with such a mentality? And, here they talk about how to defeat (presumably) China. China's military gets stronger each year; not just its quantity of advanced equipment, but its quality. And, you joke about quality; who has more high speed rail than the rest of the world? – China. The US? where is the US's public education system ranked? – like 20th in the world! – no exaggerations here…truth is what counts, not bias. So, what about those open borders? – Islamism, and the resettlement of thousands of Muslims…where they're not wanted, nor their ideology. Explain the logic of politicians doing this, for political gain? – there is none. It is the political-elite mindset; that my motives supersede yours…i.e. a Western politician's method of operation – is incompetence on a wide-scale. The American standard of living is dropping; due to this incompetence. And, it starts with the American culture; the mindset. The mindset includes this BLM – nonsense. And, protesting the American anthem, in America! – ignorant buffoons, to say the least. Perhaps they'd like it better in Africa?