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New Army Operations Manual Leverages ‘Soft Power’ Assets

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9, 2008 – The U.S. Army’s new “how-to” manual on stability operations is a unique document that embraces joint effort as a reflection of the realities of a 21st-century world, a senior U.S. military officer said yesterday.

Field Manual 3-07, titled, “Stability Operations,” was developed from 10 months of collaboration among Army planners, the Defense Department, the State Department and military allies, Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, commander of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, Kan., told reporters at the Foreign Press Center here.

The CAC at Leavenworth is the Army’s “brain trust,” where it educates and develops future military leaders and develops much of its operational doctrine.

“As we crafted this doctrine, we did so with great respect for the roles and missions of our respective organizations,” Caldwell explained. “It’s critical that we each preserve our proven core competencies, not only those of us in the military, but [also] those outside the military.”

Lessons learned from current overseas U.S. military operations played an important role in the development of the new field manual, the three-star general said.

“We set out to revise the Army’s stability operations doctrine, drawing on the experience of the practitioners that are out there in the field, doing it day-to-day today, in both Iraq and Afghanistan,” Caldwell said.

Today’s 21st-century, globalized world presents very different challenges than existed in the past, Caldwell said. The emergence of trans-national terrorism as a global threat, he said, highlighted the necessity for a different approach in conducting stability operations.

Fragile states susceptible to takeover or influence by global terrorists “pose the greatest threat to our national security,” Caldwell pointed out. Under this scenario, he said, regional conflicts could quickly flare into international crises.

“So, the more that we as a world, an international body, can collectively come together to find solutions for challenges that are out there, the better it will be,” Caldwell said.

In fact, foreign military officers from Turkey, Belgium, Germany, India, Pakistan, South Africa and other countries provided input and comments for the new manual, Caldwell said.

“If we’re going to win the peace, it requires stability operations to be understood, embraced and worked in a comprehensive manner that involves not just the United States military, but all of our friends, our allies,” he said.

Stability operations doctrine promulgated in the new field manual, Caldwell said, is based on five principles: building partner capacity; governance, or strengthening institutions of legitimate governments; establishing and maintaining the rule of law; fostering economic growth, and forging a strong sense of national unity.

“It is essentially chartering a path from violent conflict to stable, lasting peace by providing a road map to the future while studying critical waypoints for the conflicts of today,” Caldwell explained.

Military power alone cannot achieve successful stability operations in the 21st century, Caldwell said. It’s also necessary, he said, to incorporate “the soft power capabilities our military has in support of other instruments of national and international power – something very vital to an effective strategy at this very crucial time in our history.”

The human element, or how to provide societal, political and economic stability for populations affected by conflict, should be a primary focus factor during stability operations, Caldwell said. Elements of soft power, he said, include the diplomatic capabilities of the U.S. State Department, as well as the civil-economic expertise possessed by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Institute for Peace, and other U.S. and international agencies.

The new field manual “is a powerful force for change,” Caldwell said, that says military and non-military agencies must blend capabilities and share responsibility to effect successful stability operations.

“This manual calls together those experiences into a doctrine built on unity of effort, a comprehensive, collaborative and cooperative approach that forges a shared vision of a common goal,” Caldwell said.

Contact Author

Army Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV

Related Sites:
Field Manual 3-07
U.S. Army Combined Arms Center

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