Yesterday, the Commandant of the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Lieutenant General William Caldwell appeared on the Daily Show with John Stewart to promote the new Army capstone doctrine, FM 3-0. The bottom line is (and I'm assuming this is the same as the Army Public Affairs theme), is that FM 3-0 places stability operations (nation building for you civilian types) on the same level/priority as our traditional major combat operations.
Now, why would a three star general go on the Daily Show to display yet another boring Army Field Manual? It's certainly not Salinger sequel to "Catcher in the Rye," and it is a Field Manual. Well, FM 3-0 is different. For the last half century, the mission of the Army was basically to fight and win the nations wars, with a very heavy emphasis on WAR. Full Spectrum Operations was the name of the game, big guns, big bombs, big tanks; everything else fell by the wayside. Let's face it, after Vietnam, the Army wanted nothing to do with nation building, police actions, winning hearts and minds, etc...
The Full Spectrum Operations doctrine was justified with the defeat of the Iraqi military in Operation Desert Storm. Their defeat was so sound that we decided that we had too much military and could afford to cut back. Well, consider FM 3-0, Operations, a shot over Congress' bow. The Army needs to get bigger, and one of the best ways to do that is to adopt a doctrine which the current force cannot support. Let's face it, there are not enough training days in the year for us to train to support a stability operation such as Operation Iraqi or Enduring Freedom while at the same time maintaining our proficiency for the steely eyed Full Spectrum Operations stuff.
Since many hip beltway types frequently watch the Daily Show, the Army is letting the world know that change is happening, in a cool if somewhat stiff sort of way. The bottom line is that with FM 3-0, we are taking the first step in applying dollars and resources to the operational requirement of the next twenty years.
My opinion, it's a change for the better. We always tried to fight and keep the peace, but we really only applied the big dollars to the fighting part. This way our politicians have to make a conscious effort to $upport the Army in both.
Sir, if you read this, and you might, I think you should have responded to John Stewart's 'boring book' comments with something like:
"John, it's a Field Manual, if you wanted exciting, go read a Marine Corps press release."