Training for unified land operations 


Douglas Schaffer

Institute of Land Warfare

USA’s Institute of Land Warfare has released a new publication, "U.S. Army Training for Unified Land Operations" (Torchbearer National Security Report, September 2011), that discusses the Army’s ongoing efforts to train the force to prevail across the entire spectrum of possible conflict types.

The Army forms the backbone of a new, strategic triad of landpower, comprising the Army, Marine Corps and special operations forces, that will prosecute future conflicts.

Accordingly, the Army requires an operational concept that addresses not only the full spectrum of operations – offense, defense, stability operations and civil support – but also the conduct of those operations across the range of possible conflict types.

A new doctrine of "unified land operations" is evolving to guide the force as it executes full-spectrum operations and exercises its core competencies in support of the national mission.

For the past decade, the Army has been rightly focused on succeeding in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, a theater-specific training and equipping model has eroded U.S. strategic flexibility.

The Army is gradually returning to full-spectrum operations training; short dwell times, due to operational requirements, necessitate a methodical approach. A recent full-spectrum rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center and other home station events are laying a baseline standard for future training models.

Additionally, virtual training is proving an invaluable tool in full-spectrum training as force-wide resources become tighter. Further development of realistic and challenging training that not only prepares the force to prevail in any conflict or location, but also captures the attention of leaders and soldiers is a top priority.

The Army is taking the first steps to bring this training to the force and it needs proper support. An appropriate endstrength that will allow forces an adequate amount of dwell time between deployments and robust, predictable funding to complete modernization are requirements.

Properly resourced and executed training that restores operational and strategic flexibility to ensure continued U.S. dominance on any battlefield is not a choice—it is an imperative.

This and other ILW publications are available online at, calling (800) 336-4570, Ext. 630, or e-mailing