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New Army Operating Concept is a ‘shift in emphasis’

Thursday, December 04, 2014

The Army Operating Concept, published Oct. 7, expands the idea of joint combined-arms operations to include intergovernmental and special operations capabilities, said Lt. Gen. Herbert R. McMaster Jr.

The new concept includes prevention and shaping operations at the strategic level across domains that include maritime, air, space and cyberspace, he said.

It’s a "shift in emphasis," said McMaster, deputy commanding general of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command for Futures and director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center.

He spoke at a "Warrior’s Corner" presentation during the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition.

The Army Operating Concept – TRADOC Pamphlet 525-3-1, titled "Win in a Complex World" – suggests how commanders in the future could combine war-fighting functions such as maneuver, fires, sustainment and intelligence.

It introduces two new Army tenets to do this: simultaneity and endurance.

Simultaneity means the Army must operate across multiple domains at the same time, including cyberspace, McMaster said.

Endurance is seen as a particular Army strength, he said. "The Army gives the joint force endurance."

This includes resilience to cope with adversity and losses; it means having the staying power to hold for the duration.

The new Army Operating Concept is an "evolution" of joint combined-arms operation, McMaster said.

The new doctrine is also compatible with Army Doctrine Publication 3-0, "Unified Land Operations," published in October 2011, to update Field Manual 3-0.

"In each of these categories, you can cross-walk with (Field Manual) 3-0 and you’ll see complete compatibility," he said. The new concept simply expands ideas outlined in the Army Doctrine Publication.

It builds on lessons learned over 13 years of conflict, McMaster said.

It institutionalizes the need to be familiar with "cultural complexities" of the operating environment.

It articulates the need for flexibility to operate in an uncertain environment. And it includes hard-learned lessons of asymmetric warfare.

Special Operations is added as an Army core competency.

The Army needs dynamic combinations of special operations and conventional forces to be able to accomplish its missions, McMaster said. "And we have to be able to task organize on the fly in order to be able to do that."

The Army Operating Concept expands the Army’s idea of combined-arms operations, he said, to include the "broad range of activities that are necessary."

It expands the idea of combined arms to include not just Army capabilities, but joint, inter-organizational and multi-national capabilities.

He explained that "inter-organizational" is another word for "civilian" capabilities and the Army must be able to work alongside other government and non-governmental agencies.

In the past, the Army "deliberately divorced" operations and tactics from strategy, McMaster said. "We can’t afford to do that anymore," he emphasized.

The Army must be able to work with all platforms of national power to shape the environment in order to reach the desired end state.

America’s overmatch and technical advantages are increasingly challenged in today’s world, McMaster said.

Potential enemies are emulating U.S. capabilities and adopting technology.

"We don’t want a fair fight," he said, adding this is where help is needed from industry.