New Army Doctrine on Stability Operations

10.06.08 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

An Army field manual (large pdf) published today updates military policy on “stability operations,” referring to the use of military and other instruments of national power “to maintain or reestablish a safe and secure environment, provide essential governmental services, emergency infrastructure reconstruction, and humanitarian relief.”

The new manual “represents a milestone in Army doctrine,” grandly writes Lt. General William B. Caldwell IV. “It is a roadmap from conflict to peace, a practical guidebook for adaptive, creative leadership at a critical time in our history.”

“The manual captures the key lessons of our past, including the hard-won experiences gained through seven years of conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq,” according to a blogger from the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center.

“But this doctrine looks beyond the here and now to address a likely future where threats to our national security emerge from regional conflicts arising from increased competition for scarce natural resources, teeming urban populations with rising popular expectations, unrestrained technological diffusion, and a global economy struggling to overcome the strain of the American financial crisis, meet mounting demands from emerging markets, and extend foreign development aid into third world countries.”

See Stability Operations, U.S. Army Field Manual 3-07, October 6, 2008. The new manual was previewed in the Washington Post on October 5.