May 2017 Online Exclusive Article

The Myopic Muddle of the Army’s Operations Doctrine

Maj. Daniel J. Kull, U.S. Army

Article published on: May 24, 2017

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Green 1 Security Force Advisory Team

Last Veterans Day, the Army published its updated edition of its operations doctrine, Army Doctrine Publication (ADP) 3-0, Operations, as well as its companion reference guide, Army Doctrine Reference Publication (ADRP) 3-0, Operations.1 Along with ADP 1, The Army, these manuals are the Army’s capstone doctrine and represent the insights of fifteen years of hard-earned experience in the crucibles of Iraq and Afghanistan. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see our mistakes of the past, and these manuals attempt to correct them.

But, this is the only good that comes out of an otherwise disappointing effort to revise and update doctrine. The new doctrine is unimaginative, inconsistent, and foresees an enemy whose principle activity is to stand still while we smite him. Even if the substance of the doctrine was good, it would be inaccessible to its readers due to its ineffective writing style that impedes understanding. An ill-conceived capstone doctrine will have a profound, negative impact on the Army’s readiness due to its influence on the rest of doctrine, and so there is an urgent need for the Army to rescind these editions of ADP and ADRP 3-0, and reinitiate the doctrine process before we fight the next war.

Fortunately, Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) already has a useful process and set of rules for developing doctrine, so undertaking a revision of capstone doctrine is not as daunting as it seems. Doctrine writers merely need to reexamine this manual with a critical eye and then rewrite it with strict adherence to the requirements of TRADOC Regulation (TR) 25-36, The TRADOC Doctrine Publication Program.2 Indeed, reports have surfaced that the Army is drafting a new Field Manual 3-0, to be published this October.3 While these early reports are unclear as to whether this will complement ADP and ADRP 3-0, or replace them altogether, it is a promising step in the right direction.

Until then, our extant doctrine is ADRP 3-0, which contains the logical underpinnings of the summarized conclusions in the abridged ADP 3-0 and is the focus of this essay. It represents a doctrine that purports to look to the future but is too heavily influenced by recent operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, refuses to jettison the lexicon of a linear battlefield, cannot fathom an enemy that may be our military peer, cannot convey a clear idea of multidomain battle, and fails to present a vision for how we will fight and win the next war.4

Preparing for the Last War Instead of the Next War?

There is no way for us to know how the next war will unfold, but it is no more likely to resemble our recent and ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan than any other operation along the continuum of conflict. Yet, throughout the text of ADRP 3-0, we find references to ideas that reflect what we did in Iraq and Afghanistan for the last fifteen years. While some or all of these ideas may emerge again in the next war, their canonical inclusion in capstone doctrine betrays a backward-looking mindset.

For example, will the next war require us to partner with local security forces? Doctrine suggests so; it tells us, for example, that “Soldiers interacting with partner units and local security forces garner trust when they engage these forces with respect and cultural understanding.”5 This statement is incontrovertibly true—so much so that it is a platitude. But partnering with and training local security forces is an artifice of nation-building—if we invade a country and change the regime, we have a responsibility of ensuring their local security, which we can do when conditions allow. However, if we are defending an ally from foreign aggression, or liberating an ally from the same, we are probably not too consumed with training a police force inside our ally’s borders—we have a much more dangerous external threat, and the population we are defending or liberating is presumably friendlier and more capable of governance than if we were occupying a prostrate, hostile country.

Will the next war include an organized enemy that we can engage decisively, or will it be another lengthy nation-building exercise? ADRP 3-0, in the first paragraph of a section titled “Army Forces—Expeditionary Capability and Campaign Quality,” declares that when “objectives involve controlling populations or dominating terrain, campaign success usually requires employing landpower for protracted periods.”6 Forget for a moment the conceit that we can “control” populations; the worrisome problem with this sentence is that it pessimistically resigns us to protracted, attritional campaigns. Can we imagine a method to control populations or dominate terrain (or achieve the ends that those ways seek) without protracted, attritional campaigns?

ADRP 3-0 dedicates a section to the topic of “basing.”7 It is an informative and logical discussion of the characteristics and purposes of bases and base camps. But why does it belong in the capstone doctrine for how the Army fights? Are we assuming that static basing is a necessary component of campaigns in the next war? Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley has already warned us that “the days of Victory Base, the days of Bagram or other static locations for comfort or command and control will not exist on a future battlefield against a high-end threat.”8 For good reason—the enemy will swiftly destroy them. If base camps are only survivable if we are facing a low-end threat, perhaps the Army’s capstone doctrine should not assume that the next war will include base camps.

After fifteen years of nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan, Army doctrine now includes stability tasks as an enduring component of decisive action: “a higher echelon, such as a division, always performs offensive, defensive, and stability tasks simultaneously in some form [emphasis added].”9 And it makes sense that a division always has some element conducting a stability task in a nation-building operation. But what if the operation was not a nation-building operation? Suppose it was an archipelagic defense. Why is the division wasting time conducting stability operations (which this manual says it must always do) when it should be digging fighting positions and emplacing obstacles? Or, suppose the operation was the liberation of a NATO ally from foreign aggression. Should the combat trains be pushing forward ammunition for our warfighters or vaccines for the livestock of the civilians they are trying to liberate? Common sense suggests that we can engage in stability tasks when conditions allow and the operational objectives require, such as they did in Iraq and Afghanistan. But ADRP 3-0 does not allow us to use common sense. It says we always conduct stability operations.

The Obsolete Lexicon of a Linear Battlefield

The introduction to ADRP 3-0 refers to AirLand Battle and Full Spectrum Operations—two previous operational concepts that successfully advanced the Army’s way of war. AirLand Battle, in particular, represented a watershed moment for the Army in that it not only changed the way we fought, but it also changed the way we expressed ideas about fighting. It introduced into our lexicon new words and phrases, many of which persist today. But not all of the words in our professional vocabulary today are still relevant, and unfortunately, ADRP 3-0 chose not to proscribe some of these words and ideas.

Lines of Operation and Lines of Effort. These Jominian constructs may still have some utility as a planning tool, as they allow commanders to outline to their staff and subordinates their vision for getting from the base of operations to the objective. But they are mental traps due to the linearity they assume. AirLand Battle recognized that “while lines of operation are important considerations in the design of campaigns and major operations, their importance should not be overdrawn. … The operational commander should choose his line of operation carefully, but he must not hesitate to alter it when presented with an unanticipated opportunity.”10 AirLand Battle wisely kept the discussion of lines of operation out of the body of the text and instead relegated it to an appendix.

Interior and Exterior Lines. ADRP 3-0 includes the idea of interior and exterior lines—another nineteenth-century relic—but does not demonstrate why or how they are relevant on a modern battlefield.11 The idea that a force can enjoy the benefits of either interior or exterior lines on a nonlinear battlefield is increasingly difficult to defend. But if it is still a relevant idea, then it is incumbent upon ADRP 3-0 to show how it matters and how commanders can use them to their advantage. As it is, ADRP 3-0 defines these phrases and then abandons them.

Deep/Close/Support Areas. These ideas came from AirLand Battle (where “support” was originally termed “rear,” and they were “operations” not “areas”).12 In the AirLand Battle formulation of campaigns, the enemy before us would attack linearly in a more or less ceaseless river of combat power, and victory in the close area depended upon interdicting the enemy in the deep area, while we strove to keep the enemy from breaking through into our rear area. It was very neat and linear, and the genius of AirLand Battle was that it outflanked the linearity of the battlefield by hitting the enemy from an unexpected direction and follow-on forces attacked deep into the enemy’s rear.

Today, however, nonlinearity has become the standard of warfare everywhere, whether it is through insurgency or major combat operations. The enemy will endeavor to appear unexpectedly in our support area just as we seek to strike him in his rear. It behooves us to embrace this nonlinearity and become comfortable with it. So what is the point of continuing to use the mental constructs of deep, close, and support areas? We are no longer glaring across the Iron Curtain at Warsaw Pact forces. The modern enemy will not respect the linear divisions of “deep, close, and support areas” of the battlefield.

Levels of War as Echelons or Units of Measurement. AirLand Battle codified the levels of war—strategic was the employment of armed forces to secure the objectives of national policy, tactical included the actions units used to win battles and engagements, and operational connected the two through the employment of available military resources to attain strategic goals within a theater of war.13 The levels of war do not imply echelons, nor do they imply a unit of measurement. But, ADRP 3-0 debases the utility of the idea of levels of war by employing them as an echelon of command (“tactical commanders … execute operations and accomplish missions assigned by superior tactical- and operational-level commanders”) and by measuring distances with them (“strategic reach,” “operational and strategic distances”).14 This demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of what the levels of war mean and why we use them.

But, if our professional language has evolved to allow the levels of war to measure distances or echelons, then our capstone doctrine must standardize understanding across the profession of arms. How far is an operational distance versus a strategic distance? What echelons are tactical, and what are operational?

The Enemy Demands Respect

ADRP 3-0 does not respect our potential enemies and underestimates the threats we are likely to face in the next war. The enemy will teach us some humility very quickly if we march into battle thinking that we are facing the dimwitted, cowardly punching bags that ADRP 3-0 makes them out to be.

What is our theory of victory? ADRP 3-0 says,

Army forces seize, retain, and exploit the initiative by forcing the enemy to respond to friendly action. By presenting the enemy multiple dilemmas, commanders force the enemy to react continuously until the enemy is finally driven into untenable positions. Seizing the initiative pressures enemy commanders into abandoning their preferred options and making costly mistakes.15

This is a roadmap to success against a feeble or outnumbered enemy. But what happens if the enemy has the same military capability as our own? What if the enemy seizes the initiative? After all, the enemy is probably operating in his own backyard, while we have to project power to get to the fight. What if the enemy presents us with multiple dilemmas and forces us to dance to his tune, instead of him to ours? ADRP 3-0 also claims that “Army forces present the enemy with multiple dilemmas because they possess the simultaneity to overwhelm the enemy physically and psychologically [and] the depth to prevent enemy forces from recovering. … [T]hese operations place critical enemy functions at risk and deny the enemy the ability to synchronize or generate combat power.”16 But if we are facing a peer enemy, we cannot assume that we possess sufficient forces to present simultaneous dilemmas. The enemy may outnumber us, both in raw numbers and in capabilities. The enemy’s depth may exceed our operational reach, allowing them an opportunity to recover and regenerate combat power. Doctrine offers no prescription for when we face an enemy that is not a pushover.

Doctrine also does not have a solution for the problem that anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capabilities pose: “The capability to project power across operational distances allows forces to present the enemy with multiple dilemmas as forces with mobility, protection, and lethality arrive at unexpected locations, bypassing enemy anti-access and aerial [sic] denial systems and strong points.”17 ADRP 3-0 has fancifully assumed away the problem it seeks to solve. Enemy A2/AD systems are the very impediments to power projection. This is the flummoxing paradox that multi-domain battle is supposed to address—that we need land power to counter A2/AD, but we cannot project land power into theater until we counter A2/AD. So how does ADRP 3-0 envision defeating enemy A2/AD? Through power projection, which magically bypasses the systems that threaten power projection. Do enemy S-400 missiles bounce off of our C-17s? Do our sealift vessels repel enemy antiship cruise missiles?

ADRP 3-0 extols forcible entry operations as a means of overwhelming an enemy: “Forcible entry operations can create multiple dilemmas by creating threats that exceed the enemy’s capability to respond.”18 History indicates that this is a dubious assertion. Forcible entry operations imperil the invader, as it forces the invader to scrabble for lodgment in a disadvantageous environment against an enemy that enjoys the benefits of prepared defenses. The invader must violently project and sustain power, and the risk of failure is high, as invaders learned at Gallipoli, Anzio, Arnhem, and other infamous battles.

Doctrine also assumes that we will win the reconnaissance/counterreconnaissance fight: “With knowledge of how the enemy is arrayed, Army forces achieve surprise through maneuver across vast distances and arrival at unexpected locations.”19 If we achieved the unattainable ideal of “full knowledge,” we could always achieve surprise. But a peer enemy will fight the counterreconnaissance battle to prevent us from gaining any knowledge of how it is arrayed. And what if a peer enemy gains more knowledge about how we are arrayed than we gain about how it is arrayed? The enemy is just as likely to maneuver across vast distances and arrive in our rear, as we are to arrive in the enemy’s. In fact, the enemy may be more likely to maneuver against us than we are against it, especially if the enemy enjoys the protection of A2/AD systems.

So what should we do if we encounter unfavorable battlefield conditions or an enemy that can outmatch us locally? Logic suggests that we would retreat: “A retrograde operation is a maneuver to the rear or away from the enemy … to gain time, to preserve forces, to avoid combat under undesirable conditions, or to maneuver the enemy into an unfavorable position.”20 This sentence is part of an informative chapter titled “Retrograde Operations.” Unfortunately, this chapter resides in the 1993 version of Field Manual (FM) 100-5, the last operations manual to describe retrograde operations in great detail. The current version of ADRP 3-0 continues the dubious tradition, started in the 2008 revision of FM 3-0, of pretending that the Army does not need to know how to retreat. Retrograde operations receive one mention—in a table listing defensive tasks—with no description of how or why to conduct them.21 If we do not know how or why to conduct retrograde operations, what happens when we face unfavorable battlefield conditions?

Failure to Explain Multi-Domain Battle

We are on the cusp of a change in warfare and the timely appearance of new editions of ADP and ADRP 3-0 could have been the voice of authority to explain how we will fight in this new epoch. Milley sketched out a vision for a solution, which he called multi-domain battle, that saw the Army “maneuver in all of the domains to gain temporal advantage [to] enable the joint force freedom of action to seize the initiative. … [L]and-based forces now are going to have to penetrate denied areas in order to facilitate air and naval forces.”22 While it is clear that Milley foresees this radical shift in the character of war that requires a change in the way we fight, ADRP 3-0 does not describe how the Army implements multi-domain battle in operations and instead describes multi-domain battle as essentially a new phrase for what we have always done.

Consider, for example, this boilerplate language: “Just as the enemy will attempt to present multiple dilemmas to land forces from the other domains, Army commanders must seize opportunities across multiple domains to enable their own land operations.”23 Of course we must seize opportunities. But how? And does joint integration play a role (as the manual states later), or do Army commanders simply seize the opportunity? The manual does not explain. It offers lofty goals, such as, “Army forces conduct multi-domain battle … to seize, retain, and exploit control over enemy forces. Army forces deter adversaries, restrict enemy freedom of action, and ensure freedom of maneuver and action in multiple domains for the joint commander.”24 But it does not offer guidance on how we achieve these goals.

The clearest sign that our new capstone doctrine is putting old wine in a new bottle is the statement, “Commanders extend the depth of operations through joint integration and multi-domain battle.”25 This exact same sentence appeared in the 2012 version of ADRP 3-0, but without the reference to multi-domain battle.26 Ergo, nothing has changed, but we have added the window dressing of “multi-domain battle.”

No Vision for How to Fight

Ultimately, ADP and ADRP 3-0 are not useful additions to the pantheon of operational concepts because they do not envision and describe a way for the Army to fight the next war. Past operational concepts, such as the 1976 “Active Defense” version (“win the first battle of the next war”) and the 1982 AirLand Battle version (“powerful initial blows from unexpected directions and then following up rapidly to prevent [the enemy’s] recovery”) of FM 100-5 foresaw a new way of war and described a vision that guided the Army without being prescriptive.27 The latest edition of ADRP 3-0 offers no new vision for conducting operations; indeed, in what appears to be an effort to avoid prescription, it offers no vision whatsoever and instead provides a menu of considerations for commanders.

Muddled Writing Style

Any doctrinal publication, good or bad, is ineffective if it cannot convey its message to its audience. ADRP 3-0 is accessible only to those readers fluent in TRADOC’s esoteric language. This language includes passive-voice sentences, tortuous sentence construction, lack of transitions among ideas, tautologies, hyperbole, contradictions, an Orwellian redefinition of words, and unnecessarily dense, pseudointellectual prose. TR 25-36, which governs doctrine production, already contains a robust list of requirements for writing quality, such as concision, consistency, and “written at a reading grade level appropriate for the user.”28 As the examples below demonstrate, ADRP 3-0 contravenes TRADOC requirements for writing quality; with a little critical analysis and attention to detail, TRADOC can easily fix these shortcomings.

Low Readability. The first thing that an aspiring reader of ADRP 3-0 will notice is its incomprehensibility. ADRP 3-0 scores twenty-one on the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease scale, making it about twice as unreadable as War and Peace.29 This is not because ADRP 3-0 is enlightened; instead, it takes prosaic ideas and dresses them in the multisyllabic finery of sophistication. Consider this passage on operational environments: “An operational environment for any specific operation is not just isolated conditions of interacting variables that exist within a specific area of operations. It also involves interconnected influences from the global or regional perspective (for example, politics and economics) that impact on conditions and operations there.”30 Translation: External influences such as politics and economics impact operational environments.

The manual also struggles with occasional paragraphs that meander into stream-of-consciousness musings, untethered to any topic and unburdened by logic. Consider the excerpt below:

Army training includes a system of techniques and standards that allow Soldiers and units to determine, acquire, and practice necessary skills. Candid assessments, after action reviews, and applied lessons learned and best practices produce quality Soldiers and versatile units, ready for all aspects of a situation. The Army’s training system prepares Soldiers and leaders to employ Army capabilities adaptively and effectively in today’s varied and challenging conditions. Through training and experiential practice and learning, the Army prepares Soldiers to win in land combat. Training builds teamwork and cohesion within units. It recognizes that Soldiers ultimately fight for one another and their units. Training instills discipline. It conditions Soldiers to operate within the law of war and rules of engagement. Training prepares unit leaders for the harsh reality of land combat by emphasizing the fluid and disorderly conditions inherent in land operations. Within these training situations, commanders emphasize mission command. To exercise mission command and successfully apply combat power during operations, commanders must understand, foster, and frequently practice mission command principles during training. Training must include procedures for cybersecurity and defense of cyber-based platforms that support the warfighting functions.31

What is the point of this paragraph? The topic sentence states that the Army has a system of techniques and standards for units to gain and use necessary skills. Each bromide that comes after it is putatively true, but they each stray further afield from the topic. It is like the children’s party game Telephone, where the variance accumulates with each new sentence so that by the time we finish the paragraph we are somehow discussing cybersecurity.

Tautologies, Hyperbole, and Bravado. ADRP 3-0 is diluted by tautologies which serve only to confuse the reader, such as: “The elements of operational art are flexible enough to be applicable when pertinent.”32 How do we know they are applicable? Because they are pertinent. How do we know they are pertinent? Because they are applicable.

The manual also employs hyperbole and bravado to describe the Army and operational environments. Consider this hyperbolic statement: “Millions of people die each year from communicable diseases; these numbers may grow exponentially as urban densities increase.”33 Absent a human extinction event, this is preposterous—an exponent of merely 1.4 would kill every human on Earth in less than a year. The number of people who die of communicable diseases may grow linearly each year (and it is not clear that such a hypothesis is even relevant to the doctrine), but if the number grows exponentially, we do not have a military problem—we are all dead. As bad as hyperbole is, bravado is worse: “Army training produces formations that fight and win with overwhelming combat power against any enemy.”34 This is self-delusional. Army training is essential to competing on the battlefield, but does not confer upon us “overwhelming combat power.” Woe will befall the commander who believes this.


Important parts of the manual are contradictory. Consider this passage on Army training:

U.S. responsibilities are global; therefore, Army forces prepare to operate in any environment. Army training develops confident, competent, and agile leaders and units. Commanders focus their training time and other resources on tasks linked to their mission. Because Army forces face diverse threats and mission requirements, commanders adjust their training priorities based on a likely operational environment. As units prepare for deployment, commanders adapt training priorities to address tasks required by actual or anticipated operations.35

The first sentence asserts that the Army prepares for any environment. The second sentence is wholly unrelated to the rest of the paragraph, but serves as a mental firebreak, to allow the reader to forget what the first sentence said. This is important, because the third, fourth, and fifth sentences assert that the Army does not prepare for any environment. Rather, the Army focuses on tasks related to anticipated missions and likely operational environments (and somehow needs three redundant sentences to say this).

In another contradictory section, the manual extols the virtues of flexibility, stating that “leaders constantly learn from experience … and apply new knowledge to each situation. Flexible plans help units adapt quickly to changing circumstances in operations.”36 A few pages later, the manual reverses course and dictates that

Commanders make only those changes to the plan needed to correct variances. They keep as much of the current plan the same as possible. That presents subordinates with the fewest possible changes. The fewer the changes, the less resynchronization needed, and the greater the chance that the changes will be executed successfully.37

So unless the commander encounters a “variance,” such as enemy tanks rampaging through his rear area, he or she should stick to the plan. After all, flexibility might create the need for resynchronization, and evidently the manual posits that Army leaders are too stupid and lack the agility and adaptability to handle change.

Redefinitions of Common Words

The manual creatively redefines common words. For example, the definition of the defeat mechanism “dislocate” does not mean to actually dislocate the enemy; rather, it means to achieve a positional advantage over the enemy.38 The enemy may decide to stay in place, and may even decide to fight from his position of disadvantage. But the friendly commander whose troops must fight this determined enemy can declare that he or she has successfully “dislocated” the enemy.

The most obvious and consequential example of word redefinition is the introduction of “simultaneity” as one of the tenets of unified land operations. A layperson might think that simultaneity means essentially the same thing as synchronization, another of the four tenets of unified land operations. So the manual carefully defines the two to distinguish them: Simultaneity is “the execution of related and mutually supporting tasks at the same time across multiple locations and domains [emphasis added].”39 Synchronization is “the arrangement of military actions in time, space, and purpose to produce maximum relative combat power at a decisive place and time [emphasis added].”40 So it appears that the difference between the two is that one is diffused across multiple points and the other is focused on a single decisive point.

But then the manual continues on and tries to clarify the definition of synchronization. “Synchronization is not the same as simultaneity,” the manual insists, “it is the ability to execute multiple related and mutually supporting tasks in different locations at the same time, producing greater effects than executing each in isolation [emphasis added].”41 So by contradicting the joint definition of synchronization, ADRP 3-0 manages to make the definition of synchronization identical to that of simultaneity—same time, different places.

Any manual written so ineffectively will not achieve traction within the profession of arms. If TRADOC wishes to avail its capstone doctrine to all members of the profession of arms, then it must follow TR 25-36 guidance and write in plain, simple words. It must stop adding unnecessary words to sentences and unnecessary sentences to paragraphs, and it must stop using big words when small words suffice. It must know what message it wants to convey to its readers and it must convey that message as clearly as possible.

A Proposal to Improve Doctrine

So what should the Army do to fix this problem? The first thing it ought to do is immediately rescind ADRP 3-0 and ADP 3-0; there is no apparent benefit to these manuals over the previous versions.

The second step is to reinitiate the doctrine process in accordance with TR 25-36, with a critical appraisal of the current security environment. As Milley noted, the character of war is changing and the old way of fighting is inadequate.42 Why learn this at bloody expense in the next war, when we can learn it—and adapt to it—now? We have an immediate need for new doctrine—but it must be genuinely new, and not the old doctrine dressed up in new buzzwords.

Third, put the right people in charge of writing the new doctrine. That means that merely being a doctrinal genius is not good enough; the authors must also be able to convey that genius to the rest of the Army through clear writing. It also means that the authors must have a vision for how to fight and win the next war, and the divine inspiration to channel that vision into a coherent doctrine. And it means that the inspired visionaries with proficient writing skills who write the new doctrine should not be smothered by layers of bureaucracy or forced to write by committee; too many authors spoil the final product and the few authors ought to be able to present their product, unretouched by the bureaucracy, to the final decision authority. These three ingredients were essential to the recipe for success when TRADOC produced AirLand Battle manuals in 1982 and 1986.43

War as we know it is changing. The next enemy we face will have better weapons than us, greater speed than us, and will outnumber us—and if this turns out not to be true, it harms us none to assume it to be true anyway and prepare accordingly. We will defeat the enemy only because our doctrine will capitalize upon our national strengths and exploit enemy weaknesses. Our doctrine must temper the impulse of commanders, predisposed toward action, to charge headlong into the kill zone until we understand and describe the conditions of the multidomain battlefield that would support the insertion of warfighters.

If we do this right, we can advance our doctrine through a manual that guides the Army on how to fight and win the lethal wars of the near future. If we do nothing, we will lose early and often in the next war against a peer enemy and it will cost us dearly.


  1. Army Doctrine Reference Publication (ADRP) 3-0, Operations (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Publishing Office [GPO], 11 November 2016); see also Army Doctrine Publication (ADP) 3-0, Operations (Washington, DC: U.S. GPO, November 2016).
  2. U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Regulation (TR) 25-36, The TRADOC Doctrine Publication Program (Fort Eustis, VA: TRADOC, 21 May 2014).
  3. Courtney McBride, “Army Crafts Long-Range Modernization Strategies,” Inside Defense, 11 April 2017), accessed May 15, 2017,
  4. ADRP 3-0, Operations; ADP 3-0, Operations.
  5. ADRP 3-0, Operations, 1-5.
  6. Ibid., 1-10.
  7. Ibid., 2-6.
  8. Mark A. Milley (speech, Dwight David Eisenhower Luncheon, Association of the United States Army [AUSA] Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, October 4, 2016), Defense Video Imagery Distribution System video, accessed 1 May 2017,
  9. ADRP 3-0, Operations, 3-4.
  10. Field Manual (FM) 100-5, Operations (Washington, DC: U.S. GPO, 1986) [obsolete], 181.
  11. ADRP 3-0, Operations, 2-5.
  12. FM 100-5 (1986), Operations, 35-39.
  13. Ibid., 9-10.
  14. ADRP 3-0, Operations, 5-2, 2-7, and 3-12.
  15. Ibid., 3-6.
  16. Ibid., 3-14.
  17. Ibid.
  18. Ibid.
  19. Ibid.
  20. FM 100-5, Operations (Washington, DC: U.S. GPO, 1993) [obsolete], 11-1.
  21. ADRP 3-0, Operations, table 3-1.
  22. Milley, “AUSA 2016—Dwight David Eisenhower Luncheon.”
  23. ADRP 3-0, Operations, 1-1.
  24. Ibid., 3-9.
  25. Ibid., 4-7.
  26. ADRP 3-0, Unified Land Operations (Washington, DC: U.S. GPO 2012) [obsolete], 2-13.
  27. FM 100-5, Operations (Washington, DC: U.S. GPO, 1976) [obsolete], 1-1; FM 100-5 (1982), Operations, 2-1.
  28. TR 25-36, The TRADOC Doctrine Publication Program, 3-7.
  29. To use the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease scale, visit I copied the text of ADRP 3-0 into the calculator after deleting captions, text embedded in tables and graphics, and chapter and section headers. For comparison, the body of this article measures 46.8 on the same scale.
  30. ADRP 3-0 (2016), Operations, 1-1.
  31. Ibid., 1-12.
  32. Ibid., 2-4.
  33. Ibid., 1-4.
  34. Ibid., 1-12.
  35. Ibid.
  36. Ibid., 3-16.
  37. Ibid., 4-8.
  38. Ibid., 2-3.
  39. Ibid., 3-15.
  40. Joint Publication (JP) 2-0, Joint Intelligence (Washington, DC: U.S. GPO, 2013), GL-11. While joint doctrine designates JP 2-0 as the authority on the definition of synchronization, the main body of JP 2-0 defines it only in terms of intelligence activities. Only in the glossary does JP 2-0 use the definition of synchronization that the Army uses, and even then it is merely a transcription of the original definition of synchronization from FM 100-5 (1982), Operations. It appears that the Army has surrendered its authority on a term it coined and now joint doctrine has bizarrely delegated that authority to the joint intelligence community.
  41. ADRP 3-0 (2016), Operations, 2-14.
  42. Milley, “AUSA 2016—Dwight David Eisenhower Luncheon.”
  43. Huba Wass de Czege, in discussion with the author, 21 November 2016.

Maj. Daniel Kull, U.S. Army, served fourteen years as a Signal Corps officer, including three tours in Iraq, two supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom, and one tour supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. He holds a BA in economics from John Carroll University and an MA in military history from Norwich University.

The Army University Press publishes selected articles exclusively online to provide timely and pertinent professional research and analysis on topics related to the U.S. Army and national defense. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and may not be those of the Department of Defense, the U.S. Army, or any of their subordinate elements. Readers are invited to provide further research, discussion, and debate in rebuttal articles or comment online on Army University Press or Military Review social media sites.