Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Military doctrine is a level of military planning between national strategy and unit-level tactics, techniques, and procedures. It provides a shared way of thinking about military problems, but does not direct how military problems will be solved. It does not provide specific steps to solve a problem, nor does it direct a commander to take any action. Commanders are always expected to exercise their own judgment in carrying out their missions.
Doctrine may be shared among the armed services of a nation as well as be specific to a branch. In addition, doctrine may be shared between several nations.
In general, doctrinal documents state:
- A nation's national military objectives
- The general mission of the armed service or branch ("who we are")
- General concepts of how this service or branch shall perform its mission ("what we do")
- Concerns and cautions in carrying out this mission ("how we should do it")
- Historical examples ("how we did it in the past")
Military doctrine changes, or should change, as the nature of warfare and the specific threat to a nation changes.
Relationship between doctrine and strategy
The relationship between military doctrine and a national security strategy is highly complex. In principle, a military doctrine exists to support the national security strategy. In practice, implementing and changing a military doctrine is a highly complex and time consuming activity that can take years or decades, and hence the same military doctrine is often used to attempt to support radicially different security strategies.
In addition, the question of what a nation should do is often influenced by what it can do, so in this sense military doctrine often influences security strategy.
Sources of United States doctrine
United States military doctrine is specified in a set of documents which are intended to support the National Security Strategy of the United States.
The Department of Defense publishes Joint Publications which state all-services doctrine. The current basic doctrinal publication is Joint Publication 3-0, "Doctrine for Joint Operations."
Headquarters, United States Air Force, publishes current USAF doctrine. The lead agency for developing Air Force doctrine is Headquarters, Air Force Doctrine Center; the Air Staff International Standardization Office works on multinational standardization, such as NATO Standardization Agreements (STANAGs), and agreements between the American, British, Canadian, and Australian Armies and Navies (ABCA) that affect the Air Force. Currently the basic Air Force doctrinal documents are the 10-series of Air Force publications.
The United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) is responsible for developing Army doctrine. TRADOC was developed early in the 1970s as a response to the American Army's difficulties in the Vietnam War, and is one of the reforms that improved Army professionalism. Currently the basic Army doctrinal document is Field Manual 1, "The Army".
The Naval Warfare Development Command (NWDC) Doctrine Department coordinates development, publication, and maintenance of United States Navy doctrine. Currently the basic unclassified naval doctrinal documents are Naval Doctrine Publications 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6.
British Army doctrine is prepared by the Chief of the General Staff. Currently the basic doctrinal document is Design for Operations: The British Military Doctrine, published in 1996.
References and Links
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