Game plan – Doctrine

Game plan – Doctrine – Brief Article

Joint Pub 3-0, Doctrine for Joint Operations, is the keystone volume in the joint operations series. It “provides guidance to joint force commanders and their subordinates for the direction, planning, execution, and support of campaigns and operations–in war and in military operations other than war (MOOTW).” The current version (dated September 2001) replaces the edition issued in 1995 and features revised joint operations concepts.

Some revisions in the publication appear to have been driven by change in the strategic and operational environments as well as technological advances. Chapter I, “The Strategic Concept,” has sections on information systems and theater engagement planning and an expanded description of military operations which include nonmilitary organizations. Chapter II, “Fundamentals of Joint Operations,” contains considerations of both asymmetric environments and joint urban operations as well as a broader look at [C.sup.4]ISR issues. Chapter III, “Planning Joint Operations,” augments key planning factors to include a commander’s critical information requirements, concept of fires, countering air and missile threats, space operations, force protection, and the environment. One of the noteworthy aspects of this chapter is that it takes the phases from the previous edition, reduces them from five to four, retitles them, and revises their descriptions. Chapter IV, “Joint Operations in War,” adds sections on dimensional superiority, information superiority, joint strategic attack, and sustainment.

Other revisions are more subtle and substantive, particularly those related to the operational art in chapter III. For example, doctrine defines center of gravity in terms that include sources of power rather than locations, and acknowledges that “COGs also may exist at the operational level.” And the concept of decisive points is expanded to include specific key events and systems.

Unfortunately, one amendment is missing. Joint Pub 3-0 still includes a parenthetical note to the effect that “functional component commands are component commands of a joint force and do not constitute a `joint force’ with the authorities and responsibilities of a joint force as described in this document, even when composed of forces from two or more military departments.” There is much to mull in that passage which, starting with the phrase “the authorities and responsibilities of a joint force.” What does that mean? Where are they succinctly stated?

These are not the only unanswered questions. The definition of center of gravity represents the third revision in three editions (1993, 1995, and 2001). Readers may ask why the change was made without explanation. Another example comes from a section in chapter II on “Organization of the Operational Area.” The 1995 edition stated “subordinate unified commanders are typically assigned theaters of operations.” That phrase, which links subunified commanders to theaters of operations, is omitted from the 2001 edition (associating JTF commanders with joint operations areas). Why has joint doctrine failed to link a theater with a particular commander?

However linkages are quite apparent between Joint Pub 3-0 and other joint references. For example, the pub includes a chart on command relationship identical to one found in Joint Pub 0-2, Unified Action Armed Forces. In addition, chapter V of Joint Pub 3-0 lists those types of military operations other than war that more closely correspond to, and actually expand on, those outlined in Joint Pub 3-07, Joint Doctrine for Military Operations Other Than War (June 16, 1995). But at least one doctrinal disconnect appears. In discussing multinational command and control, Joint Pub 3-0 outlines the purpose of a “coalition, coordination, communications, and integration center ([C.sup.3]IC)” depicting it in relation to Desert Storm (figure VI-3). Joint Pub 3-16, Joint Doctrine for Multinational Operations (April 5, 2000), uses the same chart bearing the acronym [F.sup.2][C.sup.2] (friendly forces coordination council). [C.sup.3]IC is not described or depicted in Joint Pub 3-16.

An assessment of Joint Pub 3-0 would be incomplete without acknowledging that most of the joint concepts advanced in 1995 survive in this new edition with the same format, organization, and much of the content. Compared to the previous edition, it is twenty pages longer and contains more illustrations. Much of the narrative is cross-referenced to publications that have appeared in the period since 1995. Moreover, some of the language has changed to accommodate the concepts in joint vision statements such as full spectrum dominance and information superiority.

The general compatibility of the 1995 and 2001 editions of Joint Pub 3-0 seem to confirm that the joint and service communities have grown comfortable with the principles and ideas found in Doctrine for Joint Operations. Future editions may call for minor adjustment in the descriptions of joint concepts. Nevertheless, any changes in doctrine, whether blatant or subtle, should not go unnoticed. Subsequent revisions of existing publications would better serve its users by offering brief accounts of salient changes, perhaps in the executive summary. Such a device would herald those key changes that warrant careful consideration.

COPYRIGHT 2002 National Defense University

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