The Most Essential Army Publications

The Army operates on doctrine and regulations, which are outlined in manuals. These manuals help leaders communicate their mission and responsibilities to Soldiers. In his book Political Man, Seymour Lipset formally examines traditional theories of how societies modernize. His approach enables us to better understand how evolving relevant operational or mission variables affect our military concepts and tactical actions.

FM 7-0

FM 7-0 establishes Army doctrine for the readiness training of soldiers. It explains how leaders, Soldiers, and Department of the Army Civilians plan, prepare, execute, and evaluate unit training.

It emphasizes the leadership role in the training process. Commanders retain primary responsibility for the training of their units. Professional NCOs contribute through the chain of command by providing input to training guidance and identifying and prioritizing collective and individual tasks. They also lead squads, crews, and small teams through the soldierization process and train to non-negotiable standards published in MTPs and Soldier Training Publications.

Training is one of the most important avenues for leader development. It is where leaders build trust, and unit will, hone skills, and learn how to apply military science to the art of leadership under varying conditions.

Effective training leads to units capable of executing the Army’s core mission. It is the key to deter war and, if necessary, reestablish peace through victory in combat wherever our Nation’s interests are threatened. This is why the Army is here. Its soldiers must be ready to fight and win in any environment.

FM 5-31 photo 2

FM 5-31

FM 5-31 is a field manual on constructing and employing booby traps in a tactical setting. It describes how regular demolition charges and materials can be used for victim-initiated explosive devices. The contents include an introduction and principles of booby traps, basic doctrine, planning and installation, equipment firing devices, demolition materials including small missile construction techniques, miscellaneous improvised materials, as well as methods for detecting, clearing, and disarming booby traps. Heavily illustrated.

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FM 3-24

During the Global War on Terror, few Army doctrinal publications have been so eagerly awaited or well-received as FM 3-24, Counterinsurgency. The manual is widely credited with shifting the US military approach to insurgency from one focused on defeating enemy units to one focused on protecting civilians and building relationships with local populations.

The manual emphasizes the importance of intelligence, understanding the culture and history of an area of operations, and forming relationships with local populations. It also discusses the importance of protecting civilians and avoiding misunderstandings between soldiers and local citizens. It is the first field manual to include an appendix dedicated to social network analysis, which aims to move the Army away from its traditional focus on analyzing enemy units and toward understanding the networks of highly-empowered individuals that make up today’s most dangerous enemies.

To produce the book quickly, Crane tapped into the vast expertise of academics and former Army officers involved in the COIN campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. Chapter authors were essentially selected, given their marching orders, and threatened with grievous physical injury if they did not produce drafts within two months.

FM 2-22.3

FM 2-22.3

The Army Field Manual 2-22.3 (FM 2-22.3) provides doctrinal guidance, techniques, and procedures governing the employment of human intelligence (HUMINT) collection assets in support of commanders’ intelligence needs. It addresses HUMINT operations, the HUMINT collector’s role within the intelligence operating system, and the roles and responsibilities of personnel who provide command, control, and technical support to HUMINT collection efforts.

The 177-page FM 2-22.3 was issued in 2006 and describes to military interrogators how to conduct effective interrogations while adhering to US and international law. The most controversial section outlines a method called “pride and ego down,” which involves attacking the prisoner’s sense of personal worth to deflate their pride to encourage cooperation and involuntary confessions.

President Obama restricted the CIA to using interrogation techniques outlined in this Army Field Manual after his inauguration by signing an executive order restricting the agency to these same rules, which Newsweek described as “his most far-reaching and potentially controversial move.” However, the executive order also left open the possibility of additional or different guidance being provided to CIA agents if needed.

FM 5-22.3

In 2006, the Army released FM 5-22.3, Human Intelligence Collector Operations, which contains doctrinal guidance on the structure, planning, and management of human intelligence (HUMINT) collection operations in support of a commander’s intelligence requirements. It also covers debriefing soldiers, collecting and analysing known relationships and map data, and other aspects of human intelligence operations. The manual also provides instructions on the screening and interrogation of prisoners of war, unlawful combatants, and other captured civilians. It replaced FM 34-52, Intelligence Interrogation, which had been used to train interrogators in conducting effective interrogations while conforming to US and international law. The most newsworthy section of the book details procedures for handling POWs and other interrogated individuals. It also outlines the use of controlled violence, which is only allowed in certain circumstances.