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thedrifter
01-06-07, 01:08 PM
Army: 1.5 million copies of doctrine downloaded
JOHN MILBURN
Associated Press

TOPEKA, Kan. - A new manual for the Army and Marines, outlining their philosophy in fighting insurgents in war-torn locales such as Iraq, has turned into a big hit.

In three weeks - from its first posting Dec. 15 on the Web site of the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth through Wednesday - an estimated 1.5 million copies of the 242-page manual have been downloaded. That compares with 1.4 million copies of John Grogan's "Marley & Me," the top-selling book of 2006, according Nielsen BookScan, which tracks sales.

Col. Steve Boylan, spokesman for Fort Leavenworth, said Friday that the interest reflects the growing debate over how to deal with insurgents in Iraq. Boylan said the Army typically doesn't post its doctrines on its Web site for public consumption.

"It's a way to let the public know that we're are taking these issues seriously and to make sure the leadership of the Army and Marines, captains and above, are armed with the latest thinking," Boylan said.

The manual was produced over two years, about half the time it normally takes the Army to revise major doctrines. It replaces a shorter version pushed to the field in October 2004. The manual contains the Army's "overall general thought" on counterinsurgency operations, pulling together material scattered over several chapters in other military documents dating to the 1960s.

Written for battalion and division commanders, the manual discusses the tone and scope of counterinsurgencies, emphasizing a need to see operations as fighting a "three-block war."

Steven Aftergood, a senior research analyst at the Federation of American Scientists, said the manual was "intellectually rich" and thought-provoking and contains at least some implicit criticism of U.S. operations. He added that the document is a good history lesson in failures of conventional armies against insurgents.

"I remember learning in elementary school about the Revolutionary War and my teacher pointing out that the poor British were fighting in formation and we were running circles around them," Aftergood said. "It's an unhappy analogy, but it's comparable to the situation in Iraq. It's hard not to read this document in that context."

Boylan said the manual is aimed at fights beyond Iraq but certainly will help the Army focus its efforts.

"It seems to me, a lot of people are still trying to link it to Iraq and don't have the understanding that the scope of the document is bigger than Iraq," Boylan said.

James Joyner, a former Army officer and security analyst in Washington, D.C., said there wasn't much new in the manual that others hadn't already suggested in fighting insurgencies or even postwar Germany and Japan.

"The military is slow to change. We've known since the end of the Cold War that we would be fighting these kinds of operations," Joyner said. "I think the manual reflects changes that have already happened, rather than pushing change."

The Department of Defense announced Friday that one of the manual's chief architects, Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, will be the next commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, pending Senate confirmation. Petraeus, viewed as a rising star in the Army, commanded the 101st Airborne Division in the initial Iraq invasion in 2003 and led the coalition command responsible for training Iraqi security forces.

Petraeus is linked to a push to move soldiers in Iraq out of their operating bases and into smaller posts in troubled neighborhoods. The goal is to find and neutralize causes of the insurgency, while giving legitimacy to Iraq's government by improving security, the economy and establishing a rule of law.

Actual tactics and procedures will be developed in the coming months and disseminated to soldiers and officers. By downloading the manual, Boylan said, insurgents aren't going to know how the Army will be fighting. Nearly two-thirds of the downloads have been within North America, but officials don't know who's reading it from cover to cover.

"He's not going to know how the platoon is going to utilize this. That's the unknown," he said.

ON THE NET

Fort Leavenworth: www.leavenworth.army.mil/

Counterinsurgency manual: usacac.army.mil/CAC/Repos...FM3-24.pdf

Ellie