Mar - Apr 2012: Article

Doctrine 2015: The Future of Sustainment Doctrine

We have an exciting opportunity over the next several years not only to revitalize our sustainment doctrine but also to make it more accessible to our Soldiers. Throughout our recent history, Army field manuals have provided doctrinal guidance on how we operate as an Army, discussing everything from fundamental principles to detailed tactics, techniques, and procedures. However, in today's dynamic operational environment, there has emerged a new demand to constantly reexamine and update how we conduct, and support, operations.

Our collective doctrine products must reflect how we operate and how we intend to keep all of our Soldiers, leaders, and formations well grounded in our basic operating principles and aware of the most important tactics, techniques, and procedures. Our answer to this requirement is a holistic effort to revitalize our doctrine as part of the Army Training and Doctrine Command's (TRADOC's) Doctrine 2015 initiative.

Along with other TRADOC proponents, we at the Army Combined Arms Support Command (CASCOM) will completely redevelop and publish our doctrine library by the end of 2015. Over the next 4 years, we will examine each of our manuals in detail to determine the best format for the information. During the conversion process, many of the current documents will be consolidated, resulting in one or two manuals per basic functional area, such as maintenance, fuel, and intermodal operations. When completed, we expect to reduce our library by nearly half, to around 80 manuals.

More importantly, we will categorize our doctrine to distinguish between those publications that describe founding principles of operations and those that present more transient information. These new manuals will divide our current literature into four categories: Army doctrine publications, Army doctrine reference publications, field manuals, and Army techniques publications.

A New Hierarchy of Manuals
Army doctrine publications (ADPs) will summarize the fundamental principles of how we operate as an Army. There will be approximately 15 ADPs, each generally limited to 10 pages. Collectively, these manuals will provide a broad understanding of how we operate across the force. By their very nature, they will contain information that is enduring in nature and thus will require less frequent updating.

Army doctrine reference publications (ADRPs) will provide more detailed presentations of the fundamentals discussed in the ADPs. Most ADPs, but not all, will have a supporting ADRP with less than 100 pages of content.

Field manuals (FMs) will continue to provide the tactics and procedures of how we operate within a major sustainment proponent area or echeloned organization. We will develop one FM for each major proponent (human resources, financial management, ordnance, quartermaster, transportation, medical, judge advocate, and chaplain) plus one FM describing logistics operations. These manuals may be up to 200 pages in length, excluding appendices.

Army techniques publications (ATPs) will describe the techniques for a specific unit or functional area. The bulk of our sustainment literature will fall into this category. Techniques differ from other types of doctrine in that they require judgment in their application. ATPs will likely change more frequently than the other categories of doctrine, so you can expect to see multiple changes posted over the life of an ATP.

One of the new developments I am the most excited about and that will allow us to better maintain the relevance of these ATPs is the use of the Army Knowledge Online (AKO) MilWiki portal. Once approved, a "perpetual draft" of the ATP will be posted to the MilWiki portal. This will allow anyone in the Army with relevant experience to share the latest thoughts and practices from the field for others to immediately use as appropriate. MilWiki contributions—your contributions—will also be used by our doctrine developers as a primary source for the next version of each ATP.

The Foundation Sustainment ADP and ADRP
My top priorities for development are our ADPs and FMs. ADP 4–0 and ADRP 4–0, both titled "Sustainment" and now in development, are scheduled for publication this August. I also anticipate that our first ATP and the first published in this category, ATP 4–91, Army Field Support Brigade, will be published this year as well.

ADP 4–0 and ADRP 4–0 will be the Army's keystone sustainment doctrine, supporting and adding to ADP 3–0, Unified Land Operations. Although it has its roots in the current version of FM 4–0, ADP 4–0 is being written at a fundamentally different level in order to synchronize with the new ADRP 3–0, which was published in October 2011.

ADP 4–0 will summarize our basic sustainment concepts. An appreciation of these concepts is needed to understand how sustainment provides commanders with operational reach, freedom of action, and prolonged endurance as the Army conducts its core competencies of combined arms maneuver and wide area security, all as part of joint unified operations. As you would expect, it will show how the three elements of sustainment—logistics, personnel services, and health services support—contribute to operational success.

While they are still in draft, our basic outline for ADP 4–0 and ADRP 4–0 is shaping up as follows.

Chapter 1: Fundamentals of Sustainment describes the foundation of sustainment and the sustainment warfighting function. It defines the principles of sustainment and illustrates the capabilities of the major elements of sustainment: logistics, personnel services, health service support, and joint interdependence.

Chapter 2: Sustainment of Unified Land Operations builds a bridge between strategic-level sustainment and the operational and tactical levels. It explains the role of the strategic base in leveraging national capabilities and establishing theater capabilities. This chapter also defines the roles of sustainment headquarters in synchronizing strategic and operational support through mission command in order to cognitively link strategic capabilities to tactical success.

Chapter 3: Sustainment of Decisive Action describes how sustainment operations support the Army's core competencies of combined arms maneuver and wide area security. The chapter is divided into three sections that describe how sustainment operations provide the Army with operational reach, freedom of action, and endurance. It explains the role of sustainment mission command, both in finding the right mix of each of these three factors to ensure tactical success and in keeping the operational commander informed, in order to give him confidence to take the initiative and conduct decisive action.

The concepts presented in ADP 4–0 will be expanded upon in ADRP 4–0 and within other key sustainment doctrinal literature published over the next 4 years as part of our Doctrine 2015 efforts.

I encourage each of you to take an active role in helping us to develop our collective sustainment doctrine. Only with recent and relevant input from the field can we ensure that our sustainment doctrine not only nests with the operational doctrine in development but is also applicable to the way operations are conducted today and will be conducted into the future.

To learn more about sustainment doctrine and get involved in the process, visit our "Sustainment Unit One Stop" portal at Within the doctrine portion of each unit-oriented page, you will find links to current doctrine on AKO, to selected drafts of new manuals in development, and to the MilWiki portal, where you can add your thoughts and knowledge to new ATPs. Remember, your involvement in this process is essential if we are to get the most out of the Doctrine 2015 initiative.

Major General James L. Hodge is the commanding general of the Army Combined Arms Support Command and Sustainment Center of Excellence at Fort Lee, Virginia.


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