Journal: Care to Write Army Doctrine? With ID, Log On

Full Story Online
Full Story Online

PBI Comment: Tip of the hat to both the New York Times and the U.S. Army for this story.  The dirty little secret behind this may be that much of Army doctrine has been written by contractors who know little, supervised by Training Officers far removed from the Mission Area being supported.  This has been particularly troubling in the Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) arena.

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In July, in a sharp break from tradition, the Army began encouraging its personnel — from the privates to the generals — to go online and collaboratively rewrite seven of the field manuals that give instructions on all aspects of Army life.

The program uses the same software behind the online encyclopedia Wikipedia and could potentially lead to hundreds of Army guides being “wikified.” The goal, say the officers behind the effort, is to tap more experience and advice from battle-tested soldiers rather than relying on the specialists within the Army’s array of colleges and research centers who have traditionally written the manuals.

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The seven guides in the pilot program frequently touch on areas that the rank-and-file soldier has had to master because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including topics like Desert Operations, Army Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations and the movements of an infantry rifle platoon within a stryker brigade combat team.

For example, on July 7, a staff sergeant added his personal experience in Iraq to a guide for a stryker brigade combat team. Soldiers must understand, the original field manual says, “their vital role as collectors of combat information during the platoon intelligence activities.”

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