The DoD's NYT bestseller: latest field manual 3-07, how military should handle stability operations

Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2008 10:42 am
November 10, 2008
The DoD's NYT bestseller
Posted by Nancy Youssef
McClatchy Blog

Three weeks ago, the Defense Department put out its latest field manual 3-07, which outlined how the military should go about carrying out stability operations. Now I know that sounds drier than toast but it is an important manual. In the previous manual, 3-0, the military acknowledged that stability operations " which include things like nation building " is as important as traditional defense operations. That is, the U.S. military must not only train to fight other major military powers but learn how to rebuild communities, too. FM 3-07 spells out how the military should go about doing that.

It’s been a controversial publication because it really is the military official declaration that it will do things differently. The U.S. military cannot no longer only prepare to fight major wars, it says. And that causes much consternation for some. After all, stability operations are a lot more complicated than traditional wars. Traditional wars are linear. There is a battlefield, a line and eventually a declaration of victory. But stability operations are a lot more nebulous. They don’t just require the best fighting force, but street-savvy soldiers, political reconciliation and so on. And there is no clear line of success. For example, Veterans Day (which the United States recognizes tomorrow) began as a celebration of the end of World War I, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month 1918. That is, there was a very clear end in that traditional fight. Such declarations are not as clear in this war. When did Iraq’s Anbar province become a rebuilt area? It all depends on who you ask.

Anyway, I learned today that more than 250,000 people have downloaded the manual in three weeks. Those are New York Times bestselling numbers. And it says something about how much people are looking at this manual. Some authors toil for years for such numbers. So the military is considering publishing the manual and selling it in bookstores, just as it did for 3-0. If you want to check it out, click here.
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