Movement and Maneuver: A Vision for the Future

By Brown, Robert B. | Army, June 2011 | Go to article overview

Movement and Maneuver: A Vision for the Future


Brown, Robert B., Army


For the foreseeable future, our Army will continue to operate in complex environments that challenge soldiers, leaders and organizations. While much of the current focus is on Afghanistan and Iraq, Army forces must continue to train, equip and organize to conduct full spectrum operations - simultaneously combining offense, defense, stability and civil support operations. This view of the future provides the direction for the movement and maneuver concept (MMC).

The U.S. Army Functional Concept for Movement and Maneuver 2016-2028, Training and Doctrine Command Pamphlet 525-3-6, is nested with The Army Capstone Concept (ACC) and The Army Operating Concept (AOC) and carries forward the two central constructs introduced in the AOC: combined arms maneuver and wide area security (WAS).

Challenges of the Future Operating Environment

The current operating environment will continue to evolve, presenting ground forces in the future with an ever increasing challenge to defeat irregular and hybrid enemies that are connected by cell phone, computer network and satellite phone technology. In most cases, support from the local population in defeating these threats cannot be assumed. In addition, the possibility of major combat operations, remains real.

The future operating environment will include adversaries ranging from well-led, well-trained and well-equipped conventional military formations experienced in close fighting to irregular and hybrid forces. Out most likely opponents will continue to be irregular forces, extending from trained insurgents focused local or regional regime change or global jihad to criminals and tribal groups focused on mamtaining power within their local areas for economic reasons. In some cases these enemies will work together, fomung a hybrid threat that combines conventional and unconventional units, equipment and tactics. Regardless of makeup or aim, however, the enemy will continue to be adaptive and networked, employing a range of weapons and technologies along with conventional and improvised weapons.

Tribal culture - the natural wariness of the population toward outside forces - will cause local-nationals to remain uncommitted to the United States forces or their own government unless they can be assured of long-term security and economic subsistence. This complex and ambiguous environment, in which our forces fight a determined enemy while securing the population and setting conditions to enable the success of local and national governments, represents one of the greatest challenges of future maneuver.

While we expect the dominant operating conditions in the near-term and midterm to look much like our recent experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, the possibility of high-tempo major combat operations is real. For example, it may be unlikely that an attack on U.S. forces by a wellequipped standing nation-state will occur, but the unstable global conditions make highly plausible a hostile-nation attack on a U.S. allied state. In this situation, our heavy maneuver forces could face the challenge of deploying rapidly to defeat a well-equipped, well-led and well-organized opponent.

Addressing the Future: Vital Maneuvers

The future will require us to employ the movement and maneuver concept, which is based on the premise that the central focus of the force will dominate the close fight; at the same time, it recognizes the need to protect the population and calibrate the amount of force used in areas where we must set the conditions for an ally to succeed. Maneuver forces must be able to execute combined arms maneuver to defeat the enemy, while conducting wide area security to protect the civilian population and set the conditions for a stable environment.

Combined arms maneuver is the application of the elements of combat power in unified action to defeat enemy ground forces; to seize, occupy and defend land areas; to achieve physical, temporal and psychological advantages over the enemy; and to preserve freedom of action. …

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