This primer has been produced to assist in the ongoing effort to change the army's cultural attitude to doctrine.
Doctrine is a set of beliefs or principles held and taught. Military doctrine contains the fundamental principles that guide how military forces conduct their actions, and provides military professionals with their body of professional knowledge.
The ‘Army doctrine primer’ has been produced by the Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC) to assist in the ongoing effort to change the army’s cultural attitude to doctrine. As such, in addition to explaining why all army officers must read their professional literature, the primer includes advice to practitioners as to what to read, when and how.
Part 1. is structured around 5 questions, the sum of which explains why doctrine is important and advises how to approach it; what to read, when and how. It incorporates a variety of historical examples and vignettes to bring the primer to life.
Part 2. brings together Sir Ernest Swinton’s timeless essay ‘The defence of duffer’s drift’ with a more recent paper, ‘Conflict on land’. ‘The defence of duffer’s drift’ remains important because it describes and rationalises simple lessons against a tactical scenario, in an army where professionalism and re-organisation were increasingly dominant issues (following Boer War 2).
The ‘Conflict on land’ paper examines both the enduring nature and the changing character of conflict in the land environment. The paper was written to provide a foundation from which deductions can be made about how UK land forces may be required to operate, and fight, in the future