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Army to change tactics in new era

The Army marches into a new intellectual era this week as it formally abandons its Cold War fighting doctrine and adopts a code that emphasizes quick-strike moves to far away lands.

The new guide also points up the fact that operations such as peacekeeping missions or the cleanup after Hurricane Andrew are the wave of the future for the Pentagon's largest military service.

Almost two years in the works, the publication _ dubbed "FM-105 Operations" in Army lingo _ was to be unveiled today by its architect, Gen. Frederick Franks, head of the Army's Training and Doctrine Command, and Gen. Gordon Sullivan, the Army chief of staff.

Franks, the commander who led the Army's VII Corps against the Iraqi Republican Guard during the Persian Gulf war, began the revisions soon after returning from the gulf in March 1991.

The four-star general says the centerpiece of the document is "how we think about fighting our nation's wars and conducting operations other than war."

No longer focused on battling the Warsaw Pact nations in central Europe, the Army must be able to "mix and match" its forces for operations ranging from counternarcotic actions in South and Central America to wars like those in the Persian Gulf or Panama, Franks says.

But the new guide deals with much more.

An entire chapter focuses the military's doctrine for the first time on such things as peacekeeping missions, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, riot control and relations with nations in need of democratic assistance.

The new doctrine also declares, "the Army will not operate alone," stressing that cooperation among the military services will be the hallmark of future operations.

Given the military's budget and size constraints, the Army has decided it must focus on "power projection," _ the ability to move troops quickly to a variety of jobs around the world.

While it took more than two months to put three heavy divisions into Saudi Arabia, the Army's new goal is to deploy the same number of troops the same distance, but in half the time.

The new document is also expected to play a central role in the system that, as Sullivan said recently, "translates ideas into new or modified weaponry, organizations and training. It guides our approach to the future."

In a speech last month before the Boston World Affairs Council, Sullivan noted that while the general public sees the highly publicized use of stealth weapons in the gulf war as the prelude to a new way of waging war, combat in Panama actually will serve as the prototype.

Tom Donnelly, the editor of Army Times, wrote that the new manual has a "broad intellectual vision" that helps officers understand the shift from bare-bones tactics to "placing operations in a larger strategic context."