From Beirut to Port Arthur: Field Artillery Doctrine and Practice in Low Intensity Conflict   [open pdf - 2MB]

"Field Manual (FM) 6-20, Fire Support in the AirLand Battle, the Army's capstone manual for fire support, states: 'The fire support system must be flexible enough to respond to a number of battlefield situations ranging from the nonlinear characteristics of the high- and mid-intensity conflicts to the special demands of low-intensity conflict.' Given the likelihood of U.S. forces' involvement in the latter, it is critical that the fire support system, and in particular, the field artillery, be able to respond appropriately. That response is governed in large measure by field artillery doctrine. The purpose of this monograph is to assess the viability of that doctrine to contribute to mission success in varied LIC [Low Intensity Conflict] environments. Because doctrine emanates from the principles that comprise a given body of theory, the monograph begins with a capsulation of the classical underpinnings of field artillery theory. Linkages between classical theory and the employment of artillery in the LIC environment are then drawn. Armed with this theoretical foundation, we examine how the artillery has performed historically in each of the four LIC operational categories of combatting [sic] terrorism, peacekeeping operations, support for insurgencies and counterinsurgencies, and peacetime contingency operations. [...] Finally, recommendations are offered to address any deficiencies noted. The study concludes that there are legitimate roles for the field artillery in all four of the operational categories that comprise the low intensity conflict spectrum. By refocusing and retooling field artillery doctrine to encompass the fire support requirements peculiar to the low intensity conflict environment, the field artillery will be better prepared to fulfill its charge within the context of military operations in LIC."

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