An Army field manual for the 21st century

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - These days boots on the ground, no matter how well-trained the soldiers are, isn't enough. Technology can't stop with the latest missile or aircraft. The Army has to be ready to fight in another realm, and that's the cyber world.

FM 3-12, the Army Field Manual for Cyberspace and Electronic Warfare Operations, is necessary reading in this modern world. "Soldiers, civilians, contractors, anyone who is using the Department of Defense network," said Dr. Dawn Dunkerley, the Chief of The Cyber Division at the Army Materiel Command.

"What we're doing here is giving them the capability to use cyberspace operations and electronic warfare capabilities. So again, they have a menu of options and we're just adding to the menu," said Dr. Dunkerley.

Dozens of pages in FM 3-12 spell out lots of things on both offensive and defensive operations in the cyber world. Both are important in the modern Army, but there is something that has to be considered.  "While a lot of folks might find the offense side more cool or interesting, if we don't defend ourselves appropriately, we can't utilize the logistics and sustainment and all the capabilities that we've brought into the Army to help support the war fighter," said Dawn Dunkerley.

It does boil down to the men and women in the field fighting the battles. Their options to take offensive action and their defense in the cyber realm could be the difference between winning and losing. The bad guys are always out there, and the threat is always changing. "It is certainly worrisome, but we have to be and we are extremely vigilant. We can never rest and we can't ever say we've done good enough," said Dr. Dunkerley.

FM 3-12 is one of many Army field manuals, but for the modern force it is certainly one of the most important. It is about operations now, but also in the future.