Want to read about large-scale combat operations against a regional peer adversary, but lack the time to sit down and crack a weighty tome?
Don’t worry. The Army has you covered with a new pilot program.
For the first time, the Army is venturing into the audiobook medium to deliver service doctrine to soldiers while they’re otherwise preoccupied with activities like training for that new Combat Fitness Test or sitting in traffic outside the base gate.
In June, the service released an audiobook for Field Manual (FM) 3-0, Operations, the document that marked the shift in the Army’s focus towards large-scale combat operations when published in October 2017.
Then last week, the service released an audio format for Army Doctrine Publication (ADP) 7-0, Training, which provides the framework for leaders to ready soldiers and units for unified land operations.
The project is a joint effort by the Army’s Combined Arms Center and the Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate.
“Doctrine audiobooks give soldiers another way to receive information and learn by letting them increase their professional knowledge while doing other things, like working out or commuting,” said Col. Rich Creed, director of the Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate, in a service news release.
“We are pleased by the flexibility the audio format provides to the majority of people in the Army, who don’t usually carry doctrinal manuals around with them every day," Creed added.
The Verge reported that the plan to turn the training manuals into audiobooks started 18 months ago when Creed and other officials were looking for new ways to get information to soldiers.
FM 3-0, for instance, serves as one of the cornerstone documents for the U.S. Army as it looks to push back against regional powers like Russia, China and North Korea. Getting soldiers to break the document open and understand its tenets is important to senior leaders.
The field manual is also part of the service’s shift to the Multi-Domain Battle concept, which requires commanders to fight in multiple spheres, including ones that didn’t exist until recently, like cyberspace.
Army doctrine audiobooks are sourced from already published materials, but are truncated for the audio format, according to the service.
The publications can be downloaded by the chapter, which are formatted online as MP3 files and available for download using laptops, e-Readers, tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices.
The Combined Arms Center is working on audiobook versions of FM 2-0, Intelligence, and ADPs 3-90, Offense and Defense, and 7-0, Training. Those will be available later this summer, according to the service.
Whether or not more manuals will be made available in audio format will be assessed by the Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate based on the use of this pilot program, the service said in its release.
Kyle Rempfer was an editor and reporter who has covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.