New approach for US army manual

Other News Materials 9 February 2008 02:14 (UTC +04:00)

( BBC ) - The US army has drafted a new manual which for the first time puts an equal emphasis on winning hearts and minds as it does on defeating enemies by force.

The manual is expected to be published later this month.

The new guide is seen as a major development that draws on lessons of the wars being fought by US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Initial military successes there have given way to long struggles, with insurgents in both countries.

The commander of the US army's Combined Arms Centre, Gen William Caldwell, told the BBC that the US army had learned from its experiences since 2001 that stabilising countries and winning over locals required more than just military skills.

Knowledge of foreign languages and local cultures are also important, he said.

The US army might win every battle it fought, he said, without achieving its real goal - winning the peace.

Gen Caldwell described the manual as a blueprint to follow for the next 10 to 15 years, but other officers say it will take time before the advice from the manual is translated into real change on the ground.