I'm currently attending Expeditionary Warfare School with the USMC which is their AOC equivalent. I've had the opportunity to read a lot of USMC doctrine and a lot of US Army as well. What has struck me is the quantity in that they actually cover off everything the force is expected to do, the quality is pretty good from my perspective, but, most importantly, people actually know it, reference it, and use it as a basis for professional discussion. In my experience Canadians don't know their doctrine and the doctrine isn't kept up to date or properly published. A perfect example is combat tm operations. While LGen Devlin was the Comd of the Army he stated that the combat tm and combat tm training was the center of gravity for the army. How can our center of gravity have doctrine that has been "interim" since 2004 and spends the vast majority of its content describing the conduct of drills in great detail?
Doctrine should give us a starting point and a place to go when we are looking for answers to questions. Before you go and ask your pl comd/OC/CO something the first thing going through our heads should be, does the answer already exist in doctrine or officially recognized TTP's. Doctrine establishes the "box". The Canadian Army subscribes to maneuver warfare and believes that thinking outside the box is essential, however, for our junior officers/NCOs, I would suggest knowing where/what the box is in the first place would be important before thinking outside of it.
It also seems like a lot of our doctrine is written for officers. The assumption is that no one else will/should refer to it. The Marine's capstone publication is MCDP-1 Warfighting. This publication is on the Commandant's reading list and expected to be read by every Marine and then conversations within units at squad and platoon level are had on it. How does that compare to our Land Operations which I would bet that 99.9% of Canadian enlisted members have never glanced at. You can find Land Operations here http://info.publicintelligence.net/CanadaLandOps.pdf
Compare that to MCDP-1 in terms of accessibility to junior ranks, you can find it here, http://www.clausewitz.com/readings/mcdp1.pdf
Perhaps most importantly doctrine establishes the vocabulary of our profession so that we can actually have professional discussions where the terms being used are recognized by all, and if they aren't they can refer to a publication that has it. I haven't been able to find the Canadian publication that has all of our terms, perhaps an AOC grad can point it out to me if it exists. The US has Operational Terms and Graphics FM 1-02 for the Army or MCRP 5-12A for the Marines (same pub just different numbering for the services). Hand books from the infantry school or whatever other school aren't the same as they aren't as widely available. You can find it here to see what I'm talking about. http://ofp.umbr.net/Other/milpubs/Operational%20Terms%20and%20Graphics%20%20%20(MCRP%205-12a).pdf
Does anyone else see this as a problem or am I blowing this out of proportion? Shouldn't we be devoting resources to publishing proper doctrine? In an "interwar" period it seems to be that we should be ensuring that we are investing in our intellectual capital to ensure that we are prepared as possible for unforeseen conflicts in the future. How can we do this without a proper doctrinal foundation?