The U.S. Army operates on doctrine and regulations. Manuals contain those standard operating procedures to ensure continuity between units and leaders.
Although all Army manuals have value, a few stand out. These are the ones I have referenced often, along with some honorable mentions.
Here are five must-know U.S. Army regulations.
The Five Must-Know U.S. Army Regulations
AR 600-20 Army Command Policy
AR 600-20 is the bedrock for all commanders. It explains the Equal Opportunity (EO) program and the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program (SHARP) in great detail, along with the general command policies.
Even if you never enter a command, every officer should know the policies and programs a commander has to abide by when leading a formation. For instance, AR 600-20 outlines military discipline and conduct, Army family readiness to include family care plans, and even a chapter on resiliency.
AR 25-50 Preparing and Managing Correspondence
Every time I change out my computer, I download this manual. It refers to all types of military correspondence with the appropriate formats and fonts.
Most military correspondence you’ll use is writing Memorandums for Record. However, there will be times when you’ll need to write a letter, add enclosures, and add unique markings to documents. AR 25-50 provides these standards for you and some great examples of how to write in a military manner.
Military writing is challenging for new officers. But AR 25-50 flattens the learning curve.
AR 670-1 Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia
This is a big one. There have been several changes to AR 670-1 that leaders need to know about. For example, the new hairstyles for females are important changes to note, along with some other lesser-known wear of the uniform regulations like sleeve rolling.
Understanding the content of this manual will help you get your uniforms correct and spot-check where needed.
ADP 6-22 Army Leadership and the Profession
This was the first manual I read cover to cover when I signed into my first unit as a 2nd Lieutenant. It lays the foundation for proper Army leadership and the Army’s expectations for its leaders.
Chapters on ethics and the Army values, along with a definition of leadership, help leaders understand their roles as Army officers and NCOs. Everyone, regardless of rank or position, can benefit from this manual.
Here’s the Army’s definition of leadership: “Leadership is the activity of influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation to accomplish the mission and improve the organization.” (ADP 6-22, 1-13)
FM 7-0 Training
Like AR 25-50, this manual should have a special spot on your computer desktop or desk drawer. It teaches you how to prioritize training, Mission Essential Tasks (METs), and plan training within the Army.
Training is the bread and butter of the United States Army. FM 7-0 is the gold standard for articulating how your training meets the readiness standards your higher is trying to achieve. Tailoring your Situation Reports (SITREPs) and briefs to match the wording in FM 7-0 will give you credibility in your ability to lead and train Soldiers.
This manual will cover how to conduct an After Action Review (AAR), explain the purpose behind the Commander’s Training Guidance, and even address how to run training meetings.
There are many essential manuals, but I wanted to focus on a few critical ones. That doesn’t mean that other ones are not as important. Instead, it means you should reference the following resources when the occasions arise.
Here is my list of honorable mentions:
FM 350-1 Army Training and Leader Development
FM 5-0 Planning and Orders Production
FM 6-0 Commander and Staff Organization and Operations
FM 7-22 Holistic Health and Fitness
I understand that reading Army doctrine isn’t the most exciting part of the job. However, it is essential to know and understand the regulations and to reference them often.
Creating a shared understanding is vital in the Army, and its leaders go to great lengths to make information available to everyone. So take these manuals and apply them to your daily regimens.
What Army manuals do you think are essential? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!