According to Lucien Poirier, one of the main features of the doctrine being a product of a calculated option in the plurality of existing theories and getting a special representation and conception of action is the local. Contrary to theory which is global in essence, doctrine is meant to be local for it has practical purpose because it has to enable conceptual achievement. However, the recent definitions of doctrine that are more including underlie another point of view.
For the Soviet military encyclopaedia, doctrine represents a system of standpoints adopted by a state for a certain time about the essence, the aims and the nature of a possible war to come, just as the preparation of the country and its armed forces for this war and the means to run it. And for the United States, it is the leader that runs wars and holds the operations different from war as the Field Manual points out.
So, doctrine is first voluntarily secret and resolutely opaque. It is really accessible via specialized and confidential texts because it is not neutral for it is considered in preparation of action.. The notion of total war leads to the extension of the one of doctrine. Now, it has gained a declaratory double role. In that way, its local sense has somewhat changed.
In reality, the diffusion of a doctrine mentation matters as much as its purely military sense. Via a large diffusion, not reserved for specialists, the doctrine enhances its sphere of influence and this, within sociologic and psychological contexts. Therefore, it changes the view that can -or must!- have other nations about contentious situations. It implicitly creates a thinking framework hard to leave when reconsideration is necessary. By the way, the power of doctrine not only conditions the allies, but also the adversaries and one knows how much this way of acting is important in the field of deterrence.
As we have actually analysed in a previous article entitled “Deterrence: a virtual strategy for a real efficiency”, deterrence is a specific doctrine that shows the importance of communication and control of its informative content. And within an implicitly contentious context, it proves to be major assets. For, a weapon even if not material but conceptual is worth via its use. In fact, we can observe that the use of external factors increases the impact of a doctrine. For mental schemata such as lightning war, surgical war or even star war have led to conceptual ravages beyond realities. In implicit conflicts, it is more important that your adversaries are convinced of your doctrinal superiority than it really is. Actually, the first case essentially creates no opposition while the second one encourages the experience. And as regards virtual strategy, it is better to convince than to prove.
So, though naturally confined, the doctrine via its informational diffusion extends to potential reality and thus, changes the perception of reality ultimately being what the doctrine predicts. Its declaratory role gives an auto-prophetic aspect in the sense Popper meant, highlighting its strategic scale.