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SWJED
06-26-2008, 09:49 AM
Information Operations (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2008/06/information-operations-1/) by Andrew Exum, Small Wars Journal

I have a few questions for the learned readership of Small Wars Journal. The first is, how many of you have ever looked up the official Department of Defense definition for ‘Information Operations?’

According to JP 3-13, Information Operations, the term is defined as “the integrated employment of electronic warfare, computer network operations, psychological operations, military deception, and operations security, in concert with specified supporting and related capabilities, to influence, disrupt, corrupt or usurp adversarial human and automated decision making while protecting our own.”

I am confident there exist more confusing definitions in the U.S. military lexicon, but surely there cannot be too many. In effect, the Department of Defense has taken the term ‘information operations’ as understood by cyberwarfare types and mashed it together with the term ‘information operations’ as understood by those of us waging wars of narratives in Iraq and Afghanistan. The resulting confusion has left us with a definition that tries to be everything to everyone while at the same time leaving us with a shoddy definition to communicate what we’re talking about as counter-insurgency theorist-practitioners when we use the term...

More at the link.

Schmedlap
06-26-2008, 10:47 AM
I do not see where the confusion is. I regard field manuals and other publications to be about as useful and exciting as the ingredients label on my box of Lucky Charms (you'll never get your hands on them), but this is one definition that I think is pretty straightforward and fairly accurate.

Do we use IO as shorthand for psychological operations and message management?

Some people do, but that is because the use of the term "IO" by those unfamiliar with it was often equated with "talking points" in Bosnia or media relations in general or a military version of "strategic communication", and, of course, the dominance of PSYOP in the field, both in terms of personnel and the leveraging of assets, makes PSYOP and IO synonymous in the minds of many. I think if more officers actually read the definition, as the author has, then the confusion would be resolved. Then again, I know that Mr. Exum is a smart guy, so I guess we should do better.

Obviously, our definition of IO is different from the definition officially in use.

Not among the IO practicioners, but...

... what do we, as counter-insurgency theorists and practitioners, mean when we use the term “information operations?” ... So who out there can propose an alternate definition, and one which we can offer to those in the field in Iraq and Afghanistan? And is “information operations” even an appropriate term for that to which we’re referring?

A definition more readily accessible to all should be framed in terms of what we are shooting for: information superiority. To that end, it is basically creating a situation in which you can quickly process accurate information about the operating environment and make accurate assessments from it, you heavily influence the degree to which the enemy can process the information quickly and make accurate decisions from it, and others (the populace in the AO) are perceiving events as you wish them to be perceived.

The first part - quickly processing information and making accurate assessments from it - is where the surveillance and reconnaissance can come in, even though they are not "core" functions of IO. It is not enough to receive the information; we must also have some confidence in how accurate it is, to include knowing when the enemy is attempting a deception and when the enemy is acting upon false information of our own. And this also explains why the definition seems heavily influence cyberstuff. The speed and ease with which we gather and process information is important and CND is a factor.
The second part - influencing the degree to which the enemy can process the information quickly - is where core functions like EW and CNO come into play, as well as physical destruction - attacking the means by which he gathers and disseminates information. OPSEC is also at play, by denying him information about your activity and objectives. And whenever OPSEC is at play, related capabilities such as counterintelligence and the sub-function of the core CNO (CND) are also in play.
The third part - the enemy not being able to make accurate decisions from it - is where deception and counterdeception come into play. The enemy does not know if he is being deceived and does not know if his own deception plans are working.
The perceptions of others are where PSYOP and PA come in (yes, I dare use those two in the same sentence) - and PSYOP can also be leveraged for many of the other functions, especially deception, which makes it very versatile and helps to explain why PSYOP personnel and resources tend to dominate the IO field.

MAJHefner
06-26-2008, 02:27 PM
I know what follows is not perfectly in line with the official FM/JP 3-13 definitions. Any time your definition requires a definition (who knows what information superiority is, anyway?) there is a real problem. It seems to me that the official definitions are sooo Cold War.

We talk about the art of war and we send folks to SAMS to make the proficient in the art of maneuver. IO is nothing more complicated than the art of influence.

Mao TseTong (sp?), if I may paraphrase, said the population is to the guerilla (insurgent) as water is to fish. Our initial efforts in COIN were something like standing on a riverbank with a fishing pole, congratulating ourselves on every catch and thinking somehow we would eradicate all fishes from the water. To eliminate fish (insurgents) you must make the water (population) untenable for them.

To achieve that we attempt to control information. The official definition of information superiorty speaks to controlling a greater quantity of information than the opponent. In my opinion, that is irrelevant. We need only to control the right information. All of the original 13 elements of IO play a part. IO (influence) cannot be net-centric because the population we are trying to influence is not net-centric. Regardless of how many hours you spend a day on the internet, you still, at some point, talk to actual people. You still are influenced by your culture, your nation, etc. First we must understand the influences on that population, then focus on what we can affect. While I don't like this terminology, the population, not the insurgent, is the target because the population is the insurgents center of gravity. First identify what it will take to influence the target, then bring that to bear. Just like you would not shoot a T72 with an M16, don't send PSYOP out to a village without water - send the resources to get them water that the insurgent cannot provide. I have heard of Vulnerability Assessment Teams (network stuff) going out to areas with a 30% literacy rate in support of below BDE ops. That reeks of "Sprinkle a little IO on it, the generals will be happy and we can go back to killing bad guys." Bad guys are like potato chips, kill all you want, they'll make more.

Influence is an art, something not subject to algorithms and cold logic. The current definition simply does not fit into current operations. IO will continue to be nothing more than a point of confusion until a relevant, current definition is provided.

Stevely
06-26-2008, 02:53 PM
Influence is an art, something not subject to algorithms and cold logic. The current definition simply does not fit into current operations. IO will continue to be nothing more than a point of confusion until a relevant, current definition is provided.

Brilliant post. Your paragraph above get right to the point, but unfortunately it is cause for pessimism: institutionally we are obsessed with metrics-based thinking, and only really take seriously that which can be counted. Since arts can't be measured, expect us to remain in a state of confusion.

Ron Humphrey
06-26-2008, 03:04 PM
I have agree about the definition and the need for somewhat more implicit guidance. The problem however as several of those among us who've been talking about it for a while know seems to be the my piece of the pie syndrom.

By this I simply mean that because real Information Operations is and should be inclusive of all the varied areas of study mentioned in joint pubs and more. With this being the case it has been my experience that those of any particular discipline percieve and approach it in that light. The EW guys can naturally find all the different ways to gain information superiority with their systems, the same goes for all other groups and as such what you generally get reflects who you've got.

The statement I've heard most often has been that it seems to get too complicated when you actually start breaking down all the various components and capabilities and there is often an assumption that those charged with doing it won't be able to do it well enough. I would tend to agree with MAJHEFNER in that IO is nothing more complicated than the art of influence.. It's just made harder by those who try to place it in their own boxes.

I would suspect that 99% of what a good IO planner works with and the skill sets used are not much different than what most anyone does within the confines of their own lives on a daily basis. That said OK lets get a definition that is more explicatory, the toughest part is going to be making it such that all who read it don't read too much, or too little into it, but rather accept it for what it is.

BTW remember I always like to over simplify things:D

selil
06-26-2008, 03:30 PM
In effect, the Department of Defense has taken the term ‘information operations’ as understood by cyberwarfare types and mashed it together with the term ‘information operations’ as understood by those of us waging wars of narratives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is of course quite true. In my research into cyber warfare I have found a variety of definitions and all most all of them under the heading of information operations. This suggests that cyber warfare, psychological operations, public affairs, and such are subsets of information operations. However, I am not sure that is the truth of it.

As an example network centric warfare has two specific connotations that are worlds apart yet under the same primary heading.

Example 1: The Arquilla/Ronsfeldt description of network centric warfare is the social networks of individuals and organizations without consideration of technology other than as a force multiplier.

Example 2: USAF literature describes network centric warfare as the network enabling tools found on the platform and between the weapons platform and command and control constituencies. Technology is the primary element in this paradigm.

It should be quite obvious that these two definitions are quite far apart yet have communication as a common component. The generalization is that regardless of the technology networks or associations between disparate parts exist and they can be examined and used/defeated based on their cohesion and utilization.

Then there is cyber warfare. It takes a moment to expand the idea most people have about information technology and computing. Information technology has existed since the written record first leapt from the cave wall to the papyrus scroll. The management and enabling technologies of information have merged with the act of war ever since. Whether it is Caesar tattooing messages to his generals on the shaven scalps of slaves (steganography), or combat telephones in the trenches of World War 1 France for command and control, information conduits are linked to war.

Thus like land, air, sea warfare and their battle spaces cyber warfare exists in it’s own shared space with them. In 1984 William Gibson on page 8 of “Neuromancer” coined the term “Cyber Space”. Cyber space is a construct and an agreement between entities to define the area we can not see where computers, telephones, and devices communicate and transact on a variety of paths. It is easier to use a known construct and expand upon that then to create a new one out of whole cloth. Cyber warfare exists in that space where command, control, communication, coordination, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) exists.

When thinking about this space do not artificially limit yourself to the “world wide web” which is fairly small. Digging deeper below the “web” and the “Internet” is the actual battleground. Every unmanned aerial vehicle interacts with this new cyber terrain. The communication infrastructures of the battle groups and artillery units supporting Marines interact with the new terrain. Every message, command, logistics order, telemetry data packet, and email home crosses this terrain.

I will not go into to much detail as I have likely lost the interest of most people, but there are only five things I can do though I can do them a myriad of different ways. I can block your interaction and deny you the terrain, I can spy on your messages as you send them, I can change the content of your information or command and control, I can make you distrust what have you have received, and finally I can violate the “who” of whom you are speaking. In that I have those five techniques available cyber warfare is linked to the information conduits and information operations paradigm. Even though it is totally discrete much like our two examples of network centric warfare are discrete but linked.

A variety of technology authors and conflict authors have written about cyber warfare and whether it exists or not. The fact is that all of the elements of cyber warfare have been with us since the beginning of conflict between humans. The metaphors for the information technologies are lifted from the real world aspects of information operations and translated to a new terrain in cyber space. The common refrain that cyber space has little relevancy in the real world as a kinetic attack vector falls quickly to the realization that the network centric battlefield gives the cyber warrior the ability to use the enemies weapons against the enemy.

Suddenly the cyber-terrain takes on the aspects of a guerilla war where scavenging from the enemy and prosecuting conflict in an asymmetric manner realizes the goals of information advantage and kinetic results in the real world. If I take over your UAV through cyber-warfare and blow up your troops by violating the command-control and telemetry systems that is a real world effect through cyber warfare. If for example the bullets for front line troops in dire need are translated to beans the operational and kinetic capability of the troops is degraded in the real world through the cyber. Is that still in the realm of information operations?

My challenge for this website’s readers, then, is the following: what do we, as counter-insurgency theorists and practitioners, mean when we use the term “information operations?” Do we use IO as shorthand for psychological operations and message management?


I would say simply yes this is true. The reason for the mashup by the cyber-warfare types is that what ever is created in the real world can likely be translated to the cyber realm fairly quickly.

Tom Odom
06-26-2008, 03:35 PM
Originally Posted by Andrew Exum
My challenge for this website’s readers, then, is the following: what do we, as counter-insurgency theorists and practitioners, mean when we use the term “information operations?” Do we use IO as shorthand for psychological operations and message management?

Andrew,

In the current operational context, absolutely. In a more conmventional setting probably not--then the cyber war or EW ened would come back into play. That siad, it is NOT always that way. In 94 the world lost the IO war that driected the genocide in Rwanda. We lost the message war. We obviated our roles in the influence war. And we never took up the cudgel part of IO to shut down Radio Milles Collines.

Tom

Bill Moore
06-26-2008, 03:37 PM
I tend to agree with Andrew's comments about IO. First, definitions are obviously very important, since we can't comunicate clearly without them. Of course we live in a gray world, but words still have meaning, and should provide as much clarity as possible, and you don't do that with the incorrect use of terms. Unfortunately, the definition of IO presents problems based on its current scope as defined by DoD.

When IO first developed, it was DoD's response to the rapidly emerging Information Age (largely technology based). It was offensive and defensive in nature, but technically focused. Somehow PSYOP got thrown into the mix, which I think was a serious mistake because we took a needed technical speciality and turned it into the overall art of war. Now IO means everything, so it really means nothing.

I tend to like the new terms in the Army's FM 3-0, and hope that eventually DoD will develop Joint terms along a similiar line of thought to help clarify the confuse that IO creates.

Influence Operations: to effect the behavior of the intended audience through coercion, information engagement, presence and conduct.

Information Engagement: the government's use of integrated employment of public information programs, psychological operations, and support leader and government activities (reparing a school, security force behavior) to influence a target audience.

While not perfect they are closer to what we are actually doing, but we still a definition for the high technology side of IO for computer attack and defense, etc. Everyone now has their biases, so it will be hard to fix this, but ideally would go to a clean slate and start over with these terms. I really wonder if there is any utility in lumping all those activities under one blanket term to begin with?

marct
06-26-2008, 03:41 PM
Mao TseTong (sp?), if I may paraphrase, said the population is to the guerilla (insurgent) as water is to fish. Our initial efforts in COIN were something like standing on a riverbank with a fishing pole, congratulating ourselves on every catch and thinking somehow we would eradicate all fishes from the water. To eliminate fish (insurgents) you must make the water (population) untenable for them.

I have always had a problem with this metaphor based on a) the assumed stance of the perceiver and b) the assumption of non-action" by the "water". In regards to IO, again using this metaphor, it implies poisoning or draining the water such that the fish can no longer breath. This might make sense in some COIN situations (e.g. Bolivia), but does it make sense in places such as Afghanistan? Only to a limited degree I would suspect.

Influence is an art, something not subject to algorithms and cold logic. The current definition simply does not fit into current operations. IO will continue to be nothing more than a point of confusion until a relevant, current definition is provided.

Brilliant post. Your paragraph above get right to the point, but unfortunately it is cause for pessimism: institutionally we are obsessed with metrics-based thinking, and only really take seriously that which can be counted. Since arts can't be measured, expect us to remain in a state of confusion.

Actually, many "arts" can be measured, but the metrics tend to be meaningless to the particular institutional mind-set you are referring to Stevely. Let me give you an example of this: "music", as an art form, is composed of rhythm, pitch and timbre that are produced sequentially through time. Each of these three, let's call them "base measures", can be measured, as can several of the emergent properties coming out of them such as harmonics. Where we run into difficulty is with he measurement of the effects of such emergent properties on humans. In part, this is because the neurology of humans with regards to something like pitch is not fixed at birth but, rather, is fixed at the age of abut 6 months. Furthermore, the interpretation, at a psycho-neurological level, is conditioned by individual experiences with, or conditioning by if you prefer, a given musical genre over time. The reason why I chose the example of music is that, to my mind, it is a good analogy for the more generalized case of "Information Operation".

Let's consider how we should break them down analytically (and remember, I'm an academic, not an IO type ;)).

"Information" - defined as "a difference that makes a difference" (Gregory Bateson) is composed of
something within the environment that may be so classed and,
the perception (or sensing) of that something.
The interpretation of that information; which is composed of
a symbol system that defined what is information within the system,
analytic "tools" (actually symbolic manipulations) of that information to derive "meaning", and
a prescriptive system for action based on interpreted "meaning" (all of this comes from Andrew Abbott's, the System of the Professions (http://www.amazon.com/System-Professions-Essay-Division-Expert/dp/0226000699)).
Actions taken based on the interpretation of that information.Now, that is the simplified system, and it gets much more complex later on :cool:. In particular, there is another, cross-cutting, dimension to this which deals with the media of communications in all of these steps. All media, barring face-to-face (F2F; which I'll talk about latter), distort the default value of communications for humans (F2F is the default value in that we evolved as a species using this medium) in either (or both) time and space. These distortions effect how the gathering, analysis and conclusions of IO are conducted and interpreted.

Face-to-face communication is the basic form of communications we, as a species, evolved with and is our "default value" for communicative media. This doesn't mean that people tell the "objective truth" (if such a thing can be told!) when they are talking face to face. What it does mean, however, is that we have a lot of neural circuity that acts to detect "lying", "cheating". Also, F2F communications contains a lot more "information" that we have available for interpretation (e.g. tonality, body language, eye positioning, scent, pitch, rhythm, timbre, etc.). This additional "information" (actually, sensory output) allows for an increased number of emergent properties such as "charisma", "spinning illusions", etc.

You know, this is turning into a rather long response :D. I think I'm going to leave it there for now and write up a blog entry on it.

Marc

Schmedlap
06-26-2008, 05:14 PM
I was surprised that there is so much confusion on this issue, but upon searching 3-24 I only found one passing reference to Information Superiority, and it was in Appendix E. However, in the old FMI 3-07.22, I found this, which sums it up pretty well, in my opinion:

The goal of IO is to gain and maintain information superiority at decisive points. Information superiority is the operational advantage derived from the ability to collect, process, and disseminate an uninterrupted flow of information while exploiting or denying an adversary's ability to do the same (FM 3-0).

I think that much of the discussion on this thread is borne of misperceptions of IO rather than of some defect in the concept of conducting operations in the information environment. The real issue is how we organize our staffs and how we task various assets to accomplish it.

wm
06-26-2008, 06:13 PM
IO is really A PAIN:

Availability
Privacy
Authenticity
Integrity
Non-repudiation

In its offensive form (nutshell #1), one denies one's opponent the above attributes of information.
In its defensive form (nutshell #2), one assures one's own side of the same attributes.

PSYOPS, OPSEC, EW, Fires, Information Assurance(IA)/Cyberwar, etc. are all TTPs one may use to achieve the above goals. Like pretty much everything else in the world of operations, each is METT-TC dependent.

Ken White
06-26-2008, 07:05 PM
I was surprised that there is so much confusion on this issue...Could that be because we're trying to pin down a process that is being learned on the fly and is in considerable flux?I think that much of the discussion on this thread is borne of misperceptions of IO rather than of some defect in the concept of conducting operations in the information environment. The real issue is how we organize our staffs and how we task various assets to accomplish it.True and as wm said:...Like pretty much everything else in the world of operations, each is METT-TC dependent.Could it be that the search for clarity and coherence in an effort to simplify (possibly oversimplify???) a very complex and conditional process might obscure the flexibility needed to adapt and cope with multiple changing environments?

Sounds like a way to inadvertently design a straight jacket to me...

Or is that a strait jacket... :D

Bill Moore
06-26-2008, 08:05 PM
http://www.army.mil/professionalwriting/volumes/volume3/may_2005/5_05_3.html

The "IO Roadmap" provides strategic-level IO guidance for the current security environment defined in the latest QDR and NSS. The draft update of JP 3-13 incorporates the "IO Roadmap" and a new DOD IO definition: "The integrated employment of the specified core capabilities of Electronic Warfare [EW], Computer Network Operations (CNO), PSYOP [psychological operations], Military Deception, and Operations Security [OPSEC], in concert with specified supporting and related capabilities, to influence, disrupt, corrupt, or usurp adversarial human and automated decisionmaking, while protecting our own."9 The "IO Roadmap" groups IO elements in the following categories:

-Core capabilities (EW, CNO, OPSEC, military deception, PSYOP).

-Support capabilities (information assurance, physical security, counterintelligence, physical attack).

-Related capabilities (public affairs, civil-military operations).10

http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/army/tradoc/usaic/mipb/1999-3/concepts_and_doctrine.htm

This post is somewhat dated, but contains some worthwhile observations:

The strategy of using IO within military operations has a long history. The Army focuses on IO as an overarching strategy with a variety of capabilities that influence an adversary. Sun Tzu focused on the mind of the opponent in much the same way one would moving chess pieces to attain checkmate in a game of chess. The ultimate objective is gaining information superiority.

IO is not just the current trend of technology—it is the use of many aspects information targeted to achieve a specific affect or influence the adversary. Examples of IO include electronic warfare (EW), computer network attack systems, deception, and psychological operations using human factors to target as pressure points throughout an operation. The information environment is an aggregate of individuals, organizations, or systems that collect, process, or disseminate information; this environment also includes the information itself. The use of information and information technologies to influence the outcomes of conflicts has become a hot topic in the military and intelligence community. The increasing number of computer “hacking” incidents in both the private and public sectors has risen exponentially. The legal and policy issues of IO in this technology-driven environment are also under review. The use of “information as a weapon” within this ever-changing state of technology involves a tremendous amount of collection and analysis to support a specific outcome.

Given this realization, what are the expectations of and support for each echelon regarding IO?

There is more at each link, but with the exception of computer network attack, which the J3 doesn't control (in most cases), what is new? It is still unclear (despite statement to the contrary in this forum) on the purpose and intent of lumping all these activities under the IO umbrella. Having worked on a few joint operations, I have not yet seen the pratical value of IO as a stand alone doctrine. It does force people to play lip service to it, but the overall integration has been relatively lame in most cases (despite some cool looking power point slides that indicate otherwise). In my opinion, the failure to fully realize the power of IO is the failure to clarify how it should be integrated successfully in planning and operations. Clarifying isn't simplifying it, clarifying a complex concept is hard work.

For those who say there is no problem, I doubt they are current planner or operators, because I still enjoy listening to the SAMS graduates, NPS graduates, and senior officers sitting around debating IO. All of the conversations are informative, but they also indicate a level of immaturity of our current IO doctrine.

Of course it needs to be done, and it always has, I'm not underestimating the power of what IO attempts to accomplish, but rather would we and could we accomplish it anyway without IO doctrine? Since at least WWII we used EW, PSYOP, Deception and OPSEC with varying degrees of success. Did IO doctrine make us better? If so, how?

By all means we should continue to develop/improve our doctrine related to influence and the incorporation of advanced information technology to support defensive and offensive operations, but is there really a need to lump everything under one IO umbrella or is it just operations?

joelhar
06-26-2008, 09:41 PM
I think the basic problem for the JP 3-13 definition is that it starts off defining the components and then tells us what they do. I do not believe the definition of IO should list the components, plain and simple. If the definition for IO is too broad and vague, then deal with it, change it into something useful.

The components should be listed, but elsewhere in JP 3-13. Chances are, if this is done, the number of components will suddenly increase. The simple premise is that everything can influence, everything should be considered for its effect on the targeted decision-maker, group of people or a general population. Dropping a kinetic bomb on a target might take out a telephone switch, a fiber-optic hub or a bad-guy, ALL of these will have meaning to selected person(s).

The scary thing to many conventional thinkers is that this threatens the old style of thinking, it would present a Revolution in Military Affairs, of sorts.

One of the major drawbacks would be a huge increase in the wargaming efforts required for planning, and there can be no handwave for this. Not only will the S/G/J-2 be required to play the part of the enemy, but might have to represent the population - it might require a whole new player. Depending on the situation someone might have to roleplay a religious group, another might play tourists, another might play affected diplomats, another might play the population in surrounding countries.

This is more an eventuality, actually, IMHO.

MTanji
06-26-2008, 11:15 PM
You have highlighted a long-standing issue that has yet to be addressed with any level of effort as far as I know: IO tends to be what you want it to mean based on your discipline. Spend time in cyber-centric shops and they will tell you they do IO; same goes for PSYOP orgs or shops full of head shrinkers. Do they all do _aspects_ of IO? Sure. Who does IO writ-large? No one and that's always been our problem. Doctrine we have, organization, not so much. Find me any other military discipline that does not have a single proponent or "parent."

One could argue that since discrete parts of IO can be used in a lot of places in a lot of ways that it makes sense to roll your own as you go along. The problem with that is self evident with the duplication, repetition and sometimes cross-purposes we've been running into over the past decade-plus. There is nothing like standing up in front of an allied audience explaining US IO doctrine and then not having a decent answer to the obvious questions: "So is this how you are organized?" and "Where is your national IO office?"

There was a time when I knew personally or by reputation most if not all the major players in the IO space (IW back in the day). Just a few years later that was not the case. Is that good or bad? It's good in the sense that people recognize the value and we achieved critical mass; bad in that it is in essence a Hydra we can't get our hands around.

Bill Moore
06-26-2008, 11:22 PM
The scary thing to many conventional thinkers is that this threatens the old style of thinking, it would present a Revolution in Military Affairs, of sorts.

Joelhar, I think you made a couple of good points, but I'm not so sure this is a Revolution in Military Affairs. I do agree every action can influence behavior. Once upon a time we just called this operational art, and if the various specialists (deception, intelligence, Operations Security, Electronic Warfare, etc.) understood their commander's intent and the strategic through tactical objectives, they were able to effectively apply their trade. PSYOP and influence operations have always been and will remain paramount, the advent of IO doctrine didn't change that, if anything it created unneeded confusion.

I'm not hard set against IO doctrine, but I agree that defining it with a few components is very misleading and not helpful.

The simple premise is that everything can influence, everything should be considered for its effect on the targeted decision-maker, group of people or a general population. Dropping a kinetic bomb on a target might take out a telephone switch, a fiber-optic hub or a bad-guy, ALL of these will have meaning to selected person(s).

Thus if this statement is true, do we need a separate speciality area that requires its own doctrine or is it just part of operational art?

Rockbridge
06-27-2008, 12:07 AM
Well, this is a fascinating discussion about what we think the definition of IO should be versus trying to figure out how to work with the definition that we've got. The longer we continue to debate "how come," the longer it will take to get things going in the right direction. All the debates about whether the definition of IO in JP 3-13 definition fits "what we're really doing downrange" appear to be lacking in the distinction among tactical, operational, and strategic applications of IO, which clearly employ different assets and different methods.

To answer the earlier question about whether or not IO should be used as shorthand for PSYOP and message management by Irregular Warfare practicioners, the answer is simple: "Only if you have no interest in being doctrinally correct." The Irregular Warfare Joint Operating Concept specifically states on p36 that Information Operations fits into the current concept for Irregular Warfare, thusly "Conduct information operations (operations security, information security, military deception, PSYOP, electronic warfare, computer network attack and defense; and physical destruction) in support of IW campaign objectives." Although the IW JOC itself got the definition of IO wrong (why should JOCs be constrained by doctrine??:mad:), the intent is clearly to employ a lot more than just PSYOP and message management. With regard to the use of IO as shorthand for "PSYOP and message management," it clearly sounds like a tactical (or possibly operational) application of IO by an element that doesn't have any other assets. In other words, IO for a unit that only has PSYOP and "messaging" assets will obviously only include those assets. Other units with more assets will conduct a wider variety of operations and use more assets when they conduct IO.

We seem to expend a lot of energy worrying about how "my IO doesn't look like your IO" when the real objective of IO is not to employ a specific set of capabilities, but to employ all available capabilities in order to influence the thoughts and actions of adversary and neutral parties. Fortunately, that includes killing those who need to be killed so they don't have thoughts or actions any more.:D

This stuff really isn't that difficult.

Schmedlap
06-27-2008, 01:22 AM
Could that be because we're trying to pin down a process that is being learned on the fly and is in considerable flux?

My surprise was not that we are wrangling with process. I think that is one issue that needs to be fixed. As I wrote, "The real issue is how we organize our staffs and how we task various assets to accomplish it." Instead, I was surprised that there is a fundamental confusion/disagreement as to what information superiority is. How do we organize the staffs and C2 relationships with the assets if we can’t even agree upon what we’re using them for? But, upon reading the comments here and upon further reflection on the level of understanding that I have seen demonstrated in various units, I guess this should not surprise me.

What information superiority is, is pretty straightforward and merits very little discussion or elaboration...

The goal of IO is to gain and maintain information superiority at decisive points. Information superiority is the operational advantage derived from the ability to collect, process, and disseminate an uninterrupted flow of information while exploiting or denying an adversary's ability to do the same (FM 3-0).

I think if more commanders and staff know what information superiority is, then they will rather quickly figure out how to achieve it. Unfortunately, I doubt that most commanders or staff know what information superiority is. Otherwise, they would not be notorious for wanting to "sprinkle in some IO" with their operations as a last minute modification to a plan.

Maybe we need a PSYOP TPDD to print up some handbills as part of an awareness campaign. Do a leaflet drop over Leavenworth.

Ken White
06-27-2008, 01:54 AM
...Maybe we need a PSYOP TPDD to print up some handbills as part of an awareness campaign. Do a leaflet drop over Leavenworth.That and move the 'doctrine' writing out of the hands of the Snowbirds and Blackbirds. I kid, Guys, I kid...

Definitions are good but they can also be constricting. In an area of effort that really follows Moore's law with respect to development and major change speed, too much specificity might be a bad thing. Can a generic joint service definition for much of anything really be judged applicable to all services at all echelons in all environments? Perhaps -- but once you get out of hardware, I've never seen it work. Excessive centralization stifles creativity and initiative.

As Bill Moore said, this is operator stuff and it's not all that new, we just bundled some things. Every time we do that -- and we do it about every ten years or so -- it initially creates some confusion. That usually gets sorted out in a few months.

There are a lot of FlagOs getting big bucks and many hassles and they're smart guys with mostly decent staffs; they can work out what they need for their job without a lot of undue precision...

Bill Moore
06-27-2008, 03:27 AM
Originally Posted by Schmedlap
...Maybe we need a PSYOP TPDD to print up some handbills as part of an awareness campaign. Do a leaflet drop over Leavenworth.

The real issue is how we organize our staffs and how we task various assets to accomplish it

I didn't see information superiority in the IO definition, but I think information superiority is a great "objective", but it will involve more than the five or so disciplines listed in the IO definition.

I like the term information superiority, simply state it as a goal/objective, and then organize the staff to accomplish it. I think that answers the mail? That allows for maxium flexability based on each unique situation. I'll still argue there is nothing "simple" about this. It is a very complex endeavor, and one that I have rarely seen done well. The "value" of IO and information superiority is its impact on accomplishing the mission, so lets say the definition is simple, that still doesn't equate to success in accomplishing it.

davidbfpo
06-27-2008, 10:30 AM
I hesitate to plunge into this sphere of political warfare and my views are of an observer outside.

I see very little sign of Information Operations here in the UK and have my doubts that in Afghanistan what we do is effective. I have assumed there is an IO operation in Helmand.

Given the UK's experience in IO, notably in WW2 with black propaganda etc, once again that appears to be lost. Let alone adapting to the new technology in use; e.g. a poster campaign is used, not using texting / SMS. We know our enemy is web-friendly and appear to do next to nothing about it.

We need different IO for different audiences, leaving aside language; there are certain influential / key targets e.g. travellers to Pakistan (400k p.a. from the UK) and we need to focus on them. University students is another key group.

davidbfpo

Bill Moore
06-27-2008, 02:47 PM
David your wet with the rest of us now, welcome.

The challenges remain immense, and in my opinion our doctrine doesn't provide the framework for addressing them when it comes to irregular warfare. We're not as good as we like to think we are when it comes to changing individual perceptions or changing cultures (maybe we shouldn't try). That is graduate level work, and the thesis is still being written.

What we are good at is targeting coventional enemy forces with propaganda, black psyop, deception operations, EW, etc. That was our primary focus, and we became good at. We also learned how to jam their radios, target their radars, probably attack their computer systems, and design appropriate OPSEC programs based on known enemy TTPs for collecting intelligence, not to mention our high tech intelligence capabilities that gave us an incredible information advantage over our conventional foes. In time we may have a military of killer drones that are networked to high tech sensors that can dominate any conventional foe, so in the realm of conventional warfare I think we have achieved information superiority, but I would argue we had that before the development of IO doctrine.

However, those TTPs/doctrine do not readily transfer to the realm of irregular warfare (IW). In IW we do not have information superiority. We are not very effective influencing the population or the insurgents, and our intelligence is generally very limited, but in contrast our enemy's low tech sensor system keeps pretty good tabs on us. The enemy is also pretty good at influencing the population using old school tactics, ones we can't counter unless we learn how to protect the populace from insurgent coercion. It took us a long time to relearn to stop drive by COIN, the years of raids never accomplished anything, but troops on the ground living with the populace did. Is it is IO? I would argue you can't influence or understand the populace without a presence, there is no satellite or UAV that will accomplish this task. Which one of the the five disciplines is it: OPSEC, PSYOP, EW, CNA, or deception operations? You could lump it under PSYOP, but it isn't. It is a supporting task by the new definition, but the reality is it is a decisive action in irregular warfare. In IW IO is mumbo jumbo, we just need to identify the right objectives and task organize to accomplish the objectives. It will be IO heavy, but it won't involve a lot of the five disciplines (except PSYOP) in their true form, but rather it will involve a lot of so called supporting tasks that will ultimately convince the enemy they can't win. Is this really IO or is it just operational art?

joelhar
06-27-2008, 03:11 PM
I agree that we need to work within the current definition as defined by JP 3-13. However, we also need to work out the long term implications of the definition and the naming.

We have a dilemma here; the guys on the ground are making stuff up, hoping the message fits with the overall ‘guidance’ from on high. Unfortunately that guidance does not come from the government. I can’t speak for the UK, but here is how I think the US needs to solve its ‘guidance’ problem.

The mere term, Information Operations, raises all kinds of concerns and causes much confusion. There is no US Government ‘doctrine’, outside of JP 3-13 for IO.

Information Warfare implies war, which implies only the Department of Defense is playing; State and all the other government players supposedly stated this was politically incorrect back in the 90s.

DoD begins to integrate Strategic Communications at the COCOM and OSD level, and the State Department claims it as their domain. DoS has released the doctrine for this; it is quite well done.

Public Diplomacy may be synonymous with Strategic Communications, but DoD has always been the stick to State’s carrot. I’m not sure that a Public Diplomacy doctrine exists.

“War of Ideas” is a neat term, it gets at the wetware. A good book on this, which is extremely thought provoking is a book called “Fighting the War of Ideas like a Real War”, by J. Michael Waller. Dr. Waller is involved, at the USG level, with many of these discussions. But the “war of ideas” term still doesn’t encompass the depth and breadth of what we are doing.

Boiling things down to their basic components is probably a wise way to approach this. This is all about information. I choose not to say data; in my opinion data is still incomplete; information pulls things together. I’m saying this very loosely, please bear with me.

The next thing is what we intend to do with this information, and that is to influence. We want to have someone else do something of our choosing, not do something, or not stand in our way.

Someone pointed out to me the other day that the USG does not “do” operations, that is what the military does. The USG has a strategy, normally.

Putting this all together, I would say a common sense phrase for what the USG needs is an “Information and Influence Strategy”.

The problem the USG, given that ‘someone’ can put this together, is that there is no office or agency that could coordinate this message throughout the Government. Please notice, I am not saying ‘control the message’, but coordinate.

State has postulated that they are in the perfect position to do this, as they must coordinate the message our emissaries promulgate throughout the world; they also have liaisons to coordinate this message within each of the other Departments and Agencies. The problem I see with this is that one Department would, de facto, have too much authority over the other Departments, there would be an imbalance. Second, if an office were created within State, there is too much separation between the guidance generated in the White House and this office, too many layers of bureaucracy would exist.

The guidance needs to come from the Executive Branch. The office coordinating this message throughout the government should be as close to the Executive Branch as possible. I haven’t decided if this office should have any authority over subordinates, it might create too many log jams… and mere coordination may prove ineffective. But the National Security Council has the charter to coordinate the USG response, so they should have the mission to coordinate the message coming from the President as well as coordinate his/her speeches to reflect the overall message. The idea is not to create a source for propaganda, but to help put together a deep and comprehensive information and influence strategy, aimed at promoting the US agenda overseas via a unified US message. The message can be shared with the general public: “The United States of America’s position on this issue is this”. In turn this message is passed throughout the Government and posted for all to see, allowing guidance for the embassies and deployed strategic forces to be posted. When this guidance is received a subordinate and supporting strategy can be created. The general public always has the right to disagree but will generally support the position of the President – but it must be presented. This will further create a unified message from the US. Dissension will be encouraged, discussions will be expected, this is how a democracy works, and we could be the living, breathing example.

Now, with the guidance coming from Washington, we can plan an information effect on the ground and decide which ‘tools’ to use to achieve this effect. If we choose to drop leaflets, if we choose to jam a signal, if we chose to attack a network, if we choose to drop a bomb, if we choose to commit conventional forces, if we choose to keep details of our operations security, if we choose to run a deception – these would be things we choose to do to achieve a specific and desired effect.

This needs to be fixed at the top before we can hope to get IO or IW fixed on the ground…

joelhar
06-27-2008, 03:35 PM
I know what follows is not perfectly in line with the official FM/JP 3-13 definitions. Any time your definition requires a definition (who knows what information superiority is, anyway?) there is a real problem. It seems to me that the official definitions are sooo Cold War.

We talk about the art of war and we send folks to SAMS to make the proficient in the art of maneuver. IO is nothing more complicated than the art of influence.

Mao TseTong (sp?), if I may paraphrase, said the population is to the guerilla (insurgent) as water is to fish. Our initial efforts in COIN were something like standing on a riverbank with a fishing pole, congratulating ourselves on every catch and thinking somehow we would eradicate all fishes from the water. To eliminate fish (insurgents) you must make the water (population) untenable for them.

To achieve that we attempt to control information. The official definition of information superiorty speaks to controlling a greater quantity of information than the opponent. In my opinion, that is irrelevant. We need only to control the right information. All of the original 13 elements of IO play a part. IO (influence) cannot be net-centric because the population we are trying to influence is not net-centric. Regardless of how many hours you spend a day on the internet, you still, at some point, talk to actual people. You still are influenced by your culture, your nation, etc. First we must understand the influences on that population, then focus on what we can affect. While I don't like this terminology, the population, not the insurgent, is the target because the population is the insurgents center of gravity. First identify what it will take to influence the target, then bring that to bear. Just like you would not shoot a T72 with an M16, don't send PSYOP out to a village without water - send the resources to get them water that the insurgent cannot provide. I have heard of Vulnerability Assessment Teams (network stuff) going out to areas with a 30% literacy rate in support of below BDE ops. That reeks of "Sprinkle a little IO on it, the generals will be happy and we can go back to killing bad guys." Bad guys are like potato chips, kill all you want, they'll make more.

Influence is an art, something not subject to algorithms and cold logic. The current definition simply does not fit into current operations. IO will continue to be nothing more than a point of confusion until a relevant, current definition is provided.

Absolutely 100% spot on.

marct
06-27-2008, 03:46 PM
Hi Joel,

I agree that we need to work within the current definition as defined by JP 3-13. However, we also need to work out the long term implications of the definition and the naming.

Definitely! One of the crucial points here is that the "name" is not the "thing" (and old point from Alfred Korzybski).

The mere term, Information Operations, raises all kinds of concerns and causes much confusion. There is no US Government ‘doctrine’, outside of JP 3-13 for IO.

And, to make it even worse, JP 3-13 is really a collection of TTPs with no coherent theoretical base.

Boiling things down to their basic components is probably a wise way to approach this. This is all about information. I choose not to say data; in my opinion data is still incomplete; information pulls things together. I’m saying this very loosely, please bear with me.

The next thing is what we intend to do with this information, and that is to influence. We want to have someone else do something of our choosing, not do something, or not stand in our way.

Very nicely put! In my post yesterday I said that I would put together a blog post on this and I just finished it (here (http://marctyrrell.com/2008/06/27/notes-towards-a-theory-of-information-opeations-io/)). One of the key points in it was all about intentionality. You just managed to make the same point in much plainer English :D.

Putting this all together, I would say a common sense phrase for what the USG needs is an “Information and Influence Strategy”.

The problem the USG, given that ‘someone’ can put this together, is that there is no office or agency that could coordinate this message throughout the Government. Please notice, I am not saying ‘control the message’, but coordinate.

Hmmm, well, I would definitely agree that you folks do need such a strategy but, I suspect, that any such strategy will only be relatively short term, especially if it is established by your executive branch since that changes every 4-8 years.

Marc

Rockbridge
06-27-2008, 04:45 PM
Joel -- Good points across the board. Most of our problems with IO remain in the policy / permission / "lanes in the road" arena (what we may do) versus in the technology / TTP arena (what we can do). Because the first impacts so heavily on the second, it's policy that we really need to fix.

The concept of IO is simple: Control the other guys' view of reality, and don't let him do that to you. It's the execution where things really get tough.

Hacksaw
06-27-2008, 05:53 PM
All,
It seems we are all in violent agreement regarding a need for a coherent national narrative, that is reflected in actions (an expression of a consistent foreign policy), consistent with priorities and interests as expressed in resourcing. Certainly this is possible, just not probable (at least not yet) because we have a hard time gaining consensus on the simplest of issues much less the trajectory and azimuth of foreign policy. Another of the pesky greatest strengths-greatest weaknesses dichotomy. About the only thing even vaguely capable of realistically driving this type of coherent national-level activity is a threat to a national survival (note I didn't use another 9/11 and caveated that it wasn't a given). We have, however, done far better in the past (think cold war apparatus) and can/should do better than we are today.

OK enough policy wonk "stuff"... too much of the tilting at windmills...

At the tactical and operational level, IMHO it is far more productive to think of IO/IE in terms of the information content of my operations. Just one example:

If I as PLT LDR/CO CDR stop to buy a soda at a vendor, remove my sunglasses/headgear and engage in a conversation that asks nothing of the vendor than how life is treating him and his family... there is whole number of messages and impressions I am communicating
a. Populations: He respects our property and us in general, want/open to contact
b. My Soldiers: We can't paint everyone not in uniform as the same, even when we can't differentiate good from bad
c. Enemy: I ain't going anywhere and you have a sliver of doubt regarding what the vendor is telling me. (psychologically isolates insurgent)

Now think of a cordon and search, a mounted vs dis-mounted patrol, all have their place depending on the intended info content of the action.

At the operational level... the difference is more nuanced, I like to think of it as turning traditional operations on its head...

Conventional: You shape the environment to enable operations
Unconventional: You conduct operations to shape the environment

Its all about purpose/intent

The five tools are "amplifiers" to my actions (tactical or operational) not the driver of my actions. IO/IE exists only to serve my mission as opposed to being my mission.

perhaps a whole bunch of simple minded babble, but the shift in how we view operations to consider the info content, is perhaps the single most important shift in mindset necessary to succeed in the operational environment of the next quarter century.

Randy Brown
06-27-2008, 07:34 PM
perhaps a whole bunch of simple minded babble, but the shift in how we view operations to consider the info content, is perhaps the single most important shift in mindset necessary to succeed in the operational environment of the next quarter century.

"So say we all."

I really liked your soldier-vendor vignette. Also, kudos on your distinction between conventional-unconventional. I'm stealing both.

Schmedlap
06-27-2008, 08:57 PM
At the tactical and operational level, IMHO it is far more productive to think of IO/IE in terms of the information content of my operations... The five tools are "amplifiers" to my actions (tactical or operational) not the driver of my actions. IO/IE exists only to serve my mission as opposed to being my mission.

That is perhaps the best and most accessible explanation that I have seen - especially your soda-purchase example. That basic idea was something that I continually tried (in vain) to convey to the battalion when I was an IO planner for a mercifully short period of time.

One of the weaknesses that I observed in how we do business is that we expect the IO planner to be source of all IO plans. He cannot and should not be. He coordinates their amplification, as you noted. If we want the IO guy to be the planner, then he needs to be at the company or platoon level. And we really do not need another officer or senior NCO at those levels, so it makes more sense to just instill leaders with a greater awareness of what information superiority means and the resources at their disposal if they need their IO efforts amplified. That was my recommendation when I was an IO planner and it obviously went nowhere. Some people thought that I was just trying to scam my way into getting back into the fight. They were correct. But there was also a less sinister motive: having the IO guy making all of the IO plans makes as much sense as having the battalion commander writing platoon FRAGOs.

Bill Moore
06-27-2008, 10:35 PM
One of the weaknesses that I observed in how we do business is that we expect the IO planner to be source of all IO plans. He cannot and should not be. He coordinates their amplification, as you noted. Schmedlap

I agree we don't need an IO planner at Bn, we need information objectives that enable Co's and below to shape their AO's accordingly based on the local situation and the unit's capabilities (one size doesn't fit all). The information objectives provide an umbrella strategy that everyone can support to the best of their ability.

The example that Hacksaw gave, If I as PLT LDR/CO CDR stop to buy a soda at a vendor, remove my sunglasses/headgear and engage in a conversation that asks nothing of the vendor than how life is treating him and his family... there is whole number of messages and impressions I am communicating is PSYOP, but of course the PSYOP bureaucrats will tell you it isn't because it isn't an approved theme, etc. ad naseum. First we build a relationship (supporting activity), then we slip in a few talking points when appropriate (PSYOP). OPSEC, EW, Deception don't necessarily amplifiy this, I think that is a stretch. That would require synchronization at a higher level, and we know that it won't happen, something will get lost between the brain fart at Bde and execution at squad level.

Some guys understand the importance of PSYOP in irregular warfare (IW) and instinctively know how to shape people's thoughts, while others don't don't. What's new?

After thinking about it, I don't think our so called IO activities will actually lead to information superiority. That is an unrealistic objective for IW. It simply the nature of an insurgency, that the insurgents will generally have better intelligence/information about us, then we do about them. We need to develop realistic information (or PSYOP) objectives for IW that allow the Soldiers to understand them, thus take appropriate actions to pursue them, versus some lofty idea end state.

If we can agree on that, or at least get a unit to agree on it this concept, then the next step is education and training to enable the staff and ground pounders to implement the concept.

I recommend we stop calling it IO, because we'll default to the lazy man's doctrine where we simply lumped a much of stuff together and called it IO. We have been conducting these types of operation throughout our history, so I'm not sure why we are calling it a revolution in military affairs? The RMA was we got away from the basics, and once again it didn't work too well.

Randy Brown
06-27-2008, 11:54 PM
The (soda purchase vignette) example that Hacksaw gave, is PSYOP, but of course the PSYOP bureaucrats will tell you it isn't because it isn't an approved theme, etc. ad naseum. First we build a relationship (supporting activity), then we slip in a few talking points when appropriate (PSYOP). OPSEC, EW, Deception don't necessarily amplifiy this, I think that is a stretch. That would require synchronization at a higher level, and we know that it won't happen, something will get lost between the brain fart at Bde and execution at squad level.

Some guys understand the importance of PSYOP in irregular warfare (IW) and instinctively know how to shape people's thoughts, while others don't don't. What's new?

Agreed on most points, but I don't think you have to be a PSYOP guy to argue that Hacksaw's soda-purchase vignette isn't PSYOP. Yes, you can place messages into your conversation--and it takes skill, talent, and practice to pull it off smoothly--and that is PSYOP, to my crude understanding. (Caveat: I'm not a PSYOP guy, I just play one on TV. Or rather, when wearing one of my citizen-soldier-cowboy hats, I'm sometimes a "non-military media practitioner.")

Hacksaw's proposed storyline, however, seemed more basic and nuanced than that: The interaction itself was communicative, regardless of the conversation's verbal content. The medium was the message (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_medium_is_the_message), to borrow a phrase.

As a lessons-learned guy in uniform, I recently observed a large-scale joint Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA) operation in which senior leaders were armed with talking points, but not the Joes and Janes on the (very wet) ground. That was an unfortunate oversight. What was even more basic, however, was that the soldiers and airmen weren't coached on the "actions speak louder than words" and "when in Rome" memes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme), and ended up stepping on the very cultures of the populations they were trying to help--and those of the organizations with whom they were working alongside.

So, bottom-line and lesson-learned (and, I hope, coming to parallel conclusions to yours): Joe Snuffy has to be trained to act on IO, but not necessarily to think on it, or to talk on it. And that, I think, is a practical and achievable objective.

Ken White
06-28-2008, 02:17 AM
So, bottom-line and lesson-learned (and, I hope, coming to parallel conclusions to yours): Joe Snuffy has to be trained to act on IO, but not necessarily to think on it, or to talk on it. And that, I think, is a practical and achievable objective.If you train your NCOs right, it's even easy. Most will surprise you by how well they talk on it...

slapout9
06-28-2008, 01:00 PM
All,

If I as PLT LDR/CO CDR stop to buy a soda at a vendor, remove my sunglasses/headgear and engage in a conversation that asks nothing of the vendor than how life is treating him and his family... there is whole number of messages and impressions I am communicating
a. Populations: He respects our property and us in general, want/open to contact


This perhaps one of the greatest things I learned in LE. Unless there was some tactical reason not to I was taught to take of my hat (no helmet) and sunglasses off. I always tried to stop by as many businesses as possible and just talk to them. I always accepted a free cup of coffee but I paid for everything else! Free coffee to cops was such a custom that saying no was an insult or it meant you were a suspect. Building relationships like this would pay huge rewards.....but not right away, it takes time and trust. Once you develop these relationships these are the people who will call you with a tip or work extra hard to get you information when you need it. You will also meet a lot of nice people that you may have had a very different opinion of when you first met them.

selil
06-28-2008, 02:17 PM
This perhaps one of the greatest things I learned in LE. Unless there was some tactical reason not to I was taught to take of my hat (no helmet) and sunglasses off. I always tried to stop by as many businesses as possible and just talk to them. I always accepted a free cup of coffee but I paid for everything else! Free coffee to cops was such a custom that saying no was an insult or it meant you were a suspect. Building relationships like this would pay huge rewards.....but not right away, it takes time and trust. Once you develop these relationships these are the people who will call you with a tip or work extra hard to get you information when you need it. You will also meet a lot of nice people that you may have had a very different opinion of when you first met them.

Slap I always got the impression you didn't like community oriented policing. I would say that community oriented policing is a big IO campaign that attempts to change behaviors through positive interaction and resource mobilization. It is way more than just talk and a lot less than para-militarization of the civilian police force.

joelhar
06-28-2008, 03:23 PM
The key to what you just wrote, in my opinion, is that you were aware of the message and that you felt empowered to give that message.

You were aware of the implications of taking off your hat and glasses as opposed to keeping them on and distancing yourself from the vendor. It was customary to accept a free cup of coffee, you didn't violate local traditions. You opened yourself up to local input by actually conversing with the locals. You actually listened to them, what they said mattered and probably had an effect.

What you did, as a Law Enforcement Officer, is almost exactly like what our troops face on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yes, they don't speak a common language and quite a few of them would love to shoot us, we don't share a common history and we invaded their territory... But we work hard at neutralizing these and many other 'negatives'.

If the guys on the ground know the Commander's Guidance and are encouraged to display initiative in unknown situations, this will go a long way in solving our problems on the ground. If the guidance is to promote self-help initiatives while negating the AQ, this broad guidance will help the NCO on the ground see a ditch-digging effort, help with security planning assistance, and he will seek to 'talk up' their efforts. I believe it was Marc Tyrrell, on his blog, that wrote about the initiative being taken away by arm-chair generals playing platoon leader, I think it's all interrelated. Passing the guidance down to the lowest level is key. Trust is a big factor and keeping the big guys out of the boots-on-the-ground leader's knickers.

Simultaneous planning at every level is also key. The briefback is most important. The leader passes his/her guidance down and, in return, will receive a briefback from subordinate leaders on how their plan dovetails and supports the senior guidance and plan. In return, this leader will give a briefback to her/her leaders, and so on. If a little tweaking is required, that's fine, but each and every leader must be aware of how their plan interacts with the overall strategy. Every leader must be flexible, lockstep plans are only sometimes good, trying new ways to portray a message must be not only encouraged, but supported. Every situation is new, there is no "same old, same old", therefore - even though the same message is being sent and/or reinforced, it must be made clear that we are still trying to do the same thing and we're trying to find the way that best satisfies both the guidance and meets the needs of the locals.

Guidance, empowerment, trust, initiative.

slapout9
06-28-2008, 04:29 PM
Slap I always got the impression you didn't like community oriented policing. I would say that community oriented policing is a big IO campaign that attempts to change behaviors through positive interaction and resource mobilization. It is way more than just talk and a lot less than para-militarization of the civilian police force.

selil, I don't like community policing not because it is bad but because it costs to much to reinvent the wheel its an old concept, nothing but a PR Camapign. I believe in beat cops backed up by mobile units both land and air and sometimes water (river,lake patrols). In between that I believe in Problem Oriented Policing which is nothing more than a task force for special problems. Strangely this is becoming a big deal in Alabama lately. With the rise in gas prices departments are combining more bike patrols with fewer cars. The cars are kept at HQ and are deployed as back up if needed for emergencies.

joelhar, the term "Dragnet" is nothing but quadrillage, another old COIN concept that has been around for a long time. And you need to be good at it because most of the people you stop at a checkpoint are just regular folks doing normal business but you must always be alert for the bad guy.

marct
06-28-2008, 04:47 PM
Hi Joel,

The key to what you just wrote, in my opinion, is that you were aware of the message and that you felt empowered to give that message.

I would add in two other points since, as Slap noted, community based policing is pretty well worked out. First, he also felt comfortable with the message. This is often something left out, but when we are talking about face-to-face communications, there is a lot of body language that will act as clues for the listener as to whether or not the speaker "believes" the message they are saying. The second point is that Slap is taking advantage of a particular social cue system - taking off some of the paraphernalia of an official role moves you slightly out of that role. I do this when I am conducting semi-structured interviews - "put the interview schedule down and don't look at it" is a cue that "we're just two people chatting".

If the guys on the ground know the Commander's Guidance and are encouraged to display initiative in unknown situations, this will go a long way in solving our problems on the ground. If the guidance is to promote self-help initiatives while negating the AQ, this broad guidance will help the NCO on the ground see a ditch-digging effort, help with security planning assistance, and he will seek to 'talk up' their efforts. I believe it was Marc Tyrrell, on his blog, that wrote about the initiative being taken away by arm-chair generals playing platoon leader, I think it's all interrelated. Passing the guidance down to the lowest level is key. Trust is a big factor and keeping the big guys out of the boots-on-the-ground leader's knickers.

Actually, I think that comes from Frontier 6's SWJ blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2008/02/changing-the-organizational-cu-1/), not from mine :D. OTOH, I am worried about "leaders", of whatever stripe, trying to script what is essentially an piece of improvisational theatre. Even the crafting and dissemination of talking points needs to be carefully thought out - especially in a military context. Personally, I think that the best way to do this is to use a modified form of the old Maoist Gung Ho system - call everyone together and talk each of the points through. This goes back to the body language point I was making earlier; basically it's getting emotional buy-in for broad message concepts - memes if you will.

selil
06-28-2008, 05:08 PM
selil, I don't like community policing not because it is bad but because it costs to much to reinvent the wheel its an old concept, nothing but a PR Camapign. I believe in beat cops backed up by mobile units both land and air and sometimes water (river,lake patrols).

I like COP because it at least gives a framework, but as you likely know it requires diligence, dedication, and enthusiasm by the officers. Officers of today get all cranky when you start taking away their shiny patrol units (which I've often said are harmful to police image and community). Beyond the scope of COIN but within the scope of the discussion I've said many times that we swing between COP and SWAT as the model of policing. Neither by themselves are silver bullets for policing, but you have to get leadership to listen to reason rather than manage by crisis.

The beat cop walking day/night/rain/shine and involved with the community is the only effective long term solution to rampant crime. Empty the headquarters of those administrators and transition the payroll line items to multiple new officers to get the density. Too many police departments have large overhead in administration that is totally unnecessary to the problem. Like the Montessori school teaching philosophy everybody teaches, and for law enforcement everybody polices.

Ken White
06-28-2008, 06:22 PM
3% of the US land area that is urban; less well in the 4% that is semi rural suburban and not at all well in the remaining 93% of the nation. Admittedly, that 7% of urban and near urban land is home to ~80% of the population but there are still >60M Americans outside the practical range of COP...

I would really dislike having to be on Bike Patrol in southern or northern Kitsap County... :D

Schmedlap
06-28-2008, 07:01 PM
Check out this weekend's Financial Times story (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/71c42ec0-40ca-11dd-bd48-0000779fd2ac.html?nclick_check=1) on Camp Bucca and USMC MG Stone. A couple excerpts...

... Stone was working towards a doctorate in public administration at the University of Southern California. His dissertation is a study of international non-government networks, which he said would wield power by relying on “information operations and perception management ... to attract rather than coerce”. By then a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps reserves, Stone received his doctorate two weeks before September 11. In the wake of those attacks, many American pundits stressed the importance of winning the “war of ideas”. The “terror war” would be fought “on the plane of theories, arguments, books, magazines, conferences, and lectures”, wrote the social historian and neo-conservative Paul Berman. “It was going to be a war about the ‘cultural influences’ that penetrate the Islamic mind ... it was going to be, in the end, a war of persuasion.”

This one seems particularly timely and relevant to this thread...

Better detainee treatment is by itself good information operations, just as mistreatment at Abu Ghraib was bad information operations that provided ideological ammo for a young insurgency.

davidbfpo
06-28-2008, 09:40 PM
I have read the North American comments on this thread regarding community and other types of policing with interest. I think of information for policing / law enforcement / public security / national security / counter-terrorism in five stages:

1) people have information that is useful for the police and identify its value
2) people need to be motivated to communicate the information
3) people need to know how to pass the information on (direct or indirect)
4) the police for example need to have structures to capture the information offered and is passed to the right place (as opposed to just data capture)
5) does the person who had the information need to be updated when it reaches the right place? (I would argue yes, unless not requested)

Community Orientated Policing (COP) is its many variants addresses invariably only some of the stages. Much of crime, let alone terrorism, is hidden from the public's view.

IO should address points 1-3.

A few thoughts from this armchair.

davidbfpo

Ken White
06-28-2008, 09:52 PM
point 2. is where, in either Policing or COIN, the difficult to change crux of the problem lies.

This:"...Much of crime, let alone terrorism, is hidden from the public's view."is all too true...

selil
06-28-2008, 11:48 PM
I would really dislike having to be on Bike Patrol in southern or northern Kitsap County... :D

In Northern Kitsap County we patrolled via boat.

There is "NO" silver bullet that will take care of all problems, but some of the concepts will work well anywhere even if all the concepts won't work everywhere..

Bill Moore
06-29-2008, 03:57 PM
the integrated employment of electronic warfare, computer network operations, psychological operations, military deception, and operations security, in concert with specified supporting and related capabilities, to influence, disrupt, corrupt or usurp adversarial human and automated decision making while protecting our own

Taking your hat and sunglasses off when talking to people on the beat (whether a cop or Soldier) is simply a TTP for building relationships, it is not the integrated use of EW, CNO, PSYOP, MILDEC and OPSEC. It may in some "small" way influence the individual(s) you're talking to.

Ken you noted earlier that my call for a better definition was too restrictive, but without some sort of guideline, we end up grasping at straws, and now we have Officers who think talking to the locals is IO. If that is true, zero'ing your M4 must be offensive operations.

Maybe IO was never intended for the tactical level. At the tactical level we practice EW, CNO, PSYOP, MILDEC and OPSEC (and influence events) as separate disciplines? At the operational and strategic level where different disciplines can be integrated we practice IO (one would hope). This IO integration turns into tasks and guidance for subordinate units and requests for support from other agencies.

Let's say we want to influence an insurgent group from attacking oil production infrastructure (you name the location, Middle East, West Africa, S. America, etc.), but we prefer not to get involved in the conflict, so are primary line of effort is IO to influence the adversial group to quit attacking oil infrastructure. Some sample activities include:

EW/CNO: disrupt their computer metwork communications to create a sense of uncertainty and vulnerability

PSYOP: Leak articles about potential western/NATO forces intervening on behalf of the government (most groups would prefer not to fight western forces if they can avoid it), use other methods to convince the insurgents that attacking the oil infrastructure is not in the their best interest.

Diplomatic initiative where our diplomats speak to the insurgents, and strongly suggest they quit attacking oil infrastructure, etc.

Deception: Conduct military exercises in the vicinity of the insurgents, include show of force demonstrations (Fleet off the coast, fast movers flying over, etc.), several articles showing western and HN forces training together and pledging their friendship, etc.

OPSEC: Protecting the information that could reveal our true intentions.

The point isn't whether any of these will work, but to quasi-illustrate how IO could support small supports. IO by definition is a much bigger concept than we're discussing here, and it isn't simple. At the tactical level we support IO, we don't necessarily plan and conduct the full breath of IO.

slapout9
06-29-2008, 04:09 PM
Maybe IO was never intended for the tactical level. At the tactical level we practice EW, CNO, PSYOP, MILDEC and OPSEC (and influence events) as separate disciplines? At the operational and strategic level where different disciplines can be integrated we practice IO (one would hope). This IO integration turns into tasks and guidance for subordinate units and requests for support from other agencies.



Agree, hats and glasses off is more a rule of engagement or code of conduct. It is important but it is not a war winning strategy by any means. When I was a kid in school they used to talk a lot about Radio Free Europe being used to fight Communism. The International communication of Americas ideas was considered to be critical to winning the war of ideas and telling the story of which government is best.

Bill Moore
06-29-2008, 05:14 PM
Slapout,

VOA was one of our most successful programs ever, but unfortunately it was grossly underfunded after the end of the cold war. Even the radical Islamists commenting on the value of VOA, they said it was the only radio station that broadcast the truth behind the iron curtain, and since they had many brothers behind that current, they valued it The power of information is expotential, but it can't accurately be measured, nor do programs like VOA put a lot of money into congressional districts. You get the point.

We also ran very successful military deceptions during the cold war, engaged in CNA, EW, PSYOP, etc. and I would argue we did it very effectively in many cases. Now we're calling it a revolution in military affairs, and we don't do it as well as we used to. It seems to have degenerated to a few bullets on a power point slide and taking our hats off when we talk to people.

Any body engaged in the people business (salesmen, cops, Soldiers) know that you have to build some level of rapport with the person(s) you're engaging before you can begin shaping their opinions. RMA? Hardly.

You look at all of our sub IO disciplines and you see a great need for getting back to the basics, a devolution of military affairs (DMA). One of our weakest areas is OPSEC, and that is because we haven't adjusted the reality of every Soldier on e-mail, cell phones, cell phones with cameras, digital photos, etc. Generally OPSEC is designed to protect unclassified sensitive information, we have regulations to protect classified information, but now the lines are blurred. OPSEC generally means protecting information on future or ongoing operations, but probably needs to be expanded to protect our professional image.

A couple of examples: When President Clinton tried to kill OBL with cruise missiles in 98, some loud mouth bragged to the press that we tracked him down by honing in on his phone. After that no more phone calls. Think about it, if big mouth didn't talk to the press we may have killed Bin Laden before 9/11? On the the other end of the scale we have numerous pictures of mishavior coming out of the sandbox. Most of our guys are doing the right thing most of the time, but you get some immature punk that sends a video home of himself slamming a puppy against the rocks, and then get repeated 100s of times in the media creating an artificial impression of reality on the ground. Information is powerful.

I will argue that for conventional type war scenarios, our IO capabilities are untouched, and I don't understand why we don't lump intelligence collection under IO, since we're lumping everything else there. Perhaps that is a supporting or enabling capability, but regardless that capability (all the INTs) give us information superiority in conventional war, so much so in fact, that it unlikely that too many foes will ever challenge us to a conventional fight.

See the paradox, we achieved information superiority in the conventional realm (we can and kill most conventional units), so the enemy resorts to 4GW or IW where we no longer have information superiority.

Ken White
06-29-2008, 05:46 PM
...Ken you noted earlier that my call for a better definition was too restrictive, but without some sort of guideline, we end up grasping at straws, and now we have Officers who think talking to the locals is IO. If that is true, zero'ing your M4 must be offensive operations.I wasn't aiming at you nor was I trying to say a definition wasn't important; it is important.

However, I'm a firm believer in the Halsey dictum: "Regulations were meant to be intelligently disregarded." Been my observation that less than half the people in the Armed forces subscribe to that view. Unfortunately, that means over half cling to what's written as the gospel, no deviations accepted. Therefor, what is written is important. Put too much in and it'll get overdone, leave something out -- as I did -- and it'll get misconstrued. :D

For example, I agree with all you say in the rest of the post from which that quote above derives -- but I also understood that "talking to the locals" was IO as simply a metaphor for a whole gamut of things; I didn't take that comment as being the answer to the whole IO gambit, yet you did or seem to. I don't mean that in the pejorative sense, merely pointing out that different people can read the or see the same thing and arrive at quite different conclusions.

As you go on to say:"...IO by definition is a much bigger concept than we're discussing here, and it isn't simple. At the tactical level we support IO, we don't necessarily plan and conduct the full breath of IO.I totally agree -- but at the tactical level what Joe does, what that Officer who stops to grab a coke does, all contribute and those things are important; doctrine can't get that far down in the weeds (or should not) but it's got to address the concept; all, hopefully, without getting too prescriptive. Failure to zero your M4, for example, can conceivably sort of ruin your day when you get into offensive operations...

On the macro level of IO, strategic, operational and tactical (and even those three levels may be too confining for IO...), the definition is important, no question. It is also equally or perhaps even more important that it be not too prescriptive nor too loose -- and that is not an easy task. It will take time and effort to get it right. While some aspects of IO are older than thee and me, in a lot of factors, we're in uncharted territory and feeling our way. I think that's both understandable and acceptable and I'm willing to accept that it does not have to be my way to be right. Long way of saying it'll take a bit longer to get a good solid working description of the facets of IO published.

We pay lip service to teaching people how to think and not what to think; we're even trying to do that and that's a good thing. Regrettably, there are too many out there who do not want to think, they want to be told what to do in excruciating detail. Since it's difficult if not impossible to cover all contingencies, the doctrine writers have to -- and hopefully will -- walk a fine line lest some of their words get adhered to rigidly by such people. Those types are dangerous but there are too many of them and they aren't going away so we have to be careful what we write. That's what I was trying to say...

Bill Moore
06-29-2008, 06:10 PM
Failure to zero your M4, for example, can conceivably sort of ruin your day when you get into offensive operations... posted by Ken

Ken you are an old school Team Sgt, and I'm consider you a blog mentor. Your comment above was spot on. Now I can draft an article (lol).

the doctrine writers have to -- and hopefully will -- walk a fine line lest some of their words get adhered to rigidly by such people. Those types are dangerous but there are too many of them and they aren't going away so we have to be careful what we write. That's what I was trying to say... posted by Ken

This is too true and so sad. I recall a few in Special Forces, especially during the 90's who assumed being able to quote doctrine equated to competence. I even had one tell me he wouldn't do anything that wasn't in doctrine, I couldn't believe a SF Officer could be so simple minded, but the fact of the matter it is SF NCOs to make our force, not our officers. Anyway, everytime I saw him I would ask him what the doctrinal response was a to a particular problem, then I would tell him I was going to do something else. He would turn beet red and go through the roof, I loved it. I don't know if mind ever expanded, but if it didn't wasn't because we were trying to help to him along.

I would like to see doctrine provide a framework to work in (and it does in most cases), but I'm not happy yet with the IO doctrine, I think it does more harm than good in its current state. I do agree we're in new territory, important territory, so we need to evolve it into an effective framework. To do that you need a few naysayers out there throwing stones at the glass IO house, so we can rebuild it. I'm in that naysayer camp.

Ken White
06-29-2008, 07:05 PM
Ken you are an old school Team Sgt I dunno, I'm slow, took me too long to discover it was way better to seek forgiveness (even that's rarely necessary) than to ask permission (never a good idea and to be avoided at all costs). :D ...I don't know if (his) mind ever expanded, but if it didn't wasn't because we were trying to help to him along.Heh. Been there, done that -- it's one of the paybacks for putting up with mind numbing stupidity from high places. :D I would like to see doctrine provide a framework to work in (and it does in most cases), but I'm not happy yet with the IO doctrine, I think it does more harm than good in its current state. I do agree we're in new territory, important territory, so we need to evolve it into an effective framework. To do that you need a few naysayers out there throwing stones at the glass IO house, so we can rebuild it. I'm in that naysayer camp.Agreed on all counts; my cautionary was directed at those who want too precise doctrine as opposed to sensible doctrine which leaves room for some flexibility, that and an acknowledgment that (a) it ain't easy and (b) it takes time when things change almost daily.

slapout9
06-29-2008, 11:11 PM
You look at all of our sub IO disciplines and you see a great need for getting back to the basics, a devolution of military affairs (DMA).



Hi Bill, that should be a SWC quote of the week winner:wry:

Bill Moore
06-30-2008, 01:00 AM
Slapout,

Trying to avoid sounding vain, but I liked it also. Maybe it will catch on. ;)

Randy Brown
06-30-2008, 01:41 AM
Taking your hat and sunglasses off when talking to people on the beat (whether a cop or Soldier) is simply a TTP for building relationships, it is not the integrated use of EW, CNO, PSYOP, MILDEC and OPSEC. It may in some "small" way influence the individual(s) you're talking to.

Agreed--taking your hat off and having a conversation is not IO. But creating a system of thought and a strategy in which many "agents" (bad word with its own baggage, but the most appropriate) collectively take their hats off and have conversations is IO. And it's not just talking points and scripts, else it would be "merely" Public Affairs or PSYOPS. It's something bigger. ("Something ... wonderful." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_(film))) And it's strategic in orientation--even if it occurs at the tactical level.

I'm beginning to dust off my communications theory brain-cells, and wondering whether "IO" is just "integrated marketing" in disguise. If so, there are some similar intellectual battles waged in business and communications schools: The former sees "integrated marketing" as abstract and the extension of a larger business plan (strategic?); the latter sees it as practical and methods-centered (tactical?). Either way, the question should be: What's your desired information end-state, and what are the tools to get you there.

I'm intrigued enough to start looking into how concepts such as viral marketing, buzz marketing, stealth marketing and the like (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C00E5DE1E38F936A25754C0A9679C8B 63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1) play into the IO concept. And, again, my premise would be that such strategies are not just PSYOPS TTP, but something more in keeping with the IO definitions being discussed here. (Note to self: how to implement "buy me a drink girls" IO strategy downrange.)

Ken you noted earlier that my call for a better definition was too restrictive, but without some sort of guideline, we end up grasping at straws, and now we have Officers who think talking to the locals is IO. If that is true, zero'ing your M4 must be offensive operations.

A parallel analogy, in hopes of clarifying my "is / is not IO" distiction, attempted above: Zeroing your M4 is not "offensive operations." But I would argue that having a system in which soldiers are systematically trained in dime-drills, then mechanical zero, then battle-sight zero, then on the paper-target range, then on the pop-up, then stress-shooting, etc. is a basic part of a well-balanced and offensive breakfast. And, it seems, elements of that training communicate notable and perhaps surprising messages to troops. (http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20080527/news_1n27bullets.html) (Note comments of COL Robert Radcliffe, chief of combat developments at Fort Benning, at end of linked Associated Press article.)

Maybe IO was never intended for the tactical level. At the tactical level we practice EW, CNO, PSYOP, MILDEC and OPSEC (and influence events) as separate disciplines? At the operational and strategic level where different disciplines can be integrated we practice IO (one would hope). This IO integration turns into tasks and guidance for subordinate units and requests for support from other agencies.

...

IO by definition is a much bigger concept than we're discussing here, and it isn't simple. At the tactical level we support IO, we don't necessarily plan and conduct the full breath of IO.

At the same time, despite my ramblings above, there needs to be identification of what is and is not working, ideas on what could work (both in terms of messages and modes). In short, IO tactics should not only support IO objectives, but inform them. (Perhaps that's why someone in this thread speculated regarding lumping intelligence collection under IO as well?)

I assume all of this leads to why we work in "IO working groups" at a brigade level--even though all these working groups begins to feel like "military operations by committtee"--it's both the largest- and smallest-scale at which the various IO-component SME staffs and soldiers are all invited to the same table?

Schmedlap
06-30-2008, 01:53 AM
It pains me to type this, since I cringe at doctrine and theory, but the kinetic and non-kinetic classifications are beginning to make more sense to me. Dividing things into information operations and other operations makes as much sense as dividing maneuver into two different stovepipes of firepower and movement. Information superiority, firepower, and positional advantage are all important, but they are only effective when leveraged in concert with one another.

I think that Information Operations, as it is defined, is really just a description of what assets are used in a purely non-kinetic fashion. If you take the definition of IO and replace the words “information operations” with “non-kinetic operations” then you get a decent definition of what non-kinetic operations often involve, above the tactical level. But to view IO as the path to information superiority is like viewing fire support as the path to controlling a piece of terrain. In either case, you still need an 18-year-old rifleman to show up and humanize and reinforce the brand image or locate and destroy the hostile actor.

To my non-theoretical, doctrine-devoid brain, it seems to make sense to divide broad operational capabilities into kinetic (attack aviation, artillery, ADA), non-kinetic (CA, PSYOP, PA, EW, MILDEC, CNO), and integrative (infantry, armor, engineer, SF, MP) since the “boots on the ground / pointy end” folks need to leverage kinetic and non-kinetic and integrate them. That is not to imply that having a non-kinetic effects cell in the staff makes any sense. I don’t think it does. I think it makes more sense to have a cell that handles all the stuff flying around in the air; air support, fire support, attack aviation, ADA, EW – largely to handle the coordination and deconfliction – and coordinates closely with CNO and intelligence collection assets to prevent non-kinetic fratricide. Unfortunately some of our staffs are using the doctrinal definition of IO as the guiding principle for how the staff is structured, and this simply makes no sense. Why is the EW guy working next to the PSYOP guy and CA guy? The overlap and need for coordination is minimal to zero.

Randy Brown
06-30-2008, 05:07 AM
That is not to imply that having a non-kinetic effects cell in the staff makes any sense. I don’t think it does. I think it makes more sense to have a cell that handles all the stuff flying around in the air; air support, fire support, attack aviation, ADA, EW – largely to handle the coordination and deconfliction – and coordinates closely with CNO and intelligence collection assets to prevent non-kinetic fratricide. Unfortunately some of our staffs are using the doctrinal definition of IO as the guiding principle for how the staff is structured, and this simply makes no sense. Why is the EW guy working next to the PSYOP guy and CA guy? The overlap and need for coordination is minimal to zero.

I agree with your points regarding doctrine and pain, the occasional utility of the kinetic/non-kinetic construct, and the requirement for 18-year-olds and pointy-sticks to deliver on any effort to make friends and/or kill people.

I differ, however, in that I do see the potential need for the de-confliction of non-lethal factors in mission planning and execution. Meeting with the IO working group, for example, the brigade S2's "non-lethal effects electronic warfare officer" might weigh in on a given mission's use of MI company assets that could (either intentionally or unintentionally) affect civilian cellular telephone, television and/or radio infrastructure, any of which would seem to also offer obvious Civil Affairs, PSYOP, and Public Affairs implications.

Caveat: Seen it in theory and war-gaming. Haven't seen it in real-life.

Bill Moore
06-30-2008, 05:33 AM
According to JP 3-13, Information Operations, the term is defined as “the integrated employment of electronic warfare, computer network operations, psychological operations, military deception, and operations security, in concert with specified supporting and related capabilities, to influence, disrupt, corrupt or usurp adversarial human and automated decision making while protecting our own.”

Randy, I don't disagree with what you wrote above, actually I agree strongly with much of it; however, the entire point of this thread was to address the confusing definition of IO (first post).

I would argue what your writing about falls under the Army's definition of:

Influence Operations: to effect the behavior of the intended audience through coercion, information engagement, presence and conduct.

AND

Information Engagement: the government's use of integrated employment of public information programs, psychological operations, and support leader and government activities (reparing a school, security force behavior) to influence a target audience.

Unfortunately some of our staffs are using the doctrinal definition of IO as the guiding principle for how the staff is structured, and this simply makes no sense. Why is the EW guy working next to the PSYOP guy and CA guy? The overlap and need for coordination is minimal to zero. Posted by Schmedlap

Schmedlap, I think this sums up the issue nicely. Staffs are "supposed" to use doctrine as a "guiding" principle, so if IO doctrine makes no sense, we're back at the first post and I agree with you.

Quite simply, "render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's". We need the original definiton of IO for joint "warfighting", even if it doesn't fit nicely with small wars. For small wars we need something closer to information engagement and influence operations. The round peg doesn't fit into the square hole. When we were conducting offensive operations against Saddam's conventional forces we used IO effectively; however, the tech heavy info tech advantage still plays a role, but it isn't as dominate in stability operation; however, information engagement is critical. How do we task organize for that? I have seen some decent ideas posted here, but I think many would still argue we're still the realm of PSYOP and public affairs, and we don't want to be in that realm if we can help it. We want to be the realm where squad leaders are trained and empower to engage the population without asking permission from the Commander, who will painfully deliberate over the possible second order effects, although he is sitting in a FOB somewhere away from the engagement. Sometimes you have to recon by fire, so if a squad leader puts something else that is poorly perceived, adjust fire. It better than where we're at now.

William F. Owen
06-30-2008, 05:55 AM
To quote from the document concerned:
My challenge for this website’s readers, then, is the following: what do we, as counter-insurgency theorists and practitioners, mean when we use the term “information operations?” Do we use IO as shorthand for psychological operations and message management?

I don't think anybody really knows. IO is another definition/content free idea, as in EBO and a few others.

It stems from the thinking that information is frightfully important, therefore we should be doing operations concerned with it. The above quote is right on the nail.

Information is mostly useless until it has been turned into intelligence by being subject to analysis and judgement. As IO seems to be nothing to do G2 functions, I have always assumed that IO meant transmitting a message to the enemy, and target populations, by a variety of means. This would seem to be merely matching actions with stated intent.

I would further submit, that unless there is an enemy whose will to fight must be broken, then it's not a military problem. Unless IO helps "break the will of the enemy," - including securing the freedom moral and political freedom of action to do so, we should have nothing to do with it.

Schmedlap
06-30-2008, 10:41 AM
Bill,

We need the original definiton of IO for joint "warfighting", even if it doesn't fit nicely with small wars. For small wars we need something closer to information engagement and influence operations.

I think the definition of information superiority should be our guide. It is straightforward and makes sense. It gives equal weight to our engagement with the population, our control of the enemy's information flow and content, and attention to our own. That is a well-rounded view to approaching operations in the information environment. I think we agree that the current IO definition is a description of some staff functions that often are not integrated with one another in practice.

Randy,

I differ, however, in that I do see the potential need for the de-confliction of non-lethal factors in mission planning and execution... Caveat: Seen it in theory and war-gaming. Haven't seen it in real-life.

I think we actually agree, though I must throw in a caveat of my own: I've done it in real life, but I'm not sure about the doctrine :D. My understanding of a working group is that it is formed on an ad hoc basis for specific missions and it is not a permanent thing. My objection to a non-kinetic effects cell is that it makes no sense when it comes to day-to-day operations.

You are certainly correct regarding your examples of coordination issues between EW, intel, et cetera. I made daily coordinations with our EW guy at higher and this required deconfliction with ISR and various MI assets. None of those worked near one another, so I often worried about whether correct coordination was occuring at higher (sometimes it wasn't) and I double-tapped those deconflictions at my level, to make sure we didn't accidentally fry the S2's gadgetry, cause static on the movie screen on the JOC floor, or cause other issues.

I have helped plan operations that simultaneously leveraged PSYOP, EW, CA, and followed up with PA (and we incorporated measured to protect EEFI throughout). None of this required any coordination that I am aware of between any of those functions.

I see no issue with the CI, PSYOP, MILDEC, EW, and CNO folks getting together in an ad hoc working group for a little pow-wow if there is a major operation coming up where all of the "core IO" functions will be leveraged in concert with one another (I've never seen that happen in real life), but I see no need for a permanent standing cell that lumps them all together because they never have any need to coordinate. I actually think lumping them together is counterproductive. Regarding your example - I've never seen a situation where EW or MI activity had PA, CA, or PSYOP implications. I'm not saying it can't or doesn't happen, but I've never seen it and can't really envision such a scenario.

William,

I have always assumed that IO meant transmitting a message to the enemy, and target populations, by a variety of means.

I think most people share that view, which is why "IO" is usually assumed to be PSYOP or talking points. The goal is much more: the control of information content and flow, to include the information sent and received by the BLUEFOR, the enemy, and the population.

William F. Owen
06-30-2008, 11:37 AM
The goal is much more: the control of information content and flow, to include the information sent and received by the BLUEFOR, the enemy, and the population.

IF that is the goal, then it is unattainable. It's like "all-weather" and "information dominance." The idea that anyone or anything can "control" information in the Information Age is both illusory and highly damaging.

The best I can ever believe is that IO is something BLUEFOR does to (an information product - a statement, spoken or written) that protects the legitimacy of it's own actions. Essentially it should either be telling the truth or saying nothing. As a military force, action should be primary conveyor of information.

"These are not the droids you are looking for", is not the basis for a workable doctrine.

marct
06-30-2008, 03:25 PM
I think the definition of information superiority should be our guide. It is straightforward and makes sense. It gives equal weight to our engagement with the population, our control of the enemy's information flow and content, and attention to our own.

IF that is the goal, then it is unattainable. It's like "all-weather" and "information dominance." The idea that anyone or anything can "control" information in the Information Age is both illusory and highly damaging.

Actually, I agree with Wilf on this one - the illusion that there can be total control is probably more damaging that the recognition that there can't be, even if you do strive towards it. Having said that, however, there is nothing inherently wrong with holding it out as an ideal assuming that the means to achieve that ideal are ethically valid (i.e. no self-destructive).

[quote=William F. Owen;51105]The best I can ever believe is that IO is something BLUEFOR does to (an information product - a statement, spoken or written) that protects the legitimacy of it's own actions. Essentially it should either be telling the truth or saying nothing. As a military force, action should be primary conveyor of information.[/quote}

Personally, I'm not so much worried about protecting legitimacy of actions in terms of IO at lower levels. All to often, this can become a self-fulfilling prophecy that turns around and destroys higher level credibility and legitimacy. I certainly agree that either telling the truth (as ou perceive it; always a crucial caveat) or saying nothing immediately but coming clean afterwards is the best and most ethical policy. And you are also absolutely correct that actions will speak loader than words.

One of the things that bugs me about the entire debate (not here, but in general), is the apparent disconnect that is running around between, for example, message, medium and interpretation. Simple example:

Intended message: we are here to help you
Medium: kinetic action leading to deaths of civilians
Interpretation: you ain't here to help us!or a slightly more complex version:

Intended message: we are here to help you
Medium: provide jobs by building a school, location becomes target of AQ/Taliban kinetic action leading to deaths of civilians
Interpretation: are you here to help us? The message, actually the intended message - talking points as it were - is the same, the medium differs and so does the interpretation. The actual message being sent, at least at the population level, is the sum of all the single messages sent tied together into how an understanding (i.e. broad interpretive framework) is socially constructed.

Hacksaw
06-30-2008, 03:58 PM
All,

Literally enroute to a meeting, so I have to be brief...

I almost wish now that I hadn't used the stop and buy a coke vignette, not that it isn't valid (IMO) only that it allows others to relegate it to the touchy-feely sort of operations and dismiss/misinterpret the point...

I could just as easily have used a patrol, cordon and search, TCP or any other operations...

Its not that they should be done in only one way that makes the population feel nice, rather its that the action itself conveys information (it has content) in and of itself. The point might be to kick in teeth or inconvenience the locals, that might be the right info to convey... We just ought to understand that upfront as part of planning process rather than managing the damage afterwards...

All the rest EW, CNO, OPSEC etc... has its place, at all levels, but the real IO battle is fought with our actions, we might want to know how those actions will contribute or hinder the battle...

Besides we could all use a coke and a smile...

Live well and row

Randy Brown
06-30-2008, 03:59 PM
According to JP 3-13, Information Operations, the term is defined as “the integrated employment of electronic warfare, computer network operations, psychological operations, military deception, and operations security, in concert with specified supporting and related capabilities, to influence, disrupt, corrupt or usurp adversarial human and automated decision making while protecting our own.”

Randy, I don't disagree with what you wrote above, actually I agree strongly with much of it; however, the entire point of this thread was to address the confusing definition of IO (first post).

I would argue what your writing about falls under the Army's definition of:

Influence Operations: to effect the behavior of the intended audience through coercion, information engagement, presence and conduct.

AND

Information Engagement: the government's use of integrated employment of public information programs, psychological operations, and support leader and government activities (reparing a school, security force behavior) to influence a target audience.

Roger! My apologies if you thought that I was shooting outside the barber poles. I agree that the definitions of Influence Operations and Information Engagement do encompass much of what I'm wrestling with in this thread. However, I thought I was aiming a little closer to center-mass, IO definition-wise, in that I would be loathe to divorce the tech-stuff (EW, CNO, the hardware side of PSYOP) from the soft-power stuff. I still think it's germaine; please indulge me a few more sentences to apply SPORTS and get my sight picture again ... (Further apologies for beating my semi-amusing range-fire metaphor to an early death this morning.)

Caveats: the usual U.S. "better-fighting-through-better-technology" bias is definitely at play here, and the fact that I'm a commo guy working in an intel slot (so I gots to have my tech-toys).

Schmedlap: Thanks for your notes regarding "working groups." I'd started to get into the "ad hoc" part in yesterday's rambles, and now wish that I had. I agree that we're in agreement: the interaction and de-confliction regarding IO is best done on a case-by-case, mission-by-mission basis. In the civilian world, I'd even use "virtual team" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_team) as another way to say "working group," given that the experts might be geograpically dispersed on the battlefield.

As with Bill's notes regarding "Influence Operations" and "Information Engagement," I am also mentally juggling your points on "Information Superiority." Because the term seems to invite comparison to "Air Superiority" (the subject of some other fun conversations on this site (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2008/06/usaf-counterinsurgency-issues/), by the way), I wonder whether this is a way to resolve my apparent need to incorporate the tech-side, as above, AND to address William F. Owen's position that:

IF (the control of information content and flow across/among BLUFOR, enemy, and population) is the goal, then it is unattainable. It's like "all-weather" and "information dominance." The idea that anyone or anything can "control" information in the Information Age is both illusory and highly damaging.

I agree that information cannot be controlled, but it can and should be shaped to meet battlefield objectives. Taking a page from my engineer buddies, information viewed in obstacle terms can be "fixed, disrupted, turned or blocked." (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa5414/is_199807/ai_n21432275/print?tag=artBody;col1)

Information Operations, as defined by JP 3-13, allows for a doctrinal sum greater than its parts. (Granted, unpacking the definition will keep us busy for years--just look at this thread.) For example, when a brigade commander has to weigh whether or not to alienate the civilian population by shaping the local frequency spectrum (perhaps "IO Air Superiority" is "Airwave Superiority"?), it's not ...

... just "messaging." (Because there is a physical-space component.)

... just "collection" or "targeting." (Because it, if nothing else, creates a secondary observer effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observer_effect) on the battlefield.)

... just "electronic warfare." (Because it involves implicit and indirect messages--what do the locals think when the proverbial dial-tone goes dead? What do the bad guys think? How do both populations react?)

I think it's ... "Information Operations." And, short-story-long, I think that means I'm in agreement with the JP 3-13 definition.

(Side note to Schmedlap: The last paragraph is the best way to-date that I've been able to generically articulate a concrete example of how/why I see Public Affairs, Civil Affairs, and PSYOP implications stemming from non-lethal effects targeting.)

(Additional note: I posted before seeing this reminder (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/jun/30/taliban-aims-to-control-rural-phones/) regarding pros-and-cons of Taliban operations against civilian cellular telephone infrastructure.)

Bill Moore
06-30-2008, 04:00 PM
On the PSYOP side of the house AQ has recovered its internet capability, while we give lip service to the myth of IO.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/23/AR2008062302135_pf.html

The war against terrorism has evolved into a war of ideas and propaganda, a struggle for hearts and minds fought on television and the Internet. On those fronts, al-Qaeda's voice has grown much more powerful in recent years. Taking advantage of new technology and mistakes by its adversaries, al-Qaeda's core leadership has built an increasingly prolific propaganda operation, enabling it to communicate constantly, securely and in numerous languages with loyalists and potential recruits worldwide.

Every three or four days, on average, a new video or audio from one of al-Qaeda's commanders is released online by as-Sahab, the terrorist network's in-house propaganda studio. Even as its masters dodge a global manhunt, as-Sahab produces documentary-quality films, iPod files and cellphone videos. Last year it released 97 original videos, a sixfold increase from 2005. (As-Sahab means "the clouds" in Arabic, a reference to the skyscraping mountain peaks of Afghanistan.)

This isn't strategic, operational or tactical, but it has a real impact on the battlefied where the population is the primary objective. Coercive power is important in irregular warfare, but using coercive power without understanding how it supports a theme, or message, is like punching in the air, it will have little impact on our opponents if they are even half way competent. Using information to influence target audience is critical, but information superiority is a pipe dream (even in North Korea). Information superiority is a sales pitch that a number of contractors embrace to sell their wares (to include government think tanks). We need realistic objectives instead of pie in sky illusions.

One must also consider what we're trying to do with our influence. Are we trying to sell democracy and capitialism? If that is our method of stability operations, then in many cases we're attacking core identies of the societies we're trying to help, thus our propaganda is easily countered. This simplistic approach of, "hey we can you make you like us" isn't always well received.

Note the OPSEC measures our opponents employ also.

The Web forums are password-protected and highly regulated. In certain sections, only high-ranking moderators have the authority to post material -- such as bulletins announcing a new bin Laden video. As a result, al-Fajr and others can quickly spot fake material, ensuring that the propaganda maintains a high level of reliability and consistency, analysts said.

"By controlling that content, al-Fajr Center can make sure everybody who is getting that information knows they're getting it from an authentic source," said Josh Devon, senior analyst at the SITE Intelligence Group, a private firm that monitors Islamist terrorist groups online and serves as a consultant to U.S. and foreign government agencies. "It'd be extremely difficult for the CIA or another intelligence agency to introduce credible and effective counterpropaganda."

Al-Fajr is extremely security-conscious, Devon said. It distributes a manual called the "Technical Mujahid," which advises how to cover electronic footprints and avoid infiltration.

DMO continues at warp speed, we need to stop the IO patrol, take a knee, face out, and get the 2LT off point. Once again he is lost.

Randy Brown
06-30-2008, 04:30 PM
On the PSYOP side of the house AQ has recovered its internet capability, while we give lip service to the myth of IO.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/23/AR2008062302135_pf.html

This isn't strategic, operational or tactical, but it has a real impact on the battlefied where the population is the primary objective. Coercive power is important in irregular warfare, but using coercive power without understanding how it supports a theme, or message, is like punching in the air, it will have little impact on our opponents if they are even half way competent.

Bill: Great article, thanks! I was struck by how the name of "As-Sahab" ("the clouds," in Arabic, according to the Washington Post writer) also describes/illuminates/suggests its operation as a networked entity, conceptually along the lines of cloud computing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing), crowd sourcing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowd_sourcing), and, most importantly, crowdcasting (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowdcasting). We have, as a culture and as a military, not yet harnessed the full power of a free Internet.

I'll get off the net for now, but keep those cards and letters coming!

dguidry1
06-30-2008, 11:31 PM
As an IO officer, I must say that it is very refreshing to see the range of understanding about Information Operations in this discussion. I have read every post and cannot find one thing with which I really disagree. Everything stated can be considered valid depending on the environment.

I will also say up front that Information Operations is by no means an easy discipline because ultimately it boils down to affecting the human psyche and emotions. Many commanders and staffs do not like to hear that, but that's what must be targeted in order to change behaviors and decision-making. It really is all about INFLUENCE.

In terms of defining IO, I accept the Joint (JP 3-13) definition. That one definition provides the Functional Area 30 (FA30) IO officer with parameters broad enough to allow unconventional, asymmetric, irregular, out-of-the-box thinking and planning of IO. And Information Operations are not limited to the five core elements in that definition if one considers the limitless extent of supporting capabilities, as well as the related capabilities of Public Affairs, CMO, and Military Support to Public Diplomacy.

So to answer the question about what exactly is IO --- well, "IT DEPENDS"...

There is no 'EASY' button:D There are no cookie cutter solutions, no standard checklists, no quick-fix knee-jerk responses to make things right. There are no such things as 'IO messages', and IO products do not exist anywhere in doctrine. To put it simply, IO is a PROCESS - not a "thing".

During my 17 months as the IO Instructor for the COIN Center for Excellence in Iraq, the one thing I always tried to get participants to understand is that this is not an exact science - everything is relative to the context of the environment(s) in which targets and target audiences exist. In the simplest terms what that means is IO officers and supporting staff must first and foremost gain a true understanding of the information and operating environments, as well as develop an appreciation of the complexity and fluidity of those environments. And we have to understand them from the perspectives of various systems, networks, and operators within these environments - friendly, neutral, AND adversary. We must acquire information BEFORE projecting it in any kind of operation. That information must then be processed, validated, managed, stored, protected, etc (there's lots to be considered and done prior getting the proverbial 'word' out). Once this is accomplished the real work for the FA30 begins - continued planning, coordination, integration, and synchronization.

IO officers essentially are (or should be) responsible for coordinating, integrating, and synchronizing applicable resources, capabilities, activities, etc, in order to support command objectives. And though these actions could be considered as normal Commander/G3/S3/XO functions, the G7/S7 (IO) becomes the action officer to fit the pieces of the different puzzles together. One of the main reasons is the exorbitant amount of time it takes to achieve desired outcomes. Embracing TIME rather than the need for immediate, visible, 'marketable' actions is key to almost always ensuring enduring results/effects...but time is often trumped by the dependency on one-way communication in the form of off-the cuff non-existent IO messages and talking points.

Also, IO does not look the same at the different levels (strategic, operational, tactical). However, there should ideally be synergy among those levels that is mutually supporting from Joe on the ground all the way up to the POTUS. And it gets real tricky in that twilight zone where DoD operational meets USG strategic. As a Corps IO planner I've had the pleasure of being in the belly of that beast.

But before I get too deep into a lengthy response, I will offer that IO should be called INFLUENCE Operations. The word "information" seems to draw the mind to communicating, 'messaging', or just telling somebody something that we want them to hear. There's so much about IO that we must do a better job of educating leaders and staffs to understand...that's REALLY the hard part.

(I won't post them here, but I have several documents I will make available to requestors to illustrate many of the concepts I've shared about IO.)

slapout9
07-01-2008, 12:31 AM
the civilian population by shaping the local frequency spectrum (perhaps "IO Air Superiority" is "Airwave Superiority"?), it's not ...



Believe it or not we used to have that. Those of us that are old enough to remember the old Civil Defense system had what was called CONELRAD. which stood for Control Of The Radio-Magnetic Spectrum....640 and 1240 on your am dial:) that is for you Ken!!!
What is now the EMS system was part of CONELRAD which was part of get this an Air Raid Alert system!!!! It was used a lot during my stay in Florida during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Only information on 640 or 1240 was valid everything was considered wrong or enemy propaganda. It was a lot better than Homeland Defense.


go to this link and listen (scroll down till you find it) to a recording from JFK support for CONELRAD 1961
http://www.conelrad.com/media/audiodirectory.php

Ken White
07-01-2008, 01:52 AM
with the little Civil Defense logos:
http://www.acsa2000.net/cd/Civil_defense_logo.gif
on the dial at 640 and 1240 AM?
http://semiconductormuseum.com/PhotoGallery/PhotoGallery_Motorola_2N176_files/image002.jpg
Before my time... :D

Bill Moore
07-01-2008, 03:59 AM
I will offer that IO should be called INFLUENCE Operations. The word "information" seems to draw the mind to communicating, 'messaging', or just telling somebody something that we want them to hear. posted by dguidry1

By your position and experience you're an expert in post modern IO, but since most experts don't like to be called experts I won't stick that label on you. :) On top of that I still have the gull to disagree with you. :D

Everyone on this thread has an idea of what needs to be done, and in most cases we are in violent agreement with what needs to be done, the debate is over what is IO. IO and what needs to be done are not necessarily the same in my humble opinion.

I agree with your proposal to influence operations (INFLUOPS), not to be confused with influenza (but there are several parallels).

Information Operations (IO) on the other hand should focus on information technology, EW, CNA, defending or electronic databases, etc. For example, jamming radio signals, jamming radar, attacking enemy C4I systems (remotely with hacker attacks and directly with bombs), and defending against the same. The information technology networked battlefield was the origin of IO (if I recall it correctly). IO is heavily slanted towards information technology and INFLUOPs is heavily slanted towards PSYOP, though a number of supporting activities are not PSYOP, and IO can support INFLUOPs.

If IO is influence operations, then what is the difference between a PSYOP'er and an IO officer? If IO is holistic PSYOP, what is EW and CNA?

Riddle me that Batman and you'll set me free from my anguish.

If you tell me it depends, you'll leave me with a severe headache.

Randy Brown
07-01-2008, 04:15 AM
Believe it or not we used to have that. Those of us that are old enough to remember the old Civil Defense system had what was called CONELRAD. which stood for Control Of The Radio-Magnetic Spectrum....640 and 1240 on your am dial:) that is for you Ken!!!
What is now the EMS system was part of CONELRAD which was part of get this an Air Raid Alert system!!!! It was used a lot during my stay in Florida during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Only information on 640 or 1240 was valid everything was considered wrong or enemy propaganda. It was a lot better than Homeland Defense.

go to this link and listen (scroll down till you find it) to a recording from JFK support for CONELRAD 1961
http://www.conelrad.com/media/audiodirectory.php

And here my wife told me I was crazy when I ran an Ethernet cable out the window to the backyard fallout shelter ... ("The Internet is a nuclear-proof network, Martha--ARPA says so!") Now, I can listen to CONELRAD rebroadcasts in streaming audio while playing Worlds of Warcraft in my post-apocalyptic paradise.

The alternating "640-1240" jingle brought with it the instant shock of recognition. Keep in mind, I can't remember high school algebra. But I can remember this stuff?!

Thanks also to Mr. White with the visual blasts-from-the-past. Loved the car radio. Sometimes, I miss my first car ... and the Cold War.

All of this nuclear nostalgia reminds me of a buddy's war story about a briefing he once received as a USAF enlisted person, in the late '70s to early '80s. It went something like this:

BRIEFER: "In the event of a nuclear attack against this airbase, you will assemble at the super-secret alternate location. Any questions?"

AUDIENCE: "Uh, yes, sir: Just where is the super-secret alternate location?"

BRIEFER: "In the event of a nuclear attack against this airbase, you will advised of the location the super-secret alternate location. Any questions?"

AUDIENCE: "..."

And, because when I tell these little stories, I should have a point (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093748/quotes): For me, inspired and informed by dguidry1's insights, the moral at hand is ... "it depends."

I am now ducking and covering ...

Spud
07-01-2008, 09:43 AM
If IO is influence operations, then what is the difference between a PSYOP'er and an IO officer? If IO is holistic PSYOP, what is EW and CNA?

Riddle me that Batman and you'll set me free from my anguish.

If you tell me it depends, you'll leave me with a severe headache.

Well from my experience as a regular embed in the US IO world and on Aussie led actys (we don't have a FA30 equiv ... we just have people like me that wished we did so I'd have a career) ... it depends :p

Well not really

The key difference for me is that in all reality (and I know some of you work current ops) an IO Officer is planner (whether that be in FUOPS or Plans I'll leave that up to you) and a good IO Officer is multi-disciplined in that they can provide that wider planning support. If we're utilising our IO guy in the "now" space we're either not coordinated or reactionary or both.

An anecdote from my time in Iraq ... seven "IO Planners" on the HQ working on average 3o-odd different planning actys at any one time. Within that seven we had a couple of FA30's, myself, a EW guy, a PSYOPer, a STO weirdo, and a CA guy. It was interesting to see the plans when they came back ... FA30 plans were "full-spectrum" in that they provided direction for all IO task elms. The individual specialists however turned out great plans for their specialty with that other aspects thrown in as an afterthought. It’s the cross-domain planning and coord function that allows a good IO officer to really contribute to the op.

If we get back to what IO really is ... synchronisation and coordination of non-lethal and, as appropriate, lethal effects it makes a hell of a lot of sense to have a dedicated staff function on the HQ as in someone performs the role of S/J/G/SOJ39... whether it needs to be a dedicated functional area career stream though I'll leave up to you (we're to small for it).

Australia also has a concept and doctrinal basis over were we are going with this. IO as a function occurs at the operational level and is by its nature a joint process. Above it we do shaping and influencing at the whole of Government level. At the tactical end we carry out information dominance and influence actions and these can individual service actions as required. We utilise Strategic Communications as the "process" (not a group of people) that ties all of this together and empowers our most tactical elms to align with the strategic narrative.

dguidry1 has got it spot on though and like him I've been fascinated watching where this thread leads (particularly as I'm supposed to be writing a paper justifying "IO" as specialist trade that some officers could stream into if they give up all notion of command)

wm
07-01-2008, 12:02 PM
I agree with your proposal to influence operations (INFLUOPS), not to be confused with influenza (but there are several parallels).

Information Operations (IO) on the other hand should focus on information technology, EW, CNA, defending or electronic databases, etc. For example, jamming radio signals, jamming radar, attacking enemy C4I systems (remotely with hacker attacks and directly with bombs), and defending against the same. The information technology networked battlefield was the origin of IO (if I recall it correctly). IO is heavily slanted towards information technology and INFLUOPs is heavily slanted towards PSYOP, though a number of supporting activities are not PSYOP, and IO can support INFLUOPs.

If IO is influence operations, then what is the difference between a PSYOP'er and an IO officer? If IO is holistic PSYOP, what is EW and CNA?

Riddle me that Batman and you'll set me free from my anguish.

If you tell me it depends, you'll leave me with a severe headache.

I agree completely with this distinction between IO in Influops. I suspect that the confusion arises because of the inclusion of Psyops under the IO umbrella.

Psyops may be used as a tool to degrade an oppponent's information exchange capabilities, in which case one may wish to say that it falls under IO. However, I think Pysops' primary goal is to influence one's opponent's (and the non-aligned fence sitters') mindset using non-kinetic means. Consider this comparison. H&I artillery fires may well degrade enemy morale and cause an opponent to be more likely to surrender. Does this justify one in calling H&I a Pysops tool? I do not think so. Similarly, a Psyops message may well cause a C2/information breakdown (particularly if it is a black or gray message). However, that kind of effort would be more along the lines of what I was taught was manipulative deception, a component if EW, not Pysops.

What worries me is that folks may look at a Pysops asset like Commando Solo as a high powered jammer, hence an EW asset, rather than as a mobile media broadcast system. But, by using that sort of thinking, a Bradley or M113 is also just a fancy tracked cargo delivery vehicle.

Andrew Exum
07-01-2008, 12:21 PM
Thanks, all, for the considered posts in response to my query. All of this is quite useful and reminds me of a passage from Orwell's 'Homage to Catalonia' I read over the weekend and worth sharing:

'Wherever the lines were within hailing distance of one another there was always a good deal of shouting from trench to trench. From ourselves: "Fascistas -- maricones!" From the Fascists: "Viva Espana! Viva Franco!" ... On the Government side, in the party militias, the shouting of propaganda to undermine the enemy morale had been developed into a regular technique. In every suitable position men, usually machine-gunners, were told off for shouting duty and provided with megaphones. ... Of course such a proceeding does not fit in with the English conception of war."

Ken White
07-01-2008, 02:22 PM
I agree completely with this distinction between IO in Influops. I suspect that the confusion arises because of the inclusion of Psyops under the IO umbrella.So do I....H&I artillery fires may well degrade enemy morale and cause an opponent to be more likely to surrender. Does this justify one in calling H&I a Pysops tool?I'm firmly convinced that H&I Artillery fire is about as effective as strategic bombing -- which means it's almost a total waste and is often counterproductive. It is rarely beneficial and in a COIN situation is invariably detrimental. We use it because we think our opponents are stupid; they are not.But, by using that sort of thinking, a Bradley or M113 is also just a fancy tracked cargo delivery vehicle.Yes. :D

William F. Owen
07-01-2008, 02:41 PM
IO, PsyOps, EW, Influence Ops? Any others?

I actually think some of this is less than useful, unless we arrive at a clear understanding of the intended end state.

I submit, that unless these are breaking the enemies will to fight, or denying him the means to fight, it falls outside the realm of the military. EW, COMINT and SIGINT is a generally cohesive and well understood area of military activity. It's all basically FINDING and FIXING, using the EM spectrum.

PSYOPS should be about breaking will, by using information products. Generally, history and the operational record suggests we are not good at this, so I suspect we should not be trying to do it. and Weapons do it better.

Information Operations, should perhaps be confined to communicating with the civilian population, to aid their protection.

...and I suspect that this may be too simple an answer but I'd like put it out there, to have the neccessary bricks thrown at it!! :)

wm
07-01-2008, 03:03 PM
I'm firmly convinced that H&I Artillery fire is about as effective as strategic bombing -- which means it's almost a total waste and is often counterproductive. It is rarely beneficial and in a COIN situation is invariably detrimental. We use it because we think our opponents are stupid; they are not.

Ken,

I don't remember ever saying that H&I achieved its stated purpose. For one's oppponents it primarily serves as a training reinforcement and means of culling the herd. If it has a negative impact on morale, I suspect it does so more on the friendly cannnoneers who have to deliver it at odd hours of the night, sort of like the effect on the unlucky soul who had to pull fire guard in BCT/AIT at 0300. :D

Schmedlap
07-01-2008, 03:49 PM
I guess my issue is that we shouldn't need a name, a definition, another staff officer, and another publication. We don't have "firepower" operations and write a publication for it and set up a functional area and make space for yet another group of desks on the TOC/JOC floor to handle firepower. We just integrate various forms of firepower, whether it be artillery, mortars, suppressive fire from direct weapons, et cetera. Likewise, I don't understand why we don't just integrate all of the assets that now concern the IO doctrine writers. We already have the assets and experience in using them. Why not continue to do so without creating another staff billet, functional area, and slew of publications?

Someone gave an example H&I fires and asked, "is this PSYOP?" I don't know if it is PSYOP, but purely kinetic operations can and do have effects that many normally assume to be IO. My favorite example occurred in OIF III when residents actually complained that we were too soft and weak because we took well-aimed shots, rather than firing indiscriminately at insurgents. They were truly angry with us, claiming that the insurgents were humiliating us and showing their strength. The support for their argument was that Kent the insurgent was slinging an entire magazine at us, while Stan the rifleman was only firing back with 3 well-aimed shots. We explained that we were trying to minimize civilian casualties and collateral damage, but this did not resonate with the city-folk.

Soon thereafter, we adopted a slightly different approach: we returned fire with 40mm, AT-4's, and 25mm, as appropriate. Hellfire strikes became more common, as did the occasional visit from an M-1. The effect was that we killed/captured no more insurgents than we were killing/capturing before, but the PERCEPTION was that we were routing them. Suddenly the city-folk were expressing satisfaction with our work. One man said, "thank you for fighting back." We weren't before? Thereafter, IEDs and direct fire attacks began to plummet and we got significantly more intelligence and cooperation from locals. No IO annex required.

William F. Owen
07-01-2008, 04:04 PM
I guess my issue is that we shouldn't need a name, a definition, another staff officer, and another publication. We don't have "firepower" operations and write a publication for it and set up a functional area and make space for yet another group of desks on the TOC/JOC floor to handle firepower. We just integrate various forms of firepower, whether it be artillery, mortars, suppressive fire from direct weapons, et cetera. Likewise, I don't understand why we don't just integrate all of the assets that now concern the IO doctrine writers. We already have the assets and experience in using them. Why not continue to do so without creating another staff billet, functional area, and slew of publications?

Someone gave an example H&I fires and asked, "is this PSYOP?" I don't know if it is PSYOP, but purely kinetic operations can and do have effects that many normally assume to be IO. My favorite example occurred in OIF III when residents actually complained that we were too soft and weak because we took well-aimed shots, rather than firing indiscriminately at insurgents. They were truly angry with us, claiming that the insurgents were humiliating us and showing their strength. The support for their argument was that Kent the insurgent was slinging an entire magazine at us, while Stan the rifleman was only firing back with 3 well-aimed shots. We explained that we were trying to minimize civilian casualties and collateral damage, but this did not resonate with the city-folk.

Soon thereafter, we adopted a slightly different approach: we returned fire with 40mm, AT-4's, and 25mm, as appropriate. Hellfire strikes became more common, as did the occasional visit from an M-1. The effect was that we killed/captured no more insurgents than we were killing/capturing before, but the PERCEPTION was that we were routing them. Suddenly the city-folk were expressing satisfaction with our work. One man said, "thank you for fighting back." We weren't before? Thereafter, IEDs and direct fire attacks began to plummet and we got significantly more intelligence and cooperation from locals. No IO annex required.

Utterly Brilliant! Yes. I agree 99.9%!! It is a pity that this common sense is not more common!

Hacksaw
07-01-2008, 04:11 PM
I thought I had fired my FPF in my last entry, and that I was going to retrograde out of my position and this thread. However, much like Michael Corleone (and the Mafia) this thread keeps sucking me back in.

Bill... It seems clear that you are want to focus IO on those technical aspects of the discipline. This is perfectly legitiamate since there is much work to be done with regard to EW, CNO/CNA and KM. These specific functions are important to success. :rolleyes: I, as a confessed generalist/operational planner/COIN bubba, am apt to focus on the influence side of the house. Which I believe to the depth of my soul belongs to commanders and 3's. You think I'm focused on PSYOP, I say I'm focused on the operational environment. The predominent operational theme for the next 20 years is some form of IW/IA/COIN that will be conducted in and amongst the people. As such, seperating my adversary physically and psychologically (making no assumptions about whom I support, I may be the insurgent proxy next time) from the population is almost always decisive. That is commanders business. I use the caveat only as an homage to Gian, but until we are free from the "evils":D of the 24/7 news coverage, a more draconian/british:p approach is most likely unacceptable.

Wilf... Amazingly, must be a blue moon, we might agree. It is about winning and breaking wills (well sort of). Breaking the will of the population that allows the adversary the legitimacy to control/rule. I know that isn't what you explicitly stated, but I think we do share the sentiment that we need to bring each element to bear to serve that purpose of our operation. Sometimes its killing and breaking things, sometimes it is buying a coke, most the time its somewhere in between. However, what matters most is what we do as opposed to what we say. That is so long as the two aren't at the opposite ends of the spectrum.

JP 3-13 and other subsequent doctrine lumped the various IO functions together for a reason, one opinion shared between two 4-stars that I was privy to eavesdrop :D was that the purpose was to get the institution's arms around these functions and put some rigor behind the development of concepts & capabilities. During that same conversation, they agreed that it might be about time to break the function apart again, that the consolidation had served its purpose. IO, CNO, EW, PSYOP, OPSEC all have their own named Army proponents (for a reason)

UGH... Feels like I've been on a division staff MDMP inspired caffine jag for four days...

Not sure where this entry is really leading, other than to opine the following:

There is a strong record of anecdotal evidence (at all levels in Iraq - Corps to PLT) that when the leader makes the mental transition that the info aspects of the operational space are so interwoven with the other aspects that he can't seperate it as a matter of convenience, that he has to view that same operational space through the lens of more than just his own, and that if he considers those facets prior to conducting a tactical action he can multiply the effect of the tactical action several fold by anticipating the effect of his tactical action, mitigating the possible negative impact by proactivly putting in place plans to counter adversary propoganda, and actually use that analysis to perhaps posture his unit to take advantage/turn that negative propoganda/tactical response to his own advantage. If that is PSYOPS, ok, but I prefer to just call it ops. Its this dynamic that brings some to call IW/IA/COIN the graduate level of war. I don't share that opinion, I think its nothing more than action, counter-action, counter-counter action in a different context. The only big difference is that this type of mental aptitude is a requisite as opposed to a luxury in our more junior leaders.

Live well and row

Hacksaw
07-01-2008, 04:21 PM
I guess my issue is that we shouldn't need a name, a definition, another staff officer, and another publication. We don't have "firepower" operations and write a publication for it and set up a functional area and make space for yet another group of desks on the TOC/JOC floor to handle firepower.

Almost agree, we do have definitions, staff officers, publications, and processes dedicated to synchronizing firepower... Its call the battle staff, MDMP, targeting boards and FM 5-0 etc. Now do we need unique processes for IO... NO! Do we need to make sure that those functionalities are an intimate part of the plans process... YES!

Bill Moore
07-01-2008, 04:21 PM
Schmedlap, I wonder if we were in the same locale in 2003, because we had the same complaints from the locals, and we adjusted accordingly. COIN is local, as perceptions vary based on culture, and some cultures (Iraq being one of them) are used to a higher leve of violence. In another location, bringing in the M1 tanks and responding with 40mm would equate to strategic failure. It depends.

You and I didn't adjust our tactics based off an IO planner, we changed based off of our experiences (learning organizations) and feedback from the locals. We understood the objectives and adjusted our tactics to best achieve those objectives, and some objectives were all about influence. In hind sight I would call that common sense, not IO. A counter argument can be made that common sense isn't that common, so there is the risk that some folks won't get it, but an IO planner at the Bde level will not change the command climate, only commanders will do that. As for influence planners, we have PSYOP planners to help with that.

If we need IO at all (and we probably do), it is at the operational/strategic level of war, not the tactical. At the tactical level we execute tactical tasks that have strategic effects.

Information Operations, should perhaps be confined to communicating with the civilian population, to aid their protection.

Mr Owen, to be clear are you proposing changing the argument from influence to simply informing the target audience? If that is your proposal I disagree.

I submit, that unless these are breaking the enemies will to fight, or denying him the means to fight, it falls outside the realm of the military.

I disagree with this arguement, and I think the argument disagree with itself. In a COIN situation the populace is the primary objective, and the side that ultimately controls (influences) the population will probably win. Since the enemy emerges from the populace, one of the key ways to break the enemy's will to fight is to influence the population with activities ranging from coercive to incentives to changing the local narratives. How else do you intend to break the enemy's will to fight?

There are other ways, but this is 2008, and we're not going to violate international laws, so within the realm of reality, just how would the military break the will of the enemy to fight without influence operations?

Also, what other organization out there is going to do this if it isn't the military?

Ron Humphrey
07-01-2008, 04:43 PM
This comes from someone whom should anyone ask has no real credentials from which to speak authoritatively on the subject;) buuut considering thats never stopped me before here goes:wry:

I would start with a reference back to my original post (Piece of the pie)
The most notable issue with IO seems to be that it is redundant to everyones jobs in a command staff and has the audacity to presume a sort of hierarchial superiority to each of them. First from those I have met and spoken to this is not the case but rather the IO officer will tend to (as I believe has been mentioned here) look to each of the areas specialist for indications of how any particular actions, inactions, protocols, circumstances, the operational environment. The Environment or Information Operations being in reality the focus on everything to do with whats happening, has happened, or looks to happen in the Operational environment.

I think we've seen this role before but noone really took offense at it because its known as that of the commander. Difference being that in todays rapidly changing, and information dense environments it is more often than not more than any one commander could study sufficiently to maintain awareness at a level of comfort for rapid decision making.

So what am I saying, something along the lines of this,

Staff lets all welcome the new commanders executive assistant(not XO).
HE/She will be part of a consistent collaborative effort between the various specialties in order to maintain a broader picture of daily, weekly and monthly operational environment conditions to include statistical and trends analysis in order to provide the commander with a better overall situational awareness and ability to coordinate actions of all elements of the force.

_______

Final conclusion
Each and every aspect of the operational environment is represented to a command by the information which it accesses, Just like air is to breathing information is to environment

Think matrix, the picture is made up of information throughout all aspect of human interaction and thus someone must constantly put the pieces together in order to maintain the picture. Intel does this but only within what it knows, same goes for everyone elses pieces. Show me one of these areas where all these aspects are constantly being monitored and pieced together and put forth.

BTW yes I realize the entire staff together does this but because of the engorged size of said staffs and the bueracratic nonsense the CO doesn't always get the picture they need. One or two integrators, Sythesizers cando wonders for making a group more effective and more importantly clear for the one person ultimately responsible for the final answer.

I now await the storm to come:eek:

Hacksaw
07-01-2008, 04:52 PM
Ron,

The people you describe are combined the G3 and CoS. Pretty tough jobs, which is why the Div G3 was upgraded from LTC to COL (BDE CMD Designee) and the CoS is generally (BDE CMD complete). No doubt too much to for one man to synchonize, to the required level of fidelity, in his own grey matter.

Sooo.... agree on the required functionality - differ in so far as whether we need another COL to get in the way :D

Live well and row

Randy Brown
07-01-2008, 05:03 PM
I thought I had fired my FPF in my last entry, and that I was going to retrograde out of my position and this thread. However, much like Michael Corleone (and the Mafia) this thread keeps sucking me back in.

Agreed on the strangely compelling nature of this thread. But if you do manage to break contact, remember the following TTP: "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli." (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068646/quotes)

JP 3-13 and other subsequent doctrine lumped the various IO functions together for a reason, one opinion shared between two 4-stars that I was privy to eavesdrop :D was that the purpose was to get the institution's arms around these functions and put some rigor behind the development of concepts & capabilities. During that same conversation, they agreed that it might be about time to break the function apart again, that the consolidation had served its purpose. IO, CNO, EW, PSYOP, OPSEC all have their own named Army proponents (for a reason).

There is a strong record of anecdotal evidence (at all levels in Iraq - Corps to PLT) that when the leader makes the mental transition that the info aspects of the operational space are so interwoven with the other aspects that he can't seperate it as a matter of convenience, that he has to view that same operational space through the lens of more than just his own, and that if he considers those facets prior to conducting a tactical action he can multiply the effect of the tactical action several fold by anticipating the effect of his tactical action, mitigating the possible negative impact by proactivly putting in place plans to counter adversary propoganda, and actually use that analysis to perhaps posture his unit to take advantage/turn that negative propoganda/tactical response to his own advantage. If that is PSYOPS, ok, but I prefer to just call it ops.

Given your points, as well as Schmedlap's and Bill Moore's anecdote(s) about the messages implicit in making a big bang to impress the locals, I come around to the old "chicken-and-egg" dilemma of "when is a lesson 'learned' at the institutional level"?

In my thinking, doctrine (and the definitions therein) represents an attempt to institutionalize thought, to give it a theoretical framework and structure that should--even as it (slowly) changes and evolves over time--still outlast whatever specific conditions and commanders are present in a given time and place.

Ultimately, isn't doctrine the way we make sure the next guys and gals to walk in our boots continue to focus on the right things, beyond "simple" TTP and lessons? And, if so, doesn't the issue of how to synthesize the various components of IO remain an organizational imperative, rather than become a thought-experiment that has run its useful course?

wm
07-01-2008, 05:21 PM
Ron,

The people you describe are combined the G3 and CoS. Pretty tough jobs, which is why the Div G3 was upgraded from LTC to COL (BDE CMD Designee) and the CoS is generally (BDE CMD complete). No doubt too much to for one man to synchonize, to the required level of fidelity, in his own grey matter.

Sooo.... agree on the required functionality - differ in so far as whether we need another COL to get in the way :D

Live well and row

Hack,

I suspect that the extra eagle is really unnecessary on the Div Staff. Back in my division days, we had another person who played a very large part in this whole situational awareness puzzle as well--a BG called the Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver (I think he was also called the ADC Ops in 101 and 82). How the role was shared among the ADC(M), Chief and -3 was a matter of Division Commander preference.

Interestingly enough, back in the day separate Bdes (1-button commands) also had a deputy commander (O-6) as well as a Chief and 3. I don't believe thecurrent transformed BCTs have a deputy authorized. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Ken White
07-01-2008, 05:31 PM
I don't remember ever saying that H&I achieved its stated purpose. For one's oppponents it primarily serves as a training reinforcement and means of culling the herd. If it has a negative impact on morale, I suspect it does so more on the friendly cannnoneers who have to deliver it at odd hours of the night, sort of like the effect on the unlucky soul who had to pull fire guard in BCT/AIT at 0300. :DDidn't mean to imply that you did; just saw the "H&I" and that 'technique' raises my hackles on a generic basis... :D

I agreed on the Psyops and disagreed, sort of, on the utility of the M113 and the Bradley -- standard airborne response to clanking tracks -- in other than the cargo toting role... ;)

Hugs! :D

wm
07-01-2008, 05:45 PM
I agreed on the Psyops and disagreed, sort of, on the utility of the M113 and the Bradley -- standard airborne response to clanking tracks -- in other than the cargo toting role... ;)

Hugs! :D

Your perspective on the Brads and 113s mirrors my feeling about a T-10, not to mention the old G-1 and every other personnel chute in between them.

Once a leg always a leg:D

Hacksaw
07-01-2008, 05:45 PM
Randy,

These are all excellent points, allow me some latitude, I'm not a doctrine writer but I've lived the TRADOC/CAC existance for some time...

Agreed on the strangely compelling nature of this thread. But if you do manage to break contact, remember the following TTP: "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli." (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068646/quotes)





G

The never ending source of great (culturally relevant) quotes for use in any occassion...

Given your points, as well as Schmedlap's and Bill Moore's anecdote(s) about the messages implicit in making a big bang to impress the locals, I come around to the old "chicken-and-egg" dilemma of "when is a lesson 'learned' at the institutional level"?

Wow... Did you turn-over the apple cart. I would submit a lesson is learned (institutionally) when the lesson's considerations are appropriately/adequately represented/integrated into DOTMLPF domains. Note I did not specifiy perfectly, far too few resources to meet that threshold. In the operational domain, the evidence of a lesson learned is the adjustment in behavior/action to reflect the content of the lesson. How about that for speaking TRADOC-ian :eek:

In my thinking, doctrine (and the definitions therein) represents an attempt to institutionalize thought, to give it a theoretical framework and structure that should--even as it (slowly) changes and evolves over time--still outlast whatever specific conditions and commanders are present in a given time and place.

Spot on, some pieces of doctrine do that (serve as enduring pillars of thought) better than others. Just because someone signed off on a doctrinal publication doesn't mean it meets those criteria. As you might suspect, those pieces of doctrine, such as FM 1-0, 3-0, 5-0 etc, are more enduring than those manuals closer to tactical application.

Ultimately, isn't doctrine the way we make sure the next guys and gals to walk in our boots continue to focus on the right things, beyond "simple" TTP and lessons? And, if so, doesn't the issue of how to synthesize the various components of IO remain an organizational imperative, rather than become a thought-experiment that has run its useful course?

Hmmm deep thoughts with Stuart Smiley...

In theory the answer is yes, if the doctrine in fact meets the criteria above. I think it is clear that the two officers I mentioned previous weren't sold on that assessment with regard to JP 3-13. The question they and I raise is whether all those facets of IO are really as complimentary as their grouping in doctrine might suggest. It doesn't make them any less important, and I suppose I'm not qualified to answer. However, I am qualified to say that the two gentlemen were exceptionally qualified as operational/strategic commanders to have an informed opinion.

Of course that's never stopped me from disagreeing or being disagreable in the past, but in this case I think I'll follow along and trust we aren't moving towards a cliff

Bill Moore
07-01-2008, 07:04 PM
Almost agree, we do have definitions, staff officers, publications, and processes dedicated to synchronizing firepower... Its call the battle staff, MDMP, targeting boards and FM 5-0 etc. Now do we need unique processes for IO... NO! Do we need to make sure that those functionalities are an intimate part of the plans process... YES! Posted by Hacksaw

I didn't see this earlier as we were posted on top of one another, but I strongly agree with this post. You summed up my argument nicely (I wish I wrote this).

What we do need are the appropriate specialists, Civil Affairs Officers, Psychological Officers (when I write Officers, I also mean NCOs), OPSEC specialists, Computer Network Attack (at the appropriate level), Cultural advisors, maybe anthropologists, Electronic Warfare specialists, and the list goes on. To become a master of any of these different functional areas it takes considerable study and experience, so what exactly is an IO guy? The synchronizer is the Operations Officer and the Commander. Since IO is interwoven in everything, we don't need a sub-level synchronizer.

We can already integrate all the required IO capabilities with our MDMP and targeting boards. The question is do we?

My recommended solution:

Educating our officers and senior NCO corp on the various aspects of IO will help ensure it practiced downrange, but it won't do it by itself. If you want your subordinates to plan for and implement IO related tasks the way to do it is put them as "specified" tasks in your orders. Specified tasks must be resourced and planned for. That is the mechanism for integrating IO related tasks into operations.

For example, a specified task is to isolate the population psychologically from the insurgency. Your Commander then tasks his deputy (or XO, or S3) to form a plans group (working group, whatever) to figure out what this means and courses of action for implementing it. This step is absolutely critical, but it is ONLY STEP 1.

Now we need staff and unit systems/processes/SOPs established that allow the unit as a whole to adjust their IO procedures as required to achieve the desired effects. This gets back to the essence of "Eating Soup with a Knife". How do we make the unit a learning organization? I can almost guaruntee you that our first plan won't work, but it will initiate actions that allow us to learn (sort of a recon by fire), if we have the right systems established, we can adjust as necessary to achieve the desired effects and objective.

We all keep coming back to this thread because we know it is critically important and we don't do it well. I don't think we have to wait for changes across DOTMLPF to call it a lesson learned. We just need to start implementing it.

Hacksaw
07-01-2008, 07:21 PM
Bill,

Learned being the optimal word...

You can't call something learned, acknowledged maybe but not learned, until it changes behavior. The "Institutional Army/Generating Base/TRADOC and all its satellites" are first and foremost about requirements determination (lesson identified) and DOTMLPF capabilities development/delivery (lesson learned). Our problem historically is we are unparalleled in the identification process, less so with regard to the develop/delivery.

You may have been using the term institution as reference to the corporate whole of the Army... Then I would say its mostly about changes in operational behavior, but caveat that the same change is only transitory (specific to particular time, place & individuals) until the considerations from that lesson learned have made their way into the generating base processes/infrastructure.

In the words of a sage man... TRADOC is a goofy organization.

wm
07-01-2008, 07:41 PM
Meanwhile back in the RC, the Guard has two operational Theater IO Groups (TIOG), one in Washington State and the other in Texas. The USAR apparently has a TIOG starting up as well, based out of Fort Totten in NY.
And there's also a National Capital Region IO Center in MD. That is all in addition to the AC's 1st IO Command.
What the heck are all these various organizations supposed to be doing?

Ron Humphrey
07-01-2008, 08:21 PM
Meanwhile back in the RC, the Guard has two operational Theater IO Groups (TIOG), one in Washington State and the other in Texas. The USAR apparently has a TIOG starting up as well, based out of Fort Totten in NY.
And there's also a National Capital Region IO Center in MD. That is all in addition to the AC's 1st IO Command.
What the heck are all these various organizations supposed to be doing?

Perhaps it's effectively easier to research and collaborate on certain aspects when not under fire:confused: Just a guess but would make sense to me since most seem to want to put it in the Op's and above category.

Regional focused study combined with local operations feedback probably offers immense pluses over trying to be there and knowing let alone remembering what all you need to ask about any given thing while you happen to be in contact. I would hope it's something along those lines.

One would think it might also make some of those trying to track the decisions and lesson's jobs a little easier as well.

Randy Brown
07-01-2008, 09:20 PM
(To Bill Moore) You can't call something learned, acknowledged maybe but not learned, until it changes behavior. The "Institutional Army/Generating Base/TRADOC and all its satellites" are first and foremost about requirements determination (lesson identified) and DOTMLPF capabilities development/delivery (lesson learned). Our problem historically is we are unparalleled in the identification process, less so with regard to the develop/delivery.

You may have been using the term institution as reference to the corporate whole of the Army... Then I would say its mostly about changes in operational behavior, but caveat that the same change is only transitory (specific to particular time, place & individuals) until the considerations from that lesson learned have made their way into the generating base processes/infrastructure.

Certainly, the latter is how I also meant the term "institution"--pertaining to how the military learns as a "corporate whole." Thanks for your analysis of my earlier points--given that my lessons-learned team tends to focus on the brigade-and-lower levels, we have a tendency toward some of the vulnerabilities you state above: We do well on lesson-identification, we're OK at lesson-learning and -integration throughout our tactical organizations, but we're perhaps less effective at higher levels.

We do casually assign or align our lessons with DOTMLPF implications, but we don't own much more in that fight. We plug into Big Army for that kind of heady stuff. Bottom-line and lesson-learned: Thanks for helping us put our process and our arguments into ... "TRADOC-ian?" "TRADOC-ese?" "TRADOC-eze?" (I vote for the latter--because it looks and sounds like a floor wax, and a tasty dessert topping (http://snltranscripts.jt.org/75/75ishimmer.phtml).)

That said, and at risk of zapping whatever citizen-soldier credibility and goodwill L2I Iowa may enjoy on SWJ, I've got to admit I've got no visibility or knowledge on the "Theater IO Groups" that wm and Ron Humphrey just mentioned. I now have to go make some calls and get some more smarter.

In the meantime, however, I can at least partially answer wm's question regarding deputy commanders in the modular BCT. My IBCT has an 06 commander, an 06 deputy commander, and an 05 executive officer. The deputy, notably given the topics of discussion on SWJ, is quite likely to inherit oversight of major portions of a given BCT mission (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=5212), such as being named as the unit's MiTT Tzar. Don't know whether this would help or hurt the possibility/efficacy of being named IO Tzar as well.

Until later -- "IO Avengers ... Assemble!" (http://www.avengersassemble.net/)

dguidry1
07-02-2008, 12:16 AM
An anecdote from my time in Iraq ... seven "IO Planners" on the HQ working on average 30-odd different planning actys at any one time. Within that seven we had a couple of FA30's, myself, a EW guy, a PSYOPer, a STO weirdo, and a CA guy. It was interesting to see the plans when they came back ... FA30 plans were "full-spectrum" in that they provided direction for all IO task elms. The individual specialists however turned out great plans for their specialty with that other aspects thrown in as an afterthought. It’s the cross-domain planning and coord function that allows a good IO officer to really contribute to the op.

This is an excellent illustration of the role of IO in staff planning efforts – regardless of the level. The IO officer must be a proverbial jack-of-all-trades (and yes, master of none). IO is not equal to any of the “traditional” disciplines or staff functions. Likewise, none are subordinate to IO. IO does not “own” sophisticated technological equipment, have large fully-manned sections, or even have assigned vehicles for that matter. What IO brings (or at least SHOULD bring) to the table are critical thinking skills and an in depth working knowledge of as many available resources and capabilities as possible. IO does not “do” PSYOP, PA, CMO, EW, etc. IO considers the full-spectrum coordination and integration of these without the blinders and constraints of each individual discipline. Which leads into the following by Spud:

...I'm supposed to be writing a paper justifying "IO" as specialist trade that some officers could stream into if they give up all notion of command)

I am also working on a personal paper in an attempt to justify the existence of Information Operations, and one of my most important epiphanies was realizing that the FA30 title is not meant to be one of honor and prestige. I never kid myself into thinking that my blood, sweat, and tears will earn me distinguished recognition or selection for any kind of command position. IO is not on the main stage of any staff. It is, however, one of the most important backstage crew members in any production.

I think we've seen this role before but noone really took offense at it because its known as that of the commander. Difference being that in today’s rapidly changing, and information dense environments it is more often than not more than any one commander could study sufficiently to maintain awareness at a level of comfort for rapid decision making.

Staff lets all welcome the new commander’s executive assistant (not XO). He/She will be part of a consistent collaborative effort between the various specialties in order to maintain a broader picture of daily, weekly and monthly operational environment conditions to include statistical and trends analysis in order to provide the commander with a better overall situational awareness and ability to coordinate actions of all elements of the force.

The IO officer is (in simplest terms) an advisor to the commander…again, SHOULD be… EVERYTHING the IO officer does or produces MUST support the commander’s intent and objectives. Yes, that what a staff is for. And yes, that’s why there is such a thing as MDMP. But there are some differences when it comes to IO. The initial IO Estimate for any operation should ideally be near complete (focusing 6-18 months out) by the time the WARNO is published and BEFORE the MDMP begins. I won’t go into the nuances but there is a parallel MDMP process that the FA30 conducts simultaneous with the normal staff MDMP – again, maintaining at least a 6-18 month lead/buffer – using the working knowledge of all the other staff functions and capabilities to advise the commander on the information environment relative to full-spectrum ops. Also, in advising commanders the FA30 must have the mental agility and courage to play the devil’s advocate, presenting the good, bad, AND ugly --- not just tell the commander what you think he WANTS to hear. And I know much of this does not necessarily lend to defining IO, but I think it’s necessary to help frame some of the concepts of the discussion.

But the question remains --- what IS Information Operations???:confused: There are currently several doctrinal publications on the street that attempt to define, explain, clarify, and/or quantify IO, and not all explain it the same way. So it’s no surprise that there is a LOT of confusion about this illusive discipline.

Spot on, some pieces of doctrine do that (serve as enduring pillars of thought) better than others. Just because someone signed off on a doctrinal publication doesn't mean it meets those criteria. As you might suspect, those pieces of doctrine, such as FM 1-0, 3-0, 5-0 etc, are more enduring than those manuals closer to tactical application.

IO doctrine is currently undergoing yet another transformation at Ft. Leavenworth, and there is much infighting among the FA30 community of IO practitioners about what that doctrine should look like. In my observation it continues to change in order to water it down to something without a lot of controversy attached…but I digress. I will, however, invite all of you to take a look at some of the earliest contemporary IO doctrine – specifically FM 100-6 (dtd. Aug 1996). The current contemporary perceptions (misperceptions) of IO are not what were intended in the beginning.

This is a very difficult and complex discussion, but it is one that is needed for IO practitioners to hopefully one day achieve acceptable resolution.

William F. Owen
07-02-2008, 07:27 AM
Wilf... Amazingly, must be a blue moon, we might agree. It is about winning and breaking wills (well sort of). Breaking the will of the population that allows the adversary the legitimacy to control/rule. I know that isn't what you explicitly stated, but I think we do share the sentiment that we need to bring each element to bear to serve that purpose of our operation. Sometimes its killing and breaking things, sometimes it is buying a coke, most the time its somewhere in between. However, what matters most is what we do as opposed to what we say. That is so long as the two aren't at the opposite ends of the spectrum.


May well be a blue moon. I am howling all night!! - and you are both succinct and accurate in your appraisal of what I left unsaid.

...furthermore, this subject, as demonstrated by this thread, has much to say about the differing ways we all view military science, yet most of us, all seem in agreement as concerns the basics.

William F. Owen
07-02-2008, 07:34 AM
In my thinking, doctrine (and the definitions therein) represents an attempt to institutionalize thought, to give it a theoretical framework and structure that should--even as it (slowly) changes and evolves over time--still outlast whatever specific conditions and commanders are present in a given time and place.


Sorry to sound like a stuck record, and not to focus on you Randy, but Doctrine is what is taught. That is what the word means. Teaching has many forms and methods, but in military terms, the end state should always be increased understanding to enable more effective action. People generally understand simpler concepts, rather than complicated ones.

Eden
07-02-2008, 02:34 PM
Setting aside the question of what IO is and whether it is a useful construct, my own observation is that the status and position of the IO staff has a profound effect on the orientation of the headquarters.

I was intimately involved with two higher staffs in Afghanistan, one NATO, one American. In both, the commanders emphasized the importance of information operations in their commader's intent. The NATO commander went so far as to say he considered Afghanistan as primarily an 'information operation' and that all physical actions must support IO objectives.

On the NATO staff, there was a colonel labeled 'Chief, Information Operations' who worked directly for a brigadier called 'Chief, Joint Effects'. The brigadier outranked all other primary staff. As a result, the rest of the staff was oriented to think in terms of IO and effects to a greater extent than they might have been; even those like myself who were less than enthusiastic supporters were obligated to feed the beast, and the IO community had a heavyweight advocate at the commander's table - for good or ill.

On the American staff, there was a colonel IO, but his title was "Chief, non-lethal effects". His career was nearing its end, unlike the J2, J3, and even J4, who were command-designees. His little organization was stuck in about two levels below the decision-making level and was not well integrated. He did not have the energy or personality to overcome these organizational handicaps. As a result, he had less influence on the commander, staff, or operations than some of the brilliant young majors in the planning cell.

My point is that integrating lessons learned - about IO or anything else - at the operational level requires appropriate organization of the staff. In the US case, segregating IO into a functional area handled by specialists relegates that particular skill to the same level as, say, the ADAO: an expert who can be taken out of his box when required but is otherwise largely ignored.

Randy Brown
07-02-2008, 03:56 PM
Setting aside the question of what IO is and whether it is a useful construct, my own observation is that the status and position of the IO staff has a profound effect on the orientation of the headquarters.

...

On the American staff, there was a colonel IO, but his title was "Chief, non-lethal effects". His career was nearing its end, unlike the J2, J3, and even J4, who were command-designees. His little organization was stuck in about two levels below the decision-making level and was not well integrated. He did not have the energy or personality to overcome these organizational handicaps. As a result, he had less influence on the commander, staff, or operations than some of the brilliant young majors in the planning cell.

My point is that integrating lessons learned - about IO or anything else - at the operational level requires appropriate organization of the staff. In the US case, segregating IO into a functional area handled by specialists relegates that particular skill to the same level as, say, the ADAO: an expert who can be taken out of his box when required but is otherwise largely ignored.

I find your insights very compelling, particularly in that they speak to my life as a lessons-learned integrator, as well as an amateur/armchair IO guy. Working with our Big Army colleagues at the Center for Army Lessons Learned (http://call.army.mil/), Fort Leavenworth, we've informally tried to figure out, capture and share how/why our little rag-tag lessons-learned team has been successful.

(More disclosure/background/context: We work for a G3-level green-suiter, but increasingly find ourselves working with blue-suiters on DSCA (http://www.defenselink.mil/policy/sections/policy_offices/hd/faqs/defenseSupport/index.html) stuff; M-day side, I work in an IBCT staff environment.)

Some of our L2I talking points include explicit instructions from our boss:

80 percent of our targets are self-identified and self-initiated.
Double-O meeting-taker status: "Invite yourself to any meeting you want."

Others have been identified through experience:

Have enough rank on the team to be perceived as an asset, not as a threat.
Have enough experience on the team to know how organizational/staff functions interconnect. ("Who else needs to know this piece of information?")
Hire individuals that respect the chain of command and military tradition, but also have enough longevity (or confidence or personality ... or "civilian-earnings potential") that they aren't afraid for their jobs. ("What are they going to do, fire me?")

So, like you, I see on-staff status and position as being part of the IO-as-a-construct-and-as-an-application discussions, but I also think you've identified some "softer," less measurable factors in successful instilling and implementing an IO-friendly command culture. Factors, I suppose, like personality and a willingness/ability to walk through (organizational) walls.

Final vignette, one that I hope both illustrates the old-Nike-ad "Just Do It" (http://www.cfar.com/Documents/nikecmp.pdf) mentality and speaks to your IO-and-ADA comparison:

A junior-enlisted airman/soldier assigned to an Army unit downrange as a FAC/FAO can't get the time of day from the brass--until he stops wearing rank. Suddenly, everyone starts calling him "Mister," and his opnion starts to be taken seriously within the organization. He didn't really break the rules (other than, perhaps, AR 670-1 (http://www.army.mil/usapa/epubs/pdf/r670_1.pdf)) or its Air Force equivalent, but he definitely bent them to his will, given that he never aggressively disabused anyone of the notion that he might be a Warrant Officer. Not necessarily a recommended technique, but one that worked for him, an Air Force or Army of One (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Army_of_One_(recruiting_slogan)).

dguidry1
07-02-2008, 04:22 PM
On the NATO staff, there was a colonel labeled 'Chief, Information Operations' who worked directly for a brigadier called 'Chief, Joint Effects'. The brigadier outranked all other primary staff. As a result, the rest of the staff was oriented to think in terms of IO and effects to a greater extent than they might have been; even those like myself who were less than enthusiastic supporters were obligated to feed the beast, and the IO community had a heavyweight advocate at the commander's table - for good or ill.

The international community of IO practitioners outside the United States - especially in Europe - have a very good grasp of IO with a high degree of common understanding of its application in both military and civilian environments.

Ken White
07-02-2008, 04:56 PM
The international community of IO practitioners outside the United States - especially in Europe - have a very good grasp of IO with a high degree of common understanding of its application in both military and civilian environments.in that case -- but, of course, that wouldn't pass the 'Not invented here' test...:(

selil
07-03-2008, 01:24 AM
The international community of IO practitioners outside the United States - especially in Europe - have a very good grasp of IO with a high degree of common understanding of its application in both military and civilian environments.

Earlier in the thread there was some comment from another member that this was not the case. Do you have anything more substantial that would make the case. I have to be honest I haven't seen any current nation-state that has done IO very well. The ability to manage message in the age of bloggers for a nation is like a bear in a mess of killer bees. Not to damaging but while swatting the painful buggers the honey is still sitting in the tree. No country seems to be doing IO well. I'd really like to see some detailed information on any country that is succeeding.

joelhar
07-03-2008, 04:14 AM
I was drug (kicking and screaming) into IO before FA-30 was invented when I was working on the Joint Staff, in the J2, the only Army guy in the office. I wasn't tainted by preconceptions, not school trained and couldn't even spell IW/IO. Later I was the IO LNO to the CIA, NSA, FBI, and DISA, and technically assigned to DIA, so I had a very different perspective. Anytime anyone mentioned IO it was synonymous with CNO, specifically protecting from state-sponsored hackers. I grew restless and began inviting SMEs from all the Services to brief us on more full-spectrum IO. I began inviting in folks from other countries to teach the Joint Staff and the office that began forming around me (they were taking pity on me, I suppose). Eventually, by the time IO began reducing from 13 elements in the USAF doctrine, we began to relax, the doctrine was not as complicated.

Fast forward to 2008 and I am talking with almost all the same folks as i was in the mid-90s, except now they are all in positions of authority, major influencers of doctrine and policy at the USG, Joint, Combined and Service levels and almost to a person they miss the 13 elements of IO. What they miss is that IO was the principal doctrine and everything was considered to have some effect on the targeted audience. Folks have actually said it here and Eden described how the NATO command executed that as a staff element in what I consider the proper perspective: everything must be evaluated for its information effect, so having a Brigadier as the Chief, Joint Effects:
Originally Posted by Eden View Post
On the NATO staff, there was a colonel labeled 'Chief, Information Operations' who worked directly for a brigadier called 'Chief, Joint Effects'. The brigadier outranked all other primary staff. As a result, the rest of the staff was oriented to think in terms of IO and effects to a greater extent than they might have been; even those like myself who were less than enthusiastic supporters were obligated to feed the beast, and the IO community had a heavyweight advocate at the commander's table - for good or ill.
serves that purpose well.

I was asked to describe the future of EW the other day, and define its relationship with CNO in context with the new 'Cyber' discussions. I do NOT want to hijack this thread, but this is pertinent because of some folks asking how to view this divide. I've been explaining to folks for years that IO has a soft side and a hard side. The 'hard side' deals with electrons and is EW and CNO and all that cyber stuff. It was suggested we call this spectrum warfare. I don't disagree but I don't necessarily agree. Then there was the 'soft side' of IO: PSYOP, OPSEC and MILDEC. I called this Information Warfare, but someone here suggested Influence Operations and I tend to agree.

Ken White, you hit the nail on the head, the "not invented here" syndrome has killed more great ideas than anything else of which I am aware.

selil, if you really want to see someone 'do IO' well, look at the Chinese stuff. Tim Thomas wrote an absolutely excellent book on Chinese IW, if you'd like I'll see if I can get you a copy. But beware, it will cause you to question everything you know about IO and will cause you to always be paranoid about anything China ever does or says or... I'm hosting a Chinese IW forum March 4th 2009 here in Washington DC as a part of InfowarCon, be there.

selil
07-03-2008, 04:43 AM
Joel, I'd really like to get hold of that book.. PM me or email me I'm easy to find.

Ken White
07-03-2008, 04:43 AM
...selil, if you really want to see someone 'do IO' well, look at the Chinese stuff. Tim Thomas wrote an absolutely excellent book on Chinese IW, if you'd like I'll see if I can get you a copy. But beware, it will cause you to question everything you know about IO and will cause you to always be paranoid about anything China ever does or says or... I'm hosting a Chinese IW forum March 4th 2009 here in Washington DC as a part of InfowarCon, be there.They were great at it 57+ years ago without all the modern tools and capabilities. Lot of patience and long term thinking. Plus they know how impatient we are and know how to leverage that. The Japanese are almost as good.

Thanks for your input. Good stuff.

joelhar
07-03-2008, 03:02 PM
Joel, I'd really like to get hold of that book.. PM me or email me I'm easy to find.
e-mail sent!!

marct
07-03-2008, 03:06 PM
If you happen to have extra copies lying around, I wouldn't mind a copy either, Joel.

Marc

joelhar
07-03-2008, 03:12 PM
If you happen to have extra copies lying around, I wouldn't mind a copy either, Joel.

MarcI'm going to do the same thing for you that I did for Sam, I'll send an introductory e-mail and Tim will send you one!

Tim is one of the nicest guys I know and completely undervalued and unknown by too many people. He has been recognized as one of the US' top Chinese IW experts and has participated in many of the forums and councils, but I can't, for the life of me, understand why he isn't a highly overpaid consultant. I hereby volunteer to be his agent and when he gets his first $1M contract, I only want 10%. :wry:

marct
07-03-2008, 03:17 PM
Sounds great, Joel. Having grown up reading Mao, I am really looking forward to reading Tim's book. Thanks, I appreciate it.

Marc

Ron Humphrey
07-03-2008, 03:23 PM
I'm going to do the same thing for you that I did for Sam, I'll send an introductory e-mail and Tim will send you one!

Tim is one of the nicest guys I know and completely undervalued and unknown by too many people. He has been recognized as one of the US' top Chinese IW experts and has participated in many of the forums and councils, but I can't, for the life of me, understand why he isn't a highly overpaid consultant. I hereby volunteer to be his agent and when he gets his first $1M contract, I only want 10%. :wry:

at a conference and reviewed the aforementioned publication I would have to agree.

One thing I do know is that when he talks on the subject I would definately listen.

joelhar
07-03-2008, 03:32 PM
In the Chinese IW forum I'm asking Tim Thomas, James Mulvenon and Charles "Chuck" Hawkins to represent the US. These gentlemen are identifying the appropriate experts from China to attend, we are inviting them to speak in a different session, but hopefully each group of experts will attend the others' lectures. At the end of the day I'm arranging for a social event where we can all rub elbows together and get to know one another.

Bill Moore
07-03-2008, 03:36 PM
I thought Chinese IO consisted of re-education camps, stupid propaganda, and thought police sprinkled throughout their society (and now overwatching the web)? I'm not sure that is the route we want to go down.

Ron Humphrey
07-03-2008, 03:43 PM
I thought Chinese IO consisted of re-education camps, stupid propaganda, and thought police sprinkled throughout their society (and now overwatching the web)? I'm not sure that is the route we want to go down.

And don't think that the fact we generally make such assumptions and associations is lost on our friends in the PLA:wry:

I've read some very informative papers written by those studying in various countries which really start to bring out just how much underestimation / assumption becomes a weakness to be exploited.

Been underestimated quite often in my own experience and thus have seen the opportunities there. Fortunately for me I'm way to nice a guy to ever take advantage of such.

This is definately not the case with everyone

joelhar
07-03-2008, 03:55 PM
I have complete read only one of Tim Thomas' books and skimmed two others and I could honestly not put together a coherent sentence that begins to describe what they write, what they believe and what they are actually doing, not in the time and space allowed. From all the things I have read about them through the years and guided by Tim's books, I personally believe they have us beat, in many ways. Chuck Hawkins also co-edited a book, "The New Great Game: Chinese Views on Central Asia", which I just started reading. The complexity of thought and how it is all interwoven boggles my two-celled brain.

Bill Moore
07-03-2008, 05:29 PM
Joelhar thanks for the lead on Tim Thomas, I will definitely read his book. I found a review online and will post a few excerpts in hope of generating some interest. Sort of reminds me of "Total War", but obviously their thoughts are evolving rapidly. Also note their focus on the technical aspects of IO initially and while not throwing the baby out with the bath water, they are beginning to look at the influence side.

http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil/si/2007/May/oliverMay07.asp

A review of Timothy L. Thomas, Dragon Bytes: Chinese Information-War Theory and Practice (Ft Leavenworth, KS: Foreign Military Studies Office, 2004).

The author provides ample evidence that, since that time, the Chinese are diligently transitioning from a mechanized force to an informationized one:

They are developing concepts similar to the United States’ network-centric warfare—integrating sensors and shooters via a network to increase accuracy and pace of operations.
They are cultivating theories and capabilities for attacking and defending military and civilian networks—the author discusses open source accounts of Chinese successes against the United States.
They are creating and leveraging high-technology training and research institutes—the author discusses at least five of them.
They are thinking about how to attack and defend command, control, communications, computer systems, and intelligence (C4I) systems.
They are preparing for electronic warfare.
They are changing their command structures.
They are developing and exercising means of using networks to rapidly mobilize the entire nation.
They are discussing means to target public opinions—both domestic and foreign.
They are pondering approaches to psychological operations.
They are investigating better ways to leverage their reserves’ civilian information technology expertise to support their active forces.
They are securing their “information borders” and reinforcing their “spiritual defense line” against propaganda and other attacks using “false information.”

Chapter four is dedicated to the traditional Chinese concept of ‘stratagems’ and how they can be adapted for IW. One of Mr. Thomas’ quotes from Major General Li Bingyan says it best:

While we are inheritors of our own outstanding cultural tradition, we should be boldly collecting cultural genes from Western military science and its emphasis on technology. We should make traditional strategy merge with modern science and technology and scientific methods, so as to restore the original intent of ‘Sun Tzu strategy.’

In China, as in the United States, IW is a very broadly defined term, but Mr. Thomas’ book does an exceptional job of collecting all the various interpretations and activities that correlate to the Chinese IW effort

Should generate some interesting discussion, but don't be fooled by senior officers writing down ideas. The proof is in the pudding, what can they actually do? I think it is way premature to say they beat us in the IO arena, I definitely don't think they feel that way.

dguidry1
07-03-2008, 05:41 PM
In regards to the international IO community:

Earlier in the thread there was some comment from another member that this was not the case. Do you have anything more substantial that would make the case. I have to be honest I haven't seen any current nation-state that has done IO very well. The ability to manage message in the age of bloggers for a nation is like a bear in a mess of killer bees. Not to damaging but while swatting the painful buggers the honey is still sitting in the tree. No country seems to be doing IO well. I'd really like to see some detailed information on any country that is succeeding.

Here is a link to the Information Operations Europe 2008 Conference (it was held in June).

http://www.iqpcevents.com/ShowEvent.aspx?id=39780

Here are a few other links referencing the MNIOE - Multi-National Information Operations Experiment and other Multinational IO initiatives:

http://gmr.mapn.ro/Engleza/Ultimul_nr/ciorobea-p.107-114.pdf

http://www.dodccrp.org/events/11th_ICCRTS/html/papers/157.pdf

http://www.dtic.mil/futurejointwarfare/strategic/jcsgjcde0108_micbrief.ppt

Eden
07-03-2008, 06:32 PM
I would say, having worked in a NATO headquarters for three years, the last one in Afghanistan, that European thinkers have embraced the concept of Information Operations to a level that at least matches the US, that their theoretical literature is at least as sophisticated as ours, and that they have made a greater effort to restructure staffs to apply its tenets.

However, they may be less capable practitioners in some ways. Some examples:

* The ISAF Public Information Officer (equivalent to the US PAO) was bright and talented. However, he had zero experience in either Public Affairs or Information Operations. The Chief, Information Operations had no previous experience with IO - though as an armor officer, could be expected to do all things well. The Chief, Joint Effects, had to be educated on EBO after his assignment to the HQ. So, there is a great unevenness in the exposure to IO and EBO and IW, etc., even among senior officers.

* Many European nations boast deep thinkers on IO, but they have few or no PSYOPs, CNO, CMO, etc. units and very little institutional knowledge to draw on.

* On the other hand they did some things very well. For instance, our headquarters put together a Priority Engagement Team that prepared the commander for all his meetings with high-priority 'targets' - sheiks, pols, media, UN, etc. They armed him with themes, messages, and facts all integrated into the overall IO plan. Even this effort caused problems, however, in that it began to dominate the staff effort and became a huge information vacuum.

In summary, the Europeans have embraced IO because it fits with their overall approach to COIN and stability operations; however, they are not handling the practicalities particularly well. In part, this is because they have made the incorrect assumption - one shared by many in the US - that IO is cheap and non-resource-intensive. An analogy would be with European armored theorists in the '30s: lots of brilliant insights but little investment and less practical success.

selil
07-03-2008, 06:52 PM
In regards to the international IO community:



Thank you very much. Still trying to tease my silo of interest out of the mix.

dguidry1
07-03-2008, 07:38 PM
I would say, having worked in a NATO headquarters for three years, the last one in Afghanistan, that European thinkers have embraced the concept of Information Operations to a level that at least matches the US, that their theoretical literature is at least as sophisticated as ours, and that they have made a greater effort to restructure staffs to apply its tenets.

However, they may be less capable practitioners in some ways.

I see your point I must agree with you. I think my appreciation is of the European thought process. They tend be able to understand cultural aspects of the human dimension much better than many Americans. I've travelled extensively and have become more open-minded and knowledgeable about influencing factors in different countries and cultures. But as you stated, application is much different beast.

Ron Humphrey
07-03-2008, 07:44 PM
Thank you very much. Still trying to tease my silo of interest out of the mix.

Considering how much your silo helps to enable the coordination, integration, analysis, etc for the other silos:wry:

But GLWT

Ken White
07-03-2008, 08:13 PM
and are strong porponents and users of the technique of diminished expectations....they are beginning to look at the influence side.I disagree, they've been playing that field for centuries and, watching their total performance during the Korean War -- both in the field and in the media -- they are quite good at it. Subtle, very subtle. So subtle that people do not realize they're being manipulated -- which is after all the goal.Should generate some interesting discussion, but don't be fooled by senior officers writing down ideas. The proof is in the pudding, what can they actually do? I think it is way premature to say they beat us in the IO arena, I definitely don't think they feel that way.As Ron Humphrey said, they want you to think they don't feel that way that way.

Remember in that environment, unlike our own, senior officers don't write down things that (a) are not approved on high; and (b) give away anything that might remotely give any prospective opponent either an advantage or an insight into what China is really doing or intends. You can almost bet the fact that they write something that is allowed to go clear is in itself an IO of sorts.

These are the people that spawned Zhou En Lai, arguably one of the most effective diplomats of the 20th Century and who said when asked about the impact of the French Revolution of 1789: "It is too soon to say." They have their shortcomings and can be tripped up and beaten but they are not amateurs by any stretch. They're way ahead of the west in manipulating influence and are apparently catching up rapidly in other areas of IO.

selil
07-03-2008, 08:41 PM
Considering how much your silo helps to enable the coordination, integration, analysis, etc for the other silos:wry:

But GLWT


Well you start with a picture that looks kind of like this :D

Oh and that is just a draft

marct
07-03-2008, 08:48 PM
Well you start with a picture that looks kind of like this :D

Don't know iof it will help or not, but Matt Armstrong and I have been batting stuff around on our bogs. Matt's is here (http://mountainrunner.us/2008/07/recommended_reading_on_informa.html), and mine response to it is here (http://marctyrrell.com/2008/07/03/silos-technology-and-professions/).

selil
07-03-2008, 08:51 PM
Don't know iof it will help or not, but Matt Armstrong and I have been batting stuff around on our bogs. Matt's is here (http://mountainrunner.us/2008/07/recommended_reading_on_informa.html), and mine response to it is here (http://marctyrrell.com/2008/07/03/silos-technology-and-professions/).

I read both of your and Matts a few times. I liked them both. Here is the other piece where I was originally trying to work through the relationships. You know they are work products because they are b/w only.

http://www.selil.com/media/ioQuestion.jpg

marct
07-03-2008, 09:03 PM
I rhink that the crucial thing that is being left out of a lot of the discussion, including the blogs :D, is the distinction between a medium and a message. Contra McLuhan, the medium is not the message (anyway, the title of the book was, actually, The Medium is the Massage (http://www.amazon.com/Medium-Massage-Marshall-McLuhan/dp/1584230703) - no, it's not a joke ;)), but it does influence the interpretaton of the signal - it "massages" it :wry:.

CNO, EW, and, to a lesser degree, Media Affairs are, to my mind, all medium based knowledge groups. PA, CA and PSYOPS are more "full spectrum" (of media) based groups. And, while we're at it, standard TTP's for COIN are genre based as well; at least in the sense of message genre.

All of this is why I think that IO, as a hierarchically superior taxon, needs to develop a theory and, perhaps more importantly, a professional language,m that cross all of these areas. Doesn't mean that you can't, or shouldn't, have specialists in each area; I'm just more interested in seeing that they are all capable of talking to each other and have a (fairly) unified model of what effects could / should be produced.

Marc

ps. Option C, definitely!

selil
07-03-2008, 09:06 PM
ps. Option C, definitely!

Sent you an email...

marct
07-03-2008, 09:07 PM
Sent you an email...

Got it and digesting now...

marct
07-03-2008, 09:20 PM
Interesting, although I couldn't see the pretty pictures :(. I think your basic point, about cyber-warfare being a "new" terrain, is pretty valid; at least as much as any other terrain distinctions that are made. I don't see this as excluding cyber-warfare from the IO field but, then again, I don't see the other types of terrain-based warefare as being excluded (depending on the type of results that are aimed at).

Bill Moore
07-03-2008, 09:21 PM
Selil I'm like C, but it is missing supporting and related capabilities, but that also supports the argument that you task organize as required to accomplish a particular objective. I think most of Marc's and Eden's posts focus heavily, if not strictly on influence/PSYOP, and do not address the broader fusion of all the enabling disciplines (which I think is the intent, whether reasonable or not) to achieve information dominance.

Bruce Lee was not only a great martial artists, he was an accomplished philosopher (in my opinion), and he wrote something about a punch that I think is relevant. Paraphrased, when you first start training a punch is just a punch, but as you become more advanced the punch becomes very complicated, then when you master it a punch is just a punch.

I think we have realized we don't do the IO basics well so we're trying to develop new systems, new terms, new staff positions etc., so now it is very complicated, but in the end the guys on the groun will just do it again.

selil
07-03-2008, 09:22 PM
Got it and digesting now...

Hope somebody in Maple Leaf land knows the Heimlich Maneuver (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choking#Treatment).

ETA: Wizards of OZ has a corollary article (http://oz.deichman.net/2008/07/decisionmaking.html) to MountainRunner and Harmonium discussion. His view is more about how leaders use information and organizations use information to make descisions. I thought it was an interesting twist.

marct
07-03-2008, 10:03 PM
Hope somebody in Maple Leaf land knows the Heimlich Maneuver (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choking#Treatment).

Bahh! I just had my cat read it :D!!!!

ETA: Wizards of OZ has a corollary article (http://oz.deichman.net/2008/07/decisionmaking.html) to MountainRunner and Harmonium discussion. His view is more about how leaders use information and organizations use information to make descisions. I thought it was an interesting twist.

It is, and it really speaks to the point about information channels within an organization and to the institutionalization of those channels. Nice find!

Selil I'm like C, but it is missing supporting and related capabilities, but that also supports the argument that you task organize as required to accomplish a particular objective. I think most of Marc's and Eden's posts focus heavily, if not strictly on influence/PSYOP, and do not address the broader fusion of all the enabling disciplines (which I think is the intent, whether reasonable or not) to achieve information dominance.

Bill, hey, at the rate those blog posts of mine are going, I'm only getting one definition in per post :eek:!

Seriously, though, I may be showing my 19th century style of writing, but I really think that we have to start from theoretical basics and then move into deployment later. I'm also not sure that "information dominance" is the right model - I would prefer "perceptual prevalence", at least on the influence/PSYOPS side of things, but that's another post...

Broader fusion? I agree that that was probably part of Andrew's original intent, and I like to see his views on it. For myself, I would also like to see the inclusion of Strategic Communications or Public Diplomacy added in. since that provides a message towards the intentionality of other actions. Also, I keep wondering why you folks (i.e. the US) purposefully leaves out Intelligence from the mix - seems a mistake to me.

I think we have realized we don't do the IO basics well so we're trying to develop new systems, new terms, new staff positions etc., so now it is very complicated, but in the end the guys on the groun will just do it again.

Yeah, I agree and, honestly, I place the cause squarely on the lack of a good, unifying theory - then again, that is my (academic) bent after all ;). Always trying to re-invent the wheel isn't always the best idea after all, but it can sometimes be the best operational choice IFF you have a good theory to base that reinvention on.

selil
07-03-2008, 10:37 PM
Selil I'm like C, but it is missing supporting and related capabilities, but that also supports the argument that you task organize as required to accomplish a particular objective. I think most of Marc's and Eden's posts focus heavily, if not strictly on influence/PSYOP, and do not address the broader fusion of all the enabling disciplines (which I think is the intent, whether reasonable or not) to achieve information dominance.

This diagram was meant to show the inter-related capabilities. The cone shape is actually a 3d representation of a venn diagram. The graph as given can be generated mathematically and shows a discrete math relationship. The length of the z-axis (here time) and resultant circumference at the terminus shows the particular subjects total effort. The time scale is just for consideration but it could be "man hours" or "operations". The different subjects if looked at on end would look like the "C" option in the previous picture.


http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=484&stc=1&d=1215114032

I get yelled at sometimes for my pretty pictures but the really neato thing is you can turn them into numbers. You just have to pick what you are willing to measure. Here I'm more interested in the unions, intersections, and the discrete nature of the different topics.

Spud
07-04-2008, 10:55 AM
I get yelled at sometimes for my pretty pictures but the really neato thing is you can turn them into numbers. You just have to pick what you are willing to measure. Here I'm more interested in the unions, intersections, and the discrete nature of the different topics.

Of course the real issue is that you used 'panoply' in your diagram. How to show in a few simple strokes of the keyboard that you're not an IO guy.:D

marct
07-04-2008, 02:00 PM
I get yelled at sometimes for my pretty pictures but the really neato thing is you can turn them into numbers. You just have to pick what you are willing to measure. Here I'm more interested in the unions, intersections, and the discrete nature of the different topics.

Pretty pictures do look good in PowerPoint :D!

Actually, I prefer fuzzy sets as opposed to crisp sets for something like IO (or anything more complex than apples and cars ;)). Then again, y mind does work just a touch differently from many people :eek:.

Randy Brown
07-07-2008, 02:59 PM
Daninfowar posted the following observations (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2008/06/notes-towards-a-theory-of-info/#c001855) on the SWJ Blog 03 July. Because I thought it germaine to the larger theme of this thread--and because I couldn't remember whether he'd also posted here--I thought I'd relay them for the proverbial good of the cause ...

(In doing so, I leave it to the reader to determine whether I'm exercising my Public Affairs or PSYOP muscles.)

While the definition of IO in JP 3-13 is IMHO misguided--it's pretty good for Info Warfare, but we've excised that term from the doctrinal lexicon--the pub has the answer to a better one, which coincides with what I've been teaching for over a decade. (See NDU Strategic Forum #115, "Defining Information Power", June 1997, at http://www.ndu.edu/inss/strforum/SF115/forum115.html ) How do we characterize or define operations in our other environments? Simple: air operations are the use of the aerospace, maritime ops are the water/sea, etc. JP 3-13 does a very nice job out outlining the information environment--again, mirroring my teaching for the past decade--as the integration of three distinct yet interrelated dimensions, which I paraphrase as CONNECTIVITY (the ability to exchange information), CONTENT (what gets exchanged), and COGNITIVE EFFECT (how humans are affected). The biggest problem with the current 3-13 definition--and also the reason it was created--is that it is nothing more than a collection of budget programs and rice bowls: we have defined IO in terms of what we are bureaucratically able to spend DOD $$ on. That is understandable--concepts without resources are merely hallucinations--but also stupid and dysfunctional. A FAR better approach would be to define IO as terms of its operational environment: if what you are doing is connecting/sharing content, or creating content, or using it to achieve cognitive results, you are doing IO.

By the way, I am still enjoying the pretty colors and afterglow of Selil's conical, graphical fireworks show. Keep 'em coming!

dguidry1
07-08-2008, 09:20 PM
Based on the diagrams presented by "selil", I offer to the group that Diagram A is closest to what the original doctrine intended. Again, Information Operations is truly more of a 'process' rather than a set of clearly definable TTPs. Below is one of several illustartions that I use to show the relationship of IO to various capabilities:

502

The easiest way for me to explain it is to say that IO is the critical thinking process (BIG RED circle) use to determine what specific capabilities/resources (little yellow circle) should be coordinated, synchronized, and integrated into operations in order to achieve desired effects. And nearly every operational diagram that I've seen, especially in terms of Lines of Operation for instance, depict IO as being wrapped around or interwoven through everything else. But even though that is the case, there is still a tendency for leaders to ignore that concept and try and employ IO as a separate entity - it can't be done.

Another thing that we should not try to do is categorize IO as a primary form of consequence management. When a regional "EVENT" occurs that has potentially exploitable or negative effects in an area of operations or concern, IO is not the first-responder for media mitigation --- it is Public Affairs or some other governmental communications/broadcast organization. When an event of that kind occurs, that begins a new cycle of IO PLANNING - the purpose of which is to account for changes in the Information Environment that affect our ability to influence target audiences. Parallel IO planning in the MDMP would likely have anticipated negative events, allowing IO practitioners to coordinate/integrate those resources and capabilities that would influence non-support of those adverse actions. IO should not wait for something to happen, it should be used to influence what happens in the first place.

There is no set formula that can define Information Operations. The "art" is understanding what pieces of the puzzle are important, and how to arrange those pieces (media, PSYOP, CNO, lethal actions, other technology, etc) through critical thinking to influence people and events and achieve desired outcomes...so much more than traditional MDMP and staff actions. And this concept is not limited to a certain level(s). It spans the spectrum from strategic through tactical...

joelhar
07-08-2008, 09:48 PM
Derrill, in your last paragraph you accurately state that there is no formula that can define Information Operations. Before I left the dreaded corporate world to work IO exclusively, I was in the process of requesting R&D funding to make just that kind of formula a reality. There are quite a few 'formulae' that accurately describe the effects of information on a targeted population; the problem is they are overly simplistic and only one-way. In my opinion it’s all based on gut reactions. This being small wars council and all, it should make sense because the commander would be the one to approve the plan based his or her personal assessment based on experience, knowledge and the omniscient gut feeling.

A secondary problem regards a quantifiable and/or qualifiable feedback mechanism. There are ways to do this but "Measures of Effectiveness" are often subjective, this is an ongoing challenge. Again, before I left the corporate world I was in the process of trying to ‘suck in’ some operations that specialize in producing this feedback, but the effort has since died on the vine. It wasn't because I left; it was a pure business decision.

A third problem is automation. It would be nice to pop in some factors into a planning tool and at the anticipated Time of Effectiveness see certain factors rise or fall as expected. I'm grossly oversimplifying the entire process for illustration. There are massive efforts underway to create a human factors analytic environment, few will come to fruition in my opinion, but eventually they should produce something we can use.

Spud
07-09-2008, 12:29 AM
The easiest way for me to explain it is to say that IO is the critical thinking process (BIG RED circle) use to determine what specific capabilities/resources (little yellow circle) should be coordinated, synchronized, and integrated into operations in order to achieve desired effects.

Now if only the little yellow circle had the three blobs out to the right as part of its tool box rather than just seeing them as inputs ...

I still believe we get too caught up on the task verbs when we plan IO effects. ie Influence must be a PSYOP task , Inform must be a PA task etc. This doctrinal/legal firewall about specific organisations to create specific effects simply dilutes the IO effect in that it can't be fully synchronised, coordinated and integrated if aspects keep throwing up a red card.

Information influences ... it is impossible to just inform without having an influencing effect. Therefore if we are looking for tactical through to strategic effects, PA does 90 per cent of the heavy lifting in the influence game at the op/strategic level.

Nowhere in that statement have I said that PA needs to use untruths ... (not that I've ever used them in PSYOP anyway so I still fail to see where that argument has sprung from) but like all corporate PR organisations it will be selective in its release of truthful facts which when tied together with an authoritative and attributable spokesperson suddenly creates a shaping effect ... holy crap it's rocket science!!!:eek:

Our future intent is to have our PA annexes as appendices to the IO (or whatever we call it) annex of the OPINST/OPORD and out PAOs working under our S/J/G/SO39 (or whatever we call them).

dguidry1
07-09-2008, 05:26 PM
Now if only the little yellow circle had the three blobs out to the right as part of its tool box rather than just seeing them as inputs ...

It's funny how pictures and diagrams encourage us to see things literally:o...but Spud your thinking is very logical because the 'blobs' on the right really are part of the toolbox AND the process. I think over the last few years the IO-PAO-PSYOP conflicts and controversies forced TRADOC to mediate the arguments with semantics. Since becoming an FA30/IO guy, I have never once been made to believe that I am supposed to do the jobs of the PAO and PSYOP officers, but it had to be clearly stated in order to cut down on at least some of the confusion. So there is always much emphasis on the fact that Public Affairs, CMO, and DSPD are "related" capabilities to show that IO does not own or control them.

dguidry1
07-09-2008, 06:19 PM
I still believe we get too caught up on the task verbs when we plan IO effects. ie Influence must be a PSYOP task , Inform must be a PA task etc. This doctrinal/legal firewall about specific organisations to create specific effects simply dilutes the IO effect in that it can't be fully synchronised, coordinated and integrated if aspects keep throwing up a red card.

I also agree wholeheartedly with you on this. I've said before that I see everything as being connected to everything else[I]. Everything we say/don't say and everything we do/don't do influences somebody or something in various ways. I would like to see the "I" in IO stand for 'INFLUENCE' primarily because of its holistic nature. That way [I]ANY activity or resource coodinated/integrated/synched with the intent of changing behaviors and affecting decision-making would be considered to be part of the overall INFLUENCE operation. Here is a snapshot of what I mean:

COMMANDER'S INTENT: Decrease violence, establish security, ensure regional economic stability [hypothetical generic situation].

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: PA focus is on informing international consumers of news media (OP/STRAT). It could publish/broadcast a lot of info, but also hold back certain facts until later that could potentially affect an ongoing operation, special mission, PSYOP campaign, etc. PA integrity is never compromised.

PSYOP: Focuses on regional target audiences - conduct TA analysis, determine atmospherics, develop/implement campaigns and products IAW current themes/messages approved through POTF channels, inform target audiences with the intent to influence via means tailored specifically for those TA's, etc.

MECH INF BN: Plans and executes physical actions that also support command intent - patrols, raids, searches, lethal actions, etc. The planning of these actions and the manner in which they are executed (pre-, during, post-) also influence and inform audiences in the area of operations. A unit that continues to go into local communities and interacts with populaces even in areas of imminent danger can change the way a potential bad guy sees an insurgency...maybe he'll change his mind and support actions against the group that was actively trying to recruit him. And another thing - sometimes you have to kill some folks to make a point [send a message]. That is part of the nature of armed conflict. Everything WILL NOT be non-lethal in an environment where we are ordered to carry loaded weapons. But again, detailed planning and targeting will mitigate having to explain extreme collateral damage, fratricide, etc. The innocent citizens without weapons probably want you to kill the bad guy to protect his family. The result might be deterrence of further hostile actions, and the earned and active support of the family that now feels protected - that's influence also.

CNO: During all this activity there might be increased activity on the internet as bad guys coordinate retaliatory ops...the CNO gurus could disrupt their communications with computer network attacks, making it difficult to prevent the realization of commander's intent.

EW: Because we are capturing/killing key adversary leaders and making the bad guys look bad in the international press, they increase their use of satellite communications as they request assistance from international terrorist groups across the globe. EW, along with the SIGINT guys, can lay the smack down on these communications…and now we’re really spanning the spectrum from tactical to strategic. Communications intercepted in a local city through EW means could lead to a requirement for assistance from the NSA, CIA, or even INTERPOL.

MILDEC: Somebody has to be able to go into the deption cave and talk to the MILDEC planners without compromising their activities - and THEN be able to synch it with all the overt stuff.

The possible players and scenarios are endless…

But where is IO in all of this? The IO officer(s), as a representative of and advisor to the commander, MUST be able to understand individually each of the above mentioned activities…+ even more…and be able to understand how they can complement or conflict with one another. He/she also must have the knowledge, experience, intuition, etc, to anticipate the effects of these activities and then mentally orchestrate their integration/implementation/execution IAW the commander’s intent. Each of the SME’s can dedicate focus on their areas without spending lots of time trying to figure out who else is doing what – that’s what IO is for.

Each individual area or resource produces any number of individual effects. IO does not dictate what these areas do; it considers ALL of the activities and internal/external influencing factors in a holistic context, and ensures their coordination/synchronization as a CONSOLIDATED effort in terms of the most important desired effect --- the Commander’s Intent. And this goes above and beyond and deeper than traditional staff responsibilities. And depending on where you sit the “commander” could be a BN or BDE commander on the tactical side, or the POTUS on the strategic end.

I apologize for the length of my post, but I am sincerely dedicated to breaking the stereotype and reputation of IO as an additional means of simply informing an audience…it’s so much more… ;)

dguidry1
07-09-2008, 06:39 PM
A third problem is automation. It would be nice to pop in some factors into a planning tool and at the anticipated Time of Effectiveness see certain factors rise or fall as expected. I'm grossly oversimplifying the entire process for illustration. There are massive efforts underway to create a human factors analytic environment, few will come to fruition in my opinion, but eventually they should produce something we can use.

My belief is that we will never see such an all-encompassing automation tool...and we shouldn't. As a society we've become enslaved by the desire and need for technology. Sometimes we just have to sit back and apply good ol' human knowledge, common sense, and "GUT FEELINGS" to situations.

Some of you might remember the old DECMAT (Decision Matrix) program that came on a 3.5 floppy diskette. On the X-axis you listed the possible COAs. On the Y-axis you listed the most important determining factors. In the intersecting boxes of the matrix the user assigned values, weighted them, and then added the totals to get a solution. I still use this method with pen and paper. The thing with DECMAT is not so much the automated outcome, but rather the fact that the user was still forced to think through the problem set. No rocket science required...:D

Randy Brown
07-09-2008, 07:54 PM
Since becoming an FA30/IO guy, I have never once been made to believe that I am supposed to do the jobs of the PAO and PSYOP officers, but it had to be clearly stated in order to cut down on at least some of the confusion.

"Information Operations just wants to be free!" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_wants_to_be_free)

Love your subsequent breakdown, by the way. And don't worry about word-count, on these or other posts--you're creating a lot of non-lethal learning effects on this end.

Information influences ... it is impossible to just inform without having an influencing effect. Therefore if we are looking for tactical through to strategic effects, PA does 90 per cent of the heavy lifting in the influence game at the op/strategic level.

Nowhere in that statement have I said that PA needs to use untruths ... (not that I've ever used them in PSYOP anyway so I still fail to see where that argument has sprung from) but like all corporate PR organisations it will be selective in its release of truthful facts which when tied together with an authoritative and attributable spokesperson suddenly creates a shaping effect ...

As a card-carrying civilian Fourth Estater (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_estate) and occasional Fifth Columnist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifth_column), I've got no problem with the idea that Army Public Affairs tells no lies, but does tell a pointed truth. I'd just ask that my brothers and sisters in uniform remember that the pen cuts both ways ...

Our future intent is to have our PA annexes as appendices to the IO (or whatever we call it) annex of the OPINST/OPORD and out PAOs working under our S/J/G/SO39 (or whatever we call them).

Great TTP! I'm forwarding it to my unit's PAO and IO guys/gals right now.

Ken White
07-09-2008, 07:55 PM
My belief is that we will never see such an all-encompassing automation tool...and we shouldn't. As a society we've become enslaved by the desire and need for technology. Sometimes we just have to sit back and apply good ol' human knowledge, common sense, and "GUT FEELINGS" to situations. However, you're right. Do not change... :D

Spud
07-09-2008, 10:52 PM
My belief is that we will never see such an all-encompassing automation tool...and we shouldn't. As a society we've become enslaved by the desire and need for technology. Sometimes we just have to sit back and apply good ol' human knowledge, common sense, and "GUT FEELINGS" to situations.

Totally agree. I find it funny that we allow the guys in the 2 shop to make assumptions and develop an analysis based on their understanding of the past and the present IOT come up with a likely future. We also to some extent let the 5 and 3 guys do the same when they develop and implement a plan. Yet for some reason when it comes to IO everyone wants the technological solution that will guarantee the correct COA. A good IO staff should be so buried in their current operational environment that they are the SME for the space and their gut check should carry exactly the same weight as those developed by the 2 (having said that ... finding a 2 now days that will commit to what is likely to happen rather than just report what has happened is a rare breed as well ... one could argue that has also been caused by technology).

I always find ION an interesting case study in how automated planning tools suddenly limit your options. ION and its little drop-down menus supposedly offered the Pandora’s Box of IO planning yet when you really got into it PowerPoint, a template a couple of good IO planners offered more. ION allowed me to (through its automated drop-downs) plan the delivery of lethal and non-lethal effects right down to the impact of a 500-pounder at a specific point. What I no ability to do though was factor in things like the presence, posture and profile of my own troops i.e. if we go in tooled up, behind armour and refusing to engage with the locals we will create an effect. Conversely if we take off our helmets and glasses, talk to the locals and act open and engaging we will have another effect. The boffins that developed ION (my apologies if there are any here) wanted the whole process tangible and technical ... EW burn here will create this effect for this period of time etc. Some of that is great but for the most part our ION terminals are gathering dust. I'm not sure the newest version is going to be any better.

Spud
07-09-2008, 11:06 PM
COMMANDER'S INTENT: Decrease violence, establish security, ensure regional economic stability [hypothetical generic situation].

PUBLIC AFFAIRS: PA focus is on informing international consumers of news media (OP/STRAT). It could publish/broadcast a lot of info, but also hold back certain facts until later that could potentially affect an ongoing operation, special mission, PSYOP campaign, etc. PA integrity is never compromised.

PSYOP: Focuses on regional target audiences - conduct TA analysis, determine atmospherics, develop/implement campaigns and products IAW current themes/messages approved through POTF channels, inform target audiences with the intent to influence via means tailored specifically for those TA's, etc.


I guess this is the major issue in the current and future global information environment. Again it’s the inform task vs the influence one. I personally think communications nowadays prevent the ability to selectively target an audience and not have it spill wider. Even in the remotest part of AO in AFG our tactical acty quickly makes it to global stage in a matter of hours. Therefore to me PSYOP has now become a tactical task ... any notion of separating what PSYOP does from the GIE is now gone ... Gumbad Incident in 2005 is a great example. It also means that PA now has a far more important role at the tactical end in engaging with local media.

We used to have the mantra that if it was an information engagement within the AO it was a PSYOP task and if it was outside the AO it was a PA task ... that can no longer hold true in the current and future GIE. So where does that leave me?

Personally I think it results in more emphasis on the IO team's (I love how I keep saying team ... we're lucky to even have one in a JTF) coordination and deconfliction role. IO team sets the objective. IOWG develops the tasks and selects the best element to achieve the task, IO team adjudicates, coordinates and then integrates with the wider plan. If that means a PA team is gathering news and passing it to a village newssheet IOT better inform them of Coalition acty while at the same time influencing them that we ain't all bad I say crack on ... there's not enough IO task elements out there anyway and in now way are they breaching any forbidden line … its still all facts.

dguidry1
07-10-2008, 06:31 PM
I guess this is the major issue in the current and future global information environment. Again it’s the inform task vs the influence one.

As I read the comments from from members in this discussion about IO I see a common thread - we all have at one time or another understood what Information Operations were designed to do --- shape environments and affect human decision making...INFLUENCE. The problem now is that that IO has been literally forced into the minds of leaders as the fix-all silver bullet that MUST be utilized at all costs. Specifically in the US Army IO has lost its practicality/utility and become a measure of the competence of staffs and commanders. What that means is that those commanders and staff officers are required to demonstrate an understanding of a very complex discipline. And when they cannot really figure out how to "do IO" as presented in doctrine, there is a tendency to do something else that can be briefed more easily and slap an "IO" sticker on it. The US Army is now literally changing the entire definition and concept of what most of us know as Information Operations, even to the point of seemingly ignoring current Joint IO doctrine. So now all IO officers will be expected to do is "INFORM" - with no requirement to influence or shape. Isn't that what Public Affairs is for?

I've not seen this in any other branch of service or in any other country for that matter. So now there is confusion all over the globe about exactly what IO is or isn't, and this US Army phenomenon has by itself (in my opinion) fueled the need for discussions like this current one.

dguidry1
07-10-2008, 07:02 PM
We used to have the mantra that if it was an information engagement within the AO it was a PSYOP task and if it was outside the AO it was a PA task ... that can no longer hold true in the current and future GIE. So where does that leave me?

Personally I think it results in more emphasis on the IO team's…coordination and deconfliction role.

Yes, the current GIE makes global communications “local” to us all, regardless of where we are. Military PA organizations can no longer draw definitive lines in the sand when it comes to what they will or won’t do. So I agree with placing more emphasis on the role of the “IO team” for coordination and deconfliction…which is what it was meant to do in the first place.

IO team sets the objective. IOWG develops the tasks and selects the best element to achieve the task, IO team adjudicates, coordinates and then integrates with the wider plan.

First, the term “IO Team” is important because it suggests a mutually supported relationship among different organizations and activities. (It is also important to note here that this “team” model is applicable not only in the military, but in government, civil society, and corporate cultures as well). It is not uncommon for individual activities to operate in virtual bubbles and vacuums, fearing that cross-pollination with other related activities will somehow cheapen their work efforts. But in order for true success to be realized in any kind of organization there MUST communication among its members and management of coordination efforts (i.e. IO/IOWG). It is difficult for any organization to influence target audiences, consumers, clients, foreign governments, etc, without internal cooperation.

MC Herrera
07-11-2008, 07:20 PM
Is all this discussion about where IO fits in because we don't trust our 3s to coordinate and integrate all operations within the TF? Adding IO into the mix just adds another layer that keeps those "IO" functions from directly interacting with the 3/5. IMHO

dguidry1
07-11-2008, 08:36 PM
Is all this discussion about where IO fits in because we don't trust our 3s to coordinate and integrate all operations within the TF? Adding IO into the mix just adds another layer that keeps those "IO" functions from directly interacting with the 3/5. IMHO

I'm going to be very candid in my response, and I am speaking from a personal perspective as an IO officer with experience from the tactical level up to Corps and Force (MNF-I) levels...

The resources and activities that are of concern to the IO practitioner usually have a different level of importance in the minds of the S3/G3 and XO/CoS. They tend to consider things like PSYOP, EW, CNO, etc, as separate entities in the MDMP and in mission execution. For instance, the Tactical PSYPOP Detachment (TPD) plans/executes operations independently as a matter of routine. What I see in various HQ's is that the staffs seem to only be concerned about the printed PSYOP products. Success is quantified by the number of leaflets and handbills that are dumped on the streets in an area of operations. And the only other time that attention is paid to PSYOP is when a major event happens that could potentially cause negative media effects. And even then the main concern is whether or not the TPD can get a product approved fast enough to "get the word out". But there is often confusion because most staffs immediately go to the IO officer and orders him/her to get "IO products" out in the AO ASAP...not realizing that we do not have the authority or capability to approve and publish PSYOP products. But as far as coordinated and synchronized integration of PSYOP with other activities for specific missions, it doesn't usually happen.

EW is in a similar situation. If a unit is lucky enough to have a trained EWO on its staff, that EWO more often than not will work in a Secret or TS cubby hole and report directly to the 3 for approval of individual EW missions.

And for some reason staffs are honestly afraid of Military Deception (MILDEC) and CNO. There is a fear that some nosy embed from CNN, NY Times, al-Jazeera, etc, will get wind of a MILDEC operation or a network attack plan and publish/broadcast details and accusations. What happens next? Staff officers are fired, heads roll, and careers are ended because someone was "stupid" enough to plan and execute a valid (and probably necessary) military operation involving MILDEC or CNO.

And what about OPSEC. As a former Division OPSEC Manager I can tell you how OPSEC goes...annual PowerPoint check-the-block requirement, and little generic OPSEC flyers and posters. Yes, the 3 is (should be) responsible for an organization's OPSEC program, but many don't worry about it that much until some critical piece of information is compromised...like a MILDEC op. But even then the usual reaction is to order the entire organization to sit through the same boring 20-30 minute OPSEC presentation, with sign-in rosters turned in to the 3 as proof of completion --- CYA! I was often told to sit down and chew bubble gum when I tried to integrate OPSEC requirements into various missions to keep our troops outside the wire from becoming vulnerable to hostile/lethal threats. OPSEC is often considered to be "e-mail" or "cell phone" security, not OPERATIONS SECURITY - there's a difference.

It is only when you have a 3/XO/CoS who understands and appreciates the integration of all the scary stuff that an IO officer or staff has a chance to develop a plan that integrates various capabilities. The 3 cannot do it alone, and staff sections in general only worry about their individual piece of the pie.

This does not apply to every organization, but most that I've worked with really were like this.

SpykeSzeredy
07-11-2008, 08:45 PM
As I join in a little late here I see a couple of different things.

Having been around IO since the late 90's, no matter information decision creating multiple button drop-down system is created, most fall back to the three basic elements of computer usage, word, powerpoint, and excel. Something familiar and easy to manipulate.

I've seen a couple of different versions of IO teams. The Air Force started off with Information Warfare Flights working at the Number Air Force assigned to a RCC. The IWF is now a specialty team, Information Operations Team, within the AIr Operations Center. The idea being for the AF Component, the IO group of planners and coordinators is right in the mix of it all. I know in recent discussions with folks I teach, the IO team is the two IO folks (one day, one night, if lucky) coordinating across the spectrum and answer the bosses mail. The boss needs to trust the 3 and their respective LNOs to be smart enought to complete the mission.

For Spud, is there a push to change the JS/DOD to change OPLAN format and pull Annex F into Annex C? I'm not sure what the larger PA/SC community thinks of this one. Most PA's stand behind the doctrine of Voice of the Commander, attached to the commander, not within a numbered staff element.

Though, I do agree, if you don't get all of the cats and dogs related to the capabilities within IO (core, supporting & related) into the same room to deconflict and sync messages and activities, it will always be a disjointed and at time reactive process.

In thinking about the GIE, the US does not always do well in proactive/preemptive strikes in the information realm. To inform/influence a behavior or change it, sometimes it is necessary to be the first on the block. This has shown success with the Chinese Embassy bombing in Kosovo.

IO is not a math problem where it can be simply measure by adding 1+1 equals effect. Though our own cultural we have become this results based society of spend a dollar and want to know I got a dollars worth of product. As for IO and Influencing decision making, this is not always the case. If it was, marketing firms would quite spending millions on advertising to make money and go for the simple cheap solution and make more money.

Spud
07-14-2008, 10:24 AM
For Spud, is there a push to change the JS/DOD to change OPLAN format and pull Annex F into Annex C? I'm not sure what the larger PA/SC community thinks of this one. Most PA's stand behind the doctrine of Voice of the Commander, attached to the commander, not within a numbered staff element.



SPykeSzerdy ... Australian plan. I seriously doubt the US will get it to work. As a matter of fact I could almost guarantee it would be taken down from the inside like pretty much every other great information idea has been over there in the past few years.:wry:

Spud
07-14-2008, 10:31 AM
Is all this discussion about where IO fits in because we don't trust our 3s to coordinate and integrate all operations within the TF? Adding IO into the mix just adds another layer that keeps those "IO" functions from directly interacting with the 3/5. IMHO

I guess we've taken a different route to facilitate just this. When I'm in a current space I'm the 39, in the FUOPS space (as you call it) I'm the 359 and in the plans space we have a 59 (although manning issues generally mean that I’m more of a 539). SO it simply means I'm the information environment SME for the 3 or 5 just like he has a manoeuvre guy, an ISR guy and whatever else he needs. The 3 or the 5 release my work, not me. Of course it only makes sense at a JTF/TF level ... down at BG or CT level there is never going to be the staff.

Randy Brown
07-14-2008, 02:32 PM
SPykeSzerdy ... Australian plan. I seriously doubt the US will get it to work. As a matter of fact I could almost guarantee it would be taken down from the inside like pretty much every other great information idea has been over there in the past few years.:wry:

Side note: Did you know that when good ideas go down the proverbial drain in different hemispheres, they don't necessarily spin in different directions? That whole Coriolis Effect (http://www.snopes.com/science/coriolis.asp) thing is apparently mis-applied science.

That said, I'm still hoping to use some of these tweaks at a local (brigade) level. Of course, everything works until we have to plug into Big(ger) Army ...

dguidry1
07-15-2008, 09:23 PM
...it simply means I'm the information environment SME for the 3 or 5 just like he has a manoeuvre guy, an ISR guy and whatever else he needs. The 3 or the 5 release my work, not me. Of course it only makes sense at a JTF/TF level ... down at BG or CT level there is never going to be the staff.

You're spot on with this!!! I'm currently at corps level, desperately trying to educate the staff on exactly what I as an IO officer can provide the commander. As Spud says, I should be functioning as the Information Environment SME --- NOT a "disseminator" of information in the form of Public Affairs or media operations. And I also think as well that IO at divisions and higher would do well to uniformly organize as a J39 staff sections (as outlined in the US JP 3-13).

And we talked about "egos" somewhere earlier in this discussion thread, and it is really important for IO practitioners to not be the center of attention...unless that's how his commander wants it. My point is that IO is (should be) integrated into planning process and the overall concept of operations, of which the 3 is the Czar.

RobSentse
09-16-2008, 05:11 PM
Hello Andrew,

Usually people tend to create definitions to "feel" their domain. According to me IO as a whole means that you are executing a behavourial approach toward an opponent. IO coordinates all kinetic and non-kinetic elements and relates them to the (very)short term effects and long term effects because all effects you like to achieve influences eachother.

According to me the intention of the IO officer is:
• to bring all important members from the branches together on a permanent basis to discuss the input of information,
• the fusion of this information with various subject matter experts,
• to assess and analyze effects we like to achieve,
• to provide recommendations on redirecting effects while performing,
• to assess, analyze and measure effects and finally
• to support decision makers with recommendations.

Let us say that an effect cycle represents:
- Short term: 2 months
- Mid term: 4 months
- Long term: > 4 months

Trying to create a better structure in which (recommendations for) decisions can be made, the IO officer coordinates recommendations to the chain of command related to the cycle as mentioned, and also to cover the very short term aspect. It answers the hunger for intelligence caused by an overload of information. The overload of information creates a lengthening in decision times. This overload creates confusion and friction. The coordination as mentioned can be excecuted in a Fusion Cell concept in which the IO officer will be able to mitigate the effects of an overload of information by coordinating the assessment of conflicts in a latent phase.
Members of a Fusion Cell should focus upon the end state and the objectives. The end state is a set of conditions that political/military leaders form the intervening powers and from the guest land want to achieve to resolve a conflict.
The Fusion Cell wants to coordinate and to synchronize effects on the (very)short term, mid term and long term.

The way how we like to do that can be a mix of kinetic and non kinetic.
The biggest challenge is the integration of the kinetic and the non kinetic part because, for instance, a gain on the very short term is of influence on the mid term.
In fact the biggest challenge in this is the military.
The military comfort zone is one of linear thinking and our eagerness to create visible achievements for we find changes in attitude and intrinsic motivation more the soft "tree hugging" side.
The mental change being the most important because mental changes within the population create reconsiderations on support for opponents. The operational environment has to be viewed in a behavioural context. The Fusion Cell members looks at all actors as complex, adaptive, interactive systems-of-systems in a behavioural context.

A behavioural approach in which the Fusion Cell relates to the population, the media and also to political, military, cultural, and economical aspects of a certain operational environment we are guests in or intervened in, considering:
1. The environment we operate in;
2. the (troop contributing) Western countries;
3. all countries which are in a certain way connected to the country we are guest in or intervened in.
One could say that pt 2 and 3 are not within our area of influence but they have to be taking into account as they form part of a chain reaction.
Also for these reasons it is important to have members of the non-kinetic and kinetic field being together on a permanent base in a Fusion Cell.

Effects are not stove piped they interact and are complementary to each other which is very much in contrast to the way linear military comfort zones are nourished. The very short term (< 2 months) can have a direct impact on the long term (> 4 months) so they have to be balanced related to a satisfactory end state.

Through interaction between the Fusion Cell members more sub effects and indicators will be derived from agreed lines of operation. "Out of the box" thinking will have to be encouraged at the expense of stove pipes, "fenced domains", personalities and comfort zones.
- All activities are connected to the several (non)kinetic delivering parts of our organization like Ops, InfoOps, PsyOps, Media, Plans, Intelligenge&Security, Cimic, the Visitors’ Bureau, Polad (combined homeland/guestland), Devad, Legad, IO, Tribal Expert (combined homeland/guestland), Cultural Advisor (combined homeland/guestland), Personal Affairs, Logistic Affairs, Engineers.

The visitors’ bureau also has an important task as they are related to the Triangle as mentioned in pt 1, 2 and 3.
In this way key leader engagements (foreign/national military/politicians), the leverage of key communicators (foreign/national military/politicians), ANSF, media, etc can be coordinated and synchronized in the latent phase so the challenge of influencing effects and the management of expectations can be coped with.
As we like to achieve as much as possible from a visit we need information about the agenda and the biography of the visitor.

As you see, in my opinion, IO is has to be seen in a broad context.
This is just a part of my vision about IO in an environment in which terms like enemy, battlespace and line-staff are to be discussed.

An out-of-the-box addition:

The current military organisation structure is tailored for symmetric warfare; equally organised elements (brigades, battalions, platoons) engaging each other according to a “military code”. Essentially this is an old and symmetric way of thinking in which many of the military find themselves very comfortable. Conservative, dogmatic and stove-piped thinking is not related to rank, age or position.
An adapted way of acting asks for an adapted form of organisation. We have to relate to organisations as a system of systems, visualising synergetic effects by a balanced presence of sensors. An organisation where kinetic and non-kinetic elements are permanently joined together into a module gives input in the ability to learn (training, practising, performing their job) from each other. In a module as mentioned all relevant (non)kinetic actors are present. The effect will be complementary. Brigades, battalions and platoons are residues of the past, they relate to an enemy which we will not find at the coming battlefield in the potential conflict arena (republics bordering Russia – Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan – Middle East – Northern part of Africa). All these countries have the similarity that they are not able to withhold NATO forces for more than ten days. Up to ten days in the highest level of violence and after that in the dark space between peace-keeping and peace-enforcing with an undefined enemy, fighting in an arena without boundaries.
This all asks for a process organisation rather than a line staff org.

William F. Owen
08-28-2009, 10:47 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/28/world/28military.html?_r=1&ref=world

Mike Mullens critique may be worth noting. Basically this suggests to me that a lot (not all) of the information ops snake oil is actually going to waste. Actions speak louder than words etc..