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Thread: Information Operations

  1. #41
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Policing & IO

    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

  2. #42
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Well said and I'd suggest that your

    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...

  3. #43
    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    I would really dislike having to be on Bike Patrol in southern or northern Kitsap County...
    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..
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  4. #44
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    Default We're missing the point, or IO is a bogus concept

    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.

  5. #45
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    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.

  6. #46
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    Default Voice of America

    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.

  7. #47
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Sorry, Bill. I wasn't clear...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    ...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.

    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...

  8. #48
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    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.
    Last edited by Bill Moore; 06-29-2008 at 05:23 PM. Reason: grammar

  9. #49
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Well, I'll buy the old part...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    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).
    ...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.
    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.

  10. #50
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    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

  11. #51
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    Default It might catch on

    Slapout,

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

  12. #52
    Council Member Randy Brown's Avatar
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    Default Is IO "integrated marketing"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    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.") 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 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.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    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. (Note comments of COL Robert Radcliffe, chief of combat developments at Fort Benning, at end of linked Associated Press article.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    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?
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    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.

  14. #54
    Council Member Randy Brown's Avatar
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    Default The Non-Lethal Effects Cell

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    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.
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    Default It's the definition

    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.

  16. #56
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    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.
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    Bill,

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    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,

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Brown View Post
    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 . 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,

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    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.

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    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.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

  19. #59
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    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.
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  20. #60
    Council Member Hacksaw's Avatar
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    Default A quick note...

    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
    Hacksaw
    Say hello to my 2 x 4

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