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FM 100-6: Information Operations

Chapter 6
Planning and Execution

JFCs employ air, land, sea, space, and special operations forces in a wide variety of operations...to not only attack the enemy's physical capabilities but also the enemy's morale and will.

Joint Pub 3-0

The challenge for commanders in the twenty-first century is to operate effectively in a dynamic joint and multinational environment against a wide array of threats. Maintaining the information high ground helps commanders meet that challenge. As full-dimensional operations evolve, information and IO become increasingly important to Army operations as the Army executes missions to deter conflict, to compel opponents, to reassure allies and friends, and to provide domestic support. This chapter discusses considerations for planning and executing IO.


IO planners must consider the conditions that affect the Army as it deploys. They must focus on the principal objective of achieving information dominance, and, in doing so, follow a planning process that applies the components of IO correctly in support of military operations.

Employment Considerations

The IO discussed herein depend on a series of considerations and conditions that affect the force-projection army as it deploys and operates to support joint, multinational, and interagency power-projection operations. Figure 6-1 depicts how IO apply across the spectrum of operations and how the use of the IO components, especially C2W operations, increases in times of conflict and war

Information is the currency of victory on the battlefield.

GEN Gordon Sullivan, CSA (1993)


The levels of war--strategic, operational, and tactical--provide a useful framework for ordering IO activities within a commander's battlespace. This framework helps clarify IO activities by echelons within the theater across the full range of military operations. In the theater, all land operations are conducted as part of a larger, integrated, joint, multinational, and/or interagency campaign. Under the direction of the NCA, a unified CINC sets the campaign in motion. The campaign is supported by all elements of national power: social, economic, political, and military. The interconnectivity and interoperability of INFOSYS are the critical elements that tie these disparate sources of power together. As described in Chapter 5, INFOSYS connectivity is a prerequisite to success in this multidimensional environment.

Figure 6-1

Figure 6-1. Employment of Information Operations

Strategic Level

At the national and theater levels, the employment of IO techniques offers a series of strategic options for consideration. The potential for nuclear exchange and major power conflicts in the post-Cold War world is diminishing. Therefore, military options to effectively attack a strategic target--while minimizing the potentially devastating social, economic, and political effects of conventional military use--increase in importance. Army IO offer both a potential deterrent capability and coercive capability at all levels of war.

As with nuclear warfare, nations can engage in IO at strategic, operational, and tactical levels. Similar to nuclear warfare, the effects can be widespread or targeted against a narrow range of hostile capabilities. As with nuclear warfare, nations may eventually develop IO capabilities that are perceived to be principally offensive or defensive. National strategies can be supported by building an IO capability based upon varying combinations of C2-protect and C2-attack and other capabilities. From purely a technical viewpoint, the spectrum of candidate information targets and the range of operational alternatives are virtually unlimited.

US Army force component commanders, in support of national and theater strategic objectives, are responsible for employing the full range of their information capabilities during war or OOTW. As part of a national IO strategy, the Army can be called upon to employ its capabilities to support both direct and indirect actions. Occasions have arisen and will continue to arise that dictate the use of Army capabilities outside a purely battlefield context. The Army component commander has capabilities ranging from PSYOP support to deep battle strikes to contribute to joint warfighting operations.

Information and INFOSYS capabilities inextricably link the traditional levels of war. These phenomena require commanders and staffs at each level to understand the information gathered, where the information is required, and the means or connectivity necessary to deliver and/or receive that information. National-level systems (DOD and commercial) are increasingly capable of supporting and enhancing tactical operations (weather, communications, imagery, navigation). The challenge for leaders is to--

  • First know the information is available.
  • Include the requirements for the information in plans and exercises.
  • Understand how to get the information into a system, unit, or headquarters that provides an enhanced operational capability.

In many cases the connectivity is found through other services or through civilian agencies. For example, the long-haul connectivity during Operation Desert Shield/Storm was augmented by commercial satellite terminals. Systems such as the Army High Frequency Electronic Warfare System (AHFEWS), employed at the strategic or operational level with other joint C2W assets, could diminish an opponent's confidence and will to fight before operations begin. Army UAVs could contribute to the domination of OOTW situations as an initial show of strength before the possibility of hostilities occur. If necessary, they could provide the selected intelligence needed to dismantle an adversary's C2 structure. Combined with deception and PSYOP, these contributors to C2W could erode a potential opponent's confidence in his own forces and conceal the OB and intentions of the friendly forces.

Army component commanders strive to support the joint force attack strategy at all levels in order to commit and employ Army capabilities--including C2W, CA, and PA--to the best possible advantage. As with other military activities, IO need to be coordinated and integrated with the OPLAN and JTF campaign plan and synchronized to achieve decisive results. IO offer the prospect of maintaining friendly C2 and situational awareness at a highly dependable level, while simultaneously degrading an adversary's ability to effectively command and control his forces. Such a combination should create a state of information dominance.

Operational Level

At the operational level, IO occur across the full range of operations and are critical to the success of each stage of force projection. In peacetime, IO support--

  • Deterrence and reassurance.
  • General situational awareness.
  • Operational assessments and estimates.
  • Contingency planning.
  • Training in support of the CINC's planning and preparation activities.

During conflict or hostilities, IO implement C2W activities at each level of war. Continuous engagement in IO helps the commander seize and sustain the initiative and synchronize operational capabilities. This allows the commander to control the tempo of operations so that friendly forces can effectively transition from peacetime to wartime operational environments and situations. During Operation Desert Storm, for example, the coalition experienced information dominance in near real time because the enemy's INFOSYS were almost totally disabled.

The linchpin permitting the operational maneuver of coalition forces in Iraq was the enemy's inability to visualize the battlespace. This enabled an entire US corps to move in relatively open desert terrain for distances beyond 200 kilometers and still achieve total operational surprise. The enemy's information flow had been so disrupted and his surveillance capabilities so suppressed that he could not see the battlefield. The success of that operational campaign depended critically on information dominance. Space sensors, aircraft-borne sensors, ground sensors, helicopter-transported Special Forces teams, and Marine drones combined to give the operational commander an accurate and timely picture of the battlespace.

Historical Perspective

If the Iraqi forces moved in daylight, they were subject to immediate attack by coalition air and surface-to-surface missiles. At night, their movements were detected by superior night- capable sensors. They were then attacked by the coalition's all-weather attack aircraft. Further, their use of broadcast media, coupled with a lack of understanding of the coalition's intent, caused them to base their decision cycle on externally filtered information.

Tactical Level

At the tactical level, commanders usually accomplish their missions through combined arms operations. At this level, IO are often limited in scope. While a tactical-level commander uses all aspects of IO, the focus is often on disruption or destruction of enemy INFOSYS or nodes, primarily through EW and physical destruction. The commander maintains access to his INFOSYS through OPSEC, ISS, and EP. Other applications include--

  • Planning and executing C2W.
  • Projecting and constructing the infosphere.
  • Protecting friendly information.
  • Establishing and maintaining user access to battle command information via ABCS.
  • Enabling IO and battlefield visualization.
  • Collecting and producing RII.
  • Attacking the enemy's C2 system.

Information dominance is a temporary tactical condition achievable through a deliberate process. It entails the construction and protection of the information environment, collection of intelligence and relevant information, processing and dissemination of such information, and focused attack against both the enemy's C2 and his eyes and ears. Information dominance facilitates superiority in battlefield visualization at a specific time and place, creating a window of opportunity that is fleeting at best. The commander must seize the opportunity to gain the advantage through effective battle command. Two features are essential to this process: CCIR and tempo.

  • Commander's Critical Information Requirement. The commander must control information, or he runs the risk of being overwhelmed or disoriented by it. CCIR can control the glut of information and separate the true signals from the noise. CCIR cannot be a fixed concept. Like IPB, it must be precise to ensure responsiveness and dynamic to survive.
  • Tempo. The tempo is the time devoted to the tactical decision-making process. Execution must be dramatically compressed. But, because the information dominance advantage is achievable through deliberate action within a specific battlespace, battle command can be better synchronized, resulting in the creation of opportunities that lead to success.

Tactical units, both maneuver and CSS, participate in IO directed by higher headquarters. In some operations, tactical units perform targeting--striking C2 nodes, deception, reconnaissance and surveillance, and PSYOP activities focused on supporting an overall theater-level IO. They are also linked to the layered information environment via a CMOC or the PAO. For example, CMOC connectivity to local governmental, cultural, social, and economic institutions can provide a wealth of information supporting military operations. The PAO facilitates media relations and contact to support friendly forces.

Historical Perspective

One of the earlier applications of C2W was demonstrated during the American Civil War. From the beginning, telegraph lines became an important target of cavalry raiding parties from both sides. Since the Union forces were more extensively equipped with telegraphic systems, they were more vulnerable. This vulnerability was exploited by Confederate troops.

Among the more innovative soldiers were the telegraphers attached to Confederate cavalry commands. Their specialists, who were also qualified as flagmen, rode in the lead as Confederate cavalry units raided Union territory. They switched military traffic to the wrong destinations, transmitted false orders to the headquarters of Union commanders, and cast suspicion upon all orders that came by wire. When they had finished the job, they cut all the wire in sight and took home with them as much as they could roll up in a hurry.

With an expanded vision, tactical field commanders anticipate potential threats of disinformation, enemy PSYOP, and rumors within their command, as well as the potential backwash of public information into their battlespace. Establishing an effective internal information program enhances the morale of soldiers, reinforces the stated unit mission, and supports accurate media reports for both soldiers and their families.


An increased awareness of how operations shape and are shaped by the MIE is necessary as commanders and staffs plan, prepare, and execute IO. Because information can and will be interpreted differently by any number of individuals or groups, military operations can affect the economic, political, and social fabric of individual lives, organizations, and nations far beyond the scope and intent of the military operation. This reality creates a dynamic set of restraints and constraints that impact military operations.

Asymmetrical or hybrid operations are the norm as tailored forces are assembled to meet a wide variety of needs. Accordingly, different levels of modernization are found within the army, among joint or interagency task force members, and between US and coalition forces. Disparities in information and communications technology threaten continuity and interoperability. Information capabilities can offset these variances, providing the force and the connectivity needed to operate effectively.

Statutory constraints, international law, federal regulations, and rules of engagement (ROE) may limit a commander's options regarding IO. Laws and regulations, such as those governing the use of the frequency spectrum, public information, PSYOP, and espionage, provide examples of free access to information and INFOSYS and are intended to prevent misuse or abuse of these activities. IO may be further constrained or further enabled as new laws, rules, agreements, and protocols are established and as the international community adjusts to the impact of the information explosion.

Simple interference, willful manipulation, and corruption or destruction of data bases or INFOSYS, to include space-based systems, have become increasingly active and sensitive activities. The information web and its continuity or disruption has implications far beyond the military environment, into economic, political, and social dimensions. Competition for the EMS, space-based data systems, communications networks, and webbed computer networks all set the stage for potential interference, both intentional and unintentional. Collateral damage gains new meaning in this environment. The potential for the civilian population to be directly or indirectly affected is present and growing.

The laws governing the information environment and the law of land warfare are the guidepost, and every soldier is responsible for preventing violations. Close coordination with the supporting judge advocate is critical to assuring compliance with applicable restraints and constraints. As the Army moves into the Information Age, the features of the battlespace continue to change, and the means and methods of conducting all types of operations also change. Success in any operational environment depends on leadership, discipline, morale, and professional training.

Today's operations increasingly depend on intelligence and INFOSYS from tactical through strategic levels to provide critical information on all aspects of the friendly and enemy situation. The seamless and horizontal flow and integration of information provides valuable operational data to support planning and battle command. While the fog of war has thinned, it will never completely disappear. The commander will always face some uncertainty on exact enemy force dispositions, OB, and operations in general, not to mention some degree of uncertainty about the enemy's intentions. That uncertainty will be compounded by artful opponents (military or otherwise) and exacerbated by the consequences of unintentional actions or influences from other sources within the commander's MIE.

Information Dominance

The principal objective of IO is to gain information dominance--a relative advantage between the friendly commander's decision process and that of the adversary--and to use that advantage to enhance and enable the elements of combat power. IO are an essential foundation of knowledge-based, combined arms warfare. Likewise, full-dimensional operations require integrated IO.


Army operations are profoundly affected by information and IO in the critical function of battle command. Although battle command remains principally an art, it relies increasingly on the ability to process information and move it rapidly to critical points in the operational area. To achieve the required level of information dominance, the Information Age commander treats IO as he would any other critical element of combat power, by providing guidance and direction to his staff and his subordinate commanders.

The commander's personal involvement in the development of the CCIR makes it the principal vehicle for ensuring that his battle command information needs are met. Advances in information technology have made decision making and control of units more technical and quantifiable; yet much of those functions remain well within the realm of art, not science. The commander understands that he will never have all the critical information he wants, when he wants it, and that leading soldiers and units to success will remain largely in the realm of art. Accordingly, he employs IO to retain an information advantage over his opponent.

Digital technology enhances C2. It allows the Army to have previously unimaginable amounts of accurate and reliable information. It allows higher commanders to have detailed knowledge about events several echelons below. At the same time, it gives subordinates more information about the bigger picture and about what is happening in other areas of the picture. Based on the RCP, commanders are better able to continuously, and in near-real time, integrate combat power.

Technology and time do not change some aspects of battle command. Commanders and staffs will continue to make judgments based on less than perfect information. Likewise, they will have to inspire soldiers to perform their duties in the face of fear and fatigue. Commanders will continue to mold units to levels of high performance through training, chain-of-command development, personnel management, morale, and a positive command climate.


The three basic elements of battle command--leadership, decision making, and controlling--are characterized by both continuity and change.

Leadership. The commander's leadership continues to provide purpose, direction, and motivation to soldiers and units. Leaders will be better equipped to make informed decisions but will operate within a philosophy that will not change.

Decision Making. Decision making is facilitated through much-improved information technologies, maintenance of a relevant, common picture upon which to base decisions, and improved decision-making skills of leaders.

Control. Control is facilitated by better communications, to include video broadcasting and private links, new position locating and reporting technologies, greater situational awareness, remotely shared electronic maps, automated decision support aids, and other information technologies and procedures.


The challenges for leaders are to provide purpose, direction, and motivation to forces operating over greater spaces, under greater time pressures, and amid more complex situations. Specific implications of IO as they apply to the commander's art include the following:

  • Identifying, conceiving, and communicating the unit's purpose remains a complex art. This is largely the commander's domain. Understanding the mission, the intent of the next two higher commanders, and the concept of operation of the parent organization may be easier with improved communications, but the restatement of the mission, the formulation of the intent statement, and the issuance of planning guidance are still functions the commander must perform himself.
  • The current doctrinal approach of mission orders, or decentralized decision-making, is not anticipated to change. The ability to communicate with remote commanders and staffs by video conference and by other electronic means does not eliminate the commander's need to provide implicit direction to subordinates. Information technology enhances the effort by providing a RCP across the BOSs and functions in near real time. During critical actions the commander focuses most of his attention and decision making on the main effort. Therefore, relying on his subordinates to act within his intent and concept is vitally important.
  • Commanders need to motivate their soldiers, as well as their staffs and others, to accomplish difficult tasks under dangerous, trying circumstances. Commanders will continue to inspire and mentor subordinates through face-to-face communications and physical presence. Although it may be difficult, commanders still need to position themselves where they can see the battlefield and where soldiers can see them. Commanders establish interpersonal relationships with their staffs and subordinate commanders. Commanders also contribute to unity of effort by establishing personal relationships among and between commands to foster mutual trust, cooperation, open communications, and teamwork in both national and multinational operations. Commanders remain the leaders that all members of the organization look to for timely decisions and informal feedback.
  • Uncertainty will always exist. The commander may know what the enemy is doing at the moment, but will rarely know why. Sound command judgment is required to determine what the enemy may be doing tomorrow. In addition, no matter how well the commander knows the status of his forces today, he needs to make judgments about what their condition may be tomorrow. Unquantifiable information and information gaps will remain. No matter how much information the commander gathers before making a decision, uncertainty will remain.
  • The ability to process information through risk management enables commanders to avoid unnecessary risks. Identifying, analyzing, and selecting control measures to manage risks gives commanders maximum force protection.


To facilitate IO, the commander establishes staff responsibilities for planning and execution. OOTW present unique challenges due to the heavy involvement of the media and other players in the GIE. The staff must consider the actions and reactions of US and foreign governmental and nongovernmental agencies, PVOs, and the media when planning operations. Depending on the situation, IO planning can be a complex undertaking or a relatively routine staff function. The commander's IO cell, however organized, draws upon selected expertise throughout the primary and special staff, with liaison and possibly augmentation from subordinate commands. A number of techniques and a variety of arrangements are available to accomplish these responsibilities.

Staff Members

Current staff members can integrate IO actions into the operation. This approach uses current staff procedures, processes, and techniques to plan, coordinate, and synchronize IO with the operation. The likely choice for the nonmodernized or partially modernized force is to designate a staff representative to supervise these actions.

Process-Oriented Group

A process-oriented or ad hoc task group, led by the J3/G3, can integrate and synchronize IO actions. This approach is similar to that used for targeting and deep attack. This too is a viable approach for the partially modernized force or nonmodernized force entering a complex combat or noncombat environment where a number of IO capabilities and or threats exist. Appendix D provides a notional IO structure at Figure D-1.

Information Operations Battle Staff

A dedicated IOBS can be formed to integrate IO actions. This approach would apply to partially and fully modernized forces. The battle staff would consist of all staff members with a functional responsibility within IO, such as signal, fire support, PA, CA, OPSEC, EW, PSYOP, and battlefield deception. Figure D-2 of Appendix D illustrates a notional IOBS.

J3/G3 Staff

Since IO are only one facet of the larger operation, albeit an important one, the J3/G3 is the primary manager of information. He outlines and monitors the performance and responsibilities of the staff in processing information to support IO and the knowledge flow. The J3/G3 ensures that the staff collects, analyzes, and presents information that fulfills the CCIR. Specific requests for information from BOSs or other information source data bases are generated to fill specific needs. Routine or standard reports to the staff (established by unit SOPs) are used when information requirements remain stable through operations.

The J3/G3, within his overall staff responsibility for integrating IO into the OPLAN, usually designates one individual accountable for all IO actions. Key staff members participating in IO coordination and integration include intelligence, signal, fire support, PA, CA, EW, deception, OPSEC, PSYOP, and logistics personnel. In peacetime operations, the G5, PAO, and specialized staff, such as the SJA or chaplain, participate in IO planning and operations. Even as the role of PA expands, a separation between PA and PSYOP functions must be preserved to maintain the credibility of PA spokespersons and products. While essential coordination between these staff functions may be accomplished through the IO cell, the IO cell PA representative should not also serve as the primary command spokesperson.

Army Land Information Warfare Activity

C2W requires the commander to develop and sustain staff members who are technically and operationally proficient in C2W. Maintaining C2W staff proficiency is a complex undertaking, demanding extensive training, education, and experience with other services, agencies, and joint commands. To enhance the capability of the Army component to conduct IO, Department of the Army established the Land Information Warfare Activity (LIWA). LIWA acts as the operational focal point for land IW/C2W by providing operational staff support to active and reserve component land component commanders (LCCs) and separate Army commands.

LIWA field support teams (FSTs) are tailored to fill the specific needs of a component commander and are specifically earmarked to that land component command. Team members consist of a need-driven mix of PSYOP, deception, OPSEC, EW, and intelligence specialties, along with members of other service components, if required. LIWA FST members support the LCC's staff as it plans, coordinates, and executes IW/C2W in joint and multinational environments.

LIWA FST supports commands ranging in size and capability from a numbered Army headquarters to a corps or division when these tactical commands are designated the land component of a joint task force. Appendix B provides information on LIWA support and services.

What separates good units from not so good units is the way the unit processes information.

General Donn Starry, US Army (1978)

Planning Process

The IO planning process consists of five basic steps that apply across the three components of IO (operations, RII, and INFOSYS).


The first step of the process begins as the commander analyzes the mission, formulates his overall concept of operations, and considers how IO can contribute to achieving his mission. Under the direction of the J3/G3, the staff analyzes the command's mission and concept of operations to derive a concept of IO. Simply put, "How can IO support the mission?" The staff must consider both C2-attack and C2-protect. Flexibility is essential, as IO support may shift over the course of the overall operation.

During analysis, the staff examines enemy and friendly INFOSYS within the context of the commander's MIE. The staff determines the capabilities both sides require to operate effectively. It also sets out the requirements and conditions needed to establish information dominance. The staff considers nonmilitary INFOSYS influences or capabilities beyond traditional military control--such as local or regional communications networks, radio, television, computer networks (internet or worldwide web), and the news media--that may influence the operation. The examination produces a list of critical nodes and vulnerability analyses.

  • The C2-attack analysis identifies adversary C2 systems of C2W interest and determines the critical C2 and C2-attack nodes in those systems. The C2-attack focus increases payoff by identifying key target vulnerabilities for offensive action.
  • The C2-protect analysis focuses on the adversary's capability to detect, locate, and attack critical friendly C2 nodes to disrupt the friendly decision-making process. As with C2-attack, intelligence plays a major role by providing information on adversary sensor capabilities, target selection, and attack means. The staff considers the physical destruction, jamming, and intrusion, as well as deception and PSYOP means available to the adversary. The product is a list of critical, vulnerable nodes and processes that must be addressed by C2-protect.


The second step is to prioritize both friendly and enemy critical nodes and vulnerabilities. This part of the process develops potential targets for C2-attack and C2-protect and ensures deconfliction of their integrated effects.

For C2-attack purposes, nodes critical to more than one adversary system may have a higher priority. Vulnerability may override criticality, with more critical nodes that are less vulnerable receiving a lower priority. Priorities should be balanced and shifted between C2-attack and C2-protect as required to support the unit mission. The C2-attack product is a prioritization of the list of critical, vulnerable adversary targets from earlier work. Similarly, C2-protect targets should be identified in terms of criticality and vulnerability, then prioritized.


The third step of the process is the formulation of an IO concept of operations to influence the adversary's C2 while protecting friendly C2. The G3/J3 reviews his sets of potential C2-attack and C2-protect targets. He assesses available IO capabilities to develop an IO concept of operation that best supports the overall operational mission and is synchronized with the overall concept of operation. Synchronization of IO, both internally (among the five C2W elements and CA and PA) and externally (across the BOSs), is absolutely critical for achieving decisive C2-attack and C2-protect results. The impact of proper synchronization is to focus the effect of the entire range of friendly capabilities to achieve maximum effect at the decisive point in time and space.

Although the situation dictates the critical areas for the operation, the commander and staff consider these specific areas in planning:

  • Operations--both C2-attack and C2-protect objectives from a friendly and enemy perspective. The basic OPLAN/OPORD and the C2W annex synchronize physical destruction, EW, OPSEC, deception, and PSYOP to maximize C2-attack and C2-protect. Many C2W activities can have the effect of maximizing protection while degrading adversary C2 capabilities. Other influences in the commander's information battlespace can directly impact mission success, for example, the media, governmental and nongovernmental organizations, local or regional social/cultural influences, perceptions, attitudes, and opinions.
  • RII requirements.
  • INFOSYS support requirements.

The battle staff considers all these factors to arrive at an IO concept of operations. The concept is oriented on establishing information dominance in order to give the force dominant battlespace awareness and control of the MIE. A critical tool in developing an effective concept of operation is the synchronization matrix. The synchronization matrix is designed to array time-phased objectives along a horizontal axis against performing units usually organized by BOS along a vertical axis. Within the framework of the matrix, critical tasks that must be performed to achieve the IO objectives are identified, aiding the planner in recognizing the interrelationship between specific tasks and actions and the need to orchestrate them in a manner that maximizes the impact of their execution. See Figure 6-2 for an example of an IO synchronization matrix.

Figure 6-2

Figure 6-2. IO Synchronization Matrix


Execution begins with tasking those elements that conduct IO missions. The G3/J3 controls and directs both the IO planning and execution phases of the process, with support from the G2 and IO element specialists on the staff. The keys here are--

  • Selecting the best C2-attack capability for the best effect (deny, influence, degrade, destroy).
  • Synchronizing the application of effects to reinforce the five elements of C2W, CA, and PA capabilities (not allow them to conflict). Similarly, protection of C2 nodes needs to be tasked to available means and/or additional protective tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) adopted by the force.

IO taskings normally become part of the basic order paragraph 3 concept of operations and coordinating instructions. Additional IO details are covered in a separate annex that consolidates applicable IO/C2W into one coherent operational discussion. When a separate IO/C2W annex is written, it should include an IO/C2W synchronization matrix that establishes time lines, responsibilities, sequence of actions, and desired effects.

As planning and execution take place, planners should consider a number of factors beyond strict combat capabilities. These include--

  • The opportunity cost of an action--that is, what is the trade-off between attacking or destroying an adversary's capability now or exploiting that capability for future gain? As an example, destroying key C2 facilities may give the operational commander freedom of action by denying the enemy effective C2 of his forces. However, the opportunity cost of this action would be to deny national signal intelligence (SIGINT) systems a valuable link to the opponent's NCA. Therefore, the national command level would lose information about the adversary's national-level intent and resolve. Similarly, destroying an air defense network may give the tactical commander local air superiority, but it may also eliminate the only means the operational-level commander has to track or identify enemy formations.
  • Legal and policy restrictions and ROE--in order to understand their impact on the linkage between the levels of war. Target planners are required to know the ROE as well as the laws and policy governing the attack of certain persons, places, or things. How does the commander deal with the commercial computer network, the local/regional phone network, or the cellular data net that not only supports the military effort but also the civilian population, commerce, and industry? Other considerations include when and what information to release to the media, NGOs, and PVOs.

Planners must be aware that the counter-IO the adversary launches will likely target US civilian infrastructures. The mere threat of such actions may also generate significant effects, both real and psychological. For example, an adversary's announcement claiming the insertion of a virus into a particular banking institution's computer operation could trigger a panic with major economic repercussions, regardless of the adversary's actual execution of such an attack.


The fifth step is to set up a monitoring and feedback mechanism. A continuous damage or effects assessment process is critical in order for the commander to revise his continuing estimate of the situation and adjust operations. See Appendix A to develop C2W and IO-related planning products. The five-step planning process is illustrated in Figure 6-3.


The force-projection cycle is an excellent framework to discuss how to execute IO. The packaging, timing, and employment of key IO activities is essential to attaining and maintaining information dominance in conducting operations across the full spectrum, to include OOTW.

Figure 6-3

Figure 6-3. IO Planning Process

Force-Projection Operations

Our post-Cold War National Military Strategy calls for a primarily CONUS-based Army--one that is capable of rapid power projection on short notice to any region of the globe to decisively defeat a regional adversary. These force-projection operations follow a general sequence of stages that often overlap in space and time. IO considerations and actions apply to all force-projection stages. They focus on ensuring information support to battle command during all joint, multinational, and interagency operations and effective intervention against the adversary's C2.

In many situations, GIE organizations will be present in the AOR before Army forces arrive. They will often be well-entrenched, with an established logistical framework and long-standing coordination and liaison arrangements. For example, initially the media may know the AOR better than the military. As it covers the buildup, the media gains a thorough understanding of and forms its own perspective about the situation, particularly in OOTW. The projection of Army forces into the situation is of national interest, with national and international media watching from the moment forces arrive. CA and PA personnel need to deploy early to support the commander and the force in their interactions with these organizations. CA and PA operations not only reduce the potential distractions to a commander but also educate these organizations and facilitate their efforts to provide accurate, balanced, credible, and timely information to local officials and agencies, as well as external audiences. Some unique considerations apply for force-projection operations and OOTW.

The friendly communications infrastructure provides the means to integrate C4I capabilities starting from the installation power-projection platform with reach-back capabilities while en route, during initial entry, during buildup, throughout the operation, and during redeployment. The variety of conditions under which the Army is employed in the Information Age requires close IO coordination, integration, and synchronization from the strategic to the tactical level. Figure 6-4 outlines this concept. Force projection, supported by IO, is continuous and seamless and compresses time and space.


Mobilization is an information-intensive operation. Once mobilization is declared, the unit's activities include assembling personnel, checking readiness factors, and time-phasing operations to meet force deployment schedules. IO assist in synchronizing arrival, processing, certifying, and moving to final points of departure. The Army depends on information management resources in its sustaining base to accomplish the mobilization process. These resources include--

  • The Standard Army Management Information System (STAMIS).
  • FORSCOM's Mobilization Level Application Software (MOBLAS).
  • TRADOC's Reception Battalion Automated Support System (RECBASS).
  • DOD INFOSYS such as the Defense Joint Military Pay System (DJMS) and the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).

Figure 6-4

Figure 6-4. Army Force-Projection Cycle

Most of these systems depend upon the NII for their operation. Many run on standard commercial platforms such as personal computers (PCs), reduced instruction set computing (RISCs), or mainframes. The systems could be expanded or enhanced during a crisis. Their dependence also underscores the importance of engaging the interagency process to help secure the NII from possible attack or compromise.

Intelligence activities during the mobilization phase focus on collecting intelligence on probable operational environments and potential adversaries. The staff performs the initial information-based IPB during peacetime.

C2W activities during mobilization are predominantly concerned with protecting information. Upon mobilization, protection of information is included in the commander's recall and assembly plans. C2-protect measures protect the availability, integrity, and confidentiality of unclassified and classified information necessary to support mobilization operations. During this stage of force projection, bits of information conveyed in nonsecure public and military radio transmissions, news releases, friendly conversations, telephone calls, trash, and so forth, permit news media personnel or hostile intelligence analysts to piece together US intentions and capabilities. OPSEC and INFOSEC aid the commander in preventing adversaries from collecting information of intelligence value.


Commanders establish objectives and unit requirements to set the stage for predeployment activities and seek to preserve friendly assessments and decision-making capabilities. IO integrate the elements of C2W to mask deployment and enhance deception operations. Plans include--

  • Engagement of the adversary's INFOSYS.
  • Identification of tasks, C2W target sets, specific procedures, and coordinating instructions--all displayed within a detailed IO synchronization matrix.

These steps ensure the implementation of IO and set the stage for ongoing military actions.

PA operations during predeployment contribute to establishing conditions that lead to confidence in the Army and its readiness to conduct operations while remaining attentive to OPSEC and INFOSEC. As units are identified for possible or actual mobilization, public and media attention increases dramatically. PA operations contribute to a reduction in rumors, misinformation, and uncertainty on the part of soldiers, family members, and the public.

During the predeployment phase, tactical INFOSYS continue to be used less than fixed military and civilian systems for routine actions during predeployment. Military systems that link operational and strategic echelons, such as the DISN and the Defense Switch Network (DSN), are the primary dedicated military systems used. Intelligence, logistics, and operational planning require extensive coordination with outside agencies, other services, and so forth, to provide the data required.

Intelligence activities continue to revolve around establishing an adversarial data base and an information-based IPB. Component commands require national intelligence and weather data to support detailed planning. Before deployment, the commander's staff should develop CCIR, PIR, CMO, and RISTA plans.

C2W actions continue to focus on protecting information through exercising OPSEC procedures. With the support of the higher joint headquarters, as augmented by LIWA, C2W planners consider offensive actions to establish information dominance once the force begins to deploy. Close coordination with PA personnel is required during deception and PSYOP planning to maintain OPSEC and ensure such efforts are not targeted against friendly audiences and, most importantly, US, allied, or coalition media.

PA develops assessments for current and future operations. Planning continues for appropriate media inclusion (journalists accompanying units). PA implications of all aspects of the operation are considered to include media attention and public response. Synchronized PA programs contribute to increased soldier understanding, confidence, dedication, discipline, will to win, and public confidence in the Army. PA efforts focus on protecting and enhancing the public support of gravity.


IO are necessary to establish the conditions for deploying forces into an AO. Deploying forces require near-real-time joint and/or interagency communications tailored for rapid deployment, en route operations, and links from strategic through tactical levels.

During the deployment stage, staff planning functions intensify. Contingency plans (CONPLANs) and PIR are updated, completed, or adjusted. Commanders and staff planners tap into joint and interagency planning systems and data bases, such as the Joint Operations Planning and Execution System (JOPES) and the Army Mobilization and Operations Planning and Execution System (AMOPES), to determine lift asset availability and sequencing. Intelligence requirements and assessments are continually monitored and adjusted. As forces begin deploying, commanders plan for the impact of force separation and reduced information support through low-capacity systems. They adjust their CCIR to those most critical to maintain situational awareness, training readiness, and mission accomplishment.

INFOSYS requirements for deploying forces demand home station, en route, and intertheater/intratheater communications that are secure, flexible, and deployable. These INFOSYS must be capable of interoperating with joint forces, civilian agencies, and multinational or coalition forces. INFOSYS support mission planning with multiple continuous intelligence and logistics links to the deploying/deployed force, home station, major commands, logistics agencies, and national and joint intelligence sources.

Deploying forces are highly dependent on CONUS-based intelligence, such as imagery and weather, derived from national or theater-based sensors. The forces require assured and survivable communications to numerous agencies. During deployment, echelons above division execute most of the C2W actions such as deception, PSYOP, and continued OPSEC.


IO are necessary to establish the conditions for successful early entry. IO capabilities are deployed into a contingency area with a focus on their ability to gather the information required by the commander while denying the enemy use of his information and IO capabilities. Early entry operations vary by region and mission. In both unopposed and opposed entry, counter-RISTA operations are essential. Air and missile defense is key to successful counter-RISTA operations during the early entry period when forces are most vulnerable. Air and missile defense systems negate enemy airborne RISTA, EW, and C2 platforms while simultaneously protecting key geopolitical assets and the force's critical nodes from air and missile attack.

Unopposed Entry

Unopposed entry allows for greater use of IO capabilities. Early deploying assets focus IO on the adversary to support forward presence or host nation (HN) forces. Early entry forces rely on split-based communications with CONUS-based elements for most of their intelligence and communications support. Although HN or commercial systems may be available, planner awareness of statutory requirements regarding their use is essential.

Opposed Entry

When entry is opposed, commanders may have to rely on a limited number of INFOSYS to get the information they need to accomplish the mission. Because information requirements may well overwhelm the capability of available assets, commanders must clearly prioritize their information needs to best focus the use of these limited capabilities.

Working within the joint IW/C2W plan, army commands employ their C2W capabilities to satisfy assigned tasks. Successful opposed entry operations can be significantly enhanced by denying the adversary use of his INFOSYS through employment of C2-attack assets. C2-attack could include deceiving or overloading the adversary's INFOSYS and disrupting his use of the EMS.


Commanders visualize the battlespace and develop operational concepts that use common situational awareness and the ability to rapidly and accurately move information about the battlefield. The IO capabilities available to the unit permit surprise and the decisive defeat of the adversary from dispersed positions. Defeat of the enemy is usually accomplished most effectively by countering enemy strengths with dissimilar (asymmetrical) systems and methods. Units begin to conduct offensive C2W operations. This requires friendly commanders to exercise increased control over the tempo of battlefield activities. Tactical commanders leverage their information superiority to employ weapon systems, including joint assets, and to regulate the nature and tempo of enemy actions.

To optimize the flow of essential information, commanders prioritize their information requirements through CCIR and SOPs. The IOBS, however constituted, ensures that C2W, PA, and CA are integrated into the commander's concept of operation. This is accomplished as the G3 integrates his IO assets into the operational scheme to get the best possible picture based on the commander's intent. Moreover, the G3 leverages organizations and assets from the GIE, that is, joint and national intelligence assets, to complete the IPB mosaic. Often, the assets available are less than those needed to perform the desired IO. The commander provides the focus to prioritize these IO assets. Constant monitoring of enemy and friendly IO status ensures this information is included in situation updates, IPB, and the commander's RCP of his battlespace.

Media and public attention is usually more intense during this phase. PA operations include media facilitation, advising the commander on PA implications of the operation, as well as providing for internal and external audience information needs. PA personnel review strategic and operational information with PA implications, coordinate with CA and PSYOP, and facilitate releasable information.

Unity of effort and massing of combat power effects are enabled by enhanced information flow, both vertically and horizontally, among commanders and staff members and supported by military INFOSYS. Tactical units employ military information to fully integrate the systems, capabilities, and functions of the combined arms team into the conduct of decisive operations. Control of decentralized maneuver and engagement is achieved by optimizing the enhanced situational awareness and communication provided by digital connectivity. This ability allows tactical units the opportunity to avoid adversary strengths and detection means while moving into the most advantageous positions to permit the destruction of the enemy force in both offensive and defensive operations. Units exercise the capability to focus and mass the effects of indirect fires against the adversary and to synchronize their effects with maneuver. By employing highly maneuverable artillery, aviation platforms, suites of digital sensors, and intelligent minefield systems, maneuver units establish quick-fire sensor-to-shooter links that acquire, strike, assess, and restrike enemy targets at a high rate and level of lethality.

Enhanced situational awareness and communications capabilities allow the maneuver commander to conduct decisive strikes within the enemy depth by employing both organic and supporting fire systems. Commanders use C2-attack to destroy, disrupt, and exploit enemy INFOSYS. By providing the RCP at all echelons, IO facilitate the synchronization of all combat power across the BOSs. In conjunction with air and ground battle plans, commanders must select the proper vulnerable nodes and know whether to destroy or merely disrupt them and when to exploit through C2W.

Available IO assets may dictate the arrangement of forces on the ground. Coalitions may be formed with armies that have varying IO technical capabilities. Intelligence can be used to ensure the validity of target nominations, while the C2W planning process can ensure that the appropriate response is directed against that target.

Our present theory is to destroy personnel, our new theory should be to destroy commands. Not after the enemy's personnel has been disorganized, but before it has been attacked, so that it may be found in a state of disorganization when attacked.

Extracted from J.F.C. Fuller's memorandum
"Strategic Paralysis as the Object of the Decisive Attack," May 1918


IO enter a new phase upon termination of hostilities. The aftermath of war could leave a significant dislocation of the infrastructure and population in the area of conflict. The potential for renewed conflict should not be discounted. In these circumstances the protection of information by OPSEC, the hand-off of military information to other nonmilitary organizations, and even the continued collection of new information may become necessary. Certain military information is protected, while other military information is required to be released publicly to prevent further bloodshed and permit resumption of normal life. Conscious decisions in the orchestration of these competing demands exist as IO continue. For example, the presence of minefields and their location should be released to all parties to prevent civilian causalities.

Dislocations and damage following combat generate requirements for new information. Monitoring, relocating, and providing humanitarian assistance for displaced persons is as much an information problem as it is a logistical one. Destruction of physical infrastructures may dictate that for humanitarian reasons the US leave particular items of equipment in place that would otherwise be redeployed. Such equipment may include temporary bridges that replace destroyed ones, radio broadcast band transmission equipment, and electrical generation or water purification equipment. Information is critical in making these decisions. Further uses of such information are required to adjust Army data bases and unit readiness affected by these actions.

When combat operations bring an end to the conflict, deployed forces transition to a period of postconflict operations. The transition to postconflict operations can occur even if residual combat operations are still underway in parts of the AO. Therefore, adjustments to IO must be anticipated and planned to ensure a smooth transition during the critical period after the fighting stops. IO adjustments during postconflict operations focus on providing support for restoring order, reestablishing the HN infrastructure, preparing forces for redeployment, and continuing a presence to allow other elements of national power to achieve strategic aims.

The transition plan for postconflict operations prioritizes and plans for information requirements and required connectivity to support civil administration mission activities; CMO such as civil defense, humanitarian assistance, and populace and resources control (PRC); and unified planning with DOS, NGOs, PVOs, and HN officials and agencies. CA personnel are uniquely qualified to advise the commander on these activities that reduce postconflict turmoil and stabilize the situation until international relief organizations or HN agencies assume control.

Postconflict operations require close coordination between PA elements and those conducting CMO to ensure consistent, accurate dissemination of information. Internal information programs aid the transition to redeployment and reconstitution by reducing rumors and uncertainty. IO transition planning addresses the smooth retrograde of assets from the theater of operations, while considering the possibility of renewed hostilities. Tactical and mobile information assets should be replaced as soon as possible by the fixed communications and information infrastructure of the HN. Part of this stage may include transition of INFOSYS and operations to DOS, PVOs, NGOs, the HN, or other agencies that represent nonmilitary options to support HN rebuilding. Planning begins at this point for support of the redeployment of friendly forces and continued reconstitution of assets destroyed in the conflict or retained by the HN.


Normally, reconstitution and redeployment actions occur in a benign regional environment; however this is not always the case. Sensitivity to the effect information has on the population remains a concern. PSYOP and CA may be used to gain and continue support of the population. Information about Army operations and CMO can be disseminated through local, national, and international media. PA operations do not focus on directing or manipulating public opinion, but on providing accurate, timely information about operations. PA personnel take action when necessary to counter misinformation communicated via the GIE.

Intelligence collection may focus on nonbattlefield aspects of the current environment and the potential for new threats or adversaries to emerge. Commanders must remain sensitive to the potential vulnerability of critical nodes or systems to renewed adversary operations and be prepared to shift to alternative means if necessary.

In this stage, IO support the redeployment of assets no longer needed or needed for another mission elsewhere. Commanders plan and prioritize their IO to allow a smooth transition for redeployment. Postconflict requirements have a direct impact on the redeployment flow. INFOSYS must integrate contractor and HN asset capabilities into the redeployment flow.

Units must be rapidly reconstituted to premobilization levels of readiness. To ensure rapid replacement and refitting for new missions, units must identify lost or incomplete equipment because of the high probability of some information assets being left in theater or not yet replaced by the logistics system. Commanders must continue to emphasize INFOSEC during redeployment operations, especially in the event of ongoing hostilities.

Operations Other Than War

Military operations other than war usually involve a combination of air, land, sea, space, and special operations forces as well as the efforts of governmental agencies and nongovernmental organizations in a complementary fashion.

Joint Pub 3-0

Army forces face complex and sensitive situations in a variety of OOTW. These range from supporting near hostilities in peace enforcement and peacekeeping operations; through drug interdiction, nation assistance, and humanitarian assistance; to support for US state and local authorities responding to natural disasters or civil unrest.

The primary tool for mission accomplishment in conventional military operations is the use of force directed against an adversary. In OOTW, however, such a threat may not be present or may not be clearly defined. The threat in these environments may be rogue elements, thugs, or even the adverse effects of the environment or a natural disaster. Hence, commanders employ a wider range of methods in less conventional ways that involve many more players to accomplish the mission. As such, IO capabilities to support the assigned missions may become essential for success. IO may be one of the most critical and acceptable means of achieving the assigned objectives because ROE may severely restrict the use of conventional military weapons.

In OOTW, as in other operations, military IO capabilities are not the only assets the commander may have available. Non-DOD, state, and local agencies; international organizations; military or paramilitary forces; and private organizations may also be available to contribute to IO. These players may offer a variety of services and resources, both military and nonmilitary, from within the GIE. This expanded field of individual and organizational senders and receivers of information, with varying methods of operation and focus, add a variety of INFOSYS needs. Interoperability, cooperation, coordination, and liaison may significantly increase resource requirements.

Historical Perspective

Projection of information is essential to successful military operations. During Operation Restore Hope in Somalia in 1992-1993, a peace operation, the 10th Mountain Division (LI) adjusted its mission analysis and tracking by establishing information dissemination as a BOS. This BOS included PA, PSYOP, and information for soldiers. The division considered full integration of these activities into all aspects of the operation as critical to success.


IO can be extremely complex and demanding. The Army is often faced with formidable infrastructure and interoperability challenges, both at home for domestic support operations and abroad for multinational operations, often in austere environments.

To provide coherence to information efforts, IO planning must be in sufficient detail and coordinated with all participating agencies. This requires extensive coordination and liaison. As an example, CA, PSYOP, and PA elements are able to use the same communications media with essentially the same messages but to different audiences. CA and PSYOP personnel address local populations and enemy forces, respectively, while PA personnel address US forces and national and international news media. Employment of C2W, intelligence, and INFOSYS capabilities requires coordination to ensure the synchronization of operations among participating organizations. Since military and civilian systems are often incompatible, military and supported agency communication planners must coordinate as early as possible in the operation. The Army may be required to coordinate IO with the following organizations:

United States Agencies
The Army may coordinate with non-DOD agencies in the broad spectrum of OOTW, especially when the Army is placed in a supporting role to US agencies during domestic support operations. FMs 100-19 and 100-23 and Joint Pub 3-08 list and describe various agencies requiring consideration. Among these is the United States Information Agency (USIA), which is especially pertinent for the conduct of public diplomacy information efforts conducted in foreign countries.

United Nations
The nations involved in specific UN operations rely on shared, relevant, and pertinent data concerning the situation and parties involved in the operation. IO help synthesize this data for a common understanding of threatened interests, to determine relevant and attainable objectives, and to achieve unified efforts. The methodology for exchanging intelligence information should be conceived and exercised well before operations begin. US intelligence personnel know and understand foreign disclosure policy and procedures. They generally obtain necessary foreign disclosure authorization from the Defense Intelligence Agency.

NGOs and PVOs
The number of NGOs and PVOs that may be found in a commander's AO could be extensive. NGOs and PVOs can be valuable sources of information that commanders involved in IO should consider. Commanders may also need to create centralized control and liaison structures, such as CMOCs or emergency operations centers (EOCs), to facilitate coordinated efforts with NGOs. See FM 100-23-1.

Local Assets
Local assets may provide the capability to support and secure the temporary setup of IO--telephone towers, satellites, ground cables, or other utilities that would allow commanders to achieve assigned objectives or tasks. Also, some localities may have the equivalent of non-DOD agencies. The US embassy or consulate can be contacted for assistance in establishing liaison with these agencies. These agencies may provide invaluable assistance in these environments.


All operations require gathering and dissemination information, as well as some form of intelligence. Since intelligence is a restrictive term, the preferred terminology in UN operations is information-gathering and dissemination. Accurate information is essential for planning PSYOP, OPSEC, EW, destruction, and deception operations.

By gathering information from soldiers, NGOs, PVOs, and civilians personally involved in the day-to-day operation, a commander can gauge the mission's effectiveness and better plan current and future IO. Maximum use should be made of open-source information. When practical, tactical information-gathering systems should be used so that information may be disseminated to UN/coalition forces, NGOs and PVOs, and other government agencies. However, parties to a conflict in peacekeeping operations or civilians in other operations may perceive information-gathering as intrusive or hostile. Therefore, intelligence activities must always be sensitive to legal constraints and/or maintaining the trust of the parties involved. The perception of impartiality is important for the protection of the peacekeeping force. Important intelligence considerations include the following:

  • Every item of operational information becomes potentially important during OOTW.
  • Personnel have to be information-conscious at all times.
  • Participants must remain constantly alert to what takes place around them and to any change or inconsistency in the behavior, attitude, and activities of the military and civilian populace.

Information-gathering assets, sources, and agencies include those used in conventional operations as well as some that are not normally considered. Intelligence personnel will make traditional use of all organic or attached collection assets. However, they may also use other sources and agencies such as the local news media, NGOs, PVOs, international organizations, and exchanges with local police, governments, and militaries. Dissemination of intelligence is conducted using standard intelligence report formats. Intelligence personnel pass information to liaison officers (LOs) who pass intelligence products to parties requiring them in joint or multinational operations.

Although not peacetime operations, CA and PSYOP are critical operations that aid commanders in accomplishing their peacetime objectives. Commanders must understand CA and PSYOP abilities to support US and allied armed forces. PSYOP is a vital force employed to optimize the influence of US national policy on foreign target audiences, whether neutral, hostile, or friendly. In other operations, PSYOP provide the commander with the capability to project the purpose and mission of US forces and to influence target audience behavior to support the commander's mission. For PSYOP to achieve maximum effectiveness, planners must include them early in the planning process. In crisis situations, rapid production and dissemination of accurate information to the population are critical. PSYOP personnel can provide the commander with real-time analysis of the perceptions and attitudes of the civilian population and the effectiveness of the information being disseminated.

Signal support to OOTW missions requires the same detailed planning as any other operation. However, the scope and scale of planning may actually increase when the commander is considering or is confronted with--

  • Nonmilitary INFOSYS such as commercial and local communications services. The operational principles of signal support apply.
  • Interfaces among military and commercial communications, INFOSYS, and networks. Most civil and military communications systems are incompatible because of different equipment, frequency allocations, and usage parameters. For these reasons, military and civilian communications planners must exchange knowledgeable communications support personnel and compatible equipment to ensure connectivity is maintained between military and civilian operations centers. This exchange of personnel and equipment can occur at any level and should be implemented and modified as the situation dictates.

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