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Chapter 9

Information Operations


9-1. Information Operations involve a variety of disciplines and activities that range from electronic warfare and physical destruction through cyberwar and information campaigns. Public affairs is a related activity of IO, and contributes to overall operational success, both real and perceived.

9-2. Successful integrated IO requires coordination of themes, messages and activities in order to leverage the massing of information effects. When synchronized with other military operations, IO is a combat multiplier.

9-3. Information campaign objectives cannot be neatly divided by discipline, such as PA, CA and PSYOP. The responsible organization cannot be easily determined solely by looking at the medium, the message or the audience. For example, information about weapons turn-in policy and collection sites may be disseminated through a variety of means. This could include direct contact by Civil Affairs personnel with local populations and their leaders; PSYOP print and broadcast products; news releases, press conferences and other media facilitation coordinated by PA.

9-4. In accordance with joint doctrine (Joint Pub 3-61, Doctrine for Public Affairs in Joint Operations), public affairs are an operational function designed to contribute to the overall success of joint operations. For Public Affairs, the audience may be internal or external, but the objective is constant: Soldiers, participants and the public must understand objectives, motives and the nature, scope and duration of friendly actions. The relevant audiences important to the commander are not limited to soldiers and the American public, but are also international as well as local to the operation.

9-5. Synchronized information operations contribute to military campaigns in a variety of ways. These contributions may:

  • Gain or sustain support for the U.S. or coalition position
  • Reduce the need for combat forces
  • Influence events with non-lethal means
  • Counter propaganda and disinformatio
  • Discourage adversary offensive operations
  • Deter hostile actions
  • Undermine illegitimate regimes
  • Support the maintenance of coalitions

9-6. Information Operations during peacekeeping operations:

  • Promote peaceful cooperation
  • Lower friendly force requirements
  • Counter propaganda and disinformation
  • Reduce friction leading to hostilities
  • Gain and maintain the initiative
  • Shape opponent plans and operations

9-7. These goals may not be achieved solely by tactical level information operations, but rather, may be theater and national-level issues that are reinforced by tactical-level message dissemination. This requires horizontal and vertical integration of themes and messages to achieve a massing of information effects.


9-8. Composition of the Information Operations battle staff/coordination council or other such element is flexible and tailored to the operation and desires of the commander. (See figure 9-1). Notional IO staff structures are included in FM 3-13 (100-6), Information Operations.

Fig 9-1 Notional IO Battlestaff

9-9. The IO cell is often headed by the G-3 or his designated representative, and includes representatives of a variety of organizations. The staff may include, but not necessarily be limited to the G2, G3, G5, G6, PAO, PMO, JAG, PSYOP, Electronic Warfare Officer, Political Advisor, Joint Military Commission representative, Fire Support Coordinator and Targeting Board representative.

9-10. The successful accomplishment of a specific mission may require the close coordination and synchronization of the range of information activities as well as maneuver elements. While the IO cell is lead by the G3 or his designate, IO coordination is the responsibility of the Land Information Warfare Activity field support team. While providing a public affairs representative to the IO Cell, PAOs must maintain a clear and direct link with the commander.


9-11. The Land Information Warfare Activity, an INSCOM element, provides commanders with field support teams (FST) that serve as IO advisors in addition to effecting the synchronization and coordination of the range of activities that support IO. LIWA field support teams do not serve as functional area specialists, but rather, coordinate the activities of those elements. For example, the LIWA FST members may be from the military intelligence and PSYOP branches, but do not serve as the commander's intelligence analyst or PSYOP planner, or for that matter, Public Affairs advisor. They do, however, coordinate the actions and products of these and other activities in support of the IO plan.


9-12. PA participation in IO involves no completely new tasks but does require a broadened scope of operations. PA support to IO requires analysis of the Global Information Environment (GIE) and the operational environment, as well as synchronization of efforts with other organizations and agencies to ensure themes and messages are consistent and deconflicted.

9-13. PA in IO requires PA staffs to be fundamentally proactive rather than reactive. Often, actions may be taken and products developed to assist command achievement of a desired end state. This is more than merely reacting to events with a press release or conference

9-14. PA actions and events that support IO include print and electronic products, news releases, press conferences and media facilitation. PA advises the commander on how the operation is being perceived and portrayed and also provides guidance to unit commanders and soldiers. This includes regular talking points and themes for commanders and preparing soldiers to interact with the press. It's a means of emphasizing selected issues and positions--speaking with one voice.


9-15. The starting point for PA contributions to Information Operations is the Public Affairs Estimate. (See Appendix C). The PA estimate consolidates information on the audiences, media presence, public opinion, personnel available and PA guidance.

9-16. This is not a static document created at the beginning of an operation, but must be continually updated to reflect changes in the operational situation and environment. Issues to consider include:

9-17. Audience analysis. Who are the audiences, both internal and external? What are their information needs? How do they get their information: television, radio, newspapers or word of mouth? Is the media state-run or independent? Does the audience population have telephones, cell phones, fax machines or Internet connections? These devices are frequently found even in developing countries and must be considered during the analysis of information channels.

9-18. Media presence. What media representatives and organizations are in the area of operation? Are they radio, television or print? Are they state-run or independent? What is their political slant? Are they pro- or anti-coalition? Are they receptive to coalition information products such as news releases or other print or electronic products? Is the local media interested in live interviews with U.S. commanders and soldiers?

9-19. Public Opinion. What are the opinions/beliefs of the local populations; of the international community; of the U.S. national population?

9-20. Personnel available. What is the available Public Affairs force structure (PADs, MPADs, BODs, CPIC/JIB staff, unit organic PA staff and individual additions), translators, Combat Camera and administrative staff.

9-21. PA guidance. What guidance has been received from higher levels? Official positions on theater issues are naturally not developed at the tactical level. What is the theater strategic/national command authority position? This is often coordinated and deconflicted at all levels via conference calls and other communication means.


9-22. There are four stages to an IO campaign cycle: capability development, assessment, planning and execution. The execution stage is accompanied by evaluation-- during and after the mission -- in order to adjust operations as needed and after the operation to gather lessons learned.

9-23. Capability development:

  • Identify local resources and available external support. Theme and message delivery can take many forms, including radio/television, handbills, leaflets, loudspeakers, soldiers, displays, the Internet, internal information products, USIA, Voice of America, print and electronic news releases, press conferences, direct contact with parties, leaders, officials and citizens. Direct contact may include military liaisons, Civil Affairs personnel, diplomatic contact, or any form of personal interaction.
  • Establish processes and procedures
  • Collect, organize and store relevant information

9-24. Assessment

  • Perform mission analysis
  • Obtain commander's guidance
  • Define IO goals and objectives
  • Conduct risk assessment
  • The assessment phase includes a mission analysis, clarification of the commander's guidance, initial identification of IO goals and objectives and a risk assessment. Goals and objectives include a determination of the desired end state and what must be done to achieve it. This may mean inducing others to take or not take certain actions, or have the information to make certain decisions that will support the goals of the operation. Public Affairs is not in the business of shaping beliefs and attitudes of populations, but can provide factual information that enables people to make informed decisions.
  • Risk Assessment
    • Consequences for command if information operation fails?
    • Potential unintended effects?
    • Operational success too reliant on IO?
    • Can IO campaign be used against U.S. or coalition?
    • Force protection issues?
    • Compromise or loss of impartiality?

9-25. Planning

  • Develop and coordinate themes
  • Determine the best implementation means
  • Delineate tasks and responsibilities
  • Identify feedback and measures of effectiveness channels
  • Prepare implementation order
  • During the planning phase, specific themes are developed and coordinated with all members of the IO cell. Message/theme delivery methods are determined and specific tasks and responsibilities are assigned. The IO cell may use a synchronization matrix to effectively manage IO events. For example, this matrix will indicate specific actions, events or products each member organization of the IO cell will execute or produce to support the plan. For example, a specific event may require PSYOP leaflets and broadcasts, PA press releases, news conferences and interviews with soldiers and Civil Affairs meetings with local officials and community leaders. These activities are coordinated on the matrix, ensuring deconfliction of resources, messages and products.
  • Measures of effectiveness and feedback indicators vary widely and should be identified in the planning process. They may include questions raised by the media, editorials and commentaries, statements by public officials, postings to internet newsgroups and forums, demonstrations and protests, statements during meetings, responses given to public opinion surveys, behaviors during specific events, as well as other SIGINT and HUMINT collection and analysis.
  • The product of the planning phase is a synchronization matrix and execution schedule. The matrix is then coordinated with the overall synchronization matrix, ensuring that IO is coordinated across the BOSs.

9-26. Execution

  • Conduct the mission.
  • IO monitoring must be conducted throughout the execution of the event and during follow-up review, feedback and evaluation.
  • If necessary or possible, alter mission if evaluation determines it is not successful or unexpected responses occur.

9-27. Evaluate

  • Assess the effectiveness of the operation
  • Determine preventive methods, document lessons learned and apply to next operation

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