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CALL Newsletter 04-13
Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)
CAAT II Initial Impressions Report (IIR)

Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)
CAAT II Initial Impressions Report (IIR)

Chapter 1: Information Operations
Topic E: IO at the Division

The current MTOE for a maneuver division includes positions for a G7. The G7 section provides for an assistant chief of staff for information operations and five staff support positions. None of the division level units in the IOE were staffed with these personnel. All U.S. units interviewed were utilizing one officer in the IO coordinator (IOCOORD) role: an O-4/major. Only one of the several IOCOORDs interviewed has received any formal IO training.

One U.S. division utilized an information operations working group (IOWG) to coordinate and synchronize their IO efforts for several months after cessation of major combat operations. It was chaired by the IOCOORD and the members were mostly lower-level division staff officers, such as the PYSOP commander and public affairs officer (PAO). The IOWG is no longer conducted. The IOWG became dysfunctional because the appropriate staff elements were not present at the meeting. If the group were chaired by a member of the command group, the IOWG would have been more successful. The effects coordination cell (ECC) has taken its place. The IOCOORD firmly believes that IO should be the priority in their current operations. Even though he believes this should be the priority, no senior staff has ever participated in the IOWG. The division fire support team coordinator (DFSTCOORD) incorrectly stated that IO was civil military operations (CMO). He further incorrectly related that IO/CMO was being taken care of at the ECC effects tasking order (ETO) meeting with key staff members who were responsible to each of the ministries within the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA).

Before deploying to Iraq, the commanding general of one U.S. division sent a request to the Department of the Army (DA) G3 requesting additional IO support for the division. This request was denied by central command (CENTCOM). As a result, this division did not have the resources to conduct IO properly. The IOCOORD does not believe the mission was properly resourced or supported by DA or IO proponency. The IOCOORD firmly believes that they need an FA-30 trained officer at the brigade level and not someone who has the job as an additional duty. Another staff officer is going to focus on his primary role and think about IO secondarily. The S2s and fire support officers (FSOs) have done a very good job in Iraq as the IO officers in their brigades. The FSOs were underemployed in some areas and have a done well with targeting. However, they do not understand the interrelationships of all the components of IO. IO is much more than targeting.

In contrast to this division, another U.S. unit has a battle rhythm with an IOWG on its calendar three days a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). Although scheduled, they only conduct the meetings as needed, or on an on-call basis. They will usually meet at least once a week. During that time, the IO officer meets with the assistant division commander for support (ADC-S) and provides an update/executive brief on IO activities. The IO officer will also brief the commanding general (CG) once a week during the morning battle update brief (BUB) on IO activities. As a result of the command group's involvement, IO is viewed as very significant by division staff. If the senior leadership of the division is involved, then the rest of the staff will be involved.

U.S. units are no longer deterred from engaging in a Mosque. One U.S. division has begun targeting Imams that preach anti-Coalition rhetoric or are supporting insurgents with safe haven and arms. The CG is the approval authority for going after an Imam. The Iraqi Mosque is a very sensitive area and has many possible second and third order effects if entered improperly. Therefore, the unit must have this operation carefully planned and every contingency covered. U.S. units have developed a method that is working now in Iraq for this procedure.

When a unit goes into a Mosque after a particular Imam and something goes wrong, they have to have an immediate message that can be disseminated to the people. The unit has to give the facts and make them understandable to the public. Units have created battle-drill messages and products for contingency operations. They also produce a fact sheet to hand out to explain what is happening and why it is happening. This sheet will explain why their mosque is being entered, why their Imam is being targeted or arrested, such as he is preaching violence, anti-Coalition rhetoric, or hiding weapons or Former Regime Elements (FREs).

U.S. units take a combat camera (COMCAM) along with them to film the entry. They wear surgical booties to keep Soldiers' boots from being on the floor. Thus far, the Iraqis have been satisfied, if the unit can show why they are there. U.S. units use the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC) when practical to assist with the raid, especially to go into areas that are sensitive. The handbill/fact sheet is used to explain their presence. The fact sheet will have statements such as, "On 22 DEC the Imam said to kill Americans," or, "On 22 DEC the Mosque was announcing on the loud speaker to bomb this or attack that." The Iraqi people will understand why the Imam is being taken away. The unit also needs to ensure that during the filming of the raid, areas of the Mosque entered are shown to indicate the condition of the Mosque. The unit turns over the Mosque to the Mosque security personnel. The COMCAM captures all of this, to include telling the security personnel they now have responsibility for the security and condition of the Mosque. If these steps are followed, then nothing will be disturbed in that Mosque and attributed to U.S. Soldiers. Soldiers also make sure the Mosque security personnel know that they have the responsibility of having the Mosque open for prayers in the morning. At 0800 the morning after, U.S. representatives are standing at the Council of Religious Affairs to give notification of the need for a new Imam. Following these procedures avoids an international incident.

It is not called Mosque targeting, it is called Imam targeting. Five Imams have been replaced thus far. Because of the way they do it and the IO campaign that goes with it, it has been very successful. The armed Ba'ath Party is using the Mosques as safe havens for hiding personnel and weapons. The Ba'ath Party has no qualms about using the Mosque as an operations center.

A non-U.S. unit has been able to develop and implement a good IO campaign with limited resources. This division has an artillery major filling the function of IOCOORD. This officer has a deputy (an infantry captain) assigned to him, but neither has been trained in IO. The unit conducts their IOWG in coordination with the higher headquarters issuance of their bi-weekly IO effects fragmentary order (FRAGO). They also conduct "on-call" IOWGs in response to FRAGOs that have specific IO tasks. This timing allows the unit to receive the latest guidance from their higher headquarters and develop their own plan and tasks on how to carry out the guidance. The unit also has a division effects/targeting board that provides more guidance to the IO staff. The targeting board is conducted on a weekly basis. The IO staff takes the guidance from the targeting board and combines it with the guidance from their higher headquarters and molds the two together.

In this non-U.S. division, the major is in charge and focuses primarily on plans and policy. The captain fills the function of operations officer. The IO cell and media operations provide the interface with CPA's media operations. They also have a PSYOP support element (PSE) comprised of a major and two NCOs. However, this is the limit of their PSYOP staffing for the entire division. They are going to expand their PSYOP capabilities in the next few months, with each brigade forming a tactical PSYOP team (TPT). The PSYOP officer is school-trained and has experience in Afghanistan. The division's media cell consists of a major who is in charge, and a staffed press information center. This is more robust than what the U.S. has seen at most divisions, but more limited than what the U.S. has seen at the corps level. Media operations controls the division's one COMCAM team. The COMCAM team has both still and video capability. This is not their primary MOS, however. As has been seen with a lot of the specialized staff elements, they are detailed to fulfill those functions.

The division receives IO guidance from the Joint headquarters, as well as their own division targeting/effects board. The guidance from the Joint headquarters is primarily in the form of a bi-weekly IO effects FRAGO, and occasionally specific effects FRAGOs. The overarching higher HQ guidance is in its overall campaign plan, which has four lines of operation: security, essential services, economy, and governance. For those lines of operation, the Joint headquarters has established eight IO objectives, which the division has refined into their sub-objectives specific to their region. Their overarching goal is to focus on maintaining consent and support of the people.

The division's information campaign is executed by military diplomacy/leadership engagement, PSYOP, posture, presence, profile, and influence of physical effects; it also involves the related activities of media operations and civil military coordination (CIMIC). The division's target audiences are the general population, terrorists and criminal gangs, tribal, religious, and civil/political leaders, internal/regional media, and non-governmental organizations (NGO). The general population is the target audience that they can affect most directly. Terrorists and criminal gangs are affected more indirectly, mainly by marginalizing them through the general population. They use diplomacy and leadership engagement to affect the various leadership figures.

One of their most effective IO activities that is the production of a weekly "good news" document that they distribute to their brigades and the media. The brigades use this document as a basis for their engagements with the local leadership. They usually get this document out a few days prior to the Friday prayers in order to reinforce the positive things the Imams/clerics are saying about the Coalition and to counter the negative things. This helps to shape public perceptions of the Coalition. Another example of activities meant to shape public perceptions is their posture, presence, and profile. As opposed to other units we have seen, the Soldiers here maintain a different force protection profile, such as wearing berets as opposed to helmets and full battle rattle. They also encourage their patrols to interact with the population and provide talking points to them for their engagements with the populace.

For all divisional units visited, a recurring theme is the lack of staffing and trained IO officers. All but one unit has only one officer attempting to synchronize, coordinate and de-conflict the IO campaigns for their division. All IO personnel coming into theater need to be FA-30 trained. The U.S. Army needs to build additional PSYOP, CA and PA training into their program of instruction (POI) for the FA-30 course, or they need to require that all FA-30s attend additional training such as PSYOP, CA and PA courses. The divisional staffs were not properly resourced to conduct IO in this campaign. The officers assigned have only limited knowledge about the core, supporting, and related IO activities. Currently, the FA-30 course heavily emphasizes the MDMP as it applies to IO. FM 3-13, Information Operations focuses mostly on the MDMP and how the IO officer will interact with the other division/corps staff officers. Neither doctrine, nor the FA-30 curriculum addresses how to actually do the job once in theater, especially when it comes to addressing the other IO disciplines such as PSYOP, CA and PA. IO officers need to know how PSYOP and PA operate. These functional areas to need to be part of the train-up for the unit deploying.

Electronic warfare (EW) assets are limited at the division level, as they are throughout all levels of the Army. One of the new systems that has become available to the divisions is STARGRAZER. Capabilities of this system are classified; therefore, it will not be discussed with any specificity due to the operational restrictions in its applicability. The main point of the observation is that the Army is pretty limited in EW assets. Most assets, such as STARGRAZER, are unknown at the division level. If known, their capability and practicability for specific operations are likely unknown as well.

Lessons Learned

  • Successful IOWGs received command emphasis; this typically ensured that the appropriate staff members were present for the meetings. The meeting can be chaired by a member of the command group, or the group can give the CG or ADC weekly update briefs.
  • Most officers in general did not understand the concept, role, and relevance of IO. In most cases, it is linked it to PSYOP, civil military operations (CMO) or computer network operations.
  • There are not enough trained IO personnel available to cover all operational deployments down to the brigade level.
  • The FSOs were given the additional duties as IOCOORD in Phase IV due to the significant decrease in the fire support requirements, but the FSO's priorities shifted back to fire support when the situation dictated.
  • IO cannot be conducted properly without the appropriate trained personnel; current MTOE slots at the division level need to be filled prior to deployment.
  • Some units and officers mistakenly believe that IO does not apply to combat operations, that it only applies to SO.
  • IO does not function well as an additional duty given to another primary staff officer. Most of the officers appear to see IO as a secondary function/additional duty.
  • The weekly briefings to the ADC and the CG allow the IO officer to receive senior leader input/guidance to the division IO plan. It also shows that the senior officers in the division have an active interest in and support IO.
  • Imams can be targeted and Mosques can be entered while conducting a raid. Proper procedures need to be followed and the populace must have a clear understanding of what is going on and why. All actions taken inside a Mosque must be documented. Use the ICDC where and when practical to conduct the searches of the more sensitive areas of the Mosque.
  • DA and CENTCOM did not support one division's request for an IO Field Support Team (FST) prior the initiation of OIF. The divisional units are now being supported by FSTs, but this does not fix the MTOE shortfalls of IO personnel.
  • One division combined its IO objectives into one overarching goal: maintaining consent and support of the people. All divisional actions are focused toward that goal.
  • The "Good News" handbill is a very effective IO product being utilized by a non-U.S. unit. They produce it weekly, and include positive Coalition stories for distribution to the Iraqi people and media.
  • FA30s lack adequate training in several areas: CA, PSYOP, PA, and EW assets and capabilities.

DOTMLPF Implications

Organization/Materiel: Add IO personnel and equipment to applicable unit organizations/MTOEs in order to enable planning and execution of IO at all levels.

Doctrine: Incorporate the fundamental understanding of IO into all Army doctrine so that the concept, role, and relevance of IO can be understood.

Personnel: Invest in rigorous training and education for IO/FA-30 personnel, to include understanding the fundamental functions of all the IO elements/ participants.

Leadership and Education: Incorporate the concept of IO integration into the Army's education systems; the concept that "not everything has to be killed or destroyed in order to execute a successful mission" is necessary for successful operations across the ROMO.

Table of Supporting Observations

Observation Title CALLCOMS
File Number
EW Assets Available to Division 10000-12020
Command Emphasis on IO 10000-03456
Division IOWG 10000-02822
Division PSYOP Support 10000-46099
Division IOWG and Targeting Boards 10000-62208
Division IO Focus 10000-05808
Senior Officer Education 10002-04160
IO Training 10000-29184
Staffing 10001-16788

Table of Contents
Chapter 1-Topic D: Measures of Effectiveness (MOE)
Chapter 1-Topic F: IO at the Brigade and Below

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