Find a Security Clearance Job!


Center for Army Lesson Learned Banner
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

Chapter Contents Page
Topic A: IO Synchronization Methods of Units4
Topic B: Information Operations and Intelligence7
Topic C: Public Affairs and the Media10
Topic D: Measures of Effectiveness (MOE)14
Topic E: IO at the Division17
Topic F: IO at the Brigade and Below22


The doctrinal concept of information operations (IO) as a combat multiplier seems to be universally misunderstood at nearly every level of the Army. The common misconception of IO is that it is another staff stovepipe with undefined and unresourced missions, a vertical staff effort that does not seem relevant to combat operations. Conversely, effective IO is simply a horizontal synchronization effort. This effort aligns all the unit's extant functions and operations to the commander's intent for the purpose of defeating the adversary through information superiority. In other words, IO simply synchronizes the great things we already do - operational security (OPSEC), civil affairs (CA), psychological operations (PSYOP), public affairs (PA), electronic warfare (EW), physical destruction, intelligence (INTEL), deception, computer network attack/computer network defense (CNA/CND), and many more - in order to successfully accomplish the mission. IO is also vertically integrated with higher and lower IO plans.

IO doctrine does not provide sufficient guidance for operations in the Iraqi operational environment (IOE). During Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), units and staffs have had to develop numerous methods of planning, synchronizing, and executing IO that are not addressed in doctrine. FM 3-13, Information Operations (November 2003) describes the various IO elements, the supporting/related activities, their linkages/capabilities, and has a heavy emphasis on the integration of IO in the military decision-making process (MDMP). It lacks, however, much information on how IO officers should do their jobs. In other words, doctrinal tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) do not translate into operational TTPs. FM 3-13, Information Operations states, "Effective IO is an integrated effort that synchronizes the effects of [core] IO elements/ [supporting and] related activities to accomplish specific objectives designated by the commander." The goal of IO is to gain and maintain information superiority. This condition aids commanders in seizing, retaining, and exploiting the initiative. IO is a commander's operation. The commander and staff's input and involvement are critical to a successful IO program.

Phase IV IO was, at best, executed sporadically in the IOE; this does not demean the excellent work done by numerous fine Soldiers to make parts of the IO campaign work effectively, which some certainly did. A vertically integrated, horizontally synchronized IO campaign simply did not appear to exist in the IOE. Since it did not exist, it was not possible to execute, despite the tremendous efforts on the part of those who participated. Some U.S. units have a firm grasp on setting measures of effectiveness (MOE) and are using them. Others do not understand the process and therefore just conduct operations without any measure of success or failure. Some commanders are using tactical PSYOP teams (TPTs) as a reactive measure when bad second or third order effects occur. Most of the IO battle drills in theater are reactionary in nature. They are essentially afterthought, implemented when things do not go according to plan in kinetic operations.

Throughout the IOE, U.S. commanders grapple with the concept of IO across the range of military operations (ROMO). This is evident from many statements made by commanders. Some affirmed that this is an IO fight and that it should be the priority for Coalition efforts, while one commander stated that the only way to eliminate the insurgency was to kill every one of them. Another stated that we will not be able to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqis, but may be able to win their minds; in their hearts, they will always hate us. Yet another commander stated that IO was not an option, but that offensive operations should be the main effort.

Battalion commanders are dealing with a multitude of issues which impact the unit's ability to conduct effective IO. Units are heavily involved in the communities in their area of operations (AO). They are dealing with all of the local leaders, restoring infrastructure including institutions such as schools, hospitals, and utilities all while dealing with force protection measures and the likelihood of daily attacks. In Phase IV, where units and resources could be devoted wholly to stability operations (SO), units find themselves committed to offensive operations and maintaining a defensive and sometimes distant posture from the locals.

Several issues emerged from the observations, visits, and documentation review:

I. Commanders and staffs generally do not understand the IO process or its relevance, simplicity, and applicability as a combat multiplier. IO is, again, a staff synchronization that aligns the activities and messages of a command for the purpose of gaining and maintaining information superiority (IS); IS is simply the use of information to accomplish friendly objectives and prevent the adversary from accomplishing his objectives. Unfortunately, some U.S. commanders seem to believe IO is either a product that PSYOP units create, a civil-military operation, or just talking points. Not one single officer interviewed was aware that OPSEC was a core element of IO. In fact, not one unit visited had a person assigned as the OPSEC officer. Currently, it is difficult to gauge whether actions taken in theater are producing IS.

II. Doctrinal IO focuses on the operational level, that is, the combatant commander, land component commander (LCC), and corps levels. Resources follow doctrine, and the operational levels are where the scarce IO resources have been applied. In IOE, however, the focus of stability operations IO is appropriately placed on the civilian populace, tribal leaders, mullahs, and other unconventional warfare leadership. It is precisely at these critical nodes that the resources are either nonexistent or extremely scarce - the very levels at which they are needed the most. This doctrinal disparity precludes consistent, programmatic application of IO throughout the various organizational levels of IO planning and execution.

III. Currently, the FA-30 course only addresses IO in the MDMP. The program of instruction (POI) for FA-30 needs to encompass a much broader perspective and to include information about how IO is to be implemented at the tactical and operational levels of war. Most of the current doctrine in FM 3-l3 includes only broad philosophy on IO full spectrum operations at the strategic level. Changes to the POI should include a better understanding of the implementation of the core, supporting and related roles of IO, such as TPTs, CA teams, PA, EW, and military deception (MD). There should also be sufficient practical exercises in the art of non-lethal targeting and setting measures of effectiveness (MOE). The FA-30 instruction should also teach IO officers how to produce IO situation templates (SITEMPS) and analysis for inclusion in intelligence preparation of the battlefield (IPB).

IV. IO needs to be addressed in the curriculum of all officer education system (OES) courses. It is imperative that officers at all military educational levels (MEL) have a good understanding of IO concepts, elements, and practicality. This would contribute significantly to understanding, accepting, and incorporating IO into Army operations and culture.

IO doctrine is still in its infancy, with tremendous potential as a combat multiplier. To bring about change within the Army as a whole, IO must be incorporated into all phases of the OES. It must receive equal attention and detail in the POI as the battlefield operating systems (BOS). IO functional area training must include more training and education in the synchronization of IO elements. IO training for officers needs to encompass more than integrating IO into the MDMP. If they are to integrate, synchronize, and coordinate all the IO elements in combat operations, then these officers need to have full understanding of the scope, capabilities, and limitations of those assets. Unit level exercises - warfighters, mission rehearsal exercises (MREs), and combat training center (CTC) operations - need to have all elements of IO incorporated into the scenario. Commanders need to exercise their staffs in an environment which produces second and third order effects based on kinetic operations.

Table of Contents
Topic A: IO Synchronization Methods of Units

Join the mailing list