The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW


Chapter Five

Information Systems (INFOSYS)

The joint definition of an information system (INFOSYS) includes the entire infrastructure, organization, and components that collect, process, store, transmit, display, and disseminate information.(1)The Army definition of INFOSYS includes personnel, machines, manual or automated procedures, and systems that allow collection, processing, dissemination, and display of information.(2)Regarding peace operations, what is important to note in both of the definitions provided above, is that INFOSYS does not consist only of automated or electronic systems, but can be also manual and "low-tech." An objective of IO is to shape the environment and influence decisions. In peace operations, no matter the technological or operational complexity any adversary or friendly INFOSYS may have, in the end it is people who analyze and make decisions on the data their INFOSYS provides; therefore, human action is at the heart of all INFOSYS.(3)The commander in peace operations should consider his entire staff as part of his INFOSYS.

Current IO doctrine recognizes that military forces may often use non-military INFOSYS in conducting operations, which is especially true in MOOTW where military forces work with other agencies and in multinational coalitions. A non-military INFOSYS consist of those elements not under the control of the military force.(4)Examples of such non-military INFOSYS include:

  • U.S. and host-nation Public Switch Networks (PSNs) and postal and telegraph systems;
  • Digital and cellular telephone systems;
  • Commercial communications satellite systems;
  • Commercially developed software applications;
  • Commercial, international news media;
  • Electric power systems that support information networks;
  • Commercial receivers that use precision, space-based navigation systems such as GPS.
  • Public-accessed databases and bulletin boards (Internet).

However, the concept of non-military INFOSYS as explained in FM 100-6 ignores several INFOSYS operating in a peace operations environment which require almost no technical means of support, and occur with predictable regularity. Examples of such INFOSYS are the forums, working groups, and regular meetings of FWF civil, police, and military leadership, meetings of political and social organizations among the local populace, and meetings of the IOs, PVOs, and NGOs operating in the AO. Military IO in support of diplomacy in peace operations requires both information and useful forums in which to present that information to be successful.(5)Joint doctrine recognizes that INFOSYS includes forums of discussion and other media of communications that support decisionmaking.(6)TFE has exploited these kinds of INFOSYS to answer its information requirements and to disseminate elements of the IO campaign to decisionmakers and other actors whose operations intrude into the military information environment.

These organizations operate in the same battlespace, but with a different focus, and with different governmental, political, social, and military interface with the FWFs. The routine meetings between the IOs, NGOs, PVOs and their FWF counterpart organizations and FWF governmental, political, social and military leaders represent a "low-tech" INFOSYS which influences FWF decisionmaking. Civilian agencies operating in the battlespace "had developed a network of influential contacts, compiled historical and specialty archives, and established relationships with local leaders and businessmen. They understood the infrastructure of the region, and the political and economic influences."(7)

The commander may need information that is shared in the INFOSYS of the participating parties to such forums, but is not routinely shared with the military peace operations force due to either a lack of communications links or reporting procedures. Military interaction with civilian organizations in peace operations is more than civil-military cooperation. By tapping into the INFOSYS represented in these routine meetings, U.S. Forces enhance their information dominance. Because such meetings and forums are predictable, the commander can direct his staff to send appropriate personnel, either to directly participate,(8)representing the peace operations force, or get updates from the IO, NGO, or PVO representatives or their liaisons to the military force.

Other forums which constitute "low-tech" INFOSYS may be established by the peace operations force. Examples of INFOSYS either established or controlled by the peace operation force include the Joint Military Commissions (JMC), meetings of the Political Advisor (POLAD) with civilian leaders, and forums created by the SFOR or TFE in the battlespace which include the FWF civilian, police, or military leadership.

The Joint Military Commission (JMC) liaison offices established between SFOR and the Entity Armed Forces (EAFs) are at once: 1) a conduit of information for COMSFOR and his multinational division commanders to the military leadership of the EAFs; 2) a direct source of RII from EAF command and control echelons, and; 3) a venue to conduct IO aimed at influencing this important group of significant actors. The Political Advisor (POLAD) assigned to Task Force Eagle in the conduct of meetings with significant actors outside the military environment, but acting inside the MIE accomplished the same results of being both a source of RII and a venue for IO. The TFE POLAD's meetings with leaders of social, political, and religious groups, as well as civil leadership, enabled COMEAGLE to influence these important decisionmakers, whose actions can intrude into the MIE.(9)

The weekly meetings between the Tuzla Chief of Police, the International Police Task Force, the Russian Brigade Military Police, and the TFE Provost Marshal provide yet another example of a low-tech INFOSYS comprised of people representing various organizations within an established forum that met regularly. The IPTF was also represented by an LO at the TFE Main Command Post when required. Daily reports from the 1,600-man IPTF covered issues important to TFE such as freedom of movement and human rights violations, demonstrations and rallies, crime, traffic safety, and inter-entity police cooperation. On more than one occasion, access to this INFOSYS answered COMEAGLE's CCIR for operations either planned or underway.

Although INFOSYS need not be technical in nature, U.S. Forces in Operation JOINT GUARD employed automated INFOSYS to aid in predictive intelligence analysis, controlling operations, and battletracking. TFE developed and maintained databases on environmental issues, mass graves, PIFWCs, key actors, vehicle license plates, police checkpoints, weapon storage sites, and target information.(10) As demonstrated in Chapter Four, TFE employed a sophisticated array of technologically advanced RISTA systems, which were an important part of the friendly INFOSYS that friendly forces both protected and exploited. While the communications infrastructure that supported TFE in Bosnia is without dispute an integral component of the friendly INFOSYS, its composition is largely a matter of technological capabilities of fielded systems and their tactical distribution and will not be discussed here. Chapter Five of FM 100-6 discusses at length the technical components of the present and future Army Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems.

Exploiting "Low-Tech" INFOSYS - The JMC

The Joint Military Commissions (JMC) established between SFOR and the Entity Armed Forces (EAFs) are a low-tech INFOSYS. The United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1031, which authorized member states to establish an Implementation Force (IFOR), under NATO control, also defined the FWFs' military responsibilities, IFOR's mandate rights and roles, and formally created the JMC. The JMC was chartered as a forum for military authorities to coordinate implementation of the military aspects of the GFAP.

The primary purposes for conducting JMC meetings during OJE/OJG/OJF was to allow COMEAGLE to track EAF compliance with the peace accord; to disseminate intent and instructions, and to coordinate activities or resolve differences between SFOR and the EAFs and between two or more of the EAFs. During OJG, COMEAGLE designated the JMC as the sole agency responsible for communicating and coordinating directly with Corps-level commanders and representatives, from the armed forces of the two entities, on implementation of all military aspects of the GFAP. Within MND(N), subordinate-level joint military commissions executed missions similar to those of the division task force, but at their respective levels.

The mission of the JMC at division level and below was to monitor compliance to provide information to the commander on the activities of the EAFs. These JMCs also allowed for disseminating policy, issuing instructions to factions on policies and procedures, coordinating the General Framework Agreement for Peace required actions, resolving military complaints, questions and problems, coordinating civil/military actions where appropriate, and developing confidence-building measures between parties.

The nature of peace operations is such that many events are known in advance; for example, Weapons Storage Site inspections, elections, DPRE resettlements, demonstrations and rallies, EAF training events, etc. In TFE, JMCs coordinated with the FWFs prior to a scheduled event. In addition, guidance was provided in fragmentary orders directing brigades and below to conduct JMCs and bilateral meetings with the FWFs. Division-level JMCs and bilateral meetings were conducted and letters, outlining Task Force Eagle's intentions and expectations, signed by the Division Commander, were sent to corps-level commanders of the FWFs. Finally, during the last few days before the event, joint commission officers ensured communications were established between the Division Headquarters and the headquarters of the FWFs.(11)

JMC operations and decisions required appropriate media coverage and were, therefore, coordinated with the PAO. Media coverage of JMC operations should be developed as a theme in the popular support campaign to emphasize the legitimacy and authority of the JMC. The aims are to reinforce the binding nature of JMC decisions, obligate local groups and individuals to comply, and underscore the consequences of noncompliance. Commanders can also improve the effectiveness of JMCs by recognizing the motivating power of self-interest among the local JMC participants. The key is to ensure that local JMC members have strong incentives for continuing to work through the JMC process. In addition, all sides must understand the penalties of obstructing or withdrawing from JMC operations. By doing so, commanders establish a pragmatic basis for influencing the behavior of local leaders and the groups they represent.(12)

In MND-N, the JMC process represented a low-tech INFOSYS, which enabled TFE to communicate to the FWF military leadership clearly. The JMCs gathered and maintained information on the preferences, positions, and understandings of the parties regarding the peace agreement, in fact, these were the JMC's CCIR.(13) These JMC meetings, at all echelons, provided the TFE Commander and his staff greater SA on the attitudes, intentions, and actions of the EAFs. The information obtained from these meetings often confirmed or denied reports from other sources and ensured that COMEAGLE maintained information dominance.

UN/NGO and Peace Operations Force Interface -- an Exploitable INFOSYS

Some information requirements may be filled by international organizations that are part of the Military Information Environment (MIE) in a theater of operations, but which are not interconnected with the military communications architecture. The commander must be ready to exploit the communications processes and events between these organizations to meet his information requirements.

As stated in Chapter Four, the most timely, accurate, or relevant information in military operations other than war (MOOTW), may come from non-traditional collectors and from sources outside the unit or military channels.(14) The Military Information Environment (MIE) includes several actors operating outside the military information systems, such as UN offices, Non-Governmental organizations (NGOs) and Private Volunteer Organizations (PVOs). The commander may need information that is shared in the communications infrastructure of these organizations, but is not routinely shared with the military component because of a lack of communications links. The commander may selectively direct liaison between his staff and the communications networks of these organizations.

An example of the conditions described above occurred in MND-N during Operation JOINT GUARD. After the opening of the Brcko bridge, both Croatian and Republika Serpska (RS) authorities imposed fees to cross the bridge in violation of the Status of Forces Agreements (SOFA) that are part of the General Framework on the Agreement for Peace (GFAP, a.k.a. the Dayton Peace Accord). In relation to the activities of the RS in this area, such action also violated the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The TFE CG wanted to know more about the activity of the Croatian and RS customs authorities and the RS Border Police as well as their intentions, and directed the Division Staff to meet with the international offices in Brcko to assess the situation.

Because SFOR had already established liaison with the Office of the High Representative of the UN at Brcko, the TFE staff was able to take advantage of non-military information channels. The appropriate subject-matter experts for the issue were the Law Enforcement and Military Law elements of the TFE Staff. The Deputy PMO and DIV JAG convoyed to Brcko to attend a weekly meeting at the Office of the High Representative of the UN in Brcko whose regular attendees were the following:

  • OHR Representative
  • SFOR LO to the OHR at Brcko
  • European Union Customs Official
  • IPTF Representative
  • Civil Affairs Officer supporting the SFOR Liaison Office to the OHR

At this meeting, the lead agents for SFOR, that is, the MP and JAG staff officers, were able to ask the right questions to fulfill the commanders information requirements for subsequent action. This event is an example of a situation where the necessary relevant information originates from a source outside the military communications channels, but is still a component of the Military Information Environment.(15)

Effective liaison with NGOs, PVOs, and International Organizations in the Area of Operations allows the commander to readily take advantage of information sources outside the military communications and information infrastructure, but still within the Military Information Environment. By maintaining awareness of the operations of these organizations, the commander may tap into their information systems, meeting, etc., employing the appropriate subject-matter expertise of the staff to fulfill his information requirements.

Establishing a Low-Tech INFOSYS in the Battlespace.

Peace operations forces may also create such forums within the battlespace that will serve to communicate information campaign themes to targeted audiences and influence FWF and social/political group leadership. An example of such a forum created by TFE is the Media Working Group. The MND-N and OHR-N sponsored a Media Working Group for the media representatives of the FWFs, which provided SFOR an additional information operations platform. IO require closer attention to the media and their intended and unintended effects on operations.(16) As stated earlier, the media in Bosnia was largely politically controlled, and reporting was biased by either omission of the truth, distortion through emphasis on only those elements of information which reinforced a political view, or outright disinformation, i.e., fiction-based propaganda. A Brigade PSYOP Support Element (BPSE) operating in MND-N arranged to form a standing Media Working Group of local media representatives. The location of the meetings had rotated between the BiH and R/S sides of the IEBL at neutral facilities. Attendees typically included the BPSE Commander, a PAO representative from the Coalition Press and Information Center, and 19 representatives from nine radio stations, with each of the FWFs being represented. The intent of the Media Working Group was to provide a forum where the media representatives of the FWFs could assemble to:

  • Work on joint projects that would allow each faction access to news contacts and sources on the other side of the ZOS;
  • Receive professional development through presentations and workshops;
  • Obtain access to representatives from media representatives of other FWFs;
  • Obtain access to the professional services and capabilities of the OHR public affairs section;
  • Obtain increased access to SFOR information operations entities such as the CPIC (Coalition Press and Information Center) and the PSYOP BPSE and DPSE.

Task Force Eagle offered incentives to the FWF media representatives to gain their cooperation. These incentives took the form of increased access to unbiased information from the outside world via satellite downlink through SFOR offices in Sarajevo, technical assistance from experts working at the OHR PAO section, and access to information from the other FWFs in a safe environment. By creating the forum, TFE and SFOR obtained an additional platform for information operations over which it exerted considerable influence and to which it had unfettered access to all three FWF media groups. This forum presented an opportunity to expand access to local media and to improve both relations between SFOR and the FWF media and between the media representatives of the FWF.

Endnotes, Chapter Five

1. Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Command and Control Warfare, Joint Pub 3-13.1, op. cit., p. I-1.

2. Headquarters, Dept. of the Army, Information Operations, Field Manual 100-6, op. cit., p. 5-0.

3. Brian E. Fredericks, Col., USA, "Information Warfare at the Crossroads," Joint Forces Quarterly, Summer 1997, No. 16, pp. 97-103.

4. Headquarters, Dept. of the Army, Information Operations, Field Manual 100-6, op. cit., p. 5-5.

5. Department of Joint and Multinational Operations, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, The Nation and Military Power, Student Text S511, Lesson 1 (Fort Leavenworth, KS: CGSC Press), 27 March 1995, p. LSN 1-2-3.

6. Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Command and Control Warfare, Joint Pub 3-13.1, (Washington, DC, USGPO), 7 February 1996, p. v.

7. Headquarters, USAREUR, Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR, USAREUR Headquarters After-Action Report, op. cit., pp. 88-89. See also, Larry K. Wentz, ed., Lessons from Bosnia: The IFOR Experience, Command and Control Research Program, National Defense University (Washington, DC: NDU Press), 1998, p. 61.

8. Stephen W. Shanahan, Lt. Col., U.S. Army (Ret), and Garry Beavers, Lt. Col., U.S. Army, "Information Operations in Bosnia," Military Review, Vol. LXXVII, No. 6, November-December 1997, p. 58. The authors mention TFE participation in International Housing Committee meetings as an example.

9. Ibid. The authors describe both the JMC and POLAD meetings as IO "mediums."

10. Headquarters, USAREUR, Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR, USAREUR Headquarters After-Action Report, op. cit., p. 84. See also Larry K. Wentz, ed., Lessons from Bosnia: The IFOR Experience, Command and Control Research Program, National Defense University (Washington, DC: NDU Press), 1998, p. 61.

11. Fred Johnson, Maj., U.S. Army, Center for Army Lessons Learned, Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Civil Disturbance, Newsletter No. 96-11, November 1996, p. 20.

12. Center for Army Lessons Learned, Joint Military Commissions, Newsletter No. 96-8, September 1996, p. III-10.

13. Ibid, p. II-2.

14. Information Operations, Field Manual 100-6, Headquarters, Dept of the Army, Washington, DC, 27 August 1996, pp. 2-6 and 2-10.

15. Center for Army Lessons Learned, B/H CAAT IX, Initial Impressions Report (Unclassified, Distribution Limited), op. cit., pp. A-74 & A-75.

16. Information Operations,Field Manual 100-6, Headquarters, Dept. of the Army, Washington, DC, 27 August 1996, p. 1-13.

btn_tabl.gif 1.21 K
btn_prev.gif 1.18 KChapter Four, Relevant Information and Intelligence (RII)
btn_next.gif 1.18 KChapter Six, IO Staff Organization, Actions, Processes, and Products

Join the mailing list

One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias