Information Operations Part II: Doctrine
(Continued from Part I)
Many attempts have been made to define the meaning of the concept of Information Operations (IO); they can be understood as the use of a series of tools to manage one’s own information and that of one’s adversary, with the objective of identifying and revealing the enemy’s stratagems. This is done with the aim of developing information strategies that can strengthen the institution’s image and using them to confront 4th Generation Warfare; in this scenario, they become a tool that can transform society’s perceptions and defeat the enemy internally, through an appropriate planning process.
Joint Publication 3-13 of 2006 on IO, published by the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard, covers a series of capabilities for their implementation and the achievement of the objectives proposed.
Fundamental Capabilities: understood as the means to influence the adversary and make it possible to have a direct impact on his decision-making capability. They are Psychological Operations, Digital Network Operations, Military Deception, Security Operations, and Third-Party Validators.
Support Capabilities: those capabilities that directly or indirectly form part of the information environment and contribute to carrying out IO. Ideally, they should be coordinated with the fundamental capabilities in order to achieve the goal most effectively. For Colombia these capabilities are Physical Security and Integrated Action Tools.
Related Capabilities: defined as those capabilities that make a significant contribution to the conduct of IO and should be coordinated with the fundamental and support capabilities. As related capabilities, they are not necessarily committed to IO. They are Civil-Military Relations, Government Affairs, and Public Diplomacy.
According to the doctrine of Integrated Action, Information Operations rely on five primary capabilities: Psychological Operations, Electronic Warfare, Digital Network Operations, Military Deception, and Security Operations.
Support Capabilities: Information Assurance and Logistical Tools (such as combat cameras, loudspeakers, broadcasters, etc.).
Related Capabilities: Civil-Military Relations (legally known today as Development Support Campaigns), Civil Affairs, and Public Diplomacy.
In addition, and in accordance with Joint Publication 3-13, Intelligence support is decisive in conducting effective IO. This is an element that cuts across multiple areas, because it facilitates obtaining relevant and timely information on the physical characteristics of the environment (population, places, the adversary’s informational capabilities), as well as making it possible to identify characteristics related to the origin of the data and the existence of diffusion, transmission, processing, and storage networks. Likewise, the information environment’s cognitive characteristics, understood as its psychological, cultural, and behavioral characteristics, the flow of information, and its interpretation by individuals and groups, are identified through intelligence.
In this way, IO becomes a raw material that cuts across multiple areas in order to successfully neutralize the enemy and undermine his theory of the fight. Colombia and its Military have the capabilities and elements to strengthen their implementation, and as a consequence, the work carried out daily by the Army in this field becomes a way to directly attack the enemy’s message and win the hearts and minds of the Colombian people.
(To be continued…)