by Major General Charles W. Thomas
The degree of information superiority that allows the
possessor to use information systems and capabilities to achieve an
operational advantage in a conflict or to control the situation in
operations short of war, while denying those capabilities to the
adversary.-FM 100-6, Information Operations
This edition of the Military Intelligence
Professional Bulletin is devoted to the subject of information
operations. It is important that the Military Intelligence
Corps begin an active dialogue on this rapidly maturing
concept. The newly published FM 100-6, Information Operations, is
a good start, but is essentially a work-in-progress. It remains for
us to further it on its journey toward meaningful application.
Information Dominance is the Key to IO
I use "us" because the most serious application of IO involves the
notion of information dominance and the majority of that load is
handled in large measure by MI systems, force structure, and
subject matter experts. While IO involves integrating everything
from traditional command and control warfare (C2W), to
psychological operations (PSYOP), civil affairs (CA), and the
global information environment (in addition to intelligence), the
holistic reason for this integration is information dominance. A
key goal of IO is to gain a knowledge advantage in terms of what
you know about an adversary versus what he knows about you. This
knowledge delta, effectively exploited, is information dominance.
Information dominance begins with knowledge first, understanding
your own strengths and weaknesses, and second, weighing them
against those of your adversary. The larger the delta between the
two, the more dominant your capability to overmatch an adversary.
"Overmatch" is a relative term and, in knowledge-based warfare, may
occur only in specific circumstances. Understanding when
circumstances are favorable is, again, understanding when you enjoy
the information dominance delta.
The most fundamental requirement for information dominance is
knowledge about your adversaries' capabilities and
intentions classic intelligence in every sense of the word. There
is no question, though, that other aspects of information dominance
are also critical to enhancing this knowledge delta. For example,
command and control (C2) attack is essential to suppress an
adversary's ability to develop intelligence about us or to C2 his
forces. And no aspect of information dominance would work without
effective friendly information systems.
MI Support Essential to Information Dominance
The system of systems that MI brings to warfighting over the whole
spectrum of conflict is designed to tilt the information dominance
delta in our favor. We do this by collecting, producing, and
presenting intelligence; disseminating it; and playing a key role
in C2 attack. MI owns the subject matter experts, the systems, and
the capability to integrate it all from national through theater to
operational and tactical components. The IO mission is ours to
work, even though IO is functionally spread throughout the Army.
That is, the proponent for IO is the Combined Arms Center, the
Signal Center has the lead for C2 enable, and PSYOP and CA doctrine
rests with the special operations community and..., well, you get
The integral part of IO remains knowledge read intelligence and
relevant information. The harder of the two, by far, is
intelligence because it is usually obtained from uncooperative
sources. And our ability to accumulate knowledge about ourselves
and our adversaries is what, in turn, enables information
dominance. So, while we clearly have a key role to play in
information dominance, it is not a wholly mature concept, but one
that we must all think about in terms of technical and operational
architectures, doctrine, and tactics, techniques, and procedures.
Information dominance is a concept for MI operations in the 21st
century we need to work as a team to perfect it as an integrated
part of military operations.
ALWAYS OUT FRONT!