Doctrinal Information Operations Issues

Conflicting ideas about information operations (IO) issues range from the “nothing is new” philosophy to using the written doctrine to develop new IO tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP). This doctrine includes FM 100-6, Information Operations Techniques, Tactics and Procedures, Initial Draft, 30 April 1999 and Joint Pub 3-13, Joint Doctrine for Information Operations, 9 October 1998. In one of the world’s most complex operational environments, IO has emerged to some as limited only to computer network attacks, totally overlooking the other active elements of IO (see Figure 1).

As the Doctrine Division, Futures Directorate, deals with IO issues, we need your input to write the doctrine. The first issue that we will address is the peculiarities in performing IPB to support IO; your ideas on this topic will affect the update of FM 34-130, Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield. Most of this article presents IO as the initial draft of FM 100-6 defines and discusses it.


The strategy of using IO within military operations has a long history. The Army focuses on IO as an overarching strategy with a variety of capabilities that influence an adversary. Sun Tzu focused on the mind of the opponent in much the same way one would moving chess pieces to attain checkmate in a game of chess. The ultimate objective is gaining information superiority.

IO is not just the current trend of technology—it is the use of many aspects information targeted to achieve a specific affect or influence the adversary. Examples of IO include electronic warfare (EW), computer network attack systems, deception, and psychological operations using human factors to target as pressure points throughout an operation. The information environment is an aggregate of individuals, organizations, or systems that collect, process, or disseminate information; this environment also includes the information itself. The use of information and information technologies to influence the outcomes of conflicts has become a hot topic in the military and intelligence community. The increasing number of computer “hacking” incidents in both the private and public sectors has risen exponentially. The legal and policy issues of IO in this technology-driven environment are also under review. The use of  “information as a weapon” within this ever-changing state of technology involves a tremendous amount of collection and analysis to support a specific outcome.

Given this realization, what are the expectations of and support for each echelon regarding IO? What are the simple TTP for the execution of IO at each echelon? What role do the G2 and S2s have in briefing threat and IO courses of action to the commander during the IPB process? What are the impacts of conducting IO on force structure, special training requirements, upgrades to equipment, and on the overall financial burden the military must meet? Information operations greatly influence stability actions and support actions and gaining information superiority throughout an entire operation.

Offensive Information Operations

Offensive information operations seek to deny, degrade, destroy, disrupt, deceive, and exploit adversary command and control (C2) systems. They apply across the operational continuum. The unit’s mission and the commander’s intent and concept of operations form the basis of offensive IO plans. Offensive IO help the commander to seize and retain the initiative by degrading the enemy’s information system and forcing the threat commander to be reactive. This will slow the enemy’s tempo, disrupting their decision cycles and their ability to generate combat power.

  IO includes six effects that focus on the threat’s information flow and decision-making process. Figure 1 presents a list of these effects.


Defensive Information Operations

Defensive IO integrate and coordinate policies and procedures, operations, personnel, and technology to protect and defend friendly information and information systems. Related activities of defensive IO include education, training and awareness, intelligence support, public affairs, command information, and offensive IO.
   Defensive IO conceals the physical and selective locations of information systems. It also denies the adversary information about our (friendly) capabilities and intentions by controlling the indicators.

Three factors make defensive IO considerations critical. They are:

Defensive IO produces several effects: protection and defense of information, physical security of command posts, and negating the adversary’s advantage from deception operations.

Integration of Offensive and Defensive Operations

The information operations planning process is a continuous cycle starting by developing a knowledge base of potential threats, analyzing the collected information and then incorporation into the military decision-making process (MDMP) for execution. Integration of this information to support commander’s intent and specific objectives is key to the strategy-to-tasking coordination of all the applications within IO. Plan- ning, preparing, executing and assessing offensive and defensive IO requires leaders to use both in mutually reinforcing functions. An information operations coordinator (IOCOORD) would plan and wargame the operation and integrate it into the operations plan (OPLAN). Discerning what is offensive or defensive in this integration would appear complicated because an application may apply to both types of operations (see Figure 2). This simultaneous planning requires an enormous amount of education, training, and equipment to provide the effective results necessary to maintain peace and be successful on the battlefield in the future.


Many agencies have performed IO daily yet the draft versions of our manuals have just begun to update our concepts and doctrine within this environment. We are all responsible to validate and provide comments to the appropriate proponents responsible for the review. The need for useful products, graphics, and realistic informative vignettes in these manuals is essential to keep our soldiers informed and aware of the techniques that have provided success and lessons learned.


Figures 3 and 4 are snapshots of the individuals involved with this collaborative effort during the period from October 1998 through January 1999. All of the participants from the 519th MI Battalion had at least two operational deployments in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia, Haiti, Somalia, Southwest Asia, or Honduras.



We welcome your input on these issues. To provide input on the FM 100-6 draft review or general IO and intelligence support to IO, contact Chief Warrant Officer Three Walt Horlick at E-mail horlickw To input any comments concerning the FM 34-130 draft, contact CPT Jeanne Lang via E-mail at [email protected] In addition, you can periodically check the Doctrine Division’s homepage at http://138 .27. 35. 36/ Doctrine/dlb.htm. We appreciate your comments and the time you take to provide them.

MI Partnership—An Example of Successful Doctrine Updating

In the April-June 1999 issue of MIPB, the Concepts and Doctrine department article focused on a counterintelligence (CI) and human intelligence (HUMINT) collection initiative and unofficial partnering effort. This effort is an excellent example of the close relationship required between the field and the Intelligence Center to develop accurate and comprehensive doctrine and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP). This initiative culminated in success thanks largely to the drive and persistence of Lieutenant Colonel David Hale, Jr., former Commander of the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, and Chief Warrant Officer Four Patrick Foxen (U.S. Army Retired). The resulting product is a very mature initial draft of a brand new field manual—FM 34-7-1, The Combat Commander’s Handbook on CI Analysis and HUMINT Collection in Stability Actions and Support Actions. The Intelligence Center, you the users of intelligence doctrine, and the Army as a whole owes the participants in this effort a big “thank you.”