Observations, TTP, and Lessons Learned
By Mr. Roy W. Hollis, IO Analyst,
Land Information Warfare Activity
(LIWA)/Exercise and Training Integration Center
Fort Leavenworth, KS
Personnel and Personalities
- CoS: The Division Chief of Staff (CoS) is critical to the success of any
Information Operation conducted by the division.
He directs the staff and must empower the IO coordinator or
G7. The staff must understand this and
respond to the CoS’s requirements to support the G7.
This is important, as many staffers do not fully understand or
appreciate the value of IO. Without the
CoS’s backing and influence, the staff will focus on what they already know and
give minimal attention to Information Operation requirements.
- The IO Coordinator/G7: The effectiveness of this staff
officer is directly related to personality and the ability to integrate.
The G7 must be a known quantity and
generally respected across the full spectrum of the staff.
The G7 must be recognized as an integrator
and a trusted advisor. If the G7 does
not have credibility with the staff and the Command Group, IO will not receive
the necessary emphasis to make it a value-added component of operations.
The successful integration of IO into
operations can often be attributed to this officer’s personality and
what Information Operations are and, perhaps more importantly, are not.
- All too often, IO is associated with rear area or force
protection operations only. Mitigating
impact of displaced civilians, influencing host nation nationals to support
U.S. forces, and countering propaganda are just some of them.
This is a mindset learned from experiences
in SASO operations where the “A” Team is CA, PSYOP, PAO, and OPSEC.
- This is only a part of what IO is capable of doing, and we
have to unlearn this. IO is also an
attack methodology that can be used offensively to destroy, deny, degrade,
disrupt, deceive, exploit, or influence an adversary’s operations -- not just
protect our own forces.
- To understand what IO is not, you must look at the various
aspects of IO: physical destruction,
military deception, electronic warfare, operations security, and psychological
operations (FM 100-6, Information Operations). Civil and public
affairs, although a related activity, are, at times, supportive of broader IO
objectives, but are not elements of IO.
- IO seeks to integrate the various elements to achieve
specific results and objectives. IO is
heavily dependent upon commander’s guidance and intent and is as much a part of
the MDMP as maneuvers or fire support or other battlefield activities.
IO in the MDMP
- IO planning is conducted as an integral part of the
MDMP. It is not separate.
- The IO Cell identifies mission requirements, tasks, risks,
and assets available, and assists the commander’s understanding of where he can
employ IO as part of his full spectrum operation.
- The focus for the unit’s Information Operation is found in
the commander’s guidance and intent. He
must identify the critical time and place in the battle where he wants to bring
the full mass of his forces to bear in order to accomplish his mission.
This includes IO.
- The need for commanders to clearly express their vision of
the battlefield is an area identified in the FY01 BCTP Perceptions
that requires improvement. IO, to be
fully integrated and to have a chance to succeed, must be part of this
- IO supports the principle of mass and helps the commander
- The elements of IO are then focused to be mutually
supportive to accomplish a specified task or tasks.
They are the sum of their whole.
- Below is an IO planning worksheet taken from a recent
training exercise. It is by no means
the “perfect” example of how IO is put together, but is provided to show how
the unit thought about melding the elements of IO together to achieve a
|IO Planning Worksheet: Operation XX PH3A3
|IO Concept: Deter civilian interference with military operations. Minimize mass DC movement.
Seek support of populace in counter recon,
counter-insurgent, force protection operations.
Degrade morale of the 3MRD soldiers.
Destroy 3MRD, 37TD, and 10INA FS assets.
Disrupt 3MRD and 10INA ADA assests and
3MRD C2. Defeat 3MRD attacking
Conduct integrated Information Operations in support of XX Div
defense in sector to defeat the 2nd TE (3MRD), 10INA. |
3MRD is defeated, 37MRD is delayed.
XX Div is along PL Copper in defensive
positions, transitioning to the offense.
Population continues to support friendly forces.
||Offensive IO Tgts:
Cdr 3MRD and C2 network.
||Defensive IO Tgts:
Midland civilians, XX Div soldiers and units.
|Destruction Tasks: 1) Destroy 3MRD, 37TD,
and 10INA FS assets. 2) Degrade 3MRD
C2 nodes. 3)
Destroy 3MRD Reserve.
4) Continue Counter Recon operations
against recon elements and SPF. 5) BPT engage insurgents and terrorist.
1) Disrupt 3MRD, 37TD, and 10INA ADA nets as part of non-lethal sead.
2) Disrupt 3MRD FS nets and C2 nets. 3 )Disrupt and degrade 3MRD Reserve C2
1) Location of known and suspected SPF. 2) Location of known and
suspected insurgents, terrorist, and NL sympathizers.
3) Location of 1st echelon Bns of
3MRD/10INA. 4) Location of 3MRD and 10INA FS assets.
5) Location of 3MRD and 10INA ADA assets,
6) Location of 1ID Tank Bn and Reserve. 7) Availability of local broadcast
media. 8) HN assets available to support DCs, force protection, and counter
insurgency. 9) Location of NGO/IOs in
Attack morale of 3MRD soldiers.
O/O focus psyop attack on _____________.
(Emphasize overwhelming combat power of
friendly forces. Continued resistance
futile and will only result in their death.)
Issue surrender appeals.
Broadcast HN Stay Put policy.
Convince Midland civilians to support friendly operations;
non-interference, help DCs and direct to HN agencies, report terrorist,
insurgents, SPF. Issue warnings that
US will target only military sites and to move away if you live near one.
Increase force protection and security operations.
Max use of camouflage and terrain masking
techniques. Minimize contact between
soldiers and local population. Do not
use commercial telcommunications systems.
1) Conceal Main Defensive Belt, 2) Hide location of Reserve. 3)
Use CSS convoys and movements to reposition forces for the defense.
Measures of Effectiveness -
1) Displays of public and private support
for friendly forces. 2) Non-interference with military operations. 3) Increased
reporting of SPF, insurgent, terrorist activity. 4) Minimal DC movements from
north to south. 5) Increase in surrender, defections, and desertions of 3MRD
soldiers. 6) Reduced fires from DAG, AAG, ARAG. 7)
Unresourced comittment of 3MRD Reserve.
8) 37TD commited piecemeal to attack or
not commited at all.
|Civil Affairs Tasks:
Convince local population and civic
leaders to support friendly forces and obey HN "Stay Put"
policy. Receive DCs and move to safe
areas. Transfer DCs to HN Agencies.
|Public Affairs Tasks:
Issue command messages.
Reiterate Stay Put policy.
Emphasis support of US forces to Midland.
Seek civil cooperation with friendly
military and force protection operations (non interference, report suspected
terrorist, insurgents, SPF). Restate
US forces target only military sites
Chem - Smoke HVTs. CI-
Establish local networks and liaison with civil police authorities.
Identify and report suspected terrorist,
- The principle of backward planning must be taken into
consideration when putting together an Information Operation.
If the operation requires X amount of time
and you are already at Y, then a determination must be made on whether to
expend assets, with potential for no gain, or move on to an operation where
assets can be brought to bear in time to have the desired effect.
Creation of an effective IO Cell
- The purpose of the IO Cell is to plan, prepare, assess, and
oversee the execution of IO.
- Past MTOE changes began the process of authorizing an IO
Section at division level. The basic
structure allows units to plan IO, conduct IO target integration, manage
Information Operations, and address information assurance issues.
What it is lacking is the actual subject
matter expertise in the various disciplines or elements, plus intelligence
support, that make up Information Operations.
The IO Section with these SMEs becomes the IO Cell.
- Structuring the IO Cell should take place in garrison first
and be maintained as an operational entity to be effective once deployed.
Actually putting all the staff elements
into one location is probably not realistic given garrison duties, but regular
IO Cell training sessions and battle drills can be conducted to develop a team
process that is integrated with the overall staff.
- Within the CP, synergy between the elements can be created
by placing them in the same area or within close proximity to facilitate rapid
exchange of information. The following
is an example of an IO Cell that was observed to be highly successful during operations:
Example: The CoS
co-located the IO Section, CA rep, PSYOP rep, and PAO Section within the
TOC. The EWO maintained a workspace in
both the FSE and the IO Cell as his duties required moving between the two
areas. Continuity with current
operations was maintained through an IO battle captain working current
OPS. Due to a shortage of personnel, an
IO plans and an IO targeting officer were not available.
These duties were shared between a LIWA
field support representative and the G7.
The remaining member of the IO Cell was the CI/HUMINT warrant officer
working from the G2 analysis and control element.
A Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) LNO was placed in the IO Cell area
at the request of the SJA in order to have legal coverage of any IO-related event
or incident. In the long run, on-site
legal representation proved extremely valuable.
FY01 BCTP Perceptions support the use of SJA in IO.
The benefit of this arrangement was the bonding of the
elements, heightened situation awareness of the workings of each element, the
formation of a team approach to the elements of IO, and the almost
instantaneous communication of significant actions along with feedback.
Frequent IO Cell staff huddles served the
purpose of cross-leveling information, providing updates, and keeping the group
- A detractor resulting from inability to co-locate is a
tendency within the various elements to stovepipe their efforts.
It takes strong leadership on the part of
the G7 to pull all the elements together and keep them working as a team.
IO staff huddles and the continual presence
of the G7 become even more important to keeping an extended IO Cell on task.
The Information Operations Work Group (IO WG)
- The IO WG is actually an extension of the IO Cell.
It brings together, at a designated time and
place, other members of the staff who contribute to IO through their operations
or who are affected by IO.
- The IO WG is a dynamic organization and its membership
changes with requirements.
- Staff members who should always attend the IO WG are the
G7, the IO Section, PAO rep, CA rep, PSYOP rep, G3 rep, G2 rep, EWO, and the
SJA. The CoS determines whether to
chair this meeting or leave it to the G7.
The normal observed practice is for the G7 to chair unless IO is
designated as a decisive effort.
- Other attendees vary depending on the situation and
requirements. They can include, but are
not limited to, the Div Surgeon, the Div Chaplain, Chemical Officer, Provost
Marshall, Space Operations Officer, Special Tactical Operations rep, SOF LNO,
Div Signal Officer, Fire Support Officer, and Div Engineer.
- The IO WG serves as a means to round out IO concepts,
targeting, and planning; establish IO priorities; and determine overall
availability of IO resources. The
resulting IO staff products are used to identify intelligence support
requirements, facilitate IO targeting in the targeting process, develop orders,
and create measures of effectiveness.
Formats for IO staff products are available in the LIWA IO Battle
Book, A Source Document for Planners.
- An IO WG agenda is used to focus the
assembled audience and keep it on task (see example below).
It provides for status reporting of current operations, current
operation assessments, and re-attack recommendations, as well as preparations
for future operations and unexpected events.
It should be noted that the IO WG 24-, 48-, and 72-hour outlook must be
linked to the targeting process and the ATO cycle.
- A suggested recommendation for an IO WG meeting is from
30-45 minutes. Use of automation
capabilities should be maximized to share IO concepts, plans, and information
with work group attendees prior to the meeting.
This is in line with the FY01 BCTP Perceptions on
the necessity to reduce time spent in meetings.
- The placement of the IO WG meeting on the staff battle
rhythm is extremely important to perception management and ensuring IO targets
are integrated during the targeting meeting.
- The optimum placement is prior to the targeting meeting,
the daily press briefing, and the CMOC meeting.
This will ensure all staff sections involved with IO have
integrated their input into the overall IO scheme and are aware of the unit’s
IO objectives, goals, and themes.
- If it is not possible to hold the IO WG prior to the
targeting meeting, it can be held immediately after.
The IO WG can receive a back brief on the IO targets integrated
into the attack guidance matrix (AGM) and placed on the ATO, and be ready to
address the next cycle of targeting.
- It is imperative, though, for perception management, that
the IO WG be held prior to the daily press briefing and the CMOC meeting.
These two meetings serve as venues whereby
we present our story and can influence perceptions.
If you don’t cross-level information before going into these
meetings, it is all too easy to get caught saying two different things.
- A technique is to set aside a portion of the IO WG to
wargame/murder board the upcoming press briefing and the CMOC meeting.
As a result, all speakers are on the same
level and are saying the same thing.
Consistency is important to successfully managing perception.
Units that have employed this technique have
noticed a significant improvement in effects achieved.
Staff Interaction – IO is part of the entire BOS
- A perception noted by BCTP is that key leaders and staff
members are spending too much time in meetings and that there are too many
meetings. The question is how to
facilitate information exchange without consuming everyone’s time in lengthy or
- As stated above, co-locating or placing the IO Cell members
in close proximity will help resolve some issues with having to hold numerous
meetings. Also use of automation to
transfer and share data will help expedite the process.
- Plans Group. The IO
planner must be integrated into the Plans Group from the very beginning.
If this is not done, IO will always be an
afterthought and never fully integrated.
- Current Operations.
There must be an IO representative co-located with the current
operations section who can speak authoritatively on the status of IO
events. In the event of unforeseen
circumstances, this individual must be empowered to make decisions affecting
current IO operations and how they support the overall scope of the mission.
- Targeting Staff.
This is the most critical of all requirements for staff
interaction. IO is targeting, and if
not properly integrated, IO events will not be supportive of the overall
- The targeting meeting is the normal venue for integrating
- Who should attend the targeting meeting?
The EWO and the PSYOP rep are already
standing members of the targeting board.
With the creation of the IO Cell, the IO targeting officer, as a
minimum, should represent the IO Cell.
While the EWO and PSYOP rep will discuss purely EW or PSYOP missions,
they will also, in conjunction with the IO targeting officer, integrate EWO or
PSYOP missions in support of IO.
- The IO targeting officer must also be ready to discuss and
advocate the inclusion of IO-specific CA or PA events on the AGM, as well as
fires in support of deception or the overall IO objective.
Fires in this category may include the
destruction of key communication infrastructure or assets during the decisive
phase of the fight.
- The CA rep and the G7 may want to attend the targeting
meeting if the situation warrants their presence.