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Chapter Six

IO Staff Organization, Actions, Processes, and Products


Field Manual 100-6, Information Operations, addresses the formation and organization of a division IO cell, the structure of which is the prerogative of the commander. "It may be something as simple as the periodic use of an expanded targeting cell or a more formal approach establishing a standing cell with a specifically designated membership."(1) A Commander of Task Force Eagle suggested that for corps, divisions, and task force-sized units, "ad hoc" approaches to building the IO Cell might be the answer.(2) During OJG, Task Force Eagle's division's IO cell was comprised of the Division's IO officer and a three-man Field Support Team (FST) from the Land Information Warfare Activity (LIWA). A LIWA FST provides expertise in deception, OPSEC, and tools for IO modeling, targeting, and synchronization.(3) The National Ground Intelligence Center, in conjunction with LIWA, can support commands with specialized IO products.(4)

To fully integrate and synchronize all components of IO, TFE employed an Information Operations Working Group (IOWG). The weekly IOWG served the planning and wargaming and control functions of an IO Cell. Such a group is appropriate to peace enforcement operations where the optempo is somewhat more predictable than in combat operations. If the peace operation situation should move to open conflict, FM 100-6 states that it may be more appropriate to stand up an Information Operations Battle Staff (IOBS), to integrate information operations in the staff. "The [IO] battle staff would consist of all staff members with a functional responsibility within IO, such as signal, fire support, PA, CA, OPSEC, EW, PSYOP, and military deception."(5)

AR 520-20, Information Warfare/Command and Control Warfare Policy, established LIWA to support and integrate IO in Army operations. TFE's LIWA Field Support Team was the backbone of the IO Cell in MND-N. The working group was chaired by the LIWA FST Commander and was composed of representatives from the staff sections with a role to play in information operations, which included the following:

  • Division Public Affairs Officer
  • Coalition Press Information Center Director (a senior PAO officer)
  • Provost Marshal
  • SOCCE (representing the JCOs)
  • Staff Judge Advocate
  • G-5 Civil Affairs
  • G-2 Plans
  • G-3 Plans
  • Allied Brigade Liaison Officers
  • Task Force Liaison Officers Joint Military Commission Representative
  • PSYOP, DPSE Commander
  • Political Advisor (POLAD)

The functions the IOWG performed included:

  • Planning the overall IO effort for the commander;
  • Developing IO concepts to support the scheme of maneuver;
  • Establishing IO priorities to accomplish planned objectives;
  • Determining the availability of IO resources to carry out plans.(6)

In TFE, the IOWG coordinated and synchronized the actions of the IO actors in the operations planning phase by brainstorming how each actor could contribute to a coordinated IO Campaign that would support the Commander's intent and achieve the desired end state. The IOWG would organize these actions into a synchronization matrix built on IO Campaign Themes developed by the LIWA FST. To support operations, the IOWG developed a draft Information Operations Mission Statement and commander's intent for IOs in support of specific CONPLANs and operations, and in support of the overall peace enforcement mission. For all operations, the IOWG developed IO themes to communicate to the target audience(s) to achieve the desired endstate. In peace operations, IO themes must "concentrate on proactive versus reactive efforts to: reduce sources of conflict; assist nations in the transition to democracy; increase international dialogue and understanding; build political, economic, military, medical, commercial, social, and educational bridges; emphasize the role of the military in a democracy; and highlight the constructive domestic uses of the military."(7)

IO Themes were incorporated throughout the various elements of C2W, CA and PA. PSYOP integrated the IO Campaign themes into PSYOP radio, television, and print products (posters, handbills, etc.). PA integrated the themes into press releases at Coalition Press Information Center press conferences, and in articles appearing in command information publications. Civil Affairs DSTs reinforced the themes when supervising civil-military projects and when conducting liaison with local officials. Commanders from Battalion Task Force level to SFOR were interviewed on local radio shows. PSYOP-sponsored media working groups reinforced the IO Campaign themes. The TFE PMO reinforced the IO Campaign Themes in his interaction with the International Police Task Force (IPTF) and local police. The POLAD did the same in all interaction with IO/NGO and local leaders. And, finally, the Joint Military Commissions did the same in their interaction with the EAFs. In addition, the IOWG would produce the IO component of all CONPLANs and FRAGOs issued to the Task Force. In short, the IOWG served as the hub for all IO as portrayed in the following diagram.

The IOWG was most effective in planning and wargaming for IO in support of actual operations, when time was not a constraint. In Peace Operations designed to return the FWFs to normalcy, events along the way, such as elections, resettlements, and weapons storage site inspections, for example, are planned well in advance. Other actors in the Global Information Environment, such as religious or political groups, may also plan their own events, which intrude into the Military Information Environment and affect military operations. Extremists may demonstrate, counter-demonstrate, boycott, or sabotage these events to derail the peace process. For these kinds of events that are known in advance, the IOWG had time to develop a comprehensive IO component to the Operations Order (OPORDER) that supported successful execution of the military operations aimed at maintaining situational dominance - controlling the events and actors of the battlespace.

Information Operations require detailed planning and longer lead time for execution. This is necessary to ensure all components of the IO Campaign are functioning during the "preparation of the objective" phase with non-lethal fires from the IO actors to create the conditions for successful accomplishment of the operation and achieving the commander's desired end-state.

In Peace Operations designed to return the FWFs to normalcy, events along the way, such as elections, resettlements, and weapons storage site inspections, for example, are planned well in advance. Other actors in the Global Information Environment, such as religious or political groups, may also plan their own events, which intrude into the Military Information Environment and affect military operations. Extremists may demonstrate, counter-demonstrate, boycott, or sabotage these events to derail the peace process. For events that are known in advance, the IOWG had time to develop a comprehensive IO Campaign that supported successful execution of these types of operations. These known events are examples of Problem Sets. A Problem Set is defined as "a group of related issues or events that, in the opinion of the commander, could significantly hamper or jeopardize mission success."(8) Examples of such problem sets include:

  • Territorial disputes;
  • Resettlement operations;
  • Law and order;
  • Refugees and Displaced Persons; and,
  • Force Protection

Problem sets encountered in Bosnia by TFE included the municipal elections scheduled for September 1997, and the planned march of the Association of the Women of Sebrenica (WOS) to the Dulici Dam in Republika Serpska on 11 July 1997. For the municipal elections, themes were developed to support each phase of the preparation, execution, verification and implementation of the voting process and its results. These themes were incorporated into products and actions to be produced and disseminated by the IO actors in the division (CA, PSYOP, JMC, SJA, POLAD, PAO, and the Joint Information Bureau (CPIC)). The themes were developed by phases to ensure that the messages and products were precisely focused to modify behavior to achieve the desired outcome.

For the WOS march, the division developed a FRAGO for the operation and wargamed its execution to develop the branches and sequels to the basic plan. The purpose of the operation was to keep two groups of protesters separated to prevent an outbreak of violence and maintain the peace. For this operation, the themes stressed leading up to the march were "Freedom of Movement" and "SFOR has the means and resolve to enforce the Dayton Peace Accords and that individuals or groups should not provoke violent actions." These themes were intended to influence the behavior of both groups, to convince the Bosniacs (Bosnian Muslims) not to provoke a response by demonstrating on the RS side of the IEBL, and to convince the Bosnian Serbs not to interfere with freedom of movement.

Task Force Eagle's Information Operations Process

The IO planning process employed in Operation JOINT GUARD (OJG) was very effective for missions of long lead-time and resulted in a coordinated IO component to Division CONPLANs. The IO Cell in OJG was the Information Operations Working Group (IOWG) which, through a series of meetings, would brainstorm, wargame, coordinate, and synchronize the actions of the various staff sections contributing to IO courses of action in support of developing CONPLANs. The planning cycle for TFE IO began with the Wednesday meeting of the IOWG, where the FST Cdr guided the discussion about IO activities within the working group. From this meeting, the LIWA FST Cdr built the IO FRAGO. The next phase of the cycle occurred the following day when the FRAGO (fragmentary order) for IO was issued, directing the appropriate staff elements or units to conduct IO for the following two-week period. Included in the FRAGO was a report format specific to IO terminology and issues. The final phase of the cycle ended on the following Monday, when units and staff elements reported their IO input to the LIWA FST Cdr. Units and staff elements assigned IO tasks had five days to execute and then report, allowing the LIWA FST Cdr two days to incorporate the reports into the next FRAGO.(9)

IO Staff as the Division Main Effort in the Main CP

The Division Main CP, established by the first U.S. Division in the Bosnian theater, and subsequently passed on to following divisions at Eagle Base, Tuzla, was specifically arranged and designed to support Peace Enforcement operations vice mobile combat operations. The Main CP was arranged with those battlefield functional areas contributing to information operations being the Main Effort.

It is the nature of peace enforcement operations to transition from combat operations to stability and support operations aimed at establishing normalcy to the area of operations, that is, to return the area to a state of peace. As conditions return to normal, the combat arms emphasis so necessary in the initial entry phase of the operation for separating the belligerents, gives way to an emphasis on those battlefield functional areas which support the efforts of the FWFs in implementing the agreement, and will help the country to rebuild. These functional areas are Civil Affairs (CA), Psychological Operations (PSYOP), Public Affairs (PAO), Staff Judge Advocate (SJA), the Joint Military Commission (JMC), Provost Marshall (PMO) and the International Police Task Force (IPTF), the Land Information Warfare Activity FST Commander, and the Special Forces Joint Commission Observers (JCOs).

The arrangement of the Multi-National Division-North Main CP reflects that the staff cells of these battlefield functional areas were indeed the main effort of the division's operations, as they were in the front row facing the Commanding General and his immediate staff. In laying out the Main CP, the 1st Armored Division emphasized these staff cells and individuals "after two months of wargaming confirmed that the most likely actions would involve non-lethal means, backed by an appropriate military support to encourage compliance.direct military action was to be avoided to create an atmosphere of friendly cooperation."(10) The increased importance of these special staffs, and the need to include them in operations, led the 1st Armored Division to construct larger C2 facilities to accommodate them into the CP architecture.(11)

Information Operations were often the Main Effort for Operations JOINT GUARD and JOINT FORGE. That the layout of the Main CP should reflect this makes sense and clearly demonstrates their contribution to mission accomplishment. The logical physical arrangement of the cells and staff sections supporting information operations supported interaction between them, resulting in greater synchronization of effort in support of operations.

Maintaining Situational Awareness on Adversary Forces in Peace Operations

Through a coordinated effort with several staff sections of the division staff, the Land Information Warfare Activity (LIWA) Forward Support Team (FST) Commander was able to focus and synchronize Information Operations built on information and force status on the FWFs' political, police, and military units. FM 100-6 provides an IO Mission Essential Task List (METL) which includes "maintain a continuous estimate of potential adversaries and/or other operational situations in support of IO situational awareness and battlefield visualization."(12)

Maintaining SA on the status and capabilities of the FWF military, para-military, police, and special police forces, and political entities in the MND-N sector of Bosnia and Herzegovina required the cooperation of several staff cells and the Brigades and Battalion Task Forces that make up the division. The LIWA FST Commander, as the head of the Division IO Cell, effected this coordination. In TFE, the key players in maintaining accurate information and force status on the FWFs were:

  • The Brigades and Battalion Task Forces;
  • The Joint Military Commission;
  • The UN-sponsored International Police Task Force;
  • The division Political Advisor (POLAD);
  • G-2;
  • SOCCE Joint Commission Observers (JCOs).

The Brigades and Battalion Task Forces developed an accurate status of the FWF military through scheduled Weapons Storage Site (WSS) inspections for compliance with authorized stockage levels. The results of these inspections and the authorized stockage levels were maintained by the G-2. The Joint Military Commission staff cell maintained a status on all approved convoys, mobilizations, and convoys conducted by the FWF forces and briefed the approved schedule at the Battle Update Brief (BUB) daily. The SOCCE's Joint Commission Observers (JCOs) were small teams of Special Forces soldiers who were passive collectors of intelligence while they carried out their primary mission of establishing effective liaison with civil leaders and agencies. The Division Provost Marshal (PMO) maintained liaison with the IPTF, with an IPTF officer often sitting in at the Division Main CP. The IPTF, in turn, monitored the conduct of FWF police and special police forces and informed the division through the PMO. The division commander's Political Advisor (POLAD) reported on the activities and status of political leaders and agencies through the political offices of the U.S. State Department, the Office of the High Representative, and other agencies operating in the AOR. The G-2 was the organizer of these reports and managed all intelligence data.

Through the Information Operations Working Group (IOWG), the LIWA FST Commander was able to act upon intelligence in support of information operations. He linked the various reports and intelligence summaries to accurately identify the Information Operations focus and direction.

IO Wargaming in Support of COA Analysis

During Operation JOINT GUARD, the Information Operations Working Group (IOWG) served as the Division's IO Cell for developing IO plans. Although the IOWG did not participate in division-level wargaming as a separate entity, all IOWG members were present at these wargaming sessions, and usually had already wargamed IO COAs in support of CONPLANs, and their branches and sequels during the regularly scheduled IOWG meetings.

Wargaming of IO campaign plans took place in the regularly scheduled meetings of the working group, and, at Division-level, G3-supervised wargaming sessions in the Division Main CP. Information Operations require detailed planning and longer lead time for execution to ensure all components of the IO Campaign are functioning during the "preparation of the objective phase" with non-lethal fires from the IO actors. These "non-lethal fires" should create the conditions for successful accomplishment of the operation and achieving the commander's desired end-state. For those events which could be anticipated, the IOWG conducted wargaming of the various IO COAs developed to arrive at a refined, coordinated, and synchronized IO Campaign Plan in support of the CONPLAN.

In Peace Operations, events, such as elections, resettlements, and weapons storage site inspections, are known well in advance. Other actors in the Global Information Environment, such as religious or political groups, may also plan their own events, which intrude into the Military Information Environment and affect military operations. Extremists may demonstrate, counter-demonstrate, boycott, or sabotage these events to derail the peace process. For events that were known in advance, the IOWG was able to develop a comprehensive IO Campaign that would support successful execution of military operations. Examples of such events include the municipal elections scheduled for September 1997, and the planned march of the Association of the Women of Sebrenica (WOS) to the Dulici Dam in Republika Serpska on 11 July 1997.

During a wargaming session held at the Division Main CP, and led by the G-3 around the map-table, the LIWA FST Commander responded to the G-2's "enemy actions" with the appropriate IO theme that had been developed to induce the desired behavior and the direct actions to be taken to support the desired endstate for the WOS march. The Division's IO actors (POLAD, PAO, JMC, PSYOP, CA, PMO, and Coalition Press Information Center) were present to discuss the specifics of how they would implement the IO themes into their operations and products. As the G-3 and G-2 talked through the action-reaction-counter-action drills,(13) the conventional force actors were able to achieve an understanding of how the IO components contributed to the overall plan.

The IOWG conducted its own detailed wargaming for the municipal elections and the associated Division CONPLAN. The wargaming method used was a variation of the "avenue-in-depth technique."(14) The variation was that the focus was on the step-by-step process of the elections as opposed to a terrain avenue-of-approach focus. The working group developed themes for each phase of the elections process: registration of voters, electoral campaigning, balloting, tabulating ballots, international verification, and the implementation of the results in the form of a newly elected government. For each phase, the potential "enemy actions" were identified, as were the desired behaviors of the target audiences. The IOWG modified the action-reaction-counter-action drill to add the IO preventive action, essentially the theme in a product or message, that would induce the desired behavior in advance.(15) Through this wargaming process, the IOWG identified:

  • themes that supported the desired outcomes; and,
  • the various IO products and actions the IO actors could develop and disseminate in support of the phased IO themes.

The wargaming method of the action-reaction-counter-action drill was modified to include the preventive action of the IO theme that would elicit the desired behavior from the target audience prior to commencing operations. The IO Cell (in this case, the IOWG) was an active participant in division-level wargaming and conducted its own wargaming to develop IO themes, messages and products that supported the IO campaign component to division CONPLANs.

Integrating Targeting and Information Operations

(This section was taken from an article submitted to the Center for Army Lessons Learned by CPT Robert Curris, Division Artillery, 1st Armored Division, and Mr. Marc Romanych, TFE LIWA, and later published as "Integrating Targeting and Information Operations in Bosnia," in Field Artillery, HQDA PB6-98-4, July-August 1998, pp. 31-36.)

By using conventional targeting processes and redefining some IO terminology, TFE IO planners were able to incorporate lethal, nonlethal and information attack options into a uniquely synchronized plan for the commander. Targeting in peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations, while originally considered a different challenge from conventional coordination, has proven to be fundamentally the same as that used in high intensity operations. To use FM 25-100 terminology, the tasks which face the Division Targeting Team are no different in Bosnia, although the conditions and standards differ somewhat.

The major differences are the targeting objectives, which predominately shy away from physical destruction, and target sets, which overwhelmingly lean toward non-military entities. Instead of "hard" targets, such as multiple rocket launchers, air defense artillery sites and motorized rifle divisions, the high value targets (HVTs) and high payoff targets (HPTs) facing the peace enforcement commander are "soft" targets such as the intentions of government leaders, attitudes of the local populace, and influence over various social and political groups. In this environment, targeting takes a perspective which, up to now, has been considered by many to be the domain of information operations. However, during Operation JOINT GUARD, the unique capabilities of information operations (IO) were integrated into the targeting process to expand the maneuver commander's range of attack options.

Experience in Bosnia demonstrated that IO can be integrated into the conventional, tactical-level targeting process. In this manner, lethal, non-lethal and IO attack options are incorporated into the tactical decisionmaking process. Although this linkage is not readily apparent, both FM 6-20-10 (Targeting) and FM 100-6 (Information Operations) seek to provide the military commander lethal and non-lethal means to achieve the assigned mission. Conventional targeting describes both lethal (Fires and Maneuver) and non-lethal (EW and PSYOP) options, and IO describes attack options to strike at the adversary's personnel, equipment, communications, and facilities in an effort to disrupt or shape adversary C2. Although lethal attack is always planned as a part of military operations, the main targeting effort during peace operations is non-lethal attack. In contrast to lethal attack, which normally targets hard military systems, IO uses non-lethal attack on people or C2 nodes and targets attitudes, behavior, and intentions. Typical IO targets are civil, political, and military leaders who control or influence the local population, or assets that these leaders use to achieve their objectives.

For example, if "adversary" leaders seek to turn a legal civilian political rally into a violent, hostile demonstration, the target set may be those capabilities and assets needed to form or transform a crowd (inflammatory radio broadcasts, loudspeaker vans, hand-held communication systems, crowd leaders). Additionally, if buses are necessary to transport people to the demonstration, the owner of the bus company could be targeted to discontinue his vehicular support for the demonstration and traffic control points may be set up on likely avenues of approach to delay or stop reinforcing buses. In some cases, there may be redundant processes working to attack an IO target, as is often done with conventional attack options against hard military targets. Critical C2 nodes, such as telephone switchboards that transmit messages which instruct hostile crowds to assemble, can become a soft attack target by the use of electronic warfare assets. The creativity and innovation involved in such IO attack options are limitless, bounded only by the planners' ingenuity and the time available to plan.

Information Operations and Targeting

Integrating offensive IO into the targeting process starts by acknowledging the compatibility of conventional and IO targeting objectives. FM 6-20-10 describes targeting objectives which Limit, Disrupt, Delay, Divert, Destroy, and Damage. These terms are suitable to describe the objectives of IO, and TFE IO planners in Bosnia have provided some definitional clarity to these terms.

As both processes seek the same outcome, it holds that the process to achieve that outcome should be similar. Traditional targeting and information operations share the same endstate -- attacking enemy capabilities, and protecting friendly capabilities. To use parallel, non-intersecting planning processes is an inefficient and less than optimal use of limited planning time.

Decide

Once the tactical objectives are defined, conventional targeting can be used to identify the capabilities needed to achieve the stated conventional and IO objectives. The targeting methodology of Decide, Detect, Deliver and Assess (D3A) provides the process to achieve the tactical commander's intent.

The Decide phase begins with clear commander's guidance, and ends by identifying the critical High Value and High Payoff Targets. One rule is to broaden some definitions, and include both hard and soft targets in the set of objectives. To this point, traditional targeting decisions have focused on the "what" (hard targets), while IO focuses on the "who" (soft targets). In military operations that include IO, the commander's intent will clearly include both sets. Expanding the definition to include both hard and soft targets allows for a truly integrated and comprehensive target set for the operation.

With this information, the G2 develops the High Value Target List (HVTL), which identifies the people or things (capabilities) critical to the enemy's success. The importance of a useful HVTL is that it portrays the stated tactical objectives (Limit, Delay, etc.) and includes hard and soft targets. Note that traditional targeting terms have been applied to non-traditional targets such as buses and government officials.

From the targets on the HVTL, the High Payoff Target List (HPTL) is developed to identify those targets (hard or soft) that are critical to the success of the friendly mission. The prioritization of the HPTL can differ between phases of an operation, but the list should remain the same and include all the required targets, from people to tanks etc. The development of the HVTL and the HPTL is the primary objective of the Decide function of targeting. The example formats used to display both of these products can be found in Annex C of FM 6-20-10 and work for both lethal and non-lethal targets without modification. Once the entire target list is compiled, the assignment of delivery means follows the traditional targeting process.

Detect

The Detect function begins with the collection plan. A critical point is that the collector/detectors for both hard and soft targets are predominately the same. Although additional HUMINT collectors are available in Bosnia, the IPB process and the Reconnaissance and Security Planning process do not need to be modified. This establishes the IO planner as a critical member of the intelligence team, and the targeting team.

Deliver

Once the detection assets are aligned with the HVTs/HPTs, and appropriate NAIs and TAIs are established, Delivery assets are assigned against the targets. The prioritization and compilation of this data is effectively displayed on an Attack Guidance Matrix/High Priority Target List (AGM/HPTL), as illustrated in Annex C, FM 6-20-10. The AGM/ HPTL becomes the tool disseminated to the execution level. The AGM/HPTL provides the Who, What, When, How, and desired effect for each target. The matrix is simple to understand and has received positive feedback from units in the field for Operation JOINT GUARD. This matrix drives the Deliver phase of the process.

Assess

Assessment of the effects for both lethal and non-lethal attack is an on-going process throughout the operation, and requires dedicated assets to determine if objectives have been achieved, or require re-attack. The assessment phase follows the same process for both traditional and IO targeting. This requires a clear understanding of the desired endstate, as well as a capability to measure the effectiveness of the attack. In traditional targeting, desired effects are measured with the current doctrinal terms of Harass, Suppress, Neutralize, and Destroy. FM 100-6 does not include such definable terms for effects, but the IO personnel in Bosnia have developed the following IO effects matrix. The value of this matrix is the IO and Targeting Team's ability to develop new terminology for IO, but, at the same time, use somewhat the same lexicon as has been established by years of development by writers and users of Targeting doctrine.



Chapter Five, Information Systems (INFOSYS)
Chapter Six, Part 2