Task Force Eagle
Information Operations Planning
by LTC Robert M. Algermissen, Chief IO Cell, 1st Cavalry
MAJ Robert Koehler, AFSCOORD, IO Cell, 1st Cavalry Division;
MAJ Cecil Miller, FST Chief, Land Information Warfare Activity,
MAJ Arthur N. Tulak, Center for Army Lessons Learned
FM 100-6, Information Operations,
addresses the formation of an IO cell, the structure of which is
the decision 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
Operation JOINT GUARD (OJG), the Task Force Eagle (TFE) division
IO cell was formed around a five-man Field Support Team (FST)
from the Land Information Warfare Activity (LIWA). As the Division
IO Officer, the LIWA FST Chief chaired the meetings of the Information
Operations Working Group (IOWG ) and reported to the Division
Chief of Staff. The TFE weekly IOWG served the planning and wargaming
and control functions of an IO Cell. This approach was in accordance
with doctrine and appropriate for the situation. A small IO Cell
operating through the weekly IOWG was appropriate to peace enforcement
operations where the OPTEMPO is somewhat more predictable than
in combat operations. Additionally IO doctrine for peace operations
was still evolving forcing the division to use a "trial-and-error"
approach to IO.2 Although doctrine gives the
G-3 primary responsibility for IO, during OJG, the Chief of Staff
assumed responsibility, because, in his analysis, the task spanned
several staff functions in a significantly expanded and supplemented
As the NATO-led peace operations in Bosnia have passed from Operation
JOINT GUARD to Operation JOINT FORGE (OJF), the IO Cell evolved
from a small cell formed around the LIWA FST and the periodic
meetings of the IOWG, to a larger standing cell made up of elements
from the LIWA FST and the Division Fire Support Element. During
OJG, a team of five personnel from the LIWA ran the cell and was
supplemented by a CPT assigned IO as an additional duty from the
Division Fire Support Element (FSE). The section currently consists
of a LTC, the Division Deputy Fire Support Coordinator (DFSCOORD),
his three AFSCOORDs from the Division FSE, one Reserve officer,
and a three-man team from LIWA.
The Commander of the 1st Cavalry Division and MND-N placed IO
under the control of the DFSCOORD, and used the Division FSE as
its base structure. The role of the IO Cell is comparable to that
of the FSE: the FSE integrates lethal and non-lethal attack assets
to accomplish specific fire support tasks in support of the mission
- in principle, the IO Cell does the same for IO tasks and assets.4
The IO Cell Chief had tasking authority through the G-3 to synchronize
IO actions in accordance with the commander's vision. One of the
lessons learned from the NATO-led peace operations in Bosnia about
coordinating IO within the staff was that "fully effective information
activities are tied into operations - close integration with other
operational staffs (in particular the (G2 and G)3 shop) allow
information activities to be used effectively to prepare for,
and better respond to, contingencies and refocus the effort when
The evolution of the IO Cell into a larger, continuously operating
standing cell headed by the DFSCOORD provided the division positive
results on the degree of integration in IO planning, and on the
synchronization of IO execution. Having an appointed IO Cell Chief
in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel dramatically improved the quality
of inputs into the IOWG by making the various functional representatives
"accountable" for the contributions, or lack thereof, from their
respective functional areas. As the DFSCOORD, the IO Cell Chief
had the ear of the Division Commander. As a Lieutenant Colonel,
he was on a peer level with the Division primary staff officers,
most importantly, with the senior Public Affairs officer, the
Director of the Coalition Press Information Center. The CPIC Director
and IO Cell Chief formed a powerful team that resulted in tighter
synchronization of IO throughout the division, and in more effective
themes and messages.
Although the IO Cell Chief did not have command or controlling
authority over the many IO elements, he provided an integrating
and synchronizing oversight that conferred "unity of command"
on behalf of the Division Commander. Several of the IO elements
had independent lines of control, for example, the Division PSYOP
Development Detachment was under the control of the Combined Joint
Information Campaign Task Force (CJICTF). However, the IO Cell
Chief drew together these lines of control like the risers of
a parachute to ensure they were mutually reinforcing, non-contradictory,
and focused on the division's operations. This "unity of command"
provided more "unity of effort" and resulted in faster decision-making
and direction for all IOWG participants. The IO Cell Chief's primary
function is to ensure the coordination of the information operations
components of C2W, CA, and PA. Accordingly, he must
possess both technical expertise and extraordinary inter-personal
and team-building skills.
The evolution of the standing IO Cell within the Division FSE
occurred simultaneously with the gradual de-emphasis on lethal
fires as the general situation and SFOR interactions vis-à-vis
the Entity Armed Forces normalized. Peace operations generally
have a reduced need for fire support, and in the NATO-led peace
operations in Bosnia, the TFE FSE has emphasized non-lethal means.
The Division commander selected the DFSCOORD not only because
of the decreased emphasis on lethal fires, but also because IO's
targeting methodology mirrors the lethal fires targeting methodology
used by the Field Artillery.6 The IO Cell develops
the IO Annex for every OPLAN/CONPLAN, and also develops themes,
messages, and talking points on short notice for crisis events.
Annex development for OPLANs and CONPLANs approximates the Military
Decision-Making Process (MDMP).
As Task Force Eagle conducted peace-enforcement operations, it
remained prepared to apply lethal combat power to enforce the
peace if necessary. If conflict should erupt and flare, the IO
Cell could expand into an Information Operations Battle Staff.
FM 100-6 states that in situations of open conflict 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 battlefield deception."7
This would be extremely difficult for a "normal MTOE" division
to accomplish without an already functioning IO cell. In conflict
situations, the FSE's total focus would be on coordinating lethal
and non-lethal fires support.
The IOWG also grew in size from OJG to OJF as TFE learned how
to better synchronize the information activities of its maneuver
and support elements. The IOWG in OJF consisted of the following
- Division IO Cell Chief as Chairman of the IOWG
- Assistant Fire Support Coordinator (AFSCOORD)
- Deputy Division IO Officer (LIWA FST Chief)
- Public Affairs Officer
- Coalition Press Information Center Director (a senior
- Provost Marshal
- SOCCE (representing the JCOs)
- Staff Judge Advocate
- G-5 Civil Affairs
- G-2 augmented by representatives from the Analysis
Control Element, Long-Term Analysis, and Open-Source Intelligence
- G-3 Plans
- Allied Brigade Information Operations Officers
- American Brigade Information Operations Officer
- Task Force Liaison Officers Joint Military Commission representative
- Division PSYOP Development Detachment Commander
- Political Advisor (POLAD) (as needed)
- TF Engineer
Techniques and Procedures
In peace operations, the "battle rhythm" is more predictable
than in combat operations. During OJF, the IO Cell held Information
Operations Working Group (IOWG) meetings twice a week. Meetings
held on Wednesday morning included the brigade representatives,
who were afforded the opportunity to formally address what they
were working on in their brigade area and submit any requests
for assistance. Saturday meetings excluded the brigade representatives.
The IO cell also met on a daily basis with some of the key IO
planners and executors (PSYOP, SJA, PMO, PAO) to discuss any issues
that may need to be reviewed. For unplanned events, the IO cell
would call an emergency IOWG, follow an abbreviated decision-making
process to quickly produce themes, messages and talking points,
which were then distributed to the Division Staff and Brigades.
In addition to modifying the IOWG meeting schedule, the TFE IO
Cell also changed its format. Initially, the IOWG reviewed every
project and issue. Because there were so many projects, the IOWG
didn't have much time to devote to any of them. To achieve greater
focus on single problem sets, the IOWG covered the overall current
status of current projects in about ten minutes, and then spent
45-60 minutes on the "Focus Topic" for the meeting. The IO cell
published the topics six weeks out; therefore, all representatives
could prepare for them. An example of a "Focus Topic" was the
anxiously anticipated Brcko Arbitration Decision. By knowing the
topic in advance, each member of the IOWG came to the meeting
fully prepared to participate. Through lively discussion, all
IOWG participants were able to form a clearer picture of the problem
and make their unique contributions to a combined staff solution.
The primary planning tool's format was also changed to focus
on specific problem sets in the close fight as identified by the
G-2 and confirmed by the IO Cell Chief. Using "focus" matrices
for each problem set, the IOWG went through by functional area
to brief their functional perspectives on the problem set, and
then to discuss as a group what the potential IO messages, products,
problems and solutions might be. The focus sheets resembled "matrix
orders" in that they provided a clear easy-reference report that
showed what each element was contributing in each problem set.
The focus sheets provided a uniform format for IOWG representatives
to report their actions to the IO Cell, and facilitated their
mission analysis and course-of-action development in identifying
appropriate IO ways and means. The focus sheets also served as
a tracking tool for monitoring the progress of the IO Staff in
providing required information, reports, or products for each
problem set. The focus sheets also served as a historical record
of the IO effort executed for the problem set, and in this regard
served to support future planning for similar scenarios in the
manner of a staff "play book."
In adopting the focus sheets as the planning, tracking, and execution
tool for IO, the IO Cell standardized planning for all problem
sets. Using the focus sheets enabled the IO Cell to better track
the development of the IO plan, and to ensure synchronization
among the various IO operators. Emphasizing each functional staff
area and unit encouraged the IOWG representatives to "think harder"
about how their unit or staff section could contribute to the
IO effort in each problem set. Finally, the focus sheets provided
the IO Cell Chief a better way to manage and track the IO efforts
for each problem set, and facilitated briefing IO actions to the
commander in an easier-to-understand format.
As mentioned previously, the development of annexes for CONPLANs
and FRAGOs for on-going operations followed the Military Decision-Making
Process. Under 1st Cavalry Division, the IO Cell identified the
linkages between the MDMP and the IO Campaign Planning Model developed
by LIWA. Together with the focus worksheet for planning, the refined
planning model helped the IO Cell to follow a clear methodology
for developing concerted and synchronized staff products and IO
annexes and FRAGOs (see Figure 1).
One of the key players in developing IO messages and themes in
support of operations is Public Affairs. With a background in
projecting information to specified audiences, PA provides essential
support to the IO Cell in helping to develop talking points for
the commanders for the different projects and issues. PA is a
powerful conduit for truth-projection activities for newsworthy
activities and provides support to IO in the form of issuing press
releases, conducting press conferences, and participating in radio
shows. The CPIC coordinates with the IO cell to develop these
messages, staffs them through the subject matter experts (POLAD,
SJA) before getting the Commanding General's approval. Once approved,
the IO section disseminates the messages in the G3 FRAGOs and
in the Weekly Media Messages for Commanders
report. The intent is to have talking points available early
for commanders and staff officers to use in encounters with the
media and when talking to local leaders and citizens, and for
use during the commander's radio shows. Soldiers on patrol use
the talking points to deliver the messages to the local citizens.
Virtually anyone (engineers, JMC, PMO, JVB) who interacts with
Bosnian citizens uses the talking points to deliver our message.
The Commanding General's approval ensures the entire force speaks
with one voice.
The CPIC developed a question-and-answer (Q&A) format as
a part of its weekly report. The CPIC director coordinated with
the IO section and produced Q&As for hot topics the commanders'
use. They chose the topics based on conducting a thorough media
analysis. The Task Force commanders relied on these products.
These products also permitted the Division PSYOP Development Detachment
Commander to hasten the PSYOP approval process, since he could
show the PSYOP Task Force (POTF) that the proposed products were
supporting a broader effort using the same messages, thus speeding
product production, and tying PSYOP closer to Division operations.
The guidance provided in FM 100-6 on the formation of an IO Cell
was sufficiently flexible to allow the division to create a cell
in accordance with the situation and its capabilities. The most
significant effect of putting the IO Cell under the direction
of a Lieutenant Colonel was to make IOWG representatives more
accountable for their contributions to the IO effort. The gradual
evolution of the IO Cell from periodic meetings of the IOWG to
a standing cell in the FSE under the control of the Division G-3
was largely situation-specific and may or may not be the case
for future operations. Divisions should be prepared to establish
an IO Cell along the lines developed by the 1st Cavalry Division
(Forward) in MND-N at the outset of any MOOTW operation. This
will require a Lieutenant Colonel, working either within Operations,
or, preferably, as an independent cell reporting to the Chief
of Staff, to organize and lead the IO Cell before deployment,
as the FSE will be engaged in ensuring that lethal fires are readily
available to the commander during initial operations.
Until OPMS XXI produces qualified Functional Area 30 (IO) officers
to head the Division IO Cell, these personnel will have to come
"out of hide." They will also require training to be proficient
when the operation begins. The IO Cell Chief must understand the
fundamentals of each of the elements of C2W, PA, and
CA. As IO doctrine for MOOTW (and specifically for peace operations)
continues to develop, TTPs for planning and executing IO will
continue to improve. However, the deploying contingency force
may not have the luxury of being able to undergo a "trial and
error approach" to IO planning and execution and should stand
up, train and prepare a standing IO Cell before deployment.
1. Headquarters, Dept. of the Army, Field Manual 100-6, Information
Operations (Washington, DC: USGPO), 27 Aug 1996, p. D-0.
2. LTC Stephen W. Shanahan, U.S. Army (Ret) and LTC Garry J.
Beavers, U.S. Army, "Information Operations in Bosnia," Military
Review, Vol. LXXVII, No. 6, November-December 1997, p.
3. Center for Army Lessons Learned, B/H CAAT V Initial
Impressions Report: Task Force Eagle Transition (Fort
Leavenworth, KS: CALL, Unclassified, Distribution Limited), May
1997, p. 55.
4. Land Information Warfare Activity, LIWA Information
Operations (IO) Handbook (DRAFT), October 1998, p. 4-1.
5. See Land Information Warfare Activity, Student Materials:
Introduction to Information Campaign Planning and Execution (Vienna,VA;
SYTEX, Inc.), May 1998, Section 4.
6. For a comparison of the targeting models, see LTC Steven Curtis,
CPT Robert A.B. Curris, Division Artillery, 1st Armored Division,
and Mr. Marc Romanych, TFE LIWA, "Integrating Targeting and Information
Operations in Bosnia," Field Artillery, HQDA PB6-98-4, July-August
1998, pp. 31-36
7. Headquarters, Dept. of the Army, Information Operations,
op. cit., p. 6-7.
8. In MND-N, the Nordic-Polish Brigade Press and Information
Officer (PIO) performed this function. In the other Brigades,
the IO Officer was selected from the operations or fire support
staff. One of the lessons learned on conducting IO in Multinational
Operations (MNOs) is that the national military contingents will
conduct IO with unique styles reflecting their national doctrines
and practices. See Center for Army Lessons Learned, CALLCOMS Observation
10000-71410, "National Military Contingents Conduct Information
Operations with Unique Styles," (Unclassified, Distributed Limited).