The Physical Destruction Component
by MAJ Arthur N. Tulak, CALL Military Analyst
of Information Operations
in Peace Enforcement
Army Information Operations (IO) are comprised of the three
interrelated components of Operations, Relevant Information
and Intelligence (RII), and INFOSYS. The Army uses
three operations to conduct IO: (1) command and control warfare
(C2W), (2) civil affairs (CA), and (3) public affairs
(PA). The Operations component of IO consists of PSYOP, Physical
Destruction, Electronic Warfare, Military Deception, OPSEC (the
five elements of C2W), Civil Affairs, and Public
Affairs. A peace operation information campaign will employ
all these components to shape the battlespace. Through offensive
IO, the peace operations force can target such things as adversary
leadership, decisionmaking and C2, with the goal
of controlling adversary decision process tempo, and attack
the adversary's centers of gravity through nonlethal means to:
- undermine the adversary's legitimacy or actions contrary
to the provisions of a peace agreement;
- reinforce positive behavior in compliance with the peace
- cajole compliance by stressing the responsibilities and
actions required of the adversary under the provisions of
the peace accord.1
In combat operations, the commander accomplishes the mission
through the application of lethal combat power in combined
arms operations. He uses IO to disrupt or destroy enemy information
systems, primarily through EW and physical destruction.2
Physical destruction is the most effective means for denying
the enemy use of his C2 systems and achieving an
information advantage in the application of force.3
In peace operations, however, the principle of restraint and
the neutrality of the peace operations force mean that lethal
power is rarely the means to mission accomplishment.
In peace operations, the enemy is not one of the warring
factions, but the conflict itself. Diplomatic considerations
predominate over purely military requirements and impose constraints
on the force.4 A common characteristic of
peace operations has been the necessity to observe the principles
of legitimacy and restraint. Although U.S. forces in a Peace
Enforcement operation may have to apply lethal combat power
during the initial stages, or as the result of acts which
violate the terms of the imposed peace, the principles of
restraint and legitimacy limit the efficacy of lethal combat
power. The principle of restraint requires that forces "apply
appropriate military capability prudently," with due regard
for collateral damage.5 In peace operations,
lethal force is the instrument of last resort. "When force
must be used, its purpose is to protect life or compel, not
to destroy.the conflict, not the belligerent parties, is the
enemy.the use of force should be a last resort and, whenever
possible, should be used when other means of persuasion are
Of the five elements of C2W listed above, physical
destruction may seem outside acceptable constructs for use
in a peace operation where lethal force is used only as a
last resort. However, physical destruction is "the application
of combat power to destroy or neutralize enemy forces and
installations."7 It is primarily in the
neutralization of adversary C2 functions and processes
that physical destruction is manifested in peace operations.
"One can 'target' a (C2) system without designating
it for actual destruction;" effective C2W aims
to defeat the adversary C2 system, "whether by
physical destruction or effective nullification."8
The destruction of a target means that the adversary capability
is degraded or shut down, either permanently, or for a specified
period of time.9
Although SFOR did not physically destroy any of the FWFs'
ability to command and control their elements, IO were aimed
at influencing their C2 decisionmakers. In Operations
JOINT ENDEAVOR and JOINT GUARD, C2W also aimed
at co-opting the FWFs' C2 apparatus to facilitate
their compliance with the Dayton Peace Accord and to monitor
that compliance as well.10
FWF C2 facilities were targeted for destruction
during early NATO air operations supporting UNPROFOR in the
autumn 1995, known as Operation DELIBERATE FORCE, during which
there were 3,515 sorties against Bosnian Serb military positions.11
This NATO air campaign is credited for having pushed the Bosnian
Serbs to the peace table at Dayton Ohio. During the siege
of Sarajevo, the combination of attacks by NATO aircraft delivering
precision air strikes against Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) positions,
and an attack with 13 Tomahawk land attack missiles against
VRS C2 facilities, disrupted VRS C2
systems and achieved the termination of the bombardment of
Sarajevo and convinced Serb troops to remove their heavy weapons.12
Physical destruction operations in peace operations focus
on the neutralization of adversary capabilities. In determining
whether or not physical destruction operations apply, the
IO planner must identify the adversary's means to effect the
situation, and then target those means for neutralization.
Tactics employed to neutralize the adversary's ability to
effect the situation or exercise C2 include:
- Occupying or controlling access to facilities used by
the adversary for command, control and communication (C3)
and early warning;
- Shutting down power sources for C3 and early
- Delaying groups or individuals of the adversary's support
base attempting to mass;
- Arresting or detaining key individuals and instigators
of the adversary support base to prevent them from fomenting
disturbance at "hot spots."
Physical occupation of, or controlling access to, adversary
C3 and early warning facilities is a means of temporarily
denying the adversary use of those capabilities. If the peace
operation force cannot occupy the facility or control access
to it, cutting off its power may provide a less-intrusive
means of temporarily depriving the adversary use of the facility's
functions. Examples of C3 and early warning facilities
that could possibly be targeted for physical destruction include:
TV and radio transmitting towers and stations, police stations,
air raid sirens, and radio frequencies used to transmit radio
or telephone communications.
If the adversary attempts to conduct demonstrations by massing
angry crowds, then delaying the movement of adversary supporters
through the use of checkpoints and roadblocks denies the adversary
the ability to mass. Typically, demonstrations carried out
in Bosnia by the FWFs involved busing in crowds of supporters
from outlying towns and villages to achieve a mass. The demonstrators
sought to dominate the situation by stretching the peace operations
force and forcing them to spread their forces thinly as they
attempted to monitor and control the situation. Roadblocks
need not be formal, and ruses may be used to send the inbound
mobs on detour after detour.
Crowds need leaders and instigators to be set into action.
Detaining key leaders and instigators before the crowd assembles
removes the volatile agent from the combustible mix. If the
crowd has already assembled, it may be possible to remove
instigators and agitators attempting to ignite the crowd into
PHYSICAL DESTRUCTION OPERATIONS IN TFE
Seizure of Bosnian-Serb Radio/Television Towers
Following the civil war in Bosnia, much of the communications
media lay in ruins. At the cessation of hostilities, newspapers
and magazines were few, expensive, and had limited circulation.
In such circumstances, broadcast media were extremely influential,
despite the small number of operating transmitters. The broadcast
media of the FWFs were politically driven and controlled.
Reporting was biased by either omission of the truth, distortion
through emphasis on only those elements of information which
reinforced a political view, or outright disinformation, i.e.,
fiction-based propaganda. In May 1997, the North Atlantic
Council granted authority to SFOR to take actions against
any media undermining the peace accords.13
During the early summer of 1997, a power struggle erupted
between the rival factions of the Bosnian Serb (Republika
Serpska, or RS) leadership, that is, the RS President Bijlana
Plavsic and the Bosnian-Serb member of the Bosnian presidency,
Momcilo Krajisnik (loyal to the former RS President and indicted
war criminal Radovan Karadzic). The struggle began when Madame-President
Plavsic decided to dissolve the RS parliament and called for
new elections in November 1997. The struggle caused a split
within the RS state television, with journalists and editors
from the Banja Luka studio deciding to split away from Pale
direction after Pale manipulated a broadcast on SFOR searches
in police stations. SFOR and OHR tried to exploit these developments
to their advantage. SFOR and OHR encouraged SRT Pale to tone
down its anti-Dayton, anti-NATO campaign and air programs
on the DPA sponsored by the international community. In exchange
for their cooperation, they would remain open, whereas noncompliance
would bring military action.14
The pro-Karadzic, or Pale faction and its politically-controlled
media continued the barrage of anti-SFOR propaganda and hate.
SRT television stations for example, referred to the Muslim
head of Bosnia's Presidency as "Alija Izetbegovic, Muslim
murderer."15 These same stations televised
anti-SFOR propaganda to the Bosnian Serb audience attacking
the legitimacy of SFOR and its mandate. One anti-SFOR propaganda
item accused SFOR of using "low-intensity nuclear weapons,"
during the 1995 attacks on VRS positions around Sarajevo,
Gorazde, and Majevica in 1995.16 In another
propaganda piece, Serbian Radio Television (SRT) showed alternating
images of World War II German Army and present-day NATO forces
while the commentator drew the comparison, likening SFOR soldiers
to a Nazi occupation force.17 NATO officials
have expressed concerns that such "venomous propaganda" threatens
the safety of the NATO-led peace operations force.18
Despite the efforts of both the High Representative and the
OSCE, the dissident RS faction repeatedly refused to cease
or moderate their broadcasts. After SRT Pale heavily edited
a tape on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former
Yugoslavia (ICTY) war crimes mission, using it to spread disinformation,
the international community took direct action. Under the
authority of the GFAP and orders from the NATO Council and
the Office of the High Representative, SFOR seized four SRT
transmission towers, considerably reducing the footprint of
SRT. The seizure of these towers was a physical destruction
mission in that SFOR targeted the TV transmitter towers for
neutralization, which is a condition achieved by physical
destruction operations. Within TFE, U.S. soldiers secured
several transmitters used by media elements loyal to the pro-Karadzic
faction. On 1 October 1997, TFE units executed the physical
destruction operation, securing the Bosnian-Serb television/radio
transmitter complexes on Hill 619 in Duga Njiva, Hill 562
near Ugljevik, Trebevica (near Sarajevo) and Leotar.19
In pre-dawn raids, SFOR French, Polish, Scandinavian and American
soldiers secured the sites and immediately fortified them
against anticipated resistance.20
At Hill 619, U.S. Engineers operating Armored Combat Excavators
(M-9 ACEs) constructed protective berms for the troops, and
cleared fields of fire, while other engineers emplaced a triple-standard
concertina barrier around the site.21 At Hill 562,
200 Bosnian-Serb protesters staged a 15-hour confrontation
in which the protesters hurled rocks and attacked with clubs,
damaging several vehicles.22
SFOR Seizure of the SRT Tower at Hill 619
Physical Destruction is easily understood when applied as
one of five elements of C2W in combat operations.
However, the emphasis of C2W during MOOTW shifts
away from the warfighting orientation to take in the broader,
and often political, considerations associated with interacting
with a variety of actors in the Global Information Environment
(GIE).23 The accepted Joint definition of
C2W specifies that C2W is "an application
of Information Warfare in military operations."24
Information warfare covers the range of actions taken during
conflict or crisis to achieve information superiority over
an adversary. Although the term warfare may seem to imply
that IW applies only to combat operations, in fact, IW capabilities
are employed in MOOTW to bring about the desired responses
from several audiences to include the political and military
leadership of the former warring factions, the populace, and
other actors.25 The peace operations force
employs its IW capabilities "to preserve the peace, deter
escalation of a conflict, and prepare the battlefield so that
if a crisis escalated to conflict, the U.S. military can effectively
employ (offensive IW) capabilities in a wartime scenario."26
Following the principle of restraint, and applying IW capabilities
selectively, physical destruction operations remain a viable
option in peace operations intended to achieve information
and situation dominance.
1. Maj. Gen. David L. Grange, USA, and Col. James A. Kelley,
USA, "Information Operations for the Ground Commander," op.
cit., p. 9.
2. Headquarters, Training and Doctrine Command, Concept
for Information Operations, TRADOC Pamphlet 525-69,
Fort Monroe, VA, 1 August 1995, p. 9.
3. Les Aspin, Annual Report to the President and the
Congress, Washington, DC, USGPO, January 1994, p.
4. Headqaurters, Dept. of the Army, Decisive Force:
The Army in Theater Operations, Field Manual 100-7,
Washington, DC: USGPO, 31 May 1995, p. 8-14.
5. Headquarters, Dept. of the Army, Peace Operations,
Field Manual 100-23, Washington, DC: USGPO, 30 December
1994, p. 17.
6. Ibid., pp. v and 17.
7. Headquarters, Dept. of the Army, Information Operations,
op. cit., p. 3-5.
8. Struble, Dan, Lt. Cdr., USNR, "What Is Command and Control
Warfare?," Naval War College Review, Summer
1995, Vol. XLVIII, No. 3, p. 91.
9. Headquarters, Dept. of the Army, Information Operations,
FM 100-6, op. cit., p. 3-5.
10. See Center for Army Lessons Learned, Initial Impressions
Report, Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR, Bosnia-Herzegovina,
Task Force Eagle Initial Impressions, (Unclassified,
Distribution Limited), Fort Leavenworth ,KS: CALL, May 1996,
11. Larry K. Wentz, ed., Lessons from Bosnia: The IFOR
Experience, Command and Control Research Program,
National Defense University, (Washington, DC: NDU Press, 1998),
12. Lawrence E Caspar, Irving L. Halter, Earl W. Powers,
Paul J. Selva, Thomas W. Steffens, and T. Lamar Willis, "Knowledge-Based
Warfare: A Security Strategy for the Next Century," Joint
Forces Quarterly, Autumn 1996, No. 13, p. 85.
13. Associated Press, "NATO Pulls Plug on Serb Telecast,"
The Kansas City Star, October 19, 1997, p. A14.
14. Pascale Combelles Siegel, Target Bosnia: Integrating
Information Activities in Peace Operations, Command and Control
Research Program, National Defense University, Washington,
DC: NDU Press, 1998, pp. 160 and 161.
15. See Tracy Wilkinson, "Trying to Extract War from Journalism,"
Los Angeles Times, Sunday, October 26, 1997,
16. See Center for Army Lessons Learned, B/H CAAT Elections,
Initial Impressions Report, (Unclassified, Distribution
Limited), Fort Leavenworth, KS: CALL, March 1998, p. 83.
17. Larry K. Wentz, IFOR C4ISR Experiences,
National Defense University, Command and Control Research
Program, op. cit., 1998, p. 5.
18. Philip Shenon, "U.S. and Allies Plan to Curb Bosnian
Propaganda," The New York Times, 24 April 1998.
19. William B. Buchanan, U.S. European Command Support
of Operation JOINT GUARD (21 December 1996 - 20 December
1997), (Unclassified, Distribution Limited), Alexandria, VA:
Institute for Defense Analysis, IDA Paper P-3389, 1998, p.
20. Dennis Steele, "Hill 562: Boots in the Mud," Army,
Vol. 48, No. 1, January 1998, pp. 39-41.
21. See SGT Jerry Parisellad, "Broadcasts of Violence Stop
with SFOR Help," 362d Military Public Affairs Detachment,
Task Force Eagle Talon, Vol. 3, No. 40, October 10, 1997,
Eagle Base, Tuzla Bosnia.
22. Dennis Steele, op. cit. p. 41.
23. Ibid., p. 4-3.
24. CJCS, Joint Publication 3-13.1, Joint Doctrine
for Command and Control Warfare, op. cit., p. v.
25. Headquarters, Department of the Army, Intelligence
and Electronic Warfare Operations, Field Manual 34-1,
Washington, DC: USGPO, 27 September 1994, p. 7-4.
26. Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
Information Warfare - A Strategy for Peace.The Decisive
Edge in War, Washington, DC: USGPO, 1996, p. 13.