IO is the center of gravity for the peacekeeping process in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The IO team uses the key task of influencing its targets for shaping operations to ensure the divisions success. The shaping operations set the conditions for successful Multi-National Division North (MND(N)) operations through a detailed targeting process. It is important to ensure that IO is planned for and not an afterthought while supporting G3 Plans. For IO to be effective in shaping the environment, it must focus on accomplishing specific desired effects on its targets. Furthermore, IO tasks must be synchronized through supporting staff elements and subordinate maneuver units to ensure a coordinated and efficient effort is achieved.
The IO group developed nine problem sets for the rotation, which gave IO a framework to work with and provided a focused targeting process for follow-on rotations. These problem sets were categorized as either focus areas or steady state operations. The campaign was built on a multi-year concept to ensure IO continuity across SFOR rotations.
We know that, in general, IO targets the adversarys and others information systems with offensive IO capabilities and functions, and protects friendly information and information systems with defensive IO capabilities and functions. IO elements in BiH are somewhat different than IO elements in low- to mid-intensity conflicts because of the nature of peacekeeping operations. These elements in BiH include but are not limited to: OPSEC, PSYOP, G5/Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC), PAO, Joint Military Affairs (JMA), Provost Marshalls Office (PMO), Staff Judge Advocate (SJA), engineer, and chaplain (as needed). Additionally, five maneuver units, which consist of two U.S. infantry battalions, one Nordic-Polish battle group, one Turkish battalion, and the Russian military contingent, support the effort as well. Their synergism effort is described in Chapter 7 of this publication.
Information operations in BiH was regionally affected by the various peacekeeping forces comprising the MND(N). The relative level of cooperation achieved by different peacekeepers varied by the ethnic background of the local populace and the country of origin of the peacekeepers. Likewise, the level of perceived cooperation varied by the local peacekeepers bias regarding groups within the local populace. Perception and bias played key roles in the ability to move ahead in the peacekeeping process, and it was important to rule out these variables when managing campaigns to maintain an objective assessment.
All of the multinational units in MND(N) were fully vested in the IO process. On occasion, there were intelligence products that were restricted to certain members of the division, but only rarely. With the exception of this privileged information, all IO campaigns were planned and conducted with the full participation of all units affected, and all members of the division had equal consideration in both the information operations working group (IOWG) and IO targeting meetings.