The SFOR 11 IO team consisted of one lieutenant colonel (IO Chief), two majors (one Deputy IO Chief and one IO special projects/media relations officer), two captains (one IO plans officer and one IO intelligence officer), and one CW3 targeting officer. The duties and responsibilities for the team members follow.
Information Operations Chief
- Serves as the divisions primary IO staff coordinator with the command group and other primary staff (G2, G3, PSYOP, G5/CIMIC, PAO, POLAD, MND(N) primary staff, Land Information Warfare Activity [LIWA], and the international community, as needed).
- Envisions where to take the MND(N) IO effort within the CGs intent and provides guidance to the IO team on how to get there.
- Provides weekly IO direction for the team and enforces it through the deputy.
- Monitors the IO teams planning and execution on a daily basis.
- Supervises IO day-to-day operations through the deputy.
- Directs the IO intelligence officers priorities daily.
- Attends the IOWG huddles.
- Attends the IO internal huddles and provides additional guidance to the deputy for the team.
- Reviews/approves current IO plans/activities daily (IOWG, targeting meetings, and focus areas).
- Reviews/approves PAO campaign area talking points that are updated bi-weekly.
- Chairs the SFOR HQ IO VTC on behalf of MND(N) every other Thursday.
- Supervises the MND(N)-contracted television program.
- Validates the CGs BUB slides that the deputy produces.
Information Operations Deputy Chief (Current Ops)
- Serves as the deputy/XO (2IC) for the section and as IO Chief in his absence.
- Facilitates/supervises IO day-to-day operations within the team.
- Chairs the IOWG huddle on Monday mornings to synchronize the effort. Chairs the IO internal huddle on Wednesday and Friday.
- Maintains/updates the IO synchronization matrix that synchronizes IOWG, targeting, and element efforts two times a week.
- Builds the weekly IOWG meeting and facilitates discussion between the other members while briefing the Deputy Commanding General.
- Supervises targeting meetings/rehearsals.
- Posts BUB slides and briefs them to the CG on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
- Attends the SFOR ICB VTC with the IO Chief every other Thursday and chairs it in his absence.
- Cross-walks IO operations with IO plans daily.
- Reviews PAO talking points bi-weekly, staffing with the IO planner and media relations personnel prior to sending to the IO Chief for approval.
- Reviews problem set mission analysis, target synchronization briefs, and implementing instructions (IMPINs) before they are submitted to the IO Chief and executed.
- Provides IO weekly input to G3 synch and training from IO problem set planning and the IO synchronization matrix.
- Backfills other team members, as needed.
IO Plans Officer
- Responsible for IO plans, integrating IO with G3 plans, revising IO, and incorporating IO into CONPLANs.
- Develops IMPINs resulting from targeting meetings and integrates IO into G3 IMPINs.
- Coordinates with SFOR ICB on a regular basis through TACWEB.
- Staffs PAO talking points bi-weekly with other IOWG members and media relations personnel.
- Revises and updates IO SOP, as needed.
IO Special Projects/Media Officer
- Responsible for planning monthly division television show topics through coordination with CIMIC and other IO elements and with the IO interpreter to facilitate coverage.
- Serves as the IO anti-terrorism representative.
- Handles mail call for the IO section.
- Serves as the IO representative for all company training meetings.
- Responsible for all IO admin (hand receipt holder for IO equipment).
- Keeps IO TACWEB revised/updated (IOWG, targeting meeting results, products).
- Maintains the IO battle rhythm.
IO Targeting Officer
- Targeting officer for all IO annexes/IMPINs.
- Facilitates targeting meetings and rehearsals.
- Develops all TSMs for IMPINs from targeting meetings, if needed.
- Manages/updates the bilat calendar with the POLAD and command group.
- Sends the bilat calendar to G3 synch and training.
- Assists the IO G2 with bilat packets.
- Backfills special projects, as needed.
- Maintains the IO nontactical vehicle for the section.
- Coordinates for/ensures that briefing rooms (DCR/plans briefing room) are set up prior to execution.
IO Intel Officer
- Provides the bilat schedule to SFOR after updating.
- Provides intelligence assessments on key individuals who attend the G2 huddle.
- Interfaces with the G2 ACE and G2 operations on a daily basis for IO integration.
- Conducts targeting meeting rehearsals with the targeting officer.
- Provides daily IO intelligence updates to the IO Chief.
- Maintains biographies on all MND(N) political leaders.
- Generates bilat packets on MND(N) political leaders and submits them to the POLAD, as needed.
IO BiH Additional Assets
Radio Mir. A military-owned and PSYOP-run FM radio station, immediately responsive to the MND(N) commander, that broadcasts music and information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Radio Mir covers approximately 65 percent of the MND(N) AOR and has an estimated 118,000 listeners each day out of a population of about 1.1 million. Staffed by five local civilian DJs and a PSYOP specialist.
Radio Mir functions much like a commercial radio station, but instead of paid commercial advertising, PSYOP and IO themes and messages are broadcast. Radio Mir conducts remote broadcasts throughout the AOR to build the listening audience as well as to support maneuver operations. For example, while conducting a remote broadcast at a local nightclub, the local maneuver commander might make an appearance and talk on the air about IO themes and messages regarding an upcoming operation in that area. Radio Mir is also often made available to members of the international community, IGOs, and NGOs to broadcast information that supports the SFOR mission.
Product Development Detachment (PDD). Produces print, audio, and audiovisual products including posters, handbills, radio ads, and television ads. Print products are designed by the PDD and generally printed by commercial vendors, though a lower volume and lesser quality internal production capability exists. Audio scripts and concepts are developed by the PDD but are recorded by Radio Mir, complete with sound effects. Audiovisual products can be completely produced by the PDD, but generally a script and concept are given to a commercial vendor who actually produces the product along with consultation with the PDD. Some products are obtained from HQ SFOR PSYOP as well.
Requests for products come from the tactical PSYOP teams (TPTs) based on their knowledge of the AOR, from task forces/battle groups based on their mission requirements, or most frequently from the IOWG. Product requests from IO are made to the PSYOP IOWG representative and are usually formalized in a division IMPIN.
Product concepts are discussed between the PSYOP commander, PSYOP operations and plans officers, and the PDD NCOIC. A draft product is developed, and once approved by the PSYOP commander, is translated and pre-tested with local civilians. Time allowing, products are pre-tested with a cross section of at least 100 local civilians from a variety of ethnicities and locations in the AOR. At a minimum, products are pre-tested with several interpreters and locally employed civilians on Eagle Base. Less pre-testing increases the risk of issuing ineffective or flawed products.
Products are submitted for approval to the following, in sequence: JAG, IO Chief, G3, POLAD, Chief of Staff, Deputy Commander, and Commanding General. Products are walked through the POLAD in less than 24 hours, and are left with the SGS for the command group. Products are submitted to the command group using the divisions staff action packet, but PSYOP also uses bright orange covers to set its actions apart from others and to obtain expedited processing (usually 48-72 hours). A one-page summary sheet is submitted with each product briefly explaining the purpose of the product, the reasoning behind the product design, results expected from the pre-testing, and any other pertinent information necessary to explain and sell the product. A prototype of the product is included in English and the translated languages as well.
(Note: Local civilians speak the same language, called Bosnian, Serbian, and/or Croatian depending on their ethnicity. However, two different typescripts are used Latinic and Cyrillic. All ethnicities can read both scripts, but they tend to ignore or discredit information portrayed in other than their preferred script. Latinic type is used for products intended for Bosniac and Bosnian-Croat media and areas, and Cyrillic is used for Bosnian-Serb media and areas. It should be noted that there are some differences in the spelling and choice of words between Bosniac and Bosnian-Croat language preferences. However, it is generally assumed that the differences are not substantial enough to warrant publication of a third type of product, especially given the relatively low density of Bosnian-Croats in MND(N).)
Print and audio products can generally go from concept to dissemination in 14 days or less, depending on their complexity, political sensitivity, and the number required. Audiovisual products require 4-6 weeks. Products can be expedited if risk is accepted in the products development, especially in the time-consuming process of pre-testing. Pre-testing, however, is not recommended, especially for products disseminated in large numbers.
Tactical Psychological Operations Teams (TPTs). Composed of two teams consisting of three personnel each, the teams conduct dissemination of print products, engage in face-to-face interaction with the local populace, and conduct pre- and post-assessments of the populaces knowledge, attitude, and disposition regarding specific events or situations in general. They also conduct loudspeaker operations for crowd control or when otherwise deemed necessary and appropriate to provide information to the local populace.
The teams are retained under division control, with their activities synchronized through the IOWG process. One of the following methods is used to task the TPTs:
- TPTs submit their recommended locations, tasks, and purposes.
- The task forces/battle groups request TPT support based on their mission requirements.
- TPT support is assigned by division in an IMPIN developed through the IOWG and division plans process.
TPTs are a limited asset, and it is critical that their capabilities and limitations be understood to ensure proper utilization. It requires constant effort to continually assess the best use of the teams' time. There are times when there is simply too much to do, and times when there is no specific mission to support. In this case, the TPTs can generally be best utilized by conducting general assessments of the AOR and disseminating general products (e.g., the HQSFOR PSYOP-produced MIRKO magazine for teenagers). The importance of allowing the TPTs to build personal relationships with local nationals cannot be underestimated. They must be allowed to spend time talking in local cafes, at newsstands, at bus stops, and so on.
Making the best use of the TPT asset requires a two-pronged approach. First, the TPTs schedules are presented at the weekly IOWG. If there are conflicting demands or periods of time that are not committed, these conflicts are highlighted at the IOWG and worked out either on the spot or following the meeting with TF/BG representatives. Next, the TPT sergeants and members of the PSYOP command group must constantly work directly with the task forces and battle groups to identify and coordinate for proper employment of the TPTs. These one-on-one relationships are critical and require substantial time and effort, especially with the multinational units, but also with the U.S. task forces as well.
TPTs coordinate to be in a task forces or battle groups AOR directly with the unit and follow the units patrol pass and reporting procedures. The TPTs complete a weekly report for the PSYOP commander. This information is used for the IOWG and briefed once a week to the CG when PSYOP briefs directly at the BUB. The commanders critical information requirements (CCIR) are, of course, reported and briefed as required immediately if necessary.
Civil Affairs (CA) and Battalion S5. Much has changed over the past few years in the Army CA arena in the concept and practice of IO. Prior to the release of FM 41-10, Civil Affairs Operations (February 2000), there was hardly a word that addressed IO. With the new release, there is an entire section devoted to IO. Prior to the release of FM 41-10, the best place to find doctrine was FM 100-6, Information Operations. Now FM 3-13, Information Operations (DRAG), is the reference in use.
In the past, IO has always been part of CAs way of doing business. To gain the cooperation of the populace, CA forces integrate PSYOP resources in civil information operations. The problem that CA personnel had was that IO was not always a focused effort between CA, PA, and PSYOP. Now through a combined effort, information disseminated will be focused, be one voice, and will influence the targeted group.
During SFOR 11, the battalion S5 (civil affairs) slice played a critical role in developing the IO targeting matrix and executing the missions to achieve the desired end state. Fortunately, the task force was deployed during the summer months, which encompassed two potential ethnic-clashing real-world missions in Bosnia. Additionally, the CA team conducted several large-scale humanitarian assistance missions with NGOs and helped to orchestrate four enhanced medical civil action programs (MEDCAPs) during the rotation. The IO targeting section and their ability to precisely track and organize the myriad bilats and associated tasks was instrumental in the task forces success.
CIMIC House: CIMIC houses are used to assist the populace with questions such as legal advice, the Property Law Implementation Plan (PLIP), returns registration process, and other returns issues. They help facilitate the passing of information through the use of flyers and pamphlets or by verbal means. At the same time, CIMIC personnel collect information on the current security situation, locations from where visitors to the houses are coming, and any other demographics. CIMIC houses also represent a sustained presence of SFOR and the IC to the local populace.
The CIMIC house idea is not new. It started with initial SFOR rotations; some of them were real homes where the soldiers lived. With a reduction in available resources, soldiers no longer live in the houses but commute on specific days. Special connex containers are also used as CIMIC houses. This makes it easy to move a CIMIC house to a place where more are needed.
For SFOR 11, all PA assets at Eagle Base were consolidated, and a robust stringer program was used to gain coverage of unit activities at the outlying base camps. A training workshop and comprehensive reference materials for unit S1s and other public affairs representatives were provided to ensure everyone understood their responsibilities under the reduced PA force structure. The PAO was an active-duty 46A major, responsible for all aspects of public affairs throughout the command.
Talon. The Talon is the Task Force Eagle command information product. The staff consisted of two 46Q specialists (one designated as editor) who were tasked to acquire, write, edit, and publish the 12-page weekly command information newsmagazine on the rotations good news stories for SFOR personnel. About a month before the end of the rotation, the size of the weekly Talon was reduced to a more manageable 8-page size.
Video Acquisition. This section, in coordination with the Talon staff, acquired, wrote, and produced video news stories for the internal command information cable access channel, as well as marketing video products to external news channels and the Armed Forces Network to promote the SFOR cause in BiH. A command information chief (46R staff sergeant) supervised both the editorial staff and the video production.
Command Information. The role of Command Information Chief was filled by a 46R sergeant first class, whose job was to coordinate and oversee both the Talon staff and video acquisition. As senior NCO, this individual also took on the roles of information assurance officer, supply and property book NCO, key control, and numerous other mission-essential NCO roles.
Media Operations Cell. This section responded to media queries and requests for interviews, facilitated media coverage, coordinated press conferences as required, and conducted media analysis for the IO section.
Crisis Communications. In the reduced structure, the media operations section consisted of an NCO with two 46Q specialists; the PAO was the command spokesman for on-camera interviews, press conferences, and any other required media appearances.
PAO Planner. This role was filled by a captain who participated in the IOWG and G3 plans group to provide staff guidance on employing public affairs assets to most effectively support operations. The SFOR 11 battle rhythm began with 12 meetings per week among members of the IOWG, but over time the meeting schedule was streamlined and became more efficient. The PAO planner was capable of providing talking points, staff advice during the development of plans and orders, IO objectives to the media operations section, and information on media operations to coordinate the IO effort.
Provost Marshals Office (PMO)
The PMO is the link between the task forces and the local police (LP). The PMO provides the commander information about current and future LP involvement, which allows synchronization between the LP and military forces. As civil governance continues to develop in BiH, the goal to hold local authorities responsible for providing a safe and secure environment has intensified.
Missions for the PMO in peacekeeping operations include:
- Advising the commander and staff about MP capabilities.
- Preparing plans and policies.
- Directing and reviewing MP operations.
- Maintaining liaison with United States Army Criminal Command (USACIDC) support elements.
- Assisting and supervising interaction of supporting and supported units.
- Coordinating with civilian law enforcement agencies, allied forces, and host nation (HN) military and civilian police.
The PMO supports IO by conducting bilats with LP and International Police Task Force (IPTF) officials; conducting IPTF conferences; and providing accurate, updated information on events occurring within MND(N). The PMO provides links to CA, PA, CIMIC, and PSYOP to assist in delivering task force messages to positively influence domestic, international, and local opinion.
Engineers enhance IO campaigns through activities and projects. Currently, the engineers in MND(N) have four primary areas of focus/responsibility:
- Monitor demining.
- Emergency extraction of SFOR personnel and Persons Designated Special Status (PDSS) in mined areas (or suspected mined areas).
- Clearance of mined areas prior to construction (mostly on SFOR-controlled facilities).
- Plan/coordinate freedom of movement (FOM) within the division sector.
An assistant division engineer (ADE) representative serves on the IOWG.
In addition to engineer projects and activities supporting MND(N) IO campaigns, engineers serve as passive information collectors on the populace (e.g., attitudes, needs, reactions) and on the status of IO campaigns in sector. Engineers assist in the development of situational awareness for the commander and provide input on the effects of IO, using the following engineer IO collectors:
- ADE section members conducting reconnaissance and freedom of movement quality control checks.
- Brown and Root observations (culled by the ADE from the weekly freedom of movement coordination meetings and passed to IO).
- Joint Military Affairs
- Demining monitor teams, constantly traveling through sector.
- Engineer platoon, during missions.
- Explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), during missions.