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Center for Army Lesson Learned Banner CALL Newsletter 03-18
Information Operations(IO)

Chapter 9

IO Analysis; Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTP);
and Lessons Learned

IO Analysis for the Environment 

Once in country, the SFOR 11 IO staff immediately evaluated the environment’s situation for “problem areas” and “non-issue areas.” This was accomplished through close coordination with the IO intelligence officer, who was key in coordinating with the SFOR 11 G2 section. The SFOR 11 G2 section maintains a database on the AOR’s problem-makers and problem-solvers. This database must be updated on a regular basis because the environment is fluid. Bilateral meeting feedback with the individuals is one way of maintaining this database.  The SFOR 11 IO staff recommends that each subsequent rotation conduct a thorough intelligence analysis of the environment as they assume their rotation. 


  • SFOR 11 developed their TTPs through synchronizing IO plans and operations with division plans and operations (see Chapter 5). 
  • It is imperative that IO coordinates with G3 current and future operations aside from coordinating with all of its elements to mitigate any “stovepiping” of information. 
  • The multinational units (Russian brigade, NORDPOL brigade, and Turkish battalion) worked well with the SFOR 11 team, ensuring that the peacekeepers were speaking with “one voice.” 

IO Lessons Learned 


  • Synchronize PSYOP activities with division and task force/battle group operations through the IOWG process. Early in the rotation, PSYOP – like many other entities – was doing a lot of great work, but some activities were not tied to anything occurring in the maneuver units.  Without synchronization, these activities may have only a transitory and localized effect when they could have been tied to an overall IO objective. 
  • Not every situation requires a PSYOP product. The goal in Bosnia-Herzegovina is to establish a climate of “normalcy” with local officials and provide a safe and secure environment.  Calling attention to various observances with PSYOP products is probably not in line with these goals. Messages such as, “Don’t throw rocks during the Srebrenica Observance or SFOR will respond,” should be avoided. The most effective use of PSYOP in these cases might be a media campaign started well in advance of the event promoting general tolerance, with TPTs conducting pre-assessments to determine the general climate and detect any signs of organized obstructionism. 
  • Ensure the roles of PSYOP and PAO are clearly defined. In short, PAO presents full information intended for broad, commercially defined target audiences to the media, trusting the media will carry the information in the manner and spirit in which it was presented. PSYOP, on the other hand, conveys selected information to specific target audiences and controls the means of dissemination by using TPTs and Radio Mir, or by paying for commercial media. 
  • Ensure PSYOP and PAO work together in a complementary manner. PAOs are generally inclined to keep their distance from PSYOP out of concern for their credibility and to not further confuse their respective roles. The two organizations must coordinate their activities through the IOWG to gain the greatest effect of both. 
  • Prioritize the efforts of the TPTs on “hot spots.” Currently, two TPTs cover an area that was previously covered by an entire tactical PSYOP battalion. Additionally, the SFOR 11 MND(N) CG directed that PSYOP was a division asset and would be used division-wide. (Some previous rotations only provided TPT support to the U.S. battalion task forces.) It takes a significant amount of time to conduct detailed assessments and build the necessary personal relationships. Focus TPT efforts on critical areas, and provide training to the task forces/battle groups to affect product dissemination in other areas. 
  • Extra effort must be put into relationships with allied task forces/battle groups. Allied forces are the least likely to understand PSYOP capabilities and request assistance or seek clarification. Organizational barriers compound language and cultural differences, making the exchange of information difficult even in the best of circumstances. Information is best exchanged in frequent one-on-one settings. Habitual relationships must be built on a personal level, require frequent “azimuth checks,” and must be done in addition to and outside of the IOWG process. 
  • Establish a timely and responsive product-approval process. There are many staff sections and levels of command that would like to have input into the product-approval process.  Too many layers of approval delays products and frequently results in products being changed to such an extent that they no longer have the desired effect. 
  • Recognize the frustrations and difficulties of peacekeeping PSYOP. Many SFOR 11 soldiers prefer warfighting training and CTC rotations to peacekeeping. Deception operations, surrender appeals, and civilian non-interference provide more immediate and measurable indicators of success (or failure) than the long and laborious process of changing cultural attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors in a peacekeeping situation. While the soldiers feel their work is important and personally rewarding, the feedback and benefits are usually not immediate and will take years, if not generations, to manifest. 

Civil Affairs -- 

  • In the early days of IFOR and SFOR, civil affairs commands and brigades were deployed. They brought along the specialists belonging to government, economics and commerce, public facilities, and special functions teams. The Combined Joint Civil Military Task Force (CJCMTF) was located in Sarajevo, with battalion staff serving in the G5 sections of the three MND headquarters and their detachments supporting task forces. The Joint Civil Commission (JCC) had specialists from the functional teams, and its personnel were dispatched to help solve problems with infrastructure, educate the populace (including government officials), and help influence the populace.  The tactical support teams (TSTs), which are now referred to as civil affairs teams alpha (CATAs), used their patrols to disseminate information, conduct area assessments, find donor money for projects, and indirectly gather information from the populace. 
  • Downsizing has been an inevitable process that has whittled civil affairs assets down to a minimum. Civil military cooperation teams (CIMIC), which is a NATO or United Nations term for civil affairs teams, have replaced U.S. CA teams in MND(SW) and MND(SE). Even U.S.-controlled MND(N) is down to two CATA teams supporting the two U.S. task forces, a Finnish CIMIC company for direct support to the division, and two CIMIC companies to support their battle groups or battalion. The specialists that were prevalent in the early days of SFOR are no longer in theater. CIMIC and the CATA teams are generalists, and their focus has been drawn down to displaced persons (DPs) issues, quick assessments, and supporting projects that will help facilitate the return of those DPRE. 
  • The BiH government is now responsible for problems down to the local government level, and the international community and nongovernmental organizations (NGO) are assisting as well. CIMIC and CA teams are still helping to bring donor money for projects and facilitating returns to some of the most contentious areas of the country. 
  • The international community is also downsizing. They have the same responsibility, but with fewer people. Their goal is to have people return to their pre-war homes. To focus this effort, they created a forum to discuss issues. The returns and reconstruction task force (RRTF) is co-chaired by members from the Office of the High Representative (OHR) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The RRTF is a forum where the international community and NGOs discuss political developments, human rights issues, property issues, projects, and returns’ issues. This is done at the local municipality level (LRRTF) and at the regional level. 
  • Civil affairs personnel are working with the IC regarding returns. Focusing efforts on a particular return axis will accomplish more than previous efforts. It will enable CA to come up with IO themes and target sets that can be perfected and adjusted where or when needed and applied to the next return axis. (One word of caution: Do not use the words targeting or target sets around non-military personnel — it makes them very uncomfortable.) 
  • Synergistic approach: Another way of not only focusing efforts but also facilitating information flow to returnees is through the use of the MEDCAP and combining it with an Information Fair. MEDCAPs are an excellent tool in bringing all ethnic groups together for medical and dental care, but with coordination at the RRTF, NGOs are invited to provide information on everything from micro-economic loans or projects to rebuilding homes or infrastructure. This is usually captured on tape by a TV crew and promoted as a “good news” story through the division television show. This is a great example of a synergistic effort in which multiple audiences are targeted and the total effect is greatly multiplied. 
  • Sensing patrols: One of the methods of assessing the mood of the local populace is through the use of “sensing patrols.” Civil affairs teams are normally involved in community group meetings, and through these meetings they are able to report back any possible fears, threats, or concerns of the majority population. For example, Task Force South sent their civil affairs team to the Women of Podrinje, Women of Kravica, and Women of Bratunac meetings to ascertain the mood and views of the local populace toward two upcoming and possibly contentious events. These groups represent the ethnic minority and majority groups and focus on assisting those who need help and on maintaining community harmony. 

Battalion S5 (Civil Affairs)-- 

  • The battalion civil affairs teams participated in a number of operations that encompassed a plethora of host nation, nongovernmental organization (NGO), and international community members. An example of the complexity of this task can be captured in the planning for just one “enhanced” MEDCAP. A total of 16 NGO, IC, and host nation agencies had to be successfully engaged prior to the actual event. This did not include the remainder of the steady-state operations that were ongoing at the time to support the returns process. 
  • If the CA section did not have the capability to become integrated into the targeting synchronization matrix, it would not have been nearly as efficient. The matrix literally became a time management tool to accurately monitor the status of the ongoing bilats that would achieve the task force end state. 
  • The battalion targeting process began each Saturday. The IO prepared the suggested targeting matrix with point and area targets that were derived from the line companies, CA, S2, PSYOP teams, and daily INTSUMS. The staff and the assembled company representatives discussed each point and area target. The data from the battalion targeting meeting was carried into the division targeting meeting. The process concluded with the DCG’s approval on each specific target. 

PAO -- 

  • Media operations: The goal was to produce two broadcast stories per week to send to American Forces Network, Soldiers Radio and Television, and home station or hometown television outlets; an average of less than one per week was actually produced. 
  • Three local national Serbo-Croatian translators who had worked for SFOR for more than six years served as media relations specialists, thus expanding the capabilities of the downsized media operations cell. 
  • Home station command information for family members: Print stories, photos, and broadcast stories were sent back to the rear detachment in Hawaii for family members of deployed 25th Infantry Division (Light) soldiers, to home stations of other active-duty units (including Fort Stewart and Fort Gordon), and to the Adjutants General of the states providing National Guard units for command information purposes. In some instances, key local media outlets in these areas were provided press releases, digital images, and broadcast products. 
  • Talon: The on-line Talon was an important source of information for family members, and more easily disseminated than the hardcopy version. The on-line Talon was updated on the Monday following Friday distribution of the newsmagazine. 
  • A crisis situation (i.e., capture of key war criminals, outbreak of violence directed at SFOR, accident resulting in multiple fatalities of U.S. soldiers) probably would have overwhelmed the capabilities of the reduced public affairs section, depending upon the dimensions of media interest. However, the PA group of seven soldiers still had trained individuals who could write, research, and staff press releases, statements, and Q&A; respond to media queries; coordinate an on-order press conference; conduct media analysis of print and broadcast stories; and provide a spokesperson to appear on camera. In the case of international media interest or a protracted crisis, the public affairs section would likely have asked for augmentation from other USAREUR public affairs assets. 
  • Participation in OSCE/OHR press conferences: The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) sponsored weekly press conferences in which TFE participated.  These alternated between OSCE regional offices in Tuzla, near Eagle Base, and outlying cities in the Republika Srpska, Bosnia, and Herzegovina (Doboj, Bijeljina, and Zvornik). In addition, the Office of the High Representative (OHR) also sponsored a bi-weekly press conference in Brcko in which TFE participated. TFE PAO participated in six press conferences each month. 
  • Translator support: Public affairs had three dedicated Bosnian-speaking translators.  Because of their long association with public affairs, they developed cordial relationships with all of the local media, and they had an intimate understanding of the SFOR mission, command messages, and the requirements of media relations. They were hired as media relations specialists to augment the reduced soldier strength in public affairs. 

PMO -- Coordination with the local police has been accomplished through liaison with the United Nations International Police Task Force (IPTF). The Dayton Peace Agreement directs that the IPTF is responsible for oversight of the local police, which somewhat limits the authority of the PMO. Coordination is sometimes difficult when considering all the nations involved and differences in planning techniques between SFOR, IPTF, and the local police. The means to accomplish synchronizing efforts is constant liaison between the IPTF and LP leaders. It is extremely important to establish good working relationships with both IPTF and the local police to achieve the common goal of a safe and secure environment in this country. 

Engineer -- 

  • During the development of IO campaigns, the engineer representative to the IOWG must determine if engineer assets can contribute to the overall IO campaign. The primary area in which the assistant division engineer (ADE) can achieve synergism between engineer projects and IO campaigns is freedom of movement. Under freedom of movement, the ADE monitors and directs maintenance and repair on approximately 1,600 kilometers of routes within the division sector. While the ADE bases the decision to execute a repair project or new work primarily on whether division task forces and battle groups can move freely in sector, the ADE can also use “support to IO campaign” as another planning consideration for prioritizing projects. For example, repairing a major washout on a division route that also supports displaced persons returns is a project that would be a win-win situation for both freedom of movement and a major IO campaign. 
  • In addition to Brown and Root, the contractor who provides Base Camp Eagle infrastructure support, the ADE can coordinate the efforts of engineer platoons from other nations that contribute troops to MND(N) (e.g., Russian military contingent, the Turkish battalion, and the Nordic-Polish battle group). These engineer assets operate under different national restrictions than U.S. forces and can often accomplish projects that U.S. forces would not be able to execute because of Title 10 restrictions. At times, they can also perform these missions more quickly than U.S.-directed efforts. Unfortunately, U.S. engineer support was more available on earlier rotations that had organic U.S. Army engineer units. Since the decision to go to a primarily contractor-based engineer support mechanism, with its attendant longer request and contracts process, some flexibility has been lost. 

Table of Contents | Foreword | Chap 1 | Chap 2 | Chap 3 | Chap 4 | Chap 5 | Chap 6 | Chap 7 | Chap 8 | Chap 9