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Chapter 4

Relevant Information and Intelligence

In modern battle, the magnitude of available information challenges leaders at all levels. Ultimately, they must assimilate thousands of bits of information to visualize the battlefield, assess the situation, and direct the military action required to achieve victory.

FM 100-5

This chapter sets the doctrinal foundation for the role of relevant information and intelligence in IO. The chapter discusses the need for relevant information, the criteria to carefully assess such information, and the commander's decision and execution cycle. It also includes information on the role of intelligence in framing relevant information about the adversary.

RELEVANT INFORMATION

Relevant information is defined as--

Information drawn from the military information environment that significantly impacts, contributes to, or is related to the execution of the operational mission at hand.

Relevant information has a direct relationship with the MIE in two important ways:

  • One, the act of collecting, processing, or disseminating relevant information serves as the principal criteria a commander applies, to include an individual, organization, or system as part of the MIE.
  • Two, it is the product or medium drawn from or used by those same players that serves as the basis or currency of IO. See Figure 4-1.

In the past the Army has tended to approach the collection and use of operational information from a specialized perspective. For example, different BOS elements have collected and used information necessary to support their particular functions, such as--

  • Intelligence focused upon information about the adversary and foreign nations.
  • Operators focused on situational information concerning friendly forces.
  • Logisticians focused on friendly force sustainment conditions and requirements.
  • PA and CA focused on the interface between military and nonmilitary sectors.

Figure 4-1

Figure 4-1. Relevant Information

Only a limited amount of such information was shared and that at relatively high levels within the military organizational hierarchy. Information flowed up and down stovepipes with routines that tended to slow the sharing of information across organizational boundaries. Relatively little effort was focused upon the systematic integration or synchronization of information. Normally, numerous specialized, noninteractive data bases were developed and maintained to meet the needs of particular elements on the battlefield.

Because of changes in the information and operational environments, we can now achieve new levels of efficiency and effectiveness in use of information by integrating and synchronizing the collection, processing, and dissemination efforts. Efforts must focus on leveraging the potential operational contribution of information by efficiently collecting and sharing information across all BOS elements.

Assessment Criteria

Because sources of information are imperfect and susceptible to distortion and deception, commanders and planners must carefully assess the quality of the information prior to its use. They can do so using the following six criteria:

  • Accuracy. Information that conveys the true situation.
  • Relevance. Information that applies to the mission, task, or situation at hand.
  • Timeliness. Information that is available in time to make decisions.
  • Usability. Information that is in common, easily understood formats and displays.
  • Completeness. All necessary information required by the decision maker.
  • Precision. Information that has the required level of detail.

As a first priority, information should be accurate and relevant. As a second priority, it should be both timely and in usable form. Finally, information should be as complete and precise as possible. The following rule of thumb supports these relationships: incomplete or imprecise information is better than none at all; untimely or unusable information is the same as none at all; inaccurate or irrelevant information is worse than none at all.

Decision and Execution Cycle

Commanders must have information to command. Information is the medium that allows the commander's decision and execution cycle to function. Information gives direction to actions by the force, provides courses of action for protecting the force, and helps the force accomplish its operational mission. Relevant information drawn from the MIE supports the creation of situational awareness that contributes directly to effective C2 during all stages of the decision and execution cycle. C2 in an environment of situational awareness helps the commander ensure unity of effort toward mission accomplishment. Ultimately, C2 depends on the right person having the right information at the right time.

C2 is a continuous, cyclical process by which a commander makes decisions and exercises authority over his forces to accomplish an assigned mission. A commander's decision and execution cycle has four sequential steps (see Figure 4-2).

  • Step 1. First, the commander is the central element in the entire process of C2. Accordingly, he strives to understand his current situation and environment by acquiring information about his battlespace and the status of relevant forces, both friendly and adversary, using all available sources, including personal observation, sensors, INFOSYS, and spot reports from subordinates.
  • Step 2. Upon mission receipt, the commander combines his understanding of his current environment, visualizes the desired future end state, and develops an initial concept of how to execute the mission.
  • Step 3. Based on his understanding of the situation and his intent, the commander issues guidance and directs a planning process to develop and refine a viable course of action for mission accomplishment. Upon deciding on a course of action, he disseminates his orders to put the operation into motion. During this execution phase, the commander monitors the operation and gauges its results. This brings him full circle to acquire new or additional information from which he begins the cycle again. Throughout the entire cycle, the fog and friction of war continually affect the commander's ability to acquire information, visualize, plan, decide, and execute.
  • Step 4. Since the decision and execution cycle is a continuous process, all parts of the cycle are active at each echelon of command. Commanders collect information, develop situational awareness, and plan for future operations at the same time they conduct current operations. Meanwhile, senior and subordinate commanders gather information and work through decision and execution cycles at their respective levels. Maintaining rapid decision and execution cycles--and thus a rapid tempo of operations--requires that seniors and subordinates alike have an accurate, common picture of the battlespace. From this common picture, a unit gains greater situational awareness with which to exercise initiative during combat or other situations.

Figure 4-2

Figure 4-2. Decision and Execution Cycle

The commander operates within the GIE, adjusting his MIE to enhance his situational awareness as necessary. Moreover, the commander uses his various means in the MIE to ensure that all elements of his force have a common, complete, and relevant situational awareness. This requires a sophisticated INFOSYS that enhances the commander's ability to share, manage, and move information among organizations. The commander also uses his information capabilities to support OOTW. The emphasis during such missions shifts away from the combat focus of C2W operations and starts to take in broader considerations contributing to efficient and effective operations. These operations often involve a variety of GIE players. For example, the G3/J3 works closely with PA and CA officers, among others, to determine critical information requirements pertaining to his AO.

INTELLIGENCE

Intelligence is--

The product resulting from the collection, processing, integration, analysis, evaluation, and interpretation of available information concerning foreign countries or areas. Also, information and knowledge about an adversary obtained through observation, investigation, analysis, or understanding.

Joint Pub 1-02

Intelligence is also the critical subelement of relevant information that focuses primarily upon foreign environments and the adversary. In support of friendly operations, intelligence helps produce a common, current, and relevant picture of the battlespace that reduces uncertainty and shortens the commander's decision-making process. Against an adversary, intelligence is vital for developing and executing effective C2W operations that degrade and distort the enemy's decision-making process while protecting friendly C2. Intelligence support to IW executed at the strategic and national levels must be leveraged to support C2W and IO conducted at the operational and tactical levels. This effort requires a seamless intelligence-collection process and supporting architecture, providing real-time intelligence products focused on CCIR.

Role of Intelligence

Intelligence provides the commander with an accurate understanding of the threat situation as it relates to current and future operations. Intelligence personnel acquire, use, manage, and exploit information to produce such an understanding. For common situational awareness to be accurate and current, the intelligence effort is continuous. Intelligence collection includes all possible sources, from national-level covert operations through local open sources such as news media, commercial world contacts, academia, and local nationals.

In noncombat operations, HUMINT, open sources, and other government agencies provide timely information to augment the unit's more traditional battle-focused intelligence-collection effort. The intelligence effort provides current, accurate threat and targeting data to weapon systems and intelligence sensors. Their effectiveness is dependent upon the rapid movement of data between collector, processor, decision maker, and shooter. Intelligence supports C2W, focusing on C2-attack and C2-protect.

Intelligence-Enabling Functions

The primary purpose of intelligence is to enable well-informed operational decisions based on an accurate understanding of the situation. The essence of intelligence is to collect, analyze, screen, and present information requested by the commander. Intelligence helps reduce uncertainty for the commander by screening out information that is not relevant to his decision-making process. Intelligence-enabling functions focus on assessing friendly vulnerabilities, understanding the adversary, employing IPB, and assessing battle damages.

ASSESSING FRIENDLY VULNERABILITIES

The first critical step in protecting IO capabilities is to identify specific and potential threats. Potential threats range from the adversary's direct overt and covert actions, to individuals and organizations seeking to exploit military INFOSYS, to natural phenomena. They include a new family of global commercial imaging, cellular telephone, and positioning systems that jointly or separately provide a potential adversary with near real-time information on forces and movements.

The fluid, porous nature of the MIE makes it difficult to protect INFOSYS from possible attacks. Therefore, intelligence provides the commander the necessary information to conduct risk assessments and develop risk management options to protect vital C2 components and capabilities. The risk assessment is based on identification of such factors as specific threat capabilities, technical capabilities, doctrine, and past performance of the threat force. The risk assessment is not a finished document, but a continuous process that is constantly updated to reflect changes in the operating environment, technology, and threat acquisitions. Because C2W offers potential adversaries the chance to strike at the supporting infrastructure of the US force--wherever it is located--the commander and his staff must be aware of threats to their INFOSYS at the home station.

UNDERSTANDING THE ADVERSARY

The effectiveness of C2-attack is predicated on a thorough understanding of an adversary, his C2 system, and his decision-making process. The deeper the understanding, coupled with the tools and techniques to take advantage of such knowledge, the more effective the exploitation of the potential adversary. At all levels of war, intelligence is an operational tool that identifies, assesses, and exploits the enemy's information and C2 systems. Data is required on what information the adversary collects, by what means, what reliability he places on various sources, and how that data is evaluated.

Intelligence personnel must be able to describe the enemy's decision-making process and how direction is sent to subordinates. Detailed intelligence is required on the social and cultural environments and the psychological makeup of the adversary's key leaders and decision makers. How they interact and perceive one another are important aspects of the information necessary to develop effective PSYOP and deception operations. How subordinates execute decisions completes the picture. Having a detailed understanding of the adversary's use of information is necessary in order to determine where and how to effectively influence his actions (see Figure 4-3).

"Know the enemy and know yourself, and you will be victorious."

Sun Tzu (500 BC)

EMPLOYING INTELLIGENCE-PREPARATION-OF-THE-BATTLEFIELD

In this context, IPB is the continuous process used to develop a detailed knowledge of the adversary's INFOSYS. IPB is a continuous process of overlapping and simultaneous actions that produces situation updates on a continuous basis and providing options to the commander. This form of information IPB, as shown in Figure 4-4, is the basis for planning operations, developing C2W courses of action, and targeting. The process builds upon the standard IPB but also requires--

  • An understanding of the adversary's decision-making process and leadership style.
  • Knowledge of the technical requirements on a wide array of INFOSYS.
  • Knowledge of the political, social, and cultural influences at work in the MIE.
  • The ability to conduct highly technical processes to produce C2W course-of-action templates.
  • Identification of and an in-depth understanding of the biographical background of the adversary's key leaders, decision makers, communicators, and advisors.

Figure 4-3

Figure 4-3. Understanding the Adversary

Much of this information should be routinely collected and maintained in national-level data bases and be readily available at the start of a mission.

The IPB actions the intelligence officer accomplishes to support IO include constructing a template of the adversary decision-making process, understanding the information infrastructure of the adversary, and analyzing the adversary's vulnerabilities.

Figure 4-4

Figure 4-4. IPB Considerations in Information Operations

Constructing a Decision-Making Template

The first step in the IPB process is to construct a template of the adversary's decision-making process. This aspect of information IPB focuses on developing an understanding of the leadership/personality profiles of the critical adversary decision makers. It address how they use information to make decisions, how they interact as organizations to make decisions, and how they execute those decisions. This step is linked directly to the ultimate goal of IO, which is to find ways to create a desired response in the adversary decision-making process, to create a relative military advantage, or to achieve the desired end state of the military operation.

Understanding the Adversary's Information Infrastructure.

The second element of IPB is to understand the information infrastructure of the adversary. See Figure 4-3, which depicts how information flows within the unit, organization, and structure. This analysis includes the human interface as a valid form of information distribution and is not limited to only technology assessments. An understanding of how information from outside the adversary's unit, organization, or structure flows must also be developed for the commander's use. This includes understanding the local, regional, and global information environments. CA teams operating in-country can greatly assist in this process.

Analyzing the Adversary's Vulnerabilities.

Next, the intelligence officer analyzes the decision-making template and the infrastructure template to determine adversary vulnerabilities. Vulnerability analysis occurs on two levels.

  • First, system vulnerabilities are identified which can be exploited to cause the desired effects on the decision process.
  • Second, the appropriate attack mechanism and specific entry point (building, floor, air shaft) is determined.

Vulnerability analysis is then extended to include the collateral damage a C2W action may cause on the operating environment. As an example, an option in attacking an adversary's C2 might be to destroy his electrical power infrastructure. However, the strategic cost (political or logistical) of destroying this capability might outweigh the tactical gains. One implication of the GIE is that actions and their consequences are examined across the MIE, as opposed to the battlefield alone.

Developing Options

The decision-making template and the infrastructure template are combined to form a C2-attack course-of-action template. Various courses of action can then be developed and analyzed to determine the best way to use IO to influence, support, or accomplish the overall mission.

ASSESSING BATTLE DAMAGES

BDA serves to confirm or deny previous intelligence estimates and update the IPB. The intelligence system continuously assesses the effectiveness of IO. This BDA allows commanders to adjust IO efforts to maximize effects. An important aspect of this information BDA is timely analysis to determine when exploitable vulnerability is created in the adversary C2 structure. Compared to the way we look at conventional BDA reporting procedures, BDA in IO is not so apparent.

Information BDA is not always reported in terms of physical destruction of a target. The challenge of information BDA is to be able to assess the effects of our efforts without the benefit of physical confirmation. The effects may well be trends, activities, and patterns in future adversary actions. They could be as simple as an absence of activity on a C2 net, combined with an increase of traffic elsewhere, that is, reduced very high frequency/ultrahigh frequency (VHF/UHF) transmissions coupled with observations of increased courier traffic or heavy land line activity. BDA also examines the collateral damage C2W actions may cause to nonmilitary systems and capabilities within a commander's MIE.