Table of Content
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.
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
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
- 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
- Operators focused on situational information concerning friendly forces.
- Logisticians focused on friendly force sustainment conditions and
- PA and CA focused on the interface between military and nonmilitary
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.
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
- 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
- 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
- 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. 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.
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
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.
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
"Know the enemy and know yourself, and you will be victorious."
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
- 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
- Identification of and an in-depth understanding of the biographical
background of the adversary's key leaders, decision makers, communicators,
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
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
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
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.
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.