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The Army is embracing a new era characterized by the accelerating growth of information, information sources, and information dissemination capabilities supported by information technology. This new era, the so-called Information Age, offers unique opportunities as well as some formidable challenges. New technology will enhance the Army's ability to achieve situational dominance on land, where the decisive element of victory for our nation has always been critical. At the same time, it will enable adversaries to employ many of these same capabilities. This new technology also allows the Army to transform itself.

The Army is changing the way it does business in the foxhole; in its schools and training centers; and in its doctrine, training, leader development, organizations, materiel development, and soldier development. Responding to the challenges and opportunities of the Information Age, the Army is preparing the warfighter for operations today as well as in the twenty-first century. Information and the knowledge that flows from it empower soldiers and their leaders. When transformed into capabilities, information is the currency of victory.

Information operations integrate all aspects of information to accomplish the full potential for enhancing the conduct of military operations. Information operations are not new. In their simplest form they are the activities that gain information and knowledge and improve friendly execution of operations while denying an adversary similar capabilities by whatever possible means. Effects of IO produce significant military advantage for forces conducting such operations.

Information is an essential foundation of knowledge-based warfare. It enables commanders to coordinate, integrate, and synchronize combat functions on the battlefield. To gain the relative advantage of position (maneuver) and massing of effects (firepower), commanders must act while information is relevant and before the adversary can react. Targeting an adversary's information flow to influence his perception of the situation or prevent him from having or using relevant information contributes directly to decisive operations. As the commander targets the adversary's information systems (INFOSYS), he protects his own. Realizing that absolute and sustained dominance of the information environment is not possible, commanders seek to achieve information dominance at the right place, the right time, and in the right circumstances. They seek information dominance that defines how the adversary sees the battlespace, creating the opportunity to seize the initiative and set the tempo of operations.

  • The accuracy, lethality, and range of modern weapons have forced commanders to disperse their formations, decentralizing control and execution. Massing the effects of these dispersed systems depends on accurate information. Disruption of the flow of information or corruption of the information itself can negate the effects of weapons and systems. Instead of being limited to the physical destruction of people or war machines as the only path to battlefield success, armies now can target information or an adversary's INFOSYS to alter the battlefield chemistry and yield battlefield success.
  • The speed and pervasiveness of data transmission in the Information Age are causing a revolutionary change in the nature of military operations and warfare. Targeting information extends beyond the battlefield and involves more than attacking an adversary's information flow while protecting the friendly information flow. It also requires awareness of, and sensitivity to, information published by nonmilitary sources. These information sources are able to provide tactical-level information in near real time to audiences throughout the world, with the potential of profoundly influencing the context of those operations.
  • IO define the operational situation by generating understanding, providing context, and influencing perceptions. They enable and protect friendly INFOSYS; synchronize force application; connect hierarchical and nonhierarchical systems; link sensors, shooters, and commanders; and degrade, disrupt, or exploit adversary operations by attacking the adversary's command and control (C2). Units conduct IO across the full range of military operations, from operations in garrison, through deployment, to combat operations, to redeployment. IO greatly expand a commander's battlespace, including interaction with the media, industry, joint forces, multinational forces, and computer networks worldwide.
  • Within the context of joint and/or multinational operations, the Army must be able to dominate the information environment in order to perform its missions in any contingency or conflict. The Army's force-projection capability is based upon accurate and timely information. IO can significantly enhance the Army's ability to deter aggression, to effectively execute the full range of operations, and to win decisively in combat.

Notwithstanding the synergy possible with the power of information and information technology, fog and friction will remain; the challenge of sorting out the signals from the noise amidst a mass of expanding data will also remain. Many solutions to the dilemma of uncertainty for the commander are technical. But there can be no information revolution without the human influence and understanding of soldiers and commanders who link and integrate information, technology, and action. IO do not offer any panaceas. Perfect knowledge is not the objective. The military objective remainsóto enter an operational theater capable of achieving superior relative combat power against an enemy, or to establish situational dominance in operations other than war (OOTW).

The Army's keystone doctrine in FM 100-5 describes how the Army thinks about the conduct of operations. This manual, while designed to enhance and enable the operations in FM 100-5, reaches out to accommodate and leverage newly emerging information technologies, especially digitization.

As the Army's capstone publication for information operations, this manual supports the National Military Strategy and explains the fundamentals of IO for the Army. IO doctrine reflects, and goes beyond, the joint military strategy of command and control warfare (C2W), which implements Department of Defense (DOD) information warfare policy. This manual --

  • Identifies information as a major influence on operations at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels.
  • Enables commanders to successfully integrate information, INFOSYS, and their effects across the full range of military operations. Such integration enables and enhances the elements of combat power.
  • Creates synergy, which contributes to increased lethality, survivability, and tempo in combat, as well as highly credible and capable forces in OOTW.

This publication provides Army capstone doctrine and facilitates the transition to the Information Age.