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Lesson Index: [ Introduction | Lesson Objective | Overview | Information Superiority | Information-in-Warfare | Offensive Counterinformation | Defensive Counterinformation | Information Services | Air Force IO Organizations | NAF-level IO Organization | IW Flights | Space Operations | Space Characteristics | Orbit Characteristics | Space Missions | Space Force Enhancement | Air Force Space Organization | SPACEAF AOC | Theater Space Support | AOC Space & Info Ops | Summary | Quiz ]

Title: Information-in-Warfare

Action: Present the following quote by Norman Schwarzkopf, and present a collage of information-in-warfare resources and examples. Transition into the list below of the IIW functions that will become the links to their own pages:

“The great military victory we achieved in Desert Storm and the minimal losses sustained by U.S. and Coalition forces can be directly attributed to the excellent intelligence picture we had on the Iraqis.”
General H. Norman Schwarzkopf

Voice: Information-in-warfare makes sure that commanders, planners, and warfighters have the meaningful information they need to make decisions and to plan and execute operations. For an example of the importance of information-in-warfare, we can look back at DESERT STORM. When Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990, satellite systems were first on the scene—high in orbit over the region—providing multi-spectral imagery and environmental data. Once DESERT STORM began, space assets allowed warfighters to navigate in the featureless terrain of the Iraqi desert, enabled real-time, secure, voice communications, provided Scud missile launch detection, and many other functions. The first air assets deployed to the theater included U.S. Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft, or AWACS, which monitored the skies over Iraq and provided information on the readiness and capabilities of the Iraqi air force. Over 100 additional surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft were deployed to the theater to collect information. Air and space assets, such as these, enable the IIW functions of: intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; precision navigation and positioning; and weather services. These functions, together with public affairs operations, provide critical support to air, space, and other information operations, by giving commanders, planners, and operators the ability to observe the overall battlespace. More information about each of these IIW functions can be seen by clicking on the links.

Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance:

Surveillance refers to the continuous collection of information from the air, space, and earth’s surface
Reconnaissance refers to activities conducted to gain information on localized and specific targets within a constrained time frame
Surveillance and reconnaissance provide:
  • Commanders with real-time or near-real-time information such as locations, dispositions, capabilities, and indicators of intentions
  • Indications, warning, and situational awareness of threats to the United States and its allies
  • Detection/location of electronic emissions that can be exploited by other elements of IO like electronic warfare, information attack, or physical attack

  • Intelligence converts data to information
  • A wealth of data regarding enemy positions and movement is of little use to commanders without a thorough understanding of the enemy and an interpretation of the information
    Intelligence activities:
  • Provide situational awareness
  • Provide analysis of adversary strengths and weaknesses
  • Support IO through analysis of adversary’s telecommunications and computer infrastructure
  • Provide estimate of adversary’s probable courses of action
  • Precision Navigation & Positioning:

    Precision navigation and positioning (PNP) provide air, space, and information operations the capability to attack targets in sensitive areas with greater accuracy. Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites allow users to determine position within tens of feet for navigation and precision bombing. The ability to accurately locate targets and deliver accurate firepower greatly reduces the number of aircraft and sorties required to neutralize or destroy a target.

    In Desert Storm, MH-53 Pave Low helicopters, equipped with GPs, lead Apache helicopters through the desert to enemy early-warning, radar sites. Apaches destroyed these targets, opening a hole in the Iraqi air defense system.

    Like other elements of information operations, PNP is more effective when integrated with other components, such as intelligence. Being highly accurate doesn’t imply effectiveness. The accidental bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade during Operation ALLLIED FORCE demonstrated that there is more involved in precision engagement than just putting bombs on target.

    Public Affairs Ops:

    Public Affairs (PA) operations support the warfighter in peace or in war with a variety of capabilities. As we’ll see later, PA has capabilities to help “attack and defend” in the counterinformation operations realm but PA operations also has a vital role across the spectrum of conflict to help “gain and exploit” information. Thus, PA operations spans IO by being a function applicable to both information-in-warfare and information warfare. Within the IIW arena, PA fills a pivotal role as trusted counsel to the commander, enhancing airman morale and readiness, enhancing unit cohesion and pride, and building public trust.

    Trusted counsel to commander
  • Collect, analyze domestic & foreign news
  • Monitor domestic & foreign public opinion
  • Predict impact of decisions, actions on morale & public opinion
  • Prepare commander to engage the media


  • Disseminate news and information to maintain morale
  • Document unit histories and combat achievements
  • News to/from the front
  • Weather Operations:

    Weather operations provide the real-time environmental information needed by military planners at all levels of warfare. Weather is a critical factor in the decision-making process for employing and moving forces, selecting weapons and targets, and choosing appropriate delivery tactics.

    Weather presented a particular challenge to planners of air operations over Serbia, during operation ALLLIED FORCE. The first 21 days of the air campaign only produced 7 days of favorable weather. NATO’s attack sorties were reduced by 30 to 50 percent on bad weather days, even with the use of precision-guided munitions.

    GPS-guided weapons, like Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) were able to counter the adverse weather conditions using satellite guidance.

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