PSYOP C2W Information Operations in Bosnia
by MAJ Arthur Tulak, Military Analyst, CALL
Information is one of four instruments of power (IOPs -- Diplomatic,
Informational, Military,and Economic) that nations
wield to influence events and actors during peace and conflict.
The informational IOP in support of peace operations is the
clear and honest expression of intent and motive, which can
generate public support and goodwill at home and abroad.1
To wield the informational IOP at the tactical through strategic
levels of conflict and across the range of military operations,
the Army has developed the concept and doctrine of Information
Operations in Field Manual 100-6. Information operations
are not new in that military forces have been conducting the
component parts of IO for centuries. What is new, however, is
the integrated approach to synchronizing all the various activities
that comprise IO that had previously been "stove-piped" and
independent of one another.2
interrelated components of information operations are operations,
relevant information and intelligence (RII), and information
systems (INFOSYS). This article focuses on the operations
component of IO, specifically on the PSYOP subset of that
component. The operations component of IO is broken
down into the categories of command and control warfare (C2W),
civil affairs (CA), and public affairs (PA). C2W
is further divided into C2-Attack (offensive) and
C2-Protect (defensive). C2W is "the
integrated use of operations security (OPSEC), military deception,
psychological operations (PSYOP), electronic warfare (EW),
and physical destruction, mutually supported by intelligence
to deny information to, influence, degrade, or destroy adversary
C2 capabilities, while protecting friendly C2capabilities
against such actions. Command and control warfare applies
across the operational continuum and all levels of conflict."3
In Bosnia-Herzogivina (BiH), psychological operations (PSYOP)
and public affairs (PA) have been the primary vehicles by
which the informational IOP has been wielded in theater.
The multi-national coalition that comprised the implementation
and stabilization forces (IFOR and SFOR) conducted a peace
enforcement operation to separate the former warring factions
(FWFs) and impose the peace accord approved by the FWF political
leadership. General Wesley Clark, Supreme Allied Commander,
Europe, recently announced that although the military tasks
were "99 percent accomplished," the military force
had to remain to enable the civilian agencies and organizations
charged with the implementation of the civil aspects of the
accord to accomplish their tasks.4 Although
IFOR successfully established a zone of separation (ZOS) and
the military provisions of the Dayton Peace Accord (DPA) have
largely been achieved, the peace enforcement component
remains, and SFOR must continue to be ready to apply lethal
combat power to compel compliance.
The primary purpose of all operations in Bosnia remains the
continued implementation of the DPA military provisions involving
the Entity Armed Forces (EAF)5 and maintenance
of the peace necessary for the diplomatic and economic instruments
of power to operate. However, the emphasis on SFOR’s
military operations now is on facilitating the accomplishment
of the civil provisions of the DPA, and in support of that
effort, lethal combat power is not a tool that is easily applied.
The "battlefield" in Bosnia-Herzegovina is one of a struggle
of ideas competing for legitimacy and supremacy. On this battlefield,
information is the "weapon" that is wielded by many
actors and through many forms to include propaganda, psychological
operations, public affairs, and civil-military affairs. Although
IFOR and SFOR did not face off against an "adversary"
in Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR (OJE) and Operation JOINT GUARD
(OJG), the FWFs were occasionally uncooperative and at times
bellicose towards IFOR/SFOR. Presently, in Operation JOINT
FORGE, information operations are one of the primary
means by which SFOR is achieving effects in changing attitudes
and reducing the barriers to implementing the civil aspects
of the DPA.
The Multi-National Division-North (MND-N) often found information
operations were the division main effort as they comprised
the most effective of the non-lethal fires the division could
employ. In operations other than war (OOTW), ". . . IO
may be one of the most critical and acceptable means of achieving
the assigned objectives because ROE [Rules of Engagement]
may severely restrict the use of conventional military weapons."6
In peace operations lethal force is the instrument of last
resort. "When force must be used, its purpose is to protect
life or compel, not to destroy . . . the conflict, not the
belligerent parties, is the enemy . . . the use of force should
be a last resort and, whenever possible, should be used when
other means of persuasion are exhausted"7
Through the non-lethal capabilities of IO, SFOR is attacking
the legitimacy of those leadership elements of the three entities
who are blocking the further implementation of the DPA. Through
non-lethal information operations, SFOR can target the adversary
leadership’s "decisionmaking and C2" and potentially
"to control the adversary’s decision-process tempo
and even cause it to collapse."8 In
addition, SFOR IO can target the popular support base of adversary
leadership and persuade the general populace to support the
peace agreement and SFOR objectives through a coordinated
In Operations JOINT ENDEAVOR and JOINT GUARD, C2W
aimed at co-opting the FWF's C2 apparatus to facilitate
their compliance with the Dayton Peace Accord and to monitor
that compliance as well.10 "C2-Protect
seeks to maintain effective C2 of friendly forces
by negating or turning to a friendly advantage the adversary’s
efforts to influence, degrade, or destroy friendly C2
systems."11 Although no physical attacks
were made on SFOR C2 systems, the FWFs did engage
in disinformation and propaganda counter to SFOR’s objectives
and interests. PSYOP was the main effort for C2-Attack
operations directed at the FWF leaders and populace. PSYOP
C2-Attack took the form of radio, television, and
print products in a very sophisticated PYSOP campaign in a
media-rich environment. Because information knows no boundaries
in today’s "information age," the MND-N PSYOP
worked in tandem with Public Affairs (through its Coalition
Press Information Center or CPIC) in C2-Protect
to counter enemy propaganda and misinformation and to advance
SFOR IO campaign themes to the FWFs.
"Public affairs (PA) provides objective
reporting without intent to propagandize. As open sources
to foreign countries and the United States, PA channels can
be used to disseminate international information."12
Successful PSYOP "are based on projection
of truth and credible message . . . [that serve to discredit]
adversary propaganda or misinformation against the operations
of US/coalition forces [which] is critical to maintaining
favorable public opinion."13
"PSYOP are an essential tool in both C2-Protect
and C2-Attack operations."14
PSYOP was an active element in C2-Attack operations
in MND-N. PSYOP in the prosecution of the IO campaign were
primarily via printed materials (handbills, pamphlets, newspapers,
magazines, posters, etc.) and over the airwaves to the radio-listening
and television-viewing public. The Military Information Environment
(MIE) in Bosnia includes several Nonmilitary Information Systems
including commercial and government-run news media, which
are being plied by SFOR in its information operations.15
In support of combat operations, US PSYOP has the capability
to broadcast PSYOP messages on adversary radio frequencies.16
US PSYOP also has the capability to transmit radio and television
broadcasts anywhere in the world using the EC-130 Commando
Solo aircraft as a broadcasting platform.17
However, in operations other than war (OOTW), such as the
Peace Enforcement operations in Bosnia, PSYOP radio and television
products are more subtle than the combat products designed
to weaken the enemy’s morale and induce him to surrender.
IFOR Radio PSYOP during Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR were initially
broadcast over AM frequencies using the organic radio transmitting
equipment available to US PSYOP forces. IFOR set up five radio
stations located in the five most populated cities across
the country: Sarajevo, Tuzla, Banja-Luka, Mrkonjic Grad, and
Mostar.18 As much of the electro-magnetic
spectrum media and telecommunications infrastructure were
disabled or destroyed during the long Bosnian civil war,19
initial IFOR PSYOP radio operations were an important source
of information to the Bosnian people.
SFOR PSYOP radio operations included using civilian commercial
radio stations to air pre-recorded music programs that contained
"infomercials" that reinforced PSYOP themes interspersed
among the songs. TFE PSYOP products delivered over the radio
waves consisted of PSYOP scripts developed from news releases
and other truthful information to be read by the on-air announcer,
and pre-recorded music shows with PSYOP messages interspersed
in the music segments. Live interviews with MND-N TF commanders
and live talk shows involving the local people discussing
themes important to SFOR were two more means of using radio
as a way to support the IO campaign.
During Operation JOINT GUARD, in addition to the use of commercial
radio stations, TFE PSYOP controlled its own radio station
in MND-N, an FM radio station, called Radio Mir (MIR
stands for Military Information Radio, and is the Serbo-Croatian
for Peace). Radio Mir was established in the ZOS near
Brcko at Camp McGovern to provide a radio platform under SFOR
control that would provide the listening public on both sides
of the ZOS a credible and unbiased source of information.
Radio Mir consisted of an FM transmitting tower and equipment
belonging to the Combined Joint Information Task Force (CJITF),
supplemented with civilian sound equipment housed in a wooden
building constructed by Brown and Root Services Company and
sound-proofed with locally-purchased materials. Task Force
Eagle purchased civilian sound-mixing equipment and sound-proofing
materials and used contracted labor to construct the facility.
The CJITF executed the SFOR television PSYOP program from
its production studio, TV-SFOR, in Sarajevo. TV-SFOR primarily
broadcasted messages that targeted a wide audience with broad
themes. These "infomercials" supported civilian
organizations responsible for implementing the civil aspects
of the DPA, such as Office of the High Representative (OHR),
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE),
and the UN International Police Task Force (IPTF). In support
of a better peace, TV-SFOR produced de-mining and mine-awareness
videos, election registration and democratization videos,
and programs supporting the establishment of professional
police forces. Additionally, TV-SFOR supported the military
sustainment mission by producing and disseminating programs
that directly involved the multi-national military force in
Figure 1. TPTs distributing mine awareness
The traditional PSYOP product, printed material, consisted
of millions of copies of hundreds of fliers, brochures, handbills,
and posters. The majority of these printed products were targeted
to the general population and served to inform them about
some aspect of the DPA, explained procedures for activities
such as voter registration and elections or principles such
as freedom of movement or life in a democratic society. Two
very successful products were The Herald of Progress
The Herald of Peace was a weekly newspaper
produced by IFOR, which subsequently evolved into a monthly,
the Herald of Progress or "HOP," under
SFOR. The HOP was a monthly journal with articles, color photos,
and political cartoons and commentary printed in both Latinic
and Cyrillic script.21 The German PSYOP
unit, an OPINFO battalion assigned to the CJITF, produced
a color magazine, Mirko, marketed to teenagers.22
Each edition of Mirko was designed to support
selected PSYOP campaign objectives (PCO). This method reinforced
PSYOP messages to the whole Bosnian population. Mirko
served as an excellent vehicle for opening a dialogue between
tactical PSYOP teams (TPTs) and the adult Bosnian population
through the interests of their children.
PSYOP in C2-Protect. C2-Protect
actions include "countering an adversary’s propaganda
to prevent it from affecting friendly operations, options,
public opinion, and the morale of friendly troops."23
In MND-N, the counter-propaganda effort is a coordinated one
involving both PA and PSYOP. The Division Public Affairs Officer
concentrated on the command-information program directed for
internal consumption by the soldiers, while the Coalition
Press Information Center (CPIC) concentrated on the external
audience in cooperation with PSYOP, CA, and the other IO actors
in the IOWG. Through the CPIC and media working groups aimed
at the press, TFE PA conducted operations which aimed at "discrediting
adversary propaganda or misinformation against the operations
of US/coalition forces [which were] . . . critical to maintaining
favorable public opinion."24 The primary
method used was the weekly press conference.
A "main objective in C2-Protect is to counter
the adversary’s hostile propaganda against the joint
force. Discrediting the source of mass media attacks against
the operations of the US/multinational forces is critical
to maintaining a favorable world opinion of the operations.
Countering adversary propaganda is a coordinated effort requiring
centralized planning and synchronized execution at all levels.
The corollary benefit of effectively countering adversary
propaganda is in persuading the adversary’s populace
that US/multinational operations are legitimate and in driving
a wedge between the adversary leadership and its populace
in order to undermine the adversary leadership’s confidence
Conclusion. Information operations allow the peace
operations commander to attack the adversary’s centers
of gravity of legitimacy and popular opinion and set the conditions
that will lead to peace. PSYOP contribute to C2-Protect
and C2-Attack operations in every information medium,
resulting in information dominance, control of the situation,
and victory in the battle of ideas on the peace operations
1. Department of Joint and Multinational Operations, US
Army Command and General Staff College, Student Text S511,
The Nation and Military Power, Lesson 1 (Fort Leavenworth,
KS: CGSC Press, 27 March 1995), p. LSN 1-2-3.
2. Dan Kuehl, Ph.D., "Defining Information Warfare," The
Officer, Vol LXXIII, No. 11, November 1997, p. 31.
3. Headquarters, Department of the Army, Field Manual 100-6,
Information Operations (Washington DC: USGPO, 27
August 1996), p. 3-2.
4. Remarks of GEN Wesley Clark, SACEUR, as quoted in Steven
Lee Myers, "Force in Bosnia Fails at One Task: A Pullout,"
New York Times, October 4, 1998, p. 1.
5. The Entity Armed Forces (EAF) are composed of the military
forces and specialist police units of the two "entities" of
Bosnia-Herzegovina--the Bosnian-Croat Federation and the Bosnian
Serb Republic (Republika Serpska). On the Bosnian-Croat Federation
side, this includes the Croatian Home Defense Council forces
(HVO) and the Bosnian Army. The term "Former Warring Faction"
(FWF) refers to the three entities of Bosniacs (Moslems),
Serbs, and Croats.
6. FM 100-6, op. cit., p. 6-17.
7. Headquarters, Department of the Army, Field Manual 100-23,
Peace Operations (Washington DC: USGPO, 30 December
1994), pp. v and 17.
8. Maj. Gen. David L. Grange, USA and Col. James A. Kelley,
USA, "Information Operations for the Ground Commander," Military
Review, March-April 1997, Vol. LXXVII, No. 2, p. 9.
9. Lt. Col. Dennis M. Murphy, US Army, "Information Operations
on the Nontraditional Battlefield," Military Review,
November-December 1996, Vol. LXXVI, No. 6, p. 16.
10. For more details, see Center for Army Lessons Learned,
Initial Impressions Report, Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR,
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Task Force Eagle Initial Impressions
(Unclassified, Distribution Limited, Fort Leavenworth, KS:
CALL, May 1996), p. 61.
11. FM 100-6, op. cit., p. 2-5.
12. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Publication
3-53, Joint Doctrine for Psychological Operations
(Washington DC: USGPO, 10 July 1996), p. vi.
13. FM 100-6, op. cit., p. 3-5.
15. Ibid., p. 5-5.
16. Ibid., p. 3-7. US PSYOP units are equipped with AM radio
transmitting units and have recently fielded FM transmitters
to support PSYOP in Bosnia.
17. Jeffrey P. Jones, and Michael P. Matthews, "PSYOP and
the Warfighting CINC," Joint Forces Quarterly,
Summer 1995, No. 8, p. 31.
18. Pascalle Combelles Siegel, Target Bosnia: Integrating
Information Activities in Peace Operations, Command
and Control Research Program (CCRP), National Defense University
(Washington DC: NDU Press, January 1998), p. 74.
19. Larry K. Wentz, Lessons from Bosnia: The IFOR Experience,
Command and Control Research Program (CCRP), National Defense
University (Washington DC: NDU Press, January 1998), pp. 275-276.
20. For more details, see Center for Army Lessons Learned,
Initial Impressions Report (Draft), B/H CAAT 9, Task
Force Eagle, Continuing Operations (Unclassified,
Distribution Limited, Fort Leavenworth, KS: CALL, March 1998),
22. Siegel, p. 73.
23. FM 100-6, op. cit., p. 2-5.
24. Ibid., p. 3-4.
25. Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint
Publication 3-13.1, Joint Doctrine for Command and Control
Warfare (Washington DC: USGPO, 7 February 1996), p.
II-4. See also Headquarters, Training and Doctrine Command,
TRADOC Pamphlet 525-69, Concept for Information Operations
(Fort Monroe, VA, 1 August 1995), p. 16.