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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Army War College Releases new Primer

A chance to get a cohesive update of the application and relevance of IO to DOD. Description from the AWC website:

"This latest revision of the Information Operations Primer provides an overview of Department of Defense (DoD) Information Operations (IO) doctrine and organizations at the joint and individual service levels. It is primarily intended to serve as a ready reference for IO information extracted and summarized from a variety of sources. Wherever possible, Internet web sites have been given to provide access to additional and more up-to-date information.

        The IO Primer begins with an overview of Information Operations, Strategic Communication and Cyberspace / Cyberspace Operations. (Note: as the emergent concept of Cyberspace Operations continues to assume increasing importance, the Primer has expanded to include discussion and input of this topic.) It then goes from the national level to the Department of Defense, to the Combatant Command level and then finally to the service level. At each level it describes strategies or doctrine, agencies, organizations, and educational institutions dedicated to the information element of national power. "

Can experienced IO Practitioners help DOS?

Does Department of State do regional/operational level strategies for objectives? Does South America department have a linked cohesive nested strategy in a region (like a COCOM) for PD, relations, and SC and development, or is it bottom driven? Does the country embassy determine objectives simply for his own country (his battlespace), and State just collates objectives for a region and conduct  a loose operation oversight, or do country embassy tie into its neighbors? DOS could benefit from top developed IO concepts/strategies that provide a cohesive focus without interfering in each embassy's operations.

Commercialization of IO

how do we make money from this accelerated accumulation of skills and knowledge? What aspect of operational and warrior IO can be beneficial to the private sector? What could we offer that an in house PR staff couldn’t perform (crisis assessment, plan, react). Ad men know how to sell to people. What do we know about people that are as equally valuable?

What’s the private sector demand/niche for an out-of-work IO contractor extraordinaire?

What’s the private sector demand/niche for an out-of-work IO contractor extraordinaire?
Forward thinking Defense contracting companies should be mapping a strategy on the commercial/private industry application of warrior IO skills/experience. As one war winds down, and limited and possible dwindling funding for the remaining smaller war, the lucrative defense industry may soon see far less contracts in high demand areas of IO and intel. Don’t want to survive by being lucky, survive by being prescient. When the supplemental wave crashes, will you end up on the beach beached or on another breaker?
How do we bring our understanding of the information battlespace to the civilian government sector? DOS is an obvious choice, but what about DHS? DEA? FBI? Can the FBI use an IO planner to fix a fugitive, or make him move? Leaflets aside, why can’t we use the same IA collaboration developed to find AAM, but instead of it residing in DOD, it resides in the IA, supported by civ (not military) or contracted planners. If IO can work with intel and ops in the hunt for AAM, why can’t it be done domestically as well as internationally? The principles of enabling or exploiting operation and information success, synchronizing to support FBI or DEA operation objectives/intelligence collection requirements (do we want suspect to move/communicate, not move/communicate, communicate). Very likely that pieces are being done, but think back 10, 7 or even 4 years ago to when commander’s/staffs thought they were already doing IO because they had a Public Affairs officer or a TPD in direct support. The eaches don’t essentially make the whole, and the IO practitioners and the commanders and staffs they support have learned this well in the last five years. So if there is practical application in the government sector, consider the target audience that has to buy into this to be where our military leadership at various levels was 8-10 years ago.
The payoff is government agencies incorporating the IO practitioner capability for operational effectiveness. Since there are no civilian schools or feeder systems to create such a skillset, at least initially it may be contracted to quickly bring in those civilians and military who have developed said fundamentals, skills and intuition to support ops/intel.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

a must website for IO practitioners

MtnRunner posted this link to the late Phil Taylor's website, intended to be one stop shopping for SC/influence intellectual info sharing. It is a must visit.A treasure trove of material. Sad it took his passing to discover it. And, he was a Black Adder fan.

What does the departure of Rep. Ike Skelton mean for IO/SC/PA progress and cooperation?

What does the departure of Rep. Ike Skelton mean for IO/SC/PA progress and cooperation?

      In late 2005, I recall seeing a memo from Rep Ike Skelton that address his grave concern about IO/influence bleeding into public affairs and their audiences. It came at a time where USG and DOD PA seemed to be in fierce resistance to the employment/integration of IO, and were marking territory and reinforcing it lobbying. Granted, the cooperation and integration has progressed nicely since then, driven in part by trying SC work (a term without baggage or subjugation) and by mid-grade IO/PA/PSYOP officers and practitioners who were more focused on using all tools/means necessary to succeed in Iraq and Afghanistan and not be distracted by politics of lane defining/restricting. I think the proven success showed we all can work together without permanent subjugation, loss of clout/staff prestige, which appears to have softened the resistance from senior USG and service PAO.
        Personally I think former ASDPA Torie Clark did more than Rep. Skelton to retard and beat down the efforts to have anyone other than PA involved in strategic or region specific information projection (my one conspiracy theory-PA tanked OSI). Efforts we now know are necessary, crucial and possible. But what has Rep. Skelton's role been the last 5 years in all of this? Has his influence/involvement waned, or is he an obstacle that will depart in January?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Check out the Army War College blog

Most are familiar with Matt Armstrong and MountainRunner for all things Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication. I strongly recommend Dennis Murphy, a professor who oversees all things IO/cyber in the Army War College program, is very active is the New/Now media area. In addition to frequent Twitter updates, he has a regular and official blog on the War College site, posting succinctly on Strategic Communication related topics. He periodically has guest bloggers.

Join linkedIn groups connected to your professional interests

Linked in offers many valuable groups in our trade where one can read, start, or join in on discussions. It flattens the connections that might otherwise be hierarchical.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Art and Science Group comments

Policy, esp 'war' policy, is often driven by anticipation/expectation of public response (though many believe incorrectly that public opinion is a direct cause of effecting policy, but that is a different discussion/case study). Hence, the resulting of many self imposed instances WRT to overt influence operations. I would suggest a strawman assessment of perceived tolerance of offensive cyber ops (or aggressive defensive response to violation of our sovereignty).
This topic was discussed years ago in a class I took from Dr. Denning. The larger (and more powerful-read China) the nation, the more likely it is to act rationally with self imposed restrictions. While most nations could violate cyber-sovereignty, the first to cross certain thresholds essentially makes it vulnerable to response in kind. That nebulous 'threshold' is what is keeping rational actor states in check. Who would you deem to be 'irrational' actors?
I understand that rational actors conduct frequent if not daily intrusions/probing in others domains. In physical terms, there is a difference between spying/data gathering on a country and overt border violations.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

New articles coming...

Finally moving beyond the 'thinking about it' stage. While winning acclaim for an article is good for the reputation and the ego, it stunts the follow up process. Rather than try to top my last article, I'll just work on sharing ideas. I will co-author an article with a fellow IO Europe conference participant based on our small group workshop solution. Topic is a supporting IO concept to enable meeting withdrawal conditions in Afghanistan. I will post an abstract soon.
   The other will be on my measuring information effects model/process I have been researching the past few years. I will submit it for the call for papers for 6th International Conference on Information Warfare and Security in March. I'll post an abstract if it is accepted

My first encounter with the Afghan National Army (ANA)

I went with co-workers on Friday to trail climb Mount Ghar in Kabul, which is on an ANA base. Ghar means mount/mountain in Dari, so essentially we climbed Mount Mountain. Popular activity as it only open for specific hours on one day, as Ghar resides inside an active range. Ghar gives a great view of surrounding topography as well as the carcasses of Soviet tanks and BMPs left behind a few decades ago.
    As we were ascending, ANA officer candidates (OCS) were descending. The first few did not return the greeting of "Salaam" as they seemed singularly focused on reaching the parking lot to declare "first!" The main body candidates were much more easy going and jovial, especially after I initiated a Dari greeting. They stopped to smile, get their picture taken with me, or have me take their picture. I got a glimpse of real people, volunteers to not only fight for their country, but also go the extra step to be leaders of that effort. That short experience provided me a glimmer of hope that Afghanistan indeed has the capacity to develop a professional force of officers and noncommissioned officers (NCOs). Granted, there were a few bubbas that probably weren't going to see graduation day. And while I bit my tongue on how some candidates were carrying their weapons, I finally broke and on the spot corrected the last candidate I saw who was banging his barrel on the rocks by his feet. The fact he was going to be last off of the Ghar probably indicated he would be in the "thanks for playing" group that gets an early bus ride home.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Joining the Fray

I am starting this blog to improve my understanding of new media and the benefits of its reach. Additionally, I want to create a forum to share ideas, articles and information on the topics of strategic communication, public diplomacy and strategies on achieving desired information effects (iFX) in various environments.