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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?