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Friday, February 18, 2011

Using IO Practitioners in the Government Sector

How do we bring our understanding of the information battle space to the civilian government sector? Agencies other than DOD have a limitation in personnel and resources staffing. Therefore it would make sense to explore multipliers to complement existing intelligence and operations. Who might benefit by cherry picking the most relevant and effective IO related capabilities, doctrine and employment successes? 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? Obstacles to such thinking might mirror overcoming of the dismissive warrior mentality in DOD. But soft concepts are no longer unsexy pie-in-the-sky bright ideas-it has been proven in hostile and limiting environments and embraced if not trumpeted by warrior leaders.
Leaflets aside, why can’t we use the same inter-agency (IA) collaboration developed to find AMZ, AAM, or a number of other highly valuable individuals? But instead of it residing in DOD, it resides in the IA, supported by civilian (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 for terrorists or high value individuals? The principles are 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 (public information releases, EW, etc) 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 Tactical PSYOP Detachment in direct support. The eaches don’t essentially equate to  the whole if not part of a broader and deliberate information environment concept to support achieving objectives, 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.