Information (as an Element of Combat Power)

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Information (as an element of combat power) is integral to optimizing combat power, particularly given the increasing relevance of operations in and through the information environment to achieve decisive outcomes. IO and the information element of combat power are related but not the same.

Information is a resource. As a resource, it must be obtained, developed, refined, distributed, and protected. IO, along with knowledge management and information management, are the ways that units harness this resource and ensure its availability, as well as operationalize and optimize it.

Elements of Combat Power

Combat power is the total means of destructive, constructive, and information capabilities that a military unit or formation can apply at a given time. Operations executed through simultaneous offensive, defensive, stability, or DSCA operations require the continuous generation and application of combat power. To an Army commander, Army forces generate combat power by converting potential into effective action. Combat power includes all capabilities provided by unified action partners that are integrated and synchronized with the commander’s objectives to achieve unity of effort in sustained operations.

Commanders apply combat power through the warfighting functions using leadership and information. Commanders apply leadership through mission command. Leadership is the multiplying and unifying element of combat power. An Army commander, by virtue of assumed role or assigned responsibility, inspires and influences people to accomplish organizational goals. Information enables commanders at all levels to make informed decisions on how best to apply combat power.

Information Operations (IO), a component of the command and control* warfighting function, supports all other warfighting functions and makes each one more potent. The effects that IO achieves in the information environment amplify the effects of movement and maneuver, intelligence, fires, sustainment and protection, both constructive and destructive.

IO supports the accomplishment of several mission command warfighting tasks, including inform and influence audiences inside and outside an organization, conduct knowledge management and information influencing are effects that occur in the cognitive dimension of the information environment. By effectively synchronizing information-related capabilities (IRCs) and, when appropriate, conducting cyberspace electromagnetic activities, commanders tailor their influence and manner of informing to the situation and audience at hand. Information and knowledge management support the commander and staff’s ability to access information quickly and completely, as well as segment and protect information, thereby enhancing their decision making and gaining advantage over adversaries and enemies.

See related articles “information advantage” (positions of relative advantage) and also information (as one of the joint functions).

INFO1: The Information Operations & Capabilities SMARTbookThis article is an extract from “INFO1: The Information Operations & Capabilities SMARTbook (Guide to Information Operations & the IRCs)” by The Lightning Press. Download a free PDF sample and learn more at:INFO1: The Information Operations & Capabilities SMARTbook (Guide to Information Operations & the IRCs).”

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