Information (as a Joint Function)

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All military activities produce information. Informational aspects are the features and details of military activities observers interpret and use to assign meaning and gain understanding. Those aspects affect the perceptions and attitudes that drive behavior and decision making. The JFC leverages informational aspects of military activities to gain an advantage; failing to leverage those aspects may cede this advantage to others. Leveraging the informational aspects of military activities ultimately affects strategic outcomes.

Joint Functions

Joint functions are related capabilities and activities grouped together to help Joint Force Commanders (JFCs) integrate, synchronize, and direct joint operations. Functions common to joint operations at all levels of warfare fall into seven basic groups (above).

The information function encompasses the management and application of information and its deliberate integration with other joint functions to change or maintain perceptions, attitudes, and other elements that drive desired behaviors and to support human and automated decision making. The information function helps commanders and staffs understand and leverage the pervasive nature of information, its military uses, and its application during all military operations. This function provides JFCs the ability to integrate the generation and preservation of friendly information while leveraging the inherent informational aspects of military activities to achieve the commander’s objectives and attain the end state.

The instruments of national power (diplomatic, informational, military, and economic) provide leaders in the US with the means and ways of dealing with crises around the world. Employing these means in the information environment requires the ability to securely transmit, receive, store, and process information in near real time. The nation’s state and non-state adversaries are equally aware of the significance of this new technology, and will use information-related capabilities (IRCs) to gain advantages in the information environment, just as they would use more traditional military technologies to gain advantages in other operational environments.

Regardless of its mission, the joint force considers the likely impact of all operations on relevant actor perceptions, attitudes, and other drivers of behavior. The JFC then plans and conducts every operation in ways that create desired effects that include maintaining or inducing relevant actor behaviors. These ways may include the timing, duration, scope, scale, and even visibility of an operation; the deliberately planned presence, posture, or profile of assigned or attached forces in an area; the use of signature management in deception operations; the conduct of activities and operations to similarly impact behavioral drivers; and the employment of specialized capabilities — e.g., information-related capabilities (IRCs) — to reinforce the JFC’s efforts.

Inform activities involve the release of accurate information to domestic and international audiences to put joint operations in context; facilitate informed perceptions about military operations; and counter adversarial misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda. Inform activities help to assure the trust and confidence of the US population, allies, and partners and to deter and dissuade adversaries and enemies.

The joint force attacks and exploits information, information networks, and systems to affect the ability of relevant actors to leverage information in support of their own objectives. This includes the manipulation, modification, or destruction of information or disruption of the flow of information for the purpose of gaining a position of military advantage. This also includes targeting the credibility of information.

See related article on leveraging information (in military operations) and information (as an element of combat power).

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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