Leveraging Information (in Military Operations)

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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 joint force commander (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.

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., key-leader engagements (KLE), cyberspace operations (CO), military information support operations (MISO), electronic warfare (EW), and civil affairs (CA) — to reinforce the JFC’s efforts.

Tasks aligned under this activity apply the JFC’s understanding of the impact information has on perceptions, attitudes, and decision-making processes to affect the behaviors of relevant actors in ways favorable to joint force objectives.

Influence Relevant Actors

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., KLE, CO, military information support operations [MISO], EW, CA) to reinforce the JFC’s efforts. Since some relevant actors will be located outside of the JFC’s OA, coordination, planning, and synchronization of activities with other commands or mission partners is vital.

Inform Domestic, International, and Internal Audiences

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.

Attack and Exploit Information, Information Networks, and Systems

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 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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