Leveraging Information (in Military Operations)

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The information joint function encompasses the management and application of information to change or maintain perceptions, attitudes, and other drivers of behavior and to support human and automated decision making. The information joint function is the intellectual organization of the tasks required to use information during all operations— understand how information impacts the OE, support human and automated decision making, and leverage information (see Figure II-1). JFCs and their staff perform these tasks during all operations to accomplish their respective missions.

When commanders leverage information, they expand their range of options for the employment of military capabilities beyond the use of or threatened use of physical force. JFCs leverage information in two ways. First, by planning and conducting all operations, activities, and investments to deliberately leverage the inherent informational aspects of such actions. Second, by conducting operations in the information environment (OIE).

All military activities have an informational aspect since most military activities are observable in the Information Environment (IE). 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 in the OE; failing to leverage those aspects in a timely manner may cede this advantage to an adversary or enemy. Leveraging the informational aspects of military activities can support achieving operational and strategic objectives. The information function also encompasses the use of friendly information to influence foreign audiences and affect the legitimacy, credibility, and influence of the USG, joint force, allies, and partners. Additionally, JFCs use friendly information to counter, discredit, and render irrelevant the disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda of other actors.

INFORM Domestic, International, and Internal Audiences

Inform activities are the release of accurate and timely information to the public and internal audiences, to foster understanding and support for operational and strategic objectives by putting joint operations in context; facilitating informed perceptions about military operations; and countering misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda. Inform activities help to ensure the trust and confidence of the US population, allies, and partners in US and MNF efforts; and to deter and dissuade adversaries and enemies from action. PA is the primary means the joint force uses to inform; however, civil-military operations (CMO), key leader engagement (KLE), and military information support operations (MISO) also support inform efforts.
See INFO2 pp. 1-35 to 1-44 for related discussion from ADP 3-13.

INFLUENCE Relevant Actors

The purpose of the influence task is to affect the perceptions, attitudes, and other drivers of relevant actor behavior. Regardless of its mission, the joint force considers the likely psychological impact of all operations on relevant actor perceptions, attitudes, and other drivers of behavior. The JFC then plans and conducts every operation to create desired effects that include maintaining or preventing behaviors or inducing changes in behaviors. This may include the deliberate selection and use of specific capabilities for their inherent informational aspects (e.g., strategic bombers); adjustment of the location, timing, duration, scope, scale, and even visibility of an operation (e.g., presence, profile, or posture of the joint force); the use of signature management and MILDEC operations; the employment of a designated force to conduct OIE; and the employment of individual information forces (e.g., CA, psychological operations forces, cyberspace forces, PA, combat camera [COMCAM]) to reinforce the JFC’s efforts. US audiences are not targets for military activities intended to influence.
See INFO2 pp. 1-45 to 1-48 for related discussion from ADP 3-13.

ATTACK AND EXPLOIT Information, Information Networks, and Information Systems

The joint force targets information, information networks, and information systems to affect the ability of adversaries and enemies to use information in support of their own objectives. This activity includes manipulating, modifying, or destroying data and information; accessing or collecting adversary or enemy information to support joint force activities or operations; and disrupting the flow of information to gain military advantage. Attacking and exploiting information, information networks, and information systems supports the influence task when it undermines opponents’ confidence in the sources of information or the integrity of the information that they rely on for decision making. Activities used to attack and exploit information include offensive cyberspace operations (OCO), electromagnetic warfare (EW), MISO, and CA operations. PA also contributes to this task by publicly exposing malign activities.
See INFO2 pp. 1-49 to 1-56 for related discussion from ADP 3-13.

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

INFO2 SMARTbook: Information Advantage (Activities, Tasks & Capabilities)This article is an extract from "INFO2 SMARTbook: Information Advantage (Activities, Tasks & Capabilities)" by The Lightning Press. Download a free PDF sample and learn more at:  INFO2 SMARTbook: Information Advantage (Activities, Tasks & Capabilities).

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