Operations in the Information Environment (OIE)

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Operations in the information environment (OIE) are military actions involving the integrated employment of multiple information forces to affect drivers of behavior by informing audiences; influencing foreign relevant actors; attacking and exploiting relevant actor information, information networks, and information systems; and by protecting friendly information, information networks, and information systems.

OIE leverage information for the purpose of affecting the will, awareness, and understanding of adversaries and other relevant actors and denying them the ability to act in and through the IE to negatively affect the joint force, while protecting joint force will, awareness, understanding, and the ability to take actions in and through the IE.

OIE may provide commanders with a decisive advantage over adversaries by helping to maintain the credibility and legitimacy of joint force actions, preserving the joint force will to fight, maintaining situational understanding, and keeping the joint force free of prohibitive interference due to cyberspace or EMS activity, which cumulatively preserve freedom of action throughout the OE. OIE are conducted as an integral part of all operations and campaigns and help shape the IE for future operations. As such, joint forces will always be conducting one or more OIE to remain continuously engaged in and through the IE. OIE are conducted in support of all operations and may be a main effort or supporting effort.

Any organization or capability may be tasked to conduct activities to support OIE, whether or not assigned to an OIE unit. For example, a JTF hosting a visit by local journalists, an aviation unit conducting a show of force, or a naval strike group conducting a freedom of navigation mission may all be carrying out these activities to inform or influence relevant actors in support of OIE.

OIE are not a substitute for the joint forces’ deliberate leveraging of the inherent informational aspects of military activities. The joint force should still integrate information and informational considerations and capabilities into strategic art and operational design, planning guidance, and planning processes.

OIE unit core activities include conducting OIE and facilitating the JFC’s integration of information into joint force operations. Other joint force elements conduct some of the information activities associated with these core activities during their operations.


Operations in the information environment (OIE) are the primary focus of OIE units. OIE encompass critical tasks that OIE units must perform to achieve JFC objectives by leveraging information. OIE units accomplish these tasks using military capabilities in a coordinated and synchronized manner to collectively achieve objectives affecting the IE by informing audiences; influencing foreign relevant actors; attacking and exploiting information, information networks, and information systems; and by protecting friendly information, information networks, and information systems. OIE are conducted in support of the JFC’s operation or campaign objectives or in support of other components of the joint force. Joint forces continuously conduct OIE to remain engaged with relevant actors.


The inform task involves actions taken to accurately communicate with domestic and foreign audiences to build understanding and support for operational and institutional objectives. It seeks to reassure allies and partners and to deter and dissuade competitors, adversaries, and enemies. The inform task uses accurate and timely information and visual media to counter disinformation; correct misinformation; and put operations, activities, and polices in context. It involves communication with domestic and international audiences and with joint force personnel. Planning and executing tasks to inform include public engagement and the acquisition, production, and dissemination of communication and other information products. The inform task facilitates educated perceptions by establishing facts and placing joint force activities in context, correcting inaccuracies and misinformation, and discrediting propaganda with counter-narratives. The primary means used for the inform task is PA; however CA, cyberspace, and psychological operations forces can facilitate the release of truthful information through their respective CMO, CO, and MISO activities.


The purpose of the influence task is to affect the perceptions, attitudes, and other drivers of relevant actor behavior. This task is focused on impacting the human aspects of the OE, so planners should consider elements of these aspects as they relate to decision makers (e.g., each decision maker’s culture, life experiences, relationships, outside events, ideology, and the influences of those people inside and outside the decision maker’s group) during OIE planning, execution, and assessment. Planners integrate influence activities into the existing targeting process. Activities designed to contribute to the influence task include MISO, CMO, CO, OPSEC, and MILDEC operations. Influence may also involve the use of STO. Commanders consider the influence potential of all available capabilities in design, planning, and targeting. OIE units conduct all influence tasks in accordance with approved authorities.


The attack and exploit task comprises activities meant to impact or use opponent information, information systems, and information networks in ways that affect decision making and other drivers of behavior to create relative advantages for the joint force. OIE units execute these actions to manipulate or paralyze the adversary or enemy decision-making processes. Attack activities encompass affecting the real or perceived accuracy, integrity, authenticity, or confidentiality of information or the availability of information. OIE units accomplish attack tasks through technical means, such as CO, EMSO, and STO, though maneuver forces and joint fires can also be employed in support of these tasks. Exploit activities include accessing information, information networks, or information systems to gain intelligence and support operational preparation of the environment (OPE) for current or future operations. OPE may subsequently support inform and influence tasks of OIE. OIE units accomplish the exploit task through technical means, such as CO or EMSO.

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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