Information operations

Is An Information Campaign possible?


English: Location of Benghazi within Libya.
Benghazi, Libya. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I read a friend’s note to me today and I realized that I am free to speak from my heart, whereas those currently in the government, especially in or working for the military are constrained to work within the confines of their published doctrine and it is very difficult, if not impossible, to evolve quickly.  Politicians realize that perception is everything, the military is only beginning to understand and internalize this lesson.  There is an aversion to the use of military force by some in government, perhaps we’re looking at things the wrong way.

As a former enlisted Special Forces soldier, later an infantry officer, then a military intelligence officer, then working in Information Operations at a variety of levels and jobs, I have a unique background and, therefore, perspective.  I am not restricted to quote line and verse from current doctrine, I see it as my job to stretch the limits and, therefore, offer a possible future.  This is what I shared with some friends today.  I was advised to contact Chuck de Caro and discuss this with him, which I will.  Here is what I shared with them:  <begin>

Setting: a possible future scenario where military leaders recognize that every action, every word and every piece of information that the official US government releases is perceived by foreigners collectively and has a profound effect on the perception by foreign audiences, from the grassroots to the leadership at all levels, not only in a country, but regionally and globally.  There is no such thing as a plan with only tactical implications when the smallest event may have global impact. In Special Forces, a twelve man team is deployed to a foreign country, knowing full well what they do may have strategic, even global repercussions.  Every governmentally released piece of information should conform with an overall information strategy and plan.  To do otherwise portrays a dysfunctional picture, such as what we saw after a terrorist attack against a US facility in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012.

Combat operations are now a subset of a national information strategy and campaign.  A show of force sends a message.  Before one bullet is launched, before one bomb is dropped, the information impact of these actions are judged.

When combat operations are launched, physical destruction is held to a minimum, so that negative information effects are minimized. This is not to say force on force combat is any less violent and no deaths will occur, but it is a last resort.  Distasteful, if you will.

It is also important that US citizens enjoy their freedom of speech and their unique ability to voice their own opinions. This portrays a vibrant democracy and further aids to combat oppressive governments.

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About this last paragraph, this is a source of frustration for me, personally.  I believe this is, perhaps, an overly altruistic statement.  But this is the strategy that the BBG and the US Department of State embrace.  According to a good friend, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, disproves this theory.  I have asked, in multiple forums, “why” the US believes that broadcasting the news sways foreign audiences.  According to the seniors in charge of performing these tasks, foreign audiences can differentiate between news and propaganda and prefer objective news.

What do you think?