Information operations

New RAND Work: Dominating Duffer’s Domain: Lessons for the U.S. Army Information Operations Practitioner


Dominating Duffer’s Domain

Lessons for the U.S. Army Information Operations Practitioner

Christopher Paul, William Marcellino


More than a century after its release, The Defence of Duffer’s Drift by Major General Sir Edward Swinton has become an enduring military classic. That piece of instructional fiction, in which the narrator learns from his operational mistakes over a series of dreams, has earned a place in military classrooms and has inspired military leaders, analysts, and historians. Indeed, the narrative form can be a powerful teaching and learning tool. To support U.S. Army efforts to better integrate information operations into operational planning, RAND has adapted the premise of General Swinton’s work for a modern-day audience and a different problem set. The fictitious narrator, Captain I. N. Hindsight, takes readers repeatedly through the same mission over the course of six dreams in which she makes shortsighted decisions, critical miscalculations, and smaller mistakes that contribute to spectacular failures until the accumulated lessons ultimately allow her and the command she supports to succeed. The fabricated instructional scenario draws on actual historical operations, alternative directions that these operations could have taken, and realistic challenges that an Army information operations planner might face. The 26 concise lessons in this volume offer insight that, ideally, the practitioner will not need to acquire through hindsight.

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Sally Sleeper
Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program
RAND Arroyo Center

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