Academic journal article Military Review

Tactical-Level Public Affairs and Information Operations

Academic journal article Military Review

Tactical-Level Public Affairs and Information Operations

Article excerpt

.. we must restructure our military for the new challenges of the Information Age, and not just downsize an already overtaxed contingency force. "1

-General John J. Sheehan, US Marine Corps

THE PUBLICATION of US Army Field Manual (FM) 100-6, Information Operations, in August 1, coupled with the current and impending changes in the information age-based military, requires that the US Army examine how to conduct warfare and contingency operations today and in the future rt. This article looks at incorporating information operations (10) at the tactical level and increasing the role of Public Affairs (PA) on the contemporary multidimensional battlespace. Lessons learned from the November 1998 Division Advanced Warfighting Experiment (DAWE) as well as current operational missions in Bosnia and Kuwait provide platforms to embody IO as an integral force multiplier. In fact, numerous IO articles and concept papers are being integrated into military planning and support many of the observations recorded from recent IO experiences and the doctrinal philosophies found in FM 100-6.

The DAWE Experience

The DAWE held last fall at Fort flood, Texas, was an example of employing 10 at the tactical level. One ofthe DAWE's six experimental imperatives outlined by the US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRA) was "does the division have the ability to plan, coordinate and execute information operations?"2 To implement this, the 4th Infantry Division and Experimental Force ( EXFOR) established an If) cell similar to the type outlined in FM 100-6.3 One major change was the overall cell director. During the DAWE "ramp-ups," the assistant division commander for support (ADC-S) replaced the chief of staff as the IO director due to availability, staff synchronization, higher/subordinate headquarters coordination and the priority that the EXFOR assigned to the task of maturing IO at the division. This adjustment allowed a focus of stovepipe organizations, many of which, up to that point, did not normally engage in continuous staff planning, coordination and execution of 10.

FM 46-1, Public Affairs Operations, states that "Public Affairs fulfills the Army's obligation to keep the American people and the Army informed, and helps to establish the conditions that lead to confidence in America's Army and its readiness to conduct operations in peacetime, conflict and war."4 The PA mission will not fundamentally change in the digital division. However, with digital technologies and 10, the PA section's focus will be PA planning, media facilitation, global information environment (GIE) acquisition/analysis, information campaigns and IO coordination. Due to the austere size of PA sections at the tactical and operational levels, combined with an increasing staff-support responsibility, the "traditional" product-driven PA functions, such as newsletter production, external releases and photo journalist duties must be handled by PA augmentation units. Normally, field units are augmented by several PA detachments (PADs) or mobile PA detachments (MPADs) depending on the force's size and mission.5

Operation Desert Thunder

Tensions increased in the Southwest Asia area of operations in the latter part of 1997. This escalated in early February 1998 and, as consequence, compelled the deployment of a coalition/joint task force (C/JTF) consisting of Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine forces, as well as allied countries to Kuwait. Operation Desert Thunder's mission was to deter Iraqi aggression toward Kuwait, assure other Gulf allies of our interest in regional stability and, if necessary, defend Kuwait. The C/JTF formed an IO cell, born out of the Deep Operations and Information Warfare cells. This was the command's initial attempt at implementing FM 100-6 IO-based principles at the theater level. Similar to other experiences, some difficulty arose in bringing FM 100-6 IO guidelines into the diverse coalition and joint information functions. …

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