THE INFORMATION BATTLESPACE: A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD FOR THE ASYMMETRIC FOE
AIR WAR COLLEGE, AIR UNIVERSITY MAXWELL AFB United States
Pagination or Media Count:
The current conflict the United States and its coalition partners are engaged in with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ISIS is largely ideological. The Wests narrative of liberal democracy runs counter to that of ISISs brand of Islamic extremism bent on Sharia law. ISIS recently revealed it has devoted significant effort to a domain that offers it a more even playing field in which to challenge those who oppose it. The skill with which it produced a video of the terrorist groups murder of a Jordanian pilot indicates an advanced understanding of visual communication. This and other instances of an increased emphasis on operations within the information battlespace deserve close scrutiny. The U.S. Air Force faces two major obstacles in contending with this issue first, cultural and organizational emphasis on the communications requirements associated with equipping the Air Force as opposed to operational communications and second, the risk aversion endemic to large bureaucracies. This research paper will analyze instances of ISISs increased, more sophisticated efforts in the realm of communication and using that information, will suggest strategies to overcome the obstacles to the Air Force contending with this challenge, not only with respect to ISIS, but any enemy seeking to engage in the information battlespace. Although these efforts overlap at times with what the U.S. military calls Psychological Operations or Military Information Support Operations, for the purposes of this paper, the analysis will focus solely on Public Affairs PA efforts to influence the enemy.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics