MILITARY OPERATIONS IN THE INFORMATION AGE: PUTTING THE COGNITIVE DOMAIN ON TOP
AIR WAR COLLEGE MAXWELL AFB United States
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Military Operations in the Information Age Putting the Cognitive Domain on Top focuses on the application of information to influence combined and synchronized with the kinetic component of military power as the essence of information age warfare. In the information age, the proliferation of cell phone and smartphone technology, along with social media has changed the environment and presents opportunities that must be exploited like others are already doing. The information age has provided a shared information environment where politics and perceptions are shaped. This makes almost everyone with an internet connection reachable and potentially able to be influenced. Kinetic battles will sometimes be necessary, however, the West tends to currently look at information operations as a supporting element to hard power. This perspective is upside-down thinking based on warfare of the industrial age. Since hard power dominance is ultimately used to make an adversary either decide not to fight or to cease fighting and accept the desired terms, and because in the information age this decision can be directly targeted like never before, the cognitive domain should be seen as the dominant consideration with operations in the other domains in support.Information age warfare must be conducted with synchronization of messaging and hard power at the operational level. Messaging can be used to influence other governments, domestic and ally populations and enemy forces. To achieve the desired influence in the cognitive domain, messaging must be tailored to the ideology being fought and the cultures involved. The US should lead the West in adapting its way of war using information age capabilities to exert influence alongside hard power.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Information Science