Information Warfare: An Air Force Policy for the Role of Public Affairs
AIR UNIV PRESS MAXWELL AFB AL
Pagination or Media Count:
The successful conduct of military operations in the Information Age demands new strategies, new tactics, and new ways of thinking. It also raises important moral and ethical issues regarding the relationship between the military, the media, and the American public. Because exploitation of the information spectrum cannot be confined to a battle area, it is logical to assume the integration of Information Warfare IW into warfighting doctrine will target the strategic center of gravity encompassed by public opinion ours and our enemys. The militarys use or misuse of information in psychological or deception operations, under the guise of IW, could undermine the American publics trust in the US military institution. Although IW is still in its infancy, Air Force policy concerning the role of Public Affairs PA in IW has not been sufficiently examined. This paper explores the relationship between IW and PA and reveals a direct link through the role of propaganda in each. A historical analysis of propaganda in past wars yields lessons which can be applied to formulating PA policy on IW today. In light of the evidence, three possible options emerge regarding the possible IW roles PA might adopt. Option One a Hands Off policy seeks to avoid any association with IW and represents the current PA approach. Option Two upholds the primacy of truth but acknowledges PA must taken active role in IW. Option Three suggests PA abandon its policy to tell the truth and actively engage in all IW activities, including disinformation. This paper finds Option Two as the logical role for PA in todays environment and concludes with several recommendations to implement the policy.
- Administration and Management