Influencing Friends and Allies: Information Operations Doctrine and the Role of the Combatant Commander
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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Joint Publication JP 3-13 states that Information operations IO are described as the integrated employment of electronic warfare EW, computer network operations CNO, psychological operations PSYOP, military deception MILDEC, and operations security OPSEC, in concert with specified supporting and related capabilities, to influence, disrupt, corrupt, or usurp adversarial emphasis added human and automated decision making while protecting our own. While this definition addresses the full measure of joint efforts in effecting the mind of the enemy decision maker, it cordons off other potential recipients of IO-friends and allies of the United States. The term adversarial in the JP 3-13 definition of IO is limiting IO has beneficial application in US efforts to influence states and peoples friendly or allied with the United States. Certainly, some aspects of IO are best reserved for unfriendly target audiences namely actions to disrupt, corrupt, and usurp. But if IO represents a panoply of capabilities that can be used to affect the enemy it also includes capabilities that can be used to influence friends. Therefore joint IO doctrine should be changed to include friends and allies of the United States as targeted audiences IO-FA. Furthermore the geographic COCOM has a role to play in IO focused on decision makers friendly to the United States through Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, the Theater Security Cooperation Plan, and Strategic Communications. This paper examines the COCOMs vital role in IO-FA and justifies the need for JP 3-13 to be changed to reflect the importance of that role and information operations vis- -vis friends and allies of the United States.