War of Ideas and the Role of Information Operations in Counterinsurgency   [open pdf - 4MB]

"Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States' armed forces and its coalition of allies have become deeply entrenched in the counterinsurgencies of Iraq and Afghanistan. These struggles are not just counterinsurgencies, but they also represent the front lines of the nation's 'War of Ideas' between Western ideology and Islamic extremism, where influence and management of perceptions is paramount. Because of the inherently political nature of counterinsurgency (COIN) operations coupled with the dynamics of conflict within the information age, the role of information operations (I0) has assumed a new level of importance. [...]. This monograph analyzes the historical development of US IO doctrine and provides a discussion of the way ahead for common understanding among the services. Investigation into Clausewitz's theory of political conflict helps to reinforce how the role of I0 relates to kinetic operations based on the assessed nature of the conflict. Finally, an assessment of the new COIN manual FM 3-24, and analysis of the many considerations for proper understanding of the information environment provide scope to the challenges ahead for US forces in the COIN conflict. The monograph identifies that while new Joint I0 and Army COIN doctrines have provided a solid foundation for a change in understanding of the necessities for this contemporary conflict, there are still unresolved issues which may inhibit the commander's proper integration of 10. The monograph makes the following recommendations to improve the overall understanding and capability of 10 within the current conflict."

Report Number:
AY 06-07
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC): http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/
Media Type:
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