Information Operations: The Need for a National Strategy   [open pdf - 554KB]

This thesis explores the hypothesis that a national information strategy would enhance military effectiveness and national security. Analysis of the role of information in conflict, a definition of what information is, and how it can be used to support military operations establishes the foundation for the thesis. Perception management, system destruction, and information exploitation are identified as key elements of to an effective strategy. They are reflected in the 17 information operational capabilities in joint doctrine. Four categories were created to differentiate the IO capabilities along offense/defense and technological/cognitive lines. The current focus of IO in the U.S. is the technical/offensive IO category, with less attention being given to the conceptual/ cognitive category. This may be due to a lack of strategic IO planning. Therefore, a planning methodology is developed herein and used to analyze the Administration's response to the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001. A detailed analysis of the IO capabilities used identified two shortcomings: the failure to identify all key audiences, and not considering all the IO capabilities available. The thesis recommends adopting the concepts of a National Information Strategy and the IO strategic planning methodology used in the study.

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