DOD redefining info ops
- By Dan Verton
- May 29, 2000
Based on the lessons learned from the 78-day air war in Kosovo, Defense
Department officials are seeking to redefine the emerging field of high-tech
information operations, a senior DOD official said last week.
Operation Allied Force showed that the current definition of information
operations is "much too broad," said Air Force Lt. Col. Chris Glaze, a staff
officer within the Joint Chiefs of Staff Policy and Doctrine Division. Pentagon
officials are studying how to whittle down the responsibilities that fall
within the IO field so that commanders and personnel can better understand
what's required of them.
The textbook definition of IO includes a vague reference to "actions taken
to affect adversary information systems" as well as to defend U.S. systems,
Glaze said. Other IO missions might include jamming and physical attacks
on information systems, psychological operations, deception and computer
The Pentagon's overall IO effort met with minimal success during the Kosovo
air war, said Glaze. During a presentation in Zurich, Switzerland, at the
third International Electronic Warfare Conference and Exposition, sponsored
by the Association of Old Crows, Glaze said that DOD has yet to really conduct
a 21st century IO campaign.
The Pentagon is studying the possibility of redefining IO as "perception
management" and creating separate mission areas out of the multitude of
functions that fall under the definition (see related story).
That would leave a new definition of IO that would include psychological
operations, military deception, counter-propaganda operations and the like,
Glaze said. However, military deception could include hacking into enemy
systems to implant false data or communicating false information.
"Achieving operational consensus on the definition of information operations
has been the big problem from the beginning," said John Pike, a defense
and intelligence analyst with the Federation of American Scientists. However,
"perception management is probably a subset of IO...and to the extent that
gaining control of computer networks can actually have material consequences,
IO is certainly much more than perception management."
As part of its psychological operations campaign in Kosovo, the Pentagon
dropped more than 104,000 leaflets similar to those that were dropped over
Europe during World War II, Glaze said. Also, electronic warfare aircraft
flew 88 missions to broadcast pro-Allied Force messages. The Pentagon also
set up a World Wide Web site at www. serbia-info.com to further counter
the propaganda of the Serbs, Glaze said.
"What happened during Allied Force was basically warmed-over command
and control warfare," said Glaze, referring to an older form of electronic
warfare that has existed for a decade or more.