DOD redefining info ops

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 network attacks.

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.

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