Information operations (IO) encompass attacking adversary command and control (C2) systems (offensive IO) while protecting friendly C2 systems from adversary disruption (defensive IO). Effective IO combines the effects of offensive and defen-sive IO to produce information superiority at decisive points.
IO brings together several previously separate functions as IO elements and related activities. IO elements include the IO core capabilities, specified sup-porting capabilities, and related activities discussed in chapter l. It also allows commanders to use all of them both offensively and defensively, as they deem appropriate. The assistant chief of staff (ACOS) G-7 has the coordinating staff responsibility for coordinating IO elements and related activities. This enables the G-7 to shape the information environment to friendly advantage and pro-tect commanders and friendly C2 systems from adversary IO.
Commanders do not conduct IO simply for the sake of doing IO. Effective IO is an integrated effort that synchronizes the effects of IO elements/related activities to accomplish specific objectives designated by the commander. It is the means commanders use to mass the effects of the information element of combat power.
Offensive IO destroy, degrade, disrupt, deny, deceive, exploit, and influence adversary decisionmakers and others who can affect the success of friendly operations. Offensive IO also target the information and information systems (INFOSYS) used in adversary decisionmaking processes.
Defensive IO protect and defend friendly information, C2 systems, and INFOSYS. Effective defensive IO assure friendly commanders an accurate com-mon operational picture (COP) based not only on a military perspective, but also on nonmilitary factors that may affect the situation. An accurate COP is essen- tiul to achieving situational understanding. (See FM 6-0.) Most IO elements may he used either offensively or defensively. Effective IO requires integrating IO re-lated activities—such as, public affairs and civil military operations—into IO as well.
The goal of IO is to gain and maintain information superiority, a condition that allows commanders to seize, retain, and exploit the initiative. It facilitates more effective decisionmaking and faster execution. IO involve constant efforts to deny adversaries the ability to detect and respond to friendly operations, while simul-taneously retaining and enhancing friendly force freedom of action. When expe-ditiously exploited. IO provide a potent advantage that facilitates rapid military success with minimum casualties. Effective IO and information management al-low commanders to take advantage of opportunities, while denying adversary commanders the information needed to make timely and accurate decisions or leading them to make decisions favorable to friendly forces.
Army forces routinely employed the elements of IO separately in past conflicts. Psychological operations, operations security, military deception, physical de-struction, and electronic warfare were viable tools of Army commanders during World War II. The Gulf War demonstrated the benetit of employing these elements