Global Information Ambitions Of The Pentagon

The Strategy for Operations in the Information Environment (SOIE) adopted by the US Department of Defense in July, was released on November 17. It is general in nature, outlining what the Pentagon and its partners want to accomplish and how to get there.

The original message is that it is not just a military task. As noted, the Strategy for Operations in the Information Environment must be integrated with the range of other government information capabilities, operations, and activities that cover public diplomacy, civil affairs, and intelligence.

The key principles for planning the 2023 SOIE of the Department of Defense are as follows:

– The State Department heads public diplomacy. The Department of Defense works with interagency partners and provides planning and synchronization support and other resources to ensure effective integration of information capabilities across the government.

– Deliberate prioritization or reallocation of resources is required to meet the Joint Forces Commanders’ requirements for organic capabilities and the ability to implement the SOIE within campaigns and integrated deterrence.

– All military operations and activities affect the information environment. The effective SOIE and information advantage is achieved by integrating information power into strategy, strategic art, operational art, operational design, and operational planning from the very beginning of planning.

– Maintaining an up-to-date common vocabulary of the SOIE-related terms is critical.

– The Department of Defense’s integration with the public diplomacy is a key component of the SOIE across the competitive continuum.

– Military departments/services continue to provide forces and assets for integration in the Joint Forces, including for the joint information function implementing.

– Each service has defined and organized its information strengths and capabilities differently.

Pentagon SOIE
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a virtual Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG) meeting at the Pentagon on November 22, 2023 in Arlington, Virginia.

Thus, OIE units may consist of a variety of information forces and associated capabilities and competencies, including, but not limited to, psychological operations forces, civil affairs, public affairs, joint electromagnetic spectrum operations, cyberspace forces, space operations elements, with information planners qualified in Special Technical Operations, the Department of Defense’s disinformation operations and operational security activities.

– Maintaining current architectures and standards to assess the Department of Defense’s performance in this area and ensure interoperability, efficiency, information sharing, and cybersecurity.

Page 8 of the Strategy provides an illustrative diagram of how national interests and related threats compel the development of an appropriate strategy, which is a kind of a blueprint under which foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals act in the ways that benefit the US interests. The success or failure of such strategy is determined by the group behavior of these actors, as they all act based on their interpretation of the information that surrounds them. It seems that

the Pentagon wants to model the kind of information that would encourage everyone else to act in the way that is convenient for the US.

The paper also argues that “the competition for the information advantage is inherently global, unified, combined, interagency, and society-wide. The US military forces’ ability to operate globally in the information environment will depend on its ability to establish and maintain situational and enduring partnerships. A critical warfighting capability is ensured by our integration with allies and partners. Our allies and partners around the world have incredible capabilities, understand regional and local language and culture, and are better able to communicate in their respective regions and with their partners than the Department of Defense. The Department of Defense will remove barriers to cooperation and joint action with our allies and partners.

For the OIE to become truly effective national capabilities, the Department of Defense must apply them in a deliberate and unified manner; coordinate them with interagency bodies; and incorporate the perspectives and activities of academia, including university-based research centers, commercial organizations, industry, federally funded research and development centers, NGOs, and state, local, tribal and territorial governments and agencies. The United States should adopt a whole-of-government approach to the development and use of information as an instrument of national power. In addition to its statutory and traditional military roles and functions, the Department of Defense can provide planning support by helping to coordinate, synchronize, enhance, and resolve conflicts in interagency information activities, as well as provide thematic augmentation and mutual support among agencies.

Integration with allies and partners will be critical to effective warfighting…  The Department of Defense should promote the integration of our partners into our military forces and our military forces into theirs. It is necessary to truly understand the diverse information environment linking the global areas of responsibility.”

This document shows the inability of the US military to cope with the existing challenges, which is why they are interested in attracting the maximum number of partners and partially integrating themselves into their military structures. The issue is likely to involve both the US bilateral relations and various alliances such as NATO, AUKUS, and the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD). And if you look at other agencies, there are the Five Eyes – the intelligence alliance of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The fact that it is openly said that disinformation specialists are involved, shows that the US will not shy away from any methods to make the whole world think according to Washington’s programmed logic. And involving experts, NGOs, and academics is expected to make this more effective.

Incidentally, the day before, it was announced that the United States intends to create a permanent research center on irregular warfare, which will operate on a university basis (University Affiliated Research Center, UARC). Something similar was done in 1956 when the American University established a special operations research unit. Then, the occasion was the Korean War and the conflict in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, which caused paranoia in the US about the spread of communist ideas in Asian and Latin American countries.

The location and leadership of the new center have yet to be determined, but the trend shows the lessons the US are learning from the war in Ukraine, conflict in West Asia, and tensions over China. Irregular warfare is directly related to the concept of political warfare and it includes organizing coups, supporting underground movements, riots, and actually organizing terrorist acts in target countries.

However, this is not the Cold War era and there is a number of major influential powers that will prevent such plans of Washington. Since the US are unlikely to listen to the voice of common sense, rivalry and confrontation will increase.

Reposts are welcomed with the reference to ORIENTAL REVIEW.
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One Comment
  1. It is my pleasure to read everything in one spot; this is my first little visit.

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