Information Operations Best Practices Collaboration

(Editor’s Note: Since the inaugural article on best practices in the May 2012 issue of the IO Sphere, a lot has been accomplished on sharing IO-related best practices across the joint IO force. This is the first in a series of regular updates on that topic to appear in future editions of the IO Sphere.)

Sharing best-practices (BP) within the joint Information Operations (IO) community is receiving increasing attention at senior levels of leadership. For example, a number of discussions at the 2-4 October 2012 Worldwide IO Conference (WWIO) either focused on, or touched upon, the theme.

To address this growing area of interest, a specified task levied upon the Joint Staff J-39 Deputy Director of Global Operations as the Joint IO Proponent reads “Facilitate developing and sharing IO lessons learned with other DoD components and allied partners, as appropriate.”1 Best practices being an output of lessons learned, the Joint IO Warfare Center (JIOWC) has been tasked to “Facilitate the sharing of IO best practices across the joint IO force.” 2

In satisfying this tasking, the JIOWC J55 Advocacy Branch has initiated a virtual collaborative effort in which an IO BP community of practice (CoP) can table, discuss, and advocate for IO-related BPs. Two primary rules govern this effort: First, the CoP focuses on BPs relating to the integration of information-related capabilities (IRC), as versus the employment of specific IRCs. While individual IRC employment will likely be discussed as background to the overall IO integrative effort, the ultimate focus will be on integration. Second, the purpose of convening the CoP is for the sharing of lessons-learned (LL)/BPs, not so much their discovery, validation, analysis, or implementation. Again, CoP discussion threads will certainly delve into these activities as background; however, it is not our intent to duplicate or run a parallel process to the Joint Staff (JS) J-7’s LL mission. JS J-7’s Joint and Coalition Operational Analysis Division has been apprised and is supportive of this IO-focused effort.

The initial collaborative event took place via VTC on 13 September 2012 with USSTRATCOM J39, USNORTHCOM J39 and J2, HQDA G-39/ODCI, MCIOC, and J3/J5 elements of the JIOWC in attendance. This session comprised primarily administrative direction and proposed TTPs for BP collaboration.

The CoP convened a second VTC on 8 November 2012 with USCENTCOM CCJ3-IO-PO, USNORTHCOM J2, HQDA G-39/ODCI, NIOC, and JIOWC J3/J5/OS attending. The CoP rolled up its collective sleeves and addressed three challenges/BPs nominated and presented by NIOC dealing with force development (training), IO planning and assessment competencies (i.e., force development [management]), and overcoming limitations inherent in the IO tab of JOPES Vol II. Additionally, JIOWC J3 sponsored a call for potential BPs relating to IO targeting as a follow up from discussions at the WWIO.

To further both synchronous and asynchronous collaboration, JIOWC J55 has established an IO BP SharePoint site on SIPRNet at that includes an Announcements feature for hot topics and news, a discussion board and blog for asynchronous collaboration, a document library to archive community updates and support documentation, and links to external LL/BP sites. We’ve also established a SIPRNet Defense Connect Online (DCO) room for aperiodic IO BP sidebars or other ad hoc collaborative events.

Ultimately, as BPs are identified and refined, they will be entered into the Joint Lessons Learned Information System for formal recognition within the Joint Lessons Learned Program. DOTML-PF requirements that may roll out from these BPs will be handled via the appropriate joint business process (e.g., JCIDS, JTS) under the auspices of JIOWC J5’s requirements advocacy role as a JS Chairman Controlled Activity.

We’re planning regular collaborative events on a quarterly basis, depending upon the number of BP topics nominated for discussion. The CY13 tentative schedule includes Wednesday VTC/SIPRNet DCO sessions from 1100-1200 Central Time on 20 February, 22 May, 21 August, and 20 November. This schedule is subject to change upon CoP consensus. Changes and updates will be posted on the Announcements section of the IO BP SharePoint site.

If you see value in this effort for your organization, please contact Mr. Bruce Judisch at on NIPRNet, on SIPRNet, or telephonically at 210.977.4973/DSN 969.4973. Alternate POC is Mr. Roger Gaebel:,, 210.977.4666/DSN 969.4666. Government POC is Mr. Ed Ratcliffe, JIOWC J55:,, 210.977.4919/DSN 969.4919.

Terrorism Online: The Web’s Role in Radicalization by Chandler Karadsheh from

Old-fashioned paper propaganda is getting phased out. Taking its place is social media, a relative newcomer that is taking the world by storm. Social media’s open, web-based interactive formats allow for instant communication to an unlimited audience. The use of social media has dramatically risen in the last decade, especially among young adults. The monumental popularity and outreach capabilities of social media have made this sector a prime target for terrorist recruitment operations. Social media offers several huge advantages to terrorist groups. The Internet is easily accessible with cheap equipment and offers world-wide reach in an instant. Given the ease of incorporating these innovations, terrorist recruitment efforts have increasingly turned to social media for organization, outreach and propagandizing. Read full article…..Here

Director of the Joint Staff Signs New Joint IO Doctrine

JP 3-13, Information OperationsOn 27 November, the director of the Joint Staff signed the new Joint Pub 3-13, Information Operations (IO). This publication provides the joint community with information operations doctrine and how to accomplish IO planning to employ these forces. This is the first substantive update to overall IO joint doctrine since February, 2006. Following lists the summary of changes since the previously published doctrine. The most substantive change is in the definition of IO, which this doctrine encapsulates and expands on to ensure IO planning is used according to this definition.

· Identifies the information environment as the aggregate of individuals, organizations, and systems that collect, process, disseminate or act on information.

· Defines information-related capabilities (IRCs) as tools, techniques or activities employed within a dimension of the information environment, which can be used to achieve a specific end(s).

· Introduces the information-influence relational framework as a model illustrating the use of means and ways, through the applications of IRCs, to achieve an end(s) through influence of a target audience (TA).

· Defines TA as an individual or group selected for influence.

· Describes information operations (IO) as the integrated employment, during military operations, of IRCs in concert with other lines of operation, to influence, disrupt, corrupt, or usurp the decision making of adversaries and potential adversaries while protecting our own.

· Designates the IO staff as the combatant command focal point for IO and the IO cell as the planning element responsible for integration and synchronization of IRCs to achieve national or combatant commander objectives against adversaries or potential adversaries.

· Emphasizes IO must be integrated into all steps of the joint operation planning process.

· Articulates that it is vital to integrate multinational partners into joint IO planning, in order to gain agreement on an integrated and achievable IO strategy.

The full JP 3-13 is located at the Joint Electronic Library in the Operations Series Section.

The Effectiveness of US Military Information Operations in Afghanistan 2001-2010: Why RAND Missed the Point

Major General (rtd) Andrew Mackay
Commander Steve Tatham Ph.D Royal Navy
Dr Lee Rowland: The Behavioural Dynamics Institute


In May 2012 the RAND Corporation published a detailed study of Click on Photo to Read the Rand Study on IO/MISO/PsyOps in Afghanistanthe effectiveness of US Information Operations in Afghanistan between 2001-2010 (Click on Cover to Read Full Rand Study). The paper identified six key lessons that the US must learn from that experience and made five recommendations. 

This paper finds much to agree with in RAND’s findings, but much, too, with which it disagrees, particularly in RAND’s recommendations. However, it is the view of this paper’s authors that RAND has missed THE fundamental failing in not just US IO and MISO/PsyOps but wider ISAF efforts as well: (Read the Full Essay at the Download Button).

Download the full essay.