Ukraine, irregular changes in the war are changing the information strategy of the Pentagon

Ukraine’s lessons and changes in irregular warfare will be reflected in an upcoming review of the Pentagon’s information operations strategy, defense policy chiefs said.

“Everyone has a cell phone; this is what we see in Ukraine. It’s not just soldiers who have cell phones and are looking at a javelin strike. Civilians report the movement of Russian forces,” said Major General. Matthew Easleychief information operations advisor to the assistant secretary of defense for special operations.

Among other things, Easley said, that means special operators must think about public narratives — how they might change and how U.S. forces might shape them — long before combat begins. And that means ensuring troops have the right digital skills, including data analysis and messaging.

“Our information operators and forces must be involved in the full spectrum of operational planning and execution and cannot wait until a crisis begins to begin setting up a theater to deliver messages,” the general said Friday at the National Defense Industry Association. Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict Symposium in Washington, D.C. “We need to strengthen campaign planning, starting with cognitive goals. Understand what narratives are needed to reinforce those goals, and then develop physical action plans that demonstrate commitment to that narrative.”

A new strategy is needed by 2020 an act of defense policy and is slated for publication in March, will be updated to the 2016 version, Easley said. The Joint Information Doctrine was published in 2018.

It builds on several large-scale technical policy efforts led by the Pentagon, including the Cyber ​​Strategy, Data Modernization Strategy, and Digital Modernization Strategy. It will have four lines of effort with an emphasis on personnel training and force development needs. It also means doing a better job of integrating information operations, he said, noting Information groups of the US Marine Corps as an example.

Other areas of work include building programs that improve information operations, such as cloud infrastructure and data analytics; creating effective policies and management; and maintaining partnerships. In the 2021 report, the Government Accountability Office found that the Department of Defense is deficient in its leadership and integration for information operations.

The strategy also comes as the Defense Department works to improve its overall irregular warfare doctrine.

Richard Tilley, director of the Defense Department’s Irregular Warfare and Competitiveness Division, said IW typically focuses on terrorism and counterinsurgency.

“So everything we’ve built over the last 20 years has tended to dissuade the local population from local actors that we don’t align with or that have interests that are different from ours. And we went through it a little bit,” Tilley said. “The proxy war will not go anywhere. And whether it’s Europe or the Pacific, it’s going to come back, and we have to better understand how our partners and allies are going to fight.”

The war in Ukraine gave a “crash course” on the current state of irregular warfare and the use of information space. But the defense and intelligence communities have struggled to detect “willingness to resist” in proxy, surrogate and allied populations, Tilley said. And this should change if similar conflicts arise in the future.

“We don’t have a good track record in trying to detect the will to resist in these proxy, surrogate and allied groups,” he said.

“This cognitive domain of understanding whether someone will fight or not is a qualitative analysis. But I think the private sector is pretty good at it,” Tilley said.

“Look at the marketing. That is qualitative analysis. What makes people drink Coke, what makes people drink Pepsi? And how do you sell these people? I think the private sector has exploited the information domain through marketing to the Nth degree because that’s how you make money. That’s how you make a profit. And I think we, as a department and as a national security enterprise, should be able to learn some of those lessons.” Ukraine, irregular changes in the war are changing the information strategy of the Pentagon

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