Internet Anthropologist Think Tank: Army Gearing Up for Info War

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    Monday, July 23, 2007

    Army Gearing Up for Info War

    Army Gearing Up for Info War (Finally)

    By Noah Shachtman EmailJuly 23, 2007 | 11:16:56 AMCategories: Human Terrain, Info War, Strategery

    The fight against Al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups is primarily an information war, leading counterinsurgency and counterterror officers believe -- one in which the U.S. is still lagging far, far behind. But after years of ignoring the problem, the Army may be starting to take this battle of images seriously; the service is working on a new "information operations" field manual, Inside the Army reports.

    Soldiermediactrdui While it might be tempting to write this off as bureaucratic paper-shuffling, keep in mind: it wasn't until a similar counterinsurgency playbook was finalized that armed services began waging in earnest at a full-blown guerrilla-fighting campaign in Iraq.

    The first step will be to revise the Army's main operations manual, FM 3-0, to address the "important business of influencing and informing populations -- both our own and in the area in which we operate," Training and Doctrine Command chief Gen William Wallace tells Inside the Army.

    [That] in turn, would be used to craft a separate information operations field manual over the course of the next year.

    ... In fighting an insurgency, U.S. commanders on the ground in Iraq have recognized that, in addition to traditional intelligence, “information about the socio-cultural mosaic in their area of operation” is essential to military success, according to Paul Tiberi, director of the Army’s Information Operations Proponent.

    Determining how the disparate groups interact and how various media “influence the perceptions, attitudes, beliefs and . . . behaviors of these peoples” could make or break the U.S. counterinsurgency effort, he added.

    That shift in attitude can't come quick enough, one
    influential counterinsurgency officer tells DANGER ROOM.

    "We still don't see or accept information as an element of power," he writes. "For the enemy, it is THE driving element."

    Why? Because for modern, highly developed democracies the beliefs and opinions of their well-informed populations is their center of gravity. If you cannot simply overpower your opponent physically, then it is the will of the opponent that has to become the target. 100% available modern media is the avenue of approach that your "information bombs and missiles" travel along. [L]iving rooms of registered voters are the impact areas...

    This newly emerged information element of power has the potential to do to highly developed modern democracies what conventional and nuclear weapons could not: compel them to quit. Which is exactly what is happening now.

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