Information Operations (IO)

Manipulating the Architecture of Cultural Control: A Conceptual Model for Strategic Influence Operations in North Korea


The deep structural and cultural changes taking place in North Korea provide an opportunity to conduct influence operations to shape that country’s culture and society, either to destabilize the government or to prepare the population for a regime change. This paper presents a conceptual model of how contradictions between top down, imposed culture and organic, indigenous culture can be exploited to destabilize the system, and eventually re-pattern the culture.  The process includes the following steps: identification of the cultural type; understanding relevant cultural forms; identification of vulnerable targets; evaluation of the information system; identification of effective elements of persuasion; mapping of the architecture of social control; and introduction of new “attractors” to damage or destroy the constituent cultural myths.

Belief Systems, Information Warfare, and Counter Terrorism


This paper defines Counter Terrorism within a risk management and information warfare framework, using risk analyses based upon an understanding of Belief Systems.  An understanding of how people make crucial (life threatening) ethical decisions is important to reducing the likelihood and the impact of terrorist acts.  This understanding can come from analyzing and modeling the complex systems that make up the Belief Systems of terrorists and of the targets of terrorists. Counter Terrorism analysts can use these Belief Systems Models to identify key influences or relationships in Belief Networks and apply information warfare strategies to exploit or prevent events arising from crucial ethical decisions made by terrorist organizations, creating immunity in targeted societies.

Content Analysis as a Tool of Information Warfare


This paper presents a discussion of content analysis and its application as part of the information warfare armoury. The term content analysis has been in use much longer than the term information warfare, but the tool, even if known by other names, has been used for several decades as a tool of warfare. This paper proposes research to merge epidemiological theory with content analysis. It is likely that a tool such as content analysis introduces a new dimension to information warfare whereby a home population, and not just an 'enemy' may also be a target of information operations.

Terrorist Use of Information Operations


It is the authors’ contention that many terrorist organizations have a profound understanding of the information environment and have the ability to manipulate information to achieve their objectives, inherently viewing operations through an IO lens. To provide insight into how terrorist organizations use Information Operations, to exploit the information environment, the authors evaluate tactical and strategic examples of terrorist operations using an IO lens based on US Department of Defense (DoD) IO doctrine. This analysis illustrates that terrorists use IO, and that terrorist organizations are naturally linked to the information environment.

Getting to Purposeful Information Operations: The Application of Effects-Based Approaches


The literature on Effects–Based Operations (EBO) continues to be dominated by theory, with limited evidence of (successful) practical application reported.   This situation is entirely acceptable in the early formative stages of any new concept, as first hesitant steps are taken and the authority of a shared idea gradually develops. EBO is now a global phenomenon.    The effects must have primacy in shaping the actions that are taken. EBO practitioners, particularly those within the information operations domain, need those hands-on executable actions that can be taken to solve problems in the real world.  Furthermore, these executable actions can only be enabled through the possession of specific capabilities.   The paper offers a systems approach that includes a problem space, a solution space and a design space that may bring the necessary totality to the subject, guarding against premature use of means that appear to fit well with the context – a fixation with efficiency rather than effectiveness.   The paper argues that an examination of the systemic interactions amongst factors may deepen planners’ or policy-makers’ understanding of why a region or area of interest behaves the way it does, before they attempt to change it. A method is detailed that couples effects statements and means and highlights capability requirements. A case study example is provided using North Korea. 

Automated Categorization of Profiles for Psychological Operations: An Analysis of Data and Text Mining Approaches


Influencing one’s adversary has always been an objective in warfare.  To date the majority of psychological influence operations have been geared toward the masses.  A tailored approach of individual targeting is preferred but requires unattainable resources.  This paper investigates whether state-of-the-art data and text mining tools can be used to automate the categorization/segmentation of individual profiles for psychological operations.  Five data and text mining software applications were tested and their results compared with those of a social psychologist.  Using statistical analysis, it was concluded that current data and text mining tools are not mature enough to produce results comparable with those produced by psychologists.

TACFIRE Secure Virtual Workspaces for Dynamic Security in Defense Support to Civilian Authorities


A mission of the Department of Defense involves support to civilian authorities in times of national crisis.  Support often involves coordination with coalition partners.  The collective of DoD, civilian, and coalition partners creates a need for the capability to rapidly provision online, virtual workspaces where security can be controlled both centrally and by users.  A simulation is discussed in which 12 officers utilize TACFIRE – a comprehensive suite of XML web services that includes a personalized portal, email, chat, presence, instant messenger, and VoIP – with a secure virtual workspace capability that includes web conferences, threaded discussions, libraries, federated search, and task managers, for a Defense Support to Civilian Authorities (DSCA) scenario.  The simulation was modelled after the Naval Network Warfare Command Trident Warrior 06 experiment and in preparation for Trident Warrior 07.

Information Operations from an Asian Perspective: A Comparative Analysis


This article is a comparative study of the practice of state-sponsored influence activities in its various forms (namely propaganda, public diplomacy, psychological operations, public affairs, cyber warfare, electronic warfare and so on) in selected Asian countries (China, Taiwan, Thailand and Japan). It highlights the state of Asian development, differences in concepts, organization and application as compared to the Western models that today dominate discussions on information operations and influence activity.  By doing so, it provides alternative ways of approaching Information Operations (IO) that might contribute to the generation of challenges and solutions facing today’s policy makers. Finally, it will serve to broaden the body of knowledge in influence activities to include both Eastern and Western viewpoints. 

Caesar’s Military Deception at the Sambre River (57BC)


Notable historians believe the Nervii surprised Julius Caesar at the River(57 BC) in Belgica because Caesar had not taken precautionary defensive measures such as guarding the construction with an armed legion.  However, an examination of Caesar’s description opens the possibility that he baited the Nervii into attacking before their allies, the Aduatuci, could join them.  Further supporting this alternative theory are Caesar’s account of these events which  align with the six modern principles of military deception – focus, objective, centralized planning and control, security, timeliness, and integration.

Critical Infrastructures and the Human Target in Information Operations


When people speak of “targeting” in the context of Information Operations and Information Warfare, many tend to make direct analogies to kinetic warfare: Attacks on Critical Infrastructure, attacks on command - and - control centres and capabilities, attacks on computers and information systems, etc. Interest in attacking Critical Infrastructures comes easily and readily to mind, as it is generally a legacy of the sort of strategic bombing envisioned by the earliest airpower advocates and developed to a relatively high art during and since the Second World War.

An Approach to Teaching Cyber Warfare Tools and Techniques


This paper looks at an approach to teaching offensive and defensive skills in cyberwarfare. The teaching strategy presented has been developed in an active defense education environment. Action learning is an important facet of this cyberwarfare learning environment allowing students to experience application of the theory and reflect on the learning process whilst gaining proficiency in the tools and techniques.

Implications and Challenges of Applied Information Operations


As the allied nations begin to operationalise the concepts of what has come to be termed Information Operations, it seems helpful to outline some of the key implications and challenges associated with the endeavour. Properly thought out, IO embodies a wide range of both traditional concepts and capabilities, as well as new ones. This article presents eight broad areas of concern, in an attempt to help frame the arguments and discussions that will take place in this new Journal over the coming years. It is not meant to be comprehensive in scope, but rather to outline a manageable number of key issues for examination, in hopes of generating beneficial debate on these and other relevant issues.

Information Operations – A Swedish View


This paper touches upon Swedish views of how to organize traditional domestic responsibilities to better catch up with emerging IT-related threats. This paper stresses the need for developed forms of public-private co-operation. It also discusses new ways of handling crises and conflicts, as well as of enforcing sanctions in the international arena.

Information Operations, Public Diplomacy & Spin: The United States & the Politics of Perception Management


The evolution of Information Operations doctrine in the United States is placing more weight upon Perception Management, particularly at the strategic level. This paper argues that if such Perception Management efforts are to be effective they will need to work in conjunction with the State Department and its associated agencies and with the President's communication staff. Such collaboration will require overcoming institutional boundaries and different concepts of what Perception Management involves. This paper examines the place of perception management within military IO doctrine before looking at current debates over the place of public diplomacy in contemporary foreign policy and looking at the role of the White House communications organisation in international perception management.

Waging Public Relations: A Cornerstone of Fourth-Generation Warfare


This paper examines one of the least-understood elements of Information Operations – public affairs. Rather than focusing, however, on traditional military approach to public affairs, it examines how corporations have embraced public relations during the past decade, aggressively pursuing positive coverage that helps win consumer hearts and minds. This article will outline the basic PR techniques and tactics that have been employed in the business world over the past decade. It will show how companies develop messages and marketing plans; evaluate audiences; and disseminate these messages. And it will show how Information Warriors can rapidly and successfully adapt these techniques to an I/O environment. The paper will also outline methods for applying these consumer PR techniques in an IO environment. Most elements of Information Operations doctrine have come a long way in the past ten years, both as a theoretical science and as a practical exercise. 

Information Era Manoeuvre: The Australian-Led Mission To East Timor


Several recent international military operations have been criticised, but one success story stands in contrast – the Australian-led mission to East Timor. Australia has a history of seeking to ‘punch above its weight’ with stealth, and battle cunning, backed up with, but not driven by, kinetic capabilities. This paper sets out emergent thoughts on the Australian way of war and the growing awareness of ‘Information Operations’ and Perception Management in Australian military doctrine that preceded the East Timor operation. Australia’s disciplined, restrained and self-deprecating approach helped bind together a 22-nation ‘coalition of the willing’, demonstrating the application of a manoeuvreist mindset adapted for the mass-media information era. The result in East Timor was a method that relied largely on a ‘tactics and television’ approach to accomplish the mission with minimal fighting and collateral damage to the region. The success of this approach would suggest that this form of Information Era manoeuvre is valid for the military challenges of today and beyond.

Becoming the Enemy…and How Not To: Strategic Communications and the Challenges of the War on Terror


This opinion piece argues that there are lessons to be learned from past applications of Psychological Operations and Information Operations for the current practice of Strategic Communications.  The Information War on Terror is going so badly that something must be done.  Already longer than World War Two, western strategic communication directed towards the Arab and Muslim world has failed because the military, while being quite good at tactical operational propaganda, is not by itself equipped to work at the strategic or political level.  This is because western militaries regard information as a support tool.  For Al Qaida and the Taliban it is the main weapon.

The Electronic Intifada: The Palestinian Online Resistance in the 2nd Intifada


This paper examines the utility of the Internet in the war of ideas in the Al-Aqsa Intifada in the period from 2000-2008. It tests the hypothesis that the internet is a ‘force-multiplier’ and ‘equalizer’ for the Palestinians to counter a more militarily superior State of Israel. The prognosis offered in this paper is that the empowering characteristics of the internet have transformed the Palestinian struggle into ‘asymmetric warfare’ akin to Mao’s ‘People’s War’ fought on cyberspace. Empirical findings largely confirmed the hypothesis, but with reservations about the ‘equalizer’ effect. The effectiveness of the Palestinian’s online resistance is attributable to their assimilation into the NGO/IO community and achieving traction with the news media. However, decades of Israeli influence on US media and audiences continue to present a significant barrier. 

Evaluating the Effect of the Fear Appeal in Advertising: Implications for Information Operation Campaigns


Assuming the use of the fear appeal is dominant in Information Operations (IO), to undermine the will of the adversary, this paper critically evaluates five decades of research in marketing communications on the effectiveness of fear appeals. An attempt is made to determine how these findings might relate to the IO context, given the special circumstances of these campaigns. A discussion of how market research might be used to determine the effectiveness of fear appeals used in IO campaigns follows, given the special contexts in which they are undertaken (for example, Afghanistan). Implications for how practitioners apply and modify marketing research techniques are also discussed.

Reframing the Narrative of the Global War on Terrorism


The election of President Obama has created a unique opportunity for the United States in the Muslim world. President Bush’s over-aggressive tone played a large part in alienating opinion and fanning the flames of anti-Americanism, as Muslims felt that he was a warmonger and unwilling to compromise. Obama’s recent speech in Cairo showed his appreciation that a line must be drawn under this and a new approach taken. While key policy continuities remain, Obama is approaching these issues from a fundamentally different angle – he seeks, and appears to seek, engagement; Bush, too many Muslims, appeared to seek confrontation.

Journal of Information Warfare

The definitive publication for the best and latest research and analysis on information warfare, information operations, and cyber crime. Available in traditional hard copy or online.















Quill Logo

The definitive publication for the best and latest research and analysis on information warfare, information operations, and cyber crime. Available in traditional hard copy or online.


Get in touch

Registered Agent and Mailing Address

  • Journal of Information Warfare
  •  ArmisteadTEC
  • Dr Leigh Armistead, President
  • 1624 Wakefield Drive
  • Virginia Beach, VA 23455