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On IO Campaigns

ThreatsWatch is one of those sites that I’ve always meant to hit. They get a lot of play from other sites I visit, but for whatever reason I never got around to getting there. After reading about the digital scuffle between TW blogger Bill Roggio and the Washington Post, I had to surf on over. That, and since I’m also ex-Army I like to slap as many GI backs as I can.

For the uninitiated: One of the goals of an Information Operations (IO) campaign is to protect the information that you use (ensuring its validity, utility, and timeliness) while at the same time adversely affecting (or cutting off) the information used by your adversaries. The idea being that by controlling or influencing what your adversary reads, sees, and hears, you help influence what he’ll think, say, and do.

On these points the Post does a great job of influencing their target audience (not an adversary per se). The very first word of the very first line of the story is false. Mr. Roggio dissects the other fallacies of the article himself, so I won’t repeat them here. Suffice it to say that the Post in effect conducts its own IO campaign against those they accuse of . . . being part of an IO campaign.

Assuming that studies about media bias are correct (to the extent that I am preaching to the converted, I apologize) it is hard to imagine that such a campaign is unintentional. While the Post and other MSM outlets have no problem telling us that Iraq is weighing down the hand-basket the Administration is carrying down to hell, there seems to be a dearth of equally well publicized stories about the successful battles, humanitarian efforts, infrastructure improvements, etc., etc. The counter to this negativity would be the more widespread dissemination in the US of AFRTS, PAO releases and of course the words of embedded bloggers.
I’ll let you judge for yourself if such tactics would be “propaganda” (a neutral word one can twist as they see fit) or an IO “weapon” as opposed to, say, an equally important and valid source of information.

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji spent nearly 20 years in the US intelligence community. Trained in both SIGINT and HUMINT disciplines he has worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. At various points in his career he served as an expert in information warfare, computer network operations, computer forensics, and indications and warning. A veteran of the US Army, Michael has served in both strategic and tactical assignments in the Pacific Theater, the Balkans, and the Middle East.