On September 26, 2017, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford, USMC https://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Dunford_APQs_09-26-17.pdf)
Part of his testimony appears below:
“Do you think that the Department of Defense needs to better integrate its capabilities and planning for cyber operations and information warfare?
Yes. The Department must improve our ability to exploit the potential of cyberspace as a pathway for Information Operations to drive adversary perceptions, decisions, and actions (or inaction) in ways favorable to our strategic ends. We must also improve our ability to reassure friends and support allied and partner military efforts to defend against and defeat adversary propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation, much of which is delivered via cyberspace.
If so, how would you recommend that this goal be achieved?
Cyberspace is one of many domains through which we can conduct Information Operations. In order to improve cyber-enabled Information Operations, we should continue to prioritize growing and maturing our cyber forces. We are working toward this goal by integrating our approach to the information fight from the ground up, building Information Operations and cyberspace doctrine, guidance, and tasks into our strategy development and execution orders, adopting an active and innovative approach to improving understanding and fluency in the domain, and developing new operational and organizational constructs and advanced tools designed to keep pace with the environment and the threat.”
I have repeatedly commented on my perception of the schism between cyber operations and MISO. While there is no denying that cyber is a significant IO vector and that Social Media is evolving to be more important than broadcast media, I have not seen any evidence that DOD is on top of this challenge.
While there is a published DOD Cyber Strategy from 2015 (see: https://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/features/2015/0415_cyber-strategy/Final_2015_DoD_CYBER_STRATEGY_for_web.pdf), there doesn’t seem to be a coherent strategy for US government wide Strategic Communications or influence, nor does there seem to be a current DOD wide MISO strategic plan, nor any documentation on spider webbing MISO and cyber influence capabilities throughout the Force.
In June 2016 DOD published the “Strategy for Operations in the Information Environment” which you can see at: https://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/DoD-Strategy-for-Operations-in-the-IE-Signed-20160613.pdf. However, this document is also short on specifics and of course, was published under the former Administration.
A couple of thoughts on what needs to happen.
1. We need a coherent, US government wide strategy recognizing that influence and counter disinformation and propaganda must stretch across all Federal Departments and resources.
2. DOD needs to emphasize the need to put MISO and Cyber Operations resources at the point of the kinetic spear. Meaning that the Marine Corps and Army Forces should be augmented with tactical Influence Operations forces.
3. Career tracks should be established across the force to cross train selected personnel in Public Affairs, MISO and Cyber Operations. This force should also include highly qualified personnel from other Federal Departments such as Department of State, Commerce, Treasury and Energy.
Reader comment invited.