Gp.Capt.Niwat  Niamploy, Royal Thai Air Force

Royal Thai Air Force Academy Command, Control & Communication and Information System, RMCS. Information Security, RHLU.

               According to the Office of Force Transformation, there are four domains of conflict that be involved to the modern war fighting as the Social Domain, the Cognitive Domain, the Information Domain, and the Physical Domain. The intersection of all domains is the Network Centric Warfare (NCW) or the Information Age Warfare [1].


Figure 1. Domains of Conflict

Nowadays, military personnel found that they have been involved with the information operations (IO) in many aspects. Each individual person/unit/brunch/service has its task relates to the IO for its particular objective. In the modern military world, the IO plays the most important part to achieve the goal from the strategic level to the tactical. There are many subjects that are related to the IO domain; eg. Command and Control (C2), Information Warfare (IW), Electronic Warfare (EW), Computer Network Operations (CNO), and etc. Therefore, the relation between units in the information domain should be cleared to everyone for understanding their works and how they interact with each others to meet the primary objectives.

Information Operations

According to the Joint Publication 3-13 Information Operations 27 November 2012, the information is a power tool to influence, disrupt, corrupt, or usurp an adversary’s ability to make and share decisions.[2] In the present, to win the war mainly done by controlling the adversary’s decision making in the information domain. The information dominance is an essential subject in the modern warfare.  Therefore, all national powers (diplomatic, social, military, economic, and technology) are employed in the information environment requires the ability to securely transmit, receive, store, and process information in near real time. The nation’s state and non-state adversaries are equally aware of the significance of this new technology, and will use information-related capabilities (IRCs) to gain advantages in the information environment, just as they would use more traditional military technologies to gain advantages in other operational environments.

Information Environment

The information environment is identified as the aggregate of individuals, organizations, and systems that collect, process, disseminate or act on information. The information environment consists of three interrelated dimensions, which continuously interact with individuals, organizations, and systems. These dimensions are known as physical, informational, and cognitive.

 – The Physical Dimension: The physical dimension is composed of command and control (C2) systems, key decision makers, and supporting infrastructure that enable individuals and organizations to create effects. It is the dimension where physical platforms and the communications networks that connect them reside. The physical dimension includes, but is not limited to, human beings, C2 facilities, newspapers, books, microwave towers, computer processing units, laptops, smart phones, tablet computers, or any other objects that are subject to empirical measurement. The physical dimension is not confined solely to military or even nation-based systems and processes; it is a defused network connected across national, economic, and geographical boundaries. Therefore, the physical dimension is related to the subjects that involve all people, physical equipments, systems, and processes such as the Commander/Leader, Command and Control System, Computer System, Electronic and Communication System, Supportive Infrastructure, Decision Making Process, and etc.

– The Information Dimension: The informational dimension encompasses where and how information is collected, processed, stored, disseminated, and protected. It is the dimension where the C2 of military forces is exercised and where the commander’s intent is conveyed. Actions in this dimension affect the content and flow of information. This dimension is related to the subjects that are involved with the information operation, assessment, manipulation, distribution, security, and etc., including the intelligence processes and procedures. The subjects that are related to this dimension such as Intelligence, Information Warfare, Information Assurance, Information Support Operation, Data Distribution, Targeting, and etc.

– The Cognitive Dimension: The cognitive dimension encompasses the minds of those who transmit, receive, and respond to or act on information. It refers to individuals’ or groups’ information processing, perception, judgment, and decision making. These elements are influenced by many factors, to include individual and cultural beliefs, norms, vulnerabilities, motivations, emotions, experiences, morals, education, mental health, identities, and ideologies. Defining these influencing factors in a given environment is critical for understanding how to best influence the mind of the decision maker and create the desired effects. As such, this dimension constitutes the most important component of the information environment. The subjects that be concerned within this dimension effect the understanding and decision making of human in the information domain, such as Education, Believe, Culture, Public Affair, Thinking Methods, Civil-Military Operation, Military deception, and etc.


 Figure 2.The Information Environment, Information Dimension and its subjects

Information-Related Capabilities (IRC)

The Information-Related Capabilities (IRCs) are defined as tools, techniques or activities employed within a dimension of the information environment, which can be used to achieve a specific end(s). They affect the ability of the target audience (TA) to collect, process, or disseminate information before and after decisions are made. The TA is the individual or group selected for influence and can be allies, multinational partners, adversaries, or potential adversaries. The joint force (means) employs IRCs (ways) to affect the information provided to or disseminated from the TA in the physical and informational dimensions of the information environment to affect decision making and ultimately the adversary actions in the physical dimension.


Figure 3. Application of IRC to achieve influence

The commander will use information-related capabilities (IRCs) to gain advantages in the information environment. The employment of IRCs is complemented by a set of capabilities such as operations security (OPSEC), information assurance (IA), counter-deception, physical security, electronic warfare (EW) support, and electronic protection. These capabilities are critical to enabling and protecting the JFC’s C2 of forces. Key components in this process are:

             (1) Information. Data in context to inform or provide meaning for action.

             (2) Data. Interpreted signals that can reduce uncertainty or equivocality.

             (3) Knowledge. Information in context to enable direct action. Knowledge can be further broken down into the following:

                      (a) Explicit Knowledge. Knowledge that has been articulated through words, diagrams, formulas, computer programs, and like means.

                      (b) Tacit Knowledge. Knowledge that cannot be or has not been articulated through words, diagrams, formulas, computer programs, and like means.

             (4) Influence. The act or power to produce a desired outcome or end on a TA.

             (5) Means. The resources available to a national government, non-nation actor, or adversary in pursuit of its end(s). These resources include, but are not limited to, public- and private-sector enterprise assets or entities.

             (6) Ways. How means can be applied, in order to achieve a desired end(s). They can be characterized as persuasive or coercive.

             (7) Information-Related Capabilities. Tools, techniques, or activities using data, information, or knowledge to create effects and operationally desirable conditions within the physical, informational, and cognitive dimensions of the information environment.

             (8) Target Audience. An individual or group selected for influence.

             (9) Ends. A consequence of the way of applying IRCs.

Information Operations (IO) Application

The relational framework describes the application, integration, and synchronization of IRCs to influence, disrupt, corrupt, or usurp the decision making of TAs to create a desired effect to support achievement of an objective.

Joint force commanders (JFCs) may establish an IO staff to provide command-level oversight and collaborate with all staff directorates and supporting organizations on all aspects of IO. Most combatant commands (CCMDs) include an IO staff to serve as the focal point for IO. Faced with an ongoing or emerging crisis within a geographic combatant commander’s (GCC’s) area of responsibility, a JFC can establish an IO cell to provide additional expertise and coordination across the staff and interagency

IO is not about ownership of individual capabilities but rather the use of those capabilities as force multipliers to create a desired effect. There are many military capabilities that contribute to IO and should be taken into consideration during the planning process. These include: strategic communications, joint interagency coordination group, public affairs, civil-military operations, cyberspace operations(CO), information assurance, space operations, military information support operations (MISO), intelligence, military deception, operations security, special technical operations, joint electromagnetic spectrum operations, and key leader engagement.

There are other actions or Activities that could be performed for the achievement in the Information Operations such the following table:

ImageFigure 4. The IO Activities

Information Warfare (IW)

The term Information Warfare (IW) is primarily an American concept involving the use and management of information technology in pursuit of a competitive advantage over an opponent. Information warfare may involve collection of tactical information, assurance(s) that one’s own information is valid, spreading of propaganda or disinformation to demoralize or manipulate the enemy and the public, undermining the quality of opposing force information and denial of information-collection opportunities to opposing forces. Information warfare is closely linked to psychological warfare.[3]  Most of the rest of the world use the much broader term of “Information Operations” which, although making use of technology, focuses on the more human-related aspects of information use, including (amongst many others) social network analysis, decision analysis and the human aspects of Command and Control. According to the Joint Publication 3-13: Information Operations, 13 February 2006, the Information Warfare had be removed as a term from joint IO doctrine.[4]

Command and Control Warfare (C2W)

Command and Control Warfare (C2W) is a war fighting application of IW in military operations and employs various techniques and technologies to attack or protect command and control.[5]  C2W [DOD] is defined as the integrated use of operations security, military deception, psychological operations, electronic warfare, and physical destruction, mutually supported by intelligence, to deny information to, influence, degrade, or destroy adversary command and control capabilities, while protecting friendly command and control capabilities against such actions.

C2W is the integrated use of psychological operations, military deception, operations security, electronic warfare, and physical destruction, mutually supported by intelligence. C2W is both offensive and defensive:

             (1) C2-attack. Prevent effective C2 of adversary forces by denying information to, influencing, degrading, or destroying the adversary C2 system.

             (2)  C2-protect. Maintain effective command and control of own forces by turning to friendly advantage or negating adversary efforts to deny information to, influence, degrade, or destroy the friendly C2 system.


Figure 5. Command and Control Warfare

Comparing C2W with IO measures, the physical destruction in C2W and the computer network operations in the IO, these are only activities that are different.  And also, the support capabilities and the related capabilities in IO are disappeared in the C2W. The missing capabilities are involved mostly in the cognitive domain.

The Effects Based Operations (EBO)

“Operational Art translates the commander’s strategy into operational design, and, ultimately, tactical action, by integrating the key activities of all levels of war.”

JP 1-02, Dictionary of Military and Associated Term

                 According to Operational Art, the EBO concept could be fitted in the strategic as the desired conditions/results/effects (End Stage) have done by tasks/course of actions (Ways) in events/management of resources and mechanisms (Means). The EBO is currently accepted to be the conceptual strategic in military operations. Therefore, the information operations should be related and allocated into the EBO concept.


Figure 6. The relationship between Strategy, Operational Art, and Effects Based Operations

                 The IO is one of essential functions to carry out the Effects Based Operations (EOB). In this concept, the elements of IO can be allocated into the EBO as follows:

                 – Effects consist of commander’s intent (Objectives) and target audiences (Allies, Multinational Partners, Adversaries, and Potential Adversaries.

– Mechanisms are the management of resources and assets e.g. a joint force (Commander, IO staff, IO Cell, and Active Forces) and key component assets.

– Actions are the IRCs which could be all military capabilities, C2W, IW measures, and IO Activities


Figure 7. The relationship between the Effects Based Operations and the Information Operations

The Strategic Communications

The Strategic Communications (SC) means infusing communications efforts with an agenda and a master plan. Typically, that master plan involves promoting the brand of an organization, urging people to do specific actions, or advocating particular legislation.[6]  The SC can mean either communicating a concept, a process, or data that satisfies a long term strategic goal of an organization by allowing facilitation of advanced planning, or communicating over long distances usually using international  telecommunications or dedicated global network assets to coordinate actions and activities of operationally significant commercial, non-commercial and military business or combat and logistic subunits. It can also mean the related function within an organization, which handles internal and external communication processes.[7]  The recently approved NATO Policy on Strategic Communication defines Strategic Communication as “the coordinated and appropriate use of NATO communications activities and capabilities – Public Diplomacy, Military Public Affairs, Information Operations and Psychological Operations, as appropriate – in support of Alliance policies, operations and activities, and in order to advance NATO’s aims”

Strategic communication (SC) refers to focused US Government efforts to understand and engage key audiences to create, strengthen, or preserve conditions favorable for the advancement of US Government interests, policies, and objectives through the use of coordinated programs, plans, themes, messages, and products synchronized with and leveraging the actions of all instruments of national power. The US military plays an important supporting role in SC, primarily through information operations, public affairs, and defense support to public diplomacy. SC considerations should be included in all joint operational planning for military operations from routine, recurring military activities in peacetime through major operations.[8]


Figure 8. The Relationship between Strategic Communications (SC) and Others

               From the Draft of RTARF’s Doctrine for Strategic Communications, The relationship between (SC) and other activities can be defined by the capabilities to achieve the organization objectives. There are three main capabilities for the SC such as follows:

– Flexible Deterrence Options (FDO)

FDOs are preplanned, deterrence-oriented actions carefully tailored to send the right signal and influence an adversary’s actions. They can be established to dissuade actions before a crisis arises or to deter further aggression during a crisis. FDOs are developed for each instrument of national power—diplomatic, informational, military, and economic—but they are most effective when used to combine the influence across instruments of national power.[9]

FDOs serve two basic purposes. First, they assist in bringing an issue to early resolution before armed conflict by sending an appropriate message to belligerent parties. Second, they position  forces in a manner that facilitates implementation of OPLANs/CONPLANs or OPORDs if hostilities are unavoidable.

– Show of Forces

Show of force operations usually involve the deployment or buildup of military forces, an increase in the readiness status and level of activity of designated forces, or a demonstration of operational capabilities by forces already in the region. Although actual combat is not desired, shows of force can rapidly and unexpectedly escalate.[10]

The shows of force serve three principal reasons: to bolster and reassure allies, deter potential aggressors, and gain or increase influence. Shows of force are designed to demonstrate a credible and specific threat to an aggressor or potential aggressor.

– Visual Information (VI)

Visual information is frequently incorporated in an context to enhance the delivery and retention of textual or oral information. Whether in a presentation to commanders/colleagues/audiences, visual information, has the power to capture and hold audience attention and significantly increase the percent recall beyond what is generally accomplished when information is delivered through primarily aural or text based methods.[11] The Combat Camera (COMCAM) would be the significant resource for the input of VI. The COMCAM Team will provide the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), the military departments, combatant commands, and JTFs with a directed imagery capability in support of operational and planning requirements through the full range of military operations.

There are others capabilities that could be used for SC and could be supported other strategy issues as follows:

– Information Operations (IO) e.g. the Electronic Warfare(EW), the Computer Network Defense(CND) replaced by the Cyberspace Operations, the Psychological Operations(PSYOP), the Operations Security(OPSEC), and the Military Deception(MILDEC).

– Civil-Military Operations (CMO)

CMO are the activities of a commander performed by designated civil affairs or other military forces that establish, maintain, influence, or exploit relationships between military forces and indigenous populations and institutions (IPI), by directly supporting the attainment of objectives relating to the reestablishment or maintenance of stability within a region or host nation.[12]

– Defense Support to Public Diplomacy (DSPD)

DSPD are those activities and measures taken by the defense components to support and facilitate public diplomacy efforts of the government. They may include the public affair activities.

– Social Media e.g. the Facebook, Myspace, Bloge, and etc.

– Physical Destruction: by military assets and/or other means


In the modern warfare, there are many dimensional activities must be conducted. The Information Operations (IO) is one of the most important activities to win the war. It concerns all domains that are related to achieve the objectives. There are many activities that be defined to win the war in their own domains. Therefore, the commander must collaborate all activities into the same effort. Nevertheless, the all IO components will be floated in the information environment (IE), Therefore, the inter-relationships between themselves are very flexible and adaptable depend on current situation in the theater.


Figure 9. The Information Operations Relationship in its Environment



[1]   The Implementation of Network-Centric Warfare, the Office of Force Transformation

[2]   The Joint Publication 3-13: Information Operations, 27 November 2012


[4]   The Joint Publication 3-13: Information Operations, 13 February 2006

[5]   The Joint Publication 3-13.1: Joint Doctrine for Command and Control Warfare (C2W), 7 February 1996



[8], [9]  The Joint Publication 5-0: Joint Operation Planning, 11 August 2011



[12]  The Joint Publication 3-57: Civil-Military Operations, 11 September 2013