Army outlines doctrine for 'information attack activity'

By Nickolai Sukharev / December 6, 2023 at 5:15 PM

Reducing an enemy's information command and capabilities are the Army's priorities when it comes to information warfare, according to a chapter in a new doctrine published last week.

“The threat is increasingly reliant on space, cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance,” the doctrine states. “Affecting the threat’s ability to use data and information to communicate, command and control its forces or conduct information warfare provides the friendly force an advantage.”

Consisting of eight chapters and titled “Information” (ADP 3-13), the doctrine’s seventh chapter outlines how the Army should degrade an enemy’s command and control as well as its information warfare capabilities during combat operations.

To degrade an enemy’s command and control, the doctrine directs the Army to reduce the enemy’s ability to collect, access or use information while affecting an enemy’s information warfare capabilities would include attacking an enemy’s communications and network systems.

“Information is central to everything we do,” Lt. Gen. Milford Beagle, commanding general of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, KS said in a press release. “It is the basis of intelligence, a fundamental component of command and control, and the foundation for communicating thoughts, opinions and ideas.”

“As a dynamic of combat power, Army forces fight for, defend, and fight with information to create and exploit information advantages -- the use, protection and exploitation of information to achieve objectives more effectively than enemies and adversaries,” he added.

Depending on the unit size, the doctrine’s attack methods include physical destruction, electromagnetic attacks, cyberattacks and space operations.

Brigade-level units would use physical destruction as their primary attack methods through missiles and artillery, depending on the specific unit.

“Physical destruction capabilities are inherent in combined arms formations and often provide more immediate results than employing other methods of attack,” the doctrine adds.

Larger units would conduct electromagnetic attacks using “electromagnetic energy, directed energy or antiradiation weapons” as well as cyberattacks to deny cyberspace capabilities or create manipulation effects.

“The effects from these attacks provide windows of opportunity Army forces can exploit,” the doctrine reads. “In some cases, cyberspace attack actions can lead to physical destruction.”

Space operations would be carried as joint operations with the other services to “enable freedom of action.”

Prior to all types of attacks, the doctrine directs commanders to consider rules of engagement, resources and intelligence.

“Our new doctrine makes it clear that everyone plays some role in achieving information advantage,” retired Army colonel and CADD Director Richard Creed said in a press release. “Similarly, commanders need to consider information from a combined arms perspective because all Army capabilities create effects in the information dimension of our operational environment.”