Chapter 4: Aerospace Information Operations (B-GA-403-000/FP-001, Canadian Forces Aerospace Shape Doctrine)



To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.[1]

– Sun Tzu

Although info ops[2] is considered a relatively new military discipline spawned by the present information age, in reality, the only thing that is new is the breadth of the evolving capabilities. Within Canadian history, aspects of this discipline can be observed as early as the Battle of Detroit in August 1812, a victory won by conquering "the mind of the enemy commander, not the bodies of his troops."[3] As demonstrated in Vignette 10, terminology for some aspects of info ops had not yet been coined; however, the tenets and power of info ops have been practiced since the dawn of warfare.

Vignette 10: The Battle of Detroit. The War of 1812 is often described by historians as a formative chapter in the eventual establishment of Canada as a nation. The collective rallying of disparate pre-nation Canadians (British, French, native, and even former Americans living in Upper Canada) against an offensive US force is still reflective of Canada’s non-offensive but, once evoked, fiercely defensive mindset.

Under the leadership of British Major General Isaac Brock, a carefully synchronized campaign utilizing the then unnamed concepts of signals intelligence (SIGINT), military deception, psychological operations (PSYOPS), and operational security (OPSEC) was brilliantly waged against a numerically superior adversarial force.

Critical to any information operations campaign, Brock started by developing a strong understanding of the mindset of his adversary: US Brigadier General William Hull. Through covertly intercepted communiqués, Brock searched for and ultimately discovered a key psychological weakness: a deep fear of native "Indian savages." Leveraging this information for maximum effect, Brock took siege of Detroit and implemented his next information operations tool: deception. He dressed many of his militia forces in borrowed distinctive redcoats of British regulars and instructed that night fires were to be lit individually (vice the common practice of one per five soldiers); giving the day and night impression of a large British force.

Bolstering this deception, his allied chief, Tecumseh, repeatedly cycled his moderate number of warriors through gaps in the forest that observers within Fort Detroit would have mistaken, and reported, as a huge "savage" force. These deception-based actions neatly reinforced a letter that Brock’s staff had crafted much earlier with the intent that it be "captured" by their adversary. A paragraph in this deliberately administrative-sounding letter mentioned that 5,000 native warriors should be enough support to the amassed British forces already facing Detroit. Shifting his information tactics to psychological warfare, Brock gently encouraged his allied warriors to circle Fort Detroit in a screaming and blood-thirsty fashion. Against this backdrop, Brock played his decisive information operations card; he sent a letter to Hull which basically stated that the number of natives who had joined with his forces would be beyond his control once the battle started. Faced with the horrifying imagery of 5000 "savages" unleashed upon his fort, Brigadier General Hull simply surrendered.

If Brock’s men, allies, or countrymen had uttered words or taken visible actions that had funneled back to the defenders of Detroit, disproving any significant part of the information campaign, Brock would have surely lost the battle. Effective OPSEC, throughout the operation, was essential to its success. Ultimately, Brock’s approximately 1330 troops (600 natives, 330 British regulars, and 400 militia) suffered zero casualties; Hull’s troops suffered seven deaths (due to artillery bombardment) and approximately 2500 were captured.

In addition to the booty that was stripped from Detroit, Brock’s actions emboldened pre-nation Canadians and demoralized the Americans at a time when US political leadership commonly and dismissively considered Canada as "for the taking." Had Brock entered into a classic war of attrition, history books would have surely recorded his resounding defeat vice the rout of Detroit through his brilliant implementation of information operations principles.[4]

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Information superiority can be critical to the outcome of a military conflict. Military actions are designed to generate effects across the domains. Operating within the physical, moral, and informational domains, info ops shape the electromagnetic, psychological, conative (will), cognitive (understanding), information, and cyber sub-domains to support friendly intentions and goals, while degrading or denying an adversary’s freedom of action to operate in kind. When combined with current electromagnetic and other technological advances, it is easy to appreciate the expanded potential of modern info ops. To maximize this potential and avoid mutual interference, operational planners must ensure that info ops activities are coordinated and synchronized with fires and manoeuvre. Additionally, military members at all levels must be cognizant of the effects, be they intended or unintended, of their actions and how they shape the battlespace.

For example, the overflight of a village by an armed fighter en route to an operating area is no longer simply a transit; it can become a means of sending a message to one’s adversaries, allies, and civilian populations about one’s intent, means, and will. Information is a key operational factor when planning and conducting military operations.


Several definitions of info ops exist among allied nations, but the ideas behind most concepts are similar in context and purpose. For the CF, info ops is defined as "coordinated actions to create desired effects on the will, understanding and capability of adversaries, potential adversaries and other approved parties in support of overall objectives by affecting their information and information-based processes and systems, while exploiting and protecting one’s own."[5] While these actions are constrained by Western values and by legal frameworks, it must be understood that adversarial info ops are often unconstrained and, as a result, potentially even more damaging if not countered. Info ops are designed, synchronized, and implemented in support of the joint task force commander's (JTFC’s) overarching campaign objectives.

This chapter is intended to highlight the importance of info ops in modern warfare and to identify some of the ways aerospace forces can be brought to bear. From recent experiences in Afghanistan and elsewhere, the strategic impact of aerospace operations from an info ops perspective is obvious. Unfortunately, it has often been the negative impact that is most evident. For this reason in particular, it is critical that RCAF personnel understand the overarching principles of info ops that must guide and govern future aerospace operations.

It is important to understand what separates info ops from other psychological warfighting strategies. An old term often associated with info ops, and in particular with PSYOPS, is propaganda. Although the aim of propaganda may be similar to info ops, it consciously uses falsehoods to produce its effects. PSYOPS by Western powers use selected truths to achieve their objectives. The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) recognizes that the short-term gain of a lie, once discovered, causes a long-term and unacceptable degradation of future PSYOPS products.

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To build, manage, and maximize info ops, the following six principles must be observed:

  1. Support the JTFC’s objectives. When the RCAF is tasked to lead or support a broad Government of Canada (GC) initiative or specific Canadian Forces (CF) operation, the JTFC and their staff will promulgate strategic mission objectives. The resulting aerospace info ops objectives must be clearly traceable and synchronized to support these mission objectives.
  2. Execution in the pre, active, and post phases. Early, broad, and persistent shaping through info ops will provide significant long-term operational dividends.
  3. Persistent focus on "effect," not "performance." The equivalent to a kinetic battle damage assessment (BDA) is inherently difficult to determine. An undue focus on measures of performance (e.g., numbers of leaflets dropped, jamming conducted, motherboards fried, signals intercepted, wells dug, and communiqués released) instead of measures of effectiveness (e.g., observed changes in an adversary’s behaviour) must be avoided in an effective info ops campaign. Info ops is fundamentally about coordinated influencing and observable change in neutral and adversarial targets; this is the only metric of info ops significance.
  4. Synchronization with influencing entities of all elements, agencies, and allies. Simplistically, info ops can be described as synergistic cooperation between non-kinetic practitioners. However, due to the potential breadth of the synchronization effort, in practice, info ops is neither simple nor strictly non-kinetic. Formal and informal synchronization mechanisms between own military, own government, allied forces, and non-governmental organizations (NGO) must be established and maintained. As a general rule: the broader the synchronization effort, the greater the info ops effect.
  5. Deep understanding of the target audience. To effectively influence the minds and subsequent behaviours of a target audience, it is necessary to understand the social, cultural, and religious motivational precepts which guide their actions. To avoid personal biases and errant hypotheses, it can be critical to garner understanding and background information from academics, anthropologists, and religious leaders. Info ops, and in particular, PSYOPS, are most effective when both emotive hearts and cognitive minds are targeted for influence.
  6. Monitor, assess, and adjust. Change within the hearts and minds of a target audience is often a slow process and can only be quantified with assessed changes in behaviour. It can be difficult to assign definitive cause-effect to individual info-ops-based efforts. The establishment of a baseline and cyclical monitoring of the target audience’s frame of mind (e.g., motivation, outlook, allegiances, and fanaticism) and actions (e.g., war-fighting, work habits, recreation activities, and religious adherences) is critical. This framework will afford info ops practitioners the ability to gauge shifts in target audience psychological state, a precursor to change in behaviour. This collection and assessment process must leverage the combined potential of all available intelligence, polling, open-source, and informal sources. As info ops milestones are achieved, emphasis will adjust to, and ideally lead, the progressive phases of the mission.

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Current info ops doctrine groups operations into three core activity areas: counter-command activities (CCA),[7] influence activities (IA), and information-protection activities (IPA). While IPA must take place at all times, IA and CCA may or may not be planned as part of an operation. Each activity area has a unique focus:

  1. Counter-command activity. Information activities that focus on countering command functions and capabilities, by affecting the data and information that support an adversary’s use of information in command and control; intelligence, surveillance and target acquisition; and weapon systems (e.g., computer network operations (CNO) and electronic warfare (EW) / electronic attack (EA) /jamming).
  2. Influence activity. Information activities that focus on changing, influencing, or reinforcing perceptions and attitudes of adversaries and other approved parties (e.g., PSYOPS, EW/spoofing, and public affairs [PA]).
  3. Information-protection activity. Information activities that focus on preserving and protecting freedom of manoeuvre in the informational domain by defending the data and information that supports one’s own decision makers and decision-making processes (e.g., OPSEC and frequency-agile radios).

Figure 4-1 illustrates the thematic construct of info ops. For the sake of clarity, arrows only point to the primary intended effect of each activity area; however, it is essential to understand that activities conducted under CCA, IA, or IPA commonly have second-order effects. For example, conducting a computer network attack (CNA) to destroy an adversary’s communication node may be primarily executed as a CCA. As a second-order effect, this action will also degrade the adversary’s situational awareness, hence their understanding. If the CNA activity is also coordinated with friendly SIGINT assets, the adversary may commit exploitable OPSEC breaches. Collectively, these second-order effects support IPA initiatives. Conversely, if the attack on the communications node was done without coordination, it may negatively impact important friendly intelligence-gathering efforts.


The figure illustrates the core activity areas for information operations and their intended effects. On the left is a box containing the three core activity areas: counter-command activities; influence activities; and information protection activities. A wide arrow labelled “affects the target’s” points from the core activity areas box to a box on the right that lists the target’s primary intended effects: capability; will; and understanding. There is one narrow arrow linking each core activity to its primary intended effect: counter-command activities to capability; influence activities to will; and information-protection activities to understanding.End of figure 4-1.

Figure 4 1. Construct of information operations


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Info ops ensure that appropriate tools, techniques, and capabilities are coordinated, de-conflicted, and synchronized to achieve desired effects in the target domains. In some instances, these efforts can result in specific aerospace missions, but in general, they form an inherent part of the overarching operational planning process. It must be understood that any military activity can be leveraged towards an info ops objective. While not exhaustive, the following are examples of military capabilities that commonly contribute to info ops initiatives:

  1. Psychological operations. The primary purpose of PSYOPS is to influence the perceptions, attitudes, and behaviours of selected individuals or groups to achieve operational objectives. This is generally accomplished through the use of highly selective messages. Common mediums to disperse this messaging include: face-to-face, print, audio, audio-visual, and novelty products. PSYOPS exerts direct control over content, dissemination, and audience and will not intentionally use commercial media organizations to transmit its messaging. Aerospace assets can support the dissemination of PSYOPS messaging through radio broadcasting and leaflet drops. PYSOPS is often confused with public affairs (PA), but very clear distinctions between the two exist. The PA officer’s primary aim is to inform neutral and friendly audiences via media outlets, while the PSYOPS officer’s primary aim is to influence neutral and adversary targets.
  2. Military deception involves measures designed to mislead adversaries through manipulation, distortion, or falsification. Deception is a complex art which demands good OPSEC, significant compartmentalized planning, and a sound understanding of an adversary’s way of thinking. In operations, it can contribute directly to the achievement of surprise and indirectly to security and economy of effort. Within a deception plan, both information and traditional physical means and methods (such as feints, camouflage, and decoys) can be applied. Info ops planners must be involved in deception planning to ensure that deception objectives and other information activities are mutually supportive. Aerospace forces—owing to their range, speed, prowess, and flexibility—are exceptionally well suited for deception objectives.

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Vignette 11: Deception during the Normandy invasion. The beginning of the end to Nazism was decisively ushered in with the Normandy landings on 6 June 1944. Less well known are the full complement of deception activities that helped establish this triumphant beachhead. A brilliant case in-point was the phantom naval invasion force that was orchestrated by Royal Air Force 218 Squadron; a unit that included numerous Commonwealth aircrew.

Generally relegated to coastal mining roles due to their slow and nearly obsolete Short Stirling Mk III aircraft, 218 Squadron, nonetheless, honed a precise kinetic skill set that would be leveraged for an even more important non-kinetic deception: one that would save the lives of thousands of naval and army personnel. Critical to the success of the D-Day landings was the requirement to have Nazi forces convinced that the expected Allied invasion forces were arriving at a different location; a deception made difficult by the need to emulate a huge water-borne invasion force. With only days to brief, equip, train, and execute, 218 Squadron achieved this feat through a carefully orchestrated use of chaff, a fairly new deception tool referred to as "window" in this era.

At 2339Z on 5 Jun 1944, with Australian Flight Lieutenant Chaplin at the controls, the first of eight Shorts Stirlings lumbered into the air and aimed for a location in the English Channel well north of Normandy. Once in position, the aircrew commenced choreographed drops of 12 chaff bundles along an 18-mile-long (29- km) front in the strait. With precise navigation and under the cloak of night, these aircraft flew successive paths that progressively moved towards the French coastal area of Bolougne, which, when viewed by Nazi radar, gave the impression that a vast armada was sailing towards them at 7 knots (13 km per hour). Ultimately, the enemy forces mistook this low-level cloud of chaff for a genuine threat and engaged it with long-range guns, search lights, and fast attack E-boats, a combination of resources and command focus drawn away from the imminent real invasion force, 150 miles (241 km) to the south. When the last Short Stirlings touched down at Royal Air Force Station Woolfox Lodge at 0512 Zulu on 6 June 1944, the real Normandy invasion was well underway. 218 Squadron could be very proud of its masterfully executed effort to deceive the Nazi High Command, an effort that clearly contributed significantly to the end of the Second World War.[9]

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  1. Operations security is a process focused on the protection of select unclassified information and/or observable activities that, in isolation or cumulatively, could expose friendly dispositions, capabilities, or intentions to the adversary. OPSEC is often confused with the protection of classified information, but this is an inaccurate use of the term. It is assumed/accepted that all branches of the Department of National Denfence (DND) have well-established protocols for protecting classified information and that the process of obtaining security clearances informs and directs individuals on the proper application of these protocols. In the case of unclassified information, no such control measures exist, hence the evolution of OPSEC. In accordance with its name, OPSEC is an operations-centric activity which demands that all personnel remain vigilant in their handling of select unclassified information (e.g., flight plans, metrological briefs, Defence Wide Area Network emails, Facebook accounts, etc.). As an informal OPSEC mindset, personnel must treat all unclassified information, throughout its lifecycle, as though their mishandling of it would result in its provision to an adversary. As a formal and proactive process, OPSEC seeks to identify critical friendly-force information, analyse threats and vulnerabilities, assess risks, and then apply countermeasures.

Vignette 12: Within the cauldron of Vietnam, the birth of a dragon. In the art of war, commanders intuitively understand the need to protect their strategic plans. Indeed, Sun Tzu neatly summarized this important facet of warfare in approximately 500 BC with the quote: "Let your plans be dark and as impenetrable as night."[10] While secrecy of classified information has been an established military requirement for an eon, lesser understood is the associated need to protect unclassified operational data that can, when combined with other information, reveal a combatant commander’s intent, sometimes with debilitating results. This lesson was firmly learned by USAF during the Vietnam War, through a top secret investigative operation known as PURPLE DRAGON. It was through this covert yet holistic study that the understanding, structure, and term operations security (OPSEC) was born.

After the Viet Cong (VC) attacked the US air base at Pleiku on 7 February 1965, destroying or damaging 25 aircraft, United States Air Force (USAF) embarked on a dramatic response designed to "bomb them back to the Stone Age."[11] Within a week, the first wave of Operation ROLLING THUNDER, consisting of 160 US and allied aircraft, began a relentless bombing campaign. By June 1965, these already impressive Air Force efforts were joined by the carpet-bombing power of B-52s flying from Guam and other distant aerodromes under the operational codename Arc Light. However, by December 1966, initial optimism for this mammoth USAF effort turned to concern when BDA and interrogations of captives revealed minimal destruction of adversary capacity and continuing high morale of adversary troops. Something was wrong, something was broken, something had to be done; that something was Operation PURPLE DRAGON.

Although early suspicions focused on possible intelligence leaks, based on National Security Agency (NSA) SIGINT reporting that confirmed prior knowledge by the VC of USAF targets and timings, the focus gradually shifted to the realization that it was unsecure unclassified information that was the main culprit. Through the study of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) flight plans and other associated unclassified traffic, the VC, with some assistance from China, were able to derive good estimates of when to take deep shelter in advance of each bombing wave; a tactic which nullified the bombing campaign. Subsequent adjustments in USAF’s handling of unclassified operational information provided a significant increase in the lethality of future bombing efforts, underscoring the symbiotic relationship between info ops activities and kinetic action.

Ultimately, the once top-secret Operation PURPLE DRAGON morphed into the first formal OPSEC programme that was subsequently embraced by other United States (US) military and government departments. OPSEC was considered so broadly applicable and key to national security that on 22 January 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed a directive decreeing that "each Executive department and agency assigned … sensitive activities shall establish a formal OPSEC program … ."[12] The criticality of a structured and deliberate OPSEC programme, that fundamentally views friendly actions from the vantage point of an engaged predator at the fence, is now acknowledged and practiced by all modern militaries.[13]

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  1. Electronic warfare is defined as "military action to exploit the electromagnetic spectrum encompassing interception and identification of electromagnetic emissions, the employment of electromagnetic energy and directed energy to reduce or prevent hostile use of the electromagnetic spectrum, and actions to ensure its effective use by friendly forces."[14] EW is sub-divided into electronic warfare support (ES), electronic protection (EP), and electronic attack. ES involves searching for, intercepting, identifying, and locating or localizing sources of intentional and unintentional radiated electromagnetic energy for the purpose of immediate threat recognition, targeting, planning, and the conduct of future operations. SIGINT as well as measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT) are products of ES activities. EP involves passive and active means taken to protect personnel, facilities, and equipment from any effects of friendly or enemy employment of EW. And EA involves the use of electromagnetic energy, directed energy, or anti-radiation weapons to attack personnel, facilities, or equipment, with the intent of degrading, neutralizing, or destroying enemy combat capability. With the ever-expanding use of and dependence on the electromagnetic spectrum to wage warfare, EW’s battlefield role is only destined to grow. EW has the potential to seize and maintain friendly command of critical portions of the electromagnetic domain. EW provides important shaping options to the commander. However, if these tools are improperly synchronized with joint and coalition partners, their uncoordinated employment against adversarial targets can result in mutual interference. Additionally, even if some EW operations, such as jamming, are judiciously timed and executed, they can produce negative second-order effects such as lost opportunities to gain important SIGINT. Consideration of short-term gains garnered via various EW tools must be weighed against the second-order ramifications of their use.
  2. Computer network operations address the three major divisions of the cyber battlespace: CNA, computer network exploitation (CNE), and computer network defence (CND). These roughly align with the three thematic constructs of info ops (i.e., CNA supports CCA, CNE supports CCA and IA, and CND supports IPA). Due to the clandestine nature of CNO, interaction and synchronization with other aspects of info ops can be challenging; however, CNO’s inherent scope and reach can play a significant role in theatres which are dependent upon networked resources.
  3. Civil-military cooperation (CIMIC) is an important influence tool. Interaction with local governments, indigenous populations, and NGOs can provide a unique perspective on the influence potential of proposed projects. Within asymmetric warfare situations, regions that are initially won by conventional war-fighting tactics might best be held, in the long-term, through sage delivery of humanitarian efforts, facilitated by CIMIC, to win and/or maintain the hearts and minds of the local populace. Overall, from the perspective of info ops, CIMIC activities must not be confused with altruistic aid. They represent an outreach opportunity to indirectly measure the mood of a region, move neutral populations towards friendly-supporting status, maintain the support of a friendly sector, and, on a larger scale, through tangible deeds, garner and maintain domestic and international support.
  4. Public affairs officers are often part of the commander’s personal staff, in recognition of the criticality of media operations and the need for timely advice. They are responsible for the planning, writing, and release of trustworthy themes and messages in support of evolving operations. Occasionally, the duties of PA can also be reactive to issues, such as an adversary’s propaganda. When they deal with these adversary-focused issues, their responsibilities may seem to overlap those of PSYOPS officers; however, clear distinctions do exist. Essentially, the PA officer’s primary aim is to inform neutral and friendly audiences via media outlets while the PSYOPS officer’s primary aim is to influence neutral and adversarial targets. Ultimately, PA and PSYOPS officers are both responsible for communicating mutually supportive aspects of the commander’s messages, and this dictates that close interaction between these groups is essential.
  5. Presence, posture, and profile (PPP). The impact that the mere presence of aerospace assets may have on perceptions can be significant. Deploying even limited capability to the right place at the right time can add substantial credibility to messages being delivered through other channels and provide a major contribution to deterrence. The use-of-force continuum demonstrates that simply possessing a capability and making its presence known is a use of force in and of itself.
  6. Key leader engagement (KLE). Commanders typically use emails, messages, and letters to succinctly convey their requirements; however, these mediums lack the extra communicative dimensions inherent in face-to-face engagements. During direct discourse, particularly in non-Western regions, non-verbal cues and cultural adherences can have more impact than actual spoken words. Therefore, when commanders are scheduled to meet with important personnel, who function outside the military reporting chain but whose actions could impact an operation, these meetings are best managed through a formalized KLE process. The cornerstone of the KLE process is ensuring commanders are forearmed with cultural insight, informational leverage, pre-defined key themes, problematic issues to avoid, and the desired effect to be achieved.

These components of info ops are grouped among the three principal info ops activity areas in the following manner:

  1. Counter-command activity (CCA): EW and CNO (exploitation and attack);
  2. Influence activity (IA): PSYOPS, military deception, EW, CNO (exploitation), CIMIC, PA, PPP, and KLE; and
  3. Information-protection activity (IPA): military deception, OPSEC, and CNO (defence).

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While RCAF personnel can participate in the whole range of info ops activities, the areas where aerospace assets can shape the info ops battlespace are more limited. As a result, the focus of aerospace information operations is placed on a subset of the total number of components listed in the preceding section; namely PSYOPS, military deception, EW, and presence, posture and profile (PPP). Figure 4-2 groups these components into two aerospace info ops roles: influence operations (which encompass PSYOPS, military deception, and PPP) and electronic warfare. The missions within each role are also identified and, in certain instances, serve to highlight the overlap between aerospace info ops and other aerospace capabilities.[15]

This figure illustrates the roles and missions of aerospace information operations capability. The aerospace information operations capability is divided into two roles: influence operations; and electronic warfare. Each role conducts missions. The four influence operations missions are: airdrop; radio/video broadcast; show of force; deception; and precision strike. The four electronic warfare missions are: jamming; spoofing; suppression of enemy air defences; and signals intelligence / measurement and signal intelligence. End of figure 4-2.

Figure 4 2. The aerospace information operations capability


The aerospace info ops missions can be conducted by a variety of platforms, not all of which are specialized or dedicated to info ops. Show-of-force missions are a good example where almost any platform can be used. EW missions require specialized equipment, and current EW-capable platforms possess a wide range of capabilities, from modern EW suites focused mainly on self-protection and signal intercept, to full-blown jamming systems. The CP140 Aurora Block III is equipped with a very advanced EW suite that will provide the CF with significant aerospace info ops capabilities. The EA-18G Growler, currently operated solely by USAF, is an excellent example of an aircraft specifically equipped for the jamming mission. Radio and video broadcast also requires specialized equipment and an aircraft with a lot of transmitting power. The EC-130J Commando Solo is so-equipped and is one of the few platforms whose primary function is aerospace info ops. Integrating these platforms effectively within a joint and coalition operation is a key priority for the JTFC.

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The use of info ops to wage combat is well documented throughout the history of warfare. Indeed, history provides many brilliant examples of cunning deception and psychological manipulation. However, with the advent of digital technology, info ops have expanded to provide the combatant commander with even more levers with which to exert non-kinetic influence, particularly within cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum. Unfortunately, some aspects of these new technologies can be inexpensively and effectively used by unfriendly state and non-state actors against technologically superior friendly forces. This reality dictates that CF personnel must be leaders in information-based warfare while remaining defensively vigilant.

Info ops is a planning and coordinating function which integrates and synchronizes information-related capabilities to create desired physical, moral, and informational effects in the operational battlespace. To maximize its potential, info ops must be considered and fully integrated from the earliest stages of planning and executed through all phases of a mission. If successful, info ops has the potential to reduce, if not eliminate, the requirement for the use of force. As such, info ops should be viewed as a critical force multiplier.

The aerospace contributions to info ops are limited to a small subset of the available component tools, namely: PSYOPS, military deception, EW, and PPP. Within the aerospace info ops capability, these components are divided between the two aerospace roles of influence operations and EW.

As technologies and warfare theories continue to evolve, info ops will have an increasing impact on military operations. Therefore, it is incumbent on all RCAF personnel, from commander to airmen/airwomen, to understand how their actions can impact, either positively or negatively, an info ops objective within an overarching mission plan.

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1. See "Art of War: Quotes by Sun Tzu" (English only), (accessed August 20, 2013).  (return)

2. As mentioned previously, where the terms "information operations" or "info ops" are used they should be understood as referring to joint info ops. The aerospace contribution to joint info ops is described within this chapter as the aerospace info ops capability. (return)

3. The full quote: "The real target in war is the mind of the enemy commander, not the body of his troops." See B. H. Liddle Hart, Thoughts on War (Staplehurst, UK: Spellmount, 1998). (return)

4. For more see Historica Canada, "Capture of Detroit, War of 1812," The Canadian Encyclopedia, (accessed August 20, 2013). (return)

5. B-GL-300-001/FP-001, Land Operations (January 1, 2008), 5-44. Note that Land Operations specifies that NATO Allied Joint Publication (AJP) 3.10, Allied Joint Doctrine for Information Operations (PDF, 2.26 MB) (English only), November 2009,  (accessed August 20, 2013) was used as a reference for this definition. (return)

6. This section was adapted from NATO AJP 3.10, 1-7. (return)

7. CCA is also used to refer to close combat attack, discussed previously in Chapter 3. (return)

8. This section was also adapted from NATO AJP 3.10, 1-8 to 1-13. (return)

9. For more on this event see Mary Barbier, D-Day Deception: Operation Fortitude and the Normandy Invasion (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2009). (return)

10. See "Art of War: Quotes by Sun Tzu" (English only), (accessed August 20, 2013). (return)

11. For more see Nick Cullather, "Bomb Them Back to the Stone Age: An Etymology," (English only) George Mason University’s History News Network, (accessed August 20, 2013). (return)

note12. See Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security, "National Security Decision Directive 298: National Operations Security Program" (PDF, 152 kB) (English only), Homeland Security Digital Library (Washington, DC: January 22, 1988), 2, (accessed August 20, 2013). (return)

13. For more, see National Security Agency Central Security Service, "Purple Dragon: The Origin and Development of the United States OPSEC Program," (PDF, 3.32 MB) (English only), Volume 2, series VI (Center for Cryptologic History, 1993), (accessed August 20, 2013). (return)

14. EW is presented here as a component of info ops and of the Shape sub-function, but in some ways this approach can be limiting. The integral role that EW plays in the overall application of combat power and in the protection of those platforms so engaged goes beyond the bounds of info ops, forming a fundamental element of each of the RCAF functions. The information and definitions presented here are taken from B-GA-403-002/FP-001, Aerospace Electronic Warfare Doctrine. A more detailed examination of aerospace EW can be found therein. (return)

15. Aerospace CNO capabilities are under development in some countries but are not discussed here due to the lack of a fielded unclassified system. As these capabilities emerge, CNO may be reconsidered and become an additional role within the aerospace info ops capability. (return)

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