Information Maneuver in Military Operations

August 2021 No Comments

Author(s): Elder, R. (George Mason University)

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Treating information as a form of maneuver can provide powerful advantages to commanders
and political leaders responsible for US and partner national security. The components of
successful maneuver first proposed by van Creveld, Canby, & Brower in 1994—positioning,
tempo, Schwerpunkt, surprise and deception, cross-domain synergy, flexibility, unity of effort,
and opportunism—can also serve as elements of a framework to anticipate an adversary’s
integrated use of information to undermine US and partner interests. Employed as a form of
maneuver, information is valuable because it serves as virtual representations of both physical
and cognitive realities which can be created, stored, and exchanged in all environments and,
when properly communicated, can influence the actions and behaviors of others. Because of
the US military’s traditional reliance on attrition warfare, few US military leaders are
experienced or comfortable with the concepts of maneuver and less so with the use of
information operations to outmaneuver an adversary as a means to victory. However, as a
means to combat the US asymmetric advantage in physical power, many US competitors have
turned to information as a means to outmaneuver the United States and deny it the benefits
of its asymmetric advantages in other areas.

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