Measuring Information Effects

August 2021 No Comments

Author(s): Bragg, B. (NSI, Inc.)

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The objective of the Integrating Information into Joint Operations (IIJO) project is to assess the ways in which the Joint Force can most effectively integrate information1 into its activities across the competition-conflict continuum. During the course of this project, we have spoken to many people familiar with both Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of State (DOS) efforts to integrate information and shape the information environment (IE); their overall assessment has been remarkably consistent.2 Namely, information is playing an increasingly important role in states’ ability to protect and further their national interests, but the United States is not currently equipped or positioned to counter the scope and scale of our adversaries’ information activities.

However, there was also general consensus that if we improve our understanding of the IE and how our actions are perceived by populations (foreign and domestic as well as target audiences), we can proactively shape the environment and make the United States more competitive. Furthermore, if senior leaders and decision makers prioritize and fund information activities, agencies will be incentivized to integrate information across the planning process. In order to do either of these things, however, we need to improve our ability to monitor the IE and assess the informational effects of US actions. This requires the development of measures of effectiveness (MOEs) specifically designed to capture these informational effects—MOE(IE).

In order to examine the issue of MOE(IE) we organized a small, virtual workshop with three sessions. The goal for the workshop was to identify a set of basic guidelines for developing MOEs for information. Session 1 focused on conceptual-level issues, particularly what design principles can and cannot be carried over from assessment of kinetic effects. Session 2 built on Session 1, moving the discussion to consideration of the operational-level challenges to MOE development. Session 3 considered these combined findings in light of the challenges and opportunities presented by monitoring and assessment at the interagency level.

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