SMA hosted a panel discussion with MAJ Brian J. Hancock (G9, 79th Theater Sustainment Command), COL (Ret) Neil Sleevi (Military Analyst, Irregular Warfare Proponent, Mission Command Center of Excellence, US Army TRADOC), and MAJ Jack Gaines (Public Affairs Officer, Cyber National Mission Force) as part of its SMA General Speaker Series.
For the US and its Western allies—including NATO—to effectively compete against adversaries, they must better integrate information operations (IO) into traditional military operations. This need led to the development of the Theater Information Advantage Element (TIAE), which attempts to combine information operations across the joint force and helps establish authority for officers to react quickly in the information environment. MAJ Hancock commented that a past challenge has been getting military officers across all branches to choose a career in IO. To remedy this issue, the TIAE should work on developing a clear and long-term IO career path for officers. The availability of a long-term career will encourage officers to integrate IO operations into their military activities more regularly and help build overall institutional knowledge. However, there is no one tool to assist these officers in incorporating IO regularly. Instead, several tools need to be developed. Among these tools are the Athena model and the Perceptions Research for stabilization, Competition, Verification, and Evaluation (PRSCVE).
COL (Ret) Sleevi commented that the Athena model measures the relationship between populations, which is something that can help TIAE better message their target audience. Furthermore, the Athena model found that with effective messaging, the US can lessen its adversaries’ overall messaging effectiveness; including an adversary’s ability to create effective fake or deceptive news. Similarly, to the Athena model, PRSCVE is a tool that can help TIAE to achieve its objectives. PRSCVE tries to include as many analysts as possible from the region being studied which helps it gather data on and communicate with isolated populations. These populations—which are hard to reach—can potentially shift the outcome of future conflicts. By using these tools alongside others, TIAE wants to increase convergence between traditional military operations and information operations. The desired convergence effects are: a) discovery, b) initial implementation, c) collective response, and d) innovation.