Military Information Support Operations (MISO) is a critical capability in contemporary conflict. Its success depends upon the application of social and behavioral science to analyze target audiences, craft messages, and measure the outcome of their dissemination (Spitaletta, 2013). Recent operational experience has exposed weaknesses in US capability that require redoubled effort to conduct research on the mechanisms and methods of influence and their effective application. In particular, the US needs to better understand the doctrines of adversaries and to develop countermeasures against them. The modern Russian manifestation of information confrontation, often attributed to Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov, adapts historical Russian and Soviet tactics of maskirovka (surprise, camouflage, concealment, mimicry, disinformation, and deceptive maneuver) in the contemporary information environment (Thornton, 2015). These approaches are a combination of not only overt military but also covert intelligence tactics that, when executed by disciplined professionals, can achieve a variety of economic and geopolitical effects (Pacepa & Rynchlak, 2013).
This TC serves as a guide to describe the fundamentals of how to incorporate IO at the tactical and operational level. Appendixes A through F offer tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) Special Forces (SF) Soldiers can use to analyze and plan information operations. This TC implements Army and joint IO doctrine established in FM 3-13, Inform and Influence Activities, and Joint Publication (JP) 3-13, Information Operations. This TC reinforces the definition of IO used by Army forces: IO employs the core capabilities of electronic warfare (EW), computer network operations (CNO), Military Information Support operations (MISO), military deception (MILDEC), and operations security (OPSEC), in concert with specified supporting and related capabilities, to affect or defend information and information systems and to influence decisionmaking. This TC is specifically targeted for SF; however, it is also useful to Army special operations forces (ARSOF) and the Army in understanding how SF employs IO.
In accordance with (IAW) reference a, MISO replaces the term psychological operations (PSYOP). This instruction provides strategic direction for inclusion of MISO to support the full range of military operations including military engagement, security cooperation and deterrence; crisis response and limited contingency operations; major operations and campaigns; and as an integrated information activity within the DOD’s overall contribution to United States Government (USG) communication strategies.
Military information support operations (MISO) play an important role in DOD communications efforts through the planned use of directed programs specifically designed to support USG and DOD activities and policies. MISO are planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals in a manner favorable to the originator’s objectives. Military information support (MIS) professionals follow a deliberate process that aligns commander’s objectives with an analysis of the environment; select relevant TAs; develop focused, culturally, and environmentally attuned messages and actions; employ sophisticated media delivery means; and produce observable, measurable behavioral responses.