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AUGUSTA, GA: U.S. Army Special Forces have been working to develop top-tier information warfare capabilities and want to more frequently combine their skills with conventional military units.
For example, a special operations joint task force participated in U.S. Army Defender Pacific Exercise — a division-scale war exercise in support of Indo-Pacific Command’s joint multi-domain operations — in July to test Its ability to outwit its peers, 1st Special Forces Command chief of staff Col. Jose Raetz said in a presentation Aug. 17 at TechNet Augusta.
“We integrate with I Corps as a joint force line component command and a multi-domain task force to fuse capabilities to impose costs and create multiple dilemmas for our adversaries,” he said. This is a war we wish not to fight, and through our approach to information warfare we deter our adversaries and not only survive but thrive without armed conflict. Information warfare is shaping the environment, deterring adversaries and protecting Freedom of movement in the operational and information environment plays a vital role. This important contribution enables the joint force and the Army to take the initiative and dominate the information environment.”
U.S. Army Special Forces have deployed to more than 70 countries to engage hostile actors while still being able to effectively deliver information to segments of the population, meaning they have been leading the way in developing and refining information warfare capabilities.
Conventional forces are learning the importance of leveraging these capabilities as adversaries use a variety of technologies to deploy forces and weaken the United States and its forces. Therefore, the U.S. Army is pursuing an emerging concept called information superiority, which seeks to leverage information-related capabilities to enable commanders to maintain a decision-making advantage over the enemy.
Colonel Josh Raetz said special forces wanted to work with conventional forces more frequently, noting that trials with regionally aligned Army units were one of the successes of the exercise.
“I think what we’ve learned is working with Army units and other joint forces early on and planning can catch adversaries off guard. In this case, that’s what happened,” he said.
Other lessons include the importance of Electronic warfare and cyber-capability tools to reduce the ability of adversaries to aim to keep U.S. forces outside their primary sphere of influence.
In fact, special operations forces have been experimenting and using tactical cyber and electronic warfare tools for some time, and conventional forces are now starting to develop.
“Our role as a SOF task force integrating information, electronic warfare, intelligence and other special operations activities is key to achieving information superiority,” he said. “The key here is the importance of moving data and information quickly and at scale while protecting the integrity of our command and control structures.”
Raetz also mentioned the role of the psychological operations force at the newly established Information Warfare Center at Fort Bragg in terms of the ability to counter an adversary below the threshold of armed conflict.
Psychological operations forces have been organized to form the core of information warfare centers that focus on the nation-state’s top threats and use open-source tools and data aggregators to collect personal information on specific actors to synthesize trends and identify narratives and critical communications.
“We leverage our unique cultural and linguistic expertise to develop content and engage our target audience online every day,” he said. “Our unique ability to influence the cognitive dimensions on which beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors are affected is combined with our special operations capabilities to observe, perceive, and respond to events in the information environment.”
“The information warfare center has the distinct advantage of providing forward-deployed forces with situational awareness above the tactical level, and through intelligence capabilities that inform us that we can properly process the content and, if necessary, reach a target audience virtually anywhere in the world. provide information.”
During the Defender Pacific exercise, warfighters learned about the best integration of information warfare centers and sensitive activities to present multiple dilemmas to adversaries and achieve decision advantage, Raetz said.
Additionally, Col. Jose Raetz said U.S. Army Special Forces are working with U.S. Cyber Command to deter malicious actors in cyberspace.
“Controlling the information environment is critical to winning in competition and high-intensity conflict,” he said.