The Army Information Operations Branch is actually a specialized functional area in which a Commissioned Officers and NCOs can serve. What Are Army Information Operations? Well, FM 100-6 describes IO as:
Continuous military operations within the military information environment that enable, enhance, and protect the Commander’s decision cycle and mission execution to achieve an information advantage across the full range of military operations. Information operations include interacting with the Global Information Environment and exploiting or denying an adversary’s information and decision systems.
A 30AO, or Information Operations Officer is responsible for coordinating, planning and integrating both offensive and defensive Information Operations to gain information superiority in support of a Commander’s operational concept.
One of the driving changes behind the development of IO is the Army’s evolution (both technologically and organizationally) over the past decade with respect to our ability to move, process, analyze, and present vast amounts of information to decision-makers quickly, and understandably. In order to maximize the impact of the increased information capabilities now available, the Army is learning faster than ever to fight on the information battlefield…this is all credit to IO and IO Officers.
Similarly to how an FSO (Fire Support Officer) works closely with a Commander as a SME (Subject Matter Expert) to implement and facilitate fire planning, an Information Operations Officer is able to assist the Commander in filtering and processing the vast amount of Operational Information as to help him make the best, quick decision possible. Everything from operational security, psychological operations, deception, electronic warfare, and integration of civil and public affairs capabilities, an Information Operations Officer brings all aspects of critical information to protect a Commander’s decision making process and exploit the enemy’s.
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If you’ve spent any time in Information Operations, I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment to share your thoughts.