Reserve Commander Releases Information Warfare Intent

  • Published
  • By Bo Joyner
  • Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command

Realizing how important gaining and maintaining an information advantage over adversaries is in today’s rapidly-changing global environment, the chief of the Air Force Reserve and commander of Air Force Reserve Command recently released a document that spells out his intent for the Reserve going forward in the area of Information Warfare.

“As we take steps to transform for the future, integrating our air, space and information operations will be vital to succeeding as we compete now, enable integrated deterrence, prepare for escalation and win wars across multiple domains,” Lt. Gen. John Healy said in a document sent to AFRC senior leaders April 1. “My desired end state is to develop IW-minded leaders and capable units ready to inter-operate with our Total Force, joint and coalition partners. These leaders will augment IW capabilities while seamlessly integrated into operational and tactical planning and execution to support the Joint Force.”

Information Warfare is defined by the Air Force as the employment of military capabilities in and through the information environment to deliberately affect adversary human and system behavior to preserve friendly freedom of action during cooperation, competition and conflict. IW operations are conducted to gain an information advantage over an opponent. IW consists of controlling one’s own information space and protecting access to one’s own information along with acquiring and using an opponent’s information. This includes adversary military capabilities, accessing their information networks and disrupting their information flow with the persistent objective of altering adversary behavior, possibly without firing a kinetic shot. IW is not a new phenomenon but a rapidly evolving concept of operations as technological developments lead to information being disseminated faster and on a larger scale, with greater impact on air and space operations.

As the Operations and Analysis Division Chief for AFRC’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Directorate and one of the command’s IW leads, Col. Daniel Dunn is helping develop AFRC’s Information Warfare enterprise.

“Our adversaries are engaged in information operations below the threshold of armed conflict that jeopardize our ability to generate air and space power,” he said. “The Air Force Reserve must organize, train and equip Information Warfare forces to incorporate information effects into all operations to deter our adversaries today and be ready for future conflict.”

Healy’s Intent for Information Warfare echoes the Air Force Operating Concept for Information Warfare by clearly outlining the requirement to integrate IW capabilities in support of global operations to gain advantage over relevant actors. His memo also outlines two lines of effort that the Air Force Reserve staff will execute in conjunction with Total Force IW efforts to understand, institutionalize and operationalize current IW capabilities. The lines of effort fall in lock step with the general’s overall priorities for the command: Ready Now! and Transforming for the Future.

LOE 1 is to build mission-qualified IW Airmen and capabilities to develop and support planning of Total Force IW capabilities at the tactical and operational level, enabling Air Force and Space Force missions in support of the Joint Force commander.

LOE 2 is to build out Reserve IW capacity based on existing requirements to maximize Total Force convergence and synchronization while posturing for future needs.

Col. Matt Trovinger, the Operations, Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration Directorate’s Chief of Current Operations at AFRC, and another AFRC IW lead, commented that the Reserve is uniquely qualified to contribute in the Information Warfare arena because of the skills many Reservists have acquired in their information-centered civilian careers.

“Reserve Citizen Airmen are critical to Information Warfare operations at the strategic, operational and tactical levels, and the impact spans across multiple mission sets and career fields,” he said. “These Airmen provide unique skills and experience often not present in active-component forces. General Healy’s intent for Information Warfare puts Air Force Reserve in lock step with the wider Air Force perspective that gaining advantage in the information environment is a precondition for effective air, space and cyberspace operations.”