Influence Operations

Air Force Basic Doctrine notes that air and space power “provides different avenues to influence potential adversaries in ways that are not necessarily connected to land warfare.” In keeping with the theme of influence separated from combat dominance, the Air Force definition of information operations includes influence operations as a core capability.

AFDD 1 goes on to directly and explicitly define influence operations: “The integrated planning and employment of military capabilities to achieve desired effects across the cognitive battle space.”  Specific capabilities and objectives are also discussed:

Influence operations employ capabilities to affect behaviors, protect operations, communicate commander’s intent, and project accurate information to achieve desired effects across the cognitive battlespace. These effects should result in differing behavior or a change in the adversary decision process, which aligns with the commander’s objectives. The elements of influence operations are counterpropaganda operations, psychological operations, military deception, operations security, counterintelligence operations, and public affairs operations. These elements allow the commander to convey information and indicators to audiences; shape the perceptions of decision makers; secure critical friendly information; protect against espionage, sabotage, and other intelligence gathering activities; and communicate unclassified information about Air Force activities to the global audience.


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