Understanding and Pursuing Information Advantage

Published in: The Cyber Defense Review (Summer 2020), pages 109–123

Posted on RAND.org on July 06, 2021

by Christopher Paul

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The information environment (IE) and operations in and through the IE are currently a particular point of emphasis within the Department of Defense (DoD). Information is the newest joint function (joining command and control, intelligence, fires, movement and maneuver, protection, and sustainment). The Marine Corps has followed suit and made information a warfighting function, and the Army is considering a similar move. 2016 saw the first DoD Strategy for Operations in the Information Environment, and 2017 saw the development of the Joint Concept for Operating in the Information Environment, signed and released (and the subject of a capabilities-based assessment) in 2018. Senior leaders across the department have repeatedly expounded on the importance of the IE for military operations and declared it a priority. Part and parcel of this renaissance surrounding the role of information in military operations are new concepts and terms. One that is prominent in new foundational documents and frequently appears in stakeholder discussions is information advantage. This article tries to unpack this concept and explore what it might mean and how it should be thought about by the U.S. Army and the joint force more broadly.

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