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The objectives of this study were to develop a better understanding of commanders' information requirements pertaining to cultural and other “soft” factors (e.g., networks and hierarchies, cultural norms, attitudes) in order to improve the effectiveness of combined arms operations, and to develop practical ways for commanders to integrate information and influence operations activities into combined arms planning and assessment in order to increase the usefulness to ground commanders of such operations. The monograph describes commanders' own views of their information needs for information and influence operations, identifies principal sources of commanders' information needs for these operations, and sets out important challenges associated with improving the ability of field commanders to plan, execute, and assess successful information and influence operations. Also included is a review of various indicators related to information and influence operations that have been used in the field; specific message themes that were used in Bosnia; a detailed analysis of tasks related to information and influence operations; an implementation plan for a metrics-based planning and assessment approach for information and influence operations that was developed in an earlier study; a taxonomy of information operations tasks and effects; and assessments of the suitability of two analytic techniques — expected utility modeling and social network analysis — for information and influence operations.

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The research reported here was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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