from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2013, Issue No. 13
February 1, 2013

Secrecy News Blog:


The use of information-related tools to support military operations and to help shape their outcome is discussed in a newly updated Army manual on what are now called "Inform and Influence Activities."

Inform and influence activities (or IIA) refers to "the integration of designated information-related capabilities in order to synchronize themes, messages, and actions with operations to inform United States and global audiences, influence foreign audiences, and affect adversary and enemy decisionmaking."

In some circumstances, the manual says, information operations can play a decisive role.

"Activities occurring in, through, or by means of the information environment have a consequential effect on an operational environment and can impact military operations and outcomes. Therefore, commanders and their staffs must understand their operational environments completely. This understanding includes the information environment and the potential impacts it can have on current and planned military operations."

But the effectiveness of such activities is naturally limited by the realities of the military engagement.

"Soldiers' actions powerfully influence the credibility of IIA. Visible actions coordinated with carefully chosen, credible words influence audiences more than uncoordinated or contradictory actions and words. All audiences--local and regional as well as adversary and enemy--compare the friendly force's message with its actions. Consistency contributes to the success of friendly operations by building trust and credibility. Conversely, if actions and messages are inconsistent, friendly forces lose credibility. Loss of credibility makes land forces vulnerable to enemy and adversary information or countermessaging and places Army forces at a disadvantage."

"Aligning information-related capabilities with the overall operation ensures that messages are consistent with the forces' actions to amplify the credibility of those messages. It is paramount that inform and influence efforts complement not contradict. Failing to do so jeopardizes credibility."

The updated Army manual replaces a 2003 document titled "Information Operations."

"The publication does not address every information-related capability commanders can use to help shape their complex operational environments. It should, however, generate introspection and provide just enough guidance to facilitate flexibility and innovative approaches for commanders to execute the art of command to inform and influence."

See "Inform and Influence Activities," U.S. Army Field Manual 3-13, January 2013:


New and updated reports from the Congressional Research Service which Congress has not made publicly available include the following.

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Recent Activities and Ongoing Developments, January 31, 2013:

The Unemployed and Job Openings: A Data Primer, January 31, 2013:

Congressional Redistricting and the Voting Rights Act: A Legal Overview, January 31, 2013:

Health Insurance Exchanges Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), January 31, 2013:

Medicare Primer, January 31, 2013:

U.S. Government Agencies Involved in Export Promotion: Overview and Issues for Congress, January 31, 2013:

Sovereign Debt in Advanced Economies: Overview and Issues for Congress, January 31, 2013:

Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy, January 31, 2013:

United Nations Regular Budget Contributions: Members Compared, 1990-2010, January 15, 2013:

U.S. and South Korean Cooperation in the World Nuclear Energy Market: Major Policy Considerations, January 28, 2013:


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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