by SWJ Editors
Improving Information Operations in Iraq and the Global War on Terror
by Farook Ahmed and Oubai Shahbandar, Small Wars Journal
The Surge of US military forces in Iraq has delivered a tremendous level of success in providing security to areas of Iraq that were previously under insurgent control. In order to build on these successes in the future, the United States would greatly benefit from force multipliers that can help promote security and foster political reconciliation as the extra troops provided by the Surge withdraw.
A cheap and effective way to augment the Soldiers on the ground is to defeat radical extremist groups' ideologies and continue to win over the Iraqi population. The first step in developing this capability will be for the United States to establish a strategic framework that provides a central role for information operations (IO). These operations are analogous to a political campaign; they revolve around putting together and conveying a coherent message that convinces people to be sympathetic to one group and oppose that group's adversary. In Iraq and in the broader war against violent Jihadism, the United States not only needs the power to act, but also the power to influence how its actions are interpreted.