Small Wars Journal

The Art of "Campaigning" to Inform and Influence

Sun, 09/05/2010 - 9:20am
The Art of "Campaigning" to Inform and Influence

by Brigadier General Huba Wass de Czege

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The purpose of this article is to benefit Corps, Division, and Brigade commanders and their staffs who know through experience and education that the purpose of military action is, in every case, to affect the behavior of various groups of human beings in the mission environment toward some greater purpose. They also know that mission successes depend, among other things, on successfully "Informing" the decisions of those who are supporters (or potential supporters) of the aims of the command's military operations, and on "Influencing" the decisions of those who are, or could be, implacable foes and irreconcilable adversaries. No human endeavor is more difficult than this. And no human endeavor this important is more worthy of careful study.

Download the Full Article: The Art of "Campaigning" to Inform and Influence

Huba Wass de Czege is a retired U.S. Army brigadier general. During his career as an infantry officer, he served two tours in Vietnam and gained staff experience at all levels up to assistant division commander. General Wass De Czege was a principal designer of the operational concept known as AirLand Battle. He also was the founder and first director of the Army's School for Advanced Military Studies where he also taught applied military strategy. After retiring in 1993, General Wass De Czege became heavily involved in the Army After Next Project and served on several Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency v advisory panels. He is a 1964 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and holds an MPA from Harvard University.

About the Author(s)

Huba Wass de Czege, Brigadier General, USA Ret., an independent military theorist, is a veteran of ground combat in Vietnam, and command at all levels through brigade and assistant division command. He founded the US Army School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth, KS. As a special strategic policy assistant to the NATO SACREUR and Secretary General, he helped formulate the strategy to end the Cold War.


Huba Wass de Czege (not verified)

Tue, 09/07/2010 - 3:56pm

I value all comments. Thanks.

To M.Thibodeaux I would say that while there is comfort is sticking with the conventional wisdom, any conventional wisdom has an expiration date that people often overlook. The question is what way of thinking about an issue is most useful? Mental constructs such as "information environment" are just that, a way of thinking. We delude ourselves when we think it is more important to integrate the things we arbitrarily placed in the IO basket than it is to address the parties we intend to influence in a holistic way -- actions, words, and images.

To Dayuhan i will say that I make no such assumption. In fact I agree that we spend "far too little to the need to receive and accurately interpret messages coming the other way." I think I make that point more than once. In fact I say we act as if "firing information effects" is all that needs to be done.
I will work on simplifying the message.If I had had more time to think, I would have written less. But I think the value in this piece is the connections I have made across some separate fields of knowledge that are really connected, and in relating tactics and strategy in an unusual way when compared to current doctrines.
Huba Wass de Czege


Sun, 09/05/2010 - 11:48pm

As is often the case when I look at military writing on communication and information, I'm struck here by the apparent assumption that communication consists of delivering our message, and that success is achieved, as stated in this article "when the behaviors of key groups of people in the mission environment conform to our desires".

We often seem to forget that at least half of communication (possibly more, when we operate in foreign environments) consists of listening to the messages that others have for us, and for each other, and modifying our behaviour accordingly. We often pay too much attention to our desire to get our message out clearly and effectively, and far too little to the need to receive and accurately interpret messages coming the other way.

My inner editor also forces me to comment that for someone writing about communication, the author might have put a bit more effort into simplifying, clarifying, and effectively delivering his message to the reader. Not the easiest piece to read.


Sun, 09/05/2010 - 9:20pm

I have as much respect for BG (R) VDC as anyone else; however, I think that he misses the boat entirely here, and it's a real shame that he was not able to apply his tactical and operational brilliance to Information Operations. The glaring error here is his failure to see a connection between the related disciplines affecting todays information environment. I much prefer Alberts and Garska as theorists in this area of study. Let's just stick with the Joint doctrine-- at least it has the unity of Combined Arms for the information environment. If we're ever to take full advantage of the information environment to create an advantage for military commanders, then we cannot afford to think of Inform and Influence apart from cyber, electronic warfare and other disciplines that affect what people think and how leaders make decisions. Maneuver warfare on land has separate and distinct characteristics-- as does war in the air, on the sea, and in the information environment.

Understanding design is critical to effective protagonists in small wars, as the more common aspects of planning do not adequately embrace the complexities of the system upon which small wars protagonists are attempting to impose their will. We are extraordinarily privileged to publish this work from Huba Wass de Czege, one of the most esteemed practitioners at the forefront of design.

The series of articles referred to in the first footnote, published in <u>Military Review</u> between November of 2008 and July of 2010, are:
<li>"<a href="…
IO: Complex Operations in the Information Age</a>" Nov/Dec 2008</li>
<li>"<a href="…
Operational Design: Learning and Adapting in Complex Missions</a>" Jan/Feb 2009</li>
<li>"<a href="…
Physical and Psychological Impact During Operations</a>" Mar/April 2009</li>
<li>"<a href="…
Friends and Gaining Allies: The Indivisible Challenge of Military Public
Relations</a>" May/June 2009</li>
<li>"<a href="…
War: Winning in the Cyberelectromagnetic Dimension of Full Spectrum
Operations</a>" March/April 2010</li>
<li>"<a href="…
by Internet</a>" July/August 2010</li>