In writing this article, we were guided by one fundamental conviction: that by successfully deploying IO as a tactical combat capability, the UA has erased any doubts about the significance of IO as a core component of modern warfare, and it is a domain the Army must master to achieve battlefield dominance in future LSCO.
To its credit, over the last eight years, the Army has embraced the shift to great-power competition and undertaken a systematic effort to modernize and streamline its lethal force capabilities, doctrine, and training for near-peer engagement. As part of that modernization, the Army has boldly embraced recent changes in munitions, C4/ISR, and unmanned aircraft systems. Army warfighters and doctrine writers, in our view, deserve tremendous credit for these efforts, particularly given the nearly overnight shift in Army focus from counterinsurgency to great-power competition.
IO is the one domain where the Army and the joint force must make significant and meaningful improvements. At a minimum, the Ukraine experience demonstrates the need for the Army to develop a practical approach to IO that emphasizes the ability of information, in all its modern facets, to diminish enemy will.
Ultimately, all UA IO—from the celebration of heroic deeds and the photographs of burned-out supply columns to the videos of UA soldiers opening ATGM shipments—has one objective: reducing Russian morale and will to fight. TikTok videos and Telegram taunts are not bullets, but in our view, the tactical deployment of IO has contributed significantly to UA lethality. The numerous reports of low Russian morale, elite Russian units fleeing at the first sign of contact, and fratricide among Russian enlisted personnel and officers testify to the efficacy of UA IO and the integration of IO into all aspects of UA combat operations.
Our review of existing Army IO capabilities and infrastructure suggests that, were the Army to face a near-peer opponent in LSCO soon, the Army could not reasonably expect to match the UA standard. That must change, and we hope this article will facilitate the difficult conversations necessary to rectify the prevailing gaps in Army IO capabilities.