IO after the community shift back to CYBER/EW/SIGINT?

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IO after the community shift back to CYBER/EW/SIGINT?

Postby Sum1 » Fri Mar 13, 2015 10:16 am

I'm interested in hearing perspectives on IO and how the Navy (in particular, IWOs) contribute to that effort across the service.

- Is the IW community continuing the push away from IO? Is anyone aware of recent leadership comments/discussions on the topic?

- If not IW, then who else is positioned to take up the IO baton?

- SHOULD we care about IO when other services (most notably the Army) are so much better at it than us?

- Are there any comments regarding the (re)creation of AQD/specialization codes for IO? Should we push people with experience into those billets at the O-4+ level when integration of IRCs becomes more crucial?

It's easy for us to say we need to get back to our roots and focus on the technical, but I'm observing some things at the Major Command level regarding IO and the level of proficiency we have as a service and community, and frankly, I'm concerned. There are pockets of expertise, but we're falling way behind our sister services. Does that even matter? Can we afford to let the Army do our IO dirty work? I understand this is reviving a heated topic, but I'd like to get other perspectives before I run too far or too fast with this.

Thanks.

**edit following COMEVIL's reply** I am going to remain silent for a little while because I fear my opinions are already skewed based on current observations at the COCOM level. I'd rather hear/see what opinions others have on the topic before weighing in.
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Last edited by Sum1 on Fri Mar 13, 2015 11:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: IO after the community shift back to CYBER/EW/SIGINT?

Postby COMEVIL » Fri Mar 13, 2015 11:35 am

What is the requirement for IO work at the tactical, operational, and strategic level?

How much of this is a joint problem vice Navy problem?

Is there a need for the Navy to source those requirements?
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Re: IO after the community shift back to CYBER/EW/SIGINT?

Postby das » Fri Mar 13, 2015 6:57 pm

To quote ADM Rogers when he was FLTCYBERCOM/C10F, in reference to the IW/CT Community:

"We don't do IO." — with acknowledgment that we do have pockets of expertise and "familiarity" with IO.
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Re: IO after the community shift back to CYBER/EW/SIGINT?

Postby Sum1 » Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:14 pm

das wrote:... we do have pockets of expertise and "familiarity" with IO.


What do you think about that?

Let's think less about the community and more about the Navy. Do you think we can afford, as a service, to ignore IO or let IO be the one-off disassociated tour an aviator or SWO does for professional diversity and then never touches again?
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Re: IO after the community shift back to CYBER/EW/SIGINT?

Postby Sum1 » Fri Mar 13, 2015 8:16 pm

COMEVIL wrote:What is the requirement for IO work at the tactical, operational, and strategic level?


I can only speak for my COCOM, but the J39 is usually the second person the J3 wants in the room (the first being the guys pulling triggers). I won't push too much into tactical IO, but at the strategic level there are real IO requirements as warfighters. We can argue if the Navy has a play (I think we have to), and then further argue if IW should be doing it (I think we're best positioned at the moment), but the reality is the COCOM fights and (hopefully) wins wars in the joint environment. At the strategic and operational levels and whether we like it or not, that includes the Navy. When a COCOM sends an EXORD with specific planning tasks to service components, they expect that someone there knows IO well enough to plan effectively. Reality is that's not always the case.

COMEVIL wrote:How much of this is a joint problem vice Navy problem?


How do we fight wars? Are we willing to make an informed decision to let another service plan our IO activities? Isn't a Navy problem then also a joint problem, and vice versa?

COMEVIL wrote:Is there a need for the Navy to source those requirements?


The Navy does if they want a seat at the planning table. Right now it's largely SWOs, Aviators, Submariners, SEALS, etc, and others who traditional reside in the J3/N3 who go to places like JIOWC or do the heavy lifting planning on Major staffs. I see this akin to letting the Air Force plan all our air operations.
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Re: IO after the community shift back to CYBER/EW/SIGINT?

Postby COMEVIL » Sat Mar 14, 2015 12:40 am

Sum1 wrote:I can only speak for my COCOM, but the J39 is usually the second person the J3 wants in the room (the first being the guys pulling triggers). I won't push too much into tactical IO, but at the strategic level there are real IO requirements as warfighters. We can argue if the Navy has a play (I think we have to), and then further argue if IW should be doing it (I think we're best positioned at the moment), but the reality is the COCOM fights and (hopefully) wins wars in the joint environment. At the strategic and operational levels and whether we like it or not, that includes the Navy. When a COCOM sends an EXORD with specific planning tasks to service components, they expect that someone there knows IO well enough to plan effectively. Reality is that's not always the case.


Agree that IO resides at the stategic level and a lesser degree at the operational level. At the tactical level it tends to be execution based on planning conducted at much higher levels -- deliver these pamphlets, transit these broadcasts, rig deceptive lighting, etc. My point being, it doesn't take IO experts (well trained and experienced in IO operations) to execute tactical IO, especially in the Navy. Bump it up a level, to say 5th Fleet, and those folks are taking what the COCOM develops and delineating tasks to specific units. Definitely a higher level of IO planning and execution, but nothing earth shattering. COCOM staffs are Joint by design, and for a reason. If the vast majority the planners on the staff come from other services so be it. Again, that is the purpose of jointness -- to leverage the strengths of individual services. If what I have laid out is a accurate, there isn't much -- there is some, but not much -- demand signal for Navy IO planners.

Sum1 wrote:How do we fight wars? Are we willing to make an informed decision to let another service plan our IO activities? Isn't a Navy problem then also a joint problem, and vice versa?


Honestly not following. We fight wars in a joint environment. Joint staff enjoy the strengths of each service. If IO is a strength of another service so be it. There are plenty of examples of this in other areas -- strategic airlift, satellite communications, expeditionary construction, etc.

Sum1 wrote:The Navy does if they want a seat at the planning table. Right now it's largely SWOs, Aviators, Submariners, SEALS, etc, and others who traditional reside in the J3/N3 who go to places like JIOWC or do the heavy lifting planning on Major staffs. I see this akin to letting the Air Force plan all our air operations.


What is akin to letting the Air Force plan all of our air operations? (By the way, guess who runs the CAOC?) Having SWOs, SEALS, and aviators do IO planning? Again, not following.
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Re: IO after the community shift back to CYBER/EW/SIGINT?

Postby COMEVIL » Sat Mar 14, 2015 12:48 am

Sum1 wrote:I think we're best positioned at the moment...


One last thought -- why IW? Why are we best positioned? What about an 1830? Or how about a URL who has been through the requisite training?

We are an extremely technical community operating in a highly dynamic environment. We have limited training resources and evolving requirements. None of us can be an expert in SIGINT/Cryptology AND EW AND Cyber. Adding IO to this already robust portfolio would be a mistake. While the Navy may/may need IO expertise, I would argued we are not the best positioned at the moment. Instead, we need to double down on the portfolio we are assigned in order to ensure our continued effectiveness into the future.
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Re: IO after the community shift back to CYBER/EW/SIGINT?

Postby Sum1 » Sat Mar 14, 2015 9:40 am

COMEVIL wrote:
Sum1 wrote:How do we fight wars? Are we willing to make an informed decision to let another service plan our IO activities? Isn't a Navy problem then also a joint problem, and vice versa?


Honestly not following. We fight wars in a joint environment. Joint staff enjoy the strengths of each service. If IO is a strength of another service so be it. There are plenty of examples of this in other areas -- strategic airlift, satellite communications, expeditionary construction, etc.


I'll clarify. Imagine this scenario. The COCOM tasks a particular service component to be the supported commander in an operation which is largely maritime in nature. That supported commander is on the hook to generate a level 2 or greater CONOP for said event, which includes an IO concept of support / staff estimate because it will become strategically critical to not surrender the narrative to VEOs or others with much more agile information/propaganda organizations. Being that we understand technical stuff, that plan will describe how IO can support direct operations with technical means. But what about the other things? Is coordination being done to ensure post-strike or post-op CVEO or whatever messages are considered? Does PA know what the hell is going on and are they prepping Public Affairs Guidance to ensure post-operation themes are consistent with COCOM, OSD, and in some cases higher, guidance? Has anyone roped Intel in and spun up that beast to search for pre-operation vulnerabilities/indicators (OPSEC?) and then conduct a post-operation assessment?

But that lead service component charged with incorporating IO into the plan can't do any of that effectively, even within their own organization. They end up kicking a plan back to the COCOM with only the stuff the Navy is comfortable with, but excludes the other 11 or so IRCs, which means the COCOM basically tasks the service AND writes the service plan because the expertise just isn't there. This doesn't happen with the Army or Air Force (it does with the Marines, although they are making positive strides to fix it). So you end up having an Army J3 tasking the naval component to plan, and an Army O-5 sitting at the COCOM writing that service's plan for a fleet staff. That's not how this should work. I get it.... the really high level strategic stuff needs to be done at the COCOM, but fleet staffs have a say. They can shape what happens at the COCOM level.

As far as who should do it, I'm not purporting that a specific designator needs to be assigned (even though I do believe we are best positioned). Intel isn't a great choice because they live their lives in the J2/N2 supporting operations. IO IS an operation, which is why it appears where it does in CONPLANS (Annex C, Operations) and why all the IO shops I've ever seen reside in the J3/N3. We are the only IDC designator with the direct exposure to operations and the breadth of experience. A jump to (re)embracing IO for us is a much shorter leap and gets the Navy back into the fight much faster than if we charged another group to do it.

My very cheap 2 cents.
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Re: IO after the community shift back to CYBER/EW/SIGINT?

Postby COMEVIL » Sat Mar 14, 2015 11:29 am

So assuming everything you have said is accurate, and that we have a gap in IO planning at the Fleet level (that is what you are saying, right? Have you observed that with the subordinate Fleet in your AOR?) then what is your proposed solution?
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Re: IO after the community shift back to CYBER/EW/SIGINT?

Postby Sum1 » Sat Mar 14, 2015 1:42 pm

COMEVIL wrote:So assuming everything you have said is accurate, and that we have a gap in IO planning at the Fleet level (that is what you are saying, right? Have you observed that with the subordinate Fleet in your AOR?) then what is your proposed solution?


It is a direct observation. I also should have mentioned this before, but I'm not bringing this up to call out a particular staff with any sort of malice. There are gaps in expertise and experience, which is a function of billets to fill without the requisite training pipeline (story of our lives... the same exists in accepted IW roles, as well) and with few opportunities to build experience at junior levels before taking on senior staff positions.

I have some proposed solutions, but I'm not quite ready to share. I'd like a little more time to think everything through. I was interested in seeing if others had observed similar gaps with the same level of concern (or observed and averted their eyes because the Admiral said it wasn't our problem).
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