The Marine Corps is making an extraordinary leap into information warfare, envisioning future conflicts in which the cognitive and digital are as effective as kinetic weapons and the main target may be an adversary’s mind as much as their materiel.
The Corps’ evolving concept of information warfare
encompasses a vast range of tools, including electromagnetic frequencies, cyberspace, physical and intellectual deception and space assets, all tightly integrated with traditional kinetic combined arms fires.
Implementing information warfare will require significant changes in doctrine, training and likely to
organization, but, most importantly, in how Marines
and their leaders think about war.
A draft concept for “Operating in the Information
Environment,” released Jan. 14, warns that the greatest
potential risk to Marines attempting to fight in that
environment “is their leadership choosing to maintain
the status quo.”
That seems unlikely because the jump into information
warfare was initiated late last year by Marine Corps
Commandant Gen. Robert B. Neller,
who created a new assistant deputy
commandant for Information War-
fare (ADC IW) and ordered forma-
tion of an Information Warfare Task
Force to examine what capabilities
the Corps currently has and what
will be required to successfully oper-
ate in the information environment.
Neller augmented those actions
with the January release of his frag-
mentary order to adjust the comman-
dant’s guidance of his predecessor,
Neller directed his leadership to take actions to “grow
information operations, cyber and electronic warfare
(EW) capability at Marine Forces and Marine Expedi-
tionary Force (MEF) levels to enhance the capabilities of
forward-deployed forces no later than the end of FY17.”
Brig. Gen. Lori Reynolds, commander of Marine Forces
Cyber and now dual-hatted as ADC IW, said the draft con-
cept “addressed and projects a vision for future MAGTF
[Marine Air-Ground Task Force] IW capabilities that are
integrated and complementary to more conventional
capabilities we already possess. Our approach to capability
development begins with that vision that then enables us
to examine where we are right now regarding IW — the
‘as is’ — and assess that baseline against where we want to
be as articulated in the concept — the ‘to be.’”
Marty Westphal, Reynolds’ acting deputy for IW who
ran the IW task force, said the focus on information
The Future Fight
New Marine Corps concept aims to bolster
information warfare capabilities, tools
By OTTO KREISHER, Special Correspondent
The U.S. Marine Corps released a draft concept for “Operating in
the Information Environment” on Jan. 14.
; This leap into information warfare envisions future conflicts in
which tools such as electromagnetic frequencies, cyberspace,
physical and intellectual deception, and space assets are integrated with traditional kinetic combined arms fires.
; Commandant Gen. Robert B. Neller already has created a new
assistant deputy commandant for Information Warfare and
ordered formation of an Information Warfare Task Force.
; Implementing this concept will require significant changes in
doctrine, training and likely to organization — as well as how
Marines and their leaders think about war.