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General Thomas Draude discusses information operations

General Thomas Draude discusses information operations

On October 1, Brigadier General Thomas V. Draude, USMC (Ret.) gave a lecture on “Successfully Conducting Information, Psychological, and Military Deception Operations” at The Institute of World Politics.

General Draude began explaining the importance of the mind in military actions. He described what the “OODA loop” is, i.e. the cycle of observation, orientation, decision and action. He underlined how crucial it is to develop a fast “OODA loop.”

He explained that conducting Information Operations (IO) involves a combination of several assets that the smart commander can deploy. These assets are: computer network operations, operations security, military information support operations, electronic warfare, and military deception. In order to deploy these assets, however, the commander needs to have a solid intelligence basis. As General Draude emphasized in his remarks: “Information operations must not be an afterthought.”

Deception sometimes involves just drawing someone’s attention to the place/topic where you want it to be focused.  There are some common errors that must be avoided in IO: for instance, your tactics should not be too late, too little, or too commonplace. This is because deception must be believable. Moreover, as far as IO is concerned, the able commander should also go through a planning process in which several issues are analyzed (such as who makes the decisions on the enemy’s side, whether he or she is falling for our deception, and what information he or she can gain from us).

In explaining the main aspects of IO, Brigadier General Draude shared a few anecdotes about his experience in Vietnam and Iraq. In particular, he said that every night, U.S. forces in Iraq would use loudspeakers playing sounds of M60 tanks firing. The Iraqis were very vigilant at the beginning as they heard the M60 firing; then they became accustomed to it and started not believing in them. When they became accustomed to hearing these sounds is exactly when the real attack took place, catching Saddam Hussein’s forces off guard.

General Draude noted that, in order to be successful in IO, it is important to have a broad education that focuses on more than just the military aspect.

General Dradue was in charge of the Marine Corps Information Operations during the Gulf War. He successfully oversaw the Military Deception & Psychological Operations that resulted in diverting Iraqi forces from the main attack by U.S. Marine and Army forces during the beginning of Operation Desert Storm.  General Draude is the President of the Marine Corps University Foundation and a professor at the Marine Corps University at Marine Corps Base Quantico.

The lecture was sponsored by IWP Career Services.

Lorenzo Vermigli
Intern, Fall 2013

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