Employing Information as an Instrument of National Power

  • September 17, 2016
  • Lieutenant Colonel Bethany C. Aragon

The information instrument of national power, which has neither a recognized government lead nor a clear strategy for employment, remains the most misunderstood and underutilized element of D-I-M-E (Diplomacy, Information, Military, Economic). However, an examination of the application of information power from the First World War through the Cold War revealed that information has served as a potent instrument of national power. It is most effective when it is directed and supported by the President, guided by strategy that recognizes it as a fundamental component of official policy, coordinated across the whole of government, and implemented across the broadest spectrum of communication. Administrations should first decide whether the application of information power comports with enduring national values, their respective policy and national security objectives. Then, once the decision is made to employ information power, it must be adequately resourced to ensure its application aligns with the four key requirements.