The British Army is forming a new unit that will specialize in Information War. The 77th Brigade is designed to deal with the fact that since the 1990s there has been a tremendous increase in electronics, communications and networks involved in warfare. This has, in effect, created a new battlefield, one in which the ability to influence information, opinions and attitudes is used as a weapon. But the information is not just what is on the Internet but also on mass media and the effect of all this new information on politics, diplomacy and public opinion has become a major factor in many military operations. These days commanders who want to win, don’t go to war without an “Information plan.” You have to be able to attack, and defend, in the “infosphere.” Your purely military operations are firmly linked with what is happening in the information war.
The 77th Brigade will help British commanders see what the Information War issues and options are in a particular operation and help formulate tactics that will take advantage of Information War opportunities. This includes knowing the local media and the impact of that, and international media (especially the Internet) on local military operations and populations.
The 77th Brigade is a small unit, with less than a thousand personnel and nearly half of them will be reservists. A major initial problem will be convincing combat commanders that what the 77th is doing is worth using. Convincing these commanders is the first Information War battle the 77th will have to win to survive.