Air Force revamps cyberspace, information operations doctrine

  • Published
  • By Air University Public Affairs

The LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education at Air University recently released two updated Air Force doctrine publications, AFDP 3-12 Cyberspace Operations and AFDP 3-13 Information in Air Force Operations.

The publication of AFDP 3-12 is especially monumental since it has been almost 12 years after its last revision.

The updated publication directly addresses extensive changes in cyberspace operations so the Air Force can best support joint operations worldwide. Key aspects of this revision include service and joint command relationship changes, updated terminology in cyberspace operations and operations in the information environment, and an explanation of the cyber tasking order within the joint planning process.

The updated AFDP reflects the criticality of cyberspace operations, as this excerpt explains: “All Air Force operations rely on cyberspace, a domain that is increasingly challenged and contested. Like control of the air, control in cyberspace provides the joint force freedom of action and reduces vulnerability to enemy attacks, both within the cyberspace domain and across other domains. Achieving and maintaining advantage in cyberspace is a foundational component of overall operational and strategic advantage, especially for operations against peer and near-peer adversaries.”

Just as all Air Force operations rely on cyberspace, so do all operations affect the information environment, a key topic of AFDP 3-13 Information in Air Force Operations, which states: “All Air Force activities, from words and images posted on social media to the presence of an armed aircraft on the ramp, communicate a message or intent that can be leveraged to support the achievement of joint force commander (JFC) objectives. … Therefore, the purpose of operations in the information environment (OIE) is to shape perceptions and behaviors in ways to aid friendly objectives.”

Air Force operational doctrine remains the best place to find the historically proven best practices of the Air Force, and these updated AFDPs reflect the most up-to-date information based on current operations and the latest joint publications.

The proper employment and integration of cyberspace operations and information in Air Force operations across all Air Force missions are critical to the success of the joint force.

“The rapidly evolving information environment, the nature of the cyberspace domain, and the myriad of threats facing our forces make capturing our best practices and lessons learned of paramount importance,” said Col. Jerry Davisson, director of Air Force doctrine development.

AFDP 3-12 and AFDP 3-13 can be accessed on along with all other Air Force operational doctrine publications.