Words have meaning and perceptions drive behaviors. Information Operations (IO) has a unique challenge in the contemporary informational environment supporting the Commander’s intent through cultural and social sensitivities of partners, allies, and citizens. The deployment experiences of the 110th IO FSB over the past decade, in support of both Federal and Domestic missions, have proven that the use of the word “target” (or “targeting”) can hinder or impede non-lethal missions. Effective use of less aggressive terminology can improve mission coordination and cooperation issues with key U.S. and foreign agencies and organizations.
The term pre-disposes State and AID organizations to reject proposed plans and usually inspires nervous laughter, with only half-joking questions about how “nobody’s getting killed, right?”