ERBIL, Iraq – Maj. Gen. JB Vowell, commander of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve hosted task force command teams and staff directorates for discourse, instruction, and exercises on the Information Environment throughout the quarterly CJTF-OIR Commanders’ Conference, at Erbil Air Base in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Sept. 21-23, 2023.
During the conference’s opening session, attendees heard from Mr. Martyn Warr, Head of the Counter-Daesh Communication Cell. Warr delivered remarks about countering Daesh propaganda, narratives, and ideology covering various regions beyond Iraq and Syria. Audience members had a chance to ask questions—of note, the use of Daesh versus ISIS.
The second day of the conference included an Information Environment war gaming exercise, which challenged participants in friendly and enemy groups to weigh risks and rewards when messaging. Brig. Gen. Philip J. Ryan, Combined Special Operations Joint Task Force - Levant found the war game, along with the overall theme of the conference to be extremely engaging and useful.
“This conference was extremely collaborative,” Ryan said. “We plan on taking what we learned from the Information Effects Branch back home to implement with our command teams at our own commanders conference.”
That evening, conference attendees took part in a question and answer session with guest speaker, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Alina Romanowski discussing topics about Coalition contributions to the people and Government of Iraq.
“The goal is to continue to develop the partnership and share great ideas to address challenges with the Iraqi political framework but I remain optimistic,” Romanowski said in her closing remarks.
At the close of the conference, Maj. Gen. Vowell shared positive feedback with the Information Effects Branch facilitators, as well as his own insights of the Information Environment.
“Maneuver is defined as, ‘gaining a positional advantage against an adversary,’” Vowell said. “We must learn to better maneuver in the Information Environment to achieve the effects we need.”
The next Commanders’ Conference is scheduled for early next year.