Topic A: Characteristics of Information Warfare

While it is probably non-productive to try to settle on a definition for information warfare in this forum, it may be useful to bound the subject by discussing the defining characteristics of information warfare. This topic will also provide context for future rounds.

----------- [Moderator] What are the defining characteristics of information warfare?

[Campen] The risk in seeking a definition is the temptation to look for correlation with the past, rather than defining differences. I have seen definitions of IW [Information Warfare] that are useless because they encompass all human endeavor. I argue that the definition of IW must be severely circumscribed if it is to be useful in assessing the impact on policy, doctrine, functions and organization on civil or military. We must seek out what is different from the past. I submit that difference is dependency upon vulnerable electronic technology. I limit IW to information (data) in electronic form and the hardware and software by which it is created, modified, stored, processed and moved about. The defining characteristics are dependency upon and vulnerability of electronic information systems. Example: Psyops [Psychological Operations] conducted via printed leaflets is not IW, but radio broadcasts or the electronic manipulation of TV images is. The physical destruction of a telephone exchange is not IW (telegraph lines were cut in the Civil War and submarine cables in WW One), but disabling a switch with a virus is IW.

[Cebrowski] The underlying character of information warfare is the proliferation of information-based technologies and their associated impact on society and by extension, on the bedrock issues of national security in the modern age. In warfighting, information-based technologies transcend the target sets of information, information-based processes, and information systems.

[Cochrane] The defining characteristic in information warfare is when information (in ANY form, so that includes ideas and philosophies) is supplied, or obstructed, with the aim of causing the information user to make a bad decision, or to confuse/overload their communication or decision making processes.

Examples: - Knowing what your enemy does not - Confusing the enemy with false information - Damaging the information capability access of the opponent or denying him access to his own information - jamming of communications - hacking computer systems and changing or deleting data - Interception of communications - Use of disinformation - propaganda - cultural infiltration

[Cohen] The broadest common definition I have been able to get together is: Conflict in which information or information technology is the weapon, the target, the objective, or the method. From now on, I will use IT to indicate "information or information technology."

[Dunnigan] Attacking and defending the ability to transmit information.

[Garigue] The first thing that comes to mind is the realization that information warfare is a consequence of a new and emerging SocioTech structure. This emergence is not homogeneous throughout the world. Where as some Western societies are moving rapidly into it, others have not yet started. Modern societies are all presently engaged in building and riding a glass highway. With this in mind we have to face the fact that more and more of our social, economic, political and cultural transactions are digital in nature and all of them are computer mediated. Which means that in an information society no meaningful event can happen between individuals or organizations without computers and networks. We will have to fulfill our human interactions and commitments through our computerized social networks. We presently, and naively, place a lot of trust in these computer intermediaries that tell us the state of our complex systems. These systems may be cities, financial markets, health, wealth, production or even distribution. All these SocioTech systems are subject to computer control. Computerized networks bridge Decision Makers with an ever increasing array of sensors and effectors that monitor and intercede for us and help us in governing our complex environments. This trend will continue accelerating wherever efficiencies in systems can be found. As with a human constructed artifact there are flaws, failings and limitations. These new efficient networked SocioTech societies are also, and will always be flawed. Control over these systems is not more direct and local. Now it is remote and distributed. In open societies, authority to control is conferred by groups onto individuals via legitimate processes in accordance with common values and beliefs. But groups whose goals differ and whose objectives are at odds will try to impose control by force of arguments or might. So now in computer mediated societies as control has been somewhat centralized within the network layer, we see that there will be a clash of wills for control of that logical space. The fight for control of that space is called information warfare.

[Giessler] Competing and conflicting information, control and communication in complex adaptive systems_which all have teleological goals with the ultimate being survivalAll systems are involved in information warfare_the only question is do they do anything about it? They can be a passive or active player. IW is all about decisions and the use of information, energy and material resources to offset disturbances that may drive your system away from the attainment of its objectives_especially the one about survival.

[Gust] Definition_after two years of discussion, the Army's TRADOC [Training and Doctrine Command] published FM 100-6, Information Operations. We argued and discussed the definition and who is in charge, even sought and rejected OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense] staff advice on the definition. I do not believe there is universal agreement on it yet.

[Hazlett] Information Warfare is conflict between parties where information, or information systems are used to attack and defeat the enemy or when the enemy's use of, or access to, information is attacked.

[King] Information Warfare is a conflict between two parties where information technology is the primary means of obtaining a defensive or offensive advantage.

[Levien] One of the most critical of these is the fact that it is so imprecise. It obliterates any of the past definitional boundaries of "what is an act of war?", "what is war?", "who is the enemy?", "where or which is the enemies' territory or country of national origin?" This now much more difficult assessment of responsibility places new limits on how the military can react against a perceived threat to the country. In fact it becomes painfully difficult to determine an allowable course of action for a military officer to take when he (or she) is faced with the enormous body of U.S. law that (rightfully) limits and restricts those actions that the military can take against U.S. citizens. In today's world these same U.S. citizens are inextricably coupled via communications, business association, commercial activity, and just plain vanilla personal interactions with foreign (international?) entitiesboth friendly and often hostile as well. This can and most often does present a legal NIGHTMARE for the average military officer to sort out what actions he is permitted to take in this IW environment.

[Libicki] Information warfare is any activity motivated by the need to alter the information streams going to the other side and protect one's own. These range from physical and radio-electronic attack on both systems and sensors (or associated support systems), to cryptography, attacks on computers, and psychological operations.

[Loescher] What is new is that information creates and splinters the battle space, enables and defines the killing zone, and provides the means to execute the principles of war. I prefer to call this "war in the info age", which I think is a genuine revolution. In Navy, the term info warfare is being used evolutionarily by some communities to preserve and improve the past_better EW [Electronic Warfare], better cryptology, better, etc.

[Merritt] This is a good question. These days, there is a lot of press being given to equating IW to network attack (offensive and defensive). In my view, this is a very narrow interpretation and really is not doing the community justice in really working the problem. I think this is why we are now seeing more reference to other terms such as info dominance or info operations. In my view, IW consists of any action to exploit or affect an adversary's ability to gain a true picture of the battle space or to execute command and control of their forces. Also includes all the same activities associated with protecting our own capabilities. This truly brings in all aspects of EW, network attack, node analysis, intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance, etc., both terrestrial and space based. This broad interpretation has been the cause of much controversy that has crossed traditional ricebowls and caused the community to concentrate on particular aspects of the problem.

[Probst] Information-based warfare is that branch of warfare information technology that supports two basic pillars of the Revolution in Military Affairs, viz., (i) Dominant Battlespace Knowledge, and (ii) Integrated Battlespace Management, including pre-engagement battlespace preparation, precision force (including just-in-time strike), and precision logistics. To be effective, these pillars require major advances in modelling and simulation, which in turn require (i) advanced control theory for automated full-spectrum strategic decision making, precision scheduling, and other information functions, and (ii) high-performance data assimilation and analysis for data-intensive predictive modelling and simulation.

Because it relies on high-performance computers and communications, Information-Based Warfare can be disrupted. Defensive Information Warfare tries to make sure that this cannot happen to our forces. Offensive Information Warfare_about which I have some reservations_tries to disrupt the computer-and-communications-based C4ISR [Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance] of the adversary.

Definitions aside, we can see three embryos of Warfare Information Technology today. These are:

- total situational awareness ==> Integrated Battlespace Management - network security ==> Defensive Information Warfare - the USAF Captain, using SIPRNET [Secret Internet Protocol Router Network], who subverted the Navy's Atlantic Fleet command in September 1995 ==> Offensive Information Warfare

The following is an equivalent vanilla base line for Information Warfare:

- high-performance information-based warfare with dominant battlespace knowledge, and precision force_including offensive information warfare_will alter the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of war (i.e., it will change the appearance of combat) - information infrastructures are now part of the logistics tails of all armed forces, and_as such_require careful defense - conversely, one may consider degrading the information systems that enhance the military capabilities of the adversary

[Schwartau] I maintain that True Information Warfare is the use of information and information systems as weapons against target information and information systems. I eliminate the call for or use of any bombs or bullets in True Info War. IW can attack individuals, organizations or nation-states (or spheres of influence) through a wide variety of techniques:

- Confidentiality compromise - Integrity attacks - Denial of Service - Psyops - Dis/mis-information, media, etc.

Most clearly, though, the distinctive feature of Pure IW is that it can so easily be waged against a civilian infrastructure in contrast to a military one. This is a new facet of war, where the target may well be the economic national security of an adversary. In addition, though, we have distributed capability to wage war. Today, a small band of antagonists can launch an IW offensive from behind their desks thousands of miles away; or a group of U.S. hackers might choose to declare war on another country, independent of any official U.S. sanction. The capabilities of IW is the issue: how much havoc can I rain without resorting to bombs and bullets. A lot is the answer, and I'm not the only smart guy on the planet.

[Steele] The defining characteristics of information are: - Connectivity (all mediums) - Content - Coordination (standards, procurement) - Communications & Computational security - Context (both cultural and substantive)

Information "warfare" is almost moot or an oxymoron. In this era, failing to be competitive in optimizing the above five aspects of information is tantamount to abdication. At a very simplistic level information warfare can be thought of as an attack on any of the above five elements (e.g., denial of service or corruption of content). On the defensive side, again at a simplistic level, it can be considered in terms of continuity of operations. Unfortunately, our own DoD will never be a serious IW player until they figure out that collecting information, and the sensor to shooter interface, is the heart of information-based warfare operations.

[Todd] With warfare in the information age, our ability to control and exploit the information battlespace will be as much an enabling factor in combined warfare as the ability to control and exploit the air and space battlespace to enable conventional combined terrestrial warfare in the industrial age. Note that I don't use the term "information warfare." The challenge of warfare in the information age is more pervasive than the commonly thought of niches of information warfare. But within this category of IW falls our capabilities to attack an adversary's information function (regardless of means), the protection of our information functions (regardless of means), and that IW is a means, not an end.

----------- [Moderator] Are "information in war" and information warfare the same?

[Campen] Definitely not. Information-in-war describes how information has been used since the dawn of conflict: Always sought, usually too late or wrong, not always properly used or effective when used. Information-in-war was serendipitous and usually incidental to the conflict. It was an adjunct to war, with an impact varying from nil to absolutely vital in rare, notable incidents. In IW, if there is no information there may well be no war. Example: Smart missiles but no means to instruct them, or the XXI [Force XXI] Soldier who's GPS [Global Positioning System] fails, is lost, and cannot perform assigned function, or "just-in-time" logistics that aren't.

[Cebrowski] No. The premise of information in war involves the process by which raw data (sensors or intel sources) is converted to information for decision-makers, and how that information is distributed and acted upon by operational commanders. Information warfare is the means by which we affect information in war. This can be done by targeting an adversary's information, information-based processes, information systems or computer-based networks. Equally important is protecting our own information, information-based processes, information systems, and computer-based networks.

[Cochrane] Information is a tool and a target of war (just like a tank or a munitions factory). Information in war includes details about the enemy (his strengths, weaknesses, deployment, location of resources, communications). Information warfare is using information technology, either to gain data about the enemy or to destroy the enemy's data resources or cultural support.

[Cohen] Not in my view. Information in war includes every aspect of IT as applied during conflict. IW includes only situations where IT is the weapon, target, objective, or method. For example, supporting warfighting with mapping and weather information is not IW except in the cases where the mapping information is the weapon, target, objective, or method of conflict. In ancillary roles, it's not part of IW. In this view, every piece of IT may sometimes be part of IW, but most parts are never part of IW. In other words, it is the "USE" of IT and not some inherent property of the IT that applies.

[Dunnigan] No. The former is a product, the latter is an action.

[Garigue] The distinction is akin to looking at the subject that performs the action or the object on which we act. These are different approaches to the same subject. Although many would see them as different I see them as being a continuum. From the meta-strategical aspects of Information Warfare we see what we are trying to achieve, such as looking at the objectives and the criteria by which we determine if we have achieved them or not. Information in war relates to the managerial aspects of how to do it. So Information Warfare help us to focus on effectiveness issues and Information in War helps us focus on efficiency issues. But the two cannot be separated from each other and need to be considered as a two sides of a same coin.

[Giessler] No_the DSB [Defense Science Board] concept from the 94 summer study was valuable. I in W is the use of information technologies to better conduct what we traditionally know as modern warfare and the Tofflers would call warfare in the industrial wave. In this mode information is a supporting element to air, land, sea, space and SOF [Special Operations Forces] warfare. It is a force multiplier. IW is warfare in the information realm, environment and age. It includes old but also new forms and qualities of warfare_the fight for survival. It is facilitated by IW technologies that create a unique confluence that allow competition and conflict never before considered. And we are about as smart about what that warfare is as Billy Mitchell was about air warfare and power in 1917 when he was teaching and thinking about it at Langley Field.

[Gust] Info in war can mean the Blue Force use of info while info warfare means, to me, both Blue Force protection actions of their info while offensively exploiting the Red Force's info.

[Hazlett] No, many forms of information are used in war, not all of which is used in information warfare. In information warfare, information is the weapon and/or the target.

[King] No. All participants in a war have always made use of any available information but it was always in support of the primary operations.

[Levien] "Information in war" and "information warfare" are poles apart in meaning. (Ah the beauty of the English language!) Information in waris essentially a meaningless phrase in that it adds very little to the concept of the role information plays in wartime as opposed to any other time in the affairs of man. On the other handcoining the new term "information warfare"where information is the descriptive term of warimplies a new dimension of how to wage war, which is as highly distinct as the term (for example) Nuclear War. The potential effects of IW, while not as physically dramatic as nuclear, could nevertheless in the future be as historically significant as nuclear war in its resulting outcome.

[Libicki] Information in warfare is so broad a category as to be meaningless; what kind of warfare does not involve information?

[Loescher] See above.

[Merritt] I don't think so. Info in war as I see is that info that allows you execute your mission. This is needed in whatever conflict that we are involved in, whatever realm we are operating (i.e., space, air, land, info). Info war is the utilization of the info realm to gain advantage in wartime.

[Probst] Information In War has an elementary and an advanced stage. In the elementary stage, data is converted into information for use by experienced decision makers; in the advanced stage, viz., integrated battlespace management, computer systems generate and evaluate alternate warplanning scenarios using modelling and simulation technology.

Information Warfare concerns the protection or disruption of this process.

[Schwartau] Absolutely not. I consider information in war to be making conventional weapons more efficient; to bring better information to the HQ [Headquarters], process it better and faster, and get the necessary information out to the war fighter as fast as possible. The closer to real time and iterative the process is, the better. This approach makes wars less bloody, increases efficiency and maximizes the capabilities of the existing arsenals. What I find intriguing about this thought model is that is the same paradigm for commercial companies, except for the bullets, which makes it in their case closer to a Class II style information war.

- Market research - Competitive analysis - Decision making - Sales/Marketing efforts - Feedback

The convergence of military and commercial IW issues is obvious, at least to me. :-)

[Steele] See above. "Information in peace", or information peacekeeping, is the flip side. Where we have a major disconnect today is in the existing bureaucratic mind-sets and forms of organization. The battlefield is civil, but no civilian organization is ready to get organized, and the military is saying "it's not my job" to provide for the common defense of the civil sector

[Todd] Military history has multiple examples of how "Information in war" is often the leveraging factor in successful engagements and campaigns. But the common thread is that engagements were necessary to impose one's will upon the enemy. At the other end of the pendulum, information warfare is viewed along the lines of Toffler and Schwartau in which one can impose one's will upon an adversary through the control, manipulation and denial of information, similar to the Soviet theory of "reflexive control." A more useful notion is that of information-based warfare. This falls in between those two extremes. Not only is the advantages of information technology realized through the abilities to engage the adversary with less friendly forces but having overwhelming impact due to timing and targeting, but in information-based warfare we can integrate military disciplines to manipulate the adversary's perceptions at the tactical, operational and strategic levels. Information-based warfare, consistent with previously accepted operational art, will still require changes in organization, technology adaptation, and changes in operational concepts and doctrine.

----------- [Moderator] Is "cyberspace" a new medium (like the traditional media of air, land, sea and space) of competition and conflict between nations, businesses and other organizations?

[Campen] No. Land, sea, air (and perhaps space someday) are media where physical things (people, ships and aircraft) interact. If cyberspace means the ether, then it does not qualify because no conflict actually takes places in that media. If cyberspace is defined as including the physical devices mentioned above (computers, communications, etc.), then it does not qualify because those devices are being employed in one or more of the existing media (air, land, sea), not in the ether.

[Cebrowski] Cyberspace is more of a cliche than a medium. A medium implies that definitive boundaries or characteristics exist_cyberspace is too ubiquitous to be bounded, and thus, shouldn't be considered a medium.

[Cochrane] Information is a commodity of war, like food and fuel. Cyberspace is a new transport mechanism and hence a target like a road. Cyberspace covers sea, land and air with its transport mechanisms. The fact that the Internet is accessible by anyone from anywhere in the world means that machines attached to the net are under threat of attack from unfriendly machines which are also connected.

[Cohen] New? Not really. Separate and different? It may be advantageous to treat it that way.

[Dunnigan] Only new in terms of much greater mass and velocity.

[Garigue] Cyberspace is not a physical space but a true social space. Unlike the other mediums where geography and physics structures relationships of force, in Cyberspace only information and knowledge determines the structure of power. Distances, geography, and borders become artificial and abstract notions and do not regulate the relationships between individuals and organizations. There are no inherent constraints in Cyberspace (except bandwidth and IP [Internet Protocol] addresses but this is not seen as a major source of future conflict) so there is no real reason to fight for possession of something that has no space or territory. However, the fact that this domain can amplify perspectives and thus exert influence over Decision Makers as well as potentially control systems that can acquire, transmit, store, analyze and produce wealth, there is certainly a danger of a clash of goals.

[Giessler] It is a new realm of conflict and competition that has evolved since the mid 1800s. But the advent of the chip, satellite coms and sensing, fiber optics and technological advances in software, hardware, orgware, brainware, decisionware, etc. have created changes which have resulted in a discontinuous function and reality.

[Gust] Cyberspace, like frequency spectrum, will become a nationally controlled asset. Due to access via various means, i.e., direct satellite, phone lines over land, fiber optic cables undersea, etc., it will be hard to control. Use now precedes policy.

[Hazlett] Yes, it has boundaries similar to those between other mediums and environments, across which attacks can be mounted either physically or electronically.

[King] "Cyberspace" is a new medium of communications with its own set of characteristics. Commerce will become the primary medium of competition and conflict and the most likely target of electronic attacks.

[Levien] Cyberspace is a concept of a state that exists only in the mind's eye. It has no physical properties, no dimensionsnothing to touchor feel. This as opposed to land, sea, atmosphere, etc., which can be described with physical constants and dimensions and to which the Laws of Physics (immutable as they are) can be applied thus allowing us to predict their behavior. Not possible with Cyberspace. So if you can't describe it and you can't predict it, it's hard to protect yourself from it. You can perhaps try to change the effects which it produces, but that is another matter altogether.

[Libicki] Unlike all other media, there is no such thing as forced entry in cyberspace.

[Loescher] Potentially. But Clausewitz has to be reexamined in our age. War is only an extension of politics if there is a discernable politic. I don't think the medium is inherently a medium of competition and conflict. But it probably will become so like the others. It's probably better to think of information as a competitive topic than of cyberspace this way_although cyberspace is definitely a new medium the prime characteristics of which are virtuality (i.e., independent of time and space)

[Merritt] In my view, yes. Many contend it is nothing new but just an extension of old capabilities. I disagree. The ability to quickly gain access to data, systems, etc., anywhere in the world within seconds is a leap of capability that is just now being utilized. In my view, we have barely scratched the surface of this capability. In this "virtual world" a whole new methodology with new tactics, new laws, new players, and new results tends to support the argument that this is indeed new and until we get true buy-in on this issue, the true capabilities of IW will not be realized.

[Probst] If it is possible to attack across cyberspace, and to achieve cyberspace dominance, then we would have to call it a new medium. I think this is an exaggeration. What is feasible is to have an order-of-magnitude competitive advantage in both battlespace knowledge_which implies understanding_and integrated battlespace management. Your question then becomes secondary.

[Schwartau] Hell yes! If I have the ability to raise havoc with an Army or Navy or Air Force, and I exclusively use cyber-weapons, then of course it's an added dimension. The weapons arsenals I propose use:

- invisibility - passivity - insidiousness - mind screwing

I believe we need a center of IW excellence, yes, perhaps an independent force, which houses all of the expertise, and then is appropriately distributed as needed to other services as required. This "Cyber-Force" (I don't have a better name yet) can act on it's own without conventional service aid, or in combinations with others.

[Steele] An old medium with a new importance. Especially troubling because of the stealth and anonymity that any individual can exploit. Has radically altered the balance of power between nations, organizations, and individuals, and left all intelligence communities two decades behind the learning curve.

[Todd] "In many respects, one can consider information as a realm, just as land, sea, air, and space are realms." Realm as defined as: the region, sphere, or domain within which anything occurs, prevails, or dominates. "Information has its own characteristics of motion, mass, and topography, just as air, space sea and have their own distinct characteristics. There are strong conceptual parallels between conceiving of air and information as realms." {Cornerstones of Information Warfare, Sep 95}. Just as air and space forces attempt to control and exploit air and space in order to enhance all military force's effectiveness, so to must all forces attempt to control and exploit the information realm to enhance all military force's effectiveness.

----------- [Moderator] Is there really anything new or different about information warfare?

[Campen] Definitely. Because of dependencies and vulnerabilities of information systems, the potential exists to gain advantage or victory without resort to traditional means of force, or perhaps with fewer forces. Example: Manipulation of opponent sensor data can make things appear other than they are. Manipulation of opponent data could disrupt logistics and troop flow. (Fustest with the mostest!) when you are actually neither.

[Cebrowski] Although the nature of war will always remain constant, the character of war is in constant change. Information permeates society_as a pillar of national security, as well as the military_where the fractional component of information technology continues to grow in warfighting systems. U.S. dependence on information and associated technologies, coupled with rapidly expanding global interdependencies, exposes vulnerabilities that can be exploited using IW, both here and abroad.

[Cochrane] One potential difference for countries like the U.S. is that the battle can be waged with the civilian population in their own backyard from day 1. In this respect information warfare could represent a threat that is comparable to nuclear missiles, without the tell-tale sign of a missile launch.

Important factors are: - Low entry barriers mean ANYONE can start a "war" - The speed of distribution - More numerous ways of going about the war - Harder to find the culprits - More efficient (bigger bangs for your buck!!!) - A success will be seen by more of your enemies - Inflicted damage can potentially be far higher than earlier technologies

[Cohen] Yes. The difference is that we now depend on IT for every aspect of our existence as a society. This increased dependency means that the inherent vulnerabilities of IT extends to our ability to wage war, survive economically, and to the very fabric of our society.

[Dunnigan] Greater mass and velocity. U.S. Grant standing next to a telegraph operator was waging info war, but the speed of data transmission was less than 300 baud.

[Garigue] Yes_but most of it has yet to be seen as the impact of living in an information society becomes real. However, the initial impact will be the rapid redistribution of power away from institutions that used to control simply through possession of information; such as intelligence organizations, government, big corporations, multinationals, and professional organizations. Power will come from the capacity to create and apply new knowledge. It is the capacity to apply new knowledge that will permit organizations to determine their future by simply deciding which future they want.

[Giessler] Yes_much is new. The newest is that we don't know what all is new. Just as Billy [Mitchell] didn't know how air warfare was new we are incapable of specifying how IW is new. And it doesn't make any big difference. Those who can not allow out-of-the-box thinking will just not survive in the info age. They may be fine if they stay in the industrial age. They will even be needed there. IW is all about influencing minds (as Sun Tsu wrote about) but with new technologies and wares.

[Gust] We have some thinking to do about jamming vs. intercept. We can now do so much more selective jamming and denial, and destruction because of technology. Intercept still provides so much Red Force intent that it must not be set aside because of our ability to defeat the Red info systems.

[Hazlett] Yes, in information warfare, information is the target, and sometimes the weapon. In other forms of warfare, it is generally a bi-product or collateral target, but not the primary medium or target.

[King] It is different in that the experience and expertise from centuries of regular warfare are of very little value in information warfare. Thus it is a revolutionary change not an evolutionary one.

[Levien] To answer this question you have to decide what your timeline of reference is for the word "NEW." When do you start in deciding what is new? In many ways IW is simply a repackaging of a great body of knowledge that has been around for quite some time. PSYOPS, deception, for example the world's history is replete with example after example of these two subjects. Ditto with the fifth "pillar" of C2W destruction. As you get to the subject of EW in C2W, you have a more recent series of events to consider. But it is clear that unlike the dawn of the nuclear age, with the discovery that e=mc2, there is no single defining technological breakthrough that heralded the age of Information Warfare. There ARE some technologies that make the advance of civilization possible which then in turn were applied to warfare (as always) but these were not specifically developed for Information War. What has happened is a sort of rearranging of the chairs around the table of knowledge. But this is not a trivial shift. For it opens upno, rather it demandsthat the military strategist and planner consider fields of interest which heretofore he has been (happily) able to almost ignore. The most significant change that I see occurring is:


This relationship in the past has often not been a close or comfortable one, with both parties trying to keep the other at arms length. (With the possible exception at the height of large wars). And it certainly is not the general attitude of the U.S. populace at large these days with the desire to keep the Government more and more out of our daily lives. In the response to our efforts to combat the threat of IW, it may finally dawn on both sides of the parties to these debates, that closer ties are no longer an option. If one examines the actions of some of our "allies"e.g., France, Israel, Japan you can see these partnerships forming with often devastating results to U.S. interests.

[Libicki] At the operational level, as the processing of information becomes systematized (e.g., the systems component of the command center, Admiral Owens' System of Systems, the NII [National Information Infrastructure]), attacks on and defenses of such systems becomes important. At the strategic level, there is nothing really new.

[Loescher] Yes. See above.

[Merritt] See above. I think yes

[Probst] There are two new aspects, both rather obvious. Progress in high-performance computers and communications will lead to a Revolution in Military Affairs, although there are more advanced and less advanced thinkers about how this should happen. We depend on our computers in unprecedented ways. As cooperation gives way to contention, we find our computers have much thinner skins than we ever imagined.

In brief,

- information technology is on the point of causing a paradigm shift in information-based warfare - we may generalize counter-force to counter-information system

[Schwartau] I keep hearing the arguments that IW is nothing new, but I have to argue that for the first time in history, the capability exists to wage a conflict (indeed a war) where no conventional munitions are required to achieve a stated goal; be that goal isolation, economic deactivation, sanctions or alternative to combat.

[Steele] Not yet. All I see at this point is industrial age concepts applied very poorly to information age opportunities.

[Campen_general comment] Happy to note from summary that I am not alone in preferring a technical emphasis on Information Warfare. I have concluded that the essential difference between information from past conflicts and the present is the word INSTITUTIONALIZED. We are now trying to shape doctrine, organization and process around the assumption that information can be a key, or perhaps the key ingredient in conflict. This is not my notion, but I can't remember who first brought it to my attention. It may have been Cohen, or perhaps Probst. I intend to incorporate this new perspective in my next round of lectures at the NDU courses on Information War.