Subject: IW Mailing List iw/951214
Date:  Thu, 14 Dec 95 10:10 EST

The "machine" that VonNeuman described as having been built by him
actually, as I understand it, was "built" by Seymour Bosworth -- who is
still with us -- c.1947 under VonNeuman and Einstein's direction.  And,
my understanding is that Robert Morris the elder and at least one of
his associates then at Bell Labs engaged within AT&T in what they called
"core wars" c.1968. [unpublished]  The rest of the posting was very helpful.
From: (Ry Jones)
Subject: Using IW to forward your goals
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 1995 02:58:57 -0800 (PST)

What if you were to take a foe with a poor track record in an area
important to your populace (example: China's human rights record as seen
from the United States) and villify them? Say, fake a feed onto the
Chinese state TV uplink (I'm sure CSTV uplinks to major news
orginizations in the world) and show an official looking execution of
some (unknown, uncelebrated) dissidents.  Do this once a month or so and
really make them look bad.  Then show executions of more well known
disidents that are suspected to have been executed.  At any point,
Chinese denials would ring hollow.  Trotting out a few dozen dissidents
for display "See, they're alive! Nary a scratch!" wouldn't win the world
over.  The trick would be, however, to set a long string of widely
spaced reports onto the feeds they use.  Make it look like things are
really out of hand. 

Then begin to show executions of well-known dissidents, in quick
succession.  Show a lot of mass executions.  Every day, a few times a
day, insert fake stories of torture and death into the official

World leaders (and people) begin widespread hew and cry for 'something'
to be done.  No matter that the denials of the Chinese government would
be true, that they weren't doing what was blamed on them.  Who would
think it could be?

You could then set up an effective blockade of the nation's commerce,
MFN status, attendance at world summits...  the use of technology to
spread good, old fashioned lies about your enemy in a slick and
appealing format, leading to the destabilization of the government and
collapse of the nation. 

Does this define one aspect of IW?
From: "G.Adamopoulos" 
Subject: Re: IW Mailing List iw/951213
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 1995 09:04:02 +0200 (EET)

> Date: Wed, 13 Dec 1995 22:18:58 +0300 (MSK)
> >From: Alexander Gagin 
> Nuclear weapons are superior to others not because they will kill a lot
> of people, but because they will crash country's economics and make it
> impossible to wage war anymore.  Maybe an even more important thing is

... I think the nuclear game goes something like this: "Look little man
we have more than you do", says one great power to another, so the other
goes and buyes more.  Or, "Look big guys, I'm in the game too", says a
smaller country that has nuclear stuff too. 

After having an artillery (sp?) of nuclear weapons that are able to
blast the whole planet, the game turns to aim to the enemy's phycology
of who has the most.  I have X tons that blast us all and he has 10X
tons that ...blast us all.  The result might be the same, but we're
playing with who's gonna be frightened first and succumb... 
From: "G.Adamopoulos" 
Subject: Re: IW Mailing List iw/951212
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 1995 08:53:27 +0200 (EET)

> Date: Tue, 12 Dec 1995 08:18:21 -0500 (EST)
> >From: Sick Puppy 
> Subject: Re: IW Mailing List iw/951211
> of the incident was classified.  All I found out was that (1) the US
> Navy has an information warfare program, run out of San Diego and (2)
> that their system cannot break through a TIS Gauntlet firewall. 

Two notes:
	1]- I would be extremely surprised if they hadn't had such a 
	    system implemented yet.  In fact I think this must be a
	    "production" system, meaning that it should provide reliable
	    information, but who can tell?

	2]- What you know is that at that time it did not go thru your
	    particular configuration.  You can't (and probably none will)
	    tell whether now it has improved on its intrusion methods or
From iw Thu Dec 14 06:40:35 1995
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 1995 00:58:50 -0500 (EST)
From: Clayton B Perce 

Throughout history, revolutionary advances in technology and associated
doctrines have provoked revolutions in warfare.  I would suggest that
few advances are as revolutionary as those that open up completely new
domains where men and women can wage war.  The domains of land and sea
have been used for war for aeons, but advances such as the Wright flyer
and Sputnik only recently opened the way to air and space. 
There is a general realization that revolution is upon us again.  Recent
advances in information technology have not just given us new weapons
and support systems.  They've also opened the way to a new domain in
which to fight war, a realm of information combined with modern
information technology.  This "infospace" is something like the
cyberspace worlds of science-fiction, but it exists already, not just in
some imagined future. 

To operate successfully in this new realm, we need a common perspectve
from which to plan and operate.  But because this perspective
fundamentally shapes the way we think about and train for war, it's
vital that it be sound. 

My goal in this list is to get a better feel for, and maybe even
influence, the debates that are even now shaping the infospace
battlefields of the future. 

- Clayton Perce (
Date: Wed, 13 Dec 1995 21:46:43 -0800 (PST)
From: Dave Watson 
Subject: Re: IW Mailing List iw/951212

>From: (Steve Schuster)
>Subject: Confused
>I'm a little confused.
>Can someone please differentiate IW and good 'ole intelligence gathering
>and propaganda? ... Is the term IW simply a buzz word to include ... 
>intelligence ... propaganda ... deny (...) information...

I prefer to consider IW as the set of tactics to be used to engage an
adversary with information systems.  As in traditional warfare, there is
certainly a place for philosophies and politics, but the soldier is
better served by mastering weapons and maneuvers used on real
battlefields.  In 1995, that battlefield includes information systems -
networks, embedded processors, communications.  Seems to me a crucial
decision for this group is whether we'll focus on the philosophies of
why people are mean to each other, which seems to dominate the
discussion lately, or whether we want to share experiences and ideas on
how to engage real-world information systems. 
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 95 10:13:55 EST
From: (Steve Schuster)

In posting my many questions concerning IW the previous day, I had
attempted to demonstrate that IW is nothing new that has arisen along
with the "information age".  Instead, IW is rather a general term to
encompass the more specific areas of intelligence gathering, analysis,
propaganda, etc. 

Now if I may use some of Dr.  Cohen's statements, I'd like to make a few
more points. 

>Information has been a key determining factor in warfare from the
>beginning of recorded history, and will likely continue to be a key
>factor for the rest of time.  The increased interest in IW may be more
>of an artifact of the movement of humanity into the information age than
>anything else. 

I find it difficult, while examining the current interest in IW, to find
what I would necessarily consider an increased interest.  What I find
rather is perhaps an increased acknowledgment in the use of IW.  Now,
what do I mean by this?

I believe that it is well known fact that for years the governments and
militaries have engaged in IW.  However, what we are seeing today is
acknowledgment of these activities by these organizations.  We have ARPA
openly funding projects on IW, Navy Admirals explaining their desire to
more aggressively exploit information.  Gez, we now even have road signs
for organizations that up until a few years ago supposedly didn't even
exist.  Has anyone seen the new sign, on Md32 for the NSA?

>... The revolution in military affairs is no different than the revolution
>in every other aspect of human endeavor. ...

A very good paper outlining this revolutionary shift is entitled "Magna
Carta for the Knowledge Age" and can be found at:

>... To summarize, there is no standard definition of IW, but loosely
>speaking, we might wish to think of IW as the realignment of how we
>understand conflict to reflect the movement into the information age. 

While I like this loose definition of IW, I think that I must also add that
conflict must be understood to not only mean the struggle for supremacy of
two opposing military forces or governments but must also be understood to
mean the struggle for supremacy of any opposing forces.  These forces can
then include not only governments militarily but also economically, small
businesses, large businesses, and any others.
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 1995 11:08:57 -0500
Subject: IW in the US Civil War

Bruce Sterling's mention of the baloons in 18th-19th century warfare
reminded me.  Not that long ago I ran across a collection of Federal
telegraph intercepts in the "Official Records" they had picked up from
Rebel telegraphs around Richmond in early 1865.  Does anyone know if
they would have been encrypted?
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 95 12:06 EST
From: Michael Wilson <>
Subject: RE: IW Mailing List iw/951213

> I don't think it is infinitely malleable - these are, after all, finite
> state machines. 

--- Don't misinterpret the limitations of the substrate with the lack of
limitations in the models laid on top.  As I said in the same piece,
most of the digital world is subject to the 'reader makes right' issue;
perhaps that needs greater explanation.  Notables in the history of
computing (Turing or even Ted Nelson) have commented that data is data;
you can certainly load a 'sound' file into a word processor.  Whether it
makes sense is the burden on the end user, the reader, to make 'right,'
or understandable.  To that degree, it is up to the end-user to
interpret correctly; computers have expanded that burden considerably. 
Is that really OJ Simpson posing on _Spy_ magazine's cover? In a MUD,
who is the user on the other end -really-? In a VR, you can be anything
that can be programmed, which is turning out to be a wide range of
things.  I don't trust anything in cyberspace; the user you think you
know may in real life be a dog.  Moof. 

>>...inside the infosphere, reality and all the things connected to it
>> (x,y,z,t) have eroded.  ... 

> Reality has not eroded in the infosphere.  There is just a different physics.

--- The laws of physics are whatever we say they are; [...] that was one
of the reasons for virtual reality in the first place.  For a model to
have any worth to base the real world against, yes it has to align with
real world variables and structures.  On the other hand, you can get
pretty far in the world with the square root of negative one, or
believing the Sun revolves around the Earth.  My comment, however, has
also been stated elsewhere as 'distance means nothing' (which we found
out -years- ago when it was fun to dial payphones at random in
Australia; thank you, Alliance Teleconference). 

--- I see this sort of garbage thinking going on when people defend
sending credit card numbers over the net, saying that it is just like
giving your number over the phone.  Bzzzt, wrong answer.  Some 14 year
old can grab a node that passes traffic to the destination and snag the
volume of traffic in an automatic fashion, something that is quite a bit
harder with a call over the phone.  It sure sounds to me like the
factors of space and time as I know them in reality are eroding.  That's
why I favor strong crypto for everyone, among other things. 

>> -- IW allows targets of opportunity and custom attacks to specific
>> objectives. 

> As far as I know every successful military attack is customized to the
> specific objectives. 

--- Any child out there with the virus creation lab may have a target in
mind, but doesn't build anything custom for it, unless you really
consider the tinkertoy approach to software to be 'custom.' The Morris
worm did a hell of a number on people without being custom at all (see
Spafford's analysis).  Most military hardware of any reliability is
general purpose.  Are we having a debate on the meaning of 'custom,'
perhaps? I guess I don't see a virus written for the IBM/Windows
platforms and released blind as custom.  Random social problems can be
caused by non-specific software attacks; targeted systems have a greater
chance of successful penetration with something cooked just for them. 
IW, practiced in different ways by different people, supports both

>>       -- IW can be undetectable in advance.  Military and intelligence

> I don't think that undetectable is the right word.  Perhaps undetected?

--- Shall we argue about 'unalienable' and 'inalienable' rights next?
Undetectable is certainly the right word for me.  One programmer locked
in a room with a net connect, the right tools, no associates, no
previous history, and a burning rage he never talks about, is
undetectable in advance. 

>>... IW isn't covered by any treaty or regulatory agency; even if it
>> were, it would be meaningless.

> No more or less meaningless than biological or nuclear weapons treaties.

--- Actually, NCB regulatory treaties are very meaningful in that they restrict 
access to critical manufacturing infrastructures; the nuclear powers don't want 
to expand the club.  If they can't get their hands on the components, they can't
put together the weapons.  Just try to put an fission bomb together without the 
nuclear material; or a fusion device without some nifty timers too.  Or 
construct a FAE without the special nozzle.  Biological and chemical weapons are
slightly more frightening because the value chain necessary to assemble such 
systems are either easy to get, 'dual use,' or homegrowable.  Some treaties can 
be enforced; politics may prevent that from happening (Israel) or they may work 
(North Korea, but that remains to be seen).  IW, however, has an assembly value 
chain that isn't even dual-use, or anything else so 'poetic'--the tools are 
available in even the most backwater of countries.  THAT is the critical issue I
was pointing out.

>> happens at the speed of an electron...

> I seem to recall that electrons move at something in the range of one
> meter per second in a wire.  Tanks go a lot faster.  Photons move at the
> speed of light, and I think that IW usually operates somewhere in
> between those two speeds.

--- Ahhh, now there I was attempting to use a metaphor; I'll be sure not to 
include you on my Byron discussion.  Forgive my attempting to toss a jot of 
humour in.  Actually, it would take a few machine cycles to do simple operations
such as start the sequence that erases a hard disk, but I had thought we were 
all smart enough here that I didn't have to use my crayon entirely within the 
lines in the Official Information Warfare Coloring Book.

> Based on postings to this list to date, my summary of IW is: "Conflict
> where IT is the weapon, the target, the objective, or the method."

--- Actually, not a bad point.  Jim Dunnigan made the same observation
about IW just being a rehash of deception in warfare.  Amazing how we
all see what we know best, which just so happens to also be what we
(individuals) are looking for.  As for myself, I view it as a value
chain attack.  I would rather pull the trigger on the chaps who know the
critical pieces of the puzzle (language, history of the region,
personality profiles, regional strategies and tactics) than try to
target an impenetrable system locked deep in McLean or Meade (or Vienna,
these days).  The goodies in the data-information-knowledge-wisdom
sequence don't have to reside in the IT, and the far right of the chain
hasn't been found there yet. 

> age of humanity.  This paradigm shift (as used in "The Structure of
> Scientific Revolution", by Thomas Kuhn) is reflected in the so-called

--- I think you need to go back and re-read your Kuhn--a paradigm is something 
that -limits- the range of thought, and people actually -don't- shift paradigms;
the old wave dies off, and the new takes over.  THAT is what we are seeing; the 
older dinosaurs who controlled the hierarchies are retiring and dying off, and 
the next wave of commanders and leaders are experimenting with the information 
technology they grew up with, and the shear malleability of it.  As for 
restructuring, I recommend you read _Fad Surfing in the Boardroom_ (Shapiro) 
which does a hell of a job on explaining -that- phenomenon.

> The reason the military, as opposed to other organizations, has to keep
> up with the times, is that a seemingly small advantage due to a

--- You obviously don't remember the horrible changes that the U.S. 
military underwent in structure and tactics to 'take advantage' of the
lead they supposed they had; the reason you don't remember is that the
military wised up, realized they bought a lemon, and went back to a more
accepted (and functional, might I add) structure.  A better example is
the creation of an Air Force, which reflects a change far more important
than a bigger bomb, such as a mechanism for using ground for tactical
purposes without having to rely on it for movement.  (I won't attempt to
get into the painful issue of redundancy of skills across the services.)

> To summarize, there is no standard definition of IW, but loosely
> speaking, we might wish to think of IW as the reallignment of how we
> understand conflict to reflect the movement into the information age. 

--- That was the purpose of the material I had sent to the list when I
first joined up.  The beauty of IW right now is that we all have our own
area we are working on, some of you in corporations or academia, some of
us for clients or the military.  Nobody has the right answer, so nobody
is wrong.  ...
Date: 14 Dec 1995 14:19:17 U
From: "Mike Brown" 

Information warfare is not the use of information in warfare.  The
latter describes almost all military operations and how the tanks,
planes and ships (or their future analogs) employ information to achieve
their ends.  "Information Warfare" on the other hand, is combat in the
cyberspace -- an effort to deny the adversary the use of portions of the
information space while simultaneously protecting one's own. 
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 1995 20:14:10 +0500
From: Stuart Lay 
Subject: A couple of Thoughts

>From: Ken Dark 
> Is IW a distinctive form of warfare? Or merely a new way of waging
> war?
I would agree with Steele's observation that, for several reasons, IW is
different from other forms of warfare.  These reasons include, inter
alia, the transnational character of IW and the degree of its spatial
dis-aggregation: that is, the level to which it relates individualistic
(micro-level) action to large scale (macro-level) strategic
consequences.  Certainly, it is no respecter of frontiers!

But aspects of classic strategic thinking still seem to have some
relevance to IW, despite these differences, and IW itself arguably
has--as several contributors to this debate, here and elsewhere, have
pointed out --a long history in the development of war and of wider
aspects of strategy. 

I definitely believe IW is a distinctive form of warfare because of the
medium or realm in which the conflict occurs.  By this I mean the
physics which govern the virtual realm dictate the characteristics of
the conflict which occurs "there", just as aerodynamics governs air
combat, orbital mechanics governs space conflict, and topography governs
land conflict.  Tranationalism, spatial dis-aggregation, and so on, are
parts of the physics (or examples of how this realm is NOT limited). 

> (Dr. Frederick B. Cohen)
> Subject: Understanding IW

> Based on postings to this list to date, my summary of IW is: "Conflict
> where IT is the weapon, the target, the objective, or the method." If
> you think about this for a while, you might come to the conclusion that
> there is no form of human endeavor that escapes this definition.  The
> seeming conclusion is that we cannot eliminate any form of conflict from
> the general concept of information warfare.  This may, in some sense,
> make the whole definition and concept of IW meaningless. 

I would disagree in the sense I would limit this definition more.  I
agree when Dr Cohen says that IT (Information Technology?) is the
target, but not in the other cases.  If, for instance, one were to use a
virus to attack the computer control systems of a railroad (thereby
stopping/slowing the flow of materiel), I would classify this as
Interdiction, not Information Warfare.  The target here is not
information, but rather to impede the flow of supplies to a forward
location.  It could even be strategic attack.  I believe the defining
question is what is the target, not what are the means. 
Moderator's Note:
	I think we are starting to get some real clarity here in that
the difference between views of IW center largely around two issues:

 - Issue 1: Whether information and/or information technology is the
	weapon, the target, the objective, and/or the method. 

 - Issue 2: What part of the spectrum from competition to all out war is
	part of the IW space.

We clearly see people who firmly hold views ranging over the whole
spectrum in each of these issues.  In light of this, I think it might be
worthwhile to move on, recognizing that this debate will not end and
that new and ongoing list members will continue to provide new insights. 
With this in mind, I have set the following posting and subsequent
comment at the end of today's issue.
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 1995 09:18:34 -0500
Subject: Re: IW Mailing List iw/951213

I think that the concept of the information warfare is an old concept,
alhough now when all civilized societies are moving toward the
information societies, the concept becomes more and more important and
applicable to many different situations including businesses, industries
and other elements of the society.  However, some aspects of the IW have
existed since the time the information was used at the first time in
decision making situations.  Techniques, communication channels, methods
and tools change over the period of time, but fundamental concepts may
remain same.  Especially today, the need for accurate, timely and
reliable information motivates organizations to develop new and more
sophisticated systems and techniques. 
Moderator's note:
	It might be valuable for list members to outline what they
believe to be the fundamental concepts of IW.  Specifically:

	- Fundamental concepts that have existed since the time that
	information was first used in decision making and that are
	likely to be around for the indefinite future.

As a starting point, the following document has been placed on-line at under Browse -> Books -> Iwar
	1993 Paper: Information Warfare Considerations