Subject: IW Mailing List iw/960110
From: "Marcus J. Ranum" 
Subject: Re: IW Mailing List iw/960109
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 1996 22:32:02 -0500 (EST)

Istvan von Keszi  writes:
>I'd agree with this.  And without opening up a whole can of worms, I'd 
>hope that IW theory would be approached as a super-set of strategy, 
>rather than as a sub-set.
>I think that the latter -- the view of IW as sub-set -- tends to limit 
>the conceptual framework.

... This is not unlike the heady days of early freudian psychology, in
which its proponents tried cheerfully to subsume 1,800 years of western
intellectual discourse about the soul and human nature as rational
[subsets] of their new framework. 

	Subsuming strategy as a subset of IW theory amounts to claiming
that all military thinking for the last 4,000+ years has been building
towards this climactic moment when we've suddenly discovered a whole new
framework for thinking about war. ... [I don't buy into this. ...]

[Moderator's note: Heavy editing here - sorry - I think mjr has substantially
misstated Istvan's position and am removing the more extreme components lest
we get into a misdirected slugfest.]

>In this sense, mutually assured destruction would be an act of IW as would
>the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

... Mutually assured destruction was a strategy based on threat.  That's
an ancient, ancient, ancient strategy and it dates back to the first
time that two opposing sides realized that dragging their war out to the
death meant both depleting their forces past the point of no return. 
The technology was new and different but the idea was not. 

	The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not "Information
Warfare," it was "Warfare Warfare."  Real people got killed by a
couple of Real Bombs dropped on a Real City by Real Aircraft for
Real Strategic purposes.

[Moderator's note: The reason one might claim this was IW is that the
dropping of the atomic bombs was designed to have a psychological impact
on the Japanese.  They were dropped on civilian targets.  (Hiroshima
also had major military targets, but collateral damage far exceeded
military impact, and the Nagasaky bomb was accidentally dropped on an
industrial area because they missed the heart of the city they were
targetting.) and the intent was to get the top-level decision-makers to
stop the war.  If military destruction were the primary goal, other
targets would have been chosen.  I don't think that any serious thinkers
differentiate IW from other forms of W based on people being killed,
real bombs being used, specific delivery systems being involved, or
collateral damage.  Is mjr asking us to define IW as war that doesn't
use real hardware, kill real people, involve real places, or have
strategic value?]
Date: Tue, 09 Jan 1996 21:58:24
From: (Clayton, Katherine, and Robert Perce)
Subject: When to use an IW capability?

Hi! Here's an interesting idea (not mine)...
     In the movie Outbreak, the Army doesn't release its vaccine for a
rampaging ebola strain.  This is because that action would disclose the
fact that they had the capability to use that strain as a biological

     Similarly, imagine you have an IW capability that could be used
offensively or defensively.  If used defensively, everyone would know
about it and there would be no chance of ever using that capability to
gain strategic surprise against an enemy. 

     So the big question is: How would you decide when or if to use that
IW capability defensively? And the bigger question is: How would a
nation decide?

My (initial) answer is that you don't hesitate to use an IW capability
defensively.  This is because any enemy is going to assume that after
they've attacked you, you'll figure out a defense to prevent that kind
of attack from happening again.  Since they expect you to have that
defense and the corresponding offensive capability in the future anyway,
there's no reason to hold out. 

One thought: There are some parallels between these questions and many
issues that come up in the intel community.  For example, when do you
use information that would compromise your source? Or, what resolution
of imagery do you show an enemy to convince him you know what he's up to
and should back off? Sanitization procedures have been built for many of
these processes and they may provide a good jumping-off point.  However,
(I think) it's a lot easier to run imagery through a "fuzz" filter than
it is to hide a C4 capability. 

Another thought: I imagine the big questions are MUCH harder to answer
if you don't know for sure that you're under attack. 
Date: Tue, 09 Jan 96 21:59:02 +0600
Subject: Re: IW Mailing List iw/960109

IW as meta-strategy

In advancing new theories one must remember that they are simply social
constructs (theory of science ref: falsification - Popper) that help us
understand the world we live in and the interactions we have with it. 
As we create new knowledge of the world, we replace older knowledge that
is more limited (in its predictive power) with ones that are more
effective.  An thus we create more complex systems (social, economic,
technical, etc ).  Also, there are new realities that emerge from those
systems becoming more complex.  These behaviors are not just the
aggregation of lower functions.  They are struturally and significaly
different.  Atomic to molecular, to cellular, to biological, to social,
to Sociotech.  Each level is significanly different that the one it is
built upon. 

We are at a point in time in which human affairs are embedded in a
emerging new reality - the sociotech systems.  In this environment
conflict has new attributes.  As we created the tools to move from one
physical envrionment to another - from land, to sea, to air.  Within
these spaces conflict also followed.  The horse, then the warhorse; the
ship then the warship; the plane then the warplane. 

This new social space that we are constructing now - Cyberspace - is an
emerging reality.  Conflict within this all pervasive space (as it is
part of all the others) is called Information Warfare.  The terminology
is awkwards as it tries to describe a new thing using old terms.  (a bit
like talking about the "horseless" carriage to describe what we now call
the car). 

Strategies that regulate and legitimate the use of force in that space
need to encompass and explain all the ones that came before.  So yes, IW
strategies are meta-strategies.  And we can still talk about destruction
as an aspect of Information Warfare.  But IW has a delta that cannot be
explained by what we know on warfare.  We need to create new theoretical
frameworks that link and explain things such as attacks/control of
logical structures (computational processes) and even on belief systems. 
And ones that are soley associated with our new sociotech/post modern
open western societies. 

Lets remember that, yes, some aspects of IW have already existed and
have been used, but consider the change in size, scale, power, social
penetration from this thing called the computer; and so we are faced
with a radically new world.  We don't, and should not, fight in this new
world the same way we did in the past.  Belief that past successful
strategies will always work, is more dangerous than one thinks.  In a
changing world, a rigid and dogmatic attitude is a guaranty for failure.