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What is Information Warfare?


This tutorial is designed for you to learn about a very interesting topic, information warfare (IW). We will look at what it is, how it is used, strategies the United States have developed to deter IW, and what the future holds for our warfighters.

I believe our first step before we can define Information Warfare, is to define information? For the purpose of this tutorial, I have presented two definitions. As you read them, take note of the key words -- knowledge, facts, data -- and most importantly the communication of it.

Encarta's Electronic World English Dictionary defines information as "knowledge: definite knowledge acquired or supplied about something or somebody; gathered facts: the collected facts and data about a particular subject; and making facts known: the communication of facts and knowledge."

Joint Pub, 6-0 defines information as "data collected from the environment and processed into useable form; combining pieces of information with context produces ideas or provides knowledge; and by applying judgement, knowledge is transformed into understanding."

Information can present the opportunity to gain the advantage of our adversaries. Military information functions, such as surveillance and reconnaissance provide commanders the ability to gather facts. Other functions, for example, intelligence and weather analysis aid in creating the commander's battlefield vision to assist in the execution of their mission. As you can only imagine, information in itself is vital to the success of the warfighter.

Information Warfare is not a new thing. The buzzword has changed over the years and it has evolved to include new technologies that pose strategic challenges to our National interests and values. The term, Information in War preceded Information Warfare. The concept of Information Warfare was introduced in 1992 in the DOD Directive TS3600.1. A good source that emphasized the distinction between the use of Information in War and the newer concept of Information Warfare is the 1997 Science and Technology Committee Report . This report provided that Information in War refers to tactical and strategic deception, war propaganda, and destruction of command and control systems. One example of Information in War is the use of propaganda in forms of post cards, pamphlets, speeches, and posters disseminated by Americans and Germans during WWI & II. There are many websites that provide illustrations of such, as well as other war examples -- use any search engine to explore. The 1997 Science and Technology Committee Report suggests Information Warfare extends far beyond the traditional battlefield. As we proceed you should gain a better understanding of just how far.........

So you ask, what is information warfare? According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction No. 3210.0, Information Warfare (IW) is defined as "actions taken to achieve information superiority by affecting an adversary information, information-based processes, information systems, and computer-based networks while defending one's own information, information-based processes, information systems, and computer-based networks."

This definition suggests that Information Warfare involve offensive, as well as defensive measures. Offensive measures are those measures taken to affect adversary's information and information systems, while defensive measures are those that protect our own informational type assets. Joint Vision (JV) 2020 proposes there is significant potential for asymmetric engagements in the information domain. For this reason it is more than ever imperative that the United States prepare itself for an uncertain future. The National Security Strategy (NSS, Dec 2000) reveals that the wide array of security threats require the United States to transform its capabilities and its organizations. Transformation in the 21st century promises a faster, more lethal, and precise force that is dominant across a full spectrum of military operations (JV 2020). This transformation of the joint force relies heavily on information superiority as a key enabler. Equally important to realize is that the United States while advancing technologically, so are our adversaries. Increasingly they are adopting and using approaches to exploit our vulnerabilities, as well as delay, deter, or counter ours.

We will look at some IW methods later in this lesson.

Remember, as the United States technologically and globally advances; hence, strengthening our nation, it most certainly presents new challenges to the warfighter.


The First Information War.... Defense in Depth Strategy....
The Threat.... Network-Centric Warfare....