Wisdom Warfare For 2025
A Research Paper
Air Force 2025
Lt Col Edward F. Murphy
Maj Gary C. Bender
Maj Larry J. Schaefer
Maj Michael M. Shepard
Maj Charles W. Williamson III
2025 is a study designed to comply with a directive
from the chief of staff of the Air Force to examine the concepts,
capabilities, and technologies the United States will require
to remain the dominant air and space force in the future. Presented
on 17 June 1996, this report was produced in the Department of
Defense school environment of academic freedom and in the interest
of advancing concepts related to national defense. The views expressed
in this report are those of the authors and do not reflect the
official policy or position of the United States Air Force, Department
of Defense, or the United States government.
This report contains fictional representations of future situations/scenarios.
Any similarities to real people or events, other than those specifically
cited, are unintentional and are for purposes of illustration
This publication has been reviewed by security and policy review
authorities, is unclassified, and is cleared for public release.
Concept of Operations
- Required Capabilities
- 1-1. The Role of Information Operations
in Aerospace Power
- 1-2. The Wisdom Process
- 2-1. Course of Action Development
- 3-1. Wisdom Warfare Architecture
- 3-2. The Knowledge and Wisdom
- 3-3. Genius Ghosting: Sun Tzu,
Napoleon, and Clausewitz
- 3-4. Common View of the Battlespace
- Technology Investment Opportunities
A robust information operations architecture can provide
leaders dominant battlespace knowledge and tools for improved
decision making. US armed forces in 2025 need an information
operations system that generates products and services that
are timely, reliable, relevant, and tailored to each user's
needs. The products must come from systems that are secure,
redundant, survivable, transportable, adaptable, deception resistant,
capable of fusing vast amount of data, and capable of forecasting.
The information operations architecture of 2025 this paper
proposes consists of thousands of widely distributed nodes performing
the full range of collection, data fusion, analysis, and command
functions-all linked together through a robust networking system.
Data will be collected, organized into usable information, analyzed
and assimilated, and displayed in a form that enhances the military
decision maker's understanding of the situation. The architecture
will also apply modeling, simulation, and forecasting tools
to help commanders make sound choices for employing military
force. This architecture allows the United States (US) armed
forces to conduct Wisdom Warfare.
The system can be used by the commander in chief, unit commander,
supervisor, or technician. Somewhere in the workplace, in a
vehicle, or on the person there will be a link to the sensors,
transmitters, receivers, storage devices, and transformation
systems that will provide, in push or pull fashion, all the
synthesized information needed to accomplish the mission or
task. Information will be presented in a variety of forms selected
by the user.
To realize this capability in 2025, America's armed forces
will have to alter the way they do business. Doctrinal and organizational
changes will have to overcome institutional biases and orchestrate
the development of an open architecture. The commercial market's
lead in information technology development must be leveraged.
New approaches to computing, as well as advancements in processing
speeds and capacity, artificial intelligence (AI), software
development, and networking must be investigated. In addition,
research on human decision-making processes, human system integration,
and display technology must be fostered.
To win in 2025, the armed forces of the United States will
require an information operations architecture that uses information
better and faster than its adversaries. This architecture must
be effective across the spectrum of military operations and
in any alternate future. To achieve this feasible system by
2025, America must begin to commit its time and money.
In 2025, it is likely the United States will have fewer forces.
1 Most of these forces will
be based in the continental US (CONUS). They will be responsible
for a variety of missions that will require much greater speed
and flexibility than exists today. To meet these requirements,
US armed forces of 2025 will have to use information better
and faster than their opponents.
"Information operations," a subset of information
warfare, deals exclusively with the use of military information
functions. It is how data is gathered, manipulated, and fused.
It includes such functions as intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance,
command and control, communications, precision navigation, and
weather. Information operations does not include actions to
deny, corrupt, or destroy the enemy's information or efforts
to protect ourselves against those actions. 2
Figure 1-1 shows where information operations fits within the
realm of information warfare. 3
Figure 1-1. The Role of Information Operations in Aerospace
Information operations involve the acquisition, transmission,
storage, or transformation of information that enhances the
employment of military forces. 4
Information operations devices and systems must be properly
applied to give the warrior information superiority. To be useful,
the information, a combination of data and instructions, must
reduce uncertainty. 5 Acquiring
information and putting it in a useful form will help achieve
knowledge. "Knowledge and control of information is necessary
for all missions, whether in peace or war, logistics or combat."
6 More is needed to achieve
true information superiority. The next step required is wisdom.
7 In this paper, wisdom
is defined as knowledge coupled with good judgment. 8
The Wisdom Warfare architecture can dramatically improve a warrior's
good judgment by synthesizing information and modeling and simulating
scenarios to provide advice, options, and probabilities of occurrence.
Figure 1-2. The Wisdom Process
To better understand wisdom operations, the process
must first be defined. The fundamental principles for acquiring
intelligence information against an adversary remain valid over
time. Figure 1-2 illustrates the flow from observable event
to wisdom. First, some observable event must occur. That event
must be observed by a sensor or sensors. The sensors collect
the observable phenomena of the event and produce data. The
data are processed and forwarded as information. Analysis of
the information produces intelligence. The fusion, correlation,
and association of relevant archival information lead to an
understanding of the event and how it plays a part in the big
picture. This understanding of the event results in knowledge.
Building on that base of knowledge, the decision maker can apply
automated decision aids and forecasting tools (wisdom support)
coupled with his own personal judgment, experience, creativity,
and intuition to make the best decisions. This is Wisdom Warfare.
"It is the association of well-known principles in an innovative
way that produces the revolutionary result." 9
Making the leap from intelligence to wisdom will require innovative
approaches for analyzing, fusing, associating, and handling
The Wisdom Warfare architecture proposed in this paper has
three main components: the knowledge component, the wisdom
component, and the human system integration (HSI) component.
The knowledge component includes systems that collect
raw data, organize it into useful information, analyze it to
create intelligence, and assimilate it to gain knowledge. The
wisdom component contains those systems that allow humans
to interact with the knowledge to exercise wisdom. This component
includes modeling and simulation tools. The final component
of the architecture is HSI. The HSI component contains all of
the systems necessary to assist decision makers in getting the
information needed in the form desired. Once the decision makers
understand the information, they can apply experience to make
the best decisions.
A properly developed information system will let the warrior
observe the battlespace, analyze events, make wiser decisions,
and distribute information effectively. What is the aim of such
an information system? Sun Tzu said it best. "Know your
enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never
be in peril." 10
- Lt Gen Jay W. Kelley, "Brilliant Warrior" (Unpublished
paper, March 1996), 4 (prepared for publication in the Joint
Forces Quarterly, Summer 1996).
- Department of the Air Force, Cornerstones of Information
Warfare, 1995, 3.
- Ibid., 11.
- Bill Gates, The Road Ahead (New York: Viking Penguin,
- USAF Scientific Advisory Board, New World Vistas: Air and
Space Power for the 21st Century, summary volume
(Washington, D.C.: USAF Scientific Advisory Board, 15 December
- 2025 Concept, No. 900339, "Understanding
Information Hierarchy," 2025 Concepts Database
(Maxwell AFB, Ala.: Air War College/2025, 1996).
- Philip B. Gove, editor in chief, Webster's Third New International
Dictionary, Unabridged (Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster,
1986), 2624, (definition 2 of "wise": "WISE indicates
discernment based not only on factual knowledge but on judgment
and insight <wise men . . . anticipate possible difficulties,
and decide beforehand what they will do if occasions arise-J.
- New World Vistas, summary volume, 13.
- Sun Tzu, The Art of War, translated by Samuel B. Griffith
(London: Oxford University Press, 1971), 84.
Contents | 1
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| 4 | 5
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Last updated: 5 December 1996