What Is Information Warfare?
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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This essay examines that line of thinking and indicates several fundamental flaws while arguing the following points Information warfare, as a separate technique of waging war, does not exist. There are, instead, several distinct forms of information warfare, each laying claim to the larger concept. Seven forms of information warfare-conflicts that involve the protection, manipulation, degradation, and denial of information-can be distinguished 1 command-and-control warfare which strikes against the enemys head and neck, 2 intelligence-based warfare which consists of the design, protection, and denial of systems that seek sufficient knowledge to dominate the battlespace, 3 electronic warfare radio-electronic or cryptographic techniques, 4 psychological warfare in which information is used to change the minds of friends, neutrals, and foes, 5 hacker warfare in which computer systems are attacked, 6 economic information warfare blocking information or channeling it to pursue economic dominance, and 7 cyberwarfare a grab bag of futuristic scenarios. All these forms are weakly related. The concept of information warfare has as much analytic coherence as the concept, for instance, of an information worker. The several forms range in maturity from the historic that information technology influences but does not control to the fantastic which involves assumptions about societies and organizations that are not necessarily true. Although information systems are becoming important, it does not follow that attacks on information systems are therefore more worthwhile. On the contrary, as monolithic computer, communications, and media architectures give way to distributed systems, the returns from many forms of information warfare diminish. Information is not in and of itself a medium of warfare, except in certain narrow aspects such as electronic jamming.
- Information Science
- Computer Systems Management and Standards