Information as a Tool of Statecraft
NATIONAL WAR COLL WASHINGTON DC
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Few persons today would disagree that the world is in the midst of a far-reaching information-based revolution. As a result of this revolution, some practitioners of statecraft would assert that information is no longer the little brother to defense or diplomacy, but now rivals or even supplants them as an effective element of national power. Others contend that it is unclear whether the rapid advances in information technology herald new opportunities for strategists. With the debate still at this basic level, it is obvious that makers of modern strategy are far from translating the powers of the Internet into national power as did 19th century Prussian statesman Helmuth von Moltke, who exploited the power of railroads to realize the power of the industrial revolution. Clearly, todays national strategists need to continue analyzing the information revolution and the role it plays in national security. A helpful way to decipher the relevance of information as a tool of statecraft is to evaluate it according to its ability to influence other states or non-state actors NSA in a manner which helps to achieve U.S. national security goals. To that end, this paper evaluates information as an element of national power according to its ability, through persuasion, cooperation, or coercion, to assist in achieving U.S. national policy objectives. The results of the examination are revealing. One finds that information, as an element of state power, has applications in all three areas. This finding challenges constricted traditional thinking that considers information suitable only as a persuasive tool of statecraft.
- Information Science
- Government and Political Science