Strategic Information Warfare

Strategic Information Warfare: A New Face of War

Roger C. Molander
Andrew S. Riddile
Peter A. Wilson
Copyright Date: 1996
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 113
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/mr661osd
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  • Book Info
    Strategic Information Warfare
    Book Description:

    Future U.S. national security strategy is likely to be profoundly affected by the ongoing, rapid evolution of cyberspace--the global information infrastructure--and in particular by the growing dependence of the U.S. military and other national institutions and infrastructures on potentially vulnerable elements of the U.S. national information infrastructure. To examine these effects, the authors conducted a series of exercises employing a methodology known as the Day After ... in which participants are presented with an information warfare crisis scenario and asked to advise the president on possible responses. Participants included senior national security community members and representatives from security-related telecommunications and information-systems industries. The report synthesizes the exercise results and presents the instructions from the exercise materials in their entirety.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4846-2
    Subjects: Technology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. FIGURES
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. TABLES
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. SUMMARY
    (pp. xi-xxii)
  7. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  8. Chapter One WHAT IS “STRATEGIC INFORMATION WARFARE?”
    (pp. 1-4)

    What is “Information Warfare?”

    Ten years ago the answer to that question from a communications specialist, a code-breaker, or any other member of the U.S. military or intelligence communities might have been either “What?” or, with a little encouragement, “Oh, you mean command and control warfare on the battlefield and in the theater, jamming and that other electronic warfare stuff.” Within most of the U.S. defense community today, you would still get an answer not far different from the above command and control warfare (C2W) or electronic warfare (EW) answer.

    In many circles within the U.S. defense and broader international...

  9. Chapter Two METHODOLOGY
    (pp. 5-10)

    To carry out this study, RAND relied heavily on taking senior members of the U.S. national security community through an exercise-based framing and analysis of the strategic information warfare problem, examining a range of selected and diverse present and potential threats—and derivative policy and strategy implications—as discussed in detail below.

    Through this process, exercise participants assessed possible adverse implications for information technology and practice and addressed unresolved issues associated with capabilities and limitations of current and planned systems and operational concepts. Participants were thus put in a position where they could more constructively help rationalize, stimulate, and direct...

  10. Chapter Three THE CHANGING FACE OF WAR
    (pp. 11-14)

    This chapter steps back and pictorially and analytically takes a broad look at information warfare, quickly closing in on the particular dimension of strategic information warfare, explaining in greater depth why we concluded that it was both necessary and desirable to identify and analyze this new face of warfare.

    Figure 2 depicts a broad definition of information warfare, including those well-established aspects of IW that fall in the area of command and control warfare, especially in the context of the battlefield. As noted above, these aspects of IW are not new to U.S. military strategy, and the U.S. military establishment...

  11. Chapter Four DEFINING FEATURES OF STRATEGIC INFORMATION WARFARE
    (pp. 15-34)

    The exercises highlighted seven defining features of strategic information warfare that distinguish it from other forms of conflict and pose new challenges for the U.S. government, American society, and U.S. allies. These features, which constitute highly effective avenues along which to explore the strategic IW problem, warrant special attention:

    Low entry cost. The price to develop a high-performance IW capability is low and is available to a wide range of participants. Unlike previous high-performance weapons technologies, new potential information warfare weapons can be developed by skilled individuals or groups residing anywhere within the GII.

    Blurred traditional boundaries. Traditional boundaries between...

  12. Chapter Five ISSUES OF STRATEGIC INFORMATION WARFARE
    (pp. 35-40)

    Over the course of the exercises, a number of possible issues for near-term consideration and decisionmaking were described. Those addressed in detail below appear to represent both a sound and feasible starting point on this difficult subject. Others that were considered but judged not yet ready for high-level consideration included educational initiatives, development of policy on assistance to allies, the possible establishment of a cyberspace regulatory agency, and military organizational issues.

    The issue of whether and how the federal government should conduct a risk assessment of strategic information warfare threats contains within it the basic question of “Risk to what...

  13. Chapter Six CONCLUSIONS
    (pp. 41-42)

    The features and likely consequences of strategic information warfare point to a basic conclusion: Key national military strategy assumptions are obsolescent and inadequate for confronting the threat posed by strategic IW. Five major recommendations emerged from the exercises as starting points for addressing this shortcoming. They are discussed below.

    Participants widely agreed that an immediate first step is the assignment of a focal point for federal government leadership toward a coordinated U.S. response to the strategic IW threat. This focal point should be located in the Executive Office of the President, since only at this level can the necessary interagency...

  14. ADDITIONAL READING: THREATS AND VULNERABILITIES
    (pp. 43-44)
  15. Appendix A METHODOLOGY
    (pp. 45-46)
  16. Appendix B SUMMARY OF GROUP DELIBERATIONS FOR STEP THREE
    (pp. 47-52)
  17. Appendix C EXERCISE
    (pp. 53-90)