Information warfare: Wikis


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Military history

Information warfare is the use and management of information in pursuit of a competitive advantage over an opponent. Information warfare may involve collection of tactical information, assurance(s) that one's own information is valid, spreading of propaganda or disinformation to demoralize the enemy and the public, undermining the quality of opposing force information and denial of information-collection opportunities to opposing forces. Information warfare is closely linked to psychological warfare.



Information warfare can take many forms:

  • Television and radio transmission(s) can be jammed.
  • Television and radio transmission(s) can be hijacked for a disinformation campaign.
  • Logistics networks can be disabled.
  • Enemy communications networks can be disabled or spoofed.
  • Stock exchange transactions can be sabotaged, either with electronic intervention, leaking sensitive information or placing disinformation.

The US Air Force has had Information Warfare Squadrons since the 1980s. In fact, the official mission of the US Air Force is now: "To provide sovereign options for the defense of the United States and its global interests. To fly and fight in Air, Space, and Cyberspace", with the latter referring to its Information Warfare role.

As the Air Force often risks aircraft and aircrews to attack strategic enemy communications targets, remotely disabling such targets using software and other means can provide a safer alternative. In addition, disabling such networks electronically (instead of explosively) also allows them to be quickly re-enabled after the enemy territory is occupied. Similarly, counter information warfare units are employed to deny such capability to the enemy. The first application of these techniques were used against Iraqi communications networks in the first Gulf War.

Also during the 1991 Gulf War, Dutch hackers stole information about U.S. troop movements from U.S. Defense Department computers and tried to sell it to the Iraqis, who thought it was a hoax and turned it down. In January 1999, U.S. Air Intelligence computers were hit by a co-ordinated attack, part of which appeared to come from Israeli and French hacking. [1].

Information Operations

Information Operations (Info Ops) is an evolving discipline within the military. It has emerged from earlier concepts such as "Command & Control Warfare" and "Information Warfare" - mainly US-dominated, originating in the 1990s and considering lessons learned from the Gulf War(s), phenomena like the so-called "CNN Effect" and enormous advances in Information Technology.

Today, Germany leads a multinational effort on developing Info Ops as an integrating function / joint mission area within the military, called the "Multinational Information Operations Experiment" (MNIOE). The current 20 MNIOE partners define Info Ops as: "The advice to and co-ordination of military activities affecting information and information systems – including system behaviour and capabilities – in order to create desired effects". This definition - and its related context - differs from extant national views (e.g. those of the USA or the UK) and provides an advanced approach to multinational and interagency information activities in support of crisis management and effects-based operations.

Designing and implementing guidance for Coalition actions to affect information and information systems (information activities) is a challenge; it applies to the whole scope of civil-military efforts from pre-crisis situations to post-conflict reconstruction, and spans all levels of involvement.


Organized teams of non-military, even non-governmental information fighters become an increasingly common phenomenon. They can advance different political agendas, be involved in astroturfing or participate in election campaigns [1].

See also


  1. ^ Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, The Washington Post, September 19, 2005.



  • Winn Schwartau, ed, Information Warfare: Cyberterrorism: Protecting your personal security in the electronic age, Thunder's Mouth Press, 2nd ed, (1996) (ISBN 1560251328).
  • John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, In Athena's Camp, RAND (1997).
  • Dorothy Denning, Information Warfare and Security, Addison-Wesley (1998) (ISBN 0201433036).
  • James Adams, The Next World War: Computers are the Weapons and the Front line is Everywhere, Simon and Schuster (1998) (ISBN 0684834529).
  • Edward Waltz, Information Warfare Principles and Operations, Artech House, 1998, ISBN 0-89006-511-X
  • John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy, RAND (2001) (ISBN 0833030302).
  • Gregory J. Rattray, Strategic Warfare in Cyberspace, MIT Press (2001) (ISBN 0262182092).
  • Anthony H. Cordesman, Cyber-threats, Information Warfare, and Critical Infrastructure Protection: DEFENDING THE US HOMELAND (2002) (ISBN 0275974235).
  • Leigh Armistead, Information Operations: The Hard Reality of Soft Power, Joint Forces Staff College and the National Security Agency (2004) (ISBN 1574886991).
  • Thomas Rid, War and Media Operations: The US Military and the Press from Vietnam to Iraq], Routledge (2007) (ISBN 0415416590).
  • Daniel Ventre, Information Warfare, Wiley - ISTE (2009) (ISBN 9781848210943).


External links


Course Syllabi

Papers: Research and Theory

Papers: Other

News articles

United States Department of Defense IO Doctrine

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