The term Information Warfare (IW) is primarily an American concept involving the use and management of information technology 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 or manipulate 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.
The American focus tends to favour technology, and hence tends to extend into the realms of Electronic Warfare, Cyber Warfare, Information Assurance and Computer Network Operations / Attack / Defence.
Most of the rest of the world use the much broader term of "Information Operations" which, although making use of technology, focuses on the more human-related aspects of information use, including (amongst many others) social network analysis, decision analysis and the human aspects of Command and Control.
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 fly, fight and win...in air, space and cyberspace," with the latter referring to its Information Warfare role.
As the US 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 was 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.
- Black propaganda
- Communications security
- Command and control warfare
- Gatekeeper (politics)
- Industrial espionage
- Irregular Warfare
- Network-centric warfare
- Political Warfare
- Psychological warfare
- Public affairs (military)
- Chinese Information Operations and Warfare
- Cyberwarfare in Russia
- Taliban propaganda
- Enemy Image, a documentary about The Pentagon's approach to news coverage of war
- Information Operations Roadmap
- Pentagon military analyst program
- Special Activities Division
- 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).
- Ishmael Jones, The Human Factor: Inside the CIA's Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture, Encounter Books, New York (2010) (ISBN 978-1594032233). Information/intelligence warfare.
- 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).
- Daniel Ventre, Cyberwar and Information Warfare, Wiley - ISTE (2011).
- Science at War: Information Warfare, The History Channel (1998).
- Politically Motivated Computer Crime
- Cyberspace and Information Operations Study Center, Air University, U.S. Air Force.
- IWS - The Information Warfare Site
- Information Warfare Monitor - Tracking Cyberpower (University of Toronto, Canada/Munk Centre)
- Twitter: InfowarMonitor
- Information Warfare, I-War, IW, C4I, Cyberwar
- Federation of American Scientists - IW Resources
- Association of Old Crows http://www.crows.org The Electronic Warfare and Information Operations Association.
- C4I.org - Computer Security & Intelligence
- Information Warfare, Information Operations and Electronic Attack Capabilities Air Power Australia.
- Committee on Policy Consequences and Legal/Ethical Implications of Offensive Information Warfare, The National Academies.
- Program on Information and Warfare, Global Information Society Project, World Policy Institute.
- Information Warriors Information Warriors is web forum dedicated to the discussion of Navy Information Warfare.
- Mastermind Corporation Information Warfare Tactics Analysis
- COSC 511 Information Warfare: Terrorism, Crime, and National Security @ Department of Computer Science, Georgetown University (1997–2002) (Dorothy Denning).
- Information Warfare, Cyberterrorism, and Hacktivism from Cybercrime, Cyberterrorism and Digital Law Enforcement, New York Law School.
Papers: Research and Theory
- Col Andrew Borden, USAF (Ret.), What is Information Warfare? Aerospace Power Chronicles (1999).
- Dr Carlo Kopp, A Fundamental Paradigm of Infowar (February, 2000).
- Research & Theory Links, Cyberspace and Information Operations Study Center, Air War College, Air University, U.S. Air Force.
- Army, Air Force seek to go on offensive in cyber war, GovExec.com (June 13, 2007).
- NATO says urgent need to tackle cyber attack, Reuters (June 14, 2007).
- America prepares for 'cyber war' with China, Telegraph.uk.co (June 15, 2007).
- NATO, US gear up for cyberpunk warfare, The Register (June 15, 2007).
United States Department of Defense IO Doctrine
- Information Operations Roadmap (DOD 2003)
- Information Operations (JP 3-13 2006)
- Operations Security (JP 3-13.3)
- Military Deception (JP 3-13.4)
- Joint Doctrine for PSYOPS (JP 3-53 2003)
- Joint Doctrine for Public Affairs (JP 3-61 2005)
- Destabilizing Terrorist Networks: Disrupting and Manipulating Information Flows in the Global War on Terrorism, Yale Information Society Project Conference Paper (2005).
- Seeking Symmetry in Fourth Generation Warfare: Information Operations in the War of Ideas, Presentation (PDF slides) to the Bantle - Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism (INSCT) Symposium, Syracuse University (2006).
- K. A. Taipale, Seeking Symmetry on the Information Front: Confronting Global Jihad on the Internet, 16 National Strategy F. Rev. 14 (Summer 2007).
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