Title: Information Warfare: Impact And Concerns

Subject: Information warfare as a fourth dimension of warfare.

Author(s): Barry R. Schneider (Faculty Advisor); James W. McLendon


Abstract: Information has always been a critical factor in war. Clausewitz said "imperfect knowledge of the situation...can bring military action to a standstill." Sun Tzu indicated information is inherent in warfighting. Information warfare embodies the impact of information on military operations.

The computer age gives us the capability to absorb, evaluate, use and transmit and exchange large volumes of information at high speeds to multiple recipients simultaneously. Multiple sources of data can be correlated faster than ever. Thus, the value of information to the warfighter has been magnified to a new level.

Churchill used information warfare when he used the ENIGMA machine to read German codes during World War II. He also used information warfare through his elaborate network emanating from the London Controlling Section, for its time a very complex intelligence and deception operation.

Lessons from DESERT STORM gave impetus to this fourth dimension of warfare. It was in this conflict that the computer came of age, and presented us with new challenges, both offensively and defensively, that must be faced in the future. Not only do we have opportunities to enhance our offensive capabilities many fold, but we must consider the additional vulnerabilities to our systems that come with this added capability. The widespread availability of information technology dictates that we carefully assess the vulnerabilities of the systems we employ.

Information Warfare adds a fourth dimension of warfare to those of air, land, and sea. In this new dimension, we must stay ahead.

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Last updated 1996 Dec 11
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