There is a very extensive and broad discussion associated with the concept of Information Warfare and is difficult to distinguish true facts from pure speculation. However there is enough evidence to point to the reality of a new capability. Trying to define Information Warfare in a definitive way would lead to premature military policies as to what is and what is not Information Warfare. However, it is equally important to put forth some definitions that will help in bounding the problem and help in reviewing our traditional military warfare activities.
The various terms that are used in this area, Info-Doctrine, Cyberwar, Netwar and others terms indicate that it is still early in the debate. As yet nobody has put forth a set of definitive and complete tenets of Information Warfare. There are organizational effort to structure what are seen as Information Warfare activities. This permits a certain amount of classification work as to the threats, capabilities and objectives of Information Warfare. It is also evident, as presented earlier, that the emerging synergistic effects of Information Warfare require a more sophisticated conceptual framework so as to help integrate various the various traditional but separate capabilities such as EW, Intelligence collection, Target and Damage Assessment, IT security etc. The roles and mission of those capabilities are well known and need not be highlighted here. The intent here is to refine the understanding of Information Warfare by putting forth a conceptual framework and permits the development an action plan. Specifically towards the development of a military Information Warfare capability adapted to the requirements of an information based society.
The guiding Vision for Information Warfare can be simply stated: Information Superiority through the availability and use of the right information, at the right place, at the right time, to all decision makers, while denying that information to the enemy. Information superiority is achieved through the development of Core Capabilities such as Knowledge Management, Joint Surveillance, Information Warfare and Information Technology. Information Warfare and Knowledge Management are new areas.
There are several definitions of Information Warfare that are being put forward, mostly by US Military Organizations and Services. Whereas the Navy and Air force have Information Warfare capabilities, the Army is proposing Information Operations as being the mainstay of their conceptual approach. To be noted is that Russian Military Doctrine has always included the notion of Information Weapons; a fusion of advanced command and control, communications , intelligence systems, psychological and electronic warfare.
Information Warfare need to be seen as a cybernetic cycle. Observation, Analysis, Options Selection Decision Making, and Execution. This process is articulated in an Information Warfare Cycle as illustrated in figure 5.
Figure 5 The Information Warfare Cycle
Information Warfare concerns itself with the control and manipulation of information and information flows. Specifically with the acquisition, process, storage, distribution and analysis of data and information. At a conceptual level, IW consists of all efforts to control, exploit, or deny an adversary's capability to collect, process, store, display, and distribute information, while at the same time preventing the enemy from doing the same. The intent is to control, manipulate, deny information, influence decisions, and degrade or ultimately destroy adversary systems while guarding friendly systems against such action.
This definition is quite broad but in many respects sufficient to show what Information Warfare as a concept authorize and legitimize new capabilities, as well as integrate the well established and understood arsenal of environmental capabilities (Joint, Army, Navy, Air Force) as well as concerned Governmental agencies.
As indicated earlier, it is in the new realm of networked systems that this definition finds its new applicability. To achieve information superiority in a networked information system prior to or in support of the traditional war fighting activities, offers the government and the military a whole new range of options never seen before:
To support these objectives, new capabilities and skills are required. These expectations originate from the integration of the previously segregated activities such as Intelligence, Security, Joint and Combined Operations, Electronic Warfare, Psychological (Heart and Minds) type of Operations, supported by global and inter-operable Command and Control Information Systems.
We see that Information Warfare activities is not strictly done only by the military, it is an activity that need to be shouldered by a number of governmental agencies. No single service, agency or department is capable of doing all Information Warfare activities. It can only be achieved if the government brings all of its information production and exploitation assets to bear on a situation.
If Information Warfare is not just a military responsibility then there needs to a specific focal point for military Information Warfare activities. This area is called Command and Control Warfare. Without a doubt, however, the military bears the brunt for ensuring that IW activities are done such as peacekeeping and humanitarian aid. These are cases of concerted and coordinated efforts between Government agencies, NGO, and the military. But as always, in final analysis, it is the military that deploys or will be called to develop Information Warfare assets.
This proposes that in purely military terms, Command and Control Warfare capabilities will establish a large proportion of a government Information Warfare capability. Within military operations Joint Command and Control Warfare is the only appropriate avenue for Information Warfare activities directed against other Command and Control systems and requires that Joint Command and Control Information Systems become the military supporting infrastructure for conducting Information Warfare operations. Unfortunately this also begs the question if it appropriate for the military to support Information Warfare operations against other elements of a society’s information infrastructure in periods that are not characterized by open warfare.
Command and Control Warfare focuses on trying to maintain control over enemy military Command and Control Information Systems assets. The problem is that Command and Control Warfare in itself lacks completeness since it does not integrate the broader strategic cultural, social, economic and political constraints into relevant action in support to the crisis management activities that normally occur during the earlier phases of conflict as illustrated in figure 6.
Figure 6 Spectrum of Military Activities
The US concept of Operation Other Than War (OOTW) is also address the fact that Information Warfare activities need to happen earlier in the spectrum of conflict activities than the ones purely associated with Command and Control Warfare activities. This therefore requires that the military and other agencies coordinate and cooperate in ways that have not been examined in the past. In Canada this is less of a problem because of our limited resources have always accentuated cooperation and coordination between Other Government Departments (OGD).
The recent development of a Canadian Maritime Network (CanMarNet) is an example of a interdepartmental information network that supports the exchange of maritime information between DND, the Department of Fisheries, the Coast Guard, and the RCMP. This system proved its value in the recent fishery conflict with Spain. And one can argue quite successfully that this conflict was a good example of Information Warfare. In this situation the military provided the surveillance, monitoring and communication infrastructure and the fisheries department acted in a lead capacity. These type of interdepartmental network will evolve and grow rapidly over the next few years. A governmental network will be able to mobilize and coordinate action throughout departments. Eventually, these networks will becomes elements of a larger government information infrastructure.
At present Information Warfare in Canada is discussed more active in the private and civilian sector more than in the military. This because of US computer security organizations such as the National Computer Security Association (NCSA) that predict that an Information War will be waged against the most vulnerable elements and infrastructure components of a nation. And these are mostly civilian information infrastructure components. This is an easy target because an information intensive nation is very vulnerable to Information Warfare. Deliberate and planned computer sabotage, the seeding of viruses, global disinformation, and subversive control of a network could cripple the economy, wipe out banks savings, shut down phone systems, subvert trust and belief in democratic institutions and disrupt essential services and organizations. Through data manipulation, theft, system sabotage and other means, entire economies and institutions may be rendered unworkable. These kinds of scenarios raise serious questions about who should have the capability to defend national interests. But it also blurs the distinction between military and civilian Information Warfare activities, mandates and responsibilities.
With the present military trend to acquire more and more commercial software and hardware products, and the growing need for system interoperability, for better or worse, the civilian information infrastructure, the governmental information infrastructure, and the military information infrastructure are going to amalgamate. This situation causes military infrastructure to be increasingly exposed. Furthermore these infrastructures are structurally weak and assailable because they are built using products that meet commercials needs first and not for military mission critical operations requirements.
Interoperability tends to stress standardization but too much computer system standardization is a liability and a destabilizing factor. Whole systems can become outdated or out performed by the creation of a new component. They can become incapacitated quickly, incapable of recovering from a single system wide attack on a single but common element to all components of the network such as a unique operating system or a unique communication protocol. A certain amount of controlled evolution through diversity confers to the network a certain amount of robustness and vitality.
Displacement in wealth producing activities have always from the less efficient sectors of activity towards efficient ones. As seen in the development of western society the creation of wealth has passed from agricultural sector, to industrialization sector, and is now centrally located in the information based activities. Each new structure of wealth creation subsumes previous or older ones. They do not totally replace them but incorporate them and make them more efficient. There is still an agricultural sector but it has gone through mechanization then industrialization and now digitization. More is produced with less people, resources and investment because the processes are so much more efficient. As societies fight the same way they create wealth then there will be also a displacement of focus of military capabilities. New way of warfigthing will never totally replace older capabilities but they will integrate them into more efficient processes as well as displace the focus of military activities towards newer and more effective configuration of technology and organizational structure.
Fighting conventional weapon systems requires well established military capabilities that rely on traditional hierarchical structure but faced with new vulnerabilities, a newer form of command structures with a more effective information infrastructure is required. It is within this newer command structure that the older military capabilities will be subsumed by the more effective command decision making processes. In this information age, we must know how to fight information wars as well as maintain our ability to fight the conventional wars.
A conceptual framework must serve several purposes. It must be able to structure a series of new conceptual component by showing the causal relationships that exist between them. It must also be able to integrate older concepts into this explanatory scheme. This amalgam of old and new will help show what new capabilities and opportunities.
To fully analyze what Information Warfare bring to strategic analysis several new matrixes will be developed. The first one will be a Target Matrix. This will help in the classification problem of what is are different classes of target that Information Warfare focuses on. This second element of our conceptual framework is the Weapon Matrix. It will show the new arsenal that needed to wage a Information Warfare. Naturally most the discussion is about the potential of such “weapons” but as the capabilities exist today there is need to explore how they would be used during a conflict.
In order to build the most complete and congruent IW analytical framework possible, one that can apply in all situations using the Weapon and Target Matrix, a third one will be generated an Information Warfare Strategy and Planning Matrix based on possible targets and types of weapon needs to be developed. The strategic objective will determine both the type of target and the type of weapon. This matrix should be used as part of the strategic planning process. Along one axis Target Analysis will reveal the potential classes of targets. Along the second axis we can list the types of weapons that could be perpetrated against these targets. The resulting table offers insight as to the outcome of using a specific type of weapon on a specific target.
The following Target Matrix is developed focused specifically on the decision making and its underlying support. If adversary decision making processes are paralyzed or subverted then the enemy system is under our control. This somewhat radical keeping in mind that several centuries of history have distilled principles of war but this approach is suitable to examine potential Information Warfare targets. There are presently other approaches that have their grounding in the capabilities themselves ( Deception, EW, OPSEC, Psy Ops, Physical Destruction) but these are somewhat “bottom up” approaches. This framework is more abstract but somewhat more powerful than other proposals.
The aim is to attack or disable the principal or major decision makers via their information infrastructure. As seen in the earlier discussion on control , attacking the decision making mechanisms will directly affect the control of the system. The main targets classification method is around the binary relationship between goals and decision makers. Whatever the size of the adversary there is a fundamental relationship between the numbers of decision makers and the goals they seek to accomplish. There are three main categories: Single decision makers with single a single goal, multiple decision makers that share the same goal, and finally multiple decision makers with multiple goals (or not sharing the same one).
Any information systems can now be investigate in terms of a socio-technical structure. At present, the best way to go about it is to determine the decision nodes of the system. The could be computer processes or users. By attacking these points the entire decision cycle as well the decision types ( good or bad) and quality (timely, relevant, accurate) can be affected. It is necessary to discuss only categories of targets since this discussion is focused on the analytical framework.
This is the monolithic organization. Mostly individuals or a very autocratic organization but could extend this class of targets to single central computational process (mainframe). Basically what we have here is a unique decision making process with a unique goal. It is a very focused target with a well bounded domain. All control functions are subject to this unique decision maker.
For example if we focus on attacking individuals we could either use their dependence on their system against them or focus the attack on their data shadow. Extensive reporting of privacy issues and problems have helped understand the problem. One could see how the information used in point of sale for purpose of restocking can be used to determine individual consumption habits that might interest insurance agencies for the determination of incidence of heart attacks and rate setting. Also in a rigid command and control organization focusing on the leaders severs the decision making capability from the rest of the organization making it somewhat headless. In the case of an unique computational process the whole system is brought down or subverted. This type of target is seen as relatively easy to attack and quite vulnerable. Modeling this class of targets is seen as quite feasible and of low difficulty.
The next type of target is an control structure in which there are there are several points of control. They could be either automated or human and are distributed and could be dispersed over a geography but having the characteristic that all the decision making agents are focused on achieving a unique goal. This organizational structure is more complex but its dynamics are know and understood. Some archetype systems could be Command and Control Information Systems limited commercial and private business networks, .
This is the area of inter-organizational networks and governmental information infrastructure such as Saber and Wall Mart, America On Line, DREnet, etc. These systems are the pillars of a nation, its economy, and government services.
These structures have a major portion of their functionality that rely on sophisticated automated processes. Furthermore they are increasingly replacing human decision makers. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), Financial Institution Message Authentication (FIMAS) and Just In Time logistic support are networks in which decision makers are primarily econometric models (as discussed in the Knowledge Management section). The shift from human to automated computer based decision makers is the trend in knowledge intensive organizations such as the military and specifically in command and control systems. Modeling these types of system are difficult and are principally based on stochastic/probabilistic, causal models, and time series extrapolation methods.
In this class of targets we can group transnational and international organizations such as NATO, the United Nations, the European Union (EU), North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) etc. Although these are emerging global structures, at the rate of network growth, these organizations will come to rely extensively on global information networks by the turn of the century. At this level it is possible that Information Warfare will take on the flavor of economic war. Continentalization of Europe, North America and the Pacific Rim nations postulates that tensions between and within this triumvirate will be forthcoming. It would be based on market capture and dwindling natural resources. In these ecological-like structures multiple decision makers are motivated according to specific but different agendas. Some of these objectives when taken as a whole might present several main poles of attractions. Polarization between these poles if they differ then conflict overtakes cooperation.
Archetype Reason for Modeling Structure targeting Complexit Disruption of y Single DM/ Monolithic Central Low Single Goal Hierarchy control (linear) Multiple Organizatio Economy of medium DM/ ns scale (statisti Single Goal Economy of cal) force Multiple National/ Economy of high DM/ Transnation scope (chaotic) Multiple al Synergy Goals Table 1 Target Analysis Matrix
There has been a lot written recently on what would an Information Warfare look like. Scenarios focusing on Hacker Wars, Electronic Warfare, Information Blockades etc. have been developed. But here again these types of approaches are bottom up analysis that take their origin in specific capabilities. There has not been a systematic approach to an Information Warfare weapon taxonomy. At present time there are three main classes of weapons which could be used to wage Information Warfare. The classification is based on the effects of the weapons and not on the weapons themselves. The effects of these Information Warfare Weapons can be Physical, Syntactical, or Semantic. The use of a physical weapon will result in the permanent destruction of physical components and denial of service. A Syntactical weapon will focus on attacking the operating logic of the system and introduce delays or unpredictable behaviors. A Semantical weapon will focus its effects on destroying the trust and truth maintenance components of the system.
As a general observation, the number of network attacks has increased tremendously over the last few years. This because it is not solely a technical problem. Tools of the hacking and cracking trade such as Satan, stealth and polymorphic virus builders are spurred on by the rapid spread of all kinds of public and private networks. Network analyzers and virus builder kits are readily available and at no costs. Knowledge and information about these tools and capabilities flows quite freely. So by leveraging both the power of these software tools and the weakness of a network, either surgical precision or massive disruption can be achieved on the overall decision making process of an organization.
Information Warfare weapon technology is not at present time a limiting factor but rather the present state of doctrinal, legal organizational knowledge about these issues. Couching the weapon capability in terms of Defensive versus Offensive Information Warfare is a discussion as to the legitimacy of Information Warfare activity. The US has approached this dilemma by separating Information Warfare into two distinct parts; Offensive Information Warfare (OIW) and Defensive Information Warfare (DIW).
The US military is focusing on developing a defensive capability only. This is seen as acceptable and a legitimate Information Warfare activity. But just doing DIW does not negate the necessity to probe and act in an aggressive way. These active capabilities are required in order to know to what extent are the vulnerabilities within their own systems. And to take these actions requires an active capability. An OIW capabilities. So talks about Defensive Information warfare without combining it with Offensive Information Warfare is missing out on the synergy that is required to become truly innovative in Information Warfare.
A Vulnerability Analysis capability is one of the means that ensure that an Information System has been efficiently and securely configured. Several essential activities must take place to perform Vulnerability Analysis such as probing to size the network and locate all its elements, determine access points, install agents and covert processes, explore, monitor and exploit. These are all “active” measures. For simulation and wargaming, Defensive Information Warfare needs an Offensive Information Warfare capability (Red cell) to achieve a relatively safe risk management stance. Turning the capabilities inward or outward, and calling them different things is a false separation as they are two sides of the same coin. But because of the sensitivities involved a Defensive Information Warfare stance is politically and legally a more acceptable position than Offensive Information Warfare. In order to develop a complete conceptual framework we must look at Information Warfare as a continuum going from a Defensive stance to an Offensive stance. As the DIW is a question of technical security and more a reaction to OIW, I will primarily focus on Offensive Information Warfare.
This type of effect is achieved through weapon found in the realm of the traditional "hard steel on target". The physical destruction of any information structure offers complete denial of services. There are a number of capabilities that are available to do this and they comprises all the traditional weapon systems such as missiles, bombs, sabotage etc. Targeting for destruction a network is easy. A node and net evaluation must be done so as to cripple effectively the network. And this type of analysis applies to other supporting networks such as electrical and telephone grids etc.
Also there is more and more research being done on Directed Energy Weapons. They are categorized under the heading of Radio Frequency weapons. They are devices which destroy by radiating electromagnetic energy in the (RF) spectrum with wavelength's greater than 1 mm (frequency less than 3000 GHz). Suffice it to say that a pulse could have handicapped the operations at the World Trade Center more than the bomb did. These weapons are seen as a very important development because they enable non-lethal use of force. Technology demonstrators should be available within the next several years.
There is also the question that a system can be destroyed from the inside using malicious code, a virus. Virus can change setting that can permanently damage certain hardware components. But generally virus will destroy or corrupts data files and executable programs. As the denial of service would only be temporary. Recovery would be dependent on the availability of having planned disaster procedures such as having available CERT teams, mirrored and redundant systems using different hardware and software systems, or off site/off line data storage. So virus fall mainly within the next class of Information Warfare class of effects
There new Information Warfare weapons have specifically emerge for the domain of information systems and networks. New viruses are being created an incredible rate as well as their counter- measures - anti viral software. Available now on the market are meta programming environments that "incubate" viruses in accordance with the desires of the attacker. The variety and combinations are daunting; Cruise viruses are capable of destroying specific data sets. Stealth virus conceal themselves from detectors and monitors. Polymorphic virus encrypt themselves using variable keys. There are also new Protected Mode viruses as well as the standard common file infector and boot sector viruses. This class of weapons aims to control or disable the operating logic of the targeted networks and systems. Using the operating systems software as well as the different utilities, the virus can make the system to act upon data in a different way or even simply waste cycles.
Virus need to be introduced into an information system either through infected discs or through a network connection. It is also to be noted that in most instance there is a separation between the data and the process that manipulates the data. But with the new Object Oriented Development (OOD) approach, data and process are packaged together. OOD supports modularity in system building and reuse of components. In many respects OOD is an ideal opportunity for planting and disseminating Trojan horses. All these issues are hotly debated and discussed. Technically the capability exist and he question for the military is what to do with such as capacity. Incidences of viral infection have risen but their spreading are less extensive due to the increased use of anti-viral software. Incidents of system break-in have also risen in the last year. Cracker toolkits are so sophisticated that any weakness in a network will be found out quickly. New types of sophisticated network analyzers have several layers of heuristics built in. Cracking systems now has more to do with the sophistication of some of the Knowbots, tools and poor system security configuration (due to general lack of knowledge on the part of system administrators) than with the ingenuity of the perpetrators. Anomalies in systems behavior are normally not recorded if they occur in a purely random pattern. Virus that were meant to stay under “deep cover” could go undetected. For example some monitoring software application can check the clock, disable the modem speaker, place a call, transmit data and disconnect when done. There is a lot of fear that Internet software takes information off the user’s disk and passes it over the network. Users are somewhat used to a bit of erratic behavior on the part of their system and would this would permit viruses to remain hidden for a long time if they act in an non disturbing way.
There is a discussion on what I call the Jeckel and Hyde virus that has its origin during the period in which memory was sparse and program had very little space in which to be stored. A program could be written so that it would run in a standard way but by bit shifting the code it could be run as a totally different program. The problem here is that this type of virus construction would be almost impossible to recognize as it is valid software in its first mode. Furthermore, virus that can make use of “cover channels and cover timing ”3 capabilities to communicate would render even some aspect of security protection measures completely ineffective.
System vulnerabilities increasingly are being actively sought after and taken advantage of when found. Here lies one of the core doctrinal axiom of Information Warfare. Control the enemy's network and you control his decision making processes and his awareness and understanding of events. here is no requirement to destroy his systems or his data if this system is being controlled you. The use of Virus as Information Warfare weapon specifically targets the structural component of the information infrastructure i.e. the operating logic of the system.
The objective of this class of weapon is to affect and exploit the trust users have in the information system and the network, as well as affect their interpretation of the information it contains. Semantic Effects focus on manipulating modifying and destroying, the mental models, the awareness and representations that are developed, and constructed through the use of an information system. Whether it be a civilian organizational information system or a military command and control system. This is quite a challenge but this is the new dimensions of what use to be Psychological Operation, and Deception. These class of Information Warfare “weapons” alter the decision makers representation of what the information system portrays as the "real" world.
These weapons seek to affect not the information system itself but the behavior of the users and influence their decisions. The best way to think about these weapons are as “Memes” or virus of the minds that can be created via the information systems. Spoofing other peoples identity, selective spamming, broadcasting specific arguments and discourses, misinformation, slogans, and information overload can influence decision makers to a point where they misinterpret what is happening. Humans have been employing this strategy for centuries in all but the case of networked systems this has taken a new dimension . Trying to recreate a close representation of what exactly is happening in the real world is the most difficult part of conflict management and warfare. However, this type of consideration will become more and more central to the Information Warfare debate as Social User Interfaces (SUI) start populating the systems. Interaction with Knowbots and Agents and other interface metaphors that might be subverted to show only specific types of data and information.
In the not so far future, multimedia information system environments will be the main information management tool. With this (still to be fully appreciated) context now needs to take into account the Freytag triangle4 of information attributes that show difficulty and requirement for more information rise and fall trough the specific phases of a crisis (exposition, inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action and dénouement). As a consequence will require the user to rely even more on automated processes to search, retrieve, collate, and present information during the crucial information intensive phase of the crisis. The danger (or opportunity) is that the “dramatic orchestration” of what we believe as objective information is always grounded in a specific point of view and therefore open to manipulation.
Information always reflects something about its source and its purpose. Already in the inter-networked web where we can have both real-time and encyclopedic intelligence information fused from organic and non-organic sources computer mediated activities will enable the users to increase their active participation from the strict pragmatic response that come from the reading of a descriptive text narrative to a full emotional participation to a dramatic enactment of an event. This will change substantially the nature of operational activity as the immediacy and emotional closeness of the event circumvents much of the truth verification, the “sanity checks” processes that are usually constrained by longer decision cycles. The consequences of this “immediacy” of multimedia computer mediated interactions is a subject of research that is still in its infancy. The combination of highly emotionally charged pictures, sound, coupled to the personal engagement of the decision makers will open the avenue to vulnerabilities that come from intentional orchestration of preplanned discourse and events. Using morphed and altered images inserted during a live broadcast adversaries can use the response of such an orchestration to control rapidly and dramatically national decision making processes.
Focus of Primary Effect Class of Modeling the attack weapons Complexit y Physical Physical denial of hard steel low service (linear) Syntacti Structural operating logic virus, medium cal obtrusion and agents, (statisti corruption filters. cal) Semantic Behavioral affecting users Memes, high system trust and dramatic (chaotic) belief systems orchestrat ion Table 2 Information Warfare Weapon Matrix
By placing the intended targets and the levels of effects in a table we create the final analysis matrix. The Information Warfare Strategic Analysis Matrix helps investigate meta- strategic issues that are derived from the planning and decision making process. The analysis centers around target selection, weapon selection and the analysis of the outcomes of such choices.
Information Warfare gives us a series of possible courses of actions, some of which are already well known and many new areas for which there are no capabilities yet. This final analysis matrix incorporates both past military capabilities and highlights areas in which Information Warfare activities demands the development of new offensive and defensive capabilities. It also drive us to seek a better understanding of what is truly Information Warfare.
In reviewing the IWSM we can deduce that the usage of well know capabilities such as hard steel has predictable outcomes. For example, if we wanted to physically destroy an individual's system, one could plant a virus that would destroy the data or some of the components making the system and the data unusable, blow up the system with a bomb, or even steal the system. Either way the results are the same. The effect is limited and controllable: denial of service. But this does not necessarily remove or eliminate the conflict. The intentionally is still there. Chances are that the conflict will find another outlet or tool set and continue anew. But this type of action has the advantage of imposing control and order so that other mechanism of conflict resolution such as political or governmental can be put in place to resolve or diffuse the conflict.
However the matrix point out that there are regions of unpredictable effects with unknown consequence in the management of the conflict. Further analysis is required in these areas, in order to develop an understanding, a capability and a defense. It is certain that Information Warfare activities will move toward these areas because they represent opportunities for high payoffs. They represent areas in which Information Superiority can be achieved without having recourse to the traditional military warfigting infrastructure. For very little costs a small organization can wage a pure information war without having to build an Army, Navy or Air Force. And it is specifically in these areas that our military must seek new understanding, capabilities and skills in order to recognize the treat and to defend ourselves against it.
In looking at the matrix we see that we already have capabilities to operate in some areas. Mostly these are areas in which any actions will produce predictable outcomes. These controllable outcomes can be generated by a host of actions. This includes the some elements of C2W such as EW and Physical Destruction. These effects are obtained through the usage of physical and syntactic class of weapon on single goal/single decision maker and single goal/multiple decision maker types of organizations.
For the military this encompass the traditional warfare area. It is possible to destroy physically all the information nodes of an dispersed organization but it is quite difficult. Suffice it to point out that such an objective could be achieved by a coordinated series of actions that destroy some of the more important elements of an information system this would achieve the same intended result. However, the propagation of a network virus may be much simpler and will have a much more damaging effect. In some circumstance simply delaying some computational processes may me sufficient to achieve the same goal. In a Just- In-Time army logistic system any delay caused by a purposefully planted syntactical level weapon will damage the effectiveness of any operation without the victim organization realizing it has being successfully defeated even before a physical engagement.
However, at present the use of Information Warfare weapons in other areas of the matrix will result in some unpredictable effects. In some cases in order to achieve information superiority, the creation of "ruptures" in the adversary's command and control systems as well as in the social, economic, and civil information infrastructure of the a country might be necessary. In well bounded and closed systems such as command and control information systems the effects of a syntactical weapon will have absolutely no collateral damage. But attacking some other systems will have as consequence a series of effects that will propagate through several other networks and have negative consequences on the final objective. Akin to shooting oneself in the foot.
SDM/SG MDM/SD MDM/MG (Individual) (Organizational (Alliances)) ) Hard steel easy harder difficult predictable predictable predictable Software harder difficult very hard Agents predictable unpredictable unpredictable Memes and difficult very hard very hard or Dramatic predictable unpredictable very easy Orchestrati unpredictable on Table 3 Information Warfare Strategic Analysis Matrix
Attacking an economic system will affect all economic system because they are all linked to one another in a global market place infrastructure. The reason for this comes from our understanding of nonlinear systems. Chaotic behavior in a system can explain some of these effects. Under certain initial conditions, some of the parameters can be made to create oscillation in the network, creating positive feedback in the control mechanisms. This results in catastrophic system behavior. This chaotic behavior is dependent on the linkages or "coupling" between the elements in the networks as well as in the linking relationship between the networks themselves. The system that will be targeted need to be investigated and the linkages need to be highlighted as to their sensitivity to propagate negative effects of Semantic Weapons. Systems and networks can either be loosely or tightly coupled.
Loosely coupled systems have a fair amount of buffering between the various common variables that are part of the different processes and elements. This buffering between systems permit more stable behavior overall . This stability is due to several underlying factors. Most of which are part of the information systems architecture involved. This applies to all three level of structures at the physical, syntactic and semantic level of the type of target structure. For example at the physical level of the Internet the architecture model allows for a fair number of failures and corruption and still remain survivable overall. But at the semantic level of the more active and radical Usernet groups the coupling is quite tight.
Information Systems that support distributed decision makers, must ensure a reasonable number of checks and balances and help maintain system stability. Disruption and full control of those systems is feasible but difficult because of the loosely coupled decision making processes. However as we automate and move up towards knowledge enabled organization then more and more computational processes will take over some of burden for routine decision making. This changes the interactions between organization from being loosely coupled to closely coupled.
In closely coupled systems, then the prevailing conditions in one system can be amplified through the network to other systems. This can create the chaotic "butterfly effect" small local changes cause large effect because of positive nature of feedback and amplification in the network. Information systems, inter- networked organization, and even global networks, in times of crisis behave as tightly coupled systems. Positive feedback mechanisms will create severe ruptures in the normal order of system behavior, as seen in some of the stock market or engineering disasters 5.
Command and control information systems and their supporting networks are also closely coupled networks. Sensor to shooter coupling with distributed and network decision making will be subject to chaotic behavior especially if Rules of Engagement permit third party or remote firing. Recent failures of command and control systems in blue on blue engagements show how tightly coupled systems can fail. Taking advantages (control) of these closely coupling systems will be one of the challenge that Information Warfare presents to a modern military organization.
Waging Information Warfare using syntactic or semantic weapons will be particularly effective strategy if the target is a closely coupled network. Unfortunately the disruption will be such that the side effects could have a tremendous backlash within our own infrastructure. Inevitably, the effects will be transmitted to all participants in the network with unpredictable side effects and unforeseen disruptions. At present IW weapons do not have the capacity to limit such types of side effects, but it is this fact will not be lost on organizations that advocate terrorism as modus operande. These are well suited terrorist weapons. The development of Information Warfare defensive measures are essential as they will be necessary as part of a civil defense plan.
In developing this conceptual framework, several other concepts need to be touched upon. As Information Warfare is a new hypothesis of how traditional military activities position themselves in relation to one another. Our understanding of other concepts need to be reviewed and analyzed anew in context of this new representation of warfare. They are all elements of military capabilities such as the shifting role and loss of relative importance of the platforms in relation to the command and control network, the problem of control and decision making in a distributed organization, and the importance of developing a common shared representation of the conflict and the battlespace. These are all at present research domains but will become quickly central issues in the development of Information Warfare capabilities.
There will be a fundamental shift in the relative importance of the role traditional platforms will have in the future. At present military organizations have a small number of large platforms all having a suitable mix of organic communication suites, dedicated and specific sensors slaved to a small number of unique weapons systems. Each have a command and control system but they are not well integrated as a whole except through limited bandwidth communication systems. In the future the emphasis will be to have a large numbers of much smaller platforms semi specialized around either sensors or weapons with a smaller command and control systems but all platform are very well integrated together through a unique and global command network.
The most important capability of this command network will be the ability to fuse organic and non-organic sensor information. No single platform will become the high value unit of the battleground. The allocation of targets to sensors to weapons will be done based on a dynamic assessment of critical priorities. Threat assessment and weapon assignment will no longer be at the platform level but at the force level. In this respect individual platforms will become secondary to the command and control infrastructure that will act as a super weapon/sensor system. Resource will shift from building the faster bullet to the more powerful algorithm.
The growth of military command and control information networks will transform our idea of control. Traditionally, our military organizations have a rigid and hierarchical structure of decision making processes. The span of control should be congruent the scope and importance of the problem at hand problems. This also increases the confusion between what is tactical and strategic. A soldier in a foxhole is preoccupied with winning his battle, not the whole war, as there are too many elements outside his control but a decision at his level will in a way affect the course of the war. Was it a tactical situation or a strategic situation?
Our control exemplar is still based on the single decision maker cybernetic model of control faced with the problem of how to optimize a single goal under constraints of limited resources and time. This model served as a template for weapon systems design and has been adopted for most planning processes but it is of limited value when faced with the reality of several decision makers meshed in together through the use of command and control information system. The problem of predetermining the appropriate level of control to the right level becomes very difficult. If decision makers try to optimize the outcome at their level the result is a global sub-optimization. They win the battles but lose the war. This is the situation we face now. Because of the structure of military organization plays against the natural diffusion of control that comes from being a participant in a network. Network require different control structures than hierarchies.
One approach to this problem to try to enhance all the decision makers understanding of all the constraints faced by the group. If all the decision makers share the same common understanding of the battlefield they can in return adjust each their actions to maximize the outcome of all the decision take together. This approach is made possible through the use of information systems operating not a command and control systems but as cooperating, communicating, and coordinating system.
What emerges is a new mutation in the evolution of information systems. Computer Mediated cooperation systems that support the distribution and diffusion of control. This dissemination is function on how the decision makers concurrently and cooperatively build the context in which they will take decision. Each brings to the overall representation a fragment of information that can be used by others to better understand the overall context of their own actions and objectives. In Sum they are building a better global understanding of what is happening, see a better representation of what needs to be done and can they take decisions in concert with others to optimize all their resources for the problem at hand.
The essence of operational control would not be based on the focused understanding of single decision maker, but in a shared and common representation of the battleground in which each agent decides his own course of action based on his understanding of the total global picture. Much as a beehive behaves as a single entity even though it is composed of a multitude of independent actors. Coordination and synchronization mechanisms are not inherent to a hierarchical structure but from a peer to peer dialogue and mediation process based on consciousness and awareness mechanisms. This more complex model of control 6 however, will never replace at all levels the traditional military hierarchical structure. But it will certainly displace some levels of command because it is a more flexible scheme that permits a faster adaptation of the organization to prevailing changes in the environment.
Command and Control Information Systems continue to evolve. They will progress from being strictly closed military structures to open and interconnected true socio-technical structures. With a large number of participants in the network. Some of the participants have differing goals as well as in some cases different cultural background. This bring up the discussion of interpretation. and the requirement for the development of systems which fit different cognitive styles and have different presentation mechanisms. The use of military symbols is a case and point. For example, military tactical symbols and icons have unique importance in command and control systems. In many respects they have a unique grammar. They have a well defined set of formal rules for syntax, semantics, and pragmatics (reaction to a symbol that indicates an unknown). These military symbols will play a critical role in any future shared virtual environments. Until the system can represent, with a high degree of accuracy, the object itself, symbols will act as the main representation method. Symbols permit the rapid understanding of complex data and information, which range from physical attributes to final intentions. There are specific military symbols for almost all air, surface and subsurface objects. They can represent, foes, unknowns, jokers, prowlers etc. Military symbols associate by a single icon both the object and its intention. It is these representations that are the basis for all operational military situation assessment and decision making. In fact the present set of symbols are used as the basis for developing shared representation. Interoperability between military organizations is expressly based on the exchange of these symbol sets. However, semiotics analysis shows that the present military symbol set proposes only a limited and closed representation of a situation. In situations that do not require strict military action then these representation do not help in understanding what is happening.
Specifically, the present symbol set deals with only one phase of the conflict spectrum, the battle management phase. This is the last phase of an Information Warfare operation. It represents a defined problem area in that specific configurations of objects and events compose logical propositions that speak to, and about battle only. In future military Command and Control Information Systems, the present unique symbol sets, with their underlying phenomenology, create a frame of reference that both explains and predetermines a specific pragmatic response to these objects and events. This is the original intention of such a representation. These representations are very powerful and effective. But as military organizations are called upon more often to participate and act in earlier phases of conflict such as aid to civil defense, emergency response, humanitarian aid etc, as well as in Information Warfare activities then the present symbol set becomes a serious hindrance in both the understanding of the problem and the cooperative search for innovative solutions. A semiotically richer information environment is needed.
The present capability of the Canadian Forces to select and prepare officers to operate under the constraint of the changing state of information technology falls short of the present and future needs of the Canadian Forces. The present selection and development process in the area of information systems is strictly a "reproduction" of passed officers experiences in strategic and tactical communications. It does not take into consideration the fundamental changes that have happened at the technical level as well as how information technology is changing the "Command and Control" field of study as well as their resulting concomitant impact on the CF structure and organization.
It is clear that in general the technical "revolution" and the new concepts of"Consultation, Command and Control" (C3) have not been integrated into the preparation of officers that will be responsible for these systems. The theoretical conceptual frameworks are absent in the areas of cognitive engineering, knowlegege engineering, and modern information system developement practices and methods. Only certain aspects of new information management techniques have been incorporated. Preparation for the problem of managing and fostering technical and scientific innovation is not part of the present curriculum.
Furthermore, and more seriously none of the aspects of how command and control information systems creates both order and disorder, and how it can be used to control uncertainty and instability are introduced any where in the educational process of an officer. These critical areas are not being presented or discussed. In fact the whole area of the impact of information systems on national security is not even mentioned. An awarness and an understanding of these issues and principles are fundamental in preparing individual that have the mandate to develop, field and operate information systems that will enable world wide action, national and international cooperation, and help in the management of incertitude as well as force and violence in support of conflict resolution.