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The Military Perspective



U.S. involvement in Somalia provides excellent proof that information warfare can be successfully executed by small organizations with limited finances against much larger well financed adversaries.

Aideed succeeded because his intelligence forces were small, well deployed, highly maneuverable, and used cellular phones and tricks such as bouncing signals off of city walls to foil U.S. attempts to pinpoint sources.

Aideed's ultimate success was in using this strategy to set up an ambush of U.S. troops which was naturally televised via CNN into every American home. This psychological information warfare operation, which included televised images of dead Americans being dragged through the streets, succeeded in eliminating most public support for U.S. involvement in Somalia, and very soon afterwards, the U.S. pulled out.

Source: Magsig, D.E., "Information Warfare: In the Information Age," George Washington University, December 7, 1995.

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The Army Perspective

Most of the following information was extracted from an unclassified briefing from the Land Information Warfare Activity.

Army Modernization Objectives
Army Mod Plan
Conclusions of the Army Symposium

Information Warfare = paradigm shift

Army will execute through IO

Need: National Policy and clear ROE

Must have an IW Operations Center

Information Operations

Continuous military operations within the Military Information Environment that enable, enhance, and protect the friendly force's ability to collect, process and act on information to achieve an advantage across the full range of military operations. Information Operations include interacting with the Global Information Environment and exploiting or degrading an adversary's information and decision capabilities.

Information Dominance

The degree of information superiority required to use information systems and capabilities to achieve an operational advantage in a conflict or to control the situation in operations short of war, while denying those capabilities to the adversary.


A recent study completed by IOCADF resulted in the following recommendations:


LIWA will continue to:

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The Air Force Perspective

Most of the following information was extracted from the Department of the Air Force pamphlet, Cornerstones of Information Warfare.

Quote from the Secretary of the Air Force

As information systems permeate our military and civilian lives, we are crossing a new frontier - the Information Age. It will define the 21st Century and influence all we do as an Air Force. Information Warfare has become central to the way nations fight wars, and will be critical to Air Force operations in the 21st Century. This means, of course, that today we must invest in our people, planning, equipment, and research so our ambitions can become a reality. We will involve every Air Force person in this effort, generating a wave of momentum that will carry us into the next millenium.

Information Warfare is not the exclusive domain of the Air Force, or any other service. Information technology advances will make dramatic changes in how this nation fights wars in the future. It will allow a commander's vision and view of the battlespace to be shared at the lowest level. Because of this, every practicioner of the profession of arms has a responsibility to understand their service's unique precepts for its use. From our unique perspectives as soldier, sailor, marine, or airman, we can then forge a common understanding of how to use information warfare to enhance joint warfighting capabilities. Sheila E. Widnall, Secretary of the Air Force

What is Information?

Information is the result of two things: perceived phenomena (data) and the instructions required to interpret that data and give it meaning.

Why is the Air Force Talking About Information?

The Information Age is transforming all military operations by providing commanders with information unprecedented in quantity and quality. The commander with the advantage in observing the battlespace, analyzing events, and distributing information possesses a powerful, if not decisive, lever over the adversary.

What are Some Military Information Functions?

Quality information is the counter to the fog of war. The commander with better information holds a powerful advantage over his adversary.

Together, these are the kinds of military information functions that enhance all military operations.

The Air Force Definition of Information Warfare

Any action to deny, exploit, corrupt, or destroy the enemy's information and its functions; protecting ourselves against those actions; and exploiting our own military information functions.

Modern technology now permits an adversary to change or create information without relying on observation and interpretation.

What Comprises Information Warfare?

The following comprise the foundation of Information Warfare:

How is Information Attack Different?

There are two ways to influence the adversary's information functions: indirectly and directly.

What is the Other Edge of the Information Warfare Sword?

Future security measures must evolve as information technology advances. Consequently, new measures will likely take forms entirely different from today's security measures, rooted as they are in previous security measures.

Why is Information Warfare Inportant to the US Air Force?

Two reasons:

  1. Because information warfare offers important means to accomplish Air Force missions.
  2. Because the widespread integration of information systems into Air Force operations makes our military information functions a valuable target set.
Future Air Force Doctrine Challenges

There are strong conceptual parallels between the conceiving of air and information as realms. Let us compare the objectives of air warfare and information warfare:

Air Warfare Information Warfare
Control the air while protecting our forces from enemy action. Control the information realm so we can exploit it while protecting our own military information functions from enemy action.
Exploit control of the air to employ forces against the enemy. Exploit control of information to employ information warfare against the enemy.
Enhance our overall force effectiveness. Enhance overall force effectiveness by fully developing military information functions.
What is the Relationship Between Information Warfare and Command and Control Warfare?

The focus of information warfare is any information function, whether it is Command and Control (C2), a refinery's control system, or a telephone switching station.


As the Air Force becomes more technologically sophisticated, it becomes more technologically dependent.

Information, combined with modern information functions, has distinct characteristics that warrant it being considered a realm, just as land, sea, air, and space are realms. Information warfare does not fill a discrete place in Air Force doctrine. Just as when space warfare was integrated into Air Force doctrine, viewing information as a realm now leads us to add several missions.

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