National Defense University's Directorate of Advanced Concepts, Technologies and Information Strategies (ACTIS) and School of Information Warfare and Strategy (SIWS) are pleased to inaugurate a new series of publications by the National Defense University Press intended to explore the evolving relationship between the law and information warfare. The emerging debate over information warfare and the information component of national power has frequently emphasized technological issues with scant regard for the legal environment in which the Information Age is occurring, yet this may obscure some very real and unsettling legal issues that will have to be solved in order to wage information warfare. One of the persistent trends in the related histories of the law and warfare is that whenever war, or civil society in general, has extended into a new environment, such as underwater or the aerospace, the law has had to "play catch-up" to the technology. This should be no surprise: after all, no one writes law for something that does not exist, such as aerial warfare before the invention of the airplane. The same is true for cyberspace, which is why many argue that the legal environment for information warfare is even less well framed than the technology making it possible. To the theater campaign or operations planner who must wrestle with "here and now" issues regarding the use of information warfare and protection from the enemy's potential use of it, theoretical discussions of information warfare and the law are a thin gruel when weighed against the need for firm guidelines, rules of engagement, and policy.
When one begins to examine the relationship between information warfare and the law, especially international law and the law of war, it immediately becomes apparent that some fundamental questions need to be explored. What, for example, is war in the Information Age, and what types of activities between information actors, whether nation states or non-state entities, will we call information warfare? What is an "act of (information) warfare," to use that imprecise but expressive and widely used term? What is "war" in the Information Age? Who is a "combatant"? What are "force," "armed attack," or "armed aggression" (terms from the UN Charter) in the Information Age, and do they automatically equate to IW? Does "war" between states require physical violence, kinetic energy, and human casualties? What role is played by intent? How might the law itself change in response to the Information Age? How will long-established legal principles such as national sovereignty and the inviolability of national boundaries be affected by the ability of cyberspace to transcend such concepts? Will the technologies of the Information Age, by bringing atrocities and violations of the law of war into the intense and immediate glare of global public awareness, increase the observance of the legal norms of armed conflict? Information warfare also raises specific legal issues related to computer crime: what is a crime, who commits it, and what does the law say about it? These questions and issues merely hint at the tremendous uncertainties that surround the evolving discipline of information warfare and field of national and global information power.
This series of publications is intended to provide a context within which to examine IW in a legal sense and explore specific issues such as the laws of war or standing international agreements to which the United States is a signatory, such as the International Telecommunications Union or the UN Charter. This initial monograph, by Lawrence T. Greenberg, Seymour E. Goodman, and Kevin J. Soo Hoo, is an outstanding kickoff to this series. The authors, members of the Project on Information Technology and International Security at Stanford University's Center for International Security and Arms Control, have surfaced and explored some profound issues that will shape the legal context within which information warfare may be waged and national information power exerted in the coming years. They note that despite the newness of both the technology of IW and the evolving concepts for its employment, legal constraints will almost certainly apply to IW. Also noting that concepts of sovereignty based on physical territoriality do not function well in cyberspace, the authors observe that there is no authoritative legal or international agreement as to whether an IW "attack" equals an "attack" or "use of force" in the traditional sense. With this as a context, the authors offer several legal approaches the United States could employ to protect the national information infrastructure or clarify options useful for offense, defense, or retaliation. They are under no illusions that they have answered all of the questions relating to information warfare and international law, but rather can take great satisfaction in having cogently and thoroughly explored key legal questions and issues that information warriors, jurists, and policy makers will wrestle with in the future. In doing so they have made a significant and lasting contribution to national and international security, stability, and peace.
Daniel T. Kuehl, Ph.D
Professor, School of Information Warfare & Strategy
Series General Editor
| Index | Acknowledgments | Preface | Executive Summary | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | About the Authors | Endnotes |