The Emergence of Noopolitik: Toward An American Information Strategy

By John Arquilla; David Ronfeldt | Go to book overview

SUMMARY

Information and communications have always been important to strategy. But they are changing from subsidiary to singular concerns—“information” matters more than ever for reasons that did not exist even 20 years ago. One reason is technological innovation: the growth of a vast new information infrastructure—including not only the Internet, but also cable systems, direct broadcast satellites, cellular phones, etc.—in which the balance is shifting away from one-to-many broadcast media (e.g., traditional radio and television) toward many-to-many interactive media. In many nations a growing, though varied, population is enjoying an ease of entry and access to the new infrastructure for commercial, social, diplomatic, military, and other interactions. This easy access is resulting in a huge increase in global interconnectivity.

A second reason is the proliferation of new organizations: Vast arrays of state and nonstate organizations are emerging that directly concern information and communications issues. A third reason why information and communications have become more important is that “information” and “power” are becoming increasingly intertwined. Across many political, economic, and military areas, informational “soft power” is taking precedence over traditional, material “hard power.”

The new field known as “information strategy” is emerging around two poles, which define opposite ends of a spectrum of security concerns. One is an essentially technological pole, that of cyberspace safety and security. The other pole is essentially political and ideational—information strategy is seen as a way to harness and ex

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