Magazine article The Futurist

Strategic Information Warfare

Magazine article The Futurist

Strategic Information Warfare

Article excerpt

Imagine this scenario: Things go wrong mysteriously with the computers of the U.S. Defense Department. The President asks if the nation is under attack by an enemy and who might it be. The top experts confess, "We just don't know."

This scenario suggests what can happen in the strange world of strategic information warfare. Traditional military strategy methods are totally inadequate to deal with this new potential threat to national security, according to scholars at RAND's National Defense Research Institute.

Strategic information warfare is still imprecisely defined, but it basically refers to an attack on information-based resources, such as complex management systems and infrastructures involving control of electric power, money, air traffic, etc. RAND was commissioned by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence) to produce a study that would provide an analytical framework for identifying key information on warfare issues, exploring their consequences, and helping develop a strategy.

The RAND study reported that, unlike traditional weapons, information-based techniques don't require sizable financial resources or state sponsorship; a terrorist group or a small nation could use them. …

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