WHITHER “INFORMATION STRATEGY”?
Something unsettling is happening to grand strategy. National security experts have long based their calculations on the traditional political, economic, and military dimensions of power. Now they see that a new field is emerging: “information strategy.” Although still inchoate, it promises to redefine these three traditional dimensions. Moreover, it promises to seed the creation of a fourth—the “information” dimension, which is broadly understood to include technological conduits and conceptual contents. The world is turning anew into a highly charged battleground of ideas; it is not just a world in which material resources are the objects of protracted, often violent competition. In this emerging world, the key to success will likely lie in managing informational capabilities and resources skillfully—i.e., strategically.
Information strategy remains difficult to define and bound with precision, but the issues and debates shaping its appeal have been clustering around two poles for the past several years. One pole is basically technological: that of cyberspace safety and security. What drives concerns here is a sense of the vulnerability of essential U.S. information infrastructures to various forms of attack, especially by malicious actors who are skilled at launching cyberspace-based threats. Worrying how to defend against attacks by adversarial regimes, terrorists, and criminals, and wondering how to use cyberspace for counteroffensive attacks—that is what this pole is largely about. (See Hundley and Anderson, 1994; Molander, Riddile, and Wilson, 1996; and Campen, Dearth, and Goodden, 1996.)