Information Warfare, 1995   [open pdf - 145KB]

Much of what is discussed in this essay on information warfare is unofficial speculation. There is no official, open-source US government definition of information warfare. The Department of Defense calls its current thinking and approach to information warfare "command and control warfare" (C2W). There is little agreement among the services about either information warfare or C2W; and among civilian defense analysts looking at the issues of information warfare, there is even less agreement. Why, then, should we be thinking about this new and strange idea? The chief reason, of course, is that while we don't know just what we've got here, all the services agree that information warfare is something important. Was Desert Storm the first war of third-wave information warfare or the last war of mechanized second-wave industrial warfare? Nobody is sure, but a lot of people, including potential rivals, are trying to figure it out. This article attempts to make some sense of this new idea called information warfare. It looks at four sets of ideas: (1) A definition of information warfare; (2) How we should start thinking about developing a strategy of information warfare; (3) Why current Air Force doctrine may be the best framework for developing a doctrine of information warfare; and (4) A very brief comment on the danger of failing to develop information warfare.

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