Information Warfare and Cyberwar: Capabilities and Related Policy Issues [Updated July 19, 2004]   [open pdf - 98KB]

This report describes the emerging areas of information warfare and cyberwar in the context of U.S. national security. It assesses known U.S. capabilities and plans, and suggests related policy issues of potential interest to Congress. This report will be updated to accommodate significant changes. Military planning is shifting away from the Cold War view that power is derived from platforms, and more toward the view that combat power can be enhanced by communications networks and technologies that control access to, and directly manipulate information. As a result, information itself is now both a tool and a target of warfare. As concepts emerge, new uses of technology to disrupt the flow of information to affect the ability or willingness of an adversary to fight is referred to by several names: information warfare, cyberwar, and netwar. The U.S. Department of Defense uses the term "Information Operations," and has grouped related activities into five core capabilities: Psychological Operations, Military Deception, Operational Security, Computer Network Operations, and Electronic Warfare. Some weapons used for IO are referred to as "non-kinetic," and include high power microwave (HPM) or directed electromagnetic energy weapons (EMP) that, in short pulses, can overpower and permanently degrade computer circuitry, or in other applications, can cause temporary physical discomfort.

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CRS Report for Congress, RL31787
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