Defensive Information Warfare in Today's Joint Operations: What's the Real Threat?   [open pdf - 1MB]

"Information warfare (IW) is an emerging concept that affects the use of automated systems and reflects the growing realization that information technology can be used to gain an advantage over other users. Since the Gulf War, the incidents of information systems attacks have increased, especially in the civilian environment. Attacks against military systems have gone as far as penetrating sensitive, previously secure systems. As this threat against information- or computer-based systems becomes more blatant, it raises the question of how vulnerable to attack are our automated military systems. Emerging technologies promise greater speed, accuracy and reliability for military operations while simultaneously producing greater lethality and situation awareness. However, as the Armed Forces depend more and more on these systems to perform routine and specialized operations, the risk of penetration, disruption, or even compromise becomes apparent. While information warfare has great potential as a valid offensive tool, this paper explores the threat to unified and joint military operations from a defensive information warfare perspective. We must first identify what the threat entails and design defensive procedures because this is where the greatest vulnerabilities lie. Research and development of IW as an offensive weapon can be pursued and funded along with other conventional weapons programs. What is critical is identifying weaknesses and correcting them before we become victims of information warfare itself."

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