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Friday, May 17, 2013

Information Attack: Information Warfare In 2025

Information Attack is defined by the USAF as either “directly corrupting adversary information without changing visibly the physical entity in which it resides.” or “activities taken to manipulate or destroy an adversary’s information without visibly changing the physical entity within which it resides.”

This essay argues that the proper understanding and future development of information attack, based on USAF information warfare competencies and systems, is the key to information dominance. It is likewise argued that a central obstacle to a future information warfare capability is that the words and definitions currently used among the Joint Staff and the armed forces to guide future development in IW are unclear, confused, and often contradictory as they fail to distinguish IW from Command and Control Warfare (C2W) and fail completely to incorporate USAF views on information attack.

The future potential in information warfare to substitute precise and discriminate credible information— whether by the methods of C2W (deception, PSYOP, or other means) or information attack— to a precise and discriminate target decision maker is the essence of decisive maneuver as it may position the adversary in space and time, by his own decision, in a fatally disadvantageous strategic situation. Information attack is not so much perception management as orientation management. Information is both the target and the weapon: the weapon effect is predictable error.

In future operating environments marked by ambiguity, speed, and precision effect, it will be the relative or differential advantage in information, information processing, and communication and information security that will provide the narrow margin for victory. Future USAF mastery of information attack, through air and space power unconstrained by artificial notions of battlefield-only command and control warfare, will provide the capability for asymmetric strategic response based on decisive and differential information advantage.

Date of Report: May 1, 2013
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