For analysis, in this essay, we have taken up three articles, which deal with definition, concepts and strategies concerning information warfare.(Jones, 1999; Arquilla, 1999; 2003) In the age of information technology, knowledge is used for both good and not so good purposes. Information technology, when it is used for purpose of aggression, it will disrupt the peace and security in the national and international arena. After defining concepts, the authors proceeded to elaborate the issues, which are the main themes concerning national and international peace and security.
In the article entitled, “Information Warfare – What is it?”, Jones tries to present the definitions concerning international warfare. The article provides clear vision concerning the issues related to international warfare. It is suggested that information warfare include command and control warfare, electronic warfare, operation security, psychological operations, deception, and physical destruction. These operations are sustained by information obtained through intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance, media, information management and information security.
Among the diverse definitions regarding information warfare found in this article, we provide the official version. Information warfare is defined as “Actions taken to achieve information superiority by affecting adversary information, information-based processes, information systems and computer-based networks, while defending our own information, information-based processes, information systems and computer-based networks.” (Jones, 1999, 13)
Further, the author elaborates the parties involved in information warfare. Among them, there is reference to hackers, disgruntled elements, nation states, foreign agencies, etc. Different categories of information warfare are personal information warfare, corporate information warfare and global information warfare. In the last part, the article discusses the comparison between ordinary warfare and techniques of international warfare. In the end, the article accepts the fact that information warfare is real and the nations need to take necessary action to defend their information security.
John Arquilla discussed the aspects related to moral questions concerning information warfare. This article highlights few moral principles of just warfare. These principles are “a set of guidelines regarding going to war at all; and then structures by which combatants fight in a just manner”. (Arquilla, 1999, 203) This implies there is need to comprehend ethical concepts concerning warfare. The article considers information warfare as disruptive rather than destructive.
For analytic framework, the article uses the concepts regarding just war. Then, it is demonstrated that in information warfare principles of just war are not considered. Based on certain ethical principles a war is generally initiated. These principles are right purpose, duly constituted authority and last resort. In normal circumstances, nations do not take to warfare. The author refers to few concepts of just war fighting. These concepts are non-combatant immunity, proportionality, and more good than harm. It has been suggested that information operations comprise psychological operations, perception management and information security. The author realizes the need to prevent use of unethical method of information warfare. The article proceeds further provides few policy guidelines to translate information warfare to just warfare. Different practical and ethical difficulties concerning information warfare are delineated in the article.
Another article entitled “The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace”, (2003) provides policy guidelines to maintain the security of information wealth of USA. The article comprehends the imminent threat of information warfare and need to devise strategies to face this trend, which is the outcome of impressive technological innovations of humankind. At the outset the authors of this document aver that “The purpose of this document is to engage and empower Americans to secure the portions of cyberspace that they own, operate, control, or with which they interact. Securing cyberspace is a difficult strategic challenge that requires coordinated (sic) and focused effort from our entire society-the federal government, state and local governments, the private sector, and the American people”.(2003, vii)
The above statements accurately demonstrate the real threat of information warfare and the need to combat with use of information knowledge. The article can be divided into sections – the first dealing with need to protect information wealth of America and the second part takes care of few priorities of national security. After delineating the threat perception concerning information warfare, the authors proceed to provide certain policy guidelines, which comprise few security priorities. These are directed towards national security response system, national cyber security threat and vulnerability reduction program, national cyberspace security awareness and training program, strategies to secure cyberspace of government and finally national security and international cyberspace security cooperation. By following these strategies, it is argued that, it is possible to protect the national cyberspace against any potential aggressor. This document properly comprehends the strategies used by destroyers of cyberspace security. Based on this, different strategies to counteract these enemy plans are suggested by the authors of this document.
The articles deal with various issues concerning information warfare. Firstly, they agree that there is real threat of information ware, which has the potential to become real danger to national security. Secondly, the authors accept that there is need to devise strategies to face this imminent warfare. However, they presented diverse strategies to deal with this problem.
- Arquilla, John. (1999), “Can information warfare ever be just?”, Ethics and Information Technology, 1: 203-212.
- Jones, A. (1999), “Information Warfare – What is it?”, Information Security Technical Report, Vol. 4, No. 3, 12-19.
- (2003) “The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace”, Washington.