Hackers of India

Strategic Information Warfare: When Ends define the means

 Amit Sharma 



The last couple of decades have seen a colossal change in the pattern in which conventional wars are being conducted with information and information assets been integral to almost every aspect of warfare. The influence that information and information assets have on warfare is exponentially greater than the arithmetic benefits generated by a successful annihilation-based conventional warfare. The astonishing feats achieved by the use of information assets in conventional warfare by means of Command Control Communications Computers Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems, Net Centric Warfare (NCW), Strategic information dissemination systems, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), have resulted in the genesis of a misinterpreted notion of information warfare rather than information-enabled warfare. This misinterpreted notion of information warfare where information warfare is acting as a decisive, but a tactical force-multiplier capable of changing the tides of the war has resulted in the creation of a paradigm, where the strategic aspect of information warfare - its true potential - is clouded by the tactical force-multiplier aspect of information warfare.

The Author believes that this notion is a fallacy, as it not only undermines the strategic nature of information warfare, but has also resulted in the initiation of a paradigm, within the change-hungry military world, which emphasizes, “means rather than the strategic ends”. These arguments raise an existential question, “Whether this new paradigm of information-enabled warfare is really a strategic information warfare, which will be the primary means of achieving ends, or is it just a misinterpreted notion created by its loyal supporters, only to pacify the appetite of the change hungry military world?". This talk answers this key question by providing a framework for Strategic Information Warfare (SIW) where information warfare, contrary to the conventional dictum, will act as the primary means to achieve strategic end. This framework for strategic information warfare will influence the full spectrum of affairs from the grand strategic level right down to the tactical. This framework at the strategic level derives its essence from the strategies of Clausewitz and Sun Tzu.