Strategic Information Warfare Rising

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Homeland defense requires new kinds of forces and new kinds of plans, many of which do not fit into the traditional concepts of how a military force should operate. It also raises legal issues; just as law enforcement organizations are unsuited to dealing with military threats, U. In addition to creating the NIPC, the federal government has undertaken several other initiatives to reduce the threat of cyber crime and cyber terrorism.

Some of these involve partnerships with industry, but there are also problems that leave the government and the private sector ill-prepared to respond jointly against serious IW threats. For example, several reporting organizations have been established to share information and issue warnings about hacker attacks and computer viruses. During its last year in office, the Clinton administration stepped up its efforts to deal with cybersecurity issues. These centers, two of which have already been established for the financial and communications industries, are designed to allow companies targeted by hackers or cybercriminals to share information in a secure semi-anonymous environment.

ISACs protect companies from having to disclose proprietary information when reporting such incidents and also control the flow of publicity, so customers are informed but not unnecessarily alarmed. In other words, the most likely targets for an IW strike against the United States are commercial computers and networks, and the first signs of an IW strike would likely appear in the private sector.

CHIPS Articles: Vice Adm. Ted Branch: Sea Change in Information Warfare

But the reporting network that commercial operators are coming to rely on is focused mainly on pranks, crime, and natural disasters, not well-prepared terrorist or military threats. In effect, the commercial sector—our canary in the coal mine—is ill-prepared and disconnected from the organizations that would have to respond to an attack on the United States.

Deal with it

It would be easier to defend against IW threats if government and industry could cooperate more effectively. Unfortunately, the two have collided on several issues recently. These clashes have undermined the more highly publicized efforts of the Clinton administration to promote public-private partnerships.

Some specific points of contention have included:. Americans would probably be safer from an IW attack if U. Antitrust litigation opens opportunities for foreign competitors. How would national security be affected if a foreign company designed the software used in U. Similarly, although encryption cannot guarantee that a commercial computer network is secure against an IW attack, it is probably impossible to make a system secure without strong encryption.

Finally, immigration restrictions have encouraged U.

Yet these disagreements run deeper than just quibbles over policy details. The recent disputes reflect a clash of cultures. How did this clash occur?

Xi Jinping urges China's military to create 'information warfare' strategy

Part of the problem may simply be geography and history. Most of these companies had long histories as contractors to the Department of Defense or other government agencies. They also shared similar cultures. Many company officials had served in the military or had at least worked closely with government agencies. There were also cultural parallels: hierarchical organizations, formal rules, and even a uniform dress code at IBM.

The new companies that led the personal computer and Internet revolutions—Intel, Apple, Netscape, Oracle, and, of course, Microsoft—were different. Most took root on the west coast. Many corporate leaders had little experience with government and had never served in the military, having been born too late to be eligible for the Vietnam era draft Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were born in ; Steve Case in ; Marc Andreessen in The new leaders often learned computers on their own and often rejected the usual course of formal education and earning professional credentials.

Gates and Jobs both left college early to concentrate on business; Andreessen completed a normal stay at the University of Illinois, but once claimed he was not sure whether he received a degree or not. Their model for success was the startup and the IPO, not climbing the corporate ladder; and they believed that the consumer market was more important than government sales.

Generalizations are always risky: Andreessen, for example, worked on Mosaic under government-funded research, and Larry Ellison created Oracle partly with Air Force funding. But it seems fair to say that the new corporate leaders lacked many of the government ties their predecessors had. Many see government, along with high interest rates and tight-fisted investment bankers, as just another threat that could put them out of business. To make matters worse, the government has been losing clout. It is no longer the most important customer for computers and often does not have a lead in technology.

Today, however, the most powerful computers available are as often in the private sector, being used, for example, by Boeing to generate three-dimensional designs for airliners or by Pixar to create animated cartoons. At one time, the National Institute of Standards and Technology NIST could issue a standard such as the Data Encryption Standard and assume that industry would adopt it because there was nothing better. By the mids, though, some companies began offering encryption technology that approached or surpassed that offered by the government and that would have been difficult or impossible for government agencies to defeat.

In the government tried and failed to convince industry to adopt Clipper, an NSA-developed encryption system that would have given law enforcement and intelligence organizations the means to break ciphers under certain legally authorized conditions.

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Government authorities have had difficulty adapting to the new situation. NIAP, a joint program to test and evaluate commercial security technology, works with industry and with standard-setting agencies in other countries. Alas, figuring out how to negotiate and facilitate, rather than impose, industry standards has put government officials on new and unfamiliar ground. Officials are still trying to make the process work, and representatives from industry have been slow to forget that its partners were only recently opposed to any process in which they had a significant say about this key component of information security.

To be sure, the information industry was not blameless.

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Even as companies complained about government restrictions on encryption, most software packages designed for consumers have been designed to be easy to use, not secure. The automatic features that make popular programs easy to use also often make them easy to hack. Similarly, although companies warned that government agencies threatened the privacy of their customers for the sake of national security or law enforcement, industry often had an even more cavalier attitude toward privacy. Get over it. Administration officials also began to meet more often with representatives from industry.

Even so, there are several measures that the next administration should undertake that would further close the gap between the commercial sector and the government and better prepare the country for the IW threat.

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The new administration must appoint officials who are willing and able to establish a better relationship with the private sector. Michael Hayden, the current director of NSA, is an example. Officials must appreciate that global markets will usually defeat any efforts to limit technology. Government agencies will probably lose any fight in which they try to maintain access to sources simply through regulation. Besides, allowing industry to develop better information security technology is not only essential to privacy and electronic commerce, it is essential to protecting the country against IW attacks.

Commercial software developers and network operators need to build defenses into their own systems. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces. Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete.

Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.

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    Instead, open democracies should work on reinforcing their institutions and the public support they deserve. In this context, one discussion that seems urgent is the one concerning the strategic relevance of public-owned ICT infrastructures and independent media. Revealing, in this sense, is the discussion underway at the global level but not much in Italy… about net neutrality.

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    But the Internet is clearly much more than this: Not recognizing this role at the domestic level risks undermining our ongoing international efforts to ensure an open Internet at the global level. The danger, in other words, is that of fuelling an escalation in the conventional domain with relevant repercussions. Instead, a viable option, although a very challenging one, is to respond to information warfare not retaliating in kind, but countering its desired effects. A premier software organization dedicated to providing the Warfighter the edge through innovative software solutions.

    Provides the DoD a central point of access on Information Assurance to support the development and implementation of effective defense against Information Warfare attacks. A tactical manual for the revolutionary that was published by the Central Intelligence Agency and distributed to the Contras in Central America.

    The Information Warfare Site is an online resource that aims to stimulate debate on a variety of issues involving information security, information operations, computer network operations, homeland security and more.