IO Journal - February 2010 - (Page 28)
The Four Strategies of Information Warfare and their Applications By Carlo Kopp Perhaps the most remarkable finding of research following the initial mathematical formalism for the four canonical strategies, is their pervasive impact in evolutionary biology. Very little effort was required to establish that the four strategies are indeed a biological survival mechanism, evolved specifically for the purpose of gaining an advantage in a survival game (8). In the evolutionary arms race pursued by all organisms, the use of information becomes a powerful offensive and defensive weapon against competitors and predators. The four canonical strategies of Information Warfare provide a common mathematical model which can be applied to problems of this kind regardless of whether they arise in biological, military/social or machine systems. This is important for at least two reasons. The first reason is that the increasing penetration of computing and networking equipment into a range of military systems increasingly constrains the functions and behaviours of these systems, making it in turn increasingly difficult to understand how and where Information Operations conducted by an opponent may impact the function of such military systems. A mathematical model which applies equally well to the machine and human components of the system is thus essential to solving such problems. The second reason is the increasing level of integration and automation, and the increasing diversity of functions appearing in numerous items of military equipment, requiring a common model for analyzing and understanding problems which arise from an opponent’s offensive and defensive uses of information. Modern multimode radar equipment presents a good case study, as such a device may be employed in its “traditional” role as an active sensor, yet may be also employed as a long range high data rate datalink, a precision direction finding receiver, a high power narrowband jammer, or if its power-aperture performance is high enough, even as a directed energy weapon. Each of these distinct operating regimes has unique implications in terms of both offensive and defensive use of information in combat, and a coherent logic must be applied in designing the rules for invoking and operating these functional regimes. A common and mathematically robust model is therefore essential. The four canonical strategies of information warfare provide the necessary structure for modeling and understanding such systems. Abstract The four canonical strategies of Information Warfare provide a rigorous and mathematically supportable theoretical basis for the analysis of a wide range of problems involving deceptions and other forms of manipulating information in survival contests. These strategies have been shown to provide a robust model for dealing with problems spanning biological, social, computing and military systems. This paper discusses the definitions of the four canonical strategies, defines test criteria for the resolution of classification problems which might appear ambiguous, and explores a number of practical examples. Introduction he term “Information Warfare” was coined by Thomas Rona during the 1980s to describe a range of offensive and defensive actions involving the use of information. As such the term encompassed the full gamut of techniques whereby information was employed to gain a competitive advantage in a conflict or dispute. This rather soft definition of “Information Warfare” was followed in 1997 by a more formal definition by the US Air Force, focused primarily on military applications in social systems (17). The newer definition has provided a basis for the subsequent mathematical formalisms by Borden and Kopp (1, 7). The problems which are encompassed within the scope of “Information Warfare” are fundamental to nature, and despite being commonly treated as artifacts of social systems, are applicable to any competitive survival situation where information is exploited by multiple players. It is important to observe that a contest between two machines, examples being an item of radar equipment and a hostile jammer, both players obey the very same constraints as obeyed by biological organisms exploiting information while competing for survival. Mathematical formalisms for “Information Warfare” did not emerge until the turn of the millennium, when Borden and Kopp independently identified the “four canonical strategies of Information Warfare”, relating these to Shannon’s information theory. Since then, further research has aimed to establish the range of environments in which the canonical strategies apply, and relate them to established research in areas such as game theory, the Observation Orientation Decision Action loop, and the theory of deception, propaganda, and marketing (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10). T The Four Canonical Strategies of Information Warfare The four canonical strategies of Information Warfare can be defined thus (7, 8, 9): IO Journal | February 2010
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