Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More than 15 years into this "new" IO field

Wargame shows perils, potential of information warfare
Defense Daily
by John Robinson

For all the years the military has played wargames, it has never taken a serious look at information warfare until this year (1995). In addition to fighting two major regional wars in far flung locations, military planners in this year's exercise at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., had to deal with problems at home caused by information warfare. The exercise was held between July 10-28, 1995.

Cyber-terrorists did everything from disrupting air traffic control for commercial aircraft to jamming communications for commercial ships. The scenario laid out a series of apparently unrelated events in the civilian world that disrupted logistics efforts supporting the war.

"Initially, they all looked like independent events," Captain Marty Sherrard, deputy director of the Navy's Command and Control Warfare Division, who participated in the wargame, told Defense Daily in an Aug. 4 interview. "It later became clear that it was part of an attack."

Military planners found that traditional methods of gathering intelligence were not effective in recognizing the threat. Instead, they relied on information gathered from the commercial world. With over 90 percent of bulk military data passing through commercial channels today, and perhaps an even higher percentage in the future, the exercise brought home an important point: if commercial communications are vulnerable, then so is the military.

Military planners came away from the exercise with the understanding that they will have to fight wars much differently in the future.

"Instead of having intelligence and reconnaissance systems looking for something, you may have to rely on people in industry reporting," Sherrard said.

For that reason, representatives from the major telecommunications companies participated in the wargame this year. The military apparatus also lacks a central body dedicated to monitoring commercial activities that could be relevant to war planning.

"Who do people in industry pick up a phone and call if something happens?" Sherrard said. "Right now, we don't have such a body to pull this together."

Meanwhile, military planners were using offensive information warfare in the simulated regional wars. They discovered that it gave the enemy the same problems they were fending off at home.

The beauty of IW (information warfare) is that you don't have to pay the price of standing armies, expensive aircraft and tanks," added Captain Rocco Caldarella, director of the Navy's Command and Control Warfare Division. "You can level the playing field with a couple of computer hackers."

"All the players came away with the appreciation that Information Warfare affects them," Rear Adm. James Stark, head of the Navy's War College, told Defense Daily in an Aug. 4 interview.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This early IO/IW war game over-simplified IO. This game and the subsequent games created false impressions of efffectiveness of IO and also the ease with which IO could be employed. It also ignored the cost in manpower, training and equipment. The difficulties in the Rule of Engagement and other legal impediments where not understood and as such were trivialized. The IO zealots sold the unsuspecting a bill of goods. So, here we are 15 years later still trying to integrate into Navy and joint military operations, but we still over simplify the difficulties and over amplify to anticipated pay off.