A Major Intelligence Challenge: Toward a Functional Model of Information Warfare

By L. Scott Johnson


Information Warfare W) is one of the hottest topics in current discussions of battlefield and geopolitical conflict. It has been addressed in writings, conferences, doctrine and plans, and military reorganizations, and it has been proposed as a fundamental

element of 21st-century conflict. In a way, the IW situation is reminiscent of the concept of logistics as a military discipline, circa 1940:

  • Elements of the concept had been known and used for millennia.
  • The value of integrating those elements into a coherent discipline was just beginning to be recognized.
  • The discipline was to become a central element of modern warfare—it is now said that amateur generals [that is, Saddam Hussein] talk strategy, professional generals talk logistics.

This comparison has another point of similarity: the interest in IW far outstrips the users’ understanding of the concept. Early in World War II, a senior US Army general said, “I don’t know what this ‘logistics’ is, but I want some.”  Today, many people worldwide are saying the same about IW.

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