God help us all
First, an apology. My concussion was a bit worse than I thought and mentally, at times, I still feel like I’m swimming in thick sludge. I write this blog when I am inspired and this fog usually prevents me from giving a rat’s patootie about a lot of things.
Yesterday I was chatting with a friend as I was preparing to teach an IO class to first year students at the Institute of World Politics. My friend works with J-7, Joint Staff and informed me that Joint Publication 3-13, Information Operations is being rewritten. What? The last edition was just released on 27 November 2012 and was definitely moving in the right direction. Why would anyone want to mess with success?
Then I was told it was being reworked along with Joint Pub 3-12, which I quickly looked up – it was Nuclear Operations. Of course my friend corrected me, it is now known as Cyberspace Operations. Ah… this makes sense, but in a very scary way.
A few things. When the definition of IO included the former five components (EW, CNO, MILDEC, OPSEC and PSYOP/MISO), anything ‘cyber’ was integrated into a larger information ‘campaign’. Now JP 3-12 is about cyberspace operations and no longer a JP 3-13.x. Additionally, Cyberspace is now a domain, along with Air, Land, Sea and Space. Additionally, there has been at least one Service Component Commander of the US Cyber Command who has tried to organize Information Operations under Cyber, for whatever reason, turning the model for IO on its’ ear. I do not want to say that ‘cyber’ is getting too big for its britches, but I see the projection of the effects of cyber operations as overly optimistic.
As much as I love discussing warfare in cyberspace, it will never win a war on its own. If ever cyber launches a devastating attack on every single possible physical and virtual target, it is a strong negative possibility there will be a major loss of life, the effects on any economy will be marginal and temporary and the quality of life for the targeted group or country will not be significantly impacted.
My words: Cyber is an enabler. Please do not even bother asking me to define cyber because even my smartest friends with PhDs in the field all disagree on a simple definition. Cyber consists of computers of all kinds, networks and all the crap that ties it all together, including storage and a bunch of wireless and wired connections, and so on. Cyber allows processing to happen, communications between all the parts of all kinds of systems, and allows data to flow, information to be made, and so on. If cyber suddenly ceases to exist we can still communicate information, albeit in a limited fashion, decisions will still be made, granted at a much slower and reduced rate, wars may still be fought, the economies will still exist, as will diplomatic efforts between countries. In other words, all the elements of national power will continue to exist.
The main point of this discussion is about information and my main concern is that cyber cannot rise in importance or have any authority over any part of information operations, nor can it exist separately. Perhaps the point I am trying to make is not clear, and for that I apologize and blame it on my recent concussion.
As we develop new weapons and ways to wage war, from airplanes to nuclear weapons to information warfare to warfare in cyberspace, smart people have stood up and proclaimed that war as we knew it may now well be over. This new thing will stop future war. Sorry, my friends, war will be with us for many more generations. We may not recognize future warfare, it may not exist by today’s definitions, but someone will always try to suppress, oppress or just plain kill people with whom they do not like or agree with. God help us all to evolve and stop it before we kill us all. God help us all.
- Cyber Command Staff to Increase Staff in Coming Weeks: Pentagon (devicemag.com)
- Pentagon to Drastically Expand Cyber Force: Report (abcnews.go.com)
- Anti Information Warfare Resources (US Federal) (clerkendweller.com)
- My Infosec Wish for 2013: A Balanced Cyberwarfare Debate (sys-con.com)
- How the US are preparing to cyber warfare? (chainsoff.wordpress.com)
- US approves boost for cyber security (bigpondnews.com)
- Pentagon’s ‘Cyber-Security’ Unit Is About Everything Except Defense (readersupportednews.org)
- Youths and Cyber law (ijeomaononogbu.net)
- Former Obama Cybersecurity Czar Warns Against Use of Cyberweapons (mashable.com)
- First Strike: US Cyber Warriors Seize the Offensive (lookingbeyondborders.com)