Information operations

War by Non-Military means

I haven’t read the whole report yet, but here is a report from a Swedish academic perspective.

Information warfare is rapidly becoming an integral part of modern conflicts, as recent events in Ukraine illustrate. A new FOI report examines what Russian military theorists and official documents have to say about information warfare, illustrated by a handful of case studies.

In the Russian view of modern war, information warfare is given a lot of weight. The modern, increasingly digital, media landscape and the rapid development of information and communication technologies have created a new playing field.

– Information warfare is not just considered a matter for the Armed Forces. On the contrary, Russian military theorists envision strategic coordination of all government resources in order to affect an adversary, says Ulrik Franke, senior scientist and author of the report.

According to Russian doctrine and theory, information warfare is conducted continuously in peacetime and wartime alike. One example of a peacetime activity that can be used to send a message is the exercise patterns of Russian military aircraft. Aggressive flying sends a message of Russian strength, resolve and military capability.

– It is also striking how information warfare has become highly politicised. In the Russian military theory debate, regime security has become the number one topic. In democracies, the approval ratings of the incumbent political leadership are not seen as matters of national security, but this is precisely what can now be seen in Russia, says Ulrik Franke.

The Russian view of information warfare is also fuelled by the perception of the world as a zero-sum game, where globalisation is reducing Russian security, and where Russia lags behind Western countries in terms of technology.