Critical Infrastructures and the Human Target in Information Operations

ABSTRACT

When people speak of “targeting” in the context of Information Operations and Information Warfare, many tend to make direct analogies to kinetic warfare: Attacks on Critical Infrastructure, attacks on command-and-control centres and capabilities, attacks on computers and information systems, etc. Interest in attacking Critical Infrastructures comes easily and readily to mind, as it is generally a legacy of the sort of strategic bombing envisioned by the earliest airpower advocates and developed to a relatively high art during and since the Second World War. 

Looked at in that way, attacking the adversary’s command-and-control facilities and capabilities are a sub-set of strategic bombing, and it was the centrepiece of the later doctrine of C2W, Command-and-Control Warfare. These approaches still have some limited potential value in military operations. Commanders and their targeteers can, indeed, partially “shape the battle-space and the conflict space” by blinding the opponent through damage to or elimination of his command - and - control mechanisms. One of the new things in IO/IW is Computer Network Attack. In one sense, CNA can be seen as a special sub-set of both strategic attack and C2W. However, it is a special art in and of itself. Such targeting is indeed part of IO and IW, but the real target in modern conflict increasingly will be the human being. Attacking the human dimension in a nation’s or a group’s various attributes of power is very different from attacking physical things. Then, too, IO and IW are not simply about attacking people and things. Rather, it is about targeting what people value and what sustains them within a societal context. The operational commander, the targeteer, and the intelligence officer face an entirely different kind of challenge in the digital and more-personalized conflict realm.


AUTHORS

Photo of Douglas Dearth

Joint Military Intelligence Training Centre, Washington, DC

Douglas H. Dearth is Course Director and Senior Instructor at both the Joint Military Intelligence Training Center in Washington, DC, and the Defence Intelligence and Security School at Chicksands, United Kingdom. He is contributing co-editor, with Alan D. Campen, of the Cyberwar book series published by AFCEA International Press. He lectures on national security issues in the North America, the United Kingdom, and Western Europe. Mr. Dearth is a Board Member of the Journal on Information Warfare.

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Keywords

C

C2
C2S
CDX
CIA
CIP
CPS

D

DNS
DoD
DoS

I

IA
ICS

S

SOA

X

XRY

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