Strategic Information Warfare

Is Strategic Information Warfare Really Asymmetric?: A New Perspective from the Handicap Principle


Any communication network, whether it is a biological network (such as animal communication network) or a computer network (such as the Internet) must be reasonably reliable (honest in the case of animal signalling) in order to fulfil its mission for transmitting and receiving messages. The strategic goal of information warfare is then to destroy or defend the reliability (honesty) of communication networks. 

Shannon, Hypergames and Information Warfare


Shannon’s Information Theory provides a robust and quantifiable model for explaining the fundamental paradigm of Information Warfare. This paper reviews the four canonical strategies of Information Warfare, in the context of Shannon’s models and further extends these models into the domain of hypergame theory.

Perception Management and the ‘War’ Against Terrorism


This article challenges the popular view that 'propaganda' - here defined in a value- neutral sense - is an inappropriate activity for democratic governments. Indeed, it suggests that it is essential for the 'perception management' elements of the war against terrorism. It argues that we are in a new Cold War type of situation in which our very ideas and values are under attack, and therefore must be defended, albeit within a democratic tradition. The ability of the western democracies to succeed in not just defending, but in actively promoting their value systems over 'the long haul', may even determine the final outcome. Accordingly, great care needs to be taken at both the tactical and the strategic levels of information operations, although the theory is sometimes belied by the practice.

The Offence of Strategic Influence: Making the Case for Perception Management Operations


In the ongoing ‘War against Terrorism’, it is absolutely vital that the Perception
Management campaign of the United States and its allies be coordinated at the highest possible level, resourced adequately and executed effectively. With the demise of the Office of Strategic Influence within the Pentagon, there is currently no central focus for, or high- level coordination of, Perception Management operations. The individuals tasked with undertaking this activity also lack the necessary skills required to formulate target- appropriate messages and the means needed to deliver such messages to their intended audience. 

Information Operations, Public Diplomacy & Spin: The United States & the Politics of Perception Management


The evolution of Information Operations doctrine in the United States is placing more weight upon Perception Management, particularly at the strategic level. This paper argues that if such Perception Management efforts are to be effective they will need to work in conjunction with the State Department and its associated agencies and with the President's communication staff. Such collaboration will require overcoming institutional boundaries and different concepts of what Perception Management involves. This paper examines the place of perception management within military IO doctrine before looking at current debates over the place of public diplomacy in contemporary foreign policy and looking at the role of the White House communications organisation in international perception management.

Fall from Glory: The Demise of the United States Information Agency During the Clinton Administration


This article examines the role of public diplomacy as an instrument of power within the overall United States government organization. It traces the development of various National Security Council directives and policies that attempted to utilize information as element of power, and in turn how successful each one was. This paper also details the formation and historical use of the United States Information Agency as the most visible sign of a strategic organization, designed to use information in the battle against Communism. However, with the changes brought on by the fall of the Soviet Union, calls for the dissolution of this group began. It looks at how the agency was ultimately absorbed by the State Department during the Clinton Administration and suggests reasons for this change. In the end, the author comes to the conclusion, that while the United States government may no longer have a dedicated organization to conduct strategic information campaigns, in reality its ability to do so, has actually been strengthened over previous eras.

A New Extended Evolutionary Game Theory Approach to Strategic Information Warfare Research


The extended evolutionary game theory (EEGT) extends traditional evolutionary game theory (EGT) with survival analysis and agreement algorithms. Survival analysis, a branch of modern biostatistics, is adopted to model the consequences of the so-termed UUUR (Uncertain, latent, Unobserved or Unobservable Risks) events. Agreement algorithms can be the Agreement algorithms from the traditional fault-tolerant distributed computing or any problem-specific (user-defined) algorithms (constraints) that allow game players to dynamically check and 'vote' for a possible consensus. The EEGT was initiated in the study of reliability and survivability of distributed computer networks and is particularly suitable for addressing critical issues such as dynamic uncertainty, vulnerability, frailty, and deception, which are often associated with distributed systems under stressed environments where the occurrence of UUUR events is the norm. Strategic information warfare (SIW) clearly falls within the scope of such systems. In this paper, the EEGT is introduced to the modelling of SIW from a three-layer (tactical, strategic and operational levels) perspective.  When applied to SIW, a tertiary extension to EEGT with hedging principle is necessary at the operational level, similar to the application of the EEGT to survivability analysis.

Has the Cyber Warfare Threat been Overstated?— A Cheap Talk Game Theoretic Analysis


In a previous study (Ma 2010), we approached the problem of asymmetry of strategic information warfare (SIW) from the perspective of costly communication governed by the handicap principle (Zahavi & Zahavi 1997). In this study, we approach another problem of SIW, i.e., the assessment of cyber warfare threats, from the perspective of costless communication, which can be formulated as a cheap talk game. We apply the classic Crawford & Sobel (C-S) (1982) cheap talk game model to answer the question of whether or not cyber warfare threats may be exaggerated. Based on the Bayesian Nash equilibrium of the C-S cheap talk game, we demonstrate that, although it is possible to reach a consensus (equilibrium) between the Agent (e.g., cyber warfare lobbyist) and the Principal (e.g., government) on the state of cyber warfare threats, the loss of the state information is hardly avoidable due to A’s bias in sending costless messages.

Journal of Information Warfare

The definitive publication for the best and latest research and analysis on information warfare, information operations, and cyber crime. Available in traditional hard copy or online.


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The definitive publication for the best and latest research and analysis on information warfare, information operations, and cyber crime. Available in traditional hard copy or online.


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