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Information Operations:
Wisdom Warfare For 2025

AF2025 Logo

A Research Paper
Presented To

Air Force 2025


Lt Col Edward F. Murphy
Maj Gary C. Bender
Maj Larry J. Schaefer
Maj Michael M. Shepard
Maj Charles W. Williamson III

April 1996


2025 is a study designed to comply with a directive from the chief of staff of the Air Force to examine the concepts, capabilities, and technologies the United States will require to remain the dominant air and space force in the future. Presented on 17 June 1996, this report was produced in the Department of Defense school environment of academic freedom and in the interest of advancing concepts related to national defense. The views expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Air Force, Department of Defense, or the United States government.

This report contains fictional representations of future situations/scenarios. Any similarities to real people or events, other than those specifically cited, are unintentional and are for purposes of illustration only.

This publication has been reviewed by security and policy review authorities, is unclassified, and is cleared for public release.



  1. Introduction
  2. Required Capabilities
  3. System Description
  4. Concept of Operations
  5. Investigation Recommendations
  6. Appendix A
    Appendix B



1-1. The Role of Information Operations in Aerospace Power
1-2. The Wisdom Process
2-1. Course of Action Development
3-1. Wisdom Warfare Architecture
3-2. The Knowledge and Wisdom Spheres
3-3. Genius Ghosting: Sun Tzu, Napoleon, and Clausewitz
3-4. Common View of the Battlespace



  1. Technology Investment Opportunities

Executive Summary

A robust information operations architecture can provide leaders dominant battlespace knowledge and tools for improved decision making. US armed forces in 2025 need an information operations system that generates products and services that are timely, reliable, relevant, and tailored to each user's needs. The products must come from systems that are secure, redundant, survivable, transportable, adaptable, deception resistant, capable of fusing vast amount of data, and capable of forecasting.

The information operations architecture of 2025 this paper proposes consists of thousands of widely distributed nodes performing the full range of collection, data fusion, analysis, and command functions-all linked together through a robust networking system. Data will be collected, organized into usable information, analyzed and assimilated, and displayed in a form that enhances the military decision maker's understanding of the situation. The architecture will also apply modeling, simulation, and forecasting tools to help commanders make sound choices for employing military force. This architecture allows the United States (US) armed forces to conduct Wisdom Warfare.

The system can be used by the commander in chief, unit commander, supervisor, or technician. Somewhere in the workplace, in a vehicle, or on the person there will be a link to the sensors, transmitters, receivers, storage devices, and transformation systems that will provide, in push or pull fashion, all the synthesized information needed to accomplish the mission or task. Information will be presented in a variety of forms selected by the user.

To realize this capability in 2025, America's armed forces will have to alter the way they do business. Doctrinal and organizational changes will have to overcome institutional biases and orchestrate the development of an open architecture. The commercial market's lead in information technology development must be leveraged. New approaches to computing, as well as advancements in processing speeds and capacity, artificial intelligence (AI), software development, and networking must be investigated. In addition, research on human decision-making processes, human system integration, and display technology must be fostered.

To win in 2025, the armed forces of the United States will require an information operations architecture that uses information better and faster than its adversaries. This architecture must be effective across the spectrum of military operations and in any alternate future. To achieve this feasible system by 2025, America must begin to commit its time and money.

Chapter 1


In 2025, it is likely the United States will have fewer forces. 1 Most of these forces will be based in the continental US (CONUS). They will be responsible for a variety of missions that will require much greater speed and flexibility than exists today. To meet these requirements, US armed forces of 2025 will have to use information better and faster than their opponents.

"Information operations," a subset of information warfare, deals exclusively with the use of military information functions. It is how data is gathered, manipulated, and fused. It includes such functions as intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, command and control, communications, precision navigation, and weather. Information operations does not include actions to deny, corrupt, or destroy the enemy's information or efforts to protect ourselves against those actions. 2 Figure 1-1 shows where information operations fits within the realm of information warfare. 3

Figure 1-1. The Role of Information Operations in Aerospace Power

Information operations involve the acquisition, transmission, storage, or transformation of information that enhances the employment of military forces. 4 Information operations devices and systems must be properly applied to give the warrior information superiority. To be useful, the information, a combination of data and instructions, must reduce uncertainty. 5 Acquiring information and putting it in a useful form will help achieve knowledge. "Knowledge and control of information is necessary for all missions, whether in peace or war, logistics or combat." 6 More is needed to achieve true information superiority. The next step required is wisdom. 7 In this paper, wisdom is defined as knowledge coupled with good judgment. 8 The Wisdom Warfare architecture can dramatically improve a warrior's good judgment by synthesizing information and modeling and simulating scenarios to provide advice, options, and probabilities of occurrence.

Figure 1-2. The Wisdom Process

To better understand wisdom operations, the process must first be defined. The fundamental principles for acquiring intelligence information against an adversary remain valid over time. Figure 1-2 illustrates the flow from observable event to wisdom. First, some observable event must occur. That event must be observed by a sensor or sensors. The sensors collect the observable phenomena of the event and produce data. The data are processed and forwarded as information. Analysis of the information produces intelligence. The fusion, correlation, and association of relevant archival information lead to an understanding of the event and how it plays a part in the big picture. This understanding of the event results in knowledge. Building on that base of knowledge, the decision maker can apply automated decision aids and forecasting tools (wisdom support) coupled with his own personal judgment, experience, creativity, and intuition to make the best decisions. This is Wisdom Warfare. "It is the association of well-known principles in an innovative way that produces the revolutionary result." 9 Making the leap from intelligence to wisdom will require innovative approaches for analyzing, fusing, associating, and handling information.

The Wisdom Warfare architecture proposed in this paper has three main components: the knowledge component, the wisdom component, and the human system integration (HSI) component. The knowledge component includes systems that collect raw data, organize it into useful information, analyze it to create intelligence, and assimilate it to gain knowledge. The wisdom component contains those systems that allow humans to interact with the knowledge to exercise wisdom. This component includes modeling and simulation tools. The final component of the architecture is HSI. The HSI component contains all of the systems necessary to assist decision makers in getting the information needed in the form desired. Once the decision makers understand the information, they can apply experience to make the best decisions.

A properly developed information system will let the warrior observe the battlespace, analyze events, make wiser decisions, and distribute information effectively. What is the aim of such an information system? Sun Tzu said it best. "Know your enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril." 10


Lt Gen Jay W. Kelley, "Brilliant Warrior" (Unpublished paper, March 1996), 4 (prepared for publication in the Joint Forces Quarterly, Summer 1996).
Department of the Air Force, Cornerstones of Information Warfare, 1995, 3.
Ibid., 11.
Bill Gates, The Road Ahead (New York: Viking Penguin, 1995), 30.
USAF Scientific Advisory Board, New World Vistas: Air and Space Power for the 21st Century, summary volume (Washington, D.C.: USAF Scientific Advisory Board, 15 December 1995), 4.
2025 Concept, No. 900339, "Understanding Information Hierarchy," 2025 Concepts Database (Maxwell AFB, Ala.: Air War College/2025, 1996).
Philip B. Gove, editor in chief, Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged (Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, 1986), 2624, (definition 2 of "wise": "WISE indicates discernment based not only on factual knowledge but on judgment and insight <wise men . . . anticipate possible difficulties, and decide beforehand what they will do if occasions arise-J. A. Froude>).
New World Vistas, summary volume, 13.
Sun Tzu, The Art of War, translated by Samuel B. Griffith (London: Oxford University Press, 1971), 84.

Contents | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | A | B | Bibliography

Contact: Air Force 2025
Last updated: 5 December 1996