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Air University Student Research Paper 1996

The Need For USAF Information Warfare (IW) Strategy For Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTW)

Subject: This paper examines both the information warfare environment and military operations other than war (MOOTW) to determine emerging information warfare technologies that may impact on MOOTW.

Author(s): Bradley L. Butler; George J. Stein (Faculty Advisor)


Abstract: With the end of the Cold War, much has been written recently about the future direction the U.S. should take in an uncertain and rapidly changing world environment. Should America expand endeavors into the world community, or focus more attention and resources on domestic problems? The decision will have far reaching implications for many years to come. Two areas having an impact on the answer to this question but not normally examined together are information warfare and the broad area of military operations short of large-scale conventional combat operations commonly known as military operations other than war (MOOTW) and very recently alluded to as other military operations (OMO).

Revolutionary advances in computers, as well as huge and rapidly expanding com puter and communications networks, have created an information explosion with far-reaching political, military, economic and social implications for all mankind. Control of this huge amount of information has become a major issue among numerous competing groups, lending the term "information warfare" a whole new meaning not previously associated with societies in which change occurred at a much slower pace. Control of intangible information assets is increasingly replacing control of tangible assets as a source of real power.

As we enter the Information Age, the end of the Cold War has also created another major series of changes, unleashing many new forms of competition in MOOTW. It is becoming increasingly obvious to most observers that large-scale conflicts between nation states are being replaced by other forms of conflict and competition. Yet for a number of reasons Air Force doctrine says little on the subject, and even less about the impact the information age in general and information warfare in particular will have on it.

This paper examines both the information warfare environment and MOOTW to determine emerging information warfare technologies that may impact on MOOTW, as well as to determine those types of MOOTW requiring unique information warfare capabilities not currently planned for in large-scale conventional warfighting operations. The limitations of using information warfare in MOOTW are also examined in some detail. The author contends that although emerging Air Force strategy and doctrine on information warfare should attempt to address MOOTW more than it currently does, in general strategy and doctrine will be subject to more constraints than corresponding information warfare strategy and doctrine for mid- to high-intensity conflict.

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