Date of Award

Summer 1996

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science & Geography


Graduate Program in International studies

Committee Director

Regina C. Karp

Committee Member

Philip S. Gillette

Committee Member

Dennis Ray

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.I45 P368


This thesis analyzes information warfare--that emerging form of warfare that attempts to destroy, degrade and exploit the information systems of another, while protecting one's own--in the context of the technology of warfare. Just as one might peel an onion, the analysis proceeds from a general analysis of technology in warfare to the more specific analysis of information warfare as it is currently defined. Information technology is an enabling factor in the emergence of information warfare as a new warfare area. Although it is revolutionizing the way warfare is conducted, the elements of information warfare have been practiced for thousands of years. Information warfare itself appears to be a natural and expected evolution in warfare. Throughout history, though, the technological superiority and excellence of one group have been short-lived. Technology tends to proliferate and balance the weapons available. More importantly, superior organization, training and doctrine often overcome superior technology.

The paper concludes that the nature of warfare is changing radically. The information advantage and its ability to reduce the uncertainty in warfare will play an ever important role. Since this advantage is just as important prior to hostilities, the reduction in uncertainty for both political and military actions will be affected. Heightened expectations for the role of technology will continue to grow.

The implications are profound. The world environment is finding regional conflict, ethnic violence, and peacemaking the norm for intervention by conventional military forces. This environment presents a tremendous advantage to the asymmetry in the information edge between military forces such as those of the United States and other countries. Yet, this information advantage could be inconsequential against an opponent without a technological base. The challenge will be to develop the technology, along with the organization, training, and doctrine for information warfare that can be applied against the range of threats to our national interests.


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