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Cyber Wars and National Security:

A paradigm shift from Means to Ends.


Amit Sharma
Defence Research and Development Organization (D.R.D.O),
Ministry of Defence, India

Abstract. The last couple of decades have seen a colossal change in the pattern in
which conventional wars are being conducted, with information and information
assets been integral to almost every aspect of warfare. The quantum of influence
that information and information assets have on warfare is phenomenal to an
extent that their effect is way ahead than mere arithmetic benefits generated by a
successful annihilation based conventional warfare. The astonishing feats achieved
by the use of information assets in conventional warfare by means of Command
Control Communications Computers Intelligence Surveillance and
Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems, Net Centric Warfare (NCW), Strategic
information dissemination systems, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and so on,
have resulted in the genesis of a misinterpreted notion of information warfare
rather than information-enabled warfare.

This misinterpreted notion of information warfare where information warfare is


acting as a decisive, but tactical force-multiplier capable of changing the tides of
the war has resulted in the creation of a paradigm, where the strategic aspect of
information warfare is clouded by the tactical force-multiplier aspect of
information warfare. The Author believes that this notion is a fallacy, as it not only
undermines the strategic nature of information warfare, but also has resulted in
initiation of a paradigm, within the change-hungry military world, which
emphasizes “means rather than the strategic ends”.

These arguments raise an existential question, “Whether this new paradigm of


information-enabled warfare is really a strategic information warfare, which will
be the primary means of achieving ends or is it just a misinterpreted notion created
by its loyal supporters, only to pacify the appetite of the change hungry military
world?”. This paper tries to answer this existential question by providing a
framework for Strategic Information Warfare (SIW) where information warfare,
contrary to the conventional dictum, will act as the primary means to achieve
strategic end. This framework for strategic information warfare, in parlance with
criteria of strategic warfare, will be integrated across all the spectrum of affairs
right from grand strategic to tactical level.

This framework at strategic level will derive its elixir from the strategies of
Clausewitz and Sun Tzu, and on operational level will rely on a five phased cyber
campaign based on the concepts of rapid dominance and parallel warfare in cyber
space so as to generate a strategic paralytic effect onto the victim nation. The
Author will also shatter the conventional wisdom on cyber defence which relies on
the notions of “layers of defences” and Legal instrument, by providing a new
approach to cyber defence which will be based on the creation of a credible and
known “cyber deterrence” assuring a credible second strike option and a strategic
status quo based on the cold war dictum of Rational Deterrence Theory and
Mutually Assured Destruction. The Author believes that this framework will
shatter the conventional dictum of information warfare being a decisive force
multiplier; and will initiate a paradigm shift from “means to ends” in cyber space,
thus raising information warfare to the strategic level which it duly deserves.

Keywords: Cyber wars; cyber warfare; information warfare; strategy and doctrine.

The opinions expressed or implied in this paper are solely those of the author, and are based on
open sources. Under no circumstances these may be correlated or perceived as the views of Government
of India in general and the Author’s organization in particular.