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During a decade of global counterterrorism operations and two extended counterinsurgency campaigns, the United States was confronted with a new kind of adversary. Without uniforms, flags, and formations, the task of identifying and targeting these combatants represented an unprecedented operational challenge. The existing, Cold War-era doctrinal methods were largely unsuited to the cyber-warfare and terrorism that have evolved today.
Rise of iWar examines the doctrinal, technical, and bureaucratic innovations that evolved in response to these new operational challenges. It discusses the transition from a conventionally focused, Cold War-era military approach to one optimized for the internet age, focused on combating insurgency networks and conducting identity-based targeting. It also analyzes the policy decisions and strategic choices that caused these changes. This study concludes with an in-depth examination of emerging technologies that are likely to shape how this mode of warfare will be waged in the future, and provides recommendations for how the US military should continue to adapt to be combat its foes in the digital age.
Asymmetric warfare is war between belligerents whose relative military power differs significantly, or whose strategy or tactics differ significantly. “Asymmetric warfare” can describe a conflict in which the resources of two belligerents differ in essence and in the struggle, interact and attempt to exploit each other’s characteristic weaknesses. Such struggles often involve strategies and tactics of unconventional warfare, the “weaker” combatants attempting to use strategy to offset deficiencies in quantity or quality. Such strategies may not necessarily be militarized. This is in contrast to symmetric warfare, where two powers have similar military power and resources and rely on tactics that are similar overall, differing only in details and execution.
The Information Age has dawned at the same time the global political system is in transition. High technology performance and economic productivity are converging across the major developed regions of North America, East Asia, and Europe. If U.S. economic, military, and political leadership is to continue, it must depend more on flexible adaptation to the new technical and organizational realities and less on technological dominance. The heart of this adaptation lies in the evolution of a national technology policy that emphasizes market forces and the exploitation of network linkages within and among commercial and military organizations.
With billions of computers in existence, cyberspace, ‘the virtual world created when they are connected,’ is said to be the new medium of power. Computer hackers operating from anywhere can enter cyberspace and take control of other people’s computers, stealing their information, corrupting their workings, and shutting them down. Modern societies and militaries, both pervaded by computers, are supposedly at risk. As Conquest in Cyberspace explains, however, information systems and information itself are too easily conflated, and persistent mastery over the former is difficult to achieve.
The electricity infrastructure is one of society’s most critical infrastructures. The complexity of the electricity infrastructure system is increasing quickly, due to the increasing intensity of market-based power exchanges between electricity systems, the associated market restructuring and an increasing share of decentralized generation. As a consequence, the organizational complexity of power systems has exploded. At the same time, there is a shift in public and societal goals towards low-carbon and sustainable power generation. This will eventually require a drastic transformation of the industry. Increasingly, ICT is being depended upon for managing this infrastructure, for technical control and operation and for facilitating markets. A recent example is demand-side management, based on detailed metering of consumption and decentralized electricity generation.
The mutual dependence of the electricity and the ICT infrastructures raises challenging questions in the areas of dependability, security and resilience. Examples include vulnerability to (cyber) attacks, avoiding and repairing technical failures and protecting data confidentiality, while guaranteeing accessibility. Therefore, better models and methods for protection against exploits of system vulnerabilities, whether accidental or intentional such as in cyber attacks, are called for.
To address the above mentioned problems an advanced research workshop: “Electricity security in the cyber age: Managing the increasing dependence of the electricity infrastructure on ICT” was organized in the Netherlands in May 2009. The objective of the workshop was to contribute to the security of current and future electricity infrastructures by analyzing the risks that are caused by the increasing reliance upon ICT and investigating options for managing these risks. The book presents the contributions to the workshop by distinguished invited keynote speakers and participants from the international scientific and industrial community.