Information Warfare: Now & 20 Years Ago

Research Paper Title

Information Warfare: Combating the Threat in the 21st Century.


As we approach the dawn of the 21st century, success of our national security strategy will depend greatly on our ability to combat the Information Warfare (IW) threat.

Old paradigms regarding conventional warfare must change to incorporate this new form of warfare.

Our nation’s growing dependency on information and information-based technologies has made IW a legitimate weapon for potential adversaries.

The “information” and its support infrastructures are becoming extremely vulnerable to hostile attacks.

Adversarial forces can now wage information-based warfare from anywhere in the world, and literally remain anonymous. Thus, our ability to recognise and defend against this new form of warfare is paramount to the survival of our national security infrastructure.


This is an interesting paper to read, given the rise of social media and its utilisation (both covertly and overtly) by a variety of organisations and nation states over the past two decades; with a wide variety of results.

“Let’s look at an example of a hypothetical IW situation. Suppose a terrorist organization wanted to influence the will of the American populace regarding a specific situation. A possible course of action would be to infiltrate the computer systems of the Cable News Network (CNN), and begin sending something as simple as subliminal messages through the network. This scenario may appear improbable; however a few years ago, subliminal practices were carried out in the music industry. Several news broadcasts reported customers complaining of hidden messages being discovered in cassette recordings. For irrational actors such as terrorist organizations, nothing is beyond their scope of reason.” (Gillam, 1997, p.12-13).

It is also interesting to note that the paper does not consider the use of information as a recruiting or retention tool, or even as overt propaganda; which has been utilised successfully by a certain organisation.


Information Warfare, Combating the Threat in the 21st Century (Gillam, 1997)


Gillam, M.M. (1997) Information Warfare: Combating the Threat in the 21st Century. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 28 September, 2015].


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