British Army, satellite communications (Crown Copyright, 2000)

British Army Must Dominate Information Space

RUSI Land Warfare Conference Highlights Information Warfare

Information warfare in today’s connected world has broken down the traditional conception of a frontline, a fact that modern militaries are slowly and painfully coming to grips with. At the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) Land Warfare Conference, June 27-28, the key role of information was recognised by both Army and government.

Tweeting from the conference, General Sir Nick Carter, Chief of the General Staff of the British Army, stated that:

Multi-polarity, connectivity & pervasiveness of information is changing character of conflict & driving era of constant competition.

Information warfare requires an appropriate response, shifting the weight of responsibility from traditional kinetic effects to soft power. The Associated Press reported back on February 22, 2017, that Russia had officially revealed its formation of a dedicated information warfare branch. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made the announcement to the Russian Parliament, stating that “propaganda needs to be clever, smart and efficient,” but remained vague on details of the supposedly new unit.

Retired Col. Gen. Leonid Ivashov was quoted as saying:

We must stop offering excuses and force the West into the defensive by conducting operations to expose its lies.

To remain competitive, the UK is building expertise in this area as a matter of priority.

Mark Sedwill, the UK’s new National Security Advisor, highlighted the threat from information warfare at the RUSI conference.

Sir Michael Fallon, Secretary of Defence, echoed the importance of information when he outlined his vision for the Army in 2025.

Does the use of the phrase “information space” reflect an adequate understanding of the challenge? In the military terminology of battlespaces, information adds another domain to that of sea, land, air and cyber. However, information is not a separate domain. Information is a cross-domain feature of all other battlespaces. In the emerging multi-domain battlespace, information is the glue that binds all else together.

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