Information Warfare

11Jul

When the Department of Defense laid the foundation for today’s Internet back in the 1960s, one of the original ideas was to use the new medium to ensure uninterrupted communications during war. Today, that idea is being updated by an elite group of cyberwarriors within the department whose mission is to use the Net to foster communications chaos and bloodlessly cripple the enemy.

Long relegated to science fiction and conspiracy theories, infowar became a reality in 1999. During the Kosovar conflict, a supersecret group within the Pentagon (so secret that almost all we spoke with who knew of it requested anonymity) called the information operations cell (IO) unleashed what is believed to be the first-ever offensive information war.

Sources familiar with the operation say that, among other things, the IO cell corrupted electronic communications to such an extent that Slobodan Milosevic was unable to access offshore financial assets. The IO cell was also reportedly involved in planting false radar targets in Yugoslavia’s air defense system. These same experts agree that had this new group of info-commandos been given enough top-level support, the war could have ended more than a month earlier.

Brig. Gen. John L. Wilkinson, the Air Force’s assistant director for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, says the Defense Department built secrecy into the new organization “by design,” to protect intelligence sources and methods. “We have to protect it by limiting the number of people who know what’s going on.”

According to the Pentagon’s formal planning document that established the cell, the group also is responsible for conducting Internet-based psychological operations, deception, and planning physical attacks against enemies’ information infrastructure. One attack in Yugoslavia involved dropping electrically charged strips of graphite on power lines to short-circuit an entire power grid.

Similar cells are already being developed throughout the Defense Department, including a primary IO division at the Special Operations Command in Florida. As one senior intelligence officer puts it, “We’re no longer supporting the fight, we’re in it.”

You can make global phone calls at very favorable, low rates; cheap phone cards may help out you call who you want to and when you need to, with no delay, problem.

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