Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft




Roger C. Molander, Peter A. Wilson, David A. Mussington, Richard F. Mesic

Copyrightc 1998 RAND


This report summarizes research performed by RAND for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence) in response to a request from the Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense. The objective of this effort was to derive a framework for policy and strategy decisionmaking on problems raised by the emerging potential of Strategic Information Warfare.

This study was undertaken in recognition that future U.S. national security strategy is likely to be profoundly affected by the ongoing rapid evolution of cyberspace--the Global Information Infrastructure (GII)--and, thus by the growing dependence of the U.S. military and other national institutions and infrastructures on potentially vulnerable elements of the U.S. national information infrastructure.

This report should be of special interest to those who are exploring the effect of the information revolution on strategic warfare, and to those who are concerned with ensuring the security of information-dependent infrastructures. It should also be of interest to those segments of the U.S. and the international security community that are concerned with the post-Cold War evolution of military and national security strategy, especially strategy changes driven wholly or in part by the evolution of, and possible revolutions in, information technology.

The research reported here was accomplished within the Acquisition and Technology Policy Center of RAND's National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Unified Commands, and the defense agencies. It builds on an earlier and ongoing body of research within the center on the national security implications of the information revolution.


Deferred Issues

Issues that are not yet ready, for example, because of technical uncertainties to be taken to closure, or, worse, issues that are taken to closure prematurely, possibly producing "bad" strategy or policy decisions that would be hard to undo. Issues in this category include

Intragovernmental and intergovernmental cooperation on politically sensitive privacy issues. This subject needs to be included in any discussion of SIW, but more detail is needed on how privacy rights would be protected under specific strategies and policies.

Minimum essential information infrastructure (MEII). More analytical and conceptual work is needed to determine whether the MEII concept (a system providing a minimal level of communications access and services to critical governmental and societal user communities) is at all feasible from both a technical and cost standpoint.

Encryption policy. SIW is just one of the many issue areas that need to be "brought to the table" when the United States and the international community chart long-term encryption-related goals and strategies.

Each of these areas requires sensitive treatment. In turn, each of them overlaps with other elements of a comprehensive approach to addressing SIW policy concerns. The notion that an action plan for addressing SIW vulnerabilities requires that tradeoffs be made among different factors is central to the unprecedented uncertainties of the cyberspace environment. The next section addresses defensive and offensive SIW issues that are significant to SIW action plans and policy implementation.