May 2, 2007

USAF Cyberwar Prospectus

A new irregular warfare doctrine document working its way through the U.S. Air Force spells out how air power can aid U.S. and coalition forces in nontraditional fights, and says that disrupting adversaries' actions in cyberspace is increasingly important.

"The cyberspace domain may present numerous opportunities to directly target insurgents or to positively influence the population. Like air operations, cyber operations can strike directly at the node of interest, without first defeating 'fielded forces,'" says a draft version of the service's irregular warfare doctrine document. "For example, computer network attack may hinder or disrupt insurgent operations, or at least require them to expend resources defending their cyberspace assets."

The document, dated March 21 and stamped, "Draft – Not For Implementation," was obtained by Defense News this week. Gen. T. Michael Moseley, the Air Force chief of staff, has approved the draft document, it says.

During an irregular fight, coalition air commanders are more often using cyberspace to target the enemy, says the document.

"Critical to strategy development is the integration of cyberspace capabilities. Due to the political and operational sensitivity, some capabilities may not be viable," says the draft doctrine.

Moseley and service Secretary Michael Wynne have sought to elevate the service's actions in cyberspace. ...

"Degrading the adversary's use of cyberspace can prove detrimental to their operations. Network attack destroys, disrupts, corrupts, denies, delays or degrades information that resides in telephone and data service networks," says the document. "Attacking the networks will not only influence the adversary's decision making, but can also affect the target audience of the networked information."

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