Chinese Information Warfare: A Phantom Menace or Emerging Threat?

  • November 01, 2001
  • Mr Toshi Yoshihara

The author explores what he perceives to be China s pursuit of information warfare (IW) as a method of fighting asymmetric warfare against the United States. He believes the Chinese are seeking ways to adapt IW to their own style of warfare. Paradoxically, he observes that the Chinese have not gleaned their intelligence through espionage, but through careful scrutiny of U.S. IW in practice. The author examines those aspects of IW--PSYOPS, Denial, and Deception--that China believes provides the greatest prospects for victory in a conflict. Not surprisingly, Sun Tzu is interwoven into this emerging theory. Targeting the enemy s nervous system at all levels, that is, his ability to gather and assess information and then transmit orders, provides significant advantages in the prosecution of a campaign. He concludes that the extent of Chinese advances or intent regarding IW is difficult to ascertain given its closed society. Chinese IW may still be nascent, but the menacing intent is there and only vigilance will protect the United States.