Information warfare (IW) represents a rapidly evolving and, as yet, imprecisely defined field of growing interest for defense planners and policymakers. The source of both the interest and the imprecision in this field is the so-called information revolution led by the ongoing rapid evolution of cyberspace, microcomputers, and associated information technologies. The U.S. defense establishment, like U.S. society as a whole, is moving rapidly to take advantage of the new opportunities presented by these changes. At the same time, current and potential U.S. adversaries (and allies) are also looking to exploit the evolving global information infrastructure and associated technologies for military purposes.
The end result and implications of these ongoing changes for international and other forms of conflict are highly uncertain, befitting a subject that is this new and dynamic. Will IW be a new but subordinate facet of warfare in which the United States and its allies readily overcome their own potential cyberspace vulnerabilities and gain and sustain whatever tactical and strategic military advantages that might be available in this arena? Or will the changes in conflict wrought by the ongoing information revolution be so rapid and profound that the net result is a new and grave threat to traditional military operations and U.S. society that fundamentally changes the future character of warfare?