1. Bibliographic Entry. The Nature of War

2.  Author : David Lonsdale

3.  Context:    Does the Revolution in Military Affairs, driven by the information age, constitute a change in the nature of war?

4.  Scope:  Effects of technology and information proliferation on warfare

5.  Evidence/credibility:  the canon of info-age authors and contemporary military history

6.  Central Proposition/Thesis:  The nature of war has not been changed by the RMA, but the character has changed.  The core identity of war, that of violence, uncertainty, etc, may be modified by the information age and cyber warfare, but it won’t be eliminated.  Most of all, war remains a human endeavor and this fundamental nature of war remains constant in the IA.

7.  Sub-themes:

A.   4 The RMA debate encompasses a wide array of topics of strategic interest; The first of these is concerned with information age warfare as it is applied to the battlespace.  An associated area deals with issues of command in the information age. A third section of the literature deals with what has been termed Strategic Information Warfare. this section of the literature focuses upon · 'strategic' war waged against information age infrastructures

B.7 A key operational goal that could be made possible by the levels of integration mentioned above is Dominant Battlespace Knowledge. DBK builds upon the information coming from ISR assets, and produces knowledge of the enemy system, identifying key nodes and weaknesses, as well as marrying weapons to targets. A related concept is 'situational awareness'.

C.8 ; The objective is to impose complete systemic shock upon the enemy.44 In this sense it is often claimed that the tactical, operational and strategic levels are merging to a point where a single action proves to be decisive.

D.   The ultimate objective of this work is to test the continued validity of the fundamentals of warfare, the constants if you will, those elements which are the very essence of war across both time and place, rather than its more transient features. '

E. if all wars were concluded by calculations of 'information dominance', or through information attacks against information infrastructures, warfare would all but cease to be a violent activity. Should that come to pass, the nature of warfare would have been altered by a change in the character of war.

F. 28 In conclusion, based on a more inclusive reading of Clausewitz and the history of war, the policy rationale stands as the first element in the nature of warfare. War cannot begin without a rationale; otherwise it is  just mindless violence. To reiterate Bull's definition, war is distinguished from other human activities by reason to organized violence for policy objectives. The information age may create new motivations for the resort to war, SJ but it will not produce wars that are not the continuation of . policy’s Taken together these produce a vision of war that is uncertain, violent and ultimately a human activity at both the physical and psychological levels. (Not sure the thesis holds up if he’s ruling out war as an extension of policy as one of his criteria.)

G.   Whilst recognizing that certainty can never be attained, Jomini still values the role of information in the art of waging war.

H.   36 Although in certain circumstances violence and destructive force may not be required to achieve one’s policy objectives, in terms of war preparation, violence must be taken as a given element in the nature of war. For · As long as the political objective is of a certain import, the desire to gain an advantage by raising the level of conflict to violence may be too great. The enemy can usually reintroduce violence, and therefore one must be prepared for such an eventuality. 38 The human dimension of warfare is one area in which the character · of war can affect its nature. If war remains an activity that is ultimately characterized by combat in which man is in conflict with man, then human factors and considerations will remain paramount.

I.  43 The bottom line in this discussion is that warfare, above all else, is a human activity. However they choose to organize themselves politically or socially, and whatever terms they employ to describe the motivations behind their decision to wage war, humans fight each other for human reasons. As a result of this, the 'climate of war' and the 'trinity', and therefore the work of Clausewitz, come very close to defining the true nature of warfare.

J.  PTP – author is flirting with the idea that if enough of the character of war changes, then the nature of war changes.  Not so. 

K.   PTP: author is wrong on several points of his argument – factual points.  UAV shots in OEF versus Yemen.  Carbon fiber attacks in Baghdad (and associated reference).  Shoddy research work undermines his argument

L. 94 In contrast to much of the RMA literature, this chapter has suggested that five central factors will prevent the above visions of the RMA deve1oping sufficiently to change the nature of warfare. These are the demands of strategy and the influence of policy; the polymorphous character of war; the paradoxical logic of strategy; the physical reality of geography in which all warfare is conducted; and finally the human element. These five underlying factors mean ·control' requires the presence of humans, and at times may require the destruction of enemy forces; that the operational efficiency of the envisaged RMA will be reduced; and that uncertainty will remain an integral pan of warfare.

M.  127 Warfare and therefore command will remain essentially human and political activities. In this context, the presence of humans in the art of command, and in particular the requirements for leadership and strategic judgment, will ensure that the future will not be without great individual figures to whom the title 'genius' is attributed. Greater transparency 1n the battlespace may enable more effective C2 of troops, but it will not ensure inspired leadership.

N.   desire for more information has often overburdened commanders at the lower echelons.110 You must be careful what you wish for.

O.   , This leads to the conclusion that pure networks are ill suited to the demands of battle command. Somebody in the end will have to lead. However, the possibilities inherent in the network structure may enable the stripping away of intermediate echelons.

P. Despite the changes that may characterize the information age, command in war will remain predominately an activity in which the human individual is paramount.

Q.   PTP: IA is primarily a force multiplier, enhancing human capability, but not a replacement

R.PTP: I don’t agree with his definition of what’s strategic.  If the effort bypasses other levels of war (tac and op) to influence a target set that will cause negative ramifications on the enemy as a whole, then it’s a strategic target set and a strategic capability

S. PTP: Can cyber act independently AND decisively?

T.141 There does appear to be enough evidence to support the notion that SIW does indeed constitute a new method of waging war. The capability evidently exist

U.   PTP: Author makes a series of suppositions about Strategic Information Warfare on the basis of comparison to strat bombing.  Not evidentiary based and weak.

V.168 In this sense, SIW does not require the assistance of the other armed services to function.

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