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[infowar.de] AWST 03.03.03: policy split in the Pentagon over IW
Aviation Week & Space Technology March 3, 2003
As combat preparations ramp up, USAF is redefining the boundaries of
By David A. Fulghum, Washington
There's a policy split in the Pentagon over information warfare, driven
partly by calculations that attacking key civilian Iraqi computer systems
might damage banking in France and, possibly, the U.K. as well.
Another concern is that the strain on the U.S. tanker fleet generated by
its support of the air bridge to Europe and the Middle East might prevent
simultaneous, round-the-clock combat operations, say senior Air Force
officials. That, in turn, could delay the start of offensive operations
The U.S. military, led by some war-fighting factions in the Air Force, say
the effects of computer network attack need to be studied more closely.
Officials are willing enough to conduct electronic warfare and attack
computer networks such as integrated air defense systems that involve the
enemy military only. But war planners want to draw the line at computer
networks that have an impact on the civilian infrastructure.
One study making the rounds at the Pentagon contends that shutting down a
particular Iraqi network that provides important financial services could
have far-flung consequences.
While an attack on financial systems would cripple the Iraqi war effort, it
would also "take down the ATMs in France and maybe the U.K. as well," said
a senior USAF official. "Because of the satellite communications links and
the Internet, the armed services are saying to senior Pentagon civilians,
'We can do it if you insist, but we don't want the military to get a black
eye'" as the authors of a plan that has global repercussions, some of them
possibly on U.S. allies.
"I'm worried about integrated air defense systems; I'm not interested in
banking systems," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper in a
separate interview. However, he did point out that the Air Force wants to
"take advantage of the same set of [computer network attack] tools to do
different kinds of jobs at the tactical and operational levels of war."
The services are still trying to define information operations/warfare and
stake out their place in the new discipline, Jumper said.
"We're trying to figure out as an Air Force what we contribute to this
whole fuzzy notion of information warfare, information operations and
information in warfare," Jumper said. "It has to do with our ability to use
information tools . . . and treat them like other weapons in the Air Force."
The topic of defining the warfighter's place in the mix surfaced during a
February "Corona" meeting of the Air Force's most senior leaders and at an
air warfare symposium in Florida.
"We need to find out more about information operations," said Gen. Hal
Hornburg, chief of Air Combat Command, at the latter event. "There are
elements of information operations which in a very fundamental way scare
Hornburg suggests that IO be separated into three components: manipulation
of public perception, computer network attack and electronic warfare. For
the present, only the last should be assigned to the warfighter, he said.
"What I'm interested in is nonkinetic solutions to basic kinetic
requirements," such as destroying armored ground forces, he said.
Another problem facing the U.S. is its overstretched tanker forces. So many
tankers are involved in keeping the air bridge from the U.S. to Europe,
Turkey and the Middle East intact that Air Force planners don't believe
they can keep the flow of airlifters moving and at the same time conduct
"24-hr. operations over the battlefield in Iraq," the Air Force official
said. "Supporting the logistics bridge could delay the start date of an
Moving into the Middle East, and also putting strain on the tanker force,
are recently activated Air National Guard F-16 units specialized for ground
attack. "The tankers are really being stretched," he said. In anticipation
of an agreement with the Turkish government, combat units and C-17s have
been pouring out of Germany and into eastern Turkey, many of them under the
guise of reinforcements and replacements for units enforcing the no-fly
zone over northern Iraq.
Jumper claimed responsibility for arming Predator unmanned aircraft, even
though they were used only by the Central Intelligence Agency in
Afghanistan and Yemen. Jumper said the assets are available to whoever can
use them, and the missile-armed, unmanned aircraft are staged for more use
"I have them ready to go," he said. "I did put Hellfire on the Predator so
we would have options to deal with fleeting targets of the type I saw in
Kosovo. I'm not jealous about its use. We will provide it to the nation
wherever the nation needs it."
Jumper also referred to a proposed plan to split UAV use between the Air
Force and Navy.
"[In] some of the work I'm doing with [Chief of Naval Operations Adm.] Vern
Clark and the U.S. Navy, we're talking about squadrons of [unmanned]
airplanes, Global Hawks and the like that might have U.S. Navy on one side
and U.S. Air Force on the other."
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