2014-12-17 Ed Timperlake has focused the attention of politicians, analysts and the Second Line of Defense team upon the growing significance of information war.
As we reach the end of 2014, Second Line of Defense would like to highlight this key challenge, one that we intend to focus attention on in the year ahead.
What follows are excerpts from several pieces by Timperlake which highlights the challenge as well as ways to deal with the challenge as well.
The Need for Information War Informed Combat Capability
Too often cyber tactical maneuvers become equated with information war; they are not. It is crucial to counter, and to shape the information terrain of a 21st century battlespace. Information war (IW) means just that present who the enemy is, what they are capable of doing and what the consequences of inaction means to all Americans.
Russia and China have clients, the US has Allies which help tremendously in both combat and IW.
“Find- Fix – Finish” is usually a term used more often in the context of counterterrorism but even though ISIS is also parading conventional weapons in Iraq and declaring they are the army of a state or Caliphate, they are also vicious terrorists.
ISIS flags representing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or if one prefers ISIL, Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, are beginning to be seen in Gaza, Europe, and now in front of White House.
The threat is so great that the Dutch have brilliantly acted in IW to quickly outlaw the ISIS flag.
Europe, US and Israel have to be very worried about the world-wide terrorism capability of ISIS especially if they get a nuke.
The world cannot let Iran develop a working nuclear bomb because even with a very low probability of ISIS getting one from Iran the horror is beyond comprehension.
Israeli actions against Hamas are part of the overall conflict.
Military Israel, in addition to developing the Iron Dome ultimately for proliferation to the free world, the IDF will be also be attacking ISIL in Gaza and that is a very good thing. ISIS partnering with Hamas will change the entire narrative. This is doubly true as the US military begins to attack ISIS in Iraq.
Free democratic countries willing to fight and engage in direct combat to help stop demonstrated pure evil should be honored not condemned. Eventually in these dark days the US Presidential action against ISIS in Iraq, late as it is, along with Israel taking a stand in Gaza will be seen and applauded by future historians.
The US has had a late start but it is now time to put a stop to ISIS by the President using our 2014 technology and resulting combat capabilities.
It is also way past time for US to engage in IW to help Israel by throwing a significant public “penalty flag” against condemnations of Israel with no consideration for the context, and the use of Gaza citizens by Hamas terrorists as combat fodder.
Information War, North Korea and Hollywood
Whether you love or hate the individuals involved in creating movies, in what is known as the Hollywood Dream Factory, they have been a tremendous global force for good for America. American-made movies have moved the world in a very positive way. Regardless of the subject, they are the best efforts of the creativity of our society to flourish while taking significant financial risks. Their efforts are totally protected by a vibrant First Amendment.
The fact that a psychopathic leader and unbalanced killer Kim Jong-Un, the Dear Leader of North Korea, has taken offense at a fictional movie called The Interview deserves a USMC “good on-em” for all involved…..
There is an apparent information war against all that is open and decent in the world by a very evil individual, Kim Jung-Un the Dear Leader of North Korea, who is in a psychopathic class by himself. Make no mistake the Dear Leader has Nuclear Teeth.
However it now it looks like perhaps he is employing softer power in cyber based information war and he is being aided and abetted by some of his or allied hackers.
It is yet to be determined if in fact the Dear Leader is responsible, but executives in Hollywood have a huge chit with President Obama they can call on to find out. I have been extremely critical of Hollywood executives for inappropriately using the First Lady and US Military as props for their own purpose:
“Putting her (First Lady) up on the stage to award an Oscar is fine. However, putting uniformed military behind her is coming up, maybe perhaps crossing the line where you’re using active duty military in their dress uniform as a prop … for commercial purposes,” Timperlake said.
However against this hack attack, all involved have every right to actually demand real action from our Commander-in-Chief. It is not a First Amendment issue, it is actually Economic Espionage against American interests, and in violation of the 1996 Economic Espionage Act:
(a) In General.— Whoever, intending or knowing that the offense will benefit any foreign government, foreign instrumentality, or foreign agent, knowingly—
(1) steals, or without authorization appropriates, takes, carries away, or conceals, or by fraud, artifice, or deception obtains a trade secret;
(2) without authorization copies, duplicates, sketches, draws, photographs, downloads, uploads, alters, destroys, photocopies, replicates, transmits, delivers, sends, mails, communicates, or conveys a trade secret;
(3) receives, buys, or possesses a trade secret, knowing the same to have been stolen or appropriated, obtained, or converted without authorization;
(4) attempts to commit any offense described in any of paragraphs (1) through (3); or
(5) conspires with one or more other persons to commit any offense described in any of paragraphs (1) through (3), and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy,
shall, except as provided in subsection (b), be fined not more than $5,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both.
(b) Organizations.— Any organization that commits any offense described in subsection (a) shall be fined not more than the greater of $10,000,000 or 3 times the value of the stolen trade secret to the organization, including expenses for research and design and other costs of reproducing the trade secret that the organization has thereby avoided.
Rather than flail against the First Amendment get President Obama, the AG and US Government Counterintelligence agents actively engaged in determining if the Dear Leader is in a criminal conspiracy in violation of the Economic Espionage Act.
As a political appointee of President Ronald Reagan, who was a previous President of the Screen Actors Guild I suspect he would strongly defend his fellow actors and all others involved, loyalty was his code.
If a violation of the law is determined, prosecute, and if victorious, attach any North Korean assets for damages, especially ships and cargos on the high seas. It would be a real hoot to see Hollywood Executives and Movie Stars take ownership of the Dear Leader’s commercial ships.
ISIS and Information War: Shaping the Battlespace
A neglected aspect of the ISIS assault is in the domain of information warfare.
IW is even more central to US capability than is cybersecurity.
Yet IW remains in the fallow ground, while US and Western competitors hone their skills.
Is ISIS winning or losing?
ISIS is doing everything they can through twitter and other means to project an inevitability about “their” victory; indeed, who is the “they”?
ISIS is projecting themselves as a state actor not a non-state actor. Accepting this assertion is tantamount to accepting them as a legitimate force, which they clearly are not.
The ISIS are playing the game of trying to position themselves as an inevitable force, something akin to a rock rolling down the mountain. We see regular “press” releases from ISIS forces via the social media, but a key element of the ability to dominate the battlespace and to defeat ISIS is in the world of ideas.
ISIS is a brutal force which asserts that only themselves have the right to rule in the Middle East and beyond.
We can call them extremist; but that is not enough. We need to engage in the battle of ideas as well for it is Western secularism and tolerance which is the enemy, not “Jews” or “Christians,” Shiites or Sunni; it is about power dominance via exploiting ideological purity and mobilization of the “faithful” to achieve the purity of rule desired by the ISIS leadership and followers.
Conducting an Information War Against Islamic Extremists
ISIS is a brutal force, which asserts that only they have the right to rule in the Middle East and beyond.
We can call them extremist; but that is not enough.
We need to engage in the battle of ideas as well for it is Western secularism and tolerance which is the enemy, not “Jews” or “Christians,” Shiites or Sunni; it is about power dominance via exploiting ideological purity and mobilization of the “faithful” to achieve the purity of rule desired by the ISIS leadership and followers…..
in IW against ISIS agnostics and atheists have to be taken into account. For some all religion and references to God is pure fairy tale fiction. It is not to say they would see ISIS, a religious force, also being a very real secular threat. It is just a religious message on the bases of a higher moral authority might not resonate.
So the dilemma can be simply put: how to craft a unifying message that can establish common ground for action against Islamic fanatics targeting western secularism and tolerance?
Such a message would need to unify Christians Jews and atheists and even allow Muslims to agree with and that is the crux of the IW battle.
On January 6 1941 President Franklin Roosevelt gave his State-of-the-Union Speech and he brilliantly articulated “The Four Freedom Speech
- Freedom of Speech
- Freedom of Worship
- Freedom from Want
- Freedom from Fear
America was not yet at war, but Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia and Imperial Japan were all showing their abject hatred personified by the word Freedom. The genius of President Roosevelt’s speech is that it was not a battle cry for war it was a statement of principle for all humanity to rally around.
It is a perfect list to capture the goals of why a Nation and people can and should fight to defend four elegant and essential freedoms that can make the world a better place.
Just identifying and reaching back to The Four Freedoms is not enough.
Instead use it as a simple litmus test.
Every organization and person mentioned above including atheists in understanding the horror and goals of Islamic fundamentalism can embrace the Four Freedoms, it is in their DNA.
The critical test is what do with Islamic Organization who wish to send a message of peace and their agreement with The Four Freedoms.
A very simple test has just been identified by a very powerful and successful world class PR Firm Burson-Marsteller LLC who have arranged to represent for a fee the Ennahda Party of Tunisia:
Just released government filings reveal that the PR agency has been hired to improve the foreign image of Tunisia’s Ennahda Party, the Muslim Brotherhood of Tunisia. They will “arrange meetings betweenEnnahdha representatives and stakeholders” and provide Ennahda “support on media and stakeholder outreach in advance of upcoming elections.”
A simple question, which would clarify the situation can be posed and answered:
Would the Ennahada Party accept the Four Freedoms? Would Iran? Hamas? Hezbollah? The Islamic Society of Boston?
Would CARE, The Council on America-Islamic Relations “Making Democracy Work for Everyone” support ALL Four Freedoms?
If CARE would just do that it would be a tremendous IW victory against fanaticism in whatever form it takes.
Let an IW battle begin in support of the Four Freedoms and let a public record be established.