USMA Research Unit Affiliation
Army Cyber Institute, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Information warfare is generally understood as “actions taken to affect adversary information and information systems, while defending one’s own information and information systems.” In this paper, a theory is introduced that China is currently executing a patient and deceptive form of information warfare that redefines the boundaries of Western definitions of the concept. China’s efforts are designed to advance its economic state, maintain its national unity, significantly improve its technological and military capabilities, and increase its regional and global influence -- all with minimal or no fighting and without alarming the West. This theory is supported by diverse sources that relate directly to China’s grand strategy and strategic heritage.
China is emerging as the United States’ primary rival in the 21stCentury. In spite of this formidable competitor, American comprehension of China’s strategic heritage, grand strategy, and the role of information warfare in support of that strategy is gravely insufficient. This work presents summaries of China’s strategic heritage and grand strategy, and then proposes how China is currently using information warfare based on its strategic heritage to achieve its national interests. China’s view of America as an adversary and appropriate comparisons to America’s strategic heritage and America’s information warfare doctrine are also included. It is stressed throughout the paper that American analysis does not fully comprehend the strong impact that Eastern strategic heritage is having on China’s actions.