MILITARY BUILDING FOR INFO WARFARE
Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate this week that the military is taking steps to improve its capabilities for countering and conducting information warfare — the use of cyberattacks and influence operations.
The Pentagon “must continue to improve its ability to exploit cyberspace as a pathway for information operations to affect adversary perceptions, decisions and actions in support of strategic ends,” Gen. Selva said in written policy statements to the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The four-star general testified at a nomination hearing for a second term as vice chairman.
“We must also enhance our ability to support allies and partner efforts to defend against and defeat adversary propaganda, misinformation and disinformation delivered in cyberspace,” he added.
The Pentagon is stepping up efforts to deal with growing Russian and Chinese information warfare capabilities that have succeeded in influencing people to support those nations’ policies.
Russian information warfare was on display in the 2016 election when cyberattacks by Russian hackers obtained sensitive information that then was disseminated on pro-Moscow news outlets.
Gen. Selva said that to counter what has been termed Russian hybrid warfare, the military is building up capabilities “to compete below the level of armed conflict to include in the diplomatic, information, and economic realms in order to in order to impose costs for disruptive Russian behavior while denying them the benefits of malign activities.”
Chinese information operations have involved efforts to play down or ignore Chinese efforts to take control of strategic waterways like the South China Sea and the East China Sea.
To counter China’s high-tech military buildup, Gen. Selva said the U.S. military is unilaterally developing capabilities to thwart China’s improved arms and forces.
Asked how the military will build up its information capabilities, Gen. Selva said effective information and cyber operations require integrating activities