Chinese Information Warfare: A Phantom Menace or Emerging Threat?
Authored by Mr. Toshi Yoshihara. | November 2001
In recent years, China has demonstrated an intense fascination with information warfare (IW). The potential advances in Chinese IW doctrine and capabilities have direct implications for U.S. national security. The ability of China to conduct information warfare against the United States in peacetime, confrontation, or conflict could pose severe challenges to defense planners. Yet, American understanding of China?s approaches to IW within the academic and defense communities remain shallow. This lack of understanding, both stemming from the extreme secrecy surrounding China?s military programs in general and the nascent stage of development in IW in particular, could invite ugly strategic and operational surprises for the United States.
As an initial step to clarify the future direction of Chinese IW and to identify new areas for further research, this monograph explores Chinese perspectives of information warfare through a sampling of the burgeoning open literature circulating in China. The monograph provides a preliminary assessment of these Chinese writings and analysis. It demonstrates some linkages and parallels to America?s current debates on IW, the Soviet-U.S. competition, Clausewitz?s classic dictums, and Chinese strategic culture. The monograph concludes with implications of future developments in Chinese IW for American policy.