PLA Senior Colonels On Globalism And New Tactics: "Unrestricted Warfare": Part III

A January 2000 report from U.S. Embassy Beijing

Summary: Two PLA senior colonels argue that The high tech aspects of the new warfare get the most attention yet what will win future wars will be superior tactics and especially the imaginative combination of tactics and technologies. The emphasis on producing these innovations by imaginative recombination of tactics, technologies and realms of action in the new era of Globalism may well be the principal innovation of the authors of "Unrestricted Warfare". Close examination of footnotes shows that some of the authors' views are inspired by work done in the United States. Therefore, as U.S. readers examine Chinese work in this area, they should avoid getting trapped in an information warfare Hall of Mirrors. The authors argue that globalism and the expansion of national security definitions have made subnational actors such as terrorists the concern of national military forces. The appendix shows how Chinese information security concerns are also driving decisions on the development of PRC commercial encryption rules and the development of the Red Flag Linux operating system. End summary.

Summary Translations: "Unrestricted Warfare" by PLA Senior Colonels

This is the third part of a four part series of summary translations of the February 1999 book "Unrestricted Warfare" by two PLA senior colonels. All four parts are now available on the U.S. Embassy web page at

Warfare For the Age of Globalism: Unrestricted Warfare

Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui, the two PLA Air Force Senior Colonels who wrote "Unrestricted Warfare", examine in considerable depth the strategies, tactics and technologies needed to meet the security threats of the future. They see these threats coming largely not from foreign countries but from subnational actors such as terrorists, hackers and rogue financiers. The two senior colonels take great care to place their discussion of military strategy into their geopolitical vision of a developing multipolar world. Some characterize the Chinese gloss on globalism as statements (on bad days) opposing U.S. hegemonism and (on good days) on working towards a more stable, multipolar world in which big powers are effectively constrained by the international community.

There is a close parallel in the economic arena. Intellectual Property Bureau Vice Director Ma Linyuan said recently that a great benefit China will obtain from WTO entry is a change in the rules of trade relations. Rules would become multilateral WTO rules and no longer be subject to the capriciousness of bilateral relations. Vice Director Ma's comments were broadcast throughout China on CCTV 4 and worldwide by satellite on a mid January episode of the "China Report" [Zhongguo Baodao] television program.

Senior Colonel Qiao Liang made this point in a Summer 1999 Washington Post interview that was recounted in a January 4, 2000 Beijing Youth Daily article. Senior Colonel Qiao Liang, responding to a question whether China could accept a world in which the U.S. was the dominant military power, said to the Washington Post interviewer, "You Americans established a government with three separate branches to prevent tyranny but what are you giving to the world? Why can't you give democracy and freedom to the world? Now, I am not saying that everything the U.S. does is wrong, but if you do something wrong, who is capable of correcting you?" After the Spring NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, some Chinese press reports expressed concern that a theory of human rights trumping national sovereignty might one day be used to justify a foreign intervention in Chinese affairs.

More Co-operation in An "Unrestricted Warfare" World?

The authors discuss "Unrestricted Warfare" in the context of increasing globalism. They see the main security threat to states coming not from other states but from subnational actors. One might conclude from this that the age of unrestricted warfare would lead to increased international and military-to-military cooperation rather than confrontation. U.S. government efforts to improve U.S. information security are well reported and closely followed in China. U.S. Embassy Beijing officers hear from Chinese government counterparts that more U.S. - China cooperation in addressing civilian information security is welcome. [reftels D and E] Such contacts can be beneficial for both the United States and China as both come to better understand the information security intentions and concerns of the other.

The Colonels Question Assumptions, Demand Clear Thinking

The two PLA Air Force senior colonels "Unrestricted Warfare" gives the big picture in considerable depth. Like good philosophers, the two senior colonels aim to turn implicit assumptions into explicit statements. The unexamined war is not worth fighting. We see this stress on making explicit what was implicit in their questioning of the boundaries of conventional warfare. We can see it in their demand that military thinkers not combine elements unconsciously but do so explicitly. Examination of the footnotes indicates that military and geopolitical thinking of U.S. military and geopolitical thinkers such as Steven Metz and Zbigniew Brzenski often inspires the authors.

How Much of the Book is Derivative, How Much Original?

Evaluating the proportion of "Unrestricted Warfare" that is derivative of foreign work and the portion that is original is difficult. Even where the work is derivative, the authors by their treatment of the issues in considerable depth, have clearly made these ideas their own. One clue to how the authors built upon the work of their predecessors is to be found in the footnotes (summarized below) to the book which refer extensively to work by U.S. military theorists and U.S. Department of Defense documents.

Another way to judge the originality of the book is to compare it to earlier works. A search of the worldwide web from Beijing turned up many articles on "Unrestricted Warfare" themes such as the revolution in military affairs and information warfare by military and academic theorists of the United States and other countries. Some of these writings are on U.S. military and academic websites. One article the two senior colonels read especially closely was "Strategy and the Revolution in Military Affairs -- From Theory to Policy" (June 1995) by Steven Metz and James Kievit of the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute. This article can be found in full text on the website of the DoD Defense Technical Information Center at Chinese readers unaware of the extensive Western literature may overestimate the originality of "Unrestricted Warfare". U.S. high tech warfare abilities demonstrated in the Gulf War highly impressed the Chinese military. Since then, various Chinese books (for example Information War [Xinxi Zhanzheng (11/98) and The Digital Army [Shuzihua Budui] from the PLA Publishing House and other books mentioned in the first summary (reftel A) and a recent FBIS report (reftel F) and periodicals have focused on high tech warfare. "Unrestricted Warfare" may be the first Chinese book, however, to provide such a broad perspective on the implications of the revolution in military affairs. Western readers may not appreciate the considerable philosophic depth and originality, in particular in its critique of the excesses of U.S. high tech enthusiasm, its discussion of the combination of elements and its insistence that the even more than new technologies what is needed is a new, broader way of thinking.

Will the New Warfare Increase Fears, Spur An Arms Race?

Chinese concerns about the new warfare rose sharply through the 1990s with first the Gulf War and then the war in Kosovo. Their reservations about humanitarian interventions in Kosovo, especially after the NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, may be driven by a fear of what they see as increasing U.S. unilateralism. Initiatives taken by the U.S. in the light of the "revolution in military affairs" to improve its defense capabilities and to reform its armed forces may not always be seen as benign by the Chinese. U.S. press reports about U.S. government efforts to reduce its vulnerability to information warfare and to improve the capabilities of its forces are regularly picked up in the Chinese media.

Metz and Kievit on the Information Warfare Hall of Mirrors

This reaction was in fact predicted by Metz and Kievit in their 1995 article "Strategy and the Revolution in Military Affairs -- From Theory to Policy". They wrote, "In considering the response of other states, policymakers and defense planners consistently overlook or ignore the fact that U.S. power can be intimidating....Why, foreign leaders ask, would the world's only superpower seek radical improvement of its armed forces in the absence of a clear threat? ....But if the United States unilaterally pursues the revolution in military affairs, other states will respond whether symmetrically or asymmetrically. In turn, knowing the benign intentions of the United States, American leaders and planners will consider this threatening. Why, they will ask, would other states seek to improve their military capability unless contemplating aggression? The result may be a spiral of mutual misperception and a new arms race, albeit a qualitative rather than a quantitative one."

Chinese Officials Acutely Aware of InfoSec Vulnerabilities

Chinese government orders and official statements over the last year show that Chinese officials are very concerned about Chinese vulnerabilities in an "Unrestricted Warfare" world. Many articles during 1999 warned that imported (largely U.S. sourced) hardware and software may include backdoors that could enable foreigners to threaten Chinese national security.

Backdoors: U.S. Privacy Concerns = PRC Security Concerns

As hardware and software complexity increases, there is a growing risk that intruders may find novel ways of combining the functionalities of what are to the users opaque proprietary black boxes. Intruders can thus threaten the personal privacy of a user or even, in a setting, a nation's security. Increasing complexity boosts hardware and software development costs yet their duplication costs given commercial economies of scale continue to plummet. Thus national militaries have an ever more difficult time in achieving the functionality they need at a reasonable cost without using civilian products. Press interviews with leading Chinese engineers regularly make the point that China needs to develop its own proprietary intellectual property -- including an operating system and microprocessors. Red Flag Linux has been mentioned in the Chinese press as a potential operating system solution for China. There are however several other Chinese-language versions of the free Linux operating system on the market such as Red Hat Linux and Turbo Linux. For more on Chinese concerns of foreign domination of its software market, see the summary of the January 7, 2000 Yangcheng Wanbao article in Appendix Two.

Pentium, Windows, Large Foreign IT Market Share Fears

In Summer 1999, the PRC Ministry of Information Industry (MII) ordered that Chinese government offices should not use the Pentium II chip. Controversies in the United States about the ID feature of the Pentium II and of supposed back doors in the Microsoft Windows operating system have been well-reported in China and have aroused concerns. Ninety-five percent of the desktop operating systems used in China are Microsoft products. Although former Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has been almost a folk hero in China -- he may be the best known private American in China after Michael Jordan -- this is changing. A combination of increased threat perception and reporting on the anti-monopoly action brought by the U.S. Justice Department seems to have increased the view that the large market shares of Microsoft and Intel threaten Chinese national security. Just as perhaps U.S. government and military would be unwilling to rely on Chinese-made hardware and software, so too does the Chinese government and military have concerns about over reliance on U.S. products in some sensitive areas.

PRC Info Vulnerability: The Commercial Dimension

Another aspect of China's growing vulnerability is its over ten million Internet users. Educating this very large number of new computer users to take information security seriously will require years. Chinese Public Security warned of the CIH computer virus six months before it disabled tens of thousands of PRC computers. But nobody listened. The project to put the Chinese government online project [Zhengfu Shangwang Gongcheng] has increased the number of Chinese government departments and agencies in the domain from 45 in early 1999 to over 2400 in January 2000. Electronic commerce, although hindered by credit clearance and distribution problems, is growing. The commercial encryption rules announced in October reflect information and national security concerns in the commercial area. See the translation of the October 17 People's Daily by He Dequan, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering in Appendix One.

PRC Info Vulnerability: The Political Dimension

The Chinese government tries to block with limited success the use of the Internet by dissidents, would-be political parties and the Falun Gong in a kind of information skirmish (ref G). Chinese hackers in China have websites upon which various hacker tools and methods for cracking anti-piracy features (such as passwords) of proprietary software are discussed and exchanged. While hackers were praised in the Chinese press as "Red Hackers" for attacks on NATO computers in the Spring, stories of police pursuit of hackers appear regularly in the Chinese press. According to one U.S. press report, some attacks on Falun Gong sites in the United States were traced back to the PRC Ministry of State Security. Chinese Public Security in 1996 established a computer crimes section. The Chinese Internet offers much to China as a wide inexpensive channel for scientific and technical information. Despite irritations from what some officials see as an overly rich diet of foreign political and cultural information entering China, Chinese official see the Internet as essential to building the Chinese "information economy" of the future.

Summary Translation -- Unrestricted Warfare Part Three
Subheads are added for the reader's convenience

On New Tactics

Just as water has no fixed shape there is no one best military tactic. Varying tactics according to your enemy to bring victory is best. – Sun Zi

Command in battle is like a physician caring for a patient. It is an art. – Fuller

U.S. Thinking Focuses on High Tech, Slights Tactics

The revolution in military affairs theory is so popular among military theorists today that it is really something like a fad -- like the popularity of Michael Jordan among basketball fans. It seems to be just another instance of Americans doing what they are so good at: packaging a fad and selling it to the entire world. Although many countries are concerned about and resist the American cultural invasion, they seem to have accepted American thinking on military questions hook, line and sinker. Former U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry, when asked what are the most important results and theories of the U.S. revolution in military affairs, answered, "Of course it is stealth technology and information technology." For Perry and for most military thinking, if technology can tell a soldier "what lies beyond the next hill", the military revolution is complete. [pp. 121 – 122]

This view encapsulates the strengths and weaknesses of the Americans. They believe that the technology revolution and the military revolution are the same thing and have sold this view to the world. This misunderstanding on the part of the Americans has sown much confusion in world military circles. Some Chinese have also become entranced by the slogan "Use high technology to create a modern military."

National Militaries Are No Longer the Main Security Threat

The military technology revolution is the foundation. Yet the revolution in military affairs is more than just technology and the reorganization of the military. Both political and military leaders tend to become set in their thinking. They tend to see the greatest threat to national security in the military capacity of an enemy or potential enemy country. But the lesson of the last decade of the Twentieth Century is that this is no longer the chief threat to national security.

The New Warfare Is Often Waged by Subnational Actors

The old types of wars were about territorial and nationality disputes, religious conflicts and quarrels over spheres of influence. These old causes of war are increasingly seen blended together with newer economic elements -- disputes over resources, markets, the control of capital, and trade sanctions. Some observers would say that these are not wars at all, while some others might call them quasi-wars. But the damage they cause in the area of attack is just as bad as in a war. We need only to reflect on the names of people like George Soros, Bin Laden, and Escobar to see that this is true. [pp. 123 - 124]

Groups such as Muslim extremists, Colombian drug cartels, and Italian gangsters can form a kind of military force that uses guns, aircraft, poison gas, biological weapons, and computer networks to achieve their objectives. States, based as they are on territory, now have to face a challenge that does not come from another well-defined territorial state but from many dimensions. For example the economic attack from speculators that Thailand suffered or the military and financial attacks upon Iraq.

With the end of the Cold War and the emergence of the United States as the only Superpower, we see that the United States has also become the country with the most enemies and the one that gets the most threats. For example for the past several years U.S. Department of Defense evaluations of potential national security threats has not been confined to just countries but also includes terrorists movements and anarchists. These subnational actors threaten to overthrow allied countries, threaten U.S. prosperity and economic growth, conduct the illegal trade in drugs and commit international crimes.

Globalism Brings Much Broader National Security Definitions

Not just the United States, but all countries have extended the modern concept of sovereignty to politics, economics, resources, nationalities, religion, culture, computer networks, the environment and outer space. This changes the concept of national sovereignty to a broader one that includes a wide range of national interests including political security, economic security, cultural security, and information security.

Strategy Key: Imaginative Combination of Diverse Elements

This broader conception leads also to a focus on grand strategies that encompass not only the military but also economics, culture, diplomacy, technology, the environment, resources, and nationalities. This can even be seen in Chinese philosophy: "The Dao gives birth to the first, the first to the second, the second to the third as so to the Ten Thousand Things [everything]. No matter whether it is two or three, it is all a matter of combining individual elements. With combination comes diversity, variability and flexibility. The multiplication of possible tactics has made the role of individual weapons less and less and so has expanded the modern concept of war. [p. 125 - 128]

Footnotes Reveal Chinese Reflections on U.S. Sources

[Note: Footnotes -- "When Military Sciences Academy researcher Col. Chen Bojiang visited the United States he visited some Americans in military circles. Chen asked [former U.S. Secretary of Defense] Perry, "What is the most important result and theoretical breakthrough for the military revolution of the U.S. forces?" Perry answered, "The most important breakthrough is stealth technology... but inventions in communications technology are just as important...These communications technologies will answer the question of the 21st Century soldier -- what lies beyond the next hill?" Progress has been very slow on that question for centuries. Over the past decade rapid progress has been made on it." as quoted in the November 1998 Chinese National Defense University Journal [Guofang Daxue Xuebao]. Perry, an engineering professor at Stanford University, looks at the revolution in military affairs from a purely technological perspective.

[Continued: References are also made to "Strategy and the Revolution in Military Affairs -- From Theory to Policy" (June 1995) by Steven Metz and James Kievit of the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute

(available at; U.S. Secretary of Defense reports for the fiscal years 1996, 1997, and 1998; the "Four Year Defense Audit Report" released by DoD in May 1997; the 1997 U.S. DoD report "National Military Strategy of the United States", and the 1997 issue (no. 16) of Comparative Strategy. End note]

Everything Changes: Proud U.S. Victors May Be Overly Rigid

Everything -- technologies, weapons, and security concepts -- is changing rapidly. Non-military tactics and personnel are taking part in war and the scope of war is expanding. No-one has ever seen a future war. The closest thing to future wars is to be seen in the wars between digitized U.S. armies at the Owens National Training Center. Victors don't like to change what brought victory in the last war. Yet American generals know that winning the next war won't be as simple as the Desert Storm victory. From the U.S. publication "Strategic Concept for Joint Forces in the Year 2010" and "Tomorrow's Army" we can see what the U.S. believes war will be like then. The reliance of the U.S. on a certain conception of the battles of the future may just be a blind spot for them.

U.S. Errors: Might Makes Right, Still Fighting Cold War

All the rapid changes in U.S. defense policy, the evolution in its strategic thinking, and the statements of its military leaders that war is the ultimate method for resolving international conflicts. And so U.S. military thinkers prepare the U.S. forces to win two simultaneous wars. Yet how many U.S. leaders realize as General Powell did that "Cold War type battles will never recur" and that the U.S. is putting its resources in the wrong place?

Globalism, High Tech Replaces Military Threat By New Ones

At the close of the century we can see the spread of non-proliferation agreements, the increasing role of the United Nations troops, and efforts to inhibit military arms races and interventions by UN and regional groups in local wars. This process is reducing the military threat to national security. However rapid technological change is increasing the high tech threat from non-traditional areas. This tend is marginalizing old conceptions of national security and security structures.

U.S. Military Retreating From Full Spectrum Warfare Concept

The U.S military does not seem to realize that the conventional military national security threat is declining even as the non-military threat is increasing. The U.S. Department of Defense "National Defense Report" made this same point several years running. The U.S. military is passing off responsibilities in the non-combat military operations to the CIA and the FBI. In this can be seen the retreat of the U.S. military from the full spectrum military and non-combat military operations concept. [p. 136]

Military Non-Combat Ops in Kosovo, But Not Non-Military War

The U.S. military is fighting unemployment. Every since the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. military has been looking for a cause to enable it to escape unemployment. Therefore the U.S. military from the generals down to the foot soldiers prepare for victory in a large-scale war. If someday the U.S. military and the U.S. Congress see that there is no war to be fought between two great armies they will feel lost. The solution is that if there is no enemy one must be created. We can see this in the Kosovo conflict that the U.S. engaged in. The U.S. military extended its concept to non-combat military operations but it is not willing to take the next step to the more fertile concept of non-military war that is now coalescing.

U.S. Poorly Prepared, Organized for Non-Military War Threat

Strangely, a big country like the United States even as it is faced with an ever larger non-military warfare threat it has not established an integrated strategy and command for fighting terrorism. Forty-nine U.S. ministries and agencies have responsibility for fighting terrorism. The situation in other countries is about the same. The U.S. spends USD 7 billion on anti-terrorist activities –- just one-thirty-fifth of is USD 250 billion military budget.

War Without Gunpowder is Hard For Soldiers to Accept

Even as humanity devotes more and more effort to maintaining peace, more and more of the technologies surrounding us in everyday life are becoming weapons with which to maim and kill. We can see this in computer viruses, financial opportunism in finance, religious extremism and faith, trade protectionism and free economies, information barriers and information freedom, technological monopolies and open technologies. A war can break out in any of these areas. Although one can’t smell the gunpowder they do meet the definition of warfare which is fought to compel and opponent to satisfy one’s own interests. This is warfare that goes far beyond the conventional definition of warfare. No soldier is prepared for this yet all soldiers must face this reality. [pp. 135 – 138]

Where the Rules are Broken or Break Down

Rules Are Different For Big and Small Countries

Over thousands of years humanity has tried to domesticate war, that ferocious beast. We can see that in the Geneva Convention and in the United Nations. Rules operate differently for big countries and small countries. Countries obey rules if it suits their interests. Small countries hope that the rules will protect their interests while large countries want to use the rules to control other countries. If a small country disobeys the rules, a large country might intervene in the role of a law enforcer. An example is the U.S. intervention in Panama when the U.S. brought the head of state of a foreign nation to stand trial in the United States. Or India ignoring the Test Ban Treaty or annexing Sikkim. Or Iraq annexing Kuwait.

Non-State Actors Are Not Constrained By Borders or Rules

We see now the rise of non-state actors like the hackers who attacked the Indian national defense computer network after India’s nuclear tests and the rich Muslim Bin Laden’s terrorist attacks against the United States in the Middle East. Non-state actors don’t feel constrained by national boundaries, international or national laws or other rules. By hacker here it means people who use the Internet to steal information, change documents, distribute viruses, divert funds, or destroy programs. Yet even people who don’t intend to cause problems can cause a great deal of damage. The classic example is Robert Morris who distributed a virus program over the Internet in 1988. The rise of malicious hackers is a greater threat to the United States than to any other country.

Terrorist A-Bombs Much More Dangerous Than State A-Bombs

Terrorist organizations and religious cults have learned how to use banks and legitimate corporations to cover their activities. Financial speculators although they aren’t usually considered to be terrorists, have created havoc in many parts of the world. In its international, hidden, and rule-breaking character and in the great destruction they cause, the vast daily international capital flows mobilized by speculators have all the classic signs of terrorist activities. Terrorists don’t follow rules. A terrorist with nuclear weapons is much more dangerous than any state with nuclear weapons. For Islamic terrorists like Bin Laden, for George Soros who hides behind the free market, and for hackers hiding in computer networks there are no borders and no rules.

Sometimes You Have to Break the Rules: Fighting Terrorism

This new terrorism is an unprecedented challenge to the present world order but it also makes us question the reasonableness of that world order. We need to stop the rule breakers but we also need to change some of the rules. To fight the people who break the rules, states also need to break the rules. We can see some signs of this in the U.S. using cruise missiles to attack terrorists and in the Hong Kong governments use of foreign currency reserves and administrative regulations [note: to fight speculators]. Yet these countermeasures by states have been unimaginative and weak. But in the end, the best teacher of the government of the world are those old-style terrorists who for the sake of their cause have no compunctions about using any tactic at all. [pp. 139 – 146]

The Marshal's Cocktail

Past Military Geniuses Combined Elements to Win

King Wu of the Zhou Dynasty and Alexander the Great has this in common: they could effectively combine several disparate elements on the battlefield to win victory. Although the combination of various kinds of forces and technologies came to the fore in the Cold War, it has been important throughout the history of warfare. Although combination was not an explicit concept, we can see it from the chariots and armored soldiers of Zhou to Alexander's creative combination of cavalry and infantry formations through the tactics of Gustavus Adolphus (who combined soldiers with the lance with riflemen to provide cover to the latter) and Napoleon down to Desert Storm. In Desert Storm the sea, air, ground, space, and electronic forces and resources of thirty countries were combined. The lesson of three thousand year of warfare is that the best organized side wins.

High Tech Provides Many New Elements to Mix in War Cocktail

Now the scope of war is expanding to include many elements that were not part of warfare before. The addition of each element that was never a part of warfare before can transform the battlefield, change the way wars are fought or even bring about a revolution in military affairs. Just consider new elements that entered warfare in the past: smokeless gunpowder, the field telephone, radio, submarines, tanks, airplanes, guided missiles, atomic bombs, computers, non-lethal weaponry. Or tactical elements such as the organization of forces, blitzkrieg, and carpet bombing.

Over the past twenty years the introduction of new, heretofore non-military elements such as information technology, computer viruses, the Internet, and financial manipulation tools make it difficult to foresee what the wars of the future will be like.

Combination of Tactics, Technologies Too Often Unconscious

Yet still for most of the soldiers of today the combination of elements is something they still do unconsciously. And the combinations they do make are limited to the areas of weapons, formations and tactics. Only an extraordinary military leader is able to bring it all together. Yet in the wars of the future it will not just be a few geniuses but all soldiers who will be combining force elements in novel ways both broadly and in depth. [pp. 146 - 151]

Winning By Combining Elements

The Whole Is Greater Than the Sum of the Parts: Choosing Elements to Combine

We already know that warfare is no longer what it was. To a very large extent, warfare is not "warfare" but takes forms such as the contention of opposing forces on the Internet, confrontations in the mass media, attack and defense on the foreign exchange and futures markets. The "enemy" may not be whom we thought of as the enemy before; the weapons may not be the weapons of the past, and the battlefield is not the battlefield of the past. Everything is uncertain. Adding elements is the art of making combinations. The key is understanding how one plus one can be more than two. Many of the people who ignore this fact claim to be using combination of elements on the battlefield. Yet they are not combining tactic with tactic, weapon with weapon etc. The key is knowing just what to combine with what.

The Key to the Revolution in Military Affairs is Clear Thinking

We need to combine war and non-war, and battlefield with the off-the-battlefield, the concrete with the theory, and the stealth aircraft with the guided missile. Weapon must be combined with weapon and tactic combined with tactic. One and one is greater than two. A true revolution in military affairs depends upon clarity of thought. The real effect of the technological revolution in military affairs will depend upon whether its principles can be made clear and enunciated in military thinking. Many people, including many soldiers are limited by just seeing war as the battlefield and killing.

Metz and Kievit Highlighted Gap Between Thinking, Threats

The U.S. military theorists Steven Metz and James Kievit of the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute made this point in their work. They discovered a big gap between U.S. military thinking and the actual national security threats which confront the United States. Now ideology lagging behind the real world situation is certainly not a uniquely American problem, but the U.S. military is a classic case of it. They wrote "A band-width problem arises when a military force is so focused on one particular type of opponent" they might be attacked by another enemy outside their field of vision. [Note: in original text "it can be defeated by a different kind [of opponent]." End note]

Metz and Kievit properly expressed their concern about this. They wrote: "While official documents note that "the Army must expand its understanding of conflict beyond current Western paradigms," most descriptions of how the "digitized" Army of the 21st century expects to fight sound suspiciously like armored combat against the Warsaw Pact with the new technology grafted on. Yet if the U.S. forces encounter a low tech adversary, a medium tech adversary or an adversary at the same level, they might run into a problem of insufficient band-width." [pp. 153 - 155]

Narrow Band-width Thinking Exposed by Trade Center Attack

The U.S. has already run into this problem. Hacker attacks, the attack on the World Trade Center, and Bin Laden's bomb attacks all greatly exceeded the band-width understood by the U.S. military. Some non-traditional ways of thinking or ways of thinking which the military rejects offer the possibility of creating non-conventional tactics. Now a war might involve conventional military attacks.

A Combined Attack Using Non-Miitary Elements Might Win Without War

But now a combined approach might be a sneak attack by using manipulation capital flows to create a financial crisis, activating viruses installed previously on the enemy's computers combined with simultaneous hacker attacks. These attacks might cripple communications, trading, and mass media. Only then would conventional military means be gradually applied to compel the enemy to accept the will of the attackers. This strategy might even achieve victory without war.

Any battle strategy can be combined with any other. These strategies might be conventional military, quasi-military such as diplomatic attacks or computer network attacks, or non-military such as financial war or trade war.

------- Types of Warfare ------
Military Quasi-military Non-military
Nuclear Diplomatic Financial
Conventional  Network Trade
Bio/Chemical Intelligence Resources
Ecological Psychological Foreign


Space Hi Tech Legalistic
Electronic Smuggling Embargo
Guerilla Drug Warfare Media
Terrorist Simulated




Combining the Elements into a Marshal's Cocktail: Examples

For example, the U.S. strategy against Bin Laden combines state terrorism with intelligence war, financial war, network war, and war using laws and rules. The war of NATO against Yugoslavia [during early 1999] in Kosovo combined military intimidation, diplomacy, and legal tactics. Against Iraq is the combination of conventional warfare, diplomatic warfare, embargo warfare, legal warfare, media warfare, psychological warfare, and intelligence warfare. When the Hong Kong government in August 1998 fought to defend itself against financial attacks, the tactics it adopted against speculators combined financial warfare with legal warfare, psychological warfare, and media warfare. The cost was high but the Hong Kong government won. In addition there are methods like those used by Taiwan which prints large quantities of Chinese banknotes. This can be characterized as a combination of financial war and smuggling war.

Combine Elements in A Single Strategic Vision

Rapid improvements in communications technology have brought the possibility of a more effective disposition and coordination of battle elements -- and so the idea of effective combination of battle elements has become much more effective. This idea of combination works at a high level of abstraction so that it isn't directed against any one particular type of objective but rather is a kind of thinking and principle that can be applied against many types of objectives. The Song military strategist Qiu Fei said that the "secret of using tactics properly is in keeping oneself of one mind" -- [Translator's note: that is to see everything as part of a great whole. Yunyong zhe miao, chu hu yixin. End note] Only when this is understood can superior tactics be achieved. This is a simple principle. But simple principles are not the products of simple minds. [pp. 156 - 159]

[Note: Footnotes -- reference is made to the introduction to "Game Theory and Information Economy Research" (1996) by Zhang Weiying in which Zhang argues that the Cold War nuclear confrontations cannot be explained by game theory since they are basically irrational. Only as humanity moved away from this superpower confrontation towards a more rational conception of national interest were people able to exit from the "prisoner's dilemma". Now however the theory of cooperative yet competitive economics expressed in game theory has come to be important in the military arena as well. Reference is also made to a March 1997 war game between digital and conventional troops reported in the Defense News of March 17 - 23, 1997; the 1997 U.S. report "National Defense Strategy"; the Summer 1997 issue of the U.S. magazine "Strategy Review"; U.S. field order FM100-6 on "Information battle".

Appendix One: Information Security and Red Flag Linux

January 7, 2000 Yangcheng Evening News on Microsoft 2000

[Comment: The Chinese government and Microsoft denied a Reuters press service report that Microsoft 2000 would not be allowed on Chinese government computers. The Reuters report was based on a Yangcheng Wanbao report (below) that made a much narrower claim that according to "the departments concerned" Windows 2000 will not be allowed to be loaded onto the computers of important government departments. This issue aside, the Yangcheng Wanbao article has a very interesting discussion of China's information security weaknesses and how they might be addressed. One strategy is developing a Chinese operating system not controlled by foreign countries. There are at least three flavors of the free Linux operating system that popular in the PRC that have Chinese language support: Turbo Linux, Red Hat Linux and now Red Flag Linux. End comment.]

Summary Translation of Yancheng Wanbao article

The Chinese government will standardize on Red Flag Linux for its platforms. Chinese companies have tried to develop their own operating systems -- the brains of the computer -- but these efforts did not succeed for the lack of applications software. If you install someone else's "brain" you'll be sorry. Yugoslav computer systems were seriously hurt during the Kosovo war when they were attacked by NATO led by the USA. If Yugoslavia had had its own hardware and software, its losses wouldn't have been so great.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences Software Applications Institute developed Red Flag Linux 1.0 on the foundation of Linux, but improved the interface, made installation easier and increased the number of device drivers. Now the Software Applications Institute is working together with the Dafang Co.(of Beijing University). Sun Yufang, the Vice Director of the Software Applications Institute, heads the Red Flag Linux Project. Sun said that 50 million RMB had been invested in the Red Flag Linux Project. Red Flag Linux does not try to do everything but does meet the basic needs of users. The journalist noted that the Red Flag Linux interface resembled that of Windows and so is easy to use. Sun expects with the release of Linux 2.0 this year to capture 20 percent of the Chinese PC market. As the unique Chinese intellectual property part of the software increases, it won't be Red Flag Linux, it will simply be Red Flag.

Observers have noted that Microsoft's success is based on sales and management and not technology. Thus Red Flag Linux is in for a tough fight as it seeks its spot in the marketplace.


Appendix Two: Commercial Encryption and PRC National Security

The People's Daily on Commercial Encryption October 17, 1999


People's Daily October 17 p.4

(full Chinese text available at

We Must Act Immediately to Protect Our Information Security (Information Technologies Forum)

by He Dequan, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering

As we move into the Twenty First Century, information security has become a global problem. National security, the rise and fall of nations, victory and defeat are the first concerns of states and nations. Information security is linked to these issues. If we don't have information security, we cannot say that we truly have national security, or truly have political security, military security or economic security. Economics and information are daily becoming ever more global. We can see how this trends gives us new development opportunities but also severe new challenges. The United States leads the tide towards globalization and is using information hegemony to dominate the world. The United States is fostering and preparing an information deterrent and information warfare. Therefore, when we think about Chinese national security issues in the context of global strategy, we should also think of it from a political perspective.

For a long time, people have thought of information security as just the protection of the secrecy, completeness and accessibility of information. This is of course true but that concept was formed in the world of twenty years ago. We have entered the age of microcomputers and local area networks. Computers have emerged from the central computing department to office desktops and homes. The user to network connection is relatively simple, so we must rely on technology to implement security measures and require that everyone follows regulations. Therefore information security in this era is oriented towards networks and regulations. With the Internet age of the 1990s, individual users can connect to and even control computing resources connected to the Internet that are spread across the entire planet. Therefore the scope of Internet information security is greater and needs to focus more on connections and on individual users.

The combination of people, networks and environments creates a complex system. Through network protocols and exchanges, human intelligence and the rapid operating speeds of computers are integrated to become a new force of social production. This new force makes possible electronic commerce and other applications involving purchases on the Internet. The net satisfies human needs such as interpersonal communications, study, medicine, consumption, entertainment, feeling of security, and a safe environment.

It might be said that the data security concept refers to the aforementioned secrecy, completeness and accessibility aspects of security. The user security concept includes as well identification, authorization, control of visitors, resistance to denial of service and service as well as personal privacy and intellectual property rights.

Data security and user security are the core of security services of an information security system. Information security problems can be resolved using technologies and measures such as encryption, digital signatures, identity certification technology, firewalls, security audits, disaster recovery, virus protection, and anti hacker entry protection measures. Setting out from the perspectives of the historical concepts of personal security and network security, modern network security involves individual rights, the survival of enterprises, protection of financial institutions from risk, social stability and state security. Information security combines physical security, network security, data security, information content security, information infrastructure, and public information security.

Information security technology involves some antagonistic sensitive technologies. Faced with the ever incrasing need for these technology, the only solution is for China to create them for its own use.

Over the next five to ten years, we can focus our information security technology development efforts in these three areas:

-- First, develop key technologies that can be applied widely and across many types of systems that will gradually solve the present problem of inadequate information security. These include firewall technology, identification technology, commercial encryption technology, anti virus protection technology, intrusion detection technology, and security management technology. The planned development of these technologies can gradually improve the ability of China's information infrastructure to protect itself and to adapt to future security threats and environments.

-- Second, focus on original breakthrough technologies of wide applicability and then to effectively apply them so as to improve China's information security capacity. Building on the results of the 863 [note: government supported high tech development program], S-863 and State S&T Key Technologies Plan, concentrate limited resources and investment to focus on breakthroughs so as to build an industry that can provide means for managing state information security. These technologies include network detection technology, content searching technology, risk management technology, testing and evaluation technology, TEMPEST technology etc.

-- Third, strive to develop "killer" strategic technologies in order to acquire deterrence superiority and high tech winning cards in the information security area. Examples of "high cards" that China won before are the atom bomb, hydrogen bomb and satellite launches ("two bombs and a satellite"). Continually working towards progress in these strategic technologies should be a long term national strategy. The state should marshal resources and organizations to achieve these goals. Operating systems, dedicated encryption chips, and security processors fall into this category. The current operating systems, security processing chips and other components are controlled by several big Western corporations.

Over the long term, China needs to develop its own operating system. The present trend towards free software provides a good opportunity.

For dealing with the present situation, one practical measure we can adopt as to consider each component to be a black box and use control theory to achieve operational security control over each component.