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
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 http://www.usembassy-china.org.cn/english/sandt/index.html
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]
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
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 http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/research_pubs/rmastrat.pdf
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
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
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 gov.cn 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
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
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
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
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
Strategy Key: Imaginative Combination of Diverse
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
[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
(available at http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/research_pubs/rmastrat.pdf);
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
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
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
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.
Military Non-Combat Ops in Kosovo, But Not Non-Military
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
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
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
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
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
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
High Tech Provides Many New Elements to Mix in
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
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
Metz and Kievit Highlighted Gap Between Thinking,
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
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 ------
Combining the Elements into a Marshal's Cocktail:
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
January 7, 2000 Yangcheng Evening News on Microsoft
[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.
END SUMMARY TRANSLATION
Appendix Two: Commercial Encryption and PRC National
The People's Daily on Commercial Encryption October
People's Daily October 17 p.4
(full Chinese text available at http://www.peopledaily.com.cn)
We Must Act Immediately to Protect Our Information
Security (Information Technologies Forum)
by He Dequan, Academician of the Chinese Academy
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
-- 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
END TRANSLATION OF PEOPLE'S DAILY ARTICLE