Abstract. This paper examines the principal features of hybrid warfare and ways of protection from information-psychological impact as a major element within the system of national security. It shows the need to establish within the RF AF a system of providing experts in the area of protection against information warfare conducted in cyberspace.
Under the Doctrine of Information Security of the Russian Federation, RF information security is viewed as a state of security for the individual, society, and the state protected against internal and external information threats, when the constitutional rights of the individual and citizen are ensured, as are the worthy standards of living, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and sustainable socioeconomic development of the Russian Federation, defense and security of the state.1
There one can confidently say that the development of the information protection system was marked by transition from the traditional form of presentation to a broader understanding of information security. The essence of the new vision consists in realizing a comprehensive approach to viewing information security as a combination of two major trends:2
- protection of information;
- protection from information.
Protection from information, in turn, is assuming a strategic nature, becoming a key problem of today’s national security in Russia. Also, in the context of protection from information, there are three main trends singled out in information impacts:3
- one, affecting information-technical systems and assets;
- two, affecting the public;
- three, affecting the psychology of the individual.
In this connection, it is important to note that analysis of armed conflicts in the 21st century suggests that there has appeared a new type of combat actions, namely, hybrid warfare. The intensity of research in the area prompts a conclusion about the tremendous significance of this kind of confrontation in the contemporary world and the tangible influence exerted by hybrid warfare on the alignment of forces on the global geopolitical map.
A distinctive feature of hybrid warfare is its composite nature, which, according to O. V. Stoletov, is due to the fact that classical military violence there is combined with irregular forms of standoff, in particular, terrorism activity, cyber attacks, economic and diplomatic sanctions, information subversion, and other components of destructive impact.4 There it has to be said that the participant in a hybrid warfare conflict is a combined entity that includes both the states directly or indirectly involved in the conflict, and various nongovernmental formations.
Analysis of hybrid warfare of the last few decades showed that not infrequently nongovernmental parties to the conflict play the key role in it. Nongovernmental participants in and conductors of hybrid warfare can be mass media, terrorist organizations, armed extremist groupings, radical political opposition, and paramilitary rebels.5
A distinctive feature of hybrid warfare is its composite nature, which, according to O. V. Stoletov, is due to the fact that classical military violence there is combined with irregular forms of standoff, in particular, terrorism activity, cyber attacks, economic and diplomatic sanctions.
According to US military experts, the term hybrid warfare implies undeclared, clandestine military actions in the course of which the warring party attacks state structures or the regular army of the adversary with the help of internal separatists provided with weapons and funded from abroad, or by some internal entities.6 Thus it would not be an overstatement to say that the key condition for hybrid warfare to emerge is the presence in the state of internal oppositionist or separatist forces: terrorist organizations, armed extremist groupings, radical political opposition, and paramilitary rebels.
Obviously, having powerful nuclear potential, the Russian Federation has ensured its territorial integrity against threats of direct external encroachments. Therefore, it would be reasonable to suppose that interested foreign states and organizations will stake their hopes on hybrid warfare in order to fulfill their geopolitical interests at the expense of the Russian Federation. That is, on the factor of internal separatism. The internal separatism formation trends may vary. Including, chiefly, formation by means of information impact on society and individual psyche carried out as part of the information standoff.
Stemming from the above, one can conclude that protection against information impact on society and human psyche (hereinafter, information-psychological impacts), being an element of information security, constitutes an important component of the system of national security provision.
The precipitous development of the infrastructure and information technologies, and also the ubiquitous Internet, especially social networks (the ten largest social networks have over 4.5 billion registered users, which accounts for more than 60 percent of the Earth’s population), permeating society, have molded a human and at the same time technological environment. The reference is to cyberspace.
Cyberspace is understood as a global area of the information environment that consists of an interconnected sum of information structures, including the Internet computer network, telecommunication networks, computer systems, and also processors and controllers inbuilt in technological means.7
The term hybrid warfare implies undeclared, clandestine military actions in the course of which the warring party attacks state structures or the regular army of the adversary with the help of internal separatists provided with weapons and funded from abroad, or by some internal entities…. It would not be an overstatement to say that the key condition for hybrid warfare to emerge is the presence in the state of internal oppositionist or separatist forces.
Cyberspace, having no boundaries, covers virtually the entire planet. It allows some individuals, public organizations, and state entities to practically instantly establish communication between themselves, receive and transmit any information, and more importantly, to express their opinion unrestrictedly. All of that accords cyberspace a paramount role, making it practically a TOW in its own right, in the process of information confrontation as a whole, and of information-psychological impact in particular. The latter is borne out by the fact that the United States has set up in its Armed Forces control bodies for combat actions in cyberspace whose tasks include planning and conducting joint information operations, including psychological operations of a military nature, and also devising and effecting measures to deceive the adversary as to the real plans of the US AF leadership.8
Thus one can single out the following intermediate conclusions.
- First. The increasing intensity of hybrid warfare that occurred in the early 21st century dictates the need to enhance the readiness of the RF Armed Forces for this type of combat actions.
- Second. A special role in the formation and development of hybrid warfare is played by the presence in the state of internal oppositionist or separatist forces, which most likely may emerge as a result of disseminating information-psychological impact that constitutes a form of information impact exerted as part of the information standoff.
- Third. Information-psychological impact, apart from nurturing oppositionist and separatist sentiment within the state, can strongly affect the fighting capacity of the country’s armed forces.
- Fourth. A major role in the process of disseminating information-psychological impact (a component of the information standoff) is played by cyberspace.
- Fifth. It appears expedient to view cyberspace as one of the theaters of hybrid warfare, i.e. regard it from the angle of information-psychological impact.
All of the above justifies the need to build within the RF AF structure a system of supplying specialists in the area of protection from information, namely, protection from information-psychological impact exerted in the course of the information standoff carried out within cyberspace. One of the more important steps toward solving the said problem is creation of a system of training experts who can carry out protection from information-psychological impact, including development and control of the system of identification, monitoring, and prognostication of similar impacts effected in cyberspace. Moreover, a special place in the training belongs to the formation of ability to develop, plan, and implement preventive and offensive information-psychological impacts on the adversary, which can be realized by using cyberspace.
At present, the General of the Army S.M. Shtemenko Higher Military School in Krasnodar has drafted a rough educational program for training experts in the area of information standoff, namely, specialists in protection from information-psychological impact exerted in cyberspace.
Research currently under way has yielded the kinds of competences that an expert in protection from information-psychological impact exerted in cyberspace ought to possess. These competences have been formed on the basis of analyzing the features of hybrid warfare in the last few decades, and also considering the main provisions in the Concept of Information Security of the RF AF9 and the Doctrine of Information Security of the Russian Federation.
Having powerful nuclear potential, the Russian Federation has ensured its territorial integrity against threats of direct external encroachments. Therefore, it would be reasonable to suppose that interested foreign states and organizations will stake their hopes on hybrid warfare in order to fulfill their geopolitical interests at the expense of the Russian Federation.
Experts in protection from information-psychological impacts carried out in cyberspace can be trained in the following way:
- as a separate specialization within the specialty Information Protection at Military Informatization Facilities;
- as part of the new separate specialty of Military Control.
In both cases, training can be done at the General of the Army S.M. Shtemenko Higher Military School in Krasnodar.
Thus, one can confidently say that training military experts in the area of information standoff, namely, specialists in protection from information-psychological impact, is an opportune and necessary response of the Russian state in the current geopolitical situation.
1. Doktrina informatsiomioy bezopasnosti Rossiyskoy Federatsiyi [The Doctrine of Information Security of the Russian Federation] (approved by Presidential Decree # 646 of December 5, 2016.)
2. Teplov, E.P., Gumanitarniye aspekty informatsiomioy bezopasnosti: osnovniye ponyatiya, logicheskiye osnovy i operatsiyi [Humanitarian Aspects of Information Security: Basic Concepts, Logical Bases and Operations], Teplov, E.P., Gatchin, Yu.A., Nyrkov, A.P., Korobeinikov, A.G., and Sukhostat, V.V., MoD IT University Press, St. Petersburg, 2016.
4. Stoletov, O.V., Politsentrichnogo aspekty formirovaniya polisentrichnogo mira v usloviyakh gibridnykh voyn [The Political Aspects of the Polycentric World Formaton under Conditions of Hybrid Warfare], Russian Political Science, # 1, 2016, pp. 88-97.
6. Bychkova, Ye.V., Minoborony: SShA vedut gibridnuyu voynu protiv Rossiyi [Ministry of Defense: The United States Is Waging a Hybrid War against Russia], Aktual’niye kommentariyi [Topical Comments], April 24, 2015. URL: http://actualcomment.ru/minoborony-ssha-vedutgibridnuyu-voynu-protiv-rossii.html?PAGEN_1=30 (Retrieved on March 1, 2018.)
7. Tulin, S.M., Organy upravleniya VS SShA boyevymi deystviyami v kiberneticheskom prostranstve [US AF Combat Control Bodies for Cyberspace], Zarubezhnoye voyennoye obozreniye, # 2, 2012, pp. 3-10.
9. Kontseptsiya informatsionnoy bezopasnosti Vooruzhonnykh Sil Rossiyskoy Federatsiyi [The Concept of Information Security of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation].
Translated by Margarita Kvartskhava