Information Theory as a Foundation for Military Operations in the 21st Century
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Information Theory as a Foundation for Military Operations in the 21st Century

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Bryan N. Sparling
246x189x4 mm

The United States Army, along with its sister services, is struggling to create effective doctrinal concepts for warfighting in the Information Age. Man's ability to manipulate and transport information at light speed is changing the conduct of military operations. While the services agree that "Information Superiority" is key to decisive operations, there is little consensus as to how to achieve it and what the conduct of "Information Operations (IO)" should entail. The various conceptions for IO can generally be understood as one of two types: IO as an integrating strategy or IO as a capability. Each of these viewpoints emanates from a distinctly different basic conception, or theory, of the nature of information; and each carries vastly different implications for military doctrine. Carried to its logical conclusion, the IO-as-strategy mindset demands a fundamental reformulation of all warfare. The U.S. Department of Defense must identify and articulate a relevant and theoretically sound definition of information before it can develop practical and effective doctrine for warfighting in the 21st century. Information has a dual nature that is difficult to grasp, because it exists at the intersection between the mental and physical domains. Prevailing theories of information emphasize either the mental (meaningful) or physical (medium) nature. This monograph recommends that the DoD adapt Sentient Information Theory, which fully integrates the physical and meaningful natures of information. Doing so will reduce the confusion surrounding the true role of information in warfighting and subsequently clarify two important issues. First, IO is rightly understood as a strategy for planning the perception of all operations and therefore it cannot endure as a standalone discipline relegated to a single staff section. Second, the increased melding of information technology into the fabric of military organizations and equipment demands clear, meaningful terminology in order t