- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 31, 2000

The U.S. military by 2020 will develop the capability to conduct attacks on foreign computers and networks while defending its systems against strategic information warfare strikes, a Pentagon report on future war fighting made public yesterday says.

Additionally, the military will seek to improve weaknesses uncovered during the Kosovo conflict last year to better conduct operations with allies in combat, the Joint Staff report "Joint Vision 2020" says:

"We have superior conventional warfighting capabilities and effective nuclear deterrence today, but this favorable military balance is not static," the report stated. "In the face of such strong capabilities, the appeal of asymmetric approaches and the focus on the development of niche capabilities will increase."

The report makes no mention of which nations will threaten the United States two decades from now. Several references to "asymmetric" threats, however, hinted that China will be the military's main adversary in the future.

China's military has announced it too plans to make information warfare a military capability equal in stature to its army, navy and air forces.

In official writings China also has stated it intends to confront a technologically superior United States in the future using asymmetrical warfare means.

"In 2020, the nation will face a wide range of interests, opportunities, and challenges and will require a military that can both win wars and contribute to peace," the report says.

"The global interests and responsibilities of the United States will endure, and there is no indication that threats to those interests and responsibilities, or to our allies, will disappear."

The report outlined future concepts as winning wars through decisive force, power projection, overseas presence and strategic agility.

Key war-fighting goals are to dominate conflicts through advanced communications and intelligence, rapid-maneuver forces, focused logistics support and precision attack.

"The overall goal of the transformation described in this document is the creation of a force that is dominant across the full spectrum of military operations persuasive in peace, decisive in war, preeminent in any form of conflict."

On information warfare, the report states that the military "must be capable of conducting information operations" aimed at protecting U.S. decision makers and "in a conflict degrade those of an adversary."

"The United States itself and U.S. forces around the world are subject to information attacks on a continuous basis regardless of the level and degree of engagement in other domains of operation," the report says.

"The perpetrators of such attacks are not limited to the traditional concept of a uniformed military adversary. Additionally, the actions associated with information operations are wide-ranging from physical destruction to psychological operations to computer network defense."

Computer and other electronic strikes will be used against adversaries' networks and include using deception to "defend decision-making processes by neutralizing an adversaries' perception management and intelligence collection efforts."

The report concludes that information warfare operations "will become as important as those conducted in the domains of sea, land, air, and space."

"Such operations will be inextricably linked to focused logistics, full dimensional protection, precision engagement, and dominant maneuver, as well as joint command and control," the report says. "At the same time, information operations may evolve into a separate mission area requiring the services to maintain appropriately designed organizations and trained specialists."

Navy Capt. Steve Pietropaoli, a spokesman for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the document outlines the "core requirements for the warfighter" in 2020.

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