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A military force that does not attempt to match the size of that of an adversary, but is designed to exploit the weakness of the larger force. The asymmetrical military force would be small, mobile, elusive, efficient, inventive and high tech.


A battle between dissimilar forces. [JCS Pub 1, 1995, pp. Iv-10, iv-11]


(1) Warfare between dissimilar forces.
(2) War between two sides with dissimilar goals.
(3) Warfare in which new technology is used to defeat the superior with the inferior.
(4) Warfare which encompasses anything - strategy, tactics, weapons, personnel - that alters the battlefield to negate one side or the other's advantage.

Notes: (1) Asymmetric warfare has been described as "not fighting fair." There are many "definitions" of asymmetric warfare, as the forgoing suggests. These descriptions come from the website (2) According to the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), "The most serious asymmetric threat facing the U.S. is terrorism, a threat characterized by collections of people loosely organized in shadowy networks that are difficult to identify and define." [DARPA's Total Information Awareness Office (IAO) Vision statement, 2002]


Technical and intelligence information derived from foreign communications by other than the intended recipients.

Note: COMINT is encompassed under SIGNALS INTELLIGENCE (SIGINT).


(1) The notional environment in which digitized information is communicated over computer networks.
(2) The space of VIRTUAL REALITY.
(3) The global information environment.
(4) The interdependent network of information technology infrastructures and includes the Internet, telecommunications networks, computer systems and embedded processors and controllers in critical industries. [National Security Policy Directive 54]


Conducting, or preparing to conduct, military operations according to information related principles. It means disrupting, if not destroying, information and communications systems, broadly defined to include even military culture, on which an adversary relies in order to know itself - who it is; what it can do; when it can do it; why it is fighting; and which threats to counter first. It means trying to know everything about the adversary while keeping the adversary from knowing much about oneself... turning the balance of information and knowledge in one's favor, especially if the balance of forces is not... using knowledge so that less capital and labor may have to be expended.


Note: The focus of cyber warfare is on using CYBERSPACE (by operating within or through it) to attack personnel, facilities or equipment with the intent of degrading, neutralizing or destroying enemy combat capability, while protecting our own.


(1) Military action involving the use of electromagnetic energy to determine, exploit, reduce or prevent hostile use of the electromagnetic spectrum and action which retains friendly use of the electromagnetic spectrum. Also called EW. There are three divisions within electronic warfare - (a) Electronic Countermeasures, (b) Electronic Counter-Countermeasures and (c) Electronic Warfare Support Measures.

(2) Any military action involving the use of electromagnetic and directed energy to control the electromagnetic spectrum or to attack the enemy. The three major subdivisions within electronic warfare are electronic attack, electronic protection and electronic warfare support - (a)Electronic Attack (EA). That division of electronic warfare involving the use of electromagnetic or directed energy to attack personnel, facilities or equipment with the intent of degrading, neutralizing or destroying enemy combat capability. Electronic Attack includes 1) Actions taken to prevent or reduce an enemy's effective use of the electromagnetic spectrum, such as jamming and electromagnetic deception; and 2) Employment of weapons that use either electromagnetic or directed energy as their primary destructive mechanism (laser, RF weapons, particle beams). (b) Electronic Protection (EP). That division of electronic warfare involving actions taken to protect personnel, facilities and equipment from any effects of friendly or enemy employment of electronic warfare that degrade, neutralize or destroy friendly combat capability. (c) Electronic Warfare Support (ES). That division of electronic warfare involving actions tasked by or under direct control of an operational commander to search for, intercept, identify and locate sources of intentional and unintentional radiated electromagnetic energy for the purpose of immediate threat recognition. Thus, electronic warfare support provides information required for immediate decisions involving electronic warfare operations and other tactical actions such as threat avoidance, targeting and homing. Electronic warfare support data can be used to produce signals intelligence (SIGINT), both COMMUNICATIONS INTELLIGENCE (COMINT) and ELECTRONICS INTELLIGENCE (ELINT). [CJCS MOP 6, APPENDIX B].

Notes: (1) Electronic warfare is a part of offensive information operations.
(2) The NAVWAR Joint Warfighting Science and Technology Plan (circa 2000) defines ELECTRONIC WARFARE as "The capability for deceiving, disrupting and destroying the surveillance and Command and Control (C2) systems as well as the weapons of an enemy's integrated air defense network and the capability for recognizing attempts by hostile systems to track and engage."


Technical and intelligence information derived from foreign non-communications electromagnetic radiation emanating from other than nuclear detonations or radioactive sources.
Note: ELINT is encompassed under SIGNALS INTELLIGENCE (SIGINT).


Using a hardware of software mechanism to capture user keyboard strokes and report the stroke sequence to a HACKER.


A person who delights in having an intimate understanding of the internal workings of a system - computers and computer networks in particular. The term is almost universally misused in a pejorative context.


Actions taken to achieve information superiority by affecting adversary information, information-based processes, information systems and computer-based networks while defending one's own information, information-based processes, information systems and computer-based networks. The critical aspects of IW are Information Denial, Information Distortion and Protection. See also CYBERWAR.

Notes: (1) Manipulative, disruptive or destructive actions taken covertly or overtly during peacetime, crisis or war against societal, political, economic, industrial or military electronic information systems. The purpose is to achieve informational advantage over an adversary and to influence behavior, deter or end conflict or, that failing, to win a war quickly and decisively, with minimal expenditure of capital, resources and personnel and with minimum casualties on either side. Information Warfare includes actions taken to preserve the integrity of one's own information systems from exploitation, corruption or destruction while at the same time exploiting, corrupting or destroying an adversary's information systems and in the process achieving an information advantage in the application of force.

(2) Information Warfare entails collecting, processing and acting upon information faster that the adversary. Information warfare includes False Force Presentation (FFP).

(3) The following are forms of information warfare - Command and Control Warfare (formerly C3CM), Intelligence-Based Warfare (IBW), Electronic Warfare (EW), Psychological Warfare (PSYW), Hacker Warfare, Economic Information Warfare (EIW) and CYBERWAR.


A subset of ELECTRONIC WARFARE (EW), NAVWAR is an environment in which

  • friendly forces maintain their ability to use satellite navigation
  • satellite navigation is denied to hostile users
  • there is no effect upon civilian applications


A category of intelligence information comprising either individually or in combination all COMMUNICATIONS INTELLIGENCE, ELECTRONICS INTELLIGENCE, foreign instrumentation and SIGNALS INTELLIGENCE

Note: SIGINT signals include the following:

Radar Pulsed RF, Stacked Beam, Log Swept
Communications Frequency Shift Keying (FSK), Modem Signals, Machine-to-Machine Interchanges
Sonar Passive, Active, Higher Frequency Mine Detection Applications


An integrated national security strategy that synchronizes both hard and soft power appropriate for the specifics of each situation, and that adjusts as the particular threat evolves.


The ability to shape the preferences of others and get others to want the outcomes you want.


An air vehicle having no onboard pilot, capable of receiving continuous or intermittent commands from a human operator at a distance. The vehicle is normally designed to be recoverable.


A computer generated, three-dimensional representation of a setting, which unlike VIRTUAL REALITY, need only suggest a real or imagined space and does not have photorealism and a sense of total immersion a primary goal.


A combination of technologies whose interfaces with the human user can so dominate the senses that the person intuitively interacts with the immersive and dynamic computer generated environment. Contrast with VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENT.

Note: Virtual reality provides a full immersion of the users in an interactive computer generated environment.


With respect to computers, a computer program file capable of attaching to disks or other files and replicating itself repeatedly, typically without user knowledge or permission. Some viruses attach to files so when the infected file executes the virus also executes. Other viruses sit in a computer's memory and infect files as the computer opens, modifies or creates the files. Some viruses display symptoms and some viruses damage files and computer systems, but neither symptoms nor damage is essential in the definition of a virus. A non-damaging virus is still a virus.


Uranium ore purified into a uranium oxide concentrate (U3O8). Yellow cake may be sintered (formed into a fused mass by heating without melting ) and made into fuel pellets. Yellow cake may be further refined to produce enriched uranium.

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