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Part B: Towards military supremacy in the cyber dimension – IDF Brigadier General A.


The IDF is a powerful player in the cyber dimension, but this status will be eroded. In recent years, the circle of states and sub-state actors active in this dimension has expanded as a space for combat. The IDF was able to identify this phenomenon in its beginning, but has not yet completed the necessary change.


While in the last decade efforts to gather information and defense in the IDF have gained momentum, offensive cyber has great unrealized potential. In order to maintain its military superiority in the cyber dimension, the IDF must act like other global cyber powers, and adopt new operational concepts and organizational structures. This change will allow it to deter, alert and thwart cyber threats, thereby eroding the capabilities of his enemies. Only in this way will the IDF achieve the required "leap" and maintain its supremacy in the dimension.

Chapter A - cyber Military superiority

How is military superiority in cyber perceived in Israel compared to other countries in the world?

In Israel, an official definition of the concept of military superiority in cyber has not yet been established, although a number of official documents have dealt with the issue indirectly. For example, a cyber strategy document published in 2017 by the National Cyber ​​Network in the Prime Minister's Office states that the cyber dimension must be harnessed to fulfill Israel's goals, including its national security. In the IDF's new operating concept published in 2020, cyber superiority is defined as an essential capability for ensuring the IDF's superiority in other dimensions of combat.


In the United States, there are several official definitions. The Department of Defense defines military supremacy in cyber as follows - "The degree of dominance in the cyber dimension by one party in a way that allows it and its forces in air, land, sea and space to conduct operations safely, reliably and within a defined time and space. A narrower, more focused definition is proposed by the U.S. Air Force: "Cyber ​​superiority represents an operational advantage in the cyber dimension that allows operations to be performed in any dimension at a specified time without the adversary having the ability to prevent it". Similarly, cyber superiority was defined as a key component of operational superiority and cyber itself as another key combat dimension on the multidimensional battlefield.


In the UK, the Ministry of Defense recognizes the cyber dimension as part of a larger space of information warfare. The British Supreme Court defines Information Advantage as follows: "The reliable competitive advantage achieved through continuous, adaptive, decisive and resilient operation of information and information systems".

In Russia and China, there is a similar perception that sees cyber as part of a broader framework of information warfare. In these countries, the separations customary in the West between information and computer warfare, psychological warfare, or electromagnetic warfare are blurring. According to Dima Adamski, Russia's approach to information superiority sees it as a means of deciding the enemy. According to this approach, superiority in information is a necessary condition and sometimes even provides for victory in the battle, sometimes through significant damage to the opponent's systemic decision-making rate, quality and improvement of these capabilities on the attacking side. Another element that Adamski presents in relation to the Russian approach is the relation to the aspects of time and space. Thus, he says, the Russian approach to information superiority "does not differentiate between a time of peace and a time of war and conducts a continuous multidimensional campaign. The perception of time ... is longer and not limited to a particular event, with each event perceived in a broader context ...".

There is thus a great difference in the perception of military cyber in the world. An approach that perceives cyber as another tool in the military arsenal, similar to electronic warfare, whose power is in combination with air, sea and land forces; Through an approach that perceives it as an independent combat dimension, within which combat takes place separately from other combat dimensions; To an approach that sees it as a method primarily for psychological warfare and cognitive influence that exists in networks used to transmit information. These differences in perception also stem from a profound difference in time and space contexts. While kinetic or cybernetic confrontation requires a technological-operational advantage in a defined and demarcated context, a conscious influence move requires effectiveness in a lengthy process.


Against this background, we seek to propose the following definition of military superiority in cyber in the IDF:

"The ability to operate continuously and without interruption in the cyber dimension for the purpose of harming the enemy, superiority in information and protection against threats in and out of the dimension. This, while maintaining a decisive quality advantage over enemies and competitors in the dimension."

This definition embodies a number of working assumptions:

  • “Operationally continuous and uninterrupted" - requires considerable investment in the development of concepts, innovative technologies and operational methods in order to cope with the constant change in dimension.

  • “In the cyber dimension" - the IDF sees the cyber dimension as another fighting dimension, similar to air, sea and land.

  • "For the purpose of harming the enemy, superiority in information and protection against threats" - requires interdisciplinary action capability that includes technological, psychological-cultural, logistical, offensive and defensive expertise at the operational levels, as well as the ability to manage a multidisciplinary campaign at the strategic level.

  • "In and out of the dimension" - requires high integration and mutual empowerment with all the arms of the army and the various bodies in the defense system, in accordance with the IDF's concept of victory.

  • "While maintaining a decisive quality advantage" - requires a considerable investment in military perceptions and human capital in a competitive, changing world and one that is characterized by great uncertainty.

So far, we have discussed the question of what military superiority is in the cyber dimension. But what are the characteristics of the cyber dimension in 2020? This will be discussed in the next chapter.

READ MORE: 

Will "Block-chain"​ technology be effective in combating terror financing?

By Brigadier General A., Col. E. and partners (Hebrew), published on www.idf.il

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

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