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Defending Against Information Warfare

“Technology and Information Warfare: The Competition for Influence and the Department of Defense,”

by Herb Lin

On April 30, 2021, Herb Lin testified before the House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Cyber, Innovative Technology, and Information Systems. The following is an excerpt from his prepared statement.

Chairman [James R.] Langevin, Ranking Minority Member [Elise] Stefanik, and distinguished members: thank you for calling today’s hearing on technology and information warfare and for inviting me to testify today. I am speaking in my personal capacity and not on behalf of any institution with which I now or have ever had any affiliation. That said, I note that Stanford University receives a variety of grants, contracts, and other funding, including from [Department of Defense] and other government agencies, that may touch on the subject matter of this hearing.

The general thrust of my remarks is that the Department of Defense is poorly authorized, structured, and equipped to cope with the information warfare threat facing the United States as a whole, although it can make meaningful contributions in addressing a portion of the problem.

Why is this so? The United States has no serious peer competitors in high-end, conventional conflict. But our adversaries know this fact and have learned to take advantage of a distinctly Western belief in a clear distinction between peace and war. It is true that we are not in a shooting war now with Russia or China, but we are not at peace either. Our adversaries prosecute this state of “not-peace” in many ways, including cyber-enabled information warfare.

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