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Marine Corps University Press
Marine Corps University Press logo
Marine Corps University
Quantico, Virginia

8.5 x 11 paperback
200 pages
PDF download

Information Warfare

Forging Communication Strategies for Twenty-first Century Operational Environments

James P. Farwell

DOI: 10.56686/9781732003095


Great political and military leaders understand that communication strategies are key to victory in any conflict. Seizing the narrative can enable victory while failure to do so yields that advantage to the adversary. Gone are the days when competing armies confronted one another across battlefields. The information environment has made engagements and conflict both local and global all at once such that—as never before—information warfare is critical to victory. Understanding culture, history, local political dynamics, the interactions of different players, and the need to forge cohesive communication plans at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels matters more than ever to commanders and operators. In Information Warfare, James P. Farwell describes how commanders and operators must and can define winning outcomes and the strategies, operations, and tactics to achieve them. He lays out concrete, actionable steps to get results and places them in historical context, then provides a workbook to assist readers in devising communication strategies that produce victory in the sphere of information warfare.

James P. Farwell is a recognized expert with an international reputation in legal and policy issues for cyberwar and cybersecurity and in strategic communication, especially as affecting political issues in North Africa, the Middle East, and Pakistan. He has served as a consultant for various political campaigns and to the U.S. Department of Defense, including Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Policy), Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Intelligence), Special Operations–Low Intensity Conflict, U.S. Special Operations Command, and U.S. Strategic Command. He is an associate fellow of the Centre for Strategic Communication, Department of War Studies, at Kings College, University of London; a nonresident senior fellow of the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC; and a visiting scholar at Tulane University’s A. B. Freeman School of Business in New Orleans, Louisiana. Farwell publishes widely on national security issues and is the author of two books, The Pakistan Cauldron: Conspiracy, Assassination and Instability (2011) and Persuasion and Power: The Art of Strategic Communication (2012), as well as the chapter “Issues of Law Raised by Developments and Use of Neuroscience and Neurotechnology in National Security and Defense,” in Neurotechnology in National Security and Defense: Practical Considerations, Neuroethical Concerns (2014). He is the coauthor of Communication Strategy: How to Forge One That Wins (2015) and The Architecture of Cybersecurity: How General Counsel, Executives, and Boards of Directors Can Protect Their Information Assets (2017).


Introduction: What Makes a Winning Information Warfare Campaign?

1.   Understanding Strategy for Information Warfare: What are You Trying to Accomplish?
           Define What Constitutes Winning or Success 
           Determine Where to Acquire Necessary Knowledge 
           Define Your Strategy 
           What Are Operations and Tactics?
2.   Know Your Strategic Situation
           Historical Examples 
               Malaysian Emergency of 1948 – 60 
               Battle of the Little Bighorn 
               Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
           Modern Examples 
               Philippines, 2013 
               Ethiopia, 2006
3.   Know Your Enemy
           Historical Examples 
                Napoleon in Spain, Italy, and Russia
            Modern Examples 
               America and Iraq 
4.   Know Your Partners—Foreign and Domestic
             Know Your Foreign Partners 
             Modern Examples 
                Know Your U.S. Government Partners 
5.    Recognize Target Audience Culture as an Operational Environment
             Historical Example 
                Pearl Harbor 
                Modern Examples 
                Somalia and General Anthony Zinni 
                11 September 2001 and Osama bin Laden 
                Somalia and Ethiopia, 2006 
                2003 Iraq War
6.   Building Your Strategy—Your Checklist
             Twenty-four Characteristics of a Communication Campaign Plan 
             Narrative, Story, Theme, and Message
7.   Campaign Leadership
             ​Leadership Models 
             Leadership Traps to Avoid 
             Turf among Leaders 
             Integrate Communication Strategy with Kinetic Strategy
8.   Dos and Don’ts in Actions and Messaging 
             Ensure Actions Support Messages 
             Know Your Weak Points and Vulnerabilities 
             Know Your Strengths and How to Leverage Them 
             Avoid Inflating Claims 
             Project Confidence 
             Be Creative — Especially with Younger Audiences 
             Capitalize on Your Resources
9.   Including Social Media in Your Strategy
             Social Media: What Is It?
             Difference from Traditional Media 
             A Historic Geographic Shift 
            Going Viral 
            Using Social Media to Influence Target Audiences
            Social Media as an Intelligence Tool 
            Direction of Social Media 
            Emerging Technologies and Their Impact on Operations 
            Emerging Capabilities 
            Changing Communication Response Times
            Tactically Using Social Media 
            Examples of Military Application of Social Media Outlets
10. The Changing Information Environment
            Demographic Changes 
            Cultural Change 
            Political Change 
            Media Change 
            Political Party Changes 
            Technology Changes
11. Determining Campaign Effectiveness
            Key Questions 
            Factors that Help Measure Effectiveness 
            How to Measure Effectiveness and Target Audience Analysis
12.  Special Comment on Hybridity 
            Russia’s Hybrid Warfare Approach 
            China’s Three Warfares Approach
            NATO’s Definition of Hybrid Warfare 
            American Notions of Gray Zone and Hybrid Warfare 
            The Need for New Thinking

Winning Communication Strategy Workbook 

Selected Bibliography 

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