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Future U.S. national security strategy is likely to be profoundly affected by the ongoing, rapid evolution of cyberspace — the global information infrastructure — and in particular by the growing dependence of the U.S. military and other national institutions and infrastructures on potentially vulnerable elements of the U.S. national information infrastructure. To examine these effects, the authors conducted a series of exercises employing a methodology known as the Day After ... in which participants are presented with an information warfare crisis scenario and asked to advise the president on possible responses. Participants included senior national security community members and representatives from security-related telecommunications and information-systems industries. The report synthesizes the exercise results and presents the instructions from the exercise materials in their entirety.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    What Is "Strategic Information Warfare?"

  • Chapter Two


  • Chapter Three

    The Changing Face of War

  • Chapter Four

    Defining Features of Strategic Information Warfare

  • Chapter Five

    Issues of Strategic Information Warfare

  • Chapter Six


  • Additional Reading: Threats and Vulnerabilities

  • Appendix A


  • Appendix B

    Summary of Group Deliberations for Step Three

  • Appendix C


Book Review Excerpts

"Strategic Information Warfare illuminates a challenging and often obscure method for examining policy options. Any student of government or industrial decision making would be well advised to buy this book. Grade: 92%"

- Technology and Society

"Information warfare remains a nebulous subject, but his monograph offers one of the most interesting and revealing ways of thinking about it, at least in an unclassified venue. A short but comprehensive discussion of the central issues in information warfare, particularly defense against attacks on the myriad information systems that keep American society running, is followed by an ingenious 'day after' exercise that illustrates and amplifies these problems. In three parts--'the day of' an information attack, 'the day after', and finally 'the day before'—participants can work their way through the decisionmaking problems of information warfare. The exercise, which has been tested with many government and private groups, is a brilliant device for exploring a problem bound to become more salient."

- Foreign Affairs

"An excellent overview of the subject. Highly recommended for a variety of subject areas, particularly political science and computer science."

- Academic Library Book Review

"The great value of such exercises lies in raising the consciousness of decision-makers about problems likely to emerge, but which have not yet received their devoted attention."

- Comparative Strategy

"This book terrified me... because the authors are right. Strategic information warfare is possible and probable. I applaud that this research was done. I am thrilled that this is an unclassified, easily obtained book rather than something that remains within the closed networks of the military-industrial vaults."

- Computing Reviews

The research reported here was accomplished within the Acquisition and Technology Policy Center of RAND's National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, and the defense agencies.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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