National Security and the Third-Road Threat: Toward, a Comprehensive Theory of Information Warfare.

Citation metadata

Author: Daniel Morabito
Date: Fall 2021
From: Air & Space Power Journal(Vol. 35, Issue 3)
Publisher: Air University Press
Document Type: Article
Length: 8,029 words
Lexile Measure: 1820L

Document controls

Main content

Article Preview :

The United States is losing an information war with its competitors. China and Russia have attacked the United States for decades, costing our country billions of dollars. These activities have sown division, extremism, and violence among the American people, and undermined societal norms and democracy. Despite this national security threat, the US government remains poorly organized to employ its information instruments of power. The US military in particular lacks a unified theory, definition, doctrine, and organizational structure for information warfare (IW).

Early Information Advantage

Information has been a vital component of warfare since the earliest recorded battles. In the 1469 BC Battle of Megiddo, the Hyksos King of Kadesh, who led a revolt of Palestinian and Syrian tribes against the Egyptian pharaoh, Thutmose III, was missing critical information as to the disposition of the Egyptian army. (1) Anticipating an Egyptian attack on the stronghold city of Megiddo, the Hyksos king assessed the large Egyptian army would likely approach using one of two larger roads to the east and west of the city, and he divided his forces to intercept them. Using information gained from his scouts and discerning that the rebel leaders expected him to approach by these two broad roads, Thutmose instead chose a third, narrow road that led to the south of the city. (2)

The pharaoh's advisors begged him not to use this road, as it was only 30 feet wide in places with heights on either side that would invite an enemy ambush. Had the rebel army chosen to acknowledge their vulnerability and position themselves defensively on this third road, they would have had a tremendous advantage. They might have defeated the Egyptian army or forced them to withdraw. Too late, and with their army divided and focused to the east and west, the rebels "realized that their enemy had done the thing they had not calculated on and had surprised them." (3)

The pharaoh's early information advantage and the rebel army's failure to acknowledge the third-road threat allowed the Egyptians to establish a positional advantage relative to large portions of the rebel army that were then caught outside their city and cut off from reinforcements. It also enabled a cognitive advantage--surprise-over the occupants of the city and the divided army outside. The Egyptians, using their positional advantage gained through information advantage, overwhelmingly defeated the divided army, laid siege to the city, and captured it. (4)

When news of the rebel army's crushing defeat reached the remaining Mesopotamian cities that had not yet joined the rebellion, they were deterred from joining the Hyksos king and voluntarily sent tribute to Thutmose indicating they did not want war, further evidence of how actions in the information environment reverberate throughout other domains to influence attitudes and behaviors. Having forged its reputation as a military power at the Battle of Megiddo, Egypt established itself as the regional hegemon for the next two decades. (5) This, the first recorded battle of history, illustrates how the interplay of information across all domains...

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A679003593