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May 11, 2023

“In June of 2007, the office of the secretary of Defense’s unclassified email system was reported to have an attack that, according to the Financial Times, was attributed to the PLA in China. And then also in August of 2007 there were 28 defense contractor sites in the United States that were targeted by — mostly by China, primarily email attacks with false attachments that had malicious code associated with it. It was — it actually trailed back to an Internet protocol address that corresponded to CNC Group Beijing province network.”


“Information operations (IO) are described as the integrated employment of electronic warfare (EW), computer network operations (CNO), psychological operations (PSYOP), military deception (MILDEC), and operations security (OPSEC), in concert with specified supporting and related capabilities, to influence, disrupt, corrupt, or usurp adversarial human and automated decision making while protecting our own.”[2]

CNO consists of two capabilities: Computer Network Defense (CND) and Computer/Network Attack (CNA). “CNA consists of actions taken through the use of computer networks to disrupt, deny, degrade, or destroy information resident in computers and computer networks, or the computers and networks themselves.”[2]

The Air Force established the Air Force Cyber Command (AFCYBER) which is an Air Force companion to other information operations capabilities in other branches of the service (like the Navy NETWARCOM). In an interview at the Council on Foreign Relations presided over by Col. Jeffrey B. Kendall, General William Lord, Commander, Air Force Cyberspace Command stated that:

“[T]he problem with this kind of warfare, then, is determining who is the enemy, what is their intent, and where are they, and then what can you do about it?

And so in this domain the ability to go from — from Title 50, those things that are conducted in foreign intelligence, to Title 10, which are those things — operations conducted by the U.S. armed forces, versus Title 18, those are law enforcement activities, becomes very blurred…

But how do we quickly exchange information so that we in this world of cyber warfare where potentially warfare is at the speed of light, right, not the speed of a ship, not the speed of a tank, not the speed of an aircraft, not the speed of sound, but the speed of light, where all of a sudden things happen very, very quickly, how do we exchange — how do we fix the processes so that we’re complying with U.S. law, but doing it more quickly than we have in the past.”[1]

Please read the following articles, do some research, and reflect upon your understanding of the law thus far to draft a 1000 to 2000-word essay on the legal justifications for information warfare. You are not limited or restricted to the following but some thoughts to consider are: What methods can we use to exercise extra-territorial jurisdiction over foreign adversaries? What actions are legally justified? If foreign civilians are responsible for these attacks, how can US operatives legally act to disrupt their operations without committing an act of war against the host nation?
(Sources do not have to come from the following articles.)

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