Integrated Network Electronic Warfare: China's New Concept of Information Warfare

Col. Deepak Sharma is Research Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. Click here for detailed profile.
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Email
  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • April 2010

    The People's Liberation Army (PLA) considers active offence to be the most important requirement for information warfare to destroy or disrupt an adversary's capability to receive and process data. Launched mainly by remote combat and covert methods, the PLA could employ information warfare pre-emptively to gain the initiative in a crisis. Specified information warfare objectives include the targeting and destruction of an enemy's command system, shortening the duration of war, minimizing casualties on both sides, enhancing operational efficiency, reducing effects on domestic populations and gaining support from the international community. The PLA's Information Warfare (IW) practices also reflect investment in electronic countermeasures and defences against electronic attack. The Chinese have adopted a formal IW strategy called “Integrated Network Electronic Warfare” (INEW) that consolidates the offensive mission for both Computer Network Attack (CNA) and Electronic Warfare (EW). China's Computer Network Operations (CNO) include computer network attack, computer network defence, and computer network exploitation. The PLA sees CNO as critical to seize the initiative and achieve “electromagnetic dominance” early in a conflict, and as a force multiplier. Although there is no evidence of a formal Chinese CNO doctrine, PLA theorists have coined the term “Integrated Network Electronic Warfare” to outline the integrated use of electronic warfare, CNO, and limited kinetic strikes against key command and control, communication and computers nodes to disrupt the enemy's battlefield network information systems. The PLA has established information warfare units to develop viruses to attack enemy computer systems and networks, and tactics and measures to protect friendly computer systems and networks.

    Download Article [PDF]86.84 KB