Computer Crime Research Center


Information-psychological war: factors, determining format of the modern armed conflict

Date: September 07, 2006
Source: Computer Crime Research Center
By: Andrey V. Manoilo

... of the strategic politics of the Chinese militarians and politicians, such as an outstanding commander and the statesman Sun-Tszy, who lived in IV century B.C. in ancient Chinese empire Tsy. It is possible to assume, that if, for example, the concept of information war had come to the Russian policy and science directly from China, than, probably, now we would have argued on, whether information-psychological war is only the next evolution phase of the Asian political idea in which traditionally esteemed on the East cunning and insidiousness bind in the most complicated network of obvious and secret political intrigues.

And for sure a question would arise: whether it is possible to name a sharp political conflict information-psychological war, even if in those days when its basic positions have already been formulated (IV century B.C.), traditional military art not only has lost its value, but it has started developing actively as a direction of the massed application of rough armed forces. That is, if then, at a rudimentary stage of development of military art, a replacement of more primitive and archaic forms of direct armed aggression by new forms of psychological struggle did not take place, why it should occur now, at modern level of development of arms systems in particular and military art as a whole?

Defining an information confrontation as the most general category of the social relations, we adhere the following point of view: any form of social and political competition in which for achievement of competitive advantage the preference is given to the means and ways of information-psychological influence, can be referred to an information confrontation. As it can be seen, the concept of information confrontation includes whole spectrum of conflict situations in information-psychological sphere - from interpersonal conflicts to open opposition of social systems. Information-psychological war is, certainly, one of the information confrontation types.
Why then a necessity has appeared to introduce a new term “information-psychological warfire”? And what provides its high survivability? Where ever this term appears everybody understand what the story is about. Exactly this fact defines a practical value of the given term in the system of scientific knowledge.

In our opinion, there are several main reasons thanks to which this, generally speaking, publicistic term came so stably into scientific papers and normative documents:

First, use of the term "information-psychological warfire" applied to the sphere of armed confrontation emphasizes a growing role of psychological operations in modern wars and local armed conflicts: modern wars become more and more psychological, reminding a scaled PR-campaign, and actually military operations are gradually displaced on the second plan and play precisely certain and limited role allocated to them in the general script of military campaign;

Secondly, use of the given term emphasizes, that modern technologies of psychological war are capable to cause to the opponent not smaller damage, than the means of armed attack, and the information weapon based of the technologies of psychological influence, has much greater defeating, penetrating and selective ability, than modern systems of the high-precision weapon;

Thirdly, use of this term emphasizes the role which information-psychological operations starts playing in international politics superseding from a political practice or replacing in it some more traditional forms of political regulation, such as war in general and military actions, in particular;

Fourthly, application of this term is caused by the necessity of emphasizing of high social danger of some modern organizational forms and technologies of information-psychological actions used in political aims.

From our point of view, information-psychological war is a political conflict in a question of becoming authority and realization of political management in which the political fight occurs in the form of information-psychological operations with application of the information weapon.

Whether it is legal to use the term "war" describing aggressive forms of information-psychological struggle?

But all of this, certainly, just the most general reasonings on why the term "information-psychological war" has so strongly attached to a number of the modern political life phenomena. The true reason of that, in our opinion, is that modern aggressive information-psychological struggle itself generates local wars and armed confrontations which become an indicator of information-psychological war, its "show-window" and the main form of political display of the hidden processes underlaying it.

Thus in the modern information-psychological war armed confrontations play the role strictly allocated for them. To start, or to initialize, this or that fighting mechanism of information-psychological influence on consciousness (or subconsciousness), it is necessary to make the powerful push or stress capable to drive the naturally steady system of the humans’ mentality from equilibrium and to activate in it the search of new protective mechanisms adequate to a stressful situation. As such protection psycho-technologists are kindly ready to offer the ideology, outlook, system of the values, substituting in the person former psychological protecting mechanisms. That, finally, provides an achievement of the main objective of any modern psychological operation, i.e. voluntary submission of person.

Such effect on the humans’ mentality can be reached only by a sudden threat for its life like the unknown epidemic (for example, an atypical pneumonia), natural disaster or war. Thus if the approach of the first two events is difficult to predict, then the war or local armed confrontation can be generated practically in any point of the globe and any moment when it is foreseen by the script of psychological operation. Moreover the threat of the war is an ideal initiating reason for the psychological stress: the threat of the war is pointed simultaneously both on the big countries (states, nations and nationalities) and on each individual person separately.

Thus, at the modern stage of political technologies development information-psychological war not always starts from actually military actions, but military actions themselves become the necessary factor of any fighting psychological operation as means of the chain psychological reactions initiation prescribed by the script of psychological war. Psychological war generates local war: the initiating occasion is necessary for transition of psychological operation from the latent stage to active phase, and hence, a local armed conflict is necessary. The fact that in the plans of information-psychological war traditional war plays the limited strictly allocated role, does not make it less dangerous, does not reduce its scales and does not supersede it from the sphere of political relations, the global military conflicts gradually disappear from political life (under conditions of information-psychological war they are not necessary any more), while the number of local confrontations and the frequency of their occurrence are growing.

Gradual shift of the political struggle to the information-psychological sphere observed nowadays increases the risk of local armed confrontations occurrence: for many people the technologies of information-psychological war seem to be very attractive because of their relative cheapness, availability and efficiency, and, hence, intensity of their application in the political struggle will only increase. Accordingly, the number of local armed conflicts which plays in psychological operations the role of initiating mechanism - "a trigger hook" will also grow. And this finally will lead to the spreading of practice of the actually armed violence application: at the place, where psychological war begins, the local armed conflict will occur necessarily.

Thus, psychological war is the armed actions(operations) planned accordingly to PR-script, and aimed not in destruction of alive force and technics of the opponent, but rather in achievement of PR-effect.

The basic principle of counteraction to psychological war operations.

The product of the modern operation of information-psychological war is a news report in mass-media in the format of journalistic reporting. Accordingly, a product of information-psychological counteroperation is a news report which makes a construction of such reporting unsuccessful.

1. Manoilo A.V., 2003: State information politics under special conditions, monograph. – M.: Publ. MIPHI., 388 p.: fig.
2. Manoilo A.V., Petrenko A.I., Frolov D.B., 2003: State information politics under the conditions of information – psychological war. – M.: Hot line – Telecom, 541 p.: fig.
3. V. Knysh, Fights without rules. – K.: Camouflage, 2006, №3 (41), p.32-33,
4. Veprintsev V.B., Manoilo A.V., Petrenko A.I., Frolov D.B., 2005: Operations of information-psychological war. Methods, means, technologies: Short encyclopedic handbook. - M.: Hot line - Telecom - 495 p.: fig.
5. Manoilo A.V., Information confrontation under the conditions of psychological war. – M.: Law and right, 2003, №12, p. 31-34.

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