Recently Edward Lucas tweeted a series on the changes in Russian military doctrine, which signified a change away from physical combat and towards information domination in the form not seen since mid-90's. That Russians always preferred, and are extremely skilled on, the battlefield in the cognitive domain is not new. But this new view of the recently requested new Russian military doctrine (Putin requested a new draft in 2013, having been dissatisfied with the 2010, strictly defensive doctrine that Medvedev signed off) shows just how forcefully information warfare is making a comeback.
Here's a short outtake from the fantastic paper on Russia's New Generation Warfare in Ukraine:
[T]he main guidelines for developing Russian military capabilities by 2020 are:
- From direct destruction to direct influence;
- from direct annihilation of the opponent to its inner decay;
- from a war with weapons and technology to a culture war;
- from a war with conventional forces to specially prepared forces and commercial irregular groupings;
- from the traditional (3D) battleground to information/psychological warfare and war of perceptions;
- from direct clash to contactless war;
- from a superficial and compartmented war to a total war, including the enemy’s internal side and base;
- from war in the physical environment to a war in the human consciousness and in cyberspace;
- from symmetric to asymmetric warfare by a combination of political, economic, information, technological, and ecological campaigns;
- From war in a defined period of time to a state of permanent war as the natural condition in life.
I started emphasising parts that are largely part of information warfare and have soon given up, since just about every part relies on both cognitive and physical domain.