Saturday, July 01, 2017

Australian Defence Force Information Warfare Division

Head Military Strategic Commitments Division Major General PW 'GUS' GilmoreAn Information Warfare Division (IWD), has just been formed in Australian Defence Force Headquarters (July 2017). There are four branches: Information Warfare Capability, C4 and Battle Management Capability, Capability Support Directorate and the Joint Cyber Unit. The division is headed by MAJGEN Marcus Thompson as Deputy Chief Information Warfare. MAJGEN Thompson has a PhD in Cyber Security from the University of New South Wales. He is the author of "The cyber threat to Australia" . (Australian Defence Force Journal, 2012) and other papers on cyber security.

RAAF P-3 Orion Aircraft, photo by 'Timothy' CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia CommonsThe ABC has speculated that one target for the new unit will be the Chinese South Sea Fleet, in the South China Sea.

It happens I have been teaching Australian National University IT students using a scenario about cyber-warfare over the South China Sea. In this hypothetical, students are asked to consider the use of information warfare as an alternative to conventional military action.

 As the ABC report notes, one of the problems with a cyber-warfare unit will be attracting, retaining and paying highly skilled personnel in competition with the private sector. An option I proposed in 2013 was the use of civilian computer professionals who are military reserve officers. After brief military training these personnel would return to their day jobs, but be ready to be instantly mobilized.

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