Monday, September 26, 2022, 22:36 (GMT+7)

Thursday, July 21, 2022, 06:36 (GMT+7)
Cyber warfare - a new form of warfare to defend the Fatherland

Cyberspace is considered a part of the national territory and plays a vital role in the cause of national construction and defence. In the face of expanded globalisation and international integration, and the rapid and strong development of information technology, the firm protection of national sovereignty in cyberspace becomes more and more urgent and should be thoroughly grasped and effectively implemented.

Cyber ​​warfare - a new type of strategic operations

Protecting national sovereignty in cyberspace is a principle recognised by the international community. All countries are allowed to exercise control, prevention, and fight against any activities of cyber disruption and operations both in peacetime and in war. Many countries consider cyber warfare the key type of operations in the 21st century, an important part of modern warfare. The Doctrine of Information Security of Russia Federation (2016) defines: information warfare is an action to protect the vital interests of individuals, social organisations, and the country against internal and external threats related to the use of cyberspace; prevent hostile actions and aggressions in cyberspace that cause threats to sovereignty, territorial integrity, national security, social order and safety, etc. The U.S. Cyber Warfare Order clearly states: cyber warfare is an integral component of information warfare; Actors use the internet, private computer networks, telecommunications networks, etc. to collect, control, and disrupt the enemy's networks in order to achieve goals in cyberspace. China considers cyber warfare the main tool to control the opponent's cyberspace and protect its own cyberspace; anti-computer activities, including network surveillance, protection and attack activities; at the same time, in combination with traditional command, control, communication, computer, intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance (C4ISR) capabilities, creating favourable conditions for joint operations. From the above mentioned concepts, it can be seen that the concept of cyber warfare is approached from different dimensions, depending on the military viewpoints, strategy, and doctrine of each country, and continues to develop and perfect along with the development of science and technology.

As for Viet Nam, Resolution No. 29-NQ/TW, dated July 25, 2018 of the Politburo (12th tenure) on the Strategy to Defend the Fatherland in Cyberspace affirms that: Defending the Fatherland in Cyberspace is an important and regular task of the entire Party, Army, people, and political system. Focus on building revolutionary, regular, seasoned and modern cyber forces as the core in safeguarding national sovereignty in cyberspace. Decree No. 98/2015/ND-CP of the Government on the organisation and operations of the Cyber ​​Command defines that: “Cyberspace operations are organised operations against the enemy of the Cyber ​​Command in the cyberspace, and is within the people’s war posture to safeguard national sovereignty in cyberspace, defend national important information systems, and protect the independence, sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam”. Accordingly, cyber operation is conducted in both peacetime and wartime. In peacetime, fighting in cyberspace is to defend the security of the military and defence information systems, the directing and managing information systems of the Party and State, and important national information systems; assure information safety and security, and national sovereignty in cyberspace; fight against activities of exploiting cyberspace to carry out "peaceful evolution", riots and subversion, and being ready to deal with contingencies. In wartime, cyber operation is not only to damage or disrupt information systems, information infrastructure, command and control operations, but also affects the psychological state of the enemy; coordinate and promote effective systems of command and control, etc. to gain advantage in the battlefield, providing support for operations on other theatres of war, or even deciding the course of the war. Thus, it can be affirmed that operations to defend national sovereignty in cyberspace are a new type of strategic operations in national construction and defence.

Key features of strategic operations to protect national sovereignty in cyberspace

The basic characteristic of cyber warfare is that it takes place in a unique domain, so one important requirement is to fundamentally and comprehensively understand the domain in all related aspects, elements, and contents; then, propose solutions, especially the tactics to fight in it that are relevant to each specific object, goal, and combat operations, etc. To do that, first of all, it is necessary to understand the following fundamental and common features:

The characteristics of enemy, the domain, and the operations. Hostile forces, reactionary elements, and political opportunists... at home and abroad, and enemy's cyber operations forces use cyberspace to fight against and disrupt our economic, political, social, national defence and security activities, both in peacetime and in war time, are identified as adversaries in the strategy to safeguard our national sovereignty in cyberspace. Cyber operations takes place in information domain, including information infrastructure and social activities in cyberspace. Although cyberspace is a combat domain that is both visible and invisible, limited and unlimited, real and virtual, it is considered one of the important battlefields where countries always try to consolidate, enhance their capabilities, and compete for influence. Operations to protect national sovereignty in cyberspace shares some features of information warfare, such as: difficult to identify, evaluate, and forecast; unlimited in space and time; diverse and complex in combatants; high intellectuality; mainly soft kill with high efficiency. In addition, it has its own characteristics, such as: all activities (tactically and technically) are associated with the development of science and technology, especially information and communication technology; lethal attacks on important national, military and defence information systems; autonomous command and control systems of the enemy; and extremely flexible methods of fighting.

General goal  of operations in cyberspace is to protect national sovereignty and interests in cyberspace, the Marxist-Leninist theory, Ho Chi Minh's thought, the Party's guidelines and point of views, the State's policies and laws, the independence, freedom, social regime, and territorial integrity of the Fatherland. Its specific goals include: military, national defence and security information systems, directing and managing information of the Party and State, weapon control systems, important national information infrastructures, such as: telecommunications, transportation, electricity, banking, aviation, etc., and information systems of major enterprises and economic groups of the country.

The tasks of cyber operations include: collecting and analysing information, evaluating and forecasting the situation; studying tactics, ... of the enemy, and cyber operations in all domains (air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace); directly engage in cyberspace operations to defend military command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems; organise offensive and defensive actions, build a posture in cyberspace, coordinate with other forces to protect important information systems and national sovereignty in cyberspace; monitor, detect, evaluate, and classify information for making early warning of sources of information in violation of the law; identify information trends, actively make positive information orientation, dilute and reduce the amount of negative information in cyberspace; assure information technology for managing, commanding, and controlling weapons.

In terms of principles, guidelines, and combat tactics. In order to effectively operate in cyberspace, it is necessary to adhere to the principles and guidelines of "being proactive, flexible, secured, sudden, intellectual, and creative" and closely coordinate and promote synergies in operations. Cyberspace fighting tactics is based on the all-people defence posture and the people's war posture to form a firm, inter-connected, and secured fighting posture in cyberspace; identify the right direction, aspect, information system, channel, server, and main targets in cyber operations; flexibly and creatively apply combat tactics and fighting methods in reconnaissance, defence and offense in cyberspace; combine different fighting tactics, operations and strategies; effectively apply measures to fight against conspiracies, sabotage activities, political and armed riots, subversion, and separation, etc; prevent, block, and defeat all conspiracies and tactics of the enemy, hostile and reactionary forces in cyberspace; firmly defend national sovereignty in cyberspace, and the independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Fatherland in all circumstances.

In terms of forces, mobilising fighting forces in cyberspace. The cyber warfare forces comprise of the force of the entire Party, Army and people; in which, the force of the 35th Central Steering Committee and the cyber warfare force of the Ministry of National Defence are the cores, combining with the civilian cyber warfare and information technology forces. The cyber warfare force of the Ministry of Defence includes the strategic and operational-level cyber warfare force and information technology force of units and military corporations.

The deployment and use of cyber warfare forces should be sound and relevant to specific conditions, each contingency, each action, and each campaign and operation phase in peacetime and wartime; closely combining the specialised force with the part-time force, under the unified command of the Ministry of National Defence, creating synergy to defend the Fatherland in cyberspace. Attention should be paid to deploying reasonable forces, good operating skills and capabilities in each direction, sphere, and network throughout the entire information system, channels, servers, and security, ensuring the time and chances with high efficiency in defending national sovereignty in cyberspace.

Along with the development of information technology, the fourth industrial revolution has created various forms of warfare in cyberspace, such as information warfare and network war, etc. However, cyber warfare is a new type of strategic operations, that should be thoroughly studied in order to gradually develop and perfect fighting capabilities both in theory and practice, to meet requirements and tasks in each revolutionary period, contributing to firmly defending the Fatherland in all situations.

Major General LE DUNG, Commander of 86 Command

Your Comment (0)

Artillery Corps in the Dien Bien Phu Campaign - lessons for today
After 56 days of fighting, the VPA’s fledgling Artillery Corps accomplished successfully its mission to suppress and destroy the enemy’s artillery sites, controlled the airfields, destroy its headquarters and installations, disrupt logistic lines of communication, and effectively support the infantry to surround and destroy every fortification and the whole fortified complex of Dien Bien Phu, making important contribution to a world-shaking victory