Chinese Military Strategy for Identifying Key Targets During Cognitive Confrontation Campaign Planning



Cognitive domain combat targets refer to the specific role of cognitive domain combat. In cognitive domain combat, compared with combat targets, combat targets solve the problem of precise aiming, that is, to let commanders understand and grasp the precise coordinates of what to hit, where to hit, and to what extent. Only by deeply understanding the connotation and characteristics of cognitive domain combat targets can we accurately find key targets through appearances and thus seize the initiative in future combat.

Cognitive focus that influences behavioral choices

The cognitive focus is the “convergence point” of the cognitive subject’s multi-dimensional thinking cognition in war activities. As a dynamic factor, it affects the cognitive process and behavioral results. Generally speaking, the cognitive factors that affect individual behavioral choices in war activities mainly include political attribute cognition, interest-related cognition, group belonging cognition, risk loss cognition, emotional orientation cognition, war morality cognition, etc. For war activities and groups or individuals who pay attention to war activities, the cognitive focus that affects their attitudes, tendencies and behaviors is not the same. Judging from the local wars and regional conflicts in the world in recent years, there are obvious differences in the cognitive focus of different groups or individuals. Politicians pay more attention to political attribute cognition and interest-related cognition, those who may intervene in the war pay more attention to risk loss cognition and interest-related cognition, ordinary people pay more attention to interest-related cognition and emotional orientation cognition, and people in other countries outside the region generally pay more attention to war morality cognition and group belonging cognition because their own interests will not be directly lost. In combat practice, foreign militaries are good at targeting the cognitive focus of different objects, accurately planning topics, and pushing related information to induce specific behavioral choices. For example, before the Gulf War, the Hill Norton public relations company fabricated the non-existent “incubator incident” by using Naira, the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States, as a “witness” to show the “inhumanity” of the Iraqi army, induce the American people’s ethical and moral cognition, and then support the US government to send troops to participate in the Gulf War.

Style preferences that constrain command decisions

Cognitive style directly affects decision-making behavior preferences. Cognitive style refers to the typical way of individual cognition, memory, thinking, and problem solving. According to the preference of command decision-making style, commanders can be divided into calm cognitive style and impulsive cognitive style. Commanders with calm cognitive style pay attention to accuracy but not speed in the decision-making process. The quality of the decisions they make is high, but they are prone to fall into the comparison and analysis of various intelligence information sources and overemphasize the accuracy and objectivity of information analysis. Commanders with calm cognitive style are often easily disturbed by the diverse and diverse information stimulation in battlefield cognitive offensive and defensive operations, and their mental energy is easily disturbed and dissipated, which may lead to missed opportunities. Commanders with impulsive cognitive style pay attention to speed but not accuracy. The decision-making reaction speed is fast, but the quality is not high. They are easily emotional and prone to conflict with team members. Commanders with impulsive cognitive style are also prone to over-interpret the ambiguous external security environment, and constantly look for “evidence” to strengthen and verify individual erroneous thinking, narrowing individual attention and leading to command decision-making deviations. In combat practice, foreign armies pay more attention to analyzing the decision-making style of commanders of combat opponents, and then select specific information to influence them psychologically. For example, during the U.S. invasion of Panama, when besieging the hiding place of Panamanian President Noriega, the U.S. military repeatedly played rock and heavy metal music, and used language that stimulated and humiliated Noriega to carry out cognitive and psychological attacks on him, causing Noriega to gradually collapse physically and mentally.

Backdoor channel to control thinking and cognition

Once a computer is infected with a “Trojan” virus, it will send a connection request to the hacker control terminal at a specific time. Once the connection is successful, a backdoor channel will be formed, allowing the hacker to control the computer at will. Similarly, the human brain also has a cognitive “backdoor” and may be controlled by others. Cognitive psychologists have found that by sending information to the target object’s audio-visual perception channel, carefully pushing information content that the target object recognizes and accepts, catering to the target object’s existing experience memory, conforming to the target object’s thinking habits, and stimulating the target object’s emotional pain points, it is possible to control and interfere with the target object’s cognition and promote its instinctive emotional and behavioral reactions. With the support of cutting-edge cognitive science and technology, using the two modes of automatic start and control processing of brain information processing, the target object can easily fall into a “cognitive cocoon”. In cognitive domain operations, by immersing individuals in massive amounts of artificially constructed information, and continuously providing them with “evidence” to prove that their judgments and cognitions are “correct”. Over time, the individual’s cognitive vision becomes smaller and smaller, and the ability to perceive the external environment gradually decreases. Eventually, they will not be able to see the truth of the matter and will be immersed in the “cognitive cocoon” and unable to extricate themselves. When foreign militaries conduct operations in the cognitive domain, they often target their opponents’ cognitive biases on a certain issue and continuously push situational information and intelligence information through various channels to support their opponents’ so-called “correct cognition,” causing errors and deviations in their opponents’ command decisions.

Sensory stimuli that induce attention

Effective perceptual stimulation is the first prerequisite for attracting the attention of the target object. The human brain will perceive and react to stimuli within the perceptual range. Cognitive psychology experimental research has found that information such as dynamic, dangerous, relevant, survival safety, and contrast between the past and the present is more likely to attract the attention of the human brain. In the era of intelligence, the psychological cognitive process of the target object often follows the law of “attracting attention, cultivating interest, actively searching, strengthening memory, actively sharing, and influencing others”. In combat, foreign troops often use exclusive revelations, intelligence leaks, authoritative disclosures, on-site connections, and other methods, and cleverly use exaggeration, contrast, association, metaphor, suspense, and contrast to push information that subverts common sense, has cognitive conflicts, and has strong contrasts to attract the attention of the target object. For example, the “Lin Qi rescue incident” created by the US military in the Iraq War and the “Gaddafi Golden Toilet” in the Libyan War mostly choose stories familiar to the audience as the blueprint, hiding the purpose and embedding the viewpoint in the story plot, which attracted the attention of the general public. In addition, the human brain will also process stimuli outside the perceptual range. In recent years, the military of Western countries has attached great importance to the research of subthreshold information stimulation technology, and has developed subthreshold visual information implantation technology, subthreshold auditory information implantation technology, subthreshold information activation technology, subconscious sound manipulation technology of the nervous system, etc., continuously expanding the application scope of neurocognitive science and technology in the military field.

Meta-value concepts that give rise to cognitive resonance

In cognitive theory, cognitive resonance refers to information that can cross the cognitive gap between the two parties and trigger the ideological and psychological resonance and cognitive empathy of both parties, thereby achieving the deconstruction and reconstruction of the other party’s cognitive system. In cognitive domain warfare, this cognitive energy-gathering effect is not a simple concentration of power, but an internal accumulation of system synergy. Under the diffusion and dissemination of modern information media, this cognitive resonance effect can spread rapidly to all parts of the world in a short period of time, and produce secondary indirect psychological effects or more levels of derivative psychological effects, presenting a state of cumulative iteration. Once it exceeds the psychological critical point, it will present a state of psychological energy explosion, thereby changing the direction or outcome of the event. The targets that can induce this cognitive resonance are mainly value beliefs, moral ethics, common interests, etc. In war, if one party touches or violates human meta-values, common emotional orientation, etc., it is very easy to induce collective condemnation, bear the accusation of violating human morality, and fall into a moral trough. For example, a photo during the Vietnam War shows a group of Vietnamese children, especially a 9-year-old girl, running naked on the road because of burns after being attacked by US napalm bombs. In 1972, this photo caused a huge sensation after it was published, setting off an anti-war wave in the United States and even the world, and accelerating the end of the Vietnam War.

Cognitive gaps in a split cognitive system

In daily life, seemingly hard steel is very easy to break due to the brittleness of the material due to factors such as low temperature environment, material defects, and stress concentration. The same is true for the cognitive system. Cognitive gaps refer to the cracks, pain points, weaknesses, and sensitive points in the cognitive thinking of the target object, which are mainly manifested as the individual’s worry that he is unable to cope with or adapt to the environment, and under the influence of anxiety, cognitive vulnerability is formed. The experience of security threats, the looseness of group structure, the confusion of beliefs and ideals, and the loss of voice of authoritative media will all cause cognitive conflicts and tearing of the target object. In cognitive domain operations, sometimes seemingly powerful combat opponents hide a large number of thinking cracks and psychological weaknesses behind them. Often a news event can shake the cognitive framework of the combat opponent and puncture the cognitive bubble. In addition, this cognitive psychological conflict will also cause moral damage and psychological trauma to individuals. In recent years, the U.S. and Western countries’ troops carrying out overseas missions have faced “enemies disguised as civilians” that appear anytime and anywhere, and their uncertainty about the battlefield environment has continued to increase. They generally lack the perception of the significance of combat, and are filled with guilt and sin. A large number of soldiers developed post-traumatic stress disorder, and the number of self-harm, post-war suicides and crimes on the battlefield increased sharply. The number of veterans who committed suicide even exceeded the number of deaths on the battlefield. (Author’s unit: Political College of National Defense University)

Source: PLA Daily, National Defense University














日常生活中,看似堅硬的鋼鐵,受低溫環境、材質缺陷、應力集中等因素影響,非常容易因材料脆性而斷裂,認知體係也是如此。認知縫隙是指目標對象認知思考中的裂縫、痛點、弱點與敏感點,主要表現為個體擔心自己沒有能力應對或無法適應環境的想法,並在焦慮情緒的作用下,構成認知脆弱性。安全威脅的經驗、團體結構的鬆散、信念理想的迷惘、權威媒介的失聲等,都會使得目標物出現認知上的衝突與撕裂。認知域作戰中,有時看似強大的作戰對手,背後卻潛藏著大量的思維裂隙與心理弱點,往往一個新聞事件就能動搖作戰對手的認知框架,刺破認知泡沫。此外,這種認知心理衝突也會使個體產生道德損傷和心理創傷。近年來,執行海外任務的美西方國家軍隊面對隨時隨地出現的“偽裝成平民的敵人”,對戰場環境的不確定感不斷提升,普遍缺乏作戰意義感知,進而內心充滿內疚與罪惡。大量士兵產生戰爭創傷後壓力障礙,戰場自殘自傷、戰後自殺與犯罪人數激增,參戰老兵自殺人數甚至超過戰場死亡人數。 (作者單位:國防大學政治學院)



Chinese Government Mandate for Military Cognitive Confrontation : Focus on Cognitive Domain Penetration Emphasizing Multi-domain Operations




From the battlefield of “bows, horses, and swords” in the cold weapon era to the three-dimensional battlefield of land, sea, and air in the industrial era, and then to the integrated battlefield covering multiple domains such as physics, information, and cognition in the information and intelligent era, one of the core logics of the evolution of war forms is to continuously enter new domains and integrate multiple domains. Cross-domain aggregation of combat effectiveness has become a war-winning mechanism with certain basic and decisive characteristics. In this process, the cognitive domain has increasingly become a new battlefield that infiltrates and affects multi-domain operations, as well as a new commanding height that determines the success or failure of the war.

The cognitive domain has become the key to seizing comprehensive control

In modern warfare, the cognitive domain has become the key to seizing comprehensive control. War practice shows that the cognitive domain has increasingly become the focus of planning modern warfare and achieving multi-domain integrated linkage victory.

The cognitive domain advantage supports the doubling of multi-domain combat effectiveness. In modern warfare, destroying the enemy and preserving oneself in the physical domain, fighting for the right to control land, sea, air, and space; blocking the enemy and connecting oneself in the information domain, fighting for the right to control the network and information, are all deeply related to the advantages and active position of the cognitive domain. In the game of system-to-system confrontation, once the opponent is suppressed and the initiative is taken in the cognitive domain, decision-making interference can be formed on the key nodes of the enemy’s command chain, kill chain, and support chain, so that the actions in the physical domain and information domain can obtain asymmetric benefits of “four ounces to move a thousand pounds”, thereby improving the input-output ratio of operations, enhancing the speed and efficiency of local victory leading to global victory, and reducing the subsequent constraints of military strikes in the economic and social life fields.

The planning and implementation of multi-domain combat operations should pay attention to the role of the cognitive domain. Modern warfare is significantly complex, and the elements of multi-domain operations are interconnected, the impact is transmitted in multiple directions, and the risks are superimposed on each other. Every action or even a detail of a multi-domain combat operation will trigger a chain reaction in the cognitive domain at the decision-making issues, military morale, public opinion, social confidence, and international public opinion levels of both sides, thereby quickly, suddenly, and unexpectedly affecting the overall situation of the war, and even causing a “butterfly storm” that changes the internal and foreign affairs of the warring parties and even the long-term development trend of the country. In planning and implementing physical domain and information domain operations, we must not only focus on shaping the situation and creating conditions in the cognitive domain, but also accurately control the direction and size of the release of effectiveness in the cognitive domain in accordance with the need to seize control of the brain, heart, and intelligence. The dynamic changes in the number of enemy annihilation, the temporary gains and losses of a city or a place, etc., are increasingly losing their significance as indicators for evaluating the direction of the war. The overall impact of military operations on the war situation increasingly needs to be evaluated and considered from the perspectives of the changes in international and domestic public cognition and the psychological impact on specific objects.

The material and technical conditions for the cognitive domain to trigger multi-domain integration are becoming increasingly mature. The leapfrog development of information-based intelligent cognitive perception technology has made the cognitive domain game confrontation rapidly develop from absolute “uncalculated” and “uncontrollable” to a considerable degree of “calculated” and “controllable”. The decision-making support of technologies such as big data and intelligent algorithms supports the deep integration of different combat forces in the cognitive domain and the command and coordination of multi-dimensional forces, strengthens the consistency and coordination of forces, means and actions in politics, economy, diplomacy, culture and military, and brings the operability of designing multiple domains, commanding multiple domains and controlling multiple domains with a focus on the cognitive domain. The widespread use of weapons and equipment such as drones and precision-guided bombs also provides realistic and feasible tactical options for precise strikes through combat operations. The rapid popularization of intelligent communication technologies such as precise profiling, intelligent distribution, social media live broadcast, robot writing, and virtual reality, and the cross-integration and development of neuroscience, cognitive science and intelligent technology have made it convenient and efficient to plan and implement “X+ cognitive attack and defense” and realize integrated joint operations.

Cognitive domain penetration affects the winning path of multi-domain aggregation

Cognitive domain penetration affects the integrated linkage of multiple domains. It is not a simple “1+1”, but the energy of multi-domain actions is instantly optimized in the cognitive domain, so as to continuously inject the emergence effect that is beneficial to oneself into the overall situation of the war. To this end, it is necessary to strengthen the innovative design of combat planning and implementation paths to ensure that multi-domain convergence and victory are achieved under the influence of cognitive domain penetration.

Deepen the understanding of multi-domain tasks with cognitive domain combat needs. Focusing on the overall national strategy, clarify the cognitive domain combat needs, and calculate and determine the combat tasks of each domain based on this. Establish the must-hit targets and avoidance targets of firepower strikes, the first targets and the last targets, the open targets and the hidden targets, the heavy targets and the light targets, etc., and focus on the effectiveness of destroying the morale of the combat opponent. Establish the goals, timing, and intensity of channel control, and focus on the deprivation of the combat opponent’s social mobilization capabilities, international communication capabilities, etc., and the support effectiveness for our information release and external propaganda. Establish the focus of intelligence information collection, and focus on the ability to grasp the combat opponent’s cognitive domain combat power, describe the characteristics of cognitive attack and defense targets in fine granularity, and dynamically grasp the international and domestic public opinion and social trends.

Guide multi-domain action design with cognitive domain combat tasks. Focusing on the questions of “who, what kind of cognitive impact, and to what extent”, the cognitive domain combat tasks in different combat phases and different combat scenarios are subdivided, and based on this, the overall planning and detailed design of what actions to organize in each domain, what opportunities to seize, what forces to invest, what tactics to adopt, and how various actions are connected and crossed are carried out. The reason why the “Four-sided Chu Song” was able to disintegrate the powerful Chu army was first because the Han army completed the military encirclement of the Chu army, and secondly, it used the clever idea of ​​the captives singing Chu songs at night. In fact, different action timings, different task forces, different weapons and equipment, different tactics selections, and even different action names convey very different information, and the intensity of cognitive impact generated is also significantly different. It requires careful consideration and scientific research and judgment to strive to maximize efficiency and optimize the effect. When loading cognitive attack and defense actions for fire strikes, network attack and defense, electronic countermeasures, defensive operations, special operations and other actions, different imagination and creative thinking levels, different technical understanding, application and innovation, and the final effect achieved is even more different.

Organize multi-domain collaborative support with cognitive domain combat actions. Cognitive domain combat operations involve multiple participants and various action styles. Normal operations require coordinated support from forces and firepower, such as precision strikes, seizing key areas, and demonstrating momentum. In special cases, coordinated support from strategic forces, such as the display of cutting-edge weapons and equipment and the organization of major exercises and drills, is also required. Throughout the entire operation, specific personnel and specific combat units, such as commanders speaking publicly and media embedded reports, are also required to coordinate support. Intelligence data, channel bandwidth, forensic information, and technical equipment are also indispensable. To this end, it is necessary to mobilize multi-domain forces and resources throughout the entire process, in real time, systematically, and accurately, so that military warfare, psychological warfare, and intellectual warfare can leverage each other’s strengths and support each other, forming a chess game and playing a combination of punches.

Focus on deepening the understanding of the concept of cognitive domain penetration and influence on multiple domains

Establishing the status of cognitive domain penetration and influence on multi-domain operations and promoting integrated linkage victory is a deep-level conceptual revolution, which requires strengthening various supporting constructions to create conditions and lay the foundation.

Strengthen institutional guarantees. The cognitive domain penetration and multi-domain integrated joint operations have put forward higher requirements for cross-departmental and cross-institutional collaboration and cooperation, and it is necessary to form a scientific and efficient command chain that supports the cognitive domain penetration and multi-domain and multi-domain integrated linkage. It is necessary to clarify the cognitive domain combat responsibilities of each element of the joint combat command organization, optimize and reorganize the command process, and ensure that the penetration and influence of the cognitive domain are reflected in combat determination, task planning, and action design. Focusing on cross-domain integrated linkage, we will establish and improve work systems and cooperation mechanisms at all levels such as strategy, campaign, and tactics, strengthen the mutual leverage and coordination of cognitive domain operations and physical domain and information domain operations, and give full consideration to the effective coordination of military forces and local relevant functional departments and professional forces, so that the comprehensive advantages can be transformed into the ability advantages of cognitive domain penetration and multi-domain empowerment.

Improve the ability and quality of commanders. Foreign militaries believe that qualified commanders in modern warfare need to be good at “rapidly transforming active kinetic operations into more subtle cultural warfare” and should have “unique intuition” and “comprehensive leadership capabilities” for this. In order to achieve cognitive domain penetration and multi-domain integrated linkage in war practice, it is necessary to first strengthen the awareness of cognitive domain operations in the minds of commanders at all levels, strengthen the consciousness and initiative of forming cognitive domain penetration to influence multi-domain task planning and action design, and strengthen the ability to implement high-efficiency cognitive offense and defense with force and firepower operations and information control and seizure as means and carriers. It is necessary to take multi-domain coordinated command under the influence of cognitive domain penetration as an important content of strategic and campaign exercises and training, highlight the training of commanders to command and control multiple domains with a focus on cognitive shaping, and promote the training field to keep close to the actual requirements of winning political and military battles.

Promote the updating and improvement of joint cultural concepts. Cognitive domain penetration and multi-domain integrated linkage operations are the sublimation and optimization of joint combat concepts and mechanisms, and especially require the support and guarantee of joint cultural construction that is adapted to them. On the one hand, we must strive to break the influence of traditional war thinking patterns, break some traditional concept barriers, and focus on cognitive guidance, multi-domain integration, and linkage operations as the forefront of joint cultural construction to update concepts. On the other hand, we must strengthen the construction of a theoretical system for cognitive domain penetration and multi-domain integrated joint operations, conduct in-depth research on the winning mechanism of cognitive domain operations and innovation of tactics, and lay a solid ideological foundation with theoretical accumulation.

(Author’s unit: Political College of National Defense University)




















2023-01-19 14:35 解放軍報 濮端華 李習文 肖飛


Chinese Military & Cognitive Confrontation – Value attack and defense: Designing Combat in the Cognitive Domain



Value attack and defense is an important way to conduct cognitive domain operations from a strategic level. Usually, value attack and defense is achieved by intervening in people’s thinking, beliefs, values, etc., in order to achieve the purpose of disintegrating the enemy’s consensus, destroying the enemy’s will, and then gaining comprehensive control over the battlefield. Accurately grasping the characteristics, mechanisms, and means of value attack and defense is crucial to gaining future cognitive domain combat advantages.

Characteristics of the cognitive domain of value attack and defense

Value attack and defense refers to the intervention and influence on relatively stable cognitive results by inducing deep logical thinking and value judgment changes of individuals or groups, in order to reconstruct people’s cognitive abilities such as will, thinking, psychology, and emotions. Value attack and defense mainly has the following characteristics:

Soft confrontation. Traditional warfare mainly relies on violent means to weaken and disintegrate the enemy’s military capabilities, and usually has a high intensity of war. Cognitive domain warfare will no longer be limited to hard confrontations such as siege and conquest, but will focus more on infiltration and counter-infiltration, attack and counter-attack, control and counter-control around value positions. By competing for the dominance of cognitive domain confrontation, the combat effectiveness of the physical domain and information domain will be further stimulated, thereby seizing the initiative on the battlefield and even achieving the effect of defeating the enemy without fighting. In practice, value offense and defense often focus on the cultural traditions, values ​​and social psychology of a country or nation, and ultimately achieve the purpose of destroying the enemy’s will, cognitive manipulation, and mental control.

Full-dimensional release. Modern warfare is increasingly characterized by being holistic, multi-domain, and all-time. Cognitive domain warfare aims to influence battlefield effects by intervening in human consciousness, and the relative stability of consciousness determines that people’s worldviews, beliefs, and other values ​​are generally relatively stable. Therefore, value offense and defense need to be carried out in a long-term, uninterrupted, holographic, and full-dimensional manner. From a temporal perspective, value offense and defense blurs the boundaries between peace and war, and is always at war, constantly accumulating and gradually releasing combat effectiveness; from a spatial perspective, value offense and defense blurs the boundaries between the front and rear of combat, and is carried out in all directions in tangible and intangible spaces; from a field perspective, value offense and defense blurs the boundaries between military and non-military, and occurs not only in the military field, but also in the political, economic, diplomatic, and cultural fields, showing the characteristics of full-domain coverage.

Empowered by science and technology. Cognitive domain warfare is a technology-intensive and complex system engineering. The full-process penetration of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, brain science, and quantum computing is triggering iterative upgrades and profound changes in cognitive domain warfare. Intelligent tools fundamentally enhance the ability of cognitive domain combatants to manipulate and interfere with the opponent’s thinking. Human-machine hybrid as a new means and new style of combat power will change the main body of future wars. Autonomous confrontation and cloud brain victory may become the mainstream attack and defense mode. In recent years, NATO has launched cognitive electronic warfare equipment aimed at changing the opponent’s value cognition and behavior through information attack and defense. Technological development has also triggered a cognitive revolution. The rapid spread of information has further accelerated the differences in public value cognition. Cognitive islands have exacerbated the value gap between different subjects. The social structure changes brought about by intelligence are profoundly changing the political and cultural pattern. From this point of view, in future cognitive domain warfare, it is crucial to grasp the “bull’s nose” of scientific and technological innovation and master key core technologies to seize the initiative on the battlefield.

The mechanism of cognitive domain of value attack and defense

Value attack and defense is a high-level confrontation in cognitive domain operations, and the target of action is people’s deep cognition. Consciousness is the reflection of social existence in the brain. The regulation of social existence, the guidance of public consciousness and the change of human brain function can strengthen or reverse human consciousness. If you want to win the opponent in the attack and defense confrontation, you must follow the laws of thinking and cognition and grasp the winning mechanism of value attack and defense.

Impacting the value “protection zone”. Occupying the commanding heights of values ​​is the logical starting point for conducting value offense and defense. Social consciousness is often composed of relatively stable core values ​​and peripheral auxiliary theories. Various theories such as economy, politics, religion, and culture can be constructed and adapted to protect core values ​​from external shocks, and therefore also bear the impact and challenge of other values. In the eyes of foreign militaries, value offense and defense is to continuously impact the “protection zone” of the opponent’s ideology through cultural infiltration, religious conflict, strategic communication and other means, in conjunction with actions in the physical and information domains. This often requires seizing the values, political attitudes, religious beliefs, etc. that affect the opponent’s cognition, disrupting their social group psychology, inducing value confusion, shaking their will to fight, destroying cultural identity, and even changing and disintegrating their original cognitive system, so as to instill or implant new values ​​that are beneficial to themselves in order to achieve combat objectives.

Ignite the “trigger point” of conflict. Cognitive domain warfare involves multiple categories such as history and culture, political system, national sentiment, and religious beliefs. The main body of the war has also expanded from simple military personnel to ordinary people. It will become an important means of cognitive domain warfare to stimulate cognitive conflicts among ordinary people by hyping up topic disputes and public events. In recent local conflicts, it is not uncommon for the warring parties to ignite national sentiments through purposeful narratives, trigger political crises and thus affect the war situation. In future wars, some countries will use hot and sensitive events to detonate public opinion, rely on network technology to gather, absorb, mobilize, accurately manipulate and induce ordinary people, thereby promoting general conflicts to rise to disputes of beliefs, disputes of systems, and disputes of values. It will become the norm.

Control the cognitive “fracture surface”. Cognitive space, as an existence at the conceptual level, is composed of the superposition of the subjective cognitive spaces of all combat individuals. It is a collection of differentiated, differentiated, and even conflicting values. However, ideology has a “suturing” function. Through cognitive shaping and discourse construction, it can effectively “suturing” the broken cognition, condense the scattered values, and form a relatively stable cognitive system. After World War II, France had carried out effective cognitive “suturing” on the trauma of defeat. It used a whole set of independent narrative logic to explain how the war provided France with “new opportunities”, which greatly condensed the political identity of the French people with the government. In the battle for value positions in cognitive domain operations, we should focus on the cognitive fracture surface within the enemy, find the cognitive connection points between the enemy and us, and “suturing” the cognition, so as to unite the forces of all parties to the greatest extent and isolate and disintegrate the enemy.

The main means of cognitive domain in value attack and defense

Value attack and defense expands cognitive confrontation from public opinion, psychology and other levels to thinking space, and from the military field to the overall domain, thus achieving a blow to the enemy’s deep political identity. At present, the world’s military powers are strengthening strategic pre-positioning, aiming at the profound changes in target subjects and tactics, changing combat thinking, and actively controlling the initiative of cognitive domain operations.

Aiming at deep destruction. Cognitive domain warfare directly affects people’s brain cognition, and is easier to achieve deep strategic intentions than physical domain warfare. In particular, once the “high-level cognition” of people’s language level, thinking level, and cultural level is broken through, it will help to strategically reverse the battlefield situation and achieve the political purpose of the war. Based on this, cognitive domain warfare often begins before the war, by intervening in the opponent’s internal and foreign affairs, shaking its ideological and value foundations, etc.; during war, it focuses on influencing the enemy’s war decision-making, campaign command, and combat implementation. The value judgment, attack or weaken the decision-making ability and resistance will of combatants, etc. All hostile parties try to “maintain their own world while increasing the destructive pressure of the opponent” in order to achieve decision-making advantages by competing for cognitive advantages, and then achieve the goal of action advantages.

Centered on ordinary individuals. In the future, the subjects of cognitive domain operations will no longer be limited to military personnel. Broadly speaking, individuals who can communicate and disseminate information may become participating forces. Compared with elites in the social field, ordinary people are more likely to accept and disseminate diverse values, and their cognitive space is more likely to be manipulated. At present, online media is becoming the main channel for information exchange and dissemination in the social field, and the purpose of cognitive shaping can be achieved through targeted information guidance and information delivery. Foreign military practices have proved that with the help of cognitive shaping of ordinary individuals, progressive infiltration and cognitive interference can be caused from bottom to top, causing a deviation in the consciousness and ideas between ordinary people and social decision-makers, and failing to reach an effective consensus in key actions.

In the form of protracted warfare. Unlike the direct attack and destruction of “hard” targets in the physical domain military struggle, the potential target of cognitive domain warfare is human cognition. The value attack and defense is aimed at changing the concepts, beliefs, will, emotions, etc. of the combat targets, which often requires subtle influence and step-by-step operations. Effective cognitive offense is generally launched in the combat preparation stage and runs through the entire war. By collecting the opponent’s cognitive situation, decision-making habits, thinking patterns, etc., targeted actions such as creating a situation and changing the atmosphere are carried out. Therefore, cognitive domain warfare needs to strengthen the overall design, especially focusing on coordinating multiple forces, and strengthening pre-positioned preparations in multiple positions such as public opinion field creation and diplomacy, so as to form an overall combat force.

(Author’s unit: Military Political Work Research Institute of the Academy of Military Sciences)




















Chinese Military Perspectives on Supporting Cognitive Confrontation



Modern warfare, according to the characteristics of material form, usually divides the combat domain into the physical domain, the information domain, and the cognitive domain. The three domains interact with each other to form the field and soil for military confrontation. Although cognitive domain operations occur in the cognitive domain, their operational support often spans various fields. War practice shows that with the enhanced effectiveness of hard strikes in the physical domain, cognitive formation can often be accelerated, and cognitive realization can better meet combat needs.

Cognitive offense and defense cannot be separated from physical support

Today’s world is a world where everything is interconnected. The collection of different objects connected to each other greatly enhances the function of independent individuals acting alone. Cognitive domain operations are never isolated operations between cognitive carriers. Only by integrating cognitive attack and defense into an integrated joint operations chain, closely integrating with physical domain military strike operations, and tightly integrating with the entire combat system can we fully exert combat effectiveness.

The starting point of cognition. Existence determines consciousness. Thinking and cognition is not a fairy from the sky, but a true or tortuous reflection of the real world. Without the foundation of the material world, thinking and cognition will lose the source of information, the basis for analysis and judgment, and the accuracy of decision-making and action, making it difficult for people to trust, recognize, and rely on. Even the most psychedelic science fiction wars still have references to real combat targets, specific combat objectives, and corresponding combat paths. Therefore, intelligence reconnaissance analysis has become an indispensable and important link for commanders to organize troops and plan. “Without investigation, there is no right to speak” is regarded as a golden rule that must be followed in decision-making. Battlefield simulation simulations have become an important step for the success of combat operations. In history, most of the combat commands of accomplished generals and classic combat cases that can withstand the test of history and practice are all based on full investigation and research and scientific intelligence analysis. Without the hard-core support of the real world, “human beings think about , and God laughs.”

The basis of cognitive effects. A golden rule of operations in the cognitive domain is that soft power at the cognitive level must be supported by hard strikes at the physical level in order to ensure and strengthen its role. Strong military pressure is a necessary prerequisite for cognitive means to work, and continuous victory on the battlefield is the core support for winning cognitive wars. If the United States does not have the high-pressure pressure of its super comprehensive national strength and superior technology, its “Star Wars Plan” may not really work. If cognitive domain operations lack the support of specific military operations in the physical domain, they will never produce the good effects of doubting, confusing, deterring, and defeating the enemy. To grasp the initiative in thinking and cognition and to take the initiative in cognitive domain operations, we must not only strengthen the construction of cognitive ontology, improve the ability to directly use strategies and technical means to strengthen self-protection, intervene and influence the opponent’s thinking and cognition, but also actively strive to The physical domain leverages the conduction effect of military operations in the physical domain to enhance thinking and cognition.

The starting point for cognitive realization. Marxism believes that once theory grasps the masses, it will also become material force. From the perspective of combat in the cognitive domain, the spiritual creation at the superstructure level of cognition will not automatically turn into material power. Only by being attached to a certain material carrier and practical grasp can it be possible to realize spiritual to material and consciousness. A critical leap into existence. Just as in World War II, if the German army had not bypassed the Maginot Line, broke through the Ardennes Forest, and launched a surprise attack into the French hinterland, it would have been impossible to demonstrate the foresight of the cognitive achievement of the “Manstein Plan”; similarly, if there were no Allies, The military’s successful landing in Normandy, which invaded the east and west, also failed to highlight the ingenuity of the strategy of “Building plank roads openly and concealing warehouses” in the “Operation Overlord Plan”. Thinking and cognition are transmitted through people to specific military operations in the physical domain, and then the specific military operations in the physical domain realize the materialization of cognitive results, forming the fundamentals of the two-way interaction between cognitive offense and defense and military strikes in the physical domain.

The basic method of physical attack to support cognitive offense and defense

The methods and methods used by military strikes in the physical domain to support cognitive offense and defense follow the general law that matter determines consciousness and existence determines thinking. The basic methods can be divided into enhanced support, confirmation support and realization support.

Enhanced support. Military strikes in the physical domain strengthen the formation and development of thinking and cognition. Although thinking and cognition depend on the quality of the cognitive carrier itself, it will be difficult to achieve without the support of military operations in the physical domain. The most basic role of military operations in the physical domain in the cognitive domain is to provide solid support for the formation and development of thinking and cognition. Thinking and cognition can only be stable and far-reaching if it is based on real physical actions. For example, in the early days of the Korean War, when the Korean People’s Army was overwhelming, our army’s combat staff Lei Yingfu and others accurately predicted the landing of the US military based on the war situation, geographical and weather characteristics of the Korean Peninsula, especially the various actions of the US and South Korean troops at that time, etc. time and location. Similarly, Li Qiwei of the “United Nations Army” also made a judgment on the “worship offensive” based on the logistics support, weapons and equipment, and tactical use of the volunteers, and used “magnetic tactics” to fight me. These are all enhancements to the formation and development of thinking and cognition caused by combat in the physical domain.

Confirmation type support. Military strikes in the physical domain confirm preset thinking, precognition, and prejudgment. Cognitive attack and defense does not only occur at the cognitive level, but is the interaction between cognition and practice. War is a “place of life and death, a way of survival”. If one’s cognitive decision-making cannot be verified in many directions at the practical level, then acting rashly is the greatest irresponsibility for war. During the revolutionary war years, our military’s decision-makers were always under the control of the overall strategy and gave front-line commanders the power to act as appropriate and in accordance with the overall strategic direction principle. This is a positive confirmation of strategic thinking. During the Second World War, the Allies used “false facts” to mislead, constantly shaping and strengthening the German army’s misunderstanding of the Allied landing sites on the European continent, and finally successfully landed in Normandy with minimal cost. This was a counter-attack. To confirm.

Implementation support. Provide direct physical support for the realization of thinking, cognition, judgment and decision-making. Thinking and cognition must be transformed into actual results that change the world. The thinking and cognition acting on the opponent is not the end but a new starting point. Next, it must be acted upon in the physical world through “skilled hands” and “brave heart”. In other words In short, it is to provide direct physical action support for the value realization of thinking and cognition. This is just like Zhuge Liang’s clever plan, no matter how brilliant it is, if there is no implementation by the “Five Tiger Generals” and other Shu Han soldiers, it can only remain at the cognitive level of talking on paper. No matter how efficiently the first three parts of the “OODA” loop operate, if the execution link “A” is missing, it will be a “dead loop”. Similarly, the results of our army’s command decisions also depend on the resolute, thorough and creative execution of the officers and soldiers. The quality and efficiency of the execution directly determines the effectiveness of the implementation of the command decisions. In this regard, physical actions at the execution level are of extremely important practical significance.

Effectively strengthen the interaction between cognitive offense and defense and physical strikes

Thinking and cognition must rely on the support of physical actions, which is an objective law that is independent of human will. It is an extremely important task to strengthen the communication and interaction between thinking and cognition and physical strikes to make our thinking and decision-making more targeted, objective and operable, so as to better transform cognitive advantages into action advantages and winning advantages. .

Be more proactive and solidify your cognitive foundation. Whether the thinking and cognition is correct depends fundamentally on its compatibility with objective reality and its applicability to combat opponents. Only thinking and cognition based on full investigation and research, seeking truth from facts and comparative advantages can stand the test of practice and actual combat. The practice of absolute, sacred, and nihilistic thinking or generals’ genius, wisdom, and inspiration is idealistic, one-sided, and harmful. This requires that we must work hard to base our thinking and cognition on the basis of extensive investigation, research and intelligence analysis, and truly understand the enemy’s situation, our situation, and other people’s situations, truly know our enemies and ourselves, know everything we should know, and adapt to local conditions. The camera moves. At the same time, we must combine reading books without words with books with words, unify indirect theory with living practice that is constantly developing and changing, and dialectically recognize past experiences and lessons and other people’s experiences and lessons, so that they become our own knowledge. Help instead of shackles, assist instead of dominate.

Be more proactive and strengthen cognitive rationality. Correct understanding that can withstand the long-term test of practice and actual combat comes from practice and is strengthened through feedback from practice. Cognitive practical experience is only the basic material for obtaining correct cognition. To form scientific cognition, we need to further eliminate the false and preserve the true in the repeated collision and verification of consciousness and matter, thinking and existence, in order to improve cognitive rationality. It is wrong and even fatal to think that true knowledge can be obtained once and for all from only local situations, fragmented information and individual periods of time. In the Battle of Chibi in ancient China, Cao Cao’s side only came to the understanding of concatenating warships from the common sense that iron cables can balance the shaking of the ship’s hull, and did not confirm it from the actual combat effects or consequences of concatenating warships. If you don’t know how to recreate, you will easily tie up the ship with iron ropes and tie yourself up, and ultimately end up in the disastrous defeat of “burning Red Cliff”. Times have changed, and the enemy situation on the modern battlefield is ever-changing. There has never been an unchanging cognitive practice, nor a once-and-for-all cognitive achievement. It can only strip away impurities and extract the essence from material to cognitive to material confirmation for re-cognition. , can we return to rationality.

Be more proactive in objectifying cognitive outcomes. Cognitive achievements are only the result of thinking and consciousness nurtured in cognitive carriers. Without timely and effective material transformation, it will be like walking at night wearing brocade clothes or hiding treasures in the mountains, and it will be difficult to demonstrate its own value. Thinking and cognition are based on physical actions, and ultimately rely on specific actions in the physical domain before they can be materialized and transformed into actual results that change the subjective and objective worlds. This requires us to not only consolidate the cognitive foundation and strengthen cognitive rationality, but also improve the operability of cognitive decision-making and planning as much as possible, opening the door for smoother materialization and transformation. At the same time, efforts must be made to improve the execution capabilities of decision-making and deployment executors, so that they can correctly understand the intention of decision-making, creatively adopt appropriate methods based on specific realities, and maximize the implementation of cognitive results and operational decision-making plans to the end. Be a good “ferryman” and “bridge across the river” that connects and transforms cognitive results with combat effectiveness. 













實現型支撐。為思維認知、判斷決策的實現提供直接的實體支撐。思維認知要轉化為改變世界的實際成效,作用於對手的思維認知不是終點只是新的起點,接下來還要經過「熟練的手」和「勇敢的心」作用於物理世界,換而言之,就是為思維認知的價值實現提供直接的實體行動支撐。這正如諸葛亮的錦囊妙計再高明,如果沒有「五虎上將」等蜀漢將士的貫徹執行也隻能停留在紙上談兵的認知層面。 「OODA」環前三部分運行得再高效,如果缺少了「A」這一執行環節,就是「死環」。同樣,我軍的指揮決策成果也有賴廣大官兵的堅決、徹底、創造性地執行,執行的品質效益直接決定指揮決策的落實成效。就此而言,執行層面的物理行動就具有極為重要的現實意義。







Chinese Military Targeting Future Wars and Fighting the Five Cognitive Battles



Source: Liberation Army News Author: Yang Longxi Editor-in-charge: Wang Feng 2022-10-08 10:11:25

In recent years, local wars and armed conflicts are mostly “mixed” confrontations that unfold in multiple dimensions and fields, emphasizing the use of military, political, and economic means, implementing system clamps in the comprehensive decision-making dimension, creating various chaos in the international communication dimension, and carrying out targeted strikes in the strategic focus dimension, actively shaping the battlefield situation, and seeking to seize strategic initiative. In future wars, we must fight political-military battles and military-political battles, and we should deeply grasp the characteristics and laws of cognitive domain operations, offense and defense, and improve our ability to fight the “five battles”.

Cognitive warfare is the first step to shape the situation and take the initiative. Before the war begins, cognition comes first. With the continuous development and evolution of the war situation, the status and role of cognitive warfare are becoming more and more prominent. Aiming to win the future war, cognitive deployment should be carried out in advance, and through strategies, information, technology and other means and carriers, the target’s physiological, psychological, values ​​and other cognitive elements should be influenced, intervened and manipulated, and military operations should be covered by cognitive offense and defense, so as to accurately and efficiently dominate the cognitive space. We must fully realize the importance of taking the initiative, flexibly and independently master the right to define and interpret “narrative”, emphasize taking the initiative in the dimension of cognitive narrative struggle, create a favorable situation with legal principles in hand and morality on our side, and occupy the moral high ground.

Cognitive warfare is about attacking the heart, and we should fight a precise war in layers. “A good warrior will attack others but not others.” In future wars, the combat space will extend to the deep sea, deep space, deep network and other fields, and the battlefield space and time will be extremely far, extremely small, extremely intelligent, and unmanned, invisible, and silent. We should focus on cognitive gaps to improve our reach, use big data simulation, artificial intelligence matching, psychological model evaluation and other methods to analyze and control the key information of cognitive subjects, and achieve effective penetration and early deterrence of cognitive subject information. We should focus on cognitive blind spots to enhance penetration, aim at the ideological consensus points, psychological connection points, and spiritual support points that maintain the unity of the powerful enemy alliance to effectively strike, and use their cognitive differences and conflicts of interest to achieve differentiation and disintegration at all levels.

Based on cognitive combat strategy, we should fight a war of deterrence and control with full domain penetration. In future wars, the strategic competition and strategic confrontation between the warring parties will be extremely fierce. We should focus on the decision-making links and make comprehensive efforts to increase the opponent’s decision-making dilemma and form our own decision-making advantages. On the one hand, we should pay more attention to key nodes such as the enemy’s decision-making center, command hub, reconnaissance and early warning system, and use advanced strike means to physically destroy these nodes. On the other hand, we should pay more attention to the “soft kill” effect of cognitive shaping, cognitive inducement, cognitive intervention and cognitive control, and embed cognitive domain operations into “hard destruction”, so as to form a strong shock through precise strikes with high-tech weapons, and expand new-quality combat forces to the cognitive dimension, thereby forming an asymmetric balance of power.

Information is king in cognitive warfare, and we must expand the field to fight a good support war. Future wars cannot be separated from strong information support, and we should accelerate system integration to gain data advantages. First, we should accelerate the construction of cognitive offensive and defensive combat theory bases, databases, talent pools, case bases, and tactics bases, dynamically collect and update the current status of the enemy’s cognitive offensive and defensive combat capabilities, and provide all-round support for cognitive offensive and defensive operations. Secondly, we should accelerate the creation of a converged media communication matrix, improve and perfect our own platform system, and step up the deployment of network platforms, focusing on system integration and collaborative linkage, breaking through the “barriers” of information interconnection as soon as possible, and realizing cognitive integration and sharing, and comprehensive effectiveness. Thirdly, we should accelerate the coupling and linkage of information and cognitive domain operations, vigorously develop core technologies such as neural network systems, artificial intelligence applications, cognitive decision-making psychological offense and defense, explore and analyze cross-domain and heterogeneous cognitive information, and improve the information fusion system of cognitive means to provide “clairvoyance” and “clairaudience” for winning future wars.

The key to cognitive warfare is coordination, and we should make efforts in multiple dimensions to fight the overall battle. Future wars will be joint operations carried out in the fields of land, sea, air, space, network, electromagnetic, etc. We should adhere to system thinking, strengthen coordination awareness, and improve the compatibility and coordination of cognitive domain operations with other military actions. For example, we can integrate human intelligence, geographic intelligence, and open source intelligence, quickly collect and process massive data, remove the false and retain the true, and accurately and efficiently seize cognitive space, so as to achieve complementary advantages and full coverage to form cognitive advantages. By networking the dispersed multi-domain forces, we can establish a highly connected, collectively acting, and overall attacking full-domain joint force to achieve the effect of “integrated deterrence”. By integrating national resources, strengthening strategic communication, and using cognitive manipulation to amplify the effects of political disintegration, economic sanctions, and diplomatic offensives, and coordinating military operations to exert pressure on the target in all dimensions, we strive to defeat the enemy without fighting.

(Author’s unit: University of Aerospace Engineering)


來源:解放軍報 作者:楊龍溪 責任編輯:王鳳 2022-10-08 10:11:25


認知作戰攻心為上,分層施策打好精確仗。 「善戰者,致人而不致於人。」未來戰爭,作戰空間向深海、深空、深網等領域延伸,戰場時空呈現極遠、極微、極智與無人、無形、無聲等特點。應緊盯認知缺口提升到達力,運用大數據模擬、人工智慧匹配、心理模型評估等方法,分析掌控認知主體的關鍵訊息,實現認知主體資訊的有效滲透和先期懾止。緊扣認知盲點增強穿透力,瞄準維繫強敵聯盟團結的思想共識點、心理連接點、精神支柱點進行有效打擊,利用其認知差別和利益矛盾,層層發力實現分化瓦解。






Chinese Military to Comprehensively Improve Scientific and Technological Cognition of Strategic Capabilities in Emerging Fields of Warfare



War is a confrontation of material forces, but it is also a test of ideological cognition. To implement President Xi’s new requirements for comprehensively improving strategic capabilities in emerging fields, we must grasp the “bull’s nose” of scientific and technological cognition, focus on the new situation of accelerating the new round of scientific and technological revolution, industrial revolution and military revolution, focus on strengthening the army and winning wars, and strengthen the research and exploration of strategic, cutting-edge and disruptive technologies in emerging fields. With a deep understanding of the nature and laws of science and technology, we can master the realization of high-quality development of military construction, win the initiative in military competition and future wars, transform scientific and technological cognition into a real ability to design and win wars, and accelerate and win new advantages in strategic areas that must be fought.


Only by understanding the times can we understand war. In the era when scientific and technological revolutions and military revolutions are integrated and intertwined, and science and technology have become the core combat power of modern warfare, improving the scientific and technological cognition of strategic capabilities in emerging fields will help us understand and grasp the characteristics and laws of modern warfare, better control information-based and intelligent warfare, achieve overtaking in new fields and new tracks, win military competitive advantages with scientific and technological advantages, and win future high-tech wars.

Leading military reforms to seize the commanding heights. The wise hear what is silent, and the wise see what is not yet formed. Only by keenly perceiving the development trends of emerging technologies and expanding the cognitive boundaries of strategic frontier technologies can we see what is not yet born, recognize what is not yet developed, take the initiative, and lead the elements of the military field to achieve revolutionary transformation and development. In today’s era, emerging technologies represented by artificial intelligence are emerging in a “well-like” manner, leading and promoting the rapid development of military intelligence at an unprecedented speed, triggering chain breakthroughs in the military field, and leveraging fundamental changes in the war pattern. Scientific and technological innovation has always been a race of time and speed. Faced with the strong momentum of military science and technology development in emerging fields, we must strive to seize the initiative and gain advantages. We must accurately grasp the general trend of science and technology of the times, dare to stand at the forefront of human warfare and scientific and technological development, grasp the basic laws of scientific and technological development and evolution in the long river of history and the global perspective, and accurately identify new goals, new fields, and new heights for the development of military science and technology. We must find breakthroughs in the development of military science and technology in a timely manner, bravely advance into the “no man’s land” of military science and technology innovation, seize the strategic commanding heights of military technology competition, and lead the military revolution to achieve new breakthroughs and leaps with new thinking concepts.

Lead the military competition and win the initiative. The level of cognition ultimately determines the pattern of military competition. At present, the frontier positions and strength competition of world military competition have extended to emerging fields, and the acquisition of technological advantages has become a strategic measure to seek military advantages. In the fierce competition of technological subversion and counter-subversion, assault and counter-assault, offset and counter-offset, scientific and technological cognition has become a key variable that determines the victory or defeat of military games. If there is a generation gap in scientific and technological cognition, there is a risk of being surpassed by the opponent’s new technological combat power. If there is a technological gap in shaping new-quality combat power, it will be difficult to “change the rules of competition” and form a military competitive advantage. Recent local wars and armed conflicts in the world have shown that whoever has a leading strategic capability and technological cognition in emerging fields and uses technology to empower combat power can control the battlefield situation and thereby achieve a fundamental change in the winner and loser. In the increasingly fierce world military game, in order to seize the initiative in the development of military science and technology in emerging fields and occupy a favorable position of high-level control, it is necessary to enhance the scientific and technological awareness of strategic capabilities in emerging fields, keep a close eye on changes in science and technology, changes in war, and changes in opponents, plan according to the situation, act according to the situation, follow the trend, make advance arrangements, and plan ahead to ensure the formation of unique advantages in some important fields and win the initiative in military games.

Leading a strong army to win the war and win the future war. Practice determines cognition, which is the source and motivation, purpose and destination of cognition. The scientific and technological cognition of strategic capabilities in emerging fields is aimed at promoting scientific and technological innovation and application. The fundamental focus is to create a new quality combat power growth pole. The main purpose is to seize the commanding heights of strategic competition, seize the initiative in war, and ultimately win the future war. At present, the development of emerging fields is showing an all-round and multi-domain in-depth advancement trend, and the frequency of dynamic iteration and update of science and technology is accelerating. In order to forge a new quality combat capability with a new killing mechanism and improve the scientific and technological content of national defense and military modernization, we must deeply grasp the key areas of scientific and technological innovation and development in emerging fields, grasp the new characteristics of cross-integration development of scientific and technological innovation and development in emerging fields, focus on creating a new quality combat capability growth pole, vigorously promote independent innovation and original innovation, eliminate backward technologies that are not adapted to the changes in the war situation, adhere to the integrated development of mechanization, informatization and intelligence, improve the innovation and application of military science and technology, comprehensively enhance the strategic capabilities of emerging fields, and win the battle to achieve the goal of building the army for a hundred years as scheduled.


Improving the scientific and technological cognition of strategic capabilities in emerging fields is a very complex process of subjective and objective rational thinking. To accurately grasp the essential attributes and characteristic laws of scientific and technological innovation and development in emerging fields, and to know both the facts and the reasons, we should focus on improving the three abilities of scientific and technological foresight, discrimination, and understanding in the strategic capabilities of emerging fields, and form a scientific cognitive ability system that supports, cooperates with, and influences each other, providing strong support for comprehensively improving the strategic capabilities of emerging fields.

Aiming at future wars, we should enhance our scientific and technological foresight. Emerging fields are one of the main battlefields of future wars. Once some technologies achieve breakthroughs, the impact will be subversive, and may even fundamentally change the form and mode of war, and fundamentally change the traditional offensive and defensive pattern of war. Science and technology have never had such a profound impact on military construction and the outcome of wars as they do today. If we have a narrow scientific and technological cognition and lack strategic foresight and prediction of cutting-edge technologies in emerging fields, we may not understand our opponents, understand wars, and even more so win future wars. During the Gulf War, Iraq’s mechanized steel torrent lost to the US military’s precision-guided weapons. One of the important reasons for this was the gap between the two countries in strategic capabilities and scientific and technological cognition in emerging fields. In order to let our thoughts reach tomorrow’s battlefield, we must improve our scientific and technological awareness, closely follow the development direction of the world’s advanced military science and technology, promptly grasp the latest developments in cutting-edge science and technology, scientifically predict the development trend of science and technology, make full use of technologies such as data mining, comprehensively judge the revolutionary impact of high-tech development on war, take the lead in laying out emerging combat fields, develop a series of high-tech weapons and equipment, accelerate the scientific and technological empowerment of combat effectiveness, and provide a solid material foundation for winning future wars.

Keep a close eye on how to defeat powerful enemies and improve scientific and technological identification. War is a life-and-death confrontation between the enemy and us, and emerging fields are the top priority for the struggle between the two sides. Improving the scientific and technological awareness of strategic capabilities in emerging fields is the fundamental strategy to prevent technological raids and avoid technological traps. In order to seize the initiative in war, powerful enemies have always not only used their unique high-tech weapons and equipment to raid their opponents, putting them in a disadvantageous situation of passive attack, but also a more dangerous trick is to carefully set up technical traps and implement strategic deception. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union fell into the strategic deception trap of the US “Star Wars Plan”, which accelerated the decline of national strength. To persist in winning against powerful enemies, we must improve the scientific and technological discernment of strategic capabilities in emerging fields, closely follow the technological frontiers of powerful enemies, formulate breakthrough strategies for building strategic capabilities in emerging fields, and maintain a high degree of technical sensitivity and discernment of some so-called new technologies and new concepts promoted by powerful enemies. We must be good at distinguishing the authenticity of technology, weighing the pros and cons of development and the extent of its impact, and persist in developing strategic resources in emerging fields based on national conditions and military conditions, so that the innovative achievements of military science and technology in emerging fields can better empower the decision-making chain, command chain and combat power generation chain.

Mastering the winning strategy improves the understanding of science and technology. The key to building a strong army and winning wars is to master the winning strategy. In the context of the deep coupling of modern science and technology with the military, understanding and mastering science and technology has become a necessary ability to understand, design and win wars. From the perspective of human military history, it is precisely because of the thorough understanding of the principles of aviation technology and space technology that Douhet’s “air supremacy” theory, Graham’s “high frontier” theory and other war theories have been produced. Similarly, if there is a lack of thorough understanding of new technologies such as human-machine collaboration, group intelligence, and autonomous control of artificial intelligence, it will be impossible to master the winning mechanism of intelligent warfare and explore new theories and tactics of intelligent warfare. Technology determines tactics. To win future wars, we must focus on thinking about wars from a scientific and technological perspective, understand the impact of emerging technological developments on wars, learn from the latest achievements in military science and technology innovation of the world’s superpowers, study and explore the internal mechanisms of high-tech in emerging fields supporting modern warfare, explore how to use scientific and technological concepts and thinking to accurately grasp the laws of winning wars, how to use advanced scientific and technological means to strengthen the construction of new-quality combat capabilities, how to design wars based on scientific and technological principles, and how to transform scientific and technological advantages into capability advantages, and use the “key” of scientific and technological thinking to open the “door” to victory.


Comprehensively improving the scientific and technological cognition of strategic capabilities in emerging fields is a long-term, systematic strategic project. We must deeply understand and implement the important instructions of Chairman Xi, take improving the scientific and technological literacy of officers and soldiers as a basic task, and improve the scientific and technological cognition of officers and soldiers with a high sense of mission, scientific thinking concepts, and effective methods and approaches, so as to lay a solid foundation for comprehensively improving strategic capabilities in emerging fields and realizing high-quality development of our army.

Accelerate the transformation of ideas and concepts. The wise change with the times, and the knowledgeable act according to circumstances. While the emerging military technology is transforming the objective world, it is also profoundly changing people’s subjective world, forming a subversive impact on the traditional war-winning mechanism and way of thinking. The internal requirement is to transform ideas and concepts and enhance scientific and technological cognition. Engels pointed out: “When the wave of technological revolution is surging around… we need newer and braver minds.” Whoever is conservative, conservative, and self-contained will miss precious opportunities, fall into strategic passivity, and even miss an entire era. We must emancipate our minds and update our concepts, actively adapt to the development trend of world military changes today, be sensitive to the innovation of military thinking brought about by the technological revolution, have the courage to change the mindset of mechanized warfare, break the shackles of conservative thinking, firmly establish a new mindset of information-based and intelligent warfare, establish a new concept of strengthening the military and winning victory through science and technology, focus on understanding the new face of war, discovering new characteristics of war, and revealing new laws of war from a scientific and technological perspective, and strive to raise the level of war cognition to a new height.

Cultivate the foundation of scientific and technological literacy. Scientific and technological literacy is the ability to scientifically understand and describe the objective world and the ability to think scientifically. The depth of the foundation of scientific and technological literacy fundamentally determines the level of scientific and technological cognition. If you don’t understand science and technology or your scientific and technological literacy is not high, you will be like looking at flowers in the fog or the moon in the water when it comes to modern warfare, let alone being able to fight and win. To improve the scientific and technological cognition of strategic capabilities in emerging fields and understand the winning mechanism of modern high-tech warfare, the key is to work hard to improve the scientific and technological literacy of officers and soldiers, coordinate the use of advantageous military and civilian scientific and technological resources, vigorously spread the scientific spirit, popularize scientific knowledge, strengthen the study of modern science and technology, especially military science and technology knowledge, and conduct in-depth research on cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, blockchain, and quantum technology. We must have a deep understanding of the new features of artificial intelligence such as deep learning, cross-border integration, human-machine collaboration, group intelligence, and autonomous control. We must understand and master the latest scientific and technological achievements, build a multi-dimensional knowledge system with information and intelligent technology as the main body, improve the level of thinking, expand the knowledge structure, and vigorously promote the transformation of the “variable” of scientific and technological cognition of strategic capabilities in emerging fields into the “energy” of building a strong army and winning wars.

Improve capabilities through practice. A knife needs to be sharpened and a person needs to be trained. To enhance the scientific and technological cognition of strategic capabilities in emerging fields, it is necessary not only to nourish the theory to promote the transformation of ideas and concepts, but also to follow the basic law of human cognitive movement of “practice, cognition, re-practice, and re-cognition”, make good use of the actual combat “grindstone” to sharpen the wisdom, and promote the scientific and technological cognition of strategic capabilities in emerging fields to a higher level. We must have the courage to improve quality and capabilities in the practice of strengthening the military with science and technology and strengthening training with science and technology, adhere to learning while doing and learning while doing, focus on our main responsibilities and main business, delve into cutting-edge science and technology based on our posts and combat positions, and improve our scientific and technological acumen, insight, and response speed; enhance our technical understanding of new equipment, new skills, and new tactics, cultivate scientific thinking, master scientific methods, improve our scientific and technological cognition, and cultivate the ideological awareness of strengthening the construction of strategic capabilities in emerging fields from a scientific and technological perspective; keep a close eye on powerful enemies and future battlefields to cultivate a stronger “technological mind”, be familiar with our opponents’ scientific and technological achievements, capabilities, and means, accurately grasp the “hard core” and “soft ribs” of our opponents’ scientific and technological development, adhere to the asymmetric thinking to tailor-make struggle strategies and tactics, and provide strong guarantees for winning this future high-end war and hybrid war.

(Author’s unit: Military Science Academy, Institute of Political Work)












掌握制勝之道提昇科技理解力。強軍勝戰關鍵要掌握制勝之道,在現代科技與軍事深度耦合的背景下,認識並掌握科技成為理解戰爭、設計戰爭、打贏戰爭的必備能力。從人類軍事史來看,正是由於對航空技術、太空技術等原理的透徹認知,杜黑的「制空權」理論、葛拉漢的「高邊疆」理論等戰爭理論才得以產生。同樣,當前如果對人工智慧所具有的人機協同、群智開放、自主操控等新技術缺乏透徹認知,就無法掌握智能化戰爭制勝機理、探索智能作戰新戰法。技術決定戰術。打贏未來戰爭必須著重從科技角度思考戰爭,理解新興領域科技發展對戰爭帶來的影響,並藉鑑吸收世界強國軍事科技創新最新成果,研究探索新興領域高新科技支撐現代戰爭的內在機理,探討如何以科技理念和思維把準戰爭制勝規律、如何運用先進科技手段加強新質戰鬥力建設、如何依據科技原理設計戰爭、如何將科技優勢轉化為能力優勢,用科技思維的“鑰匙”開啟勝戰“大門” 。








Chinese Military Exploration of Key Points of Intelligent Warfare



  ● Accelerating the development of military intelligence is the choice of the times to seize the commanding heights of military strategic competition and win future wars.

  ●The extensive use of smart weapons has become the new protagonist on the battlefield, which will inevitably give rise to new combat styles, profoundly change the traditional combat power generation model, and subvert the traditional combat winning mechanism.

  ● To scientifically advance the development of military intelligence, the top priority is to explore the winning rules of intelligent warfare.

  The report of the 19th CPC National Congress clearly requires the acceleration of the development of military intelligence. At present, major countries in the world regard artificial intelligence as a disruptive technology that “changes the rules of the game” and accelerate the preparation for intelligent warfare. To seize the commanding heights of future military strategic competition and do a good job in intelligent warfare research, the first thing to do is to recognize and grasp the winning rules of intelligent warfare, and provide scientific needs and strong traction for promoting the development of military intelligence. Intelligent warfare is an autonomous warfare supported by a cloud environment. The winning of warfare follows both the general winning mechanism and its own new characteristics and laws.

  Deep understanding of the battlefield

  War activities are extremely complex, but they can generally be divided into two categories: cognitive domain and action domain. War cognition includes perception, understanding, judgment, decision-making, as well as beliefs and values. In cold weapon and hot weapon warfare, cognitive behavior is basically completed by humans. In information warfare, computer technology and network technology have expanded the ability of weapon systems to recognize and understand the battlefield, but have not changed the situation where the war cognitive system lags behind the action system.

  In intelligent warfare, smart weapons of various forms become the protagonists, and their common understanding of the battlefield becomes a prerequisite for the coordinated actions of combat elements and combat units. In wartime, relying on dispersed intelligent reconnaissance and early warning equipment, battlefield situation information can be obtained in real time, and massive information can be intelligently analyzed and processed. The situation information can be uniformly managed in a combat cloud mode, and situation information can be distributed and shared according to authority as needed. A joint battlefield situation map with unified time and space benchmarks and consistent standards and specifications can be constructed to provide a unified background for smart weapons to jointly understand and understand the battlefield situation. Moreover, smart weapons themselves are embedded with massive basic data. In wartime, they can accurately understand the enemy and battlefield conditions by comparing and analyzing the real-time battlefield situation with their own databases.

  The substantial improvement in war cognition has changed the situation where the war cognition system has long lagged behind the action system. It can be said that if we cannot deeply understand the battlefield, we cannot organize and implement intelligent warfare. The party that has an advantage in understanding the battlefield can usually take the initiative on the battlefield.

  Flexible and friendly human-computer interaction

  The organization and implementation of intelligent warfare relies on smart weapons to accurately understand the commander’s intentions and organize actions according to instructions. With the emergence and application of new concept computers such as neural network computers, optical computers, and biological computers, with the support of intelligent technologies such as voice recognition and text and graphic recognition, the human-computer interface of the command information system is highly intelligent, and the art of command and military strategy are deeply integrated into the human-computer interaction system, expert knowledge base system, and weapon intelligent guidance system. The expert system supported by the multidisciplinary knowledge base makes the human-computer exchange interface more convenient, flexible, and effective.

  In wartime, the intelligent human-computer interactive command platform uses key technologies such as intelligent algorithms, big data, and cloud computing to effectively break through the limitations of human analytical capabilities, ensure that commanders can quickly and accurately judge and predict the development of the war situation, and assist commanders in selecting combat plans and making combat decisions. Through friendly human-computer interaction, commands are automatically transmitted to the corresponding command objects, directly controlling the combat actions of smart weapons. Smart weapons understand the commander’s intentions through their own intelligent terminals, and efficiently execute human commands, achieving a good integration of humans and smart weapons.

  Swarm intelligence cross-domain collaboration

  The protagonists of intelligent warfare are smart weapons of various forms. The key to the coordination of combat operations and the effectiveness of the combat system lies in the coordination and linkage between smart weapons. Although today’s unmanned combat systems have a certain degree of intelligence, their coordination still mainly relies on human instructions to organize and implement, and it is difficult to implement self-organized coordination between platforms.

  In the future intelligent warfare, there will be a large number of smart weapons on land, sea, air and space. It is impossible to organize and coordinate efficiently by relying solely on rear personnel. It is necessary to rely on real-time sharing of battlefield situation information between weapon platforms and random self-organization and coordination according to the development and changes of battlefield situation. In order to ensure mutual understanding and linkage between smart weapons, unified combat rules are usually preset on the platform, such as unified rules for attack, maneuver and protection, and unified rules for communication and information distribution and sharing. With the further development of computer software and hardware technology, the expert system knowledge base of smart weapons contains tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of rules. In wartime, with the changes in enemy situation, our situation and battlefield environment, especially the development of enemy and our offensive and defensive actions, different combat scenarios will trigger corresponding combat rules. Smart weapons take corresponding reconnaissance, attack and protection actions according to unified rules to avoid mutual interference or even conflict. At the same time, through a highly accurate time system, a unified time benchmark is established to provide a unified benchmark for the combat operations of smart weapons in different spaces, support the optimization of smart weapons and autonomous coordination, and achieve intelligent group coordination.

  Human control for timely intervention

  Intelligent warfare is not completely autonomous warfare of smart weapons. People are always the planners, organizers and implementers of warfare. The selection of combat objectives and targets is judged and decided by people, and smart weapons carry out various actions based on the commander’s intentions. Because artificial intelligence can only partially think like humans, smart weapons lack human rational judgment and standards of right and wrong. As long as there are problems in the command and control link, it is possible to violate the commander’s intentions or even lose control, leading to a passive situation in the war. Similar incidents happen from time to time. In October 2007, three “Sword” robots of the 3rd Mechanized Infantry Division of the US Army did not replace the software in time. During the mission, one robot actually aimed its gun at the operator. Because it was completely out of control, it had to be destroyed in the end.

  In future intelligent warfare, once the battlefield situation undergoes major changes, or the original combat objectives have been achieved, commanders must timely and accurately intervene in the reconnaissance, attack, and protection operations of smart weapons to ensure that smart weapons are always under human control and are controlled to achieve combat objectives according to the commander’s intentions.

  Distributed Autonomous Action

  Smart weapons are the main body of direct confrontation between the enemy and us, usually far away from the rear commanders and technicians. Moreover, the pace of intelligent warfare has accelerated unprecedentedly. The human brain cannot cope with the ever-changing battlefield situation, and some actions need to be handed over to smart weapons. In wartime, smart weapons embedded with artificial intelligence technology can accurately and continuously track targets in a rapidly changing battlefield environment, autonomously detect, autonomously process battlefield situation information, autonomously identify enemies and friends, and autonomously and flexibly use ammunition loads.

  At the same time, through unified standard protocols and sharing mechanisms, a cloud environment with multi-dimensional coverage, seamless network links, random user access, on-demand extraction of information resources, and flexible and fast organizational guarantees is formed to realize “data warehouse”, “cloud brain” and “digital staff”, providing full coverage of cloud environment support for smart weapons. Smart weapons in different spaces become a node of the information network under the connection of information technology, and are no longer isolated and helpless. Supported by a large system, smart weapons integrate reconnaissance, identification, positioning, control, and attack, and can “kill” in seconds when discovered. During combat, with the development of the battlefield situation and combat needs, smart weapons in different spaces act autonomously. Whoever is suitable, whoever is dominant, whoever is advantageous, whoever launches, dispersed firepower, information power, mobility, and protection power are accurately released at the most appropriate time and the most appropriate place. Focusing on unified combat objectives, a combat power generation link of “situation sharing-synchronous collaboration-focused energy release” is formed to organize combat operations autonomously.

  Remote Focused Technical Support

  Smart weapons rely on high-tech technologies such as artificial intelligence and information networks. Their combat effectiveness is inseparable from the stable operation of operating systems and software, as well as technical experts and support personnel in the rear. The organization and implementation of intelligent combat operations will greatly reduce the dependence on traditional support such as materials and transportation, and the focus of support will be on intelligence, knowledge, information, networks, software, etc.

  On the battlefield, the size of troops and weapons has decreased, while the technical support forces such as software design, network control, information resources, and equipment maintenance have increased unprecedentedly. In wartime, remote focused technical support should not only emphasize technical pre-storage and pre-positioning, but also rely on perception and response technology to integrate the perception system, control system, computer and user terminal of the entire battlefield space to form an interconnected and integrated technical support network. In particular, the artificial intelligence technology embedded in smart weapons and rear support facilities can be used to obtain the operating status of smart weapons in real time, discover their technical failures and support needs in a timely manner, update the support plan in real time, and distribute technical support needs to the support units; the rear technical support forces can “consult” the front-end smart weapons through the network to implement remote function recovery and technical information support.

(Editors: Huang Zijuan, Wang Jiquan)


















智能化作戰並非智慧兵器的完全自主作戰,人始終是作戰的籌劃者、組織者和實施者。作戰目的和目標的選擇,都由人來判斷和決策,智慧兵器圍繞著指揮意圖實施各種行動。因為,人工智慧只能部分像人類那樣思考,智慧兵器缺乏人的理性判斷和是非標準,只要指揮控制環節出現問題,就有可能違背指揮官意圖,甚至失控,導致戰局的被動。類似事件,當前就時有發生。 2007年10月,美軍第三機步師的3台「利劍」機器人,由於沒有及時更換軟體,執行任務中1台機器人竟把槍口瞄準操作員,因完全失去控制,最後只能將其摧毀。




同時,透過統一的標準協定、共享機制,形成多維覆蓋、網路無縫連結、使用者隨機存取、資訊資源按需提取、組織保障靈活快速的雲端環境,實現「資料倉儲」「雲端大腦」 “數位參謀”,為智慧兵器提供全覆蓋的雲環境支撐。不同空間的智慧兵器在資訊科技的連結下成為資訊網路的一個節點,不再孤立無援。在大體系支撐下,智慧兵器集偵察、辨識、定位、控制、攻擊於一身,發現就能「秒殺」。作戰過程中,隨著戰場態勢的發展及作戰需要,處於不同空間的智慧兵器自主行動,誰合適、誰主導,誰有利、誰發射,分散的火力、資訊力、機動力、防護力,在最恰當的時間、最恰當的地點精確釋放。圍繞統一作戰目標,形成「態勢共享-同步協作-聚焦釋能」的戰鬥力產生鏈路,自主組織作戰行動。






Chinese Military Views of Intelligent Warfare from a Multidimensional Perspective



Intelligent warfare is an advanced stage in the development of human warfare. The increasing maturity of artificial intelligence technology is driving human society from an information society to an intelligent society, and intelligent warfare has emerged. In comparison, mechanized warfare enhances the functions of “hands and feet” based on mass-energy exchange, information warfare enhances the functions of “ears and eyes” based on electromagnetic induction, and intelligent warfare extends and develops the functions of “brain” based on brain-computer interaction, which will also be presented to the world in a brand new style.

Intelligent warfare involves both military affairs and mixed games in the fields of economy, diplomacy, public opinion, culture, etc. In the military field, intelligent warfare has gradually overturned the traditional form, presenting the characteristics of algorithmic combat command, unmanned combat forces, and diversified combat styles with the core of seizing “intelligence control”. However, at the war level, the scope of intelligent warfare has been further expanded, and the violence of war has been greatly reduced. The war process is the process of using intelligent algorithms to gradually replace the competitive games in various fields of human beings and gain advantages. On the one hand, the competitive games in various fields of national security gradually realize the auxiliary decision-making of artificial intelligence. Intelligent political warfare, diplomatic warfare, legal warfare, public opinion warfare, psychological warfare, financial warfare, and even more resource warfare, energy warfare, ecological warfare, etc. with intelligent characteristics will gradually step onto the stage of human warfare. For example, once artificial intelligence technology is applied to the financial field, the subsequent intelligent financial game will appear on the list of intelligent warfare. On the other hand, the advanced stage of information warfare has already presented the form of hybrid warfare. The military boundaries of war have been broken, and the hybrid nature will become increasingly prominent, becoming a kind of all-domain linkage confrontation involving national security. With the assistance of intelligent systems, one of the two hostile parties can easily create and use “accidental” events in the opponent’s society, triggering the “butterfly effect” in various fields such as ideology, diplomacy, economy, culture and technology, and then use intelligent military means when necessary to accelerate the process of destroying the enemy country. The high complexity of the future hybrid warfare environment, the strong confrontation of the game, the incompleteness of information and the uncertainty of boundaries provide a broader space for the application of artificial intelligence technology.

Virtual space has become an important battlefield in intelligent warfare, and the proportion of violent confrontation in physical space has declined. Intelligent warfare is carried out in the entire domain around the competition for intelligence advantage. Intelligence, as an abstract concept, mainly exists in the cognitive space of the human brain and computer chips. Whoever can win the intelligence advantage in virtual space can win the intelligent warfare. This advantage can surpass and subvert the information and energy advantages in traditional information and mechanized warfare. Some people even compare it to “in the face of intelligent warfare, information warfare is like a group of clumsy earthworms facing intelligent humans, and they will definitely lose.” This is just like what Comrade Mao Zedong once said about turning enemy commanders into “blind, deaf, and crazy people.” To win the intelligent war, we must turn our opponents into “fools.” It is not difficult to predict that with the trend of the increasing prosperity of human virtual space in the future, the intelligent confrontation in virtual space will determine the outcome of intelligent warfare to a certain extent. For example, the virtual war with intelligent characteristics carried out by the enemy and us in the metaverse can even partially replace the violent and bloody war in the physical space, and the results of virtual combat can also be used as the basis for judging victory or defeat. The intelligent warfare system can “learn without a teacher”, “play against itself” and “learn by itself” in the metaverse, becoming a “strategist” and “good general” for people to conquer the virtual cognitive space.

The victory or defeat of intelligent warfare depends on the active shaping and full control of potential fighters, and the collapse of the combat process can even be ignored. Intelligent warfare is an opportunistic game between the intelligent systems of both sides in the process of dynamic evolution. Both sides are constantly analyzing and looking for each other’s weak links. Once a fighter appears, they will not give the opponent any chance to turn the tables. Controlling the fighter means winning, and the moment the fighter appears is the decisive moment for both sides. This is just like the battle between martial arts masters. The victory or defeat is often only a moment. The local defeat caused by the instantaneous confrontation may be seized by the opponent to drive the overall situation into a passive state, which will lead to a complete loss. Therefore, both sides of the intelligent war are doing two things around the fighter: one is to actively evolve a more complete war system to avoid omissions and mistakes, especially in order to prevent the opponent from discovering potential fighters, and even not to take the initiative to reveal flaws and use static braking. For example, artificial intelligence reinforcement learning can be used to repeatedly conduct virtual confrontations based on basic combat game rules, automatically generate war experience and lessons, self-innovate and optimize and upgrade its own security defense system; second, do everything possible to recognize and identify the weaknesses of the opponent’s system, find the immediate advantage window of war, so as to expand local advantages and create opportunities. In particular, in order to tap into potential opportunities, they will even actively shape the situation and induce the opponent to enter an unfavorable situation or process. For example, with the help of intelligent war games “fighting left and right, confrontation evolution”, “future fighters” can be discovered in virtual wars, so as to simultaneously guide the current physical space combat preparations. Therefore, the process of intelligent warfare is shorter. If the informationized war is planned before action, then the process of intelligent warfare is planned before victory. The hostile parties have long-term games in the high-dimensional strategic cognitive domain around the appearance of fighters. After the fighters appear and the victory is deduced, they immediately enter the low-dimensional tangible space physical domain to implement joint operations. The time process of the war shows the characteristics of long preparation time and short combat time.







Chinese Military Analysis of New Features and Trends of US Information Warfare



Information warfare has become an important topic in today’s international politics and security. As the world’s largest military and intelligence agency, the United States has very strong strength and resources in information warfare. It is an important initiator and participant in information warfare, and its information warfare capabilities have attracted much attention. In addition to adjusting the goals of information warfare, comprehensively advancing in various ways, and integrating domestic departments to unify actions, the US government is also actively expanding its information warfare alliances, by absorbing more countries to form a broad information warfare alliance, enhancing the effectiveness of information warfare, and further restricting the activity environment of rival countries.

    【Key words】Information warfare, U.S. national strategy 【Chinese Library Classification Number】D815 【Document Identification Code】A

    After the Biden administration came to power, the US national strategy has been further strengthened in terms of offensiveness and targeting, which has also brought about many new changes in the US information warfare. On the one hand, the Biden administration proposed the “integrated containment” strategy in the national security strategy, and information warfare has become an important tool to contain opponents in diplomacy, intelligence, economy and trade. On the other hand, the United States uses the Internet as the main field and widely uses modern information technology to comprehensively promote information warfare in various ways, trying to influence and change the public opinion and cognition of the target country. In addition, the United States has also vigorously expanded its information warfare alliances and included more countries in its alliance system to further restrict the activity environment of its competitors. Domestic academic circles have also conducted some research on US information warfare, such as: discussing the development of US information warfare from the aspects of origin, method, technical support and equipment, analyzing the implementation basis of information warfare from the perspective of US information security strategy, or exploring the training of US military information warfare talents. However, there is still a lack of relevant discussions in the academic community on the new changes and trends of US information warfare in recent years, especially under the Biden administration. This article focuses on analyzing the new characteristics and new trends of US information warfare.

    The historical origins of the United States launching information warfare around the world

    On May 4, 2023, the latest report released by the National Virus Emergency Response Center and 360 Company disclosed the main technical means by which the CIA planned, organized and implemented “color revolution” events around the world, including a non-traditional regime change technology called “swarming”, which was used to encourage young people connected by the Internet to join the “shoot and change places” mobile protests. For a long time, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States has secretly implemented “peaceful evolution” and “color revolutions” around the world and continued to carry out espionage activities. Information communication and on-site command are the decisive factors affecting the success or failure of “peaceful evolution” and “color revolutions”. The United States’ communication technology and its media applications are in a leading position internationally, which provides unprecedented technical support for the US intelligence agencies to launch “peaceful evolution” and “color revolutions” abroad.

    Entering the 21st century, with the further development of the Internet, driven by social media, the speed, diversity and breadth of information dissemination have been unprecedentedly improved. All over the world, information can be shared and transmitted in real time. Due to the development of information technology, many countries have begun to realize the importance of information warfare: on the one hand, countries can contain opponents and create an information environment that is beneficial to their own country through information transmission and control. On the other hand, the mobility and uncontrollability of information will pose a threat to national security. Therefore, information warfare has become an important issue in today’s international politics and security. The United States has the world’s largest military and intelligence agencies, has very strong strength and resources in information warfare, is an important participant and initiator of information warfare, and its information warfare capabilities have attracted much attention.

    After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the United States mainly adopted a defensive posture in information warfare, strengthening the construction and security monitoring of network facilities to prevent attacks from terrorism and opponents. Although during the Obama and Trump administrations, the United States gradually moved from defense to active offense, proposing “preemptive” cyber sanctions against countries suspected of cyber attacks. However, judging from the National Cybersecurity Strategy released in March 2023, the United States focuses mainly on cyber deterrence, using “forward defense” to prevent attacks and infringements on key national facilities. According to media reports, when Musk announced the “amnesty” of Twitter, Meta, the parent company of another American social platform Facebook, announced a list of banned accounts, among which a group of accounts were related to the US military. This shows that the purpose, method and characteristics of the United States in information warfare are undergoing major changes, from cyber defense and deterrence to the field of influencing and shaping cognition.

    In 1995, Colonel Szafranski of the US Army defined information warfare as a conflict that directly attacks information systems to attack the knowledge or concept fields of the opponent. Information warfare can be conducted as part of a larger, more comprehensive hostile activity (such as cyber warfare), or as the only form of hostility. In 2021, Field, an expert at the Hoover Institution in the United States, also made a similar definition: information warfare aims to convey information to the target audience, which is selected to influence emotions, motivations, reasoning, attitudes, understandings, beliefs or behaviors, thereby promoting the interests of the actors. This shows that there is a general consensus among American elites on the form and purpose of information warfare, that is, to influence the cognitive system of the target object in a variety of ways. Previously, although the United States mainly adopted network defense and attack to target the opponent’s network facilities, with the changes in the international environment and the comprehensive strength of the United States, the United States gradually shifted the operational field and goals of information warfare to the cognitive system of the target country to create an international environment more favorable to the United States.

    Information warfare is an important part of the U.S. national strategy and changes with strategic adjustments.

    Information warfare is an important part of the US national strategy and an important means to achieve its national strategic goals. Today is an information age. Information and information technology not only determine the direction of social change, but are also key factors affecting competition between countries. Countries adjust their national strategies based on changes in the external environment and their own strength, and the content, characteristics, methods and fields of information warfare will also change accordingly.

    In 2016, the Obama administration issued a cybersecurity strategy called the National Cybersecurity Action Plan, which mainly includes: innovation and protection of networks, prevention of cybercrime, strengthening cybersecurity education, enhancing international cooperation and strengthening government cybersecurity management. During this period, the US government’s information warfare mainly focused on preventing cyber attacks from opponents and protecting its own network facilities and security. In September 2018, the Trump administration also issued the National Cybersecurity Strategy, which also emphasized the protection of network facilities and ensuring network security. However, in this strategy, Trump proposed the concept of “forward defense”. When it is believed that there is a possibility of an attack, the United States will take the lead in attacking the opponent, which means that the US information warfare has shifted from defense to active offense. In March 2023, the Biden administration released the latest National Cybersecurity Strategy, which further emphasized the offensive posture and greatly expanded the scope of information warfare. In this strategy, five pillars are proposed. In addition to protecting critical infrastructure and establishing international partnerships, it also emphasizes the need to combat and destroy threat actors, expand the scope of information warfare, expand public-private cooperation, combat adversaries through cooperation between public and private sectors, and shape market forces to promote security and resilience. This shows that in information warfare, the United States will further infiltrate the private sector through various means, promote American ideology and rules through the market and investment, and restrict the development environment of its competitors.

    After the Biden administration came to power, the US national strategy has also added more targeted and offensive elements. In the 2021 National Security Strategic Guidance, it is proposed to build a global strategy around the long-term competition with China and Russia; strengthen the US presence and cooperation in the Pacific region, while strengthening cooperation with Asian allies and partners to deal with the so-called “China threat”. The 2022 National Security Strategy clearly proposes the implementation of an “integrated containment strategy”, requiring the comprehensive use of comprehensive national security tools, including military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, trade and financial means, to prevent any potential challenges to the United States and its allies. According to this strategy, information warfare is no longer just a function of defending against adversary cyber attacks and protecting domestic infrastructure. Information warfare occupies an important position in the “integrated containment strategy”. It not only undertakes the function of military strikes, but will also become an important tool for containing opponents in diplomacy, intelligence, economy and trade.

    The United States is comprehensively advancing information warfare with cognitive systems as its target

    Some scholars believe that the Gulf War was the beginning of information warfare, but as early as during the Cold War, the United States had conducted large-scale information warfare against the Soviet Union. The United States used the media it controlled to carry out extensive and in-depth false news propaganda on the Soviet people, instilling American ideology, and to a certain extent affecting the cognition of the Soviet people. After the end of the Cold War, American decision-makers are believed to have gradually reduced their emphasis on the non-material elements of war because they have defeated their ideological opponents. In the following decades, regarding information warfare, the United States is more inclined to frame these activities in a narrower military context. The “integrated containment strategy” proposed by the Biden administration shows that relying solely on a defense-oriented strategy may no longer be enough to limit competitors. The United States intends to contain its opponents in all areas of national strength, including diplomacy, economy, and information. This comprehensive containment approach focuses on mobilizing all elements of national power in competition other than military means. It requires not only the coordination of various important U.S. agencies, including the Department of Defense, the State Department, the CIA, the FBI, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, but also conventional military capabilities – focusing on destroying the target country and occupying its territory. It also requires the development of unconventional military capabilities – competing for influence and legitimacy among the people of various countries, enhancing the influence of the United States by influencing and changing the cognitive system of the people of the target country, and thereby undermining the opponent’s information environment and decision-making ability.

    The information market assumes that people will process information rationally, but psychological research shows that people often do not do so. Instead, the information environment in which people live affects their cognition, decision-making, and behavior, and the information environment is the operational environment of information warfare. In recent years, the U.S. Department of Defense has adopted an increasingly comprehensive understanding of the information environment. In the updated definition of the information environment, it points out that it “contains and aggregates many social, cultural, cognitive, technological, and physical attributes that affect the knowledge, understanding, beliefs, worldview, and ultimate actions of individuals, groups, systems, communities, or organizations.” Information warfare acts on the opponent’s information environment, by analyzing the opponent’s decision-making methods, psychological advantages and weaknesses, changing the information environment, and then affecting the “key factor” of the cognitive system, changing its national behavior to achieve the goal of winning.

    In the networked era, the transmission, aggregation and processing of information are mostly carried out through the network. The network constitutes the most important information environment, and the combat field of information warfare is also concentrated on the network. The United States not only uses its global media and cultural communication power to spread American culture and values ​​to the world through television, movies, music, games, etc., to strengthen its international influence and soft power. In addition, the US government and military also make extensive use of social media, search engines, artificial intelligence, the Internet and other information means, and through professional and systematic information operation agencies and cross-border cooperation between different agencies and departments, they carry out various forms of information warfare, such as posting political propaganda on social media, launching cyber attacks, conducting network monitoring and surveillance, and organizing network sabotage activities. It should be noted that social media is increasingly becoming an important medium for the United States to launch information warfare. This is because social media platforms can have a huge impact on a large number of people with their speed and breadth of information dissemination. At the same time, because people are irrational in cognition, large-scale simple repetition on social media has become a reliable way for people to believe in fallacies. The United States is deploying a large number of fake accounts on social media platforms to widely spread false information, manipulate information, incite emotions, create public opinion, mislead opponents’ decision-making behavior, and formulate and disseminate strategic narratives to prompt national behavior to change in a direction that is beneficial to the United States.

    Expanding the information warfare alliance and further constraining the environment for competitors

    In addition to adjusting the goals of information warfare, advancing it comprehensively in a variety of ways, and integrating domestic departments into unified actions, the U.S. government is also actively expanding its information warfare alliances by absorbing more countries to form a broad information warfare alliance, thereby enhancing the effectiveness of information warfare and further restricting the environment in which rival countries can operate.

    In Europe, the United States has been strengthening its cooperation with its NATO allies on information warfare. In November 2010, NATO updated the “Lisbon Strategic Concept”, emphasizing the need to more thoroughly respond to the rapidly evolving security challenges of the 21st century, including cyber attacks. The policy focuses not only on protecting NATO’s own networks, but also on establishing agreed benchmarks to protect the national networks of allies. The 2014 Wales Summit proposed a policy to strengthen cyber defense, making the cyber field one of its key political and strategic priorities, emphasizing the cooperation and unified action of member states, and linking the cyberspace with the collective defense of the alliance. At the 2016 Warsaw Summit, NATO recognized cyberspace as a new field of military operations. In February 2018, NATO member states established a cyber operations center within the NATO military command structure, which aims to strengthen the defense and response capabilities of NATO member states in cyberspace and improve the overall level of cyber security. These measures show that under the leadership of the United States, NATO has gradually established a strong cyber cooperation platform for information warfare. On the basis of this platform, the United States will implement information warfare more comprehensively and across fields. During the Ukrainian crisis, the United States and its allies used this platform to provide cyber defense for Ukraine and launch a large number of cyber attacks. They also used the Internet to spread various false information, distorting and shaping the country’s image that was unfavorable to Russia.

    In Asia, based on the existing military alliance, the United States has been deepening its security alliances to maintain its interests in the Indo-Pacific region, vigorously promoting the “four-country mechanism” consisting of the United States, Japan, India and Australia, deepening its relations with India, and striving to promote trilateral cooperation between the United States, Japan and South Korea, further promoting network rules that are beneficial to the United States and expanding the alliances led by the United States. This makes it easier for the United States to insert information operators in the networks of allied countries, spread information that is beneficial to the United States in multiple networks, and shape the information environment dominated by the United States to exclude and restrict competing countries in the information environment. At the same time, this transnational network is still expanding, and the United States’ network standards and norms are constantly being implemented in other countries, which has greatly helped the US government and military to infiltrate these networks and conduct information warfare. The United States has also actively engaged with ASEAN countries and their individual member states, including Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam, and has achieved certain results in network expansion. Despite the differences in governance systems and technical capabilities among these countries, as well as competing domestic priorities, ASEAN has become the first region among developing countries to adopt a consistent e-commerce legal framework. They have adopted the cybersecurity framework of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the United States as a global common language to communicate with different industry sectors and other countries.

    In February 2022, the Biden administration issued a new Indo-Pacific Strategy, which is the first Indo-Pacific Strategy issued by the Biden administration and the second Indo-Pacific Strategy issued by the US government. The strategy proposes five major policy goals, including promoting freedom and openness, regional security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, and also proposes an “integrated containment” strategy. For China, the Indo-Pacific Strategy points out that “our goal is not to change China, but to shape the strategic environment in which it operates.” Especially in such a media age, the transmission and release of information are more convenient, and we need to pay more attention to the importance of information warfare. In this regard, we may also need to grasp the psychological demands and emotional needs of the masses more accurately. Taking the latest report released by the National Virus Emergency Response Center and 360 Company as an example, it is particularly important for domestic government agencies, scientific research institutions, industrial enterprises and commercial institutions to quickly “see” and deal with the highly systematic, intelligent and concealed cyber attacks launched by the CIA against my country in the first place. The report recommends that in order to effectively respond to imminent network and real threats, while adopting independent and controllable domestic equipment, we should organize self-inspection and self-examination of APT attacks as soon as possible, and gradually establish a long-term defense system to achieve comprehensive and systematic prevention and control to resist advanced threat attacks.

    As the US information warfare continues to advance, the meaning of shaping the environment has become more prominent, that is, not only to contain China politically, economically and militarily, but also to “shape” China’s activity environment in terms of network and information. For China, facing the more complex and severe international situation under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukrainian crisis and the US’s continuously advancing information warfare strategy, it should make the following responses: First, strengthen network and information security construction to improve its own information security level and guard against attacks on network facilities and key infrastructure. Be vigilant against the spread of false information on the Internet and in the media, trace the source of the spread, and prevent the spread of information by large-scale false accounts and the conscious guidance of the public’s cognitive system. Secondly, continue to promote high-level reform and opening up, actively develop foreign trade, and further strengthen economic ties with countries around the world. This is the most effective strategy to prevent the US “integrated containment” and information warfare. Tell the Chinese story well in foreign exchanges, let the world know more about China, and promote mutual trust and cooperation with other countries through extensive exchanges and strengthening economic interdependence. Thirdly, adhere to economic development. Developing the economy is a necessary condition for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and is also a core task of the country. Through economic development, the world can also understand the Chinese plan and the Chinese road more clearly and vividly, and thus more effectively defend against false information and information distortion in information warfare. Finally, in terms of Sino-US relations, while maintaining the bottom line and preventing conflicts, China can also establish and restore exchanges and cooperation in certain important areas or important groups, increase and accumulate trust, and further expand cooperation to divide and ease the US integrated containment strategy.

    (The author is a professor at the Institute of Contemporary Socialism of Shandong University, a researcher at the Institute of National Governance of Shandong University, and a researcher at the Institute of South Asian Studies of Shandong University)


    ① Liu Boran and Wei Xiuming: “U.S. Cyber ​​Security Strategy: Development Process, Evolutionary Characteristics and Essence”, Journal of Liaoning University (Philosophy and Social Sciences Edition), Issue 3, 2019.

    ②Huang Yingxin: “Information Warfare and Its Development”, “Intelligence Command Control System and Simulation Technology”, Issue 6, 2000.

    ③Lu Xinde: “On the Expansiveness of the US Information Security Strategy”, Contemporary Asia-Pacific, Issue 7, 2005.

    ④Liu Xiaoyuan and Pang Bo, “A Perspective on the Training of Information Warfare Talents in the US Military and Its Implications”, Journal of Higher Education Research, No. 3, 2005.

    ⑤[Japan] Kosawa Kunio and Jiang Xinfeng, translators: “IT Revolution and the Development of the U.S. and Japanese Navies”, International Outlook, No. 15, 2001.

    ⑥Wu Fei and Li Xuan: “The Role of the Media in the Information War between Russia and the United States under Geopolitical Game”, “External Communication”, Issue 6, 2022.

    ⑦Yang Guangbin et al.: “Characteristics of the Era of Turbulent Change”, “World Economy and Politics”, Issue 2, 2023.


《 人民論壇 》( 2023年10月09日 第 04 版)

【關鍵字】資訊戰 美國國家戰略 【中圖分類號】D815 【文獻標識碼】A






美軍上校沙弗蘭斯基(Szafranski)在1995年對資訊戰進行過界定,資訊戰是一種直接攻擊資訊系統以攻擊對手知識或觀念領域的衝突。資訊戰可以作為更大規模、更全面的敵對活動的組成部分(如網路戰),或作為唯一的敵對形式進行。 2021年,美國胡佛研究所專家菲爾德(Field)也做出了類似的定義:資訊戰旨在向目標受眾傳達訊息,這些訊息被挑選出來,以影響情感、動機、推理、態度、理解、信仰或行為,從而促進行動者的利益。這說明在美國菁英中對於資訊戰的形式和目的有大致一致的認識,即透過多種方式影響目標對象的認知系統。此前,美國雖然主要採用網路防禦和攻擊,有針對性地打擊對手的網路設施,但隨著國際環境和美國綜合實力的變化,美國逐步將資訊戰的作戰領域和目標轉移到對象國的認知系統,以營造更有利於美國的國際環境。



歐巴馬政府在2016年推出了名為《網路安全國家行動計畫》的網路安全策略,其主要內容包括:創新和保護網絡,預防網路犯罪,加強網路安全教育,增強國際合作與加強政府網路安全管理。在這段時期,美國政府在資訊戰上主要是防範對手的網路攻擊,保護自身的網路設施和安全。在2018年9月,川普政府也頒布了《國家網路安全戰略》,同樣強調對網路設施的防護,並確保網路安全。但在這份戰略中,川普提出了「向前防禦」的概念,當認為有可能遭遇到襲擊時,美國將率先攻擊對方,這意味著美國資訊戰由防禦轉向了主動進攻。 2023年3月,拜登政府公佈了最新的《國家網路安全戰略》,進一步強調了進攻的態勢,並大大擴展了資訊戰的範圍。在該戰略中,提出了5項支柱,除了保護關鍵基礎設施和建立國際夥伴關係外,還強調要打擊和摧毀威脅行為體,並且擴展資訊戰的範圍,擴大公私合作,透過公私部門間的合作來打擊敵手,並塑造市場力量以推動安全和彈性。這說明在資訊戰上美國將進一步透過各種方式滲透入私人領域,透過市場和投資宣揚美國的意識形態和規則,以限制競爭對手的發展環境。

拜登政府上台後,美國國家戰略中也加入了更多的針對性和攻擊性。在2021年的《國家安全戰略指導》中提出:圍繞與中國和俄羅斯的長期競爭,建構全球性戰略;強化美國在太平洋地區的存在和合作,同時加強與亞洲盟友和夥伴的合作,以應對所謂「中國的威脅」。 2022年的《國家安全戰略》更是明確提出實施“一體化遏制戰略”,要求綜合運用全面的國家安全工具,包括軍事、外交、情報、經濟、貿易和金融等手段,以防止對美國和其盟友的任何潛在挑戰。依照這個策略,資訊戰就不再只是發揮防禦對手網路攻擊和保護國內基礎設施的功能,資訊戰在「一體化遏制戰略」中佔據著重要的地位,不僅承擔著軍事打擊的功能,在外交、情報、經濟和貿易等方面也將成為遏制對手的重要工具。







在歐洲,美國不斷強化與其北約盟友在資訊戰上的合作。 2010年11月,北約更新了“里斯本戰略概念”,強調需要更徹底地應對快速發展的21世紀的安全挑戰,包括網路攻擊。該政策的重點不僅是保護北約自身的網絡,還包括建立商定的基準來保護盟國的國家網絡。 2014年的威爾斯高峰會提出了加強網路防禦的政策,將網路領域作為其關鍵的政治和戰略重點之一,強調成員國的合作與統一行動,把網路與聯盟的集體防禦聯繫起來。 2016年華沙峰會上,北約承認網路空間是軍事行動的新領域。 2018年2月,北約成員國在北約軍事指揮機構內設立了一個網路行動中心,該中心旨在加強北約成員國在網路空間的防禦和應變能力,並提升網路安全的整體水準。這些舉措顯示在美國主導下,北約在資訊戰上逐步建立起一個強大的網路合作平台。在這一平台的基礎上,美國將更為全面且跨領域地實施資訊戰。在烏克蘭危機中,美國及其盟友就利用這個平台,為烏克蘭提供網路防禦,並實施大量的網路攻擊,也利用網路散播各種虛假訊息,歪曲和塑造對俄羅斯不利的國家形象。















Chinese Military Emphasis of Dedicated Research on Cognitive Domain Operations



In today’s era, the world pattern and social form are evolving rapidly, intelligent technology and cutting-edge cross-cutting technologies are constantly making new breakthroughs, new developments and new applications, and the scope of human action is accelerating from the physical domain, information domain, and social domain to the cognitive domain. Recent local wars in the world have shown that the status of cognitive domain operations has been rapidly improving and its role has become increasingly prominent. It has become the trend of the times and the key fulcrum for shaping the situation in advance, effectively balancing and influencing wars.

Clarify the basic methods of cognitive domain operations

Cognition is the reflection of the objective world in the subjective world of human beings, mainly involving knowledge, experience, consciousness, emotion and psychology. The targets of cognitive domain operations are mainly people who are in the main position in the war, with the characteristics of low cost, high efficiency and strong concealment. Entering the 21st century, the development of advanced science and technology and the changes in social structure have made cognitive domain operations a new high ground for the game between major powers, and even a “shortcut” to defeat the enemy without fighting.

Strengthen cognitive effects through continuous action in the physical domain. Cognitive domain warfare has always been associated with social development and human warfare. Before the mechanized era, cognitive domain warfare was mainly carried out through violent destruction of the physical domain by military forces, coupled with the flexible use of military strategies, and taking advantage of military forces to seize decisive results, to continuously strengthen the cognitive domain warfare effect. For example, the comparison of the number of military forces of both sides, the vastness of the occupied territory, the scale of the resources controlled, the support of peripheral countries, and the acceptance of the risk of failure, etc., can indirectly achieve the result of changing the enemy’s cognition, reluctantly accepting failure, and being forced to compromise. In 1945, Japanese fascism was at the end of its rope, but it was still dreaming of resisting stubbornly until the Chinese military and civilians launched a full-scale counterattack, the United States used atomic bombs to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Soviet army sent troops to Northeast China, forcing it to realize that defeat was inevitable and had to surrender unconditionally.

Using the interaction between the virtual and the real in the social domain to influence cognitive effects. War is the product of social development. In the information age, the rapid development of information networks has highlighted the role of the social domain. Cognitive domain warfare no longer emphasizes violent change of cognition, but pays more attention to the use of media platforms such as online media, radio and television, newspapers and magazines, and interviews to emotionally attract, anti-intellectual propaganda, corrupt and degenerate, and polarize various social groups. Collect the discordant factors in the emotional appeals, life needs, and value identification of typical social groups, and plan, step by step, and premeditatedly in the fields of politics, economy, diplomacy, finance, society, and culture, through the methods of continuously detonating topics, intensifying contradictions, adding fuel to the fire, continuing fermentation, and creating divisions, ultimately causing social unrest and even overthrowing the national regime. The disintegration of the Soviet Union, the upheaval in Eastern Europe, and the “color revolutions” in many parts of the world since the 1990s all have this shadow.

Targeting the cognitive domain to directly intervene in cognitive results. The way humans understand the world will transform the objective world in the same way, which is exactly the point of action of cognitive domain operations. Entering the intelligent era, breakthroughs have been made in cutting-edge fields such as biological intersection and brain control, and intelligent technologies such as advanced algorithms and brain-computer interfaces have been continuously upgraded. Advanced technologies such as big data and cloud computing have been rapidly developed and applied. Cognitive domain operations in the intelligent era pay more attention to the role of intelligent technology. Through the deep interaction between real life and the virtual world of the Internet, the information collected and obtained is richer, the data is more complete, and the elements are more complete. Cognitive domain operations can already bypass the traditional physical domain and social domain based on the widely distributed intelligent information network, the surrounding visible intelligent terminals and the colorful intelligent applications, break through the tangible blockade restrictions of the other party, and directly implement the “downward strike” of the cognitive domain on the core circle, elite class and the general public of the predetermined target through targeted and precise push.

Clarify the mechanism of cognitive domain operations

Entering the era of intelligence, human thinking has become a new direction for war planning and a new field for war games. Its essence is to face the spiritual level of the combat target, and to list human will, belief, thinking, psychology, etc. as combat targets. By maintaining one’s own cognitive advantage and attacking the enemy’s cognitive disadvantage, the cognitive domain attack and defense confrontation is carried out. The specific action mechanism also presents the characteristics of multi-domain action and mixed superposition.

Implement value standard penetration. Values ​​are the principle standards for people to distinguish right from wrong and good from bad. They are at the core of generating motivations for personnel behavior, play a leading role in driving group behavior patterns, and are the key to seizing the initiative in cognitive domain operations. Cognitive domain operations are mainly based on network psychology and cybernetics to identify and predict human group behavior and individual activities, and then create more accurate specific group interaction concepts. On this basis, targeting the opponent’s value orientation, using the opponent’s cultural language, and comprehensively using strong media, social networks, and intelligent technologies, deliberately weave “information cocoons”, malicious narrative editing hints, mobilize the emotions of the target group, advocate minority extreme orientations, induce value deviations, kidnap and manipulate public opinion, and ultimately make cognitive domain operations effective. The foundation of the opponent’s belief, the destination of the soul, and the spiritual home. In recent local conflicts, the United States and Western countries have launched cognitive domain operations through narrative fabrication, script arrangement, and rhetoric manipulation, attempting to cause oppressive pressure on the opponent in multiple fields at all times, and many countries who are unaware of the situation have been dragged into it unknowingly.

Creating psychological and emotional internal friction. Psychological fluctuations and emotional changes are natural biological attributes of human beings, and are also the breakthrough points for cognitive domain operations to strike, weaken, and disintegrate the enemy’s will to fight. Cognitive domain operations are based on the basic principles of psychology, neurology, and brain science, emphasizing the use of human psychological weaknesses such as fear, anxiety, suspicion, and doubt, and are carried out or implemented simultaneously at the strategic, campaign, and tactical levels. Cognitive domain operations mainly use deep fakes, scene posing, and algorithm recommendations to fabricate remarks on mainstream social platforms to discredit opponents. Foreign armies have used Internet celebrities, virtual accounts, and zombie armies to confuse cognition, disrupt public opinion, and deviate from the rhythm. By creating insecurity and exaggerating uncertainty within the enemy, group conflicts are intensified; by creating internal rifts, unity and harmony are destroyed; by amplifying distrust and increasing decision-making doubts, internal fighting and internal friction are increased. Ultimately, based on the traceless implantation, seamless connection, invisible operation, and senseless substitution of psychological emotions, “winning without fighting” is achieved.

Conduct human consciousness guidance and control. The integrated development of cognitive science and advanced technology has prompted cognitive domain operations to develop in the direction of computational intelligence, perceptual intelligence and cognitive intelligence, with stronger penetration and deeper influence. Major breakthroughs have been made in technologies such as multimodal emotion recognition, activation and protection based on big data. After mining and analyzing information data, the cognitive state of social groups can be seen at a glance, and the mental portrait of target personnel can be detailed. Based on efficient and flexible cognitive scenarios, subtle emotional associations and tendency intervention of brain-computer interfaces, cognitive domain operations can unconsciously influence and shape the opponent’s thinking and cognition. Intelligent cognitive weapon systems can effectively limit the enemy’s acquisition of useful information, induce the enemy to use erroneous data, reduce the speed of command decision-making, interfere with the operation of cognitive modes, and block correct cognitive output. Reports show that NATO, led by the United States, is actively promoting the weaponization of brain science and cognitive science research results, and is attempting to achieve cognitive control of the enemy by collecting, deciphering and interfering with the brain waves of combat targets.

Build a strong confrontation system for cognitive domain operations

The local war practices in recent years have shown that military force and technological advantages alone cannot completely determine the outcome of a war, and cognitive domain operations have an increasingly significant impact on the course of a war. They can not only trigger the start of a war, direct the continuation of a war, but also affect the end of a war. Therefore, it is particularly necessary to build a strong and resilient cognitive domain combat confrontation system.

Smooth the command and control mechanism of cognitive domain operations. Cognitive domain operations involve a wide range of fields and cover a lot of content. They require a combination of long-term preparation and short-term promotion, strengthening construction and preemptive preparation. Establish a firm overall national security concept, formulate an overall strategy for coping with cognitive domain operations, take the initiative to break the situation and shape the momentum, participate in global governance, strengthen China’s voice, and purify the public opinion environment. Overall consideration of the establishment of command organizations, integration of command nodes in different strategic directions, opening up multi-domain command and control links, improving cross-domain command processes, and flexible multi-domain integration guidance and control methods. Overall design of a multi-domain and cross-departmental collaboration framework, combined with national security situation analysis, regularly promote the operation of the collaboration mechanism. Sort out the list of responsibilities of each command level, draw clear functional boundaries in each field, and clarify cross-domain collaboration matters, operating procedures and standard requirements. Establish a cognitive early warning mechanism, divide combat intensity, organize virtual exercises and multi-level confrontations, and improve the ability to deal with cognitive domain threats.

Integrate the elements and forces of cognitive domain operations. Cognitive domain operations have both the threat of “gray rhinos” and the variables of “black swans”, so it is necessary to strengthen prevention and forge strong forces. Combine the design of the cognitive domain combat command system and provide multi-domain counterattack forces. Strengthen the response forces in traditional fields, expand the scope of functional business, and deepen the selection and training of professional talents. Develop new counterattack forces and integrate advantageous resources in emerging fields such as social media, psychological cognition, and intelligent unmanned. Activate civilian forces and international high-quality resources to create a cross-domain crisis response team and counterattack force cluster with systematic support, complete elements, and superb professional skills. Combine confrontation exercises and social practices, invest new forces, integrate new technologies, and add new means to strengthen the evaluation and inspection of containment and countermeasures.

Strengthen the basic engineering of cognitive domain operations. As the research and practice of cognitive domain operations continue to deepen, many new technologies and new theories will inevitably emerge, which need to be closely tracked and followed. Strengthen the research on global hot spots, pay attention to the changes in the gray area, and keep abreast of the latest developments in foreign cognitive domain operations and the latest trends in force deployment. Strengthen the analysis of war cases and explore new factors and elements of cognitive domain operations. Organize special topics to gather wisdom and analyze new mechanisms and laws of cognitive domain operations. Analyze the strategies and means of opponents, track and grasp their strategic adjustments and focus, and carry out counter-strategies and response research by level and field. Analyze the new means, technologies and practices of opponents using social media, international organizations and agents to carry out cognitive domain operations, so as to prevent and foresee in advance.


引 言




透過物理域持續作用強化認知效果。一直以來,認知域作戰就與社會發展和人類戰爭相生相伴。機械化時代以前,受社會形態和溝通方式等限制,認知域作戰主要透過軍事力量在物理域的暴力破壞,再加上軍事謀略的靈活運用,並藉勢軍事力量奪取決定性戰果,來持續強化認知域作戰效果。例如,雙方軍事力量的數量對比、佔領疆域的廣闊程度、掌控資源的規模體量、外圍國家的支持力度和失敗風險的接受程度等,從而間接達成改變敵方認知、無奈接受失敗和被迫作出妥協的結果。 1945年,日本法西斯已經窮途末路,卻還在妄想負隅頑抗,直到中國軍民發動全面反攻和美國動用原子彈轟炸廣島、長崎以及蘇軍出兵中國東北,迫使其認識到敗局已定,不得不無條件投降。

借助社會域虛實互動影響認知效果。戰爭是社會發展的產物。在資訊化時代,資訊網絡的快速發展促使社會域的角色得以凸顯。認知域作戰不再強調暴力改變認知,而是更重視利用網路媒體、廣播電視、報紙雜誌和訪談交流等介質平台,來對各類社會群體進行情感拉攏、反智宣傳、腐蝕墮化和分化渲染。蒐集典型社會群體的情感訴求、生活需求和價值認同等方面的不和諧因素,有策劃、有步驟、有預謀地在政治、經濟、外交、金融、社會、文化等領域,透過連貫引爆話題、激化矛盾、拱火澆油、持續發酵和製造撕裂等方式,最終引發社會動盪,甚至傾覆國家政權。 1990年代以來的蘇聯解體、東歐劇變以及世界多地的「顏色革命」等,都有這方面的影子。