Chinese Military Focuses On Information Networks as Emphasis to Winning the Cognitive War



In today’s era of integrated development of informatization and intelligence, information networks will play an irreplaceable and important role in cognitive warfare with their advantages of deep reach, wide audience, and strong interactivity. With the blessing of information networks, cognitive warfare will be even more powerful and at ease. A deep understanding of the mechanisms, basic forms, methods and means of information networks’ role in cognitive warfare will help to timely grasp the initiative in cognitive warfare and lay the foundation for victory.

The Mechanism and Law of Information Network Cognitive Warfare

The essence of cognitive warfare in the role of information networks is to provide massive amounts of information through core algorithms, create biased cognitive scenarios, and influence the thinking and cognition of people and intelligent machines. This process integrates the operating rules of information networks and the internal mechanisms of thinking and cognition, has strong predictability, and is the underlying architecture and key point that must be grasped in information network cognitive warfare.

Sticky effects based on path dependence. The highly developed information network in today’s society provides an inseparable platform for people to study, work, live, and entertain, as well as for military construction, operations, and military struggle preparations, forming an interconnected path dependence between them. With information as the core and the Internet as the medium, this platform connects different groups of people, societies, countries, including the military, through invisible stickiness. It not only opens up the entire world into a closely connected global village, but also objectively provides a basis for carrying out cognitive operations. , influence the opponent’s thinking and cognition, and provide a bridge and link to win the cognitive war. In 2009, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered an “Internet Freedom” speech, advocating the “Internet Freedom” strategy in an attempt to use the channel formed by people’s high dependence on the Internet to influence the thinking and cognition of people in rival countries, especially the younger generation, and spread American values. .

Interactive influence based on information exchange. Education believes that interactive communication can effectively overcome the cognitive barriers formed by one-way information transmission, reach consensus, form empathy, and strengthen empathy through information exchange, emotional integration, and mutual promotion of needs. A big difference between information networks and traditional communication media is that they provide a carrier that can interact and communicate on a large scale, at a fast pace, and with high efficiency. In this carrier, the information-dominant party can repeatedly confirm the influence, adjust methods and strategies, and intervene in the thinking and cognition of the other party through the interactive mechanism provided by the carrier based on the other party’s ideological fluctuations, emotional changes, attitude feedback, etc. For a long time, the United States has maintained a “engagement + containment” strategy toward China. One of the important considerations is that this kind of contact can effectively overcome the communication barriers and information gaps formed by simple blockade and confrontation, enhance the interaction between the two governments and the people, and thus find opportunities to open gaps and influence our ideas and ideologies. Although this strategy occurs in the traditional field, it is inherently consistent with the interactive influence mechanism of information networks based on information exchange.

Induced influence based on preset scenarios. The concealment, virtuality and permeability of information networks enable their controllers to create highly deceptive, tempting and inflammatory information scenarios through technical and strategic means such as water army flooding, information filtering and “fishing in troubled waters”, so that the opponent is deeply trapped in it without knowing it, but develops towards the preset process and results. This directional manipulation of information networks can subtly and efficiently influence, infect and shape the opponent’s thinking and cognition, so that they are unconsciously led by the rhythm, and achieve a much better combat effect than confrontation. On the eve of the Iraq War, the US media spread false information such as the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq through the Internet and other platforms, accusing the Saddam regime of collusion with al-Qaeda, corruption, and unprovoked killing of the Iraqi people. At the same time, they tried every means to cover up the truth, filter out the anti-war voices of their own people, and strive to create an atmosphere that the Saddam regime is evil and hateful and the whole United States is united against the enemy.

The basic form of cognitive warfare in the role of information networks

The laws of war and the winning mechanism determine the basic shape of war. The regular mechanism of information network’s role in cognitive warfare inherently determines the external form of this kind of war. The most basic and representative ones include information confusion warfare, thinking misleading warfare and will-destroying warfare.

Information confusion war. It is to infuse the network with a large amount of complex information that combines reality and reality, and is both real and illusory, causing the enemy’s information network capacity to be overloaded, dysfunctional, and out of order, or causing specific audiences to become “deaf, blind, and insensible,” causing cognitive congestion and cognitive impairment. and impaired decision-making and judgment. This form of war is often used in the early stages of combat and on opaque battlefields. The party with information superiority can cause the enemy to fall into a state of confusion and panic, resulting in loss of perception, loss of thinking, and confusion. According to Bloomberg, the Space Force, the newly established sixth military branch of the United States, plans to purchase 48 jamming systems by 2027, aiming to interfere with satellite signals of major powers “in the event of conflict.” The military forces of many countries generally feel that the information they obtain now is not too little but too much. The huge amount of information coming from all directions has caused huge pressure on situational awareness and analysis and judgment.

War of misleading thinking. It is to form a tendentious information scene by instilling specific information containing the intention of the information network controller, misleading, deceiving and influencing the thinking and ideas of specific countries, armies and people, causing them to deviate from the correct development track and move in a direction that is beneficial to oneself and harmful to the enemy. The direction deviation is the highest state and common practice of cognitive attack. This kind of misdirection is premised on strong external pressure, based on specious strategies, and uses mixed information as a weapon. It targets the opponent’s thinking characteristics and weak links to implement clearly oriented deception, causing the opponent to lose its way in tension and panic. Unknowingly fell into the “trap”. In recent years, while implementing the strategy of great power competition, some countries have used online trolls to fabricate false information, create false information, and spread true rumors to stir up trouble around our country and instigate some countries that have had grievances with our country in history and friction in reality. The purpose of provoking quarrels and provoking troubles is to induce us to divert our attention, weaken the investment of resources and strength in the main strategic directions, deviate from the track of rejuvenation of a strong country, and seek to reap the benefits of the fishermen.

Will-destroying war. Futurist Alfred Toffler said that whoever controls the human mind controls the entire world. War is ultimately a confrontation between people. People’s psychological activities greatly affect their mental state, which in turn affects their will to fight. Will-destroying war is different from traditional warfare that indirectly affects people’s will through material destruction. It directly affects the psychological activities, mental state and thinking decisions of key figures, affecting military morale, fighting will and combat operations. With the development of science and technology and social progress, the intervention in people’s will has evolved from the traditional strategy-based intervention to the “technology + strategy” stage. More than ten years ago, scientists developed a “sound wave cluster” weapon that emits extremely narrow sound wave “sound columns” from hundreds of meters away through an electromagnetic network, interfering with the enemy’s judgment and even causing strong-willed soldiers to become insane. In recent years, studies have shown that artificial speech synthesis technology based on brain wave signals can extract signals from the brain and synthesize speech that humans can directly understand.

Information network plays a major role in cognitive warfare

“Technology + strategy” constitutes the basic means of modern cognitive warfare. As a product of the development of modern science and technology, the information network’s role in cognitive warfare is mainly reflected in “technology + strategy”. This provides a basic entry point for us to understand and grasp the methods and scientific paths of the role of information networks in cognitive warfare, so as to win the war.

Big data shaping. As the core component of information networks, data is not only the carrier of information, but also the “new oil” that drives the value of information networks, and is the basic ammunition for cognitive warfare. By constructing complex information scenarios for my own use through massive data, it can confuse the opponent’s thinking, mislead and deceive the opponent’s thinking, or destroy belief and will, which constitutes the basic logic of cognitive warfare in the role of information networks. In this logical architecture, data is undoubtedly the most basic resource and the core element. A few years ago, authoritative departments calculated that the world produces about 2.5 exabytes (EB) of data every day, of which only 20% is structured data that can be directly utilized, and the remaining 80% needs to be analyzed, screened, and screened. These geometrically growing data resources provide inexhaustible “data ammunition” for shaping data information scenarios and implementing cognitive warfare.

Intelligent push. In the information network era, intelligent push has become a convenient channel for people to absorb external information, gain thinking recognition, emotional resonance, and influence others’ thinking cognition. Using advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence to collect, organize, and analyze people’s thinking inertia and behavioral preference data, forming anthropomorphic customized perception push, can produce an “echo wall” of social cognitive convergence and an information cocoon that shackles people. At the same time, it is also conducive to empathizing with others, understanding the opponent’s thinking trends and possible actions, and taking targeted countermeasures. In life, we all have the experience of a large amount of similar information being pushed in after shopping online or searching for a certain type of information once or several times. This intelligent push method is applied to cognitive operations, which can easily enable the information leader to use information network data to make forward-looking analysis and judgment on the decisions and actions that the command and decision-making level of the combat target may make, and induce them to make the decision actions they want to see or make corresponding countermeasures in advance.

Emotionally imbued. Freud said that we are not pure intelligence, pure soul, but a collection of impulses. In the information network space, conceptual cognition that can be widely and rapidly spread is often not a calm, rational and objective thinking analysis, but mostly impulsive and irrational emotional mobilization. This is determined by the fast pace of information dissemination and news release “pre-emptively”. The cognitive need to respond quickly to this information, in turn, leads to “fast thinking” conditioned reflexes, impulsive, and emotional reactions, transforming seemingly isolated social cases into strongly oppressive, inciting psychological suggestions and Behavior-driven, explosive behavior prompts irrational decision-making. A diplomatic cable disclosed by WikiLeaks in June 2009 described an extravagant banquet for the Ben Ali regime in Tunisia and described the regime as a “mafia” of corruption and tyranny, which deepened the resentment of the country’s citizens. Emotions thus became an important driver of the “Jasmine Revolution” that overthrew Ben Ali’s regime.





基於路徑依賴的粘性影響。當今社會高度發展的資訊網絡,提供了一個人們學習、工作、生活、娛樂,軍隊建設、作戰和軍事鬥爭準備須臾離不開的平台,在彼此之間形成一個互聯互通的路徑依賴。這個平台以資訊為核子、網路為媒,透過無形的黏性把不同人群、社會、國家包括軍隊連結在一起,既將整個世界打通成一個緊密聯繫的地球村,客觀上也為開展認知作戰、影響對手思維認知、制勝認知戰爭提供了橋樑和紐帶。 2009年美國國務卿希拉蕊曾發表「網路自由」演說,鼓吹「網路自由」策略,企圖利用人們對網路的高度依賴形成的作用通道,影響對手國民眾特別是青年世代的思維認知,傳播美式價值觀。












情緒浸染。佛洛伊德說,我們不是純粹的智慧、純粹的靈魂,而是衝動的集合。在資訊網路空間,能夠得到廣泛且快速傳播的觀念認知,往往不是冷靜理性客觀的思考分析,多是衝動非理性的情緒情緒動員。這是由資訊傳播、新聞發布「先發制人」的快節奏決定的。對這些資訊做出快速反應的認知需求,反過來又導致「快速思維」條件反射性、衝動性、情緒化反應,將看似孤立的社會個案轉化為具有強烈壓迫性、煽動性的心理暗示和行為驅動,暴發性催生非理性決策行動。 2009年6月維基解密披露的一份外交電文中,描繪了突尼斯本·阿里政權家族宴會的奢靡場景,並煞有介事地將該政權形容為腐敗暴政的“黑手黨”,這加深了該國國民怨恨情緒,因而成為引燃推翻本·阿里政權的「茉莉花革命」重要推手。


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