Topics: War, Asymmetric warfare, Warfare by type Pages: 30 (9263 words) Published: January 6, 2013

“Keystroke is mightier than the sword”


The present age is witnessing the evolution and growth of a new form of warfare, consistent with the developments in the global geo-strategic environment, called ‘asymmetric’. Asymmetric warfare has been described as – strategy, tactics and tools a weaker adversary uses to offset a stronger adversary by attacking his vulnerabilities, using indirect approaches against his vital functions or locations, and seeking advantages for gain. Adversaries who enter asymmetric warfare have a variety of tools to employ, ranging from cyber attacks to traditional terrorism or use of weapons of mass effect (WME).

Cyber warfare is increasingly becoming an important part of the concept of asymmetric warfare and attacks on national/international computer systems. It is fast gaining popularity as a means of damaging an enemy’s financial and social structures. Terrorists have discovered that the path to the fear and chaos that they crave most may be more easily achieved by a wide scale attack on infrastructure/economic targets, thus causing a general breakdown in society. Discuss the cyber aspect of asymmetric warfare and how to combat it. Focus on Pakistan in particular keeping in mind what protective infrastructure should be set in place for the future.


The concept of asymmetrical warfare is a popular and much discussed issue these days. In broad terms it simply means warfare that seeks to avoid an opponent’s strengths; it is an approach that tries to focus whatever may be one side’s comparative advantages against its enemy’s relative weaknesses. In a way, seeking asymmetries is fundamental to all war fighting. But in the modern context, asymmetrical warfare emphasizes what are popularly perceived as unconventional or non-traditional methodologies. This study briefly examines the concept of asymmetrical warfare, its manifestation in different forms with prime focus on cyber aspects of asymmetric warfare. To this end, an endeavour has been made to study the whole gamut of cyber warfare, assess threat to Pakistan and suggest measures to harness the true purport of this type of emerging warfare.Laying down short and long term objectives, establishment of a policy making cell at national level and a cyber warfare cell at armed forces level has been recommended. The starting point of the whole edifice however, would be the development of awareness about information technology.

"If he (the enemy) is superior in strength, evade him. If his forces are united, separate them. Attack him where he is unprepared; appear where you are not expected." Sun Tzu When history is at a watershed, people, institutions, and nations have three choices. One choice is to live in the past; relishing triumphs, elaborating on myths, and eventually becoming a part of the past. The second choice is to fight change. Indeed, all change is not for the better. The third alternative is for individuals, institutions and nations to embrace the future with all of its uncertainties. It is better to transform rather than to be transformed by the future. Uncertainty will be the norm as the Army moves into the 21st century. With a large variety of war waging means available, the enemy will be much more dynamic, versatile and unpredictable in nature. True face of the enemy might never reveal whereas the damage is caused beyond proportions. Contemplation of such scenarios has led the world to the conceptualization of rather a new dimension called asymmetric warfare. Within the sphere of asymmetric warfare though, threats emanating from use of cyber space assume greater importance and are hence the focal point of this research study....
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