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Australia Embraces Cyber Warfare, Deception and Disinformation

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The Australian Defense Force has revised its doctrine on “information activities,” embracing cyber warfare, deception and disinformation through the Internet as key elements of future military operations, The Sydney Morning Herald reported Monday.

MOSCOW, May 5 (RIA Novosti) – The Australian Defense Force has revised its doctrine on “information activities,” embracing cyber warfare, deception and disinformation through the Internet as key elements of future military operations, The Sydney Morning Herald reported Monday.

“The release of the Australian Defense Force’s newly revised ‘Information Activities’ doctrine, approved by defense chief General David Hurley last November, reveals that the ADF will engage in offensive ‘information operations’ in future military conflicts,” the newspaper said.

The doctrine recommends planning operations to undermine “the adversary’s ability to develop, disseminate and execute sound decisions.” Such actions would “persuade, convince, deter, disrupt, compel or coerce” the public and include attacks on and exploitation of information and data networks. The ADF seeks to affect “multiple audiences and voices,” both overseas and at home.

“The ADF’s information operations doctrine emphasizes the importance of degrading an enemy’s information systems as well as engaging in psychological warfare and deception,” the newspaper says, adding that this includes “manipulation, distortion, or falsification of evidence … to influence the mind, decisions and actions of the adversary … to form inaccurate impressions about friendly forces, squander intelligence assets, or fail to use other resources to best advantage.”

The Australian government has been criticized for the lack of a cyber-warfare center, making the country vulnerable to evolving digital challenges. Critics question whether the country has the necessary capabilities for conducting technically and strategically sophisticated cyber-warfare activities.

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