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Russian Federation Armed Forces’ Information Space Activities Concept

"The source of external threats to the Russian Federation’s information security is comprised of the information warfare concepts being developed by a number of foreign countries aimed to impact on the information spheres of other countries; to disrupt the normal functioning of information and telecommunications systems, security and information resources and to obtain unauthorized access to them".
(The Russian Federation Information Security Doctrine approved by the President of the Russian Federation, dated September 9, 2000).


The fast development of various information systems, Internet-like computer networks and electronic mass media has led at the turn of the Millennium to the creation of the new global information space. Along with the land, sea, air and outer space, the information space has been extensively used for a wide range of military tasks in the armies of the most developed countries.
Due to the fact that information and communications systems are vulnerable to radioelectronic, software and hardware impacts, once emerged and nowadays increasingly omnipresent, information weapons have cross-border effects. The role of the information warfare has sharply increased. The Russian Federation is rapidly building information systems for all the spheres of public life, but it has faced a new serious threat coming from the global information space.
The vital importance to counter information warfare aggressive acts was first noted in the Information Security Doctrine of the Russian Federation approved by the President of the Russian Federation as of September 9, 2000. The Doctrine lays down the priorities to counter this threat. One of them is to "improve techniques and methods of strategic and operational deception, intelligence and electronic warfare, methods and means of active information and psychological operations counter measures. Besides, since recently computers have been widely used in command and control and weapons control systems, that’s why the list of threats is now supplemented with the task to protect the information infrastructure of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation against various types of computer attacks.
Armed conflicts of the last decade, as well as troops and staff operational training can prove that currently the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation have developed a solid system designed to effectively deter, prevent and resolve armed conflicts in the information space.
The Concept stipulates basic global information space principles, rules and confidence building measures the Russian Armed Forces use to meet defense and security challenges.

1. Basic terms and definitions

The current Concept uses the following terms and definitions:

Military conflict in the information space is a form of interstate or intrastate conflicts with the use of information weapons.
Armed Forces cyberspace activities imply the use of military information resources to solve defense and security problems.
Information Security of the Armed Forces is the security of the information resources of the Armed Forces against the attack using the information weapons.
Information War is the confrontation between two or more states in the information space with the purpose of inflicting damage to information systems, processes and resources, critical and other structures, undermining the political, economic and social systems, a massive psychological manipulation of the population to destabilize the state and society, as well as coercion of the state to take decisions for the benefit of the opposing force.
Information infrastructure is a combination of technical tools and systems of formation, creation, transformation, transmission, usage and storage of information.
Information weapons are comprised of information technologies, means and methods used to conduct the information warfare.
Information space includes a scope of activities associated with the formation, creation, transformation, transmission, usage, storage of information which influences the individual and community awareness, information infrastructure and information itself.
Information resources make up the information infrastructure, as well as information itself and information flows.
Crisis situation is a stage of conflict escalation characterized by the use of military force to resolve it.
International information security is a state of international relations that excludes the violation of global stability and buildup of a security threat to nations and the international community in the information space.
Information security management system of the Russian Federation is an element of the national security system of this country intended for the implementation of state policy in the sphere of information security.


The activity of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the information space is based on a multitude of principles such as the rule of law, priority, complexity, interaction, cooperation, innovation.


Respect for the rule of law principle requires that the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in their actions in the information space rigorously follow the norms and principles of the current Russian legislation and universally recognized norms and principles of the international law.
In particular, in accordance with Article 20 of the Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in peacetime is effected through the President’s decision in the manner prescribed by the federal law. The decision to use the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation outside the territory of the Russian Federation is thus taken by the President of the Russian Federation in the wake of relevant enactment of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation. This provision shall also apply to the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the information space.
As for the international law, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation with respect to the peculiarities of military activity in the global information space are guided by the following rules and principles:
• respect for the state sovereignty,
• non-interference in the internal affairs of other states,
• non-use of force or threat of force,
• right to the individual or collective self-defense.
In addition, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation follow the international humanitarian law (limiting the indiscriminate use of the information weapons; establishing a special protection for the information objects that are potentially harmful sources of man-made disasters; prohibiting treacherous methods of information warfare).


The respect for the principle of priority requires that the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the course of their activities in the information space seek as a matter of priority to collect relevant and reliable information on the threats, to rapidly process it, profoundly analyze it and to come up with protective measures in good time. All this as a whole creates favorable conditions for the effective command and control (C2) needed to keep up the morale of the personnel.
In the conditions of the information warfare, adopting strategies to protect information resources will allow avoiding the disorientation of military command structures, C2 disruption, irreparable destruction of logistic and transport infrastructure elements, psychological dislocation of personnel and non-combatants in a war zone. At the same time, the need for adoption of such measures on a priority basis in the current context is due to but not limited to the fact that hundreds of millions of people (whole countries and continents) are involved in a single global information space formed by the Internet, electronic mass media and mobile communication systems.


Compliance with the principle of complexity requires that the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in their activity in the information space use all available assets to effectively address the challenges they face.
In general, operations in the information space are comprised of the staff and field intelligence efforts, operational deception, electronic warfare, communications, code and automated C2, information work of HQs, as well as protection of friendly information systems against electronic, cyber and other threats.
The information space activity, on the one hand, is a coherent integrated system in which each component shall perform its tasks in specific ways and methods, and, on the other hand, on being integrated in such a system it enhances the capabilities of the entire system to achieve the goals of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
Commanders and staffs at all levels are directly involved in the organization of the information space activity in peacetime, in wartime, in the preparation and execution phases of operations (warfare).
Each of these command structures, with regard to their functions and authority, plans the subordinate troop activities linked by a single concept of action in the information space.


Respect for the principle of interaction requires that the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation coordinates its activity in the information space with the other federal authorities.
The interaction shall take place within the framework of the information security management system of the Russian Federation based on the Doctrine of the Information Security of the Russian Federation (as of the year 2000).


In order to observe cooperation principles it is necessary to coordinate efforts with friendly states and international organizations.
The main purpose of the global cooperation development is to establish an international legal regime that will also regulate cyberspace military activities of countries in terms of the international law.
As for the cooperation development purposes at the regional level, they include:
• establishing effective cooperation systems for detection, warning and combating hostile IT acts seen as a threat to peace and security;
• regulating and settling disputes and conflicts connected with adverse utilization of telecommunications and information technologies;
• confidence building in the sphere of cross-border information systems and global cyberspace security.


In order to observe innovation principles it is necessary for the Russian Federation Armed Forces to exploit the cutting edge cyberspace technologies, means and methods as well as highly skilled personnel.
That’s why the scientific and production potential of the leading Russian innovation centers can be applied to design and produce such means and technologies and the designing should be carried out in the framework of national and departmental programs and R&D.
The information space specialist training is conducted in Russian Federation military institutes of higher education.
In addition, specialists graduated from other educational institutions could be legally involved in the resolution of cyberspace security problems.


The Russian Federation Armed Forces observe a set of information space conflict deterrence, prevention and settlement rules.

The military policy of Russia is aimed at preventing an arms race, deterrence and prevention of military conflicts…
(Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation, approved by the President of the Russian Federation as of 5 February 2010)


The Russian Federation Armed Forces in their practical activities are guided by the following information space conflict deterrence, prevention and settlement rules. They are:
1. To develop the Russian Federation Armed Forces information security system designed for cyberspace military conflict prevention and settlement.
2. To maintain information space (cyberspace) security forces and means in constant readiness to repulse military and political attacks in the information space.
3. To establish a first-priority cooperation with the member countries of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation; to invite new member states and develop cooperation on the basis of mutual interest in international cyberspace security strengthening in accordance with the UN Charter provisions and other norms of the international law.
4. To strive for concluding an international cyberspace security treaty under the auspices of UN, an agreement that will extend generally accepted norms (rules) and principles of the international law to the cyberspace.
5. To provide for early detection of potential military conflicts in the cyberspace and unmask masterminds, instigators and accomplices thereof.
6. To identify conflict causes and escalation factors and to exercise control over these factors for the sake of preventing emergency situations.
7. To take high priority measures to counteract conflict escalation (isolation or intensification) and its transition to a state that increases considerably the cost of its settlement.
8. To prevent conflict spillover to related spheres of international relations because it may result in additional expenditures and efforts.
9. To neutralize conflict causes with the aim of channeling the conflicting parties’ interaction to constructive cooperation.
10. To explain conflict causes and its background to the world community impartially, publicly and in proper time. Shaping a required public opinion implies appropriate orientation and mobilization, and makes it possible to create in the global information space a climate that will restrict escalation options on the part of its masterminds.


“The Russian Federation considers legitimate the use of the Armed Forces and other troops to repulse aggression against it and (or) its allies, to maintain (restore) peace by the decision of the UN Security Council and other structures of collective security, and to protect its citizens outside its territory in accordance with the generally recognized principles and norms of the international law and international treaties of the Russian Federation.” (Military doctrine of the Russian Federation as approved by the President of the Russian Federation on 5 February 2010)
The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are guided by the following rules of military conflict settlement in the cyberspace:
1. Cyberspace conflict settlement shall be carried out in the first place by means of negotiation, conciliation, addressing to the UN Security Council or regional agencies or agreements, or by other peaceful means.
2. In case of tension aggravation, to exclude the extension of a conflict to an extremely destructive forms of confrontation, especially those capable of destabilizing the international atmosphere and inciting a crisis.
3. In case of the conflict escalation in the information space and its extension to the critical phase, to invoke a right for individual or collective self-defense using any ways and means that do not run counter to the standards and principles of the international law.
4. In the interest of individual and collective self-defense, to define the needed potential of retaliatory actions on the basis of national democratic procedures with respect to legitimate security concerns of other states and need for the international information security and stability.
5. In the interest of individual and collective self-defense, to deploy needed information security assets on the territory of foreign states in pursuance of the freewill agreements and international law.
6. During the conflict, to inform at all times the domestic and foreign mass media about the development of situation and to promote conflict de-escalation and consolidation of results with regard to the public opinion.


The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation will favor confidence-building measures in the area of the information space military applications. In particular, such measures may include:
1. Exchange of national information space security concepts.
2. Intensive exchange of information on crises and threats in the information space, on measures taken with a view of their settlement and counteraction.
3. Consultations on the information space issues that can invoke concern of the parties, and cooperation in military conflict management.


In the current context, the defensive capacity of the Russian Federation depends to a large extent on the Armed Forces effectiveness in the information space, and in many ways, it is shaped by their abilities of inhibiting, preventing and settling conflicts that may arise in the information space.
The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation plan to manage defense and security missions on the basis of the main information space principles and rules and confidence-building measures stated in this Concept.
Under this Concept, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation will strive for the maximum exploitation of the information space potential in order to strengthen the defensive capacity of this country, to contain and prevent military conflicts, to develop military cooperation and shape an international information security system for the sake of the world community.

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