The essence of information warfare is to infiltrate the enemy’s decision making; to change the way the enemy views the world. Information warfare seeks to win a war not necessarily through armed struggle but by ideas and information.
Information warfare can be waged at the tactical or strategic levels. At a strategic level the objective is to deflect or distract to reframe issues and constrain possible answers thereby. At a tactical level it is to mask movements, to attain surprise through secrecy, to deceive through disinformation. Tactical and strategic information warfare actions and goals should be complementary such that the tactical and strategic actions and goals support each other. Deception warfare actions include masking, secrecy, disinformation, provocation.
Information warfare tends to be used by weaker states because it requires fewer resources and promises great benefits for few risks. Information warfare also tends to be waged by dictatorships rather than democracies due to a lower commitment to the idea of truth. Information warfare can however be waged by democracies and powerful states as well as by weak rigid dictatorships.