Sunday, September 17, 2006
The Black Hills, Part I: Crazy Horse
While I was at the University of South Dakota working on my thesis in Computer Science, an engineer visited us from the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation. The massive project is an earth-moving masterpiece, not so much sculpted into a mountain as mined from one. The setting, in the southern Black Hills, is gorgeous.
Crazy Horse's initial sculptor was the Polish-Bostonian Korczak Ziolkowski. Ukraine or Ukraine-style flags (never explained, and possibly an effort at a pseudo-Native theme) littered the park.
A dramatic miniature of the future of Thunderhead Mountain reference Crazy Horse's statement, "My lands are where my dead lie buried." Like Ogalala Lakota Indians were the "Iraqi Resistance" of their time, fighting in mobile bands against a better organized, more numerous foe. Also like the Sunni Iraqi Arabs, they made the mistake of attacking a numerically superior majority that wouldn't go away.
Further images of the memorial are available at Wikimedia Commons.
The Black Hills, a tdaxp series
1. Crazy Horse
2. Custer State Game Lodge
3. Blue Bell Lodge
4. Mount Rushmore
5. Goofy Custer
6. The Badlands
I don't know if you remember me posting back about 6 months ago. I have completed my thesis involving using "Ender's Game" as an metaphoric allegory in explaining certain abstract constructs of strategy thinking that I am endeavouring to flesh out as a viable mental tool. Paradox theory plays a large part.
However before I post it, I want you to answer some questions.
You post about understanding strategies and how to use them. Does that not mean though that you are sharing your thinking with the enemy?
For example, with Sun-Tzu, if both sides practice his teachings, then neither has a strategy edge.
What good is Boyd's teachings, unless there is one part of OODA that the other side has not ?
Would be best not to share abstract strategy insights?
Or is that part of your strategy ?
Posted by: Taylor | Monday, September 18, 2006
Your concern is reasonable. The Enemy is the ultimate free-rider in literature research.
However, I think it still makes sense to share this information.
1. Strategy is an information technology. If it really becomes equally shared among all participants, then it just "won't matter."  This reduces warfighting to the familiar mix of land, capital, and labor which are the factors of production for everything -- victory, industry, resilience, everything.  We are bigger and we have more of these things. Therefore, we still have an advantage.
2. Strategy becomes an engineering program. Even if both sides have the same IT -- and the same factors of production -- the question then becomes how best to implement it. Such military-industrial engineering programs tend to be better implemented by more "advanced" societies. In the Second World War, for instance, Germany and Italy had the same doctrine, but the Germans vastly outperformed the Italians.
3. Strategy is a domain of knowledge, and so geographical concentration is important  The United States and "the West" are open to this form of information social interchange in a way that other societies just aren't (geography can also take the form of "nearness" in cyberspace, etc). We are able to geographically concentrate large numbers of experts in ways others aren't. Therefore, we still have an advantage.
4. Strategy drives opponents to away from kinetics and war as we have known it.  The more Boydian and Sunzian are enemies come, the more we have shifted their behavior from war to politics. This may not be a bad thing.
5. Linguistic knowledge is best when combined with practical knowledge. Think to Ender's Game -- Ender watched vids and studied strategy along with the Battle Game. Outside of wars, it is military institutions such as the US Department of Defense that offer this synthesized education. Therefore, we still have an advantage.
6. Language and the "Not Invented Here' phenomenon are real. They afflict our enemies too. Texts written in our language will, in general, by more readily adopted by those like us than those not like us. Thus, until we get to the point that it doesn't matter (see point 1 above) it will give advantages to us.
7. Without Boydian/Sunzian insights, organizations tend to very hierarchical forms. This would put us as an advantage, as our society is capable of far more vertical integration than our main enemy, who are not advanced enough to make these follies of bureaucracy. Thus we benefit disproportionately from Boyd and Sunzi, even if information is shared equally.
These are my initial thoughts. You raise good objections, but this is the best I am able to come up with.
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, September 18, 2006