Saturday, September 23, 2006
John Boyd, the American Air Force Colonel, wrote that there were five stages to victory. In the first two, Penetration and Isolation, one's forces enter the enemy's networks and began tearing it apart. In the last two, Reorientation and Reharmonization, the old world is refashioned in one's desired image.
There is only one grand choice, but that choice is critical. If, for the third stage, one chooses Subversion, one desires to "take-over" the enemy. The enemy's house -- his many mansions -- should be viewed as one's future property, and so their substance must be preserved while the deed is (re)-written
Christianity, a political philosophy that could accurately be described as Jesusism-Paulism, was designed to Subvert the Roman Empire and seize her institutions in order to remake them. Jesus summed up the essence of subversion -- the conquest of force by the service to force -- in one line:
If someone [a Roman soldier] forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
Of course, there is another strategy. Instead of attempted to take-over, one might take-down. One might Subdue the enemy, destroying what is his, and win through war instead of through peace. Six centuries after Jesus, another Semite elucidated that strategy
It is not for any prophet to have captives until he hath made slaughter in the land. Ye desire the lure of this world and Allah desireth (for you) the Hereafter, and Allah is Mighty, Wise.
The Spoils of War:67
The Rule-Set Revolution of Islam had begun.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
"The Origin of Politics: An Evolutionary Theory of Political Behavior," by John Alford and John Hibbing, Perspectives on Politics, Vol 2. No. 4, December 2004, 707-723, http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=266160.
Today's notes are from the John R. Alford and John R. Hibbing piece that preceded their piece "Are Political Orientations Genetically Transmitted?," which was featured on the tdaxp post "The DNA of Politics." In this earlier work they tie together wary cooperation and multilevel selection" to propose a new paradigm for political science. It's so good, it's dangerous.
As with the other work, a finding is that political beliefs are more genetically-based than personal attitudes." As Alford and Hibbing write:
A 1986 study by Martin and colleagues of over 3,800 Australian and British twin pairs reported the following estimates of heritability (on a scale of 0 to 1.0) for the following items: death penalty, 0.51; white superiority, 0.40; royalty, 0.44; apartheid, 0.43; disarmament, 0.38; censorship, 0.41. The heritability estimate for pajama parties, on the other hand, was a mere 0.08. The comparable estimates for the influence of shared environment were: death penalty, 0.00; white superiority, 0.09; royalty, 0.14; apartheid, 0.05; disarmament, 0.00; censorship, 0.03 (but pajama parties, 0.44). (Alford and Hibbing 715)
These can be mapped onto the Orientation stage of John Boyd's OODA Loop
The three categories allowed by the analysis of twin studies are genetic factors, which are very high for political issues but lower for moral issues and tastes
Social factors, which are very low for political issues (especially hot buttons like the death penalty and the then-issue of South African ) Apartheid but a significant factors in the appropriateness of pajama parties
If there is an uplifting, ennobling finding here, it is the important of non-shared environmental factors, what Boyd would have termed new information, previous experiences, and analyses/synthesis.
The rest of the notes are mad cool, dealing with group selection, problems a SysAdmin force may face, some cool simulations, and other amazing nifty things. They're below the fold.
Saturday, October 08, 2005
"Dominant Battlespace Awareness and Future Warfare," by Jeffrey Cooper, Dominant Battlespace Knowledge, October 1995, http://www.ndu.edu/inss/books/Books%20-%201990%20to%201995/Dominant%20Battlespace%20Knowledge%20-%20Oct%2095/dbkch06.html.
Some interesting words on John Boyd and Carl von Clausewitz by a military strategist. All emphasis is mine. Both of these are from readings in preparation of my International Law paper.
Friday, July 29, 2005
"The Pentagon's New Map: Book Proposal," by Thomas Barnett, letter to Jennifer Gates and Todd Shuster, 2002, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/pnm/proposal.htm.
"In the Pines," by Smog, A River Ain't Too Much To Love, 31 May 2005, http://www.lyrics007.com/Smog%20Lyrics/In%20the%20Pines%20Lyrics.html (available from Amazon.com).
"Council of Trent," Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, 22 July 2005, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_of_Trent.
"10 for 10," by Steve Rubel, Micro Persuasion, 21 July 2005, http://www.micropersuasion.com/2005/07/10_for_10.html (from New Persuasion, also at Between Lawyers, Site 9, Telagon Sichelputzer).
"Ten Trends Let Me Take Charge," by Nellie Lide, New Persuasion, 27 July 2005, http://newpersuasion.typepad.com/new_persuasion/2005/07/ten_trends_plus.html.
"The longest train I ever saw
Went down that Georgia line
The engine went by at six o'clock
And the cab went by at nine"
- Smog, In the Pines
An interesting article on "technology-driven trends will revolutionize how companies communicate," which are really just techniques for fighting wars.
Most of them fit nicely with theories of modern war, like the mass-movement-based 4th Generation War (or "NetWar")
1. The Long Tail - small players can collectively make up a market that rivals the giants. As Seth says, small is the new big. This applies equally for journalism as well as for marketers.
This refers to the super-empowerment of "small players," which allow even the little guys to change world history. 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta shows the power of the long tail.
5. Citizen Marketing – consumers will organize – either on their own or with the help of companies – to evangelize products they love and vilify those they don’t
The peaceful Christian NetStruggle is an example of this citizen marketing in action -- converts become evangelizers for new converts.
10. Decentralized Communication – armies of individual employees will use technology to become the voice of every company; like it or not. The solo singer is dead. Long live the chorus.
Why has the Iraqi insurgency been so hard to fight? Because of its decentralized communication.
One "technology" really caught my eye though, because it seems so different from what we are told makes wise warriors
3. Timeshifting – consumers will increasingly want to devour media on their own time, on the mobile device of their choice and without commercials
To understand how revolutionary the concept of timeshifting is, take a look at Air Force Colonel John Boyd's Observe-Orient-Decide-Act decision cycle, sometimes called the "OODA Loop"
In the OODA loop, we observe the world, and then we orient ("make sense of it"). Most of the time, we go right into action after orientation -- we are on autopilot (do you decide what foot to move next when walking? no -- your orientation implicitly guides and controls you). Sometimes, we take the time to decide what to do, and then act (and observe that we made a decision, starting a whole new OODA loop!). In any case, the action effects the world, and the OODA loop begins again.
Modern militaries -- whether our super high-tech Army or al-Qaeda's super-empowered terrorists -- try to get inside the enemy's OODA loop. This means they try to go from Observation to Action before the enemy can. If you can Act before your enemy has acted, they will be acting on observations that are now out-of-date. If you are really good at this, your enemy will become paralyzed with doubt, because he knows he will never have observations that are up-to-date.
In other words, modern war theory teaches the warrior to "time-now," to do things faster. Yet here is this idea to "time-shift," in a list of other ideas that do fit with known keys to victory.
What is going on here? Has there ever been an example of a successful time-shift in struggle, where a fighter won by going outside his enemy's OODA loop?
The Council of Trent (Italian: Trento) was an ecumenical council of the Catholic Church held in discontinuous sessions between 1545 and 1563 [a generation! -- tdaxp] in response to the Protestant Reformation. It clearly specified Catholic doctrines on salvation, the sacraments and the Biblical canon, in opposition to the Protestants, and standardized the Mass throughout the church, largely abolishing local variations; this became called the "Tridentine Mass", after Trent.
Establishment Power: The Catholic Church
Insurgent Power: Protestantism
Establishment Strategy: Get Outside the Enemy's OODA Loop (very long "orientation" period)
Rejected Strategy: quest for Schwerpunkt/ch'i (decisive battle)
Outcome: Success (within a century, more Catholics than before the Reformation)
Hmmm... anything more recent?
Most importantly, this book [The Pentagon's New Map -- tdaxp] will link our nation’s foreign policy vision to its domestic security strategy in a way no one has done before. It will argue that America's number one foreign policy goal in the 21st Century will be to shrink the Gap—not just "mind the Gap" in some Cold War-like standoff. During the Cold War it was enough just to wait the Soviets out [for 40 years, two generations!! -- tdaxp], hoping they would fail. But that approach doesn’t make any sense with the Gap, which is already defined by failures such as authoritarian rule, poor economic connectivity to the outside world, endemic conflicts and epidemics, and routine acts of terror and genocide. The clock is already running out on these two billion people, which is why rooting out the dangers that keep these states from attracting direly needed foreign investments and thus growing economically—dictators, radical fundamentalists, terror networks—is so crucial.
Establishment Power: The United States of America
Insurgent Power: Communism
Establishment Strategy: Get Outside the Enemy's OODA Loop (very long "observation" period)
Rejected Strategy: quest for Schwerpunkt/ch'i (decisive battle)
Outcome: Success (nearly all Communists regimes changed or transformed)
Of course, sometimes time-shifting the OODA loop is a sign of weakness, but that is a post for another time...
Monday, May 23, 2005
While discussing my attempt to understand PISRR in 4GW, Chet Richards of Defense and the National Interest suggested that I focus on some slides on late United States Air Force Colonel John Boyd's epic brief, "Patterns of Conflict." I took about four to read it and left astounded. What Thomas P.M. Barnett's brief is to globalization, Boyd's is to war.
I used the reconstructed Powerpoint
though a facsimile of the slides is also available
Over the next few weeks I will try to post on topics in Patterns of Conflict, to help me better understand this work.
Thursday, February 24, 2005
"How Col. John Boyd Beat the Generals," by Martin Edwin Andersen, Insight Magazine, http://www.d-n-i.net/fcs/comments/c455.htm, 11 August 2002.
I read about Boyd on ZenPundit, and Marks' description made him sound fascinating. His career is even better than I thought. A great summary is available on the ever-handy DNI site. My knowledge is still too sketchy to summarize the article, but the last paragraph is definitely worth quoting
Col. John Boyd, his biographer Robert Coram reports in his well-written book, had a speech he often gave to those who, like the fighter pilot himself, found that doing right did not always mean doing well. Known as the "To Be or To Do" speech, Boyd used it to rally flagging spirits of apprentices who, until they became involved as one of his Acolytes, had appeared fated to climb the highest rungs of conventional success. The tenets of this speech reflected both his spirit and values:
"One day you will come to a fork in the road. And you're going to have to make a decision about what direction you want to go." [Boyd] raised his hand and pointed. "If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments." Then Boyd raised the other hand and pointed another direction. "Or you can go that way and you can do something - something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. If you decide to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get the good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won't have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work might make a difference." He paused and stared. "To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That's when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do? Which way will you go?"
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
"Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW)," by Greg Wilcox and G.I. Wilson, Boyd Conference, http://d-n-i.net/fcs/pdf/4GW_wilson-wilcox_boyd_conf_2002.pdf, 20 May 2002.
"4GW - Fourth Generation Warfare," by John Robb, Global Guerillas, http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2004/05/4gw_fourth_gene.html, 8 May 2004.
Two posts, two different perspectives, on Fourth Generation Warfare. The freakishly anti-American John Robb, and the definition-of-American Defense and the Natural Interest, both have posts describing 4GW. If it wasn't for Mark I would not even recognize the name "Boyd," so this is clarifying for me too.
4GW can be defined as a method of warfare that uses the following to achieve a moral victory:
* Undermines enemy strengths (this may seem obvious, but most of modern warfare has involved direct attacks on enemy strengths -- find the enemy army and destroy it).
* Exploits enemy weaknesses.
* Uses asymmetric operations (weapons and techniques that differ substantially from opponents).
The strategic/operational/tactical breakdown
– Loss of nation state’s monopoly on war
– A return to a world of cultures and states in conflict
– Internal segmentation/division along ethnic, religious, and special
interest lines within our own society
– Seeks major psychological impact (will to fight, public opinion)
– Disproportionate results to investment
– Shift in focus from enemy’s front to his rear
– Use the enemy’s strength against him
4GW is an evolution of what came before
Generations of Warfare
The generational development of warfare can be outlined as:
* First generation -- wars of Napoleon, conscription and firearms (the decline of mercenaries).
* Second generation -- the US civil war and WW1, firepower and nation-state alignment of resources to warfare.
* Third generation -- WW2, maneuver and armored warfare.
* Fourth generation -- ad hoc warriors and moral conflict.
The Boyd Conference report puts things more clearly
• 1GW = Age of Napoleon
• 2GW = Age of Firepower
• 3GW = Age of Maneuver and Ideas
• 4GW = Small Independent Action Cells
GG gives a summary of how to "win" fourth generation wars (at least for the other side)
Winning a 4GW conflict
Victory in 4GW warfare is won in the moral sphere. The aim of 4GW is to destroy the moral bonds that allows the organic whole to exist -- cohesion. This is done by reinforcing the following (according to Boyd):
* Menace. Attacks that undermine or threaten basic human survival instincts.
* Mistrust. Increases divisions between groups (ie. conservatives and liberals in the US).
* Uncertainty. Undermine economic activity by decreasing confidence in the future.
DNI cites Boyd's original paper
• Surface fear, anxiety, and alienation in order to generate many non-cooperative centers of gravity thereby magnify internal friction
Destroy moral bonds that permit an organic whole to exist.
What can we do?
To combat 4GW requires coordinated response
What are the moral problems with this? (Open question)