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4 HA: 4th-Gen Warfare Archives

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December 2, 2010

Network Science And Warfighting

By Armed Liberal at 04:03

Was on a (almost) very interesting DoD call this morning, with Dr. Alexander Kott, chief, Network Science Division, Army Research Laboratory and Dr. Robert Cole, deputy manager, Network Science - Collaborative Technology Alliance U.S. Army CERDEC.

You can listen to the call here - a transcript will be available soon. Sadly, many of the questions were pretty far afield of what the core of their work appears to be, so the insights are at the margins.

But check out their organizations' sites; this seems to be a place where some interesting thinking is going on. I'll be reading up and commenting as I learn more.
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November 30, 2010

In Which James Fallows Becomes A Conservative (And Misses The Point) - With Bonus Toby Keith Reference

By Armed Liberal at 02:06

James Fallows engages in a little goodnatured conservative-bashing in his column in the Atlantic today, and inadvertently touches on a point that's genuinely interesting:
The TSA case, on which Douthat builds his column, is in fact quite a poor illustration -- rather, a good illustration for a different point. There are many instances of the partisan dynamic working in one direction here. That is, conservatives and Republicans who had no problem with strong-arm security measures back in the Bush 43 days but are upset now. Charles Krauthammer is the classic example: forthrightly defending torture as, in limited circumstances, a necessary tool against terrorism, yet now outraged about "touching my junk" as a symbol of the intrusive state.

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  • Mike A: if you have not heard this song, it is really read more
  • Davod: "I didn't say it wasn't serious. I said it wasn't read more
  • toc3: I haven't railed against Scary Neocons, I have railed against read more

November 24, 2010

TSA Exemptions And The Powers That Be

By Armed Liberal at 05:45

So lots of people (me included) were irate when it was announced that certain "high-value" people would be exempt from the "scan/fondle your genitals?" question. We were wrong. Here's the AP:
Cabinet secretaries, top congressional leaders and an exclusive group of senior U.S. officials are exempt from toughened new airport screening procedures when they fly commercially with government-approved federal security details.

Aviation security officials would not name those who can skip the controversial screening, but other officials said those VIPs range from top officials like Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and FBI Director Robert Mueller to congressional leaders like incoming House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who avoided security before a recent flight from Washington's Reagan National Airport.
My response on Facebook? "I'm shocked!"

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  • mark buehner: Then maybe we should concern ourselves less about who is read more
  • juliet: Here's the hypocrisy- I thought we were operating under the read more
  • juliet: Here's the hypocrisy- I thought we were operating under the read more

October 30, 2010

Are The AQ "Euro-Plots" About Hostage-Taking?

By Armed Liberal at 04:26

Via the indispensable Leah Farrall, from Der Speigel:
"I have information that I consider to be reliable, according to which al-Qaida in Waziristan is training how to carry out multiple parallel hostage takings in order to enforce the release of a prisoner," Benotman says.

Benotman believes that the alleged plans for attacks on European targets that authorities have been warning about in recent weeks are real. He says the plan consists of storming buildings in Germany, France and Britain at the same time and holding the people inside hostage with the aim of forcing the release of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind behind 9/11 who is now sitting in jail in the United States awaiting trial for the attacks.
Wouldn't that be a NATO meeting to listen in on?...I'm not sure that the alliance could service more than a few hours of televised hostage-killing.
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  • Marcus Vitruvius: Phil, I think we're not really disagreeing much. I think read more
  • Phil Smith: No, not entirely different. I'm imagining the Euros meeting with read more
  • Marcus Vitruvius: Phil, I think we're imagining entirely different scenarios, which is read more

May 4, 2010

Zenpundit's Reading List

By Armed Liberal at 18:16

Check out Zenpundit's reading list for the day ... all interesting stuff.

He highlights a post by Abu Mookie that I'm going to be commenting on a little more, based in part on my late-night talks with Mike Totten when he was here in town.
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February 28, 2010

Strategic Communications: Fail

By Armed Liberal at 22:44

Today's Tripoli Post:

tripoli_post.jpg

In case it's hard to read the text:
Photo: A US soldier with Delta Company 4th Brigade combat team, 2-508, 82nd parachute infantry Regiment, intimidating an Afghan Muslim praying in the Arghandab valley in Kandahar province, February 25, 2010.
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  • Armed Liberal: @Grim - well, that'd be one approach...but I'm guessing that read more
  • Grim: If you wanted one, you could adopt China's. They apply read more
  • Joe Katzman: Actually, I'm demonstrating why we don't (yet) WANT an effective read more

November 5, 2009

Apex Predators, Mesopredators, and Man

By Joe Katzman at 02:44

The journal Bioscience (October 2009) recently published "The Rise of the Mesopredator" [PDF]. Science Codex covers the researchers' coclusions:

"In case after case around the world, the researchers said, primary predators such as wolves, lions or sharks have been dramatically reduced if not eliminated, usually on purpose and sometimes by forces such as habitat disruption, hunting or fishing. Many times this has been viewed positively by humans, fearful of personal attack, loss of livestock or other concerns. But the new picture that's emerging is a range of problems, including ecosystem and economic disruption that may dwarf any problems presented by the original primary predators.... "The economic impacts of mesopredators should be expected to exceed those of apex predators in any scenario in which mesopredators contribute to the same or to new conflict with humans," the researchers wrote in their report. "Mesopredators occur at higher densities than apex predators and exhibit greater resiliency to control efforts." The problems are not confined to terrestrial ecosystems...."

Interesting article. Hopefully, it will lead to smarter interactions with nature. We're the apex species, which means stewardship whether we like or not. Might as well get good at it.

One wonders, too, if there may be some applications to human predators, as well.


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November 3, 2009

On Asymmetric Warfare: Byzantine Grand Strategy in the 11th and 21st Centuries

By Porphyrogenitus at 16:35
This follows my first and second posts in this series, as well as other related posts.

As is obvious by my web-name, it's no state secret that I'm into the Eastern Roman (aka "Byzantine") Empire. Back when I was a Freshman in Uni I read Edward Luttwak's excellent Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire, a work I highly recommend. Well he has completed the obvious sequel, a book on the Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire.

In Foreign Policy Luttwak has an article recommending the essential features of this strategy to the United States. I would argue that we already follow most of them, including a pernicious corruption of them that the Byzantines themselves engaged in during the 11th Century.
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  • Tom Grey - Liberty Dad: If our goal is to build a strong democratic state read more
  • Porphyrogenitus: Related, further on abuse of "international law", with political selectivity. read more
  • Marcus Vitruvius: Very useful information. I remember The Grand Strategy of the read more

March 18, 2009

This Month's Reading

By Armed Liberal at 16:59

I'm reading my way through the Counterinsurgency Reading List over on Abu Muquama's site, as well as some other books that catch my eye, and thought I'd make quick comments on this month's reading.

The Lost Revolution, by Robert Shaplen

I have a litmus test for books about Vietnam; if they suggest that the 1956 elections were put off because of corruption in the South and don't at least equally emphasize the brutal repression in the North, I don't think much of them. This is one of those books. The most interesting thing about it is that it was written by a leading Asia journalist and staff writer for the New Yorker. His core point is much better made in Rufus Phillips' book below.
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December 8, 2008

Iraq: Petraeus on "Getting the Big Ideas Right"

By Joe Katzman at 01:19

Gen. David Petraeus discusses the changes that led to the rapid turnaround of American fortunes in Iraq [Transcript | Slideshow]:

"I wanted to talk a bit about the "surge" because the surge was more than what the most prominent element of it in most folk's mind was: the addition of some 30,000 U.S. forces over time, the combat ele­ments of which were five U.S. Army brigade combat teams, two Marine battalions, a Marine expedition­ary unit, and then a number of enablers, including a division headquarters, some additional aviation engineers, MP assets, intelligence forces, and others..."

Very much more, as reporters like Noah Shachtman have documented. Petraeus adds other elements as well, while sketching out the challenges ahead as he sees them.


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  • Joe Katzman: Yes, it does fit. Thanks! read more
  • Demosophist: Opps, meant to post that under AL's thread, but the read more
  • Demosophist: My uncle (dad's brother) enlisted shortly after Pearl and, because read more

August 6, 2008

Information Warfare - The Professional Take

By Armed Liberal at 04:40

Mountainrunner has a great summary article up on "New Media and Persuasion, Mobilization, and Facilitation" - go read it and see what the grownups are talking about.


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February 22, 2008

TLBN, U R P0WNED

By Armed Liberal at 17:04

Here's a critical article at abu muqawma that gave me a forehead-slapping moment - "I can't believe we're not doing this..."

Kip believes the US military has been way behind in understanding the power and uses of text messaging. SMS offers the ability to do everything from effective information operations, to paying Iraqi or Afghan police in ways that are more difficult to corrupt (if you're interested in this, look into the CelPay disarmament program in Democratic Republic of Congo), to secure and simple communications between members of a third world army, to tips hotlines where insurgent movement can be reported at little risk to the informant.

Damn, this is so obvious even I assumed it was being done. We need both to be using SMS ourselves proactively in Iraq and Afghanistan, but compromising the SMS gateways so we can keep tabs on traffic there (assuming the OK of the local governments).

Someone kick someone at the Pentagon for me on this, will you?


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  • Mark Poling: If gabriel is right (and I have no reason to read more
  • gabriel: AsiaCell, Atheer, Korak, MobiTel, and Osracom all run SMS out read more
  • Armed Liberal: I seriously doubt that Afghani SMS traffic passes through US-based read more
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