War 2.0

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The principles of War 2.0 are listed in an essay with the same title at the Hoover Institution's Policy Review.

URL = http://www.hoover.org/publications/policyreview/5956806.html


"(1) In the media industry and in warfare, the initiative and innovations increasingly come from small start-ups on the lower and middle-management level, a norm that applies to Google, al-Qaeda, and the U.S. Army.

(2) Consequently, ordinary users must be treated as co-developers who can come up with a new product or add a competitive edge to it, not merely as consumers. Tactical battle guidelines and lessons-learned essays benefit from user-developed suggestions and improvements in a way that is analogous to the “patches” of open-source applications or Wikipedia’s articles, called peer-production in the industry’s jargon.

(3) User contributions based on open standards become decisive for dominance on the marketplace as well as in the battlespace. Linux is the media equivalent of the IED: successful beyond expectations, as “scripts” or explosive designs can easily be accessed and adapted to each application’s specific needs; successful tactics become commoditized.

(4) As a result, the distinction between the final product and its development phase becomes obsolete, an effect that is known in industry as the “permanent beta-version”: both counter-ambush tactics as well as browser-based email platforms, to pick two examples, are permanently updated and never graduate to a finalized version.

(5) It follows that the acceleration of development cycles becomes a way to out-maneuver the competition, and to gain and maintain the initiative over the adversary’s actions; software developers correspondingly adapted their build-and-release management to embrace a more efficient “release early, release often” philosophy.

(6) Simple technologies and systems with low adaptation costs have a competitive advantage, called “loose coupling,” a term widely used by programmers for friction-free linking of formerly incompatible IT-systems through a common semantic framework. Such systems are more “adaptable to the unexpected.” This equally applies to insurgents and militant networks that easily transfer their successful tactics and innovations to other groups, a trend that sharply distinguishes them from technologically sophisticated armies whose “interoperability” diminishes as their systems grow more complex.

(7) Whether triggered by advertisements on obscure pages or by ambushes on obscure highways, many small but numerous hits add up to significant volumes that can have decisive consequences, an effect referred to in the industry as “The Long Tail.”

(8) As a result of the large numbers of contributors taking the initiative on their own, in the business of software and warfare, finally, command and control takes the form of syndication rather than coordination." (http://www.hoover.org/publications/policyreview/5956806.html)

More Information

Our Delicious tag: http://del.icio.us/mbauwens/P2P-Warfare

The Global Guerillas blog at http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/