e-Sun Szu and ‘The Art of 5G Warfare’…

16 08 2009

A really informative, far-sighted post over on HarvardBusiness.org. This goes into how to disrupt and defend online (and real world political) networks. I guess Umair Haque must be something approaching the Sun Szu of 5G Warfare. Interesting stuff.

Am reproducing in full below:

Ten Rules for 5G Warfare

3:01 PM Friday August 14, 2009

Tags:Barack Obama

Dear President Obama,

Welcome to 5G warfare. There’s a war going on in America today: an information war, being waged digitally. It’s not physically violent — but it’s culturally, socially, and economically violent. And its ultimate goal is that of any war: political defeat.

4G war was network against state. Think Al-Qaeda vs America. 5G war is network against network, market against market, community against community. And the problem is that the right has a network, and are utilizing it to learn the art of 5G warfare — but you don’t, and you aren’t.

To win this war, you’ve got to become a master not just of politics — but of network economics. I’ve studied in detail the handful of 5G wars that have taken place so far, between corporations, investors, and states.

Here are ten rules for fighting a 5G war.

1. Speed it up. Use tools that transmit information orders of magnitude faster: as close to real-time as possible. Your enemies use email. Use Twitter, Facebook, and iPhone Apps instead.

2. Microchunk it. Small resources, like messages, are more efficiently transmitted and utilized than big ones. Your enemies use lengthy, wordy messages — seriously inefficient communications. Try 140 character Tweets instead.

3. Meta-attack. You’re attacking with “facts.” But facts don’t matter, because your enemy doesn’t value information like you do. Life expectancy’s smaller in the States? So what — according to your enemies, you can’t trust facts from Cuba (or France). So you have to attack not with “facts”, but with meta-information about how to value facts. Start with meta-information about how to value insurance rationally — over a lifetime, not a day, for example.

4. Anti-defend. You can’t defend a centralized structure against a network attack in the traditional sense (just ask Twitter). But you can anti-defend against a network attack, by decentralizing your own resources to the edges – something that, in physical warfare, is a big no-no. When resources are spread and replicated across as broad, diverse network of your own as possible, if one node goes down, the others stay up. A few blog posts at Whitehouse.gov do not constitute a networked anti-defense – but a thousand every day across the www might begin to.

5. Darwinian counterattacks. What happens after a networked offense? A counter-attack: the remaining nodes link up, share resources, and then launch a portfolio of different counterattacks. The fittest ones — those most threatening to the enemy — survives. It’s like what hedge funds do, except it’s not lame. To enable a Darwinian counter-attack, you’ve got to offer suggestions, tools, and methods for a range of potential counterattacks.

6. Hack your enemy’s weapons. In a 3G or 4G war, you can’t hack the enemy’s guns, bombs, or knives. In a 5G war, you can hack the enemy’s information weapons — and that’s an often explosively powerful tactic. “Death Panels”? Call them “Life Panels” instead, explain that old Republican Senators already benefit from them — and enjoy your rise to the top of Google.

7. Normatize it. 5G warfare is problematic because we have no Geneva conventions to enforce norms of acceptable behaviour. And so anything goes. But it shouldn’t: a powerful tactic in 5G warfare is setting norms for what’s acceptable and what’s not. Discuss why smears and misinformation are unacceptable; make public and transparent who refuses to accept norms of good behaviour.

8. Self-organize hyperlocally. Reality Check is a good start — but it doesn’t enable self-organization. People should be able to self-organize into networks linked by the information you provide, so alliances form. These networks shouldn’t just be online, but offline – because in the real world, people have shared histories. They should be real-world networks that influence and counterinfluence hyperlocally: street by street, community by community.

9. Remix it. After self-organization comes the remix — just ask any bedroom DJ. You haven’t given people information in an easily remixable form, that they can distribute to others dependent on what is important at the time or to a given group of people. Making the info you provide microchunked and remixable, so it can be used and reused in more and more efficient ways.

10. Attack the base. This is a controversial tactic — but it’s often the key to winning a 5G war. Physical wars have to be fought on the front-lines. But information wars don’t. Your best bet is to attack not the enemy’s front-lines — Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Sarah Palin — but the base of hard-liners who still oppose reform — hard, swiftly, and repeatedly, with better information faster.

The battle you’re fighting today is neither the last, nor will it be the fiercest. The debate over better healthcare institutions can only meaningfully take place after today’s information battle dies down. Yet, the healthcare debate is only the first of many debates about reform America must have. That’s why the rules of 5G war matter.

NB – If you’re a Republican, before you comment, please note that I’ve been highly critical of Obama in the past, and that the right wing could use these rules too 🙂 . Thanks to Scott for the suggestion for the post title. And thanks to Ryan in the comments for reminding me of the consistently awesome Dreaming5GW and Global Guerrillas blogs, if you’d like more context.

That’s it for now. Fire away in the comments with questions, criticism, or thoughts.

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One response

16 08 2009
rcrunch

Purpose of war is to neutralize an opponents will to resist.

Left has been fighting a highly organized war against america since the 60’s. They now control academia, public education, hollywood, the lamestream media, most of the judiciary, and most government bureaucracies regardless of which party is in power.

Invisible armies have been marching through our campuses and urban areas for decades. They cloak themselves in the camoflage of “environmentalism” and “peace activism” but the objective is to force America to submit to “neutralize our America’s to resist”.

The tax free foundations fund them to the tune of 10’s of billions per year and their tactical leader is Saul Alinsky.

Saul starts out his book by saying that there are only two kinds of people. The haves and the have nots. America’s middle class is a bunch of have nots who “think they have”.

Though correct on his point about the middle class I’ve always thought it ironic that his great vision of class warfare (and that’s what’s going on here) has always been totally funded by the “haves”.

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