View Full Version : A book roundtable on John Robb's Global Guerillas

Rob Thornton
05-27-2007, 01:27 AM
Reading the review of John Robb's Global Guerillas by Frank Hoffman this sounds like an excellent book to help the SWJ community discuss 4GW and other trends and theories about the future of war. It got me thinking so I pitched to Dave Dilegge the idea that we could have a discussion on the SWC with some possible moderation / input possibly by John Robb, Frank Hoffman or one of the folks more familiar with 4GW theory (nobody has signed up for this, so we it might be just those interested in participating).

The key to gettng the most out of this is participation by a wide variety of backgrounds and interests - which is one of the real strengths of the SWC. I just ordered the book off Amazon.com, and its not too expensive. I'll open a thread on the council and start a sign up list - there is no maximum number or anything like that, just sort of feeling out who might be interested.

We'd start once everybody had a book - so say give it to the first full week of June where we'd take it chapter by chapter - or idea by idea. We'd bounce the things put forward like the "bazaar" based off what we're seeing in OIF/OEF, the media, etc.

Any takers?

regards, Rob

05-27-2007, 11:59 AM
Rob, I have already read it. Sign me up.

05-27-2007, 12:21 PM
Definitely be up for this, it's good to see people getting interested in Robb's work, there was some skepticism and dismissal last time I brought his name up around here.

Might want to push the date back though, when I glanced at Amazon it said the book would ship in 2 to 4 weeks, so those of us overseas would need at least a month to get our hands on it.

Tom Odom
05-27-2007, 12:52 PM
I am in.


05-27-2007, 02:06 PM
Just ordered - but I am with GS - give me a month?

Also, order here - Brave New War (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0471780790/104-3075668-4435162?ie=UTF8&tag=smallwarsjour-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=0471780790) and help the SWJ at the same time. Thanks...

Steve Blair
05-27-2007, 02:48 PM
Sounds interesting. I'm in, if you don't mind a 4GW cynic....;)

I'll be ordering the book soon. Now that we got our last group commissioned things are slowing down and I can actually turn my attention to classwork and other things.

Rob Thornton
05-27-2007, 03:54 PM
Jon pointed out to me that I'd written Global Guerillas as the Title, when in fact it is John Robb's Blog - the title of course is Brave New War - the folks signing up to participate already promise a thorough discussion. :cool:
regards, Rob

Bill Moore
05-27-2007, 04:13 PM
John Robb's work, at least the work on his website "Global Guerrillas" ranges from thought provoking insights that seem to be unique to Robb (a true bonus in conflict studies, where most simply link current events to historical models) to occassional complete mischaracterizations of a particular situation. In some ways I think he is testing his thoughts on his website, which takes a certain amount of courage; however, I think his book will be a compilation of his best thoughts. I'll pick up this weekend. Additionally, I recently purchased and read "The Starfish and the Spider, the unstoppable power of leaderless organizations", which ties in nicely to 4GW concepts, and further helped illustrate some Robb's concepts such as open systems, adaptive systems, etc.


Rob Thornton
05-30-2007, 11:04 PM
Saw on Robb's blog he is working to correct a supply/demand problem. My copy shipped from Amazon on Monday. Come up on the net if you have not received yours by say Saturday. We'll delay the discussion accordingly.
Regards, Rob

05-31-2007, 01:06 AM
Count me in. I've met John in person, and think he's doing an excellent job with his Global Guerilla website as well as his blog.

05-31-2007, 01:34 PM
Have it. Read it. Count me in.

For those interested, Michael Tanji has an interview with John Robb up at Haft of the Spear. (http://haftofthespear.typepad.com/haft_of_the_spear/2007/05/brave_new_war_i_1.html)

06-01-2007, 09:19 PM
I've read it, count me in.

Robb has to be one of the most thought provoking writters on the subject.

06-02-2007, 06:35 PM
Amazon says estimated arrival 7 June... Give me a couple of days to read...

Rob Thornton
06-02-2007, 07:13 PM
I'm thinking its going to take till Monday or Tues before I get mine as well - Lets shoot for kicking this off then on Friday of next week. Any suggestions on where to start by the folks who have read the book?

06-02-2007, 07:19 PM
Rob, one thing in the book that is really interesting is a point I have been trying to make since I have been here and that is EBO has nothing to do with Air Power. It is a Strategic process for picking targets and it is often far more effective when used from a ground perspective. I wrote down the page number for a direct quote actually, I have written down a lot of page numbers but that is one of the key concepts I think. Maybe other people will pay attention to this because our enemies certainly do.

06-05-2007, 12:20 AM
Just got my copy this afternoon, ready whenever.

06-08-2007, 07:56 PM
... just into Chapter 4 - great read so far - suspect the remainder will be also.

06-10-2007, 12:23 AM
I created a unique category within the members only area (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/forumdisplay.php?f=89). My intent on placing it in the members only area is to get some of the many lurkers to take the plunge and sign up as full-fledged members.

06-10-2007, 01:00 AM
I'm still waiting for my copy from Amazon.. Seems there was a rush for them.

Rob Thornton
06-10-2007, 10:58 PM
Hello All,

I volunteered to become the moderator for the discussion, so I wanted to kick it off. A read of the first few chapters and a scan of the book tells me that even if you have not got your copy yet, but have been participating on the SWC, then you are prepared to begin.

I thought about how best to moderate - like well, where do you start? I think much like Robb's book all the ideas are linked, and perhaps that is more appropriate then say an Oprah's Book club review:wry:

I think what we want to do is evaluate the Robb's ideas for accuracy and relevancy in the areas of future war. This is pretty broad, but it also suits this bunch as we have so many different back grounds and interests.

Feel free to pick out a major idea, or a theme and start up a conversation or just express yourself. One (or more) of us will jump in I'm sure. It will help if you type in the quote, and page number, and tie you thoughts to that - at least to kick it off. If we start bouncing back and forth between ideas I think that is OK because as I said, I think they are tied together - much like the problems we face. As we go we can look for those connectors and start forming a complete picture (Yes Steve - sounds like systems theory to me:D)

Some themes to explore -
1) 4GW/5G theory as discussed by Robb, or anybody he cites - you can branch off if you wish
2) The role of globalization as a guerilla enabler
3) The goal of "Caliphate" what is it and why does it matter
4) Economic warfare
5) Decentralized networks
6) Linking terrorism with other criminal activities such as the drug trade, slave trade, counterfitting (of anything), arms trading
7) The concept of the "Bazaar"
8) Destabalization of states as a AA for future Global Guerilla recruiting and operations
9) Rethinking Security - could be structure, problems, etc.
10) the role of technology - good, bad or neutral

As you see nothing is off the table as long as it relates to the book. Enorse an idea or take it to the mat - but please be couteous and respond as soon as you can. If you see something in the news, on a blog or from another author that is relevant - post the link and talk about it.

Our goal is to get smarter - the more we articulate our ideas and put them out there, the more we benefit. PM collaboration is cool, bring it out in the open when you are ready.

Well, I'm going to get back into the book and I'll post a line of thought tomorrow - unles somebody puts someting up I'm more interested in, then I'll respond to that.
Cheers, Rob:wry:

P.S. If you have not become a full member to take part in the discussion - its not too late - the discussion will be posted in a members only forum area.