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Thread: Defining, shaping, and evolving definition(s) of spaces

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    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    See next post where my quest is explained.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-20-2016 at 04:09 PM. Reason: Edited and copied here.
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Defining, shaping, and evolving definition(s) of spaces

    Created for American Pride who posted elsewhere. I will copy his post here in a moment.

    On a side note - I was playing Farcry Primal (I love video games) where you are, in short, a caveman.

    The thought struck me - in combination with Easterling's book - that the way we as a species define, shape, and evolve our definition(s) of spaces and determine their 'legitimate' use. The cited book being:
    Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space by Keller Easterling. For details:http://www.amazon.com/Extrastatecraf...xtrastatecraft

    There, I suspect, some underlying relationship to conflict and would be interested to know if anyone is familiar with that line of research / thought / theory. Please message me. Thanks.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default AP this is for you

    Not sure who is posting what on this thread??? But this is for you AP. I just ordered the Kindle version of the book and I am on CH. 3. Will let you know what I think when I finish the rest. What exactly do you want to know?


    I have posted on ring #3 infrastructure before. Some say infrastructure is the Lord of the rings I.e. the most important ring of Wardens 5 rings. From what I have read of the book so far the author would agree.

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    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Not sure who is posting what on this thread??? But this is for you AP. I just ordered the Kindle version of the book and I am on CH. 3. Will let you know what I think when I finish the rest. What exactly do you want to know?


    I have posted on ring #3 infrastructure before. Some say infrastructure is the Lord of the rings I.e. the most important ring of Wardens 5 rings. From what I have read of the book so far the author would agree.
    Thanks slap. I'm working my way through chapter 2 (I'm the type of reader that reads multiple books at once so it's slow process to get through one). I am curious what research is out there, if anyone is familiar with it, regarding our conception(s) of space and how we define its legitimate use in a conflict (or specifically COIN) context. There are some obvious answers - like legal recognition of protected sites but are there more fundamental forms underneath?
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Default Airpower, Chaos and Infrstructure: The Lord Of The Rings

    My all time favorite paper on how to use the 5 rings. In this paper you will see how the author Felker believes attacking Infrastructure should be used to affect a "Process". Easterling the author of Extrastatecraft defines Infrasrtucture as a "Repeatable Formula" not just physical objects, Felker also talks about this in his paper but calls it process. I think both authors are talking about the same thing and it is a critical point in trying to understand any System. We as Americans tend to stuggle with this concept for some reason and leads to very poor targeting decisions, as I have often pointed out. Link to Felker papaer is listed below.


    http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=get...fier=ADA354043

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    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    Slap,

    Just got through chapters 2 and 3 of Easterling's work today. I have some thoughts on its applicability to military operations (and the security apparatus in general). It would be interesting to apply her forms (multipliers, wiring, switches, etc) to the U.S. military.
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

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    Default Chapter 4

    AP,
    I will finish up ch. 4 tonight. What are you thoughts on how to apply?

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    AP,

    Just looked at the book on Amazon (lukewarm reviews) and did a little research on the author. I'm sure the book is interesting and I'm looking forward to see how you think it can be applied before I commit time to reading it. Based on reading what was available on the reviews and pre-read on Amazon it seems she is largely talking about the physical and rules based order that describes the international order that is in our national interest to protect. She seems to be advocating attacking it if I read the reviews correctly?

    I read Warden, studied systemic operational design, and other theorists to view the world as a system and have become more critical of these ideas over the years. There are real systems and systems we imagine (many of systems that SOD practitioners come up with are not true systems, they are random nodes that they draw connections to and describe as a system). There are also non-adaptive and adaptive systems. Warden seems to push the idea (having read his book twice) that all systems are non-adaptive, with each of his five rings being viewed as a system.

    Complexity theory, correctly in my view, points to complex and adaptive "systems" (if they're actual systems to begin with). Meaning targeting a particular point(s) will not always result in system collapse, but the system will adapt to the new environment. Comes closer to Clausewitz's view that you have two or more thinking and adaptive opponents engaged in a contest of wills (very loosely paraphrased).

    Criticism aside, that doesn't mean this type of analysis doesn't have its place, but use if with caution and lower your expectation on results. Ultimately the use of military force (or threat of force) is supposed help achieve a political end. The grand strategy is more important than the military strategy, and ideally it should come first, so the military can work with its interagency partners to explore ways to achieve ends that more complex than defeat, remove, neutralize, destroy, etc. Since 9/11 it almost seems we put military objectives first, and then try to catch up and build a grand strategy around it.

    Looking forward to your review.

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    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    Slap and Bill,

    I'm still working through Extrastatecraft - though I will share one of my initial thoughts. The author asserts that we should not only be concerned with the intended purpose of 'infrastructure' (it's mission, forms, etc) but also the actual consequences of it in practice. I think the applicability of her thoughts to military practice are to help provide coherent understanding of the military as an institution beyond its abstract political purpose. There have been a wave of reform proposals all couched in the same language of saving $$$ and/or improving the welfare of the soldier (true or not) and her framework may help excavate that.

    But knowing how the institution of the military apparatus functions in practice underscores, in my opinion, the larger economic, political, and demographic pressures compelling change. The military, for example, is one of the last employers with a defined benefits retirement plan even with the emergence of the uber economy of independent contractors. The military's conception of 'discipline' and 'valor' are entrenched in 18th century norms - even as the operational environment increases the strategic effect and technical capability of the individual soldier and while distancing the operator from the point of violence. A recent Task and Purpose article (or maybe it was War on the Rocks) advocated adapting the service uniform to reflect not just the operational skills and deployments, but also soft skills and capabilities. We almost reflexively as an institution say that everything is subordinated to fighting and winning wars (i.e. the debate about women in combat arms), but any rigorous analysis reveals that's not accurate. Economic, political, and social norms and realities have as much, if not more, influence on the military than that abstract goal - and the military in turn influences them as well.

    I will be the first to admit that my analysis of the military is not only concerned with 'fighting and winning the nation's wars' or the political object that, at theory at least, exists at the foundation of the armed forces; but also at the political and economic forces that influence and are influenced by the military. We cannot divorce the armed forces from society at large, even as there appears to grow cultural distance - the all volunteer expeditionary military is a consequence of a combination of political and economic conditions unique to this time and place and we should be careful about the entrenchment of military ideologies (I use the term ideology to denote devotion or belief in unchanging principles regardless of circumstances).

    I think Easterling's work provides one possible framework for developing a bottom-up review of the military in this context.
    Last edited by AmericanPride; 06-05-2016 at 01:28 AM.
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

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    AP,

    I read post with interest, and I also read the article on adapting the military uniform. Not opposed to the ideas proposed, but the way the argument is presented it implies it is only the military that needs to adapt. Our state department should not be given a free pass, in fact many of the problems the military is tasked to wrestle with are due to naive policy views, and incompetent policy wonks. We all need to adapt if we're going to address our collective shortcomings.

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    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    AP,

    I read post with interest, and I also read the article on adapting the military uniform. Not opposed to the ideas proposed, but the way the argument is presented it implies it is only the military that needs to adapt. Our state department should not be given a free pass, in fact many of the problems the military is tasked to wrestle with are due to naive policy views, and incompetent policy wonks. We all need to adapt if we're going to address our collective shortcomings.
    I agree with you - unfortunately, our governmental institutions by nature are planes constructed in flight. An interesting thought experiment would be to design a military (or government) from the ground up. What would be different in a 'start up army' than reforming the current one?
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

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    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
    Slap and Bill,

    I'm still working through Extrastatecraft - though I will share one of my initial thoughts. The author asserts that we should not only be concerned with the intended purpose of 'infrastructure' (it's mission, forms, etc) but also the actual consequences of it in practice. I think the applicability of her thoughts to military practice are to help provide coherent understanding of the military as an institution beyond its abstract political purpose. There have been a wave of reform proposals all couched in the same language of saving $$$ and/or improving the welfare of the soldier (true or not) and her framework may help excavate that.

    But knowing how the institution of the military apparatus functions in practice underscores, in my opinion, the larger economic, political, and demographic pressures compelling change. The military, for example, is one of the last employers with a defined benefits retirement plan even with the emergence of the uber economy of independent contractors. The military's conception of 'discipline' and 'valor' are entrenched in 18th century norms - even as the operational environment increases the strategic effect and technical capability of the individual soldier and while distancing the operator from the point of violence. A recent Task and Purpose article (or maybe it was War on the Rocks) advocated adapting the service uniform to reflect not just the operational skills and deployments, but also soft skills and capabilities. We almost reflexively as an institution say that everything is subordinated to fighting and winning wars (i.e. the debate about women in combat arms), but any rigorous analysis reveals that's not accurate. Economic, political, and social norms and realities have as much, if not more, influence on the military than that abstract goal - and the military in turn influences them as well.

    I will be the first to admit that my analysis of the military is not only concerned with 'fighting and winning the nation's wars' or the political object that, at theory at least, exists at the foundation of the armed forces; but also at the political and economic forces that influence and are influenced by the military. We cannot divorce the armed forces from society at large, even as there appears to grow cultural distance - the all volunteer expeditionary military is a consequence of a combination of political and economic conditions unique to this time and place and we should be careful about the entrenchment of military ideologies (I use the term ideology to denote devotion or belief in unchanging principles regardless of circumstances).

    I think Easterling's work provides one possible framework for developing a bottom-up review of the military in this context.
    AP, a uniform is very much a part of the Infrastructure that holds the Army togather, although people do not usually understand that, very observant on your part. In another post you talk about the Black Panthers and anybody that knows anything about the Panthers understands their infamous Black Beret as their symbol of unity.

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    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    Slap - agreed on all points. Though I have this question: if the operational environment is a combination of cyber war, direct action, and nuclear deterrence, what function does the uniform have in modern war? As the Big Army returns to its garrisons, isn't the uniform just another self-licking ice cream cone?
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

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    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanPride View Post
    Slap - agreed on all points. Though I have this question: if the operational environment is a combination of cyber war, direct action, and nuclear deterrence, what function does the uniform have in modern war? As the Big Army returns to its garrisons, isn't the uniform just another self-licking ice cream cone?
    AP, its a really good question. Martin Van Creveld has written that future uniforms may be nothing more than "arm bands". Not sure myself but as I said it is vary good question.

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    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    I think there is something to be said about the uniform as 'infrastructure', as you stated, for internal consumption and organization.
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

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    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    So - I finished the book. Although I would give it mediocre ratings at best, as I felt it could have been far more sophisticated in its analysis, I do think the analytical framework could be appropriated for political-security studies.

    In particular, I think it could be use to guide a form of 'structural targeting' in COIN environment in which the state aims to manipulate/construct the underlying economic and social base of a given operational environment. This departs from the reactionary form of counter-terrorism targeting that aims to neutralize threats that have already manifested. The U.S. effort at 'clear-hold-build' or any of its derivatives was rather haphazard at best without any credible understanding of the political-economic structure informing the operational environment.

    With a kind of 'structural targeting' the state aims to not only dominate and occupy space, but to actively define and shape it in a way conducive to its objectives. The Coalition did this unwittingly tactically - from checkpoints and counter-IED grates to building clinics and schools and establishing parliamentarian governments. None of these really served to alter the nature of power/conflict in the OE, but really to redirect the undercurrents of conflict in other directions; i.e. fueling sectarianism rather than mitigating it. That's because IMO the U.S. did not have a strategy to connect tactical operations with the political object.
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

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