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Old 01-05-2013   #21
Taiko
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In short, World War 2 lasted from September 18 1931 to September 2 1945. At the peak of the Cold War it would have taken less than a day to destroy the entire planet. This is what I mean by the compression of time and space in warfare and its impact on the level and intensity of violence during and between war.

One of the main selling points of network centric warfare was the ability to compress time and space via the use of technology, it was also described as a 'force multiplyer'. The same with over the horizon technology, it provided a means to compress time and space. It gave the user the ability to process threat information at a speed that was not available before the technology was developed.

It is the same with the development of cyberwarfare and drone technology, for example. I'm trying to gauge how this can further compress time and space, the tempo of warfare if you will, and what impact this will have, if any, on the level and intensity of violence in future wars. A cyber attack on a countries main infrastructure is all but instantaneous eg: Russia and Georgia War is a clear example of the use of cyberwarfare to compress time and space.

Thanks for the blitzkrieg article, what I am trying to get my head around is a little different to the decisive battle theory, from what I can work out the concept is closer to deterrence. I'll keep researching. I can understand what it is that I am looking at, it's just a matter of finding the right definition/terminology/conceptual framework to better explain it to others. This is made even more difficult when trying to analyse war/warfare 20-40 years in the future, as there are no readily available conceptual frameworks to explain what is to come eg: singularity.

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Old 01-05-2013   #22
Taiko
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Post Future foresight.

The future signal to noise ratio: compression of time and space/drones/cyberwarfare/sub-orbital space warfare/human biomechanical evolution/human biological evolution/targeted assassination/deterrence/taking a state whole/singularity/total war/GOES solar x-ray flux weaponisation/spectrum

The frustrating thing is that I can see it and understand it, but not in a way that can be readily or easily translated into current conceptual frameworks. I neither have the time nor finances to try and separate the signal from the noise anymore.



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Old 01-05-2013   #23
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In short, World War 2 lasted from September 18 1931 to September 2 1945. At the peak of the Cold War it would have taken less than a day to destroy the entire planet. This is what I mean by the compression of time and space in warfare and its impact on the level and intensity of violence during and between war.
WW3 is theory, not warfare. Even if practice, it would not have been warfare, but top-down suicide.

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One of the main selling points of network centric warfare was the ability to compress time and space via the use of technology,
alleged ability at most.
Seriously, nobody can compress time or space. What you're talking about is being quicker. The article I supposed and the clumsy Western staffs should make quite clear that quickness is hardly a chief advance.


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it was also described as a 'force multiplyer'.
Yeah, almost everything was already. Even canteen designs.

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The same with over the horizon technology, it provided a means to compress time and space.
Nope. There would be lots of physics Nobel prizes awarded for it if that ability was ever available.

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It gave the user the ability to process threat information at a speed that was not available before the technology was developed.
First and foremost, it multiplied the ability of users to drown in data and yawn in meetings. There are some nice cases of theoretical or even practical acceleration of processes, but I doubt the overall effect has been such.
Radio nets have grown and been digitised and traffic increased. The ability to process data with technical means has increased exponentially, the ability to understand twhat the data means did not evolve a bit.
Humans are psychologically very defective and often outright stupid.
We cannot cope with the growth of technical performance, and as a consequence cannot exploit the technical potential at all.

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It is the same with the development of cyberwarfare and drone technology, for example. I'm trying to gauge how this can further compress time and space, the tempo of warfare if you will, and what impact this will have, if any, on the level and intensity of violence in future wars. A cyber attack on a countries main infrastructure is all but instantaneous eg: Russia and Georgia War is a clear example of the use of cyberwarfare to compress time and space.
It's educating about such grandiose effect ideas to look at the history of air warfare in WW2 and the history of the EMP fear since the 70's. The Y2K story should also help.
Generally I would advice to take it seriously, to expect people/institutions to adapt rather well and to keep friction and generally imperfections in mind. Nobody is going to shut down th electrical grid for more than once for two days with mere software, for example. The sum of undetected, unspectacular efforts are much more likely to be reqally influential (this being essentially an application of Luttwak).

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Thanks for the blitzkrieg article, what I am trying to get my head around is a little different to the decisive battle theory, from what I can work out the concept is closer to deterrence. I'll keep researching. I can understand what it is that I am looking at, it's just a matter of finding the right definition/terminology/conceptual framework to better explain it to others. This is made even more difficult when trying to analyse war/warfare 20-40 years in the future, as there are no readily available conceptual frameworks to explain what is to come eg: singularity.
I suppose our take on an interest in military theory is so much different I won't be any more helpful to your effort.
To me, technological change isn't what determines military performance, but something which provokes adaptations - and I appear to assume a much lesser degree of exploitation of technical potential than you do.
Take the article as an example; compare the cruise speed of a horse with the cruise speed of a WW2 tank (~20-30 kph) and imagine what you would have written about the increase of operational advance speeds thanks to mechanisation. Then compare with what really happened (the article misses Manstein's dash to the Duna river, though).

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The future signal to noise ratio: compression of time and space/drones/cyberwarfare/sub-orbital space warfare/human biomechanical evolution/human biological evolution/targeted assassination/deterrence/taking a state whole/singularity/total war/GOES solar x-ray flux weaponisation/spectrum
Also, you should raise your awareness for how easily people stop listening or reading when they encounter a shipload of buzzwords.
At times, I was considering you're trying to prank us with your buzzword avalanches.

In case you're really into buzzwords; maybe I can help you with an observation about what seems to turn into a buzzword these days: "clandestine".
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Old 01-05-2013   #24
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Clearly the ability to deliver a massive, punishing attack has become faster and easier with nuclear weapons, and now the growth of reliance on vulnerable cyber-based systems.

But how does that change the speed of war?

To attack an opponent is not to defeat an opponent. One must still occupy and hold ground and the skies above that ground. One must secure passage across the seas and skies to reach that ground. And even if one accomplishes all of those things, one must then force the people living on that ground to submit to their newly imposed system of governance.

As the US has demonstrated (too often of late), if one has the relative advantage of resources and technology, yes, the initial aspects of that can be fairly quick and easy. But forcing a people to submit? The only "easy" way is genocide, coupled with the destruction and replacement of the existing culture with that of the invader. Plenty of historic examples of that, some fairly recent. Are nuclear weapons spread across a populace faster than a Sharps rifle directed at the primary source of food and culture? No, not if one takes into account how soon that place is occupiable by the invading element.

But yes, punitive attacks are easier, faster, and now something that individuals and non-state actors can conduct at levels once the sole realm of powerful states (with far less risk of consequence, and thus outside our current concepts of deterrence). But to conduct an act of war is different than waging war, just as throwing a punch is different than a fight.

Countries such as the US will increasingly need to absorb the occasional sucker punch and not be distracted from the business of being a powerful state. Retaliation and prevention cannot be an all-consuming extravaganza such as we have put on for the past decade or so, but rather must be a small, quiet, but deadly certain capability. No massive deployments, no public chest-thumping when enemies fall, just cold hard business of being a state in the modern age.
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Old 01-05-2013   #25
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Default Bob's World: reality is the best measuring stick of reason.

Reality is the best measuring stick for theory.

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Seriously, nobody can compress time or space. What you're talking about is being quicker.
In a sense that is partly what I'm talking about. I appreciate that to literally compress time and space is still a concept in words only, however, CERN/Hadron Collider Project is taking humanity closer to the point where compressing time and space could very well become a reality. What implications that has is still an unknown.

'Compressing' may be the wrong conceptual framework to use in this instance. I am trying to get a sense of what has changed, if anything, in how strategists view/understand time and space over the history of warfare. From set field battles of the Cabinet warfare era to nuclear warfare to decentralized networks of sub-state actors. Our understanding of the role time and space plays in war has changed.

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Nobody is going to shut down th electrical grid for more than once for two days with mere software
True, however, in 2011 a group of amateurs shut down a major service carriage provider for seven million users over a three month period without interruption. The political and economic implications alone give pause for thought. Modern siege warfare (cyberwarfare) target sets are as diverse as they are detrimental to a states ability to claim a monopoly on force/security.

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We cannot cope with the growth of technical performance, and as a consequence cannot exploit the technical potential at all.
This is my concern as well, adapt or perish. By 'we' who do you mean? This is my other concern, whoever has the ability to adapt and exploit the technical potential will have a clear advantage over the next 20-40 years. We all saw that happen in 2001.

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Take the article as an example; compare the cruise speed of a horse with the cruise speed of a WW2 tank (~20-30 kph) and imagine what you would have written about the increase of operational advance speeds thanks to mechanisation. Then compare with what really happened (the article misses Manstein's dash to the Duna river, though).
I agree, friction, chance and probability, human fallibility etc will always have to be taken into consideration no matter the technical advances made.

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Also, you should raise your awareness for how easily people stop listening or reading when they encounter a shipload of buzzwords.
At times, I was considering you're trying to prank us with your buzzword avalanches.
Thank you for the advise. I am also very cautious when a strategic theorists puts the word 'new' into a sentence, especially when it is in front of the words idea/warfighting concept/strategy, because more often than not the 'new' they are talking about is either old, or old dressed up as new. I generally agree and loath the use of buzzwords and I am not trying to prank. I've been around this council long enough to know you all have excellent BS detectors

My problem is if I am to try and at least theory craft what warfare will be in 20-40 years time how would be the best way to go about it? I do not want to sensationalize nor over/underestimate what is to come, but try to present a picture of the various potential realities that could be probable. I am not about selling books nor promoting myself, but I have a genuine interest in future forecasting/foresight and how it can be used to better equip policy makers to head off potential pitfalls/threats.

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But yes, punitive attacks are easier, faster, and now something that individuals and non-state actors can conduct at levels once the sole realm of powerful states (with far less risk of consequence, and thus outside our current concepts of deterrence). But to conduct an act of war is different than waging war, just as throwing a punch is different than a fight.
Agreed, this is an area I need to work on. The principles of war as set out by CvC, ST etc are more or less universal. I am well versed in those principals and confident that my theoretical model on war is rock solid. Warfare, however, is constantly changing. That change can and does influence how policy is made and politics is conducted. It is this subject matter that I am now trying to better understand. Hence the preoccupation with the figurative compression of time and space (I'll have to find a better conceptual framework), as a general principle or basic conceptual framework that can be used to explain the advances in warfare over past history and into the future.

In short, my argument is: to understand the utilization/exploitation of time and space is to understand the general principles of the ephemeral/ever changing nature of warfare from the operational to tactical level of analysis.

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Countries such as the US will increasingly need to absorb the occasional sucker punch and not be distracted from the business of being a powerful state. Retaliation and prevention cannot be an all-consuming extravaganza such as we have put on for the past decade or so, but rather must be a small, quiet, but deadly certain capability. No massive deployments, no public chest-thumping when enemies fall, just cold hard business of being a state in the modern age.
That is worth repeating! Speak quietly and carry a big stick.

As always, great to get a response from you Bob's World, nothing like a reality check to help me keep my head in the game

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Old 01-05-2013   #26
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My problem is if I am to try and at least theory craft what warfare will be in 20-40 years time how would be the best way to go about it?
Why bother?

There have been so few tests for doctrine during the last 60 years there's not even a solid foundation for guessing right how certain conflicts would look if they turned into hot war this or next year.
We're military theory-wise in a similar situation as our forefathers were around 1900-1912. We've seen lots of small wars not telling us much about inter-state warfare, very partial glimpses of modern inter-state warfare and there were huge technological and society changes over the course of the last generations.

Basically 'we' have little clue about modern inter-state warfare; lots of opinions, theories and assertions - but almost no real knowledge.


I for one would not have guessed the Russians would be capable to rush two division equivalents through a tunnel on short notice, overwhelm Georgian forces in a brief hasty attack on terrain which benefited the defence and have a flag rank officer WIA while he lead an advance party. It was totally not Russian in my opinion, but it happened. And this wasn't even about new technologies.
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Old 01-05-2013   #27
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Why bother?
Hard to explain, but I believe if I can develop a comprehensible toolkit/conceptual framework that will allow for a clearer separation of signal to noise and enhance our ability to connect the dots, in terms of future forecasting/foresight, then it will be a net benefit to policy makers.

I know that the attempt could very well be little more than a Sisyphusian task in redundancy, that still does not mean that there are people out there who are already trying to do something similar. To be honest, I do not want to let over a decade of serious study and thought go to waste.

Plus, for better or worse I have developed a talent in this area of knowledge and need to pay rent/food. If it is deemed a waste of time then I'll just have to walk away and try and work out what it is I can do to make a living. More than anything it's the idea of the potential to improve our ability to future forecast that keeps me going.

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I for one would not have guessed the Russians would be capable to rush two division equivalents through a tunnel on short notice, overwhelm Georgian forces in a brief hasty attack on terrain which benefited the defence and have a flag rank officer WIA while he lead an advance party. It was totally not Russian in my opinion, but it happened. And this wasn't even about new technologies.
The utilisation/exploitation of time and space brought about by the use of new/developing technology in warfare. From my reading the Russians were simply adapting to, and exploiting, new technology. This is part and parcel of why I think what I do is important, not for myself but policy makers.

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Old 01-06-2013   #28
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Education, although sometimes painful, is always worth it.

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Question: What impact has the compression of time and space had on the level and intensity of violence during and between wars in the past/present/future.
If we can agree that 'compression of time and space' is an artifact of globalization, could your question be restated as: What impact has globalization had upon warfare?

Very broadly, and by contrasting the battlefields of Iraq (OIF) with those of WWI Europe, I would say that a focus upon rapid removal of governance (individuals and structures) using an overwhelming force synchronized with realtime ICT (information and communication technology) results in reduced casualty rates for both sides. I also wonder about reduced post war recovery rates for both sides...by contrasting the ongoing recovery versus the interval from 1918 to 1939. A comparison of costs indicates that war is, and will always be, expensive in lives and treasure.

Perhaps a better contrast would be to examine the Iraq wars with the British (British Mandate 1920 -1932) and with the US (1991 and 2003-2010)?

How does globalization account for these differences in levels and intensity of violence? The IMF defines four aspects of globalization: 'trade and transactions, capital and investment movements, migration and movement of people and the dissemination of knowledge.' Current themes in the media which relate to this topic include trade, energy, 'Chimerica', high finance, growth rates, innovation...

Some references for a later read on this topic might include:
  • The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
  • The Scientific Way of Warfare by Antoine Bousquet
  • Globalization, A Short History by Jurgen Osterhammel and Niels P. Pietersson
  • The Quest by Daniel Yergin
  • The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson
  • The American Phoenix by Charles Dumas and Diana Choyleva
  • How Soccer Explains the World by Franklin Foer
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Old 01-06-2013   #29
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Education, although sometimes painful, is always worth it.
The pain is nothing compared to finding a career/job. 18 months in and still nothing.

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clandestine
Where do I sign up Bob's World?

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If we can agree that 'compression of time and space' is an artifact of globalization
Globalization is an artifact of a neo-liberal agenda In part, I agree that discounting globalization's impact on warfare would be detrimental to any attempt at understanding the changing utilization/exploitation of time/space in warfare. My problem is that globalization, as a conceptual framework, has the potential to over-estimate the role of trade/economics/international institutions etc at the cost of under-estimating the power and positions of states within the 'international system'. Sometimes I get the feeling that the net effect of globalization has been to strengthen the hand of sub-state actors at the cost of both states and international institutions. Hence, the most prominent argument since the mid 1990's has been, where there is globalization there is also fragmentation.

Is globalization's price tag the erosion of the sovereignty of a state and its monopoly on force? Is this a price states are willing to pay for the assumed net benefits of globalization?

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I would say that a focus upon rapid removal of governance (individuals and structures) using an overwhelming force synchronized with realtime ICT (information and communication technology) results in reduced casualty rates for both sides.
This is close to what CvC would call the 'ideal war', or a war on paper. In the near term it syncs very closely to my understanding of the exploitation/utilization of time/space to influence the level and intensity of violence via cyberwarfare. Would you say it is an adaptation of the Powell Doctrine to better fit with current technological assets?

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Old 01-06-2013   #30
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Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
To attack an opponent is not to defeat an opponent. One must still occupy and hold ground and the skies above that ground. One must secure passage across the seas and skies to reach that ground. And even if one accomplishes all of those things, one must then force the people living on that ground to submit to their newly imposed system of governance.

As the US has demonstrated (too often of late), if one has the relative advantage of resources and technology, yes, the initial aspects of that can be fairly quick and easy. But forcing a people to submit?
I don't think that submission or occupation should be presumed necessary: that would depend on the political objectives being pursued. Entering a conflict with clear objectives and refusing to expand those objectives can often (not always, but often) free us from the assumption that we "must" occupy territory and impose systems of governance.

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Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
Countries such as the US will increasingly need to absorb the occasional sucker punch and not be distracted from the business of being a powerful state. Retaliation and prevention cannot be an all-consuming extravaganza such as we have put on for the past decade or so, but rather must be a small, quiet, but deadly certain capability. No massive deployments, no public chest-thumping when enemies fall, just cold hard business of being a state in the modern age.
Well I'll be damned, we agree on something...
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Old 01-06-2013   #31
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Default Look at these three sources

I suggest you have a look at the new, free e-journal following the model of Wilf Owen's 'Infinity Journal'. Journal of Military Operations (JOMO) is dedicated to military operations as well as tactics. Registration is free: https://www.tjomo.com

Secondly the Editor is Dr. Jim Storr, a.k.a Colonel Storr, author of 'The Human Face of War', now republished in paperback, which might help too.
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Old 01-08-2013   #32
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The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
I bought The Prince and Sun Tzu when I was 15, been reading both once a year ever since, along with CvC and Thucydides. Still have not found many books that are not reiterations of these four classic. With the exception of Mao whose work is more an amalgamation of CvC/Sun Tzu.

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I suggest you have a look at the new, free e-journal following the model of Wilf Owen's 'Infinity Journal'. Journal of Military Operations (JOMO) is dedicated to military operations as well as tactics. Registration is free: https://www.tjomo.com
Thanks for the link Davidbfpo

@Fuchs: see PM

Principles/Laws of warfare: 1. adaptation of defence/offence 2. exploitation/utilization of time and space

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Well I'll be damned, we agree on something...
Ay, speak quietly, carry a big stick and avoid foreign entanglements

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