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Big Data, Local Advantage: Why ‘Economic Media’ Networks Matter

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Big Data, Local Advantage: Why ‘Economic Media’ Networks Matter

Chris Telley

A mobile device, like your smartphone or tablet, is 10,000 times more powerful than the computers that took man to the moon[i]. The application software (apps) on the device accesses more information than was created in the first 5,000 years of recorded human history[ii]. Seventy percent of humanity will own one by 2020[iii], which will connect around three Billion new users[iv].  The availability of this information conduit on the battlefield presents remarkable challenges and opportunities[v] for deploying commands.

Commanders must collect information through and participate on locally relevant app networks in order to mitigate the intrinsic parity of a fundamentally mobile information environment (IE). Connected populations are empowered by the capabilities of local app networks; they also attain physical and informational advantages against conventional formations. United States joint forces enable novel gains in the IE by collecting on, operating in, and collaborating through indigenously produced economic media. Failing to prepare for mobile, that is the wireless ecosystem, with a responsive engagement strategy adapted to local platforms and conditions, relinquishes the environment to U.S. adversaries.

In the past, U.S. forces targeted the cellphones of individual insurgents[vi]. Mobile, as a platform, has become more than just a telephone. Basic smartphone functions include a web browser, camera, and GPS navigation. The devices’ apps utilize such tools to form a cognitive, informational, and physical control plane, with the emergent qualities of an ecosystem.

The size and density of urban populations hosting such digital habitats continues to grow[vii] while average soldier density on the battlefield has decreased since at least the 19th century[viii]. Future combatants will need to influence local populations more effectively than any before them. Fortunately, urbanizing audiences are more connected than those encountered in contemporary experiences. Iraq[ix] and Afghanistan[x] average only 4.6 Internet users per square kilometer.  Iran[xi] and Libya[xii], both identified as primary regional concerns by the assigned Combatant Commanders, respectively have 14.9[xiii] and 21.8[xiv] Internet users per square kilometer. In Nigeria, where Boko Haram remains a threat to the functioning government and neighboring states[xv], there are 73 Internet users per square kilometer[xvi]. Handheld devices will provide an increasing portion of Internet connectivity. Global mobile access will exceed fixed line subscriptions in 2017[xvii]. As of October 22, 2015, Google experienced more mobile searches than desktop searches worldwide.[xviii] Mobile connectivity will be the new normal of future operational environments (OEs).

Though mobile use is growing, users in the developing world aren't necessarily flocking to western social media platforms. Only 15 million of Nigeria's 92.6 million Internet users are on Facebook[xix], whereas 71% of America's users are 'friends'[xx]. Nigerian Facebook penetration more than doubled between 2012 and 2015, as did overall Internet use[xxi]; but the social network's relative size only grew by three percent. Twitter and Facebook are ubiquitous to American users; however, in the developing world users are instead downloading apps for the necessities of life.

Connectivity advances human and economic development[xxii] in ways that once required large scale state or commercial institutions[xxiii]. Mobile apps, built in the developing world, connect people with emergency medicine, deliver banking and commerce, provide market data and offer communication options. Instead of social media, select software and accompanying networks are ‘economic media.’ They represent “a medium of cultivation, conveyance, or expression[xxiv] relating to the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services”.[xxv] These apps are largely locally produced and are sometimes only regionally prevalent. Some examples of economic media in Africa include; Find-A-Med’s healthcare services, PesaCalc’s mobile banking, Slimtrader e-commerce, and M-Farm’s agricultural marketplace[xxvi].

Mobile empowerment is spreading across Africa, allowing people to access services and collaboration wherever and whenever they choose. Individual capabilities are outpacing the perception and means of contemporary formations; current US doctrine sparingly addresses social media,[xxvii] much less mobile networks. Mobile devices grant belligerent actors access to powerful tools that are similarly uninhibited by geography which is problematic to U.S. interests. During Libya's Arab Spring, otherwise untrained militias crowd sourced a live stream of weapons-intelligence and training out of the United States[xxviii]. Libyan revolutionaries received real-time intelligence analysis, via Skype conference call, to destroy a 122mm ‘Grad’ rocket battery during an April 2011 engagement.[xxix] The resistance also tracked Coalition strike aircraft via an open source air traffic control feed from Malta.[xxx]

Connection to these services remains feasible even if the authorities disable or jam a link. After the government shut down local service providers, protesters in Egypt created their own Bluetooth mesh network[xxxi]. The ‘hack’ even became a commercial app, FireChat, which enabled protestors in China to communicate despite government blackouts[xxxii]. It should be noted that Bluetooth uses frequency hopping[xxxiii] making it potentially jam resistant.

Joint forces create advantage if they can see and act fast enough to capitalize on the asymmetry offered by mobile computing. Like any other mission, intelligence drives operations in this 'virtual theater.'[xxxiv] Instead of monitoring terrestrial avenues of approach or key terrain, information gathering will be focused on the structures and the behaviors of the local network. The data is readily available. Advertisers conducting programmatic marketing[xxxv] and social scientists building ‘smart cities’[xxxvi] use it every day. Civilian organizations use “multi sourced data signals” from the user to inform decisions.[xxxvii] The data available for this target set is immense and increasingly relevant as more devices come online. Alternative data sources on things like foot traffic and purchase activity can provide measures of effectiveness that are otherwise very difficult to collect.

In 2012, IBM estimated that humanity produced 2.5 exabytes of data every day[xxxviii].  Collecting a local portion of relevant data brings a new perspective to the OE through the context of the digital ecosystem. Using digital models and graphic depictions, the array of smartphone empowered individuals forms a “socio-topologic surface” [xxxix] or multi-dimensional terrain of devices, moving data, as well as user content. Various software packages allow analysts to visually depict the presence and characteristics of nodes as well as the edges that connect them, revealing an apparent topography. Influencing a chosen node passes roughly calculable vibrations on to edges and following nodes, the way water reacts to a pebble being dropped in a pool of water, with classically predictable waves[xl]. The depicted system structures have sufficiently perceptible Newtonian characteristics to be modeled as a kind of topographic construct providing insight into physical behaviors and cognitive exchanges.

Depicting a network in this way facilitates analysis similar to the physical dimension. Nodes with high centrality, those with many connections or connecting distinct cliques,[xli] can be considered key terrain; repeatedly stimulated edges resemble avenues of approach, and so on. A commander can disrupt or reinforce a chosen part of the network pursuant to desired structural aims. He can also can influence part of this ‘distributed sensory system[xlii]’ to influence the behavior of a single node or clique.

Participation on economic media enables a force to solicit information without explicitly asking[xliii]. Aggregating collected data on node behaviors provides near real time situational awareness, exposing drivers of instability that might otherwise disappear among more apparent operational variables. Resources, like HealthMap, predict influenza outbreaks before patients know they’re sick[xliv]. By mining foreign app networks with programs like Mapsense, we can use dynamic vector map tiles[xlv] to render overlays that would take months to compile, much less update. Whether you want to track the most popular routes of runners in major cities[xlvi] or teen pregnancies[xlvii], there is probably an app providing the necessary data. This trend even applies to battlefield surveillance. Russian activities in both Ukraine[xlviii] and Syria[xlix] have been accurately tracked using the geotags of personal devices.

Combatant Commands (CCMDs) and specialized task forces already operate on social media. The Air Force exploits Twitter geotags to drive airstrikes against ISIS leadership[l]. Destroying mission command nodes remains doctrinally sound, but targeting at the CENTCOM level will not resolve the “local particularisms”[li] driving contemporary conflicts. Given the previous revelation on daily data creation and dividing by the approximation that there are around 3.2 billion Internet users[lii], each individual then produces around 800 megabytes a day. That data set is just too immense and diverse for any attempt to monitor more than a limited group of individuals on more than a few platforms across a continent. A CCMD, no matter how well manned, cannot possibly observe every PresaCalc or MFarm indicator pertinent to the objectives of a localized battlespace owner. General Creighton Abrams advice “when eating an elephant take one bite at a time”[liii] is apt here; the joint force should attack the large data set by partaking locally.

In 1999, General Charles Krulak wrote of “power down” and “actions taken at the lowest levels” being operational characteristics required when the lines “between the levels of war” blur.[liv] The components of GEN Krulak’s ‘Three Block War’ provide a viable parallel to the complexities of the Internet as an OE. He proposes utilizing “Strategic Corporals” to mitigate the risks of technology diffusion, transnational friction, and globalization[lv]. U.S. military forces are unlikely to assume risk by placing a host of specialists alone and unafraid in cyberspace, though the idea has been floated.[lvi] However, if war is a political instrument[lvii] and “all politics are local”[lviii] then enabling operational and even tactical commanders for local mobile participation provides the decisive effect of an online strategic corporal.     

Recent conflicts have proven the value of bottom up intelligence[lix] and living among the populace[lx]. Applying these maxims to mobile necessitates units regularly interact with relevant indigenous networks. Local app networks host the same geolocation data as Twitter, making physical strikes a feasible option. They also offer more subtle methods to approach conflict resolution through venues like crime prevention, combating disinformation, or mitigating economic instability.

The US intelligence community often focuses on crime and corruption as a disruptive force in security operations[lxi]. SPOTTM in South Africa as well as iPolice in Nigeria allow communities to anonymously report criminal activity, driving down crime and increasing government accountability.[lxii] Community reporting has been used in Iraq[lxiii]; doing so with an app adds location and network context to the report.

Fiscal growth and technology remain codependent in the developing world[lxiv]; U.S. efforts will be inherently economic as well. John Keegan asserts “markets are the principle centers for the exchange of information as well as goods”[lxv]. Digital stimulus can have very real economic effects and provide critical information. A unit dispersing grants through an app network not only energizes indigenous banking and commerce but can electronically track its expenditures’ course through the economy. In places with ethnic divisions, where “busi­ness is always personal”[lxvi], observing capital flows provides understanding of the local cliques that make up the human terrain.

Operating in the cognitive landscape for physical gain is not new. Achieving centrality within familial and market networks of fifteenth century Italy granted the Medici family unprecedented power through non-lethal means in an otherwise lethal environment[lxvii]. By modeling and acting on the network structures around him, a commander can maneuver on human networks just as effectively. Lethal actions provide visible and gratifying effects while subtle, cognitively focused, actions often have the decisive effect[lxviii]. Armed with socio-economic understanding a unit can “make war bad for business”[lxix] by using physical and digital actions to provide disincentives for violence.

Emerging operations on social media are complex and fraught with unforeseen consequences. Units uncomfortable with the network paradox of novel strengths emerging parallel to new vulnerabilities[lxx],  might be tempted to just ‘turn off’ local connections. The 2011 Arab Spring taught us that was a bad idea for security forces, often fueling dissent rather than quelling it[lxxi]. Even defensive jamming, in the wrong spot, has the same effect as switching off the feed. However, Iran did slow Internet speeds down in 2009 and 2011[lxxii], without results analogous to its Arab neighbors. Iran, though hardly a role model, proves that decisive effects can be gained without shutting down the whole enterprise.

If commanders chose not to participate, adversaries will quickly move to fill gaps left by US absence. The barriers to market entry for mobile are low enough to create an additional venue for non-nation state actors to gain parity.  A digitally enabled enemy can see much of the same data that U.S. forces could and exert coercive influence over the locally relevant human terrain. ISIS affiliates’ seizure of a U.S. Twitter feed and intelligence gathering on U.S. service members[lxxiii] suggests that future opponents are more than capable of digital maneuver. Those opponents understand the value of information; they will physically fight to control the IE[lxxiv] and will brutally attack those who challenge them in the cognitive dimension[lxxv]. U.S. formations will have to evolve and innovate in order to develop an advantage.

The business world has ready parables for those who don’t adapt to technologic disruption. The “Kodak Moment” was once a term of endearment for nostalgic family photos. Now it’s a reference to extinction[lxxvi]. Kodak developed the first megapixel capable digital camera, but did not change their business model to account for the new niche. The corporation’s own creative disruption caused their downfall[lxxvii]. Army combat units have not yet fully exploited the mobile Internet, the latest descendant of the Defense Department’s ARPANET.    

Ultimately, an environment with more social liberation requires extensive interaction to effect[lxxviii]. The joint force will have to act quickly in order to conduct engagement on mobile app networks. Such engagements facilitate an economy of force capable of mitigating force ratio to population density disparity with marginal cost. U.S. forces’ capacity to generate resources enables the domination of fringe disruptors, if they can promptly and precisely capitalize on a network’s swift ability to reallocate power[lxxix].

U.S. efforts in the digital IE tend to focus on western social media platforms, primarily as a venue for messaging. This tendency represents a capability gap by ignoring a host of application software, and the accompanying networks, allowing for activities other than posting, liking, and sharing.  Participating on local economic media offers new, open-source methods for gathering and analyzing information as well as public venues for collaboration and nonlethal effects.

Operational level commanders must be sanctioned to fight a live streamed information war "at the speed of Twitter.”[lxxx] A unit with the appropriate collection and analytical capability can assemble local information on the structure of human networks, emerging behaviors, as well as the geographic context of moving nodes. Armed with an understanding of where ‘red’ and ‘green’ networks intersect, a unit can maneuver in the ecosystem to fight for narrative penetration, collaborate with community influencers, as well as engage the economy against malign actors. Deploying units should have a forward-looking mobile strategy[lxxxi] that accounts for the phone as the primary means for individual Internet access[lxxxii] and be equipped for data analytics to anticipate rapid change in real time[lxxxiii].

The mobile connected segment of developing areas, like Africa[lxxxiv], will continue to grow. U.S. forces should exploit increasing connectivity by collecting on, operating in, and collaborating through homegrown economic media networks in order to drive meaningful conflict resolution and mitigate the parity of a primarily mobile IE. Commanders must participate within locally relevant app networks with the intention of capitalizing on the vast amount of resident data thus preventing U.S. adversaries from dominating the space. The force will adapt in the face of urbanized, connected populations instead of accepting a Kodak moment.

Acknowledgements: COL(Ret) Calvin DeWitt, Dr. Earl Burress, and MAJ Kim Boothe provided editorial assistance for this work.

End Notes

[i] Marr, Rhuaridh. To the Moon and back on 4KB of Memory. MetroWeekly. July 24, 2014. Online at <http://www.metroweekly.com/2014/07/to-the-moon-and-back-on-4kb-of-memory/> accessed on September 12, 2015.

[ii] Seigler, M. G. Eric Schmidt: Every 2 Days We Create As Much Information As We Did Up To 2003. Techcrunch. August 4, 2010. online at <http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/04/schmidt-data/> accessed on September 12, 2015.

[iii] Mlot, Stephanie. 70 Percent of Population Will Have Smartphones by 2020. PC Magazine. June 3, 2015. online at <http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2485277,00.asp>. Accessed on September 12, 2015.

[iv] Ibid

[v] Kilcullen, David. Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age Of The Urban Guerrilla. Oxford ; New York, New York: Oxford University Press. 2013. 16

[vi] Priest, Dana & Arkin, William, M. ‘Top Secret America’: A look at the military’s Joint Special Operations Command. The Washington Post. September 2, 2011 online at <https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/top-secret-america-a-look-at-the-militarys-joint-special-operations-command/2011/08/30/gIQAvYuAxJ_story.html>. Accessed on September 12, 2014.

[vii] Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Urbanization Prospects, The 2011 Revision. United Nations. 2012. Online at <http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/publications/pdf/urbanization/WUP2011_Report.pdf>. Accessed September 13, 2015.

[viii] Adelman, Kenneth A. & Augustine, Norman R. The Defense Revolution: Intelligent Downsizing of America’s Military (San Francisco: Institute for Contemporary Studies Press, 1990), 55.

[ix] Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook. CIA Library. online at <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/geos.html>. Accessed on September 11, 2015.

[x] Ibid.

[xi] GEN Lloyd Austin. 2015 CENTCOM Posture Statement before Congress. U.S. Central Command. Washington, DC, 20511. March 5,2015. Online at < http://www.centcom.mil/en/about-centcom-en/commanders-posture-statement-en>. Accessed on 22 October, 2015.

[xii] GEN David Rodriguez. 2015 AFRICOM Posture Statement before Congress. U.S. Africa Command. Washington, DC, 20511. March 5,2015. Online at <http://www.africom.mil/newsroom/document/25285/usafricom-posture-statement-2015>. Accessed on 22 October, 2015.

[xiii] Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook. CIA Library. online at <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/geos.html>. Accessed on September 11, 2015.

[xiv] Ibid.

[xv] GEN David Rodriguez. 2015 AFRICOM Posture Statement before Congress. U.S. Africa Command.Washington,DC,20511. March 5,2015. Online at <http://www.africom.mil/newsroom/document/25285/usafricom-posture-statement-2015>. Accessed on 22 October, 2015.

[xvi] Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook. CIA Library. online at <https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/geos.html>. Accessed on September 11, 2015.

[xvii] Wolfgang Bock, Dominic Field, Paul Zwillenberg, & Kristi Rogers. The Growth of the Global Mobile Internet Economy: The Connected World. February 10, 2015. Online at <https://www.bcgperspectives.com/content/articles/telecommunications_connected_world_growth_global_mobile_internet_economy/>. Accessed on 23 October, 2015.

[xviii] Terdiman, Daniel. Google Says Mobile Search Has Surpassed Desktop Search. October 22, 2015. Online at < http://www.fastcompany.com/3052654/behind-the-brand/google-says-mobile-search-has-surpassed-desktop-search>. Accessed on 23 October, 2015

[xix] Strydom, T.J. Facebook rakes in users in Nigeria and Kenya, eyes rest of Africa. September 10, 2015. Online at < http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/10/us-facebook-africa-idUSKCN0RA17L20150910>. Accessed on 23 October, 2015.

[xx] Pew Research Center, Internet, Science & Tech. Social Networking Fact Sheet. 2015. Online at < http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheets/social-networking-fact-sheet/>. Accessed on 06 October, 2015.

[xxi] Miniwatts Marketing Group. Internet Usage Statistics for Africa (Africa Internet Usage and 2015 Population Stats). October 21, 2015. Online at < http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats1.htm >. Accessed on 29 October, 2015.

[xxii] The World Bank. Mobile Phone Access Reaches Three Quarters of Planet's Population. July 17, 2012. Online at < http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2012/07/17/mobile-phone-access-reaches-three-quarters-planets-population>. Accessed on 23 October, 2015.

[xxiii] P.W. Singer & Allan Friedman. Cybersecuity and Cyberwar, What everyone needs to know. Oxford University Press. New York, New York. 2014. 151

[xxiv] Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition. Merriam-Webster’s, Incorporated. Springfield, Massachussets. 1999. 721

[xxv] Ibid. 365

[xxvi] Linington, Darryl.  Top mobile apps made in Africa. IT News: Africa. July 16, 2015. Online at <http://www.itnewsafrica.com/2015/07/top-mobile-apps-made-in-africa/>. accessed 12 September, 2015

[xxvii] Wille, Dennis. Every soldier a messenger: using social media in the contemporary operating environment. Fort Leavenworth, KS. US Army Command and General Staff College, 2012. ii

[xxviii] Pollack, John. People Power 2.0: How civilians helped win the Libyan information war. MIT Technology Review. 20 April, 2011. Online at < http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/427640/people-power-20/>. Accessed on 01 October, 2015.

[xxix] Ibid.

[xxx] Ibid.

[xxxi] Chavala Madlena. Telecomix: tech support for the Arab spring. The Guardian. 7 July, 2011. Online at <http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2011/jul/07/telecomix-arab-spring>. Accessed on 01 October, 2015.

[xxxii] Montgomery, Mike. FireChat Shows the Triumph of Technology Over Repression. The Huffington Post. 14 October, 2014. Online at < http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-montgomery/firechat-shows-the-triump_b_5962466.html>. Accessed on 04 October 2015

[xxxiii] Wi-Fi™ and Bluetooth™ - Interference Issues. Hewlett Packard. January 2002. Online at <https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.hp.com/rnd/library/pdf/WiFi_Bluetooth_coexistance.pdf>. Accessed on 04 October 2015

[xxxiv] Kilcullen, David. Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age Of The Urban Guerrilla. New York, NEW YORK : Oxford University Press. 2013. 192

[xxxv] Peterson, Tim & Kantrowitz, Alex. The CMO's Guide to Programmatic Buying: Nine Things Every Advertiser Should Know. May 19, 2014. Online at < http://adage.com/article/digital/cmo-s-guide-programmatic-buying/293257/>. Accessed on 24 October, 2015.

[xxxvi] Morris, David, Z. How AT&T is using drivers’ cellular data to help fix California traffic. Fortune. 16 October, 2015. Online at < http://fortune.com/2015/10/16/att-using-big-data-to-fix-traffic/>. Accessed on 20 October, 2015

[xxxvii] Ebbert, John. Define It - What Is Programmatic Buying? Ad Exchanger. November 19, 2012. Online at < http://adexchanger.com/online-advertising/define-programmatic-buying/>. Accessed on 24 October, 2015.

[xxxviii] Wall, Matthew. Big Data: Are you ready for blast-off? BBC News. 4 March 2014. Online at <http://www.bbc.com/news/business-26383058>. Accessed on 26 September 26, 2015

[xxxix] Christakis, Nicholas. The Sociological Science Behind Social Networks and Social Influence. The Floating University. October 20, 2012. Online at <http://www.floatinguniversity.com/christakis-transcript-2>. Accessed on September 10, 2014

[xl] Ibid.

[xli] Groups of nodes are defines as ‘cliques’; Prell, Christina. Social Network Analysis; History, Theory, & Methodology. Sage Publications Thousand Oaks California, 2012. 31

[xlii] Saylor, Michael. The Mobile Wave. First Vanguard Press. Boston Massachusetts. 2012.  136

[xliii] Saylor, Michael. The Mobile Wave. First Vanguard Press. Boston Massachusetts. 2012.  141

[xliv] Schmidt, Charles W. Trending Now: Using Social Media to Predict and Track Disease Outbreaks. Environmental Health Perspective. January 1, 2012. Online at <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3261963/>. Accessed on September 10, 2014

[xlv] Lawler, Ryan. With $2.5M In Funding, Mapsense Launches Developer Tools For Analyzing And Visualizing Location Data. TechCrunch. March 27, 2015. Online at < http://techcrunch.com/2015/05/27/mapsense/>. Accessed on September 10, 2014

[xlvi] Swanson, Ana. These maps show the most popular running routes in 20 major cities. The Washington Post. 26 September 27, 2015. Online at <http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2015/09/26/fascinating-maps-show-where-people-run-in-20-major-cities/>. Accessed on 27 September 2015.

[xlvii] Duhigg, Charles. How Companies Learn Your Secrets. The New York Times. 16 February 2012. Online at < http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/magazine/shopping-habits.html>. Accessed 27 September 2015

[xlviii] Ostrovsky, Simon. Russia Denies That Its Soldiers Are in Ukraine, But We Tracked One There Using His Selfies. Vice News. June 16, 2014. Online at < https://news.vice.com/article/russia-denies-that-its-soldiers-are-in-ukraine-but-we-tracked-one-there-using-his-selfies>. Accessed on 13 September, 2015.

[xlix] Standish, Reid. Russian Troops Are in Syria, and We Have the Selfies to Prove It. Foreign Policy. September 8, 2015. Online at <http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/09/08/russian-troops-are-in-syria-and-we-have-the-selfies-to-prove-it/>. Accessed on 10 September 2015

[l] Castillo, Walbert. Air Force intel uses ISIS 'moron' post to track fighters. CNN. June 5 2015. Online at <http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/05/politics/air-force-isis-moron-twitter/>. Accessed on September 10, 2014

[li] Christopher Jasparro. Sociocultural, Economic, and Demographic aspects of Counterterrorism. Countering Terrorism and Insurgency in the 21st Century, Vol 2. Praeger Security International. Westport, Connecticut. 2007. 438

[lii] Internet Live Stats. Internet Users. Worldometers RTS Algorithm. 04 October, 2015. Online at < http://www.internetlivestats.com/internet-users/>. Accessed on 04 October, 2015

[liii] This quote is attributes to General Creighton Abrams, former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. Date Unknown.

[liv] Krulak, Charles C. The Strategic Corporal: Leadership in the Three Block War. Marines Magazine. January 1999. Online at <http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/usmc/strategic_corporal.htm>. Accessed on Sept 13, 2015

[lv] Ibid.

[lvi] Wille, Dennis. Every soldier a messenger: using social media in the contemporary operating environment. Fort Leavenworth, KS. US Army Command and General Staff College, 2012

[lvii] Carl von Clausewitz, On War (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989), 87.

[lviii] American Experience. Biography: Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill. PBS. Online at <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/biography/carter-oneill/>. Accessed on September 13, 2015.

[lix] Christopher C.E. McGarry. Inverting the Army Intelligence Pyramid (Fort Leavenworth, KS: School Of Advanced Military Studies. October 11, 2011) ii

[lx] Department of the Army, FM 3-24, Counterinsurgency (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, December 15, 2006), 5-24.

[lxi] Clapper, James R. Statement for the Record on the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community for the Senate Committee on Armed Services. Office of the Director of National Intelligence,Washington,DC,20511. March 10,2011. Online at < http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai?verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA539742>. Accessed on 03 October, 2015.

[lxii] Farrington, Kappie. Mobile Technology In Africa: Creating the Model Cities of the 21st Century. Undercurrent. 27 July, 2015. Online at < http://www.undercurrent.com/read//mobile-technology-in-africa-creating-the-model-cities-of-the-21st-century>. Accessed on 04 October, 2015

[lxiii] Soza, Samuel. Tip-line arms Soldiers with citizen info. 367th MPAD, USD-S Public Affairs. O4 May 2010. Online at <http://www.army.mil/article/38521/tip-line-arms-soldiers-with-citizen-info/>. Accessed on 01 November 2015

[lxiv] Oxford Economics. The New Digital Economy: How it will transform business. Citibank. Online at < http://www.citibank.com/transactionservices/home/docs/the_new_digital_economy.pdf>. Accessed 03 October, 2015. 4

[lxv] Keegan, John. Intelligence in War: The value and limitations of what the military can learn about the enemy. Vintage Press. New York, New York. October 12, 2004. 8

[lxvi] Chamberlain, Robert M.  Finding the Flow: Shadow Economies, Ethnic Networks, and Counterinsurgency. Military Review. 31 October, 2008. Online at <http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/ MilitaryReview/Archives/English/MilitaryReview_20081031_art018.pdf>. Accessed on 04 October, 2015

[lxvii] Jackson, Matthew O. Social and Economic Networks. Princeton University Press. Princeton, New Jersey. 2008. 6

[lxviii] Department of the Army, FM 3-24, Counterinsurgency (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, December 15, 2006), 5-19

[lxix] Chamberlain, Robert M.  Finding the Flow: Shadow Economies, Ethnic Networks, and Counterinsurgency. Military Review. 31 October, 2008. Online at <http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/ MilitaryReview/Archives/English/MilitaryReview_20081031_art018.pdf>. Accessed on 04 October, 2015

[lxx] Rothkopf, David. The Paradox of Power in the Network Age. Foreign Policy. 09 October, 2015. Online at < http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/10/09/the-network-paradox-islamic-state-nsa-warfare/>. Accessed on 22 October, 2015

[lxxi] Kilcullen, David. Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age Of The Urban Guerrilla. Oxford ; New York, NEW YORK : Oxford University Press. 2013. 190

[lxxii] Carafano, James J. Wiki at War: Conflict in a Socially Networked World. Texas A&M University Press. College Station, Texas. 2012. 17

[lxxiii] Costas-Roberts, Daniel. ISIS publishes online hit list of US service members. PBS News Hour. March 22, 2015. Online at <http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/isis-publishes-online-hit-list-us-service-members/>. Accessed on September 13, 2015.

[lxxiv] Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar. Militants Resume Attacks on Mobile Towers, Company Offices in Kashmir.The Wire. June 25, 2015. Online at < http://thewire.in/2015/07/25/militants-resume-attacks-on-mobile-towers-company-offices-in-kashmir-7202/>. Accessed on September 15, 2014

[lxxv] Al-Mahmood, Syed Zain. Fourth Blogger Hacked to Death in Bangladesh. Wall Street Journal. 07 August, 2015. Online at < http://www.wsj.com/articles/fourth-blogger-hacked-to-death-in-bangladesh-1438963397>. Accessed on 04 October 2015

[lxxvi] Jacobs, Deborah L. What Will Become Of The 'Kodak Moment'? Forbes. 19 January, 2015. Online at < http://www.forbes.com/sites#/sites/deborahljacobs/2012/01/19/what-will-become-of-the-kodak-moment/>. Accessed on 04 October 2015

[lxxvii] Barabba, Vincent. Decision Loom : A Design for Interactive Decision-Making in Organizations. Axminster, United Kingdom. Triarchy Press. November 2011. Online at <http://site.ebrary.com/lib/carl/reader.action?docID=10607591>. Accessed on 01 October 2015.

[lxxviii] Raine, Lee and Wellman, Barry. Networked: The New Social Operating System. The MIT Press. Cambridge Massachusets. 2012

[lxxix]   Rothkopf, David. The Paradox of Power in the Network Age. Foreign Policy. 09 October, 2015. Online at < http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/10/09/the-network-paradox-islamic-state-nsa-warfare/>. Accessed on 22 October, 2015

[lxxx] Vergun, David. CSA: Emerging global threats call for innovative approaches. U.S. Army. May 30, 2013. Online at <http://www.army.mil/article/104492/CSA__Emerging_global_threats_call_for_innovative_ approaches/>. Accessed on 03 October, 2015.

[lxxxi] Oxford Economics. The New Digital Economy: How it will transform business. Citibank. Online at < http://www.citibank.com/transactionservices/home/docs/the_new_digital_economy.pdf>. Accessed 3 October, 2015. 3

[lxxxii] Ibid. 30.

[lxxxiii] Ibid. 31.

[lxxxiv] Smith, David. Internet use on mobile phones in Africa predicted to increase 20-fold. The Guardian. June 05, 2014. Online at < http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/05/internet-use-mobile-phones-africa-predicted-increase-20-fold>. Accessed on 3 October, 2015.

 

About the Author(s)

Captain Chris Telley, U.S. Army, is currently the Information Operations Officer for United States Army, Japan at Camp Zama, Japan. He holds a B.A. from the University of North Georgia. His past assignments include, 1st Squadron of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, 1st Squadron of the 4th U.S. Cavalry, and Office of the Secretary of Defense Joint Test Unit. He commanded in Afghanistan and served in Iraq as a United States Marine.

Comments

I enjoyed this article enough to read it twice, and will save it as a PDF for future reference. A couple of points I'm not completely sold on yet though. First, the author states future combatants will need to influence populations more effectively than any before them? Influencing populations has always been important in revolutionary warfare. Perhaps a more accurate assertion is there is more competition, enabled by information technology, than ever before. Another factor is that the information environment enables numerous identity groups to form and operate with agility over wide spaces without relying on traditional face to face meetings and planning sessions.

I agree with Chris that the U.S. military and its partners could create a position of advantage if they could see and act quick enough to capitalize on the potential offered by mobile computing. Chris identified two challenges, both of which we're currently failing at. The ability to see effectively and meaningfully what is happening in the information environment, and then our ability to respond to it quickly enough. I suspect that will remain a challenge for some time, even with our mission command concepts. As Chris stated, our traditional military formations are being outpaced by individual capabilities. GEN McCrystal is the only commander that addressed this challenge effectively, but he only did for targeting. Seems there should be a parallel networked approach for all the other things involved in revolutionary warfare.

I hope the military adapts Chris's "socio-topologic surface" idea in some form. It is an essential element of intelligence preparation of the environment in the 21st Century. He also pointed out what the South African and Nigerian police are doing with Apps as a practical application. I wonder if our law enforcement is doing that in the U.S. anywhere?

O.K., its me, and I have to find something to disagree with, it is in my nature. Besides opinions are free and normally harmless. So the second point I take issue with, is Chris's use of the recent adage that all operations are intelligence driven. Ever since we adapted this mantra, we have been losing our wars. It results in forces clustering in base camps, waiting on intelligence, then venturing out to hit a target. While that approach has some value, it doesn't win wars, or otherwise achieve our ends. Direct action missions are driven by intelligence, but that is one type of operation. The broader array of operations should be driven principally by strategy, and of course informed by intelligence. Operations over time should provide intelligence. A small pet peeve, that didn't distract from a great article.