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WIRED for WAR the TED Talk

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

P.W. Singer at TED

Remember to check out the Wired for War Symposium at CTLab Review!

Also check out How to Maintain America’s Strategic Advantage co-authored by my twitteramigo Zach Tumin of Harvard’s Leadership for a Network World (LNW) Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

New Post up at CTLab Review

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Trying to shake off the dust and attend to my other sites in the next few weeks. Here’s one at CTLab Review:

What is al Qaida’s Post-Bailout Balance Sheet ?

The unprecedented global turmoil in financial markets is a subject that goes beyond the normal scope of CTLab but it raises an interesting question – what is al Qaida’s “balance sheet” in the aftermath of the greatest financial meltdown since 1929? 

Read the rest here.

CTLab Symposium – On the Hamdan Tribunal

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

As I mentioned previously, CTLab is featuring a symposium this week on the Hamdan Tribunal with Professor Brian Glyn Williams  who testified as an expert witness, and an invited panel of legal scholars and academics ( including blogfriend/SWC member Dr. Marc Tyrell). This week begins with a five-part series on the tribunal itself by Dr. Williams. His posts, so far:

Defending Hamdan: The Capture and Defense of Bin Laden’s Driver

Defending Hamdan: On Ruffling Establishment Feathers

Defending Hamdan: Letter and Spirit of the Law

Online Symposium at CTLab

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Next week CTLab in it’s slick, officially rolled-out, version kicks off it’s new iteration by hosting an online symposium on the Hamdan trial ( note, this is not the SCOTUS decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld – though I’m certain that case is also fair game for discussion –  but instead Hamdan’s subsequent trial by military tribunal).

Social Science In War / Online Symposium

“CTlab member Brian Glyn Williams, PhD, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, recently testified as an expert witness for the defence in the trial of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, “Bin Laden’s Driver”, in the first US military tribunal since World War II…

…On 22 September 2008, CTlab will launch an online symposium on the scholarly and substantive implications of the Hamdan trial. Dr. Williams has drafted an original, narrative account of his experience, and is making it available for discussion through the CTlab weblog. It will be released for public consumption, followed by comments and observations from a panel of invited legal scholars and social scientists based in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.”

I’ll put in my two cents regarding the symposium and Hamdan after the conclusion.

Information Operations Uber-Post

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Matt Armstrong has a must-read analytical, IO piece up at CTLab Review:

New Media and Persuasion, Mobilization, and Facilitation

…New Media is more than 24/7 news cycles. It is the ability to create trusted peer relationships, or the appearance of, to create legitimacy of information as well as depth and breadth of acceptance. This can be done as traditional media or other new media outlets pick up on a bit of “news” for redistribution, giving the impression of validity as the sources go up from one to many, often in excess of the three needed to create a “fact.” It is easier to see you’re not alone in the New Media environment, something that was not possible with radios and film (unless you risked gathering as a group).

There are several defining characteristics of the new media environment. The obvious are hyperconnectivity, persistence of information, inexpensive reach, and dislocation with speaker and listener virtually close but geographically distant. New Media also democraticizes information in the sense that hierarchies are bypassed, permitting both direct access to policy and decision makers and the possibility of “15-minutes of fame” (if even only one minute or less) to everyone. Information can be created and consumed by everyone regardless of “eliteness,” CV, and at minimal cost to any party.

All true and well said. Matt however points to a seldom recognized but critical variable here:

To the insurgent and terrorist, New Media’s capacity to amplify and increase the velocity of an issue that is critical. They increasingly rely on the Internet’s ability to share multiple kinds of media quickly and persistently to permit retrieval across time zones around the world from computers or cell phones. The value is the ability to not just persuade an audience to support their action, but to mobilize their support and to facilitate their will to act on behalf of the group (or not to act on behalf of another group, such as the counterinsurgent).

Velocity is very important in many senses. An accelerating message tempo heightens the sense of crisis in the mind of the audience so long as it does not move so quickly as to slide into unfiltered “noise”. Control of velocity also permits the exploitation of “information lag” in slower moving hierarchies or audiences. Finally, this velocity is really “alinear”; the ability of new media tools to “mash-up” entirely unrelated events separated by time, distance and circumstance and synthesize them out of context permits the scoring of tactical propaganda victories.

Read all of Matt’s post here.

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