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I will be posting a retrospective piece on Kennan later today with a lot of links to other blogs andMSM articles but in the meantime, for you hungry strategic thinkers out there, some important posts.

From The Armchair Generalist ” Developing Military Strategies” on the National Defense Strategy and the National Military Strategy. Here’s an excerpt that I think indicates that the Pentagon might be conceptually buying into Dr. Barnett’s ” System Perturbation“.

“The NDS has some interesting concepts, to include its discussion about “weapons of mass destruction or effect” or WMD/E:

The term WMD/E relates to a broad range of adversary capabilities that pose potentially devastating impacts. WMD/E includes chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and enhanced high explosive weapons as well as other, more asymmetrical “weapons”. They may rely more on disruptive impact than destructive kinetic effects. For example, cyber attacks on US commercial information systems or attacks against transportation networks may have a greater economic or psychological effect than a relatively small release of a lethal agent. “

From Global Guerillas – an outstanding post on an evolving threat, ” Transnational Gangs“:

“Third generation gangs have ridden the rapid growth of the transnational criminal economy which already has a UN estimated Gross World Product of $2.5 trillion a year (this criminal economy grows in parallel with globalization). They are heavily involved in drugs, kidnapping, protection rackets, and smuggling of all types. To protect their activities, these gangs target governments with bribery and intimidation. Given that most of their activities are beyond the reach of any one government to influence, they have become very effective at subverting states through the:

* elimination of the state’s monopoly on violence.
* distortion of legitimate market activity.
* conversion of states into corrupt kleptocracies”

From the Eide Neurolearning Blog looks at how the brains of successful strategic thinkers actually work in “ Strategic Thinking: Into the Minds of Gamers “. A good PDF link here for those who are inclined toward Game Theory analysis:

“It turns out successful strategic thinking negatively correlated with insular activation. Insular activation, they suggest, was an indicator of too much self-preoccupation and emotional feeling. “

Evidently whining gets in the way of winning. Just like Dad always said…

UPDATE: Play a high realism wargame with Dr. Thomas P.M. Barnett. An East Coast event good for a corporate executive or think-tank team-building exercise.

3 Responses to “”

  1. J. Says:

    Just as a point of clarification on the WMD/E thing – while I do agree that DOD is more into thinking about terrorists using CBRN hazards, I don’t agree that this makes it a WMD event. The definition is changing, that’s interesting – but they haven’t gotten it right yet. To include mass effects/disruptive events with destructive nukes is messed up. We need them to set the metric for WMD/E as “weapons that cause a mass casualty event of 1000 or more people” and then we’re on the right track.

  2. mark Says:

    Hi J.

    I tend to agree. The reasons for lumping CBRN and more esoteric/inventive disruptive effects would seem to institutional inertia and deterrence.

    Inertia because the decision-makers have spent most of their careers in the Cold War -MAD mindset and CBR weapons have been lazily included in the last decade. Deterrence, because including them in the most serious category alongside nukes indicates to potential foes our retaliation for such attacks may be several orders of magnitude more devastating.

    While categorizing them with nukes makes a certain sense for bioweapons – they are unlikely to be used with maximum efficiency but under perfect conditions a pandemic is always possible – it isn’t actually realistic for mass disruption asymmetric attacks. We’re just not going to nuke country X because a hacker crashed the NYSE or an electromagenetic bomb shut down Manhattan’s power grid.

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