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Dan of tdaxps post yesterday on John Robb’s theory of Global Guerilla warfare and the comments that ensued, plus Myke Cole’s article and an email exchange we had on 5GW have left me pondering the possible interrrelationship of the various theories – PNM, 4GW, Network-centric warfare, Boyd’s OODA and GG. Both with one another and the battlespace itself. I’m pretty sure that scale and time are the relevant factors here but there’s substantially more that I’m not discerning yet. I need to attempt look at things from a consilient perspective. Reading Robb’s book when it comes out I think will help, I’ve been following Global Guerillas for much of the past year but there’s nothing like digesting an author’s systemic case.

The discussion yesterday has also given me an insight on state defense – or at least trying to understand how to begin constructing one – against 4GW/GG attackers. My thanks to Dan and John for getting the wheels turning in my head. I’ll try to post on this small topic tonight.

Oh, yes and the big project at Zenpundit should be unveiled next week :o)

17 Responses to “”

  1. Dan tdaxp Says:

    The more I think of it, the more skeptical I am of putting GG into any “generation” of war. Robb fits much closer with Boyd than either the 4GW or NCO theorists.

    Global Guerrillaism is the fusion of three different ideas in Patterns of Conflict

    1. Guerrilla Warfare
    2. Moral Warfare
    3. Blitzkrieg

    It’s building an entire war-fighting methodology off PoC.

    The logic counter-GG would be a moral counter-blitz by a state. Boyd outlined that, too.

    Dan tdaxp

  2. Anonymous Says:

    “The logic counter-GG would be a moral counter-blitz by a state.”

    Dan / Mark,

    What would an example of moral counter-blitz by the US against Al Qaeda? Are counters that have a negative effect on the morale of the external culture counter-productive? If so, what justifications would there be for short-term gains via negative counters-measures?

    Thanks! – Anonymously

  3. Dan tdaxp Says:


    I’ll try to give a better answer today, but Boyd discusses counter-blitz/counter-guerrillaism in slides 105-110 of Patterns of Conflict

    Dan tdaxp

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks Dan!

    I am familiar with Boyd’s slides on moral conflict – I simply do not feel his tactics produce more than short-term returns that create long-term threats when applied to external cultures.

    Look forward to reading anything you post on this subject and take care.

    – Anonymously

  5. mark Says:

    Hey Dan & Anon

    I’m working on a post for the 4GW defense issue mentioned above in my post but I’ll try to either post separately on your points or roll them into an interrelationship of theories post – my mind however isn’t as settled there as it is with Dan.

    Had some good feedback though via email from a reader who does some of the math/computing aspects of strategic and tactical questions at times for the DoD/USG agencies. Informed comment in a field area where I am not naturally strong

    Important questions sometimes need to gestate :O)

  6. Dan tdaxp Says:

    my mind however isn’t as settled there as it is with Dan.

    Important questions sometimes need to gestate :O)

    Agreed! A great thing about a blog community is that it allows one to rapidly observe some idea – orient it to existing knowledge – decide on a response – and then post (Act/Test) it — and then start the cycle again.

    Rapidly cycling through the intellectual OODA loop – a polite way of “making it up as you go along” đŸ™‚

    Dan tdaxp

  7. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:

    Rapidly cycling through the intellectual OODA loop – a polite way of “making it up as you go along” đŸ™‚

    Ah Dan, yes: stormingbrain!

    (Although, in my case, the “loop” of OODA looping is sometimes missing in my stormingbrain!)

  8. Dan tdaxp Says:

    Here is the Boydian approach to defeating Global Guerrillas, keeping in mind that GG is essentially Boydian Moral-Guerrilla-Blitzkrieg:

    1. Intelligence is vital. Particular flexible humint, because you will need to knwo about attacks before they happen to prevent them. While there are any number of GG cells, there are only a small number that are capable of carrying out high-payoff operations: use humint to disrupt these as early as possible.

    2. As much flexible infrastructure — physical and strategic — as possible. Super-empower locals with portable generators while having mobile local police. Focus on building economy in distributed way to avoid “systempunkt.”

    3. Have fast/high-kinetic/off-site force to attack GG teams when appropriate. These teams should not be based on the GG area of operations, but themselves be invulnerable to GG attacks.

    4. Pattern recognition ability to see where GGs are swarming — where the “market of violence” is rewarding attacks. Use what Ashcroft caused “itnerference” to harras GGs (security checkpoints, &c) while building humint capacity to destroy attackers and their networks.

    5. Where possible, attempt to co-opt at least some of the attackers in any battlespace/marketspace. These will break up GG unity.

    6. When capturing GGs, focus on destroying support net. You want to destroy their ability to act while melting the GG force under the friction of your counter-assault. This includes family, friends, etc. Destroying GG infrastructure is vital.

    One concern is turning the GG war into a tribal war — but if GG is particularly dangerous, then tribal war is preferable. Tribal wars deal against patronage hierarchies that can be bought off and/or destroyed.

    7. Accept loses for what they are. GG “hotbeds” may be hopelessly infiltrated by GG for some time. To win the broader war, seperate this area from the rest of the country (don’t drag everyone down to the Civil War’s level). To the extent this is happening in Anbar, prevent physical movement in/out of province and reocgnize the country now has two different rule-sets.

    8. Encourage the use of local militia — the “El Salvador Option.” Particularly useful heavily infiltrated areas. This way, the “base” of the insurgency is never secure for them, disrupting them as they would disrupt us.

    9. As troubled areas as pacified, ramp up political efforts. Really, this is the goal of any insurgency: as GG force is defeated, politically connect the people to prevent thei reemergence.


    Dan tdaxp

  9. Anonymous Says:


    I do not know what a good answer is, that is why I ask questions… Moral conflicts feel to have their roots within relative trade deficits. Thank for the depth of your reply and take care Dan.

    – Anonymously

  10. Dan tdaxp Says:

    I hope that I helped! đŸ™‚

    How do you see trade deficits starting moral conflicts?

    Dan tdaxp

  11. Anonymous Says:


    Your previous comment was very helpful in that it help me understand your approach to moral conflicts.

    The core of moral conflicts is the right to consume resources. Sustained wins on moral grounds take place off of the battlefield, because war consumes resources at a very high rate. Further, since it is hard to produce resources than consume them moral ground is most secure when people are dependant on you for resources not to consume them. This said, relative trade deficits (verse absolute) cause immorality due to a lack of moral production; commonly refered to as morale.

    Currently, the core driver is energy consumption and production. If states with oil felt that they would have a relative trade balance in the future they would not support GGs.

    The core of this ideolgy is that balance creates balance and death breds more death.

    You appituded is far greater than mine… so I would be glad to hear conceptual weakness or that this simply is nonsense.

    – Anonymously

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Morales on Moral Conflict….

    Yep… seems like I’m right, what do you make of this Dan / Mark? Still have not heard anything on the post above.

    I release that this is not a PFA or if it will really fix man’s need to find conflict, but it does appear to be the source of current problems.

    – Anonymously

  13. mark Says:

    Hi Anon,

    Sorry for the delay, I’m NOT deliberately ignoring your point in referencing John Robb’s Morales post.

    I’m sort of snowed under this week at work which is why my posting has been sparse( I teach and do ed. consulting)-I’m trying to design a systemic program to help students who are marginally not meeting standards on NCLB mandated standardized testing formats.

    Ironically, the brain and ed psych research here relates to what military strategists would term ” moral” dimensions. A cognitive and affective/emotive connection and comprehension and commitment of/to a goal ( in this instance, an educational goal).

    I promise I’ll address your question ASAP but I have to get this project into at least an abstract/proposal format before I can do some deeper thinking posts on the blog.

    Ah, why can’t some billionaire set up a blogging think tank and free us all from the tyranny of day jobs ! :O)

  14. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks Mark – I bookmarked the page and will check back in a few weeks… Take care and good luck with your consulting work, sounds very interesting!

    – Anonymously

  15. mark Says:

    Thank you. NCLB like many Bush initiatives has some great visionary objectives while being bungled operationally.

    I’ll do a post in order to respond and will try to put the archive URL here as well

  16. Anonymous Says:


    Found the follow-up post and here is the link for anyone reading this thread….

    Thanks! – Anonymously

  17. Anonymous Says:


    Here is the follow-up as a link…

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