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Open-Source Warfare Answered

Open-Source Warfare is an IEEE Spectrum article discussing how information technology and the internet play a pivotal role in accelerating the adaptation of individuals against organizations through asymmetric warfare.

Robb calls this new type of conflict "open-source warfare," because the manner in which insurgent groups are organizing themselves, sharing information, and adapting their strategies bears a strong resemblance to the open-source movement in software development. Insurgent groups, like open-source software hackers, tend to form loose and nonhierarchical networks to pursue a common vision, Robb says. United by that vision, they exchange information and work collaboratively on tasks of mutual interest.

The reliance on IT also enables open-source groups to identify and respond to problems much more rapidly than a more structured, top-down entity can--be it the Pentagon or a large software company such as Microsoft. According to some estimates, it now takes Iraqi insurgents less than a month to adapt their methods of attack, much faster than coalition troops can respond. "For every move we make, the enemy makes three," U.S. Brigadier General Joe E. Ramirez Jr. told attendees at a May conference on IEDs. "The enemy changes techniques, tactics, and procedures every two to three weeks. Our biggest task is staying current and relevant."



10 years ago

Sweet/horrible -awesome because of OSS, but suck cause its warfare THAT KILLS PEOPLE!


10 years ago

The only thing more disturbing than a completely decentralized insurgent group is the government's own efforts towards decentralized technology and operations. It almost seems as though the government's idea of decentralization is creating a network of more pervasive micromanagement of the individual (think 1984). I don't suppose the government could really hope for more than that or at the very least, even try to compete with true decentralization considering that government must retain power by, obviously, continuing to govern. And because of this they can only ever create the appearance of decentralization and by doing so only become more centralized and cumbersome. Oh heck, the way I'm going on like this, I sound like I could work for DARPA. Anyway, check out the stuff below to see the tip of the iceberg: