In the recent past, White Rock and parts of the Los Alamos National Laboratory lost electrical power for about six hours. The power loss was caused by a lightning strike that essentially destroyed a pole supporting power lines delivering electrical energy to the affected area, causing an array of circuit breakers in the Norton Substation to be tripped. It was an inconvenience. But what if the outage had lasted longer? In Part One, let’s visit a bit of history and the intellectual development of warfare.
If you do a search on Google, you get the following definition of war: ”a state of armed conflict between different nations or states or groups within a nation or state.” The term creates images of mortal combat, people being wounded or killed, extreme violence, and the sorrow of death. Now search on “cold war.” You get, “a state of political hostility between countries characterized by threats, propaganda, and other measures short of open warfare, in particular.” Using the same source, competition is “the activity or condition of competing…’there is fierce competition (emphasis added) between banks.’” And in ecology, “interaction between organisms, populations, or species in which birth, growth, and death depend on gaining a share of a limited environmental resource” The point is that while we embrace competition without hostility, competition is similar to war but without the carnage.
In 1832, Vom Krieg (On War) by Carl von Clausewitz (1 Jan 1780 – 16 Nov 1831) was published. The most famous statement from his writings is “War is the continuation of politics by other means.”1 Per Wikipedia, politics “refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance – organized control (emphasis added) over a human community, particularly a state.” In more common terms, it is beating the other guy into submission, it is dominating the business market (without violence), it is winning the Super Bowl (with refereed violence?), it is competition. But we tend to think of war in terms of violent action on the battlefield.
General Guislio (Guilio) Douhet (30 May 1869-15 Feb 1930) was an Italian air power theorist. Douchet argued that air power added a third dimension to warfare. Obviously, this was seen in World War II.
John A. Warden, III, retired US Air Force colonel, is a military strategist who created the Five Rings theory of military strategic attack.2 His theory describes a system of five rings: leadership at the center (e.g., government, including communication), system essentials (e.g., energy, money), infrastructure (e.g., roads, factories), population, and the fighting mechanism (e.g., soldiers, police, firemen). The “e.g.s” change depending on the specific system you are examining. Warden presents a table for the body, the state, a drug cartel, and an electric company.3 For an in depth look, read Battlefield of the Future, especially chapter four.4
Returning to Clausewitz, nobody could control the space above the battlefield. On the fields of friendly strife (football), the first illegal pass was thrown in 1876 and first legal forward pass was thrown in 1906. Football gained a third dimension. Enter the Wright Brothers in 1903 and the airplane plus Douhet. The violent battlefield had gained a third dimension fully seen in the 1930’s, in the ballpark of 30 years later.
In 1982, the Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP) was introduced. By the late 1980s, commercial Internet service providers were emerging. I would argue the 1988 could be used as the beginning of the revolution in communications with bits and bytes. To me, a fourth dimension has been added to the battlefield. As an interesting aside, 1988 plus 30 is 2018.
Till the next post….
1Clausewitz, Carl von (1984), Howard, Michael; Paret, Peter, eds. On War (Vom Krieg) (Indexed Ed.. New Jersey, Princeton University Press. P.87.
4 Ibid., pp.