Returning to the lazy "I can’t make the time to comment on these individually" post, here’s the mash-up for today:
Dan at TDAXP has an interesting survey for bloggers. Please fill it out and help marginalize my response.
Christian at Defense Tech posts on RAND’s call for Web 2.0 approach for building COIN awareness and accessing and leveraging knowledge with the "integrated counterinsurgency operating network", of ICON. This deserves a post by itself, but I’m pressed for time, so I leave it to others to get into this.
The study, aptly titled “Byting Back: Regaining Information Superiority Against 21st Century Insurgents,” takes a novel, “web 2.0” approach to the problem of gaining information to fight an insurgency. RAND rightly states that the information requirements for conventional war – the basis upon which most of the Pentagon’s intelligence apparatus is based – are very different from those of a counterinsurgency.
“If winning war requires understanding the terrain, winning counterinsurgency requires understanding the human terrain: the population, from its top-level political structure to the individual citizen. A thorough and current understanding of individuals and their community can help rally support of the government by allowing the government to meet the needs of the local population. Because insurgents do not identify themselves as such on sight, knowledge at the individual level is often what it takes to make such necessary distinctions.”
The study suggests utilizing local “wikis” compiled by the population, security services and government officials; leveraging cell phone networks to push information and to potentially track insurgents; incorporating the use of video and voice recorders on individual weapons to compile information and lessons learned and the institution of a detailed government census of the population.
David Axe at War is Boring quotes Wired’s Clive Thompson on the makings of a suicide bomber… in Halo 3. Clive backed his way into the psychology of a suicide bomber inadvertently but ultimately his reasoning is the same as many asymmetric "warriors":
Because after all, the really elite Halo players don’t want to die. If they die too often, they won’t win the round, and if they don’t win the round, they won’t advance up the Xbox Live rankings. And for the elite players, it’s all about bragging rights.
I, however, have a completely different psychology. I know I’m the underdog; I know I’m probably going to get killed anyway. I am never going to advance up the Halo 3 rankings, because in the political economy of Halo, I’m poor.
Via MEMRI, hopefully this Egyptian won’t follow the lead of American broadcast efforts in the region:
Millionaire Egyptian Copt Najib Suwairis has announced his intention to set up two new satellite television channels aimed at dealing with the rise of religious conservatism in Egypt, both religious and social.
Barely one quarter of American youths aged 17-24 are eligible for military service because of medical conditions, drug/alcohol use, low aptitude scores, or criminal records. 11% of eligible youth are in college, leaving just 15% of the 17 to 24-year-old cohort (men and women) for the services to recruit from.
And for something completely different, via Andrew Sullivan, Ron Jeremy impersonating Britney Spears: