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Swarming, Open-Source Warfare and the Black Block

vector: weev

link: http://www.jeffvail.net/2005/01/swarming-open-source-warfare-and-black.html

the gist: Highly mobile, dispersed forces that can converge quickly on a high-leverage point, strike, and then disperse can, in many cases but not always, defeat much stronger hierarchical forces. At present, one key weakness of swarming attacks involves the tendency of the non-hierarchical swarm to revert to a hierarchical control structure to coordinate the pulse. I expect this short article will prove fascinating to anyone who's every played tabel-top or computer war games.

Swarming is not a perfect tactic: It can win battles, and it can be defeated. However swarming forces are currently enjoying great success in confrontation with the traditionally hierarchal US military in Iraq. Iraqi insurgents have clearly achieved the three key principles of swarming—if the US military cannot deny at least one of these principles, they appear to have no chance of gaining the upper hand:

1. Elusiveness through Concealment & Mobility: Insurgents are in their native environment. They can blend in at will and have a robust support infrastructure.
2. Standoff Firepower: Sniping, rocket propelled grenades, roadside bombs and truck bombs, combined with suicide tactics represent a clear edge in standoff firepower over US forces.
3. Situational Awareness: Again, the insurgents are fighting in their backyard, and clearly have the advantage in situational awareness.

Training videos from al-Qa’ida and a new push to prepare for asymmetrical warfare by Iran are also revealing interesting developments in swarm warfare. Both groups are preparing to use small, highly-mobile (usually via motorbike), independent squads or pairs of soldiers armed with standoff weaponry (MANPADS, long-range rifles, RPGs, etc.) to confront larger, hierarchal militaries. This is, in effect, the creation of a network, a rhizome military. Rhizome has the potential to be a very effective military force, provided that it does not ignore the three principles outlined above.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jan. 8th, 2005 10:54 pm (UTC)
Well now I have to test this swarming technique via Warcraft III.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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