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Home >>  Information Operations Center >>  Publications of John Arquilla

Articles by John Arquilla

Cool War
Foreign Policy Magazine
June 15, 2012

Could the age of cyberwarfare lead us to a brighter future? Read the full article here.

Arquilla Interview with PRI's The World
June 13, 2012

The Cold War is over but the "Cool War" is on. Professor Arquilla tells host Lisa Mullins that Russia's military is reasserting itself on the world stage and that in the "quiet arms race" the Russians are gaining a step on America.

The (B)end of History
Foreign Policy Magazine
Dec. 27, 2011

Francis Fukuyama was wrong, and 2011 proves it.

The Coming Cyberwar
The National Interest Magazine
July 29, 2011

Despite having had decades to absorb the implications of a range of advances in information technology, the U.S. government remains largely unprepared for cyberwar.

The New Seeds of Terror
Foreign Policy Magazine
May 10, 2011

In eliminating Osama bin Laden, the United States may have unwittingly set the stage for a wider terrorist offensive on Western targets.

The New Rules of War and Cutting Defense Spending for a Better Military
Foreign Policy Magazine
April 25, 2011

Veteran professor John Arquilla of the Naval Postgraduate School, who famously pioneered the concept of "netwar," begins by discussing his ambitious cover story for Foreign Policy on "The New Rules of War." As we approach the tenth anniversary of 9/11, Arquilla believes we are starting to learn and apply lessons in Afghanistan such as getting smaller and quicker in engaging with local populations. He also discusses his controversial recent op-ed in the New York Times on the "Pentagon's Biggest Boondoggles." Arquilla believes that Obama is very serious about tackling the most unnecessary and outlandish defense spending programs while at the same time building a better and more agile military.

Obama, NATO should cut a deal with Khadafy
San Francisco Chronicle
April 24, 2011

Tired of tyranny, racked by the effects of civil war, Libyans reached out beyond their borders for guidance - 2 1/2 millennia ago. Help came, not in the form of military intervention, but in wise advice from the Oracle...

The Pentagon's Biggest Boondoggles
New York Times
March 13, 2011

As our government teeters on the brink of a shutdown, and Congress and the president haggle over spending cuts, the Pentagon budget should be scoured for places where significant reductions may be made.

US Has Secret Tools to Force Internet on Dictators
Wired Magazine
Feb 7, 2011

When Hosni Mubarak shut down Egypt's internet and cellphone communications, it seemed that all U.S. officials could do was ask him politely to change his mind. But the American military does have a second set of options, if it ever wants to force connectivity on a country against its ruler's wishes.

U.S. Not Prepared for Mumbai-Like Terror Attacks
By: John Arquilla
San Francisco Chronicle

Planners should aim at being able to deploy many small teams within minutes. This means giving a lot of attention, training and resources to local law enforcement and other first responders.

The New Rules of War: How to Fight Smaller, Cheaper, Smarter
By: John Arquilla
Feb 23, 2010
Foreign Policy Magazine

The visionary who first saw the age of "netwar" coming warns that the U.S. military is getting it wrong all over again. Here's his plan to make conflict cheaper, smaller, and smarter.

How to Lose a Cyberwar
By: John Arquilla
December 12, 2009
Foreign Policy Magazine

Why is America still letting online jihadists run amok?

Flaws in Obama's strategy for Afghanistan
By: John Arquilla
December 6, 2009
The San Francisco Chronicle

President Obama's plan for Afghanistan makes for good politics but poor strategy.

Go on the Cyberoffensive
By: John Arquilla
September 21, 2009
Wired Magazine

Launch preemptive online strikes to head off real-world battles.

Scuttling of cyberwar in Iraq hints at U.S. fear; Officials decided against crippling system in '03, deterred by global risk
By: John Arquilla
August 3, 2009
The International Herald Tribune

Fears of collateral damage worldwide are at the heart of the debate as the Obama administration and its Pentagon leadership struggle to develop rules and tactics for carrying out attacks in cyberspace.

Click, click... counting down to Cyber 9/11
By: John Arquila
July 26, 2009
The San Francisco Chronicle

When it comes to national security, our leaders are overly focused on nuclear weapons of mass destruction; more thought should be given to the looming threat of cyber "mass disruption."

The Coming Swarm
By: John Arquilla
February 15, 2009
The New York Times

A new “Mumbai model” of swarming, smaller-scale terrorist violence is emerging.

'The mind remains the greatest weapon'
By: John Arquilla
January 20, 2009
Variety

All one needs to know about strategy and conflict can be gleaned from "Battlestar Galactica." From the outset, this series has succeeded in portraying the epic sweep of war, touching on virtually all the key themes in military affairs.

Where's Osama this election?
By: John Arquilla
October 30, 2008
The San Francisco Chronicle

The silence coming from the caves is deafening. Having toppled the sitting Spanish government by staging an attack in Madrid days before an election in March 2004, and apparently helping George W. Bush win re-election in November of that year - thanks to the timely release of an oddly meditative videotape - Osama bin Laden seems to be sitting this one out.

Iraq war has other ill effects
Damage to the U.S. is certain to endure
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, May 27, 2007
The San Francisco Chronicle

Even while attention is focused on our troubled military campaign in Iraq, we should be thinking about the other enduring problems caused by American fumbling there, including the growth of terrorist networks, the wearing out of our armed forces, and the grave damage done to our reputation.

Billions for guns, and one won't kill
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, April 8, 2007
The San Francisco Chronicle

For several years now, U.S. defense spending has outpaced the military expenditures of all the rest of the world combined, but somehow the average American feels short-changed. The staggeringly large budget -- featuring a spending rate of $1.75 billion per day - seems to have too little room for maintaining vermin-free veterans' care facilities, or putting better armor on all humvees in Iraq.

What Iraq needs is a few good dictators
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, February 4, 2007
The San Francisco Chronicle

The near-religious belief in policy circles that only a functioning Iraqi democracy can ward off chaos completely misses the point that more-dictatorial rule would have a greater chance of success. The only hope for restoring security is a strong set of hands at the controls. Not another Saddam Hussein, but more likely a few military leaders, one from each of Iraq's three main ethnic and religious groups.

Three nightmare wars haunt country's future
U.S. isn't ready for possible tactics in conflicts to come
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, December 17, 2006
The San Francisco Chronicle

The recently sacked secretary of defense dozed in his study after a hearty Christmas Eve dinner, with only a vague sense of unease that failures of the present might lead to catastrophes of the future. He, like all of us, had been too busy trying to contain today's disasters to worry much about tomorrow's. But unprepared as he was for the ghosts of wars to come, into his sleep they crept -- one by one by one

Two crucial Iraq proposals
If both are followed, enduring and equitable peace is possible
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, December 10, 2006
The San Francisco Chronicle

As the Iraq Study Group restored civility to the public discourse on foreign affairs last week, it also made two important recommendations (out of a total of 79) that can really make a difference: Sharply reduce the American military presence soon, and step up negotiations, even with insurgents. If either of these is adopted, things will get better in Iraq. If both are, it will be possible to think of an enduring, equitable peace emerging in that sad land.

A forgotten strategy for exiting Iraq
E ven while fight goes on, give diplomacy a chance
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, November 5, 2006
The San Francisco Chronicle

The battle cry should be: "Negotiate now!"  The debate over Iraq, ensnared by the partisan duel for control of Congress, has increased in bitterness, with neither side paying attention to the real prospects for achieving a negotiated peace.

Coming in from the extremes
Republican renegades raise hope for Congress
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, September 24, 2006
The San Francisco Chronicle

As the issue of prisoner interrogation was playing out last week in Washington, the handful of Republican renegades in the Senate who openly opposed President Bush gave a lesson in how we can improve both our ethical health in the war on terror and the overall quality of congressional discourse. Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and John Warner, by standing up as they did, encouraged their fellow Republicans to make common cause with Democrats.

Osama a dimming terrorist superstar
Top U.S. target is declining in value
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, September 3, 2006
The San Francisco Chronicle

The search for Osama bin Laden was once at the forefront of the war on terror, but lately capturing him has become an afterthought.

Terror war doesn't go to the swift
Watching and waiting are needed for success
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, August 20, 2006
The San Francisco Chronicle

Two world-shaking events have just demonstrated that terrorist networks are both stronger and weaker than we thought.

In the fight against terrorism, the long war is the wrong war
Sooner or later, terrorists will get, and use, WMD
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, July 16, 2006
The San Francisco Chronicle (podcast)
The San Francisco Chronicle (article)

The war on terror may require a long, long time, as the Bush administration insists, but time is not on our side. Continuing attempts by the administration to make a virtue of the prospect of a drawn-out conflict only encourage mistaken thinking. For if the war does last decades, our chances of losing it rise dramatically.

Reagan doctrine still influencing U.S. foreign policy
His reliance on ideas over force brought to bear during negotiations with Soviets
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, June 18, 2006
The San Francisco Chronicle

For both good and ill, the 21st century world has been profoundly shaped by ideas advanced during the presidency of Ronald Reagan two decades ago -- so much so that the caricature of him as a simple, shoot-from-the-hip cowboy must give way to a far more complex portrait, that of a concept-driven man.

REALITIES OF WAR
Far from becoming more peaceful, the world grows more violent -- since WWII each of 10 conflicts has killed more than one million people, and terrorism threatens large-scale death
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, April 30, 2006
The San Francisco Chronicle

The idea that war is on the wane, a theory advanced in several recent studies, is appealing, but it is also dangerously misleading. Its central argument, made by scholars from the University of Maryland and the Human Security Center in British Columbia, is that since the end of the Cold War more than 15 years ago, nations have tended to fight each other less often, and that civil wars have grown less frequent and less lethal.

THE DEFIANT WAR
When it began three years ago, few people could have anticipated that the combat in Iraq would last so long or that the enemy would become a stubborn and resilient insurgency
Judged only on ethics, Iraq war gets just a C
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, March 19, 2006
The San Francisco Chronicle

On the third anniversary of the beginning of war in the harsh environment of Iraq, the physical well-being of U.S. forces seems far better than the state of the ethical health of our country's military and civilian leadership.

RODS FROM GOD
Imagine a bundle of telephone poles hurtling through space at 7,000 mph
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, March 12, 2006
The San Francisco Chronicle (article and podcast)

Although the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan often takes place at eyeball range -- as will most battles in what Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld now calls "the long war" -- Pentagon planners are spending billions of dollars trying to figure out how to engage our enemies on the ground with weapons based in space. Efforts are also under way to figure out how to wage war in space, not just to bombard others from the heavens.

Why we should take Osama's olive branch
It's the first step in winning the peace
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, January 29, 2006
The San Francisco Chronicle

Osama bin Laden's offer of a truce has sunk from sight without leaving a ripple, but it should have made waves. When the audiotaped proposal was made 10 days ago, the White House dismissed it out of hand. That was a politically logical move, given the need to appear tough on terror at all times. An image of strength and determination may be particularly important in the months ahead because Republican Party leaders have put security issues at the heart of their 2006 congressional election campaign strategy.

Waging war through the Internet
America is far more vulnerable to terrorists who hack systems than missions to blow things up
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, January 15, 2006
The San Francisco Chronicle

Over the past four years, huge efforts have been made to keep al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations from acquiring weapons of mass destruction, but too little attention has been paid to threats from cyberspace-based weapons of "mass disruption" capable of crippling the United States' communications, energy and transportation infrastructures.

MISJUDGING THE JIHAD
Like their leader, bin Laden's lieutenants are well educated, well traveled and well heeled
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, November 13, 2005
The San Francisco Chronicle

Our attempts to reduce al Qaeda's flow of fresh recruits by spreading democracy and prosperity throughout the Muslim world are likely to backfire. That's partly because the political and military pressure that accompanies American-inspired "regime change" policies enrages many of the world's billion-plus Muslims, swelling the ranks of those who would oppose us.

On the fourth anniversary of 9/11, the war on terror isn't going well
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, September 11, 2005
The San Francisco Chronicle

If the Cold War was defined by an arms race in nuclear weapons, the war on terror has featured a race to build networks of warriors. It's a race we're losing.

The war on language
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, September 11, 2005
The San Francisco Chronicle

If Ambrose Bierce, the Bay Area's great polemicist of a century ago, were alive today, he would surely come to the defense of the English language, which has suffered under siege these past four years. At a minimum, Bierce, who defined war as "a byproduct of the arts of peace," would update his famous Devil's Dictionary with new entries that might read something like this baker's dozen.

Evolution of attack
As the insurgency in Iraq shifts its strategy, the U.S. military must become more nimble
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, August 21, 2005
The San Francisco Chronicle

Over the course of the past two years, a loosely organized and largely leaderless resistance movement has managed to stymie all U.S. efforts to stabilize Iraq.

Will America be the next terror target?
London attack shows al Qaeda's strategy
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, July 10, 2005
The San Francisco Chronicle

While our hearts go out to the victims of the terrorist bombings in London, our minds inevitably turn to one question: After nearly four years, why hasn't al Qaeda returned to attack America again?

In these times, do as ancient Romans did -- and survive
Negotiate with foes, slash commitments
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, June 12, 2005
The San Francisco Chronicle

It isn't easy being great. Just look at ancient Rome, the most successful empire the world has ever seen, thanks to its superb military.

CONFLICT IN IRAQ: Finding a way out
A third way in Iraq
Neither keeping a huge force there for years nor pulling out will work
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, March 13, 2005
The San Francisco Chronicle

As the second anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq nears, neither staying the course nor pulling out hurriedly is the answer. A third way is needed. Unless a better alternative is soon identified, the cost of our intervention in blood and treasure is going to skyrocket irretrievably.

THE FOREVER WAR
The fight against terrorism could go on indefinitely unless the U.S. adopts imaginative new strategies
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, January 9, 2005
The San Francisco Chronicle

Will the war on terror last forever, or can the terrorists be beaten decisively, and beaten sooner rather than later? During the last half century, the conflicts that continued for decades have outnumbered those that lasted just months or a few years. Colombia and Sudan feature civil wars that have dragged on since the 1950s. The "troubles" in Northern Ireland and the Palestinian uprising have been under way since the late 1960s. Afghanistan has seen constant warfare since 1979, with no end in sight. There are many more, including Sri Lanka and Kashmir.

As the third anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches, it's becoming clear that the fight against terrorism has been a story of ... Missed opportunities
Reagan's cabinet debated how to fight terrorism, but infighting undermined the better strategy
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, September 5, 2004
The San Francisco Chronicle

Our troubles with terrorism began 20 years ago, late in President Ronald Reagan's first term, on a quiet Saturday in March, when Secretary of State George Shultz convened a meeting of terror experts.

How goes the war on terror?
Al Qaeda and its allies are winning because we remain mired in old ways of thinking about fighting an enemy
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, July 18, 2004
The San Francisco Chronicle

One word that has emblazoned itself upon our minds over these past three years is "network." In cutting-edge corporations, this loose-knit organizational form encourages and empowers individual freedom of action, but networks have been embraced by terrorists as well.

Should the United States give peace a chance in war on terrorism?
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, June 6, 2004
The San Francisco Chronicle

Throughout history, even the bitterest of enemies have commonly begun peace negotiations while the fighting still raged. And right now, smack in the middle of our self-styled war on terror, it may also make sense for us to start exploring possible paths to peace.

IN OR OUT
Should the U.S. pull out of Iraq?
Fight al Qaeda instead
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, May 16, 2004
The San Francisco Chronicle

It is ironic that the policy on which George Bush and John Kerry most strongly agree -- "staying the course" in Iraq -- is a wrongheaded idea whose political and military costs and consequences are spiraling out of control. Continued occupation of Iraq will only lead to more death and suffering in that tortured land, and to greater resentment of the United States throughout the world. We may win all the firefights, but every new encounter reinforces the point that we are losing the "battle of the story." Fewer and fewer people, anywhere in the world, see this as "liberation."

A better way to fight the war on terror
Mobile 'hunter networks' are the right strategy to combat guerrilla fighters
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, March 28, 2004
The San Francisco Chronicle

The movement of U.S. troops rotating into and out of Iraq is an eye- catching logistical ballet, but the repositioning of U.S. special forces teams around the world merits more attention. In their potential impact on the course of the war on terror, these elite "hunter networks" can better carry the fight directly to al Qaeda and its affiliates, ripping them apart cell by cell.

Will Osama rock the vote?
The American presidential election could be decided by a terrorist attack on U.S. soil
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, February 1, 2004
The San Francisco Chronicle

Howard Dean and Wesley Clark keep saying that the war on Iraq was a big mistake -- and John Kerry seems to agree with them -- but only Osama bin Laden can prove them right. If, by the November election, the al Qaeda mastermind is able to mount another large terrorist attack inside the United States, bin Laden will show that Iraq has been a fatal distraction from the more pressing business of ripping apart his network. And George Bush will lose his job.

Louder than Words: TACIT Communication in Internaltional Crises - 2004
By: John Arquilla
The RAND Corporation

Clear communication is generally viewed as a requisite to the peaceful resolution of international crises. The success of bargaining, deterrent, and compellent strategies hinges on the credibility afforded by unambiguous signals exchanged between opponents. Despite the acknowledged importance of this 'communication factor,' little effort has been made to evaluate the relative effectiveness of the various modes of communication that may be employed in crisis. By means of theoretical and comparative case analysis, this study finds a substantial difference between the efficacy of traditional diplomatic negotiation and tacit measures, such as the deployment and/or exercise of military forces near the scene of crisis. Where negotiation alone often fails, backing, preceding, or, at times, replacing diplomacy with tacit measures affords the greatest chances for success. The policy implications of this finding are explored, particularly as they apply to U.S. regional 'extended deterrent' strategies for protecting geographically distant friends and interests.

Return of the Jihadis
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, November 2, 2003
The San Francisco Chronicle

In his latest tape, Osama bin Laden -- or someone who does an awfully convincing imitation -- threatens suicide bombings inside the United States. Is it a bluff or does al Qaeda really intend to stage new attacks on American soil?

9/11: Yesterday and tomorrow
How we could lose the war on terror
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, September 7, 2003
The San Francisco Chronicle

The war on terror has become a global intifada, but despite our all- out commitment we're not much safer than before 9-11. As the conflict enters its third year, the greatest threat is that our failure to cripple al Qaeda and its allies will inspire the rise of even more terror networks. The dark, looming specter is the possibility that 10 years from now, there will be 10 al Qaedas -- fanatical, highly organized and well disciplined terror networks, some of them in secret service to rogue (or maybe not-so-roguish) nations that really do possess weapons of mass destruction.

The Next War
The Iraq conflict was a preview, but not the whole script, of battles to come
By: John Arquilla
Sunday, May 4, 2003
The San Francisco Chronicle

The adage that generals always fight the last war is only partially true. They also fight some of the next war each time they go into action.

THE IRAQ CONFLICT
Win the war on terrorism -- with arms control
By: John Arquilla
Thursday, January 23, 2003
The San Francisco Chronicle

Even on the brink of a major military campaign against Iraq, there is still time to reflect on whether the use of force is the preferred way of keeping nuclear or biological weapons out of al Qaeda's hands.


John Arquilla, U.S. Navy
Monday, September 29, 2003
Businessweek

During the Iraq War, the military's sensors, weapons, communications, soldiers, and commanders were all linked to a giant computing grid that gave U.S. troops the clearest picture of the battlefield they've ever known. No one person is more responsible for pushing this idea of network-centric war than John Arquilla, a RAND Corp. analyst and professor at the Naval Postgraduate School. Arquilla wields influence through his writing, teaching, and consultations with military officials. And his ideas are changing the face of the defense industry.

The Great Cyberwar of 2002
By John Arquilla
10 July 2002
WIRED

In this Wired scenario, Liddy Dole faces the biggest crisis of her presidency: the first global cyberwar, where the enemy is invisible, the battles virtual, and the casualties all too real.

Fighting The Network War
By: John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt
01 December, 2001
WIRED

Conventional military power stands little chance against a band of swarming 14th-century terrorists, according to John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, the RAND analysts who wrote the book on "netwar." Here's their five-point plan to tear apart the terror network.

Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy - 2001
Edited by: John Arquilla, David Ronfeldt
The RAND Corporation

Netwar-like cyberwar-describes a new spectrum of conflict that is emerging in the wake of the information revolution. Netwar includes conflicts waged, on the one hand, by terrorists, criminals, gangs, and ethnic extremists; and by civil-society activists (such as cyber activists or WTO protestors) on the other. What distinguishes netwar is the networked organizational structure of its practitioners-with many groups actually being leaderless-and their quickness in coming together in swarming attacks. To confront this new type of conflict, it is crucial for governments, military, and law enforcement to begin networking themselves.

RAND Review: Vol. 25, No. 3, Fall 2001 - 2001
By: James A. Thomson, Ian O. Lesser, Jerrold D. Green, Daniel Byman, John Arquilla, David Ronfeldt, Bruce Hoffman, Brian Michael Jenkins, John D. Woodward, Kevin F. McCarthy, Michael Schoenbaum, Cathy D. Sherbourne, Lisa V. Rubenstein, Kenneth B. Wells, John Godges
The RAND Corporation

The cover story consists of eight commentaries that outline complementary strategies for the long-term war against terrorism. A second article describes how American arts organizations can adapt to shifting audiences. A third article explains that improvements in depression care pay for themselves.

Swarming and the Future of Conflict - 2000
By: John Arquilla, David Ronfeldt
The RAND Corporation

Swarming is a seemingly amorphous, but deliberately structured, coordinated, strategic way to perform military strikes from all directions. It employs a sustainable pulsing of force and/or fire that is directed from both close-in and stand-off positions. It will work best — perhaps it will only work — if it is designed mainly around the deployment of myriad, small, dispersed, networked maneuver units. This calls for an organizational redesign — involving the creation of platoon-like pods joined in company-likeclusters — that would keep but retool the most basic military unit structures. It is similar to the corporate redesign principle of flattening, which often removes or redesigns middle layers of management. This has proven successful in the ongoing revolution in business affairs and may prove equally useful in the military realm. From command and control ofline units to logistics, profound shifts will have to occur to nurture this new way of war. This study examines the benefits — and also the costs and risks — of engaging in such serious doctrinal change. The emergence of a military doctrine based on swarming pods and clusters requires that defense policymakers develop new approaches to connectivity and control and achieve a new balance between the two. Far more than traditional approachesto battle, swarming clearly depends upon robust information flows. Securing these flows, therefore, can be seen as a necessary condition for successful swarming.

Countering the New Terrorism - 1999
By: Ian O. Lesser, Bruce Hoffman, John Arquilla, David Ronfeldt, Michele Zanini, Brian Michael Jenkins
The RAND Corporation

Traces the recent evolution of international terrorism against civilian and U.S. military targets, looks ahead to where terrorism is going, and assesses how it might be contained. The authors consider the threat of information-based terrorism and of weapons of mass destruction, with an emphasis on how changes in the sources and nature of terrorism may affect the use of unconventional terror. The authors propose counterterrorism strategies that address the growing problem of homeland defense.

The Emergence of Noopolitik: Toward An American Information Strategy - 1999
By: John Arquilla, David Ronfeldt
The RAND Corporation

Strategy, at its best, knits together ends and means, no matter how various and disparate, into a cohesive pattern. In the case of a U.S. information strategy, this requires balancing the need to guard and secure access to many informational capabilities and resources, with the opportunity to achieve national aims by fostering as much openness as practicable. The authors' term to represent such strategic balancing is guarded openness. They go on to describe noopolitik (nu-oh-poh-li-teek)--an emerging form of statecraft that emphasizes the importance of sharing ideas and values globally, principally through the exercise of persuasive soft power rather than traditional military hard power. This study discusses the opportunities that may be raised by the emergence of noopolitik--ranging from construction of a noosphere (a globe-spanning realm of the mind) to recommendations that, for example, the U.S. military should begin to develop its own noosphere (among and between the services, as well as with U.S. allies). In the area of international cooperation, the authors offer strategic approaches for improving the capacity of state and nonstate actors to work together to address transnational problems. In addition, the authors recommend specific doctrinal developments, implied by the emergence of information strategy--including the pressing need to deal with such ethical concerns as the first use of information weapons, concepts of proportional response, and the need to maintain the immunity of noncombatants. Ultimately, the authors call for an innovative turn of mind as policymakers and strategists rethink how best to adapt to the epochal transformations being wrought by the information revolution.

Predicting Military Innovation - 1999
By: Jeffrey A. Isaacson, Christopher Layne, John Arquilla
The RAND Corporation

Although military technology is increasingly available and affordable, not all states have the capacity to improve military effectiveness by acquiring hardware. Integrative difficulties — in command structures, doctrine and tactics, training, and support — are common in the developing world, and many states will have to find some level of innovation to overcome such difficulties if they are to use military technologies effectively. This annotated briefing documents a research effort aimed at understanding and predicting how militaries may improve their battlefield effectiveness. The briefing first analyzes military innovation conceptually and then formulates a framework for predicting the likelihood of innovative success. The research synthesizes a broad literature on innovation and provides a useful tool for assessing future military developments.

The Zapatista "Social Netwar" in Mexico - 1998
By: David Ronfeldt, John Arquilla, Graham Fuller, Melissa Fuller
The RAND Corporation

The information revolution is leading to the rise of network forms of organization in which small, previously isolated groups can communicate, link up, and conduct coordinated joint actions as never before. This in turn is leading to a new mode of conflict--netwar--in which the protagonists depend on using network forms of organization, doctrine, strategy, and technology. Many actors across the spectrum of conflict--from terrorists, guerrillas, and criminals who pose security threats, to social activists who may not--are developing netwar designs and capabilities. The Zapatista movement in Mexico is a seminal case of this. In January 1994, a guerrilla-like insurgency in Chiapas by the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), and the Mexican government's response to it, aroused a multitude of civil-society activists associated with human-rights, indigenous-rights, and other types of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to swarm--electronically as well as physically--from the United States, Canada, and elsewhere into Mexico City and Chiapas. There, they linked with Mexican NGOs to voice solidarity with the EZLN's demands and to press for nonviolent change. Thus, what began as a violent insurgency in an isolated region mutated into a nonviolent though no less disruptive social netwar that engaged the attention of activists from far and wide and had nationwide and foreign repercussions for Mexico. This study examines the rise of this social netwar, the information-age behaviors that characterize it (e.g., extensive use of the Internet), its effects on the Mexican military, its implications for Mexico's stability, and its implications for the future occurrence of social netwars elsewhere around the world.

In Athena’s Camp: Preparing for Conflict in the Information Age – 1997
Edited by: John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt
The RAND Corporation

The information revolution — which is as much an organizational as a technological revolution — is transforming the nature of conflict across the spectrum: from open warfare, to terrorism, crime, and even radical social activism. The era of massed field armies is passing, because the new information and communications systems are increasing the lethality of quite small units that can call in deadly, precise missile fire almost anywhere, anytime. In social conflicts, the Internet and other media are greatly empowering individuals and small groups to influence the behavior of states. Whether in military or social conflicts, all protagonists will soon be developing new doctrines, strategies, and tactics for swarming their opponents — with weapons or words, as circumstances require. Preparing for conflict in such a world will require shifting to new forms of organization, particularly the versatile, hardy, all-channel network. This shift will prove difficult for states and professional militaries that remain bastions of hierarchy, bound to resist institutional redesign. They will make the shift as they realize that information and knowledge are becoming the key elements of power. This implies, among other things, that Mars, the old brute-force god of war, must give way to Athena, the well-armed goddess of wisdom. Accepting Athena as the patroness of this information age represents a first step not only for preparing for future conflicts, but also for preventing them.

The Advent Of Netwar - 1996
By: John Arquilla, David Ronfeldt
The RAND Corporation

The information revolution is leading to the rise of network forms of organization, with unusual implications for how societies are organized and conflicts are conducted. "Netwar" is an emerging consequence. The term refers to societal conflict and crime, short of war, in which the antagonists are organized more as sprawling "leaderless" networks than as tight-knit hierarchies. Many terrorists, criminals, fundamentalists, and ethno-nationalists are developing netwar capabilities. A new generation of revolutionaries and militant radicals is also emerging, with new doctrines, strategies, and technologies that support their reliance on network forms of organization. Netwar may be the dominant mode of societal conflict in the 21st century. These conclusions are implied by the evolution of societies, according to a framework presented in this RAND study. The emergence of netwar raises the need to rethink strategy and doctrine to conduct counternetwar. Traditional notions of war and low-intensity conflict as a sequential process based on massing, maneuvering, and fighting will likely prove inadequate to cope with nonlinear, swarm-like, information-age conflicts in which societal and military elements are closely intermingled.

Cyberwar is Coming! - 1996
By: John Arquilla, David Ronfeldt
The RAND Corporation

The information revolution and related organizational innovations are altering the nature of conflict and the kinds of military structures, doctrines, and strategies that will be needed. This study introduces two concepts for thinking about these issues: cyberwar and netwar. Industrialization led to attritional warfare by massive armies (e.g., World War I). Mechanization led to maneuver predominated by tanks (e.g., World War II). The information revolution implies the rise of cyberwar, in which neither mass nor mobility will decide outcomes; instead, the side that knows more, that can disperse the fog of war yet enshroud an adversary in it, will enjoy decisive advantages. Communications and intelligence have always been important. At a minimum, cyberwar implies that they will grow more so, and will develop as adjuncts to overall military strategy. In this sense, it resembles existing notions of “information war” that emphasize C3I. However, the information revolution may imply overarching effects that necessitate substantial modifications to military organization and force posture. Cyberwar may be to the 21st Century what blitzkrieg was to the 20th. It may also provide a way for the U.S. military to increase “punch” with less “paunch.” Whereas cyberwar refers to knowledge-related conflict at the military level, netwar applies to societal struggles most often associated with low intensity conflict by non-state actors, such as terrorists, drug cartels, or black market proliferators of weapons of mass destruction. Both concepts imply that future conflicts will be fought more by “networks” than by “hierarchies,” and that whoever masters the network form will gain major advantages.

Security in Cyberspace: Challenges for Society: Proceedings of an International Conference - 1996
By: Richard Hundley, Robert H. Anderson, John Arquilla, Roger C. Molander
The RAND Corporation

On April 26-28, 1996, RAND and the Ditchley Foundation jointly sponsored an international conference in Santa Monica, California to discuss "Security in Cyberspace: Challenges for Society." This conference brought together a group of senior-level North American and European intellectual leaders from the many communities impacted by and with a role to play in cyberspace security. This report summarizes the results of their not-for-attribution discussions. Topics covered include the magnitude of the cyberspace security threat and the threat's consequences; impediments to improved security in cyberspace and what must be done to remove them; and means to achieve international cooperation regarding security in cyberspace.

Deterring Regional Aggressors in the Post-Cold War Era - 1995
By: Brian Nichiporuk, John Arquilla, Dean A. Wilkening, Ken Watman
The RAND Corporation

This research brief describes work documented in U.S. Regional Deterrence Strategy (MR-490-A/AF).
Excerpt: Now that the Soviet threat has faded, U.S. deterrent strategy will focus on dissuading regional powers from attacking U.S. interests. These strategies must recognize the motivations and vulnerabilities of such aggressors. In a recent RAND report, U.S. Regional Deterrence Strategies, Kenneth Watman and Dean Wilkening examined the prospects for military deterrence in the post-Cold War era. Working from historical case studies and analyses of aggressor behavior, they assessed how difficult it would be to deter regional aggressors, how credible a deterrent the United States could mount, and what inferences should be drawn for U.S. deterrent strategy.

U.S. Regional Deterrence Strategy – 1995
By: Ken Watman, Dean A. Wilkening, Brian Nichiporuk, John Arquilla
The RAND Corporation

This report assesses the requirements of a deterrence strategy for application to potential regional adversaries. The authors argue that states content with their status quo (e.g., the former Soviet Union during the Cold War) should be relatively easy to deter, especially from seeking gain, because they are likely to be risk-averse decisionmakers. On the other hand, many regional adversaries, already dissatisfied with the status quo and anticipating further losses, can be hard to deter, though not impossible. Hence, the U.S. military problem of regional deterrence in this instance boils down to two factors: (1) how the United States can make its deterrent threats highly credible; and (2) what military capabilities are required for credible denial and punishment threats. Should an adversary be willing to take high risks, the authors suggest that the United States adopt a national military strategy based on the ability to deny the opponent's political/military objective, either by basing U.S. forces within the region in times of crisis or by convincing the adversary that they can be forward deployed rapidly if the need arises.

The Strategic Implications of Information Dominance--1994
By John Arquilla
From Strategic Review -- Download the PDF

The profound effects of the information revolution imply a need to reconsider many of the central tenets of military strategy, doctrine and organization. Indeed, dominance of the information spectrum may foster the emergence of a new paradigm of "control warfare" that will supersede its attrition- and maneuver-oriented predecessors. In the near term, this shift may allow a period in which smaller forces will prevail against much more numerous, thought less proficient, adversaries. Over time, though, the new strategies, doctrines and force postures will be imitated widely, leveling the field and allowing the reincorporation of older attritional and maneuver techniques.

Modeling Decisionmaking of Potential Proliferators as Part of Developing Counterproliferation Strategies – 1994
By: John Arquilla, Paul K. Davis
The RAND Corporation

Counterproliferation strategies should be informed by an objective understanding of the motivations of proliferating states. This report applies an exploratory methodology for developing alternative models of the reasoning of national leaders considering acquisition of weapons of mass destruction. It can be used for analysis or as a mechanism for group discussion. It assumes that the leaders in question strive for rational decisionmaking by considering the most-likely, best-case, and worst-case outcomes of various options. That is, they reflect at least limited rationality by considering a range of options and by looking at the upside and downside of those options, as well as best-estimate outcomes. The models allow ample opportunity for "errors," however, by recognizing problems associated with recognizing and evaluating options. They also recognize that psychological and organizational factors can introduce biases and other types of misjudgment. The approach draws on Davis-Arquilla methods developed earlier for use in crisis work.

Alliance Prospects in Northeast Asia: Implications for Japan and the United States - 1993
By: John Arquilla, Theodore W. Karasik
The RAND Corporation

This Draft Report (DP) examines the changing security environment in Northeast Asia and its potential impact on U.S.-Japan relations. It is designed to stimulate dialogue on emerging alliance configuration issues. This paper should be of interest to public and private groups in both countries as they search for ways to guide bilateral relations. Moreover, this research provides "early warning" of potential conflicts and misunderstandings, thereby contributing, the authors hope, to their alleviation.

Allies or Rivals? The Future of U.S.-Japan Relations - 1993
By: John Arquilla, Theodore W. Karasik
The RAND Corporation

This Documented Briefing analyzes the possible pahts that U.S.-Japan economic and security relations might follow after the Cold War. It is designed to stimulate dialogue on the issue of interdependence and its related implications for policy. This presentation should be of interest to public and private groups in both countries as they search for ways to guide bilateral relations. This research project fuses elements of traditional thinking about international relations and game theory to create a fresh analytic framework capable of elaborating the relative importance of and interplay between strategic and economic factors. Particular emphasis is given to the effect s that amending the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty might have upon bilateral economic relations, and to the manner in which movement from primarily laissez-faire to more managed trade policies might bear upon security issues. The RAND Center for U.S-Japan Relations has sponsored this work.

A Decision Modeling Perspective on U.S.-Cuba Relations - 1993
By: John Arquilla
The RAND Corporation

This monograph forms part of a larger study of Cuba in the post-Cold War world. It focuses primarily on understanding and influencing Fidel Castro, although its findings should also have value for studies that examine transitional paths away from Castroism. The analytic framework employed in this study recognizes that an emphasis on capabilities rather than intentions will likely remain a predominant element in policy planning. Nevertheless, it suggests that understanding an opponent's reasoning can generate useful, often counterintuitive insights, allowing for the pursuit of optimal strategies under conditions of uncertainty.

Extended deterrence, compellence and the "Old World Order" - 1992
By: John Arquilla, Paul K. Davis
The RAND Corporation

This Note is the companion piece to earlier work, which described a methodology for analyzing and gaming opponent reasoning and reported on its employment during and after the recent conflict with Iraq. It examines four crises in which either British or U.S. interests were threatened, testing the key decisionmakers for the "limited rationality" and for the incrementalist or more goal-driven approach to risk taking. It also identifies the policy implications of these case studies at both the broad strategic and the crisis-specific levels, and evaluates the relative effectiveness of the military and economic tools of political coercion. The workhorse of British and U.S. policies has been the strategy of extended deterrence. The authors explore the disjunction between the theory and practice of extended deterrence in each of the cases they survey. Aside from the decisionmaking problems caused by time constraints and imperfect information, there are powerful general psychological influences--of which frustration and positive or negative feelings about one's current situation are the most important. Also, aggressors routinely underestimate the effects of their opponents' maritime capabilities for blockade, strategic lift, and bombardment, suggesting that a form of "analytic bias" is present. The policy implications are (1) U.S. decisionmakers and their staff organizations must habituate themselves to the practice of carrying along multiple models of opponent reasoning; and (2) in some cases, the United States must be prepared to give unambiguous political and military warning in the face of looming crisis, necessitating bilateral or multilateral treaties with friendly nations in areas of vital interest.

Deterring or Coercing Opponents in Crisis: Lessons from the War with Saddam Hussein - 1991
By: Paul K. Davis, John Arquilla
The RAND Corporation

This study applies an experimental interdisciplinary methodology for understanding the possible reasoning of opponents in crisis and conflict and for using that understanding to develop well-hedged and adaptive deterrent strategies. It develops alternative models of Saddam Hussein's reasoning from February 1990 to February 1991, using only information available at that time. The report then explains Saddam's behavior retrospectively and argues that having developed and worked with the alternative models during the crisis could have materially improved the formulation of U.S. strategy. The authors use the models to analyze such speculations as whether Saddam could have been deterred, and to suggest more general conclusions about appropriate strategies of deterrence in future crises. They recommend major changes in the processes by which the United States prepares for contingencies in peacetime, and deliberates about strategy as a crisis develops, including (1) for each contingency studied, the intelligence community should be required to develop and report on alternative models of the opponent, treating at least two or three seriously and avoiding convergence on a "best estimate"; and (2) despite pressures to avoid overcommitment, the United States should in peacetime take measures to protect strategically important buffers rather than allow future aggressors to underestimate their significance.

Thinking About Opponent Behavior in Crisis and Conflict: A Generic Model for Analysis and Group Discussion – 1991
By: Paul K. Davis, John Arquilla
The RAND Corporation

This Note draws on strategic analysis, cognitive psychology, gaming, and artificial intelligence modeling to describe a theory and concrete methodology for thinking about the likely and possible reasoning of opponents before or during crisis and conflict. The methodology is intended for use in analysis and defense planning, especially planning for possible limited contingencies. A fundamental tenet of the approach is that at least two semiformal models of the opponent should be developed and carried along through analysis and decisionmaking. The multiple-model approach is related to but goes beyond the familiar but often ineffective method of creating a devil's advocate. It would also be implemented as a structural change in analytic and group-discussion procedure. A key assumption of the approach, based on behavioral science's prospect theory, is that possible opponents are likely to become increasingly and unreasonably risk-accepting as they become emotionally more dissatisfied with their current situation and trends. The approach also frames decision issues in a natural way.