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

Publications of John Arquilla



Insurgents, Raiders and Bandits

Insurgents, Raiders, and Bandits: How Masters of Irregular Warfare Have Shaped Our World

From the small bands of wilderness warriors who battled in 18th-century North America to the "Chechen Lion," and the contemporary conflict in Chechnya, John Arquilla chronicles the deadly careers of the greatest masters of irregular warfare over the past 250 years.

Aspects of Netwar

Aspects of Netwar & the Conflict with al Qaeda (2009)

By: John Arquilla
This study was sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Rapid Reaction Technology Office. The research was conducted under the aegis of the Naval Postgraduate School’s Information Operations Center. To obtain a copy of this study please contact infoioc@nps.edu.

Can a fundamentally different concept of operations – netwar – bring an end to al Qaeda? With insights from the netwar paradigm, the counter-terror coalition has every chance of overtaking al Qaeda. This study explores the use of networks to defeat networks.

Information Strategy and Warfare: A Guide to Theory and Practice (2009)

By John Arquilla, Douglas A. Borer

Develops information strategy as a construct equal in importance to military strategy as an influential tool of statecraft. This book explores the rise of the 'information domain' and information strategy as an equal partner alongside traditional military strategy; the need to consider the organizational implications of information strategy; and the realm of what has been called ‘information operations’ (IO) - the building blocks of information strategy - has been too narrowly depicted and must be both broadened and deepened.

Worst Enemy

Worst Enemy: The Reluctant Transformation of the American Military (2008)

By John Arquilla

Worst Enemy offers an inside analysis of the events that have derailed our efforts to transform the nation's military into a leaner, lighter, and much more networked force. Mr. Arquilla places these events in historical context and assesses Donald Rumsfeld's role as secretary of defense of the post-9/11 era. Beyond articulating a thorough critique of what has gone wrong, he outlines new solutions, in detail, to remedy the ills that beset American defense policy, including the elimination of the Pentagon, the end of strategic bombing strategy, and force reductions to 100,000 in each of the main services.

Publishers:  Natl Book Network & Military doctrine

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The Reagan Imprint: Ideas in American Foreign Policy from the Collapse of Communism to the War on Terror (2007)

By John Arquilla

A balanced analysis--neither an attack nor an apology--of Ronald Reagan's influence on worldpolitics and the United States position in the international community as a result.

Publisher: IVAN R DEE INC

Louder than words: Tacit communication in international crises (Rand reprints) (2004)

By John Arquilla

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.

Cover: MR-1382 | Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy

Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy (2001)

By: John Arquilla, David Ronfeldt

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.

Full Alert: An Arsenal of Ideas for the War Against Terrorism

By James A Thomson, Ian O Lesser, Jerrold D
Green, Daniel L Byman, John Arquilla, David
Ronfeldt, Bruce R Hoffman, Brian Michael Jenkins, John D Woodward, Rand Corporation

Front Cover

Swarming and the Future of Conflict (2000)

By John Arquilla, David F. Ronfeldt, United States Dept. of Defense, United States

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-like "clusters"--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 of line 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 approaches to battle, swarming clearly depends upon robust information flows. Securing these flows, therefore, can be seen as a necessary condition for successful swarming.

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The Emergence of Noopolitik: Toward an American Information Strategy (1999)

By John Arquilla, David F Ronfeldt, Office of the Secretary of Defense, National Defense
Research Institute (U.S., Inc NetLibrary, Dept. of Defense, United States

This study discusses the opportunities that may be raised by the emergence of noopolitik--ranging from construction of noosphere to recommendations.

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Predicting Military Innovation (1999)

By Jeffrey Alan Isaacson, Christopher Layne, John Arquilla, Rand Corporation, Arroyo Center

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.

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In Athena's Camp: Preparing for Conflict in the Information Age (1997)

By John Arquilla, David F. Ronfeldt, National Defense Research Institute &U, United States Dept. of Defense. Office of the Secretary of Defense, National Defense Research Institute (U.S.)

Essays about conflict in the information age that show how the information revolution is altering the nature of conflict.

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The Advent of Netwar (1996)

By John Arquilla, David F. Ronfeldt, United States Dept. of Defense, National Defense Research Institute (U.S.)

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.

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From Troy to Entebbe: Special Operations in Ancient and Modern Times (1996)

By John Arquilla

Special operations have played a key role throughout the history of conflict from the Trojan War to the great arms struggles of the 20th century. This volume introduces the reader to the broad sweep of the history of special operations.

Publisher:  University Press of America

Countering the New Terrorism :

Countering the New Terrorism (1995)

by Ian Lesser, John Arquilla, Bruce Hoffman, David F. Ronfeldt, Michele Zanini

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.

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U.S. Regional Deterrence Strategies (1995)

By Kenneth Watman, Dean Wilkening, John Arquilla, United States Army, United States Air Force, Brian Nichiporuk, Arroyo Center, Rand Corporation

To be successful, deterrence requires credible threats. The most important capabilities are those that can promptly deny the adversary's objectives, but the United States must choose the time and place for making these deterrent threats with care.

Modeling Decisionmaking of Potential Proliferators as Part of Developing Counterproliferation Strategies (1994)

By John Arquilla, Paul K. Davis

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.

Cyberwar is Coming! (1993)

By John Arquilla, David F. Ronfeldt, 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.

A Decision Modeling Perspective on U.S.-Cuba Relations (1993)

By John Arquilla, Rand Corporation, United States

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.

Allies Or Rivals? The Future of U.S.-Japan Relations (1993)

By John Arquilla, Theodore William Karasik, Center for U.S.-Japan Relations (RAND, Center for U.S.-Japan Relations (RAND)

Dubious Battles

Dubious Battles: Aggression, Defeat, and the International System (1992)

By John Arquilla

Extended Deterrence, Compellence, and the "Old World Order" (1992)

By John Arquilla, Paul K. Davis, United States Joint Chiefs of Staff

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

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)

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.

By Paul K. Davis, John Arquilla