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Old January 1st, 2009 #1
Hugh
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LEADERLESS RESISTANCE

The concept of Leaderless Resistance was proposed by Col. Ulius Louis Amoss, who was the founder of International Service of Information Incorporated, located in Baltimore, Maryland. Col. Amoss died more than fifteen years ago, but during his life was a tireless opponent of communism, as well as a skilled Intelligence Officer. Col. Amoss first wrote of Leaderless Resistance on April 17, 1962. His theories of organization were primarily directed against the threat of eventual Communist take-over in the United States. The present writer, with the benefit of having lived many years beyond Col. Amoss, has taken his theories and expounded upon them. Col. Amoss feared the Communists. This author fears the federal government. Communism now represents a threat to no one in the United States, while federal tyranny represents a threat to everyone . The writer has joyfully lived long enough to see the dying breaths of communism, but may, unhappily, remain long enough to see the last grasps of freedom in America.

In the hope that, somehow, America can still produce the brave sons and daughters necessary to fight off ever increasing persecution and oppression, this essay is offered. Frankly, it is too close to call at this point. Those who love liberty, and believe in freedom enough to fight for it are rare today, but within the bosom of every once great nation, there remains secreted, the pearls of former greatness. They are there. I have looked into their sparking eyes; sharing a brief moment in time with them as I passed through this life. Relished their friendship, endured their pain, and they mine. We are a band of brothers, native to the soil gaining strength one from another as we have rushed head long into a battle that all the weaker, timid men, say we can not win. Perhaps...but then again, perhaps we can. It's not over till the last freedom fighter is buried or imprisoned, or the same happens to those who would destroy their freedom.

Barring any cataclysmic events, the struggle will yet go on for years. The passage of time will make it clear to even the more slow among us that the government is the foremost threat to the life, and liberty of the folk. The government will no doubt make today's oppressiveness look like grade school work compared to what they have planned in the future. Meanwhile, there are those of us who continue to hope that somehow the few can do what the many have not. We are cognizant that before things get better they will certainly get worse as government shows a willingness to use ever more severe police state measures against dissidents. This changing situation makes it clear that those who oppose state repression must be prepared to alter, adapt, and modify their behavior, strategy, and tactics as circumstances warrant. Failure to consider new methods and implement them as necessary will make the government's efforts at suppression uncomplicated. It is the duty of every patriot to make the tyrant's life miserable. When one fails to do so he not only fails himself, but his people.

With this in mind, current methods of resistance to tyranny employed by those who love our race, culture, and heritage must pass a litmus test of soundness. Methods must be objectively measured as to their effectiveness, as well as to whether they make the government's intention of repression more possible or more difficult. Those not working to aid our objectives must be discarded or the government benefits from our failure to do so.

As honest men who have banded together into groups or associations of a political or religious nature are falsely labeled "domestic terrorists" or "cultists" and suppressed, it will become necessary to consider other methods of organization--or as the case may very well call for: non-organization. One should keep in mind that it is not in the government's interest to eliminate all groups. Some few must remain in order to perpetuate the smoke and mirrors vision for the masses that America is a "free democratic country" where dissent is allowed. Most organizations, however, that possess the potential for effective resistance will not be allowed to continue. Anyone who is so naive as to believe the most powerful government on earth will not crush any who pose a real threat to that power, should not be active, but rather, at home studying political history.

The question as to who is to be left alone and who is not, will be answered by how groups and individuals deal with several factors such as: avoidance of conspiracy plots, rejection of feeble minded malcontents, insistence upon quality of the participants, avoidance of all contact with the front men for the federals--the news media--and, finally, camouflage (which can be defined as the ability to blend in the public's eye the more committed groups of resistance with mainstream "kosher" associations that are generally seen as harmless.) Primarily though, whether any organization is allowed to continue in the future will be a matter of how big a threat a group represents. Not a threat in terms of armed might or political ability, for there is none of either for the present, but rather, threat in terms of potentiality. It is potential the federals fear most. Whether that potential exists in an individual or group is incidental. The federals measure potential threat in terms of what might happen given a situation conducive to action on the part of a restive organization or individual. Accurate intelligence gathering allows them to assess the potential. Showing one's hand before the bets are made, is a sure way to loose.

The movement for freedom is rapidly approaching the point where for many people, the option of belonging to a group will be nonexistent. For others, group membership will be a viable option for only the immediate future. Eventually, and perhaps much sooner than most believe possible, the price paid for membership will exceed any perceived benefit. But for now, some of the groups that do exist often serve a useful purpose either for the newcomer who can be indoctrinated into the ideology of the struggle, or for generating positive propaganda to reach potential freedom fighters. It is sure that, for the most part, this struggle is rapidly becoming a matter of individual action, each of its participants making a private decision in the quietness of his heart to resist: to resist by any means necessary. It is hard to know what others will do, for no man truly knows another man's heart. It is enough to know what one himself will do. A great teacher once said "know thyself." Few men really do, but let each of us, promise ourselves, not to go quietly to the fate our would-be masters have planned.

The concept of Leaderless Resistance is nothing less than a fundamental departure in theories of organization. The orthodox scheme of organization is diagrammatically represented by the pyramid, with the mass at the bottom and the leader at the top. This fundamental of organization is to be seen not only in armies, which are of course, the best illustration of the pyramid structure, with the mass of soldiery, the privates, at the bottom responsible to corporals who are in turn responsible to sergeants, and so on up the entire chain of command to the generals at the top. But the same structure is seen in corporations, ladies' garden clubs and in our political system itself. This orthodox "pyramid" scheme of organization is to be seen basically in all existing political, social and religious structures in the world today from the Federal government to the Roman Catholic Church. The Constitution of the United States, in the wisdom of the Founders, tried to sublimate the essential dictatorial nature of pyramidal organization by dividing authority into three: executive, legislative and judicial. But the pyramid remains essentially untouched.

This scheme of organization, the pyramid, is however, not only useless, but extremely dangerous for the participants when it is utilized in a resistance movement against state tyranny. Especially is this so in technologically advanced societies where electronic surveillance can often penetrate the structure revealing its chain of command. Experience has revealed over and over again that anti-state, political organizations utilizing this method of command and control are easy prey for government infiltration, entrapment, and destruction of the personnel involved. This has been seen repeatedly in the United States where pro-government infiltrators or agent provocateurs weasel their way into patriotic groups and destroy them from within.

In the pyramid type of organization, an infiltrator can destroy anything which is beneath his level of infiltration and often those above him as well. If the traitor has infiltrated at the top, then the entire organization from the top down is compromised and may be traduced at will.

An alternative to the pyramid type of organization is the cell system. In the past, many political groups (both right and left) have used the cell system to further their objectives. Two examples will suffice. During the American Revolution "committees of correspondence" were formed throughout the Thirteen colonies.

Their purpose was to subvert the government and thereby aid the cause of independence. The "Sons of Liberty", who made a name for themselves dumping government taxed tea into the harbor at Boston, were the action arm of the committees of correspondence. Each committee was a secret cell that operated totally independently of the other cells. Information on the government was passed from committee to committee, from colony to colony, and then acted upon on a local basis. Yet even in these bygone days of poor communication, of weeks to months for a letter to be delivered, the committees without any central direction whatsoever, were remarkable similar in tactics employed to resist government tyranny. It was, as the first American patriots knew, totally unnecessary for anyone to give an order for anything. Information was made available to each committee, and each committee acted as it saw fit. A recent example of the cell system taken from the left wing of politics are the Communists. The Communist, in order to get around the obvious problems involved in pyramidal organization, developed to an art the cell system. They had numerous independent cells which operated completely isolated from one another and particularly with no knowledge of each other, but were orchestrated together by a central headquarters. For instance, during World War II, in Washington, it is known that there were at least six secret Communist cells operating at high levels in the United States government (plus all the open Communists who were protected and promoted by President Roosevelt), however, only one of the cells was rooted out and destroyed. How many more actually were operating no one can say for sure.

The Communist cells which operated in the U.S until late 1991 under Soviet control could have at their command a leader, who held a social position which appeared to be very lowly. He could be, for example, a busboy in a restaurant, but in reality a colonel or a general in the Soviet Secret Service, the KGB. Under him could be a number of cells and a person active in one cell would almost never have knowledge of individuals who are active in another cell. The value of this is that while any one cell can be infiltrated, exposed or destroyed, such action will have no effect on the other cells; in fact, the members of the other cells will be supporting that cell which is under attack and ordinarily would lend very strong support to it in many ways. This is at least part of the reason, no doubt, that whenever in the past Communists were attacked in this country, support for them sprang up in many unexpected places.

The efficient and effective operation of a cell system after the Communist model, is of course, dependent upon central direction, which means impressive organization, funding from the top, and outside support, all of which the Communists had. Obviously, American patriots have none of these things at the top or anywhere else, and so an effective cell organization based upon the Soviet system of operation is impossible.

Two things become clear from the above discussion. First, that the pyramid type of organization can be penetrated quite easily and it thus is not a sound method of organization in situations where the government has the resources and desire to penetrate the structure; which is the situation in this country. Secondly, that the normal qualifications for the cell structure based upon the Red model does not exist in the U.S. for patriots. This understood, the question arises "What method is left for those resisting state tyranny?" The answer comes from Col. Amoss who proposed the "Phantom Cell" mode of organization. Which he described as Leaderless Resistance. A system of organization that is based upon the cell organization, but does not have any central control or direction, that is in fact almost identical to the methods used by the Committees of Correspondence during the American Revolution. Utilizing the Leaderless Resistance concept, all individuals and groups operate independently of each other, and never report to a central headquarters or single leader for direction or instruction, as would those who belong to a typical pyramid organization.

At first glance, such a type of organization seems unrealistic, primarily because there appears to be no organization. The natural question thus arises as to how are the "Phantom cells" and individuals to cooperate with each other when there is no intercommunication or central direction? The answer to this question is that participants in a program of Leaderless Resistance through phantom cell or individual action must know exactly what they are doing, and how to do it. It becomes the responsibility of the individual to acquire the necessary skills and information as to what is to be done. This is by no means as impractical as it appears, because it is certainly true that in any movement, all persons involved have the same general outlook, are acquainted with the same philosophy, and generally react to given situations in similar ways. The pervious history of the committees of correspondence during the American Revolution show this to be true.

Since the entire purpose of Leaderless Resistance is to defeat state tyranny (at least insofar as this essay is concerned), all members of phantom cells or individuals will tend to react to objective events in the same way through usual tactics of resistance. Organs of information distribution such as newspapers, leaflets, computers, etc., which are widely available to all, keep each person informed of events, allowing for a planned response that will take many variations. No one need issue an order to anyone. Those idealist truly committed to the cause of freedom will act when they feel the time is ripe, or will take their cue from others who precede them. While it is true that much could be said against this type of structure as a method of resistance, it must be kept in mind that Leaderless Resistance is a child of necessity. The alternatives to it have been show to be unworkable or impractical. Leaderless Resistance has worked before in the American Revolution, and if the truly committed put it to use for themselves, it will work now.

It goes almost without saying that Leaderless Resistance leads to very small or even one man cells of resistance. Those who join organizations to play "let's pretend" or who are "groupies" will quickly be weeded out. While for those who are serious about their opposition to federal despotism, this is exactly what is desired.

From the point of view of tyrants and would be potentates in the federal bureaucracy and police agencies, nothing is more desirable than that those who oppose them be UNIFIED in their command structure, and that every person who opposes them belong to a pyramid type group. Such groups and organizations are an easy kill. Especially in light of the fact that the Justice (sic) Department promised in 1987 that there would never be another group that opposed them that they did not have at least one informer in. These federal "friends of government" are intelligence agents. They gather information that can be used at the whim of a federal D.A. to prosecute. The line of battle has been drawn. Patriots are required therefore, to make a conscious decision to either aid the government in its illegal spying, by continuing with old methods of organization and resistance, or to make the enemie's job more difficult by implementing effective countermeasures.

Now there will, no doubt, be mentally handicapped people out there who, while standing at a podium with an American flag draped in the background, and a lone eagle soaring in the sky above, will state emphatically in their best sounding red, white, and blue voice, "So what if the government is spying? We are not violating any laws." Such crippled thinking by any serious person is the best example that there is a need for special education classes. The person making such a statement is totally out of contact with political reality in this country, and unfit for leadership of any thing more than a dog sleigh in the Alaskan wilderness. The old "Born on the fourth of July" mentality that has influenced so much of the American patriot's thinking in the past will not save him from the government in the future. "Reeducation" for non-thinkers of this type will take place in the federal prison system where there are no flags or eagles, but abundance of men who were "not violating any law."

Most groups who "unify" their disparate associates into a single structure have short political lives. Therefore, those movement leaders constantly calling for unity of organization rather than the desirable unity of purpose, usually fall into one of three categories.

They may not be sound political tacticians, but rather, just committed men who feel unity would help their cause, while not realizing that the government would greatly benefit from such efforts. The Federal objective, to imprison or destroy all who oppose them, is made easier in pyramid organizations. Or perhaps, they do not fully understand the struggle they are involved in and that the government they oppose has declared a state of war against those fighting for faith, folk, freedom and constitutional liberty. Those in power will use any means to rid themselves of opposition. The third class calling for unity and let us hope this is the minority of the three, are men more desirous of the supposed power that a large organization would bestow, than of actually achieving their stated purpose.

Conversely, the last thing Federal snoops would have, if they had any choice in the matter, is a thousand different small phantom cells opposing them. It is easy to see why. Such a situation is an intelligence nightmare for a government intent upon knowing everything they possibly can about those who oppose them. The Federals, able to amass overwhelming strength of numbers, manpower, resources, intelligence gathering, and capability at any given time, need only a focal point to direct their anger. A single penetration of a pyramid type of organization can lead to the destruction of the whole. Whereas, Leaderless Resistance presents no single opportunity for the Federals to destroy a significant portion of the Resistance.

With the announcement by the Department of Justice (sic) that 300 FBI agents formerly assigned to watching Soviet spies in the US (domestic counter intelligence) are now to be used to "combat crime", the federal government is preparing the way for a major assault upon those persons opposed to their policies. Many anti-government groups dedicated to the preservation of the America of our forefathers can expect shortly to feel the brunt of a new federal assault upon liberty.

It is clear, therefore, that it is time to rethink traditional strategy and tactics when it comes to opposing a modern police state. America is quickly moving into a long dark night of police state tyranny, where the rights now accepted by most as being inalienable will disappear. Let the coming night be filled with a thousand points of resistance. Like the fog which forms when conditions are right and disappears when they are not, so must the resistance to tyranny be.
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Old January 1st, 2009 #2
Hugh
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Default Rhizome: Guerrilla Media, Swarming and Asymmetric Politics in the 21st Century

Rhizome: Guerrilla Media, Swarming and Asymmetric Politics in the 21st Century
http://www.jeffvail.net/2005/07/rhiz...rming-and.html

Philosopher Philip Bobbitt, in his seminal work “The Shield of Achilles”, proposed that the 20th century was defined by the ideological conflicts between socialism, fascism and capitalism. These competing ideologies purported to offer the hierarchal control structure most suited to meeting the needs of the people. In the course of this conflict, asymmetric warfare—the use of non-hierarchal structures to successfully confront hierarchy—was refined. The conflicts of the 20th century forged current theories of rhizome—the name for non-hierarchal, asymmetrical and networked patterns of organization. Empowered by a revolution in communication technology and the spread of democratic freedoms, the conflicts of the 21st century will be defined not by past political ideologies, but by a much more fundamental, structural conflict: hierarchy vs. rhizome.

Rhizome structures, swarming media and asymmetric politics will not be a means to support or improve a centralized, hierarchal democracy—they will be an alternative to it.

Many groups that seek change have yet to identify hierarchy itself as the root cause of their problem or cause, but are already beginning to realize that rhizome is the solution. Movements as diverse as American Progressives, al-Qa’ida and the “New Bolivarians” are already consciously adopting some rhizome elements to their actions. As theoretical knowledge and systems understanding improves, this conflict will become more clearly defined along the lines of hierarchy vs. rhizome.

Rhizome has a long history of application within military theory, but its use as a non-violent political tool is still rapidly developing. Rhizome tactics such as swarming have been used successfully at the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle, and less successfully by protesters at the Republican National Convention in 2004 (link). A methodology of decentralized “leaderless resistance” first formalized by white supremacists is now being used with some success by the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front. Rhizome tactics have found notable success in economics as well, with rural communities using localization policies, increasing distributed power generation, the spread of farmers’ markets and an increased focus on “slow food” and regional cuisine.

But despite recent successes, the value of rhizome structure and strategies continues to be constrained by a failure to frame conflicts in clear “hierarchy vs. rhizome” terms. Political activists seeking to use rhizome concepts to improve a hierarchal structure such as America’s hierarchal democracy will ultimately fail. Similarly, the protestors at the Republican National Convention were effectively controlled by police because they failed to identify their purpose—and frame their tactics—in terms of rhizome pattern and structure. The OODA Loop suggests that the victorious party is the one that can more quickly Observe lessons learned from past conflict, Orient themselves to identify their shortcomings in light of these lessons, Decide on a course of action to address identified shortcomings and then put those decisions into Action.

The failure of the protestors at the RNC was largely their failure to evolve their doctrine as quickly as the NYPD was able to evolve theirs. It appears that neither side explicitly framed their efforts in terms of hierarchy vs. rhizome, but had the protesters done so they would have been better able to access the existing body of knowledge provided by the rhizome “Doctrine Network”, consisting itself of rhizomatic nodes such as http://www.globalguerrillas.com/ and http://www.jeffvail.net/ .

The Rhizome Toolkit: Blogs, Open Source Warfare & the Doctrine Network

Hierarchies exert command and control via a centralized, top-down process. This creates numerous layers that information must relay between, and results in an information processing burden that significantly slows the ability of hierarchy to execute the OODA loop (link). The advantage of rhizome—aside from preventing the abuse of power endemic to hierarchy—is its superior information processing capability. One rhizome example, the network of political blogs, demonstrated its information processing ability during the 2004 election season, regularly trumping hierarchal media establishments on breaking stories.

As global conflict is increasingly framed within the context of hierarchy vs. rhizome, the doctrine and tactics of rhizome action is beginning to coalesce into an effective system. This system, founded upon the information processing capability of rhizome, consists of infrastructure, distributed decision making and general doctrine.

The general doctrine of rhizome action, whether peaceful or violent, is based on the model of Open Source Warfare (Global Guerrillas link). Without the centralized command structure of hierarchy, actions and tactics are proposed by the network and adopted by constituent nodes via a process similar in many ways to a clinical trial. Some node devises a tactic or selects a target and makes this theory publicly available—Open Source. One or several trials of this theory are conducted, and the tactic is then adopted and improved upon by the network as a whole based on its success. This may seem like a contrived and overly mechanistic system, but in fact it functions very much like biological evolution.

Rhizome uses distributed decision making—the Doctrine Network—to evaluate, improve and adopt Open Source Warfare concepts. This distributed decision making is facilitated by some type of non-hierarchal communications infrastructure. Two examples will help to illustrate this process:

Al Qa’ida and the Rhizome Toolkit

Osama bin Laden and other “central” al-Qa’ida figures are increasingly removed from everyday operations and instead function as a node in the al-Qa’ida Doctrine Network. Bin Laden & crew propose targeting strategies, praise selected actions and generally contribute to the clinical trial of new strategies and procedures. They communicate with their network via largely Open Source methods—tapes sent to Arabic language satellite TV channels, jihadist websites, etc. Other groups such as that of Abu Musab al Zarqawi—in no way under hierarchal control from bin Laden—then take the Open Source Warfare outcomes from these clinical trials and put them into action. The train bombings in Madrid and subway bombings in London are an example of this process in action, as are the steadily improving tactics of insurgents in Iraq.

Progressive political bloggers in America, while markedly different in ideology from al-Qa’ida, function in a remarkably similar manner. The network of blogs serves as a Doctrine Network, function as a Clinical Trial for political criticism, and constitute an Open Source communication infrastructure all at the same time. One blogger writes a persuasive argument against President Bush, another improves or expands upon it and posts it to a heavily visited site, feedback and critiques further develop the argument until it is a fully sharpened weapon in the progressive’s Open Source Warfare arsenal.

While these examples illustrate that rhizome concepts are influencing political processes around the world, they largely fail to consciously recognize their rhizome system. Their true power—and the course of conflict in the 21st century—will be defined not simply when they realize that they must frame their struggle in terms of rhizome action, but when they realize that rhizome structure IS THEIR STRUGGLE. Widely disparate groups, from al-Qa’ida to American Progressives to ELF and South American indigenous peoples are ultimately struggling against hierarchy. Their individual movements have been grossly distorted and perverted by remnant ideologies, local and historical circumstances, but at their core they are in fact quite similar. If they are able to recognize their unity of purpose, or if they spawn a broader movement with such a unity of purpose, then this coherent rhizome pattern will spread and effectively check and reduce hierarchy. If they remain fragmented and separate they will still be capable of harassing the dominance of hierarchy, but will effect little real change.

While it may seem improbable for Progressives and al-Qa’ida to decide to join forces for the common good, it is certainly within the realm of possibility to expect the various factions within the broad Progressive movement to realize that their pet causes are all derived from a basic conflict with hierarchy, and that the solution lies in consciously adopting a rhizome structure. A conscious focus on rhizome organization will lead to improved functioning of the Doctrine Network, Clinical Trials and communications infrastructure. Individual bloggers will realize that their minor improvement or addition to another’s idea is critical to the functioning of the system. The divide between talk and action will diminish as a better understanding of the rhizome process will lead protestors and economic localizers to realize that they must blog, and bloggers to realize that they must protest and purchase wisely.

The interconnectivity between anti-globalization, economic localization, human rights, freedoms, environmental concerns, and equal opportunity policies will become clear, and the combined power of each of these factions will, working together, be far greater than the sum of their parts. Perhaps most importantly, the logic of a unified effort will finally be able to convince the average person that they, too, have a self-interested stake in this struggle, and that they must act on the side of rhizome. A conscious and unified rhizome movement would be powerful indeed.
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Old January 1st, 2009 #3
Hugh
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Default Defending Pala

Defending Pala: Rhizome as a Mode of Military Operations
http://www.jeffvail.net/2005/09/defe...s-mode-of.html

How would the military of a rhizome polity look and function? What would be the tactical and strategic issues at the core of a military confrontation between hierarchy and rhizome? How does looking at rhizome through the lens of military organization help better illuminate the concept, and specifically help to explain the nature of the conflicts presently facing the U.S. If nothing else, it’s an interesting thought experiment… military?

Rhizome, a non-hierarchal, non-centralized mode of organization, is a very square peg that we are trying to fit into the traditionally very round hole of military analysis. But suspend, for a moment, such traditional notions of hierarchal and authoritarian militaries, and instead think of “military” as the mode of violent expression of an organizational pattern, be it hierarchy, rhizome, etc.

All human organization demands some mode of violent expression, even if that mode consists of pacifism and capitulation in the face of another’s violence. War is generally a wasteful and nonproductive economic activity, even though it may certainly enrich some of the participants. In the case of hierarchy vs. rhizome, however, the economically inefficient activity of equipping rhizome to repel hierarchy is less inefficient than permitting their annexation and conversion to hierarchal means of economic activity. Likewise, while violence in se is a greater moral wrong than pacifism in se, it is cumulatively worse to permit the trespasses of hierarchy when they can otherwise be avoided.

Furthermore, rhizome war may represent an end to war. The history of warfare is a history of hierarchy. Rhizome polities, as they have existed in a lesser approximation of fully rhizome form, have never been able to repel the advance of hierarchy. As a result, warfare has been an activity entered into exclusively by hierarchy, against either rhizome or against another hierarchy. It has been a constant evolutionary struggle, with alternating innovations in tactics or politics, offense or defense leading to a perpetual war among human polities instigated by the innovator. Rhizome cannot “make war” in the classical sense, because it has no capacity for offensive warfare—the kind of military operations that I will outline here are structurally limited to defensive and reactionary operations (even if they may use offensive tactics to defensive ends). This is because rhizome is structurally incapable of exerting control beyond itself—the pattern of rhizome can spread, but it is fundamentally incapable of controlling another entity. For this reason, rhizome has no motivation to instigate war—it can only respond to aggression by hierarchy. Therefore, if one accepts that it is possible to develop the theory of rhizome military operations to the extent that it cannot be defeated by hierarchy, then rhizome war equals an end to war, as hierarchy will not instigate a war that it does not think it can win.

Let me then get right to the point: how a rhizome military could be organized. I’ll start by laying out a proposed set of principles for rhizome war: Independence, Interaction, Open Source, Time & Place. Contrast these to the classic principles of hierarchal war (as taught by US military academies) and notice how they define hierarchy in general: Objective, Offensive, Mass, Economy of Force, Maneuver, Unity of Command, Security, Surprise, and Simplicity.

The four principles of rhizome warfare:

Independence: the downtrodden and oppressed of history have tended to fight hierarchy by organizing themselves into a semi-hierarchal structure, often abandoning their semi-rhizome roots in the process. The problem with this process is that IF they defeat their hierarchal opponent, the victorious downtrodden masses suddenly find that the traction of the hierarchal institutions introduced along the way to victory have too much inertia, and the new society eventually becomes just another oppressive hierarchy. For this reason, the first principle of rhizome warfare is independence. An extant rhizome structure must not abandon its rhizome nature. Rather, it must embrace rhizome. If rhizome forms a platoon, battalion or division in its own defense, it has already lost. A rhizome military functions just like a rhizome economy—as the emergent action of independent nodes, independent warriors. Napoleon’s use of the independent military corps revolutionized European warfare. Rhizome warfare extends this principle further, atomizing Napoleon’s corps to create self-sustaining, self-directing, combined arms “corps” of single individuals, or of small, voluntary groupings derived from rhizome nodes.

Interaction: like classical rhizome, the emergent action of a rhizome military is a function of the strength of the interactions between component nodes. The primary preoccupation of the hierarchal military is not actually violence, but rather information processing—intelligence, strategizing, communicating orders, etc. It is here that the rhizome military holds its greatest advantage, as rhizome can process information more efficiently than hierarchy. This does not need to be directed as with hierarchy—the rhizome military functions by emergent action. Just as the seemingly random and disorganized interactions between billions of neurons in our brains process information to a greater impact than the fastest hierarchal supercomputer, the strength of action of a rhizome military is dependent on the seemingly random and disorganized interaction of its component nodes. These interactions must follow the classical rhizome pattern: both strong and weak, near and far, brief and in-depth.

Open Source: The single factor that compounds the information processing problems more than any other is secrecy. Hierarchal, offensive operation depends on exclusive knowledge or innovative tactics and methods. Imagine if Eisenhower had told Hitler, “in three months from today, I will land my forces in Normandy, NOT Pas de Calais.” That wouldn’t have worked too well. The need to safeguard these secrets created an enormous burden on the Allied forces. Rhizome does not face such a burden. All communications, capabilities, intentions and activities within a rhizome military must be entirely in open; open source, freely available and unauthenticated. The fact that a hierarchal opponent will be able to freely access this information is irrelevant, for the sheer magnitude of information emanating independently, differently and continuously from every rhizome node will completely overwhelm the ability of rhizome to process this information. Unlike hierarchal communications, there will be no one piece that is more important than another, and the total lack of graduated security of communications will provide no indication as to any relative importance of information. This will negate then entire intelligence capability of hierarchy, while at the same time ensuring the smooth operation of rhizome’s information processing engine.

Time & Space: Because of the constitutional nature of hierarchy, time and space work in favor of rhizome, and must be exploited as a tool of rhizome warfare. Due to the constitutional nature of hierarchal opponents, they are severely restrained by the need to meet certain criteria in time and place. Traditional warfare is defined by the application of decisive force at the right time and place—the key there being the need for decisive action that meets a demanding set of criteria. Hierarchy has a structural need to continuously grow in order to survive, and therefore must seek out and win decisive battles in order to prevail in warfare. These decisive battles must be both near enough in time to meet their constitutional need for continuous expansion and intensification, and must happen at concentrated points in space to facilitate the application of hierarchy’s strength of centralization. The very nature of rhizome is effective in defeating hierarchy; it is not concentrated in the near term, or in centralized to specific points in space. Rather, rhizome is a non-historical process, one that does not require the arrow of time that hierarchy depends on in the form of centralization and intensification. Rhizome’s natural state is that of stasis. Similarly, rhizome exists in a distributed, non-centralized structure, and therefore is naturally prevented from succumbing to the hierarchal military’s need for a pitched and decisive battle. Rhizome can defeat hierarchy simply by maintaining its stasis and avoiding pitched battles. It must embrace the classical rhizome approach to time and space.

By Way of Illustration:

In Aldous Huxley’s ultimate novel, Island, the ideal society of Pala is destroyed by the war-like, hierarchal neighboring state of Rendang, with the aid and encouragement of a British oil company. The Raja of Pala decided to simply acquiesce to Rendang’s aggression rather than try to take up arms to fight off the invasion, presumably because he did not want to force his rhizome society into a hierarchal fighting machine. Could Pala have retained its rhizome structure and defeated Rendang at the same time? Perhaps an analysis of rhizome elements of today’s conflicts can provide an answer.

Rhizome military principles are at work around the world today to a greater or lesser degree: the F.A.R.C. in Colombia, the Sunni Insurgency in Iraq, the White Supremacist “leaderless resistance” movement in the United States, and the Earth Liberation Front, just to name a few. But purely as a thought experiment, would it be possible for a relatively backwards and unsophisticated hierarchal military to reshape itself into a rhizome military, and in the process defeat the world’s most capable hierarchal military? Specifically, could Iran reshape itself into a rhizome military to defeat a US invasion? And, perhaps more interestingly, would such a policy either force or catalyze the transition of Iranian society as a whole from hierarchy to rhizome?

Iran could abandon its current hierarchal military and devolve into a rhizome of a hundred thousand independent individual “corps” units. These would be complimentary in equipment and specialty, capable of temporarily operating jointly or individually. Each rhizome corps would be minimally self-sufficient in food, transportation, weaponry and communications, and each would have some degree of unique or specialized function in addition to these minimums of independence. A quick list of the various permutations of the rhizome corps: sniper “node”, MANPADS “node”, medical “node”, motorbike messenger/scout “node”, communications “node”, etc. They would operate in a manner that is perhaps best described as “reverse swarming”…rather than coalescing just in time to present a critical mass to confront the enemy, they would leverage their advantage at ranged fire while always fading away into the fabric of the local populace or wilderness just before the enemy can concentrate sufficient mass to force an encounter that favors hierarchy. They would freely communicate and share information about their operations with anyone and everyone, overwhelming the information processing capabilities of hierarchy, while leveraging their own emergent information processing advantage. Many of these techniques are already at work in the worlds many insurgencies, with perhaps the notable exception of the intentional use of “open source” command and control.

While this theory of rhizome warfare is undeveloped and largely untested as a complete package, its effectiveness can be observed by analogy all around us, from the impact of blogs to the inability of the US military to force Islamic insurgents into a pitched battle (despite their overt attempt in Fallujah). Perhaps most importantly, as a full package, the methods of rhizome warfare may actually strengthen the societal and economic patterns of a rhizome society.
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Old January 1st, 2009 #4
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Default Gladwell's Cellular Church

Gladwell's Cellular Church
http://edgeperspectives.typepad.com/...lls_cellu.html


What do the Communist Party, Alcoholics Anonymous, evangelical Christians and al-Qaeda all have in common? They adopted and refined the technique of organizing in small cells to achieve change. This is the fascinating theme of Malcolm Gladwell’s new article, “The Cellular Church” (alas, not available online), in the September 12, 2005 issue of The New Yorker (actually, I added al-Qaeda to the list based on a posting that I will mention later).

Gladwell uses the story of Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Orange County, California to make this theme come alive. For those of you not familiar with Rick Warren, he is the author of The Purpose-Driven Life (23 million copies sold so far and it is just getting started) and founder of the Saddleback Church, an evangelical Christian church with 20,000 members in its congregation and the hub of a global network of 1,100 other evangelical Christian churches.

Gladwell focuses on a core challenge confronting any voluntary organization – how to make it scalable. On the one hand, many voluntary organizations want to grow so they need to have low barriers to entry. But if they grow too fast or too big, they begin to lose the sense of community and identity that is necessary to retain members. He notes that “historically, churches have sacrificed size for community” but that this changed back in the 1970s and 1980s when the evangelical movement began to build megachurches. It turns out the cellular model has been key to the success of megachurches – cells helped them to solve the scalability challenge.

What are these cells? Gladwell observes that they are “exclusive, tightly knit groups of six or seven who meet in one another’s homes during the week to worship and pray.” It turns out, at least 40 million Americans now participate in a religious cell of this type. This is also the organizational model that led to the early success of the Communist Party and the continuing success of Alcoholics Anonymous and its many spin-offs.

As Gladwell reports,

Warren’s great talent is organizational. He’s not a theological innovator. . . . What he wanted to learn was how to construct an effective religious institution. His interest was sociological . . . The contemporary thinker Warren cites most often in conversation is the management guru Peter Drucker, who has been a close friend of his for years.

In his article, Gladwell focuses on the role of cells in building tight social bonds among people who share common interests – he mentions one church cell of mountain bikers that “go biking together and . . .are one another’s best friends.” But there is another even more fundamental theme in the article that makes this story more relevant to business executives.

Gladwell draws a distinction between self-help books that are inward-focused, “focusing the reader on his own experience,” and Warren’s book which begins with “It’s not about you” and instead draws the reader into a program of personal and social change that requires the participation of others. Warren’s book serves as a powerful coordinating mechanism for a highly distributed network.

Gladwell quotes Robert Wuthnow, a Professor of Sociology at Princeton who has spent many years studying the evangelical movement (Wuthnow is also the author of the interesting book Loose Connections: Joining Together in America’s Fragmented Communities):

Small groups cultivate spirituality, but it is a particular kind of spirituality. . . . They provide ways of putting faith in practice. For the most part, their focus is on practical applications, not on abstract knowledge, or even on ideas for the sake of ideas themselves.

These groups are not just worshipping and praying together, they are contributing time and money to change the world. They provide a forum for taking initiative, building something very new and making a difference. Depending on your religious and social views, you may not necessarily agree with what they are building, but they are driven by the desire to create something quite different, rather than passively listening to sermons and reading scripture.

I look for patterns. I see the spread of the evangelical movement with its cellular structure as just one illustration of a much more profound shift in society. I blogged earlier about distributed creation and production in such diverse domains as music (remix), extreme sports and even illegal drugs, not to mention open source software and electronics devices. We are seeing this same pattern play out in the evangelical movement. We are moving from consuming religion in central locations to producing (or re-producing) it in our living rooms.

In the process, considerable diversity is emerging in these living rooms (far more than secular liberals are willing to acknowledge). To quote Gladwell again:

Scratch the surface, and the appearance of homogeneity and ideological consistency disappears . . . . The members of Warren’s network don’t all dress the same, and they march to the tune only of their own small group, and they agree, fundamentally, only on who the enemy is. It’s not an army. It’s an insurgency.

Which brings me to al-Qaeda. John Robb posted “The Bazaar’s Open Source Platform” almost a year ago on his blog discussing the implications of the disruption of al-Qaeda’s hub of operations in Afghanistan and the evolution of an even more distributed virtual network behind the guerilla war in Iraq. He makes the case that this virtual network is pursuing many of the same principles outlined by Eric Raymond in The Cathedral and the Bazaar, one of the inspirations behind the open source movement.

Now that’s a pattern – from the Sunni strongholds of Iraq and the Afghanistan-Pakistan border (not to mention working class neighborhoods in British and German cities) to the living rooms of affluent Orange Country, we’re seeing loosely coupled networks surface as spearheads of social change. I certainly have no intention of equating Islamist guerillas with evangelical Christians. My point in fact is that remarkably diverse movements inspired by deep religious conviction are embracing similar models of organization.

The patterns on this edge map to patterns on other edges that are more directly relevant to business executives, including the emergence of global process networks reshaping the creation and production of goods as diverse as khaki pants and digital still cameras. People are also becoming more involved in the production and creation of the items that are most meaningful to them. At the same time, these production and creation activities are becoming far more distributed, even on a global scale. New ways of organizing are creating the potential for significant scalability, flexibility and innovation as well as much deeper relationships with participants. Companies need to figure out what these developments mean for them, both in terms of how they organize their activities and how they build relationships with their constituencies.
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Old January 1st, 2009 #5
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Default Swarming

Swarming

Rand Corporation

http://www.rand.org/pubs/documented_...RAND_DB311.pdf

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.

Contents

Chapter One:
Introduction

Chapter Two:
Evolution of Military Doctrine

Chapter Three:
Instances of Swarming

Chapter Four:
Design Elements and Challenges

Chapter Five:
Toward A Battleswarm Doctrine
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Old January 1st, 2009 #6
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Default In Search Of How Societies Work

IN SEARCH OF HOW SOCIETIES WORK
Tribes — The First and Forever Form
http://www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/WR433/
http://www.rand.org/pubs/working_pap...RAND_WR433.pdf
By: David Ronfeldt

Contents

Chapter One:
How Societies Progress: The Basic Story

Chapter Two:
Rethinking Social Evolution

Chapter Three:
Evolution of Tribes and Clans

Chapter Four:
Modern Manifestations of the Tribal Form

Appendix A:
21st Century Tribes

Appendix B:
Today’s Wars Are Less About Ideas Than Extreme Tribalism

Appendix C:
Mussolini’s Ghost


The latest in a string of efforts to develop a theoretical framework about social evolution, based on how people develop their societies by using four forms of organization — tribes, hierarchical institutions, markets, and networks — this installment focuses on the tribal form. The tribal form was the first to emerge and mature, beginning thousands of years ago. Its main dynamic is kinship, which gives people a distinct sense of identity and belonging-the basic elements of culture, as manifested still today in matters ranging from nationalism to fan clubs. This report provides a lead-off chapter that sketches the entire framework, plus a “rethinking” chapter that shows why David Ronfeldt thinks that social evolution revolves around four forms of organization. A chapter then traces the evolution of tribes and clans, and the final chapter describes modern manifestations of the tribal form. An appendix reprints three op-ed pieces that sprang from Ronfeldt’s efforts to understand the tribal form and its continuing relevance. Ronfeldt maintains that societies advance by learning to use and combine all four forms, in a preferred progression. What ultimately matters is how the forms are added and how well they function together. They are not substitutes for each other; they are complements. Historically, a society’s advance — its progress — depends on its ability to use all four forms and combine them into a coherent, well-balanced, well-functioning whole. Essentially monoform tribal/clan societies and biform chiefdoms and clan-states, some dressed in the trappings of nation-states and capitalist economies, remain a ruling reality in vast areas of the world. It therefore behooves analysts and strategists who mostly think about states and markets to gain a better grip on roles the tribal form plays in both national development and national security.
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Old January 1st, 2009 #7
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Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy
http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_r...382/index.html

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.


Contents

Preface PDF
http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_r...R1382.pref.pdf

Summary PDF
http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_r...MR1382.sum.pdf

Acknowledgments PDF
http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_r...1382.ackno.pdf

Chapter One:
The Advent of Netwar (Revisited) PDF
http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_r...MR1382.ch1.pdf

Part I: Violence-Prone Netwars

Chapter Two:
The Networking of Terror in the Information Age PDF
http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_r...MR1382.ch2.pdf

Chapter Three:
Transnational Criminal Networks PDF
http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_r...MR1382.ch3.pdf

Chapter Four:
Gangs, Hooligans, and Anarchists - the Vanguard of Netwar in the Streets PDF
http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_r...MR1382.ch4.pdf

Part II: Social Netwars

Chapter Five:
Networking Dissent: Cyber Activists Use the Internet to Promote Democracy in Burma PDF
http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_r...MR1382.ch5.pdf


Chapter Six:
Emergence and Influence of the Zapatista Social Netwar PDF
http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_r...MR1382.ch6.pdf

Chapter Seven:
Netwar in the Emerald City: WTO Protest Strategy and Tactics PDF
http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_r...MR1382.ch7.pdf

Part III: Once and Future Netwars

Chapter Eight:
Activism, Hacktivism, and Cyberterrorism: the Internet As a Tool for Influencing Foreign Policy PDF
http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_r...MR1382.ch8.pdf


Chapter Nine:
The Structure of Social Movements: Environmental Activism and Its Opponents PDF
http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_r...MR1382.ch9.pdf

Chapter Ten:
What Next for Networks and Netwars? PDF
http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_r...R1382.ch10.pdf

Afterword (September 2001): The Sharpening Fight for the Future PDF
http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_r...1382.after.pdf

Contributors PDF
http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_r...R1382.cont.pdf

About the Authors PDF
http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_r...1382.about.pdf
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Old January 1st, 2009 #8
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A Long Look Ahead
NGOs, Networks, and Future Social Evolution
http://www.rand.org/pubs/reprints/RP1169/

http://www.rand.org/pubs/reprints/2005/RAND_RP1169.pdf

By: David Ronfeldt

This paper — written in 2002 and now a chapter in a new book — speculates about the future of the environmental movement as a function of its increasing use of network forms of organization and related strategies and technologies attuned to the information age. The paper does so by nesting
the movement’s potential in a theoretical framework about social evolution.

This framework holds that people have developed four major forms for organizing their societies: first tribes, then hierarchical institutions, then markets, and now networks. The emergence of a new, network-based
realm augurs a major rebalancing in relations among government, market, and civil-society actors.

In the near term (years), there will be continuing episodes of social conflict as some environmental groups press their case, often by using netwar and swarming strategies. Over the long term (decades), new policymaking mechanisms will evolve for joint communication, coordination, and collaboration among government, business, and civil-society actors. Today, it is often said that “government” or “the market” is the solution. In time, it may well be said that “the network” is the solution. Excerpted from Environmentalism and the Technologies of Tomorrow: Shaping the Next Industrial Revolution by Robert Olson and David Rejeski, eds.

Copyright © 2005 Island Press. Reproduced by permission of Island Press, Washington, D.C. For additional background, see David Ronfeldt Tribes, Institutions, Markets, Networks — A Framework About Societal Evolution, Santa Monica, CA: RAND, P-7967, 1996; and David Ronfeldt, Al Qaeda and
Its Affiliates: A Global Tribe Waging Segmental Warfare?, First Monday, March 2005.
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Old January 1st, 2009 #9
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Default Computer Laboratory report The topology of covert conflict -

The topology of covert conflict

Extracts

http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/techreports/UCAM-CL-TR-637.html

http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/techreports/UCAM-CL-TR-637.pdf

Often an attacker tries to disconnect a network by destroying nodes or edges, while the defender counters using various resilience mechanisms. Examples include a music industry body attempting to close down a peer-to-peer file-sharing network; medics attempting to halt the spread of an infectious disease by selective vaccination; and a police agency trying to decapitate a terrorist organisation. Albert, Jeong and Barabási famously analysed the static case, and showed that vertex-order attacks are effective against scale-free networks. We extend this work to the dynamic case by developing a framework based on evolutionary game theory to explore the interaction of attack and defence strategies. We show, first, that naive defences don’t work against vertex-order attack; second, that defences based on simple redundancy don’t work much better, but that defences based on cliques work well; third, that attacks based on centrality work better against clique defences than vertex-order attacks do; and fourth, that defences based on complex strategies such as delegation plus clique resist centrality attacks better than simple clique defences. Our models thus build a bridge between network analysis and evolutionary game theory, and provide a framework for analysing defence and attack in networks where topology matters. They suggest definitions of efficiency of attack and defence, and may even explain the evolution of insurgent organisations from networks of cells to a more virtual leadership that facilitates operations rather than directing them. Finally, we draw some conclusions and present possible directions for future research.


In this paper, we have built a bridge between network science and evolutionary game theory.
For some years, people have discussed what sort of communications topologies might be ideal for covert communication in the presence of powerful adversaries, and whether network science might be of practical use in covert conflicts – whether to insurgents or to counterinsurgency forces [5, 18]. Our work makes a start on dealing with this question
systematically.Albert, Jeong and Barab´asi showed that although a scalefree network provides better connectivity, this comes at a cost in robustness – an opponent can disconnect a network
quickly by concentrating its firepower on well-connected nodes. In this paper, we have asked the logical next questions. What sort of defence should be planned by operators of such a network? And what sort of framework can be developed in which to test successive refinements of attack, defense, counterattack and so on?
First, we have shown that naive defences don’t work. Simply replacing dead hubs with new recruits does not slow down the attacker much, regardless of whether link replacement follows a random or scale-free pattern.
Moving from a single-shot game to a repeated game provides a useful framework. It enables concepts of evolutionary game theory to be applied to network problems.

Next, we used the framework to explore two more sophisticated defensive strategies. In one, potentially vulnerable high-order nodes are replaced with rings of nodes, inspired by a standard technique in anonymous communications. In the other, they are replaced by cliques, inspired by the cell structure often used in revolutionary warfare. To our surprise
we found that rings were all but useless, while cliques are remarkably effective. This may be part of the reason why cell structures have been widely used by capable insurgent groups.

Next, we searched for attacks that work better against clique defences. We found that the centrality attack of Holme et al does indeed appear to be more powerful, although it can be more difficult to mount as evaluating node centrality involves knowledge of the entire topology of the network. Centrality attacks may reflect the modern reality of counterinsurgency based on pervasive communications intelligence and, in particular,
traffic analysis.

Now we are searching for defences that work better against centrality attacks. A promising candidate appears to be the delegation defence, combined with cliques. This combination may in some ways reflect the reported ‘virtualisation’ strategies of some modern insurgent networks.
Above all, this work provides a systematic way to evolve and test security concepts relating to the topology of networks.
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Old January 3rd, 2009 #10
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Default Network-centric organization

Network-centric organization
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network...c_organization

A network-centric organization is a network governance pattern emerging in many progressive 21st century enterprises. This implies new ways of working, with consequences for the enterprise’s infrastructure, processes, people and culture. With a network-centric configuration, knowledge workers are able to create and leverage information to increase competitive advantage through the collaboration of small and agile self-directed teams. For this, the organizational culture needs to change from one solely determined by a command and control, rule-based hierarchy to a hybrid structure which supports loosely-coupled, self-managed teams to make cooperative decisions through the sharing of knowledge. Socially-constructed, collective knowledge, at the small team level, is recognized as the predominant source of learning, creativity and innovation even in large highly structured business enterprises.

A network-centric organization is a sensible response to a complex environment. The business climate of the new millennium is characterized by profound and continuous changes due to globalization, exponential leaps in technological capabilities, and other market forces. Rapid developments of ICT are driving and supporting the change from the industrial to the information age. In this world of rapid change and uncertainty, organizations need to continually renew, reinvent and reinvigorate themselves in order to respond creatively. The network-centric approach aims to tap into the hidden resources of knowledge workers supported and enabled by ICT, in particular the social technologies associated with Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0. Essentially though, a network-centric organization is more about people and culture than technology. [1] A useful survey of network organization theory appears in Van Alstyne (1997)[2]
Contents


* 1 Knowledge Work
* 2 Hybrid Enterprises
* 3 Sensible Organization
* 4 Social Technologies
* 5 Power shift in traditional organizations
* 6 Links to Network Centric Warfare
* 7 See also
* 8 References

Knowledge Work

There is a synthesis of thinking, learning and doing at the core of creative human activity that underpins the concept of knowledge work. Knowledge workers collaborate on tasks that are cognitively demanding, involving complex technical judgements, a high degree of professional and individual expertise and experience. The knowledge worker is astutely aware, not only of the means and purpose of their work, but also its political and social dimensions. Much of this knowledge is tacit and shared among the work group becoming embedded in its culture. There is a broad expanse of uncharted territory between the real knowledge work that occurs in an organization and the formal organizational structure and espoused practices. The concentration on formal organizational programs aimed at the individual workers ignored the real nature of work practices that reside in a space between the organization and individual perspectives. This space often remain hidden from the organizational landscape, unappreciated and undervalued. Revealing the nature of this hidden space holds the key to understanding knowledge work and is critical to successful organizational outcomes and learning.

Hybrid Enterprises

Many enterprises are hybrids of hierarchical bureaucracies and dispersed network-centric configurations where competition and cooperation coexist. Enterprises which have complex hybrid structures consisting of hierarchies and networks are more like eco-systems than machines. The latter are likely to be exploitative and bureaucratic while the former can be networked and innovative. This reflects the tension between the natural tendency for disorder to increase while humans strive to impose order by developing ever more complex rigid structures and systems. It is quite a natural state of affairs that organizations can be part mechanistic and part organic with continual transformations among these forms.

Sensible Organization

A complex environment presents an enterprise with too large a range and diversity of inputs to comprehend logically so the sensible response is not to try. Attempts to deal with complexity are unsuccessful if they aim to either simplify or assert control over complex situations. It makes more sense to maintain and support the natural creative energies of complex environments, encouraging the emergence of innovative new forms of working. Sensible enterprises will become agile, flexible and adaptable by incorporating more creativity and diversity into their structures, processes and human resources. The informality, interactivity and adaptability of small teams of people retains a space for what we traditionally call ‘common sense’ for both understanding and action amid the accountability and constraints of the formal enterprise. Sensible managers will relinquish some of their traditional control to knowledge workers in small self directed teams.

Social Technologies

At the current time, a new civil digital culture has taken hold, in which so-called ‘social’ and/or ‘conversational’ technologies or social software are providing unprecedented opportunities for everyday user activities. The term Web 2.0 has entered the vocabulary to reflect the ongoing transition of the World Wide Web from a collection of websites to a full-fledged computing platform serving social web applications such as email, discussion forums, chatrooms, Weblogs and Wikis to end users. Constructivist learning theorists (Vygotsky, 1978; [3] Leidner & Jarvenpaa, 1995 [4] explained that the process of expressing knowledge aids its creation and conversations benefits the refinement of knowledge. Cheung et al. (2005) [5] maintains that conversational knowledge management fulfils this purpose because conversations, e.g. questions and answers, become the source of relevant knowledge. Social technologies facilitate processes where knowledge creation and storage is carried out through a discussion forum where participants contribute to the discussion with questions and answers, or through a Weblog which is typified by a process of storytelling or through a Wiki using collaborative writing (Hasan and Pfaff 2006). [6] In the corporate setting, the term Enterprise 2.0 is emerging to reflect the use of freeform social software within companies to support work units and the individual knowledge worker. Gordon and Ganesan (2005) [7] advocates a different vision for knowledge management systems to one that is specifically targeted to the capture and use of the stories told in communities and organizations in the context of normal, spoken conversations. Conversation and other types of human-human communication must be exploited in today’s knowledge management systems so as harness the value of conversation in packaging and transmitting tacit knowledge. The attraction of these social technologies is their low cost, intuitive functionality and connectivity. Social technologies support new forms of network-centric interaction and activity between people, allowing and enhancing informal access to create and distribute information. These technologies empower ordinary people to have a global presence for business, political and social purposes. The new social technologies at the focus of this project are tools of a rising digital democracy.

Power shift in traditional organizations

Traditional organizations that favor a rigid hierarchical structure and ego-centric methods still employ the outmoded concept where the decision-making authority lies solely in the domain of its corporate headquarters. Changes resulting from developments in ICT and the growth of the Internet, have made it increasingly difficult to provide a platform for effective and efficient management and operations. As observed by De Vulpian (2005), [8] “we are in the process of moving from a pyramidal, hierarchical society to a single-story society where heterarchical relationships dominate”.

There is a tension between ego-centric thinking and network-centric thinking – the tension between the institutional power that emanates from an organization and the transactional power that inheres in its members' daily interactions. Progressive organizations are tending to refocus on supporting teams in community-style networks. There is a growing realization that if "decisions are allowed to move out of the corporate headquarters to individual business units, business units will in turn distribute power and decision-making to self-managed teams and profit centers (Allee 2003).” [9] This is the basis of the concept of knowledge work where workers have control over their own activities through knowledge acquired in the course of both training and experience.

Links to Network Centric Warfare

Network-centric warfare is a simple concept that involves the linkage of engagement systems to sensors through networks and the sharing of information between force elements. The early development of the concept evolved by connecting information systems and creating software applications that allow people to use the available data. McKenna, Moon, Davis and Warne (2006) [10] emphasise on the human dimension of NCW which is based on the idea that information is only useful if it allows people to act more effectively.

See also

* Commons-based peer production
* Complexity theory
* Network governance
* Organizational learning
* Self-organization
* Sensemaking
* Teamwork
* Value network
* Value network analysis

References

1. ^ Hasan, H. & Pousti, H. 2006. "SNA as an Attractor in Emergent Networks of Research Groups".
2. ^ Van Alstyne, M. (1997) "The State of Network Organization: A Survey in Three Frameworks" Journal of Organizational Computing 7(3) pp 88-151.
3. ^ Vygotsky, L.1978. "Mind in Society", Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
4. ^ Leidner, D. & Jarvenpaa, S.1995. “The use of information technology to enhance management school education: A theoretical view”, MIS Quarterly, Vol.19, No.3, pp.265-291.
5. ^ Cheung, K. S. K., Lee, F. S. L., Ip, R. K. F., & Wagner, C. “The Development of Successful On-line Communities”, International Journal of the Computer, the Internet and Management, vol.13, no.1, 2005, 71-89.
6. ^ Hasan, H. and Pfaff, C.C. 2006. "Emergent Conversational Technologies that are Democratising Information Systems in Organisations: the case of the corporate Wiki", Proceedings of the Information Systems Foundations (ISF): Theory, Representation and Reality Conference, Australian National University, Canberra, 27-28 September 2006.
7. ^ Gordon,A.E. and Ganesan,K. 2005. "Automated Story Capture From Conversational Speech", K-CAP’05, October 2-5, 2005, Banff, Canada.
8. ^ De Vulpian, A. 2005. "Listening to Ordinary People", keynote address at the Society of Organizational Learning Conference, Vienna, September.
9. ^ Allee, V. 2003 "The Future of Knowledge: Increasing Prosperity through Value Networks", Butterworth-Heinemann, USA.
10. ^ McKenna, T., Moon, T., Davis, R. and Warne, L. 2006. "Science and Technology for Australian Network-Centric Warfare: Function, Form and Fit", Australian Defence Force Journal.
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