Asymmetric Warfare: Threat and Response in the 21st Century

Asymmetric Warfare: Threat and Response in the 21st CenturyIn recent years, the nature of conflict has changed. Through asymmetric warfare radical groups and weak state actors are using unexpected means to deal stunning blows to more powerful opponents in the West. From terrorism to information warfare, the Wests air power, sea power and land power are open to attack from clever, but much weaker, enemies.

In this clear and engaging introduction, Rod Thornton unpacks the meaning and significance of asymmetric warfare, in both civilian and military realms, and examines why it has become such an important subject for study. He seeks to provide answers to key questions, such as how weaker opponents apply asymmetric techniques against the Western world, and shows how the Wests military superiority can be seriously undermined by asymmetric threats. The book concludes by looking at the ways in which the US, the state most vulnerable to asymmetric attack, is attempting to cope with some new battlefield realities.

This is an indispensable guide to one of the key topics in security studies today.

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Instituto Sagres does lecture on Cyber Intelligence

Instituto Sagres gave the lecture “The Intelligence and Cyber Power”. The event occurred on 19 September 2012 and was part of the Cyber Intelligence Symposium, organized by the Brazilian Army Intelligence School (EsIMEx).

The approach is an analogy with the rise of Air Power and its Theories, as well as Air Forces, from the invention of the balloon, by priest Bartolomeu de Gusmão, to the present day, under the focus of Intelligence for military use. Examines aspects of the emergence of Air Power Theories and as in its early days the air vector was seen only as a tool for Intelligence, without any military value as stated by Marshal Foch in 1910, notably with use only for the (Aerial) Reconnaissance, replacing the cavalry and later seen as a replacement to the high spots on the ground, as the Military Doctrine of the time. In this analogy, we have uncovered a probable metric for chronology of emergent Cyber Power in function of the use of the Fifth Dimension: Cyberspace; until then only seen as a source of Intelligence, without any military value. The author leads the audience to question at what timeline point, in the use of Cyberspace, we would be: at the time of the Duque de Caxias balloons (or American Civil War) or UAV? The speaker brings to reflect the questioning of how far away we are from what could be Cyber Power Theories and Cyber Forces (the next Force among Armed Forces) and how Intelligence has and will have a key role in this evolution.

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National Defense Strategy – United States of America

National Defense Strategy - United States of AmericaThe United States, our allies, and our partners face a spectrum of challenges, including violent transnational extremist networks, hostile states armed with weapons of mass destruction, rising regional powers, emerging space and cyber threats, natural and pandemic disasters, and a growing competition for resources. The Department of Defense must respond to these challenges while anticipating and preparing for those of tomorrow. We must balance strategic risk across our responses, making the best use of the tools at hand within the U.S. Government and among our international partners. To succeed, we must harness and integrate all aspects of national power and work closely with a wide range of allies, friends and partners. We cannot prevail if we act alone.

As noted in the 2006 QDR, state actors no longer have a monopoly over the catastrophic use of violence. Small groups or individuals can harness chemical, biological, or even crude radiological or nuclear devices to cause extensive damage and harm. Similarly, they can attack vulnerable points in cyberspace and disrupt commerce and daily life in the United States, causing economic damage, compromising sensitive information and materials, and interrupting critical services such as power and information networks. National security and domestic resources may be at risk, and the Department must help respond to protect lives and national assets. The Department will continue to be both bulwark and active protector in these areas. Yet, in the long run the Department of Defense is neither the best source of resources and capabilities nor the appropriate authority to shoulder these tasks. The comparative advantage, and applicable authorities, for action reside elsewhere in the U.S. Government, at other levels of government, in the private sector, and with partner nations. DoD should expect and plan to play a key supporting role in an interagency effort to combat these threats, and to help develop new capacities and capabilities, while protecting its own vulnerabilities.

In the contemporary strategic environment, the challenge is one of deterring or dissuading a range of potential adversaries from taking a variety of actions against the U.S. and our allies and interests. These adversaries could be states or non-state actors; they could use nuclear, conventional, or unconventional weapons; and they could exploit terrorism, electronic, cyber and other forms of warfare. Economic interdependence and the growth of global communications further complicate the situation. Not only do they blur the types of threats, they also exacerbate sensitivity to the effects of attacks and in some cases make it more difficult to attribute or trace them. Finally, the number of potential adversaries, the breadth of their capabilities, and the need to design approaches to deterrence for each, create new challenges.

An underlying assumption in our understanding of the strategic environment is that the predominant near-term challenges to the United States will come from state and non-state actors using irregular and catastrophic capabilities. Although our advanced space and cyber-space assets give us unparalleled advantages on the traditional battlefield, they also entail vulnerabilities.

China is developing technologies to disrupt our traditional advantages. Examples include development of anti-satellite capabilities and cyber warfare. Other actors, particularly non-state actors, are developing asymmetric tactics, techniques, and procedures that seek to avoid situations where our advantages come into play.

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