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The Mesh and the Net

SciAm's December article on future high-tech carnage cites:

"The Mesh and the Net: Speculations on Armed Conflict in a
Time of Free Silicon," by Martin C. Libicki, March, 1994. 

Available on the Web at:


NDU is the National Defense University, Libicki's teat.

He is quoted: "We're getting a lot of clever ideas about how
to fight a Gulf War more efficiently, but we rarely get
anything about how to fight a Vietnam more efficiently."

Here are excerpts from his preface:

   Mesh -- the term applied to military applications --
   points to the holes; as information technology places a 
finer mesh
   atop the battlefield, more objects are caught in it. Net -- 
the term
   applied to civilian applications -- points to the substance 
of the
   system; the connectivity of people and their machines 
suggests new
   patterns of social relationships and new venues for 
conflict. Silicon,
   that which is to become free, stands for both semiconductor 
chips (for
   computation) and optical fibers (for communications).
   Argument: The relationship of the once and future revolution 
   information technology to warfare is analyzed in several 
     * Chapter One outlines the basis for this revolution and 
       why its most natural expression is the dispersion rather 
       accumulation of information power.
     * Chapter Two examines its expression on the battlefield 
in three
       aspects: Pop-up warfare, the rise of the Mesh, and the 
       of Fire-ant warfare.
     * Chapter Three examines whether the revolution on the 
       translates into a commensurate revolution in military
     * Chapter Four discusses implications for acquisition, 
research and
     * Chapter Five extends the analysis to the case of 
     * Chapter Six attempts a broader assessment of how 
       applications of information technology, the Net, may 
       national security.
     * Chapter Seven contrasts the Mesh, and the Net.
     * The Epilogue considers certain reasons why information 
       may not translate into the victory of the Small and the 
Many over
       the Few and the Large.

<www.ndu.edu/ndu/inss> and links offer an ape-lab of global 
insecurity ebolas.