March 09, 2004

Battlefield 'Net II

The battlefield Internet is moving forward and it looks like it will progress along the same style 'S' curve as the Internet itself into a full fledged occupation net that covers all aspects of an occupation. The new innovation is multilingual chat and this makes possible simplified cross-linguistic communication even when people aren't speaking the same language.

This development can take the grand strategy of Thomas Barnett and rewrite it small in the day to day activities of future US military interventions. With a solar rechargeable simputer like device deployed across the population, information connectivity is pretty quickly achieved because simputers are designed so that you don't need previous computer experience or even literacy. With these two innovations combined, you get near instant connectivity. At first, you just hand them out and announce that security notices, where to get food, and where to get jobs and money will be sent through these systems. You maintain a parallel classic announcement system for notices that can get people killed but quickly move over money, job, and resource announcements through the electronic systems.

Once they are in use for such basic things, you've got a communications pipeline into every home in the occupied zone. Tell the truth faster, more complete, than your opponents propaganda can circulate and you win the propaganda war. Provide the information tools to promote the formation of burkean 'little platoons' and you give a leg up to civil society formation. Create reporting modules so that people can inform the military about rebel movements and hideouts without leaving their homes and rebels can no longer intimidate locals into silence.

Monitor the packets that travel across the network and you'll catch rebels trying to piggyback on your system (with airborne wireless access points, they'll never be able to take over all of it). Create economics modules for trading, education modules for learning the habits of freedom, history modules to learn their own history without the cult of personality the previous dictator is likely to have created during the previous regime.

It's an information matrix that is not very useful for the creation of an empire but will provide a very effective information substrate if what you're after is planting a liberty tree.

Update: Ooops I ommitted the link to the story that made me write this article in the first place. It's corrected above and also the link in this update.

Posted by TMLutas at March 9, 2004 09:28 AM