Net Warfare 101

Thom Shanker writes an interesting piece in The New York Times (“A New Enemy Gains On The U.S.”, 30th July 2006) about the new hybrid force we are witnessing in Lebanon today (with the agility of guerillas and more high-tech (fire)power than most nations), and some difficult implications thereof :

“We are now into the first great war between nations and networks,” said John Arquilla, a professor of defense analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School, and a leading analyst of net warfare.

Though if you’re searching for analogies to describe such a hybrid force, you’ll suddenly find elements of it are not as modern as you at first thought. As DEBKAfile noted last week:

Last week, Israel’s army chiefs believed they had encountered Hizballah’s primary war tactic – Viet Cong-style guerrilla warfare out of hundreds of small bunkers scattered across the country. This week had scarcely begun when a still more formidable impediment was discovered: Hizballah camouflage techniques borrowed from the Japanese in the 1945 Iwo Jima battle. … A senior officer told DEBKAfile grimly: “Now we know that when a stand of five or six trees suddenly starts walking, we are seeing a 14-barreled Fajr 3 rocket launcher on the move; one or two trees in motion may conceal a couple of Hizballah fighters.” … But the situation is more difficult when the trees or bushes stand still and blend in with the surrounding dense foliage.

Thankfully, Dovster and BEYflyer, caught up in the thick of it on each side of the border and describing the nightmare in real time on FlyerTalk, are both still going strong…

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