10 Ways the Internet Changed the Art of War

The Internet has most definitely changed the “art” of war, and it has done so in two major ways. First, the Information Highway has brought an immediacy to news coverage never before available. Cell phone camera reportage from world hot-spots place the viewer right in the middle of battles, and this sort of coverage elicits visceral response, and emotional involvement. The second major aspect of the effect of the Internet is its use in cyber-warfare, where the net itself is a weapon. Presented here are some of the changes and developments in warfare as they pertain to an Internet presence.

  1. Speed – Going backward in history it is easy to see how much faster information travels today; Paul Revere, today, would simply have Tweeted that the British were coming.
  2. Empathy – With today’s Internet, users are drawn into the human element of warfare, as cameras are able to travel with soldiers right into the heart of a battle, into tents, mess halls and even latrines, providing minute-to-minute coverage of life on the war front.
  3. War as Theater – One of the truly disconcerting aspects of war coverage has been the concept of war as a spectator “sport”. Viewers and listeners have an unprecedented front-row vantage point, and coverage sometimes comes across in the same way as “reality” television. “Unscripted” drama has a choke-hold on the American imagination.
  4. Internal Information – Military forces utilize the Internet to speed-up the flow of information from headquarters to battle-front; instant communication can save lives.
  5. Computer Controlled WMD’s – Modern weaponry is often controlled directly by computer, and military strikes can be ordered and aimed by remote online devices.
  6. Destroy Enemy Capabilities – Hackers of all nationalities and philosophies are hard-at-work in attempts to penetrate enemy networks, using a myriad of devices and applications; the use of the term “trojan” bespeaks a military thinking dynamic.
  7. Disinformation – As easily spread as information, disinformation and misinformation are age-old tactics that have achieved instant capabilities, thanks to the Internet.
  8. Defense – The military is hard at work developing defenses against cyber-attacks; no military has a monopoly on offensive tactics.
  9. Surveillance – Google Earth is a fascinating look at ourselves, and  military forces have developed and used similar technology to spy on enemies and friends alike.
  10. 4G Warfare? – With a nod toward the human penchant for blood lust, it is unlikely that warfare will move entirely from the physical world to a virtual world of competing ideologies any time soon, but the possibilities of cyber-warfare have just been introduced. It remains to be seen how the technology evolves.

Sun Tzu is famous for “The Art of War”, and one of his basic ideas is that every war (or competition) has at least two competing sides, and that every side must continue to change and develop new tactics or face destruction by a side which does continue to evolve.

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