Open Source Counterinsurgency

John Robb argues that, “After four painful years, the US military has stumbled upon . . . the only model for fighting a mature open source insurgency: a decentralized model of security that forgoes centralized defense/police forces in favor of a plethora of independent militias.”

There are, however, two minor downsides to this approach:

    1. “It’s fairly obvious that the US military doesn’t have the skill sets for successfully managing this level of complexity … ”

    2. “It also runs counter to all of the classic goals of counter-insurgency and more importantly, the stated (and implied) goals for the US in Iraq … “

FILED UNDER: General, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Triumph says:

    “Open Source Insurgency”?

    What in the hell does that mean? Al-Quaeda is sitting around running root modifying distros using shell commands to compile the kernel of evil?

    What idiocy!

  2. Andy says:

    Dude, Triumph, using open source software means you’re with the terrorists.

    Buy Windows Vista or prepare to wear a burqa!

  3. Michael says:

    What in the hell does that mean? Al-Quaeda is sitting around running root modifying distros using shell commands to compile the kernel of evil?

    Well at least someone is still working on Hurd.

  4. Tlaloc says:

    Dude, Triumph, using open source software means you’re with the terrorists.

    I knew that god damn penguin was up to no good! I’m going to bludgeon him to death with that stupid microsoft paperclip.

    I assume “open source” here means an insurgency made up of essentially independent cells following a similar script but not dependent on centralized leadership.

    That’s just a guess though.

  5. Michael says:

    Ok, so is Osama Theo de Raadt and Ahmedinajad is Richard Stallman, or is it the other way around? I guess either way George Bush is Bill Gates, but who’s going to be Steve Jobs? Sarkozy?

  6. Tlaloc says:

    but who’s going to be Steve Jobs? Sarkozy?

    Tony Blair. I think that’s pretty clear.

  7. Wayne says:

    Sometimes the best way to solve complex problems is to isolate them into smaller packages and solve them one at time. Once that is done, you can work on solving the interaction of each module.

    Sometimes the best way is to work on a problem is from the top down and other times it is from the bottom up.

    I’m not sure how you get point two. The U.S. Army SF has done it both ways in the past. Which draws into question your first point as well.

    Yes, there is a concern of the militias fighting each other but those are fix targets that can be dealt with by a strong central force.

  8. Michael says:

    Tony Blair. I think that’s pretty clear.

    Blair? No, he may have been the ‘pretty boy’ in the bunch, but Jobs is no lap dog for Bill Gates, so Blair doesn’t seem to fit. I would say Chirac, since he was in ideological competition with Bush, but he’s no longer a player. Still, I can’t think of anyone better at the moment.

    Also, do any world leaders have a penchant for throwing chairs?

  9. Tlaloc says:

    but Jobs is no lap dog for Bill Gates,

    Uh- yes actually he is. Steve Jobs entire existence is to create the illusion that microsoft has competition.

  10. Michael says:

    Uh- yes actually he is. Steve Jobs entire existence is to create the illusion that microsoft has competition.

    Oh, so then the Democratic party is Apple computer? Actually that does explain a lot…

  11. Tlaloc says:

    Oh, so then the Democratic party is Apple computer? Actually that does explain a lot…

    Yes, yes it does. Damn it.