Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Rise of Big Data

The Rise of Big Data: Everyone knows that the Internet has changed how businesses operate, governments function, and people live. But a new, less visible technological trend is proving just as transformative: big data.

This recent essay in Foreign Affairs is one of the most thought-provoking essaysI have read in a long time. It is worth reading and re-reading because beyond the technical innovations the authors present are some serious implications for international and domestic political interactions. While, I don't know that this essay is necessarily a game changer in terms of the way one thinks about political philosophies, I do think it is of the scale Samuel Huntington's, Clash of Civilizations essay (and book) was in 1993. This essay demonstrates, what I think, is a fundamental difference between naysayers of technology and those that embrace its globalizing transformation: that man's telos is nowhere near.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hypothetical Somalia Scenario Planning

I was messing around with some scenario planning. Here is a scenario for humanitarian intervention. It is purely hypothetical, but the point of it is to display possibilities using a more systematic methodology rather than just guessing. It is embedded below as a PDF.

Somalia Scenario Planning Humanitarian Intervention

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Human Domain

I have talked about the military's Joint Operational Access Concept before. The JOAC identifies several domains in which different components of the military operate. Land, air, sea, even cyber and outer space are examples of domains. There is an interesting discussion taking place in certain defense circles about an additional domain, the human domain. I've been working on a monograph for a few months about Special Operations Forces operating in the world's "unlit spaces." The paper is an expansion of my previous post about the same subject; however, this upcoming monograph addresses the idea of this human domain. Essentially, I make the case that unlit spaces, as a phenomenon are more nuanced than they appear from space and that their implication for policy and defense decisions is more a matter of the distinct human factors in that space than the mere fact that it is unlit. This becomes especially true when one considers the kinds of Special Operations missions that deal with close interactions with people. The ability, then, to gain access to people presents all kinds of challenges related to both accessing them and to anti-access measures places may take to prevent influencing the human domain. I think the idea of the human domain has very interesting implications for Special Operations and  for the military as a whole. The idea of domains in general is really interesting, especially as the military moves closer to cross-domain synergy.