Cyber Warfare Schools of Thought: Bridging the Epistemological/Ontological Divide, Part 1 (RCAF Journal - SUMMER 2016 - Volume 5, Issue 3)

Carr Award

Commander RCAF, Lieutenant-General M. Hood, presents Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Martin with the inaugural Carr Award. Part 1 of his winning paper, “Cyber Warfare Schools of Thought: Bridging the Epistemological/Ontological Divide,” follows. Part 2 will be published in the fall issue.

Carr Award

In order to promote vital airpower research within the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), the RCAF Commander has instituted a series of awards that will recognize individuals who contribute first-class papers that address airpower-related issues.

Five research awards have been established, and the first to be awarded in the series is the Carr Award, which is presented to a Joint Command and Staff Programme student at Canadian Forces Staff College for a pre-eminent paper on an innovative airpower topic.

The Carr Award is so-named in recognition of Lieutenant-General Bill Carr, a highly decorated World War II veteran who is considered the father of the modern Canadian air force. He retired in 1978 after 36 years of dedicated service, and his final leadership role was as the creator and first Commander of Air Command.

Beginning with his first Spitfire flight over enemy territory while commanding the United Nations air transport operation in the Congo, Lieutenant-General Carr, a pilot with over 18,000 flying hours, understood the importance of air power and experienced first-hand the effects of technological advancements.

By Lieutenant-Colonel P. E. C. Martin, CD, MDS, MASc

Abstract

There are tangible ontological influences of modern-day communications and computerization on our daily lives. An important consequence of the increasing dependence on networked communications is that it presents opportunities for agents wishing to exploit system vulnerabilities. These agents range from nation states to non-state actors. The most basic question a modern military confronts from the challenge of cyber threats is: “what is to be done?” Purely technological responses are available, but the implications of their use often raise more questions than they answer. Governments and militaries are presented with a basic epistemological problem which hinders their ability to answer the question already posed. Analysing the existing body of relevant literature offers a process by which the uncertainties posed by these questions can be sorted out. However, the rapid pace of developments bedevils those who seek to keep up with this evolving issue. This paper seeks to rectify this situation by proposing a schema for classifying the different epistemological conceptions in terms of discrete, cyber warfare schools of thought. By so doing, a better understanding of the differing conceptions is both possible and achievable. Ultimately, the purpose of such a typology is to help bridge the epistemological/ontological divide that exists in different understandings and conceptions of cyber.

Chapter 1 – Introduction

The nations, of course, that are most at risk of a destructive digital attack are the ones with the greatest connectivity.[1]

– Kim Zetter

The activities and capabilities of the cyber realm are often influenced by exposure to popular culture and visionary writers of science fiction. An example of this is the 1983 movie War Games, in which a high school student hacks into a military system to play online games but almost initiates global thermonuclear war by accident. In the 2015 movie Blackhat, nuclear plant safety and trade exchange security are imperiled by evil individuals with cyber exploitation skills. These sorts of fears and concerns related to the possible implications of the wired world on human existence are shaping opinions on what cyber connectivity represents. Does the interconnected environment hosting the cyber activity represent a new arena, territory or battlefield? Popular culture would seem to suggest that cyberspace is in fact a new construct for individuals to conduct daily tasks as well as to interact and exchange information with other individuals in a highly interconnected fashion. With origins relating back to the ancient Greek term kubernétés,[2] cyberspace as a term was derived from Norbert Wiener’s 1948 seminal work[3] on cybernetics and automation. Wiener’s philosophy and pursuit of automation to improve people’s lives have led to the current perceptions of cyberspace as a medium in which masses of people are interconnected and influenced by the activities within this realm.[4]

Defence and security implications

Cyber security within the Canadian federal government is increasingly becoming a point of concern not only from the perspective of information confidentiality, integrity and availability but also in terms of public safety. There are unambiguous ontological[5] influences of modern-day communications and computerization on our daily lives. Alun Munslow, in his book The Routledge Companion to Historical Studies, defines the meaning of ontology as:

that branch of metaphysics that addresses the general state of being, the nature of existence, and how the human mind apprehends, comprehends, judges, categorizes, makes assumptions about and constructs reality. For the historian ontological questions arise when we address how to create historical facts within the larger ontology of our own existence, that is, the condition(s) of being under which we create or construct the-past-as-(the discipline of)-history.[6]

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Human existence—the ontological—is progressively being supported by computerized information. The reality of increasing dependence on networked communications presents opportunities for those wishing to exploit system vulnerabilities ranging from nation states to non-state actors. In Canada today, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) are responsible for providing defence intelligence as well as monitoring cyber threats and providing military response options to them.[7]

The most basic question a modern military confronts from the challenge of cyber threats is: “what is to be done?” Information technology (IT) offers a host of new capabilities for military forces. They offer new opportunities for acquiring information and executing action within a battlespace as well as the potential for generating new threats. But events do not wait for us to have a systematic understanding of them before they occur, as the Stuxnet[8] and Buckshot Yankee[9] incidents illustrate. The daily news announces that more computer systems have been hacked and compromised by malware; more companies and governments have lost information to spies, criminals and activists;[10] and more individuals have had their privacy invaded.[11] Nearly every United States (US) arms programme tested in 2014 showed “significant vulnerabilities to cyber-attacks,”[12] including some of the most sophisticated weapon systems in use or development. The United States Air Force (USAF) saw the Predator and Reaper drone fleets infected with the “credential stealing” virus and the F-35 fighter was revealed to have a cyber vulnerability in the Autonomic Logistics Information System that could allow adversaries to defeat the plane without ever firing a round.[13]

Despite being a priority for action, the absence of doctrine for cyber warfare frustrates our ability to think about what should be done in terms of a military response to potential incidents or threats. Purely technological responses are available, but the implications of their use can raise more questions than they answer. Governments and militaries are presented with a basic epistemological problem which hinders their ability to answer the question of what a proper course of action might be. Munslow defines the meaning of epistemology as:

the branch of philosophy that addresses the nature, theory and foundations of knowledge, its conditions, limits and possibilities. Historians, as the creatures of the modernist (Cartesian Enlightenment) revolution, have tended to stick with a particular vision of what history is, derived from a certain kind of analytical philosophy (this is often un-thought out as most historians are not actively engaged by philosophy of any sort).[14]

Has cyber interconnectivity changed our being and the conduct of military activities? The Canadian military involvement in cyber tests the very epistemological foundations of traditional military culture and the nature of warfare. Is cyber discrete and distinct enough that it has a cultural imperative strong enough to transcend land, sea and air domains? Sea, land and air forces have an internal logic to them by nature of the environment in which they operate. The sea generates a different culture than the land or the air.[15] The nature of military-based cyber operations may be so different from those on the land, at sea and in the air that cyber operations should be enculturated in a separate and distinct domain designation.[16] The absence of a clear typology for cyber conceptions generates uncertainty in determining a clear path for action.

Cyber warfare schools of thought

Consulting the literature is typically a process by which the uncertainties posed by these questions can be sorted out. However, the rapid pace of developments in computer issues bedevils those who seek to keep up with this evolving field. Even experts can express feelings of being overwhelmed by the rapid pace of events and the explosion of writing on the subject. Dorothy Denning, a well-known cryptologist, wrote of the challenge of completing her landmark book on information warfare in 1998:

A major challenge has been keeping up with developments in the field, including new technologies, methods of attack, laws, and studies and developments related to incidents covered in the book. On a typical day, I find another story or two in The Washington Post of some book or magazine. By the time this book goes to print, I no doubt will have accumulated a huge pile of material that I wish could have been included.[17]

This explosion of literature has to be organized in some way if any sense is to be made of the data. With no clear guideposts to the rapidly accumulating mass of material, it remains to the individual reader to make sense of the wealth of material, and it is easy to become quickly overwhelmed. The epistemological understanding of what cyberspace is and how it relates to the ontological being of humanity varies greatly depending upon individual biases and perspectives. This paper seeks to rectify this situation by proposing a schema for classifying the different opinions in terms of discrete cyber warfare schools of thought.

If the literature for cyber warfare is examined, one can see clear delineations between three groups or schools of thought, each of which revolves around specific assumptions about the nature of how IT is affecting the practice of warfare. The schools can be placed on a spectrum of opinions along which one can measure a dialectical relationship between technological and human agency (see Figure 1). The three schools can be grouped in the following manner: Revolutionary materialist, Liberal Materialist and Conservative.

Figure 1 illustrates the relationship of the three cyber warfare schools of thought. The relationship is linear and runs from high technologic agency (Revolutionary Materialism) to high human agency (Conservative). Liberal Materialism is in the middle of the other two schools of thought. End Figure 1.

Figure 1. Cyber warfare schools of thought

 

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Revolutionary Materialist school of thought makes the basic assumption that IT will change the praxis[18] of warfare, if not the nature of war itself. The Revolutionary school of thought bears a close resemblance to air power theory in both its basic credo and its objectives. Revolutionaries, like the air power theorists before them, emphasize the possibilities for manoeuvre that IT offers military forces. Cyber warfare can be used to go around or avoid confrontation between major military forces altogether. By attacking a state’s critical infrastructure through a major event (frequently referred to as an electronic Pearl Harbor [EPH]), the state’s ability to control both its regular military forces as well as society itself will be compromised. Financial markets are disrupted, transportation grids are rendered dysfunctional, electrical power is removed from broad swathes of the country, and information networks are collapsed. Social chaos results from these actions, and the state loses its ability to act. A war effectively ends through basic governmental paralysis and/or regime change.

The Liberal Materialist school of thought is closely related to the Revolutionary school in its focus on materialism, but it places a greater emphasis on the ability of human agency to control the effects of cyber warfare through the power of social institutions. Liberals emphasize the transformative power of technology on the nature of society itself. Unlike the Revolutionaries, however, Liberals emphasize a more evolutionary process in which technology produces new phenomena which both individuals and institutions can take advantage of as they see fit for their own ends. Globalization is part of this process. Liberals, like Revolutionaries, see challenges to the ability of the state to control the issues confronting them. The emergence of non-state actors, a feature that is facilitated by the lowered entry costs that IT affords, allows various and sundry individuals and groups to diffuse power away from the state. For them, the future is far more uncertain in terms of what will ultimately emerge because of the unplanned emergent nature of this free choice in terms of both technology and praxis. While they observe that things are changing because of this expansion of agency, the normative vector of that change is unpredictable—it could be good or bad for society. This highlights the centrality of human agency in the technical aspects of the evolutionary process. Liberalism speaks more to the enabling of agency than of any assumed progressive outcome associated with technological development. Cyber warfare is just one aspect of this process of societal evolution. It represents a risk for the future, but not one that is impossible to resist and might even be brought under the firm control of the state (either in terms of its ultimate rejection or its practical employment as just another tool).

Finally, the Conservative school of thought is inherently reactive to the claims both the Revolutionaries and Liberals make. It makes the basic assumption that IT has always been important to the conduct of warfare; therefore, its effects will not be revolutionary but will be more in line with the nature of additions to the existing models of warfare. Secondly, Conservatives emphasize the role of the state in its ability to impose local order on an otherwise anarchical system. In other words, this school accepts the increasing importance of IT to the prosecution of war but denies that it fundamentally changes everything. In this conception, change is incremental or evolutionary at best. It represents simply the steady increase of military capability that militaries have dealt with since at least the dawn of the industrial age and the advance of science in terms of weapons development. The school tends to be heavily influenced by the writings of Carl von Clausewitz,[19] which it uses as a benchmark from which to observe the effects that IT is having on the acts of war. However, some Conservatives also examine the fundamental nature of IT and emphasize the operational limitations affecting the Revolutionary claims of the previous school of thought. In particular, Conservatives tend to emphasize the human context of warfare, rather than its technological domain. Their challenges tend to be epistemologically based, raising basic questions about the implications stemming from future predictions of technological capability. Their observations tend to revolve around the praxis of warfare, rather than any theoretical or hypothetical predictions. History remains very much a guide to understanding the continuation of the essentials of human conflict. Finally, Conservatives seem to emphasize the social construction of military technology. Weapons serve specific political and organizational needs rather than driving military affairs in and of themselves. In this, the Conservatives make a definite break between their Revolutionary and Liberal Materialist challengers. Rather than stressing the scientific potential or the technical application of technological affordances, Conservatives focus on the practical questions which revolve around its use.

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This paper will address the potential impacts of cyber warfare on CAF by observing changes to the praxis of warfare through the different lenses and perspectives associated with the cyber warfare schools of thought schema. Leveraging this schema to acknowledge the potential biases towards cyber warfare, one can better bridge the divide between what one knows about this new technology through evidence-based epistemological induction and the changes/influences cyber capabilities continue to have on our very existence from an ontological perspective. In order to traverse the epistemological/ontological divide, this paper will conduct a comprehensive review of cyber warfare literature and arrange the key ideas by chapter according to the relevant cyber warfare school of thought schema. Chapters 2, 3 and 4 will articulate the Conservative, Revolutionary Materialist and Liberal Materialist cyber warfare schools of thought respectively. Finally, Chapter 5 will conclude this paper with the key points derived from applying the cyber warfare schools of thought schema to the wealth of cyber-based literature as well as consider how an institution may approach bridging the epistemological/ontological divide. In addition, the conclusion portion of Chapter 5 will provide some thoughts and recommendations for CAF leadership facing the challenges of exposure to and use of cyberspace in future defence activities and the need for epistemological normalization to effectively bridge the divide.

Chapter 2 – The Conservative School of Thought

Conservatism discards Prescription, shrinks from Principle, disavows Progress; having rejected all respect for Antiquity, it offers no redress for the Present, and makes no preparation for the Future.[20]

– Benjamin Disraeli

It is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day’s toil of any human being.[21]

– John Stuart Mill

Those who subscribe to the Conservative cyber warfare school of thought are cautious in their perception and acceptance of technological changes to society and the conduct of war. Typically, Conservative perspectives are reluctant to change or to contemplate new concepts that challenge the nature and dogma of warfare. As a group, the Conservative school favours the preservation of established principles and praxis of warfare and in doing so opposes the contemplation of changing their perspectives based on any ontological changes that may be due to technology. This school tends to employ the writings of Clausewitz, Jomini and Sun Tzu as the foundation of their epistemological assessment of military affairs through historical evidence-based induction and reject things that do not conform to this framework of understanding.[22]

Being averse to change, this school is resistant to the notion of technology-led Revolutions in Military Affairs (RMAs),[23] siding with the more traditional concept of evolution in military technological innovation. Through incremental/evolutionary approaches to technological changes, the Conservative school is able to defend traditional concepts of warfare and incorporate any modified praxis based on the advantages of the increase in technology.

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Technical evolution vice revolution

In his book Strategy for Chaos, the British strategic thinker Professor Colin S. Gray discusses the concept of RMAs and their occurrences throughout history. Gray articulates how RMAs manifest themselves through “strategy” or the employment of “force and the threat of force”[24] in the achievement of political goals. Furthermore, Gray views war as “organized violence carried on by political units against each other for political motives.”[25] From this train of thought, Gray views an RMA as “a radical change in the character or conduct of war” that is not necessarily instigated by new technology.[26] Gray’s theories of RMAs conform to the Conservative school of thinking by closely aligning with the Clausewitzian approach to strategy where warfare is both instrumental and political.[27] As Clausewitz stated in On War, “war is not merely a political act but a real political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse, a carrying out of the same by other means.”[28]

Gray offers a nine-step framework to further explain how an RMA process alters the character or conduct of warfare.[29] First – Preparation: RMAs require time to manifest themselves as a non-linear change/reform and are generally considered a radical alteration to the praxis of warfare. Second – Recognition of Challenge: The identification of an opportunity or challenge posed by an adversary that generates a reason requiring an RMA solution. Gray highlights that for there to be a true RMA, there must be a belief in a real adversary offering a strategic challenge. Third – Parentage: An RMA requires revolutionary leadership in positions of authority to facilitate the change. Fourth – Enabling Spark: A person or event that acts as a catalyst for the RMA to occur and deviate the praxis of warfare off its linear evolutionary path. Fifth – Strategic Moment: The opportunity to convey the RMA possibilities to those open minded to receive the revolutionary messaging. Sixth – Institutional Agency: The requirement for a military institution to adopt, train on and implement with competence the innovative operational concepts fuelled by new technologies. Seventh – Instrument: The military instrument of the new RMA is established and institutionalized through formalization within doctrine and training. The new military instrument/capability must also be grown and replicated in size to have significant impact on the praxis of the institution as well as its potential adversaries. Eighth – Execution and Evolving Maturity: The application and employment of the RMA in battle will have an initially significant and destabilizing effect on its adversaries. The destabilizing effect will be reduced with subsequent uses and demonstrations of the RMA as adversaries learn from this new mode of warfare. Ninth – Feedback and Adjustment: If an enemy is not overwhelmed by the first application of the RMA capability, it will study and counter it with like capabilities or appropriate tactics to nullify the strategic effectiveness of the new and innovative way to conduct war. To be continually effective as a warfare instrument, the capability must be continually adjusted to counter adversarial adaptations. In effect, feedback and adjustment creates a new linear evolutionary path in the same direction forged by the non-linear radical change itself.

Comparing historical examples of RMAs (such as the French revolutionary wars, the First World War and the nuclear age) with the potential information-led (cyber) RMA of the 1990s, Gray concludes that cyber as an event in strategic history lacks the necessary political and human actions to be considered an RMA.[30] The Conservative school position is that cyber represents increased technology but has done little to change the character or nature of war.[31]

The Conservative view of warfare is less technologic and very much human-agency centric in thinking. Aligned with the writings of Clausewitz with respect to the intangible elements of human nature and morale in warfare, the Conservative school is more concerned about the human element and not the weapons technology that impacts strategy. Clausewitz states:

Military activity is never directed against material force alone; it is always aimed simultaneously at the moral forces which give it life, and the two cannot be separated … the moral elements are among the most important in war … . Unfortunately they will not yield to academic wisdom. They cannot be classified or counted. They have to be seen or felt.[32]

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Those in the Revolutionary school that prefer technical over political solutions are often seen as  self-serving technocrats who focus on the means vice the ends of strategy.[33] Gray argues: “When people and organisations are not required to think about difficult topics (in this case, policy assumptions and strategy), they will choose to focus on more congenial topics (e.g., a technically defined RMA).”[34]

Others in the Conservative school view cyber as an incremental/evolutionary increase in technology more akin to existing capabilities performing electronic warfare. With the advent of wireless networking and telephones that are also network appliances, the characteristics that distinguish electromagnetic-spectrum issues from data-network-infrastructure issues are becoming common to both disciplines.[35] Others in the Conservative school consider that a “Cyber Electronic Warfare (CEW) concept, which merges cyberspace capabilities with traditional electronic warfare methods, is a new and enhanced form of electronic attack.”[36] The convergence between wireless communications and cyber leads the Conservative school to believe “that the cyber environment is nothing new. Rather, it is simply a unique manifestation of the electromagnetic (EM) operating environment—a familiar component of military operations with integral operating concepts and principles that lend themselves well to cyber.”[37] The US Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, argued in 2012 that wireless activity in the EM spectrum had become integral to cyberspace. Admiral Greenert stated: “The EM-cyber environment is now so fundamental to military operations and so critical to our national interests that we must start treating it as a warfighting domain on par with—or perhaps even more important than—land, sea, air and space.”[38]

Furthermore, the Conservative perspective would suggest that the foundations of modern communications, including cyber, began with the advent of wireless communication pioneered by Guglielmo Marconi in 1895.[39] It is from this incremental/evolutionary approach to modern-day communications that plays contrary to the Revolutionist camp claims that cyber is a new technology and has changed the nature of warfare. Vincent Mosco in his book The Digital Sublime also argues that incremental/evolutionary increases in technology are regularly overstated.[40] Often influenced by society’s collective short-term recollection of history, Mosco cites a cyclical phenomenon in which any increase in technology is heralded as a revolution. In terms of cyber, Mosco states:

The widely held beliefs that computer communication is ending history, geography, and politics are not at all new. … Not only does this demonstrate that our response to computer communication is far from unique; it also documents our remarkable, almost willful, historical amnesia. One generation after another has renewed the belief that, whatever was said about earlier technologies, the latest one will fulfill a radical and revolutionary promise.[41]

He then continues that “Cyberspace enthusiasts encourage us to think that we have reached the end of history, the end of geography, and the end of politics. Everything has changed.”[42] Claims of revolutionary changes in military technology in the eyes of the Conservative school are nothing more than incremental/evolutionary changes to the existing tenets of politics and warfare repackaged with the buzzwords of the day and sold as brand new.[43] In this context, Conservatives may employ the clichéd expression “old wine in a new bottle” to articulate the evolutionary nature of technology on military affairs.

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The nature of warfare and cyberwar

Thomas Rid, in his book Cyber War Will Not Take Place, outlines a cautionary perspective on the future cyber prospects of state wars. Citing the writings of Carl von Clausewitz as the foundation for his inductive reasoning, Rid makes the case that cyber activity does not conform to the principles and nature of warfare. According to Clausewitz, “War is an act of force to compel the enemy to do our will,”[44] and the application of force in war must obey the three criteria: 1) the act is violent, 2) the act is instrumental and 3) the act is also political in nature.[45] To be considered violent, the application of physical force in war must inflict physical harm on citizens and state actors. For a force to be instrumental, its application as a means must be the sole reason that compels an adversary to accept the terms of your envisioned end state. Finally, war’s actions are always political at a strategic level. Rid’s primary message is that offensive cyber activity cannot be interpreted as acts of warfare, as there is no evidence that supports the criterion of a Clausewitzian defined war. “If the use of force in war is violent, instrumental, and political, then there is no cyber offence that meets all three criteria.”[46] From Rid’s perspective, the term cyberwar is more a metaphorical figure of speech and less about describing the acts of war. The Conservative cyber school of thought regards cyber activity as more akin to acts of subversion, espionage and sabotage than anything warlike in nature.[47]

Conservative thinkers see war as a violent and dangerous business and reject the notion of reducing harm and bloodshed through cyber acts. As Clausewitz argued in On War:

Kind-hearted people might of course think there was some ingenious way to disarm or defeat an enemy without much bloodshed, and might imagine this as the goal of the art of war. Pleasant as it sounds; it is a fallacy that must be exposed: war is such a dangerous business that the mistakes which come from kindness are the very worst.[48]

Admittedly, Clausewitz in the early 1800s had no concept of the future ontological implications of technological integration and the dependence that cyber represents. The use of cyber capabilities to disarm or defeat an adversary is a futuristic concept more in line with a Revolutionary school scenario that articulates a potential outcome given the influence of technology on the praxis and nature of warfare. One extreme view of the potential influence of computers on warfare can be found in the original Star Trek science-fiction television series episode “A Taste of Armageddon.” The plot of the episode revolves around a society waging a computer-based virtual war against an adversary on a nearby planet. In this visionary scenario, both warring parties comply with the results of the computer-based virtual war and willfully submit to humane “disintegration booths” to avoid the Clausewitzian bloodshed and horrors of war. Regardless of how pleasant such a Revolutionary scenario may portray a possible future war, those in the Conservative school view the words of Clausewitz as immutable. They reject wholesale the notion that warfare would ever evolve to a point where computers would assume a highly technologic agency and fight wars on behalf of human beings.

In exploring the question of violence and its cyber implications, Rid argues that the majority of cyberattacks are not violent and cannot be considered acts of force. Any force that results from cyber activities, such as causing a meltdown at a nuclear plant, would only take place indirectly through the kinetic potential of an existing system.[49] There is no direct link between the networked cyber environment and a human being. Therefore, a cyber action in itself cannot directly cause physical harm to an individual and is, therefore, non-violent: computer code is not explosive in the way that TNT (trinitrotoluene) is.[50]

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Given that there is no direct threat to human life from cyber activity, the emotional coercive power that comes with the threat or use of cyber force is significantly reduced.[51] For example, the massive physical damage to a German steel mill caused by a digital cyberattack on industrial control systems in 2014[52] went relatively unnoticed in the world media while killings of Canadian soldiers by individuals with extremist views made international headlines.[53] Furthermore, Rid argues that cyber weapons do not have the same symbolic and emotional impact as conventional weapons. Cyber capabilities cannot be physically paraded in a coercive show of force as with other weapons from the land, sea and air domains. Members of the Conservative school of thought are highly focused on human agency and consider the human body as the true weapon or instrument of violence. In that context, if one were to look for symbolic examples of the potential threats posed by state-based cyber power, it would be a matter of considering the size and scope of a cyber programme in terms of personnel numbers and levels of expertise. The People’s Liberation Army of China maintains the elite hacking Unit 61398 (also known as the Advanced Persistent Threat 1), allegedly the focal point of Chinese cyber warfare.[54] Unit 61398 allegedly employs thousands of skilled hackers in Shanghai to assert a “strategic hegemony in cyber space.”[55] Despite the existence of thousands of skilled hackers in Unit 61398, such a symbol of intellectual capacity is less emotionally intimidating than the physical threat of violence posed by the same number of armed special operations force soldiers, tanks, fighter aircraft or warships. Therefore, the perceived threat of “code-induced violence is physically, emotionally and symbolically limited.”[56]

Nevertheless, Rid admits that cyberattacks can have the potential to achieve some political goals through non-violent means by undermining public trust in organizations, systems and institutions.[57] One such attack that conforms to this non-violent means paradigm is the Stuxnet malware on the Iranian nuclear programme. A forensic review of the Stuxnet code determined that the malware was not created to cause physical damage to the Iranian facility but, rather, to destabilize the programme by undermining the trust in the Iranian engineers to successfully produce low-enriched uranium.[58] It is not clear if the non-violent application of the Stuxnet malware contributed in any way to delay Iran’s nuclear ambitions or encouraged international consensus on the Joint Action Plan on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Nuclear Program.[59] Interestingly, the action plan calls for freezing enriched uranium production and deactivating the centrifuges that were targeted in the Stuxnet attack.[60]

Rid argues that for cyber weapons to have any violent impact they must first “weaponize” a target system that indirectly inflicts violence on humans.[61] Rid defines cyber weapons “as computer code that is used, or designated to be used, with the aim of threatening or causing physical, functional, or mental harm to structures, systems or living beings.”[62] To inflict the maximum amount of damage and retain the maximum amount of flexibility, Rid suggests that compromising weapons platforms such as Reaper or Predator drones would be far more attractive an exploit for attackers than an air traffic control system or nuclear power plant. Such a Revolutionary scenario of “weaponizing” a target system is similar to the plot of the James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies, in which a media tycoon manipulates the global positioning system used by the Royal Navy to instigate conflict.[63] But in Rid’s opinion, a lethal cyber scenario has never happened, and due to a lack of proof, it remains the realm of Revolutionary fantasy, novels and science-fiction movies.[64]

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A common theme with the Conservative school is a need for public-domain evidence that a particular cyber exploit exists before considering it as a potential weapon of warfare. Rooted in their evidence-based epistemological process, Conservatives are fixated on past occurrences to understand the present. Extrapolation of concepts to consider the possibility of “the most dangerous” is difficult for this school. Instead, Conservatives tend to be content with adversarial assessments of “the most likely” future actions based on past observations. This type of inductive logic, based solely on past evidence, carries with it inherent challenges dealing with unexpected future events. Hume’s Problem of Induction,[65] often referred to as “Hume’s Black Swan” or “Black Swan,” outlines the pitfalls and complications that come from making predictive conclusions solely on observed facts.[66] Until a black swan was discovered in Australia by Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh in 1697, the common belief of the time was that all swans were white in colour. Another simplistic analogy to understand the induction problem is to consider the life of a turkey.[67] From a turkey’s perspective, life is wonderful, having been fed regularly and protected by the farmer for its whole existence. The probability the turkey’s lifestyle will “most likely” continue to be wonderful rings true right up until the day of its slaughter, which it did not see coming. Similar to the lethality of cyber weapons, one cannot just discount the future possibility of a cyber exploit that causes harm based on past public-domain evidence.

Unfortunately, cyber-warfare activities are being conducted in the shadows away from public scrutiny. As Noah Feldman states in his book Cool War: The Future of Global Competition, “Cyber war takes place largely in secret, unknown to the general public on both sides.”[68] Fixated on the need for concrete public-domain proof while scorning the abstract, Conservatives leave themselves vulnerable to surprise by outlier or exceptional cyber activities that carry potentially significant impacts for a nation’s warfighting capability.[69] Black swans are a real epistemological quandary for members of the Conservative school.[70]

Additional Conservative perspectives

Another key member of the Conservative school of thought is David J. Lonsdale. In his book The Nature of War in the Information Age: Clausewitzian Future, Lonsdale takes a slightly different conservative position on the nature of warfare and cyberwar. Lonsdale (assisted by co-editor Colin S. Gray) argues that war possesses an “eternal nature” that does not change with the evolution of technology.[71] Instead, changes in technology may influence changes in the “character” or “material culture” of warfare, but warfare’s nature remains constant, based on Clausewitz’s primary trinity of hatred, primordial violence and enmity to impose one’s will on an adversary.[72] True to the Conservative school of thought, Lonsdale (and Gray) further argue that Clausewitz’s thoughts on the nature of war are not limited to a particular historical period but can be applied to any context of warfare.[73]

Considering the nature of warfare in the information age, Lonsdale acknowledges that epistemological perspectives can be influenced by the culture and attitudes of a particular age.[74] In particular, Western mindsets in the information age favour “clean,” less-destructive and more casualty-sensitive forms of warfare. From the Conservative school perspective, such attitudes ignore the realities of war and reject the classical strategists Clausewitz, Sun Tzu and Jomini.[75] Nevertheless, Lonsdale’s vision of warfare is that it is violent, uncertain and has a high human agency that impacts both the physical and psychological.[76] Lonsdale further states, “The human dimension of warfare is one area in which the character can affect its nature. If war remains an activity that is ultimately characterized by combat in which man is in conflict with man, then human factors and considerations will remain paramount.”[77] Lonsdale views the contribution of cyber in the conduct of war as an improved “means” to reduce the Clausewitzian uncertainty or fog of war by providing commanders with enhanced understanding of their adversary and the battlefield.[78] Lonsdale’s views on cyber reducing uncertainty are consistent with the Conservative school perspectives on incremental/evolutionary approaches to technology. Information and knowledge of an adversary and battlefields have assisted commanders through the ages.[79] Modern-day IT is just an evolutionary step towards the same provision of information in conducting effective military operations.

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Unlike the perspectives proposed by Rid with respect to cyber warfare, Lonsdale does consider the possibility of paralysing cyberattacks on society’s interconnected infrastructure such as power generation, food distribution, finance and transportation. Lonsdale envisions this type of warfare (strategic information warfare [SIW]) can only be effective on heavily networked societies that that are unable to operate if the life sustaining infrastructure ceases to function.[80] SIW is viewed by Lonsdale as a complementary means of strategy to deny an adversary freedom of action. Paralleling Clausewitz’s view of artillery winning battles,[81] Lonsdale acknowledges the limitations of SIW as a sole means of strategy and admits troops on the ground are the typical means of strategy to achieve final victory.[82]

Conclusions

This chapter considered Conservative perspectives within the cyber warfare schools of thought schema. Conservative perspectives are heavily influenced by classical war theorists such as Clausewitz for the foundation of their epistemological assessment of military affairs. In the eyes of Conservatives, the physical and brutal nature of war is an enduring truism. Citing the intangible elements of morale as the cornerstone of their epistemological approach to warfare, Conservatives are more focused on human agency and its influence on strategy. The Conservative school favours the preservation of the established praxis of warfare and, in doing so, opposes the contemplation of changing their perspectives based on any ontological changes that may be due to technology.

Stereotypically, Conservatives are reluctant to contemplate new concepts that challenge the nature and dogma of warfare. They interpret increases in technology as incremental/evolutionary changes built on the groundwork of previous technological improvements. Some in the Conservative camp view cyber warfare as a technological extension of electronic warfare and not a revolutionary change in military communications. On the other hand, stauncher Conservatives view cyber activity as nothing more than subversion, espionage and sabotage and not a means of warfare. Declarations of revolutionary breakthroughs in technology are met with considerable Conservative scepticism. The Conservative approach to technology rejects revolutionary claims of breakthroughs and often regards such claims as “old wine in a new bottle.”

In the next chapter, this paper explores the fundamental characteristics of the Revolutionary Materialist school of thought. A group at the opposite end of the school-of-thought spectrum from Conservatives, Revolutionaries are defined by their highly technologic agency perspectives. Instead of looking to the past for answers on present-day ontology, Revolutionaries look forward to potential futuristic outcomes. This paper explores how Revolutionaries leverage out-of-the-box, non-traditional thought within their epistemological approach to more effectively understand humanity’s relationship with technology and the potential implications on the praxis and nature of warfare.

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Chapter 3 – The Revolutionary Materialist School of Thought

Yet, if we have learned one thing from the history of invention and discovery, it is that, in the long run—and often in the short one—the most daring prophecies seem laughably conservative.[83]

– Arthur C. Clarke

One of the biggest roles of science fiction is to prepare people to accept the future without pain and to encourage a flexibility of mind. Politicians should read science fiction, not westerns and detective stories.[84]

– Arthur C. Clarke

Revolutionary Materialists are visionaries who look to potential future outcomes of technology to comprehend and better understand changes to society and our very being. Revolutionaries believe that humanity’s integration with cyber technology will profoundly alter the character, if not the nature, of warfare. Contrary to Conservatives who refer back to classical war theorists and historical battle outcomes to understand the impact of technology and likely courses of action, the Revolutionary school considers potential future outcomes in terms of the worst-case scenarios in order to adequately defend against the threats of tomorrow. This particular school of thought is heavily influenced by visionaries and science-fiction authors such as Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Marshall McLuhan and Gene Roddenberry. Despite successes at predicting technological trends and their impact on society, Revolutionary Materialists are often considered by Conservatives as alarmists, nerds or “parrots”[85] who are spinning “science-fiction yarns.”[86]

Nevertheless, Revolutionaries have had a tremendous impact on discussions of cyber warfare. Their predictions of the ease with which society can be brought to its knees through the tools of IT make for good copy in newspapers, as well as profitable movies and other forms of entertainment. Many of the Revolutionary predictions on the dangers of cyberspace even predate the popular adoption of networking technologies such as the Internet.[87] Authors found within the Revolutionary Materialist school of thought include Richard Clarke, Winn Schwartau, Jeffrey Carr, Greg Rattray, Wayne Hall, John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt.

Revolutionaries tend to be the most materialist of any school of thought, focusing almost exclusively on the opportunities offered by IT and the impact of logical interactions of electrical/electromagnetic impulses. Their approach closely resembles the predictions made by air power theorists such as Giulio Douhet during the interwar period of the 20th century.[88] At its heart, the Revolutionary school of thought is a manoeuvrist approach to warfare: agents avoid striking at the concentration of power found in a state’s military and attack the source of that power by collapsing critical infrastructure. It is thought that collapsing critical infrastructure results in either social chaos in the forms of riots, runs on the bank and famine-like domestic conditions or it creates a more limited form of political paralysis. In either case, the state is prevented from pursuing military action as a result of the loss of internal cohesion.

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As one would expect, there is considerable overlap between those who subscribe to the concept of an RMA and cyber-warfare revolutionaries. As Arquilla and Ronfeldt point out, “history is filled with examples in which weapon, propulsion, communication and transportation technology provide a basis for advantageous innovations in doctrine, organisation, and strategy that enable the innovator to avoid exhausting attritional battles and pursue a form of decisive warfare.”[89] However, cyberspace is regarded by the Revolutionary school as the new high ground, much as earlier forms of technological innovation in aircraft and space technologies were thought to confer strategic advantages. For the Revolutionary, there is no ambiguity about the reality of the threat posed by cyber capabilities. It is instantaneous and global in nature, skips the battlefield and is already happening. As USAF Lieutenant General Robert Elder, Commander USAF Cyber Operations Task Force 2006–2009, stated, “if you are defending in cyberspace, you’re already too late. If you do not dominate in cyberspace, you cannot dominate in other domains. If you are a developed country [and you are attacked in cyberspace], your life comes to a screeching halt.”[90] The possibilities offered by contemporary technology are sure to expand in the future: “What we have seen is far from indicative of what can be done.”[91] The possibility of a society-leveling event, often referred to as either an EPH[92] or a Digital 9/11[93] is frequently alluded to. EPHs are alleged to be a likely consequence of cyber warfare, given the interdependencies of industry, finance, transportation, power and communication for the generation of wealth and power in modern developed economies. As Schwartau argues in Information Warfare: Chaos on the Electronic Superhighway, “government and commercial computer systems are so poorly protected today that they can essentially be considered defenseless … .”[94]

Futuristic scenarios figure prominently in the Revolutionary literature. Scenarios enable the analyst to transcend history by describing hypothetical events and concepts.[95] Schwartau asks us to imagine a world in which knowledge and information usurp military might; whomever controls information can control the people; privacy no longer exists; and, in short, a world where bombs and bullets have been replaced by bits and bytes.[96] Rattray describes large-scale offensive assaults on information assets supporting the critical infrastructure of modern society as EPHs and Cyber 9/11s.[97] Thus, air traffic control systems and other transportation networks, stock markets, credit card and banking transactions, communication networks including telephone exchanges, publishing, newspapers and manufacturing, all of which are heavily dependent on computerized systems, can be destructively targeted by cyber capabilities.[98] Carr describes a scenario in which nuclear power plants are targeted by a combination of distributed denial of service attacks initiated by a Conficker-type botnet[99] to distract the plants’ control room operators. Meanwhile, Trojan horses infiltrate the plants’ firewalls by means of socially engineered attacks, enabling external agents to take control of the control processes. In the ensuing attack, these agents crash the safety systems of 70 per cent of America’s nuclear plants, causing core meltdowns at scores of sites around the country.[100] Some scenarios describe combinations of cyber and kinetic attacks, car bombs as well as information attacks, coordinated to cause waves of terror.[101] These scenarios are not simply ahistorical, they are also apolitical. As Hall points out, “we are in a ‘100 Years’ War’ against formidable and creative opponents. The struggle involves a zero-sum triumph of will—there will be no compromise from either side until one side wins or the other loses.”[102] However, who one is in a war against and what are their objectives is left for the reader to imagine, surely as strange a war as ever has been. Such generic descriptions focus exclusively on the technical capabilities offered by cyber tools, failing to explain the political circumstances which might lead to their use.

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As mentioned previously, technologically influenced scenarios and visions of this school are often articulated in the writings of futurists or manifested in popular culture and fantasy comic books, television dramas or feature films well before their mainstream acceptance. Arthur C. Clarke’s story “Dial ‘F’ for Frankenstein” outlines a tale of a global communication network becoming self-aware and eventually waging war on humanity.[103] Interestingly enough, Clarke’s vision of a communication network from 1964 is eerily similar to the modern-day cyber environment. Members of the Revolutionary school look to visionaries like Clarke to convince others of the potential dangers of a highly technologic-agency world.

Interestingly in 2009, Schwartau asked us to imagine a world where there is information warfare, our information is controlled and fear is generated in those who are concerned about their privacy. Citing the linkages between information warfare and the coercive elements of money, fear and power, Schwartau states:

Information warfare is about money. It’s about the acquisition of wealth, and the denial of wealth to competitors. It breeds Information Warriors who battle across the Global Network in a game of cyberrisk. Information warfare is about power. He who controls the information controls the money. Information Warfare is about fear. He who controls the information can instill fear in those who want to keep their secrets a secret.[104]

The themes of information warfare and the fear of controlling secret information were also employed in the 2011 CBS television network program Person of Interest,[105] a techno-drama centred on self-aware computer systems—Northern Lights and Samaritan—that were built for the US government to record individuals’ activities and predict potential acts of terrorism. Part of the allure of such entertainment relates to the engendered fear relating to the loss of individual privacy and the misuse of information that defines our very being. A Revolutionist could even argue that the loss of control over an individual’s information represents a potential loss of control over the very notion of one’s existence. With the leak of classified information in 2013 by the IT specialist Edward Snowden, the fears of state surveillance imagined by Schwartau and portrayed in Person of Interest were validated as details of the National Security Agency clandestine surveillance programme PRISM were made public.[106] It is alleged that the PRISM programme began in 2008 to collect “relevant” Internet communications in order to protect US citizens. Despite attempts by the US government to characterize PRISM as a required tool for domestic security, the potential for abuse of individual liberties is considerable, not to mention the significance of such a capability in the greater context of international information warfare.

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Impacts of big data

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger is a member of the Revolutionary school who writes about big data and the ontological impacts on society living in the information age. Mayer-Schönberger characterizes big data as “things one can do at a large scale that cannot be done at a smaller one, to extract new insights or create new forms of value, in ways that change markets, organizations, the relationship between citizens and governments and more.”[107] Mayer-Schönberger argues that at the core of big data lies the power to generate better predictions. Some may confuse big data with artificial intelligence (AI) and the pursuit to have computers reason similar to humans. Instead, the concept of big data involves computers applying mathematical models to large amounts of data to arrive at effective predictions.[108] In addition, the predictions improve with time by analysing patterns and outcomes. Mayer-Schönberger predicts that in the future many tasks that require explicit human judgment will be augmented or replaced with big-data systems.[109] The Mayer-Schönberger vision of big data and mass surveillance is very similar to the ones expressed by Revolutionaries Schwartau and Person of Interest creator Jonathan Nolan about AI capabilities that will be able to not only drive cars and play chess but also predict illness, identify probabilities of violent acts or decide who is a threat to society. Liberal Materialists understand the challenge of “data-driven thinking”[110] and look to ways of regulating the technology to avoid the “dark side” of big data and the removal of human intervention from the advice used for key decisions.[111] Predictions made from big data may precipitate pre-emptive commercial and state decisions (including lethal force) against individuals or groups based on math and “probabilistic cause.”[112] Mayer-Schönberger expresses concern about the “dark side” of big data and the potential for misuse and abuse: “It leads to an ethical consideration of the role of free will versus the dictatorship of data … the age of big data will require new rules to safeguard the sanctity of the individual.”[113] The information revolution has produced an environment in which “the amount of data in the world is growing fast, outstripping not just our machines but our imaginations.”[114] The concern of being inundated by information is encapsulated in a quote by Joel Kurtzman: “Cyberspace, like the earth itself, is becoming polluted. Too much information is filling it. And our brains are just too tiny to sort through it all. Information overload threatens to bring further catastrophe, no matter how well the trading rooms are designed.”[115]

Fear of computers and artificial intelligence

According to Schwartau, one has an inherent mistrust for computers.[116] This mistrust stems from a computer’s processing ability, which is significantly faster than the human brain. Since human mental processing is dwarfed by the computational power of modern computers, people perceive them as uncontrollable. Furthermore, despite being dependent on computers to sustain civilization, human angst about computer superiority is augmented by a complete lack of knowledge by most of their internal processing.

A good Revolutionist scenario that portrays the devastating outcome when code is allowed to replace human judgment occurs in the Terminator franchise. In Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, the self-aware code Skynet outwits its USAF masters with an intelligent virus and initiates global nuclear war known as Judgment Day. Skynet’s intelligent virus was able to exploit cyber vulnerabilities in key strategic defence systems to leave the US defenceless. Skynet was then given full automated control of the US military systems to eradicate the virus which was beyond the capacity of USAF personnel to resolve. The Revolutionist visionary scenarios within the Terminator franchise are cautionary tales of out of control AI and automated integration that play on the fears of human inferiority within a technological society. Removing human judgment from prosecuting the complex problem in the Terminator scenario allowed the AI to take over the world with lethal force. Such fearful Revolutionary scenarios parallel the growing debate over the implications of employing AI for military purposes including lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS).[117] Revolutionaries can see that if militarized AI and automated weapon systems replace human decision making in the application of lethal force, the nature of warfare will shift from high human agency to a higher technologic agency.[118]

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Neural interfaces and cyborgs

Another member of the Revolutionary school is the Canadian philosopher Herbert Marshall McLuhan. Best known for his catch phrase “the medium is the message,” McLuhan in several works conveyed his thoughts about communication technology and how it influences human activity and interaction.[119] McLuhan’s revolutionary conceptions of technological phenomenon clearly place him in the Revolutionary school. His revolutionary thoughts on changes to the human ontology give way to ideas of humanity becoming integrated nodes on a network. McLuhan states:

During the mechanical ages we had extended our bodies in space. Today, after more than a century of electric technology, we have extended our central nervous system itself in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned. Rapidly, we approach the final phase of the extensions of man—the technological simulation of consciousness, when the creative process will be collectively and corporately extended to the whole of human society, much as we have already extended our senses and our nerves by the various media.[120]

In his book Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, McLuhan makes the distinction between the physical extensions of the body and the extensions of cerebral functions such as sense, consciousness and the central nervous system.[121] One scenario that encapsulates McLuhan’s futuristic perspectives relating to the physical extension of the body through an interface occurs in Craig Thomas’ 1977 techno-thriller novel Firefox.[122] Thomas’s novel envisions a scenario in which the Soviet Union develops a next-generation fighter prototype MIG-31 equipped with a thought-control weapons system. The revolutionary idea of having the pilot control a plane’s weapon system through a neural interface raises the possibility of being able to aim and fire weapons more rapidly while in combat. In doing so, the pilot, in essence, becomes an extension of the aircraft’s weapon systems. This scenario is consistent with the theme of McLuhan’s revolutionary writings in which “all technologies are extensions of our physical and nervous system to increase power and speed.”[123]

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are investigating the concepts of thought control and neural interface by controlling a robotic limb through cerebral implants.[124] Employing implants to connect a human directly to technology parallels McLuhan’s revolutionary concept of extending cerebral functions through technology. Members of the Revolutionary school look at such research developments as the foundation to further envision potential military implications of integrating the human nervous system with a cybernetic-interface. One such visionary scenario that deals with the extensions of a pilot’s cerebral functions and central nervous system occurs in Dale Bown’s 1989 novel Day of the Cheetah,[125] which envisions a fighter aircraft equipped with a thought-control interface that controls all aspects of combat flight. Brown’s concept of full pilot mental integration provided the pilot with an integrated consciousness of all aircraft flight and combat systems. His fictitious XF-34 aircraft transformed the pilot and plane into a singular cybernetic killing machine. For some, Brown’s Revolutionary scenario may appear as complete flights of fancy with no basis in reality. Interestingly enough, the cybernetic research conducted by the University of Pittsburgh has been expanded with the assistance of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to demonstrate that an F-35 aircraft simulator can be operated through cybernetic implants.[126] One particular experiment proved that a quadriplegic woman could control an F-35 flight simulator using only neural implants.[127] The use of cybernetic implants and neural integration to enhance one’s abilities is commonly referred to in science fiction as a cyborg.[128]

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To Revolutionaries, the concept of cyborgs and cybernetic implants to improve humankind’s ability to wage war is nothing new. In mainstream popular culture, cybernetic beings have appeared in television shows from Doctor Who to Star Trek. In Star Trek: The Next Generation, a cybernetic and emotionally absent race of humanoids known as Borg employ cybernetic implants to better their race in pursuit of perfection of being. The Borgs’ implants allow them to intercommunicate and fight as a more effective collective. The collective “hive mind” gives the Borg superior ability to fight with a unity of effort and purpose. In addition, the rapid passage of information allows Borg forces to rapidly adapt tactics against adversarial initiatives. In the information age, the Borg represent an ideal military force that is able to have perfect synchronization of command intent with the ability of passing all force knowledge to each individual soldier. “Our conceptualization of the Borg centres on the collective ontological and cybernetic formation that result from being connected to other brains and bodies through embodied technology.”[129] In a Borg society, all humanoids are fully integrated into the collective cyber environment similar to any network appliance, and the Borg collective represents a singularity of consciousness and being. DARPA’s well-intentioned pursuit “to use brain implants to read, and then control, the emotions of mentally ill people”[130] may be the initial stages of creating highly integrated and emotionally absent soldiers. DARPA’s work with cybernetic implants and neural interfaces potentially represents the first step for humanity towards a Borg-like culture.[131] Some may also argue that humanity has already taken the first step towards a Borg-like society, with the creation of a highly interconnected cellular culture through the proliferation of smart phone and wireless devices.[132] Oddly enough, it was the Star Trek communicator from the late-1960s series that served as the inspiration behind the revolution in mobile personal communications.[133]

Editor’s note: Part 2 of this article will appear in the fall 2016 issue of the Royal Canadian Air Force Journal. It completes the review of the Revolutionary Materialist school of thought and then turns to the Liberal Materialist school of thought.

 


 Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Martin is a Communications and Electronics Engineering (Air) officer who holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Applied Science in Computer Engineering from the Royal Military College of Canada. He has accumulated considerable experience supporting CAF operations with command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities serving with 8 Air Communications and Control Squadron, Rescue Coordination Centre / Central Mission Control Centre, Multinational Force and Observers, Recruiting Group, Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff J6 Operations, Assistant Deputy Minister (Information Management), International Security Assistance Force Headquarters and Canadian Expeditionary Force Command. A former commanding officer of the Canadian Forces Crypto Support Unit, he is currently the Acting Director of Radar and Communication Systems within the Aerospace Equipment Program Management Division of Assistant Deputy Minister (Materiel).

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Abbreviations

AI―artificial intelligence
CAF―Canadian Armed Forces
DARPA―Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
EM―electromagnetic
EPH―electronic Pearl Harbor
IT―information technology
RMA―Revolution in Military Affairs
SIW―strategic information warfare
US―United States
USAF―United States Air Force

Notes

[1]. Kim Zetter, Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World’s First Digital Weapon (New York: Broadway Books, 2014), 376.  (return)

[2]. Definition of kubernétés: a steersman, pilot. “2942. Kubernétés,” Bible Hub, accessed July 4, 2016, http://biblehub.com/greek/2942.htm.  (return)

[3]. Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics (Paris: Hermann, 1948).  (return)

[4]. Chip Morningstar and F. Randall Farmer, “The Lessons of Lucasfilm’s Habitat,” Journal for Virtual Worlds Research 1, no. 1 (2008): 2.  (return)

[5]. “The historian is dedicated to discovering the reality of the past rather than debate metaphysics, that is, dispute the nature and construction of reality of being.” Alun Munslow, The Routledge Companion to Historical Studies (New York: Routledge, 2000), 184.  (return)

[6]. Alun Munslow, The Routledge Companion to Historical Studies (New York: Routledge, 2000), 184–85.  (return)

[7]. “Cyber Security in the Canadian Federal Government,” Public Safety Canada, accessed July 4, 2016, http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/ntnl-scrt/cbr-scrt/fdrl-gvrnmnt-eng.aspx.  (return)

[8]. “Stuxnet is a threat targeting a specific industrial control system likely in Iran, such as a gas pipeline or power plant. The ultimate goal of Stuxnet is to sabotage that facility by reprogramming programmable logic controllers (PLCs) to operate as the attackers intend them to, most likely out of their specified boundaries.” Nicolas Falliere, Liam O. Murchu and Eric Chien, W32. Stuxnet Dossier, Version 1.4 (Mountain View, CA: Symantec Corporation, February 2011), 2. “The appearance of Stuxnet 51 in 2010, as part of an apparent operation to cripple the Iranian nuclear program, raised the bar in what is publicly known about the sophistication of cyber weapons. Stuxnet combined many known techniques, with some previously unknown ones, to produce an attack tool that could jump air-gaps using USB devices, automatically propagate an infection across Windows-based computer network, and use covert channel communication techniques to call home for more instructions.” Scott Knight, “War by Computer: Canadian Cyber Forces in 2025,” in The Canadian Forces in 2025 Prospects and Problems, ed. J. L. Granatstein (Victoria, BC: FriesenPress, 2013), 78.  (return)

[9]. “A USB [Universal Serial Bus] flash memory drive containing malware created by a foreign intelligence agency was left in the parking lot of a Department of Defense facility at a base in the Middle East in 2008. It was found by an employee, taken into the facility, and connected to a DoD [Department of Defense] laptop computer. When the device was connected, the agent.btz malware began scanning the local host and other networked computers for classified and unclassified data, and initiated outbound connections to a command and control server to upload found data and receive instructions. … Undetected for many months, Pentagon officials described it in 2010 as ‘the most significant breach of U.S. military computers ever.’ Though characterized by its Trojan behavior, agent.btz malware is a variant of the SillyFDC worm, and has robust mechanisms for self-replication. In a response called ‘Operation Buckshot Yankee’ the DoD spent nearly 14 months cleaning the worm from Pentagon offices and multiple military networks worldwide.” Jon Espenschied, “A Discussion of Threat Behavior: Attackers & Patterns,” Microsoft Corporation and NATO CyCon (June 2012).  (return)

[10]. David Paddon, “Cyber Attacks Have Hit 36 Per Cent of Canadian Businesses, Study Says,” The Globe and Mail, August 18, 2014, accessed July 4, 2016, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/cyber-attacks-have-hit-36-per-cent-of-canadian-businesses-study-says/article20096066/.  (return)

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[11]. Rosemary Barton, “Chinese Cyberattack Hits Canada’s National Research Council,” CBC News, July 29, 2014, accessed July 4, 2016, http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/chinese-cyberattack-hits-canada-s-national-research-council-1.2721241.  (return)

[12]. Andrea Shalal, “Nearly Every U.S. Arms Program Found Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks,” Reuters, January 20, 2015, accessed July 4, 2016, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/21/us-cybersecurity-pentagon-idUSKBN0KU02920150121.  (return)

[13]. Noah Shachtman, “Exclusive: Computer Virus Hits U.S. Drone Fleet,” WIRED, October 7, 2011, accessed July 4, 2016, http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/10/virus-hits-drone-fleet/. See also, Noah Shachtman, “Military ‘Not Quite Sure’ How Drone Cockpits Got Infected,” WIRED, October 19, 2011, accessed July 4, 2016, http://www.wired.com/2011/10/military-not-quite-sure-how-drone-cockpits-got-infected/;  60 Minutes Overtime, “Can the U.S. Military’s New Jet Fighter Be Hacked?,” June 1, 2014, accessed July 4, 2016,  http://www.cbsnews.com/news/can-the-f-35-be-hacked/; Andrea Shalal-Esa, “Pentagon Downplays Comment on F-35 Fighter Jet Cyber Threat,” Reuters, April 25, 2013, accessed July 4, 2016, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/25/us-lockheed-fighter-cyber-idUSBRE93O1HK20130425; and CyberWarZone, “New F-35 Fighter Jet is Vulnerable to Cyber-Attacks,” May 31, 2014, accessed July 4, 2016, http://cyberwarzone.com/new-f-35-fighter-jet-vulnerable-cyber-attacks/.  (return)

[14]. Alun Munslow, The Routledge Companion to Historical Studies (New York: Routledge, 2000), 88.  (return)

[15]. Carl H. Builder, The Masks of War: American Military Styles in Strategy and Analysis: A RAND Corporation Research Study (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989), 17–30.  (return)

[16]. Chris McGuffin and Paul Mitchell, “On Domains: Cyber and the Practice of Warfare,” International Journal: Canada’s Journal of Global Policy Analysis (2014). See also, R. Nicholas Burns et al., Securing Cyberspace: A New Domain for National Security (Washington, DC: Aspen Institute, 2012), 202.  (return)

[17]. Dorothy E. Denning, Information Warfare and Security (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1999), xvi.  (return)

[18]. Praxis is defined by the Merriam-Webster online dictionary as either a) the exercise or practice of an art, science or skill; b) customary practice or conduct; or c) the practical application of theory. In the case of the schools of thought, the term praxis is used to relate to the application of customary practice or conduct of warfare. “Praxis,” Merriam-Webster, accessed July 4, 2016, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/praxis.  (return)

[19]. Carl von Clausewitz, On War, trans. Michael Howard and Peter Paret, Introduction and notes by Beatrice Heuser (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 284.  (return)

[20]. Benjamin Disraeli, Coningsby or the New Generation (1844), Book II, Chapter V, accessed July 4, 2016, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/7412/7412-h/7412-h.htm.  (return)

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[21]. John Stuart Mill and James Laurence Laughlin, Principles of Political Economy (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1886), 516.  (return)

[22]. David J. Lonsdale, The Nature of War in the Information Age: Clausewitzian Future, Cass Series: Strategy and History 9 (New York: Frank Cass, 2004), 20.  (return)

[23]. MacGregor Knox and Williamson Murray, The Dynamics of Military Revolution, 1300–2050 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 6.  (return)

[24]. Colin S. Gray, Strategy for Chaos: Revolutions in Military Affairs and the Evidence of History, Vol. 2 (Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 2002), 4.  (return)

[25]. Colin S. Gray, Strategy for Chaos: Revolutions in Military Affairs and the Evidence of History, Vol. 2 (Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 2002), 4.  (return)

[26]. Colin S. Gray, Strategy for Chaos: Revolutions in Military Affairs and the Evidence of History, Vol. 2 (Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 2002), 4.  (return)

[27]. Colin S. Gray, Strategy for Chaos: Revolutions in Military Affairs and the Evidence of History, Vol. 2 (Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 2002), 93.  (return)

[28]. Carl von Clausewitz, On War, trans. Michael Howard and Peter Paret, Introduction and notes by Beatrice Heuser (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 87.  (return)

[29]. Colin S. Gray, Strategy for Chaos: Revolutions in Military Affairs and the Evidence of History, Vol. 2 (Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 2002), 75–81.  (return)

[30]. Colin S. Gray, Strategy for Chaos: Revolutions in Military Affairs and the Evidence of History, Vol. 2 (Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 2002), 280–81.  (return)

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[31]. Colin S. Gray, Strategy for Chaos: Revolutions in Military Affairs and the Evidence of History, Vol. 2 (Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 2002), 281.  (return)

[32]. Carl von Clausewitz, On War, trans. Michael Howard and Peter Paret, Introduction and notes by Beatrice Heuser (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 137, 184.  (return)

[33]. Colin S. Gray, Strategy for Chaos: Revolutions in Military Affairs and the Evidence of History, Vol. 2 (Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 2002), 280–81.  (return)

[34]. Colin S. Gray, Strategy for Chaos: Revolutions in Military Affairs and the Evidence of History, Vol. 2 (Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 2002), 282.  (return)

[35]. Keith B. Alexander, “Warfighting in Cyberspace,” Joint Force Quarterly 46 (July 2007): 59.  (return)

[36]. Nurgul Yasar, Fatih M. Yasar, and Yucel Topcu, “Operational Advantages of Using Cyber Electronic Warfare (CEW) in the Battlefield,” in Cyber Sensing 2012, ed. Igor V. Ternovskiy and Peter Chin (Baltimore: SPIE, 2012).  (return)

[37]. Jim Gash, “Physical Operating Environments: How the Cyber-Electromagnetic Environment Fits,” Canadian Military Journal 12, no. 3 (Summer 2012): 28.  (return)

[38]. Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert and US Navy, “Imminent Domain,” Proceedings Magazine 138/12/1, no. 318 (December 2012): 318, accessed July 4, 2016, http://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2012-12/imminent-domain.  (return)

[39]. Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert and US Navy, “Imminent Domain,” Proceedings Magazine 138/12/1, no. 318 (December 2012): 318, accessed July 4, 2016, http://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2012-12/imminent-domain. See also, Tim Wu, The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires (Toronto: Knopf, 2011), 15–18.  (return)

[40]. Vincent Mosco, The Digital Sublime: Myth, Power, and Cyberspace (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2004), 8.  (return)

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[41]. Vincent Mosco, The Digital Sublime: Myth, Power, and Cyberspace (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2004), 8.  (return)

[42]. Vincent Mosco, The Digital Sublime: Myth, Power, and Cyberspace (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2004), 117.  (return)

[43]. Daniel R. Headrick, The Invisible Weapon: Telecommunications and International Politics, 1851–1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 18–20.  (return)

[44]. Samuel B. Griffith and B. Liddell Hart, The Art of War by Sun Tzu (New York: Oxford University Press, 1963), 75.  (return)

[45]. Thomas Rid, Cyber War Will Not Take Place (Oxford: New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 1–2.  (return)

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