Networks and Netwars

Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy

John Arquilla
David Ronfeldt
Copyright Date: 2001
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 380
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/mr1382osd
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  • Book Info
    Networks and Netwars
    Book Description:

    Netwar-like cyberwar-describes a new spectrum of conflict that is emerging in the wake of the information revolution. Netwar includes conflicts waged, on the one hand, by terrorists, criminals, gangs, and ethnic extremists; and by civil-society activists (such as cyber activists or WTO protestors) on the other. What distinguishes netwar is the networked organizational structure of its practitioners-with many groups actually being leaderless-and their quickness in coming together in swarming attacks. To confront this new type of conflict, it is crucial for governments, military, and law enforcement to begin networking themselves.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-3235-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. SUMMARY
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Chapter One THE ADVENT OF NETWAR (REVISITED)
    (pp. 1-26)
    John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt

    The information revolution is altering the nature of conflict across the spectrum. We call attention to two developments in particular. First, this revolution is favoring and strengthening network forms of organization, often giving them an advantage over hierarchical forms. The rise of networks means that power is migrating to nonstate actors, because they are able to organize into sprawling multiorganizational networks (especially “all-channel” networks, in which every node is connected to every other node) more readily than can traditional, hierarchical, state actors. This means that conflicts may increasingly be waged by “networks,” perhaps more than by “hierarchies.” It also means...

  7. Part I: Violence-Prone Netwars

    • Chapter Two THE NETWORKING OF TERROR IN THE INFORMATION AGE
      (pp. 29-60)
      Michele Zanini and Sean J.A. Edwards

      The information revolution has fueled the longest economic expansion in U.S. history and led to impressive productivity gains in recent years. Along with these benefits, however, has come the dark side of information technology—cyberterrorism. The idea of terrorists surreptitiously hacking into a computer system to introduce a virus, steal sensitive information, deface or swamp a web site, or turn off a crucial public service seriously concerns computer security personnel around the world. High profile attacks—such as the denial-of-service (DOS) attacks against major e-commerce sites Yahoo! and eBay in 1999 or the ongoing “cyber-jihad” against Israeli and American web...

    • Chapter Three TRANSNATIONAL CRIMINAL NETWORKS
      (pp. 61-98)
      Phil Williams

      In a recent analysis of global trends, the U.S. National Intelligence Council included a short section on criminal organizations and networks. It noted that

      criminal organizations and networks based in North America, Western Europe, China, Colombia, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, and Russia will expand the scale and scope of their activities. They will form loose alliances with one another, with smaller criminal entrepreneurs, and with insurgent movements for specific operations. They will corrupt leaders of unstable, economically fragile, or failing states, insinuate themselves into troubled banks and businesses, and cooperate with insurgent political movements to control substantial geographic areas.²

      In...

    • Chapter Four GANGS, HOOLIGANS, AND ANARCHISTS—THE VANGUARD OF NETWAR IN THE STREETS
      (pp. 99-126)
      John P. Sullivan

      Contemporary society is undergoing significant changes that promise to alter—and in fact are altering—the nature of conflict and crime. Two significant factors are technological and organizational changes that enhance the power of relatively small groups. The information revolution allows small groups to exercise power and extend their influence in seconds, across vast distances. Accompanying this access and ability to move information via the Internet, cell phone, fax, and emerging digital technologies is a shift from hierarchies to network forms of organization. These two factors are ushering in an era of asymmetric threats, where nonstate actors can extend their...

  8. Part II: Social Netwars

    • Chapter Five NETWORKING DISSENT: CYBER ACTIVISTS USE THE INTERNET TO PROMOTE DEMOCRACY IN BURMA
      (pp. 129-170)
      Tiffany Danitz and Warren P. Strobel

      On Monday, January 27, 1997, the huge U.S. conglomerate PepsiCo announced to the world that it was terminating its last business operations in Burma. News of the decision, one that the company had long resisted, raced across financial and political newswires.

      But to denizens of the Internet who monitored events regarding Burma, it was already old news. A copy of Pepsi’s statement, for which they had long labored and hoped, had crisscrossed the Internet the day before, a Sunday.¹ A battle by global, electronically savvy activists was finally over. With computer modems, keyboards, electronic mail, web sites, long hours, and...

    • Chapter Six EMERGENCE AND INFLUENCE OF THE ZAPATISTA SOCIAL NETWAR
      (pp. 171-200)
      David Ronfeldt and John Arquilla

      The Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) is composed of rural insurgents. But they are not ordinary, and they were quickly perceived by intellectuals (e.g., Mexico’s Carlos Fuentes and Pablo Gonzalez Casanova) as representing the world’s first postcommunist, “postmodern” insurgency:

      Many people with cloudy minds in Mexico responded to what happened in Chiapas by saying, “Here we go again, these rebels are part of the old Sandinista-Castroite-Marxist-Leninist legacy. Is this what we want for Mexico?” The rebels proved exactly the contrary: Rather than the last rebellion of that type, this was the first post-communist rebellion in Latin America (Fuentes, 1994, p....

    • Chapter Seven NETWAR IN THE EMERALD CITY: WTO PROTEST STRATEGY AND TACTICS
      (pp. 201-236)
      Paul de Armond

      Seattle, like many American cities, has self-appointed nicknames. One of Seattle’s nicknames is “The Emerald City,” a reference to its perpetually soggy evergreen vegetation and to the mythical Land of Oz. On November 30, 1999, Seattleites awoke to the reality of an emerging global protest movement. This movement was not created in Seattle. Other protests with similar motives, participants, and strategies had been happening in the United States and around the world for a considerable time. What made the “N30” protests remarkable was the shock that we, like Dorothy and Toto, were no longer in Kansas.

      For the next year,...

  9. Part III: Once and Future Netwars

    • Chapter Eight ACTIVISM, HACKTIVISM, AND CYBERTERRORISM: THE INTERNET AS A TOOL FOR INFLUENCING FOREIGN POLICY
      (pp. 239-288)
      Dorothy E. Denning

      The conflict over Kosovo has been characterized as the first war on the Internet. Government and nongovernment actors alike used the Net to disseminate information, spread propaganda, demonize opponents, and solicit support for their positions. Hackers used it to voice their objections to both Yugoslav and NATO aggression by disrupting service on government computers and taking over their web sites. Individuals used it to tell their stories of fear and horror inside the conflict zone, while activists exploited it to amplify their voices and reach a wide, international audience. And people everywhere used it to discuss the issues and share...

    • Chapter Nine THE STRUCTURE OF SOCIAL MOVEMENTS: ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM AND ITS OPPONENTS
      (pp. 289-310)
      Luther P. Gerlach

      In the late 1960s Virginia H. Hine and I examined the structure of several social movements. We found that the most common type of organization was neither centralized and bureaucratic nor amorphous, but one that was a segmentary, polycentric, and integrated network (acronym SPIN) (Gerlach and Hine, 1970, 1973; Gerlach, 1971/1983).

      Segmentary: Composed of many diverse groups, which grow and die, divide and fuse, proliferate and contract.

      Polycentric: Having multiple, often temporary, and sometimes competing leaders or centers of influence.

      Networked: Forming a loose, reticulate, integrated network with multiple linkages through travelers, overlapping membership, joint activities, common reading matter, and...

    • Chapter Ten WHAT NEXT FOR NETWORKS AND NETWARS?
      (pp. 311-362)
      David Ronfeldt and John Arquilla

      The deep dynamic guiding our analysis is that the information revolution favors the rise of network forms of organization. The network appears to be the next major form of organization—long after tribes, hierarchies, and markets—to come into its own to redefine societies, and in so doing, the nature of conflict and cooperation. As noted in the introductory chapter, the termnetwarcalls attention to the prospect that network-based conflict and crime will be major phenomena in the years ahead. The chapters in this volume provide early evidence for this.

      The rise of networks is bringing many changes for...

    • AFTERWORD (SEPTEMBER 2001): THE SHARPENING FIGHT FOR THE FUTURE
      (pp. 363-372)
      John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt

      Theory has struck home with a vengeance. The United States must now cope with an archetypal terrorist netwar of the worst kind. The same technology that aids social activists and those desiring the good of all is also available to those with the darkest intentions, bent on destruction and driven by a rage reminiscent of the Middle Ages.

      Soon after we put the finishing touches on this book, terrorists attacked New York and Washington. In doing so, they confirmed the warnings (in retrospect, too briefly stated) in Chapter Two that information-age terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda might pursue a war paradigm,...

  10. CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. 373-374)
  11. ABOUT THE EDITORS
    (pp. 375-376)