5GW Reply and Intro to ThunderPig and other stuff

So, I kind of had a crappy Memorial Day. My family and friends were out of town. I intended to go to the local parade and a memorial service afterwards (and then maybe a movie V for Vendetta at the budget show), but a security customer of mine (from a previous job) wanted to engage me a small project and Monday was the only time he could meet with me.

Of course he never showed up (he later called in the evening and rescheduled).

I ended up chatting with the bussers and the hostess/greeter at the restaurant while I waited until giving up and having a salad and a Diet Pepsi. The bussers were hanging out in front opening up doors. Believe it not 4GW came up with them. I wrote down some names and stuff for them to look up on the internet.

I then hung out at Barnes and Nobles in the late afternoon sucking a large Iced Cafe Americano (espresso, ice water and ice) and "evaluating" books and magazines (some post to follow).

When I got home, I read this post excerpt by Thunder Pig (linking to me):

What? When did 5GW get invented?!?

Well, so now I had something to do tonight!

Here is some (most of) what I wrote on his blog as a comment:

Fifth Generation Warfare (5GW) is a new and evolving concept. Some would say it doesn’t exists, or it just 4GW misunderstood or applied in a new / different / expected way. William Lind, one of the fathers of 4GW and the Generations of Modern War framework, does not think 5GW is emerging yet (http://www.d-n-i.net/lind/lind_2_03_04.htm ).

I think 5GW is a logical addition to the Generations of Modern Warfare (xGW) framework.

There is much discussion still as to the characteristics of 5GW – there is no definitive statement or definition.

Where 3GW is Maneuver Warfare (or Lightening Warfare) and 4GW is Netwar, 5GW is Secret War.

Secret War (5GW) is performed by super-empowered individuals and very small dispersed networks. It is possible that a 5GW groups will be the result of emergent/leaderless behavior. The 5GW group is separate from the state (and perhaps not known to the state or its leaders), SecretWar will be waged on the behalf of the state or an idea/Meme(s) or the small 5GW group itself. The fifth generation rides on the trend of the state loosing the monopoly of power.

Blogger TDAXP mapped the Generations of Modern War to the OODA Loop. (Here is my flick graphic version: http://www.flickr.com/photos/purpleslog/156106514/). Fifth Generation Warfare attacks the Observation part of the OODA – it aims at the intelligence of the enemy.

I think 5GW will be heavy on the infiltration and redirection of state and institutions and non-state network, and 4GW movements.

Direct Action in 5GW would be limited to the manipulation/redirection of 4GW groups, and small “it looked liked an accident or infighting” assassinations on future-leaders or existing important (to the opposition) human network nodes.

5GW should be able to use at least 1 magnitude less human resources to accomplish the same things as 4GW.

SecretWar requires well, secrecy to be successful. Since knowledge of the 5GW will often resemble weird conspiracy theories, 5GW practitioners will use that to there advantages to discredit and marginalize those that might be starting to recognize the 5GW movement. Most societies will by default consider weak evidence of 5GW as non-sense or wacko/crazy conspiracy thought and dismiss it.

Time-spans for 5GW war may be longer then that of 4GW wars. This is still being discussed.

I think the 5GW planning phase will be long, but 5GW tactical operations will be small, have short timespans, and be numerous (to avoid detection). I call this boiling the frog 5GW-style (https://purpleslog.wordpress.com/2006/05/22/boiling-the-frog-5gw-style/)

Zenpundit puts it best: “5GW is conceived in terms of strategic vision over an even longer time frame [referring to 4GW], sometimes before an opponent realizes that they will be an opponent but the execution time may be very short in comparison to 4GW. The operative question is probably whether the attacker or the defender has initiated 5GW – once you are already attacked you have missed your opportunity to shape the battlespace.”

There might even be high-tech versions of 5GW where future technology (like nano-technology) will allow the super-empowered individual the ability to accomplish massive things on his own. ( example: http://www.phaticcommunion.com/archives/2006/05/unto_the_next_g.php )

Examples of Possible 5GW
Control and redirect the activity of a 4GW group for a separate purpose
(https://purpleslog.wordpress.com/2006/05/13/5gw-example-is-answer-trying-to-get-a-chavez-friendly-candidate-elected-in-mexico/ )

Infiltrate the cultural and learning institutions of an enemy over time to change the enemy’s future generations.
(https://purpleslog.wordpress.com/2006/05/23/cultural-institution-infiltration-5gw-technique-with-example/ )

Assassination of potential future leaders of an opponent or key current network nodes. The assassinations will not look like outsider assassination: e.g. car accidents, drug overdoses, mugging gone bad, heart attacks, in-fighting/civil war

Lastly, 5GW is not John Robb’s Global Guerrillas (GG) concept. GG does not quite fit into the xGW framework. GG seems to use the tactics of Netwar, but concentrates on disrupting the complex systems of modern societies to: distract/disrupt the state, collapse part or some of the state, and create ungoverned spaces which can then be used by the GG patrons for some other ends (the GG are not modern high anarchists) At last, this is how I understand the GG concept right now. I await his book and the months of blogger postings that will appear afterwards on the concept.

I have been meaning to put together a short Wikipedia entry on 5GW, I will use this post as my start point. I hope the 5GW blog community will help expand it out over time.

Update: Sorry for the spelling/grammar mistakes. I was typing very late and did not take enough care. I have updated my notes that will be used in the Wikipedia entry itself.

Here are the other 5GW references I gave in the post to ThunderPig for now:















I have my version of the OODA/xGW drawing from TDAXP/ComingAnarchy available on Flickr:

OODA and OODA with xGW (Combined Image)

Update: More Links




4 Responses

  1. Hah! I had just discovered a link to PC from Thunder Pig, written a post in reply, commented at TP, and then visited Purpleslog only to discover this post!

    I’ve thought that a wiki article would be very good, and might spur open source exploration of the theory. Of course, with open source comes vulnerability to 5GW manipulation…heh.

  2. ThunderPig caused quite a bit of after-hours blogging. I read your post after I was done with mine. It got me thinking on a Tech (NanoTech) driven 5GW.

  3. […] I found a post on usenet group misc.survivalism via google responding to an early TDAXP post on Fifth Generation Warfare (5GW). […]

  4. […] For 5GW, see especially Go Deep and Dreaming 5th Generation Warfare. Curtis Gale Weeks and Purpleslog have also discussed that phenomenon in some […]

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