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Of the People, By The People: The Strategic Citizen 5GW Style [Updated]

This is a third style of 5GW in my slow-motion series and follows the Puppet Master style and the Socio-Political Entrepreneurship style.

Working Definition of Fifth Generation Warfare (aka 5GW aka SecretWar):

5GW is the secret deliberative manipulation of actors, networks, institutions, states or any 0GW/1GW/2GW/3GW/4GW forces to achieve a goal or set of goals across a combination of socio, economic, and political domains while attempting to avoid or minimize the retaliatory offensive or defensive actions/reactions of 0GW/1GW/2GW/3GW/4GW powered actors, networks, institutions, and/or states.

Working Definition of Strategic Citizen (v0.1):

Ordinary individuals and/or Super-Empowered Individuals who
successfully make use of any of the technological, socio, economic, or
political domains to have a strategic impact on the world.

Working Definition of Strategic Citizen 5GW:

The purposeful action of 5GW by Strategic Citizen (SC) actors who are unconnected in any way except for the desired related end effects to be achieved through the sum of the individual actions.

Disclaimer: Not all SC are involved in 5GW; not all 5GW will be done by SC

Characteristics/Notes:

  • The hardest style to spot or to fathom
  • No central planner or leader
  • A competitive market of related / competing / supporting memes
  • Action by SCs can be directed at their own states or other primary loyalty groups as well as other actors.
  • Self-reassuring network
  • Resembles a grand conspiracy to an observer. However, there is no vanguard, there is no puppet master.
  • Some members of the 5GW SC network may be more influential then others. Call them “charismatic instigators”. They push, nudge, influence and inspire the 5GW. They do not control it or “aim” it. They may not even be aware of it.
  • Question: How do you fight or counter a SC 5GW? 1) Recognize; 2) Disrupt / Distract / Co-opt / Expose
  • “Expose” is hard for a SC 5GW…and maybe it is a “so what?”
  • It is hard to focus or steer a SC 5GW.
  • The SC 5GW has will have no grand success, only small victories or small adjustments to: rule-sets, institutions, societies, and culture
  • Faces co-option attacks
  • Faces coherence weakness
  • Faces attention-span weakness. Challenge: How to keep SCs interested and active in the 5GW? Maybe only if a positive feedback loop of sorts emerges in the network.
  • Faces focus challenge: How to keep focus, how to not loose focus?
  • Question: What is the Center of Gravity of a SC 5GW? Perhaps the attention-span and purposefulness of the SC actors
  • Timeframes are longs – messes with observation and orientation of the SC 5GW target(s)
  • What about Secrecy? The SC 5GW doesn’t exist. It has no email address. It has not central web site. It has no face or a commandant-hiding-in-a-cave
  • Important dimensions of War: mental, moral, and especially the institutional
  • It is not clear how the levels of grand strategy, strategy, operational/ grand tactics, and tactics play out. This warrants more thought and a post.
  • I think “institutional infiltration” will be a common way of the SC 5GW [this was mentioned in an early TDAXP 5GW Theory post – which I cannot find]
  • Expect leaderless swarming
  • SC 5GW may make use of Culture Jamming and may focus on Leverage Factors
  • In SC 5GW, Kinetics actions are widely dispersed

Note: This is not the Shloky version of of 5GW.

Shloky has defined 5GW in a superficially similar way as:

5GW is what we label the emergent pattern formed by a distributed multitude of empowered individuals acting in concert by acting in their own self interest, without any collaboration.

Dreaming 5GW co-blogger CGW critiqued this definition:

“Useful theory of warfare” : i.e., the actors have some understanding of what they are wanting to achieve, a theory of the conflict, and that understanding, however it plays out, has a direct correlation with the larger dynamic of the war. These individuals you propose, entirely self-interested and perhaps often unaware of each other, may indeed act in particular and quite different ways, thus causing the larger system to be shaped by what they do, but this is not warfare any more than a flock of seagulls or a collection of atoms or an infestation of roaches.


I furthered critiqued this definition elsewhere
:

I think Shloky is saying there is nobody doing the manipulation. These actors just doing things on their own and the result is 5GW. I don’t understand this at all.

As I see it, successful 5GW must look something like: there is some thoughtful human-based actor (heh…no angry volcanoes!) starting at condition A manipulating (via techniques X, Y, Z, etc.) another actor or set of actors across possible domains M, N, O, P, etc. to achieve or get closer to desired end condition B. Yeah, there are alot of blanks to fill in.

Getting to condition B is the goal of the 5GWers. The actors being manipulated either don’t realize what’s going on or are okay with getting there regardless of who is nudging them.

and

I don’t see any value in that view. I can’t make predictions on the world and I can’t formulate or suggest policy using that 5GW theory.

and

If the results are accidental/coincidental – meaning nobody is trying to achieve them – then that def of 5GW is useless for planning or historical analysis.

I don’t mean it that there to be a Puppet Master behind it (there are other styles of 5GW…I have been too lazy to make those post yet).

You idea of a “common vision of a better world publically shared by many players” would be a possible valid way of having the decentralized actor connected and that possible 5GW style is worth looking into.

That is not what Shloky is suggesting. His 5GW theory idea is that the actors are not connected in anyway, that they are all acting on their own with separate visions and incentives…and that the aggregate end result of their unconnected actions is 5GW.

I am not trying to beat up on Shloky (whose blog I RSS subscribe to)…I just want to be very clear that the Strategic Citizen 5GW Style that is not what he was defining.

[Cross-posted to Dreaming 5GW]

Update: This section:

I think “institutional infiltration” will be a common way of the SC 5GW [this was mentioned in an early TDAXP 5GW Theory post – which I cannot find]

The post is here. The author is actually Phil of AmicableCollisions. Here is a collection of his early pre-blog 5GW related comments. Phil and his blog are where I first came across the Strategic Citizen idea. It has been lingering in my head ever since.

Update – Added:

  • Expect leaderless swarming

Update 8/3/2009:  Stray thought:  Are Leftist community organizers (e.g. ACORN) the proto-5GW Strategic Citizens?

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9 Responses

  1. I don’t understand the difference between the two.

  2. […] by PS . Understanding that: 5GW is what we label the emergent pattern formed by a distributed multitude […]

  3. […] Purpleslog I subscribe to Shlok’s RSS feed. We even have similar interests. He’s a good thinker […]

  4. Steve, the difference is subtle, but the ramification is large.

    The Shloky definition (its not just him BTW), takes a set of observable effect, groups them together an declares them to be emergent 5GW. These can be man-made individual actors and possible natural source.

    The individuals are in no way working together. They have no common shared purpose, no common networks, no knowledge of each other no coordination of effort or will, no joint purpose.

    In effect, the Shloky version of 5GW:

    – data mines certain effects

    – groups them together and declares it to be the result of 5GW

    – further declares that it is unstoppable echoing the defensive fatalism/hopelessness of the global guerrillas concept (and its supporters)…

    -…since there is no hope in stopping it, the nation state-state is doomed…

    -…the best thing for the elites and affluents to do is to somewhat abandon the nation-state and prepare to save them selves in self-sustaining RC (resilient communities).

    When I feel snarky, the RC concept seem to resemble a Yuppie Survivalist Movement to me.

    To me (and I believe for the most part of among my co-blogger at dreaming 5GW) we see 5GW as deliberate action.

    Reference my working definition of 5GW:

    “5GW is the secret deliberative manipulation of actors, networks, institutions, states or any 0GW/1GW/2GW/3GW/4GW forces to achieve a goal or set of goals across a combination of socio, economic, and political domains while attempting to avoid or minimize the retaliatory offensive or defensive actions/reactions of 0GW/1GW/2GW/3GW/4GW powered actors, networks, institutions, and/or states.”

    Note “deliberative”.

    It is a positive definition that assumes thinking purposeful actors…not the data mining of results.

    Now in the SC 5GW, the SC actors “who are unconnected in any way except for the desired related end effects to be achieved through the sum of the individual actions”.

    These Strategic Citizens are connected. From a Counter-5GW PoV that gives us options other then then the RC concept.

    Note: I expect aspects of the RC concept to be useful and could be used for other aspects of security and emergency recovery for the state as a whole.

  5. […] is an inspiration for Strategic Citizens and Civilian Irregular Information Operators to […]

  6. Open Source Conspiracy [1] sounds like the same thing:

    Exactly, Shane. As I replied on my site before expanding it here, the way I see it, 5GW could encompass ideological swarming and other uncoordinated but coherent attacks. It could also encompass open-source conspiracies, memetic engineering, and bespoke ideologies intended to transform our allies or enemies, or influential third parties. This makes the composition of the 5GW force very flexible.

    Further, as an attempt to change the reflexive actions of people in the society, 5GW clearly involves ideological changes to the target society. The active phase of a 5GW could consist of ideologues attacking using ideology as their weapon. And that's why it's dangerous, because it just keeps on going, rebuilding itself automatically whenever it is attacked, until the ideological/memetic programming behind it gets subverted/disarmed.

    Once the ideology/meme is made ready and turned on the conspirators can retire. Their weapon and army will continue with its programming without any further intervention.

    What interests me is how to subvert/disarm an attacking meme/ideology. What does it take? How long does it take? Etc.

    [1]
    http://www.dreaming5gw.com/2007/07/conspiracy_and_shadow_governme.php#comment-549

  7. […] What he described seemed to be a sort of Open Conspiracy or Strategic Citizen 5GW. […]

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