Contrary to popular belief Netwar is not about Internet. If you take organized stalking as some sort of psychological war against individual at least military should have some sort of label for this kind of war. Society stepped in an era of 4th generation warfare, where lines between military, law enforcement and civilian operations get blurred and at least from military point of view any conflict on any scale becomes point of interest and possible way to influence the outcome for own purposes. Average person will have no idea how these theoretical ideas are implemented in real life, neither do I – I might be talking out of my butt. World is constantly evolving and any new modern concept could be another new way of looking at existing things and the next day it could be outdated. So labels are important to the point as to track similarities in concept design. It doesn’t connect dots to individual situation, but it helps in a different way – it shows at least some authority is taking such phenomena seriously. Are they benefactors (by proxy or directly) or as dumbfounded as you are as to how to respond to it it’s hard to say.
Netwar is a term developed by RAND researchers John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt to describe an emergent form of low intensity conflict, crime, and activism waged by social networked actors. Typical netwar actors might include transnational terrorists, criminal organizations, activist groups, and social movements that employ decentralized, flexible network structures.
So if we assume that TI is attacked by a network or organized group where deception plays key part can we call it a netwar? We have no idea what kind of network it is or what is the ultimate purpose of such attack. TI is able observe only the edge of the network through implied and imposed actions. Are all TI’s attacked by same network or every situation is unique and there are as many networks as there are TI’s. Nobody knows and it’s impossible to answer such questions. Is TI attacked because he belongs to some competing social network or simply because of personal reasons?
Networks with many leaders, or no leader, may maintain coordination through a combination of powerful doctrine, ideology, shared beliefs, and/or common interests. This allows all the members of the network to maintain a common objective despite great personal or group autonomy. In other words, this provides an “ideational, strategic, and operational centrality that allows for tactical decentralization.
As Richard Szafranski (1994, 1995) illuminated in his discussions of how information warfare ultimately becomes “neo-cortical warfare,” the challenge for governments and societies becomes “epistemological.” A netwar actor may aim to confound people’s fundamental beliefs about the nature of their culture, society, and government, partly to foment fear but perhaps mainly to disorient people and unhinge their perceptions. This is why a netwar with a strong social content – whether waged by ethnonationalists, terrorists, or social activists— may tend to be about disruption more than destruction. The more epistemological the challenge, the more confounding it may be from an organizational standpoint. Whose responsibility is it to respond? Whose roles and missions are at stake? Is it a military, police, intelli- gence, or political matter? When the roles and missions of defenders are not easy to define, both deterrence and defense may become problematic.
I’m not sure what they tried to imply by the word “epistemological”. Is it about belief and knowledge?