Mesh and the Net: Speculations on Armed Conflict in a Time of Free Silicon   [open pdf - 5MB]

"As long as the power of information technology doubles every two to three years, it will continue to have a disproportionate effect on the evolution of national security. The first reaction of any organization to such crisis-using the classic Chinese definition meaning threat and opportunity-is to absorb new technologies into old ways. Computers cannot help most firms very much until they reengineer their work processes to accord with the silicon logic. Conflict both conventional and unconventional will perforce follow the same path-accommodating change first by incorporation, and next by reinvention. No change so large can breathe without metaphors, in this case: Mesh, Net, and Silicon. Mesh-the term applied to military applications-points to the holes; as information technology places a finer mesh atop the battlefield, more objects are caught in it. Net-the term applied to civilian applications-points to the substance of the system; the connectivity of people and their machines suggests new patterns of social relationships and new venues for conflict. Silicon, that which is to become free, stands for both semiconductor chips (for computation) and optical fibers (for communications)."

Report Number:
McNair Paper No. 28
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC): http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/
Media Type:
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