Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Virtual War is official - US Department of Defense will confront ISIS across all available media = Total War.

"The Secretary of Defense should develop creative and agile concepts, technologies, and strategies across all available media to most effectively reach target audiences, to counter and degrade the ability of adversaries and potential adversaries to persuade, inspire, and recruit inside areas of hostilities or in other areas in direct support of the objectives of commanders."

 Major news, somewhat belated. The hot war against ISIS has been joined by the virtual one with this public announcement, courtesy of the Federation of American Scientists. 

A close read of the document makes it clear that this move to the virtual war front was held off because of the checks and balances in place in Congress and the Constitution. The default has been Public Diplomacy. That moment has passed. The US at least, is now in unchartered waters, as the entire defense edifice (the material and the virtual) is engaged in the effort to defeat ISIS.  

This is Total War - there is no other way to describe this escalation.

The US Department of Defense (DOD) is moving to all out warfare against ISIS, with an agreement and permission to use "all available media."  

The change in circumstances will bring all of the above (courtesy of an anonymous artist at 4chan) to the table, then add those aspects of the Internet about which the public is as yet ignorant.

Combing all aspects of Social Media with Internet and Media generally, makes for a chilling prospect. What will be the impact on social life, on domestic life, on the media and communication landscape? 

As Rhode Island Representative James Langevin noted in a Cyber Operations hearing in Congress in March: 
The 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review stated that, and I quote, "The importance of cyberspace to the American way of life and to the Nation’s security makes cyberspace an attractive target for those seeking to challenge our security and economic order." 

The question is: Will Total War in the sense in which I have defined it above, lead to changes in the democratic structures of society? Has Congress given away countervailing power to the DOD? What will become of the media with DOD so embedded in it? 

As David Silver and Alice Marwick asked in their article "Internet Studies in Times of Terror" (Critical Cybercultural Studies, 2006): "What can we do about it?" 

They respond by encouraging academics to generate active strategies to understand, criticize and resist the militarization of social life.  Is it too late?