The hegemony of bureacracy

Hegemony – the political dominance of one state over another

Bureaucracy –  An unelected government organization that makes rules, laws, and policy

What we have growing in the arena of cyber policy is a hegemonic bureaucracy filled with all of the pitfalls and pain that such an organizational construct suggests. What is interesting is the hierarchical organization structures completely fail under the weight of the onerous tasking of a networked cultural artifact like the Internet. Not that I would ever limit myself to an Internet based understanding of the cyber realm (regardless of current United States policy or Military Strategy definitions).I came away with a realization after doing some reading. Purdue University faculty senate was mentioned in an article about how they might half the number of representatives and committees to become much faster and flexible as an organization. It is nice to have outside agencies telling you how to become more efficient even if they don’t take their own medicine.

I also read an article on how the kill chain for a drone engagement might take hours to make its way from point of need to the target identification and authorization to react. Having studied military operations and targeting of suspected terrorist the process might be fairly quick if in theater with a regimental staff or commander engaged and ready. It could be an operational nullification if the process broke or a lawfare debate broke out in the command tent. All respects for Maj General (ret) Dunlap but he did us no favors bringing law into the planning process. Assumption of law barriers is a realization in the current world if ironic.

Finally I was listening to a story on the radio about how push button warfare in the cyber war would create a significant risk of fratricide and how fast a cyber war would occur. War is not the activation of a technology like a gun (pulling the trigger). It is the sustained conflict between nation-state actors inclusive of the diplomacy and economic elements of national power. To be quite honest the use of sanctions by the more powerful entity might look like diplomacy, but the smaller or less powerful entity is going to see it as economic warfare.

I’m not worried about the United States or any modern nation-state being able to engage in a frontal cyber warfare. Simply put, I suggest, that the reason the United States and other nation-states have not engaged in peer on peer wars, is not the globalization of democracy but the absolute inability for bureaucracy to allow for such an engagement. Nobody has the ability to get the paperwork done in time and the logistics system is too cumbersome to allow for a real war. Who would type the forms in triplicate?

Just some ideas I’m working with as I read a few  (40) books this summer. Those engaging in war punditry and rumors of war haven’t analyzed the significant time it took to move into effective sustained combat operations in the last two brush fire wars we were engaged in. I think we would engage a logistics chain in a significant war so slowly that troops would exhaust all ammunition stores in mere weeks. Against a peer competitor and taking combat losses of equipment the United States would not be able to meet operational necessity. That is in a kinetic conflict. In the cyber arena the timing of a conflict would be key to adversarial engagement.

How fast would congress coalesce around an amorphous attack that had little attribution and the resultant societal impact looked like a collective set of normal disasters?

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